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Ask the Experts: The Interior Designer

Amy Meier, Principal, Amy Meier Design


Photos by Eric Stoner, Brady Architectural Photography

Trick of the Trade
“Good design satisfies the body’s innate need for comfort and the soul’s thirst for style. ”

When it comes to interiors, what are some of the biggest discrepancies in cost? 

Fabric and rugs. There is such a wide spectrum of prices, but they are both pivotal elements to the design of any room.

What are typically the most expensive elements?

Rugs and art. 

Are they worth it?

Both ground a space and really give it its unique viewpoint. So yes, the cost is worth it if the pieces do what they should do for the space. 

Where do you draw inspiration from?

Everywhere: my daily travels, things I see and experience. It could be as mundane as the sewer cap or an agave plant in the garden. And I also look to my design colleagues, both active and past, famous and unknown.

One design trend you are loving right now?

The boutique fabric houses that offer hand-blocked designs. There is an artisanal feel to them that is intriguing. Because they are made by hand, every piece is unique.

And what about walls? Do you think less is more, or the more the merrier?

I think less is more. To me, well edited means well educated. A meticulously curated collection allows each piece to sing, and says far more than a cacophony of pieces all shouting for attention.

What’s one quick fix almost anyone can do to refresh his or her home’s look?

Paint is the backdrop to any room and can quickly transform the feeling of it. It is an easy element to change and gets the biggest impact.

Designer Black Book

Decorative painting:
Joan Bonetti
at Bella Decorative Arts 858.229.5626  

Sara Wardrip at C’est la Vie in Encinitas

Custom framing:
Ed Greene at
E. Green Gallery in

What do you tell people who want the look of a professionally decorated home but don’t have the money to hire someone?

Invest in key pieces that you really love and will stand the test of time. Then add to your collection as you can. 

Rare is the man who cares about throw pillows and wallpaper, but they do exist, and can make the design process challenging. How do you handle couples that have opposing tastes?

I always ask each person to list their priorities, and we use those priorities as the building blocks in getting to a consensus that everyone feels excited about.

How do you know if a designer is the right fit for you?

It is all about communication. A designer who is the right fit for you is not necessarily the one whose personal style you like the most, but rather the designer who hears your wants and needs and can interpret them.

What are some good questions to ask?

Openly discuss and mutually agree upon budget and time frame. Clear expectations are paramount.

Tips for small spaces?

Edit. Paint. Invest in fewer, key elements and let them do the heavy lifting.

Tips for people on a budget?

Go room by room. If you spread your budget too far, you won’t feel the impact.

What’s one room that’s always worth the investment?

The family room or informal living room. Most of us start and end our day there and it is great to love that space.

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