How To Design Hospitality Environments That Blend Luxury And Fun—And Encourage Guests To Reconnect By Disconnecting

The McBride Company is setting a new standard in the hospitality industry by blending luxury and fun. Their projects, featuring beloved brands like Nickelodeon and Margaritaville, create unique environments where both children and adults can enjoy unforgettable experiences.

Learn how these immersive designs encourage guests to unplug and truly connect. Discover more about their approach to balancing creativity and practicality in hospitality design.

(Above: Nickelodeon Riviera Maya Pineapple Suite “SpongeBob SquarePants”-themed living area. Image courtesy of the McBride Company)

While you may not immediately connect the dots between a cartoon-themed resort for kids and a five-star luxury experience with adult appeal, the McBride Company’s hospitality projects manage to roll both concepts into one.

From sprawling oceanside pools and water parks to upscale restaurants and spas with Margaritaville or Nickelodeon themes, the McBride Company’s immersive designs provide experiences that surprise and delight parents and children alike. Creative Director Ryan McBride says of the Nickelodeon Riviera Maya Resort, “We call this category luxury meets LOL. It really is a luxury experience, but it’s not taking itself too seriously.”

The McBride Company, launched in 1979, is a creative concept and design firm that boasts clients like Nickelodeon Hotels and Resorts, Great Wolf Lodge, the Peanuts Cafe, Margaritaville, the Discovery Channel, and the Walt Disney Company. The firm is well versed in incorporating intellectual property (IP), such as characters and recognizable brands, into physical spaces, and integrating their distinct experiential design touch on hotels, resorts, casinos, theme parks, restaurants, and any other stretch of hospitality and leisure.

McBride spoke with us about how designing fully-immersive experiences can encourage visitors to unplug and truly participate in the present moment—and how the use of characters, other IP, and well, just plain fun can add a whole new dimension to design.

The following conversation has been lightly edited for length and clarity.

A Margaritaville-themed dining experience in Palm Springs, California merges branding with an elevated dining experience. Images courtesy of the McBride Company.

What can you achieve with an ultra-branded, immersive environment that you can’t anywhere else, and what does that look like?

Ryan McBride: Brands can bring a whole new dimension to hospitality projects, and strong brands have a big fan base with built-in loyalty and emotional connection to the IP. Brands can have a deep cultural significance, whether it’s nostalgia for adults, or a character that has been by a child’s side for as long as they can remember. From a business standpoint, this recognition and connection can help boost visibility in a crowded marketplace. When culture and lifestyle are properly expressed, you have the potential to emotionally connect with guests in ways that otherwise would not be available.

In a theme park setting, guests are looking for total immersion during their relatively short length of stay—a maximalist experience. But in a hospitality setting, guests can quickly tire of theming that is too heavy-handed. We always strive to find the perfect balance between immersion and hospitality, and reflect that in an elevated, intentional usage of branding that feels seamlessly integrated into the architecture, artwork, and FF&E [furniture, fixtures, and equipment]. A hotel or resort is a place for experiences, but it’s also a place for leisure. Part of our process involves analyzing how we balance all these components, from initial planning to opening day.

(Lobby of the Margaritaville Beach Resort in Hollywood Beach, Florida. Image courtesy of the McBride Company)

Who is it important to have on your team when designing something that leans heavily on established worlds and characters?

Working with global brands with these strong identities requires carefully balancing left- and right-brain thinking—we need a strong creative team and a strong project management and business development team to meticulously define the parameters within which our designers operate, fostering a harmonious blend of vision and practicality.

Our team comprises talent with diverse skills, including writing, illustration, interior design, architecture, graphic design, and project management. They come from various backgrounds and include traditional hotel designers, industrial designers, business executives, and ex-Disney Imagineers [creatives who design and build Disney attractions]. This range of skills and backgrounds on our team promotes innovation and allows us to think outside the box when approaching a project challenge.

(Nickelodeon Riviera Maya resort lobby. Image courtesy of the McBride Company)

How do you balance a space defined by a kid-targeted brand, like Nickelodeon’s Riviera Maya resort, with luxury and adult appeal?

 Hoteliers and operators often choose to get into this industry for the luxury. It’s the type of travel that traditionally adults or parents—the purchaser—would prefer to do. When we superimpose a brand over that, if we do it the right way, we can cast a wider net and create a product that targets the purchaser and the user—children—equally.

Five-star luxury and SpongeBob SquarePants—these two things don’t seem to go together, right? The incongruence is what makes it fun. When we are using the IP to create luxury, we’re stripping it down and abstracting it, focusing on the shapes, texture, or branded colors—incorporating the cartoon from a more elevated angle, but keeping it recognizable. And you know what? Sometimes it really is just using SpongeBob in all of his glory. Cleverness is really what the Nickelodeon brand is about, and both parents and kids enjoy it. Even against the background of the operational and service standards of a five-star experience, the fun and tongue-in-cheekiness shines through.

The “Good Burger”-themed food truck at the Nickelodeon Riviera Maya resort. Image courtesy of the McBride Company.
The “SpongeBob Squarepants”-themed Bikini Bottom bar at the Nickelodeon Riviera Maya resort. Image courtesy of the McBride Company.

And while the Nickelodeon brand is aimed primarily at kids, we’ve included facets of the brand that parents will also love. Our Snick (Saturday Night Nickelodeon) Lounge is a more nostalgia-driven venue that will appeal to parents who connect to the legacy ’90s Nickelodeon like “Ren & Stimpy,” the iconic orange couch, and an arcade feel.

What’s the most fun you’ve had designing a space, and what is most challenging about this work?

The Margaritaville brand is particularly close to all of our hearts here because we’ve been working with the brand for decades. We were the designers on their first venue, and to watch this empire expand and grow has been really something! Margaritaville touches everything from hotels to all-inclusive resorts, casinos, cruise ships, restaurants, and active living/retirement residential communities. They have such a timeless lifestyle brand and loyal consumer base. How do we convey the casual sophistication of the brand and its messaging consistently across all of these different categories? Tailoring it across experiences is really fun.

We do a ton of work for traditional media brands looking to get into hospitality or location-based entertainment spaces that, historically, they’re not in. Taking any recognizable brand and establishing it for a new use is always a challenge, but that pushes us to really try to innovate.

Margaritaville Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Image courtesy of the McBride Company
The Nickelodeon-themed play structure at the Riviera Maya resort draws on character and environmental IP. Image courtesy of the McBride Company.
The SNICK lounge incorporates ’90s characters from the network to create a nostalgia-driven space. Image courtesy of the McBride Company.
Nickelodeon Riviera Maya SpongeBob Squarepants-themed bedroom. the McBride Company.
King room at the Margaritaville Beach Resort Hollywood Beach, Florida. Image courtesy of the McBride Company
Margaritaville Casino in Bossier, Louisiana. Image courtesy of the McBride Company.
Margaritaville On Vacation restaurant. Image courtesy of the McBride Company.

Are there any new or emerging technologies or sustainable materials that you’re excited to work with?

 Of course we get excited about all of the new audio/visual [AV] integrations, digital self check-in, higher-definition screens, and interactivity in the form of digital monitors and things like projection mapping [a video projection technique used to turn irregularly shaped objects into immersive display surfaces] becoming less cost prohibitive. But I’m going to maybe take a contrarian approach here. Nowadays there’s a strong desire from consumers and brands to bring back a more analog experience. It’s about reconnecting by disconnecting. The more we can convince people that amenities, programs, and experiences in these resorts are worth putting your phone away and unplugging the TV for, the better. It’s the anti-technology answer, but there’s this whole cultural shift to try to disconnect a little bit more—people are getting so sucked into their devices.

In the hospitality setting, we’re seeing more of an appetite for innovations that enhance the experience, but there is also an appetite for thinking about how we can enhance physical connection. If we can take a brand with a multi-generational appeal, and harness it to get families interacting—playing board games, sitting down and talking—we will create more connection and help people build positive memories.

By Laura Botham May 14, 2024

Published in IIDA Perspective


Interior Designers Institute was founded in 1984 and is one of the few Interior Design Schools in California offering an Avocational Certificate Course, Associate of Arts Degree in Interior Design, Bachelor of Arts Degree in Interior Design, and Master of Interior Architecture Degree and is nationally accredited and also accredited by CIDA, Council for Interior Design Accreditation.

IIDA Student Charrette 2024 – IDI students Place 1st, 2nd & 3rd

IIDA invited all Southern California interior design programs to nominate their students to compete in an all-day design charrette.

The Charrette is the embodiment of brainstorming and teamwork. It is an opportunity to join students from various schools into a collaborative, unified effort. All Southern California schools are invited to participate on a first-come, first-served basis to the all- day event. Teams are comprised of up to five students, each from a different school, challenged to develop a design based on a program assigned at the beginning of the day. Each of those teams then present their design at the end of the work session before a panel of judges and event guests. After deliberation, judges select a first and second place team.

IDI Nominated: Duc Nguyen, Alicia Smith, Allison Maynard and LeAnne Hlavka, (pictured below) the competition took place at Gensler, Newport Beach.

IDI students placed in the top 3 teams with LeAnne’s team 1st, Allison’s team placed 2nd, and Alicia’s team 3rd.

“We were all really supportive of each other and did great with our teams”.

The first place team is awarded $10,000 presented on stage at the Calibre Design Awards.

LeAnne Hlavka from IDI was in the first place team and continued to compete in the regional competition and won again, she will compete in the National completion.

Good luck LeAnne!!!!

Congratulations to all the competitors. IDI is proud that you represented the college and had a wonderful designing and networking opportunity. Thank you for participating.


Interior Designers Institute was founded in 1984 and is one of the few Interior Design Schools in California offering an Avocational Certificate Course, Associate of Arts Degree in Interior Design, Bachelor of Arts Degree in Interior Design, and Master of Interior Architecture Degree and is nationally accredited and also accredited by CIDA, Council for Interior Design Accreditation.

Maria Monaci Gallenga (1880–1944) Textile Designer

Working in the early decades of the twentieth century, Italian designer Maria Monaci Gallenga captivated contemporaries with her luminous and richly patterned textiles (L.2018.61.11), which were the basis for striking women’s fashions as well as elements of interior design. Jessica Regan,  Independent Curator, February 2024

Maria Monaci Gallenga
Tea gown
Maria Monaci Gallenga
Evening cape
Maria Monaci Gallenga
Evening cape
Maria Monaci Gallenga
Evening dress
Evening cape
Jessica Regan
Independent Curator
February 2024

Working in the early decades of the twentieth century, Italian designer Maria Monaci Gallenga captivated contemporaries with her luminous and richly patterned textiles (L.2018.61.11), which were the basis for striking women’s fashions as well as elements of interior design. Merging historical and contemporary influences from the world of high fashion and beyond, she created designs rooted in traditional aesthetics and techniques but shaped by modern innovations and sensibilities.influence of design reform efforts that began in the previous century, notably the British Arts and Crafts movement. Like the adherents of that movement, Gallenga made fine craftsmanship a central tenet of her work, building her reputation on stunning hand-printed fabrics that mimicked the appearance of Italian Renaissance velvets. Her chosen motifs, however, were inspired by a wide variety of sources, including Byzantine and Ottoman textiles, Renaissance frescoes, and medieval heraldry. Her success lay in the harmonious combination of these disparate elements in designs that reflected the needs of contemporary dress. Especially acclaimed for her tea gowns (L.2018.61.24), mantles, and capes (1980.96), Gallenga created garments with simple cuts and relaxed structures that highlighted the beauty of her textiles and allowed the wearer to move freely.

Though best known for her fashions, Gallenga also aimed to advance Italian decorative arts more broadly, helping to found Arte Moderna Italiana, an organization dedicated to the promotion of contemporary Italian artists working in a variety of disciplines. Many of these individuals gained greater visibility in Gallenga’s gallerylike shops, where she featured their work alongside her own. At a time when the nascent Italian fashion industry had not yet distinguished itself from the influence of Paris haute couture, Gallenga gained international success with garments that were perceived as—and appreciated for—being distinctly Italian.

Beginnings in Rome

Gallenga’s upbringing and early experiences in Rome laid the foundation for a career grounded in admiration for Italy’s artistic past and a desire to nurture a broader creative community. Born in 1880 to a well-established family embedded in Rome’s vibrant cultural life, she became interested in the history of art and design at an early age. During her teenage years she experimented with painting on textiles and eventually began creating garments from fabrics she designed.

Coming of age in a period of increased attention to the history of textile design, Gallenga had access to recently published studies on the subject, which not only encouraged her fascination with antique fabrics but also became sources of inspiration for her own designs. She was also shaped by larger concerns that emerged following Italy’s recent political unification, particularly the desire to stimulate international interest in Italian decorative arts and to define an autonomous artistic identity for the country. These efforts, like Gallenga’s own, were often characterized by allusions to Italian art of earlier eras, above all the Renaissance, widely considered an apex of artistic achievement.

When Gallenga launched her career in the early 1910s, she would have been familiar with fashion and textiles by the house of Fortuny, founded in Venice in 1906. Under the direction of Spanish-born Mariano Fortuny (1871–1949) and his French-born wife and design partner Adèle Henriette Nigrin Fortuny (1877–1965), the Fortuny studio became an important site of experimentation in textile design and production. Among the house’s achievements were fabrics printed with metallic pigments that imitated the glinting effects of metal threads woven into Renaissance velvets (2009.300.468). As Gallenga developed her signature printed fabrics, she likewise emulated these arresting historical textiles, which she appreciated not only for their aesthetic appeal but also for their links to Italian cultural heritage. By referencing Renaissance art, both Gallenga and the Fortunys linked their modern creations with the ingenuity, refined taste, and superb handcraft associated with that era. Gallenga, however, took this connection a step further, developing a brand logo featuring two figures in flowing robes and tall headdresses (L.2018.61.11) that recalled aristocratic early Italian Renaissance dress. This symbol tied her designs to notions of luxury and artistic virtuosity while conveying a recognizably Italian identity.

The first significant display of Gallenga’s work, which included textiles, shawls, and cushion covers, came in 1915 at Secessione Romana, one of a series of annual exhibitions that took place in Rome between 1913 and 1916. These shows highlighted the work of innovative artists, including many with whom Gallenga collaborated, such as glass and tapestry designer Vittorio Zecchin (1878–1947) and costume designer Gino Sensani (1888–1947). In 1918 she opened her first shop in Rome featuring her own designs as well as glassware, metalwork, ceramics, sculpture, tapestries, and embroidery by emerging and established Italian artists.

International Growth

Gallenga’s engagement with the Roman art world led to her participation in international expositions that brought greater attention to her work. At the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco, she exhibited a range of womenswear that included mantles, tea gowns, tunics, and stoles primarily of silk velvet or crepe printed with metallic pigments. For these she was awarded a grand prize and gained acclaim in the American press, which praised her garments for their artisanal quality and lustrous character—and for their divergence from French styles that offered no equivalent to Gallenga’s overtly historicist hand-printed textiles. Interest in Gallenga’s fashions grew in the United States, where they were appreciated for their blend of antique design motifs and coloration with modern fashion silhouettes (L.2018.61.4). By the following decade, her designs were available in cities throughout the country, including Boston, Chicago, New York, and San Francisco.

As her career reached its peak during the 1920s, Gallenga continued to expand her international reach. In 1925 she participated in the Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes in Paris, showcasing furnishing textiles, garments, and accessories in her signature prints. She was again lauded for the luminous quality of her silk velvets printed in shades of gold, bronze, and silver. While Gallenga’s printed motifs were inspired by diverse sources, such as Egyptian figured silks from around 800 CE (L.2018.61.62) and the geometric outlines found in European Gothic tracery (L.2018.61.24), her fabrics suggested to most viewers a distinctly Italian sensibility rooted in the Renaissance, as they echoed the burnished finish and jewel-toned colors seen in that era’s velvets. Following the Paris exposition, Gallenga opened a boutique in the heart of the city, creating a salon-like environment highlighting her own work alongside decorative arts by a rotating roster of Italian artists. By this time her designs were sold in several European cities, including Brussels, London, and Montreux, as well as Rome and Florence. Among her clientele were European aristocrats, socially prominent Americans such as Elsie de Wolfe (1865–1950), and internationally known actresses Lynn Fontanne (1887–1983) and Lillian (1893–1993) and Dorothy Gish (1898–1968).

Design and Production

Gallenga’s marriage of printed patterns with garment silhouettes was responsible for the success of her designs. Like her glistening motifs, the cut of Gallenga’s fashions often referenced medieval and Renaissance dress (2009.300.310). The fluid lines of these earlier styles aligned with the designer’s preference for unrestrictive clothing and harmonized with the columnar silhouette that dominated high fashion during the 1910s and 1920s. To prevent her garments from being purely imitative—from becoming costume rather than fashion—Gallenga responded to current trends, shortening hemlines or adapting contemporary silhouettes while retaining the fundamental character of her designs.

Gallenga’s production process likewise blended tradition and innovation, as she embellished modern industrially made fabrics with hand-worked techniques. By developing her own method for metallic printing on textiles—different from that used at Fortuny—she was able to achieve more subtle shading and a greater range of tones within a single motif. These qualities distinguish her work from that of the Venetian house, yet Gallenga’s fashions have often been misattributed owing to the designers’ shared reference points. Within The Costume Institute’s collection, for example, a circa 1925 velvet tea gown (1975.383.3) was mistakenly attributed to Fortuny when it was acquired in the 1970s; recently, however, the gown was properly credited to Gallenga based on a contemporaneous illustration and close examination of the motif, which reveals the gradated colors typical of her prints.

To execute these signature details, Gallenga devised a system of printing wherein designs were cut from thin wooden sheets that were then mounted to sturdier support blocks. These lightweight components could be created quickly and economically within her own workshop, giving her control over the process. To create her brilliant prints, adhesive was applied to the custom-made blocks, which were then pressed to the surface of the textile. Powdered metallic pigments were then brushed by hand onto the treated areas. In this way, shades of gold, bronze, and silver could be subtly blended into one another, creating an ombré effect.

Unlike their Renaissance counterparts, Gallenga’s fabrics retained a supple hand, well suited to modern fashions, thanks to the flexibility and lightness of her adhesive and pigments. These techniques also allowed her designs to be fabricated relatively quickly without sacrificing the artisanal quality of the end product. She did not generally produce preprinted lengths of fabric that could then be made into clothing or accessories. Instead, her printing was executed after the fabric was cut to shape for a specific design, ensuring that the placement of the printed pattern complemented the cut of the finished garment.

Final Years

Like many designers catering to American and European clients, Gallenga’s business suffered in the Great Depression, and this, in addition to her failing health, led her to scale back her activities. Closing her Paris boutique in 1934, she returned to her original shop in Rome, where she shifted her focus to textiles for use in interiors. When she retired in 1938, her son took over the business, which continued to specialize in interior design until its closure in the late 1970s. Although the Italian fashion industry would not come into its own until the mid-twentieth century and Gallenga herself enjoyed a relatively short career, her success demonstrated the potential for recognizably Italian designs to garner international interest and acclaim.


Regan, Jessica. “Maria Monaci Gallenga (1880–1944).” In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000–. (February 2024)

Further Reading

Carlano, Marianne. “Maria Monaci Gallenga: A Biography.” Costume: The Journal of the Costume Society 27 (1993): 61–78.
De Guttry, Irene, and Maria Paola Maino, eds. Maria Monaci Gallenga: Arte e moda tra le due guerre. Modena: Palombi Editori, 2018.
Gnoli, Sofia. The Origins of Italian Fashion, 1900–45. London: V&A Publishing, 2014.
Masiola, Rosanna, and Sabrina Cittadini. The Golden Dawn of Italian Fashion: A Cross-Cultural Perspective on Maria Monaci Gallenga. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2020.
Orsi Landini, Roberta. “Alle origini della grande moda Italian: Maria Monaci Gallenga.” In Moda femminile tra le due guerre, edited by Caterina Chiarelli, 30–41. Livorno: Sillabe, 2000.
Regan, Jessica, and Mellissa Huber, with a preface by Andrew Bolton. In Pursuit of Fashion: The Sandy Schreier Collection. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2019.


Interior Designers Institute was founded in 1984 and is one of the few Interior Design Schools in California offering an Avocational Certificate Course, Associate of Arts Degree in Interior Design, Bachelor of Arts Degree in Interior Design, and Master of Interior Architecture Degree and is nationally accredited and also accredited by CIDA, Council for Interior Design Accreditation.

5 Unique Ways To Find Design Inspiration For Your Home

Whether you’re staging your home for sale or you’re getting a little bored of your current interior, you might be wondering where to start looking for new ideas.

The good news is that there are plenty of unique ways to find design inspiration other than in magazines or on Pinterest.

So if you are feeling a bit overwhelmed by the amount of great designs available online and having a hard time narrowing things down, having more specific places to look can be useful, especially if you’re designing or redesigning your home for a particular purpose.

1. Look at successful Airbnbs

Airbnbs are known for having eye-catching and unique designs. To find inspiration from an assortment of listings from different countries and cities, look for the ‘Places to stay around the world’ section on their homepage.

Dreamy Tropical Tree House in Fern Forest | Source: Airbnb.
Dreamy Tropical Tree House in Fern Forest | Source: Airbnb

It makes even more sense to look for design inspiration from successful listings. If you’re keen to rent your place on Airbnb. On top of looking at inspiration from all over the world, it’s also important to look at listings in your local area to get a grasp on which designs are doing well. It will also help you design a unique ‘home away from home’ so that you can stand out from the crowd.

2. Go to furniture and home department stores

Furniture and home department stores rely on visual merchandising to encourage customers to buy their products. This means they often spend a lot of time making sure their displays are designed well. If you’re looking for an adventure, you might even want to spend time looking in your nearby furniture stores. This would make a great weekend activity if you’re redesigning with a partner or with your family.

Source: Temple & Webster
Source: Zanui
Source: Temple & Webster

If you’d rather browse through some design inspiration from the comfort of your own home, many furniture, and home department stores will also have great websites to review for online inspiration..

3. Look at interior design and home staging sites

If you’re looking to take your home design to the next level, looking at interior design websites can help you to narrow down the style you’re going for.

On a similar note, portfolios from home stagers and home staging agencies are another great source of inspiration Home staging intends to appeal to the widest range of people, meaning that even if you aren’t looking to sell your home any time soon, you might find value from their work if you’re hoping to please a large family or group of housemates.

4. Look at recently sold listings in your area

If you are looking to redesign your home because you’re putting it on the market, a great place to look is on the recently sold sections on property listing websites. This will give you an idea of the type of lifestyle people in your area are aiming for and the types of listings that have been successful.

Source REA
Source: Domain

5. Go to open houses and model homes

Going to open homes and auctions is another option to look for interior design inspiration. Even if you aren’t in the market for a property, heading to Saturday afternoon open houses is a great way to see what the market is like. If you’re selling, you’ll also be able to scope out your competition.

Going to open houses and model homes might also be a great way to find out what potential buyers in your area really like. You might overhear some opinions or you could strike up a friendly conversation to ask a few questions. This is definitely one of the most out-there ways to find design inspiration for your home, however, it could be quite fun!

Looking for design inspiration is the first step to a new home you’ll love or a way to make your current home more loveable! So even if it feels a little overwhelming, finding new and exciting ways to figure out what you like, no matter what they are, will definitely make the process easier.


Interior Designers Institute was founded in 1984 and is one of the few Interior Design Schools in California offering an Avocational Certificate Course, Associate of Arts Degree in Interior Design, Bachelor of Arts Degree in Interior Design, and Master of Interior Architecture Degree and is nationally accredited and also accredited by CIDA, Council for Interior Design Accreditation.


by Jessica Petruccelli SDSA.

Set Decorator Jessica Petruccelli SDSA shares, “You can’t have MEAN GIRLS without pink! But we didn’t want to feel tied to the way they did it in the original. We needed to create an iconic look befitting of queen bee Regina’s personality, with an aesthetic that felt more current.” Images courtesy Paramount Pictures.

Set Decorator Jessica Petruccelli SDSA

Production Designer Kelly McGehee

Paramount Pictures

From film…to Broadway musical…to musical film! Yes, this 2024 version of MEAN GIRLS adds music & musical numbers, but also fun and fabulous visual depth! Set Decorator Jessica Petruccelli SDSA gives a peak and insider info…

And Paramount Pictures gives us a synopsis:

From the comedic mind of Tina Fey comes a new twist on the modern classic, MEAN GIRLS. New student Cady Heron [Angourie Rice] is welcomed into the top of the social food chain by the elite group of popular girls “The Plastics,” ruled by the conniving queen bee Regina George [Reneé Rapp]. However, when Cady makes the major misstep of falling for Regina’s ex-boyfriend Aaron Samuels [Christopher Briney], she finds herself in Regina’s crosshairs. As Cady sets to take down the group’s apex predator with the help of her outcast friends Janis [Auli’l Cravalho] and Damian [Jaquel Spivey], she must learn how to stay true to herself while navigating the most cutthroat jungle of all: high school. –Paramount Pictures

Regina’s house. Bebe Wood as Gretchen Wieners, Reneé Rapp as queen bee Regina George, Avantika as Karen Shetty. Image courtesy Paramount Pictures.

From Set Decorator Jessica Petruccelli SDSA…

“Working on MEAN GIRLS was a fun and tight-knit experience. We filmed in a defunct high school in Middletown, New Jersey. This is also where our production offices were, and on one occasion, we found ourselves having to clear half of our set dec office on the spot to let actor Auli’l Cravalho, as Janis, run through one entrance and out another to make it back in time for their choreography down a dressed hallway! Most of the musical numbers were filmed and choreographed like music videos, which certainly kept us on our toes because there were a lot of single-take Steadicam shots with dancers abound. This meant size and shape of set dressing had to be always kept in mind.”

“This 2024 version of MEAN GIRLS not only had the challenge of taking song and dance elements from the Broadway musical, but it also considered the cult following from the original 2004 MEAN GIRLS film. The directors chose to incorporate musical numbers in a more naturalistic way to transition between these two worlds more seamlessly. From a set decoration perspective, we aimed to create real-feeling spaces that became heightened through lighting, special effects and camera techniques.”

Regina’s bedroom. Inset: Reneé Rapp as Regina George. Images courtesy Paramount Pictures.

Regina’s Bedroom…

“Production Designer Kelly McGehee, and I wanted to have a few nods to the original MEAN GIRLS when thinking about layout and color of Regina George’s bedroom. You can’t have MEAN GIRLS without pink! But we didn’t want to feel tied to the way they did it in the original. We needed to create an iconic look befitting of Regina’s personality with an aesthetic that felt more current. We looked to influencers, teen room tours on Tik Tok, and even the Kardashians when dreaming up Regina’s bedroom. We landed on a more minimal space with bold accent colors, furniture with cool unique forms and of course shiny acrylic details in honor of The Plastics. The headboard was made by one of our favorite local vendors, Corona upholstery, the fabric is a bubblegum color raw silk from Christopher Hyland.”

“The color palette is a mix of pale and medium pink…so the actors’ costumes would pop…with accents of neon pink and undertones of iridescent plastic: teal, lavender and a golden or fluorescent yellow. We prioritized hard edges and defined silhouettes in furniture and lighting choices. When using upholstery, we created strong shapes using fabric with a sheen, so the outlines would look glossy, like plastic. Nothing mushy and blended in Regina’s world. We used some unique lighting from Entler Studios, since we felt Regina would have some elevated items you wouldn’t see in every teen’s room.”

Karen’s bedroom. Inset: Avantika as Karen Shetty. Images courtesy Paramount Pictures.

Karen’s Room…

“In truth, I wish we saw a bit more of this room, our shopper/buyer Ashley Bradshaw did such a great job helping fill out this maximalist teen girl room with many cute, fun bubbly things for Karen. A few little nods to specific stuffed animals in the original Karen’s room, but certainly more filled to the brim than the original.”

Revenge Party, Utopian Hallway. Images courtesy Paramount Pictures.

Revenge Party, Utopian Hallway…

“This setting was the brainchild of our designer Kelly McGehee. She and Art Director Grant Guilliams created concept art transforming a regular school hallway to a DIY explosion of color, rainbows, and flowers.”

“Kelly wanted the space filled with flowers of various sizes. We were able to source some 6-foot-tall paper flowers from a maker in Ukraine. We also created a mélange of bright fake flowers to line the lockers which our set dressing crew assembled over 100 feet of like pros, and we reached out to florist Flowerculttt to create some dreamy arrangements Kelly wanted spilling out of lockers.”

“This space was very narrow as it is, and the dance sequence moved through the entire space, so we had overhead plans that dictated where the hanging clouds needed to go to not get in the way of high lifts for the dancers!”

Cady’s Bedroom…

“Cady’s room had to speak for itself to show Aaron a glimpse of who she was before coming to North Shore High and becoming popular.”

Cady’s bedroom. Inset: Angourie Rice as Cady Heron. Images courtesy Paramount Pictures.
Cady’s bedroom. Image courtesy Paramount Pictures.

“We used a mix of colors and textiles as well as little collections from nature and some of her drawings from being out in the field with her mom to show softness and textures in contrast with The Plastics.”

Cady’s Home…

“We wanted Cady’s home to feel like a layered and nurturing environment with an eclectic assortment of furnishings, a space Ms. Heron would have curated for her and Cady in their new home.”

Cady’s house. Image courtesy Paramount Pictures.
Cady’s house, her mother’s office. Image courtesy Paramount Pictures.

“We worked with an African antiques collector who had pieces specific to Kenya that we added to Ms. Heron’s office space. A few things she would keep from her years working in Kenya. We were also able to reach out to a few Kenyan artists for paintings we used in their dining room.”

Kenyan Tent…

“This set was quite a project, but who doesn’t love a challenge! Directors Art and Sam had a very specific way in which they wanted to create a single Steadicam shot that took viewers through Janis’s garage out into the plains of Kenya, through the tent where Cady and her mom live and out the back ending at the front of North Shore High!”

Kenyan tent. Cady and her mother lived there for an extended period. [Note the stuffed leopard on her bed. He appears in one of her bedroom photos above – sweet set detail.] Images courtesy Paramount Pictures.

“We contracted with a tent manufacturer to create one to our specifications for filming, including skylights for our DP and lighting team. Our Leadman, Craig Capitelli, had to even do some additional augmentation to the framework to allow for the height of the camera rig to move through this tight space.”

Janis’s Garage…

“This is Janis and Damian’s hang out, and was so fun to create. It was in large part undertaken by Assistant Set Decorator Charlene Wang de Chen SDSA. She reached out to local artists and students to create much of the artwork seen on the walls of the garage.”

Janis’s garage, an artistic haven. Image courtesy Paramount Pictures.

“Janis is an artist and beholden to no one else. This space is filled to the brim with materials for creating her art, found objects and funky furniture. It’s really meant to evoke a teen’s sacred space where they can essentially collage every wall with photos, drawings and inside jokes.”

Janis’s garage. Inset: Auli’I Cravalho as Janis. Image courtesy Paramount Pictures.

“Janis’s Garage is also a bookend to the whole movie as we see Janis and Damian start and end our story here. This meant the construction team had to build a mobile version of the set that we took out to the location where we filmed our Kenya exterior as well as to the North Shore Spring Fling Gymnasium! So, we dressed this set several times and in several locations, it was a true collaboration!”

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Interior Designers Institute was founded in 1984 and is one of the few Interior Design Schools in California offering an Avocational Certificate Course, Associate of Arts Degree in Interior Design, Bachelor of Arts Degree in Interior Design, and Master of Interior Architecture Degree and is nationally accredited and also accredited by CIDA, Council for Interior Design Accreditation.

Upcycling and Eco-Art: Fusing Creativity with Sustainability

In an age where environmental consciousness meets artistic expression, the world of upcycling and eco-art is emerging as a powerful force for positive change. Join me as we explore the fascinating intersection of creativity and sustainability in “Upcycling and Eco-Art: Turning Recyclables into Artistic Masterpieces.”

The Art of Transformation

Upcycling is more than a creative endeavor—it’s a revolutionary way of reimagining discarded materials. Artists and makers breathe new life into items that were destined for landfills, infusing them with imagination, purpose, and renewed beauty. These artistic transformations not only captivate our senses but also challenge us to rethink our relationship with waste.

Eco-Art: Beyond Aesthetics

Eco-art takes creativity a step further by weaving in environmental narratives. Each piece carries a message about our impact on the planet, sparking conversations about conservation, climate change, and our collective responsibility. Through eco-art, artists channel their creativity to draw attention to urgent issues, inviting viewers to reflect and take action.

The Role of Upcycling in Eco-Art

At the heart of eco-art lies the practice of upcycling. By embracing upcycling techniques, artists can merge their artistic visions with sustainable values. This process not only transforms waste into artistic masterpieces but also serves as a medium to amplify environmental awareness, resonating with audiences on a profound level.

From Trash to Treasure: Examples of Upcycled Art

Imagine discarded bicycle parts reborn as captivating sculptures, bottle caps transformed into intricate jewellery, or reclaimed wood fashioned into functional furniture. These examples of up cycled art highlight the boundless potential of creativity when intertwined with sustainability. They inspire us to see value where others might only see waste.

Engaging Communities Through Collaborative Projects

Beyond individual works, collaborative eco-art installations have the power to engage entire communities. By bringing people together to create large-scale art from recycled materials, these projects foster unity, creativity, and a shared commitment to sustainability. They serve as tangible reminders that our actions—both small and large—can shape a better future.

Embrace Upcycling and Support Eco-Art Initiatives

As individuals, we can embrace upcycling by exploring DIY projects that turn everyday items into artistic treasures. Supporting eco-art initiatives and local artists not only encourages creative expression but also fuels the momentum for environmental advocacy. By sharing the stories of up cycled art and its impact, we can inspire others to adopt sustainable practices and artistic ingenuity.

Closing Thoughts

“Upcycling and Eco-Art: Turning Recyclables into Artistic Masterpieces” is a journey that invites us to see the potential in what others might discard. It’s a celebration of creativity that reverberates with a profound commitment to our planet. Let’s continue to champion the fusion of creativity and sustainability, transforming our world, one masterpiece at a time.

by  Kamalakar Dasari

Stunning 3D-Printing Coral-Inspired Façade at Tiffany & Co. using recycled material to create a sustainable masterpiece.

A 3D-Printed façade Inspired by Coral for Tiffany & Co. Using recycled ocean plastic, including fish nets. Drawing inspiration from Singapore’s coral reefs and local environment, designers emulate organic, cell-like patterns on the store’s frontage. This innovative screen site before a gradient-tinted glass, transitioning from Tiffany’s iconic blue to a deep ocean blue, reflecting Singapore’s coastal beauty.

Images from Singapore’s Changi Airport: Designed by @mvrdv and crafted by @aectual


Interior Designers Institute was founded in 1984 and is one of the few Interior Design Schools in California offering an Avocational Certificate Course, Associate of Arts Degree in Interior Design, Bachelor of Arts Degree in Interior Design, and Master of Interior Architecture Degree and is nationally accredited and also accredited by CIDA, Council for Interior Design Accreditation.

The Designers Have Spoken: These Are the Top 10 Kitchen Trends of 2024


If the all-white kitchen you loved in 2012—or the Tuscan-inspired one you dreamed of in 2002—is making you want to tear out your cabinets, you’re not alone: Roughly 42 percent of people decided to renovate their kitchens in 2023, simply because they couldn’t stand their outdated style. It was the top reason cited for a remodel, according to Houzz’s 2023 U.S. Kitchen Trends Study, which polled 2,380 people on their renos—and design decisions. So, what trends have prevailed? And which looks are designers starting to see everywhere? Expect to see some big changes in color and texture, islands and appliances.

According to a 2024 report by The National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA), more than 600 industry experts agreed that clients are prioritizing “sociable, welcoming kitchens that encourage healthy habits with simple clean designs that connect to the outdoors.” To that end, you can expect to see some of big changes in color—green is predicted to be the most popular color choice for cabinets, walls and backsplashes—and nearly 60 percent of respondents said a dedicated beverage area within the kitchen will be in demand. So below, we did a deep dive to uncover the top kitchen trends of 2024, and (spoiler!) this year marks the return of minimalist lines and maximalist colors.

    1. Fluted Wood

    While we saw wooden cabinets—particularly white oak and walnut styles—take over in 2023, the look is being elevated this year with another exploding trend: fluted details. (ICYMI, flutes are those ribbed, textured lines that create an accordion-like effect through rows of vertically placed grooves—and we’re seeing them take over cabinets, backsplashes and islands in natural wood finishes.) Nearly one-fourth of designers agreed that fluted finishes would be big in the coming year, particularly with an emphasis on natural, high-texture wood. “As designs lean toward bringing the outside in, textures will also mimic nature, with more reeded styles for cabinetry,” the report mentions. “We’ve seen a very noticeable transition from white kitchens to white oak cabinetry. Pale white oak is the most popular, but darker tones are starting to crop up, and walnut has always been popular,” designer Sarah Robertson of Studio Dearborn says. “We are working to convince our clients to avoid white oak, which is a less sustainable option than other woods such as birch and alder, which are faster-growing trees.” Designer Jeanne Chung of Cozy·Stylish·Chic also speaks to this, adding: “Natural wood is a must in the kitchen to give warmth. Our clientele no longer wants a sterile kitchen—they want a kitchen with life that also feels lived in. White oak and walnut have been at the top of the list in terms of trending wood species, and we’re also starting to use alder, as it stains nicely, has a nice grain pattern, and it does well in both modern and traditional settings. It has a neutral tone and doesn’t feel as heavy and dated like some of the other wood species out there.”

    2. Dedicated Beverage Areas

    The most surprising trend to emerge from the report? Nearly 60 percent of respondents said a dedicated beverage area within the kitchen will be in demand. More specifically, 53 percent said clients are looking to incorporate a coffee center into the kitchen while 56 percent mentioned dedicated working areas for small appliances. “Beverage centers now include coffee/tea service, water dispensers, under-counter refrigeration and frozen goods storage for smoothies, shakes, and acai bowls, which have become a big part of what people commonly consume,” Elizabeth Valentina, CEO of Nar Design Group explains. Chung also mentions: “Our clients usually ask for a countertop espresso machine [if they don’t have the resources for] a built-in wall coffee unit [or] under-counter beverage unit. If there is room, there may be an additional column or glass front refrigerator to the side of the countertop area to store wine and additional beverages. The beverage/breakfast center is usually positioned away from the main prep area and in closer proximity to the breakfast table or seating area. Clients have asked to have a drawer or bin of grab-and-go snacks nearby, too.”

    3. ‘Wrap-Around’ Islands

    The island is the heart of the kitchen—and it makes sense that a whopping 78 percent of designers said this would be their number one priority in terms of build for 2024. “I have seen interesting developments in island design trending away from ‘all in a row’ island seating and towards ‘wrap-around’ seating, which has always been a favorite layout of mine,” says Robertson. In fact, about half of designers surveyed said clients are opening their floor plans to feature eat-in kitchens with a maximized island rather than closed-off, formal dining rooms. While 57 percent of respondents prefer an eat-in kitchen, about 20 percent identified the use of traditional stand-alone kitchen tables as an outgoing trend—making room for a multifunction island. “The island is a focal point and an opportunity to create a work of art by using a unique piece of stone, contrasting colors, or materials. It’s also equally important to think about designing the island to be multi-functional. I see it evolving into different shapes with the use of unique and textural cabinetry, like a fine furniture piece for your kitchen,” designer Julee Ireland adds.

    4. Green Finishes

    It may or may not come as a shock that, when asked about color trends for the kitchen, designers across the board cited green as their top answer. According to Ireland, “The color green is still going strong in design in general, from walls to cabinets to tile. I have traveled to Spain, Portugal, and Italy to the design and tile shows this year, and it’s shown in every collection as part of the color palette, which tells me it’s here to stay for a while. I personally love green in all shades for its ability to connect you with nature—from the deep saturated tones found in the rainforest to the soft, muted shades of green found by the sea. It’s a bolder choice, and you really have to have a client who is not afraid of color to make it work.” To that end, Vicky Serany, co-founder of Southern Studio adds: “The earthy comfort of green has been embraced by our clients recently. We have blended green cabinetry with natural wood and even creamy whites. For those clients who are a bit cautious of committing to green cabinetry, we’ve used a rich green backsplash with neutral painted cabinets with beautiful results.”

    5. Layered Lighting

    We’ve heard time and time again that layered interiors—or using multiple textures instead of single statement patterns—is the way to go. This school of thought seems to be making its way into lighting, where 85 percent of designers agreed ambient lighting in kitchens should be widely used to create different moods. What’s more, 80 percent said kitchens have become spaces for showcasing decorative, statement lighting: “The kitchen is the best room in the house to show multiple layers of lighting,” Chung explains. “We incorporate task lighting above work areas such as the island and sink area. Then we also add LED strip lighting to supplement the countertops around the perimeter of the room. Toe kick lighting, under-counter and in-cabinet lighting set the mood with warm, dimmable, ambient lighting. We love a tunable white where we can specify the color temperature. We strategically place smaller, targeted wall washers to illuminate the cabinetry, appliances, or even the art on the wall. The last layer is the accent lighting, which may include a picture light, decorative sconces, or even the light on the range knobs—the cool white light adds just a nice accent to call attention to the workhorse in the room.” Valentina also adds, “By turning off all the utilitarian aspects of overhead lighting, leaving just a gentle glow from chandeliers, toe kicks, art lights, or floating shelf lighting, we create the desired ambiance for the multitude of circumstances associated with modern living.”

    6. Induction Cooktops

    We hate to be the bearer of bad news but emissions from gas stove tops have been connected to an increased risk for childhood asthma—among other health concerns—per a pediatrician we consulted. Hence why it makes sense that 63 percent of designers said induction cooktops would be replacing gas ranges when asked which cooking appliances will be popular in kitchens over the next three years. This presumably has something to do with the fact that gas stovetops are being banned by multiple states for new construction builds. In 2019, Berkeley became the first CA city to ban natural gas hookups in new buildings. Since then, other hotspots, including the *entire state* of New York have followed suit, banning natural gas and fossil fuels in most new buildings. And of course, this also has to do with the impact fossil fuel emissions have on a warming planet (see below for more sustainable trends).

    7. Bold Porcelain Backsplashes

    While 71 percent of designers said backsplashes are becoming statement pieces—mainly through bold colors and unique patterns—61 percent cited ceramic/porcelain tile as the material of choice for 2024. Georgie Smith and Hilary Gibbs, co-founders of tile company LIVDEN, are seeing this uptick in bold, vibrant backsplash tile, particularly designs that feature organic shapes, like their Honeysuckle and Pebbles styles. For a budget-friendly update, the duo recommends using this type of tile on a smaller scale, having it extend just behind the range, rather than wrapping your whole kitchen walls in it. “This creates an impactful focal point,” they explained.

    8. Built-In Organization

    The kitchen isn’t just the heart of the home; it’s the hub. And as such, your phone should never run out of juice mid-recipe. While 90 percent (!!) of designers said homeowners want cabinets with better storage like drawer dividers and partitions that can be configured to their needs, they also mentioned the need for more drawers, charging stations and hidden electrical outlets. “Storage is more important than ever with so many customized options. The priorities typically include large, deep drawers, pantry cabinets, spice storage, trash and recycling centers, and open shelving,” Serany explains. Chung adds: “When customizing storage, we really take into consideration everything that the client owns—small appliances, the size of their pots and pans, how many spices they have and where they want them stored in relation to where they are cooking. Everything must have a home, and we customize the size/shape of each door and drawer and the hardware and inserts that go within to make sure we achieve that.”

    9. Quiet Luxury Appliances

    Another unanticipated trend to emerge from the report? 65 percent of designers said ‘ultra-quiet’ appliances will be all the rage this year. “When specifying a dishwasher, ultra-quiet is important, as the open-concept kitchen is usually near the family room, where the sound may fight with the TV. Multi-function capabilities, especially when in conjunction with specialty kitchen appliances, are a plus,” Chung explains. And in terms of aesthetics, people are still loving the integrated cabinetry look with 70 percent of respondents saying clients want appliances that can be paneled to match the surrounding cabinet faces. “Designers want the kitchen to flow and not feel so utilitarian,” says Kim Armstrong of Kim Armstrong Interior Design. As a result, “many items are getting integrated into the cabinetry, and cabinets are feeling less standardized, and not as ‘off the shelf’ as before.” Essentially, integrated cabinetry covers up appliances, giving everything a more streamlined, uniform look.

    10. Sustainability

    Sustainability is a trend that’s not going anywhere any time soon, which makes sense: If you’re spending all that money upgrading your kitchen, you might as well use materials that help lower your bills (and help the environment) in the long-term, right? While storage for recycling and energy efficient products were of the utmost importance when it came to the NKBA report, people also want sustainable features—like energy-efficient appliances and windows, more water-efficient fixtures and LED bulbs—in their homes (92 percent of those surveyed in Houzz’s 2023 report used ‘em, in fact). Ireland says, “There is always the consideration of energy efficiency and the carbon footprint. For some of my clients, these elements matter and for others, they just want what they want. At the end of the day, it’s our job as designers to really understand our client’s lifestyle and desires so we can help navigate them towards decisions that achieve their dream home.”

    By Sydney Meister Additional reporting by Candace Davison Published Jan 26, 2024



    Interior Designers Institute was founded in 1984 and is one of the few Interior Design Schools in California offering an Avocational Certificate Course, Associate of Arts Degree in Interior Design, Bachelor of Arts Degree in Interior Design, and Master of Interior Architecture Degree and is nationally accredited and also accredited by CIDA, Council for Interior Design Accreditation.

    7 Exterior Trends That Will Boost Your Curb Appeal in 2024

    New year, new trends. While we often have interior design trends on the brain when January rolls around, what about the exterior of our homes? After all, everyone from the dog walker to the mailperson sees it (unlike that bathroom refresh you just completed), so why not give the outside of your home just as much personality as what’s inside? With that in mind, we spoke with Dzinly co-founder Jackie Mosher about the top exterior design trends in 2024, plus tips on how to go about the renovations.

    “My biggest advice is do your due diligence; be realistic about your expectations and what you like or what you really don’t like,” Mosher tells us. “Put together your inspirational images and really, really think about it. Sometimes people just need a little change. Try painting your trim or just changing your shutters or your front door color. See if that scratches the itch.”

    MEET THE EXPERT Jackie Mosher, co-founder of Dzinly, an exterior design and architecture company that provides online services and design renderings within days.


    1. Dark & Earth-Toned Paints Create Friendly, Inviting Spaces

    In 2020, there was a boom in demand for home offices as many people began working from home. Although there has been a gradual return to the workplace, Mosher highlights the continued desire for homes to act as warm, inviting, safe spaces that shield us from a tumultuous world. In 2023, she shared that dark and earth tones are in, as well as warm whites, and that rings true into 2024 as well. These tones are ideal for those who want to change up their exterior without straying too much from a classic look.

    “White is obviously timeless and a safe choice, but the creamy, warmer whites are being selected more recently versus the icy shade,” Mosher shares. Other hues to consider? Blues. Mosher reports that all her suppliers have picked some shade of blue as their color for 2024. “Grays with the blue undertones, deeper colors,” she notes. “The range is just wild. They’re blue-green, bright, almost tropical. It really does go from one extreme to another.”



      2. Monochrome Is in, High Contrast Is Out

      The past five years have seen an ode to high-contrast looks—picture white houses with black trim and the like—but now the scale is tipping in a monochrome direction. This is all, Mosher says, in a bid for originality.

      “We hear people say ‘I don’t want to look like the neighbors. I don’t want to look like every house on the block,’” she tells us.

      Since high-contrast paint combinations are so bold, they really stand out. And the more ubiquitous they’ve become, the more they start to feel…cookie cutter. As a result, the pendulum is swinging in the other direction. Monochrome, according to Mosher, is an easy way to achieve a chic and sophisticated design without feeling aggressive. Last year, the HGTV dream house was monochromatic, and she expects that the trend will continue in 2024.

      Expect to see the monochrome look really shine when it comes to people’s entryways: “I feel like in the past year or two, people were really excited about a massive pop in the color [of the front door],” Mosher says. “Now, I feel like they want it flowing with the same color as the trim.”


      3. Wood, Metal, Stone, Oh My: Mix Up Those Textures

      No one said your home exterior had to be all brick, all stone or all wood. Mixing up materials lends visual interest, especially when you incorporate something as an accent piece. For example, Mosher has noticed that stained wood has become a popular choice, finding its way into header beams on a porch, windowsill details, pediments, gables and wood plank siding, just to name a few.

      “[Other] great options for the textured materials [are] stone, siding and board and batten. Metal roofs and metal awnings (the cheaper version of the metal roofs) are becoming super popular as well,” she adds.

      When it comes to using these materials in your home exterior, Mosher recommends using gables or bump-outs, which will create a different design plane. A more budget-friendly option is to use the same cladding material (whether that’s stone, wood or brick, etc.) across the exterior but to change the color to one in the same complementary family.

      “You can pull the darkest or the lightest [color] from the stone or brick, and you would use that color for the gable or the bump out,” she explains. Of all these details, Mosher says that wood accents are the most popular. That includes eave brackets, window accent brackets, porch headers.


      4. Trimless, Geometric Windows Are on the Rise

      Paint, roofing, siding…and yet there are still more ways to customize your home exterior, namely by getting creative with your doors and windows. Mosher tells us that many are opting for no trim on their windows, which yields an incredibly clean look. And, yes, this is even happening on “traditional” homes like Colonials.

      “People are throwing in larger-sized windows where typically they were built much smaller,” she says. “[This creates a] larger, sleeker, cleaner look.” Additionally, geometric shapes are all the rage: From ovals and octagons to the sought-after half-moon, homeowners are saying goodbye to the square and rectangle.

      As always, any sort of work you do on your home can be a big decision, and as Mosher advises, it’s best not to rush into things. Don’t be afraid to make inspiration boards, grab all the paint swatches, and go out to see the materials for yourself.


      5. Bigger Is Better

      Pinterest predicts that 2024 will be the year to “make it big.” While the trend focused on beauty and jewelry, it extends to home design, too. In addition to ginormous windows, Mosher says that even the details are getting bigger, as shown above in the gable and corbels. “People want almost oversized wood headers, corbels and eave brackets. The lighting, [which is often seen as the jewelry of the home], is also something that is very trendy to see oversized.”


      6. Outdoor Living Spaces

      Outdoor living spaces remain a stronghold, even post-pandemic. “[Even people with much smaller homes want] patios, outdoor fireplaces, ovens and entertainment areas,” Mosher says. “[They want] delegated areas for this. [They’re asking], ‘How can we make this fit? How can we do this on a budget?’ It’s important to them; it’s in the criteria [of their home design].”


      7. Smart Home Technology

      Sure, you use your Roomba and Alexa basically runs your house. But people are also turning to smart home technology for the outdoors. “I think that’s another one where people are definitely getting used to this is the new normal,” Mosher says. That includes lighting, doorbells, security, sprinklers and even locks.

      Marissa Wu

      Associate SEO Editor

      I’ve covered the lifestyle space for the last three years after majoring in journalism (and minoring in French) at Boston University. Talk to me about all things sustainable &…

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      Interior Designers Institute was founded in 1984 and is one of the few Interior Design Schools in California offering an Avocational Certificate Course, Associate of Arts Degree in Interior Design, Bachelor of Arts Degree in Interior Design, and Master of Interior Architecture Degree and is nationally accredited and also accredited by CIDA, Council for Interior Design Accreditation.

      Introducing the IDI Student Council

      President, Alicia Smith.

      As the current Student Council President, I am enthusiastic to have the privilege of advocating for the student body.

      My top priority is cultivating a supportive school environment that prepares students for the real world through educational events focused on professional development. When not at school, I work as a Junior Designer at a small Interior Design firm in Brea. Our work involves small projects to complete new builds and operate a wallpaper store outside our office. It’s fun to see what I learn in class reflected in my work at the office the next day! Outside of interior design, my hobbies include coffee addiction, cooking, Warriors basketball, and planning a trip to Europe and Asia after graduation.

      Vice President, Duc Nguyen.

      Before beginning his interior design studies at IDI, Duc set his sights on entrepreneurial ventures, hoping to start his own business after earning a Bachelor’s in Business from CSUF in 2014. Upon enrolling at IDI, he recognized the need for a more vibrant student community and joined the student council. His goal was to assist in organizing events that would build a tighter-knit community and inclusivity among all students, regardless of their background or gender.

      With an innate desire to make a difference, Duc’s professional career started when he enlisted in the U.S. Army in 2015. He served as a 68W Combat Medic at Fort Bliss in El Paso, TX, along with an overseas deployment to Kuwait and Syria in 2017.

      Following a 4-year active duty career, he swapped his Army patrol cap for a Chef’s toque, graduating with honors from ICE Culinary School in Los Angeles in 2021. Duc wrapped up his culinary externship at ICE, working at David Chang’s restaurant Majordōmo in LA, before moving on to the next chapter in his career.

      Now, Duc is fully dedicated to his career in commercial interior design, gaining valuable skills as he works towards his dream of establishing his design firm. Outside of school you can find him chillin’ with his dog, trying out new food spots, or at the movies!

      Secretary, Ashley Coffey.

      Ashley is an award-winning home stager and interior designer who formerly worked as an entertainment publicist before pursuing her second degree in interior architecture at Interior Designers Institute. This year, she was recognized as one of the top 100 most influential stagers by the Real Estate Staging Association (RESA). She also was named Student of the Year by the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) Orange County chapter. Her professional affiliations include RESA, ASID, IIDA (International Interior Design Association), and USGBC (United States Green Building Council). As the current Student Rep to the Board for ASID OC, she aims to connect interior design students in Orange County with each other and with design professionals. She hopes that in her role as secretary on the student council at Interior Designers Institute, she can help foster a stronger sense of community. Ashley is looking forward to helping the students however she can. She would love to see more on- and off-campus events occur during her term.

      Treasurer, Bill Quinnan.

      After years of balancing his responsibilities as a stay-at-home father of four with his career in freelance writing, Bill decided to explore interior design in 2021, entering IDI’s certificate program that fall. Bill is nearing completion of his associate’s degree in interior design and hopes to continue his bachelor’s degree at IDI. He also holds a bachelor’s degree in Communication from the University of California, San Diego.

      As treasurer, Bill’s goal is to keep the financial situation of IDI’s student council current, accurate, and transparent.

      Career wise, he is particularly interested in the commercial sector but is open to all possibilities that will utilize his skills and experience, as well as draw on his passions.

      Community Outreach Director, Breegan Cummings.

      As a dedicated student council member, Breegan’s biggest goal is to support her fellow students and encourage every student’s big or small dreams.

      Her entrepreneurial spirit and love for residential design were nurtured from a young age. She has spent years designing, painting, and building various art pieces, turning her passions into tangible creations. She has recently started a business selling the art she creates, further refining her entrepreneurial skills and adding to her diverse portfolio.

      These experiences have shaped her desire to open a high-end residential design firm and design furniture for large-scale production after graduation.

      Breegan uses her leadership skills and creativity to advocate for her fellow students and prioritize our emerging designers to build their resumes creatively. She will make a lasting impact on the interior design industry in Southern California. She spends her free time working in furniture sales, building furniture, playing the violin, sewing, reading, and painting.


      Interior Designers Institute was founded in 1984 and is one of the few Interior Design Schools in California offering an Avocational Certificate Course, Associate of Arts Degree in Interior Design, Bachelor of Arts Degree in Interior Design, and Master of Interior Architecture Degree and is nationally accredited and also accredited by CIDA, Council for Interior Design Accreditation.

      Studio N highlights textured materials with lighting at Dubai spa

      Dubai-based Studio N has created a lighting scheme to emphasise the natural materials used in the Sensasia Stories Spa designed by interiors studio Roar in the Kempinski Hotel Mall in the UAE.

      As the spa has no natural light, Studio N focussed on highlighting the variety of materials used in the space, which includes grey slate, stone, wood and hessian wallpaper.

      “We were very conscious of how we illuminated each of the different surfaces and how light could help emphasise the natural characteristics of materials”, the studio told Dezeen.

      The central space features illuminated arches

      Overall the studio aimed to meet spa lighting guidelines while maintaining a calm and peaceful atmosphere in the space.

      As the Sensasia Stories Spa is located in a busy mall, the lighting designers wanted the entrance space and reception area to act as a calm area of transition from retail to spa environment.

      Concealed low-power and high-lumen LED lights were used to create a soothing environment, with under-counter lighting used for soft, ambient light in the the reception.

      The central space features illuminated arches

      The 270-square-metre spa contains eight treatment rooms, along with an ice fountain, herb saunas, steam rooms, and pool, that are arranged around a central courtyard.

      In this central space interiors studio Roar and Studio N created a large arched structure that contains illuminated arches. “We used linear grazers to pick out the texture of stone walls,” said Studio N.

      Concealed low-power lights are used in treatment rooms

      Strip lights were integrated into the pool’s stairs and, in other areas, smaller lights and decorative light fixtures were used to create illuminated accent walls.

      A recessed gobo projector was used to replicate the movement of water, which the studio said was “a subtle reference to the natural world”.

      The studio used recessed wide-beam pinhole downlights to provide general lighting to the space in a minimal style.

      The lighting of each area of the spa can be controlled via a DALI lighting control system which allows lighting to be changed between lighting scenes. Treatment rooms can be changed between ‘mood lighting’, ‘treatment’ and ‘cleaning scenes’.

      Studio N used LED lights throughout the spa

      Studio N is shortlisted in the architectural lighting design category at the Dezeen awards 2022 alongside Liftshutz Davidson Sandiland and Leo Villareal’s Illuminated River installation and a theatre venue clad in luminous tiles in China, by Brandston Partnership.

      The photography is by The Oculis Project.


      Interior Designers Institute was founded in 1984 and is one of the few Interior Design Schools in California offering an Avocational Certificate Course, Associate of Arts Degree in Interior Design, Bachelor of Arts Degree in Interior Design, and Master of Interior Architecture Degree and is nationally accredited and also accredited by CIDA, Council for Interior Design Accreditation.