Amber Lewis has artistry in her DNA. She grew up in Malibu, California, watching and learning from her parents, who are both creators, and it helped form the foundation of her life in interior design. On this path that she says was made for her, she’s helping people decorate their own living spaces.
“My dad is a builder, so I was around construction my entire childhood, and my mom is a crafter, so I was constantly creating as a kid,” Lewis says. “I would beg to pick my room’s paint color and where my bed would be situated. Those decisions meant a lot to me as a kid, and they still do. Design is something that fuels my creativity. That’s when I am happiest.”
Today, Lewis lives in Calabasas with her family, not far from her hometown, and has stayed true to her design roots, too. She founded Amber Interiors Design Studio—a full-service interior design firm based in Los Angeles—opened a retail store with two physical locations and an online presence, and launched the blog All Sorts Of.
As a member of the Delta Design Trust, Lewis offers home design tips and advice for style enthusiasts and novices alike. Here, she shares her thoughts on finding design inspiration and reflecting it in the home.
Find your design style (hint: it’s what feels good to you).
Lewis’ design style is as uniquely well rounded as life on the West Coast, where she grew up and still calls home.
“My personal design style is so many things,” she says. “When I design, I’m all about mixing. I’m a mix of California cool, a little bit traditional, a tad modern, all the mood and bright at the same time.”
Listening to Lewis, you might get the impression that there is no right or wrong way to establish an interior design for your home. And in many ways, you’d be right. Ultimately, your space should move you.
“Personal design style is all about how something makes you feel. Pinpoint what makes you feel good and find a way to incorporate that into your home,” Lewis says.
“Think about things like, what are your favorite colors? Bring in those colors in the form of pillows or throws,” she adds. “Don’t do things just because the internet told you to. Do it because you love it. Do you!”
Look for inspiration where you live.
Lewis is “a California girl through and through,” so naturally she is inspired by beaches, mountains and lakes—all within an hour’s drive from home. It’s no surprise, then, that one of the defining characteristics of Lewis’ interior design is what she calls “California-inspired aesthetic.”
“It’s all about bringing the outdoors inside, in some way, shape or form,” Lewis says. “That can be through color, texture or material.”
Texture—the quality of a surface that gives it dimension—is one of Lewis’ calling cards. “I love textures that remind me of the outdoors, so anything with a natural or rustic feel,” she says.
Take the Chautauqua ottoman from Shoppe Amber Interiors, which Lewis says is the one piece in her home that best reflects her style. The upholstered seat just begs to be touched. “It’s made from a vintage rug with antique brass,” she says. “It’s a little bit of old with a little bit of new.”
Look for inspiration where you travel.
“I am constantly inspired by my surroundings, especially when I travel, and I always try to bring some part of that back home with me,” Lewis says. “It can be something as simple as a trinket, a textile or a piece of furniture. I love looking at something I picked up during my travels—it instantly takes me back to that moment.”
Sometimes, simple elements are all that are needed to transform a space, Lewis points out.
“Is there a piece of art or photograph that really speaks to you?” she says. “Invest in framing that photograph—and actually hang it up!”
Design your home so it works for the way you live.
“Home is where we spend most of our time,” Lewis says. “When I design, it’s all about making the home feel comfortable and easy to live in. I don’t like to tiptoe around. I am realistic when it comes to messes on the kitchen counters and floors.”
She designed her own kitchen with an open floor plan and strategic placement of appliances so she can cook dinner, work on her laptop at the island and watch her daughter play without having to leave the room.
“I’m a kitchen person, 100 percent,” Lewis says. “I love that the kitchen is a gathering place for my fam.”
Short of a design-from-scratch renovation, smaller moves can have a big impact on form and function. Recently, Lewis combined one of her favorite finishes, Matte Black, with VoiceIQ Technology in her office kitchen. VoiceIQ pairs with your connected home device, allowing you to command your faucet to turn on and off, warm the water, dispense a metered amount or fill custom containers, like your coffee pot, all with hands-free voice activation.
“Home has to be functional,” Lewis says. “And, in my opinion, beautiful, too!”
For more interior design insights from Amber Lewis and other members of the Delta Design Trust, visit DeltaDesignTrust.com.