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“Design is more than aesthetics,” explains Byron Risdon. “It’s about creating a feeling.” That’s something the designer always incorporates into his work, which embraces a broad range of styles, from period rooms to midcentury-modern spaces—all with a thoughtful eye toward practicality, too.
Just take an apartment he designed for a teacher in his hometown of Washington, D.C., for example: Created for teaching from home during the pandemic, the small-but-mighty space incorporates living, dining, and working areas within one modest footprint. And, despite being a rental, it’s full of texture and even custom pieces–many of which can be packed up and moved when the time comes.
This juxtaposition of no-nonsense practicality and bespoke design is something Risdon has carefully perfected over time. He got his start decorating friends’ homes in Atlanta for fun following grad school, and then got into the industry for real when he moved to New York and landed a job working for designer Gary Crain. Now he’s paving his own way in the nation’s capital, with projects there and beyond.
“My goal when designing a space is always to make my clients feel their home is a place of comfort and harmony,” says Risdon. With his thoughtful approach and talented eye, it alway is.
Get to Know Byron Risdon:
What project are you the proudest of and why?
A small DC apartment completed in summer 2020. The apartment is really tiny and while I’m no stranger to small spaces the client was downsizing and still wanted to be able to utilize the new smaller space in the same way as the the previous larger one. I had to tap into my experiences living in NYC apartments to give him everything he wanted and still make the space feel like home.
What sets your work apart?
I approach each project with a fresh perspective understanding each space and client are different and must be treated accordingly. And always decorate with no fear!
What or who was your first design crush?
Vern Yip from his Trading Spaces days.
Your current design crush?
Neal Becksteadt, I’m obsessed with his work
Where do you look for inspiration?
Everywhere. I truly believe there’s always more to learn and we’re all unique and talented in our own way. Why not take a lesson from someone else?
What would we be surprised to learn about you?
I’m really an introvert, I don’t like attention or talking about myself. This entire questionnaire has been very difficult!
For under $100—or even for free!—what decorating trick that has the most impact?
Lampshades. Ditch the plain white shade and trade it in for a color or patterned one. You don’t even have to replace the lamp.
What’s the first thing someone should do when they move into a new space?
Measure! Stop guessing things will fit and actually take your time and create a plan.
What’s overrated in decorating?
Styling…there’s this idea it has to be “magazine ready” but the key is to display things you love and appreciate seeing everyday.
What’s underrated in decorating?
Window treatments. I’m big on window treatments whether custom or retail. They add texture and a layer of softness and depth to a room.
What’s your favorite and why?
Thing to collect:
I have a tall glass vase filled with concert, movie, travel tickets. It’s an easy vase filler and a nice reminder of some favorite destinations and events over the years.
Like chips, you can’t have just one. I like to mix pieces from different styles that complient one another.
Lately I’ve been really into deep, moody reds
Artist or piece of art:
The works of William Artis, he had a remarkable way of truly capturing the beauty Black Americans
Local shopping destination:
Haute Fabrics, they have a huge selection
I’m a total auction junkie! I spend way too much time on Live Auctioneers.
Bali, Indonesia. I’ve never felt so at peace on vacation. It was difficult to leave.
Decor item you buy from Amazon:
Pillow inserts. They’re something I always need/use and who doesn’t love Prime shipping!
Follow House Beautiful on Instagram.
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