A true lover of the arts, Laurel Bern has always strived to make the world a more beautiful place. She started her career as a dancer before returning to college to get her degree in interior design. The mother of two has worked as a designer in New York for more than 22 years.
Seeking inspiration from music, architecture, and ballet, the owner of Laurel Bern Interiors in Bronxville has a neo-traditional style and a smart motto of “just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.”
We chatted with the Westchester resident about the timeless trend she loves, the piece she’d save in a fire, and how she kept her home clean while raising two messy boys.
What is your favorite trend right now?
AI’m kind of obsessed with blue and white Chinoiserie porcelain. It goes with absolutely everything and elevates any space it graces.
What is the best tip you can give for sprucing up a home for spring?
I would suggest getting a professional consult from a designer whose work you love. It’s so difficult to be objective about one’s own home. After a while, you just don’t see things any longer.
As a mother and designer, what is your favorite tip for keeping homes with children stylish and organized?
I raised two rambunctious, messy, grimy little boys—and I had white furniture in the living room. I trained them to wash their hands, and we took our shoes off in the house.
I find that a lot of people, myself included, tend to accumulate way too much. The trick is to pare down. Plenty of storage is also an important element. Also, there are so many terrific fabrics and floor coverings that are about as ‘bulletproof’ as you can get.
What is your favorite paint color?
One of my favorites is a yellow-green, like Benjamin Moore Rainforest Dew 2146-50. It’s soft but warm, and looks wonderful with every single color. It’s like the very first sign of spring when the trees begin to bud.
What is the best way to transform a space for little money but maximum impact?
Paint. And I mean, paint it all. Did you know that you can even paint upholstery?
What are some of the more common interior decorating mistakes you see?
Buying furniture that doesn’t fit in the room or is the wrong size. Also, selecting a color that’s too pale because of a fear of commitment.
What is the best way to make a room look bigger?
Paint it a deep, rich color. Light colors make the walls come toward you, and dark colors make them recede. Paint the ceiling a deeper shade and it’ll look higher.
Any tips for spotting a good piece at a flea market?
You can pick up some fabulous vintage upholstery. Look for pleasing lines. An upholsterer and new fabric can fix the rest. If you like it and can see it with a fresh coat of paint or refinished, go for it!