The concept of home may seem simple, but depending on who you ask, you’ll find that each of our individual experiences shape the definition. Take the creatives we spoke with here — every artist, designer, influencer and entrepreneur has a unique take on what home means, and how to curate one to reflect and honor not just their style, but also their culture.
For many on our list, decorating goes well beyond the latest trends. It’s all about creating a space of calmness and healing. For others, home serves as an outlet that sparks the imagination, while some see it as the ultimate haven for rest.
You’ll quickly learn that the beauty of home, particularly the beauty of the Black home, is ever-changing and always evolving, giving us endless inspiration.
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Christopher Griffin, Plantfluencer and Author of You Grow, Gurl
If you’re a plant connoisseur, you may have heard of Christopher, who also goes by the Instagram username, @plantkween. The Brooklyn-based creative’s apartment is filled with gorgeous greenery — a space they describe as being “calm water where I can float effortlessly in my magic, beauty and light.” Christopher doesn’t shy away from color. In fact, they love decorating with warm shades, bold textures, unique prints and fun shapes. Their overall belief: “Minimalist does not have to mean plain, dahling!”
“As a Black queer, non-binary individual, I am constantly reimagining my existence in this world, re-creating and re-shaping spaces to fit my needs, and challenging the white, heterosexist and gendered status quo this world tries to box our bodies into. It’s a beautiful feeling to just live without waves pushing and crashing into your existence. My home is my happy place that allows for moments of reflection, rejuvenation and relaxation, so that I can refill myself to be able to strut back into those waves when I walk out my front door.”
Tenisha Wilde, Founder of Ten Wilde
Tenisha Wilde curated her home to allow herself to dream big. In her “sacred space,” you’ll experience a bright and airy vibe, thanks to a mix of natural light, plants and candles.
“As a creative and entrepreneur, how I design my space is incredibly important to me as it sets the tone for my entire day and helps me get into the right mindset. I’ve traveled all over the world, along with being born and raised in California, so all of these places have become a part of me. My home is a sanctuary that reflects this, and a place where I draw inspiration from and bring to life in my jewelry designs. Two of my absolute favorite places to take inspiration from have been Tulum and Italy — for the nature aspects, interior design and beautiful architecture.”
Dorcas Magbadelo, Founder of Dorcas Creates
“Home to me is a safe space where I cultivate joy,” says Dorcas Magbadelo, a UK-based artist with a passion for creating illustrations that celebrate Black women. As a self-described eclectic maximalist, Dorcas’ home is a reflection of her personality and interests.
“I try to find joy in the small things day to day: drinking my favorite coffee in a mug made by a friend, dancing (badly!) in the kitchen with my flatmate while we cook dinner, a new leaf peeking out from a plant I’d accidentally neglected. I want people to feel cozy and serene in my space. I like to add color to my home in different forms — lots of plants, bright book covers, embroidered cushions, patterned cookware, literally everything!”
After moving to New York in 2008 to study at the Fashion Institute of Technology, James Bianca found that her design approach is the same as her fashion sense. She calls it “timeless eclectic.” Her love for refined and long-lasting pieces inspires her collection of vintage and handmade decor.
“My current apartment was a quarantine project, so I focused on making a space where myself and others would feel equal parts joy and peace. I curated color stories that are playful, yet soothing. I mixed in fabrics, like velvet, that are sumptuous and cozy. I always know that I’ve struck a great balance when people struggle to leave.
My greatest design influence growing up was Ralph Lauren. I was always drawn to his timeless style, which never felt old or outdated. It’s as if he was curating a person’s full life and that has always had a great impact on me.”
Jason Evege, Founder of Linoto
When asked to share his definition of home, Jason had three words: natural, authentic and comfortable. These are the same points that influenced him to create Linoto, which offers high-quality linen sheets.
“Most of my furniture, plants, vases and lamps are things I’ve had for many years and purchased inexpensively when they spoke to me at vintage shops and thrift stores. Owning fewer quality things from natural materials like stone, metal, linen, wool or wood enhances the quality of time spent at home. I was influenced by the interiors of Christian Lacroix and Renzo Mongiardino. I don’t like clutter so there is a more sparse feel.”
“Our homes reflect who we are — it’s like our signature,” says Tania. The New York City-based fashion blogger of Darling Tee, follows a minimalist approach in her home. The design phrase she lives by: less is definitely more!
“I find having lighter decor makes me feel brighter and upbeat, which I find especially helpful while living in a city that can be so gloomy 24/7. I tend to stick to neutral tones (white, black, beige and gold) and I crave a lovely home scent, whether it be candles, diffusers or Glade Plug Ins. There’s nothing more invigorating.”
Brooke Lang, Principal Designer and Owner of Brooke Lang Design
“My home is my safe harbor,” says Brooke. “It’s where I feel comfortable, relaxed and most like myself. A few years back, Brooke and her husband purchased a fixer-upper mid-century home in the Beverly neighborhood of Chicago. It was during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic that they started renovating the home. For Brooke, the experience is exciting, as they get “closer to completing their shared vision of a home that feels like their own.”
“My husband, Maverick, our Goldendoodle, and I enjoy entertaining, so we’ve knocked down some walls to create a more fluid, open-space concept that’s more inviting and conducive to having people over. To achieve our version of “livable luxury” in our home, we prioritized luxurious and functional drapery, statement lighting, masculine lines, mixed textures, and blending modern with vintage where we can. Lastly, I love weaving in pops of unexpected flair into every room, whether it’s coral pink dining chairs in bouclé fabric, a wall mirror in an irregular shape or a patterned marble floor tile in the entryway.”
Shelcy and Christy Joseph, Founders of NYC X Studio
According to Shelcy and Christy Joseph, two Haitian sisters with a passion for lifestyle and fashion, home is a place (or person!) that makes you feel at peace.
“Growing up, we were always drawn to the hand-carved pieces of furniture we’d see in our parents’ house and at street fairs in Haiti. It gave us an appreciation for labor and the wonders of hands. We’ve since translated that influence into a design aesthetic that blends earthy elements with the modern eccentric. This means sculpted wooden coffee tables, wabi-sabi accents, fuzzy bouclé seating and decor pieces in mostly brown, green, warm yellow, beige and orange shades. The idea is to feel both warm and inspired when you step into our individual homes.”
Mariah Thomas (she/her) is an assistant editor for Good Housekeeping, where she covers home and lifestyle content. Mariah has more than four years of editorial experience, having written for TLC, Apartment Therapy, Women’s Health and Avocado Magazine. She received her master’s degree in journalism at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism and published her first book, Heart and Soul: Poems of Thoughts and Emotions, in 2019. She’s also the founder of RTF Community a platform for creatives of color to connect, learn and showcase their work.