Amanda Nisbet doesn’t believe in rules when it comes to decorating. The interior designer’s fearless approach when it comes to color and mixing styles has made for spaces that are so vibrant and energetic, they practically glow. With a background in art, Nisbet has a discerning eye—but don’t mistake that for a shy one. Her latest consignment is a bold assortment of old and new, and we can’t wait to see how you make them yours.
Given your background, how did you discover your passion for/what drew you to interior design?
My parents enjoyed making their homes beautiful. My dad has a keen sense of proportion and architectural detail, and my mother has a great eye for color and ornament. Thus, my training was by osmosis. I grew up wanting to be an actress; however, by the time I made it to NYC, I was married and pregnant with my daughter. Needless to say, auditioning for the young ingenue while eight months pregnant proved to be fruitless. After receiving compliments from my friends about how I had decorated our first apartment, I decided to hang out my decorating shingle.
Who or what has inspired your work and style the most?
Absolutely my parents.
You’re known for upending design rules, are there any rules you do follow?
The only rule is to follow your first hunch and be true to the integrity of the project.
What is your design approach and/or philosophy?
My mother always says that if you absolutely love a piece, it will work. I agree. Buy what you love and it will be timeless. I do not like formulaic decorating. The project should reflect the homeowner’s personality and lifestyle.
Pineapples are a recurring theme in your spaces – why do you think you are drawn to them?
Pineapples have been a sign of hospitality for centuries. I believe spaces, homes, rooms should be welcoming and inviting, so having an actual pineapple is a fun nod to the symbolism.
The Sabina is from your lighting collection, available through The Urban Electric Company. What role does lighting play in your designs?
I am very interested in how the right fixture can transform a space beyond just the light it gives. Lighting is akin to the jewelry on an outfit. As with all factors in my design, I really enjoy juxtaposing different finishes, styles and scales of a light to play off a room’s design.
Your home seems to be a constantly evolving space – the bar cart used to reside in your living room – is this ever-changing furniture rotation a job perk, a job hazard or both?
Ha, yes, I rearrange furniture for fun on a constant basis. My home is my laboratory. As I mentioned earlier, if you buy something that you love, it should work in multiple decorative scenarios. I enjoy moving pieces around to see how they can change their impact, depending on in what context they are placed.
Your designs seem especially color driven – do you have a go-to color, or do you have more of an “anything goes” approach?
I really enjoy working with different and unusual color combinations. I was once told by an older decorator that the two colors I had put together “didn’t match or go together.” I’m not a matchy-match designer.
Statement seating seems to be a staple of your rooms – what do you look for in a chair?
I love an unusual chair with personality, but comfort is also a must.
How do you balance pretty with practical?
I have always believed that comfort and elegance cannot be mutually exclusive. I take great consideration into the construction and scale of my upholstered pieces, and don’t want any of the elements to feel too precious. Raising a family early in my career, I was very conscious in creating rooms that the whole family could use without making any of them feel too childish nor off limits. Teaching our children manners and respect for nice things doesn’t hurt, either.