IN GOOD COMPANY: NYC-BASED INTERIOR DESIGNER EMILY DEL BELLO

Emily Del Bello is a burgeoning New York City-based interior designer who has become widely recognized for her timeless yet eclectic eye for design. She launched her own business in 2017 after four years working for a high end residential designer and now has two full-time staff of her own. 

We had the pleasure of chatting over coffee on a beautiful fall morning in her new hometown, Darien, Connecticut, about all things design and having it all.

How did you enter the interior design industry?

I was born and raised in Indiana, attended Indiana University, then moved to Chicago after college where I worked for a design magazine. Getting into the design industry is honestly extremely tough. Everyone wants you to have experience but no one will give you the experience, so I started working for a design magazine to get into the industry.

Did you always know that you wanted to be an interior designer?

When I was younger, I would rearrange my room constantly. When I first went to college, I didn't know what I wanted to do. I was contemplating the path to become a dentist or psychologist and we needed to narrow down, so my mom had me take a test which helps determine what you really love. Interior design was my highest result so I thank my mom. She was trying to tell me something but obviously you don't listen to your parents. Once my test came back with interior design at a high level, I chose that route and loved it. It just clicked. I never felt like it was work, and I still today don't feel like it's work.

What was your transition from Chicago to New York?

I met my husband in Chicago when I was actually working at Trunk Club and he was in from New York. When I got off of the plane to New York eight months later, he proposed to me. My whole plan was that in moving to New York, I promised myself I would get into the design field. If I was going to pursue this big move, I would do what I love there. A girl I knew introduced me to another girl in Manhattan who was working at a design firm, and they needed someone who could do drawings and start from the beginning. That was with Michelle Gerson. I went there for the interview and I never left. Then, when I had my son, I wanted to spend more time with him and went off on my own. I started my firm and it just sort of snowballed.

How would you describe your style today?

My style is clean. I would say we're classic in a way, sort of transitional, not too trendy, not too traditional, right in the middle. We're very comfortable for families, basically. It's all about comfort for us, then we'll throw a little bit of trend in like a super cool pillow or table, but the big pieces are going to be more timeless. 

When you're putting a room together, what are your absolute essentials?

I love drapes. I'm obsessed with drapes. They're the earrings to your room. You've got this sick room going on, then you add the drapes and it just completes it and brings that comfort level. Also, accessories. That's where you can really have a lot of fun and the pieces can be moved around. If someone says you need to bring in a little bit of color or a little bit of funk, that's where you pull those pieces in and it makes the room more personable.

What do you love today, and what do you see as the next big trend?

It's all about texture right now -- the nudes, the tonal, the texture. I feel like we're bringing back the 70's and 80's. The shag, the sunken living rooms, communal spaces. Because of what COVID did, everyone is spending a lot of time at home. Living rooms are out the door in a sense and we're bringing in something fun. For adults after they put their kids down, have that really fun ping pong table in what would have been the "living room". Have your friends over in a small group, have cocktails and have something more interactive. Tonal but then that bright color, like a lavender. That's what we're really going to start seeing.

Are there other designers or eras that inspire you?

I really admire the work of longtime designers in the industry -- Melanie Morris, Monica Fried, Tamar Magel, Michelle Gerson.

Is there anything you'd like to share with aspiring designers and entrepreneurs? 

I grew up in a town with two stop lights. I feel like there were maybe 2,000 people in my town? Anything can happen. It's all about your drive. I met the right person, and I feel like I did good along the way and it has paid me back in so many ways. I'm pretty proud of what has become thus far, and I'm a mom. Moms need to have more empowerment. Just because you're a mom doesn't mean you need to forget about who you are and what drives you and makes you happy. It's totally OK to have a career, love what you do and also be a mom. It's totally doable to have both and it needs to be a little more accepted. 

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