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“Livable Luxe” Is Brigette Romanek’s Secret to Great Design—How She Works Her Magic

Words by Gabrielle Savoie
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Living room designed by Brigette Romanek featuring a Menu Candle Holder. Courtesy of Brigette Romanek.

Brigette Romanek believes that everywhere your eye lands in a room should be its own statement.

A sculptural chair, a dramatic daybed, an eye-catching credenza… Each item should be the star of the show. “Why can't every piece be really great?” she contemplates. The AD100 designer whose style captured the hearts of celebs from Beyoncé to Gwyneth Paltrow and Joe Jonas is known for an elegant eclecticism that’s at once show-stopping and carefully edited.

Behind the architectural shapes and dazzling fabrics that pepper a Brigette room is her most important principle of all: comfort. Feeling good in your environment is crucial for everyone,” she says. “There’s nothing like walking into your home, closing the door, and feeling like you can exhale.”

Brigette’s environments do more than just look good… They feel great, too. And that’s perhaps the secret to her thundering success. “It’s what I like to call ‘livable luxe’,” she adds. Her homes may look like galleries filled with precious works of art, but they’re designed for kids to lounge in and dogs to jump on the furniture… “Great design should be accessible to everyone because it shapes the way we live.”

Step into her wildly imaginative universe and learn how to pull it all together.

Introducing: Brigette Romanek's Showroom
Introducing: Brigette Romanek's Showroom

How I make a room feel cozy:

Textures, colors, lighting—and layering. That’s a big one. Those are the things that make a room feel cozy for me. Even when it comes to my clothing, I just want to layer and get as snuggled in as possible.

What anchors a room:

A rug or a sofa with a print is great. I often create boldness with chairs through the fabric. Those are the things that really anchor a room and create the moments.

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Patterns I gravitate to:

I love a good flannel, but I also love a good stripe. I'm not opposed to anything if it works, because good design is good design. I love abstract patterns. I love it all.

Colors I’m loving:

I'm having a real moment with olive green; warm, golden yellow; maroon; rust... Black is always a classic. I love browns and autumn colors mixed with pastels. Brown has always been one of those rich, warm, cozy colors I gravitate to—I love the way that it reflects light. Brown velvet or mohair is so yummy, delicious, and cozy. I also love muted colors, like a muted blue with some gray in it, because I love the longevity and subtlety of those tones. They pair well with lots of color combinations.

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How I make sure colors work together:

I put all of our samples of the different materials and fabrics in a palette or mood board together and I like to live with mine for a few days. And I keep looking at it, intentionally and unintentionally. I'll walk by and either go, ‘ooh, that sticks out’ or ‘this just makes me happy’.

I also love putting those fabrics and samples in the room that they're supposed to go in, hanging them on the wall, and looking at them for a few days. Maybe it’ll delay things a day or two, but you'll be so happy you did in the end, because you don't want to make mistakes.

Why vintage is so important:

I always throw vintage in my designs. I like for every room to have soul in it and I have found that this often comes through pieces that have been loved and enjoyed before. It makes the room feel not all so new. When older pieces have lasted that long, it can help land the space.

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A brand I love:

Verellen furniture is inspired by the shapes people are loving right now, but they've somehow turned them into classic pieces. I love taking in all of the important elements in a design but making something cool. I feel like they've done the same.

Why I love daybeds:

Being able to disrupt the typical living room layout is really memorable. If you have a sofa and a pair of chairs, people will often do more chairs on the opposite side as well, but a daybed throws the room off in a really great way. My clients sometimes hesitate, but it usually ends up being the piece that the husband sits on all the time, or that the kids like to hang out on. It becomes this really cool moment unto itself, almost like a destination. And if you can position it in front of a fireplace—what could be better?

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How I choose a sofa:

Thinking about the people who are going to be using the sofa is really important because it’s a big investment. You never want to just buy something based on whether it's pretty. It's the most-used item in the house, so it has to really function. I think about questions like: Is it going in a room where people host parties? Or is it a day-in-day-out piece? Does it need it to be in a performance fabric or does it just need to be pretty?

I also look at the lines in the room. What's great about The Expert is that people can upload everything: pictures, floor plans… You can really see the space and take everything into account. I like to take all of your ingredients and come up with a great meal.

My go-to finishing touches:

Accessories are important: pillows, blankets, art, sculptures—even little trinkets that my clients bring back from their travels. All of those items add an extra layer that makes a space feel personal. That’s the fun part.

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How I approach storage:

The functionality, size, and dimensions are really important. I've made this mistake before as a designer to buy something just based on it being pretty and not being able to actually fit anything in it. Do I want to amp the space up? Or I want something that's more subtle? Do I want legs or a solid base? Do I want it to feel heavy or light? Where is it going to be placed? Is it more about storage? Or is it more for the look of it? Does it need to be both? All of those things come into play and help me inform the storage solutions.

How I mix styles:

Someone might have a style that they love. I love every style, and I respect every style. If it's good, it's good. I love a good Spanish house, I love a good modern house, and I love a good traditional house. None of it is lost on me. I hope that my designs are never fully one note because I am so in love with different eras and styles.

My design motto:

Eclecticism is my design go-to—that's the way I design, period. Who knows what I'm gonna throw in a room—I just know it’ll look good. I want to make rooms enjoyable and fun with a little ‘wink wink’. Come home and feel good... That’s what’s important.

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