Interior Design 20 Years Later…

Principal Designer Troy Beasley ( has been practicing Interior Design since 1990. His designs have ranged from small spaces of 900 sq ft to huge common area and massive estate homes.

Interior design has evolved since 1990 and here are some of his takes on the state of design.

The biggest change in Interior Design is not design itself actually, it’s that people perception of the value of a real interior designer has increased enormously. It used to be that anyone who did interiors was considered a ‘decorator’, no matter how good their talents.

Quality matters more today in interior design. That is a change from even 5 years ago. People want homes planned piece by piece, as they should be. Custom actually is custom.

People have ‘teams’ now that work together for the best, coordinated result. We don’t work in isolation anymore.  Interior designers consult with the landscape architect, MEP, lighting people…we have weekly team meetings to make sure everything is on track. 20 years ago, that was rare.

Schooling has changed for designers too. Used to be that education was either nothing at all, to 2-year degrees to now 4-year degrees and master’s.

This turns out better talent.  Interior Design students now understand more architecture and building techniques, which in my mind, is indispensible.

For example, Beasley & Henley provides a complete package, not just furniture and paint colors. This is all done in house by our team of interior architects in concert with out interior designers. You have to have both on staff to do this well. 

Timing of design has also changed.  20 years ago, designers were called on at the end of a project.  But most builders and high-end clients know interior designers need to be involved from the very start.

Interior Design is still seen as a luxury item for homeowners, and in most cases, it is. The majority of people move into their homes and all the selections are done, the floor plan set  – all by the builders, so they never have an opportunity for a designer. In estates and large homes, there are so many decisions to make, that a designer is needed.

For commercial projects such as condo towers and clubhouses, an interior design is not optional, it is a must.

20 years ago one of the most important pieces of furniture in a house were the TV Armoires.  Now, they almost don’t exist because of flat screens.

Houses were smaller.  5000-8000sqft was big.  And honestly they still are, but 20,000sqft is not crazy huge anymore. Despite the economy, and design books about small houses, big houses are still important.  

Colors today are grays, blues, oranges, greens. All shades. 20 years ago we were coming out of the sea-foam-green-&-peach 1980’s and it was the start of full on neutrals.  Beige, cream, tan. Neutrals are still important, but they are more white-based than tan-based.

Under appreciated elements today are the same as they were 20 years ago! Artwork and plants. They are so important but are often looked at as an afterthought. They complete a look and are 100% needed.

Today’s 20-somethings want simplicity. Anything techno, clean looking.  It is a great look.  But in your 20’s you are still figuring out your style, so don’t invest too much at this age.

60-somethings are all about quality. They are reducing all their ‘stuff’ but keeping quality pieces are investing in new ones.  They are not usually out to impress.  They want comfort for themselves and their friends. They often entertain, so that is important too.

A hot topic in design?  It is business related… ROI – return on investments – from interiors. It is hard to quantify this and there is a lot of talk about how to do that. Gensler is on the forefront of figuring it out and we will all owe them a debt for it… but it is a no-brainer that good design of a space and appropriate specs will increase the value of a property and increase the comfort and productivity of the people who live or work in it.

That’s just good design.