Victoria Hagan: Lessons in Design

With a career that’s spanned twenty years, it’s safe to say that interior designer Victoria Hagan has plenty of tips to share. Whether she’s working on a client’s home, business or her namesake line of home furnishings and furniture for Target, Hagan taps into her experiences and inspirations to make it all come together. In celebration of her new book that documents the interiors of her career, Victoria Hagan: Interior Portraits (Rizzoli, October 2010; $50), which was written by her sister Marianne Hagan, we asked the NYC-based designer to share with us some of the most valuable lessons she’s learned over the years.

Don’t follow trends. With two decades behind her, Hagan has seen many trends come and go and what she’s learned most is that simplicity never goes out of style. It’s no wonder that overdone window treatments and over-the-top rooms were two trends she’s glad are finally gone. Another trend she does not miss? Anything from the 80s!

Let the sun shine in. “Pay attention to a room’s sun exposure,” says Hagan. When planning the placement of your room, keep the sun’s position in mind. How the sun’s rays stream in will make a big difference to the feel of the room.

imageDon’t judge a book by its cover. Hagan believes the same holds true for furniture. “It needs to be comfortable,” she advises, “Comfort in everything is key.” That being said, she also warns that furniture looks smaller on a plan. Seeing and feeling what you choose for your home in person can help prevent regrets later on.

Never overlook the details. It’s especially wise to keep this mantra in mind when selecting fabrics. Hagan suggests looking at fabrics under different lights. The sheen and color can change depending on how the light reflects on it and you might even catch a snag or a misprint. Also, when it comes to working with fabric, “A quarter of an inch sometimes makes all the difference.” Don’t be afraid to hem those too-long curtains or hike up that dragging bedskirt to get the look you want!

Trust your instincts. Hagan follows the “client is always right” mantra and you should too! She believes that when decorating your own home, you should never be talked into anything or be tricked into buying or living with anything you may not want just because it is expensive.

Don’t take decorating too seriously. While she is certainly a fan of embracing new trends such as smart house technology and environmentally green design elements such as natural fibers, at the end of the day, Hagan firmly believes that even the best rules are meant to be broken. And if that means living with your favorite colors, even if they are not this year’s hottest hues, so be it!

lauren debellis

A former magazine editor, Lauren DeBellis has been writing and producing stories about home decorating and design for nearly ten years. She resides in East Northport with her husband.