Ask an interior designer

Melanie Winograd

Eric Berger, Associate Editor

Jewish Light Associate Editor Eric Berger spoke with four interior designers in the St. Louis Jewish community about their work and design trends ahead for 2020

Melanie Winograd | MW Interiors

Can you share a trend or two that you are seeing in interior design?

Neutral and earth tones: Say goodbye to the cool tones (i.e. gray on gray on gray) that have ruled for so many years. Neutral colors are whites with cool or warm undertones. Warm neutrals are making their way in, while cool neutrals are starting to fade into the background. Don’t underestimate the power of neutral decor either. It’ll make an excellent choice for your walls, but they are also great options for furniture including sofas and bedding. 

Layering old and new:  Take the design of your home to the next level by getting comfortable with mixing and matching old and new. Use your décor to tell the story of who you are by showcasing purchases from travel, old vintage chairs or interesting objects d’art and mix with modern pieces for a truly eclectic look.   

Bold monochromatics: Monochromatic does not have to be pale. Color can evoke monochromatic in a daring way that’s full of personality and elegance. Deep blues, greens and aubergine are on trend in 2020.

Use your fifth wall:  Just look up. Next time you’re browsing beautiful wallpaper designs, consider how one may look on the ceiling. Extend wallpaper from the walls to the ceiling, use a bold ceiling to contrast neutral walls, or mix and match a patterned ceiling with colorful walls.

Why should someone hire an interior designer?

St. Louis Ballet ad

When we need medical help, we go to a doctor. If we need legal advice, we ring our lawyer. Same holds true when we need a little (or a lot) of help with our biggest asset: our home. A design professional can help — whether you have no idea where or how to begin to decorate your home, or simply tying pieces together. They can save you time to execute your style (when you are too busy with life) and help you to avoid costly mistakes that will not only save money but can increase the value of your home.


Linda K. Kusmer

Why should someone hire an interior designer?

Professional interior designers keep the client from making mistakes that are costly, such as giving the client new ideas for their homes, proper space planning, the latest materials available, aware of the codes so there are no problems in the future and most importantly keeping the stress level down.  After 44 years of doing large projects I am now focusing on interior design consulting for DIY-ers. There are so many options for homeowners to purchase furnishings themselves,  but they still may need guidance.  Another benefit of having an interior design consultation is advice on updating a space without spending a lot of money. I believe in repurposing items and changing the feel of a space in ways not thought of by the homeowner.  


Can you share a trend or two that you are seeing?

One of the newer looks for kitchen backsplashes is using the solid surface material that is on the countertops and running it up on the backsplash for a seamless clean look that is beautiful and easy to maintain.


What is a trend that is on the way out?

The trend that I would like to see go away is white subway tile on backsplashes. It is over-used and not interesting. I never could understand why people would want to use tile that is in subways and subway bathrooms in their kitchens.



Erika Greenberg | EG Interiors

Can you share a trend or two that you are seeing?

Updating kitchens and bathrooms continue to be popular projects. More often than before, I now use a mix of materials, whether those be cabinetry, tile, countertops or hardware. It’s wonderful to mix light and dark woods within the kitchen or two different granite/quartz tops. Dramatic lighting creates a statement or jewelry, as I like to say. Natural woods are also making a comeback along with vinyl flooring which gives you the look of wood but is more durable. Including an island in the kitchen is still very on-trend. It can be a gathering spot for family and friends as well as an important space for serving guests.


Why should someone hire an interior designer?

Redecorating is a large undertaking, especially when it’s a kitchen or master bathroom. There are many moving parts. You need to coordinate many things at one time including contractors, vendors, deliveries, timing and most importantly, materials. This can be time consuming, stressful and challenging, especially if the territory is unfamiliar. 

When you hire (an interior designer) you hire someone with expertise, experience and resources beyond the big box stores. 


Lenore Pepper | Edwin Pepper & Associates

Can you share a trend or two that you are seeing in interior design?

Right now, we are seeing a resurgence of color. For most of the 2010s, the color palates were monochromatic with heavy use of gray. Now, we are seeing lots of color — especially jewel tones. Navy, olive, blush and mustard are all on-trend colors of today. We are also seeing a heavy influence from past design trends. Designers are taking inspiration from specific time periods and incorporating them into current designs. One example of this is the recent use of bright, patterned florals, reminiscent of the 80s. We are also seeing our different furniture manufacturers incorporating specific furniture styles, like mid-century modern and traditional, and weaving them into their more contemporary lines


What are some tips you would give people who are working to spruce up their room without spending a lot of money?

If you are looking to change up the design of a room in your house on a tight budget, the easiest thing to start with is lighting. You can change your bulbs to LED and it will make an immediate impact. LED bulbs give better light, last longer and, generally, show color in its truest form. You can also make a change by using lighting to highlight a treasured piece of art or a favorite piece of furniture. Another trick with lighting is to install dimmers. They are inexpensive, easy to install and provide a big impact when lighting a space. 

Beyond lighting, simply rearranging the furniture and decluttering can make a large impact. Changing the orientation of key pieces can really trigger a domino effect of inspiration without spending any money.