Kelly Wearstler Style Defined

Get inspired by her stylish and modern interior design sense.

By Lisa Frederick

California designer Kelly Wearstler has become the doyenne of Hollywood Regency's resurgence. Chic and sultry, spirited and carefree, her style marries old-school glamour with modern edginess. She cites icons such as David Hicks and Dorothy Draper—both known for revolutionizing design with innovative color combinations, high drama, and artful clutter—among her influences.

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The Basics

Dramatic Contemporary Living Room
Guillaume Gentet

Wearstler's foray into interior design started with boutique hotels, and that larger-than-life, theatrical quality translates to her residential designs as well. Bold color and pattern, eye-catching finishes, and a healthy dose of whimsy combine for Wearstler's fearless yet elegant approach. In her view, more is more, and her rooms are layered with ample furniture, accessories, and objets d'art.

These designer rooms display Kelly Wearstler style:

Get the Look

Sputnik Chandelier
Jonathan Adler

Spice up your interiors with Wearstler's unique blend of flash and finesse. Here's how to pull it off:

Metallics. Gold-leaf tables and chairs, voluptuous brass chandeliers, abstract chrome sculptures—if it gleams, it's fair game. Metal finishes, especially in unexpected spots, give Wearstler-inspired rooms a shot of opulence and sass. Don't be afraid to combine warm tones such as bronze with cooler ones such as silver; the contrast lends a welcome visual tension. 

Dramatic color. Wearstler has publicly professed her affection for color, and her work backs it up. From jade green and bubblegum pink to vibrant lemon and moody eggplant, the hues she uses are sure and saturated. Shades inspired by midcentury and Hollywood Regency palettes work especially well (think China blue, vermilion, plum, turquoise, rust; partner them with dabs of unexpected color or the arresting contrast of pure black and white). 

Imperial Trellis

Strong geometry and graphic patterns. Trellis, diamond, scale, octagon and other geometric motifs, usually in a large scale, figure prominently into wallcoverings, fabrics, rugs, and flooring (boldly patterned floors are a Wearstler signature). Furnishings with distinctive lines, such as Chinese Chippendale chairs or Eileen Gray tables, feel on point too. Combine them with broad stripes, sunbursts, curlicues, and animal prints to amp up the energy.

Quirky accents. Giant tree stumps? A pair of bronze legs?  Towering rattan chairs? Cheeky touches such as these fall well within this designer's range. The key is balance—mixing too many offbeat pieces into a single room will border on caricature. Instead, choose one or two for punch, then keep the other elements more classic. Mix natural forms and finishes with blatantly artificial ones to underscore the playful sensibility.

Fashion-inspired detailing. Wearstler designs clothing as well as interiors, so it's no surprise that her décor includes touches you might expect to see on a cocktail dress or in a dressing room. Ruched and gathered upholstery, gem-bedecked and beaded finishes, mirrored surfaces, studded leather banding, and more bring the look of couture to home design.

  • If you like Kelly Wearstler style, you may love Hollywood Regency design, as well. 

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