Inspiration: Dorothy Draper

Interior designers everywhere look up to an iconic trailblazer, America’s original interior decorator Dorothy Draper. Draper established the first interior design firm in the United States back in 1923. She also was a female entrepreneur, another point of distinction that I find so inspiring.

As Carleton Varney writes in the biography, The Draper Touch, she revolutionized the concept of design. Draper broke away from the historical “period room” styles that dominated at the time. As an artist she was much more forward thinking, and even created the Modern Baroque artistic style.

Draper was drawn to working in public spaces, which served as the canvas on which she created her most inspired work. (Have you ever dined at the restaurant inside the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York? It’s nicknamed The Dorotheum.)

So what were some of Dorothy Draper’s signature looks? She used vibrant colors in never-before-seen combinations, such as aubergine and pink with a touch of chartreuse or turquoise. One of her favorite combinations was“dull” white and “shiny” black. 

“It is just as disastrous to have the wrong accessories in your room,” Draper once said, “As it is to wear sport shoes with an evening dress.”

Are you intrigued to learn more about Dorothy Draper and The Draper Touch? Read her books The High Style of Dorothy Draper, In the Pink: Dorothy Draper - America’s Most Fabulous Decorator and Decorating is Fun: How to Be Your Own Decorator and learn more!