Entertaining during the next few months should be a breeze if you tune in to advice from interior designer extraordinaire Nikki Chu on her show, “Unboxed with Nikki Chu,” on Aspire TV. From designing spaces for celebrities to collaborating with big name brands, creating home design collections and appearing on TV channels such as HGTV and Lifetime, Chu does it all with finesse. While watching her decorate a home or a room for a show, one gets a whiff of her 20-year love affair with design that includes classic-style sensibilities coupled with an international twist.
When Travel Inspires
“Global modernism is the concept of my home line. I am inspired by all things across the globe, by textiles and patterns,” says Chu, who has a collection of everything home design with her business Nikki Chu Home. She has designed spaces for the likes of Tyra Banks, Nick Cannon and Gabrielle Union. Inspiration for her designs are found in places such as Bali, Indonesia; Ghana, Africa, and Asia, especially India. Her line features pillows, rugs, bedding, throws, wall art and decorative accents, and her collections are available on Overstock.com, Hayneedle.com and at JC Penney and other stores.
Of course, her insider tips for entertaining are simple yet effective. “I love to entertain and the way you display your food for your guests is what makes it so appealing,” she says. “Owning a set of cool bowls or serving spoons and trays is key to having a successful entertaining evening.” She also swears by floral arrangements. “You don’t have to do much, but if you buy flowers to place strategically throughout, have serving bowls on your island and then add some candles, you’ve got an easy way to make serving and entertaining look beautiful.”
Where It All Began
A look at Chu’s Pinterest and Instagram prove inspiring too — an introduction to the tastes of this seasoned design professional. She considers the two social media platforms great visual sources for ideas and for searching with hashtags. “My cultural background and my upbringing definitely have influence on my work,” Chu shares. Born and raised in Toronto, Canada and now dividing time between Los Angeles and Dallas, she is of Jamaican and British heritage. Visiting Jamaica at least twice a year, Kingston, Negril and Montego Bay being some of her frequented spots, she loves feasting on oxtail.
“My dad has to make oxtail for me every time and ackee and saltfish (a traditional Jamaican dish). I can probably eat every single day,” she says. In fact, you can catch her episode on “Butter + Brown,” a show also on Aspire TV. She prepares rice and peas with the hosts while dishing out more about her design philosophy and approach to creating a tasteful space for her clients. Some of Chu’s “Unboxed” episodes online are also an introduction to her world of design. There you can watch her talk about fundamental elements such as color theory and spatial planning with furniture.
Not only has Chu taken her love for design into homes and interiors for others, but she has also taken her business from real life to reel by creating video content for design enthusiasts on her show. Whereas the first season featured everyday homeowners, the second season that starts August 6 will feature some of her friends. And going by the last few episodes, there are bound to be a few oohs and ahhs from viewers as they are educated about design concepts.
Taking It To The Next Level
Speaking of learning, Chu has created an online interior design course on DesignMeccaEdu.com to teach young designers the business of design beyond the classroom and from industry experts successful in the profession. Chu and fellow interior designer Monica Wilcox are instructors for the course. The course’s twelve modules serve as a roadmap to success in the field, looking at everything from why one would want to be in the design world and understanding your passion to forms and contracts.
Chu and Wilcox also co-authored a book titled, “The Top 15 Mistakes a #Designboss Would Never Make,” which reviews mistakes designers make and how to avoid them for the best outcomes. “Design is such an artistic space and field, there are many ways you can run your business. However, there are some key things that if you don’t follow, you have tremendous mistakes happen in your business,” says Chu. Whether its spending personal time with clients or managing business finances, she lays out the guidelines for the upcoming design professional.
Chu admits she had never planned on any of these paths to diversifying her interior design business. “I did not know where this would take me. I didn’t come into my career knowing all the things that would transpire.” A look at her designs at Nikki Chu Home and you would never believe that. From her patterned pillows and rugs to stunning décor and wall art, Chu’s eye for detail and global hues elevates any design space to align with a signature aesthetic that’s simply all her own.
To learn more about Nikki Chu and her home design line, visit NikkiChu.com.