August 1, 2018

10 Inspiring Quotes From NYSID’s New Bible of Design

When Sherrill Whiton first published Interior Design and Decoration in 1937, he was writing with what was then a very niche audience in mind—namely, his students and colleagues at the New York School of Interior Design (NYSID) and fellow design practitioners. This seminal guide to creating beautiful spaces boasts six editions, but the audience interested in the history and details of this practice stayed small for many years.

This living room by Kati Curtis features eco-conscious design, with VOC-free paints and sustainably-sourced textiles. Photography by Mark La Rosa, courtesy of NYSID.

Today, popular interest in interior design has surged. Inspiration boards abound on Pinterest and YouTube is full of DIY tutorials for consumers and professionals alike. To make sense of this abundance of content, Dr. Ellen Fisher, vice president of academic affairs and dean of the college at NYSID, has published the definitive 21st-century bible of residential design. Home: The Foundations of Enduring Spaces is the natural successor to Whiton’s original work, providing a comprehensive education on home design and décor for everyone.

Read on for 10 inspiring quotes from Home, covering everything from flooring choices to creating the perfect entryway.

This gilded sitting room by Pamela Durante celebrates the room’s loftlike proportions through curtain panels and artwork positioned near the ceiling. Photography by Mark La Rosa, courtesy of NYSID.

On the design process…

1. “Interior design demands both blue-sky dreaming and logical reasoning. Practitioners and enthusiasts alike need foresight and panoptic vision to keep the big picture in mind, along with laser focus to see how every minute detail clicks into place.”

2. “The unexpected will arise — and the unexpected always costs money.”


3. “The primary purpose of a design scheme is to unify: to integrate disparate elements, activities, and rooms into a cohesive spatial experience, all relating back to an original concept or goal. All elements, large and small, should work in concert.”

4. “The best interiors have off-notes and are elevated by a certain frisson, in which disparate elements play off on another to create visual interest.”

On elements of a room…

5. “Color speaks: it can soothe and calm, create tension or energy, depending on the desired effect.”

6. “As people sit, work, or socialize, they need a moment to pause and mentally step away. A framed view is a point of release, and an invitation to enjoy a serendipitous and fleeting work of art… that of nature.”

7. “The design of a floor conveys the essential character of a space not only through visual appearance but also through the feel of textures, transitions, and temperatures. Whether buttery leather or super slick glass tile, the choice of flooring materials speaks volumes.”

Designer Stefan Steil infuses this window-wrapped living room with texture through the quilted area rug. Photography by Mark La Rosa, courtesy of NYSID.

On specific rooms throughout the home…

8. “‘Crossing a threshold’ can mean simply entering from the outdoors in, or passing from room to room, but it’s often used narratively to describe transitions into a new phase of life, making a serious commitment, or entering an inner sanctum. All entrances tap into this deeper meaning, conjuring a sense of anticipation and heightened awareness and, conversely, creating a moment of release and exhalation.”

9. “Of all the rooms in a home, the kitchen is the perfect design challenge, marrying purpose with appearance and meaning.”

10. “The boundary between indoors and out has become increasingly porous. Outdoor living mimics indoor life in terms of the type and variety of activities that take place there, and the furniture arrangements and support services required.”

Philip Mitchell channeled a salon-style artistic display by hanging numerous square and rectangular pictures on this stairwell wall. Photography by Mark La Rosa, courtesy of NYSID. 

Home: The Foundations of Enduring Spaces is available now in hardcover format at all major booksellers.

More information about the school, including details on graduate programs and continuing education courses in design, can be found on the New York School of Interior Design’s website.

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