Photo by Brooke Brown
Judith Weston Zehmke of Art House Charlotte.

Yes, the fact that I watch a lot of HGTV does make me feel as though I am a terrific interior designer–no, my boyfriend does not agree.

Sometimes, I need a little help envisioning a piece of artwork in a space, or I wish I could scroll through a curated feed of décor I’d purchase. Whether you’re decorating a new apartment or can’t figure out how to fill the space in a new home, Instagram may come in handy. Draw inspiration from unique spaces designed by Charlotte-based interior designers, or browse local furnishings and paintings from local artists and décor stores. Here are a few picks from my own feed:

For design inspiration:

@dnicoledecor – 2.4K followers

Wife, mom, and accounting comptroller Denean Nicole became a certified interior designer after assisting her daughter in decorating her dorm room. Upon realizing her passion for design, she founded D’Nicole Décor to assist individuals who want to transform the spaces in which they live – for an affordable price. Her Instagram features spaces she’s updated with pops of color and a mix of modern and traditional style.

Follow her for: transitional style (blend of traditional and contemporary) and affordable design

What sets her apart: “I understand that my job is to help my clients find their design style and bring it to life. After I style a home, I don’t want the home to be a reflection of me, but of my client. I also believe what sets me apart is that I will search high and low for the best deals/offers for the client basically looking for the biggest bang for their buck!”

Advice for decorating a space: “Set the tone at the front door. Your home should flow; it begins at the front door, it should say, welcome! Another piece of advice would be to pick your paint colors last and choose art, furniture or a rug first.”

@georgiastreetdesign – 7.3K followers

Meredith Cline Beregovski founded Georgia Street Design with the intention of encouraging individuals to “live a well-designed life.” Beregovski originally held the intention to begin an event planning business, but after transforming an old warehouse into a stunning event space, she realized her passion lay in design. Her Instagram is a mix of unique décor, transformed spaces, inspirational quotes – and doughnuts.

Follow her for: A healthy mix of doughnuts, design, and inspirational quotes

What sets her apart: “Georgia Street Design is collectively motivated by creating a home for each individual client – whatever style that may be. We get to know our clients in a way that enables us to design for them specifically and ensures they end their project feeling very comfortable and ‘at home’ in their surroundings.”

Advice for decorating a space: “Take your time selecting what goes in your home – only purchase things that you truly love. The best spaces evolve over time, they don’t just appear after one trip to Marshall’s.”

@lucyandcompany – 9.5K followers

Beth Keim founded Lucy and Company, a Charlotte-based, full-scale interior design firm known for its bold and unique designs. The large showroom on South Boulevard houses the latest fabrics, accessories and furniture to garner inspiration for a space. Check out the company’s Instagram for completed spaces with a mix of green and rustic tones, as well as vibrant patterns and textures.

 Follow her for: Eccentric patterns

What sets her apart: “Thinking outside the boxes with our sense of style and always incorporating unique pieces. Our experience  (we have been at this for 22 years), and our relationship with all our subs and vendors also sets us apart. We come with a whole team of people, so our clients don’t have to worry about a thing.”

Advice for decorating a space: “Trust your designer; they have a full vision and the project will all come together.”

@amyvermillioninteriors – 23.3K followers

Amy Vermillion, founder of Amy Vermillion Interiors, blends her knowledge of fabrics, furnishings, and spatial elements to design spaces in collaboration with her clients. Vermillion works on upscale projects including interior design, new construction and even private jet design. Prestigious publications including The New York Times and SouthPark Magazine featured her unique touches, and her Instagram blends progress photos, completed spaces and puppies.

Follow her for: Progress shots and puppies

What sets her apart: “I am a hybrid interior designer, meaning I work on renovations and provide all the decorative furnishings. We do very custom details, like a Valentino Rock Stud on a client’s kitchen island because she loves Valentino! It was actually my signature diamond pyramid detail, but if she wants to refer to it as a Rock Stud that’s fine with us! We love to be involved in all aspects of design from the building to putting sheets on our client’s bed. This is the greatest job for control freaks, and we love our clients.”

Advice for decorating a space: “Do what you want, always. If you love color, then dont do a neutral space.  If you like a particular style then go for it.  The biggest problem I see right now is people decorating based on what they see on Pinterest or Instagram instead of what they truly love.  Trust me, you will not be happy with someone else’s style.”

@laurennicoleinc – 13.4K followers

Wife, mother, speaker, and interior design specialist Lauren Nicole founded Lauren Nicole Designs based on experience she gained living with her mother, also a designer. Check out her YouTube channel for paint inspiration, or visit her Instagram to explore ways to incorporate unique lighting into a space.

Follow her for: Unique light fixtures

What sets her apart: “I believe that there are two substantial aspects of my process that set me apart.

“#1- I listen. Since I started my business over 12 years ago​, upon completion of a project, I have heard my clients say to me with surprise, ‘You listened to me!’ I work hard to figure out what it is that my clients really like and then add in my designer’s touch to give them what they want and then some, but it is always about them with my expertise. After all, they live there, not me.

“#2- Function first. Because I am mom of two young kids and five fur babies (2 cats and 3 dogs), I know what it means to have a functional space that also looks fabulous. Making the right selections in terms of fabric and furniture styles is a must for my busy clients.”

Advice for decorating a space: “Light it up. Eighty percent of homes are 20 percent underlit. Most people buy lamps and fixtures that are too small, so make sure that your table lamps are between 29-36″ ​tall. Look for fixtures that are open, not dimmed down by darker fabric or glass shades. Make sure that you account for task lighting as well as overall lighting, and now that your rooms are nice and bright, you can add a dimmer switch to soften the light when the time is right.”

For decor inspiration:

@arthousecharlotte – 3.7K followers

Judith Weston Zehmke, owner and creator of Art House Charlotte, wanted to produce a haven for individuals who sought original pieces of art for their homes outside of the mass-produced works available at popular home stores. This passion bore Art House Charlotte, a gallery showcasing works from emerging and established artists.

Follow her for: Stunning watercolor works

What sets her apart: “Art House Charlotte is just what it sounds like…Art in a House in Charlotte. The art is in my house, specifically.  I live in SouthPark and the front portion of my home is my office. Not a gallery per se, but a treasure trove of original, mostly local and all contemporary art. I focus on bringing original, affordable art to everyone in a relaxed setting. As I work from home, I operate on an appointment only basis and am able to accommodate those who need to come by after work or on the weekends.”

What unique items you’ll find: “Charlotte is an undiscovered mecca of talented artists.  I’m fortunate to have found a niche representing so many of them. And for many of these artists, you won’t be able to purchase their work anywhere else. I’m an advocate of the arts in general, however, I have a soft spot for visual artists.”

@traditionsofcharlotte – 4.2K followers

If you find yourself perusing artfully-arranged furniture displays in the likes of Pottery Barn, make Traditions of Charlotte your next stop. Unique accent chairs, vibrant accessories, and plush sofas decorate the store’s Instagram feed, and are all viewable in person at Park Road Shopping Center.

 Follow them for: Accent chairs and accessories

What sets them apart: “At Traditions you can peruse 7,700 square feet of showroom floor, all while getting to speak with some of Charlotte’s top notch designers,” said a representative of Traditions of Charlotte. “You are able to set up a design consultation, or just make purchases on your own with the assistance of our sales floor manager. Traditions also strives to carry traditional to transitional pieces to always ensure all customers find the perfect pieces to fill their home.”

What unique items you’ll find: “At Traditions, every piece, every chandelier, and all accessorizing has our personal touch. Traditions carries one-of-a-kind handmade Turkish rugs, gorgeous and unique upholstery, and we constantly have new pieces and looks every day on the showroom floor. Every time you walk into Traditions, new and beautiful pieces catch your eye.”

@rswd_co – 2.8K followers

Unlike Joanna Gaines (my favorite), everyone cannot phone Clint when they need a unique reclaimed wood piece for their dining area. Enter Rosewood Co., a handcrafted, custom table business that uses locally-sourced hardwoods to create unique pieces for every home.

The best part? They donate 11 percent of what they make from every purchase to a local orphanage. Follow their Instagram feed to watch them create unique pieces in action, then decide how many of these incredible wood pieces you can realistically fit in your home (you’ll want them all!).

Follow them for: Locally-sourced, handcrafted wood tables

What sets them apart: “I think the most obvious thing that sets Rosewood Co apart is that it is run by a 22-year-old female, and yes, I [Janine Bithell] am the one who builds all the tables too. Some people don’t believe that at first. Then the fact that each piece is hand crafted and custom made with the client in mind.”

What unique items you’ll find: “Everything we do is custom, so in a way every piece is unique. However, some of my favorite pieces or projects have been a large 7’ banquette made from oak, a herringbone dining table made from walnut and then the entire wood installation in Basal Coffee.”

@davidfrenchoriginals – 1.8K followers

While strolling through a recent art walk, I did not see myself purchasing any large pieces…and then I stumbled across David French’s setup. Two transactions later, I hung a vibrant Alexander Michael’s painting in our Charlotte-themed guest room and gifted the other – a Pinky’s painting sporting the iconic VW Beetle – to my sister for her college graduation.

Whether you’ve lived in Charlotte your whole life, or recently joined the league of transplants, these David French Originals will make you feel as though you’re part of the Queen City club.

Follow him for: vibrant paintings of Charlotte icons, architecture and in-progress works

What sets him apart: “Dedication. I’m closing in on 400 paintings of Charlotte. My average painting takes over 40 hours to paint and I’ve spent years living in art galleries and painting on the streets.”

What unique items you’ll find: “My charcoal landscape paintings.” (View them here)

@sleepypoet – 3.6K followers

I’d liken the Sleepy Poet Antique Mall to a magical forest of décor – you’ll probably get lost, but you’ll find unique treasures during your travels. Since 1998, this antique destination welcomes locals and visitors alike looking for vintage goods. Follow their Instagram feed for unique finds and new arrivals to add an old-school flair to your décor.

Follow them for: Vintage treasures

What sets them apart: “Sleepy Poet is not your grandmother’s antique mall,” a Sleepy Poet representative said. “You’ll find 60,000 square feet of antiques, vintage clothing, vinyl, home decor and just cool stuff. We are the largest antique mall in Charlotte.

What unique items you’ll find: “Handcrafted lamps from auto parts, restored turntables, vintage windows and doors, vintage clothing from the 30s-90s, enough mid-century modern furniture to furnish your whole house, Pyrex galore, outdoor statuary…and so much more. Also, we will be opening a new room with even more NEW vendors later this summer, so who knows what else we’ll have.”

@southendexchange – 3.9K followers

Rugs, vintage and modern furnishings and works from local and regional artists populate the South End Exchange, a consignment store on New Bern Street. Browse their Instagram account for new inventory items and eccentric pieces to decorate your space.

Follow them for: A mix of vintage and modern pieces in need of a new home

What sets them apart: “We offer consignment furniture, antiques, accessories, lighting and art,” a South End Exchange representative said. “Our store is constantly changing with new inventory every day.”

What unique items you’ll find: “In our five vendor spaces, you will find an eclectic variety of mid-century style furniture, market samples, new upholstery and vintage Turkish rugs. We have something for everyone in all price ranges and offer pick of consignment items and delivery of purchased items.”

@montfordmisfits – 1K followers

Charlotte’s known for its brewery scene – so why not decorate your space with a reminder of a favorite weekend pastime? The creative design team makes craft beer maps and custom artwork showcasing local and national breweries. Follow them on Instagram to find the piece that’s right for your space – or peruse the feed for gift ideas.

Follow them for: Craft beer maps

What sets them apart: “Each of our craft beer maps are cutouts and prints of an originally hand-cut and hand-painted piece of artwork filled with people’s favorite breweries from their respective state,” said a representative of Montford Misfits. “The original craft beer maps are then printed on different materials such as half birch wood, brushed aluminum, and clear acrylic. This makes our map a unique piece of artwork for people to hang in their man cave, living room, dining room, and/or garage.”

What unique items you’ll find: “The 50 States of Brew USA craft beer map on the three different materials; it comes in three parts as Alaska and Hawaii are separate pieces. We also have 10 states so far which include NY, PA, OH, TN, MD, VA, NC, SC, GA, and FL, with Michigan coming soon. All of our maps come in three sizes: small, medium, and large and on the different materials as well.”


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