Angela Belt is a force within the design community. Her ability to integrate various styles within a design project allows limitless versatility in her approach. As an accomplished interior designer with over 10 years of experience, Angela has styled shoots for publications such as Elle Decor, LONNY Magazine, HGTV and AproChic. At Homepolish, she serves as Senior Interior Designer, where she provides commercial and residential interior design services for customers and businesses across the United States. It was a pleasure to interview Angela and see the driving force behind her success and gain some insight on how she’s navigated through the interior design industry. Check out her candid interview below.
At what age did you know that you wanted to be an interior designer? Were there clues before then?
I didn’t discover my passion for interior design until I was twenty-two, and I found a Craigslist ad for a design associate position at Room & Board in Soho. Before this time I had studied Political Science and Fine Arts at Howard University, and I was convinced this was just a job for the time being as I pursued my career as an artist in Brooklyn. But I was SO wrong, I fell in love with interior design through my experiences and mentors. What I thought was a job became a life changing career choice for me.
It was there I learned to floor plan by hand, install and re-wire overhead lighting, use a power drill like a pro, and design over 40 rooms with a team in a few months. I did this job for ten years so I can definitely design a room now. I think the clues were in my childhood, and the way I grew up. My mom really was into having a nice home. I grew up with a formal living room with a piano, white rug, and blue and white stripe furniture that you could only sit on for photos. My parents also did a lot of entertaining so I grew up being a part of party preparations and cleaning everything just right for an upcoming event. Everything had a place in my home, and my mom did not believe in the whole house being kids’ land.
What are the key elements that create a beautiful space?
I think the most beautiful rooms need to have a soul, a personality. I know that sounds a little cooky but even when I was merchandising rooms in the past I tried to imagine who lived in that space, where would they hang their coat, what pictures would be in their frames? Some of my favorite interiors are spaces that are layered, bold, and you can tell the space has developed overtime through the person’s travels, gifts for friends, and little objects that they found on a random trip somewhere.
If you could only decorate a living room with 4 items, what would they be? Why?
Oh this is a tough one but here it is: sofa, curtains, lighting, and an accent table (I’m sorry Moroccan pouf I could only list four). First, there is no way I am going to be in a living room without a comfortable place to sit, so the sofa is a must! Curtains are next because for the longest time I tried to act like they don’t matter in a space, and I recently made some for my house and it just blew my mind how different a space can feel with a little drapery on the wall. So, I’m window treatment convert now. Lighting you have to have it, and it can really add some personality to an otherwise nice room, and elevate it to a va-va-voom space. Lastly, I have to have a table or where would my tea go?!?
What’s your biggest accomplishment?
Hands down starting my own business over the past year, and working with Homepolish to make it grow. I had thought about starting my own business for awhile before I took the leap. Now that I’ve done it and I have the independence to raise my daughter and do what I love to do I just work harder everyday to keep making this dream a reality.
I think my advice to anyone interested in pursuing interior design is to take the job seriously and absorb, digest, and learn from as many talented entrepreneurs as you can. So many people think interior design is sort of this hobby or playful type of job. But to be a professional you need to be understand the size and scale of furniture, learn the ins and outs of installations. Plus you need to be a project manager, a social media and PR person, and be organized and creative enough to overcome obstacles throughout the design process because they ALWAYS happen. However you don’t have to know all of this your first day, all you need to do is start, and reach out to others in your industry for help and advice as you grow. AND lastly, never compare yourself to others who are at different milestones in their careers. You should celebrate them, learn from them, and stay focused on where you are today and where you need to go tomorrow (sorry, I got all serious at the end there!).