Cheryl Luckett didn’t start her career as an interior designer – but she’s always had a natural talent for styling sophisticated, approachable spaces. She founded Dwell by Cheryl in 2012 based on her desire to help people design homes they love and create places that give them a sense of well-being indoors and out.
We recently sat down with Cheryl, a registered dietitian turned seven-time recipient of the Best of Houzz Award for Design and Customer Satisfaction, to ask about her favorite design advice, the one thing she wishes more clients knew, and which podcasts she wouldn’t miss.
Here’s what she said.
What inspires you?
I’m really inspired by textiles. Most of my projects begin with them. Fabric just lights me up. I love pattern and color and the mix and how you can take a singular textile and go in 900 different directions. It’s like a building block that can be the foundation of any project.
What’s your favorite piece of timeless design advice?
I don’t like when spaces feel too shiny and new. There’s a tension that old and new items have that produces interest, history – a sense of journey that I think makes a space interesting, warm, and welcoming.
I’m always looking for ways to incorporate old things. It’s ok if my clients don’t have them – I’m always on the hunt for pieces that don’t feel so new. Those could be accessories, an old rug, furniture, or textiles.
The old / new mix is never out of style and will always create a homey feel for any space.
What’s one thing you wish more clients knew?
Lighting matters. Many people see lighting as an afterthought that’s not as significant as it really is. We often add lighting to a space. Not just lamps, but also things like picture lights, sconces, and outlets where there should have been one. It really adds a layer of ambiance to a space you can’t get any other way. Having layered lighting is really important. If a home has not been constructed for that, we think it’s important enough to add it.
What podcasts are you loving right now?
Most of what I listen to are mindset-focused business podcasts. As an entrepreneur, that’s key. You can always watch a YouTube video for tactical knowledge, but mindset is everything.
I love Tobi Fairley’s Design You Podcast. I love Oprah’s Super Soul. I love Don’t Keep Your Day Job, particularly because I didn’t – my side hustle turned into a full-time career. I like the reinforcement of what got me here and what will keep me here.
Fill in the blank: No room is complete without __________.
Drapery. There is no better way to soften up a space than with drapery. It’s the element on an install that, when it goes up, I know all is well. I can start to see it then. The layers make a house feel homey and cozy.
It’s like how you feel when you put on a pretty dress. It’s just not the same feeling as when you’re wearing your best jeans and heels. A dress helps you stand a little taller and feel a little more beautiful. Unless you have a house overlooking an amazing view, no room is complete without drapery. I dress all the windows, including those in the bathroom, over the sink, etc.