Designer crush: Brynn Olson

Today I’m crushing on an interior designer Brynn Olson. If you missed my previous crushes in this series, you can read about my hotel crush here and getting some luxury contemporary inspiration here.

Now, few weeks ago I came across an article about Brynn Olson and immediately fell in love with her work. She describes her style as modern eclectic with exotic touches. Before setting up her own designing firm she worked for Nate Berkus where she designed and managed high end residential and commercial projects. I like how each of her project is completely different reflecting each client’s personality and needs. I think that’s one of the most important tasks we have, as designers, and that is to balance our client’s individuality and still putting little bit of our style into the project.

Her style is clean and modern while injecting unexpected pieces that make the interiors truly unique. I think her use of colour is brilliant as well. Bold colours are used in such quantity that they add a dimension without being too overpowering. This, my friends, is not as easy as it looks. Many interiors I see a lot these days are full on, full steam ahead when it comes to using bold colours. And even though such interiors are well balanced and very personal spaces they are sometimes overpowering with several colours dominating the space.



The neutral walls create a perfect backdrop for introducing colours into the scheme which are interesting yet calming so they don’t disturb the overall concept for the space. A lot goes into consideration when designing a space like this, well beyond matching colours. The furniture specification and selection down to the smallest details like hardware and art are all part of “the plan”. Creating such interiors requires an excellent vision and product knowledge.

This last bedroom image is a perfect example of how to design a well balanced modern eclectic space. The two main colours are introduced in similar proportions but broken up by geometric patterns – one on the headboard and the other on the cushions and bed cover (see how important the bed cover or bedding is?). A third accent colour, dark navy blue, is introduced on the other cushions. The geometric pattern is also disturbed by the curvy shape of the headboard and the roundness of the ceiling lamps. Also notice the headboard size. Instead of having two small ones Brynn designed one large one covering most of the back wall and therefore visually making the space look bigger. In terms of fabric choices, it’s more about textures while sticking to only one pattern. The velvet headboard goes really well against the rougher texture of the curtains. Another trick, which you see in many hotel designs, is to blend the curtains into the room by keeping them in the similar tone as the wall paint. You can go for darker tones and shades on the wall (you don’t have to automatically go for lighter palette) but the colour needs to flow around the space.


1. Keep your large areas in neutrals (walls and floors).

2. Use unusual piece of furniture, accessories, decorative objects and art as a layer of your unique eclectic mix.

3. Use and contrast mix of textured fabrics and textiles including rugs!

4. Stick to a limited colour palette with one or two bolder colours.

For some more inspiration I have created a brand new board on my Pinterest called MODERN ECLECTIC. You can follow it as I go along, or if you want I can make it a group board so you can add your images too. Just let me know..

Follow Karolina Barnes’s board Modern eclectic on Pinterest.

Now it’s your turn. Do you like modern eclectic? Have you come across other designers with similar style?

Karolina Barnes Studio