Kimberly Lewis is not a plain-white-walls kind of woman. The Brooklyn-based wallpaper designer is known for bold colors and playful patterns. In fact, four of her wallpaper designs are in the Brooklyn Museum’s permanent collection, which proves that neutral minimalism isn’t for everyone. We caught up with Kimberly to find out what inspires her eclectic designs and how even white wall adherents can experiment with wallpaper.
What inspired you to start your business?
I studied industrial design in college at Pratt Institute here in Brooklyn, New York. I feel like the program really drew out my entrepreneurial spirit. I loved not only creating and designing products in my studios, but also dreaming up branding, imaginary customers, creating prototypes, testing and getting feedback, then going back to the drawing board. I thought I was only learning how to design products at the time but looking back on my experience I think it was an amazing foundation for running a business as well. I started selling pillows I made and designed my senior year and it eventually morphed into my business today, which is inspired by my love of pattern and decorative arts.
Your designs are so whimsical. What inspires you?
Each of my patterns have their own stories. My “Flamingo Dance” wallpaper was designed to reflect the style of a chic Miami hotel. My wallpaper “Beverley” was inspired by a dress I found at a flea market in New England. My wallpaper “Set Sail” is inspired by the scenes of Cape Cod.
Do you have a favorite wallpaper design?
It is so hard to choose! I love so many different patterns for so many different reasons. From my own collection, I love “Brownstone,” which is inspired by my love of architecture. I love the work of Nathalie Lete, especially her Great Meadow design.
What’s the best part about your job?
I love helping people create a beautiful home that they love–that is my greatest joy!
What’s the most challenging part of your job?
Wearing all of the hats in my business has been a challenge, to say the least! I am always learning.
Do you have any advice for people who are nervous about committing to wallpaper?
You can always start small; think outside of the box if you are scared to go all out. You can wallpaper the insides of bookcases, closets, a ceiling, add a pop to the inside of kitchen cabinets. Wallpaper doesn’t have to be limited to the walls.