Imagination and ingenuity are key to design, says designer Erica Bryen of Newport Beach, California

Imagination and ingenuity are key to design, says designer Erica Bryen of Newport Beach, California

For Erica Bryen, owner and head designer of Erica Bryen Design in Newport Beach, California, the main two components of effective design are imagination and ingenuity.

To make it happen, she says she draws from her extensive travels, historical influences and a love of fashion. She is described as having a knack for combining styles, designing custom furniture and creating spaces that are one-of-a-kind.

But she also has been recognized for her ability to be approachable and open, enabling her to help her clients turn their concepts into a tangible vision.

Bryen says she started designing outdoor spaces when she was 23, at a time that she was working in a showroom that featured outdoor furniture.

Erica Bryen

“I love designing outdoor spaces because now it is like designing an indoor space with so many color options,” she says. “I like bringing the inside out.”

The biggest challenge can be the limitations of the space itself.

“It can be difficult to make outdoor spaces look cozy and to find a good-looking product that is also super durable,” says Bryen.

She says she is indeed seeing more interior designers take it outside.

“That’s because people are spending more money to make the outdoors look nice,” she says. “It goes hand-in-hand with designing the interior of a house to make it all cohesive.”

Bryen says that when designers deal with manufacturers, a top priority for them is to stand behind the product.

“That if there is an issue with the quality they will back you up and take care of the product that you are purchasing from them,” she says. “One thing manufacturers can do is give better pricing to designers than they’re giving to the average consumer because we are continually purchasing.”

An Erica Bryen Design project in Cabo

She says that the best way that designers can learn about what’s out there is by going to see it.

“I highly suggest going to an outdoor showroom that carries the outdoor items,” Bryen says. “Set up an appointment so they can explain the options and lines that are available to you.”

Any advice for designers who are just now beginning to take on more exterior design?

Spend the money.

“Make sure you are getting a good product,” she says. “Cheap isn’t better. Get a high-quality product so your client isn’t calling you in two years saying that the item is falling apart. That will be on you.”

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