Podcast, Episode 77: designer Alexa Hampton

Alexa Hampton headshot

Renowned interior designer Alexa Hampton has done it all — TV, books, magazines, you name it and Alexa has been featured there. Today, she joins the show to talk about growing up with her also famous designer father Mark Hampton, the inspiration behind her two books, Decorating in Detail and Language of Interior Design, her recent travels for an upcoming furniture collection, and why there is no room for snobbery in design.

What You’ll Hear on This Episode:

  • What has been Alexa’s biggest challenges over the many different collections she has created and titles she juggles.
  • Alexa’s habit of drawing on a photograph as a low tech and practical way that gave her a “Eureka” moment.
  • Her father’s designation between a decorator and a designer.
  • People may not realize how much they really can put in a room.
  • Alexa’s self-described “rookie mistake” when redoing her bedroom, and the lesson learned in bouncing back after a misstep.
  • More about Alexa’s trips to Vietnam to check out prototypes for her new furniture collection, and going to Ireland with a group from the Institute of Classical Architecture and Art.
  • How publishing in the world of decorating is more different than it has ever been.
  • The point of views from her books The Language of Interior Design and Decorating in Detail.
  • Design is no place for snobbery, and there is always more to learn, discover and see.
  • How the fee can grow, but the markup will be scrutinized.
  • The balance between having a trademark look, and being open to adapting based on the client’s needs.
Alexa Hampton's New York Apartment

Alexa Hampton’s New York Apartment

Decorating Dilemmas:

Hello ladies,

I discovered your podcast about six months ago and have enjoyed listening to the previous episodes. I really appreciate how much thought you put into your design dilemma segment, and I have a question of my own that I would love your opinion on.

In early 2016 we did almost a complete renovation of a 1999 builder grade fixer that is in a fantastic location.

All of that means that I did not have a spare $10,000+ to spend on new furniture so most of what you see in these photos is left over from our old house or was purchased on the cheap to fill a space.

Although it is not obvious from this room, my ideal style is a mix of modern and traditional pieces, with an emphasis on comfort for seating.  I would also like more lighting sources, but we don’t have many outlets and life with a crawling baby and dogs means that I cannot have cords sneaking from the wall and under the rug right now.

My Dilemma:
Our downstairs living room is fairly small (that’s a 9×13 rug) and at the moment, it does not have enough seating if we have any family or friends over. The brown chair is a relic from my first apartment and was meant to be temporary, but it’s been 2 years and I have not yet found anything sufficiently comfortable and a narrow enough to fit.

I initially resisted an L-shaped sectional because I did not want the view from the front door to be the back of a sofa, but it would definitely help solve the seating issue and maybe with a console table it would be ok?  My two sons are 4 and 1 year old, so in the coming years we are going to run out of room on our sofa.

Where do I even start?  What would you buy first if you were starting from scratch and wanted to seat 6 people comfortably?  

I appreciate any suggestions you have! I am excited to visit the new Ft Worth Ballard store so that I can consider some of your pieces in my search. 


First, Alexa thinks a sectional isn’t a bad idea, and it would still look beautiful with a sofa table that faces up to the front door. You either need to get sconces if the budget permits, and put them and / or picture lights in a row on the TV wall. If you do them both, they should be able to be switched on separately. Alexa likes it at the middle height. If you prefer more transitional space, Alexa recommends putting a different mantle on that is more traditional. She would move the dog beds (sorry pups) for slipper chairs. If you had enough space around the mantle, another bench there or a fender would go great. Some good traditional textiles such as geometric patterns, stripes and florals would be a nice addition.

Show Notes:

Please send in your questions so we can answer them on our next episode! And of course, subscribe to the podcast in iTunes so you never miss an episode. You can always check back here to see new episodes, but if you subscribe, it’ll automatically download to your phone.

Happy Decorating!

Subscribe in iTunes | Stitcher | Google Play 

Caroline McDonald

Caroline lives for pairing together patterns, mixing furniture styles, and oogling over our newest furniture pieces. As you can imagine, her little 1920's craftsman is in a constant state of flux. Here on How to Decorate, it's her goal to help you turn your home into your own little slice of paradise.