Podcast, Ep. 106: designer Naomi Stein

Interior designer Naomi Stein sits on a white bed

Photo: Seth Caplan

Naomi Stein of Design Manifest joins the show this week to share how working with her contractor father gave her an eye for design and a purpose to help others make their lives more functional. We talk about making a room light, bright and comfortable, the big mistakes we tend to overlook in kitchen design, and hacks for small spaces. She also talks about finding that middle balance between your dream and your budget, and things people should look out for when working with an interior designer.

What You’ll Hear on This Episode:

  • Naomi worked with her father for 12 years, and that time helped her knowledge of working in high-end homes, and honed her skills for taking her clients to the next level. This evolution led to her moving even beyond kitchen and bath to reincorporate as Design Manifest in 2016.
  • More about the common mistakes we tend to make including layout, form, and function.
  • What Naomi doesn’t want to see in a kitchen, and what appliances she thinks is okay. We all know where Karen stands on a half empty bottle of wine!
  • Ideas for storing trash bins in a sleek yet recognizable space, and ideas for housing composting and recycling containers inside a kitchen.
  • Naomi’s best hacks using Ikea cubbies, and what she learned from renovating her own small space, or “twin” as they call it in Philadelphia.
  • A large part of Naomi’s success is the fact that she is very aware with both the artistic vision of a project, along with the realistic overview about budget and what it will take to get it practically aligned.
  • Naomi’s expert advice for people about to renovate their home, or even just work with a designer.
  • Rules around what works when mixing finishes in a kitchen, and what doesn’t work.
  • What Design Manifest is, how it started, and how it has evolved to now be driven by creative, beautiful, and functional interiors.
  • Where it’s easiest to take risks in the kitchen, and personal examples Naomi has worked with either in her professional life or in her own personal renovations.
  • What to do with outlets! Do we color them, do we have USB outlets, lamps with USB options, etc!

Decorating Dilemmas:

Hi ladies!

I love your podcast and have learned so much from the great guests you

interview. My husband and I are renovating a traditional 1950s home and plan to keep the style traditional, while updating it a bit.

What style of light switches and outlets would you choose?

Thanks for your input!!


This one got us off talking about whether because your home is traditional 1950’s, you have to keep it that way! No one thinks you need to just stick with all 50’s, or even early mid century, but it is important to think about your furniture plan ahead of time. It’s all about how you feel when you walk into the room, and if you feel joy and pride, you know you are on the right track. Our solid advice for the time being is to get a dimmer on every switch. Be sure to do your research, because it can tend to not be the easiest with LED’s.

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!

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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.


  1. Reply


    October 15, 2019

    My Family room sofa has only four pillows on it. When people sit down they start looking for a place to put the pillows which usually wind up on the floor. They are not huge pillows just decorative pillows and only four. What are your suggestions? My sofa is normal size, my pillows are normal size and my friends are normal size! But I hate to see them wind up on the floor and a basket seems to suggest I didn’t mean for you to use them!

    • Reply

      Caroline McDonald

      October 15, 2019

      Hmm, that’s tricky. Do you have down inserts in your pillow or foam inserts? Sometimes I think the foam inserts don’t give as much when you sit against them so they feel more intrusive. Down inserts kind of mold to your body, so they’re more comfortable. That’s my first thought.

      My second idea is to maybe edit down to 2 pillows on the sofa, and move the other two elsewhere in the room. Then, see whether people still move them?

      I’ll think on it some more thought!