At the Designer’s Desk with Wanda Horton

wanda horton
Photography by Dustin Peck

A North Carolina native, Wanda Horton has called the Queen City home for over 30 years. 

Through her design firm, Wanda S. Horton Interior Design, she has beautified her home state via residential projects in the Charlotte area, as well as into the coastal and mountain regions.

Although Wanda Horton was exposed to design at a young age, antiquing with her mother and grandmother and learning the subtleties of furniture arrangement, she chose to study healthcare for the first years of her undergrad. Ultimately, she shifted her major to interior design, returning to her childhood interest with a new lens. She began to see not only what suited a space, but also the effect of tweaks to a living environment on the inhabitants’ mood.

“I had, and still have, a strong belief that our surroundings impact our lives,” says Horton, who cites color choice as an example: it can uplift, calm, invigorate, and more, entirely altering the tone of presence. “Seeing a client’s reaction to a space that supports them in every way—both physically and emotionally—reaffirms my decision to pursue design.”

wanda horton
Photography by Dustin Peck

Enduring Designs

At their root, her designs are classic. But Wanda Horton never passes up an opportunity to add a Bohemian splash, perhaps a dash of bright color or a lively piece of art. She keeps her own workspace neat and organized to promote calm and order. And she often infuses her clients’ spaces with the same tranquility. Horton also knows well the value of deploying minor changes – a new throw here, a different flower arrangement there. It’s a great way to reinvigorate rooms, rather than completely reinvesting or redesigning. “Being comfortable with choices I’ve made and not designing simply to be part of a trend makes for an enduring home,” she explains.

“It’s my commitment for our clients’ projects to be thoughtfully created and beautifully accomplished.”

Of course, an enduring home is most likely to emerge from an intentional and thorough process. Horton begins by studying her clients’ styles and preferences. “I ask essential questions because I want to learn what makes them feel supported by their homes,” she explains. She works to build trust with her clients, so they can feel confident both in their decisions and her guidance. Then, she collaborates with her clients to build visual concepts before diving in. “It’s my commitment for our clients’ projects to be thoughtfully created and beautifully accomplished.”

No matter the space, Horton knows one thing. “Design impacts people in ways that can’t always be articulated, but its presence is always felt.” That’s why she works to make each project reach its fullest potential and guide the inhabitants to their best selves.

wanda horton
Photography by Dusting Peck

Take Home Tips:

  • To start a redesign, Horton recommends first taking everything out of the room. Leave the furniture pieces and the rug in order to see the bones of the space clearly. This cleanses the palate, so to speak, and makes it easier to analyze what is and isn’t working.
  • Changing the room’s layout can make a major difference. Getting the basics right makes it easier to begin putting an area back together.
  • If there are too many odd items, bringing in some pairs restores balance. For example, a great pair of lamps with some girth – not the skinny kind – can help unite a pair of unmatched tables.
  • Don’t forget that changing picture frames can transform art.
  • Finally, there’s always a place for fresh flowers or plants to fill in empty spots and (literally) breathe life into a home.

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