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Best Interior Designers, North America

Top Interior Designers | Mary McDonald


Mary McDonald is an award winning, internationally published Los Angeles-based interior designer. She is the one of the stars of Bravo TV’s “Million DollarDecorators” & “Property Envy” series and is consistently ranked as one of House Beautiful’s Top 100 Designers. She is the author of “Interiors: The Allure of Style” from Rizzoli publishing and has been honored as one of the top 25 designers by Veranda Magazine. Her licensed product lines include an acclaimed fabric collection for F. Schumacher & Company, lighting for Robert Abbey, rugs for Patterson, Flynn and Martin, and furniture for Chaddock Home.


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“Rare is the interior designer who can use leopard-print wallpaper, upholstery and drapes in a single room and still net an impossibly elegant space, but Los Angeles-based Mary McDonald has made a name for herself by just such counterintuitive maneuvers. As her book ‘Mary McDonald Interiors’ is about to be released, we grill her for details decorative and otherwise.” about Mary McDonald


A pattern I can’t live without is stripes. They’re so basic and universal; they can be modern or traditional.

There is such a thing as clashing colors, but I can’t say there’s any rule about colors that go together. It’s more about the value of a color, its tonality. You have to strive for balance, so if you’re going to make it clash, make it clash evenly.

My rule for mixing patterns: Patterns don’t have to match but all the colors should work together and they should be all different scales.

Two things that add instant glamour are oversized door pulls and all-mirrored powder rooms.

I stockpile an assortment of hostess gifts so I am always ready to be invited to someone’s house: Rigaud candles, D. Porthault linen hand towels, silver serving tongs, horn soap dishes and boxed Veuve Clicquot.


My favorite room in the world is Nancy Lancaster’s yellow library. Very old-school and weird-old-lady with urns and flowers but so glamorous.

The best cheap thing I love is the Hermès lookalike towels from Kmart.

If I had to decorate using two sources only, they would be JF Chen for furniture, and Schumacher showroom for fabric and Patterson Flynn and Martin rugs.

My top three favorite stores in L.A. would have to be Govinda’s, the Hare Krishna store, which sells saris and textiles they get straight from India—and it all smells like incense and vegetarian food. I love the architecture of the Gucci store; the stuff inside is just a plus. I also love Book Soup.

The tackiest thing I love is tons of ice in my white wine.

As my standby weeknight supper, I make a great roasted chicken.


And if that doesn’t work out I’ll just have a couple of glasses of that wine with the ice.

My go-to hors d’oeuvre for guests is honey drizzled on a big hunk of blue cheese and served with walnuts and crackers.

I’m pro scented candles. Especially Manuel Canovas candles, which smell like none other.

The most extravagant purchase I’ve made is a Giambattista Valli ball gown that I have nowhere to wear. I also have bolts of fabric for homes I don’t have yet. Some people call it hoarding but to me it’s just creativity, and it’s much less expensive than owning the actual homes.

My favorite sheets are Frette, D. Porthault, Pratesi, Sferra and Leontine Linens. If I were in a log cabin I wouldn’t mind flannel sheets but I don’t like being in a log cabin.

My signature decorating touches: Even in a modern room, something that has a little old–world glamour like a pair of french fauteuils or paneled walls or an urn. I also tend to use a palette of just two or three colors evenly placed around the room.





I believe the TV set should be hidden. I put it in a cabinet or recessed in a wall with something over it unless it’s a family TV room or a really modern, loft-y room.

If I was banished from my own home, I would like to live in any of Valentino’s homes, especially the one in Capri.




Macdonal in her website separates her projects by style: Classic Glamour, Livable Elegance, Whimsical and Modern. She also has a section with her commercial projects.

Classic Glamour

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Livable Elegance

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Mary Macdonlad has her own products and they have her signature, from a lamp to certain fabrics with her designs.



The fact that she is a host in a so known tv show as this one means that her projects and products have a lot of projection, that being said her work is feature in some of the most important press: House Beautiful, House & Garden, Veranda, Elle Decor and so much more.

Mary Macdonald Book

MARY MCDONALD: INTERIORS: The Allure of Style (Rizzoli New York) is the first book on the work of the award-winning internationally published Los Angeles-based designer, and an impressive addition to Rizzoli’s design monograph roster.Lushly photographed and written with wit and charm, the book is arranged thematically, covering the wide range of McDonald’s decorating philosophy.“A well-designed room should beckon you, make you feel welcome and wanting a little bit…more. I hope this book makes you feel that way too.”
– Mary McDonald“Mary McDonald reinterprets classic European Furniture forms with contemporary, decidedly American spirit”
– Architectural Digest“Her work is timeless and glamourous all spun together with a keen fashion sense… she’s a fearless, exuberant accessorizer”
– House Beautiful

Sources:,,,,,, house beautiful, architectural, Digest,,, 1firstdibs,,,,,