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Social Media Influence on Interior Design in Santa Barbara and Montecito

September 17, 2019

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Emily Henderson’s Instagram account featuring 3 interior design ideas

Emily Henderson’s Instagram

Today’s consumers have become increasingly digital-savvy and social media-driven. I have blogged about Insta-worthy locations in Santa Barbara in the past. Now, it’s time to take a look at the ways social media is influencing design, even here in Montecito and Santa Barbara.

Design Inspiration

The highly visual nature of Instagram is taking the lead among social media channels as the most popular place to find design inspiration. Of 2,000 Instagram users recently surveyed, the vast majority (85%) reported following accounts that are style, fashion or lifestyle-focused, which includes interior design. There are also endless opportunities to buy what you see on Instagram.

The number of Instagrammers is endless. That makes navigating the saturated platform a bit overwhelming, especially for those of us who didn’t grow up in the age of social media. Still, from new-age design influencers to industry veterans, interior design Instagram accounts offer followers a new sense of connection between designers and homeowners. This sense of connection makes the entire process mainstream and valuable. In fact, over the years Instagram has become the go-to tool of choice for interior designers and decorators across the globe.

“I’ve met so many people on Instagram,” says Mark D. Sikes, whose preppy, all-American style has earned him more than 150,000 fans. “It’s less polished than a professionally produced design portfolio, but it puts you literally into the hands of the public, showing them who you are and what you love.” Be sure to follow him!

Social media is changing what people view as pretty

What people viewed as being attractive before the popularity of Instagram was largely driven by major brands. That’s because these huge bands could do the following:

  • Pay for advertising on TV, newspapers and magazines.
  • Bring in new customers based on assumed expertise from name alone.
  • Saturate the market, especially retail spaces, with their designs.
  • Develop deep relationships with top media outlets to generate stories and interest. These relationships effectively shut out alternative design voices.

All the above resulted in pretty and popular going hand in hand. That’s no longer the case. Thanks to social media, smaller designers can create a presence and following as well as the big-name brands. That has brought to the world of design edgier and earthier looks so popular today. As these small brands continue to trend, their ideas are becoming more and more mainstream.

10 Social Media Interior Designers Worth Following

Here is a list of some of today’s popular interior designers who are setting the pace with their social-media-savvy approach to design. Every Montecito and Santa Barbara homeowner interested in the topic should #follow:

  • Justina Blakeney
    The artist, designer, and inventor of the term "Jungalow" (jungle + bungalow) crafts interiors that beg to be shared on Instagram. Blakeney is a master of colorful and lively aesthetics. Her Instagram page overflows with plant-filled, tropical inspiration, perfect for the American Rivera.
  • Malene Barnett
    "My philosophy is don’t worry about perfection," says Barnett, designer, and founder of Black Artists + Designers Guild. "When you get an idea, take action. Just do it, execute quickly, and tweak later." You'll find gorgeous interiors on her Instagram page along with inspiring art, plus an overall sense of empowerment through the design world and beyond.
  • Emily Henderson
    Henderson is an LA-based celebrity blogger, interior designer, and TV personality. She crafts refined interiors with a bohemian edge. Head over to her Instagram to find photogenic bright, color-filled spaces that you will want to share with your followers.
  • Corey Damen Jenkins
    Damen Jenkins is known as an interior designer, tastemaker, and media personality extraordinaire. He crafts high-glam interiors that embody a sophisticated aesthetic. One scroll through his Instagram page will make you see why CDJ is a must-follow for any design lover.
  • Young Huh
    The Detroit native is the principal and founder of Young Huh Interiors. She is also an active Instagrammer with a bright and summery page to match her signature aesthetic.

Orlando Soria’s Instagram

  • Orlando Soria
    You may recognize his name because Soria is a designer and host of HGTV’s 'Unspouse My House.' He uses Instagram to share his bright and modern interiors and engage with his 158,000+ followers. According to his bio, "I'm a human man who lives inside your phone and speaks to you directly." #lol
  • Ariel Ashe and Reinaldo Leandro
    The founders of Ashe + Leandro are today’s golden couple of interior design. Known for their "modern luxury" aesthetic, the two create comfortable spaces that are functional and lived in, with a distinct sense of style. Their Instagram page, which serves as a sort of second portfolio for the brand, is wonderfully curated with design for everyone. Go take a look!
  • Amber Lewis
    Lewis' bright, airy, and laid-back California aesthetic lends itself perfectly to a gorgeous Instagram page and to homeowners in Montecito and Santa Barbara. As the founder of Amber Interiors, Lewis crafts designs for all with an eclectic approach to lived-in interiors. You will love them!
  • Ken Fulk
    An industry native and one of the interior design world's biggest names, Fulk shares his signature eclecticism and irresistible interiors and invites fans to take a look into his aesthetically driven lifestyle. Combined, it all makes for an Instagram dreamland.
  • Alyssa Kapito
    If you are into airy, tailored rooms with posh urban exteriors, then you must follow is Kapito's Instagram page. “[I] try to break the mold every time,” she says. One look and you’ll see that she does break the mold every time.

We want our lives and our design to be Insta-worthy

Whether we want to admit it or not, the decisions we make are influenced by our desire to follow the trends when creating a uniquely personal space. This, combined with the open-source nature of social platforms, has seriously changed what we think is attractive in home decor and even art. All that adds up to produce real impacts in the way homeowners design all the rooms in their Montecito and Santa Barbara homes.

Anyone who lives on the American Riviera should check out my Instagram page to find inspiration. I’d love to hear your thoughts on who I follow and your suggestions on others I should not miss. Please shoot me a private message on my page. Here is another idea. All of the homes for sale listed on my comprehensive website also provide inspiration, especially for those looking to buy in the area. See something you like? Then please call me at +1 805.886.9378 or email me at  Be sure to check out my other social media pages: Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

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Client Reviews

“It was an emotional experience selling our mother’s home in Montecito that we all loved so much but Cristal made the process easier on our whole family by guiding us through the transaction every step of the way. She knows the market so well and everything she recommended was on point including the asking price, painting, and staging the home, which looked beautiful and helped the buyer envision her new home. We sold it the first day it hit the market with an offer above asking! Cristal did an incredible job communicating with us and the buyer to ensure that the transaction would run smoothly. We highly recommend using Cristal, she was a pleasure to work with! ”

- J & A

“Cristal is a pleasure to work with! Her knowledge of the local real estate market coupled with her amazing listening skills resulted in her showing us an array of homes that were all excellent choices. Her low-pressure patient attitude made us feel extremely comfortable with the whole process. I cannot recommend her highly enough.”

- M.F.

“Cristal Clarke is #1 in her field - and you don't become #1 by luck. Cristal works harder, and longer, and with more charm and patience than any real estate agent I have ever worked with in the past; her calendar has no weekend, her days have no clocks, her only concern is selling your property as soon as possible and for the best price on the market. Am I a fan? You bet!”

- P.B.

“We have used Cristal now several times and cannot express how grateful we are for her expertise, dedication, and unwavering support throughout the entire home-buying process. Cristal is knowledgeable, patient and attentive. Her attention to detail is remarkable, and she consistently went above and beyond to provide us with all the information and resources we needed to make informed decisions. Cristal is a skillful negotiator and advocate. She can navigate complex negotiations with professionalism and grace and felt like a true partner to us in the home-buying process. Cristal has a genuine passion for real estate and a deep commitment to her clients' satisfaction. I cannot speak highly enough of Cristal and her exceptional service. She is a true expert in her field and her dedication to excellence, combined with unwavering support is the reason we choose to work with her for all our real estate buying needs.”

- T.C.

“Cristal is a top-notch realtor who sold my home before it ever went on the market. I had two competing offers that enabled me to get top dollar for my home. Not only is Cristal superb but her team is extraordinary. I cannot say enough about Cristal and her team. They are simply phenomenal, the consummate professionals, who took care of every possible detail, making the sale and transition period, smooth from our end. They are also lovely, caring people, who knew all the right professionals, to get the job done. Thank you, everyone!”

- D.R.

“I could list lots of cool adjectives to describe Cristal. All good by the way. But, that is not why I or anyone should hire Cristal. My reason for hiring her, which proved to be correct, is very simple. She got the job done. And, she does it time and time again and with zero issues. And, that is why she is one of the top agents in the country. End of subject. ”

- M.A.

“Working with Cristal was a complete pleasure. Cristal was extremely patient with us as we evaluated nearly 2 dozen homes over a span of 2 years. Her knowledge of the market is unmatched. Cristal provided us with exceptional counsel as we evaluated opportunities and negotiated pricing. The closing process was handled thoroughly and efficiently. We could not be happier with our purchase and even more happy to now call Cristal our friend.”

- D.K.

“Cristal Clarke has conducted numerous real estate transactions for me beginning 13 years ago with the purchase of a Lemon Ranch. She has handled both large and small purchases and sales with equal dedication. As a negotiator, you can’t find anyone better. Her transactions are always conducted in the most appropriate and professional manner. Cristal has considerable knowledge of the Santa Barbara market.”

- S.N. Decker Ph.D.

“Living in Europe, we were to say the least, unaccustomed to the nuances of Real Estate acquisition in California and Cristal steered us through the process with absolute professionalism and personal attention to detail at every turn. Her in-depth knowledge of the market place combined with enthusiasm and drive was the only reason we secured the property of our dreams and will be forever grateful. If you are looking for personal discrete and private representation of the highest quality we suggest you look no further than Cristal Clarke.”

- Johan and Paula van den Berg

“Cristal is very straightforward, cheerful, helpful, professional and trustworthy….we felt very lucky to work with her.”

- John and Lacey Williams

“After considering our many choices, we are grateful it was Cristal Clarke of Sotheby’s International who represented the sale of our Montecito cottage. We are familiar with Cristal’s reputation of hard work and dedication to clients, but it was her attention to detail that made our experience so positive. She offered suggestions for staging the property, worked in harmony with potential buyers and was even able to secure back up offers. The sale of our cottage was completed much sooner than we expected, due in great part to Cristal’s professional skills and support. We highly recommend Cristal as a first choice for anyone needing representation with real estate.”

- Michael & Nancy Lee

“Our experience in working with Cristal Clarke resulted in the successful and discrete acquisition of a property which was not yet on the open market. Her knowledge of the Montecito/Santa Barbara area and vast expertise blended with her passion for real estate and architecture, provided us with the very highest level of professionalism and personalized services. Cristal exhibited a rare combination of excellent communications, attention to detail, creativity and patience.”

- Richard and Catherine Frinier

“Cristal really breaks the mold. She knows every nook and cranny of this real estate market, understands value, and follows up on everything, all the time. She was incredibly patient with our two year quest to find the perfect house. Every house hunting trip from across the country was well planned, and our time was never wasted. On top of her professionalism and expertise, she is delightful to spend time with. We are thrilled with the home we purchased, and grateful to Cristal for so wisely advising us through this process, right through to the close and beyond.”

- Laurie Siegel

“We met Cristal first in the course of renting a winter home (for three years), then buying a house using her as our agent. She was amazingly good at listening to our wants and showing us homes that fit our needs. Her mastery of the paperwork was perfect. Most importantly, there was never a situation where we doubted her straightforwardness or integrity. If we do another real estate transaction in Montecito (which I doubt, we’re happy with what we purchased), without question we’d use Cristal again.”

- Ken Saffir

“Susan and I just want to thank you for your efforts in the sale of our home. You are really quite amazing. Your competence, persistence, optimism and humor made the entire process effortless. Every problem that arose, you somehow fixed; any obstacle, you overcame. We have bought and sold many homes. It has never been such a painless and enjoyable process!”

- Michael & Susan Marquart

“A little something about “our” realtor, Cristal Clarke. My wife and I came to Santa Barbara about fifteen years ago looking for a seasonal home from which to enjoy the weather and amenities of the central coast. Being in the real estate business myself I was familiar with agents and brokers so entered the market with open eyes. We “flipped” a few houses in the early years, dealing with various agents and finally ended up in Montecito. That’s when good fortune put us together with Cristal. To say we were impressed is to put it mildly. Cristal really knows the market. She is familiar with the area, its history and trends. When we have questions about a particular property she either has the answers immediately or gets back to us by phone or email. There is no waiting or wondering with Cristal. She is an agent who is “on top of it.” Her recommendations as to price points, contractors, inspectors and title agents have proven to be exceptional, showing great insight and the highest professional standards. We consider ourselves exceedingly fortunate to say that Cristal Clarke is our realtor and would recommend her services to any serious buyer or seller.”

- Rob & Judi Kelch