Over 37 years as a designer I have typically used a backdrop of neutrals and added color and pattern in smaller portions. I think the neutrals allow you to change color accents without a huge expense. You also can choose to change colors with the seasons if you have a neutral setting. Adding pillows or artwork with color is a much easier transition to a fresh new look if you want to update in a few years. I also feel that a lighter backdrop is a calm serene feeling. There are lots of designers that have become known for their patterns and bright colors on main pieces but over 37 years that is not who I am. The neutral backdrops have deemed timeless over the years of my design business and is my trademark. I have been in dark dreary homes and strongly feel that they have an effect on the clients and the well being of their mental state. The light and cheery homes definitely create a happier environment and much easier to live in. We recently remodeled a home that had dark brown stained concrete flooring and dark gold walls. We painted the walls white and redid the floors to a light wood color. The family walked back in after vacation and the twins immediately said “We can see in our house and it is so bright and cheery” Color can definitely have an effect on the entire family. No matter what budget you have, painting the walls lighter can truly bring a home to life.

I have never been influenced by trends. My success over the 37 years has been greatly attributed to timeless design. I am more influenced by art, fashion, and architecture. I love adding interesting elements that attract the eye. I like an eclectic mix of elements and certain pieces truly make you appreciate the room design and make it special. Whether it is a little architecturally interesting end table to a beautifully custom designed piece. The goal should be to have pieces in each room that make you feel good and that are special. When your clients let you know years later that they are still in love with their home that is the best compliment you can get as an interior designer.




Furniture & Lighting

Furniture & Lighting

Luxury-Designer can create your vision in Furniture and Lighting

You have an interior design vision you want to bring to life. And whether you’re redesigning your current space or moving into a new home, you know exactly what you need—furniture pieces that are quintessionally you. Instead of searching endlessly for that perfect piece, why not design your own custom furniture, built exactly to suit your style, space and lifestyle needs?

To do this, Luxury Designer examines your personal style and determines how best to express that style. Then we can decide on the exact shapes, colors, textures and details you need to bring your custom sofa, sectional chair, dining table or a console to life. Here’s how we get started and what to expect during the custom furniture design process. Donna Johnson has created custom furniture pieces and lighting for several of her private clients. I have designed many custom pieces including dining room tables, consoles, cocktail tables custom upholstery and some amazing lighting.

Here’s how we get started and what to expect during the custom furniture design process.

Now it’s time to focus on feel 

When choosing custom upholstery, focus on fabric, color and pattern. Consider where the furniture will live and who will use it. Does your sofa need to be family- or pet-friendly? Synthetic fabrics repel pet hair and are more scratch-resistant than natural fibers such as wool. Will the dining table be home to children or grandchildren. Marble tabletops are easy to wipe clean. If you want wood, there is an option for DuraShield that will resist scratches and stains.

Luxury Designer had a client that wanted a versatile dining room, therefore, Donna Johnson designed cocktail tables that raise up to dining height. This accomplished an informal additional seating in the great room and when they entertain the tables could be pushed together, raised up and form a dining table with chairs.

Luxury Designer had a client that wanted a versatile dining room, therefore, Donna Johnson designed cocktail tables that raise up to dining height. This accomplished an informal additional seating in the great room and when they entertain the tables could be pushed together, raised up and form a dining table with chairs.

Narrow down your color and pattern options by looking to the future—can you live with that bold hue or pattern for 10 years or longer? Neutral shades age well but have a more subtle effect overall. Leather, typically available in natural shades, is great for family rooms because of its durability. The material itself gets even softer and more comfortable over time. The color of leather-upholstered furniture will also transform over the years, often developing a rich patina, making it equally suitable for upscale sitting rooms. Oftentimes, the standard cocktail tables are not the correct scale in order to fit the needs of the clients or the layout of the furniture. Console tables are oftentimes the focal point of the entry and a simple console behind the sofa to create ambiance. Details are extremely important to custom pieces. We designed this end table with stainless steel inserts. The console was in an amazing entry of this home and I ended a furniture piece that was like a stainless-steel sculpture.

Custom furniture pieces can become a piece of art in the room. You always want some pieces in the room that you can say “You have to see this piece” or “This piece was designed especially for my home”. There is something to be said when you have some special pieces in your home that you can’t go out and buy at your local furniture store. Sometimes you find the perfect dining chair but the table must be equally as impressive to create a perfect dining room ensemble.

Perhaps, a pool table needs to have that extra charm with a custom round stainless steel base.

Now that you’ve decided on size, shape and upholstery, it’s time to focus on details.

Custom furniture is inherently unique in nature, but your personal style really shines through the particulars. When designing a sofa, don’t overlook the make and finish of the legs, which unify the piece with adjacent furniture. For example, consider sofa legs in a stainless steel or brass finish or wood to match the rest of the decor. Beyond the furniture itself, consider the home accents needed once it’s in your space. Pillows and throws finish the look of your sofa or armchair, while chandeliers, pendant lights and sconces will illuminate a custom dining table. When in doubt, the right area rug can pull together any room.

Donna Johnson, Luxury Designer, has designed many amazing furniture pieces as well some incredible light fixtures. The beauty of a custom designed piece is that it is unique to your home especially for you.

With a firm understanding of your needs, careful consideration of design and just a little bit of extra time, Luxury Designer can create custom furniture built perfectly to fit your life—and your look. ‘Design the Life You Love”

Refresh Your Home

Start The New Year Out Right and Refresh Your Home.


Luxurious homes have a certain aura about them: They feel elegant, spacious, and effortless—and expensive, most of the time. But the secret to homes that look expensive is that not everything in them actually comes with a high price tag. The addition of high-profile luxury home décor accessories, simple changes and some lifestyle changes you can have an amazing home that looks just like the homes you adore in photos.

Rearrange Your Accessories/Accents

The easiest way to update your home on a budget is by rearranging what you already have. Start by putting all your moveable accessories—like tchotchkes, frames, bookends, and throw pillows—into a pile on the floor. Update your photos, reframe dated frames, perhaps change some pillows or move them around. Add some pieces along with what you have to update your shelves and cocktail tables to give a new and fresh look.

It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of throws. What’s not to love? They do so much to dress up a room, but come in such a small (and easily storable) package. In any room, a fur throw adds texture serves as the finishing touch to the space.


Adding some light fixtures or hardware

Buying a bold new light fixture or hardware for your cabinets is popular advice for updating your home—but for good reason. It’s inexpensive and can have a big impact on your space’s look and feel. Plus, it works in every room: Try a new bed lamp in a fun color or install metallic pulls on your bathroom drawers. In the kitchen or living room, try updating your light fixtures with modern pendants. You also can update your exterior with new light fixtures that will revive the exterior.


Refinish furniture

Updating furniture you already have is one of the least expensive and most effective ways to give your home a New Year’s makeover—even if it’s not the easiest solution. But what better time to learn than now? “Take an old dresser and let your imagination run wild,” says Ingram. “Lightly sand the piece, paint it a fresh color, and add pretty pulls to bring it back to life.” Plus, your new hobby will save you cash down the line.



Change your interior colors

We always recommend that you keep your neutrals in the larger pieces allowing you to add different colors in pillows and small pieces to freshen up your look.If your style tends towards the bold, consider paring down for spring. “Try only using one shade of accent colors for the season,” For example, use only shades of blue for your pillows and accessories to refresh your space in the wintertime. Once your new color is in place, add in a few carefully chosen accessories or pillows, consider grey with blues. Simply adding a little wallpaper or painting an accent color can add so much to.


Move the Art Around

If you’ve had the same gallery wall up for ages, we understand if you’re ready for a change. I recommend moving around the art in your home “for a change of view.” Consider letting your large artwork stand alone on a wall—or creating interesting wall displays that create amazing new areas.



Lighten Up Windows

Lightening up your windows can change the look of your home as well. Remove heavy dark drapes and replace with light and airy window treatments. If you are opposed to changing window treatments, just simply open them up and let more light into the rooms.



Create a Fitness Space

Why not refresh your home and pursue your New Year’s resolutions? I recommend finding a beautiful basket to store weights and fitness equipment, then committing to a short workout before your morning shower. Make sure the surrounding space is serene and calm. “By creating an environment that complements and supports the resolution, you’re more likely to enjoy the space and the workout” You also could create a massage room for you to enjoy and it doesn’t take much to convert your room. Simply by adding a massage table or two, console and some soothing art can transform a room.

Meditation Room

Dedicate 2019 to self-reflection by turning a quiet corner into a dream-like space for personal time—without spending much money on the transformation. “Find a small table and a beautiful throw to drape over it and add a candle and a comfortable floor pillow.


High Point Market

High Point Market “The Niche City”

Every six months I venture to High Point, NC to view all of the newest and greatest furniture, accessories and artwork. I thought it might be interesting to write about the market and a bit of history behind the market.
The High Point Market (formerly the International Home Furnishings Market and the Southern Furniture Market), held in High Point, North Carolina, is the largest home furnishings industry trade show in the world, with over 10 million square feet by roughly 2000 exhibitors throughout about 180 buildings. The market holds two major shows each year, one in April and another in October, running one week in the Fall, and two weeks in the Spring. There are around 70,000-80,000 attendees from over 100 countries. The High Point Market Authority coordinates the exposition, whose showrooms have nearly completely filled what had been the historic downtown. A 2013 Duke University study, paid for by the High Point Market Authority, showed that the market contributed $5.4 billion to the area’s economy.

High Point Market

The first formal Southern Furniture Market was held in High Point March 1–15, 1909. In 1921, the Southern Furniture Exposition Building opened for its first show June 20. Built in 19 months, the showroom cost approximately $1 million and held 249,000 square feet of exhibition space. Regular shows were held in January and July. With the exception of 1943, the market was put on hold from 1941 until the end of World War II.
The $1 million 10-story Wrenn Wing was added to the Southern Furniture Exposition Building in 1950. The center’s fourth expansion is connected to older parts of the building by glass walkways over Wrenn Street. During the 1950s, informal “in-between” markets began to emerge, hosting visitors in April and October. The main markets were still held in January and July. However, the size and scope of the mid-season marketing during April and October begin to surpass the January and July shows in the 1960s.

In the 1970s, showrooms other than the Southern Furniture Exposition Building gained stature, both in size and importance. In 1980, organizers in Dallas made a bid to host the major national home furnishings market. In 1982, marking a complete transition, the January and July shows were discontinued, leaving the April and October shows.Also in 1982, Market Square opened in the renovated Tomlinson Chair complex. It is credited with starting the dramatic increase in showroom space that made High Point a major furniture exhibition center.

The Southern Furniture Market was renamed the International Home Furnishings Market in 1989. High Point’s largest showroom, the Southern Furniture Exposition Building, changed its name to the International Home Furnishings Center, or IHFC. With nearly 7,000,000 square feet of furniture showroom space already available around the city, a decade-long showroom building boom began. In the 1990s, a construction boom added an additional 3,000,000 square feet of showrooms to High Point. Showroom expansion continued in 2000, with the addition of new temporary exhibit spaces: The Suites at Market Square and Showplace. A year later, the 12th floor of the IHFC opened, giving the building 3,500,000 square feet of space, more than 14 times its original size.

In 2001, organizers announced the formation of the High Point Market Authority, the official organizer of the Market. The next year, the Authority approached the N.C. General Assembly for the first time in its history seeking state support for the trade show, the largest event in the state of North Carolina. In 2003, the Market Authority began a massive shuttle service that today.

Showplace exposition building in High Point, NC, USA supports over 300,000 riders per year. The N.C. Department of Transportation set aside $900,000 for each of the next two years so the Authority could offer free shuttles to and from 100 hotels and the Piedmont Triad International Airport, Charlotte Douglas International Airport, and Raleigh-Durham International Airport. In 2005, a new transportation terminal, the Mendenhall Transportation Center, opened in downtown High Point to anchor the Market.

In 2011, IHFC Acquisition Co. bought the IHFC for $275 million. Bassett Furniture Industries was that company’s largest stockholder. SEC reports from Bassett showed a connection with The Related Cos., an investor in World Market Center. The Related Cos. was rumored to be part of a deal which would bring most of High Point’s showroom space under one owner, and there were fears that the industry would move more activity to Las Vegas.[8] At a press conference May 3, 2011, World Market Center CEO Bob Maricich and other officials of a new company announced the consolidation of what had been competing showroom facilities. International Market Centers (IMC), owned by Bain Capital and Oaktree Capital, with headquarters in both High Point and Las Vegas, bought the IHFC, Market Square and Showplace, representing about two-thirds of the city’s showroom space.

In a deal completed September 26, 2017, Blackstone Real Estate Partners, Blackstone Tactical Opportunities and Fireside Investments purchased IMC, which at the time owned 14 buildings with 6.7 million square feet in High Point.
Today, the Market’s 70,000-80,000 attendees include exhibitors, buyers, designers, and media in the furniture industry. Among the High Point Market attendees transacting business are widely known figures from other arenas who participate in the home furnishings industry, including Martha Stewart, Kathy Ireland, Alexander Julian, Jonathan Adler, Oscar de la Renta, Candice Olsen, Paula Deen, Charles Spencer, and Donald Trump.

The High Point Market has been noted for being a significant part of the region’s furniture “cluster,” which was discussed by sociologist Richard Florida and initially by economist Michael Porter. The High Point Market has also been the focus of an extensive case study by urban sociologist John Joe Schlichtman. In this research, High Point’s ability to capture the global furniture merchandising market is said to signal a new era in what is possible for small cities. Along these lines, he terms High Point a “Niche City”, which is “a city that forges global centrality by creating an economic specialization in a specific segment of the global service economy.”

The architecture in High Point has surpassed many of the most famed buildings in the last few years. The new Christopher Guy building designed by Freeman Kennett architecture. Another new state of the art building is being constructed and will be ready for presentation at April market.

Follow my blog and I will send some of the newest items presented at market that I am excited about and found interesting.