When it comes to your home decor, renowned interior designer and ceramicist Jonathan Adler says anything goes, as long as it suits your taste. “There are no rules,” he said. “If you like it, it will work.” After a beat, he retracts that statement. “Actually, I lied – I do have a rule. Always buy a chandelier that is bigger than you think you need and more expensive than you think you can afford. Anytime I skimp on lighting , I’ll all regret it.” (If you’re looking for bold lighting inspiration, he says his own Globo-Six Light Linear Chandelier is a great place to start!)
However, when it comes to the rest of his life and career, Adler has no regrets. He initially thought he would follow in his father’s footsteps to become a lawyer and study at Brown University. But he never lost his love for pottery, and in 1993 he began selling some of his one-of-a-kind creations to Manhattan’s high-end department store Barney’s. He later turned to designing pillows, throw pillows and rugs, and developed such a fan base that he opened his own standalone store in Soho in 1998.
His success also launched a career in interior design, and he now owns 11 Jonathan Adler brick-and-mortar stores around the world, including a new flagship in New York City. Below, he shares some of his other favorite design essentials—plus, some tips for hosting a successful holiday dinner party this holiday season.
The designer deviated from the norm when it came to what to put in one of his handcrafted vases. “The flowers are so yesterday!” he said. “Instead, use feathers to show your sincerity in design.” He says the natural design of peacock feathers immediately draws attention. “There are few decorative failures that a festoon of feathers cannot fix.”
Take it down a notch! When it comes to lighting, here it is. He is a champion of “more is more” and pattern mixing when it comes to design. “Put all your lighting on dimmers,” says Adler. “You and your guests will look younger and wealthier than you really are.” He realizes that’s not always possible, especially with rental apartments. “Don’t have a dimmer? Get these smart bulbs to adjust your lighting wirelessly.”
The secret to a beautiful home is keeping it tidy! Adler is passionate about keeping floors clean with minimal effort. “If cleaning is second only to godliness, the Roomba is a godsend,” he says of the beloved smart vacuum, which can empty itself for up to 60 days and avoid items like cords and pet waste, That’s why we named it the best vacuum cleaner of the year, too.
• related: Best Robot Vacuum Cleaner of the Year
If you’re into entertaining, Adler says it’s a must-have for the home. “I implore you to get a bar cart, especially for the holidays,” he said. “It’s a party on wheels, say you’re slutty and know how to entertain.” His favorite options are his own designs. “Our Jacques Bar Cart is crafted from luxurious clear acrylic with brushed trim and two glass shelves, perfect for your choice of aperitif and equipment。 This is truly a “Bar Cart for Bar Carts”.
• related: 10 Tools to Elevate Your Cocktail Bar
Adler loves a good book—and this new edition, written by his husband Simon Dunant, tells the history of Lou Reid’s 1972 album Transformers and the impact its songs had on the LGBTQ community. Plus, it looks great on a shelf! “I love decor in all its forms—pillow decor, tabletop decor, bed decor and, of course, bookshelf decor,” he says, or artfully arranging his pieces. “My bookshelf is full of my short Simon Doonan, whose latest book on Lou Reed is genius (I swear I’m not biased!).
How does Adler keep up with his busy career? He got through with the help of the contents of the cup. “I’m a highly caffeinated person and drink about a billion cups of PG Tips tea a day,” he said. “I probably should have sought treatment for my addiction, but I like that it’s the strongest tea you can drink.”