‘Three Things I Would Never Do as an Interior Designer’

When Bilal Rehman speaks, those keen to spruce up their homes listen.

The interior designer has over 900,000 engaged followers on social media who regularly ask him to share his know-how on his particular niche, luxury and high-end interiors.

While it may be significantly easier to just follow trends, or keep a close eye on the fads making their way in and out of style expos, Rehman’s motto is to curate a home that’s unique to you.

“It’s absolutely essential to consider not only the aesthetic appeal of your home, but also its functionality in alignment with you and your lifestyle,” he told Newsweek.

Having said that, there are three specific things that the Houston-based studio owner would never broach in any home. Newsweek found out exactly what they are and why you should steer clear of them too.

Avoid Gray Hardwood Floors

“I would never allow builder-grade gray hardwood floors in my space,” Rehman, who owns Bilal Rehman Studio, told Newsweek.

Gray flooring, which is usually available in a range of materials from wood to vinyl, had benefitted from the minimalist grey interior trend that dominated homeware lookbooks and social media feeds in the past decade. Sadly, its flooring companion has fallen out of favor with some designers, Rehman being one of them, as warmer neutrals have taken center stage.

A room with a gray hardwood floor (left). Bilal Rehman in his studio (right). Luxury interior designer Rehman says a hardwood floor in that color can suck the inviting feel out of a room.


The interior designer told Newsweek that such a shade can suck the inviting feel out of most properties. This can have a particularly negative impact on homeowners who are keen to host plenty of guests.

“While endeavoring to enhance your living environment, having a super minimal space isn’t ideal for someone who hosts every weekend,” Rehman said.

“Just aim to avoid trends and popular themes when trying to upgrade your space. You will never regret embracing a timeless approach that can grow and adapt with you, ensuring that your space remains a reflection of your personality and not a replica of what you see everyone doing on social media,” he added.

Don’t Buy Furniture Sets

Going for the “matchy-matchy” look can often take the pressure off homeowners and renters hoping to spruce up their living environments, but Rehman deems opting for furniture sets as being a cardinal sin in the interior world.

The designer prefers giving a personal or customized look to his clients’ homes, which can be more difficult to achieve when all pieces of furniture at play are from the same collection.

“I would never buy furniture sets for any part of my space, not even for a guest bedroom. I would also highly advise against relying on mass-produced statement pieces, decorative touches or artwork,” he said.

“You would be surprised how easy it actually is to find unique pieces that speak to you and your space that don’t break the bank!

“I love sourcing artwork at flea markets and on online e-commerce sites specialized in selling handmade goods. You could even connect with your local art school to help a growing artist sell their first piece,” he added.

Stay Away From Cool Lighting

Rehman’s last nugget of advice is to avoid cool-toned light bulbs and opt for warmer-toned lighting instead. “I would never have lightbulbs out of the 2,700K to 3,000K range,” he said.

“The warmer the lighting, the more sexy and welcoming a space can appear,” the designer explained.

A 3.000K LED bulb can produce soft white, warm white or yellowish color lights. They are also relatively affordable to source, starting in retailers from around $6.

Bilal 2
Pictured: Bilal Rehman. Luxury interior designer, Bilal Rehman, told Newsweek what he’d never do when designing a client’s home.


Rehman’s Rise to the Top

Rehman has always had a “passion for beautiful spaces” and a keen eye for design.

“Growing up, I would spend a lot of my free time rearranging different parts of my parents’ house,” he told Newsweek.

After graduating from high school, the designer went to college to study computer engineering. It wasn’t until he landed an internship at an interior design firm that he realized he was on the wrong course. He decided to ditch computer engineering and pursue his talent in interior design soon after.

“I took the internship just to explore the industry and eventually worked my way up from being an intern to being a senior designer in just a few years,” he said.

“Through my internship I quickly realized that I hated computer engineering and switched majors!”

Rehman left the interior design firm that gave him a leg up last year to launch his very first independent studio, Bilal Rehman Studio.

“I haven’t looked back since,” he said.

Rehman’s often found at his studio in Texas where he caters to a luxury clientele. He also posts design-related content to his social media account, @bilalrehman.

If you have a personal dilemma, let us know via We can ask experts for advice on relationships, family, friends, money and work, or just life in general, and your story could be featured on Newsweek’s “What Should I Do?” section.