Sitting Down with Stylish Young Brisbane Decorator Leilani Ryder


For Leilani Ryder of Leilani Ryder Interiors, a love of design and all things beautiful began at an early age. She always found herself fascinated by design and décor, whether she was touring art galleries or visiting show homes with her parents. Leilani initially studied graphic design, but her interest in interior design was never far away, and she decided to go back to school.

Leilani’s work which focuses in Brisbane and along the Gold Coast, is timeless and classic, with a modern twist. She favours the American Classic aesthetic, although she brings her own ideas to each project. Leilani works with clients every step of the way to make it a seamless experience for them, from planning to installation and styling. One of the specific details of Leilani’s signature aesthetic includes the combination of blue and white colour palettes.

Her ultimate objective is the creation of a space that’s warm, inviting and personalised. 


1. When did you first decide to become an interior decorator and stylist and how did you get started with your design business?

My passion for art and design started from an early age, I would love visiting art galleries and beautifully decorated display homes with my parents, poring over home design magazines and trying out new styles in the family home, but it was something I had always considered a hobby. 

Wanting to be involved in the creative industries I pursued a career in graphic design, but it wasn’t long before I recognised that my heart lay with interiors. I was working for an advertising agency at the time and on a client photoshoot I realised just how much delight I took in the styling and setup to create a beautiful backdrop and capture a moment, my eye for detail also became apparent as I adjusted every finishing element until it was perfect. This obsession combined with my perpetual drive to decorate and style my own home inspired me to study once again.
After completing my studies in Interior Decorating I was fortunate enough to hold a role with a high-end design firm, but realised that I wanted to focus on styling so I took a leap of faith and started off as a freelance stylist, moving onto interiors as clients started to see my work and wanted the same style in their own home.


2. What is the most challenging part of your job?
The most challenging part of my job is definitely the project management side. There are a lot of facets with each scheme that need to come together - from sourcing and procurement to final installation, there is a lot that can change along the way. It is quite a time-consuming process to manage and you certainly need to be able to think on your feet to meet final deadlines.
3. Is there an interior design style you favour and do you have your own design aesthetic?

My signature style is timeless, classic and elegant with a modern sensibility to create homes that not only look beautiful but are also liveable and inviting. My design aesthetic is shaped but not confined by the new American Classic style. I like to focus on creating bespoke interiors that encapsulate my clients' needs and desires with a contemporary take that is sophisticated, fresh and timeless. I believe that a beautiful, refined home should also be comfortable, warm and welcoming - it is that personal touch that makes a house a home.


4. Who are other interior designers you admire?

There are so many designers that I admire, but to name a few: Mark D Sikes, Phoebe Howard, Bunny Williams, Susanne Kasler, Victoria Haagan, Alexa Hampton, Carolyne Roehm, Meg Braff, Kit Kemp for Firmadale Hotels and the ever elegant style of Aerin Lauder.
5. What inspires you?

I am inspired by beautiful blooms and books, fabulous fabrics, elegant scents, relaxing music, photography, art and travel - all of which evoke an emotion and transport you to a lovely time and space. I will forever be influenced by the softest of blues, duckeggs and the classic combination of blue and white.


6. What do you think is the essential piece of furniture we should all have in our bedroom? 

It’s hard to name just one! An upholstered bedhead in a beautiful fabric paired with a comfortable bed and layered with bespoke cushions is the perfect piece to create a focal point and anchor the scheme. Beautiful linen is also essential to add a lovely touch of luxury to the room.

7. What key element do we all need for a chic living room?

The key element for me is balance. It is the expert layering of all pieces that makes it stylish. Beautiful and comfortable custom sofas and armchairs, a coffee table or ottoman to balance the space - paired with side tables to provide functionality, designer lamps to add ambience, stylish artwork collated with a sideboard or console, a chic rug to ground the space and finally my personal favourite - cushions and décor accessories to make it warm and welcoming.

8. Do you have a favourite project or story behind a project?
Teaching my clients young son to “karate chop” the custom made cushions was a definitely a memorial moment. Also, big empty furniture boxes plus shaved styrofoam makes for a nice (yet messy) winter wonderland. 

When Leilani’s not creating dream spaces for clients, she’s often working on her own home, whether it’s adding beautiful flowers, or entertaining in her sanctuary. She’s likely to continue following her passion for design and working with clients, and hopefully finding time for tea and travel in between. 


Let's Get Personal .....
1. What else are you passionate about besides your work?

Making my house a home -  I love re-styling and I’m always adding fresh flowers, scented candles and new décor books. My home is my treasured sanctuary that is constantly evolving and I take great pride and joy in creating a warm and welcoming space where I can relax with loved ones.

2. What is your most treasured belonging?

I love my beautiful collection of décor books gifted to me by friends and family over the years. Last Christmas in New York whilst trying to escape the chill of the surprise snowfall at Rockefeller Centre, I popped into the first store I could find. Perched high in the shelves was the gorgeous book ‘Indigo’, I mentioned to my husband just how beautiful it was - he then surprised me with it for Christmas. It now serves as a lovely memento of a special trip.

3. What's one thing people may not know about you?
I was a dancer in my younger years and I’ve also sang in bands since I was 16. The stage is gloriously terrifying!
4. In 10 years I'd like to be….
I see myself evolving within interiors industry, I feel incredibly grateful to be able to do something that I love. I have a few new endeavours install - watch this space! On a personal note - living in the country in my forever home and travelling more often would also be lovely.
5. What can't you live without?
A nice cup of tea made by my wonderful husband.


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