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The Best Interior Designers in Phoenix

14 Min Read

Contemporary interior design in the Phoenix metro area and around the Southwest has escaped the chains of regionalism, and you’ll rarely see a howling coyote or Kokopelli motif anymore in the upscale custom homes, restaurants, hotels, and offices of Scottsdale, Paradise Valley, and downtown Phoenix. Interior designers in Phoenix are forging a new, more urban, youthful, and edgy path, while also mixing traditional regional styles into new and thrilling amalgams. The designers on this list are all visionary artists with something new to say about the way we live, work, and play in the desert. They help homeowners create spaces that speak to their individual sentiments, furnishing their oases in whatever style speaks to their heart. These designers are industry professionals who have a steady list of clientele and raving reviews.

K&Q Interiors

4300 N. Miller Road, C-130, Scottsdale, AZ 85251

A dynamic interior design firm in Scottsdale, K&Q Interiors is led by three talented designers, Kacie Lilley, Stacy Scharf, and Marlis Kapellusch. Lilley has a bachelor’s degree in interior design from Arizona State University and 15 years of experience with top local design firms. Scharf earned a bachelor’s degree in business management from ASU and a interior design degree from Scottsdale Community College, and she has been in the interior design field for nearly 19 years. Kapellusch has a bachelor’s degree in Interior Design from ASU, and her work has been featured in many publications, including the Arizona Republic and Scottsdale Magazine.

The firm recently won an ASID Design Excellence Award for Residence over 6,000 square feet. The interiors for a family of eleven’s “mountain retreat” needed to be tough and able to withstand the comings and goings of nine children, but the parents also wanted the upscale residence to be sophisticated and stylish. Using stone, heavy wood, and metal, K&Q Interiors created a beautiful home that is functional, durable, and inspiring. Natural wood was used throughout as a central design feature, with woods of different colors creating their own unique, rustic paneling. Couches, beds, and much of the kitchen remodel were inspired from a soft grey color palette, making the home minimalist yet soothing. Deep browns and vibrant reds were used in another Phoenix residence, with a plethora of secondary colors really making the space pop. The home was infused with slight nods to nature, with the artwork, centerpieces, and real and fake flowers on countertops and bookcases. These touches perfectly blend with the greenery just outside the expansive windows.

Joi Prater Interiors

748 Easy Street, #9, Carefree, AZ 85377

Studio head Joi Prater has been an interior designer for 30 years, dividing her attention among residential and commercial interior design projects in the Phoenix metro area and in San Diego, California. She has also worked on projects in Hawaii, Nevada, New York, and Canada. Her interior design work has been featured in Desert Design Magazine, Phoenix Home & Garden, and other publications. Her work has also been shown at the San Diego Museum of Art. Prater studied landscape architecture at the University of Arizona in Tucson and received a degree in interior design from San Diego Mesa College.

Particularly suited to a region with a large population of retirees, Joi Prater won an ASID Design Excellence Award for “Aging in Place,” for an ADA-compliant bathroom addition. The redesign includes a four-foot-wide, walk-in shower with a 40-inch-wide entrance, textured floors to prevent slips, a magnified makeup mirror, and sliding doors. And yet for all its increased functionality, the space still looks elegant and inviting. Prater also won a recent ASID Design Excellence Award for Public or Educational Facilities for her interior work on the Brynn Smith Memorial Campus for Foothills Animal Rescue in Scottsdale. Prater designed the gorgeous animal sanctuary with an eye not only on the animals’ comfort, but also on the limited budget of the client. Prater was able to obtain donated materials, including furniture, wood, and granite, to create a stylish interior that fits perfectly with the building’s modern style. The center garnered ASID Design Excellence Award, 1st Place, for a Public Facility, and a National Golden Nugget Award for Excellence in Architecture and Design.

IMI Design Studio

7007 E. 5th Avenue, Scottsdale, AZ 85251

A leading interior design and interior architecture firm in Scottsdale’s luxury home scene, IMI Design Studio opened its doors in 1992. CEO and Lead Designer Anita Lang has won many awards for her designs, including a number of Design Excellence Awards and Best in Show Awards from the ASID’s Arizona North Chapter. The firm’s work has been featured in Luxe, Modern Luxury Scottsdale Magazine, and JetSet Magazine, as well as in several interior design books, including Spectacular Homes of the Southwest. Lang has appeared on many Phoenix-area television shows to talk about design and lifestyle subjects.

The IMI Design team won an ASID Design Excellence Award for designing a commercial studio for two fellow designers. The studio includes a stylish, clean-lined custom oak reception area with a built-in screen that displays the designers’ portfolio. Lang and team also won a recent ASID Design Excellence Award for Singular Space for their “luxury master retreat” project. The wonderful space is indeed a retreat, featuring a sleek and contemporary master bedroom with limestone floors and custom wood bed, nightstands, and cabinets that flows easily into a luxurious bathroom.


74 E. Rio Salado Boulevard, Suite 200, Tempe, AZ 85281

Mike and Lisa Davis opened their interior design firm, Davis, in 1991. Mike, a graduate of the College of Architecture at the University of Arizona, has worked in the state for 40 years. Davis has designed the architecture and interiors for distinctive and unforgettable hotels, retail, and multi-family projects in Phoenix and elsewhere. The firm has won numerous awards for its work, including a Real Estate Development Award from AZRE magazine.

The team at Davis recently got a lot of attention for the interiors of a unique 105-room boutique hotel in downtown Phoenix called Found:RE. Featured in Architectural Digest and elsewhere, and the winner of a Real Estate and Development Award from AZRE Magazine, the adaptive-reuse project transformed the closed-down Lexington Hotel into a hip and cutting-edge hotel with an industrial-chic and local art-inspired style that fits with the revitalizing urban neighborhood in which it is located. Art, especially in the form of large photo-realistic faces lining the walls, is used to great effect throughout the space, which features shiny exposed ductwork, and contemporary wood and metal details. Perhaps the most innovative thing about the design is that it expresses a Phoenix style that has really nothing to do with the Southwest as it was, and everything to do with this metro area’s new kind of urbanity. The Davis team also designed the Marina Heights office project in Tempe, a city-defining development that has been recognized as one of the more important valley office projects in recent years because of its potential to draw new companies and talent to the budding tech and startup hub.

Esther Boivin Interiors

7900 E. Greenway Road, Scottsdale, AZ 85260

Esther Boivin, head of Esther Boivin Interiors in Scottsdale, is not only an award-winning interior designer, she’s also a classical musician and opera singer. She describes her style as “traditional elegance with a warm contemporary sensibility.” Creative, sophisticated and a world traveler, she has been inspired by interiors and style since she was a kid growing up in Montreal, Canada. The firm has won numerous ASID awards, including Design Excellence awards for a residence under 3,500 square feet, retail space, repurposed design, fixture, and furniture. She has also won an ASID award for Green Design. Her work has been featured in Scottsdale Modern Luxury Magazine, Phoenix Home and Garden, the Arizona Republic, and Arizona Foothill Magazine, among others.

The Boivin team won an ASID award for green design for an upscale townhouse project for which they had a budget of $25k and just 12 days to finish. The net-zero home was an infill project that used a host of green and renewable building techniques. Boivin chose neutral colors such as white, gray, and beige, and used more vibrant splashes and art pieces to create little dramas throughout this innovative home. Another of Boivin’s many projects in the Phoenix metro area is a four-bedroom, eight-fireplace “bachelor pad” in Scottsdale’s upscale Desert Mountain neighborhood. With the architecture of the home being a bit of contemporary Southwestern, Boivin used “patternless” fabrics to contrast with the straight lines and the client’s extensive art collection, adding strong pops of color such as the vibrant blue chairs in the vodka room, as well as a lot of creative and surprising details throughout the large, sumptuous home.

Cox James Architects

820 S. Farmer Avenue, Tempe, AZ 85281

For nearly 30 years, Cox James Architects has been designing creative and inspiring interiors for hotels, restaurants, accounting firms, banks, and most of the major law firms in Arizona. The firm was founded by Brian Cox. Cox has taught courses at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design, and he sponsors an annual Design Excellence Scholarship at Arizona State University, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in architecture. The firm has won numerous Design Excellence Awards from the American Institute of Architects (AIA), as well as Interior Design Awards of Excellence from the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID). Cox’s work has been featured in many local and national publications, including Architectural Record, Designers West, Interior Design, and Restaurant and Hotel Design. Cox has also designed furniture for Bernhardt.

Brian Cox won an ASID Design Excellence Award for Adaptive Use – Commercial for his redesign of Bowman & Brooke’s law offices in Phoenix. The sleek and sophisticated design replaced all the light fixtures with LED and installed glass “sidelights” to create a bright but subdued and professional atmosphere. Cox also added video-conferencing rooms and reworked the office cafe and restrooms, creating an efficient and contemporary space. The firm also won a recent ASID Design Excellence Award for Special Function Space for a warm, indoor-outdoor structure in Paradise Valley that it calls an “Entertainment Casita.” Cox designed the new structure in the same style as the main house, and included a covered porch with a grill and pizza oven, a 15-seat movie theater, and a stylish main room with hickory floors and a full bar and kitchen. This singular playhouse is connected to a pool area by a bridge that spans a wash.

Ashley P. Design

8150 N. 86th Place, Scottsdale, AZ 85258

Since opening Ashley P. Design in Scottsdale in 1978, founder and lead designer Paula Den Boer has worked on many award-winning local, national, and international interior design projects. The firm works in styles ranging from Old World to Modern to Contemporary, not to mention Southwestern, a style in which Den Boer has been declared a “master” by Phoenix Home & Garden Magazine. Den Boer earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in interior design at the University of California, Los Angeles. She has worked on projects in France, Switzerland, and Mexico, as well as in California, Colorado, and Nevada. The firm’s design work has won numerous awards, including gold and platinum Best in American Living Awards from the National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB). The firm’s work has been featured in Cowgirl, Luxe, Estates West, and other publications.

The Den Boer team’s diverse work can be found in may of the Phoenix metro area’s stylish and upscale neighborhoods like Desert Mountain, Troon, DC Ranch, Paradise Valley, and others. De Boer’s recent work on a high-end, contemporary Southwest home shows exactly why she’s been named a “Master of the Southwest.” The home’s warm interiors feature exquisite examples of familiar Native American and Mexican elements, while the more contemporary furnishings and artwork, which don’t seem out of place at all, manage to update and add a sophisticated touch to a well-worn style. In another recent project identified as a “Curved Contemporary Scottsdale Home,” the team created a gorgeous and sleek interior with subtle colors of cream, beige, and brown, accentuating the home’s unique curves. The modern furnishings are a mixture of rustic-chic and simple elegance, and whole interior works together in an open space that’s sleek and cool without being cold.

Phoenix Design One Inc.

80 E. Rio Salado Parkway #101, Tempe, AZ 85281

Since the firm opened in 1984, Phoenix Design One Inc. has worked on some 1.5M-square-feet of space per year and has designed a total of more 45M square feet around the Southwest. The firm has several times been named an Interior Architect of the Year by the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties (NAIOP) and has won numerous other local and national awards. The firm designs interior architecture for all manner of projects, specializing in commercial office buildings, corporate headquarters, medical offices, and more. Founding Partner and Principal Fred Messner has a bachelor’s degree in interior architecture from Arizona State University and more than 30 years of experience as a designer. Design One’s work has been featured in Interior Graphic and Design Standards, Interiors and Sources, and many other publications.

Phoenix Design One worked with Cushman & Wakefield, one of the Phoenix metro area’s top brokerage firms, on the design for its new offices. The offices features sophisticated and subdued earth-tones throughout, as well as granite surfaces and brushed nickel accents, creating a refined international style that instills confidence and calm. Among dozens of other projects, Phoenix Design One also worked on 4,499-square-foot design update for Tower II of the Camelback Esplanade, a high-end office and mixed-used complex in central Phoenix. The firm added “upscale elegance” to the dated space by using natural stone and tiles, a palette of silver and gray with surprising touches of green and plaid. They also updated the lighting by, among other things, bringing in more natural light.

Bar Napkin Productions

2828 N. Central Avenue, Suite 1300, Phoenix, AZ 85004

A leader in hospitality design, Bar Napkin Productions has been named a “hospitality giant” by Interior Design Magazine and one of the “elite next generation of hospitality design leaders” by Hospitality Design Magazine. The firm works in interiors and architecture, branding and identity, product design, web design, and events. Founding owner and designer Haley Balzano has been working in architecture and interior design for 20 years. She has a bachelor’s degree in architecture from Carnegie Mellon University and her work has been featured in many publications, including the book Best of Hospitality Design Architecture and Interiors. Jeffrey Rausch is also a founding owner of the firm. An internationally known designer, Rausch has more than 35 years of experience and has been involved in more than 1,000 restaurant, bar, nightclub, and hotel projects around the world.

The firm is currently working with Phoenix’s NFL team, the Arizona Cardinals, on major interior design changes to the University of Arizona Stadium in Glendale, a project that combines elements of luxury with cutting-edge technology. The project is scheduled to be complete by the 2018 football season. Along with working on projects with big-name companies such as P.F. Chang’s, Marriott, Hilton, and Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, Bar Napkin recently helped Phoenix-based Harkin’s Theaters change the look of the local favorite Harkins Camelview Theatre into creative and up-to-the-minute design experience.

Est Est Inc.

17770 N. Pacesetter Way, Scottsdale, AZ 85255

One of Arizona’s original and oldest interior design firms, Est Est Inc. opened in Scottsdale in 1959. The company worked with the Maytag family on the first layout and design for the Phoenix Zoo, and they designed the “Southwest Room” for the 1965 New York World’s Fair. Owner and principal designer Tony Sutton has led the firm since 1984. The firm regularly works with clients throughout the United States, Mexico, and Europe on a diverse range of residential, commercial, and hospitality projects. Sutton earned a bachelor’s degree in interior design from the University of Illinois. He has been featured in the book Who’s Who in Interior Design International and has been named a “Master of the Southwest” by Phoenix Home & Garden Magazine. The firm’s work has been featured in many local and national publications, including Architectural Digest, Western Interiors, and Luxe Interiors + Design.

Est Est recently won 10 Design Excellence honors, including three first-place awards, from the ASID. The firm’s colorful and sophisticated “Mountainside Retreat” project in Paradise Valley, on which they collaborated with Cullum Homes and Creative Environments, won them a Design Excellence Award for custom homes under $3M. The firm also won a Marketing and Merchandising Excellence (MAME) Award for custom Home of the year under $3M for a luxury private residence at Desert Mountain. Among their design elements for this expansive home is a sophisticated “man cave” with framed putters, an outdoor putt putt green, a pool with cascading fountain elements, and a designated vanity room. Both luxury homes display the firm’s signature mix of regional and international sophistication and style.