Interior designer to the stars, Matthew Cane: Tips to decorating your dream PAD on a BUDGET!

Soooo, you may know. But it's not often I FALL IN LOVE.

But with Matthew Cane, it was LOVE. 

Matthew is best friends with one of my closest friends in L.A., Lindsey Simcik

Lindsey is a SoulCycle instructor and my co-host for our upcoming podcast! She and Matthew met at Tennis Camp in 4th grade, and stayed friends ever since.

I mean if you make it past my braces stage, then you know it's a TRUE FRIEND.

Prior to meeting him, I had also heard about his work through the mega famous Brooklyn Blonde, one of the first big bloggers out there. Oh, and I also read his piece in Metro, so, no biggie!

Plus, he's now working with Olivia Palermo.

I mean.

Plus he did decorate Helena Glazer's INSANE pad with only materials from Home Goods! Like, insane!

But I digress. Getting to know him, his vision and true PASSION for interior design and creating a peaceful, comfortable space that's reflective of the owner - has been truly a joy.

You guys may know that I am MAJOR lacking in the apartment decorating space. I say it's because I move too much, but currently I'm working with a broken bed (Justin and I are legitimately massive) and a design aesthetic that's in major need of some help. I'm working on getting him here to re-do my place ASAP, but in the meantime, you guys need to know this guy!

Let me introduce you to a man that's done projects with Stone Fox Bride, Mydomaine, Harpers Bazaar, Lonny Mag, Teen Vogue, Marie Claire, and more.

Matthew Cane of Matthew Cane Designs!

Tell us about you, a little bit about your background and what you do

I’m 28, living in NYC, like tall handsome boys and long walks along the west side highway. KIDDING, but only about the long walks along the west side highway, I’d rather just tan there.  But in all seriousness I’m an Interior Designer and Blogger living in my tiny, chic apartment on the Upper East Side of New York.  I’ve been pursuing interior design for the last 3 years and just recently started my own full service design firm this year. I graduated from Parsons School of Design and majored in both business and design.  I’ve been living in Manhattan for the past 10 years and can’t imagine myself anywhere else.  This city has beaten me up, spit me out, and then the next day will lift me up and inspire me tenfold.  It’s the longest relationship I’ve ever had.  My LA family has been VERY convincing recently--which I believe is the universe preparing me for a bi-coastal life in the not-so-distant future.  

Hailing from PA, how did you get into interior design?

On the real: when I was a little boy I was obsessed with my mom, Maria. My friends and I call her “Girlfriend”.  Ah suburbia...To me, she was the queen of our little town.  Whether that was true or not, I don’t know, nor do I care to know.  She was my queen.  From the clothes she wore, to her interior design choices, to the car she drove, and the makeup she was all fabulous to me.  I remember always wanting to be a part of everything she did.  I think this is when I began to define chic for myself.   I don’t know if I could articulate it then, but it became a feeling, a sixth sense, part of my creative eye. I loved going to home stores with my mom.  I would come home and obsessively rearrange the furniture in our house, inspired by our new purchases.  If I wasn’t rearranging the furniture, you might also find me outside trimming hedges into “beautiful shapes”.  I’m lucky, my parents always encouraged my creativity.  And hey, I think they’re lucky to have a budding designer live with them and provide services FOR FREE! :)

What is some of the biggest mistakes people make when decorating their home?

They look at a picture of someone else’s room or design and think ok I’m going to do the same thing. Design doesn’t work like that in my opinion. Good design is personalized, well thought out for your special needs, and makes sense.  I see a lot of people who implement ideas into their house and it doesn’t make any sense when you step back and look at their whole design scheme or who they are as individuals.  I think great design should create an effortlessly chic, warm space.

via Lonny Magazine

What's something simple that people can do in their home to make a big impact?

I tell clients three things. 

The first, stick to a color palette.  Some clients like color more than others.  As long as you have a solid foundation of neutrals, you can always add a POP color.  But there is always the choice to go for it and do lots of color like I did with this colorchic apartment. For the colorchic apartment white walls were our canvas so it translated really well.

The second nugget of knowledge: choose clean and well designed pieces of furniture. Furniture can last for years, but accessory trends can come and go.  If you choose well-designed larger pieces it will be much easier (and less costly) to swap out trendy pillows or throws for an update.

Last and certainly not least I PREACH that my clients should ALWAYS bring life into their spaces. Anything from a simple floral arrangement or succulent bowl to a large plant or tree.  The greenery and living element will always translate well and make you and your guests happy!  

Where do you shop for home goods and supplies for your projects?

I literally go wherever there is something chic. It of course depends on the client’s needs, wants and that B word, BUDGET.  But I pride myself on being able to design on any budget. A few of my favorite go-to places are Homegoods, HM Home (YES they have an incredible home selection online and in certain stores), abchome, ETSY, DWR, RH Modern (Restoration Hardware has a #CAF new line called RH Modern) I’ve shopped them all. 

I love to mix highs and lows.  

What is some advice for designing on a budget?

When you’re designing on a budget you always want to make sure you break down everything you need for the project.  Make sure to choose what the foundational pieces are going to be and how you’re going to spend a portion on your budget on them. 

Always ask yourself, “Ok, what should I spend high on and what should I spend low on?  I always recommend that a sofa and lighting are something that should always be at the top of your budget because they make strong statements in every space.

You recently did the home for the Brooklyn Blonde's Helena Glazer, which is MAJOR. The home had a whole spread in Glamour and on her blog. Can you tell us about that experience?

I always say THIS is the best project I’ve done after every project, but I have to say that this actually may be the best project I’ve done to date.  Helena and her Husband Keith are the type of people that pop into your life as a New Yorker and you’re slapped with a holy shit kind of moment, this is what New York is all about.  They were so open and trusting to all my ideas and vision.  They knew what they wanted and what they didn’t, which is a Designer’s dream come true, actually. 

We partnered with Homegoods + Homepolish to furnish their townhouse in Brooklyn, which they had just moved into back in November.  Our mission: design and furnish the living room, dining room, master bedroom and nursery. We went all over the NY area to 8 different Homegoods stores and got to pull whatever we wanted. 

Literally, my dream. Come. TRUE.

We had 20 days to do the project and literally 1 ½ days to implement the product, style the spaces. To say it was the fastest, largest, most intense and thrilling project would be an understatement.  Helena and Keith are truly beautiful people inside and out and I was so happy I could be part of helping implement their vision and prepare for their little one (he’s due any day now!)

What was challenging about that project?

Probably the fact that we had 20 days to pull and 1 ½ days to put it all together. Members of Homegoods corporate offices flew in from Boston, and over 30 editors from various press outlets arrived in one day for home tours directed by me and Helena.  NO PRESSURE. 

What was amazing about that project?

That people were saying how inspired they were.  I got emotional at one point.  It just felt so right, so fulfilling.  I’ve worked really hard and have been so inspired along the way by design mentors of to be “admired” in this way, is humbling, overwhelming, gratifying, and motivates me to reach higher.

Was it different or more difficult designing for a stylish blogger because they have such an eye already?

Actually not at all.  It was way easier because Helena knew what she wanted and the style direction she was leaning towards.

via Teen Vogue, Calming Interior Design Ideas

What are some other major projects you've done?

That’s a tough one. I become so invested in all of my projects, but a few definitely do stay with me.  Stone Fox Bride, a bridal showroom I did was definitely magical because it was my first commercial space I designed. The “uptown color chic apartment” I did was MAJ to me because it TOTALLY put me out of my comfort zone...annnnd, I don’t really love color.  I wear black, white and grey all day, every day.  Funny story, when my clients look for me or I’m meeting them somewhere they always tell people “just look for the guy who’s wearing all black”. I have a project that I’m finishing up now and will debut soon... I’m very proud to show this to everyone.  It is a project with a bit more of my edge.  Check back soon!

The Stone Fox Bridal Studio is to die, can you tell us about that projects vibe?

Look at that, thanks girl, glad you love! Molly the creative director and co-founder behind Stonefox Bride had a strong visual brand, she just needed the help of a designer to put all the pieces together.  By taking apart the showroom and repurposing elements such as the confetti wall and birch branches that I used as racks, we were able to stay on brand and budget. The vibe was inspired by the chic brand Stonefox has created.  Some descriptors that inspired me are carefree, effortless, love, natural, hippie, free…. I wanted it to look like overtime this space naturally came to be this beautiful.  

via Harpers Bazzar and Homepolish collaboration

What are your goals for 2016?

So. Many. Goals. A big one of mine is to continue to grow my brand in all aspects. I want to be able to inspire my followers and readers with my work and through my blog and Instagram.  I would love to partner with another large home brand and do another project like Helena’s and the ultimate would be to land a spot on a TV segment.  I’d love to develop and introduce my on air personality.  Which is just ME.  Unedited, always creating, experimenting, and connecting. ALSO, be on the look out for my skillshare teaching classes that will debut the first week of May!

What is one place you'd love to makeover?

I would love to makeover an outdoor space, like full-blown, landscape to layout, to furniture and accents.

Where can people connect with you?

I’m across all social media platforms, but the best way would be via my instagram or blog. 

My blog is and instagram @matthewcanedesigns.

I’m also on Twitter @mattcanedesigns and to get a glimpse inside my current and past projects follow me on Pinterest @mattcanedesigns.

Loving this interview. I am plotting ways to get Matthew to Venice to redo our little beach bungalow - STAT. The vibe is totally me, and I am major lacking in the home decor area. 

I loved the bit about, not applying what anyone else has done to your space because it doesn't translate! So true. Plus, there's an H&M HOME? WHAT.

Connect with Matthew and keep me posted. Always love having you!


P.S. I just posted a DOPE playlist via my music section: This Mix is Tight Volume 9

Photos via Brooklyn Blonde, HomePolish, He Finds Chic and Stone Fox Bride. Photography credit goes to Claire Esparros and Matthew Harrington.