Updated Feb 15, 2024 - Real Estate

How to support Black interior designers in Denver

Data: BLS; Note: People referred to as Hispanic/Latino may be of any race; Chart: Simran Parwani/Axios
Data: BLS; Note: People referred to as Hispanic/Latino may be of any race; Chart: Simran Parwani/Axios

Conversations about diversity in the interior design field picked up during the Black Lives Matter protests of 2020. Now, it's time to take action, industry experts tell Axios.

The big picture: Only 2% of interior designers are Black; it's one of the least diverse professions in the U.S., per 2022 Census data. Lack of access, exposure and funding make breaking into the industry harder for Black designers.

What's happening: A lot of talk, but little action and compensation, says Keia McSwain, a owner of Denver-based NeKeia & Co. and president of Black Interior Designers Inc.

  • She says she's been invited to participate in speaking engagements or other professional opportunities, only to be ghosted after asking about pay.

What they're saying: "No one wants to be compensated through compliments and stories. … The biggest gap is equitable pay and compensation," McSwain tells Axios.

Context: Diversity is just one piece of the puzzle when it comes to creating equal opportunities for folks of all races, says June Reese, BID's vice president.

  • For example, diversity is asking Black designers to speak on panels that have traditionally only been offered to white designers.
  • Equity is offering the tools, and even financial resources, to make it happen, Reese adds. "Our circumstances are so different than everyone else's; it has to be different," she says.

Denver is filled with talented creatives. If you're in need of an interior designer, here are two to consider, listed in no particular order.

Home and Sanctuary

  • Kadija Taylor specializes in connecting home design with self-care and self-love, and is known for her contemporary, global and colorful style.

NeKeia & Co.

  • Keia McSwain is all about balancing luxurious interiors with comfort and functionality.

Be smart: The Black Interior Designers Network can match you with a local designer.

Did we miss someone on this list? Email [email protected] and let us know.

Editor's note: This list has been updated since it published in May.

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