Long time no NYC :)
This week we're quite literally in the clouds, visiting creative director and design Toby Liu in his phenomenal apartment high above the busy streets of our favorite concrete jungle. Of course, we asked Toby to share some tips & tricks when it comes to interior design!
Tell us about you! How did you get into creative direction and design?
As long as I can remember, I’ve had an interest in design in one way or another. I loved decorating and rearranging my bedroom as a kid, and I was intrigued by anything in magazines or on TV related to design. I think design is really a natural fit for me. I am the type of person who hyper-focuses on details when I walk into in a space. I immediately notice what’s in the space – not just furniture or objects, but also colors and textures. As I got older, my interest in interior design grew into a passion.
What made you want to share your love of interior design on TikTok?
It really started for me in the early days of the pandemic. Before that, I wasn’t really a big social media person. But during lockdown, I started spending more time on social media apps like TikTok, and it was a joy to see so many talented creators showing their creativity online. I was inspired to share my own vision, so I started posting interior design/lifestyle videos. I enjoyed sharing my perspective on design and connecting with people with similar interests, and the response I got from people really pushed me to keep going with it.
Tell us about your creative process. Where do you find inspiration?
When thinking about designing a space, I first make sure to take in the space fully, including all of the small details. Knowing every little corner of a space is crucial when it comes to developing a design plan. As for what inspires me, one place I look to is film. I especially enjoy watching older films and taking inspiration from the way spaces are designed in them. Paying attention to production design in films allows me to ponder the possibilities of a space and examine the way the color palette and the scene that is being captured affect the viewer’s experience on a visual level.
What’s one piece of advice you always go back to when it comes to your career?
Be patient. It takes time to learn and develop your skills, and you’re not always going to “get it” right away. As you develop your knowledge and skills and gain more experience, the opportunities will come into focus.
What makes a space feel like home?
It’s important to be surrounded by things that are meaningful to you. Designing your home is not just about having pieces that look nice or conform to a certain aesthetic; the space needs to include pieces that bring about feelings of joy or peace when you look at them. One thing that brings me a sense of calm in a space is connection to nature, especially since I live in the city, so I make sure to incorporate live plants, woods and earth tones.
As a creative, what’s your best tip for achieving a sense of balance in your home?
I think it’s important to think about the materials you are using in your space (whether they be wood, metal, glass, etc.). Mixing materials is a good way to achieve balance in the design of your home. For example, certain materials can make your home feel cold, and adding in other types of materials is the perfect way to soften the space.
What are some of your home essentials?
Some essentials for me are lamps, candles, blankets, rugs and plants. These are simple items, but they make such a difference in bringing a space to life and achieving a certain vibe.
What are you looking forward to in 2023?
I look forward to continuing to develop as a creator. I’m always looking for new sources of inspiration and ways to evolve as a designer, and I will continue to make adjustments to my space and update it as I grow. I’ve loved connecting with others who share my passion for design through social media, so I also look forward to continuing to form those connections.