While studying for the LSAT, Rivers Spencer discovered her love for finding and placing antiques. It was this newfound passion that led her to open her New Orleans interior design firm in 2012. Today, Rivers describes her aesthetic as “a Southern classic style,” as she combines traditional and modern design elements to create spaces that are both elegant and inviting. In addition to offering interior design services, Rivers also sells her own collection of home decor items as well as clothing. Similar to how she follows design rules while putting together a room, Rivers carries over the same ideals when styling clothes. We’re thrilled to introduce the multitalented Rivers Spencer, our newest interior designer crush!

Rivers Spencer: Interior Designer Crush

Meet our newest interior designer crush, Rivers Spencer!

Tell us a bit about your background and experience in design.

I originally started my design career while I was studying for the LSAT. I would refinish (not well) antiques in my garage. Shortly after, I fell in love with finding and placing antiques, and I decided to focus on my design career.

How would you describe your design aesthetic, and how does it set you apart from others?

I use clean-line upholstery, softer color palettes, and antiques to warm up a space. It is important to balance out the juxtaposition of an updated traditional look with the clean lines of a modern aesthetic.

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In addition to your design services and collection of home decor items, you also sell clothing. How do fashion and interior design relate to one another?

A Southern classic style is something I carry over from interiors to clothing. The same rules that stylists use when putting an outfit together are the same rules used when styling a room. For me, I always try to have one piece that stands out. For fashion, it may be a pair of shoes or a piece of jewelry. For interiors, it is usually a piece of art or an antique.

Dining room designed by Rivers Spencer

It’s all in the details. High gloss walls, brass accents on the antique table, and contrasting chairs bring a dreamy feel to this dining room.

Library designed by Rivers Spencer

The bright wall art, bold chairs and elegant chandelier add a subtle yet effective “wow” factor to this home’s study.

Bedroom designed by Rivers Spencer

While the wallpaper and canopy add a traditional feel to this bedroom, Rivers used animal print pillows and custom Leontine Linens for a touch of modern flair.

Where do you typically find your inspiration?

I find a lot of inspiration through my travel experiences. I go to France to buy antiques a few times a year, and I get a lot of design ideas from the restaurants and hotels there. My classic Southern style also comes from my love for old movies such as To Catch a Thief and High Society, to name a few. I also admire Grace Kelly’s style.

Are there any trends you love at the moment, and, alternately, are there any timeless aspects of design you cling to?

A few trends I love right now are lattice, fringe, florals, and chinoiserie. These are all styles that are a part of the grandmillennial aesthetic, which is an updated, modern take on a timeless style. Pieces I will always use in my work include abstract art as well as antiques that are mostly French.

What has been your most challenging design experience, and what did you learn from it?

The most challenging thing for me is going outside of my design aesthetic. Some clients like a more contemporary style, which for me is challenging, but those are usually the most rewarding projects in the end.

Living room with tree wallpaper

Rivers’ own living room is the perfect representation of her design style, as she uses a soft color palette, fun patterns and textures, and darker antiques to add contrast to the space.

Rivers Spencer's home kitchen

These Ivey counter stools are a part of Rivers Spencer Home, which she offers both in-store and online.

What is your favorite room to decorate, and why?

My favorite room to design is a double parlor. I like the challenge of trying to create a layout that flows and has balance and symmetry. Trying to figure out how to create the most seating I can for the space while not overcrowding a room challenges me to be creative and think outside of the box. I also like being able to play with colors and patterns in a room that is traditionally more formal.

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If you could be a designer for any celebrity, who would it be?

I would love to work with Nicole Kidman.

What is one design secret you can share with our readers?

You can always give more depth to your space by adding an antique. The more warm wood pieces I put in a space, the more at home a space feels.

See more of Rivers’ work on her website, riversspencer.com. All photography by Paul Costello.


Meet more inspiring Southern designers in our archives.