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The Best Interior Designers in San Diego

17 Min Read


A great interior design can transform a space from ordinary to extraordinary. A well-designed interior has the power to create feeling, to transform emotions, to enlighten, to entertain, and to excite. Interior design is an enveloping artform that can turn blank walls into a space so beautiful you never want to leave. San Diego has the kind of rich landscape that can inspire this level of design, and these San Diego interior designers are among the best and most inspired in their field. Their award-winning transformations have reimagined the dullest rooms into the most exciting creations that are a perfect match for San Diego’s rich history and exciting future.

Top Designers

Bungalow 56

Jessica Nicolls
Karyn Frazier

1022 C Avenue, Coronado, CA 92118

About Bungalow 56

Bungalow 56 is an award-winning Coronado and San Diego interior design firm with a strong sense of the importance of color, texture, and use of light, as well as the impact of a thoughtful design. Their work has been successful in adding just the right touches to breathe new life into outdated rooms. The firm is led by Jessica Nicolls, who has been part of the design industry for over 12 years. Nicolls began her career in an architecture firm, and then studied at the Art Institute of San Diego to pursue her degree in interior design. Four years ago, she took the important step of creating her interior design firm and has been bringing breathtaking designs to her clients ever since.

Featured Projects

Bungalow 56 worked on a Coronado Country Club-style exquisite transformation of a residence, with details chosen so carefully they each fit perfectly within the design. The use of color includes the perfect shade of green pillows against an otherwise monochromatic white bedroom, with a hint of dark blue. Pink and gold floor-to-ceiling floral curtains accent an otherwise neutral nursery. These seemingly minor additions together create just the right amount and intensity of color to give this residence a new and vibrant life. The grace and beauty of a space is fully realized with another Bungalow 56 design. This time a beach bungalow is full of perfect little treasures: a gold stool; a beaded chandelier in a beautiful, bright bedroom; a lovely bathroom with an exotic fish wallpaper; a small bedroom with delicious mint green walls; and two tiny stools at the foot of the bed. The designs are so balanced and beautiful they are almost poetic, and a fun treat for the eyes.

Hope Pinc Design

Hope Pinc

206 Park Blvd, San Diego, CA 92101

About Hope Pinc Design

Hope Pinc Design is a studio founded by Hope Pinc, who has been a part of the San Diego design community for over 15 years. She began her career in 2002 at The Design Institute of San Diego, one of the renowned CIDA (Council of Interior Design Accreditation) schools in the country. Her design philosophy is to provide clients with practical, contemporary solutions that celebrate and reflect their style and taste. Pinc’s goal is not only to transform her client’s spaces, but to transform them in the way the client views as beautiful.

Featured Projects

A bohemian kitchen remodel showcases Pinc’s design savvy in a simple and elegant way. A center island dominates the space, lined with three golden barstools with high backs. A wooden dining table is surrounded by contrasting black chairs and a beautifully detailed warm rug. The design takes a turn for the whimsical with a black-and-white patterned backsplash that’s positioned low along the counters, then climbs all the way to the ceiling behind the silver range hood. It is a minimalist, meticulous design that creates interest and warmth with the perfect amount of color and texture. Another of Pinc’s designs is the Rike Residence, complete with Mid-century modern touches paired with glamorous throws, the use of live plants, books against interesting bookends, abstract art, and a geometric metal pendant light over the dining table that adds the hint of an industrial touch. Together, the elements are earthy and playful in a space that feels comfortable, intelligent, and easy to live in.

Esteban Interiors

Esteban Lopez

La Jolla Light Best of La Jolla Interior Design

7605 Girard Avenue, La Jolla, CA 92037

About Esteban Interiors

Esteban Interiors is an award-winning design team that believes good design is timeless while also transforming over time. Named after the founder, Esteban Lopez, a New York native who is known as a “style maker,” they pride themselves on creating interiors that perfectly meet their client’s needs and exceed their expectations within their budget and timeline. With every project they undertake, they strive to deliver a product of the very highest quality. The firm has been featured in numerous magazines, including Modern Luxury Interiors, Best of La Jolla Magazine, and San Diego Home/Garden. They were also voted “Best of La Jolla” in the 2016 Readers Poll for Interior Design in the La Jolla Light Newspaper.

Featured Projects

Among the firm’s most beautiful designs is a timeless apartment in the El Cortez complex in San Diego. The space is an amalgamation of beautiful design and color that excites the senses and pleases the eye. The rich tones of gold and coral play off of each other in what makes for a warm and luxurious interior. The firm has cleverly incorporated the client’s choice of eclectic art into the design to perfectly complete the space with a unique and personal touch. Another of the firm’s designs is dubbed “Casa de Manana,” in La Jolla, California. The interior here includes bold color choices, an oversized intricate mirror, metallic light fixtures, and a textured geometric red sofa that wows the eye. The space is a conversation with color and shape that is exciting and unique.

Savvy Interiors

Susan Wintersteen

7875 Highlands Village Place, San Diego, CA, 92129

About Savvy Interiors

Savvy Interiors is an interior design firm based in San Diego, where they say, “There’s no shame in an outdated home, in fact, we think it’s cause for celebration.” And they celebrate by transforming these outdated spaces into beautiful new designs. Led by the creative genius of Susan Wintersteen, Principal Designer and Owner, they work with each client to make their dreams a reality and their homes a place where they want to spend most of their time. Their design choices are bold, daring, and offer a great degree of attention to detail.

“At Savvy Interiors, our team is one of the only firms in San Diego that holds a General Contractors license which allows us to simplify the remodeling process for our clients, being both the designer and the one to implement the design. With our team of designers, we want to make the process as streamlined as possible” – Susan Wintersteen

Featured Projects

Savvy Interiors designs vibrant, rich, textured, and classy interiors. Their design of a “Gatsby Bathroom” wows, with walls covered in a beautiful black and white Art Deco wallpaper. The vanity is sleek and black with gold Art Deco-inspired handles, and the mirror above the vanity has a textured, gold trim. Together, the details make for a glamorous and rich design that perfectly represents the thrill of the 1920s. In another of the firm’s San Diego designs, the kitchen takes center stage with its perfect light fixture, with several exposed light bulbs in a geometric gold metal design that transforms the room into a delight. The color combination is light, creamy, and inviting. There are light grey countertops, bright white cabinetry, and soft cream walls. There is a valance over a window in a perfectly contrasted dark blue, geometric pattern. The high-hung valance raises the eye up, makes the room tall, and adds an element of luxury that’s a perfect match for the chandelier.

Alpha Design Group

Regina Kurtz

San Diego Home & Garden Lifestyle Kitchen of the Year Award,
ASID Residential Design Awards,
HGTV Designer Challenge

1286 University Avenue #1000, San Diego, CA 92103

About Alpha Design Group

Alpha Design Group, led by Regina Kurtz, has been providing extraordinary yet comfortable design to their clients for over 30 years. Kurtz studied at Fashion Institute of Technology and worked in New York City’s fashion industry prior to moving to San Diego and starting her career. Her background and expertise have enabled her to assess a client’s needs and deliver a design and environment that exceeds their imagination. Among many others, the firm has won San Diego Home & Garden Lifestyle Magazine’s Kitchen of the Year Award in 2013; first place in the ASID Residential Design Awards for the years 2000, 2002, 2003, and 2009; and HGTV’s “Designer’s Challenge,” #811 ‘Painter’s Studio,’ Winning Design in 2004.

Featured Projects

When they came across a condo that had lackluster interiors, Alpha Design was eager to convert the space into a beautiful showpiece. With their new design, the living room boasts a chic and classic elegance that is intentionally minimal and inviting. White armchairs face each other against the backdrop of warm wood paneling surrounding a white fireplace. Tall, silky curtains drape from the ceiling, beckoning a time of beauty and grace. The carefully chosen art pieces in the living room offer a touch of originality and a whole lot of intrigue to the immaculate design. The team also updated a kitchen in great need of an overhaul. The transformation includes warm cherry wood cabinetry and a luxurious and unexpected rug that adds warmth and texture to the room. Also, a spacious center island and french doors leading to the outside make this kitchen not just a cook’s dream, but a cook’s retreat.

Howard Interior Design

Mike Howard

Freshome Best Interior Design Award,
National Kitchen & Bath Association Star Award

P.O. Box 33683, San Diego, CA 92163

About Howard Interior Design

Howard Interior Design is a San Diego design firm led by Mike Howard, who earned top honors in local and regional design competitions for being an expert with regard to creativity, problem-solving, and attention to every design detail. With each client, Howard’s goal is to build on their vision to create a home that is stylish, comfortable, and unique. The firm received the Freshome Best Interior Design award in San Diego in 2016, and the 2016 National Kitchen & Bath Association Star Award for Best Small Bath. The award-winning, small-bath project was featured in the November issue of San Diego Home & Garden Magazine, and they have featured again in the magazine, this time in the Profile in Design section.

Featured Projects

Howard Interior Design was tasked with updating and reconfiguring a 1950s San Diego ranch-style home, to add a spacious master bath. The result was a more efficient layout, moving the space three feet into the adjacent office space. They expand the master suite and created a custom bed niche. Arguably the most eye-catching element in the room is the colorful headboard made from recycled boat lumber. The beautifully reimagined master bathroom was also moved partially into an adjacent large closet to create a dramatic, glass-enclosed, walk-in shower.

In another of the firm’s designs, the need for a new kitchen island translated into an exciting full-home makeover, complete with a new stone fireplace facade accented with black wood trim, and refinished hardwood floors in a deep, rich grey. In the kitchen, the island is topped with a beautiful white countertop, contrasting deep grey cabinetry, and gorgeous glass subway tile for the backsplash adds just the visual pop the room needs.

Blythe Interiors

Jennifer Verruto

San Diego Freshomes Best Interior Designs Award

3103 Falcon Street, San Diego, CA 92103

About Blythe Interiors

No matter the project size, Blythe Interiors consistently delivers designs that complement their client’s personal style and helps turn their space into something they will love and enjoy for years to come. The firm is led by its president, Jennifer Verruto, who believes that good design should be available to everyone. The firm is known for beautiful, functional, and affordable interior designs. They received the San Diego Freshomes Best Interior Designs Award in 2016. The San Diego Real Estate Hunter called Blythe Interiors one of San Diego’s best 25 interior design companies in 2017.

“I got started as a Designer because I realized there was a need in the field for budget-conscious families who just wanted to make their spaces feel more like home, with their own individual style, and I wanted to make this available to your everyday family.  They would try to pull their spaces together by going to HomeGoods or Target, but they’d walk out with a bag of chips and a headache!  I started out by doing small makeovers, and due to word of mouth and amazing reviews, I realized this was an unfulfilled area of design that I could really help with on a larger scale, which is why I created a team.  My greatest joy is the feeling of fulfillment when the client walks into their new space and they say “you just GET me!  How did you do that?”  Our clients are our inspiration, and taking the time to listen to their dreams and turn them into a reality is what we do best.” – Jennifer Verruto

Featured Projects

Blythe Interiors helped transform an unimpressive and dated living room into a classic, luxurious space with a dramatic center ottoman that offers both comfort and class. The glamorous floor-to-ceiling drapery accentuates the tall ceilings, and the light grey beams create a modern and edgy feel. There is also an aged wood, beaded chandelier that ties the room together and adds a level of high end sophistication and timelessness to the design. In another of their eye-catching transformations, Blythe Interiors redesigned a dated living room to add color and warmth with a modern design. At the room’s center is a teal tufted ottoman surrounded by geometric patterned accent chairs. The same pattern repeats in the tall curtains that outline two french doors leading to the outdoor seating area. Pops of deep red and blue give the room a fun and vibrant atmosphere.

More recently, Blythe Interiors redesigned this gorgeous La Jolla home with a fresh, contemporary look that felt light, breezy and coastal, without being too literal.  They incorporated fresh patterns, texture, and reclaimed wood to create the coastal vibe.  Clean lines and industrial elements added a modern feeling, and the sconces over the artwork in the kitchen showcase local beach scenes.

M. Swabb Decor + Style

Maegan Swabb

3333 Midway Drive #104, San Diego, CA 92110

About M. Swabb Decor + Style

M. Swabb Decor + Style is a boutique, high-end design firm founded by Maegan Swabb, lead designer and owner, that specializes in creating spaces that aim to deliver the “wow” factor to their clients’ homes. With each design, they strive to employ cutting-edge creativity, high-end style, and what they admit is an obsessive attention to detail. The firm offers services from space planning and 3D rendering to material acquisition and installation, with the ultimate goal of a very happy client in mind. They have been featured in various magazines, including Coastal San Diego Homes, Modern Luxury, Luxe Interior Design, and California Home & Design.

Featured Projects

M. Swabb Decor + Style is behind the design of the “La Jolla Treehouse,” a beautiful space that’s a testament to how well they can play with shape, color, and contrast. There are beautiful pops of color on pillows and throws, an abstract painting on a bedroom wall, a chandelier that reflects light over the dining nook, a perfectly positioned gold lamp in the living room, and the use of a large green plant to bring life into the space. The result is an amalgamation of different shapes, textures, and patterns that together become a bright and bold visual delight. Another of the team’s creations is the design of an edgy kitchen in downtown San Diego. The shimmering backsplash reflects light with patterns that entertain the eye, and clean minimalist cabinets complement the oversized light fixture suspended over the bar. The space is beautiful but functional all at once. The materials used spark a perfect balance between form and glamour in a design that is both modern and edgy, as well as timeless.

CM Natural Designs

Corine Maggio

203 Flamingo Rd #186 Mill Valley, CA 94941

About CM Natural Designs

CM Natural Designs finds joy and purpose in creating personalized and meaningful designs that provide their clients with a sense of self and well-being. Led by Corine Maggio, principal and design director, the team has created arguably some of the trade’s most unique spaces. Although they are based in Southern California, the design crew loves to travel, and they’ve been creating beautiful designs nationally and internationally. Their work can be found not only across the United States, but also in Mexico, Australia, and Turkey. CM Natural Designs has been featured on HGTV and in many magazines, newspapers, and web publications.

“For us, the most exciting part of designing is finding out what is unique about our clients and creating a space that reflects that. We want them to walk in and feel a connection to the space that brings them more ease in the practical and functional parts of their lifestyle but also the emotional connection they have to their home. Once a home has a sense of completeness, it really allows the people using it to thrive. Being able to provide these tangible and intangible gifts to our clients is beyond rewarding and the reason we love our work.” – Corine Maggio

Featured Projects

One of the firm’s creations is a home purchased by a young couple who was looking for a design influenced by French style. The outcome is a beautiful home that includes a formal dining room complete with dark cabinetry with gold fixtures, deep grey velvet drapes that outline the large windows, and tufted luxurious dining chairs along the oversized rectangular table with golden legs. The black, gold, and white accents are carried throughout the rest of the home, giving the space a rich, Old World sophistication and class. Another of their designs is an urban bathroom remodel that looks almost cinematic. Here, too, the designers introduce gold accents that give the space a luxurious feel. Round, gold light fixtures dangle from the ceiling, and two large mirrors with perfectly thin gold frames are contrasted with black faucets and black handles on white cabinets. The design is rich but minimalist, and it is tied together by a small, round, black clock perched on the vanity — a touch that is both whimsical and practical all at once.

Studio Surface

Michelle Salz-Smith

1011 Camino Del Mar, Suite 268, Del Mar, CA 92014

About Studio Surface

Michelle Salz-Smith, owner and principal interior designer at Studio Surface, is an award-winning interior designer specializing in residential and commercial design. Founded in 2009, the firm is known to transform spaces throughout the West Coast and internationally. Their philosophy is that every surface is a platform upon which dialogue and ideas are originated, explored, and realized. With projects ranging from residential home remodels to high-end resort brands, Salz-Smith and her team create beautifully balanced interiors with an unexpected edge. They have been featured in magazines such as Modern Luxury Interiors, Modern Luxury Riviera, and the online magazine Design Milk.

Featured Projects

A design with an edge. This living area created by Studio Surface is one that draws you into its deep and soulful interior. There are two large sofas in a rich blue velvet fabric that are reminiscent of Old World glamour. Between them sits a gold fish scale-patterned coffee table full of whimsy. The coupling of the gold and the blue is regal and grand. Beneath these beautiful colors are what feel like endless white floors, with a Mid-century modern white chair perched in the far corner. There is a fireplace that starts at the bottom as white stone but transforms into a black structure leading up to the ceiling, drawing the eye up as far as it will go. In another design we find the feel of the ocean. The colors of sand, sky, and sea are brought in. There’s a large area rug with splatters of different shades of blue and beige that evoke the surf and sand. There is a massive, light wood coffee table above it, a large piece of beautiful driftwood on top, and a juxtaposed black pot of succulents to the right. The sofa surrounding the table is luxuriously immaculate white linen, and two armchairs balanced on the side are dark blue like the deep ocean. Then, higher up, the light fixture that ties the room together is shaped like a bursting star. The space is more than just a room — the pieces are more than just furniture. It feels like brilliant risk-taking that has translated into undeniably transformative art that accentuates the experience of being present.