New Year, New You: Transform Your Home Into a Work of Art with Award-Winning Interior Designer and Art Dealer Betty Wasserman

You don’t have to live in the Hamptons to appreciate its style. Take New York designer Betty Wasserman’s advice on how to take your home decor to the next level in the New Year.

Betty Wasserman’s designs—which are fresh, thoughtful and contemporary—are the pinnacle of Hamptons chic. This award-winning interior designer got her start as in art dealer in SoHo in the early 90’s, and took on her first interior design client as a favor to a friend. With a wealth of art knowledge, a handful of craftsman friends and her own innate sense of design, Wasserman put together her first apartment. She started attending Parsons School of Design part-time and founded her own design business in 1996.

Today, Wasserman has become a household name in the design world and has an impressive roster of accolades under her belt. so who better to ask about reinventing a space than one of New York’s finest? Wasserman spoke with ESTATENVY and shared her tips for reinventing a space and bringing your home into a new decade.
Start Fresh
To Wasserman, a space feels fresh when it is bright, newly painted, and contemporary in color and shape. Design like this can be seen in her Southampton Modern Farmhouse project, where sleek wooden floors reflect the gleam of newly-painted, bright-white walls. A cool palette of soft blues, greys and neutral earth tones give this space an undeniably fresh feel.
Wasserman begins by choosing an updated color palette, which becomes the focal point of a room, and then moves on to other fundamental pieces of the design that could use refreshing. “Sometimes this means staining the floors, painting, installing new light fixtures, adding new fabrics, and either replacing or reupholstering existing pieces,” said Wasserman.
Out With the Old
One piece of advice that Wasserman gives to clients is to let go of anything that just isn’t working anymore. “We only repurpose items if the client insists, or has meaningful or valuable pieces they want to carry over into the newly-designed space,” said Wasserman.
From there, she advises clients to take stock of what items they can clear out. “I would get rid of anything that never really worked, or if the scale was wrong. Smaller is better,” Wasserman advised. “Get rid of those oversized pieces, choose a bright fresh paint, freshen up pillows, rearrange your seating plan, and invest in a new rug.”
When you really want to hold on to something special, Wasserman advises, think about how it can be rearranged or repurposed in a fresh way. She went on to say that giving a piece of art new life can be as simple as reframing it. “A client of mine had these really great watercolor pieces, but they were backed with dark mattes and placed in heavy, gilded gold frames.They were beautiful, but the presentation made them look very traditional and unmodern,” said Wasserman. “As soon as we undressed them and brought them back to a simpler state, we saw the potential they could have. They were matted with white and placed in a floating frame, and suddenly they looked like they belonged in East Hampton.”
Most importantly, Wasserman adds, “Have fun with it!”

Art Is Everything

Thanks to her extensive background in art dealing, Wasserman always encourages clients to make a space feel truly special by investing in a piece of art. “The art business has always been part of my life,” said Wasserman. “It’s still part of the business today, and assuming the client still has money left over at the end of the project, we try to guide them to a piece they might like whether they’re adding to a collection or just starting a collection.”
From seasoned collectors to future art enthusiasts, Wasserman is happy to guide clients of all levels of expertise in the world of art appreciation. “Most of our clients are kind of green to the art world, but we do what we can to educate and ease them into it with young emerging artists,” said Wasserman. “Our goal is to open their minds and try to figure out a way to get some original art into a space.”
A piece of art can be more than just a centerpiece of a room, but an investment in something truly valuable. “We try to help our clients understand the value of collecting art, while also making it fun,” said Wasserman. “Often all it takes is instilling enough confidence in someone, and they not only come around to the idea but get truly excited about it.”
Go ahead, find your inner artist.