Profile of Doug Wilson, Interior Designer: Behind the Man


Doug Wilson, Interior Designer, is most well known for his role on TLC's Trading Spaces. His somewhat flamboyant manner and sometimes confrontational style make him a fan favorite in the world of reality television.

However, this man is much more than just a television star. He is also a well-respected interior designer who has worked for clients such as Brooke Astor, Barbara Walters, and New York City Major Michael Bloomberg. He has penned a very popular book, collaborated with luminary interior designers Albert Hadley and Alexa Hampton, is a guest on NBC's Today, and also writes a column for InTouch Weekly.

Doug Wilson, Interior Designer Biography

This host of Trading Spaces and other TLC hits, such as Moving Up and America's Ugliest Rooms, was born on November 4, 1964 as the fourth in a string of five boys. raised in Broadlands, Illinois on a farm that had been a part of his family for more than a century.

After a couple of mischievous mishaps in his younger school days, including being kicked out of school in the 11th grade for painting a couple of the school's walls fuschia, Wilson finally graduated high school in 1983 and then transferred to the University of Illinois to study voice and theater.

Eventually Wilson left Illinois to head to New York City and Broadway where he launched his own magic/musical variety show called "The Road to New York." To help pay the bills he learned the carpentry trade and opened a decorative painting boutique, which had clients such as Albert Hadley and Mark Hapton Inc. His work was featured in several publications, such as The New York Times, Newsday, Elle Decor and House Beautiful. It was this work that captured the attention of a Trading Spaces producer.

Book Author and Television Star

Today Doug is one of America's most beloved interior designers, so it is only fitting that he write a book about his design philosophy. In 2004 he published Doug's Rooms: Transforming Your Space One Room at a Time as a basic interior design how-to for homeowners who are on a limited budget. He presents tips, insider secrets and easy step-by-step instructions for his innovative designs and effects.

The book is divided into five key topics:

  • Proportion and scale: All of your furnishings and artwork should be in proportion to the room and to each other
  • Furniture placement: Think about how you will use the room before you decide where to place the furniture. Think of a focal point for each room and highlight it
  • Color: Wilson believes there are too many white walls in the United States. He sees color as one of the most economical ways to bring high impact to a room
  • Lighting: Good lighting requires a mixture of basic lighting, task lighting and accent lighting
  • Clutter control: Get rid of things that are broken, stained or useless. Use baskets, shelves and bookcases to help organize the rest of your stuff, don't leave it lying around on the floor or shove it in a closet.

The book, Wilson notes, is an attempt to break down the fear factor of decorating and make it more accessible to the masses. He also suggests that it is paramountly important to put your own personality into your rooms and interior design. In addition to pouring your personality into your spaces, make certain that each room has its very own personality. You still want a flow throughout the home, but each room should have a distinct purpose and a distinct characteristic that sets it apart from the other rooms in your home.

About Trading Spaces

Trading Spaces ran on TLC from 2000 to 2008. During each episode two sets of neighbors redesigned a single room in each other's home. They had two days, a $1,000 budget and the help of a professional interior designer.

The catch is that neither team has a say about what can happen in their house and cannot enter their home for the duration of the two day period. The rooms that have been transformed are shown to each homeowner at the end of the second day.

The show was so popular that it spawned many spin offs, including:

  • Trading Spaces: Family
  • Trading Space: Boys vs. Girls
  • Trading Spaces: Home Free
  • Trading Spaces: 100 Grand
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Profile of Doug Wilson, Interior Designer: Behind the Man