“I thought I would be a fashion designer,” says Donna Moss.
Famed interior designer, often known as the “Queen of Bling,” got an early start in the world of design, taking to a sewing machine like it was second nature. Donna spent her high school years in front of her 1960 Singer sewing machine, turning denim Goodwill finds into skirts, jackets, handbags, pillows, and just about anything else you can think of.
Naturally, she covered all of her creations in rhinestones.
“The Queen of Bling was really born back in the 1970s!” she jokes.
How did her flair for fashion lead to a prominent role as an interior designer? Here’s the scoop on one of our favorite television designers, Donna Moss.
From Fashion to Interiors
The shift from fashion to interior design happened quite seamlessly. Paul Moss, Donna’s husband, owned a residential home construction company and before long, she found herself happily helping Paul’s customers make their interior design selections.
Whether it was paint colors, floors, walls, or tiles, Donna was there to lend her option. “To me, it was just like fashion design, but with a larger palette!” As a bonus, she still got to work with beautiful color and textures, but on sofas, chairs, and bedding instead of a human canvas!
Beside the real-world interior design experience, Donna also looked to famous designers for guidance and inspiration as she burst into the world of interior design. Donna counts Oscar De La Renta as one of her early influencers and style icons because of his opulent gowns, work with Hollywood’s elite, and of course, his Haute Couture designs for Barbie dolls. “I remember in the early 80’s he did a line of jewel tone and metallic outfits for his dolls. The colors were mesmerizing and were the inspiration color for many of my rooms, “ Donna explained.
The dazzling Iris Apfel is another one of Donna’s icons. “She has style and charisma, and her personality is infectious. Even though it is rare that I can get a client to do a room as wild as her image is, [Iris Apfel] has taught me to be bold and glamorous.”
To this day, Donna also uses the fashions of the moment to guide her interior designs, which is why you’ll see the hottest trends from fashion shows in her bedding, pillows, and drapery designs.
However, Donna is quite content designing for homes and not for fashion. “The fact that trends in fashion are much more fleeting than in home decor makes what I do for my clients more satisfying because of the longevity of the project,” she noted, adding that a sofa will last much longer than a dress hanging in a closet.
“I love that what I do doesn’t just get to be worn on occasion but the clients get to enjoy their spaces every day.”
Glitzy and Glam, Never Overdone
What’s so fascinating about Donna Moss’ style is that she infuses elements of glitz and glam, but never goes overboard. It’s this “secret sauce” that’s made her interior design business thrive, and her presence on design television shows such as HGTV’s Design Star and Donna Decorates Dallas so notable.
“There’s a fine line between classy and trashy, and I always make sure I don’t cross that line,” Donna told us.
To ensure she meets her client’s exact design wishes, the Queen of Bling thinks of each room as a different outfit. Take a little black dress, for example. “A little black dress is simple, but as you add those amazing sparkling high heels, you get the glitz, and a dazzling necklace…adds the glamour. It’s not overdone, but simply fabulous.”
In terms of the home, these fabulous, glamorous accents are anything from shimmering art to chandeliers dripping in crystals that help to accessorize a simple sofa
A Chameleon Approach
Although she’s known for signature splashes of sparkle, Donna Moss’ styles are deep and intricate.
Her chameleon-like approach infuses elements of Modern Hollywood Glamour and Chic Moroccan style into the rooms she designs. “Whether it’s adding crystals to a rustic antler chandelier to adding a glittery metallic paint to a ceiling to give the room an eye-catching appeal, the sky’s the limit to how I can add my signature style.”
Above all, Donna strives to create spaces that are adventurous, comfortable, loveable, and livable.
This includes key materials and unexpected touches. “For instance, using a slab of backlit amethyst in a contemporary kitchen island I did last year really infused the space in a beautiful yet unique way and gave it a nice elegant pop of color.”
Likewise, Donna loves using bits of bold, metallic colors like purples and blues, mixed with natural minerals and stones to create elaborate wall art.
Colored (and even glitter-infused) grout is another go-to touch that Donna loves to use because it dresses up the tile and makes it look like artwork. A popular alternative to this is iridescent and shimmering tiles, which ooze glamorous contemporary luxury.
A Star is Born
Over the past decade, Donna’s unique design tastes have helped her forge a path on design television.
She began her foray on the small screen with the HGTV competition show HGTV’s Design Star, where she was one of 10 contestants chosen out of a pool of thousands competing for her own design show. Although she finished in 5th place, HGTV picked up Donna Decorates Dallas, which ran for two seasons for a total of 30 episodes.
The filming schedule was intense, and Donna easily logged 80 to 90-hour wood weeks for two years, but she thrived on the challenge. The experience was particularly special for Donna because she starred alongside her daughters and design assistants: Tiffany Jenkins and Ashley Black. “Not only did we film 8-10 hours a day, but we also did all the design work for our clients after filming and on weekends. These were my real clients who were paying for these makeovers, and some were major renovations, so we had to make sure we first and foremost gave the client the look they were dreaming of at the budget they could afford.”
Recently, Donna Moss has embarked on a new entertainment journey. Following a chance meeting with Joseph Haecker, the creative genius behind Design Talk LIVE (DTL), Donna was asked to co-host the weekly segment. “I am never one to pass up a challenge or unique opportunity, and that is what I saw in this collaboration with Design Talk Live.”
Donna officially joined Joseph for his weekly rant during week seven. Since then, the show has become one of Facebook LIVE’s top shows, and has reached an astounding 3 million people! “Each week, we get to bring awareness to issues in the design industry. We also talk to celebrity guests, interior designers, industry leaders, and even musicians. It’s so much fun but informative & educational at the same time!”
What’s Next? Everything!
At this point in time, there’s no stopping Donna. When asked if she has any projects on the horizon, she emphatically answered, “Oh my, yes! There’s so many; I don’t know where to start!”
Her biggest upcoming project is a new show on Home Design Television, an up-and-coming network. Through a partnership with Josh Mills, Donna is creating an “Over the Top” network delivering film and television content through the internet, sort of like an on-demand service like Netflix or Hulu. “I will have a TV show that will be airing on HDTV, but I am thrilled that so many other designers/industry leaders will have the ability to launch their own TV shows on their own with the help of sponsors.”
Additionally, Donna is set to star on The Design Network’s Ask a Designer series set to air January 17, 2019, continue her co-hosting role on Design Talk LIVE, and star in a new show on Design Talk LIVE called Lux Lifestyles.
Finally, Donna is bringing her sparkling, glittering designs to the masses through a new mosaic tile line with Elegant Mosaic, and a floral line with The Botanical Mix.
Phew! There’s no doubt that Donna Moss isn’t just the Queen of Bling, she’s the Queen of Design and a force to be reckoned with in the world of design. Whether she’s designing, hosting, or starring in her own shows, Donna Moss brings her signature charm and pizazz wherever she goes.
“Stay tuned. It’s going to be a magical year!” she said, and we absolutely agree!