Designer Spotlight: Barbara Lane

  • Designer Spotlight: Barbara Lane
  • Designer Spotlight: Barbara Lane

Barbara Lane: Interior designer shifts focus to local non-profit


By Kristin Bates

Photo by Molly Hauxwell Currier


From Chicago to St. Louis and Northern Michigan, Barbara Lane has been dazzling clients with her design expertise for the past 30 years.

“In high school, knew I wanted to be a designer, not a decorator. The difference is a college degree,” explains Lane, a graduate of the Kendall College of Art and Design in Grand Rapids. Upon completion of her degree, Lane moved north in 1979 and started Barbara Lane Interior Design. And, the rest, as the saying goes, is history.

Part of owning your own design business is the importance of knowing your clients and their expectations.

“The best designers use their clients as inspiration, this allows every house they work on to be unique, and custom fitted for the client, not just an extension of the designer herself,” Lane explains.

Most recently, Lane has shifted her design focus to the non-profit world.

“I decided I needed a change,” she says.

Lane is currently working with Northern Homes Community Development Corporation in Boyne City. Her work and dedication to design is evident in the historic W.H. White House, built in 1903 and now a senior housing complex located in Boyne City, and the Meredith Manor, a senior housing complex in East Jordan.

“It’s something a little different. This not only fills my interior design liking, but adds a sense of helping by adding very needed housing to our area for the working people and retirees,” says Lane.

Not afraid to switch gears after a successful career in design, Lane is excited about her future projects.

“We are planning to take a leap in a new direction to continue our housing goals. Nothing I can talk about now, but it will highly help our housing dilemma of Northern Michigan,” concludes Lane.


Barbara Lane

Northern Homes Community Development Corporation

1048 E. Main St.

Boyne City, Michigan 49712

(231) 582-6244



10 Design Tips from Barbara Lane


1. Likes/Dislikes
It’s very important, before you get started, to learn what you like and dislike about the room. 
2. Read Between the Lines
Do you really want to replace the item in question or will an update freshen the room?

3. Lighting
Lighting is a huge part of what makes a room acceptable or non-acceptable. It changes the whole perspective of the room.

4. Brightness vs. Color
If you have everything, such as leather, in a monotone fabric, it’s going to be a monotone room. Add color to the ambience, throw pillows, a metal sculpture, for example, to jazz it up.

5. Depth
Is the trim the same color as the walls or a bright white? There is a balance between a business and a calm sense … which one do you prefer?

6. Sound
Sound bouncing around sound happens. You want to make sure your acoustical items can absorb sound. Add side panels, knick-knacks, throw pillows for a quieter environment.

7. Ceiling Height
The height of ceilings changes a room more than most people realize. Take a 10-12 foot ceiling, you could raise the window treatments, covering more wall than window for a completely different feel.

8. Fabric/Paint Colors
It is very important to bring fabric and paint samples into the room before you begin the design process. Look at the room during the day as well as into the evening.

9. Do it Right the First Time
You find yourself three-quarters of the way through the project when the money runs out. Don’t rush to finish it. Save for six months, then tackle the rest of the project. Do it right the first time.

10. Fun!
Remember to keep the experience fun. After all, this is your home.

Written By By Kristin Bates, photo by Molly Hauxwell Currier