Who is Jenna Lyons? The world-class style of the interior design hero turned Real Housewives star explained

Revered Livingetc favorite Jenna Lyons stars in the new reboot of Real Housewives of New York City. We take a look at her best interior design moments

Jenna Lyons's apartment in New York
(Image credit: © Simon Watson)

Jenna Lyons has been serving us interior design inspiration for as long as we can remember, and now we'll finally have a more personal glimpse inside her home via everyone's favorite reality TV franchise, The Real Housewives. 

That's right, the former creative director and president of clothing brand J.Crew is featuring on the new reboot of The Real Housewives of New York City, premiering in 2023. But who is this style savvy guru, and what do we know about her preference for design? 

Here, we take a look at her signature style and a round up of her best design tips to give you an idea of what to expect once the next season of Real Housewives returns to our screens. Afterall, if there's one person to trust when it comes to stylish design, it's Jenna. 

Jenna Lyons attends the amfAR New York Gala 2019 at Cipriani Wall Street on February 6, 2019 in New York City
Jenna Lyons

Jenna Lyons is an American fashion designer and business personality who was the creative director and president of J.Crew until 2017. Jenna is now Co-Founder and CEO of beauty brand, LoveSeen, as well as the title role and Executive Producer of STYLISH with Jenna Lyons on HBO Max. She also offers her expertise over at interior design service, The Expert. Jenna currently resides in New York City with her son Beckett.

Retro classics

Jenna Lyons's apartment in New York

(Image credit: Nicole Frazen)

Jenna shared snaps of her SoHo apartment over on Instagram, including the clever book storage solution in her home office using a retro shelving system from Vitsoe. 

According to Vitsoe, the unit in question (shown here) is the 606 Universal Shelving System, designed by Dieter Rams for the brand in 1960. The timeless design has elegant simplicity, and can be customized to suit your space. 

The designer revealed that the Vitsoe classic is one of her favorites which she's expertly curated with an eclectic mix of books. Speaking about her love for the shelving, she said: 'They're beautifully and simply constructed, don't warp, are clean and streamlined as well as being recognized as one of the most eco-friendly and economical shelving systems available.'

While Jenna always knows how to do modern, she clearly knows a thing or two about timeless vintage designs, too. 

Sophisticated marble 

Marble bathroom

(Image credit: Future / Matthew Williams)

If there's one thing marble speaks to, it's sophistication - and the same can be said for Jenna. She's all about luxurious yet homely interiors, and one of her favorite materials to achieve the look is this humble stone. 

In an Instagram live discussion with designer Jake Arnold for The Expert, Jenna revealed her love for marble, saying: 'I really love dramatic marble… it’s pretty cool. People are taking risks [with marble], and it’s so fun.'

She continued: ‘For a long time, Carrara and gold was the standard. And, while I was open to doing some gold things in projects, I can tell that people want to do something more dramatic and amazing.'

But when it comes to the stone that's become such a staple in our homes, Jenna is all about the real thing - not fakery. 'I’m over that stone replacement; I just don’t appreciate it,’ she said. 

We're certain we'll see plenty of dramatic marble decorating ideas in Jenna's New York home once Real Housewives airs. Book matched marble and green tones, perhaps?  

Lessons on lighting 

Jenna Lyons's apartment in New York

(Image credit: © Simon Watson)

When Jenna joined interior design service The Expert as a consultant, she spoke about the three items that you should ‘never skimp on’ in the home and one of them was lighting.  

Speaking on a live conversation with designer Jake Arnold, she said: ‘To me, the place where I would not skimp is lighting. Vintage lighting, beautiful lighting is one of the most important things in a home.'

An area we're all guilty of overlooking, Jenna stressed that lighting should really inform the rest of your space. ‘That level of consideration with lighting can make a space feel more glowy and warmer,’ she added. 

‘Lighting is an architecture that shapes a room. Bringing a light down, making it softer with a dimmer… [it] can really change a space.’ Be it living room or bedroom lighting, we're sure Jenna's Tribeca apartment will be full of statement ideas that will set the mood for 2023.

Subtle design details

Jenna Lyons in her bathroom

(Image credit: Coliena Rentmeester)

Back in 2021, the style icon offered us a glimpse into her guest bathroom to reveal her nifty tiling technique. 

In an Instagram post, she explained the intricacies of her non-repeating bathroom tile idea that wrapped all the way up to the ceiling. The tessellation of trapezium shapes ensured there were no large blocks of color in a seemingly random pattern (that was actually well thought out).

Writing on her Instagram post, she explained: ‘What you can’t see in the photograph is that the tile is actually a pale olive mixed with a soft pale blue - it made the color contrast softer, and the room has a warm, soft glow.'

Of course, Jenna was way ahead of the curve with her geometric tile idea, but it was her ingenious solution to tile grout that left us with serious shower room envy. ‘My least favorite thing on a shower floor is grout – it gets nasty quickly,’ Jenna shared. 

She added: ‘For that reason, I put the tile on the walls and matched the grout color to the pale light blue, and put a marble slab on the floor. This way, there are no grout lines on the floor and no drain - there’s a long slim hidden drain at the back of the shower. Who knew drains could be sexy.’ 

We'll be on the lookout for similar design secrets in Real Housewives (if we avoid being side-tracked by hot gossip, that is). 

Color & Trends Editor

Lilith Hudson is the Color & Trends Editor at Livingetc. Writing news, features, and explainers for our digital platform, she's the go-to person for all the latest micro-trends, interior hacks, and color inspiration you need in your home. Lilith discovered a love for lifestyle journalism during her BA in English and Philosophy at the University of Nottingham where she spent more time writing for her student magazine than she did studying. After graduating, she decided to take things a step further and now holds an MA in Magazine Journalism from City, University of London, with previous experience at the Saturday Times Magazine, Evening Standard, DJ Mag, and The Simple Things Magazine. At weekends you'll find her renovating a tiny one-up, one-down annex next to her Dad's holiday cottage in the Derbyshire dales where she applies all the latest design ideas she's picked up through the week.