The Interior Design Journey of Emily Wiley

A smiling woman standing behind a table adorned with an elegant display of books in various shades of blue and green, accented by vibrant green glassware and a framed insignia denoting The Scout Guide, with a well-coordinated backdrop featuring more refined decor.

Emily Wiley, interior designer and owner of Emily Wiley Interiors on Monte Sano Avenue, brings a wealth of experience to her new business, which will turn two this fall. Before beginning her professional career, Emily participated in a multitude of things from a study abroad program just outside of Rome, Italy, internships with locals Nick Dickinson of Dickinson Architects and Nancy Kitchens of Nancy P. Kitchens Interiors, an internship with James Farmer in Perry, Ga., to an internship with Nate Berkus in Chicago, which eventually led to her first job.

After completing her summer internship in Chicago and graduating from the esteemed Auburn University’s Interior Design Program in 2019, she joined the Nate Berkus Associates team as a junior designer. All was going well until Covid hit and Chicago shut down. After a brief work-from-home stint, Emily came back to Augusta and soon landed a job with Ashley Gilbreath of Ashley Gilbreath Interior Design. Based in Montgomery, Alabama, Ashley was looking to start a studio in Rosemary Beach, Florida.  Emily packed up her bags again and headed to 30A where she lived and worked for two years. 

She knew that it was time to make the permanent move back to Augusta when she was  engaged to be married and the thought of opening her own interior design business was on her mind. “I had a minute where I thought if I am going to do it then it needs to be now,” she said.  “If I move back and start working somewhere else I am going to get too comfortable, and it never is going to happen.” With her fiancé Ashton on board with her plan, she opened Emily Wiley Interiors in September 2022.

When asked what her style is, Emily says that it’s hard for her to say. Every client’s personal style is unique, and that is ultimately the main driving force behind a project. “It might be a mix of styles and could be influenced by a cabinet that was given to them by their great-grandmother, and that’s so much more important than what I visualize,” says Emily.  “I want it more to be about the homeowners story, what they are drawn to, and what memories they are creating in their space. It’s hard to put into words but it is a very personal process and especially so in residential design.”

While design style is important, Emily strives to create spaces that tell these stories and have meaning without sacrificing functionality in each project she takes on. Where are they going to go to store the dog food? Where will their kids keep their shoes and school supplies? “It’s details like this that really make a house function well, and that’s something that is hard to teach in a classroom,” she says. “I’ve been lucky enough to study under a number of incredibly talented designers, both prior to college graduation and after, who each have unique points of view and have shaped how I’ve learned to approach interior design as a whole.”  With her plethora of experience the past five years in various interior design businesses and two years of owning her own, Emily can truly say she’s established in the interior design world.

Recent Trends According to Emily

  • A return to the classics across the board. 
  • A 180 degree turn from the all white/all gray and cooler tones to the richer and warmer colors like browns and greens and more earthy tones that create a cozy environment. 
  • More peachy tones and even a little touches of chartreuse thrown in there. 
  • Seeing color drenching of rooms, painting the walls, ceilings and trim all the same color. 
  • Canopy beds and checkerboard floors