The history and significance of the House & Garden Top 100 Interior Designers

House & Garden's editor Hatta Byng reflects on the history and significance of the Top 100 Interior Designers & Architects list. The Top 100 and House & Garden Awards are published in our November issue, out now. You can download House & Garden on your iPhone, iPad or Android device now or subscribe today to get your issue for just £1
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Alicia Taylor

House & Garden’s list of the Top 100 interior designers and architects in the UK  has been released for 2023 with eight new entries. The list features a broad  mix of interior designers and architectural practices with a strong interiors focus.

This year we are celebrating 25 years since the first Top 100 was published in 1998. In that time it has become the most influential and respected compendium of its type, and the one every designer working in the UK wants to be included in.  More importantly, it is a guide for both our readers and the design industry as to who is doing the best and most interesting work in this country. It takes huge amounts of research for the House & Garden team and tough decisions need to be made to ensure there is always an element of change.  To put it in context, of the 200 or so names that we consider each time, all have a valid reason to be on the list. But this is what makes it interesting.

In 1998, when it was first published, the interior design industry was quite different. ‘Although 20 years ago, interior decorators were becoming more professional and gaining recognised qualifications’, says my predecessor Susan Crewe (editor 1994 – 2014), ‘there was still a perception among the general public that the occupation was slightly frivolous and exclusive. Our message was that good design could add value to a property, avoid expensive mistakes and in many instances be cost effective’. And she is right.

It was first published as a stand-alone supplement every three years (it is now annual), with the aim to provide a guide and service for the readers which was more than merely a directory. And while now it is bound into the magazine and also published  online, its reason to be is still the same today. It is not a list of the top 100 most commercially successful designers, nor is it a list of celebrity designers. Our aim is that it is a list of designers and architects with very varied approaches and styles, with small and large teams, working to wildly different budgets, but all doing their jobs with dedication, imagination and flair. Whether you have a small cottage in the country or a large Mayfair penthouse, you want a quiet backdrop to everyday life or something imaginative and strikingly different there should be somebody for you.

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