Student Success - Erika Born

By Sarah Van Arsdale on October 15 2002

NYIAD students are out there in droves decorating clients' homes, serving as consultants in department stores, and re-designing everything from metropolitan penthouses to lakeshore cottages. If you've started your own business, if you've been hired by a decorating firm, or if you've achieved success in some other way in the field of interior design, we want to hear from you! Click here to let us know about the waves you're making!

© NYIP Student Erika Born The worlds become a smaller place in the past one hundred years, and for interior designers, this is good news: it means that as we learn more about the varied cultures that make up the world, we can borrow from them to create a look that is both sophisticated and eclectic.

Erika Born is one such innovative decorator. Now living in Korea, she was born in Austria, and was educated in Salzburg, Schloss Klesheim, the University of Passau and the NYIAD School of Interior Design. She has lived in Austria, Germany, and India, and speaks German, English, a bit of French and Kitchen Hindi.

All this experience means that Erika has developed the stamp of her own unique style, blending looks from around the world to create fantastical rooms of mystery and whimsy.

Her current project is working on a collection of tents – like out of 1001 Nights, she says. The tents can be used for garden parties, for providing pool-side shade, or for a trip to the beach, but they're much more interesting than the usual tents rented by Uncle Syd for his daughters wedding.

All the tents are made by hand in the traditional method using strong fully waterproof cream canvas for the exterior, Erika said. The interiors are made from natural cotton, with distinctive wood block prints in selected colors and motifs as well as small mirrors.

© NYIP Student Erika Born
© NYIP Student Erika Born

While such tents are only just now making their debut in the West, tent-making is an ancient Rajasthani skill, greatly favored by the Maharajas and Moghuls in India alike, Erika said. And her project has a royal seal of approval, as it is sanctioned by His Highness, the Maharaja of Jodhpur. They can be seen at

Erika started working in interior design even before she started taking the NYIAD Course, when her husbands business led to a great deal of moving around the world. Since we have to entertain a lot, people would come to our home and would fall in love with the interior and the mood of our home and ask if I would help them to do their homes, she says. One thing would lead to another, and before she knew it, Erika was designing other peoples homes for them.

As distinctive as her own style is, Erika most enjoys helping her clients express their own tastes in their homes.

© NYIP Student Erika Born
© NYIP Student Erika Born

People are nowadays very sophisticated and know more or less what they want, she says. I like to help and guide them, to make their home a stylish mirror of the individual who is living there and to create a good atmosphere where the client is able to relax and get new energies for the world "outside.

That said she also knows how important it is to be able to entertain friends and business associates in the home.

Erikas discretion is one of the qualities necessary in a small business owner that has allowed her to achieve her success. Shell say only that she has recently done some decorating for European embassies, but she's keeping the details to herself, to protect her clients privacy. Thats the kind of professionalism that really makes a designers career.

© NYIP Student Erika Born
© NYIP Student Erika Born

But she will say that on one recent project, she and the lady of the house made some bold decisions which paid off. We did the walls in such bright colors that everybody was shocked at first, but when it was finished everybody loved it, she says.

Erikas work shows that with ingenuity, training, and a great design sense, the whole world is open to you.

Come learn at our interior decorating school and become a success just like Erika!