Photos by Collin Richie

The Creatives: Interior decorator Krystal Dawn Matthews

When a room, like a conversation, or a gift or a relationship, is intimate in the way that it is personalized, the experience can be transformative.

This ethos is at the heart of Krystal Dawn Matthews’ design work, and anchored on the belief that headlines her firm’s website: Human beings are unique miracles.

“When you do something for long enough, you’ll be good at talking about it, so I just do that and be me,” Matthews says. “That authenticity, that energy, will attract.”

Krystal Dawn Matthews
Hometown: Brusly, Louisiana
Age: 43
Artistry: Interior decorating; Founder, Krystal Dawn Design
Online:, @krystaldawndesign on Instagram

Growing up in a conservative Pentecostal family where skirts, jewelry and makeup were forbidden, limitations have always sparked Matthews’ imagination.

“I learned to create outfits, and show my style, and do fun things within all those rules,” she says. “I really think that got my creativity going when I was young.”

Married at 18, she quickly found ways to decorate their first home on a tiny budget. After becoming a mother and trying nursing—“that job was killing my life force,” she recalls—Matthews decided to lean into her passion for design and legitimize the side hustle she’d been helping friends through for years by launching her own interior decorating business.

“I think when things come too easy, you don’t appreciate it,” Matthews says. “How design started for me was by working hard for very little in return. And now, the worse a space starts off, the more I’m like, ‘Give it to me, let’s go!’”

As she did last fall by turning what looked like The Office’s Dunder Mifflin into a rich visual feast of a headquarters for her team and a few others in a building off Perkins Road, Matthews enjoys playing with contrast and texture and is never shy with brazen art. Blacks, slate greys and deep colors often spike expanses of calming whites in many of her rooms. Her walls invite a curious touch, whether they’re covered in relief alligator-skin patterns or ceiling-high with intricate backsplashes.

A night owl at heart, Matthews’ creativity comes alive most at the end of the day, often with New Orleans jazz playing and a glass of wine in hand.

While the task of balancing her artistry and eye with a client’s goals and tastes can alternate between challenging and exhilarating, Matthews aims to express herself authentically while capturing the essence of the client’s personality and needs.

“I’ve always had a little edge to my work,” Matthew says. “I enjoy any style and project, but whatever we do, it’s still going to have originality to it, something that, aesthetically, I really, really love and that feels like me.”