‘I want people to be less concerned with the way their space looks’: Erin Napier tells us what really matters instead

'The way our houses look is just a small part of the story': Here's what the designer prioritizes over aesthetics – and why we should do the same

Erin Napier
(Image credit: York Wallcoverings)

We would be forgiven for believing that nothing is as important as aesthetics for any interior designer. However, for Erin Napier, this isn't the case. 

The HGTV Home Town co-host is encouraging us to care less about looks and more about the history of what happens in our homes: an ideology best celebrated in her new book, Heirloom Rooms

'With this book, I want people to be less concerned with the way their room looks and be more concerned about the history that happens with their family in their home,' Erin says. 'I want people to feel like they can photograph their rooms and their houses for posterity, not show off and get likes on social media.' 

But where exactly did the idea for Heirloom Rooms come from? And how do essays composed from Erin's countryside-inspired home translate to spaces worldwide? In an exclusive conversation with H&G, Erin looks back at the spaces that influenced her – and how we, too, can create a house with a meaning beyond its aesthetic. 

Erin Napier

(Image credit: York Wallcoverings)

'In 1955, my grandparents built the home where my parents lived when I was born, and it wasn't a house you would see on Pinterest. It was a regular house with linoleum flooring and laminate countertops. I would give anything to have photos of it now because I can never go back there. I can never be a toddler in that house again,' Erin says. 

'There's so much I can't remember about the home, and it feels like a piece of my life story is missing because I don't know exactly how every room looked. I wonder if other people feel that way and if others grieve their houses after leaving them.'

This feeling, Erin explains, is, in many ways, the catalyst behind her book and the idea of creating spaces where good looks are less of a priority. 

'I hope it helps people like me who are probably overly sentimental about their houses to connect on that. I want people to enjoy their homes not for their beauty but for what happens there.'

Interior Designer
Erin Napier
Interior Designer
Erin Napier

Erin Napier is a designer and entrepreneur with a fine arts degree who started her career in corporate graphic design before founding her own international stationery company, Lucky Luxe. She co-stars alongside her husband, Ben Napier, in HTGV's Home Town and authored three books, including Heirloom Rooms, (published by Gallery books; 10/3/23). 

So, how does her belief impact Erin's role in Home Town? Naturally, creating beautiful spaces is still important to the designer; however, she encourages us to see them only as a starting point.

'Many people come to us with a very plain house and ask for advice on finding a starting point for their family. However, the way our homes look is just a small part of the story. What happens after designing is the most interesting to me,' she says.

'HomeTown covers only the first part of that puzzle and creates a beautiful starting point, and Heirloom Rooms tells the rest of the story about what happens afterward.' We're picking up our copy via Amazon below. 

by Erin Napier – $23.18 on Amazon

Heirloom Rooms: Soulful Stories of Home by Erin Napier – $23.18 on Amazon
This collection of personal essays and photos reflects on what home means to Erin as her family has evolved over the years. It includes interviews with influential friends on what makes a house a home. The photos and stories throughout feature well-loved and lived-in homes that are aspirational, relatable, and imperfect.

Megan Slack
News Editor

Megan is the News and Trends Editor at Homes & Gardens. She first joined Future Plc as a News Writer across their interiors titles, including Livingetc and Real Homes. As the News Editor, she often focuses on emerging microtrends, sleep and wellbeing stories, and celebrity-focused pieces. Before joining Future, Megan worked as a News Explainer at The Telegraph, following her MA in International Journalism at the University of Leeds. During her BA in English Literature and Creative Writing, she gained writing experience in the US while studying in New York. Megan also focused on travel writing during her time living in Paris, where she produced content for a French travel site. She currently lives in London with her antique typewriter and an expansive collection of houseplants.