This Naples-based TikTok design maven masters the art of atmosphere

With an eye for thrifted vintage pieces and DIY projects, Annalora Vanderbeek perfects the art of ambiance.

BY August 1, 2023
Annalora Vanderbeek
The 30-year-old digital content creator recently launched a home goods line reflecting her aesthetic. (Photo by Dan Cutrona)

So much of good design lies in setting the right mood, assembling color and texture to conjure a sense of place. Interior designer Annalora “Anni” Vanderbeek knows the art of ambiance well. Over the last three years, she transformed her Naples white-box condo into a cozy abode exuding Old World charm—and gathered nearly 380,000 TikTok followers with her ingenious styling hacks, vintage shopping trips and decor guides.

Before becoming a full-time content creator, Annalora Vanderbeek honed her eye as a design assistant at stalwart Naples showroom Robb & Stucky. When she was laid off during the pandemic, she started channeling her creative energy into posting videos of home renovations on social media. “I started documenting the whole process,” she says. “I became really passionate about helping people who are younger, don’t necessarily have a huge budget, but want their place to reflect them.”

Her videos show how Anni fills spaces with character, harnessing the spirit of her favorite places around the world. “Your home should be a curation of things that mean something to you, whether it’s your favorite artists, books or things you’ve picked up during travels—anything that sparks a memory or feeling,” she says. Her art-filled main living area borrows from summers and winters in London. Inspired by European styles, she layers artwork over DIY picture molding and above a vintage fireplace surround she scored on Facebook Marketplace. “Everyone’s home was so full of art,” she recalls of the homes she grew up around. “My mom [Joanna Sime] is an artist, so being around art feels really comforting to me.”

The newly remodeled primary bathroom exudes the spirit of a luxurious spa with herringbone pink marble tile and flickering candlelight. The bedroom proves equally romantic, enveloped in a faux concrete finish with gold leaf, which Joanna painted by hand. Anni took particular pains to make her king-size bed cozy, tracking down waffle-knit blankets, which she layered with crisp white sheets and pillows.

Playing against type, her home office takes cues from hotel martini lounges. Anni painted the paneled walls black, hung wall-to-wall pleated drapes and created a chandelier from an upcycled ring pendant light with an added chain curtain. She fashioned a backlit marble TV wall with handy LED strips from Amazon, which cast an atmospheric glow against the stone—an idea she got from a hotel stay in Milan. “I know many people design their home with the same vibe throughout, but I can’t pick one,” she says with a laugh. “Each room feels so different.”

Annalora “Anni” Vanderbeek’s Naples condo
In Annalora “Anni” Vanderbeek’s Naples condo, thrifted finds blend with vintage furnishings and modern art by her mother for a look that’s layered and plush. (Photo by Dan Cutrona)

If there’s one common thread that runs through the home, it might be the way Anni prioritizes light. “If somebody asks, ‘What can I do to make my space feel special for the least amount of work?’ Lighting is key,” she says. “Up-lighting is so much better than down-lighting, which can make a space feel sterile, even with the warmest light.” She infuses pools of soft light throughout each room by installing plug-in wall sconces, dropping mini spotlights into potted plants and running light strips under shelves and behind curtains.

Her videos also chronicle her deft mix of online and vintage designs, like a curved velveteen sofa and a solid green marble dining table (a 1970s piece from Robb & Stucky). Often, she’ll tweak her latest finds to fit her individual flair, covering cushions in Lee Jofa cheetah fabric or lacquering her dining chairs in an inky hue. Then, she fleshes out gaps with accessories and what she lovingly dubs ‘unnecessary necessities’—the everyday luxuries that ooze indulgence, from bath oils and candles to giant bath towels and fluffy slippers.

Knowing the value of domestic comforts, she recently launched a home goods and loungewear line on Amazon. The chic, artsy assortment of robes, pillow covers, bed scarves and throw blankets feature iconic paintings from history and original works by her mother. It’s a natural extension of her design philosophy: Every layer of your home, from your curtains to your martini glasses to the satin sheets brushing against your skin, should transport you to a place that feels authentically yours. “You’re never going to be happy with your home if you follow a trend,” Annalora Vanderbeek says. “Just go with what feels good and right to you.”