Interior designer Trip Haenisch didn’t always have a singular aesthetic. 'I was a business major at The University Of Kansas,' jokes the Los Angeles–based founder of Trip Haenisch & Associates who honed in on his traditional-meets-modern approach working alongside Soho House West Hollywood designer Waldo Fernandez for more than two decades.

With his newly released tome, Personal Space: Trip Haenisch, the interiors expert offers a peek into his carefully curated, trend-averse spaces. His techniques allow his client’s aesthetics to shine through, which he’s fine-tuned over the years, with a celebrity client list ranging from Laura Dern to Hank Azaria and Courteney Cox, who penned the book’s foreword. 'I like to try different things. I like to study architecture and understand what the clients love and what they hate and try to distil something out of them that’s unique and personal,' he says. Here, Haenisch, dubbed one of Hollywood’s top interior designers by The Hollywood Reporter, provides five tips for those looking to individualize their space - whether moving into a first apartment or refreshing an existing home.

It’s better to collect than to decorate

Over time, he suggests investing in pieces like a collectible sofa, a great chair or a piece of art. 'You can pop something traditional into a modern space, and if it’s a beautiful piece, it will still look nice. My advice is to learn and study and buy one or two great pieces a year,' he notes, adding, 'I don’t respond to rooms that are symmetrical or spaces that look like everything was bought yesterday.'

Remember that less is more

'Sometimes, it’s what you don’t put in a room,' he explains, citing Pinterest as a great resource for exploring images of homes and finding out what resonates with you on a personal level. 'Look at those things, find things that you love and try to break them down and understand what it is that you respond to.'

Don’t focus on limitations

Your location and budget don’t have to deter you from buying pieces you love, says Haenisch, pointing to sites like Paddle8, which auctions art. 'I used to go on road trips every year. Now I don’t have to leave my desk if I don’t want to because I have so much access to everything.'

Do your research

One of Haenisch’s go-to resources is 1stdibs, an online marketplace for everything from antique furniture to fine jewellery, which Haenisch recommends for researching specific designers and their work and what it might cost. 'Pieces can vary greatly from city to city,” he explains. “By doing your research first, you can get a better sense of value and where to find better deals.'

And finally: know when it doesn’t work
Once you’re ready to commit to a piece, don’t be afraid to take it out on loan and experiment with it in your space. 'You can have beautiful pieces, but if they are scaled wrong, they look ridiculous,' he explains. 'A lot of places allow you to take a piece and look at it in the room, and then if you realize you made a mistake, you can take it back.'

Words by Lesley McKenzie

All photos are from Personal Space: Trip Haenisch, out now on Rizzoli.