PRIDE: Balancing The Social And Visible Impacts Of Design


seated portrait of interior designer john mcclain

John McClain is the founder, creative director and CEO of John McClain Design, as well as the home furnishings company John McClain Home.

In celebration of Pride Month, Luxe taps design pros to discuss empowerment, inspiration and the importance of diversity.

Whether it’s through a direct conversation, a social media post, or within the pages of his soon-to-be-released book, The Designer Within, interior designer John McClain never shies away from who he is and the causes he supports. “I don’t scream from the rooftops once a year that I’m proud of my life; instead, I let my true voice be heard in my daily actions,” says the Los Angeles- and Orlando-based creative, who’s a longtime member of the Human Rights Campaign.  Here, McClain dishes on the importance of finding joy at home and listening to your heart.

What does equal representation in design mean to you?

Showcasing people from varied backgrounds who contribute to our fabulous industry. Visibility of the talent behind the design is just as important as the design itself and crucial to the success and longevity of our industry.

What words of advice would you give to younger members of the LGBTQIA+ community?

Listen to your heart, and follow that truth. If you are genuine and heartfelt with all of the interactions you have in life, the right friends, the right communities and even the right clients will find you.

How can we express ourselves more authentically at home?

Stop the copycat design we think will impress friends and neighbors, and ask ourselves what makes us smile when we walk into our home.

Favorite recent project.

My own home. I wanted (and artistically needed) to design with little to no boundaries or limitations. I crafted my own home with boundless creativity; constantly checking in with myself to make sure I was designing for my husband and me and not for the masses. The result is a happy, inviting, colorful and comfortable home that speaks to my soul.

How do you express diversity stylistically through design?

I strive to source materials that have a history and background and lead to moments of learning. It’s our jobs as designers to think about the social impact of our work as much as we consider the visual aspect.

living room with black fireplace surround stretching up to ceiling, long chandelier, and tan couch

A dramatic fireplace installation, stretching from floor to ceiling, is the bold focal point of designer John McClain’s own home. (Photo: Zeke Ruelas)

john mcclain colorful living room

McClain enjoys educating clients on new and innovative concepts. (Photo: Zeke Ruelas)