The Home Stylist-by Emily Clark


When we moved into our house two years ago, our small, 11 x 12 feet, spare bedroom
inevitably became “that room” where we threw everything we weren’t
using elsewhere.  It was a cluttered, unorganized mess — to say the
So, when I decided to get serious about my home-based interior design
business last fall, I knew I had to create a home office where I could
be inspired.  And, I had to do it on a tight budget.
Being a firm believer that high style doesn’t have to come at a high price, I began scouring local thrift stores, consignment shops, Craigslist and even yard sales.  While the entire makeover took place over a six-month period, my patience paid off, and I was able to decorate the entire room, start to finish, for less than $600.
I designed my space using three main concepts:
1. Repurposing old furniture and accessories—I love painting older
pieces to give them new life.  I found the campaign dresser for $40 at
a second-hand furniture warehouse and painted it a fun, Kelly Green,
along with a small desk lamp I bought at Goodwill.  I also sprayed
several of the bookcase accessories glossy white, including a vintage
frame I picked up for $5.
2.  Creating an eclectic mix of old and new pieces—By mixing vintage
and modern pieces, I was able to create a more interesting, collected
feel.  For example, I paired a sleek Parsons desk with an older,
distressed chair (a $10 yard sale find).  Finding pieces from various
sources, and sometimes giving them a facelift, often results in a more
designer look than buying a matching set.
3.  Personalizing my space—Since I knew I would be spending a lot of
time in this room, I wanted it to feel like “me.” Gallery walls are a
great way to incorporate your personality.  I framed some of my
favorite family photographs and artwork in various sized black frames
to create a large display above the dresser.
Creating a unique space without spending a lot of money isn’t hard to do, if you’re willing to be creative and patient in the process.  When shopping for bargain items, always think of what they could be after a coat of new paint or a change of fabric.
While this makeover didn’t happen overnight, I was able to eventually create a happy work
space by thinking outside of the box and carefully choosing pieces I
really love.
See more photos at