It’s the time of the year where we pack our belongings and move to our new home. More than likely, our new home is a bit smaller than home sweet home. Whether a dorm or apartment, HGTV Design Star Contestant Kellie Clements, took time out of her incredibly busy schedule and gave us some tips on turning the groans of small space living into the excitement of ‘Home Sweet Home!’
Design Star Contestant and College Lifestyles Favorite Kellie Clements
Trust us, you will find yourself heading to the nearest IKEA and fabric store from Kellie’s simple suggestions for turning your small space into functional living! While shopping for on-line for decor products, be sure to vote for Kellie as the fan favorite on the Design Star site AND set your DVR for the Design Star finale (between Meg and Karl THIS Monday at 9est/8cst!)!
Personally, I could have chatted with Kellie all day! Her inviting personality turned what was originally a simple interview on decorating tips, to her giving us incredible insight on her career path, suggestions for students interested in a design career, and suggestions on auditioning for future Design Star shows!
CL: In decorating, what color combinations can make a dorm/apartment space appear larger?
KC: I suggest a very neutral palate with a ‘pop‘ of color. For example, my first semester living in the dorm (Kellie is a University of Central Arkansas alum), my roommate and I used a black and white palate. We visited a local carpet store and purchased candy apple red carpet to lay on our flooring. This was very simple, affordable, and gave our dorm a great look! In addition, it was very easy for us to remove once semester was over.
Personally, my favorite neutral color combination is black and white. I love the fact this palate can match any sorority color combination. While my roommate and I chose the red accent with carpeting, you can chose any color or sorority color combo.
In addition, I understand many times in apartments and dorms, one is not allowed to paint. Take advantage not only of the carpet, but look to hang fabrics from the wall as well as fabric window treatments.
If you are lucky and allowed to paint in an apartment, be sure to keep the wall and ceiling the same color.
CL: In decorating, what color combinations should one avoid (or can make a space look smaller)?
KC: Avoid very dark colors. While black and white is a great neutral palate, avoid painting or hanging a very dark (or black) fabric on walls or as window treatments.
CL: What are your suggestions on functional storage for dorm and apartment living?
KC: When limited on floor space, I encourage folks to compartmentalize and think ‘up!’
When compartmentalizing, look to buy items which serve 2 purposes. For example, look for storage in the form of ottomans OR seating with storage options. The same storage ottoman can be used for seating and as a step stool.
When ‘thinking up,’ raise your bed off the floor by 12 inches. Many stores (IKEA) have shelves to fit under bedding. Use these shelves to store you shoes and books.
Dilling Underbed Storage Box. IKEA. $14.99.
CL: What are your suggestions on preventing wall damage from hanging pictures/shelves?
KC: Hooks are now available which make only a pin hole size marking when removed. In addition, invest in ‘stick’ hooks. However, be sure to check weight limits on all hooks before hanging items.
CL: Any other suggestions you have for our readers on dorm and apartment decorating?
KC: My philosophy is to make your space fit your needs. In a smaller space, look for furniture to serve several purposes. For example, when purchasing sofa tables, look for one with a bottom shelf to store books and magazines. If you are having guest over, use the same sofa table as additional table seating OR as a serving table (remove the books/magazines an add a chair or use for food placement).
CL: Let’s talk about your career. We (at College Lifestyles) are so excited for your success on Design Star! What are your suggestions for students wishing to enter a contest like Design Star?
KC: There is no reason NOT to audition for Design Star. My biggest suggestion is to be your authentic self during the entire audition process. Be very comfortable with yourself as a person. (Season 7 Audition Information – click here!)
CL: What was your favorite experience on being a part of Design Star?
KC: Actually, I have two!
The first is the relationships are priceless. I was able to meet some of the most incredible designers in the industry. The designers (contestants) are the only folks who understand what we all went through (the challenges and audition process); and that is priceless.
The second was the love of the challenge. I was excited for the challenges and truly enjoyed the work!
CL: What suggestions do you have for students who are interested in a interior design career?
KC: When in school, discuss with your advisors the aspects of design which peak your interest. Discuss with your advisors how to prep for the field – for example, question if you would need to move to a more city dwelling or certain area of the country to practice a specific design field. Don’t be afraid to ask your advisor about salaries for certain design fields.
In addition to prep discussion, explore the oppurtunity of internships AND shadowing a designer. Always be willing to take an internship, even if it is not the ‘best’ internship or something you do not want to do, get the experience, and you will learn what you are really good at.
When exploring your career/job opportunities, be very true to yourself as a designer and start to identify what is your ‘expertise.’ You will be much more successful as a designer if you are both true to what you love and doing what you love.
CL: What is your motto AND ultimate message to students and aspiring designers?
KC: There is no reason not to pursue what you want to do! You have nothing to lose as a student. Really decide what it is you love to do and you will be successful! Personally, I encourage and love success stories in this field!
With Kellie’s talent, warm personality, attitude, and willingness to share her story, we encourage all our readers to vote for Kellie as the fan favorite for the HGTV Design Star (click here!) and watch the HGTV Design Star finale this Monday at 9pmEST/8pmCST.
Learn more about Kellie here!
Looking to audition for Season 7 of Design Star, click here! (Auditions will take place in New York, Las Vegas, Austin, Charlotte, Boston, Miami, and New York!)
Tune into the Season Finale of Design Star this Monday on HGTV at 9pmest/8pmCST.