HGTV host and home design specialist Sabrina Soto loves color paintings, reusing home decorations, DIY, and designing new solutions for the home. Her advice always helps a great deal for those who are trying to make their home look welcoming or even trying to save money.
Sabrina is great at understanding how to buy inexpensive items that look expensive, and that's just one of the reasons why we love watching The High/Low Project. She also mentions some great ways to transform furniture and to invent new things. Most importantly, she emphasizes organization because that is the key to everything.
Also on the same note, Sabrina really enjoys multi-functional furniture that can provide both storage and comfort with style. Color is probably almost as important to her as organization since it can create a mood. We caught up with Sabrina to talk all about home design, her show The High/Low Project, and all about her favorite DIY projects.
FACTIO MAGAZINE: We love you on the show The High/Low Project! What are some tips for finding similar inexpensive items to their high-end counterparts? SABRINA SOTO: Thank you! If you're searching for inexpensive substitutes, the key is to keep scale and style in mind. You don’t want to compromise your design by replacing those big-ticket items with smaller items, just because they are cheaper.
A lot of times you can save big money by finding items that look the same, but are constructed differently. For instance, look for furniture that is finished with veneer instead of solid wood. If you’re searching for items made of glass, mirror, acrylic, or polished stones like marble, consider thickness. A ¼” piece of glass is significantly cheaper than a ½” piece, and will rarely change the overall look of a piece.
Pictured Right: Sabrina Soto, HGTV Host of The High/Low Project and author of "Sabrina Soto Home Design (Wiley 2012)"
FM: What tips can you give to save not only time but also money for buying DIY pieces? SS: My favorite kinds of DIYs are ones where you get to reinvent things you already have around the house. This way the cost is minimal and you get to keep things you already love! For example, old rusty toolboxes can make cute planters for your patio or windowsill. You can also transform an old sofa table into terrifically trendy bedside tables by cutting it in half and giving it a fresh and funky coat of paint.
FM: Where would you suggest putting makeup and makeup brushes? SS: Using mason jars, spray paint and a piece of lace, anyone can create a pretty brush holder. A magnetic makeup board can “float” your accessories on a decorative background.
FM: Please share some makeup DIY items that you have made and its importance to you. SS: The overall key is, of course, to keep organized. Group similar items together so they are easy to locate when you need them. You can also group things by style, for instance, day and nightwear makeup. It’s best to store your brushes upright to keep the bristles from bending or fraying. This is also great for allowing them to dry. I made this brush holder in five minutes with a drill and a spare block of wood! This is also a great solution for storing eye liners and lipsticks.
FM: What are some good ways to DIY and recycle old clothing that is out of style? SS: I love taking old t-shirts and making reusable grocery bags out of them. They are easy to wash and maintain and I feel like I’m saving the environment twice as fast!
FM: Please give some examples of the three furniture items that every home must have. SS: Every home has different needs, but I love items that pull double duty or serve a standard function in a new and innovative way. Just about any space can fit a storage ottoman, from playrooms to living rooms. You can always use the extra storage & seating.
FM: To you, what are the most important rules for a clean house? SS: Even the cleanest house will appear messy if it is cluttered, so try not to over load surfaces. Keep counter and tabletop accessories to a minimum. Don’t over load bookcases, either. It’s okay to leave small sections of shelves bare. This allows the eye to find a resting place and prepare your mind to enjoy each grouping of accessories.
FM: What are some ways to wake up feeling refreshed in the morning? SS: Paint! When looking at paint swatches I love to label them with adjectives, like saucy orange and blissful blue. This helps me decide how the color makes me feel. When picking out colors for bedrooms, I always try and use neutral colors that give me a sense of calmness. A relaxing color will help ease the transition from super sleeper to glorious go-getter! You can choose a bathroom color with a little more spunk to help get you motivated after that morning shower.
FM: What are some ways to decorate a bookshelf and make it personal? SS: Integrate your keepsakes throughout your home in small groupings of odd numbers, so that you can really showcase each item. Bookcases are a great place to showcase some of your favorite collectables. Weave your treasures in between stacks of books to create a sence of flow and balance throughout the unit. You can also keep your collection together by creating a unique and artistic way of keeping your collection all together.
FM: Can you give some ideas on how to save the packaging of cosmetics or expired makeup for decorating bedrooms? SS: I think you could save used, empty bottles to organize, but I wouldn't use them while decorating.
FM: Where is a good place to put the floral decorations on the living room table without overcrowding? SS: A great way to approach table arrangements is to find balance in asymmetry. Everything doesn’t have to be centered. Try placing a larger flower arrangement on one side of the table and balance it with a grouping of 2-3 smaller objects on the opposite side. Then just tweak and rearrange each side until you find the arrangement that’s right for you.
FM: How would you be able to renovate an old piece of furniture found by the recycling dump? SS: Breathing new life into a “has been” piece might seem a little risky, so you want to keep a few things in mind. When surfing the sidewalk for castaways, I recommend staying away from anything upholstered, you never know what critters you could be taking home with you. Second, make sure the structure is sturdy. Can the item support weight? Is it a little too wobbly? Does it have all four legs? Be realistic; don’t just take it because it’s free. If it’s worthy of your wonderful home, then there are a number of ways to upcycle it! Anything from a new finish to new hardware can give an abandoned article that much needed facelift.
FM: Is warm light or cool light good for the general mood of the kitchen? SS: When it comes to lighting kitchens, it’s best to stick with bulbs in the daylight to warm whites range. Colors that are too cool can make the kitchen seem cold and uninviting.
FM: What are some ways to recycle old dishes? SS: Finding ways to upcycle items from your kitchen is only limited by your imagination. Framing vintage spoons or dipping them in coordinating colors of paint can make beautiful kitchen artwork. I recently saw some really cute curtain tiebacks made of old forks.
FM: How should you make the bedroom with one color theme but not have it be too heavy? SS: Choosing a monochromatic color scheme doesn’t mean you have to be boring or stick with blacks and whites. You can keep the color simple, but vary the décor visually by using different textures. Experiment with the color by using it in a range of values and saturations. Layer in patterns to help create visual interest.
Find out more about Sabrina Soto and HGTV's The High/Low Project click here.
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