After a long day at work, there’s no better feeling than coming home to great company and a space you love to spend time in. This idea rings true for so many of us, but for blogger Tina Cargill, it felt especially relevant for her brother this summer.
“My brother has four children and is the sole provider for his family of six,” she shares. ”He is a UPS driver and works so hard, especially during COVID.” Although he moved into his home two years ago, the space lacked the personalized details and functionality that make a house truly feel like a family home. So with one week, a few cans of paint, and tons of affordable home decor hacks, Tina did what any interior design-obsessed sister would do: she created her brother’s dream home. Keep reading to go inside the surprise makeover.
Name: Tina Cargill
Location: Wadsworth, OH
Type of Space: Brother’s home (main bedroom, dining room, living room)
Clare color used: Penthouse
We love this project and the story behind it! How did you pull it off?
This idea came to fruition when my brother and his family booked a vacation. I called him up and asked him to leave the keys to his house for me. He was like “Umm, why?!” They were gone for one week so I went in and worked my magic in three of their rooms.
Tell us more about the home before the makeover:
My brother's home is over 100 years old and because of this, spaces can be a little quirky. For example, his bedroom closet is so tiny; before we started he had three mismatched dressers in their room to accommodate their storage needs. I really wanted things to come together with one cohesive look.
Describe your decorating process with affordable home decor:
The two design elements I kept going back to were functionality and a better aesthetic. I wanted to turn their house into a home. I replaced their mismatched furniture with a bedroom suite I chalk painted. It was super budget friendly and totally transformed the space. My quote when it comes to decorating is “if you hate it, paint it.”
How did paint help transform the space?
Painting my brother’s house made such a difference. The rooms were an old peachy-tan color that didn’t lighten the space at all. I used Penthouse, which is the perfect greige because it can pull warm or cool tones. I love a good timeless paint color.
When decorating for someone else, how do you find the balance between styles and preferences?
I would describe my decor aesthetic as industrial, boho and farmhouse with a touch of eclectic. My brother really likes my home and is always complimenting different projects we do throughout it, but I know he ultimately likes to keep things a lot simpler. I tried to use my design eye to help create spaces that function better while keeping him and his girlfriend in mind.
Describe the home now:
My brother’s house now...is a home. Everything feels much cozier and more purposeful. My brother and his family were so excited and surprised when they got home. The kiddos ran around the house calling out their favorite new items in the house, it was so cute to see!
I love the bright, cozy vibes the main bedroom has now. Before it was honestly such a mess and now it’s a cohesive space with purpose and functionality. It makes me happy knowing he and his girlfriend have a true, relaxing bedroom. I think the light sconce next to the bed is my favorite touch – I love that it serves purpose and also makes the room feel really homey.
Any favorite decor tricks to share?
Like I said earlier, one of my favorite design tips is “if you hate it, paint it” – whether it’s furniture, walls or cabinets, paint is a way to totally change a space.
For anyone wanting their house to feel like a home, add in rugs, light fixtures and different textures with throw pillows, baskets and other textiles. All of the little details are what add up to make a space feel more like YOU. Don’t feel so confined into one decor style.
When it comes to larger items that you won’t change out frequently (like paint on the walls or furniture), keep it neutral and add in pops of color with decorative accents that can easily be switched up!
Tina Cargill, blogger and home decorator behind the Inspired Reality blog.
Related: Ready to go inside another impressive home tour? Read Painted Clouds Turned This Living Room Into a Dreamy Plant Paradise .