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Introducing Domino’s new podcast, Design Time, where we explore spaces with meaning. Each week, join editor-in-chief Jessica Romm Perez along with talented creatives and designers from our community to explore how to create a home that tells your story. Listen now and subscribe for new episodes every Thursday.  

If you look up multi-hyphenate in the dictionary, there’s a likely chance that you’ll find a photo of Athena Calderone next to the word. The designer, author, chef, and blogger rose to icon status with the growth of her popular lifestyle blog, EyeSwoon, as well as with the release of her widely successful books Cook Beautiful and Live Beautiful. In between inspiring the masses with her interiors-focused Instagram account, a new podcast, and working on a debut product line, the domestic darling took a moment to talk with Domino editor-in-chief Jessica Romm Perez about the ways you can make a house a home, no matter the circumstances. “I’ve always used my home to seek greater inspiration,” says Calderone. “But what’s been great is using my home to share and offer inspiration to others. Now I’m in this place where I’m sharing the wealth of knowledge I’ve learned along the way. So it feels a little bit like a full-circle moment for me.”

Tune in to today’s episode on Spotify and Apple Podcast to hear the expert wax poetic on everything from the color combo she’s loving (sage and blush) to how she accomplished her most impressive DIYs. Throughout the episode, Calderone discusses ways to freshen up your home on a budget. Here are a few of her tips. 

Shop Your Own Home

“So often we just get used to a formulaic way of styling our space. If we have open kitchen shelving, we assume it’s where the plates go. We think shelves are for books or sculptures or vases. I’ve loved just wiping the slate clean and thinking of things differently. And maybe that’s a bit of a metaphor for what’s happening in our lives right now. We’ve been brought down to a place that is so unknown to us and we have to rebuild from there. It’s important to shake things up and shop your own home.”

Photography by Athena Calderone


“The power of paint is unbelievable. I just got new marble cabinet faces—we kept the original IKEA cabinets but refaced them. At Semihandmade you can get one of its prefinished cabinets, or you could do the DIY version, which means they send you the raw wood and then you just paint it yourself.”

Seasons Are Key

“How do we see our lives differently from season to season? [For example,] in winter I pull out my gray napkins and deeper flowers make their way onto my table. I’m such a seasonal person; I live my life seasonally, and it’s absolutely relevant to how I see the world. Changing up your home based on the seasons is a great way to refresh your space.”

Photography by Nicole Franzen

Search on Etsy

“All my rattan shades are from Etsy. So many people say, ‘Oh, my God, that lamp is amazing. Where’d you get it?’ I’m like, ‘Well, the metal part I got in Paris, but I found the rattan shade on Etsy for $19.’ It’s so good. 

Pay Attention to the Light

“I would say to anyone who is about to start a renovation, they should really understand the light and understand how opening up walls or raising the windows to be a bit taller can transform a space and also change how you enjoy it and live within the space. For all of my homes, we’ve lived in them before we’ve renovated, and I know firsthand that it’s so important to not immediately jump into a renovation before you really understand the house.”

Photography by Athena Calderone

Subway Tile 

“I recommend going to Home Depot and getting matte white subway tiles, whether rectilinear or square, and you can either apply them in an interesting pattern or use a different grout—they’re just so inexpensive.”