After a major life event—a move, a breakup, anything that disrupts or alters your sense of normalcy—a big change can feel necessary. Some people go for a dramatic haircut. Orlando Soria picks up a few gallons of paint—and sometimes a lot more. In the designer’s new HGTV show, Build Me Up, he uses interior design transformations to help people who are going through shifts find comfort and security in their surroundings.
“You’re expected to be a little bit psychic as a designer,” says Soria. He interviews his clients to get a better sense of what their style is and how their space can better function for them—which might mean making a dining room do double duty as an art studio, or adding a sofa to a bedroom so a busy mom can have an extra place to relax on her own.
It’s no surprise why countless people are redecorating or reconsidering their living situation right now—enduring months of quarantine is a major life change for everyone. Soria has been making some alterations in his West Hollywood home, too. Here, he shares his best advice for refreshing your space—and you can find out more when Build Me Up premieres on HGTV tonight at 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT.
What are the easiest, most affordable ways to make a space feel totally different?
You can’t underestimate the power of a can of paint in terms of the bang for your buck it gives. Even if you’re repainting a wall the same color as before, it makes it feel clean and bright. You can also find really inexpensive light fixtures, door handles, faucets—small things like that—that cost around $50 and totally change the way you feel in a space. A house is kind of like a living organism, so continually refreshing and updating and organizing and beautifying it can go a long way.
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How have you changed your own home during quarantine?
I bought a new bed and I completely changed my bedscape—I have a new comforter, sheets, and pillows. I got new rugs for my bedroom and my living room; I actually gave my rugs away to people on the show so I didn’t have rugs. At a time like this, you want your space to feel really cozy and inviting, so extra textiles, wood accents, and natural elements are what people are craving right now. I’ve also gone a bit crazy with plants—you can order so many online. I can garden without ever leaving my house.
What’s the secret to a good work-from-home arrangement?
It’s different for everybody, but in general, organization and light are really important. I have a two-bedroom apartment, and originally I was going to use my second bedroom as an office. But then I realized it was kind of dark in there, and I began working in my dining room a lot because it’s much brighter. I added two small storage cabinets to that space—you want to make sure your work supplies are organized so your home doesn’t turn into an office.
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.