Creating a Sense of Place - A Discussion with Interior Designer Samantha Brazil

Thanks to Covid-19 and the quarantine orders, I have been on a major home interior design kick. My pinterest boards have exploded and I have even started looking for a new home. I have reached that point in my late twenties where I am ready to settle down and have a space that I can dig into and call my own.

This sense of personal HGTV overhaul had me knocking on my friend Samantha Brazil's door. Sam is a dear friend and FABULOUS interior designer. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Interior Design from University of Kentucky where she graduated in 2016 and has recently started her own interior design business.

Samantha and her husband bought an old house in our home town that they have been working to restore to its former beauty. It's from this home that Samantha runs her new business, Samantha Brazil Interior Design (check out her website I absolutely love Sam's work and wanted to pick her brain about some easy ways to freshen up one's home and allow one's personality to shine through in its design - and then of course share those fabulous ideas with you!

Below are a few tips Sam shared with me that are sure to liven up your space without breaking the bank!

"Start small," Sam suggested. "Begin the process with one room. You will want to spend time in that space and understand its nooks and crannies - let the room talk to you! A few questions I ask myself when deciding on how I want the room to function long term are 1) Who will use the space (husband, kids, entire family, pets, etc.) and 2) What is my budget and how much do I (or my client) want to spend on this room?"

The first step Sam said in preparing to revision a space is getting organized. "So many people have items in their room(s) they never use. We make more of a positive impact on our lives if we surround ourselves with things we use on a day-to-day basis." do you get organized??

"Empty the room in its entirety. CLEAN IT ALL - light fixtures, baseboards, name it, it's getting cleaned. Then, start categorizing your stuff into piles - Keep, Use Half the Year, Haven't Used in Over a Year. If you haven't used it in over a year, chances are you won't be using it in this room. Donate it, give it away, or throw it out. The goal here is to remove the excess from your life." Sam said she likes to make a "Keep" pile on the floor for the items she knows she wants to bring back into the space, but always has a box or tote ready for the items she wants to donate or throw away. "This makes the process easier."

"Paint is the easiest and cheapest way to bring a room back to life." Sam pointed out that there are two ways you can go about deciding on the type of atmosphere you want to create. "When choosing paint (or wallpaper), I go for two moods - light and airy or dark and moody." Two important questions you want to ask yourself before going dark and moody are 1) does the room receive a lot of natural daylight and 2) are the ceilings tall? "If the answer is yes to both of those questions, I'd say you're safe to go with dark and moody," Sam said. "I've found that playing it safe with colors of the light and airy atmosphere allows you as the homeowner to have more options down the road to bring in and change out fun accent colors (i.e. pillows, artwork, rugs, etc.) However, I tend to find myself spending more time in rooms that are dark and moody. They are cozy, make me feel safe, and they feel like home."

Sam pointed out that you will want to pay attention to the color/stain of wood in your home when picking out paint colors. She suggested that if the wood has a more orange tint to it, you will want to stay away from other colors that run in the same family. This is where you will want to consider your complimentary colors (i.e. orange hues vs. blue hues).

Mix the Old with the New
"The best way to make a space feel lived in and loved on is to mix up old items with new items. There are so many pieces of furniture in my house that were hand-me downs from family, purchases for cheap at garage sales, or picked up for free on the side of the road."

(And she is being literal about the last one. She took me on a tour of their home and when I asked her where she got her iron-rod bed frame she said "Oh, this?! I found it along the roadside somewhere and threw it in the back of my car. It's been with me all the way through college and now it's here." Ladies and gents, if that isn't "character in a home," I don't know what is...)

Sam has even gone to social media to find specific items she is looking for to decorate her home. "I've put out stories on social media about certain items I would like to have in my house and people have responded 'if you come pick it up, it's yours!' She adds, "There are so many wonderful pieces out there that simply are not made with the same level of craftsmanship anymore. I always try to reuse before purchasing new, if usually makes for a good story anyway!"

Don't Be Afraid of Pattern
Sam pleaded that I, nor anyone, should be afraid of patterns. She said if you're able to splurge, go for a wallpaper that has a really great pattern in it that you love. If you are trying to keep your budget in check, look for patterns in pillows and rugs that you can add to your room. "Be sure to pull in different textures. Mix leather with other types of fabrics and don't be afraid to branch away from using all wood items." (I personally love the idea of mixing different textures together. I'm a huge fan of that urban loft meets cozy condo, so anytime I can mix metal with wood I am so there!)

Bring in Live Plants
"This is the quickest and easiest way to immediately bring life into a room."

On top of sharing these tips and tricks of her trade, Samantha also shared with me some of her favorite design websites, books, and framing galleries. (You can find those below as well as links to their website or a webpage to purchase the book.)

If you are about to dive into a home renovation project and are needing guidance or have specific questions, I cannot recommend Samantha Brazil Interior Design enough to you. Visit her website ( or shoot her an email ( She would be thrilled to help you on your next design project! Also, be sure to follow her on instagram ( @sambrazilinteriors) If you want to see some of my favorite design choices or the style I tend to lean toward, be sure to check out my Pinterest page (@tipsytroubadour).

As always, be sure to subscribe to my blog for future posts and share with us some of your favorite design tips and tricks in the comments below!


Sam's Suggested Favorites:
Urban Electric Company (
Jersey Ice Cream Co. (
Schoolhouse (
Devol Kitchens (
Park & Division - Jessica Rhodes (
My Simply Simple (

The Power of Pattern by Susanna Salk (purchase it on amazon here)
Down to Earth by Lauren Liess (purchase it on amazon here)

Rumjahn Gallery (


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