This Interior Designer’s Blank Rental Was Decorated Beautifully on a Budget


This Interior Designer’s Blank Rental Was Decorated Beautifully on a Budget

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Name: Samantha Stein, Mollie Hughes (roommate), Stella (a golden retriever/great Pyrenees mix and she is the friendliest sweetest pup ever!), and Tucker (my parents’ little dog I watch)
Location: Nashville, Tennessee
Size: 1300 square feet
Type of Home: Townhouse
Years lived in: 3 years, renting

After graduating from The University of Tennessee, I moved home to Nashville to pursue a career in interior design. After working for several firms I started my own company Samantha Stein Interiors. I share this townhouse with my best friend Mollie of 20 years, who is a nurse, and my beautiful rescue dog Stella. It is the cutest townhouse right off of Woodmont Boulevard in the heart of Nashville.

When I moved here it was nothing but a blank slate of white walls and orange-ish wood floors, but I saw so much potential. As a designer it had three things I can’t live without—natural light, tall ceilings, and load of character. I think what sold me the most was the fireplace with large built-ins on either side. When I moved in, the bookcases had mirrored backs and glass shelves. Nothing some white craft paper couldn’t fix.

I had to be super creative with how to fix this place up since I was renting. Little by little, I made it my own. I hung white linen drapes throughout, hand painted the powder bath, and infused it with my company’s favorite look: casual, cozy, and eclectic. I welcome visitors with a large gallery wall surrounding the entry console, added a storage cabinet in the dining room to house all my fabric samples, cozied up the kitchen with some art and a kitchen cart, and shopped Craigslist for most things in my bedroom. Well, except the table that houses my jewelry, which was a woodworking project my senior year of college. The Buddha painting over my bed will forever be a favorite! It was a find from Gaslamp Antique Mall here in Nashville. I am very influenced by California and love a light, bright, and cheery home. I think I made one here.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: I would say my style is eclectic, cozy, and has slight California influence. I am an interior designer and transitioned from working at an architecture firm to owning my own design firm while living here.

Inspiration: I love the casual interiors of designers like Amber Interiors, and her earlier more colorful work totally inspired this home. I am also a huge Nancy Meyers fan and her film “Home Again” definitely influenced my design choices. I was inspired by anything unique, handmade, and relevant to nature!

Favorite Element: The tall ceilings and windows. Natural daylight makes a home so much more enjoyable. I love to open up the shutters and let some fresh air and sunlight stream into the space.

Biggest Challenge: As a new business owner, budget was definitely the hardest challenge. When we first moved in I had a steady job and income. Now I own a successful interior design business. But that time in between when all the money needed to go back into the business I had to search through Craigslist, Facebook Marketplaces, estate sales, garage sales, etc.! Almost everything is a found object in my home.

Proudest DIY: I think the cute painted accent wall in my powder bath has to be the best. I love the way it looks like wallpaper until you get super close. I also love how hand-made and natural it looks!

Biggest Indulgence: The Cisco sofa! It is down filled and made of the most luxurious linen! I knew I would sit on the sofa every day… so I felt comfortable splurging on a high quality one made in the U.S. It is even slipcovered so I can wash it easily!

Is there something unique about your home or the way you use it? My dining room serves as a home office on most days of the week. I sit there with my computer and my piles of samples and fabrics. The white cabinet houses baskets with everything I need! It was worked out perfectly. Sometimes it’s filled with packages though; we receive endless boxes of samples regularly!

What are your favorite products you have bought for your home and why? Without a doubt, it has to be my blue KitchenAid mixer. I use it every Saturday morning to make the most delicious two-ingredient bagels! Not only that, I think it makes a statement in the kitchen and is so beautiful.

Please describe any helpful, inspiring, brilliant, or just plain useful small space maximizing and/or organizing tips you have: White walls will really allow the items in your home to stand out! They create a neutral base for everything else to be layered in. I think baskets, cabinets, kitchen carts, anything to help you stay organized are must haves. And use your vertical space! If you have tall ceilings and a short wall, get a cabinet that is taller so you can store more inside.

Finally, what’s your absolute best home secret or decorating advice? If you don’t love it, don’t buy it! I think as long as you buy things you love and pay no mind to trends your house will always be a space you want to be in!



  • Walls and trim throughout — Behr Ultra Pure White





  • Kitchen cart — IKEA
  • Rug — Vintage
  • Art — Target and estate sales
  • Kitchen aid mixer — Amazon (mine is limited edition, here is similar)


  • Rug — Rugs Direct
  • Floor Mirror — West Elm discontinued
  • Vanity — IKEA
  • Stool — Flea market
  • Bed — Craigslist
  • Nightstands — Facebook Marketplace
  • Budha Art — Antique mall
  • Lamps — Ballard Design discontinued
  • Bench — One Kings Lane

Thanks Samantha!

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