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

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

We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Square feet
Sq ft

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

House tour cover

Can't-Miss House Tours Straight to Your Inbox

Keep up with our latest house tours each weekday with our House Tour of the Day newsletter

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!

Share Your Style: