Meet our Experts: Carrie Waller
Carrie Waller is the writer, stylist, and photographer behind the home décor crafting blog, Dream Green DIY. She has been empowering creative homeowners to tackle their own DIY design since launching her website in March 2011. With a background in studio art and art history, Carrie is always eager to soak up the newest home design trends—although mid-century modern is her go-to era of choice! Carrie's work has been featured by Domino Magazine, Better Homes & Gardens, Design*Sponge, and Apartment Therapy, among others. She lives in Virginia with her husband and their three pets.
Starting a room makeover or a new DIY project? Carrie has some great tips on the best ways to freshen up your space!
Crane- What do you swear by that is always your go-to to spice up a space?
Carrie- Plants! Greenery always makes the biggest difference when decorating. It's always, always the perfect finishing touch.
Crane- What are your favorite places to shop for home décor?
Carrie- Etsy is a forever favorite because it's full of creative options for handmade and vintage home accents—especially unique throw pillow, ceramics, and art. I'm also a regular at all of our local antique malls and thrift shops.
Crane- While doing interior design, have you taken on any projects yourself? If so, which ones?
Carrie- My husband and I (with a lot of help from my dad!) made over our retro kitchen by installing new granite countertops, peel-and-stick wallpaper, gold hardware throughout, and a classic white subway tile backsplash. Other than that, I've painted every room in our house myself at least once!
Crane- What is the overall theme of your house?
Carrie- I like to think our house is a good mix of boho and mid-century design. It's very eclectic—just the way I like it!
Crane- How have you switched your decorations/style up over the years?
Carrie- Although I've stayed true to mid-century design for the last decade, I'm still constantly evolving my design aesthetic based on the inspiration I surround myself with. A couple of years ago, for example, I tried my hand at minimalist design in our house, but that eventually gave way to the colorful, more maximalist look I've got going on now. Turns out that it's a lot harder than you'd think to design minimally!
Crane- During big holidays, do you have specific decorations you like to use?
Carrie- I don't, actually, which is probably not the popular answer. Of course we have our favorite hand-me-down heirloom Christmas decorations that we use every year, but I honestly struggle with turning our house upside down for the holidays. I work so hard on my everyday decor and styling that it feels backward to take it all down and start over just for the handful of weeks around the holidays. I tend to swap out very little to get the point across without causing myself extra stress—nobody needs extra stress around the holidays!
Crane- We noticed you are a big plant mom, how many do you have in your house? How do you take care of them?
Carrie- I'm so flattered that you noticed! I currently have 28 plants in our house that I tend to pretty much constantly. I have a regular watering schedule, and I also have a set of dusting gloves that I use to periodically clean the leaves on our bigger tropical plants, like our beloved 7-year-old fiddle leaf fig tree.
Crane- What is one of your favorite decorative items you keep in your house year-round?
Carrie- Art is a year-round favorite when it comes to the decor in our home. I actually went to school for art, double-majoring in studio art (with a focus on portraiture) and art history, so I think that has really fed into my passion for art at home.
Crane- Do you find some spaces/rooms in a home to be more important to decorate than others?
Carrie- Not at all—I treat every single room equally to the others. Even mundane spaces like our walk-in closet and the unfinished side of our basement have gotten full top-to-bottom makeovers. I don't decorate just for guests or my blog. I decorate so that I enjoy walking through our house every day and seeing the beautiful things we've collected over the years, so no space is more important than the others.
Crane- Within the different seasons in the year, does the theme or style change with them?
Carrie- No, I don't decorate seasonally anymore. I used to, but then I realized that I was doing it to fit some sort of trend and that it was making me more stressed than happy. After that, I gave myself permission to skip seasonal decorating and I've been so much happier for it. I prefer to commemorate the changing of the seasons with activities like going out for hot chocolate in the winter or a boat ride in the summer instead of feeling the need to swap out my decor.
Crane- What is your favorite space that you have decorated inside your home?
Carrie- Our living room has gone through a good 10-12 different looks since we moved in five years ago, but each and every iteration has brought me joy! It's such a beautiful bright space thanks to the vaulted ceilings and floor-to-ceiling windows.
Crane- What is your best piece of advice to new homeowners looking to start decorating but don’t know where to start?
Carrie- Choose a single decorative piece (ex. a piece of beloved art, a cool vintage throw pillow, or heirloom wool rug), and use that as your jumping-off point when choosing other decorations—like paint colors, upholstered furniture, and lighting. It also helps to purchase items within a cohesive color palette or style so that you can move things from room to room to make them feel like new again.
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