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Amplified Apartments: Home Edition: A Refined and Striking Ohio Sanctuary
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Welcome to Amplified Apartments: Home Edition, a special edition of ForRent.com’s Amplified Apartments series, featuring amateur apartment interior designers whose winning decor hacks will save you space, whether you’re on the first or fifteenth floor.

Lifestyle maven Erin Souder’s charming designs are as sharp as her interior styling savvy. Her blog, House of Earnest, makes a clear case for her gifted eye, and our interview made her design wisdom only clearer. Amplified Apartments took a peek into her Columbus, Ohio bedroom and office to find living spaces both elegant and inviting, though it took time and growing pains to get there.

Her office, a 130 square foot space, has evolved to create work space for both her and her husband. Its juxtaposed minimalist furniture and eclectic décor blends easily, offering a multitude of focal points to feast your eyes on. Her bedroom is none too different, with only 40 square feet more. Its neutral bedding is highlighted with pops of color and pastels craftily placed around her room.

If you could describe your design concept using 5 words, what would they be?

Natural, classic, airy, minimal, neutral.

Did you have to make any compromises when designing the two rooms?

Absolutely. Our bedroom has a strange jut-out from the chimney. Since there is only one straight wall in the whole room, I optimized the space by first putting shelving in the recess, then adding permanent built-ins. Now the wall of shelves serves as a very functional space behind our headboard.

Amplified Apartments: Home Edition: A Refined and Striking Ohio Sanctuary
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Your office has gone through many forms, each improving on the other. Do you think seeing the room in these different arrangements gave you a better visual sense of how to use the space?

I think the transition of my career and what I needed out of the space was the main factor. I went from just blogging from home and working mostly outside the home to blogging and running a full-time at-home business with my husband, so we needed a space that could handle lots of work.

Amplified Apartments: Home Edition: A Refined and Striking Ohio Sanctuary
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Both rooms are predominantly neutral, but in no way bland. What’s the key to achieving rich design without using much color?

Mixing textures is key. I use a lot of cowhide mixed with sheepskins, with grasscloth and sisal. All of those different textures keep things interesting.

You have an eye for staging. The shelving units in both your bedroom and office are functional and aesthetically refined. How do you achieve such visually pleasant and purposeful storage?

Really, you just hide the ugly things! For example, I have to have filing, but it’s in a cabinet. My stacks and stacks of magazines are in white magazine bins and boxes with labels hide totally random clutter. I have a box in my office devoted to notepads. Open storage can house closed boxes, bins, and baskets and add to the overall aesthetic of styled shelves.

Amplified Apartments: Home Edition: A Refined and Striking Ohio Sanctuary
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Both rooms have eclectic and elegant touches. How do you balance the two in one singular design concept? Does it have to do with color or size?

Overall size of permanent furnishings—desk, shelves, bed, etc.—are neutral and high quality. These are foundations for the smaller, eclectic pieces that can be switched out whenever. I also think that you cannot go wrong with many metallic pieces.

With décor, a little bit of shine is always in order! (Tweet This)

Looking at your blog, it’s clear you have taste, but design is also more than taste – it’s also about realizing your vision in the space you have. What’s your secret to creating harmonious rooms in your given square footage?

It’s a tough balance to work within not only the square footage, but also the style of the house. My home is Victorian, but my style is not. I’ve kept some very classic elements, not because I love the traditional, but because they go with the feel of the home and they don’t busy the space – giving more room and attention to the few eclectic pieces I have.

I also lived in the space for about 4 years before I really started tackling the design. I started out with some things that horrify me now. It’s about trial and error and what makes you feel relaxed and happy in the space.

Amplified Apartments: Home Edition: A Refined and Striking Ohio Sanctuary
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Where do you get your design inspiration from? Be specific, if possible.

I actually think retail spaces and cool shops give me a ton of ideas. I like how airy shops allow you to move around and really absorb what’s going on around you.

Furniture shouldn’t just be shoved against the walls. (Tweet This)

Shops bring attention out into the center of the room, which I try to implement either in my coffee table styling, my entry wall table, or even how my bed and desk protrude out into the space.

In a small space, how do you toe the line between clutter and decor?

Ask yourself if it’s useful. You can have beautiful, useful things that add to the decor, but aren’t just clutter. A striking lamp or sconce is a perfect example of this.

Amplified Apartments: Home Edition: A Refined and Striking Ohio Sanctuary
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What are your go-to stores for home furnishings and decor?

I go to Home Goods a lot. I love Ikea, but have to be careful that the stuff I bring home is large enough and isn’t too dinky. I shop a lot at West Elm for bigger purchases, or for ideas on how to style my home with things I might already have.

What’s your number one tip for solving the small space problem?

Go BIG with the things you need and use daily. By go big, I mean make them count, make them beautiful, make them interesting. If you don’t have space on the floor for a lamp, have a fabulous wall or ceiling light, which really livens everything up. If you only have space for a loveseat, go ahead and get a fabulous one that makes the space.

For more insight and inspiration from Erin Souder, see her blog House of Earnest, here.

Want to share your space?
Email ForRent to feature your own Amplified Apartment or Home.
See your interior design creations on the ForRent blog!

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About :

Hey, everybody! My name is Jason, and I contribute to this great blog, but when I'm not posting for ForRent.com, I like to play music with friends, cook, and travel as much as possible.

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