Get Inspired

Kristen McGowan talks DIY budget-friendly room makeovers to spruce up your space this spring

Have you been bitten by the spring cleaning bug this year? Are you looking to redesign your room for a fresh start? If so, Interior Designer Kristen McGowan's YouTube channel has all the inspo you need. A home makeover expert, Kristen's YouTube channel now boasts over 830k subscribers where she shares budget-friendly home makeover tips, shopping hauls and DIY ideas. 

When Girls' Life sat down with Kristen, she shared all of her tips and tricks for maximizing your spring cleaning process and making your dream room a reality...without breaking the bank. 

GL: Why do you think it is important to have a nicely decorated living space?

Kristen: I don’t know if everyone feels this way but it instantly changes my mood. If you’re looking around at your space and you’re not happy with it, you won't feel as happy about where you are. You know that feeling you get when you see beautiful spaces? That is something you should create in your own space. When I am doing a room makeover, I always aim to create a new experience that makes you excited and happy to be around.

GL: What advice do you have for girls to spruce up their space to make it both a fun place to live as well as a functional work environment?

Kristen: Your bedroom doesn't just have to be for sleeping! Create a corner in your room to host your workspace. It's so easy to make one by finding a table, a stool and a light. Having your room zoned off not only helps with productivity but it also makes your space feel a little more interesting. One fun way to zone your room is to turn your bed frame the opposite way around and use your headboard as a room divider. This is free and long as you can push your bed in a circle!

GL: What advice do you have for individuals who are still trying to find their design style?

Kristen: Everone says they don't know what their design style is, but when they go into a store they definitely gravitate towards certain things. It’s less about finding a style and more about gravitating towards the things that you like and letting that create its own style. I recently made a video breaking down all of the design styles but I don’t think I fit in the box for one specific style. I think if you go with your gut and follow what you are drawn to, your space will represent you and feel like home. It might sound cheesy, but go with your gut and not what is on-trend or what you think you should be doing.

GL: What is a room decor trick that you swear by that most people don't know about?

Kristen: You know how kids have bedroom sets where their bed matches their dresser and it has a matching mirror on top? Overtime, that furniture becomes dated. When you get older and start looking on Pinterest, you see these all of these nice detached mirrors and interesting art pieces over dressers. I realized that you can remove that mirror to create a more modern look by removing the screws and separating the pieces. I like to style it with a new mirror or with a fun gallery wall. I am a big advocate of cutting costs by re-using old furniture and turning it into something new-looking.

GL: Where are some of the best places to shop when you're re-doing your room on a budget?

Kristen: I always gravitate toward Ikea for furniture. They have on-trend pieces coming in all the time. There are a ton of boho and mid-century modern pieces and vintage looking items—and all very affordable, too. I always recommend that young people get afforadble pieces because when your style changes, you won't feel as bad about wanting to change your furniture since you didn't spend a ton of money on it.

For decor, I always go to HomeGoods and Target to cut costs. I also really recommend thrifting, if you're into it. If you’re interested in DIY projects or giving older pieces a new look, try going thrifting because you can get so much on a budget. I always shop at thrift stores when I’m doing a makeovers. 

GL: What is one item you recommend people invest in when they re-do their room?

Kristen: Anything related to your bed.  If you don’t want to invest in a new mattress, get one of those thick mattress pads to make your bed more comfortable. You can also upgrade your bed by investing in good bedding. 

Rugs are also a good way to spruce up a space. I love grounding your bed on a rug, especially if you already have hardwood floors, but even if you have carpet, you can mkae it work. Just roll out a rug and it will immediately upgrade the carpet that is underneath.

Kristen's tips & tricks:

2021 Trend Prediction? The Boho style...layered linen bedding and warm colors! 

Key to a reimagined space? Changing your bedroom furniture layout.

Go-to furniture store? Ikea! It's the best.

GL: Spring is here! What advice do you have as people begin the spring cleaning process?

Kristen: Start with the nitty gritty things that no one wants to vacuuming your mattress and cleaning all of those corners that you have never seen before. Then turn on your diffuser, open a window and get yourself in the mood to clean everything else. Give yourself some goals and do your best to get it all done in one day—you'll be so happy in your new space the next day.

GL: Why is it important to be intentional in the spring cleaning process?

Kristen: It’s what they say—out with the old, in with the new. If you want to take on a new feeling in your life, get rid of things from the past. Make room in your dresser and your closet and store the things you won’t be wearing this season. I pack away all of my winter clothes, and it just makes so much more room in my closet for my spring dresses and new clothing pieces coming in that season. I have a rule that if I I find something I haven't worn or cared about, I just get rid of it, and I don’t think about it a million times. You’ll be happier with the space for the things that you get in the future.

Obsessed with Kristen's advice? Check out her interior design YouTube channel for more room makeover inspo.


by Claire Hutto | 4/8/2021