Interior designer, blogger, and TV personality Sabrina Soto is known for her casual, colorful style and smart designs. Inside her own California home, you’ll find plenty of baskets and bright hues, but not a coaster in sight. But there’s more to her approach than meets the eye.
“You could walk into a beautiful living room, but if you open up the closet and everything’s a mess, it’s not done yet,” says Soto, a lead designer on TLC’s “Trading Spaces” and a regular on HGTV home design shows. “You have to make sure you see it all the way through.”
That’s why when Soto is revamping a client’s home, decluttering precedes organizing, and organizing and designing go hand in hand.
“It’s really wonderful to create a space that’s beautiful, but if it’s not functional, it’s not going to stay that way,” Soto says. “So when I sort of tackle a project, I don’t just do the aesthetics of it — I actually do the functionality.”
Step No. 1, Soto emphasizes, is getting rid of things that are no longer serving you. The mother of one has a trick: Go through your closets and drawers and touch every single thing instead of only looking at it. “You would be surprised how much you let go just by touching it,” she says, referencing the organization guru Marie Kondo’s tip to only keep belongings that “spark joy.”
“I know it sounds so New Age-y … but once you let go of things in your life [that you don’t need], you make room for new opportunities, new people, and new things to come into your life,” she says. For those items you do keep, make use of lidless baskets that small children can organize their own things in, along with closet-friendly clear bins that are labeled with their contents.
Use your budget
Another design philosophy Soto lives by? Not letting your budget stand in your way — a rule her own mom, also an interior designer, demonstrated in her work. “No matter how much of a budget you have — whether it’s huge or really normal — you can be creative and transform a space that you’re proud of, no matter what.”
Melinda Carter, [email protected]