Insights into Interior Design with Margaret Shilstone


March 26, 2019

DIYWIH Reporter: Margaret, welcome to WIH! We are excited about your upcoming class, “Interior Design Tips on a Dime.” Tell us what inspires you to think outside of the box when it comes to decorating? What is something unexpected that you have utilized to create interest in your home?

Shilstone: I have always tried to find economic and inventive ways to create what I call elegant, cost-effective interior design. Quality interior design does not have to be expensive. A creative approach is what I find fascinating. And, through my years of personal study, I have come up with ways to create an interior design update without spending lots of money. My theory is to look “outside the box” and see potential beyond the structured use of an object. For instance, I recently found an outdoor wall planter that is meant to be mounted on a fence and hold one potted plant. It is very vintage looking, and I could see that piece hung on a wall in a kitchen to hold kitchen utensils or in a bathroom to hold soaps, paper hand towels, or hair brushes. Another trick is that I find chalk spray paint works wonders for matted frames for pictures and prints. If you don’t like the matte color, just disassemble it, spray paint the matte, and put the artwork back in the frame for something that fits in better with your color scheme. You could even spray paint the frame.

My goal for this class is to open minds to see objects to be used not as they were intended, but in new ways. And on a budget! I will share resources that I use to help in the process of creating more out of less. I promise, this class will be an eye-opener to help students see beyond what they think are limitations to an amazing world of design creations.

WIH Reporter: Are you ever overwhelmed when you walk into a consignment store? Do you go with the idea of finding something specific or is it more organic than that?

Shilstone: No, that never bothers me. I actually like to look at things with fresh eyes. For instance, a book is not just a book to me. Rather, I might put it under a potted plant to create a different elevation on a table so that there are varying, cohesive levels for displaying cherished items. My vision in design is all about layering to create a pleasing, soft look that incorporates the things you love. Sometimes just adding a “base” to an object creates a totally new and interesting table top.

WIH Reporter: Are there any rules to interior design?

Shilstone: Did you know that most table top decorations should only be displayed in odd numbers? Three is the best tabletop configuration. Odd numbers are not only recommended for tabletops but also flower arrangements. There are a lot of tricks that make for really “design-correct” displays in homes that are pleasing to the eye and I hope to suggest ways to turn up everyone’s creative juices.

WIH Reporter: What is the one thing that you hope students learn from your class?

Shilstone: I hope this class will inspire students to take a more relaxed attitude when updating their interiors. We all drool over the professional interior design pages of magazines but, quite frankly, many of us – myself included – cannot afford that look. I hope to help students to see beyond the price tag and step outside those magazine pages and into their own personal style. My goal is to help them create a comfortable, budget-friendly interior that will reflect their personality and interests and to cultivate a creative attitude that will Wow their guests. All students need is an introduction into the creative process to open their minds to what is possible within their budget.

Interior Design Tips on a Dime” meets Wednesdays, April 17 at 1:00.