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#067: DIYing Your Way to Your Dream Space with Emily Rayna

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Today we are talking about tips for how to be your own designer and some strategies for DIYing your way to your dream space. I am sitting down with Emily Rayna who is an interior designer and TikTok sensation as we talk about all things design.  She shares her design strategies, how she plans and creates incredible DIY projects, her process for sharing decor online, building a community around it, and making design approachable for the everyday girl. She is incredibly talented and has some great tips to help you transform your space. 

You can download this episode from Apple PodcastsGoogle PodcastsStitcher, and Spotify – or listen to it below!

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in this episode:

[02:00] Emily’s story and how she got into interior design 

[03:39] Growing her platform on TikTok

[08:19] Emily’s design process

[10:56] Balancing aesthetics and function 

[20:50] Transforming a space

[23:42] Common mistakes

[26:44] The most challenging space she designed

[28:21] Things coming up for her in the future

[02:00] Emily’s story and how she got into interior design 

I actually don’t have the most beautiful story ever. I was actually going to go to college for early education because I really loved working with kids. I was accepted into college and then the summer before I went to college I had like a quarter life crisis. I realized I didn’t want to teach and be in front of people like that.  So I was looking at other majors that my school already had and I saw the Interior Architecture major. So I did a whole deep dive looking into it and I realized that it was perfect for me.

[03:39] Growing her platform on TikTok

My platform grew overnight, basically. I was renovating my parent’s home. I didn’t even know that anyone could have a job in social media if I’m completely honest. When I first started TikTok it was honestly just because I was so bored and college had just ended for me abruptly.  I didn’t have graduation or anything like that and I had lost my job too. Everything kind of just abruptly ended and I was just sitting in my parent’s house with nothing to do. 

So I used TikTok as it was something that I had just been introduced to since I was bored all the time and I thought it would be an accountability type thing to kind of keep me being creative and doing something when I had literally nothing else to do with my time. After I posted the very first video of renovating my parent’s house, that’s when everything started to take off and people just believed that it was going to be good because I said I was a designer. It was a great way to explore my creativity and everything so I just kind of kept going, I don’t really necessarily have a strategy. Most of my content is the same just because that’s what I do and what I feel comfortable doing.

[08:19] Emily’s design process

My number one thing is I don’t believe in trends or considering things timeless. I just think that I like to kind of look at it from that viewpoint of, how can I transform this space so that it completely reflects this person, their needs, and also their values? I think that’s the most successful way to get that done because then they won’t feel like they need to change it all the time because their space is like completely made for them if that makes any sense.

[10:56] Balancing aesthetics and function 

I like to look at the whole space as a whole instead of like the individual projects that will be in it. So when I’m talking with someone about their space, I’m writing down everything that I think they need in there based on a functionality point. I like making things modular and making them have multiple purposes. I like to go in with the lens of how something that could fit within their aesthetic, but still meet their goals. Pretty decorations and stuff usually come last for me. 

[20:50] Transforming a space

Paint is one way to transform a space. The main thing that I always recommend to people, when they ask me how to quickly fix their space, is definitely rearranging furniture is the first thing. The way that I was able to renovate my parent’s house for basically no money at all at that time was by directly selling their furniture on Facebook marketplace, taking that money, and then buying something new. So secondhand is definitely the way to go if you’re in that kind of pinch.

[23:42] Common mistakes

I definitely think wall-hugging is a common mistake.  I’ve definitely seen things but I try hard not to like voice that all the time. I’ve had a lot of people who are just experimenting. I just think it’s so fun that someone is even trying and exploring their space and trying something that they love. I love experimentation. For the most part, I just kind of stay in my lane and I just talk about what I know and that is all that I share.

[26:44] The most challenging space she designed

Probably the most challenging would have been my parents simply because it was the first one and I also had no design inspiration on that front and especially the money constraints. I would also say my own apartment, just because I really like designing for other people. When it comes to my own space, I’m a lot more critical of myself. So when it comes to my own space, it’s like a lot of debating before I end up actually doing anything to it.

[28:21] Things coming up for her in the future

We have been trying to buy a house so that will be in my news very quickly. First of all, I never thought that I’d be buying a house at my age. But secondly, I think it will really help because being in an apartment and being a DIYer is just so hard. Having a space that I can actually create things in and also just having a house that I can completely customize and not work around apartment guidelines is an absolute dream. So that is something that I’m really excited about and sharing that whole journey will be so fun. 

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