Meet the Designers of the 2022 REAL SIMPLE Home—and Get Their Top Tips for a Mini Room Makeover

Design pros reveal their go-to tricks for revamping a room.

Interior Designer Dabito on Balcony
Photo: Courtesy of Dabito

The full reveal of the 2022 REAL SIMPLE Home won't happen until September, but this year's designers are already hard at work creating mood boards, ordering furniture, and debating paint chips. For our fifth annual design home, we're heading to Florida's Rosemary Beach community, a serene Gulf Coast community with beautiful beaches and a charming town center. In this picturesque locale, our team of designers and influencers is revamping a home with fresh style, innovative products, and organizing ideas you'll want to incorporate into your own home.

Luckily, we won't have to wait until September to start working these design pros' ideas into our homes. We asked each designer to share their top tip for refreshing a room when its style feels stale. Let this inspire your own mini home makeover. Whether it's adjusting the lighting in your living room or introducing some greenery to your space, these mini moves make a big difference.

Take a Virtual Tour of the 2022 Real Simple Home Here!

01 of 08

Clara Jung

Portrait of designer Clara Jung
Susanna Scott

Designing: Primary Suite

Clara Jung left a career in corporate law to start Banner Day Interiors when she realized that legal research and courtroom appearances didn't satisfy her creative desires. Today, she pursues her passion for design by working with both institutional and residential clients to transform ordinary rooms into stylish spaces. Known for a signature blend of playful patterns and a minimal aesthetic, she balances traditional interiors with signature color, pattern, and whimsy.

Clara's Top Tip: Work the Wallpaper

"Wallpaper is a great and relatively inexpensive way to immediately brighten up a room. You can pull from an existing color in the room to touch back on your favorite patterned wallpaper. Doing so would also reduce the need to change out other items in the room to keep your budget modest. I would recommend being fearless and going bold with the wallpaper!"

02 of 08

Gina Gutierrez

Interior designer Gina Gutierrez on upholstered bench
Gina Gutierrez

Designing: Kitchen

Gina Gutierrez has built her business—and her life—on harnessing the power of the self. Born and raised in Milwaukee, Wis., but a resident of the Bay Area for 17 years, Gina's drive and passion for interior design propelled her to launch Gina Rachelle Design in 2012. Over the years, she has built an interior design studio that specializes in residential homes.

Gina's design aesthetic is traditional with touches of modern elements and clean details. Each project is full of life through the use of colors, textures, metals, shapes, and thoughtful furnishings and objects.

Gina's Top Tip: Bring the Outdoors In

"The quickest way I like to refresh a room is by rearranging your belongings and bringing the outdoors in! Working with what you have but moving furniture and decor helps to shift your perspective. That side table in the guest bedroom, try it in the living room! The artwork in the hallway, feature it in the dining room! I also always have fresh branches, flowers, or fruit on display. Foraging from your yard or the farmer's market brings both life and joy to a space."

03 of 08


Dabito interior designer in pink chair

Designing: Living Room

Dabito is a designer, photographer, artist, and founder of Old Brand New. His creative use of color, maximal eclectic mix of sculptural and vintage pieces, and accessible, Dab-It-Yourself approach to design has earned him features in Architectural Digest and a cover of Better Homes and Gardens. His book, Old Brand New, will be out Spring 2023. When he's not traveling for design inspiration, Dab splits his time between Los Angeles and New Orleans.

Dabito's Top Tip: Rethink the Layout

"I love to rearrange furniture and figure out a new layout. That can help activate a space if it feels a little stale. It's amazing how a new layout can change the feel and flow in a space."

04 of 08

Erin Wheeler

Erin Wheeler designer
Erin Wheeler

Designing: Guest Suite

Sunny Circle Studio is a blog and interior design firm founded by Erin Wheeler in 2018. Erin is known for her use of upbeat, playful patterns and eclectic, layered designs and has been featured in REAL SIMPLE and HGTV Magazine. Erin is located in Raleigh, N.C.

Erin's Top Tip: Shop Your Home

"It might sound obvious, but one of my favorite ways to refresh a space is to move things around! Rearrange furniture or shop other rooms in the house and swap things out from room to room."

05 of 08

Kelly Finley

Interior designer Kelly Finley
Hillary Jeanne Photography

Designing: Loft and Bunk Room

Kelly Finley is the owner and principal designer of Joy Street Design, a nationally recognized interior design firm based in Oakland that provides full interior design services ranging from schematic planning to construction documents and project management. As a former lawyer, Kelly is no stranger to managing large, complex projects. With her fun personality, energy, and love of bold colors, she brings the perfect combination of project management, creative design ideas, and unparalleled service to her clients.

Kelly's Top Tip: Paint!

"My favorite way to quickly update a room is to change the paint color. I'm obsessed with painted ceilings, and it's a simple, inexpensive way to bring more color and a dose of freshness to the room."

06 of 08

Leslie Corona

Writer and editor Leslie Corona
Kenneth Yagua

Designing: Second Floor Landing

Leslie Corona is the senior home editor at REAL SIMPLE magazine. She has been styling, organizing, writing, and reporting on all things in the home space for a decade. She was previously at Good Housekeeping, HGTV Magazine, and Parents. She has shared her expertise on the TODAY show, Cheddar, and local television news outlets.

Leslie's Top Tip: Tidy Up

"Straightening things and tidying up can make such a difference! When everything is in its place after a period of disorder, it's a sight for sore eyes."

07 of 08

Erica Finamore

Erica Finamore

Designing: Front Porch

Erica Finamore is the home director at REAL SIMPLE magazine, where she covers decor, organization, cleaning, and DIY features. Her work has also been featured in Food Network Magazine, HGTV Magazine, InStyle, and others.

Erica's Top Tip: Think Small

"Swapping out accessories is a great way for people to liven up a room without shelling out a ton of cash. You can change the color palette of a space with just a few bold pillows and new artwork."

08 of 08

Katie Holdefehr

RS Home Designers

Designing: Laundry Room

Katie Holdefehr is a senior editor at, where she covers all home-related content, from paint colors and house plants, to cleaning and organizing. She is the host of REALSIMPLE's cleaning video series, Spotless, and is always on the lookout for the best all-natural cleaners. When she's not writing, you'll find her installing wainscoting and planting rose bushes at her 90-year-old Brooklyn apartment.

Katie's Top Tip: Set Mood Lighting

"Switch off the overhead lights and turn on table and floor lamps. Light fixtures with shades or frosted bulbs will cast an ambient glow around the room, making the space feel cozier."

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