Welcome to our Mini Interview Series where we interview talented interior designers and encourage them to share their individual tips and anything else you’ve wanted to know about the lives of these incredibly creative professionals.

We interviewed Interior designer and architect, Kimberly Holdaway, on everything from her best entertaining tips to common mistakes people make when decorating. Kimberly is the owner of Lemon Leaf Home Interiors which is an interior design company that she runs based in the Chicago area. She does everything from personal design recommendations to curated DIY creations. Check out Lemon Leaf Home Interiors to add some sparkle to your home life— especially since we’re all spending more time in our living spaces now more than ever!

If you’re looking for your own apartment to try these experienced tips and tricks, reach out to AptAmigo. We’ll help you find your dream place so you can focus on making the space feel like home. Once you find the perfect place for you, check out our tips for unpacking in one day— we swear it’s possible!

If you only had to buy one thing to spruce up a room, what would it be?

“I would Invest in a rug, I change out my rugs all the time and it just makes the space feel fresh and brand new. It doesn’t have to be an expensive rug, but you can totally change how a space looks based on what rug you get. A vintage rug, a patterned rug, a geometric rug, a modern rug, can change the whole look of your space.”

What’s one item you love talking about/that other people always talk about in your house?

“I would have to say it’s the artwork and pictures I have on the walls. I like to choose a variety of artwork that has meaning to me.  It either reminds me of a place we’ve traveled or had a great memory in. even if it’s an abstract landscape or something like that. Or a place we’ve lived. Always on my gallery walls I usually choose places that we’ve traveled to so they’re always a great conversation starter whenever we entertain, and that’s what we get asked about the most.”

What’s one item you will always(or did) splurge on?

“I always tell my clients this as well, if you’re gonna start on a budget, probably invest most of the money on a couch. So if I’m doing a family room or a living room, that’s where I usually tell them or recommend them to spend the most money. You’re going to be on that furniture all the time, you want it to hold up in the comfort level and also the quality of the fabric.”

Your worst apartment/home story?

“We’ve lived in several homes and apartments, and my worst stories all have to do with bugs and bug infestation. When we lived in Brazil, there was a termite season and that was horrible. When we lived in Michigan there was a box elder season, and it was horrible they just infested our home. We lived in a different house in Michigan and we had those giant carpenter ants infest our home right before we sold it. They all have to do with bugs, so take care of those bug issues.”

Favorite place to get apartment inspiration/window shop?

“My favorite place to get inspiration for home decor is Instagram. I follow designers I love; Amber Interiors, Studio Mcgee, places like that even though they’re not exactly my style. I love to look at their furniture placement and things they include in a room because their aesthetic is similar to what I like and how I design.”

Favorite place to find a bargain?

“Of course the bigger pieces of furniture, I would always source from a good and reputable furniture dealer. For decor items that you’re going to swap out frequently, the best places are HomeGoods I love. I can always find to style a shelf, to style a console table, to style a coffee table, there’s always something. Then I would also say Hobby Lobby has great decor pieces that you can mix-and-match and they’re always on sale. And if it’s not on sale that week, it’ll be on sale the next week.”

A must-have or must-do for hosting?

“We host a lot, entertain a lot, but two things, it has to do when they enter my home and when they leave my home. When they enter my home people need a place to put their coat and their shoes. So when they enter my home I have a designated chair for them to lay their items or bags on. They know they can just take their shoes off right on my rug and it’s cozy. I just feel like they need a place to know where they can get their stuff when they’re leaving. Second has to do with when they leave, I always like to give them a little something to let them know they’re important to me and I was so glad they were in my home. So even if it’s just a small bag of toffee or something, just something to let them know I was glad they were in my home.”

Favorite snack/item/activity for when you host company?

“If I have guests staying in my home, I always like to provide a bag of items on their bed, so it’ll be a water bottle it’ll be i always include something local, so they have a memento from the Chicago area. I like the chicago style popcorn I usually do a bag of cubs or white sox peanuts because baseball is so big here. I like to include walking tours of the city, stuff like that, just in a little bag that’s sitting on their bed when they arrive. I also like to include a homemade treat once they get here.”

Design or decorating tips?

“Switch things around until you get it to how you like it. So many times people put stuff there. I like to show in videos when I’m styling something, so that people can see I don’t get it right the first time either. I switch things up, I play with the height, I play with the arrangement. Keep doing that until it feels right, then you might walk past it and want to change it again— well just do that. Also a better design tip, Don’t overcrowd things, don’t try to force an entire collection on one shelf, just let things have their space.”

What is the vibe of your apartment or house?

“My style has changed so much over the past 20 years, I really has to do with maturity, taste changing, and also style of the place that I’m living at the time. My style now is classic modern, and I don’t think that will change. I really enjoy minimal things, minimal lines, minimal decor that is classic and modern. Cozy without being stark, that kind of vibe.”

How have you Konmari’d your house?

“We lived in brazil for 5 years and before we moved there we were really forced to get rid of and looks at all of our things and say why do we have this and why do we need it, so when we moved back from Brazil we did that agin left a lot of things in storage and living in a country with not a lot of our things there we realized we don’t need a lot. We just sold a bunch of things that felt heavy so we got rid of a lot of furniture and furnishings.”

What was a small transformation that you did to your apartment/house that ended up making a big difference?

“I really love architectural detailing, my background is in architecture, I have a masters degree in architecture. So architectural detail and architectural character is really important to me where i live. Rooms that have no architectural detail or features in them, I like to add that . I added board and batton to our guest room and it transformed it from a boring  box of a room into a statement room and a room that everyone loves to be in and stay in. There is architectural detailing everywhere else in the house and that was the only room that was lacking.”

There’s a reason Kimberly Holdaway is so highly regarded in the interior design world, and why her clients are loyal and always recommending her. Her years of experience in the industry and educational background in architecture make her a go-to for anyone looking to confidently and strategically spruce up their living space. Reach out to her on her website, Lemon Leaf Interiors, or on her instagram: @lemonleafhomeinteriors for your own consultation and to transform the space you live in.

P.S. If you’re on a budget, she’s here for you! She has masterfully crafted her own way of succeeding her vision by being a self-proclaimed “resourceful creator and DIYer!” from all of her personal experiences in designing the 6 homes— from the U.S. to Brazil— she’s lived in.

We hope this interview has given you some great ideas on how to decorate your space. If you’re looking for your dream apartment, AptAmigo can help you find it! Let us know what your preferences are, and we will curate a list of the best apartments in neighborhoods you’ll love. Then, we’ll schedule a day of tours and Uber with you to each building. Our goal is to make apartment hunting stress-free, and maybe even a little fun!

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