America is fascinated with The Real Housewives of Bravo.
They’re busy, bossy, and sometimes boozy, and boy, oh, boy, is it fun to watch them.
These women are no dummies, though. From journalists to restaurateurs to soap opera queens, they do a lot more than just flip tables and give away their rescue dogs.
They often have real jobs, and real lives, and really exquisite houses, too, and whether you love them or hate them, chances are good you’ll find these palatial estates downright drool-worthy.
Here’s some design advice from a few of your favorite Real Housewives—you can use this advice in your home even if you don’t have a billion dollar budget.
Mirror Bethenny’s Look
Bethenny Frankel’s living area features a massive wall of mirrors right behind the sofa, but it’s not because the star wants to watch herself as she watches TV. Rather, Bethenny’s designer Cheryl Eisen incorporated the mirrors in both Bethenny’s personal and investment properties. Like the old saying goes, if the signature look ain’t broke, why fix it?
Bring the Indoors Out
Don’t neglect your outdoor living spaces! Lisa Vanderpump knows this, so she decked out her deck (ok, it’s actually a covered patio) with full furniture and lighting. If you’re going to spend time there, you might as well be comfortable, right?
Mind Your Budget
OK, OK, so you might have champagne wishes and caviar dreams WITHOUT the Real Housewife cash reserves, but that’s ok. Spend on quality, and splurge only where it counts. When redoing her SoHo loft, Bethenny Frenkel knew she could break the bank on all new stuff, but she decided to only spend where it counted and instead of going hog-wild, she reused a lot of what was already in the space. You can, too.
Don’t Be Afraid Of A Do-over
Many people face design paralysis – they don’t know where to start because they’re afraid to mess up. Carole Radziwill ran into this problem and tackled it head on—she redid the whole dang room after reupholstering the couch. Life—and design!—is messy. Just dig in and get started and be okay with the possibility that you might have to call a Mulligan once or twice.
Personalize With Photos
There’s nothing more boring than a beautifully designed space that no one lives in. Personalize your place with the things that matter most – photos of yourself and your family. Lisa Van Der Pump loves to dot framed photos of her favorite people around the home—make like Lisa and print some photos already, will ya?
Monochromatic Can Be Beautiful
If you have trouble committing to a full on color palette, just go with one color and play it up with different shades. The Kemsley’s home takes this look on perfectly with a whole lot of black and white—this look is classy as can be and easy to replicate for yourself.
Go For A Colorful Surprise
Not into playing it safe? Then double down on the color! Cary Deuber picked an insanely colorful range for their kitchen, and it’s rumored to be the only one of its kind in all of Texas. Of course, you don’t HAVE to be so over the top about it—you can use an accent wall or even bold artwork to add a ton of color and character in your space.
One of the biggest problems people often complain about in their homes is a lack of storage. Look for places to add more closet, cabinet, and shelf space so you can keep all your stuff tucked away nicely. Lisa Vanderpump makes room for what matters most – you can see her ginormous handbag collection has a place for everything and everything in its place.
Focus On The Details
Merk Deuber recentered the entire entry to their home over a 1.5” offset. Maybe you don’t need to be THAT meticulous, but paying attention to the details is the difference between, “Eh, it’s ok,” and “I’m going to love this forever!”
Dedicate Space To Your Hobbies
When it comes time to renovate, think about how you’ll really USE the space. Maybe you don’t really need a guest room, but a personal would get used on the daily. The Kemsleys turned one room into a full-on theater, and if they can dedicate space to their hobbies, so can you.
Wait Until Life Calms Down
Renovation and redecoration can take a toll, as Carole Radziwill knows. Don’t start a new project in the middle of filming—or when you’re going through a stressful life change. Wait until you’ve got the mental bandwidth to see your project through to the end.
Reflect Your Personal Style
When it comes to picking out finishes, sure, it’s smart to play it safe, but you’ve got to add some personal style in there, too! Whether your style is laid back or drop-dead fabulous, find ways to incorporate it into your home. For example, Kyle Richards uses chandeliers in every room for extra sparkle.
Renovate and Decorate For YOU
Bethenny’s home features just two bedrooms – she’d rather have dressing rooms and bigger living quarters than places for guests to stay. And that’s perfectly ok! At the end of the day, you’re the one who has to live there, so don’t worry about what everyone else will think – it’s your home, so make yourself happy first.