Skip to Main Content

How This Celebrity Designer Revamped Her Own Overlooked Space

Design Trends

Interior designer and founder of Gaga Designs, Shalena Smith, has fifteen years of interior design experience under her belt. In fact, she’s so busy helping her clients that Smith only recently found the time to turn her attention to her own space, her living room. “The designer never has time for herself or himself,” notes Smith. After ten years, Smith decided it was finally time for a major refresh. Her living room project came together quickly, which inevitably helped in keeping her vision focused and simple. Follow along below to learn more about her design process, how she achieved her happy place, and get a few tips and tricks along the way.


Working With A Dim Space
In its current state, Smith’s living area felt closed off and dark. Her goal was to create a space that felt both airy and truly her own — one that could welcome her kids and dog but at the same time be 100% her.



There was only one problem when it came to creating a space that felt light, bright and happy — Smith’s living room only had one small window. Natural light (or the illusion of it) is key to creating an inviting room. The challenge was one Smith tackled head on. In fact, It was the lighting situation that helped Smith determine the ideal colors for her space.


Before. In Progress

Creating A Happy, Neutral Living Area
By using Antique Paper (DE6218) for the walls and Whisper (DEW340) for the trim and ceiling, Smith was able to craft a cohesive palette for the room in which the colors could easily blend and open up the space. The ceiling and trim are slightly brighter than the walls, creating a contrast which lifts the eye up, manufacturing a sense of airiness amid the seven-and-a-half-foot ceiling height.


Shalena Smith’s Extra Tips and Tricks

  • Creating a space with a neutral palette has many benefits. You can easily change up decorative items to give your space a fresh feel.
  • Painting with a slightly off-white like Antique Paper can make maintaining a crisp wall color easier with kids in the house.
  • Choosing a neutral palette makes transitioning from your everyday décor to holiday décor as easy as a simple swap of your throw pillows.
  • Before choosing paint colors, Smith loves sitting down with a color expert at her local Dunn-Edwards store to help bring her vision to life.


When it comes to paint, Dunn-Edwards is Smith’s go-to for professional and personal projects. “The ease and service for me is really important. As a designer I need that great customer service,” Smith says. “Being able to sit down with someone at the store...they’re able to bring your vision to life. It makes me feel like I have a personal assistant,” she added with a laugh.


When undertaking a similar project, choosing reliable and top-quality paint like Dunn-Edwards Paints is essential. Download our InstaColor® app and start planning your project today.

All images provided by Shalena Smith