How 3 distinct looks completely transformed these living spaces

There’s a lot that goes into redesigning a room and transforming it into a space that fits your personal style. Kristen Pawlak, owner and interior designer at KP Designs/ Decorating Den Interiors, 8003 Vine Crest Ave., says that before starting a project, she spends a significant amount of time getting to know her clients.

“There’s actually a lot we want to know,” she said. “We ask a lot of questions (and) we do house tours.”

During these tours, Pawlak uncovers clients’ likes and dislikes, discusses their inspiration, and determines what, if any, of their current furniture and accessories will remain.

“We (also) talk a lot about the function of a space,” she added. “We get to know them. … Not only (which) colors and patterns (they like) and things like that, but if (there are) certain places they travel, or they love, or hobbies, or interests. … It’s a little bit of those kinds of personal notes that will feed into a design.”

Pawlak has owned Decorating Den since 2009, and since then, has designed countless spaces. Here are a few that offer three distinct living room looks.

Sleek sophistication

A set of bright white chests flank the fireplace.

A set of bright white chests flank the fireplace.

Pawlak describes the homeowner of this new build as being contemporary and sleek in her tastes. She loves white and grays, which have been accented with hints of black and gold.

“She wanted a beautiful, clean, … sparkling, white kind of look,” Pawlak said. “Even the lighting had to be daylight LEDs — no soft white lights … or cream, or off-white, or anything.”

To maintain that clean, seamless look throughout the room, Pawlak used the same upholstery in the chairs and sofa.

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“They are performance fabric, which we do pretty much 99% of (the time),” she said. “They are great for everyday living. (The homeowner) has dogs and is very particular about the cleanliness of her home. That’s the nice thing about these fabrics; they clean up super easily; they’re great for kids, pets, etc. That was kind of neat — even though (it’s) really bright white, it’s not like you can’t touch it or use it.”

A set of matching bright, white chests flank the fireplace, which is wrapped in a geometric, textured wallcovering. All the white in the room is broken up a bit with the wood-stained, geode-shaped coffee table and black lacquer accents.

Industrial ideal

Orangey-red pillows add pops of color to an otherwise neutral space.

Orangey-red pillows add pops of color to an otherwise neutral space.

Designing this apartment living room didn’t require as much client discovery as other projects, as the space belongs to Pawlak’s son.

“It is in a complex that was an old warehouse,” she said. “It’s one of those cool, redone-warehouse-into-living-space kind of stories. You’re talking 20-foot ceilings, and exposed ductwork, and exposed cement.”

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Taking the cement-painted floor and concrete walls with chipped paint into consideration, Pawlak says that leaning into an industrial look was the natural route to take. She incorporated rustic wood and iron touches, simple grays, and mercury glass into the room.

“(I also added) a shaggy-type area rug,” she said, “and I love, love, love, the pops of orangey-red that we put in.”

Truly traditional

Colors from the fireplace were incorporated into the upholstery, pillows, and rug.

Colors from the fireplace were incorporated into the upholstery, pillows, and rug.

When Pawlak began working on this rustic/traditional great room, she recalls the homeowner describing the fireplace as a major pain point.

“She just couldn’
t figure out how to make it work and what to do (with it),” she said. “It had (all these) different colors in it; she was just bothered by the fireplace.”

Rather than changing what appeared to be the biggest problem within the space, Pawlak used it as inspiration.

“(I) pulled the colors from the fireplace out into the room,” she explained. The same hues from the stones can now be seen in the rug as well as in the fabrics of the pillows, chairs, and ottoman.

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“It was this big, obtrusive pain point for (the homeowner), but there was nothing wrong with (it),” she said. “It was beautiful — (the problem) was what was around it.”

Pawlak also incorporated the same colors into new artwork that hangs above the homeowners’ antique console.

“We just softened the look,” she said. “(We) brought all those outdoor colors in and played off the fireplace. It’s one of my favorite family rooms.”

Know a house that would make a great Home of the Week? Email writer Lennie Omalza at [email protected] or Lifestyle Editor Kathryn Gregory at [email protected].

nuts & bolts


Home: This is a 4-bed, 3-bath, 2-story traditional/ craftsman-influenced style home in the Shake’s Creek Subdivision in east Louisville that was built in 2019.

Distinctive elements: Hardwood and tile flooring; granite countertops; vaulted ceilings.

Applause! Applause! KP Designs/Decorating Den Interiors.


Home: This is a 2-bed, 2-bath, 900-square-foot unit in the Bradford Mills Apartments building in Germantown. The building is a renovated textile mill that was converted into multi-unit living around 2016.

Distinctive elements: Exposed brick; cement floors; exposed ductwork and beams/trusses; freight elevators.

Applause! Applause! KP Designs/Decorating Den Interiors.


Home: This is a 5-bed, 3-bath, 5,300-square-foot, traditional two-story home in Shelbyville that was built in 2010.

Distinctive elements: Stone fireplace; hardwood floors; granite countertops; vaulted ceiling; sunporch.

Applause! Applause! KP Designs/Decorating Den Interiors.

This article originally appeared on Louisville Courier Journal: Interior design tips to help you redesign your living room