Kalee Fuqua Doche, who lives in the Junius Heights neighborhood adjacent to Lakewood, worked as an artist in partnership with interior designers for 20 years, creating murals and faux finishes. Four years ago, she pivoted to interior design herself and began working at her brother’s architectural firm, J Wilson Fuqua & Associates, Architects. She describes her own style as “eclectic,” but said she specializes in bringing clients' own styles and visions to fruition.

Here are her tips for homeowners looking to spruce up the interiors of their homes. Answers may have been edited for length and clarity.

What are some of the biggest mistakes that amateur home designers make?

I would say going too trendy. Sometimes, trends last—like gray [paint] has lasted forever—but a lot don’t. A lot of people are painting their houses black, but that is such a huge mistake. Just because I’m old, I know that black is going to look [bad] in about two or three years. Also, [don't go] too rogue—you’ve got to think about your neighborhood and your house.

What are some differences in how people should approach designing an apartment versus a house?

When you’re renting an apartment, since it’s more temporary, it’s OK to maybe buy less expensive things and not make a big investment in furniture yet. When you get into a house, you want to start focusing on what big items you want and your yard. We don’t really think about how much it costs to take care of your yard, but you’re going to drive up to that every day. If your yard doesn’t look good, your neighbors and yourself are going to be sad. Think about your outside and how that looks, then start gathering ideas and thoughts about things you want to collect, along with the bigger pieces. However, don’t invest too much on a lot of furniture in the beginning because you want to get adapted to your house.

What are some items you recommend spending that extra money on to elevate your interior design?

A dining room table, a good rug and a good light fixture or two—not too many until you’ve been [in your home] a minute, though, because those can be expensive.

Should home designers incorporate certain colors or just focus on what they like?

Neutrals are always good, especially in the beginning. Right now, There’s such a big shift because pastels have been crazy popular for a long time, and now there’s a resurgence of [other] colors. So there’s lots of color coming in. But I do prefer, most times, in a big piece like a couch, for it to be neutral and then have pops of color. You’re less likely to get tired of it. Rugs are a great place to put color.

How can you make your home look modern on a tight budget?

Minimalism. That’s No. 1—get rid of most of your stuff because that is modern. Modern is no junk, basically. You can also find modern furniture that’s very inexpensive. They may not last you a lifetime, but you can do modern pretty easily on a budget.

On the flip side, how can maximalists balance their love of stuff with making sure their space doesn’t look cluttered?

Editing. Every so often, go through [your stuff] and take things that maybe you don’t like anymore, put it up for a while and see if you still like it. Maximalists, though, might not be bothered by stacks of [stuff]. So, I say to a maximalist, 'Enjoy all your stuff.'

How do you recommend making a home look welcoming and warm?

Pillows, colors, plants and flowers.

How should those who don’t know what style they want approach home design?

Let the architecture guide you somewhat. Talk about what you want with your partner or the people you live with, and make compromises.

What are your top three tips when designing a home?

Function, flow and what sparks joy. You need to make sure that your rooms flow well with furniture placement, accessibility and storage space.