HM Etc. Stylist Spotlight
Ever wish you could pick the brain of a professional home stylist? We did just that! Hilary Prall is the one-woman show behind Rustopia Consulting, a local design service specializing in using furniture you already own to create a fresh, new space. Hilary first caught our eye back in January when we featured her as an Instastylist to watch in 2017 and she has definitely been busy this year!
We sat down with her to chat about working with an interior designer, how to create the perfect gallery wall (#goals) and some of the best ways to create a home that is true to your personal style. Read on to find out what Hilary has to say and check out more photos of her work on Instagram, @rustopia_consulting. Don’t forget to subscribe to HM etc. so you never miss another post!
Stylist Spotlight with Hilary Prall
How did you get started in the field of interior design?
I’ve always enjoyed making spaces look better, whether it’s by adjusting the layout, bringing in new accessories, or even through my personal style of mixing and layering. Whenever I stayed the night with friends growing up, I’d always want to clean and rearrange their bedrooms. I did this all the time at my own house too and I know it drove my parents crazy; they’d always tell me I was going to ruin the carpet moving the furniture around so much. My passion for styling and staging has followed me through college, a 20-year career in retail, and is now the driving force behind my interior decorating business, Rustopia Consulting!
How do you establish style and choose pieces for a client?
I start by having every client fill out a short questionnaire that helps me get to know them before we even meet. They answer a few questions about their family, style, and how they would like to use the space I’ll be styling.
I try my best to incorporate some of the pieces they already own because that is what my clients have naturally been drawn to—I want the space to reflect who they are and their lifestyle. Following the meeting, I send my clients a Custom Style Plan. Once all of the prep-work is done, I follow-up with the actual styling—my favorite part!
From where do you draw inspiration for home styling?
I’m inspired all the time, whether it’s by my amazingly creative and stylish friends, the wonderful city I live in (shout out to Des Moines), or the wide expanse of social media. I’m always amazed at the extreme talent that so many people have.
It’s hard to believe sometimes that there can be unique and original ideas left to be had in the world of home design and styling, but I see so many beautiful spaces on Instagram, in magazines, and in real life that prove otherwise!
Tell us about the hashtag #thegalleriedwall. How does someone start planning a gallery wall?
I love gallery walls! The first step in creating a gallery wall is deciding what you want in it: photographs, art, sculpture, signage, etc. Since gallery walls should be personal to you, focus on memories, favorite trips, hobbies, or even an inside joke for you and your family.
Once you land on a few “themes” for the wall, you can start to gather the pieces. A consistent color story is nice to have but after that you can incorporate different shapes, sizes, and textures of pieces.
Whatever style of gallery wall you choose for your home, I encourage you to always make it personal—doing that will make you feel happy whenever you see it. And that’s all that matters!
What is the most common misconception clients have about design when you first start working with them?
My number one goal for Rustopia Consulting is to reach as many people as possible to stop the myth of “design rules.” So many people struggle trying to make their spaces look like someone else’s by matching colors perfectly and wondering if certain patterns look right together. I truly believe, though, that if everyone could just let go of whatever rules they’re trying to live by when styling their home, the entire process would be so much more enjoyable. Our homes should represent the beauty of how original we all are (tastes, time restraints, budgets, and skill-level), instead of trying to create a picture perfect image just to please others.
Where do you like to find furniture and décor for your clients?
It’s always my first goal to work with the items my clients already own—sometimes they just need a little reimagining…or a good coat of paint. I do give clients ideas for which furniture pieces they need for their home and will help them narrow the choices, but ultimately, I want them to do the final picking since they know what feels good to them and will work best for their needs.
Homemakers is very often the source for the furniture pieces that anchor the spaces I design, in addition to rugs, lamps, and décor. The real style magic, though, happens when I source vintage or locally-made pieces for my clients. I’m always on the hunt for unique items at thrift stores, garage sales, and estate sales (my favorite!). I also do my best to support all the local makers and shakers in Des Moines and around Iowa—the number of talented folks we have around us is amazing!
How has Homemakers helped you in your design process?
I love that Homemakers has such a wide selection of styles, sizes, and price points for my clients. I was in recently with a client helping her to select a sectional for her new living room. She knew the size that would work and had a general idea of what color/style she wanted. We were able to find the most perfect piece for her space, came in well below budget and had it delivered within a week. My goal is to make my clients’ lives easier and to make sure they are happy—I appreciate that Homemakers can make this happen!
Is there anything you’d like to share with us about design?
Buy the curtains! So many people don’t want to cover up the woodwork around their windows—and I get it! Curtains make such a finishing statement to a space and there are ways to incorporate them to highlight the woodwork instead of covering it up. If everyone would just put up some beautiful drapes the world would be a happier, more stylish space.
Looking for more style and home décor ideas? Check out the Stylist Spotlight series on the HM etc. blog. We interview local stylists and designers to bring you the latest in décor inspiration, style trends and design news. Subscribe to get new posts in your inbox every week and you’ll never miss another post!