As parents, we're often caught up in the hubbub of family life, juggling a million different things at any given time. No one can relate more to that than HGTV personality and interior designer, Sabrina Soto. As well as lending her expertise to shows like The High Low Project, Real Estate Intervention and Get it Sold, Soto hosts a podcast and is a mom to her daughter, Olivia.
Moms.com was lucky enough to speak to the design guru earlier this month about how to balance a busy family home with effortless style - a combination that may seem impossible.
Family remains an important part of Sabrina's life. In fact, she credits her Latin roots and her mother for inspiring her career, as well as the colors she uses within her work. Her website reads, "As a first generation Cuban-American, I was taught that through hard work and perseverance, I could achieve anything...my mother would say, 'It doesn't matter if we have one dollar or a one million dollars, be proud of our home!'"
In her recently launched podcast, Redesigning Life with Sabrina Soto, Sabrina shared the details about her own journey into single parenthood. "It wasn't easy. I do remember in the beginning there were really rough days," she says candidly. "The way I deal with things when things go poorly in my life is to make myself really busy. I give myself such a to-do list and I get that list done."
Many mothers can relate to that overwhelming feeling, especially during pregnancy. With so much pressure to get everything in perfect shape before baby arrives, expectant moms can often feel like they're trying to do a million things at once. Sabrina is a firm believer in letting yourself have some breathing space during those long nine months.
"Get more rest, and crying for no reason is totally okay," she told Moms.com "Also, listen to all of the advice you’ll get (which is a lot) but remember that instincts will kick in and you know what’s best for your child."
When the pitter-patter of tiny feet arrives, all those grand design ideas can disappear in a puff of smoke. The idea of a well-kept home that can be chic as well as functional might feel like a far-fetched notion to parents, but according to Sabrina, it's all about one thing: organization. "We all have messy days," says the mom of one. "Put bins in common spaces for toys and storage, and have shelves for books and important mementos to get things off the floor and surfaces."
When it comes to maintaining the overall hygiene of the home, Soto swears by Clorox's Disinfecting Wet Mopping Cloths. "They trap 4 times more particles, dirt, and hair while also killing 99.9% of viruses and bacteria. This sets the stage for a clean, organized space - at least for the time being!" These handy wipes stocked at Walmart are available in a variety of gorgeous fragrances, including Pacific Breeze and Brazilian Blossoms.
Over the course of her career, Soto has helped numerous homeowners realize their dreams. Some spaces are large, but you don't have to have a mansion in order to make the most out of your home. Utilizing smaller rooms to their full potential can make them feel like entirely new spaces. "If you’re working with a small space, look into multi-functional pieces that you can store things away in," suggests the home guru.
"For instance, a storage bed, or a coffee table ottoman. If you are looking to change things up, I recommend colorful accent pillows. They can pull together your color scheme and breathe new life into a space. Just play around with different scaled prints."
Many Insta-worthy homes make the most of clashing prints and throw cushions, including UK based blogger Nicola Broughton. Broughton's award-winning website, The Girl With The Green Sofa, features a dazzling array of dark and dramatic interiors which are becoming all the more popular. "We are a family of four," reads Broughton's introduction. "Tidy we are not....but, we are real, and we keep it real, and part of the fun of designing a kid-friendly home is the kids get to join in, too."
Soto echoes that sentiment, encouraging parents to include little ones in the process. "You should have them go through all of their toys once a month and donate at least one item they no longer play with. It teaches a valuable lesson and gets rid of clutter little by little." Speaking of clutter, what about the constant barrage of odd shoes, felt-tip pens, and toy cars that litter the floor of family-orientated spaces? The solution is oddly simple.
"Baskets, Baskets and more baskets!" Sabrina enthuses. "I have about 6 in my living room alone. Get woven baskets in different sizes, as they look pretty by adding texture to a space, while also being functional to hide the toy mess." Ikea sells a range of beautiful, yet affordable items, such as this SNIDAD rattan basket for the bargain price of $27.99. If you're looking for something that completely hides the child debris, then Amazon offers this Household Essentials Barrel Storage Tub for $90. Reinforced with a metal frame, it also doubles up as a seat, making it a valuable everyday item.
Sabrina has her own range of products that are guaranteed to make your house a home. This Tossed Hearts Sheet Set would be the perfect addition to any pretty-in-pink bedroom, while the Ellie Reversible Comforter Set is deliciously detailed. Over the years, many big brands have partnered up with the talented designer to draw on her expertise. In 2016, Soto launched a bedding collection with Target. In 2017, she created a stunning capsule wallpaper collection with Chasing Paper that proved incredibly popular.
Sabrina is an avid believer in eye-catching pieces that pull a room together, but she's quick to point out that the biggest mood-changers aren't always visible to the naked eye. Smells can do as much for a space as a well-placed ottoman or a daintily-draped blanket. Enliven your space with fragrance. "Candles can be a fire hazard and plug-ins don’t often smell fresh," she explains. "A quick swipe with a scented cleaning product can leave a lingering smell of Tuscan Lavender & Jasmine through your kitchen and living space, leaving guests wondering where the potpourri is hidden."
Sabrina is a testament to parents everywhere that have their fingers in multiple pies. Her hectic life is often rammed full of filming schedules, consulting and creating magic, but she always puts one thing above the rest that millions of us can relate to - the happiness and wellbeing of those nearest and dearest to her. You can catch Soto in the rebooted hit show Trading Spaces, where she recently redesigned her mom's house. If you missed the episode, you can catch a glimpse of the stunning beach-inspired makeover on Sabrina's blog.
If you want to get further advice on beautifying your home, you can purchase her bestselling book, Sabrina Soto Home Design: A Layer-by-Layer Approach to Turning Your Ideas Into the Home of Your Dreams. Barnes & Noble called it "personable, accessible and practical." What more could you want?