Pro Spotlight on Houzz

How to Use Light and Space to Transform Your Home ... 

Enjoy a brighter, tidier, more functional home using these tips from a Nashville designer Pamela Standish of Usable Space Interiors

In her own words: “When clients are looking for a designer, not only do they need search for one who is able to translate their design dilemmas into solutions, but I believe they need to look for a designer who embodies both strong creative and analytical skills, so their project goals can be executed both creatively and financially”.

"Because there are so many talented and amazing designers in the market place today, clients also need to consider aligning personalities.  Most projects are a mini-marriage because they will be working with the designer for a finite period of time, so it is prudent to ensure you like your designer and can see yourself working well with her for an extended period of time".  

"I recognize projects can stressful and overwhelming for many clients... that's why my goal is to help reduce the design decision stressors from the client, while executing the plan and making the process fun... because it IS fun!"  


Imagine a fresh, airy room with beautiful flow and where everything has its proper place. This is home bliss for many. A well-designed room can affect your comfort level, mood and efficiency, says Pamela Standish, who owns Usable Space Interiors in Nashville, TN. She helps clients create gorgeous, functional spaces that fit their lifestyle and budget. 

Design DNA. Standish grew up in a family that was focused on design. Her mother was a hair stylist and her father, a commercial printer who analyzed color and balance. “As a young girl, I was obsessed with color, style, comfort and order.  Because my family embraced creativity, I was able to develop into the designer I am today. It was not unusual for me as a teenager to rearrange my furniture, organize my closet from light to dark and space plan the pantry.  Looking back, it is almost funny at such a young age how obsessed I was with creating comfortable, functional spaces and still enjoy it as much today” Standish says.

Solving the puzzle. Standish compares home design to a puzzle where all your elements, including budget, have to fit together. “If you have an Ann Taylor suit but pair it with a Target shirt... you can still create a beautiful ensemble while keeping the budget under control.  You just need to think outside the box to find different options and solutions, because its really about how you place it together".

Part of the puzzle is deciding on how your kitchen or bathroom remodel will fit into the rest of your home. “I don’t recommend spending your whole budget on one or two rooms,” Standish says. “I recommend placing approximately 20 percent aside for small updates in the adjoining rooms for such items as paint or furnishings, to allow for more cohesive transition between rooms... which allows everything to tie together.”

Below, Standish shares some of her tips for a successful home update.

1. Get Space From the Garage
 Looking for a way to expand your kitchen? Standish suggests taking a good look at adjoining finished spaces, such as a workroom or garage. “It’s much easier and far less expensive to expand into an existing structure than to add onto your home,” she says. “You’ll save on wall materials and you already have electricity, and possibly gas and plumbing, in place.”

The link below is an example of an original kitchen in this Fairview farmhouse that repurposed the space from the adjoining garage. “My client wanted a large kitchen where she could be part of the living-room conversation,” Standish says. “We created a sizable open kitchen with two islands and a walk-in pantry.” One island, marble topped, is dedicated to baking and the other, concrete topped, is used for eating.

Click here to see Fairview Farmhouse Reno

2. Streamline With Storage
 If you do constant battle with clutter, better storage could be key in beautifying your home. The tiny cabinets and cramped closets found in older houses are out of sync with a modern lifestyle, Standish says.

She undertook design solution in this 15-room renovation home in Green Hills, making sure to improve the storage. Though the house was large, angled walls in the kitchen and baths cut off valuable space. The team squared off these areas using 2-by-4s (long, thin wood boards) and drywall, and added taller, deeper cabinetry. They also transformed a side entrance into a family organization center, seen here, with coat hooks, a charging station and a message board.  Click the blow link to see more in this project.

Click here to see Green Hills Reno

3. Balance Light and Dark
 To brighten an interior room that lacks natural light, use plenty of illumination and mix light and dark elements. “Can lights in the ceiling, with dimmers for control, are the most effective way to add light,” Standish says.

She lightened up this kitchen in Cool Springs using white cabinetry and tile and a pale island countertop. These elements contrast nicely with the darker floors, metallic pendant lights and island base. “The peppercorn gray paint in the adjoining room coordinates with the pendants’ metallic finish and helps connect the spaces,” Standish adds.

Click here to see Cool Spring Reno

More: For more information on Pamela Standish and examples of her work, visit Usable Space Interiors’ Houzz profile.