Home April 4, 2023

Interior Design Tips: Q & A with Kristin Alvarado

Interior design can enhance functionality while also reflecting the personality and style of the homeowner. From selecting the right colors and textures to choosing the perfect furniture and accessories, every detail matters. The process can seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. We chatted with Poulsbo interior designer Kristin Alvarado to get some tips and tricks to make your next project a bit easier. 

What are a couple of ways that people can easily give their home a boost without spending a great deal?

Hands down, the easiest way to give your home a boost without spending a dime? Let me channel all mothers everywhere and say: CLEAN YOUR ROOM!! Oops, I didn’t mean to yell, that was me channeling myself when I was the mother. But it works! Sometimes all we need to do is enjoy what we have by putting our rooms in their best light. Tidy up! Fluff the pillows, turn on the lamps, move the put-away-pile and ask the dog to pick up her babies. If you’re feeling really wild, go ahead and run a dust cloth and vacuum across the space. To further up your game, light a scented candle and turn up the volume on your favorite high-school dance party music. Another tip to feeling better in your space? Breathe some fresh outside air, move your bones, take a walk. When we feel better in ourselves, we feel better in our rooms. Oh geez, now I’m really going full mom

What home remodeling projects are the most popular right now?

I am having a run of whole house renos at the moment and of course, always and forever the bathroom and kitchen projects! We spend so much time in the hardworking spaces of our homes and our environments deeply impact the way we feel, which impacts the way we act; our motivation, energy, productivity and even our moods, which directly impact how we engage with those around us. Improving the functionality of the room is a given. All good design is built on this. But the look and feel? This is the joy bringer. This is what literally changes our lives!

What interior design styles or trends are you seeing right now?

As a practitioner of “Delight Driven Design ” which is individual, personal and experiential, we encourage clients to examine and notice what thrills their souls and help guide and embolden them to be fully themselves as it translates into how we design and curate their spaces. Our end goal transcends mere function, we want you to be smitten. Your space should resonate deeply with you in a way that says “Yes, this is so me!”. This response is not always linked with “what’s trending now”, but we are definitely noticing that people are feeling more free to be expressive and are eager to be more playful with their surroundings. For all of us, having spent so much time at home these past couple of years in a time of uncertainty, we long to be cocooned, cozy, happy, and safe at home. Oftentimes, this translates into a sense of nostalgia or hygge. Think: cottage-core, granny-chic and maximalist decor. After many, many seasons of tasteful, restrained, minimal, and colorless design, we are seeing an enthusiastic return to color, pattern, oversized shapes, and risk-taking, It’s the design equivalent to YOLO. For some inspo take a scroll through Architectural Digest or ELLE DECOR.

What’s one design secret that you can share with us?

It is YOUR house. I had one delighted client who confided to me that she didn’t know we were “allowed” to paint her interior doors a fun color after we selected a paint palette that included fresh modern white walls, muted darker casings, and mid-mod orange for tired slab doors. Sometimes we just need permission to do what makes our hearts sing. Sometimes that means painting your doors orange.


Do you have any local vendors or shops that you love utilizing?

On Bainbridge Island, Conservatory is a long-time favorite for a hint of chic coastal decor with two locations, Winslow and Port Townsend. Danger and Furnish Bainbridge have been my go-tos for years. I also love Details Home & Garden (here’s an Instagram video I made talking about it) and La Buse, both located in Historic Downtown Poulsbo. Details is chock-full of luscious vintage and new decor, furniture, candles, flora, and fauna. La Buse is home to Truelux candles and irreverent decor items.

Are there any myths or misconceptions you commonly hear that people have about working with an interior designer?

Many think designers are a luxury or too expensive. Hiring a designer saves you money. A design by definition is a plan. Your decisions are made on the front end, and potential problems have been anticipated and largely resolved prior to purchasing things you will have to look at for many years to come and prior to tearing into your house. Thoughtful product selections are made in accordance with your design vision, lifestyle, and budget. Your designer will be able to think creatively to get you the most for your dollars and help to allocate the budget to the areas of greatest return. And, very importantly, if you are remodeling, with your project plans complete, your contractor knows exactly what they are bidding so your pricing will be more accurate. Labor costs are THE most expensive part of any remodel so the more detailed the information you provide, the more accurate your cost projections will be.

Your home is (for most people) your largest financial investment. When making the decision to invest, do it with the end in mind. What will be your ROI (return on investment)? In financial arenas, the ROI is assessed in terms of monetary gain vs. monetary output (profit minus cost). For a homeowner, your ROI may be financial: for instance, kitchen and bathroom remodeling projects typically give you the highest return should you decide to sell your home. But it may alternately be measured in terms of functionality: improved productivity, less chaos, lowered stress, better flow, or all-around improved enjoyment of the space. 

What are some helpful interior design social media accounts that inspire or excite you?

I love Chango and Co. Their aesthetic is what I might call playful minimalism. Their interiors are simple but far from boring and the kids’ rooms are adorable. In a totally different style direction, DeVol Kitchens are divine. I love how they incorporate vintage pieces and create old-world spaces that will transcend the trends, which is also a way to reduce our carbon footprint. These kitchens will never be “dated” because their authentic aesthetic could be straight out of 100 years ago, in England or New England. 

Thanks for sharing such helpful interior design tips and insights, Kristin! 

What Our Brokers Say about Kristin Alvarado

We know many who’ve loved working with Kristin, and a couple of them happen to be Windermere Poulsbo Brokers!

“Kristin is very talented. I commissioned a painting from her for a friend years ago, I think she’s great!” – Bridget Young of Kimmel & Young

“I first met Kristin on a brokers’ tour.  I was totally enchanted by the house on tour.  Every element, the color composition, architecture, design, and staging all made me say, “WOW”. As it turned out, the house belonged to Kristin. I  loved her work so much that I hired her for my home.  Kristin is easy and fun to work with, and a great listener.  She got me, and what I wanted to achieve in my home.  I recommend Kristin to all my clients looking for a designer or even getting help picking out the colors for their new home.” – Karen Keefe

To learn more, check out Kristin Alvarado’s website and follow her on Facebook and Instagram.