How This Interior Designer Decorated Her Own Home

When designer Darla Bankston May set out to redesign her own home, an open concept space perfect for entertaining was at the top of her list of must-haves. She also wanted to display pieces she had collected while traveling, giving the space an eclectic and personal vibe.

Eclectic Living Room With High Ceiling

Eclectic Living Room With Vaulted Ceiling

Furniture doesn't always have to tuck up against a wall. This large living area is a wonderful example of how you can float a seating arrangement out in the center of the room.

Photo by: Michael Hunter

Michael Hunter

When she began designing her home, designer Darla Bankston May knew she needed to create a space where she and her husband could entertain guests. She started by looking for a way to enlarge the small galley kitchen to accommodate both cooking and gatherings. To accomplish this, walls were removed to create additional seating around the kitchen island.

Armchair and Gray Fireplace

Leather Armchair and Gray Fireplace

Leather armchair, sculptural table, gray matte fireplace...texture and shape turn this sitting arrangement into a work of art.

Photo by: Michael Hunter

Michael Hunter

Bankston May also knew furniture placement would be key for a successful design to work well for small or large groups. She placed the living room furnishings in a way that creates an intimate environment, while still leaving ample room for movement throughout the space.

Yellow Art and Coffee Table

Yellow Art and Coffee Table

A bold yellow painting becomes the star of this living room's show, brightening up the whole space.

Photo by: Michael Hunter

Michael Hunter

Not only was space planning a large part of this home redesign, Bankston May also worked to curate the perfect color palette to further enhance the design. Taking cues from nature, she worked to have the interior and exterior spaces complement one another.

Gray Window Seat

Gray Window Seat and Bookshelves

Gray paint, lots of books and a window seat turns this niche into the coziest possible spot to curl up.

Photo by: Michael Hunter

Michael Hunter

Painting the walls white gave her a neutral base that can be added to through the decor. For example, the striking yellow and blue painting adds elegant simplicity to the living space, while also making a bold statement for the design of the room. Bankston May explains that placing the piece of art between the French doors highlights the painting and helps the art blend with the outside views.

One design element that Bankston May is most proud of is the reading nook located next to the dining room table. This nook gives the dining area an intimate feel, and provides a place to display her collection of books and items of interest. “The placement of eclectic items and pieces we have collected throughout the years tells a story of our travels and inspires conversation in every corner of the room,” Bankston May explains.

While designing a home for clients can be difficult, an interior designer is particularly challenged when they become the client. Darla Bankston May creatively curated her own home to be a space perfect for entertaining and a thoughtful expression of her personality.

See More of This Design

See All Photos

Shop This Look

Next Up

Cookie-Cutter Condo Becomes a Custom Masterpiece

Designer Stefani Stein transformed this condo into a chic, contemporary space with touches of blue throughout. See how she added custom touches to this cookie-cutter space by incorporating custom molding and a kitchen tailored to the homeowners needs.

Natural-Light-Filled City Flat

Designer Nathalie Milazzo used a mix of modern, contemporary and art deco styles to make this big-city apartment a showstopper. Large walls of windows fill the space with natural light while providing spectacular views.

Small Beach Cottage That's Big on Style

Located in Ipswich, Mass., this sunny beach cottage features clever space-planning tricks that prove good things do come in small packages.

Jackie O's Vacation Spot in the Bahamas

This vintage, tropical-style home in the Bahamas, designed by Amanda Lindroth, was frequented by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and her sister Lee Radziwill as a vacation getaway in the 1960s. Find out how the home’s interesting past helped shape its modern design.

Elegant + Eclectic Modern Home

Located in Huntington Beach, Calif., this gorgeous home features indoor/outdoor spaces, high-end finishes and sparkle to spare.

Inside Clinton Kelly's Miami Home

Stylist and TV host Clinton Kelly showed HGTV Magazine around his stylish home‚ proving there’s only one decorating rule to follow: Trust your gut!

8 Must-See Locations From HGTV's Ultimate House Hunt 2017

You won’t believe where this virtual tour is headed.

Striking a Balance: A Home Designed for Work and Play

When two architects teamed up for the ultimate renovation — a house in the woods for their own family of four — they focused on making space for noise and quiet, introversion and extroversion, work and life. 

Family Home with Colorful, Contemporary Vibe

The Butter Lutz team designed this family home and infused it with color, giving the space its own personiality and youthful pizzaz.

Traditional Farmhouse Gets a Contemporary Makeover

Designer Joseph Stabilito gives a Pennsylvania farmhouse a fresh makeover that keeps the exterior true to its country roots while giving the interior a fresh, contemporary update.

Bankston May Associates

Contact Us Houston, TX 77057 713-789-1912