During Christmas in Austin I was running around like a chicken with my head cut off because I had no one to help me decorate my house. And I just had no capacity. I was secretly pregnant & really wanted to make Christmas extra special for Zaza.
So I did the best thing I could do & reached out to you guys over Instagram. So many of you recommended Britt Snyder. We connected & it was an absolute dream. I wanted to invite her on the blog to share all her tips, tricks & secrets when it comes to decorating.
In this post you’ll learn some tips to keep the St. Patrick’s Day decor classy, what to do on a budget & how to decorate small spaces that are functional.
Britt Snyder is super popular in Austin, she’s a mom, & a total master of her craft. What she did with my house for Christmas was MAGICAL. She totally got my vision & understood where I was coming from. We kept things neutral to match the design our house ( designed by Westin Mitchell ), but still had decor to fill it with Christmas spirit. We kept things muted but festive. All thanks to Britt.
On that note, let’s meet the professional home decorator Britt Snyder.
Festive Home Decor Tips With Britt Snyder Design
♡ Introduce yourself to The Skinny Confidential audience & tell us what you do ( I know that it’s making people’s homes look beautiful ).
Britt Snyder: Hi! My name is Britt Snyder. I am so excited to be sharing a little bit about myself & what I do here on The Skinny Confidential blog!
Where to start… How about a little background & some fun facts about me. I am originally from Bismarck, ND. Similar to Fargo, but without the woodchipper mishaps, & I don’t really talk with that accent unless I’m back home with the fam & have had at least half a bottle of red. That’s when the O’s & A’s get extra long & the “you betcha’s” might slip too. You can take the girl out of the Midwest but you can’t take the Midwest out of the girl amiright?!
I am blessed with a really colorful family as I have siblings & parents from all over the world, Colombia, Marshall Islands, Minnesota, & it has really allowed me to keep an open mind & appreciate so many different cultures & styles.
Speaking of style, I was basically raised as an interior design assistant.
My mom has owned furniture stores & done interior design since I was a little kid. I used to categorize fabrics, move furniture around & help create window displays after school & basically just never stopped. I used to fall asleep on the display beds & to this day we call our biceps “sofa arms” because they are just conditioned to be moving furniture all the time.
I moved around a lot in HS & tried doing the college route a bundle of times when finally one day, mid Comm 300 class, I was like “what the hell am I doing?” I had outgrown ND & it was time to move on. I was 26 & knew that I needed to change directions. My dad was living in San Antonio, TX with his beautiful Colombian family that I barely knew so it seemed like an easy decision to go spend some time with them & figure out what the hell I was going to do with my life. If you have ever seen the show Modern Family, consider me Claire, my dad Al Bundy & my step mom Sophia Vergara. It’s basically Carnival Festival every day in their house! Not to mention the two little brothers that are 25 years younger than me.
Anyways, as I was driving through Austin on the way down there, this wave of energy came over me.
I look back on that exact moment & it was like Austin picked me & for good reason. I had been searching for my “new home” but just didn’t know where it was going to be. So I moved to Austin three months later not knowing a single person & basically going on Tinder dates to try & find some friends & get to know the city. At the time I had VERY little to swindle if you know what I mean, trust me, there was no private jet setting.
I got an apartment, got a job that paid the bills, & started living my best life!
I was a radio DJ back in college for an NPR channel so I used that resource to spend a few SXSW years taking awesome pics of brands & listening to amazing music as well!
A little over a year into living in Austin I went on one last Tinder date with this landscaper. Right before that I had decided it was time to launch my own interior design business. This guy was cute, had tattoos, tall for once, & worked in this high-end neighborhood that had the same clientele I wanted for my business. What did I have to lose? Worst case scenario it was a great business resource. Fast forward a life-changing FIVE months & we were engaged. A year later, married. 6 months later I had moved from the city to the burbs. 6 more months & he had somehow convinced me that we should have a kid & maybe another one after that.. Like WTF!
So. Here I am now. 36 years old. I have a THRIVING design business. The landscaper did exactly what I was hoping & helped me get into that high-end neighborhood I desired to be in. I have a half Spiderman, half threenager toe head of a son & after a long ass grueling process I am just one hot summer away from adding another little nugget to the family.
I was told when I first moved to Austin that in order to be called a local you had to live here for ten years…well folks I don’t see myself going anywhere & I am DAMN close to local status!
- I started my first business selling chai tea door to door when I was in 5th grade.
- When I moved to Texas all I owned was my car, a box of records & my record player, super cozy bedding, a suitcase of clothes, a phone, & a snowboard. Clearly super prepared to do some major adulting.
- I was awarded “most fashionable” in the high school yearbook. I had a hideous Savers eggplant sweater & cargo pants on the day they came to take the pic. Barf.
- My favorite rooms to design are residential bar/lounges & kid rooms.
- Before I started my design business I wanted to do window displays for Anthropologie. I was offered a job & they wanted to pay $9/hr. PASS. I decided seasonal decor projects would have to fill that spot in my creative catalog.
♡ I wanted something super unique in my house for Christmas. What is your process when you work with someone who wants something different from the traditional decor?
BS: These are my favorite types of clients! I love having to stretch my creativity & think outside the box. My job is to bring my clients ideas to life & give them structure & balance so with whatever idea or “lewk” they are wanting I try to use my skills & resources to keep it fun & different while also being realistic to the non-filtered reality of implementing it! So basically the process goes like this.
- Brainstorm ideas with the client. Talk budget. (Everyone has a budget even if you aren’t sure what the number is totally.)
- Get all resources & ideas. ie Pinterest boards, vibes, inspo, color palette, any wanted personalization requests, etc.
- Find resources & create a visual to present to my client to make sure we are on the same page.
- Order all the goods.
- Install day. Bringing the vision to life! This is the fun part!
Seeing my clients love their design & have a connection to what I have helped them create is the best feeling. I feel like every job is a collab! We are partners from start to finish!
♡ St. Patrick’s Day is coming up, what unique & cute ideas can you share with the audience to decorate their home?
BS: So I tend to be more of a naturalist when it comes to seasonal decor. I don’t really get into the tchotchkes that every Michael’s & Hobby Lobby carry for seasonal decor. I prefer to entertain with seasonal items rather than decorate the house with them.
So for St. Patty’s Day DECOR I would add accents of green. Maybe it’s a green throw or some new pillows on the sofa that have a shade of green in them. I’d stay away from the “Kiss me, I’m Irish” cursive pillow. Add some mossy plants, some driftwood, maybe it’s a neon four leaf clover sign in the bar area or somewhere fun. Another idea could be to get some different green glass bottles ( inspo here ) in different heights & color tones & do a dining table or mantle arrangement with them. It adds the festive color without going Grandma’s house.
Seasonal ENTERTAINING is different. Maybe stock your bar with liqueurs like Midori & green cocktails like Scoobysnacks, a Grasshopper, & this Guiness Green Jello shot. Mint anything, green beer etc. For us preggers peeps or the ones not looking for the headache. Besides the Shamrock milkshake from McDonalds ( don’t judge me ) here are a few recipes as well. Basically have fun with food, drinks, napkins, plates, glassware & whatever else you want to entertain with but keep the everyday seasonal decor mild & easy to digest so that it stays fresh.
Sidenote: A lot of the natural St. Patty’s decor done mildly can carry on to Spring & Easter decor. Bonus!
♡ When it comes to birthday parties & decorating a kid’s table, what are your tips & tricks?
BS: I love a theme for parties in general but especially kids’ birthdays! My general rule of thumb is the busier the better & if you can keep the mess outside, major bonus. I always do balloon garlands. Pop & Drop Balloons here in Austin are fab!
I always pay special attention to personalized invitations & accents such as personalized temporary tattoos, glow sticks, snacks, toy coupons, cups to take home or party favors, etc. This printing house is great for a lot of those things as well as Etsy!
We love to entertain & our son’s birthday is at the end of May so we always get a blow up a slip n slide or some sort of inflatable. Usually marquee lights, & also depending on the size, we will get a bartender for the parents & porta potties on site. At minimum we have alcoholic & non alcoholic beverage options for everyone plus snacks & easy food like tacos, hot dogs, or build your own fajitas, etc.
I fully realize that this is A LOT for a kid’s party but there are great things that you can do on a DIY scale & with Amazon as well:
Stick with your theme. If you are doing a summer birthday, do fun outdoor games, bob for apples, squirt gun war, obstacle course, ping pong, pool games, etc. If it’s winter, a few great places in Austin are Urban Air or the Art Garage. Do fun wintery things like make your own snow cones with a snow machine or from outside! Maybe do cool ice cubes in the kids initials or custom treats!
Cookies or cupcakes are always easy. In my experience the decor for the kids party is mainly for the parents joining. The kids are good as long as there are plenty of snacks, games, & room for them to run around.
♡ Do you have any secret holiday decor hacks that make a home look great?
BS: Go outside. The most cost friendly & easiest decor in my opinion is finding things to use around your home! So maybe go on a trail walk & get some branches or pick some wildflowers, find cool rocks to work with, I love to use grasses & pampas in my decor for every holiday season! Fresh foliage, from wreaths & garlands to flowers & sticks – it all looks good!
Another basic design hack in general is to take the paper cover off your hard cover books. They are cleaner & so chic when you get rid of the huge picture & ripped edges. You can use them to stack, fill up shelves, boost a candle up, or even flip them around & show the pages instead of the binding. Books are classic & never date.
♡ If people want to revamp their entire home what steps should they take?
BS: Revamping an entire home can feel kind of overwhelming so here’s a break down to help.
- Prioritize. What area is most important? Do you have an event coming up? Guests coming to town? Selling your home?
- Budget. Do you need to invest in any large furniture pieces? Sofas, beds, dressers, etc.? Or maybe you are looking to just update with accessories. Either way, come up with a budget plan.
- If you feel so inclined CALL ME! No, but really, if you have a large project without the time or whereabouts to deal with it, finding a professional to help manage & bring your vision to life can be SUPER helpful & fun in the process too!
- Take a look at what you have. A lot of times just rebalancing your home, getting rid of things or rehoming them in a different room or space can make a HUGE difference. Maybe you switch your sofa pillows, throws, add a pouf or ottoman, change your art. There are a lot of ways to change things up without having to invest a ton of cash.
- If you do in fact want to just go all in on a solo mission without a professional, I would take one room at a time. Go in phases so that you can check boxes as you go. No different than updating your wardrobe. You can’t just ditch all your clothes at once, you have to prioritize summer dresses, winter sweaters, new shoes, etc… phases y’all… Phases.
♡ What are your favorite places to shop to add tiny details & what are some examples of those tiny details that make all the difference?
BS: The tiny details make all the difference in the coziness of your home or design. Accessories are what bring the whole vibe together. I love adding meaningful items to a design or things with a story or that remind you of a specific event. I love coffee table books. And I have a great big sketchbook on my coffee table that my son likes to draw in & when guests come over they can doodle in it.
Get books that you would want to look at. They are an extension of your personality & vibe. I also try to decorate with items that I know are going to be touched & messed with from my kiddo. I loathed kid toys all over the living room but knew they were important to him. So they needed a nice basket. I accessorized the bottom coffee table shelves with some kid books. You don’t have to change your style for the baby. You get to mold the baby into the refined young person that appreciates pretty things, as well as his Hulk figurine that finds a spot on my shelves often.
I love all things Round Top.
If you haven’t heard of it, it’s basically one of the largest vintage markets in the nation. There are European antiques, Mid Century Modern antiques, there are little gifty booths, all of the things! The fun part about curating your accessories is the story of where you found them or what they mean.
I am a HUGE game player as well. I love having a deck of Table Topics at the dining table or in the lounge area. Great conversation starters.
Basically, get creative in WHAT you place rather than WHERE you get it. It might be from Home Goods or the thrift store but what it is & what it means to you is what makes it cool.
♡ What are your top tips for people decorating on a budget?
BS: If you’re working on a tight budget I would recommend prioritizing your number one goal. If that means you need a new sofa really badly then invest in that sofa & bargain shop for the accent pieces. Side tables, lamps, pots, bowls, trays, table books, are all easy pick up items that you can find for a pretty good deal typically.
Shop SALES! Some companies are just wanting to get through some inventory or maybe there is a tiny bit of damage or a defect on something. This is the case for most outlet furniture stores. But who cares if there’s a tiny crack in the bottom of a gorgeous mirror? Hide the crack behind a plant or layer it with a pouf.
If you don’t have major furniture investments needed but just want an update, lean on your accessories. Change your pillows, throws, lamps, coffee table decor, add a tray, maybe you move an accent chair from one room to the other. New art, or better yet, go get a canvas & create your own abstract art! You don’t have to spend big to make a BIG impact. You just need to do it the right way.
♡ If someone lives in a dorm room or very small space what do you recommend?
BS: When I moved to Austin I lived in a 550sqft studio apartment & LOVED it! My suggestion would be to create spaces with multipurpose functions. Example: To create a “bedroom” in my studio I went to Home Depot & purchased some of the industrial shelving. It created a wall that housed a ton of accessories & storage needs for both the “bedroom” & the living room plus it gave an industrial modern look to the room.
Another suggestion is to keep your design really clean. Less is more in small spaces. Organization is SO major & helpful as well. Use under your bed for storage space or go get a closet system from Ikea or The Container Store so that you can enjoy your closet to the fullest.
Buy furniture that fits proportionally in your space. You don’t want a huge recliner or giant sofa in a tiny space. Rather, get something a little smaller so you have room for an accent chair & maybe a little bar that doubles as a side table or record player holder.
Lastly, add some fresh greens. Real or fake plants or flowers add some energy to your space. If looking for artificial plants try to get the kind that aren’t so papery & do some fluffing when they come in. turn the leaves so you don’t see the plastic veining of them or pull some stems out & shape them, also throw some water in a vase or some clear epoxy that looks like water if you want to keep them in place.
♡ If someone wanted to decorate their house how you did mine for next year, what are the most important steps for doing it on their own?
BS: If you want to get the same look as Lauryn’s Holiday look, start with a really neutral palette. She wanted kind of a Whoville vibe but like, white & neutral.
Focus on items that are in the cream, white, oatmeal, & light gray families & look for TEXTURE to add some depth to your overall design. I highly recommend pampas for some soft texture & get outside & find some sticks, grasses, real garland, look for the drapey kind. And always get the soft white lights. We used the twinkle lights for her tree & besides having to change the batteries out, they looked & worked beautifully!
Also, focus on adding small details around the main living area. Like rather than a big table arrangement maybe focus on the light above & doing something fun with that.
Lastly, get some sets of ornaments. It can add some symmetry to your tree rather than having everything be different. Add some filler pieces to give your tree more volume & not every ornament has to hang from a string. Shove the big ones in there & get creative with what you put in your tree.
The basic rule of thumb is to go in with a plan & then stick to the plan.
♡ If someone wants to hire you, where can they find you? Pimp yourself out!
BS: If you are local to the Austin Metro area I am available for in person consultations & design work. I also have launched a remote design program in the last year for those that are a little farther away.
You can check out my website at www.brittsnyderdesign.com or follow me on the GRAM @brittsnyderdesign & if you are out & about you will probably catch me at Jules Design Bar, my fav spot for an Old Fashioned cocktail & some accessory/gift shopping. My mom owns the shop & will make you a mean Baby Jules & you can get a lot of the items that I mentioned here as well! Think furniture gift store with a twist of cocktail lounge vibes.
Cheers Yall! Happy decorating!
Be sure to check out my FESTIVE Instagram highlight where you can see videos of our home around the holidays. Like I said Britt’s decor went perfectly with Westin’s designs & truly made Christmas magical.
Be sure to stalk @brittsnyderdesigns to see her beautiful work ( & family ).
And if you’re also into earthy, grounding neutrals for your home check out my latest post on my kitchen must-haves.
+ check out the softest, most buttery blanket you have to have.
++ scope this fun ( pink ) hack for keeping your floors clean.