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Finding a touch of glam in everyday design

Local HGTV star shares her secrets to make a home look both beautiful and livable

Tamara Day, star of HGTV’s Bargain Mansions and local designer who owns Growing Days Home in Prairie Village, describes her style as “laid-back luxe.”

“I am a mom of four, and I like pretty, shiny things,” Tamara says. “The two don’t always mix well. I design with lifestyle and family in mind but with that touch of glam.”

This mixture of practicality and flare can be accomplished throughout the home on a budget, Tamara says.

When it comes to the kitchen, she says replacing the backsplash is one of the most cost-effective ways to refresh the room. Additionally, she says paint is the most inexpensive option to update cabinets, and there is a de-glosser on the market that will reduce the labor involved by helping paint adhere to cabinets.

“You can get a whole new kitchen with some fresh paint,” Tamara says.

In the bathroom, Tamara suggests putting up new light fixtures and wallpaper for a fresh look. She suggests using wallpaper on just one wall to create contrast.

“Wallpaper transforms everything and puts in a hominess factor,” Tamara says.

To give a new feel to the living room, Tamara suggests using decorative pillows as well as displaying design books and layering with a candle or other interesting object to create a sentimental focal point. She also suggests investing in good, quality sofas and rugs because less expensive options will not typically withstand the amount of wear and tear they receive from a family.

Overall, Tamara says there is a balance between mixing expensive and inexpensive items and materials around the home, all without having it looking cluttered. She says every space needs something that is thrifted.

Tamara finds many people enjoy elements of different types of styles and have a hard time defining their personal style. To help narrow down to a preferred look, she suggests taking a hundred room images and sorting them into piles of likes and dislikes. She says when someone completes this exercise, they typically find a theme to their preferences.

For additional styling and design tips, watch Bargain Mansions, consult with Tamara through her Growing Days Design and Growing Days E-Design services (; 913-335-1016) or visit her Growing Days Home retail store and showroom in Prairie Village.

Making color, texture and pattern stand out

Tamara has a natural eye for using great colors and textures in design. What is her approach to making a room look great?

Here are Tamara’s top tips:

  • Find a base color with pops of other colors.

“Every room needs a touch of black and a pop of color,” Tamara says. “The black will anchor it, but the color will give it life.”

If the home is urban, she suggests more bold pops. If it is a traditional home, use a mixture of colors. Additionally, she suggests using one basic color throughout a home with pops of other colors as opposed to having a different color in each room.

  • Consider wallpaper.

“Wallpaper can be scary for a lot of people, but there are so may wallpapers out there that are removable,” Tamara says.

Tamara says wallpaper adds texture and warmth, and she includes it in most of the homes she designs.

  • Layer with baskets, blankets and greenery. 

 All three make a room feel cozy and add color and interest to a space.