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Butler County interior designer vies for national spotlight

- The after photo of a kitchen for which Diane Beck was named one of the 10 best redesigns by the Real Estate Staging Association. Vibrant Interiors
The after photo of a kitchen for which Diane Beck was named one of the 10 best redesigns by the Real Estate Staging Association.  Vibrant Interiors

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New look, stage right

You don't need to spend a ton of money to get that perfect look for your bedroom, living room or kitchen, Diane Beck says. Sure, deep pockets allow you to be versatile when it comes to making interior-design dreams come true, but Beck says a bit of ingenuity can go a long way.

She offers these tips on how to make the most of what you have:

Paint is your pal

Don't be afraid to experiment with a new color or tone. Paint is the most economical way to change a room. “It's your chance to be bold,” Beck says. “You can always change it back if you don't like it.”

New year, new purpose

Unless your couch is nailed to the floor, you're not married to where it sits. The same goes for other pieces of furniture. Re-arranging furniture can give you a new perspective — and spark new ideas. Don't hesitate to move things around to freshen up the look of a room, especially appliances that are teetering on obsolescence. Take, for instance, the once-popular microwave cart. It was a must in many kitchens a decade ago. Now? Not so much. Such appliances are being built into the walls of more updated homes. With new dressing, a microwave cart can be transformed into a beverage center or wine rack. “Re-purposing things fits just about everyone's budget,” Beck says.

Framing and re-framing

If a picture is worth a thousand words, the frame it comes has got to be worth something too. A new coat of paint can punch up any blah picture frame, Beck says. So, too, can glitter, beads and artistic minis, which, when glued on frames in just the right spots, can breathe new life into your photos. “If you can be creative, you can transform a frame into art work,” she says. “It's nice to be able to use what you have.”

By Chris Ramirez
Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Diane Beck is hoping all that time she has spent in various kitchens and living rooms over the past few years will pay off.

Beck, owner of Vibrant Interiors, is one of 10 real estate stagers and re-designers nationwide vying for “Best Redesign” recognition by the Real Estate Staging Association.

The Valley Springs, Calif.-based association is the trade association for professional real estate stagers and redesigners.

“Seeing your vision come together — that's the best part of it,” Beck says of interior design, a craft she took up full time only five years ago. “I get to see everything come together and flow together. A new color or a certain tile can make a difference.

“It's exciting to make that come to life.”

Winners will be announced during the group's annual Home Staging Industry Awards convention from Jan. 31 to Feb. 2 in Foster City, Calif., says Shell Brodnax, president/CEO of the Real Estate Staging Association.

Beck, an interior designer from Penn Township, Butler County, says having a comforting and warm layout for your home isn't just a thing to do when you put your home on the market.

Property owners can keep the insides of their homes inviting all year round, most times for a lower cost than they think, she says.

On paper, Beck seemed more destined for a career in public relations or advertising, having graduated from LaRoche College with a business and marketing degree.

But a friend's request for help in 2008 turned things in a different direction.

The friend purchased a condo, a real fixer-upper, with intentions to sell it. He sought out Beck for advice on how to give the interior a clean and warm look that could punch up the home's overall pricetag.

She was given oversight over everything, from the type of carpet to install to the furniture to the composition of the counter tops in the kitchen.

“He knew I had an eye for detail and interior design and trusted me,” says Beck, a mother of four. “It came sort of naturally for me.”

The home eventually sold for a profit, and that got Beck's design career off and running.

While makeover reality shows on HGTV and elsewhere show fans what can be done to most rooms with a limitless checkbook, Beck maintains that homeowners searching for a more vibrant-looking home don't have to be constrained by money.

“All you need sometimes is a fresh eye, a new perspective,” Beck says. “You can give your home the aura and feel you've been dreaming of at a fraction of the cost of traditional interior design. You just have to be willing to be flexible and look at things in a whole new light.”

Chris Ramirez is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at or 412-380-5682.

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