Exclusive Interview with Marina Bargouti a pro in the world of Interior Styling!
How long have you been a professional interior stylist?
Ever since I had my very first client who had reached out to me seeking assistance in designing their home. Before it was simply one of my passions and hobbies as I practiced interior styling skills in my own home. I took it very seriously and acted professionally as I then developed my own online design structure & concept. It’s been just less than 3 years, but I’ve already been so blessed to have worked with hundreds of clients all around the world and I am feeling so grateful to be able to design and style their homes online in a click of a button.
What does luxury mean to you?
I feel that there is a huge shift behind the meaning and understanding of the word luxury compared to how it was portrayed just a few years ago and what it’s transitioned to now! Before, it was something very expensive, chic, and almost untouchable mostly referring to materialistic and exclusive items. Now, it’s more of a state of mind, a philosophy of living a dream life, it’s more about the comfort, lifestyle, and experiences that we create and the feelings about it. Luxury doesn’t just mean expensive anymore. For example, if I was to talk about a person and their style, I wouldn’t just describe the way they dress and the brands they wear – I would first pay attention to their class, elegance, and manners. When I speak to the interiors of a home, there’s no need to have all bespoke furniture and custom made pieces to call it luxurious. It’s all in the details; a sense of style. It’s the atmosphere that we create when we’re in that space, the mood that we set and the feelings that we’re experiencing! And as an interior stylist, I can assure you that you don’t need the most expensive and exclusive products to achieve that! It’s the styling techniques, it’s the comfort and warm touches, details, quality, functionality, style, uniqueness and the feeling of sophistication – that is what luxury all about for me.
How would you describe your interior decorating style?
My interior style is a mix of Modern & Hollywood Regency and always with the touch of Glam. As we all know, Hollywood Regency has a strong connection to
ArtDeco and Mid-Century Modern Styles.
While I’m always choosing simplicity and clean lines of Modern Style to create my designs, it’s always crossed with the dramatic Hollywood Regency & ArtDeco luxurious accents and rich textures, lavish details, metallic finishes, vibrant colors and high contrasts, and at the same time, carefully combined with the Mid Century’s natural elements & warm tones.
Which is why I’m obsessed with combining those styles in my designs as I choose the best and most exciting elements of each to incorporate in achieving that unique look & b
alance in my interiors.
I like an effortless chic look, mixing different textures, styles & eras, finishes, fabrics, natural elements and metals. I love adding high contrasts,
drama and statement pieces to my interiors.
For those who might not be aware, what is the difference between interior designer and interior stylist/ decorator?
Interior design is the art of understanding people’s behavior to create functional spaces within a building. Decoration is the furnishing or adorning of a space with fashionable or beautiful things, accessories that turns any interior into a stylish, warm, welcoming, cozy space.
Simply put, interior design is all about how the space functions; interior decorating is more about how a space should look & feel.
The interior design usually includes renovations, computer-aided design (CAD), drawing, space planning, furniture design, architecture, and more.
Interior styling & decorating involves working on choosing color & fabric, room layout, furniture styles, lighting, window treatments, wall decor, accents and accessories.
My favorite and easiest way of explaining the difference is this: if we look at one outfit there is someone who designed each piece and sewed it . That would be a Designer, and there is someone who picked a bunch of pieces; top, bottom, shoes, bags, jewelry, belts to go with it, put it all together, added accents and spiced it up with accessories – that would be a Stylist/Decorator and that would be me 🙂
Can you share your TOP 5 best interior styling & decorating secrets?
I have so many secrets and techniques that I apply to every space! Few of the ones I use very often are –
- Go for high contrasts to create & highlight dramatic focal points.
- Bring the glam to the space by incorporating and layering luxurious fabrics, finishes and textiles such as rich velvet, elegant silk, leather, fur, as well as using different finishes in surfaces: glass, metals, lacquered wood, natural stones.
- Always choose a main, secondary, and an accent color(s) when designing and decorating your rooms.
- Add mirrors to create the illusion of a larger, brighter, higher space.
- Remember the “rule of three” when decorating with accents and accessories and objects of varying heights.
As an interior stylist, how are you able to create luxury interiors to fit any budget?
That is my specialty right there! My design concepts are not just all about furniture, it’s more about lifestyle, entertaining, and about centering and styling a room around the way people will interact with each other in it. That’s why I pay so much more attention to the details, styling, and accessorizing the space. I always say to my clients that you can have a $300 sofa or you can have a $30,000 sofa in your home. Both can look high-end and sophisticated when they are styled properly. I can say this about every piece in the house, really. Just like we say about an individual’s style – it’s not what you wear, it’s HOW you wear it! A little black dress can look like a million dollar outfit when styled and accompanied with stunning pieces of jewelry, accessories, hair & makeup. The most expensive designer brand dress can look plain and boring when there is nothing else involved in the outfit to complete the look! The same rule works with the interiors of a home. It’s all about the details, the warm touches, the extra lighting, the vibrancy, the life and the energy in it that we create when styling spaces!
What are some of the challenges you face with clients when in the interior styling & decorating process?
It’s never with clients for me! I love people in general and when they choose me to be a part of their home and story I will become the best part of that story I possibly can! I’ve been blessed enough to never have an unhappy client who wasn’t satisfied with my vision/design. The only challenges I can think of in my interior styling & decorating projects are the ones that require an immediate delivery with shipping delays, or product damages and other delivery/installation matters. But those are not really challenges, it’s the nature of the business and a learning experience.
Which has been the biggest accomplishment in your career to date?
I could really talk so much here about my happy clients with whom I’ve had the pleasure of designing their homes, and in the process, making life-long friendships. I can also speak to my to the brands that I have partnered with and developed long-term business relationships, advertisements and contracts, or magazines and publishings that I was featured on, or businesses that I build and successfully run. All of the above are huge factors and accomplishments in my career. I know I wouldn’t be who I am today without any of them and I will forever be grateful for every client of mine, every brand and publisher that I’ve worked with, and every single opportunity I was given!
Above all, my biggest accomplishment of being an Influencer & Entrepreneur in my professional career is the feedback, engagement, trust and connection with my audience! I can’t even tell you how emotional I still get every time I get messages on my social media or e-mails from my followers, supporters, and clients about how I inspire and motivate them to follow their dreams and build a career/business out of their hobby and passion too; how they learn form me how to design, style, and decorate their homes by getting tips and ideas. They share their personal stories of success, failures, their own doubts and fears, they ask for my advice on how to start their own business, or how to refresh their home. They thank me for sharing my personal and professional journey with them. If there is even a small chance that I can inspire and empower someone to believe in themselves and follow their dreams and succeed – it’s beyond all other rewards and that is my absolute biggest accomplishment of all!
What are some words of advice and encouragement for up and coming interior decorators?
My best advice that I wish someone had given me when I first started is to not be afraid to develop and express your own style and don’t be afraid to be you. Do it with all the heart, soul, and passion and you will be seen, heard, recognized, and rewarded! Don’t let anyone ever question or doubt your choices, your style, or your work ethic. Respect and value your time, labor and talent. There is no one else just like you, you are unique. And that’s what separates you from all the others! My words of encouragements would be: believe in yourself, deliver your vision & superior service to your clients, do the best you can, hustle, stay humble, give back and always remember to enjoy the actual process.
What’s next for Marina Bargouti? Are you working on any new exciting projects?
I set very high standards for myself and have a long way to go. I’m not even near where I want to be in the next few years or even months! I have my goals, my dreams, and I hustle a lot to get there. I’m constantly working on growing and improving. I take risks, I invest, and most importantly, I listen to my heart and let my creativity go wild.
A lot of new projects are coming and happening! I’m opening a high-end photography studio in New Jersey & the NYC area in which I’ve had a biggest pleasure to design and have my vision come to life. We have more than 15 out-of-this world photo zones and will be working with magazines, models, brands, and photographers to create an easy & unforgettable experience of having totally different and unique photo zones all in one space.
I’ve also designed & developed my own product line (that’s being produced now, but with some delays due to the pandemic), that I cannot wait to see displayed in stores and people’s homes soon! I’m not done, though! Lots of ideas, plans, dreams and work ahead! If I have an eye for style and for creating beautiful designs and products, I’m going to continue to grow and do what I can the best the best way I know how; create, style and impress! 🙂