Best Room Wins, the Bravo reality show Monica Wilcox competed on this summer, was perfectly suited to the Dallas-based interior designer. The premise, creating a luxe, personalized look on a budget, is exactly what she works to create for her clients back home. “That’s kind of my whole thing,” says Wilcox. “I just want to be that affordable, approachable voice for people.”
Before she became an interior designer, launched her own design school, wrote a book, and appeared in a television show, Wilcox was a budget analyst in the army. She credits her financial skills and business acumen to her years in the armed forces. From there, she landed a job in furniture sales, working her way up into the design side of the industry. Wilcox quickly became the top salesperson in the company, tailoring her designs to her clients’ lifestyle habits in lieu of trendy colors or patterns. “I was able to sell on the emotion of what people wanted, not necessarily a blue or grey couch,” says Wilcox.
Helping clients create an environment centered around the feel of a room became her calling card, and proved vital in her time in the design competition Best Room Wins, where designers work with families who want the multi-million dollar home look, but on a much smaller budget.
“Not only do you have to give clients a style that mimics the inspiration home, but they also have to be happy. That’s the challenge,” Wilcox says. On episode eight (which you can watch here), Wilcox lost to Los Angeles designer Rosa Beltran, but the experience was a game changer. “It definitely put my design abilities to the test, in the best possible way,” says Wilcox. “There’s nothing like a good challenge in your career, especially when that challenge happens to be on TV!”
How to Create a Luxe Look on a Budget
Scale is everything.
Don’t buy a lot of small items to fill a large space, focus on buying the right size. “If you buy a lot of small things, especially for homes here in Texas, you’re going to have to buy a lot of small things to fill those walls,” Wilcox says.
Design the details.
Wallpaper, accent colors, trim detail, lighting and custom draperies are worth the time and money. “I like to layer lighting,” she says. “I’ll buy a chandelier that only costs $200, but I’ll buy three and group them together, which typically looks more expensive.”
Infuse your personality into your home.
“Your home should tell a story about you,” said Wilcox. “Focus on how your home makes you feel, the details that are personal to you. Those things make it memorable.”