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How To Use Designer Show Houses For Decorating Inspiration

I know as a Designer that when I hear about a Designer show house in my area, I make every effort to be there, It just feeds the Designer within me to be around beautiful spaces, and getting to see the work of other designers first hand. But consumers don’t often know about them, let alone take the opportunity to use them for decorating inspiration for their own homes.

Designer Show Houses, aka: Decorator Show Houses or Show Case Homes, are homes built or renovated with the intent to design and decorate the interiors and open them for public viewing over a period of time (usually a month or two). An admission fee is usually charged, and the funds are typically partially or fully donated to a charity organization. There is usually a builder involved, as well as a group of designers (sometimes just one Designer), and lots of vendors who donate products, or offer deep discounts on products to be able to participate in the Show House. Sometimes the home is built for a homeowner who agrees to open it for public viewing for a period of time before they move in. Show Houses are a great way for the builder, vendors and the designers to market their businesses and give back to a charity that they care about. It is also a great opportunity for patrons to tour the home and see the work of these designers firsthand; in some cases, get the opportunity to speak directly to the designer about what their inspiration was for their space

I have been very fortunate to be a part of two Show Houses as a participating Designer. The first Show House was The ASID Texas Gulf Coast Chapter Holiday Show House in December of 2015. It was my very first time, and it was definitely a steep learning curve, but I made so many great connections and even won two awards for the room I completed. The room was also published in a local Design Publication – Houston House and Home Magazine. You can read the article here.

This is the room from my very first Show House. A bedroom space for a teenager. Take the tour here

Casa Vilora Interiors

Casa Vilora Interiors

The next Show House that I am privileged to be a part of is The ASID TGCC Designer Show House coming up in July. This one is going to be amazing, and definitely not to be missed. Some of the key features:

  1. 10,000 square feet of elaborate living space

  2. Fully designed and decorated by 21 Interior Designers

  3. A private master suite and generous closets

  4. An over-sized chef’s kitchen and service kitchen

  5. Private bedroom en-suites

  6. 1400 square feet of covered outdoor living with outdoor kitchen

  7. A cozy and independent attached in-law’s residence

  8. A wedding themed barn

  9. A stunning over-sized pool and pool bath

  10. Six landscaped acres

  11. A Portion of the proceed will benefit the Alzheimer’s Association

Casa Vilora Interiors

And here are the hand renderings showing two views of my room (the lady’s study). This is the first time I am publicly showing these 🙂

 These hand renderings were done by my talented assistant Chinh

Casa Vilora Interiors Katy Interior Designer

Casa Vilora Interiors | Katy Interior Designer

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So I bet you are now wondering how can I get some inspiration for my home from a Designer Show House. Well, I won’t keep you waiting any longer. Here are some things to keep in mind as you visit.

  1. One of the biggest benefits to visiting Designer Show Houses is that you will likely run into a few of the Designers for the spaces. They are not always there, as Docents are usually involved with showing the spaces, but it is a great way to pick the brain of the designer and learn a bit more about the room. Obviously, they will most likely be greeting other patrons, but you may be able to get your most pressing questions answered.

  2. You also get the chance to see the Designer’s work in person. So if you are considering hiring that Designer, you get a brief taste of what they can do for your home

  3. The work Designers do at Show Houses, usually represent their most imaginative and carte blanche ideas. There usually isn’t a lot of restrictions on what they do, because there is no homeowner that they are designing for. This means that they will take certain creative approaches that they would not normally take. So the result is their unbridled, un-watered down skills and talents on display

  4. Each Designer’s room typically displays a list of the vendors who helped make the room possible. This is a great way to learn about great, reputable vendors that you can hire for your own projects

  5. Paint colors is one of the biggest sticking points for homeowners, and even though paint colors show differently in each space depending on lighting, it is a great way to “experience” your favorite paint colors

  6. The furnishings used are usually for sale. You can buy the pieces that you love and use them as inspiration for your own space

  7. Pay attention to the furniture layouts in the rooms. Great traffic patterns are a must in a Designer Show House, and this will give you ideas for furniture layouts in your home

  8. Window treatments are always a major part of each room. You will get great ideas for fabrics and styles. Take special note of how they are hung – how high above the windows; how they hit the floor etc

  9. Designers usually mix patterns in a bold way. This a great way to get ideas for bold and fearless decorating

  10. You will likely see creative uses of wallpaper that you can be inspired by

  11. Pay attention to the way lighting is used to create a great atmosphere

  12. Ask the Designers about the art that they have used in the spaces. In a lot of cases, they are supporting local artists and art galleries, which can become a great resource for you. Notice the height that the art is hung in each space

  13. Notice how the table tops and book cases are styled. This is a great way to get inspiration for styling you own home

  14. Powder rooms are always dramatic. Take note of them

  15. Look for great use of space and ideas for staying organized

  16. The kitchens usually have the best and most up-to-date appliances. This is a great way to see them in the context of a real kitchen

  17. Also pay attention to how technology is used in the home

Some Show Houses will allow you to take pictures, and that is a great way to capture things that inspire you. Unlike model homes, Show Houses are decorated to be bold and exciting, and not generic. This will inspire you to step outside of the “safe” way to decorate and really let your personality shine through in your home

We hope to see you at the ASID TGCC Designer Show House. Please comment below with any questions you have. Please buy your tickets in advance for best pricing

Wishing You Beauty and Inspiration!


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