Etsy Journal

Explore ideas and inspiration for creative living

Refresh Your Space With Sarah Sherman Samuel

by Aleksa Brown

Mar 30, 2021

Learn how this top designer turned a spare room in her Michigan home into a serene guest suite-slash-office—then shop her favorite Etsy finds.

Sarah Sherman Samuel in her Michigan home
Photo by: Mae Stier

In The Etsy Edit, we go behind the scenes with some of our favorite tastemakers to explore their inspirational spaces and enviable style.

“My aesthetic celebrates the unique, the handmade, and the sculptural,” says leading home designer Sarah Sherman Samuel, whose warm, light-filled living spaces and signature airy interiors are a veritable Pinterest goldmine. So when it came time to tackle her latest project, redesigning her Michigan guest room (which also doubles as her husband’s home office), she started by installing a DIY wood accent wall—and then she turned to Etsy to help bring the multifunctional space to life.

Shop Sarah Sherman Samuel’s Etsy Edit

“I wanted to create a calming and inspiring environment, which meant looking for one-of-a-kind pieces and artful moments,” Sarah explains. “I used sky blue bedding as a way to bring in a pop of color, while keeping the rest of the room neutral to get the serene overall vibe I was going for.” The finishing touches? Vintage treasures, eye-catching wall art, and some super-sleek ceramics. Click play to see the makeover unfold in the video below, then keep scrolling to shop Sarah’s top picks to spark a transformation in your own space.

For the sleeping area:

A cheeky checkered pillow

Sarah puts a checkered bolster pillow on her sky blue bed.
SHOP: Black-and-white pillow from Marie Colin Madan FR, $56

Add a dash of playful pattern to a palette of solid-colored bedding with a cheerful checkered bolster pillow. (We especially love how the graphic grid of black and white stands out against the soft, pastel backdrop.)

A whimsical bud vase (and blooms to boot)

A speckled ceramic vase with spherical details and two dried lotus pods inside.
SHOP: Ceramic vase from ZZIEE Ceramics, $200; dried lotus pod flowers from Fabiana Loschi, $7

Fade-proof flowers are a beautiful addition to any bedside table—and even more so in an interesting vessel. Says Sarah: “The bobble vase on the accent table brings a little bit of whimsy to the room.”

Sky blue bedding

Sarah plays with her kids on a bed with a sky blue duvet.

Sarah makes the bed with a sky blue linen duvet and a black-and-white checkered bolster pillow.
SHOP: Linen duvet cover set from So Good Linen, from $150 

An instant room (and mood) booster: a duvet upgrade in Etsy’s 2021 Color of the Year. “I love the natural look and feel of linen, and sky blue is the perfect pop of color,” Sarah says.

Pretty pottery on a plaster nightstand

A cream-colored rippled incense holder and a matte ceramic vase rest atop a white plaster side table.
SHOP: Incense holder from ZZIEE Ceramics, $26; matte porcelain vase from Mammoth and Minnow, $185; mushroom-shape side table from öken house studios, from $350

Monochromatic palettes don’t have to be one-note. Pile on the texture with an organic plaster nightstand, a rippled ceramic incense holder, and a super-smooth vase made of matte porcelain.

For the office nook:

An heirloom-quality desk

Windows with long amber curtains flank a wooden desk with drawers and a surface that appears to be floating.
SHOP: Vintage-inspired desk from DKL Custom Woodworking, $1,900

"The desk is one of my favorites for sure, it is such a beautiful piece,” Sarah says of the solid wood stunner. “It’s an interesting shape from all angles, and the top appears to float above the base."

A sunny linen window treatment

Sarah opens the amber-colored linen drapes while sunshine beams through them.
SHOP: Extra-long linen drapes from Sand Snow Linen, $78

Let in a little light with extra-long linen curtains that make ceilings look taller. Bonus: “They bring a warmth and softness to the room,” explains Sarah, who chose an amber set to frame husband Rupert’s desk.

A few unique desk accessories

A ridged black ceramic cup with number two pencils inside.
SHOP: Stoneware ceramic pencil cup from Atomic Threshold, $55

An onyx lidded dish and a swirly ceramic figurine sit atop a wooden desk.
SHOP: Vintage onyx dish from Pieces Kept, similar on Etsy from $21; black swirl ceramic figurine from Hewn Pottery, $40

Sarah says: “Instead of incorporating perfect factory-made pieces, look for ones that show the hand of the maker. Imperfect finishes or wear on vintage pieces tell a story and make a space feel like it has its own soul.”

A bold print to anchor the room

Above the desk is a framed abstract art print with three black circle-like shapes.
SHOP: Abstract print by Boriana M, from $45

“The print above the desk is both graphic and organic in shape,” Sarah says. “The layers of ink on the textured paper drew me in.”

A speckled mug to start the morning

A speckled ceramic cup with a matching pour-over coffee setup on top.

Sarah reaches for the speckled ceramic cup.
SHOP: Ceramic tumbler-and-pour-over set from Shop Artisan Artifacts, $70

What’s a home office setup without a steady supply of caffeine? A sophisticated ceramic coffee pour-over set will make mornings sweeter with their speckled glaze and handmade touch.

For bringing it all together:

Gilded lighting

Sarah moves a gold standing floor lamp that is taller than her and has three ginkgo-leaf shapes.
SHOP: Gold standing floor lamp from Heka Design Lighting, $1,156

A wood-paneled wall has a brass wall sconce affixed to it. Nearby, Sarah places two dried lotus pods into a ceramic vase.
SHOP: Brass sconce from Smile Lamp Works, $110

When it comes to investment pieces for upgrading your space, we give this spectacular Art Deco floor lamp a standing ovation—and the bedside brass sconces? Pure decorating gold.

A sculptural mirror made of wood

Sarah arranges ceramic sculptures on a white shelf. Above the shelf is a round wooden mirror with a raised, wavy design.

SHOP: Wooden mirror from Surrey Woodsmiths, $247

Even when you’re not checking your reflection, you’ll want to check out the stunning details in this solid birch mirror. Sarah says: “I like to soften up straight lines by bringing in organic and curved shapes, which helps a room feel more welcoming.”

A gallery wall that’s ready to print

Sarah hangs a small framed art print on the wall, next to another similar design.

A gallery wall with abstract designs in warm colors.
SHOP: Printable wall art (set of 6) from fornStudio, $32

Take the legwork out of sourcing and shipping enough art to fill a gallery wall with this printable set of six designs that features a soothing selection of earthy blush and terracotta tones.

Stylish vintage seating

A black leather sling chair sits next to a gold ginkgo leaf lamp and a stone side table with books and a coffee cup on top.
SHOP: Vintage sling chair from Mod and Ozzie, similar on Etsy from $2,000

A black rattan Cesca chair sits in front of a wooden desk. Nearby is a leafy green Monstera plant.
SHOP: Mid-century Cesca chair from Jooovanka, similar on Etsy from $170

"I find that searching by material can lead to some great unexpected finds," says Sarah, who chose a vintage leather sling chair to create a cozy reading corner, and a '60s rattan Cesca for everyday desk duty.

A rug that’s spot-on

A collage of two images: At left, Sarah rolls out a white rug with tiny black spots; at right, a close-up of the rug's soft texture and fringed ends.
SHOP: Moroccan rug from Baboosh Rugs, from $1,923

The final touch in any room makeover? A tactile rug that ties it all together. “The rug is incredibly soft under foot,” Sarah says. Future guests, take note: no slippers needed.

Shop more of Sarah’s favorite Etsy finds:

What can we say? She has great taste.

SHOP (Clockwise from top left): Fiber art wall hanging from Studionom, $130; linen pillow covers from Linen Handmade Studio, $39; pinstripe dinner plates from Elizabeth Benotti, $88; goldrings from Aleishla Lopez, $66; vintage lamps from Vintage Happy Home, $995 for set of two; shirt from Linen Handmade Studio, $59; wavy candle from CaiCai Handmade, $25

Are you a sweet or savory person? 

BOTH! Must have the mix.

What’s your zodiac sign, and how do you feel about it?

Pisces! I feel a lot, so it’s pretty accurate.

Most sentimental object you own?

The gold pinky rings that my husband gave me after each of our children’s births. They’re engraved with their names and birth dates.

Fave quarantine fad you participated in? 

Equal parts crafting and baking.

Photographs by Mae Stier.

Shop Sarah’s Etsy Edit

Aleksa Brown

Aleksa Brown is a writer, editor, and brand storyteller based in Brooklyn, NY. Some of her favorite things include burgers, bike rides, and being outside with friends on sunny days. Read more of her work on the Etsy Journal.