The interior design talents behind Fort Lauderdale’s Chelsea Design, Samantha McKenna and Regina Agro, share their expertise on how to decorate a first apartment on a budget. Chelsea Design is an interior design firm focusing on a timeless, neutral palette, which can easily transition between spaces. They recommend accenting spaces with great throw pillows and accessories that may easily be changed over time to freshen things up.

Samantha McKenna & Regina Agro
Chelsea Design
1301 S.W. 1 Ave.
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33315
(954) 712-1123

McKenna and Agro worked together at a prominent interior design firm in the area before deciding to launch their own company. Samantha McKenna’s design career began in New York City with movie and television set design leading to her move to South Florida to work in luxury interior design. Regina Agro has over two decades of business expertise behind her and she met McKenna while working as the VP of operations at the same firm. McKenna has full control over the designs, client acquisition, and retention and Agro is in charge of all business operations. While many people call the firm asking to speak with “Chelsea,” there is no one named Chelsea at the firm. Both women once lived in Chelsea, McKenna in Chelsea, London and Agro in Chelsea, New York City.

Size Up The Room

“The main mistake most people make when trying to purchase furniture on their own is not knowing the proper sizing for the area they are trying to furnish. Sizes of furniture can be deceiving when shopping in a furniture store because of the ceiling heights and large open spaces. It’s important to know the exact measure that will fit the space properly before purchasing.”

(Source: Thinkstock)

Stay On Budget

“Before we ever make a purchase, we create and present to our clients an itemized budget. Costs of furnishings can add up very quickly. We believe it’s important to keep a comprehensive list of everything that is needed and not to exceed the predetermined budget. If done properly this will eliminate impulse buying that can often make people exceed their budgets.”

Invest In Key Pieces

“Certain types of furnishings can easily transition between different residences, so invest in a great bed, sofa or side tables, etc., since most of the time these pieces can move with you. Try to save on accessories, window treatments, area rugs and wall decor as most times these pieces are difficult to move and place properly in new spaces.”

Related: Top Spots For Used Furniture In South Florida 

Furnish In Stages

“Don’t buy everything in a day. A big mistake we see is people getting inspired to get it all done as quickly as possible. This leads to mistakes, over-furnishing and over-spending. Shop for the key pieces to make the rooms functional but then take the time to make sure the remaining selections really work together to create the desired space.”

Stay Away From Trends

“A lot of time people see a trendy new idea and try to implement it in their space. These design ideas can be tiring, especially when you have to look at them on a daily basis. Bold patterns, odd shaped furniture, lots of vibrant colors can be overwhelming in time. It’s always best to have an understanding of what you like and what makes you happy rather then trying to implement someone else’s trendy design ideas.”

Related: Top Places To Shop For Your Bathroom In South Florida 

Chanoa Chen is a Fashion Merchandiser, Freelance Writer and Blogger. Chanoa has contributed stories to top firms including QVC Insider Germany and regularly contributes to CBS Local Miami and She may be reached via: