Designers Your Home

In The Spotlight: Shalena Smith

Shalena Smith is the founder of Shalena Smith Interior Design, a Los Angeles based firm serving clients worldwide. Shalena’s passion for design began with children’s spaces and through the last 16 years has developed into a full residential business.

As a designer and a mom of two, Shalena is used to putting her clients and family first. She says, “I haven’t taken care of myself or my home as much as I should have through the years. My kids’ rooms have always been the best in the house!” So, when she decided it was finally time to create a personal sanctuary inside her own home, she collaborated with Universal Furniture to make this long-time goal a reality. Read on as we hear more from Shalena on her living room makeover.

Why did you want to re-design your living room?

“This room, in particular, has always been the catch-all room. It has been the shipping and receiving room for my business, boxes were always laying around. This has been the room where my kids played with markers and had tea parties. We’ve made a lot of great memories in this room. But, the original furniture had been there since about 2001. It was definitely time for an update!”

What was your hope and inspiration for the re-design?

“I knew I wanted the living room to be my space. A lady’s lounge! I wanted it to be a comfortable place for my girlfriends to come over to enjoy tea and coffee while still remaining a functional place for my family. And I asked myself, if I could do this my way, what would I do? Maybe 14 years ago I wouldn’t have picked white walls or cream furniture, but it was finally my time! And that’s the aesthetic that I love. So, of course, the first furniture I put on my mood board was some of the gorgeous options from Universal.”

Why did you enjoy working with Universal Furniture on this project?

“I like to mix things up. That’s why I’m a designer! I love that Universal allows me to do so. I have the freedom to mix and match between their collections, and it all still works in the end. Even in my living room, I was able to choose the Summer Hill Table and Side Chairs, and mix them with the Modern End Chairs. I definitely understand why the company is named Universal, because it truly is for everyone!

Which Universal Furniture piece did you select first for your re-design?

“I used the Conner Sofa for a past client I had, and ever since then, I have loved it. It was just beautiful: the color, the shape, the design, the nail-head trim. I actually opened a new design board just for my living room space and added the Conner Sofa to it first. I was thinking this was it… until I saw the Berkeley Sofa. For me, it had a little bit more of that modern edge. I loved its tufted look, and how it is made out of 100% Belgian linen. It also has nail-head detailing which is something I knew I wanted to incorporate.”

Besides the Berkeley Sofa, what are your other favorite pieces?

“It would have to be my Playlist Coffee Table and Side Tables. I love the different textures: the stone, the wood, and the metal. I know that the white stone tops are going to be able to survive anything! The shape and the design of the tables helps add a modern feel while still remaining chic and classic. Plus, the scale of the tables is perfect for the space.

My Summer Hill Table and Side Chairs are another favorite. I had been eyeing the table for a while because of its timeless, classic look. And, I chose the Side Chairs because of the amazing way their rattan backing complements the darker wood of the table.”

Now that your project is complete, how do you feel?!

“It is so hard for me to contain the excitement that this living room is mine! I have been wanting it for so long. It is the perfect updated space for both myself and my family.”

See more of Shalena’s work at or on Instagram @shalenasmith

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