Looking for a design that’s fun and hip? Here’s a breakdown of how to achieve a Brandy Melville-inspired look for your home

The Brandy Melville style is all about being effortlessly cool. But trust me, it takes a lot of effort to achieve this totally hot look. A few weeks ago I showed you a bedroom I recently designed that was inspired by the Brandy Melville store in Waikiki. I promised I would give you more tips on how to create this look for your own space.

A quick recap of my previous column: The Brandy look involves lots of layering — layers of color, style and texture. This was the key to bringing alive 14-year-old Hailey’s once bare and uninteresting room with soft charcoal walls and a beachy, urban, vintage glam.


This week I’m going to break it down further. When it came to individual elements to layer into this look, when we couldn’t find exactly what we wanted, sometimes we faked it and sometimes we made it.

Remember the headboard that was the focal point? When I couldn’t find the right one to convey a beachy, organic look, we weathered and stained new pine boards to look like driftwood. So how can you fake it? Find a wooden pallet, take it apart, sand it off a bit and you’ve got some super-cheap reclaimed wood that can be the starting point for your Brandy style.

Another example: For the floating shelves above the desk, we wanted vintage-inspired brackets but couldn’t find just the right ones. So we made these, too, simply by finding iron brackets, painting them white and then chipping off some of the paint after it dried for a cool distressed look.

The desk ensemble is another example. In order to give Hailey a vintage desk, we simply “updated” her old white school desk by swapping out the boring white knobs for vintage glass drawer pulls. And the antique chair in the photo? We gave it a whole new look with some cool fabric to create an edgy coastal style.

And finally, the art. If you’ve ever been in the Brandy Melville store, you’ve seen the signature painted signs that girls love. We saw signs we knew Hailey would like, but they weren’t exactly right. And besides, I always like to personalize. So we had these signs custom-made by weatheredsigns.com, which actually makes the signs for the Brandy Melville stores. We customized ours to add Hailey’s passions and buzz words, like “Peace is my religion,” and “Love to swim.” Now these signs really speak to Hailey. Of course, if you’re handy with a paintbrush, hammer and nail, that’s about all you need to customize your own messages.


Next week I’ll have my final tip for creating this fun, hip style. In the meantime, remember: Things don’t always have to be exactly what you’re looking for. Take another look.

See if you can’t fake it or make it!

Cathy Lee is president and designer of Cathy Lee Style and Cathy’s Marketplace, a furniture and accessories showroom with design services at 1110 University Ave. She recently opened reStyle Hawaii, an affordable, style-conscious consignment warehouse with upholstering and repurposing services at 420 Keawe St. in Kakaako. Lee’s interior design work has been featured in local and national publications, on HGTV and in her DIY design workshops that teach homeowners the basics of style. To find out more, go to www.cathyleestyle.com.

Photos: Justin Dotson