TikTok is known for everything from popular dances to short comedy skits. But during the pandemic, another kind of content has gone viral.
One designer, Kyla Herbes, runs the @houseofhipsters account and has seen her internet presence explode following the interior design videos she posted during the pandemic. While her first videos of 2019 would only get around 1,000 views and no more than 50 likes, she now has almost 350,000 subscribers and her videos can exceed 100,000 views.
Progress on the #oneroomchallenge ???? #homeproject #homedecor #renovation #roommakeover #homemakeover #decor #xgamesmode #diyhome #diyhomedecor
♬ Lottery – K CAMP
Herbs’ first brush with TikTok fame came in May 2020, when she embarked on a project called “One Room Challenge.” The viral video, now at over half a million views, shows the accelerated renovation of a room in his house, with the popular song “Renegade” playing in the background. In fact, she often uses trending sounds or songs in her design videos in order to get more views.
After that first viral video, Herbes worked hard to grow their audience, posting one video a day for a month in a row. “People were doing 30 days of outfits, so I started doing 30 days of home vignettes,” Herbes said. “It was really difficult because I was like, ‘Well, what corner am I going to style now?'”
She started small, showing an empty counter space in her kitchen, for example, which she would decorate with a few basics like plants, candles and bowls. However, as the videos progressed, Herbs realized that viewers were more interested in “tips and tricks” and learning how to improve their own homes. She changed her strategy to start reconfiguring small parts of her home, like a video teaching viewers how to turn a bar cart into a coffee station.
Here’s how I would turn my bar cart into a coffee station. #LearnOnTikTok #TikTokPartner #homedecor #coffee Similar bar cart is a #amazonfinds
♬ Funkalicious – MCR
Herbes also runs a blog called House of Hipsters, which she started eight years ago. TikTok came later, in 2019. Although she still runs the blog, she now posts TikTok videos three to five times a week, mostly featuring home projects, vintage store finds, furniture renovations and decorating and shopping tips.
“I really like to mix the old and the new,” she says. “I would say [my style] is modern eclectic. I like to put something new with something scary, crumbly, crunchy and old.
In her bedroom, Herbes has high-end Philip Jeffries wallpaper, paired with $50 velvet curtains from Amazon, and a vintage Chapman tassel lamp, mixing a variety of styles for a unique and iconic design. She plays up these juxtapositions in her TikTok home tours, where she regularly talks about mixing modern pieces with second-hand and vintage finds, like old lamps or even vintage ceramic monkeys.
Before the pandemic, Herbes owned a vintage shop, but once Covid hit, she found herself in the position of many other small business owners and had to close her store. TikTok has become his main activity. Due to the popularity of her blog, Herbes has been able to monetize her TikTok through sponsored posts, which she works with brands to grow.
Sometimes, to mix and engage her followers, she will involve them in her design choices. While decorating a guest bedroom, she asked viewers to vote on the color of the accent pillows. (Teal won out over pink, and viewers also chose salmon-colored paint for the walls.)
This viewer involvement is what really helps Herbs’ TikTok stand out. She doesn’t claim to be the absolute authority on interior design and, like many of us, has made purchases she regrets (a $70 pepper mill, for example, or a cutting board French which does not fit in its cupboards).
Potty Paradise is small but mighty #CozyAtHome #HomeDecor #tiktokdecor #wallpaper
♬ original sound – grandma_droniak
One of the most popular designs from his house right now is his unique wallpapers, which appear frequently on #wallpaper TikTok. At the moment, six rooms are carpeted, including three bathrooms, a closet and his office.
One bathroom, which she calls “Potty Paradise,” has black animal-print wallpaper, paired with a Lucite chandelier. To her surprise, many viewers recreated the look in their own bathrooms, and she discovered that a restaurant in Seattle had done the same.
In the hall closet, Grasses has pink wallpaper designed by Divine Savages. One of his followers loved it but couldn’t find the same wallpaper for sale, so they designed their own by hand and then sent it off to a printer. “I was like, this is amazing,” Herbes says.