Maximalism, micro budgets, and time-lapse DIYs that make your head spin dominate the #hometok universe.

Designer Danielle Nagel of Dani Dazey L.A.

Dani Dazey LA

If your impression of TikTok is that it’s a bottomless pit of time-wasting, 60-second videos edited with music you don’t recognize, often at mind-scrambling speed, you are not alone.

The social media platform is vast and baffling, especially for “adults.” Roughly 43% of the app’s users are between 18 and 24 years old, and only 3.5% are over 55. It’s not a natural habitat for grown-ups looking for home design inspiration. But once you get past the sensory assault and the pace, it can be a deep well of information and ideas. 

Here’s an example: A few months ago, at our family favorite Santa Barbara Cheese Shop, my 14-year-old daughter recommended the Upland Cheese Rush Creek Reserve. It’s made in Wisconsin during a brief, eight-week period every fall, she said, and the best way to eat it is to slice off the top of the rind to dig into its deliciously gooey center. How did she know this? TikTok, of course. 

@danidazey

My inetrior design nemisis

♬ original sound – xxtristanxo
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Do you like easily digestible morsels of culinary recs? TikTok is for you. Are you into DIY remodeling ideas, and “before and after” transformation videos? Or a masterclass on interior design that offers visual cues to explain hard-to-define decor styles, like “eclectic,” or “dark academia”? Then TikTok is for you, too. A quick search for #hometok interior design inspo pulls up thousands upon thousands of ideas. Get comfortable, because searching through them can take a while. 

“I like that it encourages people to have fun and be bold. TikTok is a great platform for discovery,” says Danielle Nagel, founder of Dani Dazey L.A., a  fashion and interior design brand with a poppy, colorful, and playful energy that seems tailor-made for the social media age. “With Instagram, you’re mostly talking to like-minded people, who already know your brand. With TikTok, you’re throwing out a huge net.”

Bright maximilist bookshelves

Dani Dazey LA

In under a year, Dani Dazey has amassed 129,000 followers and a million and a half likes. She just wrapped a renovation show for Discovery+ called Trixie Motel. Guess how the HGTV producers found her? If you guessed TikTok, you’re onto something. 

Because there’s nothing less creative, or judgy, than getting stuck in a rut when it comes to idea sources, I committed to opening my mind and spending some time scouring the app for some fresh and exciting design content. What I found was a color-drenched multi-verse of boldly painted rooms and second-hand furniture, transportive home organization videos, DIY projects shot as dizzying timelapse videos, and some really solid feng shui advice for making tiny rooms and apartments more livable.

Here are my takeaways:

1. Maximalism Rules

More is more is more. Minimal and subdued does not play for most people engaging with this app—a virtual space where “extra” design and personalities flourish. The Gen Z and Gen Alpha users may think they’re re-inventing layered, colorful, vintage-heavy decor, but it’s packed with mod influences from the ‘60s, ‘70s art, and an ‘80s color palette of pastels and neon brights. Among our favorite “New Maximalists” is Los Angeles and Palm Springs-based @danidazey designer Nagel. She is not afraid to dip into a can of Dunn Edwards or electric orange paint in a clever and playful way. Anyone old enough to remember the late ‘90s will recognize that she’s taken a page from the patron saint of pop-maximalism, Jonathan Adler, who has a growing TikTok following of his own.

Bright maximilist dining room and foyer by designer Danielle Nagel of Dani Dazey L.A.

Dani Dazey LA

2. Paint Changes Everything

For the budget-conscious and fearless—qualities that seem to define the entire #hometok loving population—there’s nothing like a gallon of paint to reframe your entire universe. There’s so much content devoted to repurposing second-hand furniture, AKA a #furnitureflip. And content creators like @verygaypaint show you how much fun you can have, turning an unattractive wall into a mural, or transforming a pool pavilion into a colorful oasis, with humor and anything-goes style.

@verygaypaint Reply to @sixbubbles our gay little nightstand #verygaypaint #diy #diyproject #furniture #gay #furnitureflip ♬ umm.. yeah – andrew

3. The Cloud Couch Is Endlessly Fascinating

A down-filled white sectional sofa from RH, known as a Cloud Sofa (#cloudsofa aka #cloudcouch) has become an object of collective cultural desire since it was identified in the homes of Kendall Jenner and Naomi Watts, among others. But its $10,000 price tag (for a three-piece sectional—a single sofa is closer to $5,000) is an issue for most folks. Timothy Oulton, a former RH designer who has his own in-demand furniture line now, came up with the concept as an answer to the question: “What’s the world’s most comfortable couch?” And TikTok users are attempting to come up with more affordable solutions (i.e. knock-offs), ad infinitum. 

4. So Is Feng Shui 

Mr. Cliff Tan, an architect and Feng Shui expert, manages the @dearmodern account, which is devoted to helping people find better, more comfortable ways to live in a small space—including micro-apartments and other teeny urban studios around the world. His 1.7 million followers can’t get enough of his sketches and small model furniture, which he moves around like board game pieces, which they sort of are, in the game of life. “This apartment is awful, but let’s make it nice,” is a memorable Tan quote, and the gist of this @dearmodern’s mission.

@dearmodern #answer to @im_siowei ♬ Joe Jenkins Great Fairy Fountain – Joe Jenkins

5. Cleaning and Organization Is More Fun When You Call It a “Reset”

A whopping 2 million people watched furniture entrepreneur and QVC star Farah Merhi, @farahjmerhi, clean her house on a Sunday with rapt attention. What the rest of us consider chores, Merhi has reframed as a reset. She scrubs her wood cutting boards and wipes down her mirrored coffee tables, freshens her home decorated in gleaming white and gold with flowers and fluffed pillows, and the future suddenly looks brighter. We’re all for a genius who translated her Instagram following into a home decor brand, who is extracting some of the drudgery from keeping house.

@farahjmerhi Let’s clean and organize that fridge! #cleaningday #cleanfridge #organizedfridge ♬ Strawberry – Prod by Rose

6. Design Queens Reign—In Any Medium

From a style and design perspective, Kelly Wearstler and Martha Stewart couldn’t be more different. One is the fairy godmother of proper East Coast prep, the other is the Sphinx-like goddess of West Coast cool. And yet. They are both established design pros who have adapted to a new era, and are garnering plenty of views and likes with a new, young audience, spreading their style gospel in a fun, new way. Wearstler, wearing what looks like a 20-gallon cowboy hat, gives her viewers a behind-the-scenes tour of her Malibu beach house and shopping trips. Stewart, in a short-sleeved down jacket that’s a viral hit in its own right, walks viewers through her luxe chicken coop. And one of her videos, “Watch Me Plow!”—edited footage of her plowing snow after a blizzard in a Polaris ATV set to “Bad to the Bone” by George Thorogood—is pure quality entertainment.