Clutter Meets Its Match

7 stylish tips to tame your domain: Texas designer and HGTV star Leslie Ezelle spills secrets

Interior designer Leslie Ezelle
Photo courtesy of Leslie Ezelle
Leslie Ezelle office armoire
Photo courtesy of Leslie Ezelle
Leslie Ezelle drawer storage idea
Photo courtesy of Leslie Ezelle
Leslie Ezelle boy's room
Photo courtesy of Leslie Ezelle
Leslie Ezelle bare cookbooks on bookshelf
Photo courtesy of Leslie Ezelle
Leslie Ezelle family pictures storage
Photo courtesy of Leslie Ezelle
Leslie Ezelle bike chain box
Photo courtesy of Leslie Ezelle
Leslie Ezelle kitchen before
Photo courtesy of Leslie Ezelle
Leslie Ezelle finished kitchen
Photo courtesy of Leslie Ezelle

Interior designer Leslie Ezelle has a life full of good commotion and a knack for keeping it smoothly contained. The former Dallas Cowboys cheerleader, wisecracking mother of four and HGTV Design Star veteran is also working to launch a TV program centered around her craft — though she jokes that "it'll be a show about how hard it is to launch a show." 

Meanwhile, Ezelle has clients to see — and a chic Dallas home bursting at the seams with kids, animals and projects. Naturally, she's found inventive ways to reduce clutter, stay organized and keep the machine humming.

The best part? Her upcycled decor and cleanup tips are fun, painless and easy to remember. Read on for a few of our favorites. 

Cut the back panel off a lovely old armoire, Ezelle suggests, and you'll get an instant office caddy. Skipping traditional file cabinets in favor of labeled baskets can suit another purpose: taming the untamable.

"As much as we want to be really super organized," Ezelle admits, "it's really, really hard if you have a lot going on.

"So, instead of stacking shit everywhere," she quips, "it’s better to have it in a basket."

A picture frame inadvertently placed in a drawer sparked a new storage idea for Ezelle's odds and ends — with no real assembly required.

Cork board can help tether the frames, she adds, but they needn't be glued down or even match in size. Arrange them like a loose jigsaw puzzle if they're small, and watch as your rubber bands and thumbtacks start behaving. 

Thanks to some artful clutter reduction, Ezelle helped her son Matthew, 13, lend a sophisticated air to his sports-themed bedroom.

Real baseballs — previously strewn about in maternally exasperating little plastic packages — are now a focal point and the basis for a favorite desk lamp. 

If busy colors bother you more than a quickly readable cookbook title, try reversing dust jackets for an ultra-clean look. After all, you may already know your favorite tomes by size.

Unsure of how to display a pile of beloved family photos, Ezelle reworked her old basket-storage trick and made the pictures into a conversation piece. This way, she explains, "everyone can enjoy them instead of having them stuffed in a book on a shelf."

A cast-off bike chain inspired Ezelle to make a unique storage box for remote controls and other such clutter. 

No decorator's portfolio is complete without a couple of before-and-after shots for yearning purposes, and this once-defunct kitchen was Ezelle's own.

Keep reading to see its swanlike transformation. 

An overhaul — and hardly a simple one — was clearly in order, but just two steps got the ball rolling. As for "what to do with the junk," Ezelle says, "get rid of it! Give it away. And then add new paint to those old cabinets."