Ever had room envy? If you have spotted a stylish room in a model home and wondered how the designer did it, we’re here to clue you in. Interior designers know the secrets for transforming a room from nice to wow. You can use some of the same techniques for your home!

We chatted with Joanne Siciliano to learn how she created the inviting design in the Sonoma model home in Poplin Grove, an M/I Homes community in Indian Trail, NC near Charlotte. Let’s take a trip to Indian Trail, tour the model with Siciliano, and collect design ideas you can try at your house. Siciliano is a senior project designer with Mary Cook Associates in Chicago.

Entry + Dining Room

The entryway in this new home plan opens right into the dining area. Siciliano treated the walls with vertical molding in the foyer and the dining room to connect and unite the spaces. Think of molding as an accent that can help lend a sense of flow to your rooms. And it is easy to implement.

Notice the molding is white for an open, airy feel. “We used large vertical mirrors to help reflect light and give the space depth,” Siciliano says. Mirrors can add a feeling of spaciousness in bedrooms and other spaces, too.


Siciliano likes to create neutral backdrops in rooms, then add pops of color. In the Sonoma kitchen, the cabinets and countertops are white, a timeless and classic kitchen color that creates a setting for fun accent paints and accessories. If you ever tire of your kitchen accessories, it’s far easier—and, less expensive—to swap in new ones than to repaint the cabinets.

The on-trend round table in the breakfast area is “great for family conversations and gatherings,” Siciliano says. Compare that to a long rectangular table, where you often can’t hear people at the other end. Depending on your style, you might choose a round table in wood, one with a concrete top and a wood base, or even a white top with a metal base for a modern touch.

Great Room

A massive space like the great rooms in Poplin Grove can be arranged in many different ways. Siciliano used two oversized sofas to impart a comfortable, casual feel, in a lighter fabric to avoid overpowering the space. Large furniture in dark colors can feel out of proportion and too heavy even in a sizable room, Siciliano says. Current fabrics are durable and stain-resistant, which makes lighter tones more practical.

For embellishments, the nook behind the sofa creates a point of interest, while the two ladders draped with blankets add texture and character.


Darker walls are really a trend right now,” Siciliano says. Worried that dark walls will make the whole room dark? You can use darker paint if your space has great light and you keep the wall decor light, including drapes and artwork. Studies or offices are good rooms to play with darker walls. The color used in this room is SW Cast Iron 6202.

Owner’s Bedroom

Siciliano staged two different seating arrangements in the owner’s bedroom. One is more intimate for reading; the other seats two for morning coffee. You might place one chair and ottoman in your bedroom for reading, or even a bench at the foot of the bed for seating.

A collection of small mirrors on the wall here accentuates the light. Siciliano also chooses light bedding as a backdrop for colorful pillows, rugs, or drapery.


Lofts are a place for whimsical design. In the model home, Siciliano carved out spots for homework, movie viewing, and relaxation. Look for pillows with personality to add to your space. Maybe your kids would a want few puppy, dinosaur, or dump truck pillows.

Boy’s Room

Here’s a clever trick. Siciliano wrapped a simple band of stained flat wood around this room, leaving a two-foot space above it. The top portion is a great place to showcase a teen’s interests.

In this case, Siciliano hung lacrosse sticks horizontally around the room and 36” metal letters to spell LAX. (That’s the in-the-know name for lacrosse, and now you’re in the know!) The dark navy paint below the wood trim lends a masculine mood to the space. This dark blue is SW 6244 Naval.

Girl’s Room

The bold accent color on the headboard wall—purple in this case—is “an easy way to add pop to a bedroom,” Siciliano says. Her team also painted a horizontal band in pink and purple to tie into the color scheme.

The cute “eyes” art and “hello” script sign add some coolness to a tween room. A decorative tray on the dresser can corral small items and keep them organized.

What’s Your Design Style?

One last tip: Siciliano likes to develop a common color theme throughout the house, except for children’s rooms. Having some common colors from one room to the next, used differently in different rooms, can help create a strong sense of place.

We hope we’ve inspired you to experiment with a fresh idea or two at your house! Which ideas from the Poplin Grove model home do you like best?

Take a virtual tour or stop in and see this home design in person. The Sonoma model is open 7 days a week as is located at 4520 Box Elder Court, Indian Trail, NC 28079.


Melissa Shubin


As Internet Sales Manager at M/I Homes in Charlotte, Melissa’s role is to assist customers with their new home search by answering questions about a variety of topics. With her multiple years of experience in her role, Melissa knows that when customers are searching for answers online, they appreciate a timely response from a real person that is local to the area. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and her Yorkie-Poo, Roxy, hiking new trails, and exploring pet-friendly shops and restaurants in the Charlotte area.