The issue, Keal notes, is that she wasn’t sure what her design style actually was. She briefly explored minimalism, but quickly realized that wasn’t a match: “I tried to do the whole neutral-white decor thing, and I was like: I hate this. I love stuff.” A desire to put beautiful items on display—not hide them away—is why Keal found such synergy with Walmart’s spring offering.
“I love having things on top of my dresser, like a mirror stacked with picture frames…stacked with books…stacked with flowers,” she explains. The selection channels bygone eras popularized by such shows as The Gilded Age and Bridgerton, and it’s filled with luxurious velvets, vintage-inspired prints, tufted furniture, and metallic accents that allow for—even encourage—lots of layers.
An over-the-top tablescape is Keal’s preferred look for entertaining. Think: porcelain dinnerware with decorative detailing, pink goblets, gold utensils, ivory cloth napkins, and taper candles that help “bring lighting down to a more intimate level,” she explains. But it’s what these components are sitting on that makes all the difference.
At the center of Keal’s dining room is an old cast-iron table that has a top that “looks like something you’d find in your middle school cafeteria,” she describes. In other words: She was ready to cover it up. Opting for a lace tablecloth that draped across the sides added texture. “Back in the day, lace was a really expensive fabric,” she says. “I love how this gives the table that opulent look but for less.”
She adds: “I’m not trying to be historically accurate. I’m trying to evoke the feeling of something being Regency, but also modern enough for me. It’s all about bringing that look into the 21st century.”
Curtains introduce a bit of softness and romance to any area, doing away with the overly utilitarian feel that most traditional window treatments create. Victorian patterns bring in elements of the Regency era but can still be offset with more contemporary pieces.
For Keal, these floor-grazing curtains were “the highlight” of her entire spring redesign effort because they brought more warm tones into her apartment. “The curtains are actually black,” she says, “but from a distance you can’t really tell. You normally see toile in a blue and white colorway, but this is a new way of doing it—it has that traditional look, which sort of turns it on its head.”
“People didn’t waste anything—they passed down furniture, art, and china,” Keal says of the period. “That sort of piecemeal look is what I really like about it, because I think it makes your apartment look realistic.”
To reimagine her entryway, Keal pulled in various elements: She removed an old IKEA hack that was “sort of closing up the space” and swapped in a thrifted half-moon table. Then she stacked it high with books, a floral-pattern lamp, and a bronze mirror with a flower motif, all which play into the eclecticism.
The finishing touch, though, was the wallpaper. Keal chose a classic damask in a creamy color to allow the gilded details to shine. Plus “this one is pasted, but it’s removable, which is perfect for renters,” she says. It also clashes with the existing wallpapers in her space—in the best way possible.
“I love mixing patterns, but not in a neon, 2000s way. I like it more subdued—such as a smaller floral/bigger floral kind of thing. All the wallpapers in my apartment don’t really go together,” she says, citing a mix of damask, Dalmatian dots, and zebras. “But for me, it’s everything.”
Imani Keal is ready for spring: She’s removing clutter and getting tidier. She just hired a cleaning service because, after a while, you can “sort of live with your own mess,” the design blogger and influencer shares. And she completed a full-on closet clean-out, tossing all the items she’d been mindlessly collecting. “Throughout the winter, you hoard,” Keal says. “Now it’s time to release.”
Words by Mekita Rivas Photos by Jennifer Hughes
Content creator Imani Keal brings the
Regency era into the 21st century.
TOILE de JOY
“Duis ornare accumsan ex, vitae convallis dolor suscipit et vitae.Maecenas sagittis enim quis placerat congue. Donec velit eros, malesuada posuere lorem sance.”
I tried to do the whole neutral white decor
thing and I was like,
‘I hate this. I love stuff.”
With that release comes the chance to reset not just her mind but her space: a 490-square-foot studio apartment in Washington, D.C. After three years, it’s finally starting to gain personality. “I started Imani at Home on Instagram in June 2020, so my home has only been nice and cool for two years or so,” she says, laughing. “It’s embarrassing how ugly it was before.”