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Happiness Happens

National design expert transforms hospital room into "happy place" on $250 budget

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35 Ashlina Kaposta and Dec My Room August 2014
Ashlina Kaposta of The Decorista with the 16-year-old patient in her newly decorated room at Texas Children's Hospital. Photo by Susie DeGraff
10 Ashlina Kaposta and Dec My Room August 2014
Ashlina Kaposta setting about a few items to cheer up the room. Photo by Susie DeGraff
04 Ashlina Kaposta and Dec My Room August 2014
Blue light fixtures now add a soothing glow to the young girl's room. Photo by Susie DeGraff
4 Ashlina Kaposta and Dec My Room August 2014
Ashlina Kaposta fluffs a pillow with an inspirational mesage. Photo by Susie DeGraff
Ashlina Kaposta and Dec My Room August 2014 before and after
The room before and after. Photo by Susie DeGraff
35 Ashlina Kaposta and Dec My Room August 2014
10 Ashlina Kaposta and Dec My Room August 2014
04 Ashlina Kaposta and Dec My Room August 2014
4 Ashlina Kaposta and Dec My Room August 2014
Ashlina Kaposta and Dec My Room August 2014 before and after

When a 16-year-old patient left her Texas Children's Hospital room recently for her morning routine, she returned to find her once-sparse corner a made-over "happy place" filled with stuffed animals, wall art and soft-blue lighting.

"When she came back in, she put her hand over her mouth and said, 'Oh, my! It's so beautiful," Ashlina Kaposta, aka The Decorista of national fame, recalled.

 "I found a canvass painting that said 'All You Need is Love' in teals," Kaposta said. "I thought that would really help uplift her every day." 

Kaposta, a New-York based interior designer, stylist and lifestyle consultant, finished the girl's room on Wednesday in a challenge presented by HomeGoods, which is celebrating "Happiness Happens Month!" throughout August. The Texas native partnered with Houston nonprofit Dec My Room, founded by Susan Plank and daughter Kendall Plank to brighten the rooms of children who have been admitted to the hospital for a prolonged period.

"The people at Dec My Room sent me a list of the girl's favorite things," Kaposta said, mentioning baby pink and baby blue hues, puppies and kittens, rocks and geology and animal prints, to name a few. "They also recommended soft things and colors that would be soothing and tranquil."

Kaposta said she first walked a Houston HomeGoods store with a $250 decorating donation in hand before making any decisions on selections. And then she discovered the beginning piece.

"I found a canvass painting that said 'All You Need is Love' in teals," she said. "I thought that would really help uplift her every day."

A soft rug came next, followed by plush designer towels, blanket and pillow cases in neutrals with an animal-print design and an accent pillow with the words, "Believe in Yourself."

With those items and more in hand, Kaposta went to the girl's room when she was gone and completely cleaned it, rearranged, organized  and decorated. About two hours later, the space was ready for the reveal.

"She loved the baby blue ceramic puppy so much, she named it," Kaposta said.

"This was such a heartwarming experience for me," she added. "An amazing opportunity. And I feel to good about giving her a new room."

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