Local Interior Decorator Draws on Her Talents and Passion for Each Project
Writer & Photographer / David Fennig
Juliann Barnes is an interior decorator with a talent for creating beautiful rooms from blank spaces. She has decorated businesses, homes and even a wing of a large church.
She’s a mother of two and moved with her husband, a local pastor, to Muncie 17 years ago. She’s been decorating rooms most of her life, and brought her passion and talent to Indiana as a side project.
“I can walk into a room and the room starts talking to me,” says Barnes. “I can see the finished product as it’s supposed to be.”
A client of hers recently asked her to convert their unfinished basement into an in-law apartment and cozy family gathering space. The main room is comfortably furnished with plush seats, and decorated with thematic and unique pieces of art. The whole room has a cozy, chic and rustic vibe that perfectly suits the farmland that surrounds the home. Perhaps the most eye-catching feature of the room is the ceiling cut-out that surrounds the chandelier in the center of the main area. It gives the room the appearance of a vaulted ceiling that would not normally be seen in a basement. “We worked with a local craftsman to design and install that,” says Barnes. “It’s really unique.”
The room has a comfortable snack nook on one end, a communal sitting area in the middle and a pool table on the other end that leads into a bedroom. The middle area is arranged around a long couch and two sets of captain chairs that break up the otherwise continuous space. “I wanted these chairs to swivel, so people could sit here in the middle space and turn around,” says Barnes.
While she’s been decorating as a business for over 20 years, Barnes quit her full-time job to more fully commit to her business in December of 2022.
“My favorite client has a Pinterest habit, but they don’t know how to put it all together,” she says. “My favorite client is the one who says, ‘I saw your work, and I just want you to do whatever you want to do.’ Those are the ones who are most wowed when I am done.”
The job of being an interior decorator takes much more time than just what is spent in the client’s home. It’s a lot of shopping and picking out special items that will someday decorate a client’s home, even if the decorator doesn’t have a specific plan when they make the purchase.
“I am in the middle of 16 projects,” says Barnes. “Sometimes I see something and I know that it’s going to go somewhere but I don’t know where yet.”
Juliann Barnes also uses personal touches that delight and surprise her clients. On one wall of the aforementioned gathering space are three photos of the client’s children that she enlarged, printed and framed. “It’s all about the details,” says Barnes.