Q&A: Lifestyle expert Rita Fuller-Yates

Sherry Beck Paprocki
Columbus Monthly
Lifestyle expert Rita Fuller-Yates teaches how to create a fun and comfortable home for socializing.

It's that magical time of year when gatherings are planned and memories—hopefully good ones—are made. Columbus native and lifestyle expert Rita Fuller-Yates offers some words of advice to ensure that guests celebrate in perfect harmony. Fuller-Yates attended Ohio University for a bachelor's degree in history and then received a master's degree in interior design from the Savannah College of Art & Design.

You are a lifestyle expert. How did you come to that conclusion after obtaining your degree in interior design? Yes, I am a lifestyle expert. My field of study and passion for interior design is very important to me. I like to say that I'm visually intelligent. But more importantly, to become a great interior designer you have to learn the particulars of people in their own spaces. The socialization of people always intrigues me.

It wasn't enough for me to create pretty spaces but I enjoyed the smiles, lifestyles and conversation of the people in the space. As I began to study my own passions and normal patterns of life, I noticed I naturally entertained and people enjoyed coming to visit my home. I then recognized the need for social interactions at home and so I chose to brand myself as a lifestyle expert to combine these three facets: interior design, people and home entertainment.

You produce a YouTube series called Home Again. What inspires you to do it? Sharing my mission to help people become more social is a very important part of my role as a lifestyle expert. Using media platforms such as YouTube and Facebook makes it easier to communicate to a large mass of people. It is my show's goal to provide tips, resources and guidelines to people that have difficulty being social in their homes. My show helps [people visualize] the process and steps of social entertainment.

I teach people how to make simple meals that taste much like our grandmothers' meals that were made from scratch, but with a lot less work. I also do interviews of local artists, restaurants and entrepreneurs as a resource for entertainers to use. And I offer tips and guidelines to help create a friendly, inviting—yet beautiful—home space for guests to enjoy. “Home Again” is primarily filmed live on Facebook and then transferred to my YouTube channel for others to enjoy.

What advice can you give us for the upcoming holiday season? The best way to become the best hostess during the holiday season is to relax, connect with your guests and have fun. In today's society, we make the process of visiting one another's homes very complicated and somewhat boujie [bourgeoisie].

Hostesses should remind themselves that —although the visitors are visiting their homes—the primary purpose of the visit is to connect with the hostess. If the hostess is overwhelmed with decorations, cooking and gift bags, they can miss the opportunity to share a great moment with their guests. Once the doorbell rings, it's time for me to stop working and give myself to my guests by smiling, laughing at the latest video seen on their social media page and providing them with a [memorable] experience. When a guest is satisfied with the great feeling they had when visiting your home, they are sure to return. It is rarely because of the great décor, food and/or gifts.

From an interior design standpoint, what are we doing in our homes these days that needs fixed? My biggest pet peeve about home visits is sometimes people place more emphases on their houses versus the people in their houses. Don't get me wrong, being an interior designer myself I am a big advocate of beautiful chairs, colorful pillows and fabulous shiny wood floors.

However, I'm a bigger advocate of people laughing, sharing, children playing and entertainment.