Back Porch Makeover With Blue and White

Back Porch Makeover With Blue and White


twin with flowers

Yesterday I came across a picture of the cutest face in the entire universe back in the day when I used to take pictures of people, not furniture.

I had to post it.

Not just to show you that tiny, sweet face.

Or those adorable clenched hands.

Or those super long amazing tights attempting to pass themselves off as footwear.

I’m simply posting the picture here to ask you if it looks like she is about to roll her eyes at me….

…and that couch?


What was I thinking?

That couch wasn’t passed down from my great aunt’s cousin’s best friend’s sister’s yard sale.


I chose it.  On purpose.  With my eyes wide open.

french door and blue pillow

I remember going to the furniture store and ordering the couch and picking from book after book after book of patterned fabric.

I couldn’t make up my mind until I saw that pattern in all its yellow-floral glory.

And when I saw it, I knew.

I knew that I knew that I knew that I knew….

….it was a fabric choice for the ages.

screened-in porch

I was young.

And reckless.

And I thought I knew everything about everything.

Especially which fabrics were meant for couches.


In the bleary-eyed haze of couch fabric choosing frenzy, however….

….I overlooked one minor detail.

When you look at the fabric swatch on a nine-inch by nine-inch square and it looks yellow and bright and cheerful and full of life and color and vibrant joy and the square is so small that you can’t really even see all the flowers that make up the pattern, but that appears to be an irrelevant fact to you because the flowers you can see are perfect, it’s easy to understand.

Completely understandable.

How a person can underestimate the impact of an entire couch covered in the fabric.

porch with basket

When they delivered the couch off the truck, I gulped.

And stared.

And gulped some more.

And looked at the room I had already painted red to match the red of the flower in the center of the pattern and sighed inwardly.


I made it work.

Or at least that’s what I would tell people.

Never let them see you decorator sweat.

screened-in porch blue and white

Go big or go home.

I took my yellow patterned couch and my red walls and added a salmon-colored rug and blue accents and pronounced it the year of color.

My friends and neighbors and random people I met at Bunco would stop by for sweet tea and sit in my living room and they always said the same thing.

Over and over.

That is some couch.

birch bark wreath and basket

Eventually I moved houses and my red walls faded away.

And the couch went to my mother’s house.

And the blue and white accents went to visit friends and relatives.

blue and white porch

Until this week.

Blame it all on my roots.

When I went to refresh the porch and get it ready for summer and I yearned for blue and white.

I love it and it made me smile and feel like I could still rock a pair of door knocker earrings.

Maybe I’ll ask my mother for the couch back.

Just kidding.

Maybe. 🙂

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  1. Looks great – and blue and white spells summer beautifully!

    Have a safe and fabulous porch.

    And do visit my last post, I have amazing and great news!!!!! Hugs. ♥

  2. This looks wonderful and so inviting. I think at one time we all had a piece of furniture that screamed, Look at me!
    The fabric on those pillows, think it was the 8th photo down is that from your line? I love it.

  3. Beautiful back porch and an even more beautiful model on your rockin’ colorful couch. Happy weekend to you.

  4. Karianne,
    OH how I wish we could post photos in the comments. I just decorated our mud room/sun room in blue and white. Well more torquiseie, from kirklands. I love it! Your porch is gorgeous! I laughed about the sofa print. Again I did the same thing with a custom round ottoman, I had it done in waverly, oh I was so cool! It wasn’t even affordable and that made me even cooler yet! I look at it now… and sigh. It has a slipcover of sorts laid over it. But I still have the floral fancy little love sat from a thrift store collecting dust. It’s just too sweet to part with…. sigh

  5. That couch is why slipcovers were developed…

  6. That fabric was popular at one point. I keep reading that chintz is coming back – – God I hope not. Porch is cute

  7. Good morning KariAnne,
    You caught me by surprise…posting before 8:00…but what a nice surprise!
    I love your new blue porch decorated with your fabric pillows! (I mean with “YOUR FABRIC” pillows!)
    They are beautiful and that picture of the one with the “W” really spoke to me. Your hydrangeas are the exact same color as in your fabric line…I’m sure you planned it that way! Beautiful pictures today to start my day!

    I used to have “one of those couches too…given to “me” by my mom… *sigh* I got rid of it and now have a big gold monstrosity given to me by my aunt… *double sigh*
    Have a wonderful day KariAnne,
    Blessings, Jeanne

  8. I am loving this porch! Blue and white seems so New England shore to me, and makes me feel right at home! Love the story too….as I also had a floral couch in my first apartment. Still think it was gorge.

  9. Your porch is lovely and classy, just like you. I think those “mistakes” are part of the journey. It’s how we figure out what we really like. Or that’s what I tell myself.

  10. Rebecca Turner :

    A little goes a long way, eh?! We live and learn. I had a love seat with a similar pattern in the mid-nineties. It was purchased to keep my daughter’s linebacker-type boyfriend OFF of my rather pricey, classic, cream colored sofa. (It survived him and several others, but the love seat was adiosed a long time ago.) Like you, I learned that busy patterns are best kept on small, changeable items, like pillows. (And leather is a wonderful fabric for men!)

    I love your blue and white! My sister has blue and white in her home and I love to visit there. It always looks so fresh and welcoming! Great for a porch!

  11. Cynthia Roush :

    Another story to bring back memories we all have from our past. At one time I was so entrenched in buying only antiques that I purchased an old couch from the 30s, and an old stuffed chair at a garage sale. Had them covered in material from the 30s. They looked great but they were not very comfortable. Try matching raisin colored background with little polka dots with anything???? And I lugged those furniture pieces from coast to coast. Did find several coins from the thirties in the seats. Still have them but not the couch.

  12. Ha!
    Thanks so much for your blessed post!
    There’s hope yet for my week long dilemma of buying 2nd hand
    my cherry wood colored wall unit at a super great price…..that we totally
    adore,…but own and have down these beautiful walnut stained oak floors!!!
    I know something good will be learned and come from it!!
    Thanks again for your awesome story!!
    P.S. Your porch renewal look incredibly wonderful!!

  13. I still have gold door knocker earrings! I think I will wear them today!!

  14. I totally love the blue pillow shown behind the door with the nickel handle.
    Need to recover front porch cushions and pillows quick.
    I try to bring them in when it rains, but they get dusty and damp and sometimes a squirrel
    might jump across. I know, ick.
    Wondering if that fabric is yours? Going to try to find it.
    Thanks for the inspiration!

  15. Your porch is beautiful. The fabrics are really pretty. You shouldn’t feel bad about your floral couch. I think home decor like fashion kind of goes with the times. When I was a newlywed we had a couch and matching chair that had a chocolate brown background with bright orange florals. Think tropical, bird of paradise. It was paired with a three piece coffee table/matching end table set complete with that kind of faux wood top that I’m pretty sure was just heavy paper glued to particle board. Anyway it was the 80s and it was all new furniture that had been used to stage new model homes. It was being sold for a price we could afford so we couldn’t pass it up. So here’s to all the floral couches and door knocker earrings of the past. Have a great 4 th of July on your pretty porch.

  16. I adore blue and white.. Slowly adding it to my Waverly florals left by previous owners. Just got my mother’s blue Willow. So wished you lived next door… Have a great fourth!!!

  17. Ah, cabbage roses…well, they were popular at the time.
    Elle in France has a feature showing a classic item (leather jacket, jean jacket, plaid skirt, whatever) with photos from their archives. It is very educational as to what avoids looking crazy decades later.
    When my parents left their home for an apartment, we got them to change furniture. A sofa that would be easier to get up from. I took my mom to pick it out, and she was overwhelmed trying to choose the upholstery. She told the sales person, “I want it to look like a garden.” The saleslady had the perfect solution: a very tasteful, understated chinoiserie motif of small pastel flowers on an ecru background. My mom was thrilled. And it looked great.

  18. Why is it that I cannot read your posts without smiling:)?
    You have such a talent at putting words together – I cannot
    wait for your book to come out!!

    I too have made similar mistakes. I love yellow and red
    together. Now that I have had the good fortune of being
    exposed to such a wonderful blog as yours … I’m leaning
    to more neutral colors for my living room sofa and two chairs.
    I will add color with accessories.

    Happy Fourth!

  19. Sweetie, there is a silver lining to your story about the couch: at least you could buy a couch. We started out with all hand me downs, even our car. NO money for anything but food and baby food. Our electric bill was never over $8.00 a month!!!!!:):) However, those days are some of our fondest memories. We were youung, in love and it was all good. Your porch looks beautiful. It’s funney that I have been decorating with blue and white for 30 some years and now it is all the rage again:) Have a safe and FUN weekend and 4th!!!!

  20. Ah, love this post, and love the porch.

  21. Your sunroom looks absolutely gorgeous! I love all the blue touches. I hope that you have a Happy Fourth of July!!!

  22. Debra B Milam :

    Now Karianne, I had a couch with that exact same pattern, and I loved it (at the time). LOL. I had light blue walls, I think, and a blue chair and a couple of side chairs in blue toile. (UGH) Oh well my hair was permed back then too and I wasn’t in high school.

    Love the porch!

  23. Our couch brings back such memories. I had a similar pattern in wallpaper on my family room walls. It was a nice break after the brown paneling that had been there. Yikes! I loved it at the time but I sure don’t miss it now. So glad to be in the pale grays and whites now. Thanks for the trip down memory lane. And your porch looks perfect!

  24. Oops! I mean your couch!

  25. Leslie Watkins :

    Love that blue and white! Just in time to add red back in time for the 4th. All about color and boy did you bring back memories of color that weren’t quite our favorites!! Happy 4th weekend friend!!

  26. That old couch, what a gem….gone the way of perms and stirrup pants….;) I love all your pillows! I see some of your fabric in them but what about the rest? Please share! Happy 4th of July friend!

  27. So fresh and beautiful! I love reading your posts 🙂

  28. I do love the ACCESSORY on your couch! When Christine wrote her name wrong, it made me think. Yesterday when I made extensive reservations for a 49th anniversary trip to Bermuda……..I mistakenly used my maiden name on the whole reservation. I’VE BEEN MARRIED FOR 49 FRICKIN’ years and I USED THE WRONG NAME! It took the entire afternoon to get everyone to cancel & then I had to redo the entire thing and was lucky they refunded (the no name change rule!). My excuse is that 2 weeks ago we went to our 50th HS reunion & I guess my poor ole brain just flipped back to the 60’s!

  29. Bonnie Schulte :

    Very cute story. You always know how to “make my day”..

  30. Karianne, I love how you post real life issues from the past and present. You are willing to put it out there and admit you have been where we all have. Making mistakes! That you aren’t perfect just like us readers. Thats why I enjoy your posts each day. You have evolved and we are learning right along with you. LOVE the blue and white in the porch, crisp, clean looking and comfortable.

    Looking fiorward to your next post,

  31. If we’re being honest, we’ve all bought that couch once. The trick is to own with gusto.

  32. Yep! I’ve got a couch — still have it cuz I can’t get rid of it. No-one wants it. It looks as good today as it did 40 years ago. It will never wear out. Can’t sell it, can’t give it away, I don’t think I could even blow it up. The print is kinda Mediterranean/Indian with colors of yellow, grey and brown. Truly ugly!! Now your back porch is beautiful. Clean and fresh — do you want a sofa?? Happy Independence Day!

  33. Your porch is blue and white perfection – so refreshing for the summer! As a former floral couch owner I SO enjoyed your tale : )

  34. Yes, I think I see an eye roll about to happen…maybe it’s over the fabric on the couch. Ha. That’s some couch – LOL. (Don’t ask about my choices, k?)
    Love your porch. Blue and white always looks perfect to me. Really, really love the rug!
    Happy 4th of July weekend! Hugs,

  35. KariAnne,
    I love your floral couch! I think chintz is a classic…along with toile and buffalo (red and white) check material! However…your sun room is beautiful with the blue and white fabric from your line. Very cozy and inviting! The sweet picture of your little baby girl is frame worthy…pop it in a frame with the floral background. Happy 4th to you and your family.

  36. LOL! it should be illegal to make couches like that.

  37. That chintz on the couch reminds me of the fabric I used for my bridal luncheon dress, but mine had a dark background. YIKES! What WERE we thinking? It was THE thing back in the day… Happy Independence Day!
    Love the porch, by the way.

  38. After I was married (in 1997), I picked a huge butter-yellow couch and with various colored flowers all over it. I thought it was the bomb (and I thought I was so stylish). However, when it was in my home I realized that everything revolved around that couch. It was so garished, I couldn’t add throw pillows to it. Ugh. Live and learn…
    I loved your story and laughed the whole way through!
    Best & Bisous,
    Michelle from Simply Santa Barbara

  39. Oh, Karieanne. I feel your pain in stereo! I bought not one, but two matching, yellow floral couches twelve years ago and I am still living with them!! I can hardly wait for the day that I can either have them recovered or replaced with something a bit more neutral. Love, love, love the blue and white porch theme!

  40. Just took a second look at your photo and lo and behold, it’s the exact, same pattern!! Great minds think alike, I guess!

  41. Lucky for me a friend made this mistake many years ago and I learned always go NEUTRAL on big upholstery and go as crazy as you want on pillows and throws. Those are easy mistakes to correct. I’m sure your mother loves the couch (or she’s really kind to take it off your hands).

  42. Very nice and serene. Invites you to relax. Good job!

  43. I love the back porch. That is an awesome idea. Good job.

  44. Oh, but big and floral was the THING back in the day. What I find interesting is that my sofa was a more subtle pattern with blues on cream … then I went into the neutral couch with the red accents … but I am finding myself veering back into blue again–seems like a trend, and no, I’m NOT doing it just because of you (and Miss Mustard Seed) but your photos do remind me that I love that combination!

  45. maureen mawby :

    Did you make the birch bark wreath that you featured. I looked through your past projects list for instructions but couldn’t find it. I love it! I made birch bark trees for my mantel for the Christmas season. My parents own an heirloom apple farm with woods behind the orchard. I love to go back there and find bark from downed trees for projects. I would love to make one of the wreaths. I greatly enjoy your blog.

  46. Kimberly Bruhn :

    OH MAN…I remember those days…I had the red “accent” wall and “Tuscan gold” other walls and a, gulp, hunter green plaid sofa (with coordinating red and gold stripes)! Honestly, I had 3 toddlers and it hid every sin there is! Wish I still had it…it stayed with a house we sold. Sofa was a Ralph Lauren (my friend was a decorator and I got it at cost)…it was the best style and so comfortable and definitely calling for slipcovers! LOVE, LOVE all the posts that we can all relate to….and Happy Canada Day (I’m an Oregon girl now)!

  47. Don’t fret….I think most of us went through that “Laura Ashley” floral everywhere phase – lol

  48. I have had my share of florals and red walls.
    You had to be there right- because it worked??? That’s my story :)yourporch
    is lovely and thank you for being at TOHOT.

  49. “YOUR FABRIC” – Doesn’t that sound amazing?! Beautiful daughter and beautiful fabric! Happy 4th, my friend!

  50. Kari Anne, I made the same decision years ago. I picked out a khaki background with dark flowers cascading out of urns. About 6 months after we had the sofa custom built I started to thing “WHAT WAS I THINKING” ordering that fabric. I couldn’t admit that I made a mistake so I lived with it until I saved enough to have a slipcover made. It taught me a valuable lesson……now I keep all major pieces neutral and let the accessories do the color work. I love blue and white, great job on your porch.

  51. Hi! Didn’t get a chance to comment yesterday… I love the story about the flowered couch! Hillarious!! And the blue and white is so bright and refreshing. I’ve loved blue and white since my hubby started bringing home blue and white porcelain from Aruba. That porch is going to look even more fab when you decorate for Fourth of July, Karianne 🙂

  52. Beautiful porch…..beautiful story!…..Have a happy and safe 4th!

  53. Your porch is fresh and beautiful! Blue and white is a great combination for a porch space. Let me tell you, I still have a floral couch hidden upstairs. Isn’t it funny how we can love something so much one day and then a few years later it just looks so WRONG!!

    Thanks so much for joining Thoughts of Home on Thursday. Have a wonderful weekend!

  54. I love the new color palette! It is so fresh, simple, and classy! I love the different patterns that you have chosen, because they really work well together! visiting from The SHINE Blog Hop!

    Erin |

  55. What a beautiful space! The blue and white color palette is so refreshing and perfect for summer on the porch with a big glass of sweet tea.

  56. I love this! What beautiful colors – crisp, clean and looks like a perfect place to relax with a cup of coffee and a nice read.

  57. I pretty much did the same thing when I bought my first couch
    in the 80’s!! It was “icky bad” but I embraced it!! Love the blue
    and white on your porch. It so fresh and cool for summer!! : )

  58. Donna Marie :

    We were all young…once!!!lol

  59. Will you come to my house!?! Beautiful and so peaceful. I want to sit on that porch and have an ice cold glass of lemonade or pinot grigio 🙂 Your photos are wonderful. #SHINEbloghop

  60. OMG!!! How adorable:-) I totally love blue and white – our entire yacht is covered in blue, beige and white because I love that it gives us light and freshness every day – just as your photos shows:-)