Do you love southern style decorating? This full tour of the Southern Living Idea House is full of gorgeous rooms you’ll want to recreate in your home!

The Southern Living Idea House is full of fabulous ideas for your home. See 20 ideas from the tour.

Southern style kitchen decorated for christmas with holly wreaths and greenery

Please tell me you have an extra ten minutes today.

I know you’re busy.

I know it’s Friday.

I know your to-do list is long and it’s cold and the day is already full….but seriously…..

… have to see this house full of southern style decorating.

The 2013 Southern Living Idea Home in Nashville, Tennessee

This is the Southern Living Idea House.

Built by the Southern Living Custom Builder of the Year….Castle Homes….the house is located in the Nashville area and is open for tours from now through December 29.

I went and toured it yesterday…..

…..and this is what greeted me at the door.


Southern style front porch from the Southern Ideas Home; large pinecone and greenery wreaths with twine and burlap ribbons

And on an amazing scale….if 1 is the perfect chocolate chip cookie and 100 is finding a yard sale where all the milk glass marked $1.00….

….it’s a 250.


It’s classic and farmhouse and timeless and new and barn wood and burlap and visionary….

….and what my farmhouse wants to be when it grows up.

So here’s my list of 20 decorating ideas from my trip to the Southern Living Idea house to get started.

Magnolia wreaths and light linens on the back porch lounge chairs give this back porch a welcoming, relaxing feel

Idea #1:  magnolia wreaths

Hang magnolia wreaths on the exterior windows from a ribbon attached above the molding.

Idea #2:  jute rope

Wrap jute rope around the chain on the porch swing.

Farmhouse tables and wicker chairs are classic southern style decorating on this gorgeous and relaxing front porch

Idea #3:  farmhouse table and southern style decorating

Combine an old farmhouse table with wicker chairs.

Idea #4:  architecture

Add architectural interest to a ceiling with exposed beams that are painted white.

(total aside….these porches were amazing).

Vibrant magnolia flower crosses flank a dark barn wood front door

Idea #5:  florals

Make magnolia crosses for either side of front door.

Idea #6:  southern style decorating starting at the front door

Install a front door that looks like it came over on the Mayflower.

This front porch is a collection of patterns and textures, completed with a rustic barn wood coffee table

Idea #7:  porch

Create a welcoming porch with stripes and patterns in neutral gray with fresh greenery.

Idea #8:  tables

Convince my husband to go into the table making business….starting with this coffee table.

Lush green fern wreaths with fall flowers surround hurricane vases with white candles

French doors open to this dining room porch with woven lounge sofas and soft striped linen curtains

Idea #9:  french doors

Install french doors off the dining room that open onto a screened-in porch.

Idea #10:  industrial style

Add industrial nesting tables with wood tops to the back porch.

(total aside:  they didn’t allow beverages….but I really wanted to drink a cup of coffee right here).

This southern style living room is complete with a gorgeous rustic christmas tree in the corner

This southern style christmas tree is packed with ribbons and ornaments and dried hydrenga flowers

Idea #10:  dried hydrangeas

Add dried hydrangea to the Christmas tree.

(total aside:  I’m taking my fall wreath apart and moving the hydrangea to the tree.  This idea alone was worth the price of admission.)

Built in cabinets above the doorways add extra storage to this lovely living room scene

Idea #11:  built-ins

Genius alert.  Built-in cabinets over the doors.

Idea #12:  baskets

Add a basket for books, magazines and newspapers under the coffee table.

Decorative fern wreath with burlap ribbons and dried hydrangea flowers

Idea #13:  greenery

Swag greens with burlap and dried hydrangea.

(total aside:  So happy I dried all those hydrangea this year).

This gorgeous southern style bedroom is complete with a four-poster farmhouse bed and linen curtains

Idea #14:  fencing

Install a fence outside the bedroom windows.

Idea #15:  ottomans

Add two tufted ottomans to the end of the bed for storage and a place to put on your socks.

A wide open and bright master bathroom with a grand bathtub and closet space on each side

This off-bathroom dressing room has built-in closets with wooden doors and drawers

Idea #16:  dressing room

Create a dressing room with wood doors and painted molding.

Idea #17:  built-in bench

Install a bench in between two cabinets.

(total aside:  I would be happy with just one of the cabinets and that flooring).

This functional laundry room has a custom build marble counter with drawers and functional storage

Idea #18:  countertops

Build a countertop for the washer and dryer with built-ins and baskets on the side.

Idea #19:  miniature topiaries

Add greenery….like miniature topiaries….to the laundry room.

Topiaries, lounge chairs and magnolia wreaths give this gorgeous back porch a comforting style

Idea #20: pack your suitcase

Move in. 🙂


Want to know how to decorate your home for free?
Click here to get my FIVE BEST secrets.


  1. Image for Lisa Lisa

    Gotta try that fence outside the bedroom window! I hope the neighbors won't mind me tearing down their homes so I have sufficient room. Great post!

  2. Image for Leo windham Leo windham

    I've got to show this house to Jane. It might be worth a trip to Nashville to see. Of course there's plenty of other things to do too. Ummmmmm. Nashville. That's the ticket.

  3. Image for Betsy(@coastal-colors) Betsy(@coastal-colors)

    This is a fabulous home! Thank you for sharing it with us! It's full of ideas and I love the ones you chose!

  4. Image for Sandy Sandy

    Oh my gosh, so glad I woke to this, this morning. Thank you! I've already started small Christmas décor here and there in my home. I love to decorate with natural things. We have a few amazing stores in Savannah to shop. (Paris Market, One Fish Two Fish) are two of my favorites. I managed to do a little damage there a few days ago. So happy with the unique purchases. Thanks for the lovely post as always. Sandy

  5. Image for Martha Martha

    What a beautiful your 20 ideas! Sometimes these model homes are too over the top for me,but this one is perfection!

  6. Image for Dana Tucker Dana Tucker

    Kari, soooo, sooooo, happy to meet your sparkly self and sweet husband yesterday that the Idea House. I see a road trip in our future. :) Thanks for the excellent coverage.

  7. Image for Diane Diane

    Thank you thank you for sharing! how beautiful and such fresh ideas....I wish I had some dried hydrangeas...sadly mine didn't produce many at all this on the hunt for some:)

  8. Image for Melinda Melinda

    Oh how I love a Southern Living Home Tour and since we don't live near Nashville anymore...thanks so so much for sharing! My heavens I love this home and the decor. I'm dreaming of a dried hydrangea Christmas. I'm thinking I need to plant a dozen or so of these beautiful bushes.

  9. Image for Jill Jill

    Love it! Love your comments! Love Southern Living and their Idea Houses! Thanks for reminding me to put it on my Must Do List!

  10. Image for Rose L Rose L

    Such a beautiful house! Love the green cabinetry in the kitchen along with the black accents. Color but not over powering. I also love all the live greenery/plants that were used in every room. Plants make a home feel full of life and that really speaks to the gardener within! Thanks for the great tour, living in rural Nebraska does not allow me many great home tours ;)

  11. Image for Dear Lillie Dear Lillie

    Oh my goodness!!! Breathtaking. I want to move in. And how funny - I was decorating my tree last week and stuffed a ton of my dried hydrangeas into all the gaps on my tree to help make it look fuller.

  12. Image for Cindy Barganier Cindy Barganier

    Dang it. Not just my front door decor has to come down. I have to start over. I look just plain Walmart beside this. Poor Layla. She has to stare at it. Good bye. I have work to be done.

  13. Image for Michelle Day Michelle Day

    I just started following your blog a few weeks ago and I have to tell you how well organized it is and how much I enjoy reading it. This was such a pleasure to read this morning! This house is beautiful and I just fell in love with it as did everyone else! I would love to see some more detail photos of the Christmas Tree - that tree would work perfectly in my sitting room - now I need to figure out how to replicate it!

  14. Image for ColleenwithJustPaintIt ColleenwithJustPaintIt

    sigh. My kingdom for a magnolia tree. Oh, the house is lovely and the ideas are inspirational and the photos are gorge . . . but I NEED a magnolia tree. Not a branch, or two, thank you. A tree. Wait, what was the question? Was there even a question? :D

  15. Image for Jen W Jen W

    Although, I don't live in a southern state, magnolia trees seem to like it up here in Wisconsin. However, we've gotten our first snow this past week so all of the magnolia leaves are now soggy. Bummer! Anyone know where to get them (real or fake)? Otherwise, I think I might be able to recreate this with boxwood. Ideas?!

  16. Image for Cora Cora

    Just gorgeous! I especially liked the little check wallpaper in the laundry room, which makes the space look so cozy. Might have to look for something like that when I tackle my laundry room reno this winter. Why can't a washroom look as good as it can?

  17. Image for LLH Designs LLH Designs

    Oh, I just love all that they've done for Christmas! Simple elegance at its best! I went to the opening with some design bloggers, but couldn't make the Christmas decorating tour. Knew I was missing out. I'm with you: this is what I want my farmhouse to look like when it grows up!

  18. Image for Jennifer from Chesapeake, VA Jennifer from Chesapeake, VA

    I'm in total stinkin LOVE!!! I'm coveting the mantle greenery, the wreath on the door, oh.........lets just be honest...I heart every bit of it!!! Thanks for sharing!!!!

  19. Image for Sylvia Marie Sylvia Marie

    I liked the swags under the porch lamps, as well as the wreath on the door. Everything was amazing. Thanks for sharing.

  20. Image for Lisa Palmese Lisa Palmese

    That was quite Enjoyable, Thank You and I think my Favorite Room was The Laundry Room lol. And I did like the cabinets above the doors. That was Wonderful and Your Photos are so Beautiful. Thank You Lisa

  21. Image for Lisa Campbell Lisa Campbell

    Thanks for sharing! We had a Southern Living home here in Bryan, Texas several years ago and I volunteered as a docent. I loved spending my few hours a week showing others all the great ideas in the house.

  22. Image for Laura Laura

    I visited the idea house in August. Although it wasn't dressed for Christmas it was still an absolutely amazing home. Thanks for the tour. I love seeing it decorated.

  23. Image for Norma Jean Norma Jean

    You should have called me. I would have joined you! I've been wanting to go see that house with someone. It looks seriously fabulous!

  24. Image for Lori H Lori H

    HI Karianne, I love your takeaways from the lovely house! I just wanted to let you know that I am finally getting to watch the Home for the Holidays series, and I have enjoyed it very much so far. I was in the grocery store the other day, and with the holiday baking items I saw the nabisco chocolate wafers. I remember thinking...what are those for? I vaguely remembered that they were used to make something with cream in it, and thought maybe I should search for a recipe. Then today I see your icebox cake and thought "aha!" . I will be making your cake for my Christmas party for sure! I wanted an easy recipe for something other than cookies. Thanks! :)

  25. Image for Terri Terri

    Lots of great ideas in this house! I really like useful laundry rooms. The stacked units in a closet just don't cut it!

  26. Image for Sandy Sandy

    Stunning home! It's worth a trip to Nashville. I can stop by and see Graceland (stuck in a time warp) Loved every detail of this home. Sure wish I would have dried more hydrangeas this year.

  27. Image for Lalita Biacchi Lalita Biacchi

    SWOON!! Oh my, I just want to move in (and I live in beautiful Southern CA)! Thanks for sharing the awesome tips/ideas.

  28. Image for Erin Erin

    Does anyone know the color of the exterior paint? I've been looking at Benjamin Moore's Revere Pewter, but this is a little more taupe, which I like! Anybody know where I can find this information? I've searched the Southern Living page that she linked to for the details of the house, but no luck!

  29. Image for Justine Moore Justine Moore

    This house is seriously breathtaking, and these ideas are amazing! I hope my home will look half as gorgeous as this someday.

  30. Image for Sheryll & Critters. Sheryll & Critters.

    Wow, I am in love with that house! Did you by any chance ask or look to see if the fireplace was a real wood burning or propane? I wish mine was propane. Thought of converting it, but it would cost a fortune..... and I would have to pipe it around and to the back of the house, cause of no where to put the propane tank.

  31. Image for home furnishings stores atlanta home furnishings stores atlanta

    Awesome! Its really remarkable piece of writing, I have got much clear idea about from this post.

  32. Image for polly plum polly plum

    Do you have a tutorial for idea#8- the coffee table? Or was it a kit? love it!Maybe you could convince my husband to make it:)

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