When I’m not writing blogs—I’m reading them.

I can’t help it.

There’s an entire community of helpful people just waiting to show me a new paint color or a new project idea or a new way to style my living room or an easy flower arrangement for summer.  Like yesterday when I read this post by Layla–I learned something new.  That was such a clever idea on how to layer a picture into a gallery wall with blocks of wood.


But the post got me thinking.

What tips do I have that I forget to share because I’m crying in rooms over a plaid blanket?

So let’s talk decorating today.

Specifically 7 of my favorite decorating secrets.

1.  Drop cloths

I think drop cloths are the unsung heroes of the decorating world.  If you are looking for inexpensive material that kind of looks like linen at a fraction of the price and can leap buildings in a single bound and still look cute….

….drop cloths are just waiting to save the day.

Here’s an entire post on how I made them into curtains.

And roman shades.

And a pillow.

And a wreath.

All you need is a little drop cloth imagination.

2.  The furniture leg section at Lowe’s

Furniture legs are the solution to so many design dilemmas.

Remember when I wrote the post about the pine dresser?  I forgot to mention the part where it was actually one tall dresser.  The piece that is between the beds is actually the top of the other pine dresser.

I just added legs to the bottom of it (that still need to be stained) from the furniture leg section at Lowe’s.

And now?

One dresser becomes two.

3.  Book pages

If you are looking for inexpensive, easy art ideas, book pages may be the answer you’ve been looking for.

Here’s how I framed them to create a gallery wall.

Here’s how I tacked them to an old pair of cabinet doors and made more wall art.

Here’s how I used them to make a wreath.

And this one is free of charge because it kind of involves book pages, but I love it so much I had to include it.

Here’s a project my sister made for me using all kinds of pages.

4.  Painted baskets

I’m not sure how or why and who decided this.

But it’s a decorating truism.

A spray painted number on a basket makes everything cuter.

I’ve used them in butler’s pantries.

And outdoors.

And in bookcases in navy and white and red rooms to hold books.

Cute.  Cuter.  Cutest.

5.  Greenery from the yard

I cut greenery from the yard and decorate with it all the time.

Here’s an example of a glass vase left over from a flower arrangement filled with tree branches.

I cut leaves and put them in mason jars or small white vases.

A little bit of greenery for free.

Yes, please. 

6. Books

I love books.

I love to read them.

I love to stack them.

And I love to decorate with them.

Here’s an example of how I used them to add height to a basket.

Need a little extra height in an arrangement?  Books are your answer.

Decorating a mantel and need to lift up a vase?  Books are your friend.

7.  Wood

I cannot believe I am typing this.


I used to paint everything in sight.  If I bought a piece at a yard sale, I’d prime it and paint it.

But, truth?  Right now, I am all about not painting wood.

Here are the doors from my house where I just had all the paint taken off.

Don’t they make your heart smile?

Painting is okay now and then, but sometimes brilliant, amazing, authentic wood just needs to shine. 🙂

PS  Have any decorating secrets I didn’t list?  Add them in the comments to we can all decorate together.

PPS  Thank you SO MUCH for all your sweet comments about the post yesterday.  I cried reading them.  So many of you had questions about the products in the room.  I tried to e-mail everyone, but in case I missed you—everything is listed over on my Shop My House page.

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


  1. Image for Leslie Watkins Leslie Watkins

    Always such great inspiration. I have several pieces of furniture that are just too sacred to paint...when my grandmother “antiqued” the antique wardrobe...and then it became mine, I knew it had to be brought back to its original glory. To paint or not to paint...that is always the question! And then some need that painting help. Sort of like makeup! We all need a touch now and then.. Especially red lipstick, right!??!!!

  2. Image for Gina Gina

    I remember so many years ago that Layla had made drop cloth curtains, too! They seem to be classic. That's probably what I like about your style, that it's classic. I know some things may be trending, but they are still very classic trends and I like that. It has a tried-and-true grounded elegance without being too stuffy. I like the basics. I also love natural elements. I love a room filled with natural light. Plants and flowers and candles and cozy throws, baskets! I think now I feel I can take more risks with decorating because it should be a creative outlet and not be restrictive.

  3. Image for Audrey Johnson Audrey Johnson

    Love, love, love these. Such great ideas. I adore the unpainted wood. And the greenery from outside is wonderful too.

  4. Image for Cindy@countyroad407 Cindy@countyroad407

    When I read the title today I was like - Oh wow, KariAnne and Layla are brain twinzies. ;) Love your ideas. All great and doable. I went through the paint everything phase but back to liking naked wood too. Something warm and comforting about it. Couldn't comment on yesterday's post... I was crying! My last one leaves too in August and I'm a big fat cry baby about it!

  5. Image for Nan, Odessa, DE Nan, Odessa, DE

    Most helpful post! Thank you. We read them but this condensed them in one place. My favorite is to stage a setting - bed tray, table in great room, etc with dishes, flowers, etc. Currently, I am staged with everything patriotic - flower arrangements, plate rack, fireplace, veranda. This, with a little updating will get me through until mid September. What do you put in the vase with the yard branches? Anything to make them last? How do you get the clear glass clean? HELP! PS enjoy using white dishes and even crackers and cookies will hold for quite a while. Use your imagination and what YOU have!

  6. Image for Kris Kris

    Before I read this post, I thought, hmm, Layla just had a similar post! I should have known that was your inspiration. Love your ideas.

  7. Image for Janet Janet

    Great ideas! I have some really basic baskets that I'm going to number. I'll let you know how it works. My current favorite last-minute idea I see hosts leaves from the yard. They last forever!

  8. Image for Emily Emily

    Good tips - especially the “not to paint”. Years ago when everyone antiqued everything my mother antiqued my grandfathers small desk - green and gold. I recently took it to a wonderful refinisher who stripped it and returned the wood to its original color. Now, suddenly the desk no one wanted is lusted after by all. Sorry for them, but it has a place of honor in my foyer and it is beautiful.

  9. Image for Hedy Hedy

    I’m glad you wrote about Not painting all wood. If you have ever stripped layers and layers of paint off vintage heirloom furniture, you appreciate bare wood.

  10. Image for Kathy Kathy

    KARIANNE, Love all your ideas and stories! Can you tell me where you bought the bench in your foyer? I've been looking for one about that size. Thanks!

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