Have you ever found your decorating style before?

And then you moved?

And you lost it?

All the things didn’t work.

And the weirdest thing?  They worked before.  Truly.  They worked in the old house.  Your couch and your chair and your table and your burlap and your chalkboard and your farmhouse signs were perfect.

But in the new house?

None of it worked.  No matter how hard you tried.  No matter how much you put that old chair in the new place and that farmhouse sign on the wall and the burlap pillows on the bench.  It all just felt like a square peg in a round hole.

For example, let’s take this dining room.  Let’s look at where this dining room started and then where it went and then where it went after that and then how it took a total 180-degree turn to a completely different look.

Did you see that one coming?

Oh, good.

Me, either.

Here’s the view of the dining room into the living room the day we bought the house.

There were beautiful 100-year-old floors and a swinging door that went into the kitchen and smocked burlap curtains at the windows and french doors that closed between the two rooms.

At first, I thought I was going to go farmhouse.

You know.

Like the house I just moved from.

Here’s the first pass at the room.

Farmhouse table.

Farmhouse chairs.

Random toolbox that did NOT work on the dining table.

Farmhouse hutch.

Here’s the next step in the decorating journey.

I added the metal wreaths on the windows.

And the giant dough bowl filled with flowers on the table.

And I liked it.

And it was fine.

But I just felt like it was not the house.

It’s like the house kept tugging at my elbow and telling me it wanted to be a little more grown up.


And to make matters even more complicated, I added color to the room right next door to it.

The room you can see through the french doors.

All this color.

All this blue.

And the dining room was raising its hand and waving it in the air and telling me that it wanted a little blue and white, too.

And so I listened.

And now?

The room looks like this.



For all that is good and right in this world—please look at the farmhouse before.

And then scroll down and blink twice and look again.

It is the same room.

Just a little more color.

A little extra.

It started with this rug from eSale rugs.

eSale rugs provided the rug for this post.  They are one of my new advertising partners and I can’t recommend them enough.

The selection is incredible.

The shipping was fast and the entire ordering process was super easy.  It’s really hard to pick a rug online—but the colors on the eSale website were true to the actual color of the rug and they provided different pictures of different angles of the rug as well as gave you the option to see the rug in your room.  I was a little nervous about choosing such a bold rug without actually seeing in person—but I couldn’t be happier with it.

The rug started the entire design plan.

I found these blue and white striped chairs.

They were SUPER affordable and I bought them when Wayfair was having a big sale.

I kept the original end chairs and just added a blue and white pillow to it.

I shopped the house for a lot of the rest of the things in the room.

Like these gray and white striped chairs with the nailheads that used to be in my office at Thistlewood.

The plates came from a yard sale and Hobby Lobby.

The pillow came from the living room.

The blue and white curtains pulled the rest of the look together.

I bought them at Half-Priced Drapes.

Again, I wasn’t too sure about the bold pattern—until they showed up at the house.


I can’t even with them.

In the middle of working on the room, I wasn’t sure.

I second-guessed myself.

Was it too much?

Was it all too extra?

But the house kept encouraging me.

It kept telling me that white plaster walls painted SW Extra White would work.

And that blue and white would make me so happy.

And that bright colors would make me happy.

Isn’t it funny?

After all those years of neutral.

And all of that farmhouse.

All of that gray and khaki and texture and distressing.

I thought that’s how I’d always decorate.

And then?

This house came along and changed my mind.

The moral of this post?

Sometimes what you think you need isn’t what your house wants.

Sometimes the journey doesn’t take you exactly where you planned.

Sometimes taking a leap of decorating faith brings a little color into your world.

I get it.

I understand.

The house was trying to tell me all along.

All I had to do was listen.

PS  All the sources for this room are listed on my Shop My House page here.

disclosure:  Product was provided to me by eSale rugs in exchange for this post.

All opinions are my own.

Please see my disclosure page for more information.


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  1. Image for Tammy Lagaly Tammy Lagaly

    Wow! I love all of it. I have been thinking that my dining room just isn't what I want it to be lately. Tugging me in a direction that I have never gone before. This has given me a lot to think about and some great inspiration. Thank YOU!

  2. Image for Janet Janet

    Hi, Karianne. Just tried to shop your dining room but there doesn't seem to be any way to do so. Am I missing something?

  3. Image for Cheryll Cheryll

    For several years I have bemoaned the lack of color on decorating blogs. It seems that a couple gallons of white or white-ish paint, maybe even a pop of gray, was all that was required to refresh a space. Wrong, you have clearly proven that in this house. It still has the light, bright and modern sort of transitional style that most people appreciate but the color component brings it to life. Yes, dear, you did good!

  4. Image for Katie Heidinger Katie Heidinger

    All that blue and white is beautiful. I can see how it clashed before with the new blue and white living room. I especially like how you incorporated a little gold here and there, just like the living room. Change is fun and you inspire me to get going and refresh my home. Thank you!!

  5. Image for Lanita Lanita

    Absolutely beautiful!!! Blue and white, although I don’t have that color scheme in my house right now, are one of my favorite color combinations. There are so many beautiful things in your dining room, it’s difficult to pick a favorite....but it might be the rug!! Thanks for sharing....and for listening to the house!! Happy Monday!

  6. Image for Lanita Anderson Lanita Anderson

    Absolutely beautiful!!! Blue and white, although I don’t have that color scheme in my house right now, are one of my favorite color combinations. There are so many beautiful things in your dining room, it’s difficult to pick a favorite....but it might be the rug!! Thanks for sharing....and for listening to the house!! Happy Monday!

  7. Image for Vicki Vicki

    Love the new blue/white colors you are going with. We just moved into a new build (Downsized) and I'm finding that my tastes are changing a bit to more color and moving away from all the grays. , neutrals etc. I'd love to know where you found your couches! (the link to your dining room isn't showing your "shop my home".

    1. Image for Mary Evans Mary Evans

      As a blue and white gal I love your new living and dining room. It is sooo beautiful. Look forward to your blog every day. Enjoyed your books so much.

  8. Image for Eileen Eileen

    Wow! So pretty and I'm starting to think that a little color change is a good thing. One thing I'm noticing is that you are mixing patterns and doing lots of geometrics and stripes, not little, bitty flowers, which gives it that fresh look.

  9. Image for Arli Arli

    Woweee. Totally was not expecting THIS! ! I love it, especially those curtains. Fantastic re-do of a beautiful space.

  10. Image for bj bj

    GREAT BALLS OF FIRE....that room is so drop-dead gorgeous, I can't EVEN !!! and of COURSE, now I need a new rug for my living room.......and didn't even know it.

  11. Image for Sharon Sharon

    Fabulous job! I love it! It’s a formal fun - new decorating term! HA! Just adore blue and white with splashes of crayons colors. You are a whiz at this!

  12. Image for Amanda Amanda

    My house tells me what it wants to look like too! Our previous home was a townhouse, and we used a very transitional/urban look there. Then we moved to our farmhouse, but instead of being all farmhouse all the time, it keeps telling me that it wants traditional with a few farmhouse accents - and it's taking a good long while to find what's exactly right for each room!

  13. Image for Elaine Elaine

    I am not at all keen on this look Karianne. I loved the elegance, and softness, of the room before, and I thought your previous rug was to die for. Maybe new wall colour, new drapes and a few blue cushions might have worked? I think you may get fed up with the modern look very quickly. But do you know what? It doesn't matter one bit what others think, including me. If it makes you happy then that's all to be said about it. You have a wonderful home that you can give many looks to, as the years go by. And many other readers, including me , will still continue to follow your journey because we adore you and your amazing talent! Love and hugs X

    1. Image for Hope Billing Hope Billing

      I agree. Not a fan of the rug. The shade of blue doesn't work for me. I am always so excited to see what Karianne has worked her magic on..... just not today. But, at the end of the day, it is not me she needs to impress. Karianne is who she needs to impress. As long as she is happy that is what matters!

  14. Image for Carrie Carrie

    Well, of COURSE I love it!!! Who is shocked? Not me!!!! You still remained true to yourself, the decor is classy and timeless, with the color adding a bit of 'extra exclamation points' thrown in for good measure!!! BRAVO!!!!

  15. Image for Donna Marie Donna Marie

    I looooovvvveee color! It makes me happy. You are such a happy person that I think you need color too!!! You go girl!!!

  16. Image for Rose Rose

    I love the blue & white especially because it’s across from the blue & white LR. It looks amazing. My DR is blue & white and next year we are redoing our Master BR. I’m doing blue & white toile. I can’t wait. Much love, Rose

  17. Image for Robin Schmidt Robin Schmidt

    I especially like the new changes in your living room. Something in me always wants that big square coffee table to be a wood stain--I am not sure why. Thank you for all of the great pictures and ideas.

    1. Image for Graham Graham

      I think maybe because the white of the coffee table clashes with the cream of the couches, a pine finish might work better. The dining room looks great. I'm glad you put the tool box elsewhere- forgive me, but it looked like a coffin to me. However, I do miss the dough bowl. I loved that!

  18. Image for Lynn Mosher Lynn Mosher

    Your dining room has a huuuuuge grin! And the house is smiling. And says thank you! You know I love blue and white and I love this. So refreshing. So happy looking! Good job! ❤

  19. Image for Jo Ann Bohannon Jo Ann Bohannon

    Love it and yes this fits nicely with all your changes. Question: are you selling you round/oval back chairs? If so I’m your girl. Thanks


    I love what you've done with the room. It's much more polished than your previous style. Shabby Chic can be fun, but it's not novel anymore.

  21. Image for Teddee Grace Teddee Grace

    Well, it works and looks great and it is so good to have those two rooms linked not only physically but through that color palette. I think it's interesting, though, because when I moved from Chicago to Phoenix in the 90s my first home was an adobe townhouse with a blue front door. I tried my best to go all Santa Fe and absolutely hated it. My townhouse might have liked it, but I just couldn't take those primary colors which just repel me in my own surroundings, so I finally gave up and went my own "mud colored" way and was much happier for it. So, sometimes, it's the house, sometimes it's you. In this case, I think from your coloring you are definitely a primary color person.

    1. Image for AmyG AmyG

      Teddee I agree - when we moved from Chicago to Albuquerque I thought I had to go Southwest and in a brick house - Oh it was like the house was screaming at me "are you kidding me" and I didn't feel comfortable in my own home. I went with a style that was more me.

  22. Image for Vickey Vickey

    Absolutely stunning! I Love everything you did to transform your rooms. It all flows so nicely. You did a fantastic job and you give me so much inspiration 🌳🌳🌳 Cheers, Vickey

  23. Image for Connie Connie

    So pretty. I love color and this is perfect. In the old dining room the burlap curtains always bothered me against the gray walls.

  24. Image for Gina Gina

    A rug is a great starting place. The rooms flow. I love the pop of fushia pink flowers with blue and white. The rug is modern and young.

  25. Image for Anita Anita

    I LOVE IT!! Blue and White are all over my house too, have been for several years now. I used to be an all country girl with the rustic, neutral and white decor. I did all of that in the 80's and like you I thought I would always decorate like that. I couldn't get enough country farm house. I left that when I moved into a new home we had built in '97. I tried moving all my country into this new house but it didn't work either. I have questioned my decisions recently since I see all this country farm house on all the blogs I follow, but you have confirmed my feelings that if it's right for you, it doesn't matter what is going on out there in everyone else homes. I just hope it is true to them and that in a few years they aren't going to be tired of it. You keep following your homes directions because you have a very lovely place. I always look forward to your blog!!

  26. Image for Rhonda Rhonda

    Oh, so lovely! The two rooms coordinate so perfectly now, and the pop of pink flowers on the dining table flows perfectly with the "flowers" in the mantle painting! :) So fresh and inviting! I think perhaps the only thing I would do differently (and who am I???) would be to keep those lovely French dining chairs and recover them in a blue print. I have a feeling though, that they will show up some place else in your wonderful home!

  27. Image for Cindy@countyroad407 Cindy@countyroad407

    Wow, I'm kinda of amazed at some of the negative things people will say?! You do you and let others get some manners (and Jesus). Love how you are always happy and smiling; in your home and on your cute little face! The new dining room is beautiful. Now feel free to give me the stuff that was in it before! LOL

  28. Image for Connie Connie

    First, I see another Connie replied to your post. I am Connie from Indiana - LOL I have been patiently waiting for these dining room chairs to be displayed. They are awesome. I love the room and I like how the rooms are across from each other. Like the curtains too. I wished I was more bold sometimes. I have downsized to a smaller living area and its hard sometimes to let things go. LOL Enjoy your room. Now, I can't wait to see what Christmas ideas to use in your house.

  29. Image for Carolyn Anderson Carolyn Anderson

    I love blue and white and color and you were right to listen to your heart. That being said I would like to have you think about some color on the lamps, also, and here's where I am being a details oriented person (picky, picky, picky), your one plate on the wall is upside down (having this same plate in my home), please let the Chinese birds fly on top of the plate not on the bottom! Love your style and keep listening to your home!

    1. Image for Ann C Ann C

      Oh I’m glad it’s not just me, when it comes to the plates! Some were crooked and one was upside down! Otherwise love the room. But I liked it before too. My rooms are all blue and yellow. I can’t decide if I want to get rid of the yellow for white or leave as is.

  30. Image for Christa Christa

    Love the color and coordination between the rooms!!! When I first saw the picture of the same old dining room in the new house, I was “yeah not so much”, but now “Wow”. I’m glad your letting the house dictate what it wants, they are like children and let us know when their not happy. As a side note, you may have realized by now, but some of your plates are hung upside down. The Blue Willow is the one that first caught my eye, however it’s not alone.


    KariAnne, your Dining Room is really pretty! Once again, you have done a fabulous job of decorating! Thanks for sharing with all of us. You have such a beautiful Heart and Home! Blessings! Have a great week!

  32. Image for Constance Colvin Constance Colvin

    Oh Karianne! I do so love your blog! And I'll still be loving it come what may! But.....I'm kind of a Debbie Downer on all the blue and white.......it kind of assaults the eyes! I say this with love.......keep on keeping on!

  33. Image for Jillian Jillian

    You did a nice job on the dining room and it is pretty. I guess I will be the mean voice in the room and say I do not like that it looks exactly like your living room. I wish you would do something to make it a little different so it co-ordinates but is still its own room. peach walls? another color? I love what you did in the girls bath because it was beautiful and unique. I hope all your rooms don't become the same blue and white, you have that bedroom too.

  34. Image for Helen Boltin Helen Boltin

    I actually love the new look. I love blue and white. I collect Blue Willow dishes so this is right up my alley and it is more like what I actually consider to be farmhouse. I grew up on a farm and we never had any white furniture in our house so I am not sure how that came to be part of "farmhouse" style in the first place. Our farmhouse was full of color!

  35. Image for Barbara Barbara

    Just stunning!!!! I'm a blue and white girl too:) It looks so fresh and light and clean. I bet your family loves it too!

  36. Image for Shirley Shirley

    I can't even, either. Wow, what a gorgeous transformation...it's hard to believe this is the same room before and after. Dreamy!

  37. Image for Yvonne Shafer Yvonne Shafer

    I LOVE IT!! I’m a huge fan of blue and white and I add a little yellow or red for punch. Your update is beautiful and now I need to go rug shopping!

  38. Image for Rebecca Rebecca

    It’s lovely but I, too, preferred the other. A little too bright for me. But again, it’s still lovely. Not just my kind of lovely.. I think our choice of colors very much depends on where we r in our life, the events we’ve just gone through, etc. My bedroom was orange and blue and I really liked it. My friend has the same color scheme and I like it at her house. But now I’m preferring soft blue and creams now. It’s a good thing we’re not all the same, huh?

  39. Image for Peg Peg

    Oh my! I love what you've done!! I tried to embrace "farmhouse" in my own home over the last several years, but my house whispered that it was much more country cottage, and that it really liked antique English pine chests, vintage quilts and cabbage rose throw pillows. I listened, and now we're both quite happy and content!!! xoxo

  40. Image for Alice Genzlinger Alice Genzlinger

    I would have never guessed that you would have gone from country to modern. That said I've heard we completely chance our likes every ten years.. I wonder what your next 10 years will bring.

  41. Image for Jan Fusco Jan Fusco

    Love it! I actually liked the room before on the second picture but I can see where the change works with the blue living area close to it. Looks great. Btw, in the close up of the blue and white plates on the wall, is the flow blue plate upside down? Just wondering.

  42. Image for Mary Streber Mary Streber

    hi i love your dining room table. Where and when did you get it? Hoping still available. Or maybe your brother made it for you?

  43. Image for Kay Kay

    I completely get it. My cape cod refused the “cozy” look decor I was thinking. It wanted to be “right proper” I’m so glad I listened. I’m so happy with the blue and white and shades of bronze. Some people just don’t understand that houses talk, we just need to listen.

  44. Image for Tammie Tammie

    The room is beautiful, Karianne! Just wanted to point out, though, that the blue willow plate is actually upside down. :o)

  45. Image for Michele Michele

    I’m in love!! It’s my favorite room you’ve ever done!! I bet it makes you smile every time you walk by it! That’s how I always know I’m done and happy with a room! 😉

  46. Image for Nancy Nancy

    i saw that the rug is called Marilyn Monroe glam deco rug. Kari, you are a delight. Marilyn and all of us that wear red lipstick adore you.

  47. Image for Michelle Michelle

    I never thought you'd stray from all the neutrals either but here you are and you've done an ahhhhmazingly beautiful job on the room!! Rooms speak to me all the time about what they want. Sometimes it takes a while before I respond. :-) Question: Have you ever been out antiquing with your sister and just happened upon a piece of furniture that you weren't looking for and that you really didn't need and so you didn't buy it, but now you can't get it out of your head? I have. And its driving me batty. By the way, we dined at Two Sisters not knowing at the time that that's the same diner in 'Our Souls at Night' with Robert Redford and Jane Fonda.

  48. Image for Crystal Crystal

    Love, love, love the blue and white dining room. I love the "grounding" the bold rug gives to the room, the scrumptious chairs and gorgeous curtains. Because people have different tastes, it doesn't upset me that others may not cheer as I did when they saw the room---but believe me, it made my heart happy!

  49. Image for Jeanne Ann Jeanne Ann

    Just beautiful. The rug is electric, so much energy in the color. Every detail is superb. You've outdone yourself. Really look forward to reading your daily blog.....you inspire me, not only with decorating ideas, you inspire me with your sweet spirit and positive attitude.

  50. Image for Carrie Cheecham Carrie Cheecham

    I LOVE how you took off the top of your hutch and added the mirror. What a big difference it made! Stunning room. Swooning

  51. Image for Sherry M Sherry M

    Beautiful! It is gorgeous! Your hard work has definitely paid off! The dining room is whispering a secret though...it says some of the plates on the wall are a little tipsey...as in upside down..oops, I heard a hiccup!

  52. Image for CC CC

    the after is fine, but much preferred the "before" in terms of this house and this space and knowing what I think I know of your style. Just seems like you are making big leaps in trying to evolve your style from farmhouse to more transitional/contemporary but haven't yet found your footing.

  53. Image for Donna Marie Stenger-Smith Donna Marie Stenger-Smith

    Love blue and white just not modern its beautiful and you but I liked it before both rugs are beautiful but to me the first one is the wow!! but the second sure has it going on!!!

  54. Image for Donna Gaddis Donna Gaddis

    Loving this! So many timeless and trusted elements are working together to make this such a fresh look. I am loving the Wayfair chairs. They absolutely remind me of vintage ticking and would look so amazing in so many different settings! #wayfair #tickingstripes #blueandwhite #indigo #thistlewoodfarms

  55. Image for Ann Ann

    Me and the rest of the world! WOW!!! When I scrolled down “Oh, so pretty”. Lucky you to see that everyday. Another fabulous job

  56. Image for Marisa Marisa

    Yes!!!! So much more visually interesting and I adore that rug. What you had was pretty but now it’s a fun space. I love that it now ties in to the living room but in some way, is bolder than the living room.

  57. Image for Sue Sue

    I LOVE the blue and white in your living room, but I think the bold blue and white rug is just too intense for the dining room. It works when the bright flowers are on the table, but it would make the room feel unbalanced (sort of bottom heavy) without the flowers. A more subdued blue pattern would work better, IMO. Where did you put the china cabinet?

  58. Image for Regina Wilson Regina Wilson

    Love the new dining room. You are such an inspiration to us. Thank you for sharing your home. Also where did you get the dining table?

  59. Image for Teresa Gonzales Teresa Gonzales

    I know what you mean. Had the same experience when going from California to Massachusetts. Things just did not work!!!! Love the blue and white. It looks like you and the house! Cheerful and full of joy!!! :) Thanks for sharing!

  60. Image for Kathy Kathy

    My first thought upon seeing the updates was that the room was now able to breathe. You DO have to listen to your space. Very wise advice.

  61. Image for Leslie Watkins Leslie Watkins

    I have always loved blue and white and it has always had a corner somewhere in my home. But you dressed it up and brought it up to 2018! You rocked it, girlfriend! Looks amazing!

  62. Image for Karen Karen

    Goodness Gracious! We lost power due to a storm and then our Internet was down for a day and a half. You've been a Busy Bee! I absolutely LOVE Blue & White - always have! It is my all-time favorite and SO CLASSIC! Love how the rooms relate to and speak to one another. It's simply beautiful and draws you in! Love, love, love the Blue & White Porcelain dancing on the walls (even the upside down ones) :D Blessings!

  63. Image for Angela Angela

    Love this makeover! So fresh and inviting. Of course, I loved the other look too. That's the fun of decorating, you can do whatever strikes your fancy! I noticed that one of the plates was upside down - you were checking to see if we are paying attention! :) Great job on your new dining room Karianne!

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