disclosure:  this post was sponsored by Walls Republic

blue and white dining room ivy

Someone recently asked me how to take a blank canvas of a room and decorate it.  They had so many questions about the process like:

Where do you start?

How do you know what colors to use?

How do you know what goes into a space?

How do you know what works together?

You can read articles and look at pictures and study diagrams and watch how-to videos, but at the end of the day, for me it comes down to two guiding rules.

Rules that have never failed me yet.

But before we talk about how I decorated the space and the rules I used and the details on the dining room, let’s go all Julie Andrews and start at the very beginning.

dining room before

This is where it all began.

48 hours ago, the space looked like this.

We planned on keeping the floors and the wall color and the antique table and the sideboard.

Everything else was about to change.

dining room before picture

Here’s another look at the other side of the room.

And now?

Drumroll please.

The room looks like this.

dining room

My mother almost cried when she saw it.

First she was speechless.  Then she walked around the room slowly taking it all in.

“You listened to me,” she said.

And just between us, I’m going to be honest…..that is a rariety.

blue and white dishes

You see, I might or might not be the absolute worst at listening to my mother.

But this is different.

This is decorating.

Which leads us to the first rule of decorating according to me:


blue and white dining room after

Listen to the space.

I know it sounds corny, but the space truly knows what it wants.

For example, this space felt like it needed to be lightened and brightened up.

So we started with this beautiful wallpaper from Walls Republic.  We both fell in love with it.  The lightness, the airiness with the birds and the blue and white colors were perfect for the size of the room.  We chose to hang the paper on one wall to give the room a focal point.

blue and white dining with chandelier

Then we found this chandelier.

It was kind of like the wallpaper.  Airy and light with a little bling.

It drew the eye upward without visually taking up too much space.

And it sparkled.

I,m pretty sure the room mentioned in passing that it wanted something that sparkled.

blue and white plate wall

Next we started looking for fabric.

Enter rule number 2.

Always choose what you love.

blue and white dining room

I can’t explain this and it might not make sense, but if you buy what you love, somehow the room comes together.  Trust your heart.

And make sure the store has a good return policy, just in case your heart might have misspoken.

chair seats blue and white dining room

For example, when we went fabric shopping we planned on purchasing a blue and white fabric for the seats and the windows.

Nothing worked.

We found some blue fabric and tried to make it work, but just between us….

….it looked lame.

Then we found this fabric and we knew it was perfect.  Who wouldn’t love this fabric?  And even though it wasn’t blue, it worked.

blue and white pillow in chair

We found these chairs for the end of the table.

They are so comfortable and the slipcovers are removable.

The rug came next to help anchor the floor.  One large rug was really expensive, so we opted for two smaller rugs and they ended up fitting the space perfectly.

curtains blue and white room

Long white floor to ceiling panels were hung at the windows and finished off with a simple faux roman shade.

Those roman shades are totally no sew and took about 10 minutes for both.

I made them from a 1 x 2 board and a single curtain panel.

dining room with ivy

A few accessories and that was it.

The room was done.

Just a little finding what you love and listening to the space.

And of course, your mother. 🙂


PS  A wonderful, incredible wise reader asked me if I would list the sources for the room and she is much more brilliant than I am, so I listened to her, too. 🙂

wallpaper:  Walls Republic (for more wallpaper inspiration you can follow along with Walls Republic on Twitter….here and Facebook….here.)

rug:  Target

lamps:  Lowe’s

tray:  Target

curtain panel and fabric:  Hobby Lobby

chairs:  IKEA

chandelier:  Lowe’s

disclosure:  this post was sponsored by Walls Republic.  All opinions on wallpaper and listening to rooms are completely my own.  Please see my disclosure page for more information.

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


  1. Image for Diana Diana

    How lucky your mom is to have you as her decorator; and now we all have you as our decorator too! Just one question, I can see where you joined the two rugs but was wondering if you would share how you did it? Was there any cutting involved?

  2. Image for Beth Beth

    Just Gorgeous Karianne!! I absolutely love it!! Can you tell me how you did the two rugs? Did the pattern work so you couldn't tell? I need a huge dining room rug and this is a great idea. Did you tape the back seems together? Any insight would be helpful on how this worked. Thanks for such a great blog, I look forward to your posts! Beth

  3. Image for Terri Terri

    Oh my goodness!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WOWOWOWOW..... Love the fabric on those chairs... the whole room just rocks!!!

  4. Image for Peg Peg

    [clapping!] The room looks absolutely beautiful. Love it! You and your mother are very lucky to have each other! : )

  5. Image for The Vintage Vixen The Vintage Vixen

    Oh Karianne, the room is just beautiful!!! I love it all, especially the wallpaper and the chandelier (Lowes rocks!!!). What a wonderful thing to be able to do for your mother. The two of you are so lucky to have each other!!! May she enjoy it for decades to come!!!

  6. Image for Velia Velia

    KariAnne, what a beautiful decorating job you accomplished in transforming the dining room into a space full of light and cheer. It is a lovely room and guest will feel most comfortable lingering in after a meal. This is a great example of how your creativity and vision will make you a success in your new venture; continued best wishes.

  7. Image for Michelle Rudis Michelle Rudis

    Can't wait to have you help me with my rooms! This is gorgeous, Kari Anne!! My mother almost cried the first time I decorated a room too. I was eleven. And it was a surprise. Nah, she probably wasn't going to cry for the same reason as your mom, come to think of it...

  8. Image for david david

    the room looks terrific and that is great advice! I fear, however that my heat may have communication/honesty issues because last time I checked in with it it clearly said "yes! brown faux leather couches that are too small are EXACTLY what I want!" and then later I think I heard it laughing......

  9. Image for Carmen Carmen

    Beautiful. I love how you buy things at obtainable and economical stores and don't spend a fortune-thanks for the room sources!

  10. Image for Monica Monica

    Curious about that "2 rugs instead of 1" idea! Large rugs are so expensive but I'm trying to figure out how you put them together? Are they connected somehow? Border looks seamless in the pictures. Beautiful room!!

  11. Image for Ellie Ellie

    Beautiful job Kari Anne. I love everything about the room. I'm also interested in how you made the two rugs look so seamless. And how did you make the roman shades?

  12. Image for Pat Pat

    Stunning! You and your Mother are very fortunate to have shared this special opportunity to redecorate her lovely dinning room. It's just beautiful!

  13. Image for May May

    Burst out laughing at Michelle's mother's tearful response to her efforts at redecorating! That wallpaper is just super, and I can imagine it improving any room, whatever the style, taste and, er, age of the decorator. Off to look at their other wallpapers now.

  14. Image for renee renee

    It is beautiful!! I am going to see if I can find that fabric! Did you get it recently? Also, where did you find those beautiful pillows? I know your mom just loves it! You did a wonderful job.

  15. Image for Mary Mary

    Absolutely incredible transformation. You're a magician but more than that so extremely talented. I think I would cry too if it was my room. How very beautiful!! Think it's time for me to change my curtains to white and airy. The room is over the moon, Karianne! Bless you for doing a make over for your Mom.

  16. Image for Gina Gina

    Beautiful room! Love the fabric on the chairs. I've combined 2 rugs before but they were solid so no issues with matching design. Yours looks seamless.....great job!

  17. Image for Eva Eva

    You did such a nice job. Your mother should love her room and I'm sure she is extremely proud of her Kari Anne. And Lowe's will be selling out of this chandalier. I misspelled that.

  18. Image for Laurie Cordeniz Laurie Cordeniz

    Wow! Now I am inspired and motivated! Thank you so much. Love the chair fabric. Did it come from Hobby Lobby as well? Thanks!

  19. Image for Yvonne Yvonne

    Karianne, you are a designing genius! I love the room and blue and white is my favorite color combo! Once again, I'm inspired! Thanks!

  20. Image for Antoinette Antoinette

    What a lovely, classy casual room. Love it!! I'm with several of your other fans and am wondering how did you create one big from 2small rugs. Are they taped together in back?

  21. Image for Zolane Zolane

    Oh...my...goodness! Stunning, KariAnne...just BEAUTIFUL! Your mom has to be so pleased. Every element is perfect and classic. You truly have a gift. I've never considered two rugs (8x10's are so expensive). May I ask how you joined them so they don't shift and is the seam clearly visible where it's not hidden by the table and chairs? As soon as my dear hubby gives me the go-ahead to redo a room, I'm going to get on your client waiting list!

  22. Image for Marisa Franca @ All Our Way Marisa Franca @ All Our Way

    Ahhh so! You are a room whisperer -- it speaks to you and then you translate its wishes. Makes perfect sense! That is why your rooms turn out with personality. They have their little quirks but that make them adorable and unique. Not everyone has this unique talent. Oh great master, do you think you could teach this little grasshopper to listen to a room when it speaks?? Whatever language it is speaking now is not being understood. :-( Great job on your mom's dining room. I'm surprised she hasn't handed over the keys to her house and told you to go for it!! You Rock!!!!!

  23. Image for Nancy Nancy

    I know what you mean when you say the rooms know what they want. I bought a sectional for my living room. Love it in the store but there was something wrong when I brought it home. Finally changed the pillows from red to blue and now it's perfect. Listen to your rooms.

  24. Image for Joni Joni

    Love everything about this room! FYI...to get black marks off of dishes, use Bar Keepers Friend, found in the sink cleaning section. Thank you for your wonderful posts!

  25. Image for JAMIE JAMIE

    That room is perfection! Please tell more about how you used two smaller rugs. And if you dont mind the source for the white curtains. Thank you and enjoy your beautiful roomm

  26. Image for Julie Timmerman Julie Timmerman

    I love that you give rooms personality and character! A wonderful job! The fabric on the chairs, did that also come from Hobby Lobby? I'm not seeing it on their website. I love that fabric, you always seem to find the neatest accessories, furniture, fabrics, light fixtures, ext. !!!! From one of your many fan club members thanks for sharing!

  27. Image for Hilary Hilary

    I love this room. The blue and white looks so nice and clean and crisp, but also warm and inviting. I love it. I'm also interested in the 2 rug idea. Looks fabulous!

  28. Image for Mary Mary

    I love the room! For those of us who are decorating challenged, can you tell us how you did the roman shade? Also, where did you find the fabric for the chairs?

  29. Image for Jane Jane

    Beautiful room. Fantastic advice. Great way to save. Can you tell us how you did the Roman shades. Are they functional? Thanks. Your room is gorgeous! Jane x

  30. Image for Kathleen Kathleen

    Add me to the many who know you are simply *BRILLIANT!* There are no two ways about it! My gosh, girl, it's simply wonderful, and of course, one of my favorites ~ two rugs combined to make one large one! Just because it's such a simple solution, and I never ~ ever ~ in all my many years ~ have thought of doing that to save $$$ ... !!! It's all lovely ~ but that stands out as the "clever take-away" from this one! Thanks for always giving us ideas that are within our "reach" ... As I said yesterday, "Stunning!"

  31. Image for Johna Johna

    What a beautiful room. Love your blog. Loved seeing you at Chapel Market. Looks like you have some future"how to's" with the rugs and 10 minute roman shades. You have us all interested!

  32. Image for Pam Pam

    Oh how I love the room!!! I am a blue/white girl through and through. I also would love to know how you did two rugs. You indicated that you purchased them at Target. I am looking for a new rug for my dining room and the rug you picked looks like it would wonderfully in my dining room, but I can't find it on the Target website. Do you know the name of the rug or the company who produced it. Love your blog!!

  33. Image for Paula D. Paula D.

    Kari Anne - your mom's dining room is perfect. The room is classic, timeless, and absolutely lovely. Congratulations on putting together a masterpiece for your mom.

  34. Image for Ginny Ginny

    Simply Gorgeous!!! My buffet is very similar to your mom's- such a beautiful piece. Love all your choices- well done! Viva Blue & White!

  35. Image for Kristi Kristi

    Oh my goodness!!! What a dreamy room Kari Anne!!! That wall paper is gorgeous and I love how the white plates stand out against it! The rug, the curtains, the chairs, THAT CHANDELIER ... it's all perfect!

  36. Image for Jan Fusco Jan Fusco

    Could you give some specifics on the rug. I went to the Target website be couldn't find it. There are hundreds of rugs so I very likely could have missed it. Do you know the brand or name etc? Thanks so much.

  37. Image for Elizabeth Spencer Elizabeth Spencer

    What a beautiful website...and room! Alas, my mind does not operate this way. My DIY-project for today is to put the 4th coat of paint on my daughter's bedroom floor in our 100-year-old farmhouse. It's the 4th because I had to scrape off the first and second. Which were water-based. Which I put, sans primer, over oil-based. Because #idkhowtodiy. :)

  38. Image for Nancy Carr Nancy Carr

    This room is beautiful. I was looking for the source for the blue pillow with the white. Where did you get it? I love blue and white! Thank you.

  39. Image for Deb Deb

    Have I told you lately...how much I love your blog? You are truely an inspiration not only for blogging but for designing as well! This space turned out so spectacular! The wallpaper may be my favorite, but the advice to take two area rugs and put them together to save money (genius) I am so doing that! I have been in need of a large are rug in my bedroom...so I think I may go buy two! Have a wonderful weekend...thank you for always inspiring me : )

  40. Image for PC PC

    We have the same table and sideboard. I have the China cabinet too. They were my grandmother's and she would appreciate your dining room.

  41. Image for DaLynn McCoy DaLynn McCoy

    Beautiful! You've done a great job. I'd love to delve in and start decorating the spaces in this house, and I've planned to join you. Mine will be all DIY and I don't really know how soon I can get started, but I have grandiose plans. :) Thanks for sharing your sources! And thanks for joining the Christian Fellowship Friday linkup. Hope to have you again next weekend! Be blessed!

  42. Image for Pinky Pinky

    I almost cried and it isn't my room!!! It is gorgeous!!!!! My dining room is making me CRAZY. I wish I could copy this whole room....or have you come do it for me!!! I will feed you, hydrate you and cheer you on!!!! AND, I have TONS of blue and white peices you can use!!!! Oh happy day!!

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