I am almost half way through decorating the room for House for Hope.

It is a little overwhelming.

The challenge I’m facing right now is decorating walls of a room the size of the ballroom at Downton Abbey with a budget that could maybe cover the cost of a really good meal at a fast food restaurants.

I was pricing wall decor for the space and quickly figured out that I could afford one corner of one piece of a giant over-sized galvanized clock.

When faced with an almost insurmountable decorating dilemma….

….what’s a girl to do?

Shop the home improvement store.

I came up with the idea of painting giant signs for the space.

Giant signs I could paint in an afternoon.

Giant signs with one inspirational word of the year on them.

So I turned to my old friend plywood.

Here’s how the cost broke down.

I purchased 2 sheets of 48″ x 48″ pieces of plywood and had them cut in half just like this to measure 24″ x 48″.

Then I purchased 10 pieces of 1″ x 2″ x 8″ inexpensive pine board (I think we only ended up needed 8 for the project) to use as a frame.

The grand total for everything was $48.74.

I started with priming the plywood and painting it with SW Alabaster that I had leftover from another project.

You can have the pieces of pine cut at the store, too.

To make the sign, you’ll need 4 pieces cut.

2 cut to 48″.

2 cut to 26″.

I stained the pieces with some Dark Walnut from Minwax that I had leftover from another project.

Then I decided on my word of the year for my family that was going to live in this House for Hope.


I printed it out using the Courier font from my computer with 200 size letters.

It took two pages to print the letters, so I taped them together.

Then I flipped the paper over and colored each of the letters with a pencil.

It’s a great alternative if you don’t have carbon paper.

Make sure you cover each letter with extra pencil.

Then flip your word back over, place in the middle of the sign and firmly trace each of the letters onto the painted plywood.

Then fill in with a sharpie or paint them with craft paint.

Here’s the over-sized finished sign.

I’m painting four of them which will go along way to filling up the walls at Downton Abbey.

Here’s the thing….I need a little help.

I painted this one with one word, but now I have three empty signs ready to paint.

If you could add a word to encourage our imaginary family from the House for Hope for 2017….

….what would it be?

PS  I wish the ballroom came with a Mr. Carson, too. 🙂

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


  1. Image for Kimberly Kimberly

    Dream. Persevere. Reach. Those on even a tighter budget could use a large canvas for the sign and frame it out with the wood. Thanks, KariAnne. You always INSPIRE. :)

  2. Image for Jo Jo

    I love your creativity! I pat myself on the back for finding you. I love the word, PERSEVERE and all the potential hang in there and atta girl/boy to keep on keeping on.

  3. Image for Carrie Carrie

    What a great idea... Simply great. So, my words to go with INSPIRE would be : CREATE DREAM DO you know, good action verbs. :) Do Inspire Do Create Do Dream and if you needed an idea for a small sign ; how about !!! or a smiley emoticon? :)

  4. Image for Debbie Debbie

    'Explore' goes hand in hand with 'inspire'. Inspiration always comes from the exploration of ideas. It's first cousin is 'create'.

  5. Image for Claudia A. Claudia A.

    I have the word "imagine" in my living room. I love it...congers up great memories of John Lennon a favorite musician and great song. Plus I have it by my wedding picture.

  6. Image for Lisa Lisa

    CREATE gets my vote. It's my word for the year. Ah, how I do miss Dear Mr. Carson. I love Victoria on Sunday nights. Have a happy weekend!

  7. Image for Ann Z Ann Z

    I was diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer that had spread to my liver and lymph nodes in September. Reeling from the news I went to a relatively new store in our town (rhymes with Schmaxx) for some literal retail therapy and a chance to just think. I found my inspiration word for this season in my life on a pillow. It simply says: "Blessed." After four months of intense chemotherapy, I can say my family and I are truly blessed!

  8. Image for Sandy Gooselaw Sandy Gooselaw

    My friend gave me a metal sign that read, "Laugh Out Loud". I also love the following - "She believed she could - so she did". More than one word - I know. Or - "Just Jump". Good luck Karianne! Your creativity always inspires me. Happy day to you!! :)

  9. Image for Kristi Kristi

    There are so many good words that have been suggested. But the one that stands out for me is Believe! Such a strong word! Maybe I needed to hear that word for myself today. LOL! Keep up the good work!!!

  10. Image for Mary Mary

    Glad to see that Gloria said, PRAY. Goes along with all of the other inspirational words but submits to God's action rather than merely to our own. Yes, PRAY.

  11. Image for Tina Matteson Tina Matteson

    I really love a lot of the suggestions! Especially LOVE! I also want to suggest "Try." Some people don't feel they can inspire anyone... but all of us can try - to be our best, do do our best... just start somewhere.

  12. Image for Donna Marie Donna Marie

    I chose the word "Think." It doesn't appear in any of the previous comments, but I would like for everyone to stop and think, before you proceed!!!

  13. Image for ruby ruby

    SAVOUR to enjoy an experience slowly, in order to enjoy it as much as possible this is a word i have looked for in signage and cannot find. i know, i will have to make my own. it reminds me to stop and smell the roses, take time to really enjoy all the little things that make life so wonderful....

  14. Image for Peg Peg

    celebrate (this glorious world) harmony (strive for it with others) reflect (cherish quiet times) shine (like a ROCKSTAR!!!!!!!)

  15. Image for Ren Ren

    Definitely use verbs. Other readers have suggested great options. I like imagine, create, believe, hope, dream, pray, love. Listen is good too. A great idea!

  16. Image for Loryl Loryl

    I've loved reading all the suggestions! What a great idea! I'm gonna make some for my craft room and kitchen! My word BE In the moment In the present In the world

  17. Image for Colleen@LilacDriveDesigns Colleen@LilacDriveDesigns

    I can't just give one word that hasn't already been given in the previous comments, but my favorite quote/scripture right now is "Perhaps this is the moment for which you have been created" Ester 4:14. I love it and just bought a sign yesterday with this on it and it will be the inspiration for my craft room re-do that I'm working on.

  18. Image for gina gina

    Ha! I was going to make these for my dining room! My words are grace, gratitude, and gather. But the house of hope has to have hope as a word!

  19. Image for jane collins jane collins

    I have read all of the inspiring words. I especially like two. Breathe --I know this is a new word people are using but I like it. I am sure it will be overused in time. Relax-- Sometimes we just need to take a step back and relax. Relax, to me, is a calm word.

  20. Image for Donna Donna

    Well, I think that since it's House for Hope...HOPE would be just about perfect! I also like EXPLORE, IMAGINE, ADVENTURE! Since we're moving to Nashville (or maybe I should say we're TRYING to move to Nashville!!), I think I might get lucky enough to be able to tour the home & see all your hard work in person...Sweet!! Good luck & don't forget to have fun with it!!

  21. Image for Kelly B Kelly B

    My childhood best friend passed from cancer last summer and the words (verbs) I always thought of when dealing with the situation were: Empathy, pray, breathe, trust, and love ❤️

  22. Image for Karen Karen

    I like words that make one think outside themselves. Giver Joy Abundant Wisdom Choose Look Beyond You are so creative, I know the right words will come. Thanks for including us though!

  23. Image for Ange McAlister Ange McAlister

    From your first post: Jump, Dream, and Hope "I just jumped. Here’s to houses that dream. Here’s to making a difference. And here’s to jumping for hope in 2017. ?"

  24. Image for Sue Sue

    Karianne,your readers have some beautiful words. I'm laughing thinking of your best friend,plywood, going to lunch with you. I'm weird.

  25. Image for Toni Toni

    Keep Hope Keep Believing Keep Doing I know not a single word, but "Keep" makes in so empowering. Maybe " Empowering".

  26. Image for Colleen F Colleen F

    Funny, this reminds me of our family tradition on New Year's Day. Before eating, we pray and then individually go around the circle and share one word reflecting on the upcoming year. The words have been all over the place over the years... graduate, health, golf, water, persevere, job, education, travel, thankful, roof, house, family, rain, downsize and improve are just a few. For this special project I like BEGIN and AMEN.

  27. Image for Cindy Cindy

    What a fabulous project. Thanks for the idea. Our family has a different motivational word each year. For 2017 our word is BELIEVE I will be making one of these with that word.

  28. Image for Jae Jae

    So many great words and phrases. my mantra for this year, especially seeing so many cruel acts and words the media is reporting, is Be Kind. I am working hard on being kinder, saying nice things or keeping quiet! :) and looking for and dwelling upon all the good things and people in the world. Love your sign! So clever and great idea for a big impact for not much money.

  29. Image for Leslie Reichert Leslie Reichert

    So many excellent words for your wall art... Enough to fill the Guggenheim! But my vote is to include Celebrate as the last one because the power behind each word suggested is worthy of Celebration!!! KariAnne, when I read the stories you share in your blog, I'm inspired to remember my own stories and take a few minutes to give God thanks and Celebrate this adventure we call life! You Jump in with inspiration, joy, blessing, love, abundance, resilience, gratitude, perseverance, humility, dreams, creativity, strength, belief, etc. as you weave your tales of cheerleaders and basketball players, baseball left-fielders, bowls made from trees, red lipstick and big earrings - not to mention twinkling brown eyes and endless additions of beauty in you home. For sure you'll choose the right words and they will Sparkle like the stars you see on a clear night. Eager to see what they are.

  30. Image for Kathleen Kathleen

    Hmmmmm. Pic like hope (perfect w/project name), love, peace, calm (sooo needed now) or create, dream (to go w/inspire) ... Great idea, and what wonderful suggestions you've received, KariAnne. Very "inspired" dear girl! kj

  31. Image for Carol Carol

    There is a word that seems to be popping up everywhere these days. I think it would be unique in your room for this special family. These days I think we are all wanting a little hygge in our homes. I think you have the gift of doing this in your home KariAnn. See www.hyggehouse.com. Hygge (pronounced hue-gah) is a Danish word that is a feeling or mood that comes taking genuine pleasure in making ordinary, every day moments more meaningful, beautiful or special. Whether it’s making coffee a verb by creating a ritual of making it then lingering over a cup to a cosy evening in with friends to the simple act of lighting a candle with every meal. Hygge is being aware of a good moment whether it’s simple or special.

  32. Image for Susie Susie

    This is a beautiful post. Every word offered by the ladies is special. So I will leave it at beautiful and special. It's 6am on a chilly Saturday morning. Reading this post is a lovely way to start the day. :-) Have a nice weekend! Susie from The Chelsea Project

  33. Image for Terri Terri

    This post has stuck with me...I've thought about it several times. When my devotional came, the word "hope" - which was sticking with me as a possibility was made even more special. Thank you for sharing your creative, positive energy. God bless! https://links.intouchministries.mkt4193.com/servlet/MailView?ms=MTY0NDIxODYS1&r=MTIzODUwODk0MzMS1&j=OTQyNDUzMDQ0S0&mt=1&rt=0

  34. Image for Jean | DelightfulRepast.com Jean | DelightfulRepast.com

    When I saw your post at the link party, I (mis)read the title as: How to Decorate the Walls of Your Bathroom. When I saw my error, I literally laughed out loud. Whilst I do not have a ballroom (and never will), I do have a bathroom (and always will). Do you have a post about that? Because once I get around to taking down the wallpaper in there, it will never again have wallpaper and I'm going to have to figure something out. Let me know, Kari Anne! I'm counting on you! PS I see you have a post about choosing the perfect paint color. As someone who is, as we speak, sitting in a room that is not the perfect paint color, well, I am inspired to rush right over there and bookmark that post!

  35. Image for Kelly Dexter-Miller Kelly Dexter-Miller

    I love this and am always inspired by you! Inspire. Integrity. Intend. Initiate. Innovate. Invent..... I can't wait to see this amazing room that you've worked so hard on!

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