I started this blog with the lofty intention of perching on the steps of decorating Mount Olympus and handing out sage advice and pithy quips on decorating.

In my mind….I was going to be amazing.

At the time, I had a camera that came in a yellow disposable box and you threw it away after you used it.  The words white balance and manual focus and DSLR were not in my vocabulary.  So I hired a local photographer to come out to the house and take pictures of my Christmas decor.  I worked for weeks getting the house ready and composing witty decorating repartee’ for my big blog debut.

The pictures came back and I loaded them into the computer.

I was so excited.

I couldn’t wait to share my decorating knowledge with the world.  My hands practically danced for joy as they flew over the keyboard writing a lengthy dissertation on how to use neutrals in Christmas decorating.



Until I noticed the scraggly Wal Mart Christmas tree without a tree skirt.

And the white pumpkins I had inadvertently left out by Mary and Joseph and baby Jesus.

And the dust on the bookshelf.

And the set of encyclopedias that the dog had chewed.


I tell you all this so you understand that I’m not really the best advice giver in the world.

I’m just a girl who wears cheetah print shoes with jeans and big earrings and shops every 90% off sale between here and the Atlantic Ocean.

I like spray paint.

And chips and dings and character and imperfections.

I like anything that looks like it would be found on the set of Mad Men (the first season).

I like glitter and barn wood and milk glass and things that I never even knew I needed from the clearance aisle.


And if I could give one piece of design advice…..my favorite decorating tip would be…..

…..to decorate from your heart.

I know it sounds corny and I hope you aren’t rolling your eyes……because it’s true.  And the best advice this no-tree-skirt-pumpkin-decorating-manger-scene-clearance-aisle girl can give.

If you like bright colors and the magazines all say that neutrals are in please don’t listen to the magazines.  Hang the brightest colors you can from every corner of your house.

If you like an all white room with a pink chair and a black table with a single lemon in a bowl as a centerpiece….simply own it.

If you like orange shag carpeting and lava lamps and the brilliant combination of purple and fuchsia….

….you go girl.


How you decorate should truly be all about you.

Make a wreath from twigs in your yard.

Make sure the world knows you love Pi (the number) although that made me hungry for this.

Put a recipe on the wall.

Design a sign from your favorite song lyrics.

Then your house will be a reflection of you and your heart and truly become a home…..

…..that everyone will know was decorated by a rock star. 🙂

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


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

    You've been peaking in my window right??? I man not have orange shag but my furniture/print is from the 70's and designers would call my decor "Early Dated" or "Got Stuck in the 70's" I don't have avocado appliances but that's just because we've moved. AND we still have a 40's fridge in the garage that is still functioning. It's our second refrigerator -- doesn't everyone have two?-- and it belonged to my in-laws. I think it was their first fridge when they got married. :-( And you, my friend, are a designer rock star of the first level!! Dust or no dust, tree skirt or no tree skirt. You are the only one that noticed -- we are always agog at your ideas. Have a wonderful day!!

  2. Image for Carol Carol

    The ONLY advice that makes sense................... That said, and I truly believe in it, that said, could you let us know how you made that wonderful pumpkin that is on the wall between the windows. It is beautiful, Thank you. CR

  3. Image for Thrift My House Thrift My House

    Amen! It's taken me a while to find my style and I'm getting there. After a lot of trial and error, I've finally stopped trying to make things work if I don't love it. Starting over sooner saves time and effort. As much as I love color, I can't live in it. I prefer neutrals. It took me a while to come to terms with that because colorful rooms are beautiful ...great advice Kari Anne! I'm listening!

  4. Image for Nancy Carr Nancy Carr

    My Dear, you are an amazing woman and I love every email and ideas I receive from you. You are awesome! Blessings

  5. Image for Amy W. Amy W.

    Loved your simple 4 word inspiration! Decorate From Your Heart!....That's exactly what I'm going to do when I get home from work today! 2 Days ago, I bought a yard and a half of Orange Burlap at the fabric store. That's big doings for me as my palate is usually cream, white, brown, black colors. Anyways, this bright orange burlap spoke to me in that it wanted to be made into bows....for my wreaths, around cornstalks outside, and where ever an orange bow could be used. Well.....I cut the fabric up into 5 1/2 wide strips....zigzaged the edges on the sewing machine...and sewed the edges together to make a spool of continuous orange burlap......I sat on the thought yesterday of using it....but now after reading your blog this morning.....feel more empowered to get it out and go crazy with creativity! I'm sure my neighbors will pass by my cozy lil home tomorrow on Graafschap Rd. and wonder what on earth is going on with the gal living in it!!! :) Thanks so very much for sharing your words of wisdom! Wishing you the best of Fall days today!! :)

  6. Image for Mimi - 247 Mulberry Lane Mimi - 247 Mulberry Lane

    I spy with my little eye the most magnificent pumpkin EVER in your dining room!!! Oh good, Carol saw it too so I know I'm not dreaming this early in the morning. Please do share the details! Thanks for the daily inspiration you provide!

  7. Image for Nancy Carr Nancy Carr

    OMG! Just realized I called you "My Dear" which means I must be feeling much older than you. I do not want to act my age! Or even look my age for that matter. I have much to do yet. Blessings, Rev. Dr. Nancy Carr

  8. Image for Alice Alice

    I have to say thanks, simply thanks. I love to read design blogs and magazines and ogle over the beautiful rooms. But every room has white walls and my walls are soothing and cozy and colored! You give me confidence! I have a serious designer crush! Again, just thanks.

  9. Image for Lisa Lisa

    I am with you 100% KariAnne! Your home is clearly a reflection of your taste and that is why we all are drawn to it--it is not a cookie cutter decorated home. It boasts fabulous personality. I can confidently proclaim that my decorating has always prompted compliments and while is not the goal, it certainly means a lot to a me. I have lived in my fair share of houses and hearing comments like 'your house always feels so warm and welcoming' just melt me. Anyone reading this and feeling insecure about decorating, don't worry about the rules-surround yourself with what you love and place it where you want and how you want. I gaurentee you will end up with a home that reflects you and that in itself will bring you joy!! Most importantly, have fun with it and add a bit of whimsy here and there :-) Fondly, -Lisa

  10. Image for Donnamae Donnamae

    You know...I used to have multi-colored Orange shag carpeting in our home...did you happen to see that? It was really hard to decorate around....so I choose to ignore it! And it worked...it was the 80's. So the advice you gave is precious. Family and friends still came over to our home...and had a great time...and never mentioned the Orange shag carpeting....because I never made it an issue. I did what I wanted to do...I decorated from my heart...and it worked...and I still do! ;)

  11. Image for Jossie B Jossie B

    ...and why didn't you include those "imperfect" pictures in THIS blog. I would have loved to see them. I am in the process to redo my bedroom. I had been sharing my apartment with my two daughters, one son-in-law and a grandson. The family of three stayed with me for almost 3 years. They finally moved, and I am reclaiming my bedroom. My style, more like the cottage look as seen on the Cobblestone Way calendars by Kim Jacobs. I have been saving and collecting these calendars for a while. I especially like the 2004 calendar because since I saw the April 2004 picture of a cottage bedroom, I've been wanting to decorate my bedroom similar to that picture. BTW, April is my birth month. The funny thing is that I live in an apartment and some of my kids think the cottage look is not what I should do in an apartment bedroom. So I will share this blog with them and will continue with my plan.

  12. Image for Marsanne Marsanne

    Do you have a post on how you created the filigree pumpkin art in the very first picture? I don't do a lot of fall decorating, but I love that piece! I would like to recreate it if I can. I always have so much fun going through your posts. You do a great job! Thanks :)

  13. Image for Gracia @ Gracious Offering Gracia @ Gracious Offering

    So well said, Kari Anne! Though I love my own home, I always enjoy visiting my friends' homes who have a different decor styles. One loves red and uses it everywhere...another is very farmhouse/cottage...another is very dramatic with lots of charcoal and silver. You get the picture! Our homes absolutely should reflect our personalities and life style, right? Thanks for your encouraging and gracious post.

  14. Image for Tina Matteson Tina Matteson

    I gotta tell ya, KariAnne, I wouldn't have noticed the missing tree skirt or the pumpkins! I am always in awe of the beauty of your rooms and can't get enough of your blog. Thanks for this lovely post.

  15. Image for Gee Gee

    Advise after my own heart!!! Decorate for you... LUV it. Some people try so heard to follow fads and it comes of as being so contrived. My home has to be a reflection of me and the people who live in it... and the dog :) I am the girl that mixes inherited pieces with patio pieces and consignment finds and call it me! Thanks for sharing this KariAnne.

  16. Image for Jane Jane

    If I could follow only one blog in the world, it would be yours. Because you admit to where you haven't always succeeded and that's real. And then you move on to something that's "just right"! And that's all we need! Thank you for being you. And I love this new feature, just got back from Ann's! Great timing! Jane xx

  17. Image for Regina Regina

    The very best advice! Sometimes I look at a totally soothing neutral room and I think, "I need to get rid of the red chair and goldy-tan couch and go neutral . . . " and then I imagine my life without a red chair and I think, "No. Anything but the RED CHAIR." Someday, I may be the person with white walls, neutral rug, and a RED CHAIR! And it will be MINE. :) Have fun in Clarksville tonight! Wish I could make it down there!!

  18. Image for Sherry Myers Sherry Myers

    Thank you, thank you. You articulated very well what I have always believed. Fads come and go. Decorating from the heart, as well as most things done from a kind and loving heart, is always warm, welcoming and most effective on the heart of another. Thank you for the reminder! I would love to know how you made the beautiful pumpkin art in your lovely Dining Room. Keep crafting and sharing and we will be better for it! Sherry Myers

  19. Image for Pinky at Designs by Pinky Pinky at Designs by Pinky

    THANK YOU, thank you!!!!!!!!!! I DO decorate from my heart. I am NOT a white house person at all, so I fill my home with the colors that speak to my heart so that when I walk into a room, I sigh. And think, "I love this room". Why would anyone NOT want to be happy in their home? Years ago when I was much younger I greatly admired a friends house and tried to copy every single thing she did. I ended up NOT happy at all and finally did what made ME happy to live in my house. It's the only way to go. You are TRULY a rock star my friend!!!! XO

  20. Image for Jayne Jayne

    Best advise I've gotten in a long time. Too often we try to be like the Jones's and never really like what we are doing. One blessing from God is the things we like. Enjoy that blessing to the fullest!

  21. Image for Anita from Cedar Hill Farmhouse Anita from Cedar Hill Farmhouse

    That is so funny. How many times have I taken a photo only to realize there is dust on a table or dog hair in the floor, or the pillows are mashed. It happens all of the time. But your home is perfectly charming! And clearly you no longer need a pro photographer, you are one.

  22. Image for Dana Nichols Dana Nichols

    When I first started reading your blog, I knew right off that I liked you. We like a lot of the same things. And you have just given the best advice I've ever heard on decorating. You are one smart cookie. Thanks for doing what you do!

  23. Image for chrissi chrissi

    thank you so much. as a blog reader, i get so tired and overwhelmed (or underwhelmed), with lights and shadows and magazine quality photos. as a former photo stylist, i get it. yet, when i read a blog i prefer real life to pretend magazine. i appreciate the staged shots and the quality but i look for a bit of heart to come through. i will take phone shot from the heart over a perfectly lit shot any day. i come to your blog for both the eye candy and the heart♥

  24. Image for Ren Ren

    Perfect advice! So many people try to decorate to please others and it never feels right. Since you are busy this evening giving your fabulous talk, you probably didn't see the national news. Clarksville has the highest percentage of eligible bachelors in the nation! They must need a good decorator. Thanks for the daily dose of sunshine.

  25. Image for bj bj

    Best advice on decorating I've ever heard...I so so agree with you. Nothing wrong with copycatting, either. :) My good decorating tip...(not my BEST ONE but a good one) Use plenty of mirrors to make your whole room sparkle....!:)

  26. Image for Shirley@housepitalitydesigns Shirley@housepitalitydesigns

    I believe in everyone having their own style.....and when you see a pic of a room, you can easily recognize that person's unique room....it is wonderful to have tips from those who are very talented in design and then take those tips to incorporate it in your home and your signature style....Love this series of design tips!

  27. Image for michelle michelle

    You won my heart when you noted (the first season) of Mad Men. This is wonderfully frilly and fun advice. I've always done it sometimes to quizzical looks and sometimes to oohs and aahhs. Just live with the stuff that makes you happy and it will be perfect for you. Great post!

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