I know I say this every year…

…but doesn’t it seem like we were just opening Christmas presents?

I’m pretty sure if I looked hard enough, I’d discover a few ornaments tucked away in a piece of milk glass.

But winter is gone.

Spring somehow showed up for a minute with some flowers.

And now?

It’s summer.  Time for sunshine and lazy days and sweet tea and green grass and fresh cut hay….

…and a summer house tour and 10 easy decorating tips along the way.

Tip number 1. Never underestimate the power of an ottoman.

I used to have a coffee table here, but everyone kept putting their feet up on it.  I solved the stinky feet on the table problem with a tufted ottoman.

And when I need a flat surface to stack random books and roses from the yard?

We made this DIY wood tray.

In case you have an ottoman and a tray and this tip wasn’t that helpful–here are three ways to style the tray on your ottoman.

We are only about helpful tips here.

Tip number 2: An inexpensive built-in idea.

Scroll up and look at the picture of the family room.

Scroll up and look at the picture of the family room.

See those built-ins in the back?

They weren’t there when we bought the house.  We added them.  And guess what they are made of?

Inexpensive unpainted kitchen cabinets from the home improvement store.  #bestcostsavingidea

Tip number 3:  Make a pillow that looks like your house

This is my house on a pillow.

It’s so much easier than it looks.

It’s made on a pillow form and you can read all the diy instructions here.

This is a non-tip picture.

I just liked the sunshine.

It stops by every summer.

Tip number 4:  Make a chalkboard out of anything

Guess what this used to be?

An old billiard cue frame.

I found it at a junk store and knew it would make a perfect chalkboard for the wall.

Next time you go to a junk store–put on your chalkboard eyes.

Tip number 5:  Your kitchen doesn’t have to be high-end

Don’t listen to anyone who tells you differently.

This kitchen is not fancy.  Not even close.  I would never invite a kitchen designer over for macaroni and cheese.

But it’s so much better than fancy.

It’s paid for.

Here are some inexpensive ideas to update your kitchen.

Tip number 6:  Build a recipe wall

I’ve shared this project a zillion times.

It’s so easy and such a conversation starter I’m sharing it a zillion more.

Here’s how to build a plate rack and how to create a recipe wall behind it.

And here are a few lessons the recipe wall taught me.

Tip number 7:  Your tile doesn’t have to be fancy either

Here’s a close-up of the tile in the kitchen.

I couldn’t afford anything high end, so we went with this 79 cent subway tile.

But then?

I added that little beaded detail that I think was about $2.00 per tile.

Look at how that little detail made all the difference.

Tip number 8:  Embrace the knicks

Here’s the bedroom ready for summer.

Look at that table between the chairs.

Can you see the knicks?  That table has been through five seasons of coffee and Larkrise to Candleford and dozens of KY basketball playoffs and it’s seen every single Fixer Upper that ever lived.

It’s earned every single knick.

I never apologize for them.  I embrace them and act like the table was meant to be distressed all along.

Tip number 9:  Every house needs a little blue and white

I love neutrals.

I can’t help it.  They are just so perfect and calming and go with everything.

But in this space, I had to embrace my inner blue and white.

Tip number 10:  Create a place to sit in the sunshine

We all need a little outdoor space to call our own.

Whether it’s a porch in the midwest or a patio in the south or a chair next to a window in a tiny apartment in New York City or a painted porch on the back of a Kentucky farmhouse…

…press pause and sit for a moment and enjoy a lazy summer day.

Enjoy today.

Because you know…

…pumpkins and hayrides are just around the corner. 🙂

I’m so happy to be sharing my summer home tour along with some other amazing bloggers.

Stop by and say hello. 🙂

Julie Blanner

Bless’er House

Worthing Court

Stone Gable

Rooms for Rent

Refresh Restyle

Farmhouse Chic

The Shabby Creek Cottage

Sand Dollar Lane

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


  1. Image for Sue Sondker Sue Sondker

    There is no better comparison to your decorating. Keep being yourself with your gift of sharing. You are so refreshing

  2. Image for Betsy Betsy

    Good morning Kari Anne, Happy Monday! I wish I had you around to preach #5 to me. We moved into a small 960 sq. ft. house and we did a new kitchen. My husband hand built all our kitchen cabinets, a shaker style he painted white. When it came to appliances everyone said "get stainless steel". I listened to them and now I regret it. White appliances would have been better in a small kitchen. The stainless steel shows every mark and I am constantly cleaning them. Visually they stick out like a sore thumb.

    1. Image for Betsy Betsy

      Whoops....forgot to add. Your comment about the holidays being here before we know it made me laugh. My husband and I make most of our Christmas gifts so we are already on the hunt for ideas. I took some time yesterday going through your blog of past holidays postings for gift ideas since your family is so creative. It's Christmas in July in our household. : )

      1. Image for Kris Kris

        We re-did our kitchen 3 years ago and I didn't follow the stainless steel appliance advice--your comment makes me glad I stuck with white. We also have a small kitchen and I wanted visual "flow" ... also, I used to work in industrial kitchens so stainless steel reminds me of that kind of cooking (and work!), not yummy homemade goodness. KariAnne, I am such a ding-dong. I read your "non-tip picture" as if the picture was tipping to the side. Took me a minute to figure out what you really meant. Ha. BTW, I LOVE the idea of kitchen cabinet built-ins to keep an area de-cluttered. I have a spot in my living room where that could potentially work ...

  3. Image for Cecilia Cecilia

    I love how you show to get high end looks while not spending tons of money...and it looks so inviting - not stuffy at all! I'm still trying to figure out where I can put a recipe wall or art - because I have always loved yours! My kitchen has limited wall space and I'm not willing to give up the chalkboard wall. :) hmmm, maybe I have a spot! I'll have to see if it works. Happy Summer Days to you, KariAnne! hugs, Cecilia

  4. Image for ELLEN ELLEN

    Wonderful summer tour! I never tire of revisiting your beautiful decorating posts with the humorous dialogue and gorgeous photos. It was summer here last week for 3 days, but Mother Nature appears to be undecided today. Thank-you for this most enjoyable post.

  5. Image for Ana Maria Ana Maria

    I love your kitchen! I love your white appliances! Thank you for letting us into your beautiful home and demonstrating that we don't have to buy the "HGTV mantra".

  6. Image for Leen Leen

    oh geeze, you didn't have to share the pic of the plate rack! Every time I see it I spend the next week of my life trying to find a spot for one in my kitchen (never have any luck!). Love being part of this tour with you :)

  7. Image for Pinky Pinky

    Your home is just so lovely and lovingly done! I enjoy whenever you give us a tour. I will NOT think about pumpkins yet as we have barely had Spring here. Summer is not here yet either so I am enjoying each day....so it doesn't pass by too quickly!

  8. Image for Yvonne @ StoneGable Yvonne @ StoneGable

    Your tips are so right on!!!! And as far as your kitchen... it's famous! So much better than high end. It's been seen and loved by so so many! You inspire me with your images, your word and just who you are! xo

  9. Image for june june

    I always enjoy your posts...today's were exceptional. I have a brother who remodels primarily kitchen and bathroom areas. I always share ideas with him when I see or read something. These ideas will for certain be part of our next phone chat.

  10. Image for Sue Sue

    I'm just like the sunshine,I'm popping in to say hello. Happy summer to one beautiful lady,who happens to have a beautiful family and home. Lucky girl!

  11. Image for Michelle Michelle

    Oh I just love your house <3 I think I've said that before too but, oh well...it bears saying again :-) I especially loved the shot of the kitchen and gave it a home on my Interior Design Pinterest Board. For inspiration. Something to aspire to. And the subway tile with the beaded insert? Lovely! Better than any expensive fancy tile and kind of a wink to milkglass, me thinks. And I know I've said this before too but I fell in love with blue and white when my sweet hubby started bringing home blue and white Dutch pottery from Aruba. I found it goes surprisingly well with lots of other colors. I really needed this post right now--a little sunshine and warmth--because we're still getting snow here...

  12. Image for Michelle Michelle

    Hi KariAnne! Thank you so much for sharing this at the Farmhouse Friday link party! I’ve chosen it as one of the features for tomorrow’s party :)

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