If you had to guess….

….what decorating question do you think I get asked the most?

Where I got my smocked burlap curtains?


How does the house stay so clean with four children, two dogs, two cats, rabbits, deer and a tortoise named Fred?

Ummmm….even closer…..but not quite.

It is…however….a great question with an easy answer……

….Photoshop. 🙂


Actually….the question I get asked the most is…..

….where do you begin when you decorate a room?


How do you get the idea for your rooms?

What is the first thing you start with?

And sometimes someone will e-mail me with…..”I really want a new look for my space…..

….but I’m stuck.”


I love that question….because I understand.


Probably more than you know.

I’ve spent more time than I even want to admit…..

….trying to figure out a vision for a room.

What I want it to look like?

How I want it to feel?

What do I want to say?


And when I can’t figure it out….when I’m stuck….when I just can’t get it…..

…..I start with the fabric.

Does that make sense?

It’s something easy….something tangible….

….an easy place to start.

If I’m trying to figure out a space….and I can’t visualize it in my mind…..

…..I go to the fabric store and wander the aisles until I get inspired.

I usually have a color palette that I want to use as my foundation.  I look at fabric after fabric…until I find the one.  And you know what’s interesting….sometimes it’s not always the one I thought it would be.  Sometimes it’s orange instead of red or it’s graphic when I thought I was looking for subtle.

Sometimes it’s never what I planned.

It’s almost like the fabric chooses me and then twirls me around the room in perfect time to the music to start the dance.

So corny….I know.

But so true.


Like this black and white all–over pattern in an indoor/outdoor fabric.  I thought I wanted to go in a different direction for the porch.  In my mind I envisioned neutrals and grays and white slip covers and topiaries.  But then I saw this fabric….

….and the rest of the porch fell into place.

Instead of neutrals….after I found the fabric….I wanted to go bolder.

Originally the chairs on the porch were a brown basic fabric to build my palette around….but when I saw that fabric I knew I wanted color and fun and a porch that didn’t take itself so seriously.


Next I found these deacon’s chairs in a light turquoise and painted the table black to anchor this side of the room.

I kept the rugs and the stripes on the chairs….because the new fabric would make them pop.

Then I added fresh flowers in pots and planted tulip bulbs for spring.


I wish I could explain the rest of the steps after I find the fabric.

But I can’t….exactly.

I kind of make them up as I go along.

Sometimes it involves left over paint in the garage or shopping the house or spray painting something to match.


And sometimes it all works…..and truthfully (just between us)….

…..sometimes not so much.

Sometimes the room takes a little extra planning to get it right.

But most of the time….the fabric that calls my name….that wonderful, amazing inspiration….

….knows exactly how to dance. 🙂


And just in case you wanted some fabric to dance with….Online Fabric Store is having an amazing sale for today ONLY!

And you get a free yard of burlap and a packet of seeds with every order and

a $15 gift card with all orders over $75.

Happy spring shopping!

disclosure:  I was provided with the fabric in this post by Online Fabric Store.  All opinions on fabrics and dancing and twirling are completely my own.

Please see my disclosure policy for more information.

PS  In the exciting news department…..THE CHALKBOARD WON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And all because of you!!!!!!!!!!!

Thank you for the encouragement and voting and support and joy you bring to me every single day.

Have a wonderful day rock star!

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


  1. Image for Heather {Woods of Bell Trees} Heather {Woods of Bell Trees}

    You know sometimes I plan a space and I have the ideals in my head, but when I find that perfect thing I think I can't get it and because that's not what I had in my head...I guess I need to get out of the rut and just run with it, I mean that's what truly makes a space special. I can already feel the design dust bunnies busting their way out! :D

  2. Image for judy judy

    My favorite part of decorating, is seeing what you do once you find the perfect fabric. What a gorgeous, inviting place you created! My second favorite part of decorating, is how easy you make it all look. Thanks for sharing your mind processes with us.

  3. Image for Marisa Franca Marisa Franca

    Okay -- I voted again :-) And I thought I was the only one fabric spoke to. I love, love, love fabric . . . Did I mention how much I love fabric? You are so right about having the fabric inspire. I could live at Calico Corners -- just put in a cot and I would be happy. I could touch every bolt carry it around with me to find other fabrics that would coordinate. I guess I'm getting carried away -- your room really looks great -- so put together. You've got a good eye!! Have a great day and I am keeping my fingers and toes crossed that you win.

  4. Image for Angela Gabhart Angela Gabhart

    Love the porch. I want to drink my coffee out there while listening to the birds this Spring. But honestly, the setting is almost as pretty as the porch!!! Love the sunshine filled're getting warmer:)

  5. Image for Teresa H. Fields Teresa H. Fields

    Fabic is the easiest way to get started, but sometimes I have a hard time committing. Fyi, made before 9am, good luck.

  6. Image for Gee Gee

    I can see myself on that porch... me, and a nice glass of sweet tea. And laughter. Lots of laughter. Luv, luv the look Karianne .

  7. Image for Lisa @celebrate CREATIVITY Lisa @celebrate CREATIVITY

    Good morning Karianne, Beautiful porch. I want to come and have lunch on it. As a long-time fabric collector (OK, hoarder), I can appreciate the direction that a great bolt of fabric can take you in. Good luck on the chalkboard project. I voted. Have a great day, Lisa

  8. Image for Kris Kris

    I love textiles. Too bad I don't know how to use a sewing machine. Your comments today are so true. We renovated our kitchen in the fall--white cabinets, some with glass fronts--and I loved it and thought I wanted some sort of neutral-ly window treatments, much like something my idol Karianne would do ... but it was too blah. I was stumped till one fateful day while wandering in Target, I saw a tablecloth ... in case you are wondering, for a $10-on-sale item, I got enough fabric for 2 diy window cornices (made out of foam core board and duct tape and batting) and now I am happy happy happy. Well, ok, you can see my kitchen from my living room so now of course I feel the need to do a little living room refreshing--and I had this brilliant idea to make slipcovers for my living room pillows (I don't have a lot of storage space so storing multiple pillows is out) for different look but our Meijer store (similar to Walmart) now carries pillow slipcovers and they were on sale this week ... I now own 2 "different but the same" pillows. I STILL think making pillow slipcovers would be a brilliant business idea. Hmmm.

  9. Image for Dotte Dotte

    Just beautiful!!! I wish I had your eye and creativity .... you make every room so comfy and inviting. Love, love , love the deacons chairs!!! Now if only I was close enough so you could point me in the direction to finding such wonderful treasures.

  10. Image for Betsy@coastal-colors Betsy@coastal-colors

    Oh, how I love your porch! The black and white fabric is one of may favorites! You always amaze me with your fabulous ideas! The turquoise Deacon chairs are a perfect accent for the black table too! I'm off to vote! Good luck!

  11. Image for Carol Carol

    You are my new favorite decorating website! You do a great job of posting regularly with all-decorating, all-the-time, and I love your style. I also love your phrase "Good morning, Rock Star" because it reminds me of my daughter Sara. After being diagnosed with cancer, she blogged on Caring Bridge, and often began her posts with the phrase "Good morning, God's favorite!" She introduced me to the decorating blogs several years ago, specifically Layla over at Lettered Cottage and the Nester. Her comment was, "Mom, your style is coming back" :-) We lost her a year and a half ago, and I'm only just beginning to look around and think about decorating again. Thank you for inspiring me!

  12. Image for Donnamae Donnamae

    I do love your porch...I would spend so much time there. Is it a three season porch...or is it screened? Either way...gorgeous. And's the fabrics...they make the room! ;)

  13. Image for Sharon H Sharon H

    Miz karianne......sigh....I knew I needed to move down the lane from you so I could learn all your secrets! I so wish we were neighbors so I could take advantage, (no wait....that doesn't sound quite right...) umm, so YOU might take pity on me and lend a decorating hand....(there, I like the sound of that much better ). My entire house is so "tired looking" of these days it will be the way, I just peeked at BHG and you won this round!!! yippee, you go Miz Rock Star ;)

  14. Image for Cheryl at Snaps of Ginger Cheryl at Snaps of Ginger

    I think that makes a lot of sense. Fabric is kind of like picking the personality for a room. Funky, ecclectic, warm and cozy, bright and energetic. And you can build off of that. ~Cheryl

  15. Image for Regina Regina

    Isn't it amazing how it can be the unexpected that speaks to you? I'm redoing a bedroom - for now, it's daughter #1's room, until she gets her big break and moves to the big city (savings plan is in place, thank you very much! ;) ), my grandmother's furniture is staying, and we just laid carpet last week. The color? Emily grey (we made it up). She found a comforter cover she loved, from IKEA, that was white with black graphic letters all over it - SO CUTE! - and she has a bright orange chair (my OTHER grandmother's chair, and it goes with her!). Curtains. Ugh. Seven windows. Yep. Seven. I looked at every curtain in the four-state area (not really, but you get the idea). Black? Orange? Grey? Print? Stripe? Would you believe I didn't get inspired until I saw some BLUE ones? I'm SO EXCITED! THey should arrive any day now!!!!!! Happy sunshiney day!!!!

  16. Image for Cindy Barganier Cindy Barganier

    Three things: 1. I voted for the rock star. 2. "I start with the fabric" is music to a fabric designer's ears. :) 3. PHOTOSHOP! genius. now, if it only worked on dust in real life. sigh

  17. Image for Sue Sue

    Congratulations on the win!!! Thank you for inspiring those of us who "sometimes don't quite get it" but are encouraged to try! Your blog posts are always interesting, inspiring, and creative. Back porch is the bomb!!! Be Blessed!

  18. Image for Winnie Winnie

    WooHoooooooooooo! on the blackboard win! Now we will all be waiting for your trip to Iowa!!! As a fabric lover of many years, I understand your process and am so happy that fabric really 'talks' to people still! Blessings to all . . .

  19. Image for Marydon Marydon

    Congrats on your win, sweetie! You need some of our 4,000 vintage feedsacks for your farm house decor ... many would be so pretty there. TTFN ~ Marydon


    Congrads on your Win. I like started with fabric, then kind of build around it. Your system sure works fine for you; as your beautiful photos show. love your ideas.

  21. Image for angela@spinachtiger angela@spinachtiger

    I could spend days in fabric stores. Every time I read your blog, I get hungry to decorate. I recently bought a very expensive piece of fabric to make pillows and decided it was too pretty to cut, and has to lay over my leather ottoman. I thought I wanted a totally neutral room, and now my accents are hot pink (and some blue). It all started with that piece of fabric that I can't stop looking at. Great post.

  22. Image for Sandi Sandi

    The chalkboard won because it was a totally awesome project! (if I had seen that window frame it would have been in the back of my truck in a split second. I am soooo jealous) Love your blog--you never fail to put a smile on my face. Your writing ability is a wonderful gift. Have a blessed day

  23. Image for Jill Jill

    Woohoo! Just finished my happy dance on your behalf! Congratulations! Karianne, you are Iowa-bound to the mother ship of BH&G propelled by talent and a fabulous attitude! So happy for you! Love your fabric choices! Sewing is not in my wheelhouse so I am taking an upholstery class. You and Marion (Miss Mustard Seed) inspired me. Off to the fabric store to pick fabric for my son's chair! Have an excellent day!

  24. Image for amy watson amy watson

    YAY.....YAY....YAY.....the chalk board won....I was realy rooting for it and voted 10 times!!!!! I really did want it to win :) It was up against that beautiful turquoise chandalier/flower pots hanging beauty, but I still wanted the chalkboard to WIN....... BTW Your porch has always been one of my favorite porches ever!!!, I am a southerner and we just LOVE our makes our sweet tea drinking even better to have a porch to sit and sip.....

  25. Image for Sheila Miller Sheila Miller

    Yay! I'm so glad you won with the chalkboard. I voted for you. Now, can you come help me clean the basement?

  26. Image for Cynthia Cynthia

    I either start with fabric or a rug when I do a room. After I know my color scheme and then the fun is looking at all the fabrics and rugs. I could do this for days and days. I am kind addicted to looking at both of those, LOL. Cynthia

  27. Image for Mary Crozier Mary Crozier

    Thanks for the fabric reference. I have been stuck on my family room for quite some time and just bought some fabric! I'm a bit nervous as it is sight unseen, however, I am hoping my selection "go" with each other. Now I need to pick out paint and start sketching out the rest. Thanks for the inspiration! And I didn't realize you had 4 children!!!! I have 3 children, 20 chickens, 4 ducks, 1 bunny, 3 dogs, 1 fat-tailed gecko, 1 bird, and several fish, a big garden and my house is rarely in photograph mode. You are amazing.

  28. Image for Julia G. Julia G.

    YEAH! I knew the chalkboard would win! So happy for you. And thanks for the inspiration on the fabric - I will start looking for the one that takes me by the hand and twirls me around. Happy Day to You!

  29. Image for Pinky Pinky

    When we moved I started with fabric in the guest room too. I knew I wanted the room to be blue and white. I am still looking for th and am using one that is OK right now. You are a HUGE inspiration. CONGRATS on the chalkboard!!!!e perfect comforter

  30. Image for Nancy Brantley Nancy Brantley

    So glad you won with the chalkboard. I love the black and white color for cushions and then pillows of different colors. How inspiring. I am so ready for warm weather so I can enjoy my porch. I have four babies, well cats that love to stay on porch during warm weather also. Looking forward to some pictures from Iowa. Nancy

  31. Image for Cheryl @ Artzzle Cheryl @ Artzzle

    Color is just what was needed today here, as we received another 6 inch covering of white snow, and a promise of more cold by this time next week! Beautiful porch and I agree. Fabric is one of the easiest ways to create a color scheme for any room. The only difficult part is . . . having to choose among all the beautiful designs!

  32. Image for Norma Jean Norma Jean

    Congratulations on winning the contest. However, I'm not surprised. Even though there were many great entries, I think yours was the most creative use of the unexpected! P.S. Your back porch really does "rock"!

  33. Image for Kimm at REINVENTED Kimm at REINVENTED

    I Love your porch so much! CONGRATS on the chalkboard win! You are so deserving, my dear. So glad to hear that you choose fabric first because that's exactly the way that I do it, and , well, if I do it the way Karianne does it, then I'm good. :)

  34. Image for Linda Linda

    Hum. I guess it is fabric or is it a pillow or a painting. Maybe this is why I am confused about what's next. What kind of paint and which black did you use on your table? I have the same one. I would love some turquoise chairs too!

  35. Image for Diana W. Diana W.

    The first thing I thought of when I saw those beautiful fabrics you chose? An apron. No pillows for this chick, not a slipcover or a curtain or a dogbed in sight; even though I need to make each of those things in the worst kind of way. Nope. Not me. I thought of an apron. The old fashioned bib kind made with three different fabrics and patterns that almost match but not quite? With a ruffle around the neck and the hem? That covers most of your skirt, unless you have a wide load bottom (like me!), then it will cover what it needs to nicely? With the really long wide sash that makes into a great bow in the front if you're skinny or the back if you're more pleasing? The kind of apron that you grab in your hands and throw up to your face when you've had a fright, like the women in the 1950's movies..... yeah. I need an apron like that. Thanks for the morning daydream. Can't wait to hear about meeting the editors at BHG. You are the biggest rockstart out there. And you deserve every wonderful thing that comes your way. I only wish I could go with you! Maybe you need a luggage wrangler? No. That won't work. I'm to much of a diva for that. Maybe you need someone in charge of the luggage wrangler? That could be me. I could totally do that for you!

  36. Image for Charotte @ Charlotte's Chair Charotte @ Charlotte's Chair

    Your sunroom is beautiful! I love the fabrics you have chosen, and oh how I love those classy rugs! The mint painted chairs at the ends of you table are simply beautiful......I love the white ones too, being a chair freak! Such a beautiful space KariAnne! Thank you for sharing it with us!

  37. Image for Sheila Moore Sheila Moore

    Congratulations on the chalkboard win! You are definitely the "rock star". Loved your porch the first time you posted it. Such a welcoming feeling!

  38. Image for Sharon Rexroad's Bringing Creativity 2 Life Sharon Rexroad's Bringing Creativity 2 Life

    karianne -- you KNOW i'm all about the fabric so i just loved this post. i also just wanted to tell you how much i appreciate that your "you might also like" links at the end of your post are YOUR posts and are actually things i really might also like. i know bloggers want to make money, but i really REALLY hate the links to external sites selling testosterone and time-shares, etc and so wanted to thank you for the decision you've made to not go that route. and woot woot! for the chalkboard

  39. Image for Sheryll & Critters. Sheryll & Critters.

    Yes, I love your porch too. Oh my gosh, are you by any chance hiding a blah room? I have seen a lot of rooms in your house and all are spectacular..... just wondering..... ? lol (I bet NOT).

  40. Image for Ellie Ellie

    LOVE the porch and the fabrics! Wish I had a place too do that......our covered patio is too small, maybe someday we can extend! Good job!

Comments are closed.