Can I tell you something?

But before I do, you have to promise to keep it between us.

You know, you, me and your coffee mug.

I finished the first book.

It’s called “So Close To Amazing.”  And it’s done and edited and I’ve seen the cover and it’s literally enough to make your heart dance across the floor.  I’ll be posting details in the upcoming months about the book and where to order it and the cutest promotion we are working on for the book.

And now?

I’ve just started on a second book.

This one is a different kind of book.  Just as amazing, but different.

I can’t share too many of the details yet, but there’s not anything exactly like it on the market right now.  It’s kind of a project book, kind of a how-to book, kind of an inspiration book, kind of a decorating book….

….with pages full to the brim and spilling over with ideas.

Yesterday, I was sitting in my living room sketching ideas and planning and dreaming and ideaing about the book.

And then I noticed it.

My coffee table ottoman with a tray in the middle of it.

An empty tray.

A tray that looked lonely and forlorn and sad and a little bless its heart.

I stared at that empty tray and inspiration struck.

What if I challenged myself?

What if I shopped my house (and maybe the yard) and come up with three coffee display ideas for the tray?

Three ideas without spending a penny.

And I did it.

And it looked like this.

Coffee Table Display Idea Number 1:  Galvanized metal and greenery

I started the display with a stack of books.

And found these metal spheres that I got at Target long ago.

I stacked them on the books wrapped in craft paper and added greenery from the yard in tiny glass bottles in a metal holder.

Then I added this tiny plaque with the key from our second house attached to it.

But wait….there’s more…..

Coffee Table Display Idea Number 2:  Boxwood and Wood Vases

For this display I started with that same stack of books.

A little height is always good with a display.

Then I added three boxwood spheres in different sizes and textures and scattered them throughout the display.

I placed this galvanized metal home box in the front and added a house lantern to the back to balance out the display.

But wait….there’s more….

Coffee Table Display Idea Number 3:  Typography Display

This display is all about the message.

It started by accident.  I used the same stack of books and added the letter W to the back.

And then inspiration struck.

What if I spelled out a word?  Like whatever.

I found different letters from around the house and filled the tray.

Other words that might be fun?  Joy, hope, gather, love, home and heart.

Cost of the galvanized metal display:  nothing.

Cost of the boxwood display:  nothing.

Cost of the typography display:  nothing.

Cost of shopping your house and yard and coming up with three coffee table display ideas in under an hour?  Priceless. 🙂

PS  If you are looking for more coffee table decorating, here are 18 more ideas.

And here a few of the projects from past posts:

DIY Wood Tray Project

Wood Letter Blocks

Pallet Wood Letter

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


  1. Image for Diane Anderson-Edwards Diane Anderson-Edwards

    I had trouble deciphering the third display. After you said it was "whatever" I was able to see it! The second one was my favorite.

  2. Image for Jo Jo

    Where did you get the great linen ottoman? I have been looking at ottomans and coffee tables ... yours is the best of both worlds! - Jo

  3. Image for Regina Merrick Regina Merrick

    I can't WAIT for your book to come out! We need to talk about doing a book signing . . . I know this librarian, see . . . ;) Cute, cute, cute! That's a "cute" for all three displays!!

  4. Image for Judy Jung Judy Jung

    Good for you on your 1st Book! Yeah!!!!! And onto the 2nd one already! Awesome. I will be watching for them both when the time is right. Also, the "tray inspiration" is perfect timing for me. I have some old trays which were actually farmers vegetable/fruit flats which were my grandmothers and I want to use them so your inspiration has also inspired me to do the same with things around my house! How fun is this!!!!

  5. Image for Teresa Gonzales Teresa Gonzales

    Congrats on finishing book 1 and starting book 2!!!! So excited for you. Noticed the windmill-looks great! Like all three tray displays- especially they typographical one :)

  6. Image for Jeanie Jeanie

    I'm just so proud of you! Congratulations on your first book!!! I'm looking forward to purchasing it. How are the little Thistles doing? All healed? I've been praying for your sweet girls.

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

    I can't wait to order my book. I always knew you were a born writer -- no a born storyteller. One who can make me laugh and cry at the same time. One who can capture my attention with her words way before my attention turns to her fabulous photos. YeP!! Can't wait for the book and the one after that. Have an amazing day!

  8. Image for Dinelle Dinelle

    Where did you find the wooden vases? There are cute and the HOME box? Also where did you find that large ottoman. Really like your displays.

  9. Image for Lanita Anderson Lanita Anderson

    Congratulations on finishing your book....and starting a new one! How exciting! I also loved your ideas for styling the tray on the coffee fun! I'd love to see more posts like this.... Now to style the tray on my own coffee table!

  10. Image for Vicki Vicki

    You are a fabulous story teller! The book is bound to be amazing... Look forward to getting your new blog always Karianne.... It always comes in late at night here in Australia so I get to enjoy with my first coffee of the day! Thanks for making my day!

  11. Image for Michelle Michelle

    Wow, I'm so excited about your first book!!! But a second one...already? You go, girlfriend! One of my favorite things about your posts is that I can always relate. I've found myself doing what you do. Like in this post. Sometimes, totally unrelated to what I'm doing, I notice something that needs a little change and get inspired to shop my house. Mostly, it has been out of necessity because I've been short of funds to shop Hobby Lobby, Target, World Market, etc. But that's the fun of it! And it's always one-of-a-kind. My favorite of these three is the first--the one with the greenery. Totally lovely!

  12. Image for Betty Betty

    I found you quite by accident and I love your posts, you are truly and inspiration. Congrats on the book (books) Keep on keeping on.

  13. Image for Terri Terri

    I cannot wait !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Are you serious ???? A SECOND BOOK ??????? So ... so... exciting !!!! What I CANNOT believe is that ottoman........ Really???? :) :) :) .... I love the one with the books and the greenery !!!!

  14. Image for Tracy Tracy

    Holy Shamokes! I'm in x 2,692! Can not wait! And the typography coffee table?? I'm rippin' my letters off the wall as soon as I get home tonight. So, so very clever! Mwah ❤

  15. Image for JudyCinNC JudyCinNC

    Hoorah for YOU & US. ... we are that much closer. Loving your house shopping. My friend's favorite word is "whatevah"(southern version). JudyC

  16. Image for diane haynie diane haynie

    All so clever. I have an old scrabble game and I use one of the letter holders in our powder room and spell out different words throughout the year. It never ceases to get compliments or comments from our guests. There is just something about typography! BTW...congrats on finishing the book. Looking forward to what you have up your sleeve next.

  17. Image for Loryl Loryl

    Shopping the house is the best. I always find things I forgot I had! And three different looks. You outdid yourself. Not one book but two, OMG! Can't wait.

  18. Image for Megan @ Adventure & Home Megan @ Adventure & Home

    A book is so exciting! Can't wait for more details. ;-) Also, while I love all three, that first styling is my favorite. I LOVE those galvanized spheres! Though, I think I would actually put in some boxwood as well, 'cause who doesn't love a little boxwood. :D Stunning!

  19. Image for Debbie Debbie

    I am so excited and Happy Happy for you. I have to get both of your books. You are so inspirational and a ray of sunshine. when will the first book be available. I love those boxwood balls and I bought some before Christmas and hid them too well, can't find them anywhere.

  20. Image for Sharon H Sharon H

    Miz karianne, I knew if you ever got started on your book it would be a winner....and you wouldn't stop with just one. How could you? You don't do "just one" of anything! Yes, please.....I want my copy. And a total aside are amazing.

  21. Image for Claudia A. Claudia A.

    Girly I have to tell you, you are amazing! I can barely get out of bed most of the weirdo weather days and here you've finished a book...and moving on to another. I tell you what, I'm feeling like a slacker here. However, I did get my dishes done tonight. LOL

  22. Image for Terry Cross Terry Cross

    Oh Sweetie, I cannot WAIT to order your book (S!) Love it!!! Little Bonsai's first shipment arrives TOMORROW~! More excitement! I will have Agatha put her pawtigraph on the first copy and send it on it's way to your precious little guy!

  23. Image for Jane Jane

    Ahhh, having a husband who's an author, I love watching his face when he first holds a copy of his completed book. Congratulations! All your hard work will soon be bringing pleasure to many. Looks like you too have been bitten by the writing bug. Can't wait to learn more about Book #2'

  24. Image for Ellen Ellen

    I'm just reading Thursday's post this morning and it contains the long awaited best news about the BOOK!! I'm so very, very excited for YOU! I can't wait until it will be available to purchase and to enjoy all of your fabulous stories. Then to read that you are onto another book is just more fantastic news. Love all three of the coffee table displays too.

  25. Image for Linda walkup Linda walkup

    I am so excited about your book and will anticipate sitting down with a cup of coffee ready for my head to swirl with new ideas!!

  26. Image for Vicki Vicki

    First, I want an autographed copy of your book; Second, I love the "word" idea, but I want to use the word "Love" for the month of February; Third, you are a genius!

  27. Image for Alex Alex

    I love the small jars idea! We bought a sampler pack of honey from Trader Joes. I felt bad throwing away the small glass jars with corks once we finished the honey. That gave me a few ideas - great post :)

  28. Image for Michele Riggsbee Michele Riggsbee

    I'm so excited for you about your book! I can't wait to read it...I picture myself curled up on my hammock in the sun enjoying it! Loved the coffee table display ideas! So fresh and fun!

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