You. Guys.

I literally discovered something the other day.  Something that may or may not be revolutionary and an aha moment and make all the decorating stars align for you.

But it did for me.

It started when I was standing in my upstairs hallway staring at this rug. It’s a super cute rug.  I’d ask it to MORP (prom spelled backwards where girls ask guys) and take it out for a fancy dinner and let it open the door for me.

(total aside:  can you tell the twins are in ninth grade now where we live with words like MORP and boys and dances.  I literally can’t even.)

Truth?  That rug?

It wasn’t working.

Even with all of its cuteness it wasn’t right for the space.

Something was off and I couldn’t put my finger on it.  It felt a little small and the color wasn’t exactly right and the swirls and layers and layers of rugness just felt unright in the space.  I stared and stared and thought and thought.

And I wish this was the brilliant part of the story where I told you I came up with a solution and my rug and I went out on the town.

But I didn’t.


I had decorating roadblock.

I know it seems like everything falls into place around here.

One minute I have a yellow house and the next day it turns gray.

Or the dutch door and laundry room paint themselves.

Or the kitchen picks itself up, knocks down a wall, gets marble counters and wood floors in a week.

Every decorating decision gets made effortlessly.

The house and I have coffee every morning and birds chirp and fluffy white clouds dance by in a blue sky with sunshine around us and we lovingly stare into each other eyes and ask “what shall we decorate today?”




If you guys only knew.

How many times I’m wrong.

How many times I pick the wrong paint color.

How many times I think I have the perfect thing for the perfect spot and the room is going to look amazing.

And it doesn’t.

Not. Even. Close.

Let’s take a look at this kitchen.

When I planned it out I saw the hutch there in my mind.

And that worked.

Until I got to what to put on top of it.

I tried a zillion things.  An over-sized toolbox.  Greenery.  A sign.  Nothing at all.

It all looked a little flat.

Nothing worked.

I was frustrated.

I was irritated.

I was decorating exhausted.

And then I remembered the baskets from the laundry room in Kentucky and tried them.

And they were perfect.

I love the color and the texture and the warmth of them in the middle of all that white.

Or the example of this toolbox.

I love it.

It’s amazing.

I bought it years ago at a vintage store and it’s full of character and patina and chippiness.

But I can’t find a place for it in the house.

I’ve tried the hutch in the hallway and the table in the bedroom and stacking it with other toolboxes in the living room and somewhere along the way it ended up on the dining room table.

It doesn’t work there either.

It’s too big and just between us—what was I thinking.

And all of this long and exhausting tale about toolboxes and kitchens and dutch doors leads me back to where we first started.

This rug.

And a decorating roadblock.

As I stood there in the middle of that hallway staring at that rug—a brilliant thought occurred to me.


Why was I letting a little thing like a rug overwhelm me?  When had decorating stopped being fun and started being stressful?  When did I start taking rug placement so seriously?

And so I pressed pause.

Instead of worrying?  Instead of looking at all the things that didn’t work?  I looked at the things that did.  I looked at that hutch and the kitchen and the table in the dining room and the new back door and the basket with the stack of magazines perched on top of a stool in the perfect corner and this dutch door that makes me so happy.

I looked at my roadblock and instead of running into again and again and again?  I stopped.  I counted my blessings.  I gave myself permission to celebrate all that had been done instead of stressing about all that was unfinished.

What had I been thinking?

This isn’t the Kentucky derby of decorating.

I’m not in a race.

There isn’t a blue ribbon for perfect rug placement.

And in that moment something amazing happened.  Shifting perspective allowed me to breathe.  To relax.  I could feel the weight and the stress and the angst (which was totally self-inflicted) lift off my shoulders.

And that mental block?

It hit the road. 🙂

PS  I cannot THANK YOU ENOUGH for all the brilliant ideas you gave me yesterday!  YOU ARE THE BEST!  If you have a back door you need to decorate, just read the comments on this post.  I think I’m adding a brass cup holders to hang the wreaths on the sidelights, a brass door knocker in the shape of a thistle, a brass kick plate, leaving off the wreath and painting the wire urns black.  Oh and adding moss and flowers to them.  And that’s just for starters.  You gave me enough ideas to keep me busy until Christmas.  I’ll keep you posted on the progress.

PSS  I found a home for the rug, too.  But I’ll save that for another post and another story. 🙂






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  1. Image for karen karen

    You had me worried, glad you found a place for the rug. I love it. How about placing the tool box on the patio , with geraniums in it? It is a good size for plants.

  2. Image for Kathleen in the Poconos Kathleen in the Poconos

    Your struggle reminded me of an aha moment I had when shopping for clothes. Like many people, I have a limited budget but love to shop. Now, when trying on clothes, I don't even consider it if I don't absolutely LOVE it. Any hesitation and it goes back on the rack. You post today reminded me to do that with my decorating "issues" too. Thanks so much! Love your blog!

  3. Image for Terri Terri

    I love this post !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am reminding myself that this is fun..... It is refreshing and down right "Makes me smile" kind of stuff... when I get overwhelmed and stressed out over it ..... I take a break ....and come back later on with a fresh set of eyes... so to speak !!!!!!!!! Love the hutch btw.......... and can't wait to see the "new" back porch !!!!

  4. Image for Regina Merrick Regina Merrick

    I can't wait to see what you did with the rug! It is a beauty. I'm about to get kicked out of my writing space to replace windows (hopefully sooner rather than later), and I couldn't be more excited! I've been trying to write in my music room, right off the dining room in the middle of the house, and I think, ultimately, husband is going to get kicked out of his office. He doesn't distract as easily as me!! So, once I get 20,000 words written and edited, I'm going on a decorating FRENZY. My website, mainly dedicated to my writing, may just turn into a decorating blog, too! LOL! Love you, Rock Star!!!

  5. Image for katzcradul katzcradul

    Seriously, when I saw the box on the dining room table, I thought coffin. It really is longing to go under a sofa table. Love the box and love the rug. Glad it found a new home.

  6. Image for Michele (Finch Rest) Michele (Finch Rest)

    KA - it's so refreshing to know even a Rock Star such as yourself is human too. And to most of us the wrong paint color is such a big deal it can''t be easily fixed until a whole bunch of cash is saved back up again for a do-over - or a rug that needs to be used regardless because it's what we bought or have. So I totally GET IT. We all live with that feeling one way or other. May I be so bold - though - and suggest perhaps you were struggling with your kitchen hutch so much - or maybe your kitchen in general is that you have virtually no black in there;. The dark brown of the baskets helped, and that's why you had your Eureka moment with using them. Every room should have a little (or for me a lot) of black.. It seems to ground the space somehow, even when on top a hutch, as in your case. Glad you found some well-deserved Zen time about what was bothering you. Take care not to burn yourself out. Let your creativity take a long respite from the whole decorating life - your move, remodels, deadlines; just take care of yourself to avoid artistic burn out. It's very difficult to rally back from, once set firmly down for the count. Love and hugs. ♥

    1. Image for Nan, Odessa, DE Nan, Odessa, DE

      I will look forward to your post using moss. Give me a lesson! I read about moss, but have no experience using it. Does it grow? Is it live? HELP! Your plan for the back door sound grand!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. Image for Michelle Michelle

    This is what I love so much about you: You share that you're so much like the rest of us. I've many times come upon something that worked at the last home but omg, it doesn't in the same place in the new home. Sometimes I've even had to put whatever it is in storage until (and unless) I can find a spot for it. And sometimes I don't. Ever. And that's OK.

  8. Image for Linda Miller Linda Miller

    Speaking of wrong paint Oh the stress of picking the perfect one! Help please. We're getting ready to put a house on the market and repainting all the walls a neutral white, Thinking White Dove? Then woodwork and cabinets will be white uppers, and lowers will be a grey. But...should they be a darker or lighter shade of gray? (No pun intended there). Would you have time to give us some suggestions? Have to choose paint soon. (aside...glad you moved the chest off the dining room table. lol) Have a wonderful day!

  9. Image for Lisa Lisa

    I love the rug and the texture and its swirls...but I get what you are saying about something that just doesn't feel quite right.

  10. Image for Denise Cox Denise Cox

    Even though I was for the " colored wreath", I do like the ideas you were given for the brass... and I do love my brass! Also, after reading some of the comments, I also agree that painting the orbs black is great idea. Now... Get to work, girl!!!

  11. Image for Lorrie Bredal Lorrie Bredal

    I have a tool box like that and I put it outside on my porch with hellebores and moss. Will keep changing with the seasons. I lined it with plastic so it won't rot!

  12. Image for Elizabeth Elizabeth

    Love to know that even you have decorating problems somedays. I LOVE that you reuse and move things around and do not feel the need to always run out and buy new stuff.

  13. Image for Donnamae Donnamae

    I’m glad you found a new home for the is gorgeous. My perspective on decorating your are never done. That’s what makes it all so fun! We’ve lived in our house for 34 years...and I’m still working on it. I have yet to get it exactly the way I want it...but I’m getting closer. So, enjoy the process. I’m curious as to what the fate of the tool box will be! ;)

  14. Image for Carrie Carrie

    Maybe open up the tool box, place it in a corner and fill it! (Bathroom? Rolled towels) laundry room (detergents and softener sheets, clothes pins) Office? Extra magazines, office supplies. Kitchen? Cookbooks, aprons, napkins, tablecloths....or, line it with plastic and plant your favorite flowers. Put it on the porch with extra pillows and throws so you can linger longer at night. Give it to one of the kids and say “surprise me” same vein; give it to one of your amazing siblings to see what they do to it!!! Take it to the lake house?? So many ideas. Loved all the porch ideas,too!! Thank you for being YOU! ❤️

  15. Image for Cecilia Cecilia

    Oh goodness! Thanks for the reminder that all we see on the blog is perfection after you've sweated the details and all. It all looks effortless on your part! Love your transparency - good luck with the tool box and can't wait to see where the rug ends up!

  16. Image for Donna Marie Donna Marie

    I'm glad you did what I told you to do on the porch!!! Lol I am so glad you admitted defeat on decorating dilemmas--I mean you're like the rest of us!!! We all look and think "That ain't right!" but need time and energy to do something about it. It will all come together--just give it time--and maybe a little shopping!!!

  17. Image for Leslie Watkins Leslie Watkins

    Oh, my gosh!! A thistle brass door knocker!!! Perfect!!! Yes! And painting the urns?!! Love all of those ideas. Thanks for sharing the inspiration. You made my day. Meanwhile back to the stacks of sorting what’s been pulled out of cabinets for the new countertops. It’s time for a huge good will haul!

  18. Image for JC at the uncommon pearl JC at the uncommon pearl

    I love this post, because most of us have been there more times then we can count! In our minds our homes should be done all at once, but I think there is great beauty, not to mention lots of lessons in patience and contentment, when our homes are curated over time. I'm glad you found a new home for your rug. Is it the office? I love the addition of baskets on the kitchen hutch. Just a your toolbox too big to put on the top of the kitchen hutch? It's got such wonderful character, we've just got to find a place for it!☺

    1. Image for KariAnne Wood KariAnne Wood

      Terri, Yes! Here's the link: It's SO much prettier in real life. :) Happy day friend! karianne

      1. Image for Terri Terri

        Thank you! BUT it seems they no longer have it. It is sooo pretty. Glad you found a spot for it. Looking forward to that post, soon! 😊

  19. Image for Mah Mah

    At least you KNOW when something doesn't work! Just think of the mess we would have if we thought nothing could be changed and everything was perfect the first time around! Love the rug.

  20. Image for Gina Gina

    Lovely rug. Agree with the changes with the back porch: no wreath; black urns to ground the windows. Gorgeous toolbox: maybe your brother (or you who are equally talented) could build it a wooden stand and it could be placed in front of a window, foot of a bed, in an office for files, or lower as a little table? All the wreath talk yesterday had me making one today out of my Hobby Lobby clearance flowers paired with my old reliable grapevine wreath! Thanks for inspiring me to finally take down my Christmas wreath!

  21. Image for Holly Holly

    I just love how relatable all of your posts are! It really is a great thing to give yourself pause when you're struggling. I also stop in these moments, and go do something else for a bit - and most of the time, not long after - the light bulb goes on in my head and I get that solution I had been searching for. Happy Day to you!!

  22. Image for Mary Mary

    I have the perfect solution for you for your big tool box on the dining room table-how about putting it on the floor in a corner or some where else it might look good on the floor and put inside artificial greenery I think that would look fantastic-what do you think just a suggestion!

    1. Image for KariAnne Wood KariAnne Wood

      Robin, Yes! Here's the link: It's SO much prettier in real life. :) Happy day friend! karianne

  23. Image for Teresa Gonzales Teresa Gonzales

    Understand! Sometimes you need a new perspective. I have several rugs that I seasonally shift around because of the very same problem. To small for the winter look, perfect for summer. You do a beautiful job in such a short time it is amazing!

  24. Image for Janette Janette

    It's always a complete treat to read your post, the truth you bail out without any hesitation.....amazing, not close to....just amazing.....your new...old..home is looking mighty snazzy, love it...and so glad you share it with bring sunshine on my bleak winter English days, Thankyou so much.....xx

  25. Image for Kim Kim

    Just a thought - I found an antique tool chest that was languishing in an antique mall. Had gorgeous patina and compartments that included slots for tools and saw blades which were still in the tool chest! Wasn't sure as to where it would go in my home, but only that it was going home. With me. I found some fence posts caps at Lowes, stained and installed them as legs and turned the chest into a coffee table. Would also work as a side table and definitely as a conversation piece. BTW, your dining room is amazing as is the rug! I'd put up a glitzy-glam type of ceiling medallion and call it a day. Could maybe use a funky plaster mirror frame instead of the traditional ceiling medallion?

  26. Image for Martha Martha

    I love the fact that when you ask for suggestions you really listen. I think your new ideas for the door, brass thistle door knocker and kick plate are great, cant wait to see the finished area. You are such fun and so talented!!!!

  27. Image for Debra Matcovich Debra Matcovich

    I'm in the same boat. Looking for the perfect rug. I did find one years ago, but hesitated and it was gone. It took another six months to find what I was looking for. Now, I'm also going from a gold/yellow family room to a beige or grey room. So between the paint chips on the wall and looking for a rug, I also need to step back and take my time, Even though I want it done now. I'm still not sure what's worse picking a paint color or rug.

  28. Image for Libbie Libbie

    Karianne! Have you ever been sitting in church and zoning out just a tiny bit and then refocus and think the Pastor is speaking directly to you?!?!? That is just what I felt when reading this post. I have that same rug dilemma! I love a rug that I want so badly to work but it just doesn't and its been driving me cray. Thanks to you, I just rolled it up to save for another time/place. I feel so much better. ;)

  29. Image for sandi sandi

    If vulnerability is a "gift of the Spirit" then I would say you have been gifted! :-) Moving back to the US after 43 yrs. abroad last summer & gathering our "goods" from the 4 corners of the earth all under one roof---well, let's just say that you & I could probably commiserate about "what was I thinking?" And I love all that stuff, but it doesn't fit in "This is Us." Time for both of us to take a break. . . . drink some tea from that special pot & just make a list of how blessed we are. . . I think we will come back to the table w/new perspective! Don't kill the horse---she has a few good miles left in her, a few more books to write, a few more kids to graduate & then we can put her out to pasture. So slow down & smell the roses, young lady!

  30. Image for Toni Toni

    I once chose a soft "blush of pink" color for my bedroom, painters came and went, and every time I walked by the room I cringed! It was bubblegum pink.....NOT what I'd envisioned. $200 later the room was repainted in the perfect pink......I've not EVERY regretted correcting my mistake even though it cost money! Live and learn! That's the real world!

  31. Image for Patricia Patricia

    I made a weathered wood 5foot long box for my daughter's wedding. We placed small stones inside it and then buried sterno cans in it and used it for a s'mores bar. It was a huge hit. Now it is laying across my fireplace hearth and is filled with some spagnum moss and a huge collection of succulents. Your box has so many possibilites- you will find the perfect place!

  32. Image for PJ PJ

    I love your ideas for the back door. I am a huge fan of door knockers and love the idea of a thistle one. Just a quick note about your back door light. I brought home a flush mount light fixture for the kitchen. My husband, the engineer who always thinks of function, pointed out that a closed flush mount feature will become obsolete unless it is designed for LED bulbs. Incandescent bulbs will soon not be available. My fixture is headed back to the store. Hope this helps you!

  33. Image for Jan Jan

    I have to admit that when I saw the carpenter's box on the dining room table the first time in a previous post I thought, nope, don't think I'd have put that there. But, then I thought, Karianne is amazing so it must be at least close to amazing. So I can identify with decorator's block.

  34. Image for Peg Peg

    I laughed out loud about the tool box on the dining room table!! You're just like all the rest of us and I love you so very much!! xoxo

  35. Image for Charley Charley

    AMEN! Sometimes when you do too much decision making/creating your brain needs a little rest. If you don't take breaks sometimes you go overboard or compromise too much. or accept the mediocre that forever mocks you every time you see it. We all need to give ourselves a break, whatever it is that's getting in your way.

  36. Image for NormaJean NormaJean

    At first, I thought this post might be a downer. After all, if you have decorating blocks, what hope is there for the rest of us? But then, as always, you turned the shadows into sunshine!

  37. Image for Lynn Mosher Lynn Mosher

    Sometimes, the view within our head doesn't match with the view from our eyes. Glad you found a home for the rug. My thought? Maybe a rug with the same tone as the curtains??? Just a thought. Happy hunting! 😍

  38. Image for Deborah V. Deborah V.

    That beautiful toolbox needs to be on that georgeous floor somewhere in your georgeous home with greens, mags, succulents maybe? Cool old tools??A faux tree? Something in it! It is beautiful! I wouldn’t want it outside...but???? Love your new, old home KariAnne! But sure do miss you and your old farmhouse here in KY! Oh, I’m in Florida now...but I do miss my “roots” in KY😍on 2nd thought....not the cold....brrrr☃️ By the way, I finally found the time to read your book! For some reason, I really couldn’t put it down.👋Loved it! Looking forward to the next one💕

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