How to Decorate {Starting with What You Have}

The Inspired Room blog

One of the things I miss about my old house was how “put together” and finished it felt to us when we lived here. Not in a perfect way at all, just a homey way. We could relax because the house had just the right stuff to make us feel comfortable. We created an ambience we loved to come home to. We felt peaceful when we were there because the elements worked together to make us feel like we really belonged there!

I love creating a home, but I’m not a design snob. My goal is to create a home that reflects and inspires our family, so we always start with what we have and build from there.

The Inspired Room Kitchen Design - new coffee table book

You know how you feel when you are playing those board games where you get pounced on by your opponent and they send you packing back to the starting line? Now that we are here moved into this house, we could kind of feel like we are back at the start again. Square One. And we are back at the start in a way, but yet, not really.

The Inspired Room - Kitchen

The greatest thing about putting our last house together making it feel like home is we aren’t starting from scratch here. No, I don’t know everything this house needs yet. I don’t have the budget to do everything I want. I’ll have to get creative. It will take time to get things rolling in the right direction. The process of creating this home will involve trial and error just like every house does, but there is also a process that is familiar each time. I’ve lived in so many houses and made each one a home, but it wasn’t until my last house that I finally figured some things out.

I’m very excited about how this house will come together, following that same process (I pulled together exactly what the process looks like and what steps to take in my new decorating book! See a one day only 50% off deal, below!).

I know it isn’t always easy to pull together a house. Yes, if you are able to spend the big bucks you can toss everything you have out, furnish it all in one day and even hire a designer to style it all if you wanted to! But where’s the fun in that? Don’t answer that :). But seriously, most of us have to deal with limitations and some challenges because we are starting from what we have.

The Inspired Room house - New coffee table bookMirror: Lulu & Georgia

There are so many elements to weave together and we have to figure out what will make the most impact. We might have too much or too little to work with, and we have to figure out how to work with it. We have to figure out what stays and what goes, and then decide what we should bring in to transform the whole room on our budget.

So what is the first thing I’m working on in this house? Among other things, I will be figuring out what I want it to feel like. I’m fleshing that out so I can not only see it in my head, but I can describe what it feels like so I’ll know what elements I will need to make it happen. I’ll have a post on what I’m picturing, soon.

To me, being able to capture a feeling is the most important step of all! If you don’t have a vision for how it will feel, you’ll focus too much on how it looks and that can get you into all sorts of troubles :).

Dining Room Decorating - Hanging Plates on the Wall - The Inspired Room

I also have a wonderful project you’ll all love that involves a sewer, wouldn’t you know it? Me and old houses have a love affair but they always seem to have chapters that involve rats and sewers that I just can’t escape. So, that part of getting settled … well, it is not so fun. But if I can make anything about that unfortunate situation turn into a prettier project, I will. I’m trying. We are gathering details on what will be involved in taking care of that issue so I can share it shortly. The project list is growing, as all good house makeover stories tend to do. You can’t ever just do one thing, right? One thing always threatens to lead to another…

More details and visions of loveliness for this new house coming right up :).


What house projects are you working on or planning right now? Let’s discuss!


The Inspired Room new coffee table book - 50% off deal on October 15 - at Barnes and Noble online only If you want a house that is comfortable but not cluttered, one that is authentic but affordable, pretty but practical, streamlined and yet stylish, I put together the details and tips you can use immediately right where you are, with what you have! No waiting for the next house, the big budget or the perfect house!

It’s all in a pretty coffee table book that will be hitting the stores in just a couple of weeks! It’s already nicely discounted for pre-order at the online stores. BUT GUESS WHAT? Next week, on Thursday October 15, it will be 50% off the retail price on a one-day sale, online only at Barnes & Noble! That is crazy and won’t happen again so you’ll want to take advantage of that for Christmas gifts, too!

{Inspired By} Grasscloth

Grasscloth EntrywayGood Housekeeping

In fall, I really start craving the coziest elements of home decor. And while there’s no doubt about it that white walls in a bright sun-drenched space can feel clean and bright in the summer, there’s nothing cozy about it without the light or a lot of texture to warm things up. If you want a little autumn cozy, you really can’t beat a beautiful grasscloth wallpaper for warm texture on the walls.

When I moved into my “castle,” the big 1930s English Tudor in Portland, it had grasscloth on the bedroom walls. I loved it but it was unfortunately so smoke-filled it had to come down. But ever since then I had a fascination with grasscloth and really wanted to install it again if the room was right for it!

I know some of you are petrified about wallpaper and rightfully so, the paper decades ago was nearly impossible to remove. Trust me, we have removed lots of it in our day and it isn’t something I relish doing again. Stripping isn’t my favorite activity. :) But the good news is if you put the paper on the walls, you won’t likely be the one to take it down. Hopefully today they make a little less industrial strength paste to save the poor soul who must remove it? One can hope.

I’m still getting to know this house and what it wants, but I can tell you for sure it would be pleased with grasscloth. Now, where to put it?

Lots of things to think about and inspiration rooms to inspire the thinking! Enjoy.

Blue Gray Grasscloth Entryway
Kerry Hanson Design, Photography by Jane Beiles, via House of Turquoise

Navy Blue Grasscloth - Greg Natale Design - East Brisbane Guest House
East Brisbane Guest House // Greg Natale Design

Grasscloth Wallpaper Stairway - Grasscloth Inspiration
Anthony Catalfano Interiors Inc / Photography by Richard Mandelkorn

Blue Grasscloth Ceiling - Lindsay Coral Harper
House Beautiful // Lindsay Coral Harper

Grasscloth Bedroom - Tommy Smythe
Style At Home / Tommy Smythe

Dark Blue Grasscloth Bathroom
Philip Jeffries / Jamie Drake

Grasscloth Dining Room
New England Home

Bedroom with grasscloth wallpaper and navy accents - SB Long Interiors
SB Long Interiors

Grasscloth wallpaper in the entry

Blue Grasscloth Bathroom
Schloegel Design Remodel

Turquoise Grasscloth Bathroom - Brittney Nielsen Interior Design
Designed by Brittney Nielsen via House of Turquoise, Photo by Molly Mahar

Grasscloth Living Room - Meg Braff
Meg Braff

Related Posts:

5 Ways to Have a Cozy Bedroom

Cozy Rooms {Designer Secrets}

5 Little Ways to Bring Fall to the Kitchen

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