3 Ways to Add Soul to a Room You Don’t Use

We all have those rooms–the ones we shut the door on and try to forget the Christmas gifts we’ll never use that are piled on the chair we meant to have reupholstered. Shudder no more my friend! It’s a new year. You can do this. Here are three ways to add soul to a room you don’t use. In no time, you’ll have guests thinking, “They just know exactly what to do with their space!”

For us, that room is an upstairs bedroom. We have the one guest room that is used for guests and the other one that is used for linen storage/books/that pile for Goodwill. Sure, we could have kids some day and this space could come in super handy, but at the moment we think of it as that one other room we have to vacuum. So one weekend we took a few easy steps to add a little soul, and now it’s known as our “sitting room” thankyouverymuch.

3 Ways to Add Soul to a Room You Don't Use | Hannah & Husband

The gallery wall and rug in our “sitting room.” If you want to learn how to make the upholstered bench, click here.

3 Ways to Add Soul

Cozy things up

ie: Buy a cheap rug. You can sometimes find vintage orientals on Craigslist* or in antique malls. Another option is salvage stores. My instinct is always to look for color and pattern (hides the wine drips). But if you want a lighter look, find a white rug with some seriously soft texture.

*The one rule here is to make sure they don’t smell like smoke.


Hang some art. Better yet, hang a lot of it. Gallery walls are a great alternative to painting walls. (Hello, renters!) When we first bought our house, I was paralyzed by the fear that I would hang something in the wrong spot. Remember, if you don’t like where you hang something, you can always move it later.

Click here for an easy way to hang a gallery wall.

Next: Books, board games, and linens. Extra rooms are a great place for storage (thus all the piles) so why not embrace that? But (pro tip) this is not the place to put your DVD collection. Think of tactile personal objects that add warmth–a shelf full of clean quilts ready to be grabbed for a spur-of-the-moment picnic perhaps!

3 Ways to Add Soul to a Room You Don't Use | Hannah & Husband

We picked this vintage hanging light up for $5 and redid it. Here’s how.

Look at Your Fixtures

Fixture: A legal concept referring to something that
is permanently attached to a property.

Think door knobs, light fixtures, outlet covers, even the hooks in the bathroom. What one fixture could you replace to make things feel a bit more you? Regardless of what you choose, this is an upgrade that makes a big impact with less than an hour of effort!

Pro Tip: Scour the vintage shops for fixtures. They always come with a bit of the story, and that’s just what you need.

Finally, a little recommended listening for your room redo. Trust me on this one…

Evolution of a Home Pt. 3

Evolution of a Home Pt. 3 | Hannah & Husband

The monogrammed metal container holding the roses was actually something my mom made for the end of a few pews at our wedding.

Two or three weeks before our wedding, we completely overhauled our house. And by “we,” I mean Husband, me, and numerous friends and family.  They came in and stripped up layers of carpet (adhered to the floor with what I’m sure was at least three times the recommended amount of nails and staples), painted ceilings stained yellow, and gave every wall a fresh coat of paint. And while they did all of that, I spent days steaming and scraping the strawberry contact paper off the kitchen walls.

Evolution of a Home Pt. 3 | Hannah & Husband

These pictures are from a little tour that I made for my Aunt Vangie our first winter. Looking at these always makes me laugh. When we bought our house we were so young. Neither of us had ever lived by ourselves, and we had no idea what our personal styles were–let alone what our styles would look like when they were combined!

So I went through folders full pages torn from magazines and sketches of houses I’d been designing since I was 12. From that I pulled a color palette I knew I liked–very American, very Cath Kidston, very homey. Here it is…

Evolution of a Home Pt. 3 | Hannah & Husband

Painting by me. Arm of the chair eaten by puppy Dexter.

Evolution of a Home Pt. 3 | Hannah & Husband

Evolution of a Home Pt. 3 | Hannah & Husband

Please note Loverboy’s Specialty Cake on the counter! Click here to get the recipe.

Evolution of a Home Pt. 3 | Hannah & Husband

Evolution of a Home Pt. 3 | Hannah & Husband

Evolution of a Home Pt. 3 | Hannah & Husband   Evolution of a Home Pt. 2

   Evolution of a Home Pt. 1

Evolution of a Home Pt. 2

Evolution of a Home Pt. 2 | Hannah & Husband

This is part 2 of our home’s evolution. To read part 1, click here. 

As I mentioned in part one, I’ve been lucky enough to know all the families that have ever lived in our house. When we bought our house in 2006, we bought it from really good friends. They knew I’d always wanted to live in the house and, since they were planning to start building in the country, the timing couldn’t have been more perfect. It was fate I suppose.

A couple months before we moved in, we brought Woo-Woo and my aunt, a real estate agent visiting from her home in NYC, over to see it. Our friends were still living there and the one thing that my aunt went on and on about was the “spirit” of the house. It was friendly and inviting from the moment you stepped onto the porch. I like to think a small part of it was the house, but it was also due in big part to its inhabitants. Through the decor, they put so much of themselves into the house, which you can see as you flip through the pictures.

Evolution of a Home Pt. 2 | Hannah & Husband

I loved Trish’s hippie garden. She now has a much bigger yard with wildflowers everywhere! (Also, please note that we come by our Volkswagen devotion honestly.)

Evolution of a Home Pt. 2 | Hannah & Husband

The front porch is always one of the favorite rooms of the house. It overlooks the city park.

Evolution of a Home Pt. 2 | Hannah & Husband

Of Note: Carpet and white walls

Evolution of a Home Pt. 2 | Hannah & Husband

The living room’s mixture of Americana and antiques.

Evolution of a Home Pt. 2 | Hannah & Husband

Evolution of a Home Pt. 2 | Hannah & Husband

Of Note: contact paper on the walls with a 60s-tastic strawberry print

Speaking of strawberries: Trish is the one who taught me how to make strawberry jam! Get the recipe here.



Curing Cabin Fever: Happy Clutter

Do you have cabin fever? I’ll be the first to confess that winter is hard for my mental state. I get a crazy case of the Januarys that will last until things finally start to warm up, and we can spend our after-work hours drinking cocktails on the porch, riding bikes, and playing tennis again. Until then, I’ve finally come up with just the right set of circumstances to make my case of the Januarys not quite so bad.

Curing Cabin Fever: Happy Clutter | Hannah & Husband

Curing Cabin Fever: Happy Clutter | Hannah & Husband

Idea #1:
Surround yourself with Happy Clutter

Clutter is usually treated as such an ugly word in internet land, but I’m not talking about laundry all over the living room and stacks of mail. I’m talking about “happy clutter.” The clutter that’s created by a stack of books you’d like to read, a pile of quilts to curl up under, a stack of records waiting to be played, or a basket for your latest sewing project beside your favorite chair. To me, these are the little touches that can make your home feel warmer and happier.

What’s your version of happy clutter?


My Holiday Mantel on DIY’s Made + Remade


This week on DIY’s Made + Remade, we debuted our latest Blogger Challenge. Inspired by the upcoming holiday season, five bloggers partnered with JoAnn to create a holiday mantel. The one I created is a wintry white with a vintage vibe that I have to admit is a lot more more neutral (read: elegant) than my normal red & green kitschy ornaments we’ll bust out in December. Take a look at all 3 of my posts:

(Tips for Achieving my) Wintry Mantel with Vintage Style

Make Yarn Trees for Modern Winter Decor

Repurpose Old Jars into Holiday Decor


Then, check out the other mantels! There are some serious Pinterest-worthy projects.

Ellen’s Whimsical Mantel With Natural and Coastal Touches
(Love her Birch Log Fireplace Screen!)

Emily’s Natural and Sophisticated Mantel

Kim’s Rustic Winter Wonderland Christmas Mantel
(Love her DIY Cabin Snow Globe!)

Amy’s Luxe and Rustic Christmas Mantel

Which one is your favorite?

Decking the Halls

I always *love* having our home decorated for the holidays! And, I must tell you, this Christmas is even better because I’ve had the chance to make so many of the decorations myself. So I thought I’d share a little peek inside…



{ Click here to see the Christmas collage How-To. }

{ Click here to see my Card Wreath How-To on DIYNetwork.com. }

There are decorations all over the house, but I cannot seem to pull myself away from the living room. What about you? Do you have favorite room in your house during the holidays?

Presenting: The 1st Ever How-To from Bestie Matt

This morning I am super excited to introduce you to my best friend, Matt. Not only did he decorate a cubicle junior year like a boss and sing all the words to every Disney movie made between 1987 & 1995 with me while we were in college, he also happens to be one of the craftiest people you will ever meet in real life. So, needless to say, I was super excited when he called to tell me about this How-To he’d put together for us. It is a super cute project that can translate any time of year. So without further ado, meet Bestie Matt…

Fewer things go together like southern belles and mason jars. But southern belles and mason jars *covered in glitter* would be a match made in the Heaven all southern belle’s hair strives to reach. When I was brainstorming for an idea, I thought, “What is more southern than a mason jar?” The next question was, “How do I ensure my front door doesn’t look like a recycling bin?” Welcome glitter to the situation.

What You’ll Need:
Jar Lids

Drill or Metal Punch
Office Brad
Hot Glue Gun

The first step was to lay out how I wanted the wreath to look. This should be a close approximation. I ended up using a few less lids than I originally thought as I began connecting the lids together.

Next, select the colors of glitter that you want to use. I chose colors of fall. I glittered a few of each color.

Next, I laid out the colors in a pattern that I liked. Once you lay them out, mark each one with a black dot where the connection point between the lids will be.

Either using a drill or a metal punch, make a hole in the lid where the connection will be made. After the hole is created, place the insert back into the rim of the lid. I used a dab of hot glue to hold it together.

Using an office brad, connect the two together. To ensure a tight connection, put some hot glue on the open end of the brad. The more connections you make, the more sturdy the wreath will be.

The last touch is to add a bow to the front and you have a festive and southern touch to your decor!

DIY’s Great Wreath Rivalry

Alright readers, it’s competition time! Recently, I had the unique opportunity of doing a couple How-To’s for DIYNetwork.com’s Great Wreath Rivalry. Now, by simply *pinning* one of the 12 How-To’s on the site, you can be entered to win COLD HARD CASH.

Click Here to Start Pinning Wreaths. 

If you just want to see my How-To’s:

(This one is not part of the comp but still super cute.)

Click here to see how to make my wreath with vintage children’s book illustrations.

and then…

(This one you should pin… lots.)

Click here to get the super simple instructions for this card display wreath.