In Part 1 of this series, I talked about what a hand-me-down is as well as the blessing and struggle of them. In Part 3, I’ll be sharing how I’ve transformed furniture that has been handed down to me. But today, I’ll be sharing how I decorate with them, just as they are!
Decorating with Hand-Me-Downs: Wall Paint
The way I make my home cohesive is by playing up what I already have. It may not be the current style, but I try to tie all the pieces I have together. One of the most inexpensive, yet impactful ways you can change your space without buying all new furniture is by painting your walls. Picking wall paint that you currently like is the quickest way to switch out a room. My favorites right now are whites, grays, greiges, and blues. Decorate around the items you already have.
For instance, our epic couch. It’s the main piece of furniture in the family room and really the only piece we started with in this room besides my grandparents’ side tables. Since the dark leather was so bold, I envisioned the rest of the room in lighter colors and less saturated tones.
When we were choosing paint colors for the room, I picked whichever complemented the color of the couch the best. In our case, it wasn’t a cool gray, but a warm greige. (Greige = a combination of gray and beige.) After I had the wall color picked, I chose my accessories and other pieces of furniture that I planned to purchase. More on that soon.
I did the same thing in the dining room. Before I moved into our house, I didn’t have any dining room furniture. We are so grateful the previous owners left theirs! I wouldn’t say any of the items we have in the dining room are currently in style, but they serve their function and I like they way they look. This is the room we have done the least to on our first floor. As we add to it – like a rug or items for the walls – we’ll choose things that fit our style, but still complement what we already have.
Decorating with Hand-Me-Downs: Accessories
Another cohesive tip: If you have a material that’s very prominent in one room, tie it into the other rooms. Since our dining room is filled with wood furniture, I’ve brought that into our family room with picture frames, wood trays, a mirror, and a few other accessories.
We’ve also done this with colors. We’ve brought the blue tone on the walls of our dining room into the family room with our pillows and the vases on our mantle. Accessories are an easy and inexpensive way to bring a cohesive feel to your home and are easily replaced if your style changes!
Styling a home with white and black is very classic. It may not always be trendy, but I don’t feel like it will ever go out of style. If my room is feeling dark, I look for white accessories to brighten up the space – like a vase or picture frame. If I feel like the room needs more contrast or looks too neutral-washed, I add black or charcoal accessories. Another one of my favorites: adding green to a room – real plants, fake plants, whatever your preference!
My biggest suggestion is when choosing paint or accessories – or anything for your home for that matter – choose what you actually love; not just what’s trendy. If you like the current trends, then perfect – grab it! I’m trying to be more mindful of what I’m purchasing for my home – that I really love the item instead of just sorta, kinda liking it. In the end, we’ll have pieces that we love and will most likely enjoy a lot longer than pieces we just purchase because we think we should. 🙂
Decorating with Hand-Me-Downs: When You Can’t Change the Walls
One of my favorite rooms in our home is our den. It was an addition to the house that was built in the 1970s. The walls are knotty pine wood and in beautiful condition. My first inclination for this space was to paint the walls, but I began to love the rawness of it the more I spent time in it. Adding white curtains to frame the windows and new carpet really brightened it up!
And then, we added the 1980s chairs that my parents handed down to us and it just fit. None of the furniture in this room is what we would’ve picked now, but it works for us. Not only is it functional, but we just love spending time in here! This has been the latest addition: my mom’s wicker chair she purchased when she was in college. Our den always seems to get the most comments that are my favorite. From guys: “Oh, this would be an epic office.” From the ladies: “Oh, this will be a perfect play room one day!” 🙂 Regardless, we love it!
This may be a stretch, but in our case, our kitchen cabinets felt like hand-me-downs. This style of wood cabinets aren’t the current trend, but they’re beautiful! Sure, they have some wear and tear, but these cabinets fit like a glove in our very narrow, uniquely shaped kitchen. Originally, I wanted to paint the cabinets white, but instead we chose flooring, countertops, a backsplash, and all the fixtures to complement the main feature, since they needed to be replaced anyway.Right now, bright white kitchens are very popular; not to say they will ever go out of style. But they are definitely hot right now. For ours, I brought in current trends, like grays and greiges, but still kept the traditional, timeless feel.
If you liked the peek at my kitchen, stay tuned! I’ll have a small kitchen series coming up on the blog soon.
Friends, whether you’re wanting to paint your walls or look for accessories, just a reminder that all of this takes time – small changes over time! It can feel overwhelming when we look at our entire house, so try to start with just one room, one corner, one table, one pillow. As I mentioned in Part 1 of this series, what our eyes see on television and in magazines isn’t always our reality. My desire is to go forth with a heart of gratitude and a savvy eye of bringing life to even my rooms full of hand-me-downs!
More Posts From This Series
- Part 1: What are Hand-Me-Downs?
- Part 2: Decorating with Hand-Me-Downs
- Part 3: Transforming Hand-Me-Downs
We’d love to have you join in the journey! If you don’t want to miss the other two posts, you can subscribe here or below to receive the rest of the series sent to your inbox.