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As a Home Stager AND a Decorater, I get to see what’s “hot” in the land of interior happenings — what is trending, what buyers are going ga-ga for in the real estate market, and what the design world is really getting in to.  And then I share it with you, my readers and blog followers!!  Yippee!  Today I’m going to share 3 ways you can add to the value to your home – both for resale and for living! 

AND … here’s your first “Home by Hattan Helpful Hint” for the day:  By adding these value-building pieces to your home now, before you sell your house (or if you never do!), you get to enjoy them yourself! 

So … use the good china, eat the cake, add some value to your home … today!

Millwork or other Special Architectural Features

Millwork, statement trim work and mouldings, board and batten, wainscoting, indoor brick walls, wood beams (both stained and painted), ship lap, corbels, coffered ceilings – these are all extremely popular right now and really dress up your home, add value and beauty!  

Forget the builder-grade look, and create something special, something interesting.  It can be as simple as adding wainscoting down a long boring hallway or beefing up a corner or column…

… to something quite ornate, like this apartment in Paris:

Apartment in Paris with lovely millwork.

Wow!  Now, not all of our houses look as splendid as this apartment in Paris. (insert heart eyes here) So if your house is a bit different, or let’s say you have much more modern taste (or you love farmhouse style, or industrial, or whatever style you love), do it your way! 

Here is a fabulous staircase dressed out in a more modern grid pattern of millwork, almost board and batten:

Grid Pattern Millwork, image from Net Luxury

A simple square pattern on bedroom wall behind a headboard would be lovely, in my opinion.

The photo below shows a house I staged in Thompson’s Station, with beautiful board and batten on their walls, and a coffered ceiling in the dining room.

Board and Batten on walls. Coffered ceiling. Staging by Home by Hattan.

Isn’t it beautiful?  And so much more special and memorable than just plain white drywall.

Same home, Board and Batten painted greeny-gray in the home office.

I love how the board and batten in the home office is painted the fabulous greeny-gray color, where it is white in the other areas of the home.

Sometimes adding millwork can be functional as well as beautiful.  I’ve had more than one client whose home had a fireplace like this one in the photo below … pretty, but sort of standard build. Not only did they want to jazz it up a bit, but they also wanted to mount their TV over the fireplace:


So how to mount the TV, hide the cords, AND make the fireplace more special? Trim it out!

Millwork and draperies really dressed the place up, don’t ya’ think?!


The millwork was built over the cords to the TV, which gave them a place to disappear.  Then we added just a little more décor to dress it out, and now it looks fabulous!

Other ideas of special architectural features to dress up your home  — you can add wood beams or painted beams, as seen in the next photo. 

Renovation project by Home by Hattan

Corbels, brick interior walls, substantial moulding around door frames and windows … these all add character, texture, beauty, and value to a home.

Renovation project by Home by Hattan

Not to mention the ever-popular ship lap!

Image from Pinterest

And finally, there is a company here in Nashville, that I have no affiliation with … but I follow them on Instagram (@hands_of_vintage_millwork) because I absolutely LOVE their millwork!!! Here are a couple of my favorite images of work they’ve done, some “eye candy” to share with you — simply because it’s pretty:

Georgian Conservatory, millwork by Vintage Millworks Inc.
Woodcast ceiling tracery, by Vintage Millworks Inc.
I mean … this DOORWAY! Magnificent! By Vintage Millworks Inc.

Ah, it’s all in the details, isn’t it?

When in doubt, trim it out! Make your home more special!

On to our next way to add value …

Outdoor Living Areas

Here in Tennessee, we love to sit on the porch, don’t we? I know our family does a ton of grilling, sipping, sunning and swimming — all in our back yard!

By creating a comfortable and inviting area on your porch or deck, you add a whole other room to your house!  (Especially in these southern states, where 9 months out of the year we are relatively warm!) These outdoor areas are inviting and give buyers another reason to fall in love with your home … or for YOU to enjoy your own home!

Key pieces to creating an outdoor living area:

  1. Comfortable seating, with plenty of tables for setting your iced tea. Make sure your fabric is a performance fabric, suitable for outdoor areas — this includes your chair cushions, your throw pillows, blankets, and poufs! Sunbrella is a popular outdoor-friendly fabric you can find in most retail stores.
  2. Shade of some sort. If you have a covered porch, terrific! If not, consider adding a pergola or large umbrella to protect from hot afternoon sun.
  3. Lighting. Rope lights, globe lights or strings of fun-shaped lights, ceiling fans with lights, lanterns, hurricane lights, solar lights … there are lots of options to bring light to your outdoor area. Several companies are now selling outdoor lamps that are waterproof!
  4. Live plants are a must for outdoor living in my opinion. Potted plants, flowers, ferns, hanging pots, ivy or wisteria crawling up a wall, succulents, window boxes — all are options for bringing some life and color to your outdoor living area. And boy do they add beauty! (but bring your live plants indoors when temps fall below freezing …)
  5. Softness/comfort. Pillows and outdoor rugs, poufs, even throw blankets are all a part of creating an outdoor room that is inviting and truly livable. So choose some throw pillows and accents in your favorite colors, and you create a space you are happy to be in!
Small deck that has been dressed up and transformed into an outdoor living area. LOVE the hanging shutters that add privacy as well as character!
From Savvy Southern Style

Many folks add an outdoor kitchen or bar area, a pool, a fireplace or an outdoor TV to make their space even more usable!

The Porch Company

Wonderful! My new favorite item for an outdoor living space is the bed swing, seen below!!!!

Dreamy porch by The Porch Company

When you provide a comfortable and inviting outdoor area, you are adding value to your home by creating another living space that you can enjoy. And/or if your home is on the market, an outdoor living area can really help sell the “idealized lifestyle” that will capture buyers’ hearts and make them fall in love with your home!

Cohesive Color

When your home has a cohesive color palette, and consistent flooring throughout, the home feels more spacious and more high-end, more “designed.” It just feels right.
To create that designed look, the colors in the home need to flow and relate to one another in some way – in wall color, furnishings, and flooring choices. Otherwise you end up with a hodge-podge, thrown together, not very organized feel to your home. And no one wants to feel that!

Now this doesn’t mean every room in the home has to have the same wall color. But the colors should be in the same family, and there should be at least one prevalent color in each room that connects it to the rooms next to it. This will create flow — especially if you can see from one room into another. For instance, I have the same neutral wall color in my living, dining, kitchen, office and foyer as they all open into one another, and in each room I also have splashes of blue, gray, and creamy white. But the blue may be painted on my ceiling, or in my drapes, or even in my chairs or pillows. Even my bedroom has touches of blue and cream, although it has more beige than gray. In my office I threw in some pink! However, that doesn’t mean I have to incorporate pink in every other room — there is no pink in my kitchen for instance and there doesn’t have to be — because the kitchen has the same neutral wall color and the same blue as what’s in my office and other rooms that adjoin it! Some rooms have a lighter gray than others, some rooms have more green than others. Just make sure the colors relate to one another as you travel from room to room, and this will create flow, consistency, and is pleasing to the eye.

Gray and Gold Color Palette by Laurel Bern
All rooms are not the same color, but they do relate to one another and there is a feeling of cohesiveness.

By the way, in my opinion, kids’ rooms do not “count.” Kids generally want their own favorite colors in their rooms, and I say let them! Don’t worry about it if your son’s Spiderman theme doesn’t fit into the rest of your home’s color scheme, haha! You don’t have to force blue and red and black into your living area’s color palette just because he likes it!

Lovely color palette by Emily Wignall. Notice the consistency in tone in the main living areas, with some fun colors in the kids’ areas!

Flooring can have a huge return on investment. When the flooring of a home is good quality and is uniform — not hodge-podgey — this also helps the home to feel more planned, more cohesive, more high-end. Hardwood floors still have home buyers going crazy, but there are other options, like engineered hardwood or even the new forms of luxury vinyl plank. There are ceramic tiles that look just like hardwood, if you are in love with tile. But PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE do NOT do this:

Not sure what is going on here, but it looks like dark engineered wood or luxury vinyl plank was installed right next to honey-colored real hardwood floor. Oh my — the plank size, color, and materials just do not correlate or complement one another — at all. Bless.
Image from Google Images
SO much better!
Consistent Flooring, Consistent Color Scheme
Inconsistent Flooring in an Open Space
Pretty space, but could be better in my opinion!
Image from Google

The photo above shows a beautiful home, but the change in flooring is a little jarring. I would choose one flooring or the other for this open concept space to help unify the space. Because the black is repeated enough in the light fixtures, furniture, fireplace, I would choose the hardwood floors.
(By the way, don’t be scared of hardwood flooring in the kitchen! I’ve had mine for over 20 years and it looks the same as it does in the other rooms! And if something happens, that is what insurance is for!)

I should note that I see nothing wrong with changing flooring when there is a door to separate the rooms. Personally, for living comfortably in a home, I love carpet in a bedroom, tile in a bathroom, and hardwoods elsewhere. Not 100% consistent throughout the entire home, but where spaces are open to one another without a door, the flooring looks best when it is consistent.

Changing the flooring in your home can be expensive. So if you don’t have the funds to replace all the flooring in your home, just make sure your colors complement one another and there is not a jarring change from one floor to the next. Then save up and make a plan! I know it’s tempting to replace the foyer flooring one year, and then the kitchen flooring the next, and then the living room, but if you can save your money until you can do all at one time with uniform flooring, it will look better AND it will save you the headache of living through the floor replacement process three different times! Save up and do it all at once! That is your final..

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Home By Hattan by Karen Hattan - 5M ago

Hello Dear Readers! Welcome to my first official post of the year, 2019 — in February! (Better late than never, right?!) Many of you are updating your homes right now, and that is fabulous and is keeping me busy, hooray! And because many of you are in the process, or considering an update, I thought it would be good for you to know what some of the trends are in the design world these days — what seems to be on its way out and what is making its way in.

GREEN, both environmentally and colorfully

Green is THE “it color” these days! But then again, when was it not? Various shades of green have been in style during each decade during the last 80 (plus) years, but I believe what has changed is the undertones of green over the years — in the mid-century years the trend was toward mint green, in the late 1960s and 70s it was avocado green, in the 80s it was hunter green, and in the 90s and early 2000s it was the goldy-greens, sage greens. And now? It’s ALL those greens, with maybe a nod toward a more blue-gray-green or emerald green! Check out this magazine spread, which combines several shades of green in one room (but please disregard the bad photo — it is a picture of a picture after all!)

Several shades of green going on here — the yellow-y velvet green chair, the blue-green sofa and garden stool, and several shades of green in the artwork!

Green is trending right now in a big way, and is very popular in furniture and art as seen in the photo above …. and in wall color, wall paper, pillows, and even kitchen cabinets! (see below)

Moody green wall color, “Current Mood” by Clare
Emerald green velvet fabric with accents in fern and olive green, on a light gray background, design by Home by Hattan.
Lush emerald green wall paper from Cole and Son.
Chinoiserie wall paper (another big trend — chinoiserie!) with touches of green and emerald glass lamp, beautiful! Image from House and Garden, UK.
A collection of olive green with yellow and blue pillows, from Crate and Barrel.
Image found on Pinterest, couldn’t find the source. However, this post by Lauren at Blesser House has some AMAZING photos of different shades of green cabinetry, really fun to see!

Green kitchen cabinetry seems to be all the rage, especially with the West Coast designers. In my opinion, it is best to style green cabinetry with some wood or natural elements, and pops of white, to keep it fresh.

“Natural” and “sustainability” are still big buzz words in today’s society, and they work well with the color green. Notice all the natural elements added to the kitchen below — the natural wood floating shelves in place of upper cabinets, the stone backsplash and countertops, the rattan barstools … big trends these days!

Forest gray-green cabinets, rattan barstools, open shelving in natural wood in this new kitchen by Amber Interiors

Green doesn’t have to speak to nature, though. It can be quite contemporary, look at this fun happy office below, with bright emerald green, stark white, and pink chairs!

Love this bright and cheery office with pops of green and pink!

Speaking of pink ….

Pink is still in, but with variations in its tone

Although many designers are claiming millennial pink to be on the decline, pink is certainly not out of the picture, not by a long shot! It is simply transforming into other various shades of pink, such as dusty rose, lavender, peach, and even more coral pink. You will still see lots of pink this spring, so whichever way you like your pink — warmer or cooler — now is a great time to add that into your decor.

Take a look at the new line of tile that the Tile Shop is carrying — click here to see more versions of pink, lavender, and taupe tile!

Mangata Twill Taupe mosaic tile from The Tile Bar.
Rose blush accented bedding, from Frontgate.

Pantone’s 2019 Color of the Year is 16-1546 Living Coral:

Beautiful … but really … if this bright coral was on my wall I would need sunglasses — just a bit bright for painting an entire room, wouldn’t you say? Like many of the “Colors of the Year,” simply use it in accent pieces, rather than the walls. It is pretty, after all. Coral can pair nicely with white or cream, navy, teal, some greens, and even PEACH!

Yes, I said it … PEACH! Peach is back!

Peach and coral living room, by SB Long Interiors.

In case you haven’t noticed, lush velvet fabrics are really in right now as well. I see velvet fabric on furniture, pillows, and drapes.

Pick your pink — we have a rosy-taupe and a dusty blush, and some warm corals and yellows! Pillows from West End.
Curves vs Straight Lines

Simple, clean lines are still on-trend in the furniture department, although the shapes are becoming a bit softer around the edges. Think kidney-shaped sofas, oval coffee tables, round dining tables and round floor rugs, barrel chairs and channel back chairs. Even bathroom vanity mirrors are going round and simple!

Simple round mirrors are everywhere! By Kirsten Marie Interiors

Want to know why? Because rounder edges make you feel more calm and are perceived as being more inviting! Read about it here!

Round edges, clean lines make this chair from World Market very inviting.
Fresh and Light with Contrast and Natural Elements

Most folks are still really drawn to spaces that feel fresh and spacious — and are adding elements to create that feel. Open concept spaces, floors with light to medium-toned wood, walls painted white or a light neutral color, then adding contrasting color added in the accessories, art, and furniture. Or even black in the window frames or trim. The trick is to keep 80% of the items in the space simple and light in color, not heavy-feeling. Then add about 20% color or contrast. So not exactly minimalism … but not busy or fussy. Some call it “less is more,” I like to call it “restful for the eyes.” Maybe we have Maria Kondo to thank for keeping that less-cluttered trend going …

Plain white walls are often associated with the “farmhouse” style (by the way, true farmhouse style is slowly losing its popularity UNLESS you ACTUALLY LIVE in a farmhouse!), however the light and bright look can be quite formal or contemporary:

Image from Pinterest
White Oak flooring hand white walls

The idea of the lightness is to create feelings of space and peacefulness, like a breath of fresh air. Lighter finishes, fabrics, and paint colors can help achieve this. Who doesn’t need that in their life?

Dark Moody Rooms

But there are exceptions to every rule!

So wait, Karen, you just said light and bright and white were trendy? Now you are saying dark moody colors are in style?

Well … yes. Some people are ready for more color in their world, more drama! They are tired of the washed out look. It’s really just a matter of preference.

For this trend, you’ll notice that the moldings, walls, built-ins, and sometimes even ceilings are all painted the deep saturated color.

Townhouse renovation in Brooklyn, New York.

Great places to create a dark, moody room are libraries, offices, guest baths, bedrooms.

Dark grey bathroom with a concrete sink and a refined framed mirror. Designer unknown.

Personally, I love this look in small doses. Very striking and dramatic!

Florals, 80s style … and WALLPAPER!

Oh yes! Remember our floral dresses with the big sleeves we wore in 1987? Well, they are back! But now the floral prints are making appearances in artwork and fabrics and even WALLPAPER!! A touch of fussy is making an appearance for those who love it!

Painted Peonies from Grandin Road

But remember our 80%-20% rule if you want to keep it light? Here’s how to style it:

White walls, light colored furniture, a bit contrast in the art and side table. Canvas wall art from Grandin Road.
Large floral wallpaper is back! Wallpaper by Bien Fait
Watercolor removable wallpaper from Etsy

Can you believe it? Peach and green, large florals, and wallpaper are all back in style!? Like, are we totally in the 80s or what!? Like, totally awesome! (Or maybe you are thinking “gag me with a spoon”!? haha)

Removable wallpaper from Etsy

Wallpaper and floral art can accent those deep color walls as well, I love this one, available from Bellacor or Home Depot:

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Staged by Home by Hattan

(by Guest Blogger Sarah Stilo)

When you invite buyers into your home, you want it to look clean, colorful, and artfully put together. Buyers want to see gorgeous spaces as stunning as the ones we all see on HGTV and social media sites like Instagram.

Homes that still look lived in–with magnets on the fridge, toiletries in the bathroom, even overstuffed closets–will not photograph or show well. In addition, staged homes often fetch higher offers from buyers. According to the National Association of Realtors, 31% of buyers increase their offer anywhere from 1-5% when a home is staged.

It’s easy to stage a vacant house with rented furniture and decor, but occupied homes are a different story. There’s clutter, often paint colors that are too bold, and mismatched or dated furniture that does not photograph well.

These are the benefits of staging a house while living in it.

Occupied Staging by Home by Hattan — Homeowner’s Items Used

The Listing Photos Will Look Fantastic

These days most buyers will start the search for their dream home online. What do they look for once they narrow down by neighborhood nad number of beds and baths? Great listing photos. The only way to get great listing photos is to have a beautifully staged home.

Streaks on the bathroom mirrors, clutter behind the couch, in the bedrooms, even in your home office, will become oh-so clear once the photographer sets up his camera. Plus, bright or dark and drab wall colors do not photograph well. If you have furniture that’s patterned, in rough condition, or very dated, it could distract from what’s really important: the structure of your house.

Professionally staged homes will photograph like the magazine-ready mansions we all lust over, no matter what price point you’re working with. A stager will come in, help decide if a repaint is necessary, and create a stunning space that buyers will fall in love with the minute they click on your listing.

Before. This house sat on the market for 6 months. After Home by Hattan’s staging, it SOLD in the first month!

After: Paint, Homeowner’s and Stager’s Items Used

Your House Will Knock Showings Out of the Park

After a buyer falls in love with those gorgeous listing photos, they’ll request to come see the house in person. At that point, if the house doesn’t look or feel the same way that it did in the photos, the buyer will move on.  (One more good reason why you should NOT use virtual staging, in Karen Hattan’s opinion.)

Staging absolutely helps create beautiful photos, but it also creates a sense of home right when a prospective buyer walks in the door. The house will feel composed and clean. In addition, small touches of on-trend accessories and art will create a sense of “hominess” without the feeling of a dirty or actively lived in space.

Staged by Home by Hattan

Staged by Home by Hattan

Buyers Might Shell Out More Cash 

Unstaged homes have the potential to lose you money if you make key mistakes. But, as we mentioned earlier, some buyers see a staged home and offer more money. An unstaged house could seriously hurt your ability to get solid offers. Instead, invest in a professional stager to bring out the best features of your home.

The stager may not have to do much: some of the best home staging ideas out there are the simplest. A fresh coat of beige or “greige” paint, rearrangement of furniture, and a solid deep clean could be all you need to sell your house. But, you won’t know until you chat with a professional.

Stagers are the experts and will be able to evaluate your home and explain to you what it needs to be the best listing in the neighborhood!

Staged using Homeowner’s items ONLY.


Below are more homes staged by Home by Hattan, using homeowner’s furniture while they are still living in the home (occupied staging).  Some are staged with Home by Hattan staging accessories, some using only the homeowner’s accessories. Lots of different style of homes benefit from staging.  Enjoy!






As you can see, occupied staging works for every budget, every style!  A professional Home Stager can work with what you have to create beautiful online listings that elevate the perceived value of your home!


Hi Home by Hattan friends!  Today’s article is written by guest blogger Sarah Stilo with HomeLight, with photos added in by me. HomeLight is a company that analyzes real estate transaction data to match you with top real estate agents who sell homes faster and for more money.  They have a Seller’s Resource Center to guide you through every step of the home-selling process based on real estate market research and advice from top real estate agents and industry professionals.  And they obviously know the VALUE in home staging.

Thanks, Sarah, for the wise words!

And to my Real Estate Agents, this article may be a great one to share with your listing clients!  And then you contact ME to be your professional Home Stager!


The post The Benefits of Staging a Home While You’re Still Living In It appeared first on Home By Hattan.

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To refresh your memory … here is what we went over in Part 1 of What to Do with Inherited Furniture


Somehow you end up with furniture in your house that you didn’t choose for yourself. 

Grandma had to move to Assisted Living, and you get to have her living room furniture. Great Aunt Betty has left you her sewing table, and all her sewing supplies.

Your roommate moves in and brings all of her “unique taste in furniture” with her.

You get married, and your new husband brings his favorite orange armchair with him, or even better, his couch he’s had since college  (bless him).

And you know what?  Maybe some of it is really great!  You may LOVE Aunt Betty’s primitive sewing table.  It just may not be your style.

You honestly don’t have a place for it.

What to do?

I get this situation all the time as a decorator!!

So many of my clients have contacted me for this very reason!  They need help combining styles or knowing what to do with pieces they have inherited, but don’t seem to “fit” with the rest of their house.

I hope to give you some possible solutions to this problem in this post!


The first step when combining styles/pieces is for you and other members of the household to consider each and every piece, to decide if you can use it or if you even want to keep it. For a great list of questions to help you decide if you should keep an item or not, please click here.

If you are pretty sure you want to keep that piece, the next step is to think through these questions:

□   How do you plan to make this piece work?

□   Where can it work for you and your house?

□   What use can it have?

□   How can you modify the piece to fit your style?

Basically you may need to re-imagine your inherited piece. These are your options: you can re-purpose it, relocate it, paint it, refinish it, replace hardware or other details, and/or re-upholster it.

***If this is where you fall short —  in the “re-imagining” phase — please call me!!***

I loooooooooove to do this!  I adore true vintage pieces that have meaning for people, and I love to come up with decorating solutions to make them work!

Now let’s work through the options, with example photos, to help you brainstorm and visualize the possibilities!

1.  Relocate or Repurpose

Sometimes an inherited piece just needs a new identity — a new home or a new “job” in the house.  A dining chair  can often become a wonderful desk chair!  Take that tiny parlor loveseat and use it as a banquette bench at your dining table, it may add just the right amount of “quirk” to be great!  A piano bench can be sweet at a little dinette set.  A bedroom suite does not have to stay together –use the chest in your own bedroom but put the bed in the guest room.  Great Aunt Betty’s sewing table may work beautifully as a bed side table, an entry table, a desk, or even a fun bar cart!  (see photo below)  Grandma’s plant stand may be the perfect small-size table you need by the accent chair … sometimes a piece can work just as it is, but in a different context.

A new purpose for Great Aunt Betty’s sewing table? Image from Etsy.

2.  Paint or Refinish

Such a simple thing to do that makes a HUGE impact!  I have clients do this all the time, even with their own existing pieces that they bought themselves!

Here are some lovely examples of using paint (or wood stain) to breathe new life into inherited pieces.

In the below photo, Jenna from Rain on a Tin Roof transformed her Great Aunt Treva’s cabinet that she inherited … three times!  Y’all it’s the same cabinet in both photos!:

This piece she first painted periwinkle blue, then she painted it the bright red, and THEN she restained it! I’m with you, Jenna, I had a coffee table that started as stained wood, then I painted it twice!  We decorators just can’t help ourselves,  hee hee!

I recently had a client who did not want to get rid of her inherited traditional dining set, but wanted to freshen it up and make it more her style.  We chose a combination of paint and stain:

We simply painted most of the set black, and refinished the wood in the back of the hutch and the top of the table to be less glossy.  We also removed the glass doors from the hutch, for a more casual, almost modern farmhouse look.  Look how her white dishes really pop!

Many times a paint job or a good refinishing is all that’s needed to incorporate an inherited piece into your design, especially if you have more than one inherited piece in one room.  For example, say you have an oak piece from your mother, and another piece that is pine from your husband’s family, and then another piece is mahogany, but you love the reclaimed wood look … all of a sudden you have 4 different styles and wood tones going on!! EEK! Unite them and/or update them with some paint!

Below is a makeover of a client’s front parlor room, in which we wanted to incorporate a cute little cart that was a family piece.  This is how my client’s front room looked BEFORE we painted anything — notice the little cabinet in the back of the room?

We painted the walls in the room and bought some new pieces, and we wanted to make sure we used the little cart.  When we bought the large new console (seen in photo below, which has a weathered wood look), the two different wood tones just did not work together.  So what did we do?  We painted, of course!

My client painted it herself, a beautiful navy color.  I added the navy and yellow and white pieces, and now this cabinet is just perfect in the room! (sorry for the not-so-great photo!)

Sorry for the bad cell phone shots!

Styling the blue painted cart.

And remember this cute little chest we painted for Meaningful Makeovers at the TN Baptist Children’s Home?

Repurposed chest, painted a happy green to become a shared night stand at the TN Baptist Children’s Home.  You can read about this makeover by clicking here.

If your wood tone looks ugly, chipped, or just wrong, simply paint it or restain it so that it flows with your design plan!

Please do not feel bad about painting “good furniture.”  First, you can always strip and restain it in the future, nothing is truly permanent! Second, don’t you think Jenna’s Great Aunt Teva would love that her piece has been used so well and looks so fabulous!?

Side note:  you can easily paint frames around old art pieces, and lamps as well!  Take Grandma’s favorite art piece and make it your own!  And say good-bye to her brass lamp with dusty pleated lampshade with a coat of paint and new lampshade!

Brass lamp update with paint and new shade, from Pinterest Project.

3.  Change out hardware, legs, or other details

If you have more minimalistic or contemporary style, and you inherit a very ornate piece, you can update your piece significantly by changing out the hardware (or vice-versa!)!

Painting the piece along with adding new hardware can do wonders!

See below example — from country pine to sleek contemporary:

Image from The DIY Home Girl

Image from EmilyAClark.com

Did you know you can buy overlays to dress up lots of different size cabinets or dressers?!  (Overlays are sort of like fret-work you can add to furniture pieces or walls.)  Go to www.myoverlays.com and look around!  Here is an example of what you can do:

See the gold fretwork on the glass? That is an overlay applied to glass and painted gold!! Genius! (image from overlays.com)

This “overlay” is simply aluminum sheeting from the hardware store:

image from My Sister’s Suitcase

See that scalloped bottom piece of the dresser above?  If that is too dated for you, just remove it!

What about that sofa your roomie/hubby/dad loves?  Hate the sofa skirt?  Droopy sofa pillows?  How about changing that!?!

From This Sorta Old Life. Owners removed the skirt and remade the back pillows!

You can remove skirts from chairs and sofas, or scalloped wood bottoms from dressers and cabinets — or you can add them if your home is more feminine or for a touch of fun!

My client was tired of the gold and wanted a more substantial look. So we add a skirt when we reupholstered the chair! She loves it!

Did you know you can buy replacement furniture legs for tables, chairs, sofas, and beds from places such as Amazon, Home Depot, Ikea, Etsy, and Lowes?  If what you inherit is too boxy, too curvy, too modern, too fussy, too dark, too light, or too whatever, sometimes changing the legs can change the style of the piece instantly!

Replacement legs for furniture, available from Amazon. Add these hairpin legs to create a mid-century modern look.

And now for my personal favorite:

4.  Reupholster

This is one of my most favorite things to do!  I don’t know if it’s because I love all the patterns and colors in fabrics, or because I know that you get to keep your favorite chair but it will look so so beautiful when it’s through?  Either way, recovering a piece of furniture is truly transformational.

I mean, seriously you guys:

Image found on Laurel Bern’s blog; re-upholstery by Chairloom.

How cool is that transformation!?!  From “Granny” to “Gorgeous”!

Here a few of my favorites reupholstering projects I’ve got to be a part of —

Just this past month I shared about this project in which my client Lauren was moving out of her Papaw’s house to the house next door.  We got to choose some FABULOUS pieces of furniture from Papaw’s house that Lauren could inherit and bring to the “new” house next door! The problem?  Papaw’s pieces were fairly traditional in style, and my client loves mod/retro/patterns/colors!  The solution?  Modify the pieces to make them fit her style!  So we did a LOT of re-upholstering, painting and re-imagining!  In the front room alone, we recovered a small sofa, Papaw’s chair, some pillows, and a  bench.  Here are some of the fabrics we used in the front room:

Fabric choices for re-upholstering several pieces of furniture in one room.

And here is a bench we reupholstered in green fabric, with a fun stripe on the accent pillows! And we even painted the wood navy!

Here is the room put together, the bench is hiding on the back wall underneath the inherited art, with the recovered loveseat, pillows, and chair:

This is a stool we recovered for another room, we fell in love with the fabric:

In another project, I helped a client re-imagine a pair of heirloom chairs.  She had already recovered them once, in a gold, red, and green plain fabric. We recovered them AGAIN … in the most fabulous fabric ever!  See below:

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(OK, so I promised this blog post last week … please forgive, life gets in the way!) 

We have ALL been there.

You somehow have furniture in your house that you didn’t choose for yourself. 

Grandma had to move to Assisted Living, and now it’s time to clean out her house.  You end up with several pieces of furniture, some velvet wall art, and her china set.

Your mother calls and wants you to have the high chair she was fed in when she was a baby.

Your Great Aunt Betty has left you her sewing table, and all her sewing supplies.

Your roommate moves in and brings all of her “unique taste in furniture” with her.

You get married, and your new husband brings his favorite orange armchair with him, or even better, his couch he’s had since college  (bless him).

And you know what?  Maybe some of it is really great!  You may LOVE Aunt Betty’s primitive sewing table.  It just may not be your style.

And maybe you don’t even sew!

You honestly don’t have a place for it.

We really ALL have been there at some point, haven’t we?

I get this situation all the time as a decorator!!

So many of my clients have contacted me for this very reason!  They need help combining styles or knowing what to do with pieces they have inherited, but don’t seem to “fit” with the rest of their house.

I hope to give you some possible solutions to this problem in this post!


But first, a Public Service Announcement.

A word to parents and grandparents passing down treasures: your offspring probably doesn’t want all your stuff, or even their grandparent’s stuff. Yes, a few mementos, of course.  But not as much as you’d expect.

Don’t believe me?  Please read this post and this post and this post! And then ASK your inherit-ees first.

That’s my Public Service Announcement for the day, haha!  Your children will thank you.


Before I get into the options of what to do with your inherited pieces …

You must first assess each piece and decide if you should even keep it at all!

Here are a few questions to help you consider whether or not you should keep your inherited pieces:

What to keep?

□   Assess your lifestyle. What are your needs for relaxing, entertaining, storage, projects?  (Do you need it?)

□   What will you really use? For example, keeping a formal dining set when you have limited space and never give formal parties means that space is essentially wasted.

□   Does the piece express your style? Does it fit in with your other furnishings or can it fit by MODIFYING or UPDATING IT ( having it refinished, reupholstered or slip covered) so that it looks like it belongs?

□   Keep what you like. Holding on to furniture that you really dislike will not make your home better and will often make you unhappy.

□   How much work does the piece need? And does the work required fit your budget? Is it well made, sturdy, attractive?

I will be sharing ideas of how to modify or update items in my next post, Part 2 The Re-Imagining.  But the bottom line is:

If you do not need it, love it, cannot use it or modify it to fit YOUR style and YOUR home …

let it go!

Sing it for us, Elsa!

  1.  Let it go

It’s OK.


If you are keeping a piece (or pieces) out of guilt, or because you think you “should,” please don’t.  Your loved one who has brought you the piece would probably totally understand if you couldn’t.  Try having a conversation with the loved one — either in person or in your mind — tell them how much you love them and while you’d love to keep this particular object of theirs, it just won’t work.   You have considered many options, but you just can’t keep it.  However, you will keep such-and-such of theirs (ex:  the postcard you sent me from your trip to Africa, the quilt you made me, your favorite hammer from your toolbox) and you will remember them fondly each time you look at it or use it.  Or tell your husband he can keep his Star Wars poster rolled up in the attic, but you will not be keeping his carpeted ottoman from 1975!

I get it.  It’s hard sometimes.  I have to admit that letting go of sentimental pieces is difficult for me as well, I love pieces of furniture and art that have personal meaning or memories. You know if I’ve been to your home, I have probably commented on some of your more interesting pieces.

Meaningful objects are a MUST to make a house a home, so please keep a piece if you love it or can use it!

Otherwise, let it go!

If you find that it is really difficult letting some items go, but you know you should, I have some Hattan’s Helpful Hints to share with you:

  • Before the item leaves your ownership, take some pictures of the beloved object, to help you remember.  Often just the sight of the object is all you need to conjure up memories, so a photograph will do just fine.  For instance, I felt very sad when we couldn’t keep my grandmother’s piano, I had so many memories of the family gathered around the piano singing, but now, just seeing a photograph of the piano is all I need to spark the same memories!  And BONUS, I don’t have an extra piano in my house!

Beloved old photo of my grandmother, my aunt, and my mother singing while my Aunt Lanelle played the piano, June 1966, before I was born! I can hear them now!

  • Another great tip is to keep just a part of something treasured. See the photo below?  Would you be surprised if I said I didn’t absolutely hate everything in it?

Well … almost everything … but I can work with that wallpaper!

If this was Grandma’s home and you were having a hard time letting go, I would advise you to cut out a large piece of that fabulous wall paper, mat it, and frame it!  You can do the same with pieces of treasured tablecloths, quilts, drapes, or upholstery — save small sections of them and frame them.  Or take some of the old drapes and turn them into throw pillows.  Even furniture you can keep pieces of — did you inherit a trimmed out ornate armoire?  Remove the decorative trim piece off the top, and hang it on your wall if you love it!

Example of some framed vintage wallpaper, hanging in my own house!

Just please don’t save that carpet.

Elsa says:

You can do it!! Elsa believes in you!

I have one more Let it Go option, I call this option Let it Go “Lite:”

2.  Store it elsewhere

Storing the inherited piece is a good solution in only one of these two circumstances:

  •  If the “elsewhere” is another relative’s house that wants it.  Hooray! You can still visit it from time to time!
  • The storage is temporary storage because you know you have a place for it in the near future, AND/OR you actually want it in your home
    • Examples given:  you are moving into a new house in a couple of months and can use it there;  you are selling the desk you have now to make room for Aunt Betty’s desk;  your youngest child is about to move out of the house and you’ll have more space; your child just graduated and WANTS it in their new apartment.  These are good scenarios for storing an item temporarily.

If one of the two is true, by all means, store it elsewhere!  Just please don’t keep a piece just to keep it.  It will only deteriorate over time, and then your own child will eventually have to deal with it.  When all else fails, take a photo to remember it!

A strong reminder:  if the item belonged to your spouse’s family, or your roommate, you cannot make this decision on your own!  Remember to have a conversation with the person who brought it to the house, and assess together if you can use it, if you love, if you need it, or if you can modify it to fit the style of the home.  The key word being together.

Ummmmmm … about your dad’s mounted fish head ….

Tomorrow’s post will be all about ways that you can actually keep and use inherited pieces, with examples of how to update or modify them to fit in your current home!

This is when it gets fun!  Stay tuned ….


*all photos were found on Pinterest or Google Images, mostly from meme generators, other than my own two personal photos

The post What to Do with Inherited Furniture – Part 1, Letting Go appeared first on Home By Hattan.

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