Use What You Have Decorating


Many years ago, I (Katie) was lucky enough to find a great book at the library called “Use What You Have Decorating”. It was written in 1999 by Lauri Ward who is the founder of She helped make the idea of using your own stuff in new ways a hip approach to decorating. This was a lifesaver for me since we survived almost completely on hand-me-down furniture (mostly from my parents) for the first decade of our marriage. I needed creative ways to make old furniture feel new. Even when we were finally able to purchase some new pieces of our own, we still found that we could make use of our older items by giving them a new life.

This rocking chair was a gift from my Sister-in-Law. She found it at a thrift store and finished it up with a darling coat of distressed yellow paint. For a few years it sat in my daughter’s bedroom.


2001 in daughter’s bedroom

Then we moved, and it didn’t fit in or match her new bedroom. This chair has since spent time in our master bedroom, the living room, on the front porch, and it now resides in our guest room. Each time we change the setting, the chair seems to take on a new look.

chair 2

2006 on front porch

Changing the location of an item refreshes the piece itself, and the space overall. The “Use What You Have Decorating” approach also suggests that you add different accessories or pair items in new ways for another way to stretch the life span of your furnishings. Now I use this cute chair as a way to display a special quilt that the very same Sister-in-Law made for us.


2009 in guest room

Not only is this an economical way to redecorate, it is also creative and earth-friendly. Another term for this is “re-purposing” which means finding a new use for an old item. You will find that many people who have a flair for interior decorating are very good at seeing old things in new ways. Thrift-ing, antique-ing, and Shabby-Chic are all current trends that have their roots in this approach.

If you are looking for some inspirational resources to freshen up your own home, here is a BIG list of decorating blogs and sites to get you started:


P.S. Our winner today in our GIFTaway was mirjam who was selected randomly by from our registerred customers in our store. She won a $10 GC to Traci Reed.