A Fun Way To Find Color And Pattern Inspiration For Your Home

You know my BFF, Shannan (a.k.a Flower Patch Farmgirl), right? Well, since she’s one of my favorite writers in the whole weird world, I asked her if she’d put together a post just for me and TLC. She said yes (yay!) and I literally could not wait to read it. I must have hit the refresh button a thousand times a minute yesterday after she texted and said she was going to be sending it over soon. I’m not kidding. She has a wonderful and witty way with words, y’all. Check it out…

Hi! I’m Shannan, and about five years ago, my family and I bought our dream farm-house, complete with six acres, six bedrooms and a whole world of possibility. Over the next four years, we spent untold hours and more money than I’d care to count whipping it into shape. (You can find some of our re-dos here, here, and here.)

Then, right about the time we sank the last nail, we decided to sell. We felt a brand-new urgency to simplify, to step out of our comfort zone. The day we passed the keys to the successors to our dream, we still had no idea where we were really headed.

As it turns out, we are headed to a declining neighborhood in a nearby city. The program we are working with tears down abandoned homes and builds new ones. Following the path of simplicity has led us to right now, when we are faced with all sorts of decorating conundrums. (We knew God was clever, but we had no idea how ironic He could be.)

The home is much smaller and the floor-plan is simple. We will live in a sea of vinyl, and that’s alright with me. Still, I feel my inner Layla Palmer clawing her way out. I’m itching to seize the opportunity and try something different. Because if you’re going to build a house, you might as well build a house that you love.

Which brings me to this: What exactly do I love? Beats me. I’ve never started from scratch before. I’ve always lived in old homes, where the heartbeat is slow and certain and everything comes together over time. This is brand new and I’ll admit, I’m a bit overwhelmed by the options and the sheer velocity of the build.

When pressed, I begin to realize that I love a little bit of everything. I hunt down beauty everywhere I go. Often, it is found in the most unexpected places. If you cock your head just right, it seems most things can wiggle into the shape of art. I eat lunch with my sister-in-law and decide to paint it all white. I visit a friend and have an urge for orange. Soft interiors have me daydreaming about open windows and naps in the middle of the day. Bright colors beckon my inner quirk. So, what’s a girl to do?

I read once that one should take her decorating cues from her closet. Paint the walls the color you wear most often. Do you have a favorite pattern? Hang it on a rod.

It’s worth a try.

Take one: Denim sofas. Pillows made of sweatpants. Gingham curtains. Gray everything. Sweet.

The grand idea seemed to work in theory; not so much in practice.

But I’m a desperate girl, so I took a closer look. Here’s what I found:

I am most “me” when I’m casual and comfortable. Ratty jeans and a T…

I’m farmy to my core (city be danged)…

I’m a fearless pattern-mixer, with a shot of charcoal gray to ground the look…

I’m textured and collected…

I’m an awful lot of gray and white, but there’s got to be some color…

I do, in fact, have a head…

And I promise, that isn’t the only pair of jeans I own. (yikes)

Armed with my new self-awareness, I took to my Pinterest boards. Behold, a vision emerged…








Ah, I feel so much better! Maybe there is a light at the end of the quick-as-lightning, builder-grade tunnel.

The lesson here? You really can teach an old girl new tricks.

Do you find yourself stuck on a design dilemma? Take two hours in your closet and call us in the morning.

 (No really, call us. We’re dying to know if it works for you, too.)


Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required


  1. says

    That would be me. I’m like a decorating schizophrenic. What DO you do when you love… everything? It’s so hard to make a choice when you want it all! And not in a greedy way. Just in a, “I like everything and trying to decide gives me a tummy ache” sort of way. I don’t think my closet will help. It’s about as mixed up as me! BUT, I will go look ;)

  2. Michelle Wright says

    Wow!! You made me look at decorating in a whole differant view. Love it!! Keep on posting as you grow in your new home * pLeAsE* We just built a cottage on the lake and I had my husband paint the bedroom yellow and I love it. We wake up in the mornings feeling energized and ready to go.

  3. Rhonda says

    My two favorite bloggers in one place!! What a treat :) Inspired by both of you daily. Just realized that I subconciously decorate this way, who knew!!
    Shannan, I checked out your sisters blog yesterday, she is so brave! I’m a nurse in an OB/GYN unit and realize the need for caring and selfless people like your sister.
    All three of you girls are truly amazing and inspiring!!

  4. says

    My husband and I are currently going through the stages of looking at homes to buy. My head is bursting with ideas and I need to get my hands on a paintbrush soon!
    I love the idea of going through your closet. Fantastic!

  5. says

    Love this! Seriously, Pinterest has been a Godsend toe. I ripped pages out of magazines for years and stored them in big fat binders, but it’s no easy task to find common themes when you’re pawing through scads of paper. I have boards for home decor (could be broken down further into room), gardening, curb appeal, nursery decor for our future kiddos, etc., and now I can easily spot themes in what I choose to pin. Now I just need to act on those themes. :)

  6. Nancy says

    Interesting. I did the opposite: I decorated with the colors that I can’t wear (that look horrible on me) since I can’t wear them. I’d like to move though just so I have an excuse to decorate differently and this time I guess the colors would match the ones in my closet!

  7. Amber says

    Oh goodness – I have the same problem. I ask myself all the time what is my style and I’m SO indecisive and uncreative and cheap which means my house is boring. I think you, Layla, should let me hang out with you at a flea market or garage sales so I can watch how you see things and make them work in your home or someone else’s.

  8. Katie Currin says

    I love this blog. I love Shannan’s blog. What a treat to see her on here. I can’t wait to see her finished house and all the goodies and love she fills it with.

  9. Shawnda says

    Oh dear, I think I’m in trouble. I have gone through a loss of identity as far as fashion goes, for oh..4 years or so now. If I used my closet as inspiration, I’d have a beige house. My pants (I only buy one brand/style, and I buy it in every neutral color…so basically in beige, tan, khaki, taupe, brown, gray and black.) are b-o-r-i-n-g. I have polo shirts in a multitude of colors. A bunch of them. And I wear them with my boring pants. But they’re kinda dumpy and I don’t feel like accessorizing them even if they were flattering. I guess I do decorate like my closet after all, with neutrals on the walls, floors, and major pieces, and pops of color (orange, green & blue) for accents. Only it looks better on the house. lol

  10. Melinda says

    I can see children and parents alike happily living in those interiors you posted. I would believe you are definitely on the right track. Love your gingham : )

  11. Karen says

    I love your post… and thanks for the tip about looking at my wardrobe. Your pinterest finds will show you the way though… and I think you see that. I’ve done the same with pages ripped from magazines over the years, and now with pics saved from pinterest – it shows my definate leanings, yet flexiblity also. The kitchen pics are very much what I’m currently doing and where I feel not only comfortable, but also inspired and stimulated – all at the same time. I love to decorate with whites, greys, blues and a little black, and then my wood and coloured accessories make it pop. It’s never boring, and never clinical. All the best xxx

  12. Nicole says

    I just spent the past hour swooning over all of the re-dos on Flower Patch Farmgirl! I adore your site and can’t wait to see what happens next on your journey.

  13. Alea says

    That made me laugh and I totally relate! We’re building right now and I go back and forth between lots of color, no color, pops of color. I see one thing and like it,then see another opposite thing and like it! I agree with the closet thing and pinterest helps a lot too. You can find you have a style without knowing you had a style! So I’m mostly tan with some grass green and peacock blue. We’ll see how it works on a house scale soon.

  14. says

    This is so me, too! I’ve always said my problem with decor decisions is that I like TOO MUCH. I have every color in my closet, seriously. And I love so many different clothing styles. I think this is why I gravitate toward the eclectic look. :)

  15. says

    Hi Shannan…I’m Dawn, Lucy’s Mom :)
    Just visited you blog …and no need to think any longer about Calvin and Lucy :)…what a cutie!
    And, where can I find the leather bracelet??? LOVE it!!

  16. says

    well see, the thing is, you, my dear shannan, could look gorgeous in any darn thing. so i’m totally certain your house will too, no matter what you do.

    ps. hi layla! shannan just introduced me to your blog a few days back. where have i been??

  17. says

    brilly. that’s short for brilliant, although possibly only in my version of the world.

    i have a feeling that next year i am going to inherit someone else’s (thrice inherited) furniture, plus live in a dorm/house where i don’t get much say design-wise. however. i am fo’ sure sneaking in my own pizzaz one way or another, and now i know where to look first.

    you just saved me like two point five months of hemming and hawing. i do love you, shannan.

  18. Becky @ Farmgirl Paints says

    Well you’d love my house with it’s gray walls and denim blue sofas…all the farmy touches., I’m thinking if you need inspiration you need a visit…ha. Just redid the spare room for ya;)

  19. says

    I suffer something terrible from IDS (indecisive decorating syndrome) – I can’t for the life of me make a decorating decision. I’m not sure my closet would help much…brown, black or gray is all I’ve got.

  20. says

    What a great idea, Shannan! Buuut, is it ok if I come snooping in your closet for inspiration? :) I’m pretty 1000% sure that I’d pick your wardrobe over any other. For serious. (I pinned you, hee, hee…) And house decor? I’m so excited to see what you pick to feather your new nest! I could live in every pin you have. We’re twinsies, I tell you, but you’re just the prettier, more fab one… :) It was fun to visit you over here!

  21. says

    Great post, Shannan! If my home was more like my wardrobe, I’d love it more. I’m trying to move in that direction. Like you, I’m a little bit of everything. I’m bohemian and preppy, Anthropologie meets the Gap. I wear solids with two exceptions: stripes and vintage patterns. And much of my stuff if thrifted. I have to dress and decorate within a limited budget but most of the time I enjoy the challenge. Also? I have a couple of those same pics on my pinboard. And why am I not following you on Pinterest?!? Off to remedy that.

  22. says

    What a great idea! I have been trying to get up the gumption to redo some of the half-done rooms in our house and have really stalled on where to find inspiration, because I feel like I like everything too. This is super helpful!

  23. says

    You are contagious with your get-up-and-go ginghams. After reading I ran to my closet and decided to wear mine today and…..pulled out my cloth napkins with checks for din din tonight….Don’t they just make you sing? Thanks for making the little things bring “big” smiles to my days!

  24. says

    heeeeey. two of my favorites in one place, fpfg and tlc? holla!
    i am a pattern mixing fool/weirdo-at home and in my wardrobe. it just works. and brings me endless joy in our cracker box downtown apartment. heaven will look like this, i’m telling y’all.

    happy friday, cutie pants girls! xo

  25. says

    i like you a lot shannan :-) your beautiful style, your beautiful heart, what you’re doing, where you’re going, how God’s leading you. I pray for you lots! :-)

  26. Leigh in Dallas says

    Love it! I started trying to think of design that way thanks to Thom Felicia and all his fabulousness on Dress My Nest. Shannan, you’re a super cute dresser and I can totally see the correllation between your outfits and the pinterest pix! I sooooooooo hope we can build someday and get to choose everything ourselves. My dad’s a home builder, so I’ve ALWAYS hoped we can afford to someday have him bring the dream house to life!

  27. says

    You 2 (3, counting the Mr.) have got me seriously considering giving a hoot about my style. And that is groundbreaking. You’re both very inspiring in all kinds of ways.

    FPFG, I thought of you this week when I went to a huge and beautiful Goodwill. They had rows of fabric hanging from hangers and I just stood there thinking…wow…textiles. No gingham, but still.

  28. says

    I LOVE the quirky, mis-matched chairs. I would just ADORE and old farmhouse to restore and decorate!! *sigh*,,,maybe someday!!

  29. says

    Ahh, it’s so comforting to know that someone else out there has the same dilemma…trying to build the bridge between simple (grays and whites) and the love for some artsy, funk (lots of color and pattern) is definitely a decorating challenge.

    Love this post!

  30. says

    This post spoke to my inner schizodecorfrenetic brain…..I always say I wish I had many rooms in our house NOT because I want all that space to keep clean BUT because perhaps I could decorate each in the various styles that I seem to gravitate to. One minute I want lots of color…the next think no, maybe a more natural pallette of linen/white hues…..the next I like a sort of modern farmhouse look but wait…..I think I like a touch of Zen….oh but, geez, bohemian is it.. It’s a whirlwind of grabbing vines tree to decorating style tree like a crazed monkey. So what happens? Things stand still underneath those “trees”…..I drive my husband insane with “I was thinking we should/could…..”. I think our living room walls are held up by all the paint layers of me changing my mind. We have a wee house (and I’m an artist), you’d think it would be easy but wee or gigantic – art or no art – the decorbrainchaos is still the same. Will I ever just settle on one tree and breathe….doubtful….so the journey continues. Money is tight so the bigger things I’d like done are merely images in my inspiration folder. It’s a conundrum I tell you and I think I may be destined for a straigh jacket…hmm maybe I could paint it or add something to it…….I’ll have to decide.
    Grabbing the next vine….

  31. Adrianna says

    Love the ruffle blous–where is it from and don’t say consign!! Starting the process of building our first home as well. Success to you Adrianna

  32. Daniela says

    Hello, I’m in love with the brown/white striped shirt and brown jacket in the picture “I’m textured and collected…” Where did you get them?! So pretty! Please let me know :) Thanks.

  33. Kellie says

    Dying to know where the outfit in the “textured and collected’ photo is from. Love love love!!!!

  34. Amy Hoeh says

    Love your style. Ok…pic #4 is taunting me. That boucle jacket, ruffle blouse and the orange belt is screaming to me. I know that I’m late to reply on this (just found it)… But can you help a fellow fashion lover out and give any clues as to where you purchased them!? My watdrobe needs color and I LOVE that whole outfit. Hey…we are about the same size- if you’re sick of it LMK. LOL!! ( really though.. I will buy it if you want to purchase something new). Just sayin’. :)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>