Styling in Annapolis: A Big Difference on a Small Budget

I recently had the opportunity to help decorate a gorgeous old home in Annapolis.  The couple just moved into this beautiful home and while they had many of the larger pieces that every house needs, they were in desperate need of rugs, accessories and styling to make their house nice and homey.  Their budget was a mere $2,000, and that was for furniture, lamps and accessories in the foyer, living room, dining room, breakfast area and sunroom.  My goal was to use as much of what they owned as I could, and I just added a finishing touch to everything.  I don’t believe in starting over from scratch, and using items that a homeowner owns and loves is my favorite way to decorate.  Here are the before and after shots to show you just how large of an impact just a small amount of styling and accessorizing can have! 

Dining Room Before.

Dining Room After.

In the dining room we added a rug, a table runner and some hurricanes with candles.  They already owned the chandelier, so that got installed too.

Reading Nook Before.
Reading Nook After.

In the reading nook on their sunporch we added a rug, an adjustable reading lamp and a garden stool/small table.

Living Room Before.
Living Room Before.
Living Room After.
Living Room After.
Living Room After.
In the living room I added the coffee table and some accessories for the table.  I also added a mirror over their mantel and used some accessories they already owned.  The couple gravitates towards neutral colors, so by using darker pillows I was able to add a little depth to the room.

Bar Before.
Bar Before.
Bar After.
Bar After.

Their built-in bar needed a tray to corral the alcohol, and I pulled out some vintage high ball glasses from a cabinet.  I added bar accessories like coasters, napkins, straws, and an ice bucket.

Bookshelves Before.
Bookshelves Before.
Bookshelves After.
Bookshelves After.

As you can see, this couple loves to read.  They have SO MANY BOOKS, but it was fun to decorate with all of them and get a glimpse into their personalities.  They also spent many years living in Germany, and they have collected a wide assortment of antiques and knickknacks.  I like to incorporate accessories with books when styling bookshelves because it’s a wonderful way to show off treasured pieces, and it also helps tell the full story of the homeowners without saying a word.

Foyer After.  (Sorry, I forgot to take a before picture!)

I didn’t get a before picture of the foyer, but there was nothing in here.  They owned the federal mirror already, so I just added a narrow console table, the beautiful blue and white lamp, and a tray for them to place their keys and mail.

What we don’t have pictures of is the kitchen area.  We added some bar stools to the kitchen bar, and added a rug under the breakfast table.

As you can see, just a little styling and a few accessories can make a huge difference!  All in all, I did all the staging and decorating in about 8 hours, and thankfully the couple was very happy with the result!  Most of the knickknacks were from HomeGoods or TJ Maxx, the rugs were from RugsUSA, and the furniture we added was from Nadeau,, Wayfair, or HomeGoods.  See, you really can get a huge bang for your buck as long as you’re creative and resourceful!

Note: I left the picture and mirror hanging to the homeowners because I had never dealt with plaster walls before and I didn’t want to mess up the new paint job!  I had no idea plaster and drywall was totally different.  Guess you learn something new everyday 🙂

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Katie Vail
Katie Vail

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Leave a comment

  1. March 31, 2015 / 2:08 pm

    Thanks Kelly! Yep, sure did. Ended up at $1,998.

  2. March 31, 2015 / 6:03 pm

    Well done!! Look like you had a fab house to work with there too!

  3. Christian
    April 1, 2015 / 11:07 pm

    I loved this! It's amazing how such seemingly simple changes can completely alter a room. I also loved that you used more of their items, and showed how little things can make a big impact. You are such a style inspiration and while my style isn't exactly yours, I can definitely tell that my house is prettier because of your ideas that I've tried.

  4. Anonymous
    April 3, 2015 / 6:00 pm

    Where did you find the bar tray? I've been on the hunt for a simple one.

  5. April 3, 2015 / 7:14 pm

    I forget where that tray is from, but West Elm has some nice, simple ones at affordable prices.

  6. April 3, 2015 / 7:15 pm

    Thanks Jennifer! Yes, the home was gorgeous and so fun to work on!

  7. April 3, 2015 / 7:18 pm

    Hi Christian! I'm so glad to hear you've incorporated a few of my decorating tricks! And yep, they had so many great knickknacks to work with that I was easily able to incorporate their cherished pieces into the design. The hard part is when someone doesn't have enough knickknacks, because then you have to buy things that don't have much meaning behind them. (I always love when things have stories behind them!) Thanks so much for reading and I hope you have a great weekend 🙂

  8. Anonymous
    April 6, 2015 / 6:09 pm

    Hi Katie!! You did a great job. Everything looks beautiful. Can you tell me the names of the striped rug an the herringbone rug you found?! I love them!

  9. April 9, 2015 / 8:31 pm

    so beautiful! your styling really brought the rooms to life. and, i am definitely going to have to check out nadeau! I've never been there, but it looks like someplace I would love!

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