Styling a Home with Hand-me-downs

Whenever people come to my house, they are always asking me where I got my furniture and home decor items. Instead of the typical responses (store names), they usually end up hearing a story about how my grandfather found this piece in a barn or my uncle gave me this after his aunt gave it to him. Almost all of my furniture has a story, and I like it that way. None of it matches, and yet it feels cozy and homey and comfortable. 

I think a lot of people want to make their homes look just like a furniture store showroom or commercial. To me, the best way to find your style is to let it happen organically, and you can’t do that if you’re buying cookie-cutter pieces from a catalog for everything you put in your home.

So today on the blog, I’m going to take you on a tour of my house and tell you exactly what I bought and what was handed down and how those things have evolved over time to create our cozy little space. 

Welcome to my house. I hope you enjoy it! 


My kitchen is one of my favorite rooms in the house. I have lots of ideas for renovations, like installing a backsplash, painting the cabinets, and updating the appliances to stainless steel, but even without doing those things this kitchen is awesome because of its size and the tons of storage.

The table in this nook of my kitchen was handed down to me by my grandparents. My grandmother used to own a little gift shop, and this table was in her store. To go with it, I bought these chairs at the Vernon Antique Mall in my hometown. I actually got both chairs for $15, so it was a total steal. The blue metal shelf is from Hobby Lobby. I bought it on sale for around $30 when I lived in my first house. 

One thing that is really important about styling a home is how you style and organize your shelves. On the top shelf, the little flipbook cookbook was a wedding gift and the rolling pin and butter dish are made by The Pioneer Woman (available at Walmart). On the second shelf, I used cookbooks to support my Pioneer Woman pitcher (again, from Walmart). The center display on this shelf is old cookbooks and home economics books that belonged to my grandmother and her picture. The mason jar measuring cups and salt and pepper shakers were a gift last Christmas and came from Avon. The third shelf is filled with old Tupperware containers that I found while helping clean out my great-aunt’s house after she passed away. They were in her garage and were a mess, but with a little elbow grease, they cleaned up really well and the lids fit well, so I use them to store flour, sugar, coffee pods for our Keurig, and tea bags. On the bottom shelf, I have some of my cookbook collection and a large Pioneer Woman stockpot from Walmart and a Cooks Tools Crock from Belk that were also gifts. 

One of my favorite areas of this room is our coffee bar. I don’t drink coffee, but Jeff does, so this space is set up for him. The cabinet is an old wash stand that was in my grandmother’s gift shop. It was damaged in a fire at the shop, but thankfully it was still sturdy enough to be used. I just had to prime and paint it to cover the smoke damage and installed new knobs on the doors. I store extra coffee stuff and cookbooks in the bottom part of this cabinet. The bowl of coffee pods is a large mixing bowl made by The Pioneer Woman (from Walmart). The tray was a wedding gift. The coffee maker is a Keurig. The signs above the cabinet and the chalkboard hanging on the wall beside it are all from Hobby Lobby.

Living Room

Our living room is the one place where we did spend some serious money and purchased our own furniture instead of keeping hand-me-downs. My husband really wanted a huge sectional couch, and we purchased this one from Ashley Furniture when we bought the house. Once the couch was delivered, our old coffee table didn’t fit (it was a rectangular table and was too big for the space), so we moved it to the basement where we have our old couch set up in our game room and Jeff bought me this table for Christmas from Sticks and Stuff. The tray on the coffee table is made by Wilton Armetele and came from our wedding registry at Belk. The “Love You More” pillow on the couch is from Walmart. The other pillows either came with the couch or were given to us as gifts. The crocheted throw was made by my mom as a gift for Jeff and the quilt was a wedding gift.

In the corner of our living room, we have a ladder to store our quilts (the top one was given to me by my great-aunt and the bottom one was made for me by my great-grandmother). The ladder is from an online boutique that I found on Facebook called Shelia Dee Creations. The black table was one Jeff had in his apartment when we got married. The stump with our names on it was made by my grandfather as the display for our wedding cake at our wedding. The artwork was given to us by a friend, and the TV cabinet (which you can see one corner of here) was something Jeff already had in his apartment when we got married. 

Dining Room

Our dining room table is a hand-me-down from my parents, but it is not really an antique. They purchased it and the chairs a few years ago from the Better Homes and Garden collection at Walmart, and handed it down to me when I rented my first house. The shelf in the background was built by my grandfather. The lamp in the corner was a super ugly gold lamp that Jeff had in his apartment when we started dating. I spray painted it a metallic bronze and changed the shade to a clean white one, and it ended up looking pretty great! (Spray paint is my best friend!)

The sign on the top of this shelf is from, an online boutique and sign company. The collection of figurines and shells are from our travels since we have been married. The antique chalk box was my aunt’s, and I fell in love with it and wouldn’t let them throw it away when they cleaned out her house because I thought it was cool (she was a teacher, and I’m sure that’s where she got it – and since I’m a teacher now, I decided to keep it).

I also use this shelf for storing photo albums, books, and board games.

This hutch was originally my great-aunt’s. It was handed down to my uncle, and then eventually to me. When I got it, it was stained oak, and it just didn’t look right with all the black we had in the room (plus my husband thought it was ugly). My mom and I refinished it with black chalk paint and updated the drawer pulls and knobs with modern ones from Hobby Lobby. The director’s chair is one I bought when I was in college. It came from Pier One. My mom had the sign with our names on it made for me as a Christmas gift last year. 

Guest Bedroom

Our guest bedroom is one of my favorite rooms in our house. When we moved in, this room was painted purple and had been used as a kid’s playroom. We repainted the walls a cool grey that really helped make the room feel bigger. The iron bed is a full sized bed that my grandfather found in a barn he was cleaning out for someone when my mom was little. It was her bed and was then handed down to me when I was a teenager. We have spray painted it countless times to fit whatever style my bedroom was at the time. I’d really like to paint it red to match the desk, but I haven’t had a chance to do that yet. The white quilt set came from Belk and the accent pillows were all given to us as gifts. 

This desk is one of my favorite pieces of furniture that we own. It was in my grandmother’s gift shop and was also damaged by fire and smoke when the shop burned, but it was in good enough shape that a good cleaning and some chalk paint covered the damage. There wasn’t a chair to match the desk, but I found this adorable chair at the Antique Mall in Vernon, AL (my hometown) for $20 and I couldn’t resist it. I used the colors in the cushion of the chair to pick some whimsical knobs for the desk drawers and I love how it turned out. The window frame above the desk is one that I found in my grandfather’s shed. The yellow magnetic message board is from Hobby Lobby, and the other three pieces of artwork all came from crafts fairs. My grandfather made the birdhouse lamp for me. The tray came from Walmart and I keep it filled with essential toiletries for our guests (travel sized shampoo, body wash, and lotion).

This chest of drawers was handed down to me as part of a bedroom set from my great aunt. I painted it white and changed the knobs. I use this to store extra linens and have a few empty drawers for guests. The glass candy dishes on top of this chest belonged to my Mamaw Hall and my Aunt Earline. I always loved them when I was little, and no one else really wanted them, so I got both of them when we cleaned out their houses after they passed away. The mirror is from Walmart, and I found the blue glass jars in a box of junk in my grandfather’s garage. 

As you can tell, most of the items in our house have been handed down to us or found. With the exception of our couch and coffee table, we haven’t really bought anything to set up our house. I love that everything has a history and that it’s a combination of things from my family and Jeff’s. 

Happy decorating! 

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