The One Change that Changed Everything


The other day we talked about Hushing the House to create our own Summer Home.

A few weeks ago I knew I needed some change at home. We’ve lived here for just over 18 months and I’m finally learning the moods of this house. It takes awhile.

My last house spoiled me with natural light. This house teases me with it. Tall thin windows, a weird addition that blocks light from a bay window and a wrap around porch all add up to a home that doesn’t have as much natural light as I’d prefer–and it’s the one thing I crave…


I knew I wanted a little change from this. Even though I love the cowhide and the contrast–I wanted less crowdedness and more light for summer.

I didn’t know exactly what to do, but I knew what not to do and where to start. So I took down the black drapes and the rug and moved the coffee station into the kitchen.

I hushed the room a little so that I could see it better.


And remember, we still have a looooong way to go with this fixer-upper. These popcorn ceilings and half painted moldings are even more obvious without drapes acting like arrows.



I decided to do the same with the drapes and the rugs in the family room. I removed them so I could make some decisions.

I love the light grey drapes, but they only made the room feel darker and this is already the darkest room in the house. Also it’s almost impossible to get a good photo of this wall.


Here you can see the windows without drapes and with a pair of canvas colored drapes.

I actually LOVE the look of nekkid windows. But, since our drapes have served us so well being hung correctly–high and wide–they play a wonderful trick on us and make our skinny windows look bigger. Without drapes you see how small the windows are and it actually makes the room feel smaller.



Ikea to the rescue. I bought 3 pair of 98″ long drapes. They were $25 per pair, the best $75 I’ve spent in a long time. One pair went in the dining area, two pair in here. I’m not crazy about this color drapes up against the floor the way they are right now, but I’ll figure that out in time.

This room isn’t done yet. I’ve got another change on its way that makes a huge, HUGE difference in Hushing The House. I’ll take better pictures and show you that next time.

dining room

For now I’ll leave you with my brighter, roomier dining room and I’ll make a confession…

…when I knew I needed a change, my first thought was to run into Target or HomeGoods and buy some cute tchotchke to make it feel more summery–maybe a big ginger jar or a basket of shells or a fresh throw pillow? But I knew I needed a change with more impact than that. And that’s risky because I had to drive further, spend a little more take a bigger risk and do the work of hanging up new drapes.

It was so worth it.

And by the way, when my sister came over the other day, she walked in and immediately asked why my house felt bigger. It worked!

If you are longing for a summer home, consider hushing a room–take down the drapes, remove the rug and let the room breathe for a few days. Share your space on instagram with the hashtag #hushthehouse



PS, in celebration of our 1000th (what?!) Cozy Minimalist, I’m hosting a live webinar next week and we are offering $10 off the Cozy Minimalist course for a very limited time--click here to find out more.

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  1. Oh, I hear ya on the lighter + brighter happiness. I’ve always had white or off-white window treatments + could never imagine using anything else! And, ditto for the IKEA curtains selection! They have the most beautiful, semi-sheer, all-cotton white curtains that could be more affordable! We’re almost ready for said-same in our Dutch colonial project. I can’t wait!!

  2. i have been trying to think of that i remember seeing, i thought another book similar to yours that a friend of yours wrote you had promoted for her. if i am right about this, would you let me know the name and author. thanks.

  3. Love the new look, ’cause I’m all about that white. I think if you paint the windows white it would have a good effect also.

  4. Please tell about your beautiful floors!! We are in the decision making process for ours and I love the wide plank look of yours.


  5. Love it!

  6. Yes to the white curtains and I LOVE your pine floors!

  7. We rented a house in Annapolis, MD last week when we were there for our son’s graduation and it was an old, old house that had been renovated. They had used plantation shutters all over the house (and only used pulled back drapes over the main floor french doors) and I ABSOLUTELY LOVED THOSE! I had never spent time in a house with them before. They let in tons of light but provide privacy at the same time. I know they are expensive, but I think I’m going to splurge on those someday.

    Also, I wonder what your window frames would look like if you added a smaller molding around what’s already there, just to add some weight and detail to them. If you decided to go without any drapes at all, that might give you just the mmmph the windows want.

  8. So refreshing! I thought of you this morning as I took the blue and white check slipcover off my IKEA chair and put on the all-white cover. The living room got just a little bit quieter! Now I’m going to wrestle the clean slipcovers onto the sectional and start washing the originally-white-but-now-they-are-grayish ones. Thanks for giving me a little push to get hushing!

  9. Love the hushing that is in process. I too have limited natural light. For me hanging some great big beautiful antique mirrors to bounce that light around really made a difference.

  10. Looks great! Your rooms do indeed look fresher, and in summer a lightening is what’s needed. I especially like how there are animals peeking out in most of your photos…. :-) Thanks for sharing your transformations with us! -Beth

  11. Have you considered some mirrors for maximizing the natural light?

  12. I would love to hush my house by getting rid of the piles of toys my kids leave in Every. Single. Room, including MY bedroom. There are containers to catch them in all these rooms, but still… they’re so LOUD even when contained! It’s a losing battle. ***sigh***

  13. Love teh new light, airy look for summer. x

  14. That’s brilliant. Who knew the drapes would make such a difference! We have sections of our house with fantastic natural light and then others with the worst. It’s so frustrating. The one thing you can’t change.

  15. The drapes are a magnificent change.
    Are you still happy to have black trim? Would the windows seem larger if they were white? Or does the black increase their size?

  16. Baileywife @ Irishman acres says

    You tease us!!! Hurry with the pictures!!!! (Just kidding, kinda)
    And LOVE the lighter drapes for summer…. Busy working on things here too! Thanks for all you do and all your inspire us to do! ~Kim

  17. Looks beautiful!I’ve pulled up some rugs and it does make it feel much lighter. I tried to pull up my sheepskin rug, but my puppy was not happy with me. And I love parks & rec too.

  18. This is what makes me confused about what to do about our place. We don’t even have drapes or rugs (and can’t afford to buy them). I know our little apartment needs *something* but I can’t figure out what it is!

  19. Your changes look wonderful. Ikea always saves the day. I’m humming “There’s a kind of hush, all over the world, tonight…” (You’re probably too young to know that song~ha!) I DO know what it’s like to have a home with skinny windows; that happened to us two houses ago in Illinois. I do have a chair question for you. I love your chairs at each end of your table. Where are they from? Something like that would be great for our farm table. Thanks!

  20. Looks lovely as always, but I have to say, I think the white walls are working against you. I know white walls are super trendy at the moment, but in my experience, white rooms do not appear to be larger or to have more light. A color on the walls almost always makes rooms appear larger and brighter.

  21. Removing the rug is a must in summer! It really makes a change in a room.

  22. I’ve had a similar effect by putting a white low bookcase under a window in a dark room, it immediately bounced light around and made the room lighter. Your new drapes look great.

  23. Natural light is a must! Not only does it save money on the electric bill but it just has this calming and bright feel to any room. I love that my home has a lot of natural light, makes for wonderful Saturday mornings!

  24. Sue Avera says

    If I win the $1000, I would choose the Lucy sofa, because of its modern, clean lines.

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