Changing Decorative Elements Creates A Whole New Look

Today I’m showing you how changing one source of decorative elements creates a whole new feel or theme to a space.

Remember the green sideboard between the living and dining area?

Here’s how it looked last time I showed it to you. And it’s how it looked yesterday until I started switching up the paintings.

I took the “littles” off the sideboard so that we could focus only on the bigger elements of the vignette.

Here’s a slightly different look…

The more detailed floral painting in the back elevates the look from farmhouse to more of an English cottage theme.

By the way all of these paintings were in my apartment. I either took them off the wall where they originally were or I dug them out of the closet.

These paintings have been hanging in my bathroom for about three years now. By using them here on the sideboard, this is now what I’d consider a cottage look and feel.

By taking out the other floral painting and bringing back the fern print, the look switched back more to the farmhouse look. Just by moving one element in the equation.

I took out the fern print and added the brown shutters. Still more of a farmhouse theme.

The brown shutters add a sort of rustic feel to the sideboard as well as bringing in a bit of texture.

But somehow it felt unbalanced.

So then I tried this look above. It seemed more balanced somehow. But then I switched things up one more time.

I kind of missed the red geranium painting that Nancy Medina painted for me years ago, so I added it back into the mix.

Sorry that the last two pics are a little grainy. It’s very dark outside and raining today, so the light isn’t great. I took the other photos yesterday.

It’s fun to leave out the green bottles and dough bowl of decorating and gardening magazines, and just switch out the paintings in the background.

Even though the cow canvas on the wall remains the same, switching up the other wall decor makes a big difference.

Remember you don’t have to hang paintings on the wall. You can simply lean them. This way you don’t have nail holes in the wall and you get a more layered look.

So which one is your favorite?

Try switching out a few elements in a space and see how it works for you.


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  1. All of the pictures are beautiful but my favorite one is the last picture with the Red Geranium and the fern. Love the green jugs and the shutter. You always have such wonderful ideas.
    Hugs to Charlie and Ivy

  2. “Sunshine on my shoulder makes me happy”. Can’t recall who wrote it.
    Your bright happy yellow sign causes
    me to sing it during the day when I
    see it in your post.
    Big Blessings always?

  3. Yellow sign reminds me of song…
    “Sunshine on my shoulder makes me
    happy”. Big Blessings Always?

  4. Hi Brenda
    My favorite pics are the first one and the very last setting you did.
    I like them all but those two were awesome!


  5. I like the original with the pop of yellow in the background…or else the one with the two bathroom prints or the one with the bathroom print and the fern print. Fun to play around, isn’t it?

  6. Brenda, my favorite is number four from the top because it has a lighter feel to it than the others. However, I also like six because I like the look of the shutters but also the fact that the fern image covers part of it so the whole vignette looks a little lighter (that is, not as heavy). Just because seeing all of the dark shutters next to the dark tones of the cow painting feels like too much dark to me. The red geranium painting is nice against the brown shutters, too, but I think the fern image is too near the same height as that painting. I might substitute the matted floral that you used in the picture third from the top.

    All in all, any one of the arrangements is interesting and pretty. Amazing the variety of looks you can achieve with the change of just one element, isn’t it? This was a fun post. Thanks!

  7. All of the vignettes are pleasing to the eyes and make me smile. BUT I really like that geranium painting and the vignette in the last photo. So much fun to re-arrange what one has. I’ll be roaming through the house tonight figuring out how to create new looks. Thank you for this post; love it when you “decorate.”

    Take care and have a wonderful evening.

  8. I love all of the looks! It is amazing how changing one or two things gives a piece a totally different look! Love and hugs!

  9. I love the English cottage vignettes. So tired of seeing farmhouse. I decorate in cottage style myself. I call it clean cottage look, as I hate clutter of any kind.
    Your apartment is a lovely home, Brenda! And I love your fur babies!

  10. Love all your vignettes. You have a knack in knowing how to arrange things. I do love your style so most anything you do I find appealing. Hope the rain nourishes your plants and moves on. Lately I feel the need of the sun so very much but then rain is essential I know. Keep doing what you’re doing Brenda and we’ll keep stopping by to read and study the photographs.

  11. I like the Daisy picture and shutter, but i think I would add the geranium painting with it. Your vignettes are always so pretty. You add just the right elements and balance.. One thing I would change for sure is the cow picture. Just my opinion.

  12. I always loved your red and white buffalo checked panels. Is there a reason that you don’t use them anymore? Just curious.

  13. Fun to see the different vignettes. I like all of the arrangements except I don’t care for the “Wanda” motor oil plaque. It seems to be fighting with the other softer elements around it. I do like the texture of the shutter and its color links the vignette with the cow picture. Thanks for sharing.

    1. The reason I bring out that Wanda Motor Oil sign is because it has sentimental value to me. My great-aunt, who helped me so much when I became a mother at 17, gave me that. Her husband worked there years and years ago. She’s been gone since 1986, so when I look at that I think of her.

  14. Brenda, I love the English cottage feel. And I also love when you post about home decor and gardening. Sometimes I get a little depressed because I can’t achieve the look i want in my little river place. And then I read one of your posts about decorating, and I become inspired again. Please don’t ever stop showing us how your apartment evolves.

    1. I’m hoping to show something with decorating every Wednesday as long as I can come up with something new.

  15. I have been wanting to see more of your decorating ideas. The third picture is my favorite. This was a great post on our rainy day, too.

    1. Lately I’ve been trying to add one decorating post each week. Kind of hard when i live in a small space and not much changes!

  16. I like the second one (the cottage look) the best. I would just take out one of the green bottles and add one of the plants back in its place.. Little changes, big impact. Sometimes it’s difficult to make up one’s mind! But the bottom line is that you live in the house 24/7/365 and you need to ultimately be the one who is happy in the space, so decorate for yourself and switch up whenever you feel the need for a little change. I’ll probably always oooh and ahhhh over a navy or deep green velvet tufted Chesterfield sofa, but with my creamy button tufted modern tuxedo style sofa I can still get the look by swapping out accessories (like you you) — much less expensive. I love your floral paintings.

  17. Brenda, this is such a great idea, and a thrifty one. I always “shop” my house and move things around, especially pieces of art. I love every look!

    Have a great day!

  18. My favorite is the English cottage look with the geraniums, fern and detailed flowers. But they are all great!

  19. Love.. Love .. Love the Cottage feel / look!!! What awesome ideas !! All beautiful !!

  20. Brenda they all look great. It is amazing how just changing up a few decor things can make a whole new look. I love the English Cottage look you achieved in the second picture.

  21. My favorite is the daisy picture and brown shutter. Maybe if you add a plant or doily to soften and bring some balance. You are so talented. Have a wonderful day!

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