Design Inspiration Room Inspiration

Bringing New Life to an Old and Out-Dated Room

You’re looking to buy a new sofa to replace your loved, worn out, and outdated one that’s sitting in your family room. You’ll want something that will last, but you also want to be sure that it’ll bring new life to an old room. In this post, we will discuss just how to do it!

The first thing to remember when designing a room is to pinpoint your personal aesthetic. What kind of colors, or design elements are you trying to pull out from this room? Once you grasp that the rest will come easy. Another thing to remember when designing a room is to embrace what you already know and love. Think about the room you’re adding to. You love the sofa that you’ve had since you and your husband got married, it was the first big purchase you made together, but you don’t want to get rid of it to add something new. Just because you have something that’s old doesn’t mean you need to ditch it in order to update your room. Look at that sofa and try to determine what your room needs. Could you improve your space by adding an exciting chair? What about some complementary accents to bring some life back in the room? Something else to remember is to not be afraid of your creativity. It is totally okay to mix old and new together! Another easy something that you could do is to select a statement piece in your room. So you love your old couch, awesome! Then choose to design around it and make it the star of your room!

Here are some other tips that will help you bring in something new or to refresh an old room:

  • Tell A Color Story
    • Telling a color story helps make the room look more focused and cohesive. Say that you have an orange arm-chair, decorate in shades of orange. Tell the world what you’re passionate about
  • MIx Different Time Periods
    • If you have a room full of vintage pieces throw in something more contemporary! It will help bring something new to an old looking room
    • It’s important to remember that a well-decorated room should look like it has been assembled over time
  • Be Spontaneous
    • Add boldness to your room by making a choice that you normally wouldn’t. Go for a brighter color or pattern, maybe even a style that might be outside of what you’re used to

There’s more to refreshing a room than you might think. There are some other important things that you need to consider before you purchase a new piece of furniture.

  • Consider the Location
    • Try to pick an empty spot, or a place that’s not super crowded. You want your new piece to either stand out or match what you already have
  • Think About Your Statement Piece
    • Do you already own a statement piece or are you looking for one
  • Have a Design Plan
    • This ties everything in, location, statement, and style. Unless you plan on being completely spontaneous, you should have a plan for what you want to do. You don’t want to get home and change your mind about the piece that you selected, you want to be satisfied with your choice. So it is really important to know what you’re looking for.

Finally, to wrap things up, here are some important Interior Design Lessons that Everyone Should Know:

  • Think of functionality, what’s the purpose of the furniture you’re buying?
  • Don’t hesitate to spend big on seating, you want to make sure you’re comfortable and also anyone else who will be in your home
  • Decorate! Add something more than just furniture to a room
    • Think pillows, pictures, plants, and other decorative pieces that will bring some life into a room
  • Remember that black adds a sense of depth to a room, consider utilizing some in the marginal areas throughout your room
  • Showcase your personality, let your guests know what you’re like
  • Think about the look of the room you’re designing
    • If you’re going vintage, try to learn all you can about that style and how to pull it off successfully.
  • Look for a new perspective
    • Not sure if you like a bookcase on a certain wall? Get your camera out and snap a before and after shot to see if you like it or not. Taking before and after shots can help you find new angles and see things in a different light.
  • Use an online room planner tool
      • There are a lot of really great room planners online that can help you visualize your room before you make any purchasing decisions, hang up décor or move furniture around. One tool that we love is It allows you to create a 3D room with thousands of 3D models of furniture, décor and architectural elements using an easy-to-use interface. You can then use its virtual camera to take photos of your design from any angle. If you’re looking for a more straightforward room planner, or looking to purchase furniture from Great American Home Store, check out our 2D room planner that will let you create 2D floor plans and drag in actual dimensions from products you’re considering to see how they will fit in the room.

We hope that these tips will help when you select a new piece of furniture for your home! One of the best ways to show your personality when purchasing furniture is to go custom, and The Great American Home Store has many options available to help you do that. Great American offers custom selections from Basset, Jonathan Louis, Mayo, and more! View our website to learn more about custom ordering.

Design Inspiration

Repurposed Decorating At South Front Antiques, Interview With Lara Scott

I met Lara Scott at Memphis’ Urban Barn Market in May.  Her booth was a mix of vintage, industrial, and classic decorating pieces.  As a member of the South Front Antiques family business, an antique architectural salvage store in downtown Memphis, she is carrying the torch that her grandfather began over 40 years ago.

What is your style?

I love the gracious, welcoming ways of the South.  Comfortable spaces with touches of Southern charm is the look I try to create in my home.   I decorate with objects that have meaning to me and a story to tell my guests.  It makes my home deeply personal.  One way I do this is using repurposed objects…it’s a trend I’m seeing in decorating.

What is repurposed decorating?

Repurposed decorating is using some items for another purpose in one’s home.  Typically, our clients are looking for an item that speaks to them. We find that people particularly like to use something from history or our industrial roots to use as a coffee table, shelf, headboard, or merely an object of art.

What’s hot right now?

Industrial historical pieces are HOT right now; railroad carts as coffee tables, old steel fire doors as headboards, or the use of foundry patterns for just about everything else.

What are foundry patterns?

Foundry patterns are formed wood pieces that would be used to make cast iron elements in a foundry. They were made decades ago, during the height our industrial era. There would be a pattern for every metal piece imaginable…from the small valve to the monstrous riverboat boiler. They represent the industry that fostered our prosperity and growth. Most large cities had their own foundry. The patterns were all made by hand, without the benefit of calculators or computers or laser saws.  Especially interesting is the fact that cast iron shrinks as it cools, so the patterns were all precisely larger than the final cast piece – amazing!  It is a lost art.

What I love about the foundry molds is that it allows me and my clients a chance to be able to repurpose a piece of Memphis history.  I especially like how the wood adds so much warmth to decorating.  They have such a rich, dark color…another one of my favorite things about using old wood foundry patterns.

The patterns are the first thing that you see when you walk into the shop and clients are always asking, “ What is this?”  They are so unusual; you can see how they would start a conversation in one’s home.  Add the fact that they are a part of our history, and you can see how personable they can become.

We have had clients use them to make dining table tops, lamps, bookends, candle holders, tabletop decor, and decorative mirrors.  We also have had a few artists use the molds in their art.  One of my favorite ways to see them displayed is to have a collection of them on a wall.

South Front Antiques is located just off of Beale on Front Street in downtown Memphis. Their 20,000 square foot showroom is filled with architectural and salvaged pieces that they have been collecting for over 40 years. Open Tuesday – Saturday, 10-4:30, and Sundays 12 – 4:30.

Design Inspiration

Behind the Scenes with me & mrs. jones

GAHSBlog_Post_Header_GuestBlogger_StephanieJones Stephanie Jones is a local Memphis based artistan which owns and operates me and mrs. jones. She is a painted finish artisan who has trained extensively with the best in the business, including annie sloan and marian parsons, and has worked with top designers in the region on custom projects over the past 18 years, transforming clients’ walls, ceilings, floors, cabinets, furniture and fixtures. Mrs. Jones’s work has been featured in print and online media locally, nationally, and in europe and the UK. Her painted furniture enjoys pride of place in homes everywhere from Los Angeles to Nantucket. She is the author of the recent book Upstyle Your Furniture.

stephanie jones from me and mrs. jones
photo source | stephanie jones

In a snug little 1922 cottage on Cooper Street, we try to conjure up a little design alchemy. With paint, wax, metal leaf, stencils and a few other earth-friendly materials, our merry band of artisans seeks to transform interiors all over the Memphis area.

Re-doing cast-off furniture is a focus for us…we love a good rescue project, and use everything from glue & clamps to wet towels & hot irons to repair and revive old pieces and prep them for paint , leaf or stain. Charlie, our intrepid pallet wrangler and logistics expert, is ready at a moment’s notice for a ‘curb alert’ call…he brought in a terrific bed headboard yesterday that would have ended up in a dumpster. Finds like this get cleaned, transformed, and refreshed, then go from the shop to new homes.

We are always on call for clients, too, and adore a custom project. Creating a bespoke finish that fits a client’s vision for his or her home is such happy work, whether it is a painted floor, walls, furniture, cabinets, or fixtures.

stephanie jones from me and mrs. jones featuring chalk paint
photo source | stephanie jones

As important as re-use is, using environmentally kind materials is another key in our work. Chalk Paint®, milk paint, low-solvent waxes, hempseed oil, waterborne metallic paints & plasters, and water-based gilding size are staples in our studio. Saving something from the landfill is meaningless unless it’s done with products that are designed to be gentle, too.

photo source | stephanie jones
photo source | stephanie jones
photo source | stephanie jones
photo source | stephanie jones

Pulling a room together with a cohesive color scheme on the walls or floor is a terrific way to unite pieces that might be combinations of two homes coming together, or new purchases mixing with beloved hand-me-downs.

A stenciled finish can bring pattern – whether lively or soft – to surfaces, elevating them beyond just drywall or plywood. We are constantly experimenting with new combinations of materials, inspiring each other to keep learning and creating, and bringing a little something special to our customers & clients’ homes.

If you’re more the hands-on type, we teach weekly workshops in all sorts of finish techniques, too. We’d love to have you.


889 south cooper street, memphis 38104
wednesdays, thursdays & fridays 10-3, and saturdays 10-1.
2135 merchant’s row #4, germantown 38138
tuesdays – fridays 10-4, thursdays 10-6, saturdays 10-2.