Serene Decor, Slow Living, and Small Thoughtful Changes at Home

As I explained the other day, we’re addressing our little pass through laundry room after four years of simply ignoring it. I hope when we’re done with small changes it will be worth sharing (how am I going to score decent photos with no natural light in there!?!). So far the plan involves no demo…yay! We grouted the marble subway tile behind the washer and dryer this week, and what a great small change! I was reminded how Serene Decor, Slow Living, and Small Thoughtful Changes at Home can make a powerful impact.

Let’s flesh out that topic.

A mix of whites in my timelessly tranquil kitchen with European country decor, Viatera Minuet quartz, and Belgian linen. Come explore Serene Decor Slow Living as well as Small Thoughtful Changes at Home.
Hello Lovely Studio – Serene Decor Slow Living as well as Small Thoughtful Changes at Home.

Serene Decor Slow Living and Small Thoughtful Changes at Home

Rearrange What You Have

Not too long ago, I swapped our petite round breakfast dining table (below) for our great big painted harvest table. I also removed the rug since it isn’t the proper size for the larger table, and I’m a minimalist who doesn’t mind a beautiful naked wood floor.

My serene white French country kitchen with white oak flooring, Minuet quartz Viatera countertop, and Belgian linen upholstered bar stools.  Come explore Serene Decor Slow Living as well as Small Thoughtful Changes at Home.
Hello Lovely Studio – Serene Decor Slow Living as well as Small Thoughtful Changes at Home.

If you have more than one, have you considered swapping dining tables you like equally in your home? It’s a small thing, but it may completely change the mood and function of your space.

The bonus of the huge farm table in our not so huge kitchen is I am now able to use it for crafts and even folding laundry.

Serene tranquil white kitchen with farm sink, marble subway tile, Viatera Minuet quartz counters, white Shaker cabinets, and white oak flooring. Come explore Serene Decor Slow Living as well as Small Thoughtful Changes at Home.
Hello Lovely Studio – Serene Decor Slow Living as well as Small Thoughtful Changes at Home.

Small Investment, Big Return

Another small change in the kitchen with a big impact?

Last summer, I shared the story of how a little vintage industrial steel cart I scored for $10 was transformed into a hardworking kitchen cart with paint, leftover quartz, and salvaged wood from the old kitchen floor.

In fact, I was so excited to share the finished wonky trolley cart with you that I didn’t even take the time to style it pretty!

In our Lovely Tranquil Classic Kitchen is a mix of modern and vintage design elements. An industrial steel cart (painted Annie Sloan Paris Grey), Shaker cabinetry, marble subway tile backsplash, stainless pro appliances, fireclay farm sink,. Come explore Serene Decor Slow Living as well as Small Thoughtful Changes at Home.
Lovely Tranquil Classic Kitchen

Live With Less Visual Noise

You guys are always so gracious with me about such forgetfulness. The truth is, while I know my way around styling, I prefer showing you how we actually live everyday.

Since we like things extra tidy, living without clutter and fussy rugs/accessories/adornments makes it possible to keep it that way. Slow living (or slower living) in a serene atmosphere suits us well.

Here’s the cart looking a bit friendlier and still serene:

Serene tranquil white kitchen with farm sink, marble subway tile, Viatera Minuet quartz counters, white Shaker cabinets, and white oak flooring. Come explore Serene Decor Slow Living as well as Small Thoughtful Changes at Home.
Hello Lovely Studio

Prioritize Pieces That Function

If you live in a smallish kitchen then you know what I’m saying about keeping things clutter-free for day to day living.

We actually NEED the worktop of this cart for prep and a hundred other things so it can’t solely be a decor object.

French farmhouse and European country kitchens always have lessons to teach us about function first, and this kitchen has taught me a few more.

Come explore Serene Decor Slow Living as well as Small Thoughtful Changes at Home.
Hello Lovely Studio

Surfaces that are easy to keep clean and not demanding when it comes to maintenance are also consistent with simple, slow, serene living.

I find the wood floors perfect, not because their condition remains looking perfect, but because the wood seems to improve with age. The planks collect character and scratches as they are used and enjoyed.

Because the countertops are not natural stone, we don’t have to worry about stains or maintenance.

Serene tranquil white kitchen with farm sink, marble subway tile, Viatera Minuet quartz counters, white Shaker cabinets, and white oak flooring. Come explore Serene Decor Slow Living as well as Small Thoughtful Changes at Home.
Hello Lovely Studio

Know When a Big Change Will Pay Off

Four years later, I am still hearing from folks who decided to incorporate Viatera Minuet quartz into their kitchen design after reading about my experience with it…that makes me so happy!

Changing or upgrading your kitchen countertops hardly qualifies as a “small” decor change, but it is one of my favorite ways to transform a kitchen since it’s not a DIY job!!! There are plenty of DIY projects…I love one that demands professional installation!

I independently selected products in this post—if you buy from one of my links, I may earn a commission.

Quartz Countertop in Kitchen: Viatera - Minuet
Read about how I chose this quartz. EXACT Quartz Countertop in Kitchen: Viatera – Minuet
Swedish Wood Electric Candelabra
Evergreen Bucket
Courtney Lamp Base
Capri Blue Candle in Mercury Glass
Flameless Candles & Remote
Antiqued Brass Candlesticks
Round Bronze Accent Table
French Country Lamp
White Ruffle Spread + Shams
French Laundry Basket
Metal Martini Table
Distressed White French Country Chandelier
Farmhouse Dining Table
Helmsley Bronze Door Hardware
Oval Back Counter Stool, Set of 2
Turkish Cotton Blanket
Gertrude Wood Bench
Upholstered Dining Chair Set
White Ruffle Quilt Set
Avignon Coat Rack With Hooks
San Jose Handleset for Front Door
Round Farmhouse Dining Table
Linen Slipcovered Dining Chair, Set of 2
Campaign Style End Table
Louis Upholstered Bench
Oak Laminate Flooring
Knotty Alder Interior Door
Alabaster 30″ Lamp
Louis Ghost Chair
Sweater Weave Basket
Rustic Wood Candleholders
French Linen Dining Chair
Beachy White Slipcovered Sofa
Diptyque Oyedo Candle
PARIS Framed Print
Cross Back Dining Chair
French Country Candle Holder
Tulip Style Modern Round Dining Table
French Industrial Metal Cafe Chair (Set of 2)
White Farmhouse Lantern Pendant Light
Faux Bois Candleholders
Grainstripe Pillow
Bridge Kitchen Faucet (Stainless)
Jute Area Rug
Reclaimed Wood 3 Leg Stool
Belgian Linen Sofa
Venetian Etched Mirror (24″ x 36″)
Rustic Wood Candlestick Set
French Market Basket
Polished Carrara Subway Tile
French Country Farmhouse Baskets
Magnus Table Lamp
Belgian Style Lamp
Modern Farmhouse Lamp
White Slipcovered Sofa
Round Woven Placemat Set
Antiqued Sunburst Mirror
Fireclay Farm Sink (Reinhard, 30″)
Boheme Madera Bench
Round Marble Side Table
Linen Slipcover Dining Chair
Wicker Patio Chair
Teak Farmhouse Stool

Small Decor Ideas & Kitchen Essentials

Here are a few small things in the kitchen consistent with a slow living vibe.

Mini tumblers - Come explore Serene Decor Slow Living as well as Small Thoughtful Changes at Home.
These mini tumblers are the best!!!!
REDECKER Natural Fiber Bristle Pot Brush, Set of 2, Durable Untreated Beechwood Handle, Heat-Resistant Union Fiber Head, Made in Germany
Made in Germany Pot Brushes in my kitchen (in case you need ’em).
1.25-qt. Cast Iron Teapot with Infuser
In my kitchen, in case you need one…Cast Iron Teapot
Marble utensil holder - Come explore Serene Decor Slow Living as well as Small Thoughtful Changes at Home.
Marble Crock Utensil Holder (I put a lemon cypress tree in mine during the holidays!)

My Before & After Kitchen Cart

BEFORE: Here is how my $10 find looked right after we hosed off the grime.

Steel industrial cart on casters before I transformed it DIY style. #hellolovelystudio #diy #steelcart

But how would that salvaged piece of FREE leftover quartz fit the top?

Fitting the Viatera quartz (Minuet) top on the vintage steel cart for the kitchen. #hellolovelystudio #diy #steelcart #viateraquartz

AFTER: Not too shabby!

Come explore Serene Decor Slow Living as well as Small Thoughtful Changes at Home.

Since orange is my least favorite color, and I had no desire to strip the paint with chemicals, I chose to transform the cart with paint. (Annie Sloan Paris Grey).

HERE is a similar and cost conscious chalk paint I have used if you care to give an “aged French grey” chalk paint a whirl.

Come explore Serene Decor Slow Living as well as Small Thoughtful Changes at Home.
Lovely Tranquil Classic Kitchen with Minuet Viatera quartz.

Small & Simple Cart Transformation

Before I painted it, we power-washed the cart and added planks of maple (salvaged from the original kitchen’s floor) to the bottom shelf.

Come explore Serene Decor Slow Living as well as Small Thoughtful Changes at Home.
Hello Lovely Studio

Our kitchen had beautiful hardwood flooring when we bought the place but water damage destroyed a large section of it.  We ripped it all up and saved every possible maple plank to reuse.

Come explore Serene Decor Slow Living as well as Small Thoughtful Changes at Home.
Hello Lovely Studio

The little steel cart has dents, history, and character…just like me. An aged appearance can appear beautiful to the evolved eye.

A Stainless Kitchen Cart Option

Serene tranquil white kitchen with farm sink, marble subway tile, Viatera Minuet quartz counters, white Shaker cabinets, and white oak flooring. Come explore Serene Decor Slow Living as well as Small Thoughtful Changes at Home.
Hello Lovely Studio

Slow Living Kitchen Favorite

This beautiful sink has got to be my favorite feature in the kitchen, and I don’t care about whether it’s trending at the moment, safe or not safe for resale, or “just sooooooo five minutes ago, darling.” I love its depth, its color, how it functions, and how it is aging. To be honest, I have never minded doing dishes by hand, and this sink beautifully enhances the experience.

30" x 18" Thick Wall Fireclay Single Bowl Farmhouse Kitchen Sink
EXACT: Signature Hardware (Reinhard) Fireclay Farm Sink: FIND HERE
Bridge Kitchen Faucet #bridgefaucet
EXACT KITCHEN FAUCET: Kohler Bridge Kitchen Faucet: FIND HERE
Polished carrara marble mosaic tile for kitchen backsplash. #carraramarble #marblesubway #marblemosaic #subwaymosaic #walltile #kitchendesign
Polished White Marble Subway Tile Mosaic Option: FIND HERE
Before and after steel industrial cart makeover. I took a beat up cart, painted it with Annie Sloan Paris Grey, added salvaged wood planks to the bottom shelf, and used leftover quartz (the sink cut out) for the top. Now we have a functional and cute industrial cart in our serene kitchen. Hello Lovely Studio. #industrialcart #industrialfarmhouse #kitchencart #kitchenisland #diy #worktable #serenekitchen #viateraquartz #anniesloanparisgrey #industrialchic

Speaking of simple and small…um, can you imagine living in a 70 square foot apartment? Because this tour of a NY pad was eye opening, and you are NOT going to believe what the rent is…

Small Decor Changes

I use little ironstone pitchers around the house to hold sprigs of boxwood, greenery, and even bare twigs.

Serene tranquil white kitchen with farm sink. Come explore Serene Decor Slow Living as well as Small Thoughtful Changes at Home.
Hello Lovely Studio
In our Lovely Tranquil Classic Kitchen is a mix of modern and vintage design elements. Come explore Serene Decor Slow Living as well as Small Thoughtful Changes at Home.
Photo: Hello Lovely Studio
Serene tranquil white kitchen with farm sink, marble subway tile, Viatera Minuet quartz counters, white Shaker cabinets, and white oak flooring. Design and photo: Hello Lovely Studio. #kitchendesign #whitekitchen #minuet #whitequartz #benjaminmoorewhite
Hello Lovely Studio

Vintage galvanized buckets also make sweet receptacles for whatever grows in your garden.

In our Lovely Tranquil Classic Kitchen is a mix of modern and vintage design elements. An industrial steel cart (painted Annie Sloan Paris Grey), Shaker cabinetry, marble subway tile backsplash, stainless pro appliances, fireclay farm sink, white oak hardwood flooring, and Viatera Minuet quartz on counters. #hellolovelystudio #whitekitchen #serenedecor #timelessdesign #modernfarmhouse #europeanfarmhouse #industrialcart #marblesubwaytile #whiteoak #viateraquartz #minuet #anniesloanparisgrey #steelcart
Minuet Viatera quartz.

A little wood stool is a simple little piece of functional decor.

Serene tranquil white kitchen with farm sink, marble subway tile, Viatera Minuet quartz counters, white Shaker cabinets, and white oak flooring. Design and photo: Hello Lovely Studio. #kitchendesign #whitekitchen #minuet #whitequartz #benjaminmoorewhite
Hello Lovely Studio

How I’m a Slow Decorator

I have a special talent for being a slowwwww decorator when it comes to our home and can be awfully patient.

In our Lovely Tranquil Classic Kitchen is a mix of modern and vintage design elements. An industrial steel cart (painted Annie Sloan Paris Grey), Shaker cabinetry, marble subway tile backsplash, stainless pro appliances, fireclay farm sink, white oak hardwood flooring, and Viatera Minuet quartz on counters. #hellolovelystudio #whitekitchen #serenedecor #timelessdesign #modernfarmhouse #europeanfarmhouse #industrialcart #marblesubwaytile #whiteoak #viateraquartz #minuet #anniesloanparisgrey #steelcart

A year ago, I mentioned that I would like to add a pretty French bench under the windows in the dining room…

Dining room with Belgian linen slipcovered side chairs and round table. Carriage style lantern pendant over table. Hello Lovely Studio.
Hello Lovely Studio
Samarth Indoor 3-Light Lantern Pendant
Similar lantern: 3-Light Lantern Pendant

Well, I finally got around to placing a bench there, but I stole it from another room so I STILL haven’t committed to a new one yet!

White Paint Color

White paint is maybe one of the easier strategies to bring serenity to a space.

Most of the walls in our home are painted BENJAMIN MOORE White. It’s a base white without any of the pigments added for their other whites. We needed a strong white to counter the strength of the yellow natural light.

Here are other Benjamin Moore whites to try…White Dove has been used so often by so many interior designers that it deserves some sort of award!

Ultimate Guide to Best White Paint Colors! #bestwhite #whitepaint #choosingwhite
Find out how to choose the best white paint colors HERE.

Small Decor Changes: Texture & Softness

I recently added a linen cushion to the window seat which was just fine before, but is now so much better.

Before:

Our serene white kitchen with windowseat has a tranquil breakfast area with small round wood table, Belgian linen slipcovered armchairs, and floor lamp. #hellolovelystudio #serenekitchen #windowseat #europeanfarmhouse

and AFTER:

Serene tranquil white kitchen with farm sink, marble subway tile, Viatera Minuet quartz counters, white Shaker cabinets, and white oak flooring. Design and photo: Hello Lovely Studio. #kitchendesign #whitekitchen #minuet #whitequartz #benjaminmoorewhite
Hello Lovely Studio
Detail of linen cushion window seat in my serene European inspired white ktitchen - Hello Lovely Studio.
Hello Lovely Studio

Small Decor Change Idea: Signage

My handpainted FLOWER MARKET sign above the windowseat was found at Urban Farmgirl’s brick and mortar shop in Rockford, IL. Here is a possibility if you have a place for it:

This handpainted PATISSERIE sign (English translation: shop where French pastries/cakes are sold) would also do the trick.

A mix of whites in my timelessly tranquil kitchen with European country decor, Viatera Minuet quartz, and Belgian linen - Hello Lovely Studio.
Hello Lovely Studio

The pillows and throw are all vintage RH.

Serene tranquil white kitchen with farm sink, marble subway tile, Viatera Minuet quartz counters, white Shaker cabinets, and white oak flooring. Design and photo: Hello Lovely Studio. #kitchendesign #whitekitchen #minuet #whitequartz #benjaminmoorewhite
Hello Lovely Studio

See more of my home here, and find more sources for the decor here.

Lovely in My Home

Swedish Wood Electric Candelabra
Evergreen Bucket
Courtney Lamp Base
Capri Blue Candle in Mercury Glass
Flameless Candles & Remote
Antiqued Brass Candlesticks
Round Bronze Accent Table
French Country Lamp
White Ruffle Spread + Shams
French Laundry Basket
Metal Martini Table
Distressed White French Country Chandelier
Farmhouse Dining Table
Helmsley Bronze Door Hardware
Oval Back Counter Stool, Set of 2
Turkish Cotton Blanket
Gertrude Wood Bench
Upholstered Dining Chair Set
White Ruffle Quilt Set
Avignon Coat Rack With Hooks
San Jose Handleset for Front Door
Round Farmhouse Dining Table
Linen Slipcovered Dining Chair, Set of 2
Campaign Style End Table
Louis Upholstered Bench
Oak Laminate Flooring
Knotty Alder Interior Door
Alabaster 30″ Lamp
Louis Ghost Chair
Sweater Weave Basket
Rustic Wood Candleholders
French Linen Dining Chair
Beachy White Slipcovered Sofa
Diptyque Oyedo Candle
PARIS Framed Print
Cross Back Dining Chair
French Country Candle Holder
Tulip Style Modern Round Dining Table
French Industrial Metal Cafe Chair (Set of 2)
White Farmhouse Lantern Pendant Light
Faux Bois Candleholders
Grainstripe Pillow
Bridge Kitchen Faucet (Stainless)
Jute Area Rug
Reclaimed Wood 3 Leg Stool
Belgian Linen Sofa
Venetian Etched Mirror (24″ x 36″)
Rustic Wood Candlestick Set
French Market Basket
Polished Carrara Subway Tile
French Country Farmhouse Baskets
Magnus Table Lamp
Belgian Style Lamp
Modern Farmhouse Lamp
White Slipcovered Sofa
Round Woven Placemat Set
Antiqued Sunburst Mirror
Fireclay Farm Sink (Reinhard, 30″)
Boheme Madera Bench
Round Marble Side Table
Linen Slipcover Dining Chair
Wicker Patio Chair
Teak Farmhouse Stool

Thanks so very much if you have a moment to vote, and do find the nomination of Hello Lovely for Best Written Blog RIGHT HERE!

Peace to you right where you are.

-michele

Shopping for items you already intended to buy on Amazon RIGHT HERE (not just items mentioned in posts) keeps decor inspiration flowing on Hello Lovely!

Hello Lovely is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

Click HERE to also discover lovely cost conscious furniture and home decor!

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13 Comments

  1. aureat
    August 28, 2019 / 5:08 am

    I like this collection and very unique choice.

  2. Joanna
    August 28, 2019 / 2:49 pm

    I was hoping she would furnish & decorate that tiny apartment. I have a Pinterest board on Tiny Homes. For whatever reason, they fascinate me. I tell my kids I plan on moving into their backyard when I’m old & feeble. Lol
    Upon retirement we downsized into an 1800 sq ft. home. And..as a sweet little girl we all know once said, “It’s just right.”
    Always love snippets of your beautiful, serene home, Michele.

    • Michele
      Author
      August 28, 2019 / 7:13 pm

      What is it about tiny homes!?! Can you even believe that apartment??? My sister Jo is passionate about tiny spaces too, and she loves going into those wee rooms in Ikea that seem to take advantage of all the vertical space and just pull at the heartstrings. I think you are on to something with that moving into the backyard in a tiny house! Is that a thing yet? Because it should be. Thanks for playing along and being so fun. 🙂

  3. August 28, 2019 / 8:08 pm

    Good evening! I do not think I have ever seen this little cart, it is perfect for your space and it has so much character. I love using things I already own to decorate/update my space for little money, I love the challenge!

    Have a great weekend my dear.

    • Michele
      Author
      August 28, 2019 / 10:08 pm

      Well I’m so glad I posted it again then! I feel like I am always showing the same boring images of my simple spaces. Thanks so much for stopping, beautiful blogger. 🙂

  4. Joanna
    August 28, 2019 / 9:23 pm

    I know! My walk-in closet is almost that same square footage.
    It seems to be a “ Thing” now. People want less of a carbon footprint, less stuff and a simpler life. I’m not sure where it’s coming from though. Climate change?

    • Michele
      Author
      August 28, 2019 / 10:07 pm

      Yes – I think it’s like the 70’s where we’re examining all of our consumption and excess and shifting. Also, Millenials cannot afford what their folks have so if tiny is cool then it’s more of a choice than a restriction. 🙂

  5. August 30, 2019 / 10:56 am

    Beautiful home Michele! That cart makeover is fabulous! Thanks for sharing it all with us.

    • Michele
      Author
      August 30, 2019 / 11:46 am

      Hi there – thank you so much. We still love that little cart, use it constantly, and smile when we see it. 🙂

  6. بازسازی خانه
    September 2, 2019 / 4:02 am

    thank you for nice Article. I am a fan of interior design and Decoration.

    • Michele
      Author
      September 2, 2019 / 11:36 am

      thanks for reading. 🙂

  7. September 2, 2019 / 2:25 pm

    Michele,
    Thanks for sharing at TFT party. Your home always looks so lovely and serene. I have to admit, that mine is more cluttered. However, I agree that simple changes can mean a big difference.
    Hope you are enjoying the holiday weekend.
    Hugs,
    Bev

    • Michele
      Author
      September 2, 2019 / 9:29 pm

      Thanks so much, Bev. We ended up splitting our holiday weekend between relaxing with friends and working on the house. I bet I would love your home – more can often be more. 🙂 Happy new week.

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