Lake House Decorating Ideas To Create An Inviting Retreat

Hello, Darlings!

Today we are going to talk about Somethin’ Fishy- Lake House Decorating Ideas. Earlier I made a comment about the house being built by Bubba and Billy Bob, I laugh but this house has some seriously weird issues I have to overcome in decorating. We had the house inspected and it is sound, just not well thought out.

Originally, the house was owned by two sisters, one lived upstairs and one downstairs. My In-laws bought it from the sisters and did nothing to update or change. With the updates we have made, it was time for me to work around the issues

Lake House Decorating Ideas To Create An Inviting Retreat

Lake House Decorating Ideas To Create An Inviting Retreat

Need To Work Around The Issues

Houses today are built with an interior decorator consulting, keeping in mind how a customer lives and how to decorate the home. That was not the case in this house. Here are some of the obstacles I have to overcome:

  • Columns located in the center of the rooms
  • No focal point to the main living areas
  • Windows off-center
  • Some bedrooms have multiple closets, others no closets
  • Sliding glass door in the bedroom
  • Low ceilings
  • Floor vent
  • Septic System
  • Power surges due to storms

But First, Finding Inspiration

With our renovations, we have created a warm cottage feel. I wanted to work off of that with the decor. I found this GORGEOUS red fish print fabric that became my inspiration. Guess what, it was discontinued!!! I bought everything they had, then scoured the internet for more. Esty was a great source.

My inspiration for the lake house decor comes from this Braemore Angler Club print fabric, that has been discontinued.
My inspiration for the lake house decor comes from this Braemore Angler Club print fabric, that has been discontinued.

Because I loved this fabric so much (and after scouring the internet, had a good supply)you will see touches of it in almost every room. Curtains in the bedrooms, den, and sunroom. I also had pillowcases for bedrooms and pillows in the sunroom made. Still got more fabric for additional updating in the basement (work in progress)

Start With A Print, Then Add A Stripe Or Maybe A Plaid

This was the sound advice a friend gave when working with patterns. Remember, I am NOT a decorator. Stripe was pretty easy, at the time (about 14 years ago) Sunbrella had this stripe, Weston Ginger, everywhere.

Sunbrella fabric on cushions through out the house for durability
Sunbrella fabric on cushions through out the house for durability

In choosing fabric for seat cushions, I went first to Sunbrella. Remembering the rules of the lake house- Durable for large groups, wet kids, dirty dogs. This print Westin Ginger was everywhere and I could easily get pre-made cushions and pillows. I paired it with my red fish fabric to keep the colors in the house consistant

Sometimes You Literally Just Stumble On To A Winner

I was shopping in a great store in Homewood, Al for lake house decor, Seibels, when I literally tripped going upstairs and landed headfirst into a basket containing shower curtains. Low and behold, I found a great plaid to add to my lake house.

Plaid fabric for shower curtains, added fish shower hooks for a touch of whimsy.
Plaid fabric for shower curtains, added fish shower hooks for a touch of whimsy.
Same plaid fabric, I was able to order pillow cases.
Same plaid fabric, I was able to order pillow cases.

Once you have fabrics to work with, the rest is just decor and art. Fabric is HARD. But by making my fabric choices first, I had a color scheme worked out (tan, red, moss green, brown)

Lake House Decorating- We Have A Theme

I am NOT a decorator, not do I like decorating with a theme. But, this fabric and the lake location, it just morphed into a theme. With that, the kids gave our lake house the name “Something Fishy”.

Somethin' Fishy is the official name of our lake house
Somethin’ Fishy is the official name of our lake house

The danger with themes is that your decor can get very cutesy and cluttered. I did not want that, but I found so many unique fish decor pieces. So the idea was to put small touches throughout, giving the home a cozy and cohesive feel.

Putting It All Together-Bedrooms

Now comes the fun part, putting it all together. First, let’s start with the bedrooms. I chose to make the two main bedrooms exactly the same. It is a small house and by keeping it the same it seems calmer.

This is the master bedroom with on suite bathroom.
This is the master bedroom with on suite bathroom.

This bedroom has an incredible view of the lake. Before this bedroom had a queen-size bed, but once you sleep in a king it is hard to go back. So my answer was to put a king bed with a metal curve headboard (Walmart) and very small bedside tables (Hobby Lobby). The coverlet is from Utility Canvas in tan. I splurged on the lamps, they were created from old camping lanterns. Oval shaped braided wool rugs in Rose/Moss came from LL Bean.

My splurge- antique Coleman lanterns repurposed into lamps
My splurge- antique Coleman lanterns repurposed into lamps
This is the view from my bed. We wanted to add french doors to a patio, but septic tank and fill lines were an issue.
This is the view from my bed. We wanted to add french doors to a patio, but the septic tank and fill lines were an issue.

Lake House Decorating- Creating An Inviting Guest Bedroom

Can you put a bed in front of a window? Yes, you can. What is interesting for this room is that before it seemed so small due to the furniture placement. By changing the furniture around and placing the bed in front of the window, now we have a king bed and two large end tables, a dresser, chair, and the room still feels large.

The same window treatment, pillows, and coverlet, and headboard were used in the guest room. I found the cute fishing lamps at Kirkland’s (less than $15 apiece). Window treatments are simple valences and wooden blinds.

By putting the bed in front of the window, the room seems larger.
By putting the bed in front of the window, the room seems larger.

Here is the before pic of this room.

Before pic of room arrangement with Full size bed.  Room seems small and cramped.
Before pic of room arrangement with Full size bed. Room seems small and cramped.

Lake House Decorating- Twins’ Bedroom- Growing Up

When the kids were little, their bedrooms were blue (the color they wanted) and had twin beds. As they grew, they wanted a more updated, mature look to their lake house bedroom. They also insisted that the room be gray instead of tan.

From little boys to young adults - updating boys room
From little boys to young adults – updating boys room

Unique issues in the room #1- no closet, #2 – awkward windows (use to be sliding glass door), #3 – door leading to sisters room. Good thing about this rooms is its size. I could easily put two queen mattresses in the room.

Incorporated gray and brown to the current color scheme for an updated look
Incorporated gray and brown to the current color scheme for an updated look

For decor, I incorporated more brown, finding pillows that still had the main colors (tan, red, moss green) but added brown and gray. Quilted Coverlet bedding is from Eastern Accents. Headboards were the same ones the boys used in their college apartments. For storage (remember- no closet) these great burlap and wood stools are perfect.

Using wooden blinds and fabric valence on an odd window (use to be sliding glass door)
Using wooden blinds and fabric valence on an odd window (use to be sliding glass door)

I found another fish fabric that I loved for the twins’ room, and it has been discontinued. What is it with me and fabric??

**Popcorn ceilings- this house has low ceilings and they are spayed with a texture referred to as “popcorn ceiling”. A huge trend in 60’s and ’70s. We thought about replacing them but that would open Pandora’s Box, which is a no-no. Due to the age of the house, it was a good bet that I had asbestos. This is a future project as the removal of asbestos requires a certified contractor. It will be a HUGE mess.

Issue to overcome- sliding glass doors in bedroom.
Issue to overcome- sliding glass doors in bedroom.

The solution to the sliding glass door problem was the switch out for a double window that worked perfectly in the space. The additional light made this room brighter. Wooden blinds and window valence were added for privacy.

What About My Daughter’s Bedroom?

Her room is a work in progress. Anna is the owner and decorator for Homzie Designs. She is too busy helping others decorate their spaces right now but wants a say in how it is updated. Hoping to start her room update in the winter. OH, she has the BEST view of all.

Here is the BEFORE Pic of my daughter's room. We have painted the paneling and added a king bed. Next step will be updating it from a girl's room to a room suitable to a couple.
Here is the BEFORE Pic of my daughter’s room. We have painted the paneling and added a king bed. Next step will be updating it from a girl’s room to a room suitable to a couple.
Odd door leading to twins' room, outdated intercom system in middle of wall are some of the decorating challenges
Work in Progress- Odd door leading to twins’ room, outdated intercom system in middle of wall are some of the decorating challenges
This has been the "girls' room" for many year.  Futon sofa gives extra sleep space.
This was the “girls’ room” for many year. Futon sofa gives extra sleep space.

This room is next to get a “makeover” from camp girls to bedroom fit for a couple. Nothing beats waking up to the best view of the water from your bed.

Next, The Sunroom

This is my FAVORITE room in the whole house. It was once a screened in porch, but now serves as an “all season room”. It is BIG!!! Go big or go home. I blew my entire budget on this room (do not regret it for a moment) This is where we live. Shoot, many times this room is where people sleep.

Because this room was first a screened-in porch, most of the furniture in this room is outdoor furniture from Summer Classics. Fabric (except accent pillows) is ALL Sunbrella fabric. Remember – durability, wet kids, dirty dogs.

Creating A Conversational Cluster

This room needed to function as a sitting area for a large group of people. To do this, I created a conversational cluster. Using a large swing as a couch, four large seated bounce chairs, and a round table, I can seat 6 people comfortably. Chairs from the adjoining dining table will bring the seating up to 12. This is not uncommon.

My favorite room- large windows with views to the lake
My favorite room- large windows with views to the lake

I continued my use of the red fish print fabric, adding chair cushions in green color. The room has “real” wooden paneling painted Lenox Tan, and the ceiling is faux painted to look like worn wood (similar to the front porch). Flooring in this room is a large tile which makes the room feel even bigger.

Using outdoor furniture in an sunroom
Using outdoor furniture in an sunroom

The dining table and chairs are from Summer Classics Club Aluminum Collection. The finish looks like wood, has the durability of aluminum. Plus this table is light, easy to move. Lucky for me when I purchased the table set, Sunbrella’s Westin Ginger was one of the choices for fabrics on the cushions of the chairs.

Nap Time!

Yes, you can put a hammock indoors. Oh yes, in this hammock I have had the best naps. Kids have fought over who gets to sleep in the hammock overnight. This is an oversized/reversible hammock from, Hayneedle. At the time I was able to get it in my stripe, Sunbrella’s Westin Ginger

Oversized hammock indoors, perfect for an afternoon nap. No worry about bugs
Oversized hammock indoors, perfect for an afternoon nap. No worry about bugs
The wooden buffet from Seibels provides storage for all my serving pieces as well as overflow counter space.
The wooden buffet from Seibels provides storage for all my serving pieces as well as overflow counter space.
Serving multiple purposes-This wooden cupboard is made from reclaimed wood.  I chose this finish that has a tint of moss green .
This wooden cupboard is made from reclaimed wood. I chose this finish that has a tint of moss green.

Wooden pieces were added for function. This cupboard serves as both a tv stand and storage for towels/ sunscreen.

Another view of sunroom space. Multiple areas for dining, napping, and conversation.
Another view of sunroom space. Multiple areas for dining, napping, and conversation.

Lake House Decorating-Dining Room Is For Fun

This room is lovingly referred to as game room. The picnic style table is perfect for card, game night, puzzles. It is also over flow for sunroom, which seems to be our main eating area. ** Interesting fact, the table was from Broyhill, at the time you got a “gift with purchase” of an entire set of dinner plates (including serving pieces). Those are our lake dishes and they match our decor perfectly . Love a good freebie!!

Dining room table is perfect for game night or a rainy afternoon working a puzzle.
Dining room table is perfect for game night or a rainy afternoon working a puzzle.

Front Porch Decor

Since Dan added the front porch for shade for his dad and some architectural detail, this has become another favorite spot. Budget is gone and money is getting tight, so here is where I got savvy.

Old wicker rocking chairs were spray painted brown.  Cushion came from Home Depot. I added a small pillow in my Westin Ginger fabric for a pop of color.
Old wicker rocking chairs were spray painted brown. Cushion came from Home Depot. I added a small pillow in my Westin Ginger fabric for a pop of color.
Wicker swing spray-painted brown.  There is also a love seat in this space and old wrought iron table to complete a conversational cluster.  Perfect overflow space or just an additional hideaway for devotion time or a good book.
Wicker swing spray-painted brown. There is also a love seat in this space and old wrought iron table to complete a conversational cluster. Perfect overflow space or just an additional hideaway for devotion time or a good book.
Unique metal art piece as a touch of whimsy to the front of the house
Unique metal art piece as a touch of whimsy to the front of the house

Are you a junker? I am not, but I was looking for some inexpensive finds at antique stores and flea markets. I past by this outdoor pottery store that had some unique items from Mexico, but mostly junk. On the wall in the back was this metal art piece. I swear it was whispering, “take me home”, “you need me, I am perfect for the lake”. It is BIG and I did not know how I was going to get it home. (shopping with my daughter and only had her car). On impulse, I bought it (it was cheap compared with its size) and the owner wrapped it in paper and tied it to the roof of Anna’s car. Needless to say, we got some pretty weird stares going home.

Lake House Decorating- Unique Decor Finds

I was really making an conscience effort not to get carried away in our Somethin’ Fishy theme. There was so much out in the market place. Hobby Lobby had so many little knick knacks that were fish or lake house themed. I put a pause on the decorating and refused to buy anything else (mostly to stop impulse buying).

Use drone picture as unique art work
Use drone picture as unique art work

Our landscaper wanted to take some drone pics for his website. He gave me several of the pictures and I bought some inexpensive frames from Hobby Lobby. This makes great art for walls and conversational pieces.

A $3 map in an inexpensive frame is perfect art work for lake house.
A $3 map in an inexpensive frame is perfect art work for lake house.

Use maps as art work. Not only is it an inexpensive way to decorate, but it is also a useful tool. We are always referring to the map to find new places to explore.

Inherited this collecting of Woodland creature on Lenox China plates.  Attach to chargers and hang on the wall as art.
Inherited this collecting of Woodland creature on Lenox China plates. Attach to chargers and hang on the wall as art.
Clothes and towel racks. These came from a store in Gatlinburg, Tennessee on weekend trip. This is one of those times I got on the floor and searched through boxes.
Clothes and towel racks. These came from a store in Gatlinburg, Tennessee on a weekend trip. This is one of those times I got on the floor and searched through boxes.
Local finds! This art piece is actual a wooden tray that I decide was too unique to be used.
Local finds! This art piece is actual a wooden tray that I decide was too unique to be used.
Accent pillows (Orvis) with decor colors.
Accent pillows (Orvis) with decor colors.

Solving An Earlier Problem

In my first post in the lake house series, My Lake House Hideaway- Renovating a Lake House, I showed this pic of a weird planter (filled with fake plants). These were very popular during the 60s & 70s as a part of home decor.

Stone planter filled with fake plants.  Serves no real function
Stone planter filled with fake plants. Serves no real function

I got savvy and found a piece of granite in the scrap pile at local granite store. It was cheap! Mostly it fit perfect. All I had to do was buy some sealant.

Outdated planter now serves as end table for much needed lamp.
Outdated planter now serves as end table for much needed lamp.
Framed notices remind guest (and family) that we are on septic and need to be extra careful of our waste.
Framed notices remind guests (and family) that we are on septic and need to be extra careful of our waste.

Inexpensive frames and some quickly made graphics serve to tell guests and family things such as wi-fi passwords, cable instructions, and reminders of the need to be careful due to the septic system.

Lake House Decorating- Always, A Work In Progress

As our lives change, we are constantly updating the lake house to meet those needs. The twins are now married so room have to be functional for adult couples and in the not too distant future grandchildren.

Currently we are working on the downstairs basement area. Remember, this house was once owned by two sisters, one lived up and the other downstairs. The downstairs has a full kitchen (great for Thanksgiving) den living area, full bathroom, and bedroom. It also has “wet closet” for storing such things as life jacket and float, along with a HUGE utility/storage room. In the future, part of this room could easily be converted into another bedroom.

Decluttering The Den, Painting Bedrooms, Updating Bathroom

We spent the last 2 weekends cleaning out and decluttering the den area in the basement of the lake house. This room has served as a “catch all” for many years. Our goal is to convert it to a den area with sectional sofa for tv watching. We are also adding a treadmill and workout space.

Work in Progress- Decluttering the basement from years of serving as a catch all. Once cleaned out, the back wall area will serve as a workout room with treadmill and floor mat area.
Work in Progress- Decluttering the basement from years of serving as a catch all. Once cleaned out, the back wall area will serve as a workout room with treadmill and floor mat area.

Unfortunately here at the lake it is not safe to go walking due to roaming dogs. We miss our exercise time when at the lake, so adding a treadmill will serve a great need.

A column in the center of room and fireplace that will never be used makes decorating this are an issue.
A column in the center of room and fireplace that will never be used makes decorating this are an issue. ** This is after a weekend of cleaning out junk and clutter.

The downstairs bathroom has many problems (reason why we just left it alone in the original remodel). But now we are going to redo it to include a shower that will be “dog friendly”.

Using The COVID Time Wisely

Restrictions due to COVID has drastically reduced our schedule and given us more time to work on projects. As soon as this COVID time passes, we will be busy again. But for now, taking it slow and enjoying the process.

Need to catch up on the first two parts of my series on My Lake House Hideaway

About Nifty 50 Fabulous

Embracing and loving the life of an empty nester, I am a fashion and lifestyle blogger currently living in Birmingham, Al. I enjoy spending my time with friends and family including my sweet miniature schnauzers Gracie and Emma.

4 thoughts on “Lake House Decorating Ideas To Create An Inviting Retreat

  1. Love your lake house! What a fab home for family to gather, for relaxing and getting a break from reality. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks, Lena. It is so relaxing up at the lake. I swear I can actually watch my hubby’s blood pressure drop. I sleep better at the lake and my coffee tastes better. Heading back up soon to work on the basement project.

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