home improvement

One thing my wedding registry— and my house— is full of is rugs.

Lots of colorful, interesting rugs always makes a house feel like a home to me. My parents’ house is absolutely packed with Turkish and Persian rugs. I grew up going to flea markets and antique stores with my mom, hunting for the best deal on an authentic piece.

While our budget isn’t exactly friendly to the authentic Turkish rugs right now, I am all about stocking up on ones that are identical to them without the hefty price tag! I think these rugs can totally transform a room with little effort, and also helps protect your floors from muddy paws and coffee spills (guilty!).

Our floors also could use refinishing, but that’s definitely more of an investment than we’re planning to make at this point. Until then, some strategically placed rugs is more than perfect!

Also what I love is when you get tired of it in one spot, you can move it across the house to totally change another room. It’s like a home redo without the money.

rugs, Ivana Hrynkiw, Southern Style Diaries

Lucky for me, my Arabic fiance is ALL about a good rug and actually enjoys hunting for them! One of my favorite memories is being with my mom and Mitri at a flea market in New York when my mom found an amazing Oushak rug, and Mit had to carry it all the way back to our hotel in Midtown. I don’t think he’s as fond of this memory though…

Where to buy

Some of my favorite places to shop for affordable rugs are HomeGoods and TJ Maxx, flea markets, and off-the-beaten path antique stores. I’ve also found some great sites recently I love to keep my eyes on—  jossandmain.com, luluandgeorgia.com, and appleandoaknash.com.

I’m linking some of my favorites below so you can check them out, and maybe you’ll become obsessed too!

Tan and pink rug: Great for the dining room!

Purple and red runner: I would use this going from our dining room into a little side room. We usually close that area off, but I wouldn’t with a runner like this!

Pink and orange rug: If you have a large bathroom, this would be amazing. It wouldn’t fit in mine, but I could use it in my office/makeup room where I usually get ready.

Multicolor red rug: To me, this is kind of a standard Turkish-lookalike rug. Great for the living room or bedroom! And, this is from the Joanna Gaines line at BBB, which my registry is full of.

Gold and pink rug: This beauty would be amazing in a front entry room, or mudroom as the kids call it these days. I have a front table I would love to use this underneath. The light colors are so welcoming!

White and yellow rug: I have nothing like this white and yellow rug, and I am obsessed with it. It would look great in a bedroom or in a room that doesn’t get enough natural light… those light colors would fool everyone into thinking you had tons of windows.

Blue area rug: This guy is huge, making it a great piece for the den or living room. It would be awesome if you had a neutral-toned couch and a glass coffee table, because the rug would be the star of the show.

Pink and yellow rug: I would use this smaller rug at the top of the stairs, leading into the kitchen, or in the space before our bathroom door. Rugs like this are so versatile, and when you get tired of it somewhere you can just move it!


You always want the places in your house that you’re in most often to look, and feel, the best. My favorite spots in our house are where we gather with our friends and families– in the kitchen, the dining room, and the living room. But, there’s one more room I spend a majority of my time… my record room and office. And recently, I got the urge to give that room a makeover.

When we first got settled, we bought a record player and put it in a small room down the hallway. We bought great records, and turned up the volume so we could hear it down the hall. Those were great memories— but eventually, we used that room for something else (a closet) and moved the records, and I combined that room with my sudo-office.

I’m slightly embarrassed to show these before pictures… but one thing led to another and this mess just got out of control!


I knew something had to give. So, I went to HomeGoods and the Dollar Tree and went to work.

Unfortunately, you have to make a mess to organize. First, I took everything out and laid it on the desk. I did a huge clean out, and threw away anything that was old or I didn’t use.

(I’m sorry for the dark pictures. I got the urge to start this makeover in the middle of the night… )
office makeover, office, home, decor


Then, the fun part.  After a day of work, I did it!

I knew I needed several plastic containers to organize eye makeup, foundation, lipsticks, etc. I bought a few in different shapes and sizes to see what worked best, and to keep things a little different.

I had painted these mason jars copper a few years back for my brushes, but they were just too big. I went to the Dollar Tree and bought glass marbles, poured them in the jars to fill the bottoms, and then stuck my brushes in. Viola!

I also bought this rustic little cart, where I put some the containers to keep everything more organized. I also have a few wicker baskets, and I think it looks really cool combined with the plastic containers and my white desk. The desk? IKEA! 

The jewelry holders are both from HomeGoods and also things I had at my parents’ house. The cute, boho rug is also from HomeGoods. Can you tell I’m obsessed?

And that cool green glass bottle? The Dollar Tree!

I hope this post helps you get some ideas to organize your office or desk. If it does, please let me know or send me pictures of your progress. As always, thanks for reading the Southern Style Diaries.



This post is not sponsored; all opinions are my own


This weekend I went a little home improvement crazy… but I got so much done! Something I have been wanting to do forever was tile the fireplace surround in our bedroom, and I finally did it. No, I had never tried tiling, but I watched dozens of YouTube videos about it and got the confidence up to try.

We planted boxwoods and sodded our front yard this weekend too, but that’s another story…

Below I will share my process and the tips I learned through the experience. It might be a pain, but you can do it!

Choose your tile

I purchased mine at Lowe’s, but you can buy tile at any home improvement center. Make sure you know what form of tile you want when you go in- do you want uniform, square tiles that you have to individually place? Or do you want tiles arranged in a pattern on a mesh backing? I opted for the second kind, because I wanted a subway tile that has a stacked look.

Knowing what style or color you’re going for before you go to buy will make it so much easier!

tile, fireplace

Plan out your tiling area

The best advice I can give you is what my mom told me: Buy a big piece of cardboard and draw out the area you are planning to tile. Use the exact measurements and outline your area with sharpie, so you can see the edges while you’re laying out your pieces.

Now, lay down your tile! Figure out what pieces need to go where and which ones are going to have to be cut (if any). If you have to cut a few pieces, get a ruler and mark the spot that needs to be cut. I used pencil, but you can use sharpie on the back of the tile too.

While this part is the most tedious of the entire tiling process, I swear to you it’s worth it. You can play around and work out the kinks before it becomes a disaster.

TIP: If you buy your tile at Lowe’s, they will cut it for 25 cents a piece. All together, I got everything I needed cut for under $4, and I had to cut quite a bit. If you have to cut it yourself, you’ll need a wet saw or a tile cutter—- you need a wet saw, which is more expensive, if your tiles are natural stones like marble or granite, otherwise the tile cutter should be fine.

Lay the tile

Clean your surface, clean your surface, clean your surface! I used a vinegar mixture, but any sort of degreaser works fine. Now you’re ready to go!

Now, you can use mortar to lay the tile, but I found that to be a overkill for the small area I was working on. I used adhesive mats by Musselbound- I cut the shape I needed and stuck it to my surface, and then peeled the label off the front to stick my tile. It was the easiest part of the whole process. The sheets come in different sizes and can be cut to fit any area. I highly recommend it!

Now comes the tile. Make sure you know what pieces go where (thanks to your handy layout!) and start placing on the sticky mat (or mortar if you choose to go that route). Lay your tile from the bottom up and start every section from the bottom! A Lowe’s employee told me that, and it made a world of difference. Tiling is different for everyone because of your space, but I think that’s a pretty good rule of thumb.

My tiles were on a mesh backing, which was helpful because I could lay a sheet of 5 or so but also pull off one if I didn’t have space for it.



If you used your new BFF adhesive mats, then you don’t have to wait to begin the grouting process. This is unfortunately much messier than I imagined, forewarning.

When you purchase grout, you can buy the separate products to mix together or you can buy it premixed. While premixed came out to be a little pricier, I went with that so I didn’t have to buy an electric mixer and go through the headache of mixing. The premixed comes in different colors, too- I bought white. You’ll also need a few sponges, something to spread with (I used a plastic putty knife) and a grout float.

Here we go! As scary as it is, you just kind of have to do it. I used my putty knife to spread grout on the end of my flout, and started rubbing it across the tiles diagonally, pushing it into the spaces between tiles. Safe bet that this will take longer than you planned for.

After each section, wipe down the tiles with a wet sponge. Try not to wait more than 10 minutes before wiping down an area, or the grout gets stuck on like glue. I learned that the hard way.

Once you’re finished, feel free to give it another wipe down with a clean, damp sponge. (I got the grout all over my fireplace cover, but I am planning to paint it anyway so I wasn’t too concerned.)

You’re finished!

Ah! While it’s a time consuming and labor intensive process, tiling was definitely not the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I bought my tile and planned it out on Thursday, cut it and laid it on Friday, and grouted Saturday. It’s the perfect weekend project, and won’t break your bank! For an idea, here is an approximate value of what the project cost me. It was SO worth it for me, because the fireplace is something I see every day and the tile makes me feel like my home is so much more put together.

$80 tile, $4 cutting, $49 premixed grout, $6 float= about $140



Happy tiling!  

This post is not sponsored; all opinions are my own


The upstairs porch is off of my boyfriend’s man-cave, so it’s safe to say that his messiness spewed out onto the porch. This fall though, I am determined to make that porch my getaway spot! This weekend, I am taking the plunge: I’m going to IKEA.

Some things I am planning to get include pillows, tableware, pots or planters, and décor. I also wouldn’t mind another chair, because there is another side to this porch that has no furniture and is not pictured.

This is a totally blank space- which is exciting and overwhelming at the same time.

I’ve tried to get an idea of what I want the final result to be, and this is what I have currently:


-String lights: Since there is no overhead lighting out here, string lights seemed like the best option. These lights are from years ago at Target- they had been sitting in the basement forever but, low and behold, they are hung now! There is another side to the porch that we didn’t have enough lights for, but Target doesn’t sell these exact lights anymore. I’m either going to have to get a new style of lights for the whole porch or just convince myself to use two separate styles. Stay tuned for that decision.



-Throw: Tuesday Morning (I wouldn’t mind grabbing another, more plush blanket for cooler nights)

-Cushions: Tuesday Morning

-Runner: Bargain Hunt


-Dining table: Courtesy of my brother’s old apartment

-Wicker side table (not pictured): Garage sale


Stay tuned for my post in the coming weeks on what I bought from IKEA and how the transformation goes!

(Oh, and please throw any suggestions or ideas my way. Lord knows I need them.)

This post is not sponsored; all opinions are my own.