Peek Inside This 1,200-Square-Foot Nashville Bungalow

Brittney Forrister's Nashville Cottage
Photo: Mary Craven

"It's appropriate that I found my house in the same way I find a lot of my furniture—online," says Brittney Forrister of the home she saw for sale on Facebook. The buzz around Nashville's up-and-coming Woodbine neighborhood had sparked her interest, but what sealed the deal? Storage for her book collection in the living room. "Every time I walk into a house and see built-in shelves, I'm sold. I love and live in books," she says. The 1940s bungalow needed only a cosmetic face-lift, so she applied fresh paint and decorated with her self-described "sentimental and collected" style. An unstoppable thrift-store shopper, Brittney learned the art of the "curated knickknack" from her grandmother. She accented her investment pieces with an eclectic mix of vintage decor, family hand-me-downs, budget-friendly finds, and a diverse art collection. "It's a treasure hunt, and what makes each piece feel special is when you find it in a memorable way," she notes.

01 of 09

Here are The Best Takeaway Tips From Brittney's Space

02 of 09

Always On The Hunt

Brittney Forrister's Nashville Cottage
Mary Craven

A University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill alum, Brittney couldn't stay away from using an almost Carolina blue on exterior details. The exterior of the home is painted in Sherwin-Williams' Alabaster (SW 7008) and accented with Benjamin Moore's Greyhound (1579) for the front door and shutters.

03 of 09

Designate A Cozy Corner

Brittney Forrister's Nashville Cottage Breakfast Room Dining Area
Mary Craven

"I found the breakfast room's cool mid-century chairs for $30 but had only three. I knew I needed another seating option. This is my dining room, office, and really where I spend all of my time. I'd had this banquette for years and re-covered it. I liked that it was a little odd in the space—a modern table and chairs with a country house banquette. It doesn't quite make sense, but it's really comfortable." The pieces of art pop off the breakfast room's dark walls, painted Sherwin-Williams' Iron Ore (SW 7069).

Brittney's top sources for her finds are Goodwill, church bazaars, yard sales, auction websites, and the vintage-shopping app Chairish.

04 of 09

Mix High And Low

Brittney Forrister Pink Living Room in Her Nashville, TN Cottage
Mary Craven

"In the living room, the black iron console was expensive, so I designed around it. I also kept in mind the green velvet sofa, which cost $14 at Goodwill, and reused a clear coffee table from CB2. I got some barrel chairs in a crazy pattern from the auction website Everything but the House. That print might get old someday, but I don't have to reupholster them right now." When it comes to mixing colors and patterns, she says, "You have to be fearless and okay with the room looking a little off."

Brittney adores the hat-lady print, though she's not fond of its colors. "Even things you don't love can work in the right space," she says. She painted the walls in Farrow & Ball's Calamine (No. 230).

05 of 09

Collect Without Clutter

Brittney Forrister Nashville Cottage Collections
Mary Craven

"I have this rule that a house isn't a home unless you have a few matchbooks, a deck of cards, and live plants," says Brittney.

"If you're a thrifter like me, you have to make sure your treasures are arranged in a way that's contained and also artful. Take matchbooks, for example—I can't just have them lying around, so they're framed or in vessels or in places where they're actually necessary, like beside candles."

For hostess gifts, Brittney likes to take a stack of matchbooks, put them in a jewelry box, and wrap it up.

06 of 09

Play By Your Own Rules

Brittney Forrister Living Room Art in Nashville Cottage
Mary Craven

"I'm not a student of design. I don't necessarily know the rules and don't stick by them. I look at rooms and bookshelves like decorating a Christmas tree. You just stand back and squint to see where there are holes. And I've started to embrace the blank spots, like with the art above the sofa. You need the negative space—even when it may make someone uncomfortable."

Here, a $3 brass-and-acrylic sconce is topped with a designer shade.

07 of 09

En Plein Air

Brittney Forrister Open Shelving in Nashville Cottage Kitchen
Mary Craven

Brittney shows off her collections of cookware and books on open shelves.

08 of 09

Create A Backdrop

Brittney Forrister Master Bedroom in Nashville Cottage
Mary Craven

"In older homes, the bedrooms are almost always small, and there's often a window in the way of where you want to put the bed. That's why I chose to do a drapery wall (using curtains from Ikea). Hang an extra set of drapes for more volume. Having that doesn't mean you can't put up art, like this piece called Olé by local artist Lisa Zager. I suspended it from the ceiling with fishing line and decorative hooks." She updated the vintage bedframe (passed down from her aunt) with colorful linens and pillows.

09 of 09

Work Storage Into Decor

Brittney Forrister Hat Rack in Nashville Cottage
Mary Craven

"Use wallspace as much as possible. The hat rack is where I tie all my scarves and hang my hats. They're accessible, and it's a unique display. I also love luggage racks. They're hard to find but serve such a purpose: giving guests a place to put things and making them feel like they're actually on vacation." She painted the walls of the guest bedroom Still Water (SW 6223) by Sherwin-Williams.

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