Design Files: Turn a Quilt Hanger Into a Necklace Display

In 2004, one of my husband’s co-workers asked me what I wanted for a wedding gift. Looking back, I can say that my answer provides the only real reason why I believe that people should wait until they’re older to get married. I said I wanted a quilt hanger.

You see, I had no idea what my design style was or would evolve to be, so I registered for things that matched how I thought we “should” decorate our home. I had lived on my own for a little bit, but small apartment living with hand-me-down furniture and starting salary pay left me with no real direction for decorating. I didn’t even really know that green was my favorite color at that time. And so, in 2004, new to Ohio and inundated with all things country, I thought — just maybe — I might get on board with lots of baskets and plaids and stars and reds and blues. I honestly liked the primitive houses on end tables and country decor in other peoples’ houses. I oohed and ahhed. And so, I wanted a quilt hanger.

And we got one.

It was a lovely, Amish-made quilt hanger with stars and reds, blues and tans. It was everything I thought I wanted at the time. The quilt hanger and quilt made the move to our first house, inspiring three tan walls and an accent wall in red. It was all lovely.

I Want to Take a Nap Here... Don't You?

Until I found my style.

My Grandma, my decor inspiration even though we’re quite different in terms of style, calls it contemporary. According to my beloved HGTV, contemporary style has “pieces feature softened and rounded lines as opposed to the stark lines seen in modern design. Interiors contain neutral elements and bold color, and they focus on the basics of line, shape and form.” Neutrals (grays, browns, tame greens) paired with brights (in your face yellow, bright lime greens, pops of turquoise) abound in our home. I like lines, especially stripes. I feel like this is a good piece of style for me, though I tend to fall on the side of “if I like it, it will find a space in my home.” I’m “eclectic contemporary.” Or perhaps “doesn’t fit labels well contemporary.” Or even “I’m too lazy to pick one particular style contemporary.”

All the same, I ditched the country. I adore it in other peoples’ homes. I really, really do. When I go antiquing, I am jealous of the stuff that country style can pull off, and I love to admire others’ homes that are done so well in this style. Alas, it’s not me.

I took down the quilt, but the quilt hanger, with a handy shelf above the hanger, stayed on our bedroom wall. Empty. For months and months. Until one day, I had a stroke of genius. Pre-Pinterest boom, mind you, as this photo was taken in April of 2011. Yes, Pinterest existed, but prior to this point, I had only created a St. Patrick’s Day board, a food board, and a style board. I wasn’t really into big home decor aspects yet, so this stroke of genius can only be accredited to myself, my love of jewelry (thanks again, Grandma), and a lazy Sunday afternoon that my husband was working.

My quilt hanger became my necklace hanger.

Decided to use out quilt holder for my funky necklaces. Design win.
April 30, 2011

It actually went quite well with the room, pulling out the colors in our lovely bedding (which now resides in our guest room in the new house).

New Bed

When we bought the new house, the quilt hanger turned necklace hanger came along with us and was put in our bedroom once again. But I wasn’t happy with it.

Original Jewelry Hanger

I was happy with the wall colors — Moss Print and Bubble Turquoise by Behr. It felt not… me still. I stared at it for weeks until it hit me: I hated the country oak feel of it. Nothing a little paint can’t fix, right? And so this past weekend, I set to work.

I sanded it.


I primed it, using up the Sherwin Williams primer I used to paint the chair rail and wanna-be wainscoting in our dining room.



I primed it again, because two coats of primer are always better than one.


I painted two coats of the Behr Ultra. And listen, I know it says Primer and Paint in One, and yes, I only had to paint one coat of this type of paint in all of the rooms we used it in — with no primer — when we painted this new house. But furniture pieces are a bit different. Wood grain soaks up paint in a way that drywall doesn’t. Prime your pieces. Paint them well. End of discussion.


I also chose to paint the hanger part the green of our bedroom just to bring the two colors together. The quilt hanger turned necklace display is hung near the corner where these two colors meet, so I thought it would be a good design idea to put the two colors together in this piece.

Turquoise and Green

Since I had the paint out, I also painted a picture frame that was previously red and holds one of our wedding photos.

Frame and Toes

Then I had to wait. And before I show you the final project, let’s look at some of my shiny things.

Necklaces Hanging

From BigBrother

Oh, a Lia Sophia

Target Special

And finally, I am pleased with my quilt hanger turned necklace display.

Quilt Hanger Turned Necklace Display

Quilt Hanger Turned Necklace Display

Quilt Hanger Turned Necklace Display

The colors are just so lovely next to one another. It no longer screams “COUNTRY!” Instead, it just says, “Oh hi, I’m a piece of Jenna, made obvious by the color choices and all the shiny.” I like how it turns my jewelry into art. Why should necklaces sit in a jewelry box? They’re art! Let them be art! I am immensely proud of this project, mainly because I had been so scared to paint “real wood” by the vocal minority of “don’t ever paint wood or you’re going to furniture hell” crowd. In short: Painting wood is fun, saves furniture from the landfill, and is a great, inexpensive way to spruce up your home.

Now I understand why my Grandma, who doesn’t really believe in painting furniture but will paint anything else, says, “If you sit still too long, I’ll paint you.”

Beware. I just might. (Because, oh! This is just a small project compared to what I’m tackling — painting — next.)


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5 Replies to “Design Files: Turn a Quilt Hanger Into a Necklace Display”

  1. I love it!! Today I’ve been staring at our ugly, hand-me-down set of drawers we use for mittens and hands and things we want to hid in the entryway/livingroom and thinking once again I want to paint it. You inspire me!

  2. Paint wood! We painted the wooden stuff in our bathroom (that came with house) and we actually like it now. Well, not so much the shelf (it’s a country cousin to your quilt hanger) but we like it more than we did.

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