More stories

  • in

    How My Living Room Decor Has Evolved


    Ideas on how to decorate a living room while allowing it to change and evolve over time to fit your life and personal style.

    If you joined the Facebook Group, The Decorating Panel (invite here), then you know this week is all about living rooms. When I went to look for a post to share in the group that showed how my living room looks now after living and updating the house for 5 years, I realized I didn’t have one.
    All of my more recent blog posts with photos taken in my living room are focused on a project I have done in the room or around holiday decorations.
    It was time to gather up a few photos in one post all about how the decor in my living room has evolved to what the room looks like now. It has gone through many changes – floor to ceiling.
    When I think back to how the room used to look, I realize just how much the room has evolved to make it fit the setting of the house and my personal style of decorating.
    I liked everything I did in the room over the years and don’t regret anything. The longer we lived in the house, the more I could see just what the room needed. The decor became more in tune with what is most important in the room… the view out the sliding glass doors to the lake.
    The Living Room – BEFORE

    If you have been a long time reader, you may remember how the living room looked when we first saw the house with our real estate agent. Here is a photo of the room with the previous owners furnishings.
    Once we moved in, I started removing and updating right away. The process has been ongoing ever since. One that I enjoy and will never be done doing as life changes, so must the spaces we live in.

    The first big change was removing the wall with a pocket door between the kitchen and living room.

    We removed it with the help of a contractor.

    It took some time, but was worth the effort.

    With the wall removed, the view to the lake was doubled from both the kitchen and living room.
    After this everything else we have done in the room, we have done ourselves to save money.

    On the opposite side of the room, we covered up this brick wall with…

    …white vertical paneling. We also built a stone fireplace using a product called AirStone.
    The mantel is from the top of a dining room hutch that was in our previous house. We no longer had a place for it and nobody wanted it so we had to break it apart, but saved the top to use as a mantel.

    Wall Color: SW Pure White
    I wasn’t sure yet what style of furniture I wanted for the room, so we brought the outdoor furniture into the room until we bought new furniture a piece at a time.

    On the long wall is the only place for the sofa. I have always had a slipcovered sofa. This one was a tie-on slipcover over a navy blue sofa from our previous house.

    I bought a new console table and placed it behind the sofa. It gave me a surface for a much needed lamp and decorative accessories.

    Eventually I bought a new Rolled Arm Slipcovered Sofa from Pottery Barn, made an oversize Fixer Upper Wall Clock and began to change the decorative accessories out every season. Blue pillows means it’s summer. 🙂
    Getting The Hardwood Floor Refinished

    When the hardwood floor was refinished is when I began to like the room. Up until this point, I always felt no matter what I added to the room, the orange floor always stuck out.

    The only time the floor looked OK was in the fall when I added fall colors to the room.

    The new grey floor stain made a huge difference. I finally felt I could do what I really wanted decor wise and not have to deal with the orange wood-tone anymore.

    How My Living Room Looks Now

    Sofa | Console Table | Rug | Barnwood Panels | Frames | Coffee Table | Pillows
    My house is on a point lot with the lake on 3 sides and tall pines all over our property. With nature all around us, I wanted the living room to reflect that so the two felt seamless. About a year ago I came up with a name for the decorating style of my living room.
    I call the style, White and Woodsy. It is a little bit traditional, not quite rustic, but has a nod to it. It’s casual and laid back, but overall has a bit of polish and uniformity.
    After going back and forth on ways to make the clock pop and add more of a cozy feel to the room, I chose to accent these two walls with Barnwood paneling instead of painting them a color.
    Adding it made the room come together instantly. I wouldn’t want it everywhere, but as an accent it works well.

    Wall Clock | Lamp
    It is cozy, yet bright and cheery. Cozy is more than a look, cozy is a feeling and I wanted it for this room.
    I created the gallery wall to create interest and to see the people I love the most on a daily basis.
    The Fireplace

    I change what is on the mantel seasonally, most of the time restyling items I already own in new ways.
    I looked for a long time to find comfy chairs that not only recline, but rock and swivel all around. This allows us to face the TV, the lake or swivel around to look at the fireplace.
    Full Room View

    Pom Pom Ottoman Slipcovers | White Sideboard
    The size of the room is 15′ x 16′. Not large, so I like to keep the furnishings minimal and cohesive.
    To create a conversational grouping of furniture in the room, two chairs across from the sofa would have made the space feel cramped and the chair backs would block the view to the lake.
    Instead, for more seating that visually doesn’t block the view, the pair of ottomans works perfectly. Extra and moveable seating when needed while adding to the decor.
    I painted the existing ceiling fan white.

    This wide-angle shot kind of distorts the room and makes it look larger than it is, but you can get a better overall feel for the space.
    Sliding Glass Doors & TV Wall

    I semi-made the extra wide drapery panels on the sliding glass doors by sewing two pre-made panels together. The TV is on a swing arm mount so we can easily change the angle to the kitchen or living room.
    Decorative Details Around the Room

    Basket Table | Floor Lamp

    Faux Concrete Planter

    Firewood Storage

    Coffee Table Styling

    Seasonal Changes
    One reason I like neutral walls and seating is that I can easily change out the decorative accessories to seasonal colors and not worry about having things match or coordinate. No matter what color I place in the room, it goes. No set color scheme to have to work with.




    The view from the kitchen to the living room. My latest project was creating this plate rack wall. It provides a nice transition between the two rooms.

    I know that was a lot of photos, but they tell the story of how the room has evolved over 5 years we have lived in the house.
    The room will never be done as I enjoy changing the decor seasonally. I also know that my life and tastes may change, so will this room.
    Do you like to change things up in your living room for the seasons or as your tastes and circumstances change?

    Tweet More

  • in

    After Christmas Winter Decorating Ideas


    How to transition from Christmas to winter decor? I have a few comfy, cozy and doable winter decorating ideas for your mantel, living room, kitchen and more.

    Now that the holidays are over and we have officially been in the season of winter for a little over 2 weeks, how do you transition from Christmas to winter decor?
    Our rooms may look a little barren after the tree comes down and the holiday decorations go back into storage until next year.
    With the coldest two months of the year ahead of us, along with staying at home more. Our need for the ultimate in the “comfy-cozy factor” goes up a few notches.
    A few little changes in all the right places can make a big difference in how you and your home feel right now.
    Make room for what matters by refreshing your spaces with cozy layers, tranquil touches, warm textures mixed with intentional objects. These will help you get through chilly January and February in warm and comfy-cozy style.
    Winter Decorating Ideas
    When transitioning from Christmas to winter decor, start small by simply rearranging your decorative accessories in new ways.
    Here are few ideas to get you started. Resource links for where I bought a few of the items I used is at the end of the post.

    Choose an Accent Color – This time of year I always like to see the fresh color scheme of green and white in my living room. I have used this color scheme in previous years using my collection of white pitchers and greenery from my yard.
    When you add one color around the room in the way of a pillow, vase, throw or even a painted small accent piece of furniture, it will make the room look refreshed. The accent color will tie the accessories together giving the room a styled look in an easy to do way.
    Go in search for items to use. Head to your china closet, basement or other rooms in your house to find items to use that are behind closed doors and missing out on adding decorative style to your home. Consider every item. Group or layer them to come up with new arrangements.

    For my winter fireplace mantel, I gathered two of my white planters and filled them with greenery – it’s fake from Hobby Lobby. 🙂

    Previously, the smaller of the two planters was on a sideboard in my living room and the larger one on my coffee table.

    Putting them together on the mantel creates a whole new look for them as well as my mantel.

    Along the mantel I also mixed in a new collection of woven baskets.
    Inside each basket is a cardboard spool that ribbon comes on. They act as hidden lifts so the candles I added to each basket look taller. On the mantel, no one will see these spools, except if they are 8 feet tall. 🙂
    Experiment with adding height to items you like that may seem too small by themselves to be displayed along a mantel. Use ribbon spools, boxes, or books to add height to items.

    Add Things You Love – For areas in full view – like a mantel. Make family photos the focus or a collection that you love but is not out in the open. Bring these items out to be seen.

    I only get to see granddaughter every few months so I intentionally added these two photos of her in a set of large frames I had where I could see her on a daily basis.
    I printed out photos from my phone to my computer. I used printer paper made for photos. It comes in glossy or matte.

    Place Items With Texture Around the House – Find pinecones or rocks outside and fill a bowl with them. Leave just like that or add a candle to the center of the bowl.
    If you don’t have any rocks outside in your home’s landscaping, you can buy a small bag at home improvement stores in the gardening section.
    Add thick and furry pillows and throws to seating to cuddle with.
    Place a basket or two on the floor to hold the throws when not in use.
    Add candles throughout your rooms. There’s no better time than chilly nights to enjoy the warmth of candle glow in a room. I have become a big fan of the battery-operated flicker candles, but still have a few real candles in my living room.

    Add a Small Lamp to Your Kitchen –
    Adding the small lamp to my kitchen counter has changed the way my entire kitchen and living room look at night. I experimented with a larger lamp I had to see if I would like the look and I did. I bought a new smaller lamp that fits better. I love the soft glow of the 40 watt bulb that a few readers told me to place in it.
    I wish I had added it years ago. If you don’t have a small lamp on your kitchen counter already – winter is the perfect time to add one.

    Set Your Dinner Table – Since we are not getting out to restaurants and friends homes to enjoy food as much. I know I miss doing this.
    Make an effort to make your dinner something special. Use pretty napkins, light candles and prepare new recipes. Good food simmering on the stove or baking in the oven is one of the best ways I know to make your home feel wonderfully warm and cozy.
    How do you decorate your home for winter?
    Winter Decorating Resources:

    Other Winter Decorating Posts You May Enjoy:

    Tweet More

  • in

    Home Decorating & Improvement Projects I am Planning for 2021


    Here we are on the other side of the holiday season and in the year 2021. If New Year’s Day didn’t land on a Friday I would have been back posting on January 2nd. The weekend was an added bonus to our holidays. 🙂
    Now that it is the first business day after New Year’s Day, it is time for me to get back at it.
    Taking time off always renews me and gets my brain fueled with new ideas, especially knowing that HOME has taken on more purposes and meaning than ever before.
    Although we’ve said goodbye to 2020, its challenges didn’t go away at the stroke of midnight on January 1st. In my home I still am in control and can make it as comfy cozy as I can for the uncertain times we are living in.
    As I redefine my surroundings to fit into how 2020 changed how I do a few things, I will be making a few changes for my everyday needs.
    For instance, when I updated my kitchen island to make it work even better to make it easier to do daily tasks. Function first – then styled and pretty. 🙂
    I love when I look around my house, it’s hard to find an area where there isn’t something I spend time working on with my hands as a way to put my personal stamp on my surroundings.
    This makes my home feel just right for Ed and I – not overly styled… just cozy and our own.
    I thought I would share the projects that I have on my 2021 “To-Do” list with you.
    Some are small and will be done in a few days time. Others will take more time and will be ongoing and will be part of an ongoing series as we complete them.
    But first I have to get organized. This won’t take me too long since I keep on top of clutter by editing what I no longer use or like frequently. I am starting the year by donating the things I no longer need. It is what I plan to do right after I post this post. 🙂
    Home Decorating & Improvement Projects I Am Planning

    Add a Plate Wall in the Kitchen – As much as I enjoy drawing on the chalkboard wall that I created on the narrow wall in-between my kitchen and living room, I love my collection of white platters even more. One of my first projects will be transforming this wall to a plate rack wall.

    2. New Table Top for My Kitchen Table – I have been searching for a new larger round kitchen table for some time. I have found many that I like, especially a few that have removable leaves, but the cost is out of the question.
    I shared how I changed the top of the table in these posts – table covering that looks like wood and faux zinc, but even though I liked both of these – we need a larger table.
    So we are going to keep the existing base that I like as it is classic in design and in contrast to all the wood in the room. I will remove the 4-foot round top and replace it with a 5-foot round top that we make from stock lumber.

    I would like the finish to look like this table.
    3. Add a New Covering on the Wall Behind the Table – Right now the window wall by the kitchen table has textured wallpaper. I would like to see more texture on the wall and am considering adding white horizontal panels or a grid wall.

    4. Transform This Storage Closet – This closet is in the game room that at one time was a bedroom that needed a clothes rod in the closet that we don’t use.
    What we do need is a highly organized closet for a range of misc. items from the overstock of paper and canned goods, board games to family photos. I am thinking something like this closet.
    Exterior & Outdoor Projects

    5. Add Front Porch Railing – Since we removed the shrubs in front of the porch when we had the house painted, we need to add railings, not only for safety, but for overall curb appeal. In keeping with the modern vibe of this side of the house we are going to use cable railing.
    I have been doing a lot of research and reading how-to’s to figure out the best way to proceed and what power tools we may need. I figure we can start once the weather warms up which will be around mid March.

    6. Kitchen Garden – We have already started this and hope to have a few raised beds ready for spring planting. I took this photo late yesterday afternoon when the area was in the shade. We have removed shrubs and are in the process of lengthening an existing French drain near the area.
    Project I Am Dreaming About

    This most likely isn’t going to happen this year unless I win the lottery, but both Ed and I are serious about expanding the kitchen with an addition that looks like the open and airy space in the above photo.
    We have a very small kitchen that we are content with, but it is tight and we get in the way of each other all the time when working in the space.
    We are going to research costs and meet with an architect/builder to see what could be done.
    DIY Decor
    I always enjoy creating pretty things and will be sharing them as I make new items to decorate the house all through the year.
    Your Projects
    I receive hundreds of decorating questions every year and answer them directly to the reader.
    It dawned on me that my responses to many of these questions are problems that many readers may have.
    So starting this month, I will be sharing a reader decorating question and my response in a blog post. This will also open up the conversation in the comments where other readers can offer ideas that will in turn help all of us.
    My Blogging Goal
    My main goal here on the blog though is to continue to remind and inspire you to nurture the spaces that help make you live your best life possible.
    Having a warm and well-kept home can enhance your life and we could all use a little more of this.
    My 2021 decorating plan is simple:
    Embrace and then add what I LOVE – If something makes you smile and feel good, make it yours!!! Find a way to add it and then enjoy it every single day.
    Change What I Can – Re-purpose and use what you have to change things up. (I will be sharing how I just did just this to refresh my fireplace mantel decor for the winter months.)
    Don’t Worry What Others Think – It is your house afterall! Do it – In Your Own Style!
    What would you like to see me post more about for 2021? After blogging for 11 years, I have covered a lot, but I know you may be looking to find out how to do something in particular. Let me know in the comments.
    XO – Diane

    Tweet More

  • in

    How to Display a Collection of Matchbooks


    You know I have a thing for candles in the house. But did you know that I also have a thing for something that all candles need to produce candle glow and that is matches.
    Yes, I have a thing for matches.
    It started when I was a child and my mom thought my siblings and I needed to each acquire a hobby of collecting something to broaden our horizons.
    My brother chose stamps. My twin sister – miniature books, and I chose to collect matchbooks. My younger sister was an infant at the time, so she missed out on this new adventure.

    Over the years, my matchbook collection made it through 6 moves and is still going strong.
    Recently when styling the coffee table in the living room, I was at a loss for something to add that was unique.
    After a bit of contemplating, it came to me  – my favorite collection. I can place them in a bowl or small tray –“why had I never thought of that before?”
    I think I always felt I needed to protect it, but why have something you love, if you can’t enjoy it. It can become the best  home decorating accessory, better than just another tchotchke.
    I don’t collect many things as I am a firm believer in less is more, but I do have an abundance of one particular item – a true collection in every sense of the word.
    A collection that I am rather fond of and that has many memories attached to it.  I went in search of it – It is in a big hat box that has been stored in a closet. Bringing it out to the light of day, I realized was also going to help me keep one of my New Years goals in check  – to have my favorite things around me. Happy colorful things that make me smile…
    …like hundreds of matchbooks and matchboxes!!!

    I have a lot of them in all shapes, sizes, and colors from places near and far.
    Each of these matchbooks has a story behind it. I can pick one up and automatically, I recall a fond memory. The restaurant where Ed proposed to me, or the store where I got my first job in display, and the trip we took to Hawaii.
    When I thought more about using the matchbooks as a decorating accessory, it made even more sense as matchbooks fill the bill in more than one way. When placed on a table they can become interactive conversation starters as well as visually adding color and interest to the tablescape.

    My matchbook collection started when I was in elementary school. My mom thought it a good idea that my twin sister Carol, and I each collected something. She called it “broadening our horizons”.   My older brother collected stamps so we knew a little bit about collecting as a hobby and were excited to have a collection to call our own.   My mom decided that I was to collect matchbooks and my sister miniature books.
    We both still have our collections. I have a lot more items in mine as matchbooks were a little easier to acquire than mini books.

    They are not as easy to find anymore – since smoking is not allowed in most public places and most smokers use lighters nowadays.

    My dad traveled to many business dinner meetings and always brought one home for me wherever he went.  Most of my matchbooks are from-restaurants, hotels, supermarkets, drug stores, department stores, beauty salons, and banks as there was always a stack of free matchbooks for the taking.
    I had an aunt that lived in Brooklyn and worked on Wall Street. When she came to visit, she always had a bag full of them for me. As a kid these were the most exciting to acquire since they were from the big city – they were shiny and big from sophisticated and elegant establishments. As I got older, I started picking them up wherever I traveled. These have become my favorites – the ones I picked up myself.

    I love seeing all of them together, but I do have a few favorites – one from a long gone restaurant that was on the bay in Ocean City, NJ called Holgate’s.  I also love the one from Hess’s Department Store, The Copacabana in NYC and the real estate office in Ocean City that my family used to use to rent our vacation home every summer – fond memories…

    Most collectors choose what they want to collect, but my mom knew me well when she chose matchbooks for me. She knew the colorful art and designs on the covers would pique my interest. She was right as I still pick them up if I see an interesting or colorful one when I am out and about– it has become an automatic response.

    My mom is no longer living, but I think it would make her smile if she walked into my house today and saw that I have them prominently displayed.  They are the perfect decorating accessory – interesting and meaningful.  I have to thank her for wanting to “broaden my horizons”.
    Did you collect anything as a child that you still have or display in your home?

    Tweet More

  • in

    How to Decorate So You Feel at Home


    How to decorate your home in the best way possible, so you feel at home.

    When I first started blogging, I kept one of my favorite quotes about decorating and lifestyle in my blog’s sidebar.  If you have been a reader since the beginning, you may remember it.

    Diana Vreeland the legendary fashion editor’s insight so elegantly reveals the impressions we feel when we are in others homes. We may visit a friend’s home and love the way she arranged and accessorized her family room.
    When we enter our own family room we frown and think it lacks style and we need to go buy something new because it doesn’t look the same as your friends…
    …or does it?

    Decorating versus Lifestyle
    When I did residential design, clients would show me room clippings from magazines with the look they wanted to achieve in their space, but I found what they really wanted was the lifestyle and feeling the room evoked.
    I ended up not actually decorating for them, but helping them to “style their lives” and help boost their confidence in the choices they made.  It rarely involved spending money. It was more of a matter of making better use of what they already owned.
    When you think about how to decorate your home  – walls, furniture, paint, fabric, and accessories usually come to mind, but the list often omits the most important factor – YOU and your families unique traits, passions, and personalities, and of course the “stuff” you love.
    These traits and things we all personally do to our homes with individual flair add up to enlighten others without us even knowing it. We don’t see our own decorating style from their perspective.
    It is when we think we need to copy or follow the dictates of some arbitrary decorating source to create a beautiful home, that it backfires on us because it is not authentic.

    When I look at magazines, I get more excited when I see a glimpse into the homeowner’s personal life –   a telltale sign that shows a life in progress.
    It could be the books in the bookcase or the way they have their mudroom set up with the names of their children over each hook. These elements add human interest and tell the lifestyle story of the occupants.
    Instead of thinking “designer” or good, better, best as the only element when choosing furnishings – think comfort, function, and personal style.  Instead of wanting to copy a look you see in a magazine – first figure out what it is about the space that caught your eye – then proceed to add that element to your home.
    It may not have to be purchased or it may just require you to move items out or in from another room.
    How Do You Want to Feel in Your Home?

    Stop thinking about how you want your home to look, instead think… How do I want to FEEL in my home?
    Ask yourself:
    Does your home truly reflect who you are?  If the answer is no, or only a little,  then ask yourself – Why not?  Then figure out what is needed so that it does reflect you.
    Are all your needs being met physically and emotionally?  What do you do upon waking, eating, working? Is everything you need at arm’s length or easy to get? Do you have the right wattage of light bulb to read by? Is the sink at the right height, the cabinet for your dishes right above the dishwasher so you can empty it with ease. Do your rugs feel good under your feet?  These little things make the way you live “the best” – not designer plates or an expensive appliance.
    How do I really want to live?  Is it casual, formal, cozy, spacious, dark, light.
    If you were the only person you had to impress, how would you decorate your home?  This is the hardest to figure out but once you do, you will be on your way to knowing what change is needed so you feel good in your home.
    How one feels in their home is as individual as each one of us – our tastes, personality, and past. Your home should feel customized just for you and your family.
    How to Begin to Feel at Home
    So how do you get your home to start feeling the way you want?  Simply start with a list.
    Start small… tackle a kitchen cabinet first.
    Take everything out and ask, “What do I hate, what do I love?”  Only put back in what you love. From this point forward only add back in what you truly love or need to that cabinet and then move to the next.
    Keep going around your kitchen. Once you’re done, start in another room until you have edited every room in the house.  It may take you weeks or longer, but know that you are on the right path to creating a home that feels like you are getting a big hug every time you walk through the door.

    My Feeling at Home Love List:
    I have expanded on each item to show you how I try to make it happen in my home.
    Comfy Seating – I have an oversized sofa and chair and two movable ottomans in my family room – they are worn, but super comfortable.  To make them look more cohesive with each other, I covered them with white slipcovers.
    Lots of Natural Light – I don’t have window treatments that block any light so throughout the day the house always feels bright and cheery.
    Smells Good – This one is a constant struggle, but I do feel much better in my home when it is clean and smells fresh. I use home fragrance to entice my sense of smell. It also helps when I don’t have a chance to get the Spic N’ Span out every week.
    Expansive views – (a recurring theme that goes with the natural light above – makes it extra important that I make sure I have this in my home). I have regular sized windows, but do not cover them up with heavy window treatments that block the light or views.  I use roller shades at every window so that if I do need privacy or to block the sun, I can simply roll them down.  On windows were I have curtain panels, I made sure that the rods were cut wide enough so when the panels were hung they didn’t cover the window, only overlap the window trim.
    Clutter-Free – I only keep what we love on tables and mantels and bookshelves.    Trendy or stuff bought on a whim always seems to end up in the pile for Goodwill.
    Fresh Air  – Window and door screens are a must in my house for the summer.  I want to catch every breeze that blows by. I could not even imagine living in a house without open windows and doors to allow in the fresh air.
    Color – I like white walls and seating with pops of color scattered throughout each room.   If your spouse dislikes a color you love, don’t let this stop you from enjoying the color in your home.  Paint the inside of your drawers with it. Think how happy it will make you feel when you open one of them to grab a t-shirt.
    Low Maintenance – Enough said  😉  Even as a DIYer I have my limits on what I want to take care of around my house.
    Natural Elements – In the Spring and Summer I bring in whatever is blooming outside and place it in a vase. I usually place it on the kitchen table or island.  In the Fall, I bring in branches with colorful leaves still hanging on.  In the Winter –  greenery that I buy at the local nursery and at Christmas, the clippings from the bottom of the tree when we buy it.  In the Summer, I display my shell collection, in the Fall – pine cones and acorns, although with Trax the cat, the acorns usually become his play toys.
    Candle Light – Candlelight is magical.  I like to use it as much as I can, at dinner, taking a bath, along the mantel, outside in the summer. It elevates the mood to one that says sit and stay awhile.
    Photos of Family– I used to have a lot more photos of friends and family around, but as the photos faded or the frames outdated, I have only put back a few – mostly of my daughters since they no longer live at home I like to see their photos and blow them a kiss as I walk by.
    Mirrors – Across from windows and doors to expand the light. I also place one by my front door so that I can take a quick glance at myself to make sure I look presentable when I answer the door. If you work from home in yoga pants all day, having this is a necessity.
    Simple, Yet Highly Functional –  I like simple appliances with no bells and whistles that take a 100 page manual to learn how to use. On/Off is good enough for me.
    Texture – I don’t like anything that feels scratchy against my skin.  I once made pillows with burlap.  Not only were they scratchy but they smelled of burlap when you sat or laid on the sofa. Not a good feeling.  Out they went.
    Soft White Lightbulbs – I am not a fan of the new LED and CFL lightbulbs.  Even the newer ones that are said to have nicer light still give off an odd cast of light. As long as they keep making soft white light bulbs,  I will be using them.
    When a space starts to feel off, I take out my list and edit the space until it feels just right again. Many times all that is needed is the removal of a few items and the addition of an item taken from another room.

    In the journey to feeling at home you will take some missteps, but decorating a home is a journey that as it evolves over time, will get better and better.
    What would be on your list? Nobody’s list will be exactly like yours, but if you follow it and edit the rooms in your house you will begin to feel truly at home.
    Download a Free Printable Feeling at Home Love List

    Remember to Keep These Points in Mind

    Enliven Every Day – Surround yourself with beauty.  Don’t save items that you love for special occasions only- use and enjoy everything you own every day. Drink your daily intake of water out of a crystal goblet.  Use the good china every night. Buy the fluffiest towels so when you step out of the shower you feel pampered.  Place a lit candle on the table at dinner every night.  Keep a vase of flowers on your desk.
    Fulfill All Your Senses -All through the house, play your favorite tunes and spray or diffuse room fragrance. Buy the softest bedding you can find so after a tough day your body melts into the sheets.
    Edit…Edit…Edit…  Learn to be choosy – most of us are so programmed to live the way marketers want us to live. They rely on the fact that people no longer have the creative energy after a busy day to think for themselves.  Edit out the noise and only choose what truly makes you smile.
    Follow Your Instincts – That little voice in your head is usually right.
    Break the Rules – How boring would homes look if we all followed the rules?  Decorating rules were made to be broken. There is no such thing as the decorating police – you are the only one stopping yourself from doing what feels right when it comes to picking out what you like and don’t like. Instead of thinking you have to have a sofa in your living room because that is what is expected, ask if your family would prefer to each have their own chair to watch TV.  Four oversized club chairs arranged in the room may be a better option.
    Let it Evolve – Take your time; decorating a home to feel good does not have to be done in a day, a week, or a year.  I let my decorating evolve – it will never be done since I am still living.  It will be done when I am no longer alive.  When you take the time to let the rooms evolve over time is when you create rooms that fit perfectly into your life.
    The next time you find yourself doubting the way you decorate your home, turn the tables.
    Cherish the way you decorate. Realize that others are inspired by you, just as much as you are inspired by them.
    Take pride in the fact that you organize your kitchen cabinets in a way that is ultra efficient.  You think it is nothing, that anyone can do it, but your neighbor thinks it is terrific, since no matter how hard she tries she can never get her organization to the same level.
    The more you edit, follow your gut, and break the rules, the more you will feel at home.

    How to Decorate Series BlogHop
    This post is part of a How to Decorate series hosted by Beth at Home Stories A to Z.  If you are looking for more decorating inspiration from other DIY decorating bloggers, then follow the links below.
    Day 1:1. Beth, Home Stories A to Z: How to Find Your Decorating Style2. Courtney, A Thoughtful Place: 5 Gallery Wall Styles3. Stacy, Not Just A Housewife: How to Decorate with Plants4. Myquillyn, Nesting Place: Turning a House into a Home on a Thrift Store Budget5. Donna, Funky Junk Interiors: How to Turn Worthless Junk into Home Decorating Must Haves
    Day 2:1. Melissa, The Inspired Room: The Secret Ingredient Every Room Needs2. Jessica, Four Generations One Roof: How to Decorate with Container Plants3. Traci, Beneath my Heart: How to Style a Coffee Table4. Cyndy, The Creativity Exchange: Tricks for How to Zone in on the Perfect Paint Color5. Laura, Finding Home: 5 Ways to Personalize Your Home

    You May Also Like:

    Tweet More

  • in

    How to Repurpose an Urn into a Side Table


    How to instantly transform a classic garden urn into a side table.
    Post updated: 09/01/2020

    This black urn sits in a corner of my living room. I have had it forever. It is one of those classic items that always is in style. It has made it through many of my decorating furnishing purges over the years.
    Over the summer I placed a fern in it.

    In the fall at my previous house I used it outside. I placed leaves and a pumpkin on the urn. In the spring and summer – I filled it with flowers.

    Now I am going to show you how to repurpose an urn into a useful piece of furniture that can work either inside or outside your home. I could have titled this post – My 2-Timing Urn. 🙂
    I love to find new uses for all kinds of objects.
    Many years ago when I started to experiment with transforming the urn into a small side table, I tried adding a round piece of glass on the urn. It looked nice, but the glass just sat on top and was not secure or safe.

    I then tried placing a round silver tray on the top of the urn. The tray was the type where the center section of the tray is lower that the rim. This made it secure in the urn, but it looked like an ash tray you would see at a bus station. Not the look I was after. 🙂

    I like to shop my house… so I kept looking through all the rooms and found this cake stand in my china closet.

    I placed it inside the urn…

    …Presto-O-Change-O!   It worked.
    It looked good and was secure in the urn.
    The stand part of the cake stand keeps it from moving back and forth in the urn.

    The repurposed urn makes a sweet little side table that is perfect for a glass of wine or a cup of tea.

    Or the perfect small table to hold flowers from your garden.
    And the best part of this little table. It can be as temporary as you want or need it to be. In less than a minute I can remove the cake stand and place the fern back in.
    I have repurposed many items in my house to make tables over the years, take a look at how I made these tables:
    For more fast and easy decorating ideas, check out what my blogger friends have done in less than 20 minutes:

    On Sutton Place | Fall Porch Decorating Ideas

    Shabbyfufu | French Farmhouse Fall Style Fall Bedroom – Easy Ideas

    StoneGable | Brambly Fall Front Door Basket

    Designthusiasm | Shelf Decorating Ideas

    Tweet More

  • in

    Thinking Ahead to Fall Decorating


    Notice the title of this post is… thinking ahead to fall decorating, as I am not quite ready to actually decorate my house for fall yet. It has been on my mind now that summer is slowly winding down.

    Fall Mantel DIY Ideas
    I have been reflecting on past fall seasons and how I decorated the house. This year, I want to make the fall season feel even more extra comfy-cozy… as if placing an extra blanket of calm and comfort throughout the house.

    Remember the catch phrase from the 90’s… Cocooning?
    Hunkering down in place, but with all your cozy comforts around you to make sure that you had everything you need to live a comfortable life right in your own home. This is what I am planning on doing.

    We have no trips abroad planned or party invites like we did last fall. Life this fall will be about sticking close to home.
    This fall, with uncertainty about the pandemic and more still looming, I want more than just decor to create a comfy fall home.
    I want the “whole lifestyle package” that fits my life, wants, needs, and budget. Life is too short not to make the best of every second of every single day, even if they are mostly spent at home.
    I am finding that this is what I am seeking more than buying new “stuff” to simply decorate the house.
    Decorating for fall this year is going to be more about making sure the decor feels just right for how I want to “be” at home.
    Being at home for you could mean setting up a desk in the least used room for your 9-5 job or a place where your children can learn at home.
    As fall arrives and the weather gets cooler we will find ourselves back inside more. Time for our inner homebody to shine instead of feeling stuck inside like many of us did back in the early spring 6 months ago. In the spring, we were in shock and not mentally prepared to be homebound.
    Now we have time to plan ahead to make sure we have everything we need to make the most of our time spent more at home this fall.

    Sourdough bread by Alexandra Cooks
    My youngest makes the best sourdough bread and guided me to Alexandra Cooks’ website to learn how to make it. She gave me a portion of her sourdough starter to get me started on my own bread baking journey.
    The smell of fresh bread baking brings back fond memories of simpler times that I want to embrace in my life.
    Good smells add to the ambiance of a home.Remember, creating a beautiful home is not just about the decorating.
    When Decorating for Fall I Am Going to Make Sure That:
    I have cozy comforts in reach – good books, good internet, favorite music, as well as good food and wine stocked in the pantry.

    Since Ed and I are not going out to the movies and dinner every week like we used to pre-pandemic. I want to make sure we can create some “special evenings” in our weekly schedule. For us, this is movies and good food. For you it might mean something entirely different.
    We are saving money by not going out to eat, which in turn gives us more money to splurge a little on better wines and better cuts of meats and fish for Ed and plant based for me to make at home to enjoy. We also order dinner from our favorite local restaurants to pick up every Friday night.
    TV shows this fall will mostly be reruns as TV show production was put on hold like everything else. So for me Netflix, Prime Video and streaming new release movies will be key for movie watching.
    I also upgraded my Spotify account so I could listen to music anywhere in the house that makes me feel good all day while both working and just hanging out.
    Making sure I have all that I need to do these pursuits in the style I want on a daily basis is what is important to me.
    My Fall Decorating Plans
    Decorating for fall this year has me thinking that it doesn’t necessarily mean using lots of pumpkins, gourds, and plaid blankets, but maybe something not so contrived.
    I did buy a velvet pillow back in June to use on my sofa come September. It has great texture and is perfect for my white and woodsy decorating scheme that I am trying to build upon.
    I made up a list of fall decorating projects that I plan to do around the house and post about. The first one you will be seeing involves this…

    Last summer, one of the patio umbrellas on my deck broke. We fixed it the best we could. This summer “our fix” broke and the umbrella is a goner.
    Instead of throwing the whole thing in the trash, I threw away the mechanical frame and kept the Sunbrella fabric cover you see in the photo above. Next week I will share with you what I am doing with it.
    Come September, I will start removing the warm weather touches around the house and will slowly begin to add items that will give a subtle ‘nod’ to fall since Fall doesn’t officially arrive until the end of September.
    I hope that I will inspire you to make the best home life you can for yourself in your own style this fall…
    Whatever this means for you, try to plan and make sure you add it to your home and life as the weather begins to transition into the Fall season of 2020… the year most of us will never forget.
    Let’s make the fall of 2020 unforgettable, not because of the pandemic, but by the ways we make the most of how we choose to live in our homes in the best way we can within our style and means.
    Staying home in your own style is the new lifestyle to embrace.

    Tweet More

  • in

    Add Fresh Summer Color to a Room In Minutes


    Happy Friday, my friends.
    I have a dose of summer color therapy for you to start your weekend off in colorful style.
    Could your home use a fresh pop of some happy color right about now to take your mind off the problems of the world? Or feeling like you want to look at something bright and cheery, but can’t get out and about for some retail therapy to purchase something new?
    If you answered yes to either of these questions, then these simple decorating ideas are easy to do using what you already own. A few can even be done in minutes… for real… minutes!
    Go In Search of the Most Colorful Book In Your Home

    Take a stroll through your house in search of the most colorful book you have. Place it on your coffee table. Add a small plate from your kitchen or dining room, a candle, matches and a small decorative item on top. A grouping of three objects is always pleasing to view.
    Bring Out Vacation Souvenirs

    If you have souvenirs from a past summer vacation, take them out of storage and put them on display amongst your things in a cabinet…

    … or even on an outdoor table that will add a summer vibe to your surroundings.
    Raid Your Clothes Closet

    Just because you may not be able to go on an exotic vacation to a faraway beach this summer, raid your clothes closet for a colorful Pareo or scarf. Use it as a summer throw on a chair or sofa.
    Head To Your Cardboard Recycling Bin

    Head to your recycling bin to find a large piece of cardboard to punch up a neutral color scheme for the summer. With all the online deliveries many of have been getting, make use of those boxes. 🙂 When you cover it with colorful fabric or gift wrap, prest-o chang-o – new look!

    Use smaller pieces of cardboard from your recycling bin to make a lid for a basket. Use colorful fabric or gift wrap to cover it. Once done, the basket is stackable.
    No Basket – line a serving tray to use as a decoration, not to carry something.
    Mix Up The Bathtowels

    Instead of having the towels in your bathroom match, hang a variety of colors. Don’t have any colors you like? How about hanging colorful beach towels for a summer change that won’t cost you a thing.
    See I told you… some of these ideas can be done in minutes and will allow you to start the weekend with fresh doses of happy colors all around the house.

    Tweet More