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    What to Put in Candle Holders Besides Candles




    Get doable decorating inspiration with ideas using candlesticks without candles in new and decorative ways for every room in your house.

    Candlestick holders are one of the best “use what you have” decorating staples that we own. Most of use have more that one and keep them stored behind closed doors in our home decor storage stashes in wait to use for their intended purpose.
    Table of Contents
    Wherever you store your candle holders, it is time to get all of them out, even if they are mismatched candle holders.
    They can all be used with and without candles and for more than just placing candles in for a dining table centerpiece.

    When I feel my decor starts to look stale and needs a refresh, instead of buying something new on a whim, I enjoy the process of “using what I have” in new and different ways to give the decorative items new energy.
    My Living Room Candles
    You may remember that I used a collection of mismatched candle holders as mantle candles when decorating for Christmas.

    When the candlesticks were grouped together in an arrangement that accented the various heights, they had just the right impact on the mantel.

    I really like this collection of the classic brass candle holders I bought at a church rummage sale a few years ago.

    When I first bought them, I spray painted them silver.
    Then this past holiday, I used Citrastrip on them to get them back to their original brass finish, then I aged the brass to give them a more vintage look.
    A few weeks ago when I was putting the holiday decorations away, I found a new place for the brass candle holders in my living room.

    By simply moving them off the mantel and onto the sofa table mixed in with greenery and a stack of books I painted white gave them a new appeal.
    After doing this got me to thinking about all the ways you can use candlesticks without candles around your house.
    “Simply changing a decorative item’s location in your home will give it a new look without spending a dime.”
    Change Your Candlestick Arrangements
    Decorating with candlesticks never has to be done in the same way. Each one by itself is static and looks the same, but when you create different arrangements and gropings with many of them, you can create new looks easily without spending a dime.
    Create Candle Tray Decor
    When placing candlesticks on a dining table when entertaining, instead of using the traditional arrangement of two, one on either side of a floral centerpiece, make the candles and holders themselves the centerpiece.
    Place all of the candles on a tray, even if they are mismatched. They can be all tapers, votive, or pillar style or a mix of all types. When grouped together with the taller ones in the center they create more impact on the table and will add more ambiance for your gathering. No floral arrangement needed.

    Arrange a trio of candles on a rectangular tray to place on an entry table. When you tire of it in this way – use the candles outside and the tray to hold perfume on your vanity table.
    Decorating Tip: Always remember that there is never only one way to use any item in your home. Experiment by using them in different ways to come up with unique one-of-a-kind decor. You may end up liking the item even better used in a new way.
    Decorating Ideas Using Candlesticks Without Candles
    Here are a few of my favorite ways to repurpose candle holders beyond using them to hold a candle.

    Here are a few candle holders I own. All are nice just on their own.

    To create something new with them, I also gathered a basket, bowl, and a variety of dessert size plates I had, along with the round piece of marble.
    When a candle holder is paired with one of these items, look what you can create:

    The two unrelated items became a decorative pedestal that holds my jewelry on my bedroom dresser – no candle needed.
    It looks like something I bought at HomeGoods, but it is just a white plate from my kitchen and a wicker candle holder I bought at a thrift store.

    For this pedestal plate, I used the clear formula of Liquid Nails to attach a glass plate to a silver candlestick holder. Adding a paper doily creates a festive plate for an edible treat.

    You can even add a glass dome if you happen to have one in your decor stash.

    More proof that a candle holder can be used without a candle.
    For this fruit basket, I used hot glue to attach the basket to the pillar candle holder. 

    If you want to make any of these pedestal plates temporary, use Glue Dots that you can buy in the craft store.

    For instant decor – use a glue dot if needed to place a pumpkin, Christmas ornament or anything you like on top of a candle holder.

    Doing this makes the item more interesting and decorative.
    How to Glue a Candle Holder to a Plate or Basket to Create a Pedestal Plate

    When gluing a candle holder and a plate/basket together, place the plate upside down and then place the candle holder face down on top.  This way you will be able to see clearly and center the candle holder on the plate.

    Use either clear Liquid Nails…

    … or hot glue.
    Let the glue dry and then turn the stand right side up and it will be ready to use.
    Homemade Candle Holder Ideas
    While on the topic of candles and holders, here are are few DIY candleholders that you can easily make.

    Don’t throw away tin cans. Clean them and wrap fabric around them held on my raffia or ribbon. Place a pillar style candle on the can.

    Drill holes into a slice of tree trunk.

    This type of candle holder looks best with tall taper candles.

    Turn wood scraps into modern block style candlestick holders. Stain or paint to coordinate with your decor.

    Clean glass jars to use to hold candles. Use them empty, filled with food-colored dyed water or un-popped popcorn.

    For a super simple candle holder – use the screw top from a glass jar. This one is from a jar of pickles.
    I hope that seeing all of these what to put in candle holders besides candles decorative ideas will have you coming up with your own creative ideas using candlestick holders you already own in new ways.
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    Styling Tips That Make a Difference When Decorating a Living Room With Recliners

    While gathering my thoughts for this post on decorating a living room with recliners, I know it will get two types of responses – readers who love them or readers that truly dislike them. 🙂
    Whether your living room decorating tastes run from traditional to farmhouse to modern – comfy chairs like recliners are one of the best investments when it comes to making your house into a comfortable home.
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    I think when decorating, comfort can be forgotten when we get too wrapped up with how a room looks. It is for this reason that I am sharing a few styling tips for you on how to decorate a living room with recliners or comfortable upholstered chairs so that you love them – both for their comfort and also their style.
    Two Different Types of Chairs
    There are two kinds of chairs we have in our homes – the chairs you sit ON and chairs you sit IN.
    The style of chairs placed around a dining table are the kind you sit on – these are appropriate when eating, but never right in terms of ease and coziness as the style of chair we retreat to when we are looking for relaxation and comfort.

    These types of chairs – the cushy kind with plenty of padding with a seat cushion to sink into for movie watching, reading the latest best seller, taking a nap or to simply enjoy kicking your feet up after a long day. This is the kind of chair I think every home needs.
    If you already own a recliner or two, then you know just how these chairs make your living room, family room or den truly comfortable.
    Read on for ideas on how you can style them to make them look their best.
    If you are on the disliking side of this comfy home seating option, then also read on to see what you are missing out on. 🙂
    A House Versus a Home
    When I refer to my house, I speak about the walls, fixtures, flooring and the studs that make it stand. When I refer to my home, you will read words such as haven, comfy, cozy, and personal.

    Home for most of us is more than just a house. When you have a home, you know the feeling… it is the only place on earth that you feel true comfort. 
    Comfort… you know it every time you walk through your front door. No fancy hotel or perfectly styled room we see on Pinterest or Instagram will ever offer us the same feeling, EVER!
    1. Making Your Living Room Feel Human
    It is time to get over thinking recliners are something to hide in a back room that no one sees. I used to think like this, but no more. Life is too short not to be truly comfortable in your own home.
    A few years ago I wrote a post titled, How To Decorate So You Feel At Home.  I refer to this post as my decorating manifesto.
    In the post, I wrote about how I enjoy my home from the perspective of all 5 of my senses and plan it first and foremost for function and comfort.

    Having two recliners in my living room deliver on both function and comfort. The recliners are multi-purpose and are placed in front of the fireplace which is the focal point of the room. They rock when we need a little thinking time.
    We can feel like we are at the theater when we watch movies when the chairs face forward in the reclined position, then they swivel 360 degrees when we want to read facing the fireplace or to simply gaze out to the lake.
    A motionless chair just doesn’t come with these factors. We would forever be trying to shift non-motion chairs around in the room to accommodate our needs.  It is nice to have one chair do it all.
    My recliners are from Southern Motion. Model name: Shimmer. Leather in the color Toast.
    When I chose the two matching recliners for my living room, I made sure that they were a rocker recliner that also swiveled. It took a lot of research and trips to local furniture stores.
    I didn’t want power recliners or models that have heat and massage controls or super oversized recliners. These are all fine if these features are what will make you feel cozy and comfortable.
    Forget About Perfection When Decorating
    When decorating my living room I also tried not to aim for perfection, as imperfection in decor adds more personality and interest to a room.
    Some interior designer advice misses the notion that a home should be an oasis of comfort. Instead they focus only on looks, trends and style.
    A comfortable home includes the way the room looks; whether it feels balanced, uses soothing colors, is convenient for entertaining, and contains special pieces that reflect your personality.
    If you have uncomfortable seating – the best investment you can make to live comfortably in your own home is to remove uncomfortable seating and add new seating that will be perfect for every member of your family. I can guarantee you will love the room even more after doing this.
    When I ordered my recliners, we had to wait 8 weeks to get them. In that time I had promised our sofa to my older daughter and gave it to her. I didn’t think it was a big deal not having comfortable seating in the room, but boy was I wrong.

    I brought in two outdoor wicker rockers to sit on for the 8 weeks, notice I wrote sit ON, not sit IN. I was never so uncomfortable in my own house. These outdoor chairs were pretty, but too stiff to sit in to read or watch TV for any length of time.
    When the recliners finally arrived, along with a new deep seated Pottery Barn sofa, I was elated – the room immediately felt better with the addition of truly comfortable seating.
    Have you ever tried sitting in every chair in your home for about a half hour? Are they comfortable? If not, ask yourself why you are keeping it? Is it for looks only?
    2. Function vs. Style
    When furnishing a room, don’t forget to consider the function and uses for each item in the room. Remove furnishings and accessories that are not needed for comfort or decorative appeal to make room for what is needed to live your best life.
    For example, if you use your living room to watch movies with the family on a regular basis, you will want to have a comfy, “sink-in-to-it” seat for everyone, versus the straight upright seating that a more formal living room would dictate. This could be a big sectional with a connected chaise or two. Or a pair or more of matching recliners.
    Or do you play board games in front of the fireplace? If so, make sure you have a table, table lamp and chairs to do this activity without having to rearrange the room to enjoy the past time.
    3. Designate a Space Just for You
    A room feels comfortable when you add “YOU” into the decor. Depending on how you like to relax, create a cozy space just for you to relax in the way that feels right for you.

    Don’t worry about what other people are going to think. Just because your home doesn’t look like the cover of an interior design magazine doesn’t mean it isn’t fabulous. I want you to enjoy your home – every inch of it.
    Even in small living rooms, set up this designated space to become your reading nook, a place to knit, listen to music, watch TV or to do what you enjoy.
    In the photo above is my designated comfy corner in my living room. It is where watch TV, read and where I write and edit most of my blog posts every night.
    The butter-soft leather recliner, a dimmable floor lamp, the basket table I made where I store throw blankets and candles on the top all add up to create a cozy feel that functions for my needs.
    In my living room layout, Ed has a matching recliner along the short fireplace wall in the room. He is happy just to have the chair with a side table to place a drink.

    Make this personal space the best it can be by adding what you need to pursue your creature comforts:
    For example, place a knitting basket next to the chair or add bookshelves to the wall behind the chair for all your favorite books so they are in arms reach.
    4. What to Know Before Buying a Recliner
    I wish more companies would make stylish recliners, but there are many custom styling options you can add to most recliners so don’t just look at one in a furniture showroom at face value, imagine it with a different fabric and trim.
    When choosing a recliner for your home, don’t purchase any chair or sofa without sitting in it first.

    When selecting a recliner for your home, you also can’t rely on the reviews of others since we all come in different body types and sizes.
    I thought for sure we would find a recliner that both Ed and I liked at our local La-Z-Boy. After all that is what they are famous for. But after 2 trips to the store’s showroom and trying out all their recliners, we didn’t feel comfortable in any of them.
    Where we did find a recliner style that we could both live with was at a local furniture store that has a wide range of manufacturer’s recliners.
    We sat in literally dozens of them and whittled our choice down to a few. We went home and went back a few days later to try the few we liked the best to see if they still felt good, then we both agreed on the one in the photo above that was comfortable for both of us and had the features we wanted.
    How to Choose a Comfortable Recliner
    Seating can look beautiful when styled for a photo in a decorating magazine or catalog to entice you, but the bottom line (no pun intended) to ask yourself when buying a recliner is:

    Does the seating fit your body so it is comfortable when sitting upright as well as when reclined?
    Is it deep enough to put your feet up under you?
    Does the fabric feel good against your bare skin?

    Is it good quality? Since recliners have moving parts and it will become the most used chair in the house, you want to make sure it is well made. It is worth paying more.
    If the head rest cushioning has too much padding, it can make your head angle forward – this is not comfortable. Seats and cushions should have evenly distributed stuffing to ensure comfort.
    When in reclined position, does the open gap between the seat and the foot rest hit your legs in a comfortable way? 
    When in an upright position, do your legs touch the floor or hang freely?
    Are the arm rests at a comfortable height from the seat for your body size?
    Is the length of the seat – back to front, fit the length of your upper thighs. You don’t want this to be too short or too long.
    If thinking about purchasing a power recliner, there is the benefit of being able to adjust the chair’s seat and headrest separately. But do know that the chair will need to be near an electrical outlet and there will be a cord on the floor from the chair to the outlet.Also know that the electronics may break down years before the actual chair needs replacing.

    If you find a recliner that you like, but don’t like the fabric or the chair doesn’t rock or swivel, most furniture manufacturers can add these functions easily, so don’t hesitate to ask.
    5. Recliner Style: Leather or Fabric  
    When thinking about buying a recliner, make sure the style of recliner coordinates with your existing furniture.

    If you have a sofa with tufting or other types of decorative ornamentation, then selecting a recliner with cleaner lines would be a nice mix.
    If you are looking to bring a sense of formality into your space, then a more traditional style with nail trim, button-back or a wingback would look just right.
    6. Recliner Placement in a Room
    When deciding on a recliner to buy for your home, you will need to consider if you have the space needed and seating arrangements so that everyone has a comfy place to sit.
    A recliner needs more space around it then a regular upholstered chair so it has enough room around it when it is fully reclined. You don’t want the reclined headrest to hit a wall or the foot rest to hit a coffee table.
    Most recliners need 10-14 inches of clearance from a wall or another piece of furniture to fully recline.

    The placement of a recliner should also balance the furniture arrangement in the room.
    Due to their larger size, a recliner can make a room feel lopsided, so placing the chair across from another larger visual element in the room like a large bookcase can counterbalance and make the room as a whole look it’s best.
    Place a recliner on an area rug that is large enough to include a side or end table. This will create a more cozy appeal.
    6. Tips for Accessorizing Recliners
    When adding recliners to a room, don’t forget to add a luxurious throw over the back or armrest. This will add a touch of cozy interest, texture and color.

    Recliner Styling TIPS:
    Throw Blankets:
    When adding a throw blanket to a recliner, consider the thickness of the fabric. If it’s too thin, it may look wimpy or not feel as comfortable as a thicker more lush fabric like fur or velvet for the colder months when you want to get super snuggly and comfy.
    Decorative Toss Pillows:
    Toss or throw pillows are usually not needed as recliner chairs usually have enough cushioning.
    When the chair is not in use though, a decorative throw pillow placed in one corner of the seat will give the room a more styled feel.
    You can keep a basket on the floor nearby to place the pillow in when you are using the chair.
    Side Tables:
    When setting up a seating area, recliners look better when placed next to a large side table. A small table will look out of scale. A coffee table will have to be placed too far away to give space for the pop-up foot rest.
    When placing a side table next to a recliner, be sure to select one that is in scale with the table. A too small side table will look off.
    Also make sure the side table has a heavy bottom so that if the chair has a swivel, you don’t knock the table over if the chair bumps it.
    Still Don’t Like Recliners – Consider This Type of Seating

    If you still are not a fan of recliners, but would like to add more comfortable living room furniture to your space, look into a reclining loveseat or couches where there is a hidden lever inside the armrest that you pull to open the seat to a reclined position.
    It may cost a bit more for this feature, but no one will know the seating is a recliner, except you and your family.
    Reclining seating like this looks like regular upholstered furniture while giving you a reclined seat function.
    I had a sofa and a loveseat like this in my previous home when I was on the dislike side of decorating with recliners.
    Chair & Ottoman or Sectional
    As an option, add a footrest or an ottoman in front of an existing upholstered chair or two in the room that can double as extra seating as well as serve as a comfy place for your feet when sitting in an upholstered chair.
    A well-made sectional sofa or a sofa with a chaise are other comfy seating options.
    Don’t Miss Out on Comfort
    When it comes to decorating a home, my only regret over the years is that I wished I had added recliners to my living room sooner and wasn’t so caught up on them being non-design worthy.
    What makes your home or living spaces comfy cozy? We all have items and rituals that we do to feel comfortable at home or relax after a busy day. What are yours?
    Where to Buy Recliners
    As I mentioned earlier, I would never purchase an upholstered armchair I haven’t sat in first, but I rounded up a few recliners that I found online to show you the variety of styles they come in.
    All of these recliners can be made up in many colors of leather, trim like nailheads and also hundreds of fabric choices to coordinate with your room’s color scheme as well.

    1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9

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    Fall Mantel Decorated With Pumpkins

    How to decorate using two mirrors and a collection of pumpkins over a mantel to create a warm and inviting look when decorating your home for fall.
    Did I ever tell you what one of my favorite things about fall is – besides crisp air, falling leaves, cornstalks, football, that cozy nesting feeling, and cider.  It is PUMPKINS!!!
    I love decorating with pumpkins.  I am a classic orange pumpkin lover – no chic white ones for me.  I love the pop of color the old fashioned orange pumpkins provide in my neutral color scheme, especially when display on a fall mantel.

    I have created my own little pumpkin patch right on my mantel.
    XO I could eat them all up!  Visually as well as making pie and munching on toasted pumpkin seeds.
    How to Easily Create a Fall Mantel Decorated With Pumpkins

    I have two mirrors layered on the wall to add more interest. The larger one is hung on the wall.
    The smaller on is on the mantel and leaning against the larger mirror.

    Either one alone didn’t look right – together they make a much better style statement.

    I also like decorating with bigger pumpkins. Placing them in urns is my “go to” way to display fall pumpkins inside my house and out.
    Simple and classic – no fuss. I used book pages I shredded in my paper shredder to use as bedding in my jack-be-little pumpkin patch basket.

    The white ceramic urn I found for a few dollars at yard sale. The vase is from HomeGoods.
    Classic ceramic white urns are hard to find affordably online. Your best bet in finding one that isn’t plastic is a HomeGoods.
    You can also display pumpkins on candle holders like I did in this post:

    I made the fireplace screen out of a cardboard pattern cutting screen. It was super easy and hides a multitude of sins.
    You can find the tutorial here:

    A Variation on Decorating With Two Mirrors Over a Mantel

    For this mantel, I liked the look of layering mirrors on the mantel, but I only had one white framed mirror.
    So instead, I hung an empty white frame over the larger wall hung mirror – so it looks like two mirrors.
    I used clear fishing line to hang it. The top of the fishing line is attached to the top of the mirror with a thumb tack.
    So what do you think? You may have a few mirrors in other rooms of your house or in your decor stash that you can give a second life- using as is or giving the mirrors a coat of spray paint to coordinate with the room’s color scheme.
    For an even easier mirror over the mantel look, you can simply lean a larger mirror against the wall, and a smaller one in front of it. Instant Decorating at its best!!!

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    Making My Living Room Larger for $240




    If you’ve ever wondered, how to make a small room look bigger without having to knock down a wall?” I have the answer for you. It can be done with mirrors. See how I did just this when I added mirrors to the cozy corner in my living room. 

    You know that I enjoy decorating and keeping the rooms in my home updated in my own style with furnishings I buy as well as using decorative items I make.

    I am always looking at decorating magazine and catalogs for ideas and just last week, after seeing this photo on Pottery Barn’s website, I knew an idea I had brewing in my head for my living room was going to happen.
    Seeing the photo just reinforced what I already wanted to do… and that was to add large mirrors on the wall behind my sofa and console table in my living room.

    In the Pottery Barn photo, the mirrors have a hip and trendy vibe. I like that, but that is not the reason why I wanted to decorate my living room with mirrors. I wanted to add them to double the view of the lake.
    Moving Ahead With My Mirror Plan
    Then a few days after seeing the PB photo, while doing a stroll around HomeGoods, I came upon, not one, but 3 identical driftwood grey-stained wood-framed wall mirrors.
    “OK,” I said to my self, “This is fate! Adding mirrors to my living room is going to happen. These mirrors that have practically jumped out at me are perfect in every way – color, shape, size and price. $79 each.”
    The large mirrors from Pottery Barn are around $900 each!

    I only had one thing stopping me from buying the mirrors and that was how I was going to fit them in my very small car, a Mini Cooper.
    The saying “when there is a will there is a way” went through my mind. I made it happen, by wedging one mirror in the car and then taking three trips to get each one home. 🙂
    Decorating My Living Room To Reflect the Lake View

    After 5 years of living on the shores of Lake Murray in SC. I have been wanting to pare down the decor in my living room so it reflects what I see out the sliding glass doors and that is the lake, trees and nature.
    That is why we moved, for a water view, so I am determined to see it as much as I can.

    I want the decor to feel like a natural extension of what is on view outside and have been working on making that happen by creating a cozy corner using faux barnwood on two walls and coming up with a decorating style for the room that I call, White and Woodsy.
    I played around with how to space the mirrors on the wall and decided to make them look like a large window by placing them together instead of apart.

    When standing in the room now, at all angles you see the lake view, although you can’t see it in my photos as the very humid, rainy weather the past 3 days have fogged up the glass on the doors since we have the AC on in the house.
    If it ever stops raining, I will try to get a better photo so you can see how nice the reflection of the lake can be seen from different angles in the room.
    Living Room Wall Decor With Mirrors
    You may be asking… what did I do with the oversized wall clock I made that has been hanging on the wall the last few years? I moved the clock to a wall in my studioffice where I can still see it every day.

    Decorating with mirrors on a wall behind the sofa, a set of chairs or a console table can really make a small room look bigger visually.
    Adding them has literally made the room feel twice as big. Even Ed remarked about it, which of course made me happy to hear that my decorating efforts were paying off.
    More Ideas To Decorate With Mirrors
    Even though large mirrors can make a small room appear bigger, don’t overlook how small mirrors, like adding a starburst mirror like this to a wall can make a difference.
    Adding any size mirror can add visual interest to a space—not to mention solve a few design dilemmas along the way, like when I used mirrors to create faux door transoms to reflect light in dark hallway.
    You can also use a collection of smaller mirrors to create a layered mirror gallery wall like I did for the guest room in my previous home. Or use old wood window sashes to create a mirror that resembles a large window.
    All of these decorating ideas using mirrors are budget-friendly as you can find decorative mirrors at thrift stores, Target, Walmart, HomeGoods and even the dollar store.

    The Main Reasons Why I Like Using Mirrors:
    They can make a small space feel larger as the reflection visually doubles the space.
    Placed strategically across from a window, mirrors double the light that comes into a room.
    Mirrors also reflect both natural and artificial light that will make a room brighter during both the day and night. Even candlelight!

    Mirrors are also not just for walls, you can repurpose one to make a mirrored coffee table and use it in the room to bounce the light off a white ceiling.
    Decorating With Wall Mirror Tips

    Make Sure Whatever You Place in Front of the mirror is pretty and you don’t mind seeing a reflection of it. For instance, I now see two TV’s on the wall, but that I can live with.
    The Best Way to Hang Mirrors – Most large mirrors come with attached heavy duty hangers. Mine did, so hanging them was pretty easy. If they don’t, you can buy Heavy Duty Strap Hangers at the home improvement store. They are easy to screw onto the back.
    How to Keep Mirrors Streak Free – The best way to clean large mirrors is to double clean them. First use window cleaner or vinegar and a paper towel/newspaper to remove dust and dirt. Then spray-saturate the mirror with cleaner and using a squeegee, quickly use long swipes – top to bottom to remove the cleaner, wiping the cleaner from the squeegee after every swipe. The mirrors will be streak-free.
    Decorating with a Simple More Natural Vibe
    There’s something powerful and liberating about paring down to what you feel is essential in your decor.
    I think many of us crave a room without so much distraction in the way of clutter or unnecessary items, we feel less burdened; we flourish and have more energy. I know this is true for me.
    By adding the large mirrors on the wall, I made the room appear larger, while doubling the lake view.
    I went with my idea and got what I wanted…
    …an open, airy, but styled and cozy room that reflect the tones and textures of the landscape outside the glass doors, easing the transition from outdoors to indoors. 🙂
    What is essential for you when decorating a room in your home so it feels just right for you and your family?
    Decorating Resources:




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    Creative Dorm Room Decorating Ideas on a Budget




    It is that time of year again… back to school and college. Here are the best – tried and true ideas to decorate a dorm on a budget along with ways to keep the small space organized with these creative dorm room decorating ideas. 
    Post Updated: 7/13/2021

    Over the past 7 years I have helped my two daughters move in and decorate 8 dorm rooms and college campus apartments.
    In this post I am going to share the dorm room essentials, quick and creative dorm room decorating ideas, tips and tricks that I know work and won’t break the budget when it comes to getting a dorm room or college apartment set up. All of these ideas make the grade!
    So get ready to move the furniture around to create the best use of space so that everything you bring to decorate your dorm will do double-duty – EVERYTHING!  Organization and smart accessible storage is key to making the room both attractive and livable.
    Creative Dorm Room Decorating Ideas
    How can you decorate a doom room cheaply? With creativity and planning before you even arrive on campus.
    A few months before college starts, most students get excited and think about the color and style of the bedding, lamps and cute organizers they will need for their dorm room, but the number one thing you need to have with you on move- in day are a few tools!
    Having a tool box filled with basic tools will make everything you do on moving day much easier. Trust me! If you bring one, you will be the most popular person in the dorm as everyone will want to borrow your screwdriver, hammer or glue gun. 

    On move-in day a toolbox gets packed in the car last so that everything from a screwdriver to fabric glue is ready to whip the room into shape as it gets placed in the room or at least done on move-in day. You will find the contents of my toolbox in this post:

    Pick the Bedding First
    When decorating a dorm room, the first decorative element you need is to pick the bedding. The bed is so important – it serves as a sofa for friends to sit on and a place to relax, do school work, eat, and sleep.

    Look for a comforter that you can put a colorful duvet on that will hide stains and will be easy to wash when needed.  The room’s color scheme or half the room’s color scheme can be based off the color of the comforter/bedspread.
    Get Creative With Fabric

    When decorating a dorm room on a budget, there are many inexpensive fabric options to choose from.
    Fabric added to the room in the way of window treatments, chair covers, wall hangings, and art will add a lot of style and color to the room.
    If you want to add some color to the plain walls,  buy some fabric yardage and hang it on the wall using the Command Brand mounting strips across the top of the fabric and along the ceiling line. Two or three of the strips is all that will be needed.   Let the fabric hang freely. It will look like wallpaper.
    How to Hang Art on Top of Hung On the Wall Fabric: Use Command Brand mounting hooks on the wall under the fabric. Once hook is placed, cut a small slice in the fabric where the hook is so that the hook can fit through the slit. Hang your photos or art on the exposed hook.
    Other Fabric Options to Consider:

    Colorful Sheets: Head to the thrift store or stores like HomeGoods and TJMaxx to find colorful or patterned sheets that can be used t cover a window or an open closet.
    Use Command Brand Hooks To Style Window Treatments:

    Most of the Command Brand hooks are pretty self explanatory, but the utensil hooks – have a moveable hook and are perfect for tying drapery panels to the wall with twist ties. I did this in my daughter’s apartment bedroom one year.  I used colorful ribbons to hide the twist ties. 
    Everything on the wall was hung using the Command Strips.
    Loft the Beds
    Photo: Dorm to Die For
    Lofting the bed gives the room double the space. I found this photo over at Dorm to Die For.  At the college my oldest attended, all the beds were loft-able. 
    Create a Clothes Closet Under a Lofted Bed
    To make the space under a lofted bed into a place to hang clothes, attach a tension rod along the front side of the bed to hang a curtain on a tension rod.
    Use “U” clamps to attach a closet rod or curtain rod to the underside of the box spring. When the curtain is closed, clothes will be out of sight. 
    You can also use the space under a lofted bed for a desk and or chest of drawers.
    Make a Lofted Bed Organizer

    Hang a flat handled basket on the bed in a color to coordinate with the room.
    Tie it to the bed rail along the top of a lofted bed for easy access to a phone and charger, book, tissues, etc. This way you won’t have to jump down from the bed.

    Create Extra Seating

    Space is at a premium in a dorm room so it is nice to have a few extra seating options for when friends are hanging out with you.
    These storage and seat-in-one ottomans made from milk cartons serves double-duty.

    Create a Bedside Table

    Make lids for square baskets. It is easy to do with cardboard from boxes and fabric.
    Stack the baskets on top of each other to create an easy to reach storage spot as well as create a little bedside table

    Decorating a Dorm Room Essentials to Pack
    Buy these dorm room essentials ahead of time so you won’t have to run to Walmart 5 times on move-in day.  You can find most of the items needed in this list at Ross, TJ Maxx, Marshalls, Bed Bath and Beyond, IKEA, Target, and Walmart.
    1. Command Brand Strips Hooks & Hangers

    The biggest innovation in dorm room or rental decorating since I went to college is 3M Command Strips – Hello! Wonderful. They are amazing and can be used for so many things.  Spray a little bit of rubbing alcohol on the walls, doors, sides of a desk, bed frames, chairs – you name it and you can hang just about anything easily.
    When it is time to move out – they are a cinch to remove and leave no damage. 3M even has replacement tapes and tabs so you can use the hooks and hangers again the following year.

    2. Clip-On Light, Floor Lamp & Backrest Pillow
    My oldest didn’t understand why she needed these when she was a freshman. It didn’t take her a long time to figure out why – comfort and task lighting while studying on the bed.

    If lofting a bed, the clip-on light can easily be clipped onto the bed frame or even mounted on the wall with Command Brand strips.

    This style floor lamp with adjustable arms works well in a dorm.  Each light can be directed where needed – on the ceiling for ambient lighting, on the bed for task lighting = double duty.

    3. Power Strips & Extension Cords

    There are never enough outlets in a dorm room for all the electronics you use.  One or tow power strips and long extension cords are needed.  Throw in a few 3-prong adapters, too.

    4. Over-the-Door Hangers & Organizers

    These types of hangers are perfect for hanging not only over doors, but they work over the bed rails as well.
    Use two or more so you will have plenty of storage. They are great for bath towels, handbags, coats, and hats.

    Hanging TIP: If you place an over-the-door hanger over a door and the door doesn’t close – get a pair of pliers and bend the top section that goes over the door to mold it to fit – works every time.
    5. Closet Organizers

    Some rooms have nice closets, others have only an armoire.  Making use of a variety of closet organizers will increase the storage.

    Closet Organizer DIY: Use shower curtain rings on a hanger to hold scarves or belts.
    6. Stackable Storage

    Stack, stack, and stack some more.  Easy accessible stackable storage is the best way to hold stuff – from books, toiletries, food, etc.
    IKEA makes small shelf units and these may work well in one room, but not the next year in a different room.
    I have found that classic milk crates are the best. The reason – versatility.  They can be stacked and used in many different ways. One year they may be used in a closet, the next – across the shelf on the desk or dresser to hold food and/or dishes.

    Stacking Organizing Idea: Cut a square from dollar store foam boards to fit inside milk crates. This gives the crate bottom a level surface to place items on so they won’t fall through.

    7. Tension Rods & Cafe Clips

    Tension rods and cafe clips can be used on windows, under lofted beds, and in closets.
    Photos: BH&G and Martha Stewart
    As long as the window is inset you will be able to create easy no-sew treatments using a tension rod and café clips. 
    Photo Above: On the left are two scarves that are folded over along the top edge of the scarf and simply clipped on.
    On the right, use fabric glue to make finished edges on fabric that is cut to fit the size of the window, then clip on the rings and hang.
    Don’t forget that shower rod tension rods found in the bath department are much wider in diameter and when two are placed about a foot parallel to each other a pine or mdf board can be placed on them to create a knock down portable shelf for a closet.
    8. Bed Risers

    If the bed doesn’t loft, then use bed risers. Buy the extra tall ones so that you can get as much extra space as possible.  They even come with electrical sockets now – smart as there are never enough outlets.

    9. Rolling Storage & Bins

    This style of rolling cart with drawers can hold extra toiletries, school supplies, and/or clothes.  They move around the room easily when needed which is a big plus.
    Use the rolling drawers as an end table to hold a clock, phone or lamp. 
    10. An Area Rug
    Check stores like Target, Walmart and HomeGoods for an affordable area rug. A 5 x 7 usually will fit. It will make the room feel cozier and decorated.

    If you have gotten to the end of this post, then you now have a few more creative ideas on how to decorate a dorm room on the cheap, but these ideas are really only a starting off point.
    Once you get on campus you will see just how creative and resourceful students can get when it comes to making a dorm feel like home sweet home.

    More Budget Decor Ideas for Dorm Rooms:



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    How I Decorated My Fireplace Mantel for Summer




    Today I’m joining a few of my talented blogging friends for the Summer Seasonal Simplicity Series. It is all about summer mantel decorating ideas! If you have a fireplace mantel in your home, a sideboard or even a piano where you like to decorate the top for the changing seasons, you will enjoy these 15 doable and fresh DIY summer themed mantels ideas.

    Now that we are in the summer season, it was time to change up my fireplace mantel to decorate it for summer. Last summer, I loved how I decorated my fireplace mantel and will use the large planter I made for it again someday.

    This summer I wanted to see something new and different on the white mantel that is on a stone fireplace in my living room.
    You may recall this mantel was repurposed. It was once the top to my dining room hutch that we no longer could use, so we took the top off and turned it into a mantel.
    I didn’t buy anything new to decorate the mantel this year, but shopped my house to find decorative items in other rooms to use, as well as one large thing from my attic decor stash.

    I went in search of neutral colored and green items.
    I found a planter pot, candles, a wood beaded garland, tulips, a large basket and some greenery.
    Arranging Decorative Items on the Mantel

    To arrange the items in a stylish way, I tried to arrange the items across the mantel to keep a flow going. I used items with various heights, textures, colors and shapes to create interest.
    I played around with the items until I like what I saw.
    I was happy with how it looked in the above photo, but I felt the mantel needed more punch. I went on a search again to find something that would add it.

    Up in my attic stash, I found what it needed in the way of a large glass cabinet door I had used once before on my mantel one Christmas.
    It had been painted red, so I stripped it to the bare wood and then placed it on the mantel.
    Summer Styled Fireplace Mantel

    The stripped glass mullioned cabinet door gave all the items I placed on the mantel a cohesive look.

    The beaded wood garland is usually in a large dough bowl on my sofa table. I was happy to find a new way to use it.

    We don’t use the fireplace in the summer, so the garland will not be in the way. It adds an energy that I didn’t expect.

    I was happy with my efforts and also that the mantel goes with my White & Woodsy decorating style.
    Tips on What to Do With Your Fireplace in Summer

    When I decorate the mantel for summer, I also remove the large black fireplace screen that covers the fireplace and store it in the hidden closet in the foyer.
    In its place I put a basket filled with flowers or greenery.

    Shop the Look

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    Other ideas on how to decorate a fireplace when it is not going to be used for the summer are:

    More Summer Mantel Decorating Ideas
    Do you have a mantel to decorate in your home? If not, do you have a sofa table or a piano that can be decorated the same way a mantel is?
    If so, play around with items you already own or even new items to style your mantel for the summer.
    And be sure to check out how what my talented blogging friends decorated their mantels this year for summer by visiting the links under each of the images below.

    The Happy Housie // A Pretty Life // Modern Glam // Cassie Bustamante

    Rambling Renovators // In My Own Style // Finding Silver Pennies // Dans le Lakehouse

    Craftberry Bush // Maison de Pax // She Gave it a Go // Hallstrom Home

    Deeply Southern Home // My Sweet Savannah // Willow Street Interiors



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    Try This: Mix and Match Your Bedding

    Have fun when the seasons change by swapping out sheets, comforters and blankets on your bed. Seasonal change or even when you are simply changing the sheets to wash them, are the perfect times to give your bedding a mix and match makeover with the bedding you already own.

    Could your bedding use a wake up call? Do you change the bedding on your bed every season?
    I do, two times a year for seasonal changes to lighten it up for the warmer months of the year or to cozy it up for the cooler seasons.

    There’s no rule that says your sheets and bedding have to match in the way retailers like to sell them the “Bed in the Bag” way.

    I often post about how to use the furniture and decorative accessories you already own and move them from one room to another to change the look of each room, but now… why not do the same for your bed?

    If your linen closet is anything like mine, you may have quite a few bed linens stored there that over time you have simply forgotten about.

    Time to get in there to see what you actually have and can use to give your bed or any bed in your home a free and fun makeover.

    After taking the winter weight plush comforter and the channel stitched velvet quilt and shams off my bed, I wasn’t sure I wanted to put on the sheets and comforter I had last summer, but I didn’t want to buy anything new.

    So instead, I gathered all the blue and white bedding I owned and then played around using all of it on the bed instead of only using one matching set of bedding.

    These pillow shams have been folded neatly in my linen closet for the last 5 years! Time to use them again.
    Mix Sheet Sets, Shams, Comforters and More
    To mix patterns so they will look cohesive, there are definitely some key points to keep in mind: scale, color, and balance.

    When selecting the bedding options from your collection of bedding, remember to include a mix of scales such as pairing Damask print shams with polka dots sheets and a small patterned quilt to create visual interest.
    Be inventive and make up a new color story for the bed if your room color scheme is neutral. There are no rules that say you can’t mix a bunch of colors and textures to create an inviting and colorful bed in fun and unexpected pairings – no matching needed.
    A Few Mix and Match Bedding Ideas to Try
    Here is where you can have fun with any matching bedding set you already have. Mix it up with other sets to design a new look for your bed.
    Find a unifying element by taking color cues from a print on one piece of bedding. This could be the main color you want to use. Then choose the rest of the bedding that coordinates with it or simply looks good together in an unexpected way.
    If you change only one part of your bedding, change the shams. Sham covers can add a pop of color, seasonal style, or pattern. Plus, the large size makes the bed feel more comfy-cozy.
    Is your comforter or duvet reversible? Flip it.
    Look around your house for a decorative pillow in another room that would look good on your bed.
    To make a print on the bed pop, pair with white sheets, comforter or spread.
    Mix the new with old and vintage looking.
    How to Style Pillows on a Bed
    The Hotel Inspired

    Very symmetrical – stack two bed pillows on top of each other or propped on the headboard. Lean two more pillows in front of these and then a bolster in front.
    The Pillow Collector

    When you love decorative pillows so much and can’t have enough of them on your bed. Then go for it and add as many as makes you happy.
    Casual Ease
    Photo: Pottery Barn
    When you want an easy, effortless look, use an odd number of pillows. The aim to achieve ‘casual’ is to layer up bedding and accessories for an effortless look that doesn’t look like you tried too hard.
    Piled and Propped

    Adds a little bit of hotel inspired with a casual air.
    The Karate Chop

    Add a karate chop to the top of your bed pillows or poke the middle of your pillows to give them dents for a lived in look?
    The Sandwich
    Photo: Emily Kate Roemer Stying: Megan Hedgpeth
    When you have a large number of bed pillows at your disposable and like lots of color and pattern. Prop large shams or pillows against the headboard and sandwich patterned shams in between the propped pillows and 2 standard bed pillows covered in colorful pillow cases.
    The Matched Set – Reversed
    Photos: PotteryBarn
    If you have 4 pillow shams – 2 of one color and 2 of another, try this bed pillow placement idea. Or if you only have 2 sham-covered pillows and 2 standard pillow case covered pillows, reverse which one is in front for the other side of the bed.
    The Avant-Garde Rebel
    Photo: Pottery Barn
    Don’t like following rules? Then this bed pillow placement idea may be just your thing.
    The Minimal Zen

    And finally… the warm weather look I went for that makes my husband Ed extremely happy – is using only the actual pillows we put our heads on when we sleep.
    I may sneak in the two shams that I haven’t used in 5 years though. 🙂
    Where Do You Put Decorative Pillows When Sleeping?

    Where to put the decorative pillows when you are sleeping on the bed can become a problem if you have a lot of decorative bed pillows to take off every night.
    I try keep my pillows at a minimum and do like the look of large sham covered pillows over smaller decorative ones for my king size bed.
    I place them in a large basket at night that is across from my bed. Sometimes I move the basket to the opposite corner, but it is always in my room. Its only use is to place pillows in at night.
    When these pillows are not in use for the season, I store them in my linen closet.
    So the next time you change the sheets on your bed or are doing a seasonal change, don’t take styling the bed too seriously.
    Play with your bedding and mix it up!
    The bed styling that reflects your personality and style is the one that is right for you.
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    Decorating With Thrift Store Finds: Tips on How to Find The Good Stuff

    When you want to decorate your home on a budget, thrift stores and resale shops are the best places to go to find items to use, but what should you look for once you go? I am sharing what to look for and how to transform the items to fit your decorating style.

    If you have been reading my blog for a long time, then you know I like decorating with thrifty finds. I enjoy the “The-thrill-of-the-hunt” when shopping thrift stores, yard sales, and church rummage sales to find items that I can transform to use to decorate my home “in my own style”. This type of decor gets me excited. 🙂

    I was recently reminded of this when I found out that a huge Goodwill is being built in my town, along with a reader who emailed me wanting to know where I get all my white pitchers. It is a question I get asked a lot.

    I wrote back and told her that most are from local thrift stores and a few are from HomeGoods. She wrote back and said she shops at both, but never finds anything good. 🙁
    Often, I am asked how I always find “good stuff”. 
    This is what I hear from my friends and readers all the time…
    …“I go to the thrift store and never find anything”. “It is all junk”.  “ I don’t have a good eye” or “It’s so gross” to “Can I go shopping with you?”
    Once I was told that I should not shop at thrift stores because they are for people that have lower incomes and really need the items.  If I buy it – nothing is left for them.
    This is not true. Most stores use the money made in the store to give to charity.  So when I shop these stores, I am in turn giving to the charity or the non-profit organization that runs the store.
    Decorating With Thrift Store Finds: Tips on How to Find The Good Stuff
    When I set out to go thrifting, I always keep an open mind as you never know what you are going to find.

    I do however, have a list in my head of items that I like to collect that I use around my house. These items are – anything white – white pitchers, dinner and serving ware, ceramic pieces, books, baskets, furniture and vases are the most versatile items I use to decorate with.

    But I always come home with other stuff that I transform to fit my style or on some occasions use just as is.
    Tip No.1: Don’t Overlook the Ordinary

    When I am at the thrift store I don’t look for new or designer brand items. I look for the ordinary and consider what I can do with them to make them decor worthy.
    A 50 cent extra-large pickle jar used just as is, can become a perfect flower vase.

    Ordinary items are just waiting for you to add your style to using paint, paper or fabric.

    I bet you have seen baskets, not only at thrift stores, but at yard sales. It seems everyone want to get rid of baskets, but what they are not considering is how to change them to make them into something both decorative and useful.

    With a few snips with a knife or a good pair of scissors, baskets, even with handles can become chic storage containers.

    Tip No. 2: Keep Your Mind Open for Anything and Everything
    You may go in a thrift store seeking to find a piece of furniture for your guest room, but…

    …see a modern and unique glass vase that is only $1.60.

    Modern and unique pairs nicely with old-fashioned hydrangeas on a bedside table.  If I didn’t do a quick stroll around the thrift store after looking at the furniture, I would have never seen this vase.
    Tip No. 3: Know Your Style
    You have to know what you like and don’t like – otherwise everything just looks like clutter and junk.

    I found these candle lanterns for a few dollars years ago at a thrift store. They are OK just as is, but the color didn’t fit my style of decorating. However they are classic and have great lines so I knew I could easily transform them to my liking.

    Painting the bottoms using white chalk paint turned them into decorating items I like. I hope you never get bored of seeing them, as I have been using them for years now, both inside and outside my house.

    When you know your style – you will know that by removing a part of an item, cleaning it up, or painting it – it will look like something right out of a home decorating catalog. 
    I added small cedar wreaths to the candle lanterns this past Christmas and raised them up using another item I always look for at thrift stores and that is hard covered books that I can cover with colorful gift wrap or paint to make lifts of varying heights for decor, lamps and flower vases.
    Tip No. 4: The Good Stuff Goes Fast
    The home decor items that sell fast at thrift stores are usually reflected by current decorating trends.

    For instance over the last year, large distressed stone or terra cotta lamps like the ones sold at Pottery Barn for hundreds of dollars are very popular to DIY.
    Lamps with the right shape, even if they are ugly, are swooped up fast…

    …as they can be easily transformed with some Spackle and or paint.

    When thrifting with a group of friends, there is always going to be one item that all of you will reach for immediately when you see it.  This happened to me and my friend when we saw a cake stand.  I let my friend buy it knowing that eventually another one would come along. It did.
    Tip No. 5: Shop Often

    Make thrifting a weekly event. Mark it on your calendar.  I go once a week. Find out when the stores near you put out new items. This way you get a better chance of finding something sought after.
    Tip No. 6: Look For Items That are Useful

    When browsing the thrift store aisles, look for items that have good lines and shape. It is also important that they are in good condition and can be cleaned up with soap and water.

    SOLD! for 90 cents.

    Add some pretty paper and you have a chic new tissue box cover.
    Tip No. 7: Don’t Overlook Anything

    Just because the color of the item doesn’t float your boat, or it is just plain ugly, consider the possibilities.   Remember this little brown table?  I looked past the brown fake wood and the plastic wheels.  I saw a solid piece with a pretty vibe.

    A little DIY and I made it mine.  I removed the wheels, added ball finials, had a mirror cut to use on the top and painted it white. Everything can be changed with paint or by removing or adding something to it.
    I use it in my guest room now with a large basket on the bottom shelf.

    Tip No. 8: Don’t Give Up

    Keep searching until you find it. It took me a few months of searching before I spotted the simple brass chandelier that I was on the hunt for.

    With some spray paint and battery-operated candles, it became a beautiful way to light up my deck at night in style.

    Tip No. 9:  Look Beyond the Decorative Furnishing Aisles

    I always look in the book section for books, not only to make lifts for decorative objects as I mentioned earlier in the post, but also to find books with unique pages or colorful spines. I am on a search now to find more of these.
    To line this drawer, I used the pages of a calligraphy book I bought for 50 cents.

    Tip No. 10:  Shop for Seasonal Items Year Round

    To collect all the glass trees I needed to decorate my mantel one Christmas, I looked for glass trees on every thrift store shopping trip I took,  starting about 7 months in advance.  By the time the holidays arrived I had more than enough of the trees to add glitter and candles to decorate my mantel.  If you wait until the holiday or season, you may miss out. 

    Bonus Tip: Edit, Edit, Edit
    This could be the most important tip. For every item I bring into my house – one thing or more has to go out.
    Since I have edited the decorative items in my home like this, I have found the things that I keep – I really, really love. Editing my stuff has helped me pinpoint my decorating style.
    I keep a box in the back of my car that I put the unwanted stuff in so when I go to the thrift store I can easily drop it in the donation bins.
    What Doesn’t Make it into My Thrift Store Shopping Cart
    As much as I love finding decorating items on a budget, I have a few items that I never look at. They are upholstered furniture, pillows, electrical items and anything that cannot be thoroughly cleaned in a sink or washing machine.
    Where Else Do I Find Used Items to Decorate My House?
    Church Rummage Sales – One of my favorite sources for finding used items on the cheap is church rummage sales.  Church sales are better than a yard sale because there are dozens of people selling their stuff in one place and the prices are truly bargain basement. 

    Retirement Community Resale Shops – This is my secret source for finding the “good stuff” that many don’t realize exist. Find out how to locate them in your area in this post:

    Yard Sales and Facebook Marketplace – I have never found anything I like on Facebook Marketplace, but I know so many that do. Yard sales pop up all the time – to get the best stuff though, you need to be there as soon as they start selling in the morning.
    If you are in search of finding some new items to decorate a room or your whole house without having to spend a lot of money, then make a date with yourself to go thrifting. Make it a weekly thing as the thrill-of-the-hunt is fun and can be very rewarding.
    You May Also Like These Thrift Store Item Transformations: More