five simple ways to decorate for the holidays

Five Simple Holiday Decorating Ideas

Ah… I love decorating for the holidays. The lights, the baubles and the bling all become my toys as I bring a little holiday cheer to our home. I try to keep it simple, subtle and a bit sassy.  Let me show you a few of my tricks for simple budget friendly holiday decor.

Baubles or Glass Ball Ornaments…

decorating with glass balls

I can never have too many of these all-purpose fun and inexpensive ornaments. They can be hung on your tree, or used to fill bowls and vases.  I always have an abundance on hand and find myself filling pretty bowls and baskets to the brim. They become centerpieces and able top accents.  Since they come in a wide variety of sizes and colors your options are endless. I use the small ones as vase filler, and the larger ones in a bowls.


Pine Cones 

Ok, so maybe I really like pretty things filling baskets and bowls. Another trick that actually carries me from October thru Christmas is to fill baskets with pine cones. You can collect them on a hike or buy a bag or two at the local craft store. I love the cinnamon  scented ones, they fill the air with the sweetest smell. Who needs candles when you have scented pine cones?

Ribbon Wreaths

ribbon wreath

Our house has wreaths hung almost everywhere. I use a mix of the traditional pine garland wreaths and the more affordable DIY ribbon wreaths. Last year, I spotted a fun project that entailed yarn and a wire wreath form. I took that same concept and swapped the yarn for ribbon.  Simply, pick up a wreath form and some pretty ribbon from your local crafts shop, and then wrap the ribbon around the form, tying it in a bow to finish it off.

Lanterns at the Door

The use of lanterns seems so on trend right now, and well, I opted to jump on board. Now, you can go spend big $$$$ on lanterns from a few on line shops or hunt around the local Home Goods shop to find less expensive lanterns. I spotted a pair of red ones at Walmart for about $25 a piece. They were a tad pricey, but they will last a few years and can be used year round, so not bad over all. I filled them with simple LED candles I found at Target, with a timer. They sit nestled in with a pair of Poinsettias to decorate the front entry way.

Cards or Scrapbook Paper as Art

One of my absolute favorite tricks is to take picture frames and place either holiday cards, festive scrap book paper or beautiful wrapping paper inside. It’s an inexpensive way to brighten a wall, or table top with a touch of holiday bling. It’s also a good use of last year’s left over holiday cards.

Hope you enjoyed my five simple tips to holiday decorating. How do you decorate for the holidays?





My Five Favorite Ways To Display Books

Books are for more than just reading. They can be used as decorative accessories throughout your home and not just displayed on book shelves.  I use books throughout our house to add visual interest and to sometimes spark conversations with friends.  Here are my top five favorite ways to display books.

Five ways to display books

Color Block Books 

Grouping books together by color will lend that burst of color in a room.  You can collect books with similar shades of a singular color and display them on a table top or use them to style a bookcase. Flea markets and thrift shops are ideal places to find unique hardcover books. Slightly worn spines and dogeared pages give the books character.

Another option is to cover books you already have with a simple cotton fabric in a solid color. I love this idea as it gives you a consistent look.  You would only need a yard to a yard and half to cover 3-4 books depending on how thick the books are. To do this fold the fabric over the book and using a little bit of hot glue or double sided tape secure the edges inside the flaps.


Frame Books with Unique Bookends 

Remember those metal bookends that lacked style and substance?  Sure, they held books upright and together but they weren’t pretty or stylish.  Instead of using them, opt for a few unique bookends instead.  I love the idea of using fairly heavy figurines that will provide weight against the books, keeping them from falling over on a shelf. I found a pair of elephants that work well. I use them on separate shelves to provide a bit of balance.  Of course, there are bookends available that are unique and more traditional. I spotted bookends one day that looked like an alligator.  One was the head and the other was the tail, so when used on a shelf it appeared that an alligator was sitting on the shelf with books.  Interesting objects like old metal roller skates or vintage cameras will offer a bit of whimsy and a good dose of personality.


Stack Books to Create a Table

I love the idea of stacking wide table top books on top of each other to create a side table. You could use a collection you already have or pick up a bunch at a flea market to stack. The wider they are the better the base you will have to work with. I would start with the widest book and then work up to a smaller book to give your table the illusion of tapering. For safety reasons I would not leave them within a traffic pattern in the room so they aren’t knocked over by mistake. Use this idea

Float Books on a Wall

I discovered these shelves by Umbra that allow you to stack books on a wall. Once stacked they look like the books are floating on the wall. Hang several in a grouping of three or more to create eye catching artwork while showing off your literary prowess. If you aren’t much of a reader, or you don’t have a large collection of books, you can find uniquely aged books at a thrift store, flea market or Library book sale to place on these shelves. Group them by color, or theme to tie them together. You could use this idea to start a collection of books in a nursery, or child’s room. I love this idea for displaying books.

Hide the Spines of the Books

Another option for displaying books is to slip your books into a book case with the spines facing the back of the case. This let’s all of the pages face forward providing a uniform look. It’s an easy approach to a monochromatic look.

How do you displays your books?

how to buy an area rug

How to Buy an Area Rug

An area rug is one of the best accessories a room can have.  A well-chosen area rug can set the style and color scheme for  your room. It can be overwhelming trying to find the right rug for your space. I have a few tips that will help make the process a bit easier.

Determining the Size

The first consideration is the size of the room and which rug size you should purchase.  One rule is the bigger the room the bigger the area rug. Rug sizes range from 3×5 all the way up to 12×15. Start by measuring the space the rug will be in and determining if you will float your furniture or if it will be against a wall. Believe it or not that little bit of info will make a difference in the size you select.

Let’s look at buying a rug for a living room as an example.  If you plan to float the furniture, where the furniture is not against the wall, you will want a bigger rug. All of the furniture legs will need be on the rug. If furniture is against the wall, the rug can be a little smaller with only the front legs of the furniture on the rug. You will want to avoid a rug that only fits under the coffee table or doesn’t cover a reasonable area. It’s just too small for the room.

Floating Furniture in the Room 


Furniture against the Wall

Don’t do this! 


Selecting a rug for dining room will require other considerations. If your table is round, you will want to buy a round rug that will let all of the chairs fit nicely on the rug when pulled out for sitting. A rectangular table will also require a rug with enough room for the chair legs to be on the rug. A good way to remember this is to select a rug a that is no less than 24 inches wider than the chairs and table. Ideally, you want 36 inches beyond the edges of the table & chairs. This point is important for safety. If you opt for something smaller, you risk the chair getting caught on the rug edge.

Round Table 

Rectangular Table


Area rugs are made of many different materials, from jute to cotton to wool and recycled bottles.  (Yes, Berber is made form recycled plastic.) When deciding on which material to get, you may want to factor in durability, especially if the rug will be in a high traffic area.  Two of the best natural materials for high traffic areas are cotton and wool. Wool may be a little harder on the budget but there are synthetic options, such as polypropylene, that will work and are more budget friendly.


Area rugs can be very expensive or rather inexpensive. A lot of it depends on the materials used to make the rug. The rule of thumb when buying a rug is to best quality your budget will allow for. A bulk of your budget should be spent on furnishings and a portion of it spent on the rug.  You don’t want to skimp on the area rug, but it does not have to be the single most expensive item in the room.  You want it to be the best quality you can afford as it will see a lot of wear and tear over the years and you want it to hold up over time.  Hand tied rugs will be more expensive where as machine woven will be a bit easier on the budget.


Taking proper care of your area rug will help it last for years to come. Caring for your rug will vary depending on the size and material.  Treat larger area rugs similar to wall-to-wall carpeting, with regular vacuuming.  To keep them from wearing unevenly, turn them yearly.  Deep clean your rug on an annual basis too.  Smaller rugs are a bit easier to care for with some cotton rugs being machine washable on a delicate cycle.  Check the suggested care and follow the recommendations regardless what size or material you buy. If an antique rug is in your budget, be sure to get a lot of information on the fiber content so you understand the care required.  After all, you are making an investment.

Before you go shopping, know your budget, the size of the room and the traffic patterns. Knowing these key things will help you to pick the right area rug for your space, saving you at least a few headaches.

Color of the Year Trends

Every year paint companies select a color of the year from their vast collection of hues, shades and tones. I’m always in awe of the colors chosen and rarely are the colors similar. This year two of the hues are close neighbors on the color wheel. There’s a lot of thought that goes into each selection and it usually stands out in a curated selection of complimentary colors. Today, I’m doing a round up of color of the year selections.


Pantone isn’t a paint company but they are the leading authority on color. Their choice influences fashion, cosmetics and home decor. This year’s Pantone color of the year is Ultra Violet.  It’s a bright purple commonly found in nature and pairs well with reds, greens and yellows. It’s a shade darker than Pantone’s 2013 color of year, Radiant Orchid, which was more of a laid back lavender. If you are looking for a bold color especially in a small space I would consider Ultra Violet. It lends itself to a cozy relaxing feel without being boring.  To buy this paint head to your local Lowe’s and check out the Valspar display. Valspar has been partnering with Pantone to bring their color of the year to consumers for a few years now.

pantone color of the year

source: Unsplash

pantone color of the year

Source: Unsplash

Sherwin Williams 

Sherwin Williams announced their color of the year would be Oceanside.  It’s a rich blue with a touch of deep green, reminiscent of a day at the beach as you look out over a deep blue sea. It’s a color that evokes a sense of luxury known and unknown. It combines the allure of something old and the excitement of something new.  Personally, I think it’s a great accent color with some longevity but as a primary color it may tire quickly as it’s a bit dark and overwhelming.  I’m thinking the best accents would be painted furniture, pillows or lamp shades. Small pops of color paired with a bright white like Extra White  would be perfect.  It lets you layer in other shades of blue, yellow, or bright pink.

Sherwin Williams Oceanside


source: Sherwin Williams


I love Behr’s color of the year.  It’s called In the Moment, a dark sage green with hints of blue undertones. Unlike Sherwin Williams’ Oceanside, In the Moment is more muted. It’s a soft hue that provides a refreshing and relaxed feel. It works well with the concept hygge providing a sense of calm and well-being.  It’s not a bold color which makes it perfect for those looking to take a leap and try color on their walls. For a more dramatic look, pair it with a dark and dusty purple.


source: Behr Paint

Source: Behr Paint


PPG opted to go in a wildly different direction by selecting Black Flame. It’s a dark charcoal gray; almost black. It’s very dramatic and bold. As a great neutral, any bold color will pair with it nicely. I would steer clear of blues and lean more towards light greens, soft creams, dark yellows and bright oranges for a bold accent.


Source: Unsplash

Benjamin Moore 

As bold colors go, this year’s Benjamin Moore color of the year, Caliente is very bold.  As it’s name suggests, it’s red hot. It offers a a sense of luxury, drama and sophistication. Used in a boy’s bedroom it’s a nod to the Americana decor still popular. It’s a bolder take on the farmhouse look too.  Painted on a front door offers guests a red carpet of sorts. It’s truly a fabulous primary red.

Source: Benjamin Moore


model home

Model Home Decor

Model homes are wonderful for inspiration when you are looking to redo your own home. They are always decked out in the latest styles and trends.  As a lover of design and pretty things, they always hold an element of wonder for me.

For the last year or so I’ve been working as a new home sales assistant, or as the industry likes to call it, a”model home minder”.  It’s a great little gig while I pursue my real estate license and launch a design / decorating biz of some sort. Honestly, I have too many ideas about that venture and need to start small with a targeted approach. More on that later…

The cool thing about my part time gig is that I get to spend the day in these gorgeous model homes. Each one is amazing and impeccably designed.  I’ve loved noticing all the fabulous details that the home stagers have added.

Today, I thought I would share a few images of the homes I’ve been fortunate to hang out in. Each offers a few good tips for adding a model home look to your own home.

mercury glass chandelier

This is the mercury glass chandelier hanging over the the breakfast table. The room itself is bright and airy and the dressy chandelier makes the room. It gives the round table and cloth covered parsons chairs a touch of class and elegance. It inspires me to upgrade the lighting at my house.

master bedroom

This master suite is so inviting. I love that it’s bright with a wall of windows overlooking the back yard.  Those pendant lights hanging over the nightstands are just the touch of luxury this space needs. I’ve noticed in a lot of their homes, this builder uses molding to deck out walls giving them extra visual interest. Just imagine how boring the wall behind the bed would look without the darker blue framed out against the lighter blue.

collection of candles

I love a good artfully displayed collection and this dining room table with various sizes and heights of candle sticks is stunning. It includes everything from pillars to hurricanes and votive holders. The mix and match of colors and wood tones continues to create visual interest. It sets the table to be more than an item of furniture letting the visitor know it’s a dining room.  When staging a home it helps to show off a space with style and flair.  Simply leaving the table top bare does nothing to make the room memorable.

If you are looking to list  your property or simply want some design inspiration take a walk through a model home center. Be upfront with the sales staff that you a just taking a look around for some design inspiration. They won’t bother you then.