I recently visited my daughters and their families in MN. and find myself editing their room design.  One is more traditional like her mom, and the other one is very contemporary.  I feel very comfortable in both homes, and am very pleased when my daughters and I talk about ideas to make their homes even better.  A favorite past time of mine is painting; as you know if you have read any of my other blogs and having painted all of the walls in my home I now paint on canvas.   And yes, those paintings show up in my daughter’s homes, probably much to my daughter’s dismay.  While I am visiting them, I feel somewhat like a grade school kid beaming ear to ear; proud that my artwork is being displayed in a prominent area of their homes.   This last visit I was given the honor of decorating my granddaughter’s room.  I painted several canvases to hang on the walls, color coordinated it with the bedding we had picked out on another trip and I even got to paint the walls.

Granddaughter's room

It never ceases to amaze me how quickly we go from Fall to the Holiday Season!  I love this time of year; the changing colors, the crispness in the air, but it is also a bittersweet time for me.  My daughters and their families live in another state, as well as my parents, siblings and their families.  I haven’t been home for the holidays since I moved away some 10 years ago.  Every year at this time I long to go “home” to share the holidays with my family.  This year seems even more difficult now that I have a granddaughter.  I would love to share these special family holidays with her and the whole family!

I have begun to pull out the boxes of decorations; a whole collection of houses, shops and people – enough to create several “villiages.”  Christmas ornaments my daughters and I have collected throughout their childhoods.  Garlands of lights and swags of greenery, holiday “themed” dinnerware and linens, down to the guest fingertip towels to decorate the bathrooms.  No detail is overlooked.

With so much to do during this season, I decorate in stages.  After pulling out all the “stuff,” I start with simple centerpieces that I can change up.  The base of my centerpieces usually starts with a basket or tray, some candles, and other natural materials such as stones, shells, pinecones…  This Thanksgiving, I am going to use a black wooden tray filled with mixed nuts (the ones in the shell).  Pewter candle sticks placed among the nuts with pumpkin colored candles (not the scented ones, they tend to distract from the meal being served).  This a simple, but elegant look to a dinner table.  You could even go out to the garden and select a few branches or flowers (we live in an area where we have flowering plants all year long) and lay them among the nuts.

I have used wrapped candies at Christmas as my base; edibiles are something guests can enjoy to snack on before or after a meal.  Coordinate the colors of the candies, candles and tray to make another fun centerpiece.  Christmas bulbs in one color and various sizes, a white tray and clear glass vases with greenery or a string of lights looks terrific!  Fill a basket with pillow stuffing, looks like snow and place a Holiday figurine or little house decorated for the holidays atop of the snow, and add couple of candles makes a great coffee or end table piece. 

This year I am going to make centerpieces for my daughters; reminding them of holidays past and to cherish each year as they set up their own homes for the holidays.

I love to decorate!  My mind goes a hundred miles a minute just thinking about all the facets involved with decorating a room.  HGTV is always on at my house, almost every magazine is about decorating on the coffee table, I have books on the subject, folders filled with torn pages on things I love…  I am hopeless!

When my two daughters and son-in-laws bought their first homes I got busy decorating them; I know it’s not my place to butt in and it was very difficult to keep my thoughts to myself.  I think I did pretty good though and only encouraged them and offered to lend a hand painting or whatever else I could.  Okay, I have to admit that I did put a little of myself in each of their homes by painting a series of canvases in their colors to hang on their walls.  Opps!

I am truly an addict; I hear someone talking about doing a room and I just have to get involved!  A friend of mine is buying a new home and she wants to change her whole decorating style – yes!  I scored big time!  I sat down on the floor with her two daughters, pulled out the color pencils, paper, and got to work designing their rooms.  (I’m preparing for decorating my first granddaughter’s room when she gets a little older, and yes, I have permission.)  We went with bright colors on the walls – stripes, cirlces, and at least two or three colors.  Billowy curtains with jewels, lots of pillows, dust ruffles on the beds, and of course reversible comforters on the bed to get more milege from the look we can create! 
We poured over  my paint color pallete (I own my very own paint contractor wheel – I am very serious about this!)   Pulled together all the fabrics and started editing pieces they already have in their bedrooms and  plan on reworking other items to fit the current look we are striving for.  The girls and I worked on their rooms for about an hour and I can hardly wait to get started!  I hope I have instilled in them some excitement to work on their rooms as well. 

The bed is the largest piece of furniture in a bedroom and it should be “dressed” to fit the decor of the rest of the room.  Besides doesn’t everyone deserve a little pampering and luxury?  I do! 

Buy the highest thread count cotton that you can afford and remember you really only need two sets of sheets, so splurge a little!  Like get one set in a tone on tone stripe and the other set in a coordinating color scheme; another pattern or solid.  I love mixing patterns and there really are no rules to follow, but one thing I like to make sure when selecting a mix is that at least all the patterns are casual or formal to fit the rest of the theme.  You would be surprised how many different looks you can achieve with just two sets of sheets!

You can stretch your dollar even further by buying duvet covers in different patterns and colors to match your decor and swap them up to create several designer looks!  The bed skirt should be a solid color that coordinates with all your colors and patterns.   To finish the look, buy pillow and shams to coordinate all the looks and pull the whole bed together.  When you buy your sheets, duvet covers, shams and pillows make sure you have a few solid colors along with the patterns.  You need a balance when putting the whole thing together!

Okay, now that you have selected all your bedding; it’s Time to Make the Bed!  Layering is key and you can mix the sheet sets anyway you want.  Go for it and have fun!

I have always had a problem completing a room’s design when it comes to the windows.  I love the designer look that you see in all the magazines, in the stores, model homes, and on decorating shows…  I just don’t care for the price tag and the permanantcy of creating a designer look treatment.

Today there are so many options and choices; even the local home improvement stores have tons of accessories to help you create your own designer look!

There are few “rules” to decorating that I follow myself when decorating my own home.  One of my pet peeves though is to pass a home that is nicely landscaped and compliments the colors of the home and then as you look at the windows…  Every window has a different treatment that throws the whole look out the window!  So my first rule to creating a beautiful window treatment is to start with a cohesive look to the outside of the home.  Simply stated, pick a type of shade, blind or sheer to put on every window in the house.  I use bamboo roman shades on all my windows.

Now, if you have been reading any of my blogs, you know I like to make changes all the time because I become bored.  Once you choose the base, then the sky pretty much is the limit! 

Besides all the choices at the home stores for curtain rods, finials, brackets, other choices (these are the ones I always like.. the other choices).  Bamboo poles and branches make good curtain rods.   Those metal art pieces made of rod iron work well with swags.  Tie back brackets work for tie or tab curtain panels instead of curtain rods and can be placed above windows in an arch or wave pattern.

Then there is all the fabric choices!  Okay, we’ve established I like change so this is where I get the most bang for the buck!  I can go from floral, plaid, paisley (my favorite!), colorblock or solid color in an instant!  Not only do I change my window treatment fabrics a lot, I can change them from room to room since I have stayed within five colors as my foundation for decorating my whole house!  Are you still with me?  Panels of fabric can be swags, or valances, or can be used for the intented purpose as panels.

You can get that really expensive look of designer fashions by buying panels in the normal length of 84″ and a second panel and make a panel with the combined two panels into floor puddling to ceiling height lengths at a fraction of the cost!  Not to mention unique one of a kind design!

Are you still reading?  Get up and start your own window designs, it’s that easy!

You can get some great ideas for decorating your home in magazines, catalogs, tv shows, model homes, even shopping at the mall or in a furniture store.   The problem is the designed spaces are perfect; too perfect.  It’s as though no one even lives in the space and it really doesn’t fit daily living.  That doesn’t mean that you can’t recreate the look and feel to fit your life style. 

If you are furniture shopping to re-do a whole room, don’t buy all the furniture in a day or in one place.  You want to create a room over time, with favorite treasures, memories of a past trip where you found the coolest coffee table you shipped back… 

So how do you get started then you ask?  Start with a journal or idea board to keep thoughts, pages of rooms or pieces of furniture you like.  Go around your home to pull in some of the things you already have to create the new room you want. 

Use items in a different way rather than the way they were meant to be used to create a unique space.   Mix and match colors and prints on fabric to use on windows, pillows, table runners and throws.  Collect various local artists pieces that pulls the colors from the fabrics you’ve chosen.  

This will help create an eclectic look all your own and you can be sure that you won’t have that “Cookie Cutter” look of your next door neighbor.

 

 

I know what you are thinking; “How can you possibly be organized if you are always on the go?”  I think the real question is: “How can you not?”    To me clutter is a show stopper, I can not operate in a messy, chaotic place.   So I am going to give you some advice and it may take time to change your ways, but I think you will be better for it if you follow through.  Identify your clutter and determine the best way to manage it.

1)  Take the time (I mean the extra step or two) to put things in their rightful place.  The things you use daily should have a proper place, ie: car keys are always located in the dish next to the door you leave out of.  

2)  Junk mail should be discarded the moment you go through your mail.  Bills should be placed in the bill basket. 

3)  Shoes go to the closet, discarded clothes directly go to the dirty clothes basket.

4)  Unload the dishwasher of clean dishes every morning while coffee is brewing, throughout the day load dirty dishes into the dishwasher.  Run it every night and unload again every morning.

5)  Run a load of clothes daily; this way you never have to spend a whole day “doing laundry.”  Have a dedicated place where you fold items and everytime you pass this location on the way to a room where clean items need to be returned; grab them and put them away.

6)  Have a basket next to the door to place “errand” items in so the next day as you are running out the door you just grab it and go.

7)  Whenever changing out towels, do a little dusting on the way to place them in the dirty laundry basket.

8)  Keep a running grocery list on the frig, this way you won’t forget you finished off the last of the mayo when you need it in your salad!

9)  Lay out the kid’s clothes the night before, have them help pick them out.

Okay, you get the idea.  If you follow my motto; “A place for everything, and everything in it’s place.”  It will be so much easier on you!