You’ve done everything to prepare for your party; a terrific menu; clean home; fresh flowers; etc.
But have you ever wondered how your present furniture arrangement will work for a gathering?
Does it allow for a good flow or does it seem crammed when envisioning a room full of people?
What works on a daily basis might not be right when you’re entertaining and want guests to mingle; and not necessarily in your kitchen either.
There’s hardly a living room/great room anywhere that can’t be re-arranged in different ways depending on what your needs are.
Here are a few examples of furniture arrangements that are perfect for entertaining. If you change your layout, you just may find you like it enough to keep it that way, even when the guests are no longer there.
Usually, furniture is flanked around the fireplace, but by opening up your sight line you create more open seating into different areas. This plan makes it easier for guests to move around.

This arrangement works very well for a larger room because you’re able to provide groups of furniture that allow guests to have places for intimate conversation. They don’t have to raise their voices to be heard.

Rustic Living Room by Alix Bragg Interior Design

Multiple seating with a console separating the two seating areas. Because the furniture is mostly mismatched, the room feels like pieces gathered over time and not a furniture showroom.

Beach Style Living Room by Catalyst Architects, LLC

This room has been arranged for entertainment by placing the two sofas back-to-back. When not entertaining, you still have the one sofa facing the fireplace for T.V. watching.

Contemporary Living Room by Dick Clark + Associates
This back-to-back sofa arrangement uses a very narrow console table between them which works in a smaller space.
Eclectic Living Room by Mandi Smith T Interiors

This is an excellent example of how a room should flow. None of the furniture placement impedes the circulation allowing guests to easily move around this room without jostling into one another.

Again, there is usually more than one way to arrange your furniture. We get so used to seeing our spaces one way, that it seems it’s the only way but that isn’t the case. Give it a try and I bet you’ll surprise yourself.
Happy entertaining!
Until next time…
Blessings from my home to yours,
Dedicated to helping you live your rooms—not the other way around
Photos via HOUZZ
Most of us love to entertain, especially this time of year when friends and family gather together to share the joys of the season.
However, there’s often too much pressure; mostly that which we put on ourselves.
The house must look perfect with no dust bunnies in any corners; our decorations have to have visitors gasping in awe at our cleverness; the food must be gourmet causing all mouths to water in anticipation.
These are all normal thoughts because we take such pride in opening our door and offering our home to be enjoyed by all, if only for a little while.
Somehow, in all of this Martha Stewart snow globe that we create in our mind, we forget that our guests and loved ones accept our invitation because they want to spend time with us. They don’t need to be impressed. They don’t want or need perfection.
If you think about it, “perfect” entertaining requires only 3 things:
  • Refreshments
  • A place to sit
  • A bathroom


Have the basics out like a carafe of water. Add a few lemon slices to make it special. Bowels filled with nuts and other finger foods. Don’t forget cocktail napkins. Place them in such a way that guests know and feel comfortable helping themselves.
Have a bar cart  that holds glasses, wine, beer, or even the makings for cocktails if you wish. It’s a comfortable feeling for a guest to know they can help themselves and not feel they have to be waited on.


Everyone should have a place to sit and there are many ways to add seating so everyone is comfortable. Few of us have ready seating for 25. Most of us have to pull furniture from other areas of our home or have pieces already in place that can be used as extra seating when needed.


We all have at least one of these. When guests arrive and you’re taking their coats, let them know where the bathroom is so they don’t have to ask when they need it. Be sure to have extra toilet paper placed where it can easily be seen and room spray if needed so no one is embarrassed. Hand towels, pretty soaps, and maybe a fresh plant or small bouquet of flowers is all that’s needed for your guests to feel special and taken care of.
There you have it—just 3 things that insures you having a wonderfully successful gathering.
Don’t insist on perfection. If you do, you’ll avoid entertaining because it’s just too much work. The result of that? You’ll miss out on all of the joy and laughter that comes with sharing your home with others. You’ll also miss out on creating the memories that makes your home so very special and like no other.
Until next time…
Blessings from my home to yours,
Dedicated to helping you live your rooms—not the other way around
(Photos via HOUZZ)
Summer is but a distant memory for sure.
Each season has it’s pros and cons, but in this darker and colder time think about would make you feel warm, happy, and content; what would you allow yourself to embrace this late fall/winter time of year.
Here are a few ideas that just might work for you. All of them stimulate one or more of your five senses and that’s a good thing.
Take a look:
Don't get your hot cocoa with marshmallows confused with your S.O.'s peppermint drink ever again.
Pictured here: Monogram mug, $8 for one;
What can be better than your own personalized mug. Enjoy your favorite tea, coffee, warm cider, or even a hot buttered rum. Put your feet up, sip and sigh while looking at the nasty weather outside your window.
Nature tends to disappear during winter, and it can be rough to go without seeing some green leaves for months on end. Finding some low maintenance house plants to keep around your space can help hold you over until spring. Succulents are always an easy option for those lacking a green thumb.
Much of nature settles down for its long winter nap. However, the human need for living growth continues regardless. To have living plants and trees indoors feeds us emotionally as well as physically because they help keep the air we breath clean. They tide us over until the earth comes alive again in the spring.
When it gets too frigid to enjoy Mother Nature's sweet scents, burning a woodsy candle is the next best thing. 
Pictured here: Diptyque holiday candle in Sapin, from $35;
Whatever your favorite scent might be, there’s a fragrant candle to satisfy it. It could be scents of the winter season like pine, fir, or cinnamon. It could also be something more exotic like bergamot or tobacco. It only matters that it pleases you.
Surviving winter is all about layers, so the more throws the merrier.
Pictured here: Faux fur throw, $395;
What could be better than a soft, cozy throw to cover yourself when chilled. In fact, you don’t even need to feel that cold as it’s like getting a big hug and who doesn’t love that?
When the cold weather kicks in, your tile floors practically become blocks of ice. Keep your toes toasty with thick (and playfully patterned!) socks.
Pictured here: Textured and printed socks, $16.50 a pair;
Guaranteed to keep your feet warm and you all the happier for it. If you use them as slippers, have several pair and rotate them so they last until spring.
These are simple pleasures and sometimes those are the best of all. Photos via
Until next time…
Blessings from my home to yours,
Dedicated to helping you live your rooms—not the other way around
The holiday season is just around the corner and it’s possible you’ll need and want to provide gracious overnight accommodations for friends and family.
You may not live in a home that is large enough to have several bedrooms ready at a moment’s notice for guests to lay their heads.
Yet, you want your guests to feel welcome and comfortable during their stay without having them sleep on a blow-up floor mattress. Although children love this!
You really don’t want to give up your master bedroom. Guests also feel guilty if you do this.
Here are 7 ideas that just might solve the challenge and you, too, can have a “bedroom” ready anytime it’s needed.


No longer like the 1 inch mattress of long past, today’s sleeper sofas are very comfortable and provide an excellent night’s sleep. If you can, place it in your den or home office so guests have a door to close.



This works well if you have a guest bedroom and need extra space for a child to sleep.


An elegant solution that can replace a sofa in a home office. It provides sleeping for 2 and serves as seating during the day.


Great for children if space is limited. Each bed can be curtained off for privacy. Doesn’t it remind you of old-fashioned train sleeper cars?


The space in this nook was formerly a clothes closet that was transformed into a sleeping area. The curtains allow for privacy and the beds don’t take up a lot of space.


Instead of the traditional one, these bunk beds fold up in exactly the same way, yet allow for separate beds. Works well in a home office where space is limited.
Another idea for a home office that can turn into a sleeping area at night.
Photos via HOUZZ
Until next time…
Blessings from my home to yours,
Dedicated to helping you live your rooms—not the other way around
It’s that time again for paint companies to introduce their color of the year for 2016.
Benjamin Moore chose a shade called Simply White OC117 as their top trending color.
As with all colors, each of us has a visceral response. We hate a color or we love it. And sometimes we experience a neutral feeling; neither liking nor disliking.
Because Benjamin Moore chose white as their color of the year, I’ve chosen to list 10 reasons why this color could be the perfect one for you to paint your walls. If you already love it, these reasons will only highlight your choice. If you hate it, all the reasons in the world probably won’t change your mind.
However, if you’re on the fence about this color, these reasons might explain why it could be your color choice. By the way, while I love the color white, I have no Benjamin Moore stock!


White remains constant in various light sources so there is no distraction with this neutral color. Consequently. it can favor concentration.


You can add any colors you choose into your room. It plays well with all colors.


Galleries and museums use white as their color choice because it doesn’t distract the eye. It allows whatever you’re displaying to take center stage.


If many rooms are seen in one glance, white is a foolproof way to co-ordinate all of the spaces into an integrated whole.


This classic color combination is at once elegant, refined, sophisticated, and never, ever is considered out-of-style.


White works equally well in summer or winter. It has no season. You may choose to change various design elements that reflect a particular season, but you don’t have to change the wall color for those changes to work.


It’s classic simplicity never fails and somehow it can help a room to look less cluttered.


No matter what your design style is, white walls will compliment it. White by it’s very nature doesn’t “fight” what surrounds it.


White’s ethereal quality is relaxing and a balm to the eye. It has the power to relax you in a totally subconscious way. It could be the perfect color to come home to after a busy and frenetic day.


Architects choose white because it emphasizes an interior’s structure. You, too, might have architectural features that you want to bring attention to and the color white does that beautifully.
Photos via HOUZZ
Until next time…
Blessings from my home to yours,
Dedicated to helping you live your rooms—not the other way around
I’m always looking for unusual table centerpieces for myself and my clients, If it’s something that nature gifts us with, so much the better.
The idea I’m sharing with you this week, comes from landscape designer, ROXANNE KIM-PEREZ. It utilizes simple things that are easily found and not difficult to put together—namely, driftwood, succulents, and tillandsias (air plants).
For those of us living in the Northwest, driftwood is found on beaches everywhere. It’s usually kicked aside like the sand it rests on as we walk along.
But if you really look at driftwood through your artist’s eye, you notice beautiful shapes, color, and texture. This simple  and seemingly common gift of nature becomes a piece of sculpture that time and tide creates and becomes a piece of sculpture—one that you can turn into your own piece of art to be enjoyed for a very long time and with little care.
Roxanne shows you step-by-step, everything you need to create your own “masterpiece” centerpiece. It does require a drill which if you’re uncomfortable using, someone can help you with this step.
Take a look and see how easy this project is to do. There’s nothing like the feeling you get when you create something that requires your heart, mind, and hands. You become the artist and how great is that?
Until next time…
Blessings from my home to yours,
Dedicated to helping you live your rooms—not the other way around
There is something so wonderful about the fall season, that it seems natural to bring some of nature’s bounty indoors
Perhaps it’s the brilliant colors, or the many shapes, patterns, and texture
No matter why, they inspire and comfort us. We want to be surrounded with the beauty that only nature can provide.
So pour your favorite beverage, snuggle up with a throw, and look at these photos for some easy decorating ideas that you can do to celebrate this glorious season.
If you have a non-working fireplace, fill the space with firelogs. The texture they provide is beautiful and a wonderful way to fill an otherwise black hole. Just make sure if you bring them in from outdoors, they’re bug-free!
Traditional Living Room by Design Manifest
Same idea as the first photo, but this time use a few shelves to fill with logs. The rustic charm they provide is delightful and unusual.
What a lovely way to greet yourself and your guests. Use a large container in an entryway filled with brilliant branches of fall leaves. Just make sure there’s enough weight in the bottom of your container so it doesn’t topple over.
Bring in branches from outdoors to nestle into your light fixture. I would not use the actual berries as they can fall into your food and I’m quite sure they’re not part of your menu! Instead, purchase faux berries from a craft store and attach them to the wood branches.
You can choose anything that is small such as herbs or wildflowers. Attach the bundles to the napkins using twine. It’s a lovely way to greet guests to the table and it’s fresh—especially if they’re naturally scented.


Whether they’re from your yard or purchased, pinecones are a wonderful gift of nature to decorate with. Simply fill completely any container of your choice. If they don’t have their natural scent, don’t add an artificial pine smell. I’ve never found one that smells like the real thing. Simply enjoy their shape and texture.
You don’t even need an actual camera. The one that’s built into your smart phone takes beautiful photos. So while you’re on your nature walks, snap photos that appeal to you and have them framed. In this case, you are the artist with a little help from nature! And you’ll smile each time you look at them.
Photos via HOUZZ
Until next time…
Blessings from my home to yours,
Dedicated to helping you live your rooms—not the other way around
This morning I saw my breath for the first time, and it reminded m of what’s coming.
While the days are still warm, the nights are much cooler and ole man winter isn’t far away.
Soon, the frost will literally be on the pumpkins and the holidays will arrive sooner than we can blink.
There is much joy at this time of year as we savor the reds, russets, golds, and yellows of leaves changing and gently falling during these halcyon days of fall.
The world is becoming slower and quieter somehow, as nature readies itself for winter, at least in the northern hemisphere.
We automatically begin spending more time indoors.
We are drawn inside. Feeling warm and cozy is what we most want.
Take a look at the accessories in these photos They’ll welcome you on a cold day/night like a big hug!

Whether they are cotton or cashmere, snuggle up with a throw. Except for the kitchen and bathroom, there’s not a room in the house where a throw is not welcomed.


No other light source offers the softness that candles bring. They’re especially beautiful when grouped as this photo shows. On top of that, everyone looks great in candlelight.


There’s nothing like a flokati rug to sink your toes into or even sit on during cold winter days and night, especially in front of a flickering fire.


I love placing small sheepskin rugs on dining chairs. They spell instant comfort and warmth. I have one on my desk chair and I swear work is easier and more fun. Inexpensive ones can be found at IKEA.


Add some metallic to your decor. They reflect light and add sparkle and glamour to your rooms.


These are a favorite year round, but during the fall and winter they’re easily brought indoors and not just on holiday trees. They are available with an LED battery so you don’t need a plug-in. Picture tall glass vases filled with light on a dining table or sideboard in place of candles, for instance.

Until next time…
Blessings from my home to yours,
Dedicated to helping you live your rooms—not the other way around
This week, I’m sharing an article written by one of my favorite home bloggers.
We live such busy lives and technology, as helpful as it can be, means we never really “turn off.”
Just like practicing mindful interior design to have our perfect home, we need to be mindful about slowing down as well.
As human beings, our lives can quite literally depend on physically, mentally, and spiritually taking a break and re-charging.
Laura gives many tips on how to do this and doing even one can make a big difference in the quality of your life.
What do urban gardens, the home canning craze, the resurgence of vinyl records and the renewed popularity of old-timey crafts have in common? They’re all ways of addressing the same issue: rushed modern life. Boiling farm-fresh berries on your stovetop for jam lets you experience the satisfaction of producing something for yourself that you would normally buy in a store. Knitting a scarf during your train commute helps you savor a sliver of time in your day that would otherwise be a chore. But crafts and cooking aren’t the only ways to access slow living — you can begin today with a practice as simple as looking up and noticing the clouds.
Until next time…
Blessings from my home to yours,
Dedicated to helping you live your rooms—not the other way around
I’m working with a client who has chosen to freshen her home and part of this “refreshment” includes fabric.
She has two guest bedrooms and each has a window seat overlooking beautiful trees that were screaming for comphy  cushions.
Partly because she has active grandchildren, we chose indoor-outdoor fabric for the cushions.
We call it indoor-outdoor fabric because it’s come a long way from the heavy canvass always associated with outdoor material.
You’ll find examples that have the feel and texture of regular indoor fabrics. Two of my favorite sources are SUNBRELLA and DURALEE.
While indoor-outdoor fabric is extremely durable and fade-resistant, it’s not indestructible. However, it’s much easier to keep clean than many other fabrics. SUNBRELLA has a website, that gives instructions for removing a wide variety of stains.
The cost of this fabric from Sunbrella and Duralee runs from $25 to $130 a yard. With minimal care, you can enjoy indoor-outdoor fabric for many years to come.
Take a look at this photos from HOUZZ. They’ll show you examples of how beautifully they can be incorporated into your interior decor. You’ll see why bringing  outdoor material indoors is a good thing!
Indoor-outdoor fabric has come a long way from the heavy solids and limited stripes of yesterday’s outdoor fabric choices.
The perfect fabric for stools and chairs

Don’t forget Fido’s bed

Until next time…
Blessings from my home to yours,
Dedicated to helping you live your rooms—not the other way around
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