Flowers and candles are the usual choices for decorating your dining table. And while beautiful, they become expected and also a bit boring.

What about considering tabletop decor that is more adventurous and eye-catching. What about using design elements that can make your dining table a focal point. Even better if you tell your personal design story at the same time.

Take a look at these photos from Houzz. They’ll be sure to spark your creativity and you’ll see your dining table with fresh eyes and new possibilities.

If you’re still decorating your home for the holidays or you just want to add something special, take a look at these photos from Instagram. They originally appeared on HOUSEBEAUTIFUL.COM
I know you love design that is beautiful, simple, and unusual, and these photos express that.
Incorporate 1 or 2 ideas to give your unique decor flair to this year’s holiday decorating. You’ll be impressed and your guests will appreciate the beauty you’ve created as well.
1. Metallics and white are just as festive as red and green.

2. Make wreaths out of unexpected materials, like quartz crystals.

3. Everything looks fancier on cake stands and under glass cloches.

4. Peonies make for a beautiful, if unexpected, alternative to poinsettias.

5. Sometimes trees don’t need ornaments to make a dramatic statement.

6. Unfussy greens and red ribbon make for a fresh take on outdoor wreaths.

7. Reindeer are always a chic choice.

8. Pine adds instant holiday flair to your arrangements.

9. Use trimming as Christmas tree garland.

Until next time…
Blessings from my home to yours,
Nancy
Dedicated to helping you live your rooms—not the other way around
As this year quickly comes to a close, you may be planning projects for the new year. One of those plans may include changes in your home.
But before you do, take a look at these photos and suggestions. You may see your home as it currently exists with new eyes. Big changes may not be necessary.
Sometimes small changes can make all the difference in the world in how your home functions and feels.
Remember that when all is said and done, the only things of importance are that you live, love, and laugh in your home. That’s perfect design—one that you’ve mindfully designed.
FOLLOW YOUR HEART
As a designer, if a client asks me what the current trends are, I reply “You are.” The only time to use” trends” is if they fit into what you love and can happily live with. That’s what makes you a trendsetter.

CLEARLY DEFINE HOW YOU USE EACH ROOM

MOOD BOARDS
You love interior design and decorating and most likely have collected shelter magazines that end up in a stack. Take the time to go through them and cut out everything that inspires you. Place them onto a board. You’ll discover that there is a theme, a pattern that evolves  that defines your style. Then make a note on each picture what you love about it. Then as you move forward into making larger design changes, you’ll feel confident in your choices. This exercise alone helps you avoid frustration and saves making costly mistakes.
CHANGE THE COLOR OF YOUR FRONT DOOR
You might be amazed at what a huge difference this simple change can make. Not only can it improve curb appeal, but it can make you smile each time you come home, making you feel better about your home in general. Remember that small changes can make big differences, not only in how your home looks, but more importantly, how you feel about it.
REFRESH YOUR BATHROOM
It doesn’t take much. New fluffy towels, a luxurious bathmat to sink your toes in. Maybe a heated towel rack so you’re wrapped in warmth each time you leave the bath or shower. Place potions and lotions in beautiful containers that rest on an equally beautiful tray. Add a real plant or fresh flowers and don’t forget a robe that makes you feel camera-ready when you slip it on. You’re appealing to all of your senses and your brain will thank you by releasing feel-good emotions.
TAKING A PLAIN PIECE OF FURNITURE AND MAKING IT YOUR OWN
You can easily change this inexpensive piece of furniture simply by adding a glass or mirrored top. You can also change the look by using a lacquered paint in a color you love that complements the other colors used in the room or if the room is all in neutrals, use the piece of furniture to add a pop of color.
HAVE SOMETHING CUSTOM MADE
It could be a headboard, window coverings, or a piece of art. Anything that becomes one-of-a-kind and speaks to who you are; the uniqueness of you.

CELEBRATE EVERY MEAL

Not just for company. Whether you’re by yourself or serving family members, celebrate yourself by setting the table. Use real glasses, plates, silverware, and cloth napkins. Add pretty place mats, a table runner or tablecloth, natural greens or fresh flowers. It’s amazing how doing this will enrich your life. Plus you”ll take longer to eat your meal and you’ll probably eat less.
CHECK YOUR LIGHTING
Nothing can enhance the function and feel of your home than the proper lighting. It’s needed for performing tasks efficiently as well as for mood. All lights should be on dimmers and no black hole corners. Besides overhead lighting, each room should have table lamps and/or floor lamps. You want light to be evenly distributed throughout a space.
ADD THINGS SLOWLY AND OF GOOD QUALITY
Think carefully of what you might want to add to your home. Buy excellent quality even if you have to wait to acquire it. Better an empty space than one filled with lesser quality goods. You won’t be happy because they don’t hold up well and you’ll end up spending more in the long run.
Until next time…
Blessings from my home to yours,
Nancy
Dedicated to helping you live your rooms, not the other way around
Photos via HOUZZ
With the holidays fast approaching, it’s inevitable that you’ll have extra people visiting your home. Whether it’s family and’or friends, everyone needs a place to sit.
Obviously, you don’t want the extra seating to remain in your entertainment area, so what to do?
There are many places in your home where you already have what you need and perhaps didn’t think about using because these pieces were part of the design for a particular room.
But they can serve a dual function and easily give you that extra seating when you need it.
Take a look at these photos. Most likely you’ll already have some of these examples. If not, you may see an idea that you’d like to add. A piece that would not only be functional, but is also beautiful and can add something special to your interior decor.
Until next time…
Blessings from my home to yours,
Nancy
Dedicated to helping you live your rooms—not the other way around
Photos via HOUZZ
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How Color Blind Are You?

November 21st, 2014
This little quiz from QUIZZYN is just for fun – grab a cup of coffee or tea and take a few minutes for yourself and check it out.
Few women experience true color blindness as it’s mostly a male condition.
After all, how many of us help our husbands separate navy from black socks?
Or, how many of us can recognize many different shades of the same color? Most women have no trouble with this; it’s one of our many gifts!
So take this quick quiz. I’ll bet you get 10 out of 10. If not, that’s o.k., too. It’s not strict science—it’s just for fun.
Until next time…
Blessings from my home to yours,
Nancy
Dedicated to helping you live your rooms—not the other way around
What emotional feelings come up when see or think of animal prints?
Most women either love or hate them.
Usually when I questions my clients about the subject, they’ll share a negative connotation. Think a woman dancing around a pole, or one in too tight clothing wearing an animal print head-to-toe, or perhaps the wearer “working the street.”
The thing is animal prints used in interior design, can be classic, timeless, and elegant. They can add whimsy, and something unexpected. Animal prints can accommodate any design style because they go with nothing, yet go with everything.
The trick is to use them in small doses and buy the best materials so they don’t look cheesy; whichever fabrics you choose need to be of top quality.
Take a look at these photos and see if a piece or two wouldn’t add something special in your decor.
After all, these designs are found naturally in nature and what we see in the natural world is usually pretty good.
PLAYFUL
Midcentury Living Room by Daphne Steinberg Interior Design

This very traditionally designed room uses a dalmatian print to add whimsy and fun in an unexpected way.

SOPHISTICATED PATTERNS

 

These monochromatic tones become more exciting when adding the animal print to the bench at the foot of the bed.

LIVEN UP A STAIRCASE
Transitional Staircase by Sally Wheat Interiors

This is an antelope print, yet the staircase is so much more exciting than a plain carpet would be. The soft color keeps it from taking over the space and, again, is unexpected.

WHIMSY IN A KID’S ROOM

 

SMALL TOUCHES

UNEXPECTED COLOR
Contemporary Bedroom by Mary Prince

We’re not used to seeing an animal print in a pastel color. That makes this soft blue zebra-covered print such a welcome surprise.

BEAUTIFULLY SOPHISTICATED ELEGANCE

ADDING ALLIGATOR TO YOUR GUEST BATH

Contemporary Powder Room by Home & Stone

Another way of adding texture to a space in a different way. This is a small powder room and the alligator print wallpaper bounces the light which is an added bonus.

A NOT SO INVISIBLE RUG
Eclectic Living Room by erin williamson

This is more than a small touch of animal print and would not be for everyone. But you can add a larger piece that doesn’t overcome the room. What makes this large cheetah-patterned rug work is that the major furniture pieces are light in color and the dark-toned walls quiet the space. In this case, the rug becomes the focal point.

Until next time…
Blessings from my home to yours,
Nancy
Dedicated to helping you live your rooms—not the other way around
Images courtesy HOUZZ
Whenever I ask a client how she wants her home to feel, I almost always hear, “calm and peaceful.”
In today’s ever changing , technology-oriented, to-do lists and all-around busy world, it goes without saying that, indeed, we’re pushed and pulled here and there on a seemingly non-stop merry-go-round.
When we get home, what we crave most in our environment is to feel calm and peaceful. A place, our private place, to get off that merry-go-round and just breathe.; to gather ourselves together before we again enter the hectic world.
You know when you’re in a space that offers serenity and calm because you feel it—immediately. But you may not know why.
Here are 4 ways that will give you a feeling of calm and balance in your own home.
1.  SYMMETRY 
     All 3 of these photos are balanced. What you see on one side is the same on the other.
     Your eyes don’t become confused. Instead you feel a sense of order which calms your
     spirit.
2.  COLOR FLOW 
     In an open space, carry the same color or variation of throughout the rooms so the eye is not
     jarred; it just seamlessly flows.
     In the bedroom, not only is a restful color used, it’s essentially the same color with different
     tones that vary from light to dark. Again, the eye doesn’t have to “work” hard to
     distinguish many different hues It registers as the same color which creates a feeling of
     calm.
     Clutter of any kind is the surest way to create a feeling of discord in your home. Nothing
     confuses the eye more than when it sees clutter. You know it needs to be cleared which
     creates anxiety—the opposite of how you want to feel while at home.
4.  FOCAL POINTS
    Anytime you can, place furniture in a way that looks out onto a view. Nature plays a huge
    role in how we emotionally feel. It almost instantly calms the mind and relaxes the body.
    Research has shown that even looking at pictures of nature positively affect us.
If you follow these suggestions, I promise you’ll feel better at home. Your surroundings will offer the calm and serenity that can enrich your life in untold ways.
Until next time…
Blessings from my home to yours,
Nancy
Dedicated to helping you live your rooms—not the other way around
Photos via Houzz
Now that the leaves are falling, the days are shorter, and the nights are chilly, entertaining moves from outdoors to inside your home. We don’t even have to be entertaining; it could be us or ours just being indoors.
And with that, the dreaded stain mishaps will occur—without fail.
I remember a small dinner party where one of my guests accidentally spilled red wine on my creme-colored sofa. She was mortified and being the gracious hostess, I had to convince her it was no problem, not to worry, I knew what to do and would take care of it later.
I placed a dish towel over the stain, kept a smile on my face while thinking I didn’t know what to do to erase the beautiful Merlot shade of red. I was sure that a throw would be finding a permanent place to cover the stain.
Fortunately, I was able to remove the wine stain without having to bring in an upholstery cleaning company.
Stains happen to all us in some fashion or other. The victim could be our upholstery, carpet, or clothing.
The perpetrators could be us, guests, children, and even out pets.
Recently, I found a guide tested and written by the University of Illinois Extension. It covers just about every substance, even what to do it you don’t know what particular stain it might be.
It’s worth bookmarking and having this handy guide on hand whenever stain disasters happen, and they surely will.
Until next time…
Blessings from my home to yours,
Nancy
Dedicated to helping you live your rooms—not the other way around
Image courtesy Huff Post
appleIt may seem odd that as an interior designer, I’m devoting a post to the common fruit fly.
However, as a lifestyle designer, this silent, red-eyed pest has no place in our home and does affect how well we live.
Every year starting sometime in August and continuing into the fall, they set up residence in our homes as if they’ve been invited. Worse, they bring their relatives and a whole host of friends and their families.
I remember dining in an up-scale restaurant located in a vineyard. Beside each wine glass was a paper cover/top. Perplexed, I asked the waiter what it was there for. He merely smiled and filled the wine glass. Within seconds, a fruit fly appeared hovering over the rim and becoming drunk on the wine’s sweet scent. Truly, after swatting it away and taking a sip, the the paper covering would have to be placed onto the wine glass until I took another sip. Fortunately, it was just one glass and not a full bottle of wine to be enjoyed, as the whole procedure was very irritating.
Fruit flies are tiny, they don’t bite, but they are a frustrating nuisance. They hover over food and drink that is on the sweet side. Hence their name—fruit fly.
I finally, after years of combating the little, fast-flying invader, decided to take action and find a way to banish them forever—or at least keep them at bay.
I use a small glass dish about 3 inches in diameter and 1 and a 1/2 to 2 inches deep. Here’s the recipe:
THE FRUIT FLY KILLER BROTH
1/2 inch apple cider vinegar
3-4 drops of dish washing soap
Stir both together
It’s amazing to watch what happens. The fruit fly will land on the container’s rim, work it’s way down the side and land in the briny solution—dead and gone. You think you only saw one, but within a few hours many companions will have joined him/her. You’ll wonder where on earth they’ve been hiding.
You’ll need to prepare the recipe often often during the season, but it’s worth it. You and your guests can enjoy food and drink in peace.
Happy Hunting!!
Until next time…
Blessings from my home to yours,
Nancy
Dedicated to helping you live your rooms—not the other way around
Image courtesy Cieleke

Nestle    Snuggle    Cuddle    Warm     Cozy

These are words that are synonymous with how we want our homes to feel now that we’re into autumn.

Even though we’re experiencing halcyon days of fine and calm weather, the days are increasingly shorter and the nights chillier. We relish the beauty of leaves turning into brilliant colors and watch them fall gently to the ground The apples have been picked and pressed into cider. We smell wood smoke from fireplaces long since used. We know without a doubt that summer has passed and we’re into that quieter season of fall.

Just as animals prepare for the coming winter season, we, too, ready our homes for being indoors and feeling warm, cozy, and safe.

Most of us don’t replace a linen covered sofa with a sheepskin covered one. Although that would be cool! What we can do is exchange pillows, throws, blankets,bedding, area rugs, ottomans, poufs, and accessories that speak more to this time of year. If there was one word to describe them it would be “texture”—textures that beg to be touched and run your fingers through or squish your toes in.

Following are products that you can purchase that reflect the comfort and warmth that we so long for at this time of year; that make it a joy to be indoors for us and all who enter our home. (Photos via Houzz)

Until next time…

Blessings from my home to yours,

Nancy

Dedicated to helping you live your rooms—not the other way around

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