Many design requirements are needed to make a home the functional space where daily needs are met.

Once the functional design is completed, it’s time for what I call the “technicolor” part of design that turns our house into a real home.

It’s the area of interior design/decorating that expresses who we are at our core; how we wish to be seen by ourselves and others. And it’s always very personal and uniquely our own expression.

What are the 5 key design elements?


Image Source: Laurel & Wolf

Rugs are important for many different reasons. They help define a space; they add warmth both literally and figuratively; they can provide color and texture; they say “welcome home.”


Image Source: Laurel & Wolf

One of the most easily changed out accessories, pillows add color, texture, and physical comfort. It’s hard to imagine a sofa without pillows to lean back into—sort of like receiving a warm hug.


Image Source: Laurel & Wolf

I doubt there’s a book lover who doesn’t consider them to be best friends. Always there to teach, comfort, entertain, there’s a book for every emotional need. And lest we forget, there’s the favorite ritual of curling up in a comfy seat, with a favorite beverage and cozy throw settling in on a cold winter afternoon with a book.


Image Source: Laurel & Wolf

Probably the most personal aspect of design, all art should be chosen for how it makes us feel. Unless you’re a professional art investor, the monetary value of an art piece shouldn’t be the driving factor in why we chose it.


Image Source: Laurel & Wolf

Anything that represents nature adds to our feeling of comfort and well-being. No matter what the material—the saying we’re one with nature is true and seems to be part of the human condition that enables a feeling of happiness.

There you have it. The 5 design elements that will make you happier and feel fulfilled at home.

What do you think?

Until next time…

Blessings from my home to yours,

Dedicated to helping you create spaces that foster happiness and well-being


Images courtesy Pop Sugar

It’s almost here.

For many of us our favorite holiday of the year—Thanksgiving.

It’s a day of giving thanks for our many blessings and sharing them with family and friends.

Thanksgiving is also a day filled with tradition. We have favorite recipes (many passed down through the generations) that we wouldn’t dare not serve lest we face the wrath of everyone at the table!

We tend to rely on the same table decorations as well. Maybe this year it’s time to change it up a bit for a fresh new look. shares 8 different table decoration ideas that just might spark your creativity. They’re inexpensive and easy DIY. Take a look:


best thanksgiving table decorating ideas -

Layer your thanksgiving table with linens, special dishes and a bold centerpiece of fall pumpkins and products down the middle of the table. Image: Tanya Capaldo Interior Design

Thanksgiving table decorating with fresh greens

Collect your favorite aromatic herbs like rosemary, thyme and sage or branches of eucalyptus, ivy or other leaves to create a gorgeous centerpiece. Add candles, pine cones or other items that go with your chosen color theme.

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Fresh greens on a table runner create a modern Thanksgiving tablescape. Image: Blackband Design

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Artichokes, sage and olive leaves add a fresh look to this Thanksgiving table. Image: Rikki Snyder

Thanksgiving table decorating with candles

Nothing creates an intimate dining table setting better than candles. Whether you choose tall candlesticks or tea lights, you can never add too many to your table setting. Mix and match colors and heights for the best look. And opt for unscented candles that won’t interfere with your food’s aroma.

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A candle candelabra over the dining table diffuses a soft glow over the meal. Image: Amanda Carol Interiors

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Candles are a great item to your add to your Thanksgiving centerpiece. Image: Kitchen Magic

Here are some candle-related products that will help you recreate these tablescapes in your own home:


 Blue Thanksgiving Tablescapes

Add a primary color to the typical Thanksgiving browns, oranges and earth tones for some pop. Some great colors to add include bright green, bold yellow and blue.

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If you’re looking to change up the typical reds, oranges and golds, try adding a blue tone to your Thanksgiving table. Image: Hayneedle

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Blue works well with earth tones and orange, so don’t be afraid to add this fresh new shade to your table setting. Image: Troy Spurlin

If blue is your accent hue, here are some great products to get you started:

1| 2 | 3

Decorating with table runners for Thanksgiving

A table runner is more modern than a tablecloth. It’s especially useful if you don’t want to cover up your beautiful table but would like to add some color and pattern to it. The best part is that a table runner is versatile and comparatively inexpensive. Choosing one that’s about 12″ longer than your table so that it hangs just enough off the ends.

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A table runner is an inexpensive but effective way to add color, pattern and a focal point to your table centerpiece. Image: Robertson-Lindsay

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Place table runners in the opposite direction on a dining table to replace the function of place mats. Image: Focal Point Styling

There are so many table runners you could choose from, here are some of our favorite holiday themed runners:


Plate chargers for dining table decorating

If you own a classic set of china, plate chargers are the simplest way to transform that everyday china into something special. Plate chargers are larger than your plates so they frame your dish nicely, adding some color or an interesting design to the edge of your plate.

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A red plate charger adds holiday color to a neutral brown and white table setting. Image: Focal Point Styling

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You don’t have to invest in all-new plates and china to dress up your table for the holidays. Consider adding chargers to frame your plate, like the hammered gold ones in this image. Image: Brunchfill

A charger plate can really add a lot of elegance to your table setting here are a few of our favorites:


Holiday napkin rings for dining table decorating

To make your dining table special, choose cloth napkins or paper napkins with a special pattern to them. Don’t forget to complete them with a napkin ring. Here are some Thanksgiving-inspired napkin ring ideas.

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A simple acorn and sage Thanksgiving napkin ring adds polish to this guest’s table setting. Image: Rikki Snyder

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Some raffia and a fresh cutting of wheat or berries is the simplest but loveliest napkin ring you can create. Image: Lisa’s Creative Designs

These napkin rings are sure to bring some bling to your table:

Pine cone table decor for the Thanksgiving table

Pine cones are the stars of the fall and holiday theme. Collect and use them in your table decorating.

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Paint your pine cones in metallic colors and work them into your table with colorful fall leaves. Image: Better Homes and Gardens

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A rustic and understated basket with fresh leaves and pine cones is a simple table centerpiece. Image: This Is Happiness

If you don’t have a natural selection of pine cones in your backyard, try these suggested products:

Table centerpieces for Thanksgiving

If you do one thing to decorate your Thanksgiving table, choose to create a striking dining centerpiece. Scatter your favorite objects down the center. Add candles and items in different heights. Don’t make your centerpiece too tall or you may block the person sitting across from you.

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White pumpkins and succulents are two design items that are all the rage. And this image shows they work beautifully together in your Thanksgiving centerpiece. Image: Jane Can

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Here’s an example of a lovely Thanksgiving table that includes most of the elements in our list. Image: Elle Decor

What Thanksgiving table decorating ideas would you add to create a festive holiday table?

Until next time…

Blessings from my home to yours,

Dedicated to helping you create spaces that foster happiness and well-being

Few areas of interior design/decorating create more uncertainly than choosing the right paint colors. Yes, it’s only paint and yes, it doesn’t cost a lot of money, but it certainly costs time and we would rather not make a poor choice.

We know what hues we like and don’t like, but there are so many factors that affect how we feel about a color once it’s on the wall. Add to that the thousands of choices available to us and you have the ideal formula for overwhelm.

Fortunately, has put together a list of best tips on how to pick the perfect paint color for your interiors.

Paint colors

The perfect paint color is fundamental to your interior design. Image: Mary Bona – Design Find


Let’s face it: Picking the right paint color is important. There’s no denying the shade we pick to adorn the walls is a fundamental part of any interior design project. In fact, it’s often the element the rest of our aesthetic choices are based on.

That said, choosing the ideal shade is far from easy. There are so many options available and each one just a little different than the last. For many, it’s almost impossible to figure out where to start.

We’re ready to put this age-old problem to rest, once and for all. We’ve compiled a list of our best tips on how to pick the perfect paint color for your interiors. Use these suggestions the next time your home needs a fresh coat of paint and we guarantee selecting the shade will be a quick and painless process.

textile inspiration

Use textiles as inspiration. Image: McCroskey Interiors

Buy textiles first

Usually when we talk about textiles, they’re considered a finishing aspect of the design, so this advice may seem counterintuitive. However, one of the easiest ways to make sure your paint coordinates well with the rest of the room is to use fabrics as your design inspiration.

Think about it this way: If you pick the paint first, you might find yourself limited to only a few fabric options that match your wall. But if base your color palette on an existing product, you’re far more likely to find a coordinating shade of paint. If need be, most home improvement stores will even mix a unique shade for you.

With that in mind, start your design projects by building off a single piece that catches your eye. Patterned items are particularly good options because they often incorporate multiple shades and can be used as the basis for your entire color scheme.

paint color transition

Paint can help your eyes transition from one space to another. Image: Peterssen/Keller Architecture

Work with neighboring spaces

Odds are, you’ve experienced a house where the paint choices were truly overwhelming. As you walked from room to room it may have felt as though there was nowhere for your eyes to rest, as though the home was too busy for its own good.

Most often, this feeling occurs when homeowners try to do too much with their design. They’ll give each room its own distinct style and color scheme while forgetting to account for the fact that their home needs to feel cohesive.

Paint can be that unifying element. Before you decide on a particular shade, consider how it will look with your existing interiors. The colors should work in harmony. While this tip is especially important to follow when working with open concept spaces, the effect a color has when transitioning between more traditional rooms should also be considered.

paint color lighting

Consider how different lighting will influence your shade. Image: Garrison Hullinger Interior Design Inc.

Factor in lighting

Like it or not, the way in which a room is lit can have a huge impact on how the room looks. Each light temperature pulls out a color undertone, which is why rooms often feel vastly different at night than they do during the day.

With that in mind, it’s crucial to ensure you’ll be happy with a color regardless of the time of day. The only way to know for sure if a color meets your needs is to test it out for yourself. It’s an easy process, but it does require a little work.

Once you have a color in mind, ask to have a sample made up for you at the local home improvement store. When you take it home, paint a few, small sections of paint on each wall. Then, check in on them throughout the next day. If you’re happy with how the color looks in both natural and artificial light, you’ve found a winner.

paint finish

The finish you choose will have a big impact on your final product. Image: Niki Papadopoulos

Don’t forget finish

Many people tend to overlook the fact that paint color is about much more than the shade itself. Finish is another component that can alter how your finished product looks. Be sure to take this into account before making your final decision.

Here are the options you can choose from:

  • Flat finish: This is your least shiny option. It comes off as modern and sophisticated, but it doesn’t clean well, so it isn’t the best choice for kitchens and bathrooms.
  • Egg shell finish: Low luster, the finish looks decorative and is often used in dining rooms.
  • Satin finish: This is the most popular choice and works well for high-traffic areas like hallways.
  • Semi-gloss finish: Will give the room a subtle shine and is fairly easily cleaned. It works well in kitchens and baths.
  • High-gloss finish: This will give the room a shiny and polished look, but is stain-resistant and easily scrubbable. It works best in kitchens and baths.
paint color

Paint color plays an important role in interior design. Image: International Custom Designs

Choosing the right paint color is a key part of the success of a design. However, for many of us, the selection process can be incredibly difficult. After all, there are countless shades of paint on the market and their slight differences can have a drastic effect on your final product. There is hope. Consider the advice in this post to be your ultimate guide to picking the perfect paint color every time.

Do you have trouble selecting paint colors? Or do you have a tip of your own to add? Share your experiences with us in the comments.

Until next time…

Blessings from my home to yours,

Dedicated to helping you create spaces that foster happiness and well-being

Imagine a bathroom where you look into the mirror and actually love what you see reflected. Your lighting is designed in such a way that you simply don’t notice that little crease between your eyes or that softening jaw line. You know it’s there, but somehow, magically it loses its focus. Your reflection show all of the parts of your physical appearance that you are happy with and that is where your attention lies. You say “I look pretty good” and that is the attitude you carry as you go out into the world.

After owning a day spa for many years, along with being a make-up artist, I became an expert in lighting that was realistic and flattering to a woman’s face. Lighting that allowed women to enjoy putting on their makeup and feeling happy with the results.

Good bathroom lighting doesn’t need to be expensive or time consuming; it does require careful planning, however.

Here are some DO’S and DON’TS to help make your decisions easier:

. Don’t make your only bathroom fixtures canned ceiling lights. What are you thinking contractors and home builders?? That will give your face the fastest trip to crone town possible because this type of lighting creates
hollows and shadows you never even knew you had.

. Install lights with dimmers just as you do in other areas of your home.

. Have more lighting rather than too little in the bathroom.

. Have overhead lighting, but always balance it with sconces or pendants on each side of the mirror. Your face becomes bright, clear, and even-looking immediately.

. If there’s not enough room for for fixtures on each side of the mirror, have an electrician install them onto the mirror itself. The reflection also doubles your light.

. If natural light filters through a window on only one side of the room, try to close it while using the mirror or else one side of your face will be brighter looking.

. Down lights should only be used for performing tasks while looking down.

. REMEMBER: Filling in shadows is achieved with side lights which in turn smooth the recesses of your face.


Transitional Bathroom by Jute Interior Design

Approximate height to place side lights is approximately 65-70 inches from the floor. Ideal placement for overhead fixtures is about 78 inches.

Transitional Bathroom by Neuhaus Design Architecture, P.C.

Soft shades with still bright enough lighting for shaving or applying makeup.

Contemporary Bathroom by Artistic Designs for Living, Tineke Triggs

These fabric shades give off a diffused light while still giving a bright and clean look.

Beach Style Powder Room by 41 West

In this small bathroom, the sidelights are placed on the side walls due to lack of space.

Beach Style Bathroom by REFINED LLC

A wide, long countertop needs double the amount of fixtures for even lighting all along the sink and cabinetry.

Victorian Bathroom by Polsky Perlstein Architects

A large bathroom with many different light sources.

Rustic Bathroom by Fiorella Design

Be sure to check out ahead of time that you have ample enough wattage for your needs in your chosen light fixture(s).

Contemporary Bathroom by Amy A. Alper, Architect

Contemporary example of the long ago popular Hollywood bare bulb light fixture.

Contemporary Bathroom by Atmosphere Interior Design Inc.

A fabulous amount of wattage with each fixture containing four 60-watt bulbs.

Transitional Bathroom by Insignia Design Group

These fixtures were originally designed to be horizontal, however, there’s no reason why they can’t become vertical if that configuration works better for your space.

I hope these tips and examples help you design your most beautiful bathroom ever. Make it a space that gives you joy to enter and don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it.

Until next time…

Blessings from my home to yours,

Dedicated to helping you create spaces that foster happiness and well-being


Photos via Houzz

Here in the Pacific Northwest, we have gone from the gorgeous, halcyon days of early fall into our rainy, windy, gray and cool days almost overnight. It is a harbinger of what lies ahead as we edge ever closer to winter.

This is the time we want to be best prepared to enter the “cozy” season and love being indoors and enjoying our lives in a way we don’t the other 3 seasons of the year.

In this week’s article, Laura Gaskill, Houzz contributor shares 12 ideas to make this winter the best yet for living happily inside your home. You already know many of these, but a reminder doesn’t hurt. Enjoy!

There is a certain squirrel-like pleasure in stocking up for cold weather — and potential power outages — from the regular essentials, like flashlights and warm socks, to the fun essentials, like bottles of wine and new board games. Knowing you have all you could possibly want tucked tidily away is a wonderful way to kick off a season of coziness.

Until next time…

Blessings from my home to yours,

Dedicated to helping you create spaces that foster happiness and well-being

Photos via HOUZZ

We live in uncertain times and this year has certainly tested that.

From politics to record-setting natural disasters, it’s easy to become unnerved and feel a bit shaky wondering what could possibly be next.

We feel sorrow for our fellow citizens who have been so badly affected and lost all they owned. Because we feel empathy, it’s not difficult to put ourselves in their shoes and grieve right along with them.

At the same time, we feel grateful to have the many blessings we have. Our home, as always, is our touchstone reminding us all is well in our world.

Just has nature can destroy, it also gifts us with extraordinary beauty and what better time to rejoice in it than during glorious autumn. As we move more and more indoors, we want our home to feel cozy and secure this time of year. We want our home to fee like it’s embracing us with a warm hug each time we enter.

Laura Gaskill, Houzz contributor has shared 10 ways to do just that. You’ll see that simple pleasures are often times the best of all.

The first crisp day, the first red leaf, the sky a richer shade of blue, the yellow school bus making its stops again — as signs of fall begin to pop up all around, take this opportunity to slow down and savor the little things that make the season meaningful to you. From simple, natural decorating ideas to library corners and cozy quilts, here are 10 ideas for filling the season with heartfelt delights.

Until next time…

Blessings from my home to yours,

Dedicated to helping you create spaces that foster happiness and well-being


photos via HOUZZ

I love a quiz; especially one that’s about design.
They’re fun and you always wonder if you’ll discover something new about yourself.
The results certainly aren’t written in stone and a quiz alone is not going to make your decisions for you. However, they can give you a sense of your design style. You may discover aspects of design you hadn’t thought of before or confirm that the design style you’ve chosen fits you to a T.
So whether your style is neutral, traditional, contemporary, or eclectic, grab a cup of coffee or tea, take a short break and discover the design style that perfectly fits you. Chances are your style will carry over to your other spaces as well. This quiz involves your bathroom.
FYI: My personal design style is neutral which is spot-on. What is yours? I’d love to hear in the comments.


Until next time…
Blessings from my home to yours,
Dedicated to helping you create spaces that foster happiness and well-being
As a designer, I’m always thrilled and ever motivated at how many options there are to help someone design a beautiful home.
That’s why when I read how Annie Gabillet, Contributing Editor for turned an Ikea couch into a custom design that uniquely defined her sense of style and design, I had to share it with you.
Here’s her story:
What do you think? Does Annie’s story inspire you with your own decor? Have you done something like this in your home? I’d love to hear in the comments.
Until next time…
Blessings from my home to yours,
Dedicated to helping you design spaces that foster happiness and well-being
Images courtesy POP sugar

Of all the most desired items requested in kitchen design, a kitchen island ranks among the top.

However, it can be challenging to fit an island into a small kitchen. Rule of thumb is 42 inches of width is needed for a single cook’s work isle and 48 inches for more than one cook. You also need at least 3 feet for a walkway. With an average island measuring 25 to 40 inches deep, you can easily see the problem.

However, all is not lost and you can have an island that accommodates a smaller kitchen. Take a look at these photos:


This home owner wanted an eat-in kitchen table with chairs which narrowed the width of the kitchen. However, there was still space for a narrow kitchen island giving more work space in this kitchen which it needed.

In spite of this kitchen’s narrow width, installing a narrow island whose compact work surface makes it useful for performing various tasks.

Consider how you’ll be using your narrow kitchen island. In this photo, work space is on top with open storage provided on the bottom shelf. You may decide to have closed storage. Either way, it’s what works best for you and your needs.

This kitchen island was designed to provide the owner a place to sit and enjoy a beverage, plan the day, or give a place for a friend to sit and visit. Make sure if you want this kind of configuration, that the person seated doesn’t get in the way of the cook.

A narrow island will not allow enough space for a sink or cooktop, but it still allows surface area for food prep and an easy place to set hot dishes when removing them from the oven.

A narrow kitchen island on wheels could be the perfect solution if you’d like moving it as needed. Just make sure the wheels can lock.

You want your kitchen island to fit the shape of the kitchen itself. If it’s long and narrow, the island should configure to that shape. The same applies if the geometry is square-shaped as in this photo. Your entire kitchen will function much more effectively.

I hope this article gives you ideas you could implement if you’d like to have a kitchen island in your smaller kitchen and maybe thought you couldn’t. As always, the best design is Mindful Interior Design to allow your home to work for you in every way.

Until next time…

Blessings from my home to yours,

Dedicated to helping you create spaces that foster happiness and well-being


Photos via HOUZZ

Every design, decorating, or remodeling choice we make will have an emotional impact on us.

Hopefully, we end up loving our decisions and our lives are richer because of it. But sometimes mistakes are made and the outcomes are not as happy as we would wish.

HOUZZ asked readers to share their thoughts on the subject and they generously responded with lessons learned, most likely the hard way—through experience.

Sometimes, forewarned is forearmed and we can avoid making the same mistakes.

Here are a few and a couple of my own:


Unless you’re a house flipper or are planning on selling soon, don’t design with that idea. In other words, choosing neutral everything when that doesn’t represent who you are. You’ll never feel inspired or happy at home.

Always do what feels right for you. Certainly gather information and needed advice, but listen to your gut instincts…it’s YOUR home and it must tell YOUR story.

Until next time…

Blessings from my home to yours,

Dedicated to helping you create spaces that foster happiness and well-being

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