entertaining

Useful or Beautiful - Part 3

Now that you've read how to purge & declutter, and how to smartly reduce what you bring home, I would like to share a few design tips on creating a beautiful space using what you already have.

1- Create a plan!

This is the most important step, and the first I do when I meet with a new client. Brainstorming all our ideas and coming up with an organized master plan for the room will keep your goals on track. It's important to understand how you currently use the room, and how you want to use it going forward.This information will guide any decisions you make going forward.

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2- Inspire Yourself

Sometimes it's hard to see new potential for the same old pieces in the same old room. That's one of the biggest benefits a decorator can bring to your job is a fresh new perspective! To start getting some ideas you can look on Pinterest or Houzz for other rooms that inspire you. Then look for a common theme in them, are you drawn to neutral colored rooms? Bold colored accents? Mid century style?

 

3- Try something new

After the purge, some inspiration, and a plan you will start to see your things in an all new way. Try new things with your existing pieces. It could be as simple as rearranging the furniture to create a better seating area. Or maybe you found an easy DIY idea that will help you repurpose that old side table, chair, or accessory.

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4- Fill in the gaps

Once you're set up the foundation for the room using what you already had, you'll have a better sense of what you need. Check back with your plan to see what your other goals were. How many were accomplished with what you already had? And how many need to be filled in with new purchases? If you head out shopping bring your design plan with you to keep you on track.

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5- Rotate accessories

If you have a lot of accessories you want to keep but they aren't working together, I would recommend rotating them seasonally. Keep out lightweight linens and fresh bright colors for the spring, and store your heavy blankets, curtains, pillows, carpet, and darker colored accessories for the winter.

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6- Enjoy!

Show yourself and your new space some gratitude. It may not be magazine perfect, but nothing really is. Enjoy the change you've made in your home, the new freedom from clutter, and the well planned decor you have in your home. Maybe you can even celebrate by hosting a party to show it off!

(source)

 

I hope this mini series has helped inspire you to redecorate a room in you home.

Cheers,

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Oh Summer, Where Have You Gone??

I probably say this every year, but summer has gone by way too fast! I wish you a happy long weekend to soak up this last bit of summer! Here are some ways to indulge...

Swing in a hammock with drinks readily nearby (via Pinterest)

Enjoy a seat by the fire (via Pinterest)

Great tip I found on Pinterest: keep mosquitos away by making bundles of sage and toss into the fire!

 

Quick & Easy Ideas for Paper Decorations!

Where oh where does the time go!?! Christmas is almost here and I hope everyone is getting ready to enjoy some time off for some R&R. As I was catching up on some reading the other day I saw HGTV's exclusive tour of the White House. Everyone always does such a lovely job decorating but I think the East Room mantle stole the show this year! Check out this huge paper flower!

HGTV

It's just gorgeous, and I love the muted colors they used: antique golds, silver blues, and a deep burgundy. And the XL scale of the flowers and ribbon is both playful and dramatic. 

NY Daily News

They incorporated some of the same flowers into the tree as well.

HGTV 

NY Daily News

It's no wonder that I am drawn to this tree since there are over 120 handmade ornaments from volunteers. With a holiday theme of "Gather Around" this room celebrates the act of sharing stories through art. 

Last week in Review

It's that time of year when each week gets busier than the last and the list of to-do's keep growing! Last week was especially busy preparing for the decorating presentation I gave at the Habitat ReStore. I enjoyed putting my thoughts together and sharing some of my top decorating tips! 

Presentation set up with handouts

Raffled a Starbucks gift card and a cute little holiday tree from Trader Joes!

As I was preparing the slides of text and gathering the photos I realized it was a lot like assembling the largest blog post ever and presenting it live! And once I started creating it was so hard to stop! I could go on and on about the details of each photo since there are so many aspects that relate to each other. If you made it out to the presentation - thank you! It was great to see you, and if you couldn't make it I'll be giving more next year, stay in the loop here.

Below are a few of my favorite photos that correlate to holiday entertaining, maximizing the function, and creating good conversation areas.  

  

Decorating Presentation at the Habitat Restore!

Thursday December 5th I will be making my first decorating presentation at the Habitat Restore in Randolph NJ. The topic will be the 10 Most Common Decorating Mistakes, and the focus will be on furniture arrangements to get your rooms ready for holiday entertaining! After the presentation I'll do a demonstration with furniture at the Restore. If you're interested in coming please sign up with the form below!

Looking forward to seeing you then!

Thursday December 5th
Habitat Restore
274 South Salem Street, Randolph NJ
(At the corner of Route 10 West and Salem Street)
973.366.3358 

http://www.morrishabitat.org/restore/

 

Impromptu Gatherings & Surprise Guests: Quick Tips to Prepare!

The summer season is a wonderful time to entertain and catch up with friends. It's so easy to throw together a BBQ or pool party (if you have one). Gatherings are typically casual and relaxing - especially if you can be outside for the majority of the time. But hectic schedules and bad weather change plans quickly. Even if you plan your soiree outdoors you'll most likely greet your guests at the front door and they will probably use the bathroom at some point. And then if it rains... well then you'll stay indoors. I recently read an article in my local paper that I found to be a good refresher for last minute entertaining and wanted to share: "Half an hour to prepare for guests? Some tips". 


Some people find cleaning therapeutic and don't mind a routine weekly cleaning session. And those people are always welcome to our house to help--- cleaning is definitely not my favorite! Having guests over is really the best incentive that gets us cleaning. And at this point I think we've gotten really good at the last minute scramble. It's always good to have a basic strategy and to prioritize, and even better if you have someone to help you. Here are a few of my favorite tips from the article.

10 Minutes of Cleaning


Focus on the areas that guests will be entering, such as the kitchen, bath, front entry, main living room. Wipe down surfaces in the kitchen and bath, then grab an old sock or rag to dust visible surfaces in the living and dining room.

   

For a sink full of dirty dishes (like mine always is) consider stashing them in the oven to make room for new ones.

(source)

A quick vacuum of carpets or rugs in the main areas - and add a dash of deodorizer or baking soda as you go.

(source)

10 Minutes of Hiding Clutter

I'm sure you've all heard this before - grab an empty basket to collect the clutter. Then hid this in a bedroom or closet with doors closed. This basket helps to keep the clutter together and is easier to find and sort afterwards instead of stashing things in different drawers and closets as you go. If you have a pretty basket you could leave it in plain sight by tossing a pretty throw on it. 

Jumbo Yard Games and Pizza on the Grill

Happy 4th of July Everyone!!

I hope you are all able to carve out some time to enjoy the holiday! If you are staying home or entertaining this weekend here are some fun yard games to play - the bigger the better!

Jumbo Jenga(source)

This is my favorite idea so far. and I first heard about this from someone I used to work with (Mike R, if you ever stumble upon this I am giving you 100% credit right here!) At first it might sound dangerous to have large chunks of wood tumbling down all over making loud noises... But isn't that part of the fun? :)

(source)

Apparently it even makes a good wedding game! I saw several wedding reception photos including Jumbo Jenga. No danger here!

Happy Memorial Day!

Happy holiday weekend! Firstly, today is an important day of reflection and remembrance for members of our armed forces no longer with us. I feel extreme gratitude for their service to our country and I hope everyone can take some time to celebrate them this weekend. 

Memorial Day weekend also signifies the official kickoff of BBQ season and enjoying more time outdoors. If you are looking to spruce up your outdoor space for entertaining and relaxing we have a few tips to keep in mind when shopping the sales this weekend.

1- Create a Comfortable Conversation area

Just like arranging furniture indoors you want to create a seating area that's conducive to conversation and therefore entertaining. Try a seating area with several seats facing each other, or a "U" shape seating area with a table in the middle to put food and drinks.

(Frontgate)

If you have a small balcony or front porch try adding 2 chairs tilted at an angle towards each other with a table in-between for drinks.

(design sponge)

(Target)

2- Define The Seating Area

Rugs work like magic to carve out a designated seating area. There are many places you can get outdoor rugs for your deck or patio. This is also a great opportunity to try some fun colors you don't want to commit to inside your home!

(grandin road)

(Crate & Barrell)

3- Emphasize the Focal Point - Or Add One!

Some people might want to take advantage of a great view or gardens they have and arrange the seating area to enjoy it. If you don't have a natural focal point then try adding one like a fountain, fire pit, or pergola/ gazebo.

(Home Decorators Collection)

Super Bowl Weekend!

Well I didn't think it was right to let the Super Bowl pass without posting some amazing (dream) spaces to watch the game, and a deliciously easy recipe to try! This morning I was watching the Today show and they were battling about who makes the best crab: Maryland (blue crab, duh!) or San Fran dungeness, who knew?! You can read about their bet {here}.

Are you looking forward to the food, game, or commercials?
Here's to the weekend - and may the best team win :)