4 ways to get your mudroom ready for winter

You might call it “the mudroom,” but that doesn’t mean you have to actually let your entryway get muddy. To prevent your mudroom from becoming a mess this winter (due to tracking in snow, water and dirt, and from having to hang bulky outdoor apparel), try these four winter clean-up solutions.

1. Place outdoor mats on both sides of the doors
Photo credit: Matthew Benson, This Old House

Photo credit: Matthew Benson, This Old House

 

When the temperature is below zero outside, your family will want to get inside as fast as possible. By having another doormat placed inside your home, people are able to clean off their shoes in a more cozy and warm space. Additionally, having two mats that guests and family members can use might reduce the amount of snow and mud tracked into your home.

2. Set a boot tray next to the door
Photo credit: Pinterest

Photo credit: Pinterest

 

Boot trays are designed to keep floors clean, and in addition to boots, they can also be used to hold wet umbrellas. If you place the boot tray right next to the front door, people will know to take their boots off immediately after walking inside your home.

3. Prevent clutter with a great storage system entryway storage

Snow and dirt aren’t the only things that can muck up your mudroom in the winter. You’ll also be keeping bulky coats, gloves, hats, scarves and snow pants in the mudroom. If you don’t already have storage solutions in place, consider what would be best with the amount of space you have. Hall tree benches, which are cubbies with hooks and storage boxes, are a great way to separate your family’s outdoor gear. Storage benches are also useful to have in mudrooms.

4. Keep only winter items in the mudroom 

If you’re working with limited mudroom space, save some room by removing your fall and spring jackets. Pack away any clothes or sporting equipment that you won’t use in the winter and place them in storage areas like the basement or attic.

This winter, keep your mudroom mud-free. With the right furniture and accessories, you can easily keep your entryway clean and organized.

By Wendy Weinert

Great decor gift ideas this holiday season

Every year I think I have plenty of time to buy Christmas gifts, and every year the holidays creep up on me. This leaves me frantically searching for the perfect present at the last minute. If you find yourself in a similar situation year after year, stop the cycle now and take advantage of Cyber Monday. Here are some gift ideas to get you inspired.

Gifts for him

Bronze spyglass: Those who love the open sea will also love this beautiful bronze spyglass. It will look great in a home office, living room or any nautical-themed space.

Sail Model Defender, 1895: With this classic decor piece set up in his office or room, he can sail away to a more relaxed state any time of the day.

Home Stag Bookends: For the rustic man in your life, these stag bookends make the perfect present.

Black Skull and Crossbones Decanter: Help complete his home bar setup with this edgy decanter. The 12-inch bottle can hold 54 ounces of his favorite poison. Skull vase

Golf Club One-Light Table Lamp: Finally, a lamp he will actually get excited about. This lamp features three golf clubs and a ball for the base and a shade depicting a golf course. golf lamp

Gifts for her

Multi-Colored Swirl Perfume Bottle: Getting ready in the morning will feel more luxurious with these beautiful perfume bottles. They are stylish and functional to be the perfect gift. bottles

Desk Clock: Practical doesn’t mean boring. This sophisticated clock will add style to any desk it sits on.

Over-the-Door Jewelry Armoire with Mirror: She will love this stylish and useful gift. The mirrored armoire has three trays, 24 hooks, slots for up to 50 earrings and compression folds for up to 84 rings. mirror storage

Wire Jewelry Display: This unique, antique-inspired piece allows her to show off her jewelry in style. wire jewelry stand

Clear Tall Vase with Stem Holes: With stem holes to hold flowers, this vase is unlike any other. Anyone who owns this fun piece is sure to enjoy its one-of-a-kind design. vase with holes

By Wendy Weinert

Keep the cold out this winter with these energy-efficient curtain ideas

Photo credit: Divine Design

Photo credit: Divine Design

No one likes their home to feel cold, but having to pay high utility bills just to keep the space warm isn’t ideal either. Fortunately, there are cost-effective strategies you can use to keep energy costs down and your home cozy. These four curtain ideas, for example, are easy to implement and can save you money this winter.

Replace curtains with thermal and heavy materials Curtains- thermal

Thermal curtains are designed to prevent winter drafts from entering your home. They are typically made from heavier materials and some are tightly woven to keep out the cold air. Plus, thermal curtains come in many stylish options, so you don’t have to sacrifice a great interior design for warmth.

Hang drapes in open doorways

If you can’t keep all of the cold air out of your home, you can at least prevent drafts from entering certain spaces. If you have open doorways, use drapes to act as doors. This is also a great way to incorporate more style into your space.

Add layers
Photo credit: Plum Pretty Sugar

Photo credit: Plum Pretty Sugar

 

If one thick curtain isn’t going to do the trick, hang up blinds or shades first. Then add a layer of curtains on top for more protection.

When the sun is shining into your home, open your curtains

You don’t have to leave your curtains closed all winter long. During the day, allow the sun to shine into your home, which will help keep your rooms warm.

There are plenty of ways to keep your house warm in the winter, without having to turn up the heat even more. Learn additional ways to cut energy costs by reading these winterizing tips.

By Wendy Weinert

Easy Thanksgiving decor ideas for your family get-together

Now that October is over and the spooky Halloween decor has been put away, it’s time to start thinking about the next big holiday: Thanksgiving! Every holiday is enjoyable for different reasons, but I particularly love Thanksgiving because it’s a day dedicated to giving thanks, spending time with family and eating a lot of food.

To get ready for the big day, I’ve compiled some easy Thanksgiving decor ideas that you and your guests will love.

1. Decide on a theme

Are you going to throw a modern Thanksgiving? A rustic one? Deciding on a theme first will help you narrow your options when buying or making decor for your home.

2. Think beyond traditional fall colors 
Photo credit: Decoist

Photo credit: Decoist

 

While you certainly can decorate with oranges, reds and browns, you don’t have to. If you want to try something new this year, think outside the box when it comes to colors. Dark purple, metallics, white, light blue and navy could all be used to create a Thanksgiving display.

3. Incorporate faux pumpkins into your decorating scheme
Photo credit: Better Homes and Gardens

Photo credit: Better Homes and Gardens

 

Pumpkins aren’t just for Halloween. Rather than carving real pumpkins though, you can use faux ones to create a sophisticated space. Consider using a white faux pumpkin as a flower vase or smaller pumpkin candle holders in your home.

4. Design a fun kid’s table
Photo credit: Frog Prince Paperie

Photo credit: Frog Prince Paperie

 

Leave the fancy, elegant decor for the big table on Thanksgiving day and try using kid-friendly decor for the children to enjoy. If you have kids of your own, this can be a great opportunity for them to get crafty and create fun table decor.

5. Display your food as decor

Thanksgiving day is all about the delicious food you’ll be serving, so it makes sense to arrange your food in a visually appealing way. Details matter, from the serving platters and bowls you choose to which foods you place next to each other.

6. Save elaborate centerpieces for the buffet table
Photo credit: Centsational Girl

Photo credit: Centsational Girl

 

Decorating the dining table is great, but you don’t want large decor getting in the way of conversation and eating. Instead, move your elaborate centerpieces and table decor to the buffet table, so guests can still admire your style.

 

By Wendy Weinert

5 reasons to consider a sectional for your space

Buying new living room furniture? Before you automatically start browsing the sofas and chairs, take some time to consider a sectional first. It seems many people are hesitant to buy a sectional and I’m not sure why. Maybe it is due to their larger size, or maybe people are just hesitant to try something new, fearing they will regret it later. While not for everyone, I think there’s a lot to love about sectionals. Read on to learn the benefits of sectionals and you might just realize you love them, too.

1. They are perfectly designed for taking naps

Let’s start off with one of the great advantages, in my opinion, because who doesn’t love a good nap? While sofas allow one person to take a snooze, anyone else in the house who wants to relax for a bit has to try and get comfortable in a small chair. Sectionals are big enough to allow more than one person to stretch out and get some rest on a lazy Saturday.

2. You can use a sectional to define your space
Photo credit: Insterior

Photo credit: Insterior

If you have an open floor plan, creating defined spaces is the only way to prevent your home from feeling like one big room. With their long and often L-shaped form, sectionals are a great way to separate the living room from other areas, such as the dining room.

3. Sectionals are versatile
Photo credit: Thimble Blossoms by Camille Roskelley

Photo credit: Thimble Blossoms by Camille Roskelley

 

Most sectionals separate into two or more pieces. If you ever get tired of your living room’s arrangement or move into a space where a sectional doesn’t work, you can break apart the pieces and use them separately.

4. Your guests have a place to sit 

Not only do sofas provide more room for napping, but they also offer more places to sit. The next time you host a party, you’ll finally have enough room for all of your guests without bringing in the old folding chairs.

5. They save space 
Photo credit: The Little Corner

Photo credit: The Little Corner

Most people wouldn’t think that sectionals save space since they are larger than chairs or sofas, but trust me, they can. Sectionals can be arranged to fit in tight corners, and you won’t have to buy additional seating, either.

As you can see, sectionals offer many benefits that make them a great choice for the living room. It might even be the best option for your space!

By Wendy Weinert

7 tips for designing an eye-catching fireplace

If you’re lucky enough to have a fireplace in your home, you should draw attention to it with great decor! I love fireplaces for the warmth they provide in the winter, but I also love their charming looks and how they can enhance a living room’s interior design all year long.

If your fireplace is looking a little bare, add visual appeal by decorating above the mantel. These seven tips will help get you started.

1. Don’t forget about the wall. 
Photo credit: HGTV

Photo credit: HGTV

The mantel shelf is a great place to add decorative items, but you can also draw attention to your fireplace by hanging a mirror, clock or piece of artwork on the wall directly above the mantel. If you decide to go this route, decorate the shelf with pieces that complement your wall art and complete the look.

2. Illuminate with lighting.
Photo credit: Pinterest

Photo credit: Pinterest

Mood lighting can give your fireplace an even cozier look. Try decorating the shelf with candles or hanging two sconce lights on the wall above the mantel.

3. Get creative with art.

Photo credit: The Inspired Room

You can hang up your favorite piece of art on the wall, or if it’s small enough, stand it on the shelf at an angle. For an eclectic look, place three or more smaller paintings on the shelf so they overlap.

4. Play with different heights. 
Photo credit: Thimble Blossoms

Photo credit: Thimble Blossoms

Using decorative items of varying heights is a great way to create more visual interest. Play around with different arrangements and objects to get the look just right.

5. Use balance to create a put-together look. 
Photo credit: Tidbits and Twine

Photo credit: Tidbits and Twine

Consider how your fireplace would look if it were split down the center. Would it look balanced? Your fireplace decor doesn’t have to be perfectly symmetrical, but finding a balance will help your display look good.

6. Create a theme. 
Photo credit: Digs Digs

Photo credit: Digs Digs

If you’re struggling to find the right decor for your fireplace, try coming up with a theme. You could create a vintage theme by decorating only with antique items, or you could do something as simple as using the same color.

7. Keep in mind your room’s style. 
Photo credit: One Kind Design

Photo credit: One Kind Design

There are a lot of ways you can decorate your fireplace, and what works for you might depend on the room’s style. If your living room, for example, follows a minimalist style, then a cluttered mantel shelf might look out of place.

By Wendy Weinert

Start preparing for the holidays now

For me, the holidays are a time to enjoy family and friends, great food and fun entertainment. I love this time of year and even the snow starts to feel magical around the holidays (once January comes, however, my feelings toward snow change drastically). Of course, along with joy and excitement, I have also experienced feelings of stress in the past and I’m sure you have, too. It’s hard not to when you have hosting duties to consider and parties to plan!

This year, stay ahead of the game by starting the to-do list below now. By preparing for the holidays in advance, you can spend more time enjoying the company of loved ones, rather than feeling stressed or overwhelmed.

1. Prepare your guest room and plan sleeping arrangements
Photo credit: Tatertots & Jello

Photo credit: Tatertots & Jello

 

If you’ve been using your guest room as a storage space lately, clear out the clutter and consider adding some welcoming touches. Depending on how many people are staying over, you might have to turn your living room or basement area into guest rooms, too. Consider the sleeping arrangement that works best for everyone and what supplies you will need (like blankets, air mattresses, etc.) to make it work.

2. Plan your menus
Photo credit: Grin & Bake it

Photo credit: Grin & Bake it

 

If you’re hosting Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner, it’s not a bad idea to start planning menus now. Decide whether you want to make everything yourself or if you would rather have each guest bring a dish to share. If you’re hosting a potluck, knowing in advance will allow family and friends time to prepare for your party as well.

3. Start cooking (and freezing)
Photo credit: Feast on the Cheap

Photo credit: Feast on the Cheap

 

Holiday treats, soups and other foods can be prepared and then frozen several weeks before your party. This way you don’t have to live in the kitchen during the holidays and you can make cooking for guests feel more manageable.

4. Search for gifts
Photo credit: Pinterest

Photo credit: Pinterest

 

You know those people who are in the mall, hours before their holiday party, trying to find the perfect gift? Don’t be one of those people. Trust me, you’ll feel a lot less stressed if you start coming up with gift ideas now, rather than waiting until the last minute.

We might have some time before the holiday season begins, but now is the best time to start preparing for guests and parties. When the day of your first get-together arrives, you’ll feel confident and ready for the big occasion – after all, the hostess deserves to have fun, too!

By Wendy Weinert

Give your interior a Scandinavian update

If you prefer subtle elegance to dramatic glamour, neutral tones to colorful displays and natural materials to synthetic alternatives, then you, my friend, would love Scandinavian interiors. Simple, functional, stylish and welcoming, Scandinavian design is perfect for those who like modern minimalism, but still want their home to feel cozy and comfortable. Here are some easy ways to give your home a Scandinavian update.

Choose neutral tones for your home’s walls and larger furniture.
Photo credit: Katri Kapanen

Photo credit: Katri Kapanen

Then add brighter hues with a few accent accessories such as lamps, throw blankets or wall art.

Invest in high-quality furniture that features amazing craftsmanship.
Photo credit: Bo Bedre

Photo credit: Bo Bedre

 

The better the quality, the longer your furniture will last and stay looking great.

Bring in nature by selecting furniture made from materials like wood and bamboo.
Photo credit: Klikk Bolig

Photo credit: Klikk Bolig

For decor, consider materials such as burlap and natural fibers like sisal and jute. Plants, stone water fountains and artwork that features a natural landscape are also a good way to incorporate nature into your interior design.

Be environmentally conscious when buying new furniture and decor.

The Scandinavians not only have a love for nature, but they also respect it and do their best to protect outdoor elements. Search for renewable resources, such as mango wood, over other options to design a stylish place while reducing your environmental impact.

Put functionality first.
Photo credit: Domaine

Photo credit: Domaine

 

Scandinavian homes are never cluttered with too many decorative items because they follow more practical decorating schemes. That’s not to say you can’t add stylish touches, but keep the decorative items to a minimum, using mostly wall and ceiling space to add accessories.

You might not live in Norway or Sweden, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy their style. Use these tips to update your home with elements of Scandinavian design, no matter where you live.

By Wendy Weinert

The ultimate pillow-buying guide

Everyone wants a comfortable pillow to sleep on each night, but did you know that what’s comfortable to you might depend on your sleeping position? Different sleeping positions require different levels of support. People who sleep on their side need the most support, while those who rest on their stomach require very little. Those who prefer sleeping on their back will feel best with medium support. Read on to learn the various types of pillows you can buy and which one is best for each sleeping preference.

Goose down: Real down is very soft, which makes goose down pillows a great option for stomach sleepers. Choosing down will ensure that your neck doesn’t turn unnaturally when sleeping, which could cause your neck to feel sore the next day.

Feather: Classic feather pillows are very common and easy to find. Feathers are more supportive than down, but not as firm as other options, which makes them best suited for people who sleep on their back.stacked pillows from bellacor

Natural blend: Natural blend pillows like Hi-loft or 50-50 combine down and feathers to create a pillow that is both soft and supportive. These pillows are well-suited for all types of sleepers.

Down-alternative: Those who are sensitive to down can choose down-alternative pillows that offer similar comfort levels by using synthetic filling. Micro-gel pillows are also a great alternative to down and are recommended for those who are allergic to dust, pollen or down.

Memory foam: Back and side sleepers will enjoy memory foam pillows. The foam contours to the curves of the head and neck for better support, and some even feature gel to offer sleepers a cooling comfort.

Latex: If you’re tired of fluffing your pillows or replacing them due to flatness, choose a latex pillow. Latex is highly resistant and these pillows bounce back without fluffing. Latex pillows can be used for all sleeping positions.

By Wendy Weinert

Interior design: How to live luxuriously without going broke

The look of luxury – you might love it and, of course, your guests would be impressed. The question, however, is whether you can afford to satisfy your expensive taste. If you know the right interior design tricks, then yes! Here are five ways to design a space that only seems expensive (but is really quite affordable).

Simplify
Photo credit: Home Bunch

Photo credit: Home Bunch

 

You would think that to create an expensive-looking home, one would have to buy a lot of decor and furniture. This, however, is far from the truth. Luxurious spaces are often simple and chic, and the pieces that are chosen for each room are considered carefully. In the end it’s all about the pieces you choose and where you place them, not how much stuff you buy.

Decorate with fresh flowers

Photo credit: Pinterest

 

Fresh flowers are an easy way to design an elegant space. Not only will they add color and a sophisticated charm to your home, but they also provide a pleasing smell and can help invigorate a room.

Mix it up
Photo credit: Pinterest

Photo credit: Pinterest

 

To create an expensive-looking home, you have to think like a designer. Instead of buying a set of furniture, mix and match pieces to create a cohesive, interesting room. When it comes to textures, use a variety instead of just one or two. Mixing things up is a great way to add visual appeal and show off your design skills.

Become an art collector

Artwork can be very expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. And let’s face it – not many people can tell the difference between art that is going to break the bank or a piece that you bought on sale at a local shop. Try hanging up a large piece of art above the sofa, or use a blank wall to create a collage of smaller pieces.

Think white

Photo credit: Centsational girl

 

There are many misconceptions about the color white. Some people think the color is boring or intimidating, but it actually can be used to create a chic style. White tables, linens and walls can all be used to give your home an expensive look.

You don’t have to be considered rich to design a rich-looking home. Try out these easy tricks to give your home a luxurious update.

By Wendy Weinert