Monday, December 3, 2007

Trim That Tree!

Looking for new ideas to liven up an old tree? Like traditional Christmas decorating with a twist? Here are some ideas:

Choose a Theme

First, choose a theme for your Christmas tree. This can be anything from traditional reds and greens, golds, or silvers, to a style theme such as country, cottage, or romantic. Sometimes choosing a style theme is as easy as looking to your everyday decor. If your style is formal, then sparkly balls, shiny garland, and velvety ribbons work wonderfully. If your style is casual country, then popcorn and cranberry garlands, raffia or plaid ribbons, and gingerbread ornaments may be your choice.

What to Put on the Tree

There are no rules as to what can or cannot go on a Christmas tree, nor is there a rule stating how much is too much. As long as it works with your theme, put whatever you like on your tree! And as long as you try to evenly space and distribute color, put as much as you like on your tree! I have learned from experience that it is far easier for a tree to look sparsely decorated than overly decorated!
  • Natural Materials - Dried flowers, twigs, pine cones, nests, and nuts are all ideas for adding elements of nature to your Christmas decorating. You can't go wrong with natural materials, since afterall, that is how nature decorates for Christmas!
  • Metallic Spray Paint - If you love the look of the natural materials, but your tree is too formal, try spraying them with gold or silver spray paint. Beautiful bay leaf branches with a touch of silver spray gives just the sparkle and embellishment your tree needs!
  • Silk Flowers - Let's face it, real flowers may work for the trees at the White House, but most of us do not decorate on their budget! Instead, find beautiful silk florals that coordinate with the color or decorating style of your tree. Evenly space them on the branches throughout the tree for added splashed of color.
  • Ribbon Garland - Instead of traditional garland, attach coordinating ribbon from the high branches of your tree and stream and wind them down to the lower branches.
  • Ribbons and Bows - A tree can look all dressed up if you tie bows to the branches. Also consider dressing up ordinary ball ornaments by attaching bows to the tops. Again, coordinate your ribbon to you style or color theme.

Be creative! There are no right or wrong answers as to what you can put on a tree!

Do you have a great idea or an example of something you have used to decorate your tree? Share it here!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Decorating with Color for the Holidays

Holiday decorating can easily take on a life of it's own and with so many different themes and colors available, it may be difficult to choose a direction. Very much like choosing a color scheme for your home, holiday color choices also evoke a specific mood or atmosphere. Here are a few ideas:

White Christmas
Is there anything as peaceful as gently falling snow on Christmas Eve? Anyone can come home to a winter wonderland! The simplest way of creating your own White Christmas is to swap out traditional red decorations with white. For example, exchange red pointsettias for soft white ones. To avoid dull, flat decor, think texture. Consider trimming the tree with soft white feather boa garlands. Make it sparkle by using clear or white glass or crystal ornaments. Decorate simple ball ornaments with frills and glitter. Use greenery and natural materials, like twigs and leaves, throughout the house to add contrast and color to the winter landscape.
Seeing Red
Red is a classic Christmas color and it adapts easily throughout the seasons. But think beyond Santa's red velvet pants. Consider a less traditional holiday fabric, such as red toile. Red toile stockings hung from the mantle could coordinate with red toile ribbon on the Christmas tree. Holly berry branches and cranberry sprays add a touch of natural class to any centerpiece, wreath, or garland.

Pretty in Pink
Pink is certainly not a traditional holiday color. But why not have fun or play off a room's year round decor? Mix soft pinks with icy silver, white, and glass to really make a statement. Spray branches with silver paint and stretch across the mantle. Add white candles in glass hurricanes and pretty pink ornaments to complete the look. Trim the tree with crystal and pearlescent ornaments and beads. Mix with naturally pinkish white seashells.

The Golden Years
Gold makes other colors in your holiday decorating more bold and vibrant. It can be accented with white, green, or red. Red and gold are a classic, warm holiday combination. Today's reds and golds vary significantly from their ancestors. Golds are tending to include an array of coppers and bronzes. Red are bolder, juicier, and tend run anywhere from berry to grape. Pair red and gold to set the stage for an opulant Christams dinner. Rich red table linens with gold/bronze chargers and hurricane candle holders give holiday entertaining a luxurious warm feeling.

Icy Silver and Blue
This color scheme is in strong contrast to the previous red and gold holiday decor. The cool elegance of blues, lilacs, and silver can be a refreshing change from the traditional holiday red and green. This color scheme works exceptionally well when the normal color scheme in your home is cool or contemporary. Iced and silver branches, jeweled ornaments, pretty blue table linens or ribbons , silver and blue beaded garlands all help to bring this Christmas color scheme together.
Remember when choosing a color scheme for your Christmas decorating, it is important to keep your home's year round color scheme in mind. Draw on colors and fabrics that you use everyday for inspiration. If you love warm colors, stick with a Christmas scheme that draws from that warmth. If your home is cool, then keep with either the coolor blue and silver or winter white color schemes. Regardless of what color scheme you choose for your holiday season, remember to keep decorating fun!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Room Colors

Understand that colors behave in three basic ways : active, passive, and neutral , and you can easily match every room’s colors to your personal desires and taste and to the room’s purpose. Light colors are expansive and airy, they make rooms seem larger and brighter. Dark colors are sophisticated and warm; they give large rooms a more intimate appearance.

Now let’s find more about some colors.

Red raises a room’s energy level. It’s a good choice when you want to stir up excitement, particularly at night. In the living room or dining room, red draws people together and stimulates conversation. In an entryway, it creates a strong first impression. Red has been shown to raise bloodpressure, speed respiration and heart rate. It is usually considered too stimulating for bedrooms, but if you’re only in the room after dark, you’ll be seeing it mostly by lamplight, when the color will appear muted, rich, and elegant. Red, the most intense, pumps the adrenaline like no other hue.

Crimson can make some people feel irritable. With red invoking feels of rage and hostility is a color that should be avoided as the main color of a room. Sitting for long periods of time in a room this color will likely breakdown any peace and harmony you are striving to create in your home. Ancient cultures used the color red to stimulate the body and mind and to increase circulation.

Yellow captures the joy of sunshine and communicates happiness. It’s perfect for kitchens, dining rooms, and bathrooms, where happy color is energizing and uplifting. In halls, entries, and small spaces, yellow can feel expansive and welcoming.Yellow although is a cheery color is not a good choice in main color schemes of a room. People are more likely to lose their tempers in a yellow room. Babies also seem to cry more in a yellow room. This color tends to create feeling offrustration and anger in people. This color is the most fatiguing on the eyes.In chromotherapy yellow was believed to stimulate the nerves and purify the body.

Blue brings down blood pressure and slows respiration and heart rate. That’s why it’s considered calming, relaxing, and serene, and is often recommended for bedrooms and bathrooms. Be careful, however: A pastel blue that looks pretty on the paint chip can come across as unpleasantly chilly when it’s on the walls and furnishings, especially in a room that receives little natural light. If you opt for a light blue as the primary color in a room, balance it with warm hues in the furnishingsand fabrics.

To encourage relaxation in the rooms where people gather family rooms, living rooms, large kitchens consider warmer blues, such as periwinkle, or bright blues, such as cerulean or turquoise. Blue is known to have a calming effect when used as the main color of a room. When going with blue go for softer shades of blue. Dark blue has the opposite effect. Dark blue evokes feels of sadness. So refrain from using darker blues in your main color scheme. Stay with the lighter shades of blue to give you and your loved ones a calm effect.

Green is considered the most restful color for the eye. Combining the refreshing quality of blue and the cheerfulness of yellow, green is suited to almost any room in the house. In a kitchen, a sage or medium green cools things down; in a family room or living room, it encourages unwinding but has enough warmth to promote comfort and togetherness. In a bedroom, it’s relaxing and pleasant.Green also has a calming effect when used as a main color for decorating. It is believed to relieve stress by helping people relax. Also believed to help with fertility this is a great choice for the bedroom.

Purple in its darkest values (eggplant, for example) is rich, dramatic, and sophisticated. It’s associated with luxury as well as creativity, and as an accent or secondary color, it gives a scheme depth. Lighter versions of purple, such as lavender and lilac, bring the same restful quality to bedrooms as blue does, but without the risk of feeling chilly.

Orange evokes excitement, enthusiasm and is an energetic color. While not a good idea for a living room or for bedrooms this color is great for an exercise room. It will bring all the emotions out that you need when jumping into your fitness routine.In ancient cultures orange was used to heal the lungs and increase energy levels.

Neutrals (black, gray, white, and brown) are basic to the decorator’s tool kit. All-neutral schemes fall in and out of fashion, but their virtue lies in their flexibility: Add color to liven things up; subtract it to calm things down. Black is best used in small doses as an accent , indeed, some experts maintain that every room needs a touch of black to ground the color scheme and give it depth.

To make the job easier, you can rely on the interior designer’s most important color tool: the color wheel.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Begin Choosing Colors For Your Room

When selecting color for a room, keep in mind that each color has a psychological value. Think about how those colors make you feel. The main color of your room can have an effect on your mood. These colors can make you feel anything from tranquil to rage. So when trying to create peace and harmony in your home choose your colors wisely. Some colors in large amounts will have just the opposite affect on you and your loved ones’ moods.

What mood do you want to create? Which colors will help you achieve that mood?

Find clear answers to these questions. If you find this task quite difficult try to look at magazines, decorating books, blogs and websites for ideas, or let your fabric be your guide. In fact, this is a good approach to take even if you’re starting from scratch. Fabric, carpeting, furniture and tile are available in a more limited range of colors than is paint, so choose them first and then decide on your paint color. Once you’ve found what you where searching for limit the number of colors in a room to no more than three or four. Too many colors can make a room look busy or cluttered.

Paint is a fairly inexpensive and transforms a room more quickly than anything else you can do so you can afford to experiment a little.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Color Affects Your Mood Not Just Your Room!

While most of us may not spend a lot of time thinking about color, it affects every day of our lives. Color can influence our mood and our thoughts. Colors affect people in many ways, depending upon one’s age, gender, ethnic background or local climate. Certain colors or groups of colors tend to get a similar reaction from most people - the overall difference being in the shade or tones used. So it’s important to choose wisely.

To have a beautiful home, you do not have to worry about trends. Color trends will come and go. The people who live in a home make it beautiful by choosing colors that reflect their likes and their personalities. The trick is to blend those colors you like into a pleasing combination. Choosing color combinations is one of the most intimidating steps for beginners. Color has the power to change the shape and size of furnishings as well as the shape and size of the room itself.

Selecting colors is not difficult if you equip yourself with some basic information about color and its effects, so come back next week to explore color and how it affects your mood!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Fabric Types, Defined Part II - The Synthetic

The Synthetics
  • RAYON Here’s a synthetic that can hang well, but it also can do some pretty bizarre things for a fabric. Check the fabric contents on window treatments to be sure the rayon content is low, or nonexistent. In the summer rayon absorbs humidity and rises up your window, or shrinks upward. It lets back down in lower humidity months. It’s like window treatments on a pogo stick.

Applications: Rayon is fine for window treatments in a very low-humidity area.

  • ACRYLIC Acrylic is colorfast and resists stains well. It also has sun-resistant qualities not found in the natural fabrics. But it is slightly harder to clean than wool and it can pill.
Applications: Acrylic is often blended with natural fabrics to add durability.

  • NYLON That nylon is tough stuff. It says "no," to stains and static electricity and wears well. Nylon is a continuous filament as opposed to a twist (hence nylon can’t breathe, while cotton has a high breathability factor as air passes through the twist).

Applications: The solidity of the filament makes nylon not particularly comfortable to sit on as it warms up from body heat quickly. But it is fabulous if you are jumping out of an airplane.

  • OLEFIN Another test-tube baby with high durability, but not so high on style.

Applications: Olefin is great for professional-football stadiums (it makes for swell AstroTurf), but it’s not so great in the home—unless you have a need for some indoor-outdoor carpeting.

  • POLYESTER This synthetic is what’s called a staple yard, consisting of strands bonded together. It’s fade-resistant but is harder to clean than nylon or wool. And it’s not as resilient as other fabrics. The term staple refers to a short length of fiber that is twisted (Go, Chubby Checkers!) to form a thicker strand.
Applications: Often used as part of an upholstery blend.
  • ACETATE Acetate is long wearing and is less affected by humidity than rayon. Softer than the other test-tube babies, acetate rarely pills and is tough to wrinkle.
Applications: Good in window treatments because of its draping wrinkle-resistant qualities.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Fabric Types, Defined Part I - A Natural Choice

If you are in the process of decorating your home, anything from buying window treatments, reupholstering your sofa, or just trying to make your bed, you may be wondering about fabrics. Which type will hold up best for me? Which type is best for which application? Do I want a natural or synthetic fiber? What is the difference?

Hopefully these basic definitions and suggested applications will make your choices somewhat easier.

The Naturals
  • COTTON Cotton is extremely versatile and is the strongest of the natural fibers with the exception of wool (but who wants to sleep on wool sheets?). Cotton accepts dyes very well, so color options are great. And it allows for the flow of air through the goods; in industry jargon we would say that it’s a fabric that "breathes" well.

Applications: For upholstery, cotton’s breathability has distinct advantages. For a room in which people sit for long periods of time—a family room, for example—the breathability factor will enhance the comfort of the furniture. If you like that ever-so-fashionable wrinkled, easygoing "forever summer" look, you can’t go wrong with cotton slipcovers. To add durability to the breathability mix, look for a cotton-synthetic combination. Cotton is also a great choice for breathable seat cushions for occasional chairs or, with fabric protection, for dinette chair covers. Cafe curtains and less formal window treatments for spare bedrooms can be made from inexpensive chintz or brushed cotton (this type of cotton has a soft, smooth hand, like chamois), giving you great color at a low price.

  • LINEN Made from a vegetable fiber, linen has a fine luster and tastes great steamed with a little hollandaise sauce (just kidding). It possesses a healthy stain resistance, but wrinkles if you even look at it funny. Therefore, the "style" of linen is wrinkled. Often style follows the inherent nature of the material.

Applications: Linen is super as a table covering. It’s lighter hand and casual nature relates to spring and summer. Use it to add a little magic to summer table settings or as a casually elegant unstructured window treatment on a decorative rod.
Linen fabric is great for casually elegant unstructured window treatments like these.

  • SILK Worms make silk, with glorious results. But silk gets a bad rap because it is susceptible to sun damage (but, really, what isn’t?). If you avoid too much sun exposure (which can create what’s called sun rot), silk can be a wonderful investment. It comes in a wide variety of fabric weights, from light handed to heavy raw silk. The weave will often determine the wearability of silk, with some of the raw silks being much stronger and able to take more wear.
Applications: Lined, silk makes gorgeous window treatments and is very long wearing. It makes durable upholstery fabrics as well. Let’s remember that before synthetic fibers, silk and cotton were extensively used. Many of the finest Oriental rugs are made of silk and last for hundreds of years. Silk makes terrific throw pillows, limiting the amount of fabric needed and feeling cool and slick on the cheek when taking that too rare nap on the sofa.

  • WOOL The battleship of the naturals, wool is a fabric that provides long wear. Wool can be scratchy and warm, however, and some people may be allergic to it (your dog, too, might have an allergic reaction to wool carpeting or upholstery).
Applications: Wool makes fabulous hard-wearing wall-to-wall carpeting. Wool sheepskin, in its natural state, brushed and airy with long fibers, makes wonderful small floor coverings at the side of a bed or near a cozy fireplace. Wool upholstery will last to the next ice age.

*Definitions from Fabricology 101, by Mark McCauley for HGTV

Friday, September 21, 2007

Fabrics Can Make the Difference

Quality fabrics help to put the finishing touches on a room and create the feel you desire. Mixing patterns, colors, and textures can be daunting to any do-it-yourself decorator. Here are a few tricks to consider:
  • When mixing patterns, like florals and stripes, keep the color scheme in mind. As long as you are repeating the same colors, the patterns should coordinate well.
  • Choose one patterned fabric and add solids and textures that pull out the colors from within.
  • Solids do not have to be boring. Look for solid fabrics that are rich in texture. They add interest without appearing too "busy".

When choosing fabric colors, take the time to stop and think about the effect you desire. Do you want the fabric to stand out? For instance, if you are dressing a window, would you like it to be a focal point in the room, drawing your attention each time you enter? If this is the case, use a fabric color that contrasts with the wall color. The picture to the right is an example of using contrasting colors to draw your eye toward the window.

Would you prefer those window treatments to fade into the background and not steal the show? Then choose a color that is similar to the wall color. This will create a soothing, blended effect that will allow other furnishings or artwork to star in the room. The picture to the left is an example of how to use fabrics whose colors blend, allowing the artwork to be what catches your eye, not the pillow.

Remember though, blending fabrics with the wall color does not have to be boring. Think texture!

Would you like to explore quality decorator fabrics? Visit , my source for great home decorator fabrics! Find the link to the left.

Thursday, September 20, 2007


I'm very excited to announce the beginning of my blog! I am compiling a list of design based topics to discuss. If you have any suggestions or if there is anything your are interested in learning more about, please let me know! I will do my best. Come back soon!