Archive for the ‘General’ Category

From My House To Yours — Diane Howard

Thursday, December 6th, 2018

As we enter into a month full of fam­i­ly, joy and togeth­er­ness, we are also begin­ning a new seg­ment called, “From Our House To Yours”. We hope that dur­ing this month, you will get to know our train­ers bet­ter, and ulti­mate­ly con­sid­er them not only men­tors but close friends. Our first fea­tured train­er is Diane Howard with InStyle Home Inte­ri­ors! Here are a few of her hol­i­day tips.

Christ­mas Lights, Mer­ry and Bright!

No Christ­mas tree would be com­plete with­out lights. Col­ored lights add a bit of flair, while white lights give the tree a clas­sic look. If you real­ly want to be fan­cy, opt for strings of hol­i­day lights that slow­ly change col­or.

I grew up with col­or­ful lights on the tree, but as I trav­eled and met with oth­ers in the dec­o­rat­ing indus­try and worked on var­i­ous projects, I became inspired by the mag­ic cre­at­ed with white lights. A light­ing dis­play with­in a home or com­mer­cial space can be like liv­ing in or walk­ing through an enchant­ed gar­den. There is some­thing mag­i­cal about the sparkle of white lights dur­ing the hol­i­days. While there is noth­ing wrong with col­or, espe­cial­ly for the hol­i­days, I real­ly love tiny sparkling lights on a tree, in gar­land in the house or in unusu­al places.  

Here’s why:  They’re the per­fect start­ing point for a hol­i­day col­or palette. “My favorite scheme is white lights with metal­lic and glass dec­o­ra­tions. Gold, sil­ver, bronze and mer­cury glass are a per­fect com­bi­na­tion. The light reflects off of the met­al pro­vid­ing beau­ti­ful reflec­tive light­ing in a room.

Also, it’s fun to cre­ate small acces­sories to use in small or unusu­al places like thread­ing them inside a glass block or bot­tle. These acces­sories can be used in a pow­er room, to add ambi­ence to a serv­ing table, as a cen­ter­piece for an event (using LED lights) or on a back patio table if you’re in a warm cli­mate.  White lights com­pli­ment any room décor and even the peo­ple in it!”

Col­or­ful lights can inspire a play­ful palette. “When using col­or­ful lights you can go from classy — by choos­ing one or two spe­cif­ic col­ors — to more play­ful and fes­tive by using mul­ti-col­ors. I am a woman who loves to have options so I encour­age every­one to play with col­ors, con­sid­er your dec­o­rat­ing style to cre­ate a mag­ic back­drop for your hol­i­day events.”

And don’t for­get about the out­side of your house. Wow your neigh­bors with daz­zling fairy lights hung from the trees or eaves, or (the lat­est thing) install a pro­jec­tor lamp that shines mov­ing images like falling snowflakes onto the front of your home.

There are no rules for dec­o­rat­ing with col­or­ful lights. There are no down­sides to either light­ing option. It is all a mat­ter of pref­er­ence, and you can’t go wrong either way.  You set the stage for hol­i­day enjoy­ment, con­sid­er cre­at­ing a mag­ic place to enjoy this spe­cial time of year!

How to Better Your Tablescapes

Wednesday, November 14th, 2018
Most of us can say “Yay” or “Nay” to whether or not a tablescape wows us. How­ev­er, the same can­not be said for the rules and must-have com­po­nents that are essen­tial to cre­at­ing the per­fect table set­ting.
Here are a few rules that should be fol­lowed:


First off, the shape of your table is very impor­tant. Your table top is the can­vas and frame­work for your tablescape style and cre­ation. The bound­aries and shapes used will be dic­tat­ed by your table shape. A round or square table will lend itself to a square design, while a rec­tan­gle or oval shaped table will lend itself to an elon­gat­ed design.


You need to use some kind of base to anchor the com­po­nents of your cen­ter­piece. Some exam­ples are place­mats, green­ery, charg­ers, trays, or a funky con­tain­er or box that ties every­thing togeth­er.


Like all great tablescapes, you need a vari­ety of height and tex­ture, as well as the per­fect place­ment of each. Just because some­thing looks stun­ning, does not mean it is nec­es­sar­i­ly func­tion­al. Make sure that your guests can see one anoth­er in order to con­nect and con­verse. There should also be ade­quate room left for the place set­tings.


Your table and decor are what work togeth­er to set the mood of your gath­er­ing. This mood can be ele­gant or casu­al or some­where in between. If your din­ner is tak­ing place after the sun has set for the evening, use can­dles to cre­ate a warm ambiance.


Always con­sid­er your col­or sto­ry. Although this may sound restric­tive, know that it will actu­al­ly help you when choos­ing place­mats, can­dle and flower col­ors, and while decid­ing which acces­sories to grab.


Use green­ery, whether faux or cut from the yard. This hack allows for tex­ture which is often lack­ing. Green­ery or flow­ers in a vase can be used for height as well. Just remem­ber to make sure there are no lit­tle crit­ters hang­ing on to your new­found decor if brought in from the yard.
Remem­ber, you can get inspi­ra­tion any­where and every­where. From mod­el homes to your favorite home decor store, always been on the look­out for tips and tricks.
Cred­it: first pho­to – Liz Lomax, last pho­to – Mod­el home in Den­ver, CO.

Fall Favorites to Gobble Up

Wednesday, November 7th, 2018

Hap­py Novem­ber every­body!

I can’t believe it is already that time of year again. Thanks­giv­ing is 3 weeks from today and our homes will be cov­ered in hues of orange, yel­low and red, if they aren’t already. Although daunt­ing, the process of dec­o­rat­ing for the hol­i­days can be made fun and easy if you have inspi­ra­tion. Luck­i­ly for you, we are here to give you some.

The focal point of any Thanks­giv­ing din­ner is often the din­ing room table, and more specif­i­cal­ly the sea­son­al cen­ter­piece.


Spice up your Pumpkins

A table set­ting often feels much more live­ly with some sea­son­al flow­ers in the midst of your plates and sil­ver­ware. If you seek the unique, why not turn your pump­kins or gourds into a vase! If you can find white pump­kins, even bet­ter. They often class up a table while remain­ing fes­tive and fun! I love the idea of using gold tacks to give your cen­ter­piece a lit­tle extra some­thin’.


Candles & Gourds Galore

If you are short on time and are try­ing to throw togeth­er some­thing fall-ish but quick n’ easy, look no fur­ther. Run to your front porch and grab a cou­ple gourds, then bring out those white or col­or­ful can­dles from a draw­er and you are halfway there. Next grab a shal­low serv­ing dish, wood, glass or mar­ble serv­ing tray and a decora­tive linen and you are done! The serv­ing dish can be filled with gourds, pine cones, can­dles, or any nat­ur­al autumn mate­ri­als you have on hand. Trust me when I say, no one will assume you threw this togeth­er five min­utes before they arrived.–8015-d824955bd719#slide_65b1135f-b520-4422–8015-d824955bd719


Wheat Wreath & Household Items

One of the great things about fall dec­o­rat­ing is that any­thing white or wood in your home can eas­i­ly be imple­ment­ed into your decor. Notice the items in this pho­tothat you would not nor­mal­ly think to use–dessert plat­ters, elon­gat­ed bas­kets, mason jars, funky glass­es, etc. When sur­round­ed with the right col­ors and acces­sories, it some­how all makes sense. Try to get your hands on a fall wreath, ide­al­ly one that fea­tures wheat and gold­en­rod.


Incorporate your Loved Ones

Sim­ple, yet sen­ti­men­tal. I just love this idea of adding some fam­i­ly pho­tos to the nat­ur­al hold­ers found in stems with a few leaves or berries that can most like­ly be found in your back­yard. You can add twine or oth­er embell­ish­ments if you feel so inclined but it is absolute­ly not nec­es­sary. I guar­an­tee your fam­i­ly will love sit­ting around the din­ner table, rem­i­nisc­ing over old fam­i­ly pho­tos and last­ing mem­o­ries.


Leaf Garland

Here is a project that will most def­i­nite­ly spice up your space, but can also be done by your lit­tle helpers dur­ing a fun, fall after­noon. All you need to do is hunt down some fab­ric scraps in har­vest hues. Bonus: the link below hous­es a FREE, down­load­able tem­plate to allow for easy cut­ting and fun for the whole fam­i­ly.

What Scares You, in Holiday Decorating? — 5 Easy Decorating Tricks for the Holidays

Wednesday, November 7th, 2018

Hap­py Fall, Y’all!

Since we are enter­ing into a month where all things scary are cel­e­brat­ed, this month’s theme is — What Scares You, in Hol­i­day Dec­o­rat­ing? My goal is to get you moti­vat­ed and con­fi­dent in order to com­plete your dec­o­rat­ing duties before the hol­i­days.


1. Get Your Front Porch Fall Ready


The first thing you see as you dri­ve up to a home is often the front door and porch of a home. So why not make it an area of inter­est, as opposed to sim­ply a bor­ing entry­way. It is inevitable that dur­ing this time of year, guests, fam­i­ly and friend­ly get-togeth­ers will most def­i­nite­ly be tak­ing place. So why not cre­ate a home that wel­comes such guests in. A few tips to do just that are add a fun front door col­or, sea­son-appro­pri­ate mat, pair of planters and then top it off with mums, pump­kins and gourds.


2. The Table Setting Skinny


Col­or, col­or, col­or! The gor­geous fall col­ors that grace nature are amongst the most notable beau­ties of the sea­son. The warm shades of orange, red and yel­low mixed with soft greens and a pop of gold, sil­ver or cop­per met­als will look devine. Bring­ing in charg­er plates or a dec­o­ra­tive base set­ting as well as a pop of col­or in the can­dles and some fun fall flow­ers, you will have the din­ing area cov­ered in no time.


3. Create Some Cozy


Regard­less of the inte­ri­or vibe of your home, I can assure you, things can always be warmed up. Swap­ping out pil­lows and tran­si­tion­ing to rich­er fall hues will help tremen­dous­ly. Throws and acces­sories are always a cheap find and will help cre­ate the fes­tive yet func­tion­al feel you are look­ing for. A big part about cre­at­ing an atmos­phere that your guests will love, is mak­ing it easy for guests to get com­fy. So fill­ing a bas­ket with plush pil­lows and cozy throws adds both con­ve­nience and a cute touch to com­plete your liv­ing room decor.


4. May I Take Your Coat?


Allow­ing guests to be com­fort­able is key, how­ev­er I would sug­gest imple­ment­ing a few things to save your­self the stress of cleanup lat­er. Pro­vide a space where friends and fam­i­ly can put their jack­ets, purs­es, and shoes upon your request. If you live in a place with win­try weath­er or even a loca­tion with mild tem­per­a­tures, this change makes things sim­pler for you and those you invite into your home. An area rug, orga­nized hang­ers, a cou­ple square wood­en box­es and maybe even a funky umbrel­la buck­et can real­ly offer some per­son­al­i­ty and func­tion to this space.


5. Take the Fall Party Outdoors


If weath­er is per­mit­ting, take your fes­tiv­i­ties into the back­yard. Whether for a fun, a can­dlelit cock­tail hour, or your entire fam­i­ly meal, enter­tain­ing your guests out­doors is a great way to add inter­est and flair to your gath­er­ing. If you have a fire pit or out­door seat­ing area, adding can­dles, pil­lows and throws will enhance the space as well.


I hope that this quick list helped to put your mind at ease and even spark some excite­ment to tack­le hol­i­day dec­o­rat­ing. Wish­ing you the best of luck, and have fun with it!



Check out a Last Tues­day Free on a sim­i­lar top­ic on our web­site:

My Top 5 Staging Hacks

Wednesday, November 7th, 2018

One of the beau­ti­ful things about gain­ing expe­ri­ence, par­tic­u­lar­ly years and years of it, is the inevitable fact that you will pick up hacks along the way that will hope­ful­ly save 3 valu­able things–time, ener­gy and mon­ey! An addi­tion­al perk of gain­ing such knowl­edge is the free­dom to share it with oth­ers. So I am going to do just that!


Although dif­fi­cult to nar­row down my go-to stag­ing hacks, the 5 that I find myself using quite often are as fol­lows:


1 & 2. Using Black Spray Paint & Rust-Oleum on the Fireplace

As I have said sev­er­al times in the past, when stag­ing a home you want to give poten­tial buy­ers as few objec­tions as pos­si­ble. Mean­ing if the fire­place looks “used” and cov­ered with soot, this can cause a dis­trac­tion and take away from the beau­ty of the house. By sim­ply apply­ing a coat of high-heat black spray paint to the inte­ri­or of the fire­place, it will elim­i­nate the fire­place as a whole, from being a pos­si­ble eye­sore. You can also use Rust-Oleum on the gold trim that often lines old fire­places. By doing these two things, you will give a main focal piece in your home a much-need­ed refresh.


3. Pillow Hacks

Being resource­ful can only help you as a stager. There­fore, when you are try­ing to fin­ish up a job and real­ize that you are short one pil­low, I have a few tips for you. If you have ample plas­tic bags at your dis­pos­al, they are a great trick to stuff stan­dard-sized shams, making they appear full and upright. If it is a king-sized pil­low you are look­ing for, two stan­dard pil­lows can eas­i­ly be stuffed into the king-sized sham. The pho­to below is an exam­ple of both hacks.


4. Sharpies on Nails

After pour­ing hours and hours into a stag­ing job, it is nor­mal to want every­thing to be per­fect, or as close to per­fect as pos­si­ble. In a recent stag­ing, redesign and dec­o­rat­ing class I held, we were doing the final touch­es and hang­ing up cur­tains in our last room before our big reveal to the client. Although the room and cur­tains looked per­fect, I could not help but notice that the screws we used to hang up the cur­tains were all that I could see. Some may argue that only I would note those screws but I am will­ing to bet that a picky home­own­er or an inter­est­ed poten­tial buy­er could most def­i­nite­ly be dis­tract­ed by the shiny sil­ver screws in our dark brown cur­tain rods. There­fore, we sim­ply took a sharpie and col­ored over the tacky col­or of the screw. Voilà! 


5. Hang-O-Matic

This tool is a new love of mine. Although I have hung hun­dreds, if not thou­sands of pic­tures with­out it, I now have made the Hang-O-Mat­ic a sta­ple item in my tool­box. This tool is espe­cial­ly help­ful for art that is over­sized, heavy or has dif­fi­cult hang­ing options on the back. Your indi­vid­ual tape mea­sures, lev­els and pen­cils are a thing of the past, now being replaced by this all-in-one giz­mo.

Hope­ful­ly these hacks taught you some­thing you didn’t know before. There are a mil­lion oth­er things I have learned along the way and I am con­fi­dent that as your career con­tin­ues, you will add to my grow­ing list.


One Day Dec­o­rat­ing, Inte­rior Redesign and Home Stag­ing


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