Posts Tagged ‘home’

DIY: Reupholstering a thrift store find

Reupholstering seems like one of those heady jobs reserved for the designers on HGTV, but it doesn’t have to be. And you can do it with simple tools you most likely already have at home. —Cassandra Sturos

DIY thrift store.

Photo by Mike Ramm.

Tools: Screwdriver, Power screwdriver, Hot glue gun, Plenty of hot glue, Scissors, Permanent Marker and Wooden Utensil.

Photo by Mike Ramm.

First find a chair you want to reupholster. Local thrift stores can be hubs for great finds. Measure the length and width of the cushion so you can purchase the new fabric you desire. I also added a fresh coat of paint to the chair first to bring it into this decade.


Photo by Mike Ramm.

Next tip the chair over and unscrew the cushion from the chair. Usually the fabric is stapled in around the edges and can easily be ripped off from around the wood behind the cushion.


Photo by Mike Ramm.

Once the old fabric is removed, lay out your new fabric smoothly and aligned the way you wish it to look on the front of the cushion. Place the cushion with wooden back (wood facing up to you) in the center of the fabric.


Photo by Mike Ramm.

Slowly pull up an edge of the new fabric and hold down tightly to the back where you will hot glue it to the wood. I use an old wooden utensil to then press down on the hot glue, so as not to get burnt and make sure the fabric adheres to the wood.


Photo by Mike Ramm.

 Pull up a little piece of fabric at a time, tightly so there’s no loose fabric, but not so tight that the cushion looks pinched. Slowly glue around the edges of the fabric around the whole wooden base of the cushion.


Photo by Mike Ramm.

If you cover the screw holes, which you might, mark with a permanent marker to easily locate when you screw it back to the chair.


Photo by Mike Ramm.

Once you have applied ample glue around the edges to hold the fabric down, trim the excess pieces.


Photo by Mike Ramm.

Flip the cushion over and voila, it has a fresh new fabric.


Photo by Mike Ramm.

Screw it back into the base of the chair. I use a power screwdriver for this, that way I can also screw through the fabric that I had previously marked with marker, so not only the glue holds the fabric on, but the screws will also now hold it tight to the chair.

(March 2014)

Spring Forward And Bring The Outdoors In

Farrow & Ball

Farrow & Ball Jasmine (BP 3903) wallpaper with Stiffkey Blue (281) paint color. Photo courtesy of Farrow & Ball.

By Jennifer Shapira

On the cusp of winter, Pantone gave a solid nod to spring when it announced that Radiant Orchid would be 2014’s color of the year. As we emerge from winter’s grip, the purple hue provides the perfect counterpoint to gray skies, inside and out.

Farrow & Ball wallpapers in Chromatic Stripe (BP 4202 and 4204).

Farrow & Ball wallpapers in Chromatic Stripe (BP 4202 and 4204). Photo courtesy of Farrow & Ball.

Take a cue from Mother Nature: Liven up a home’s decor with color splashes. It’s fitting then, that pink, yellow and blue are going to be big paint colors for spring, says Teresa Balcom, a decorator at McLean’s Color Wheel. They are colors that work well for the walls of bedrooms, she says, but they’re also likely to find a presence elsewhere in the home.

A gorgeous pot on the front steps provides a warm welcome when filled with cheerful yellow daffodils. Hyacinths, in their Easter egg hues, look great on a patio.

Inside, keep the palette neutral. Experts say sweeping in a spring refresh can be as simple as the addition of a couple of throw pillows in the season’s hottest hues.

Understandably, not everyone wants to go bold and repaint an entire room. All it takes is a few color infusions.

Pops of fuchsia and softer pink and purple hues were signals of spring at the High Point Market last fall, says South Riding-based interior designer Sallie Kjos. She saw a lot of brilliant combinations of vivid pinks combined with classic navy and white. And when paired with the trend in Lucite or gold-edged pieces of furniture, the contrast is stunning.

For a recent living room redo, Balcom started with the walls, using wallpaper and paint by Farrow and Ball. She chose Purbeck Stone as the paint color, and the lively, geometric Tessella wallpaper. She chose the neutral gray palette for its versatility: “It works with every color,” she says. To add a bit more excitement to the room’s new gray-blue sofa by Fabricut, Balcom tossed in some throw pillows made by Stroheim in a pattern called Alfresco; its color a strong citron. The result: comfortable cohesion.

“People in general are becoming much more brave with color,” says Sarah Cole, director of Farrow & Ball in Dorset, England. “The biggest shift we’re seeing is people using color in more rooms in the house. The popularity of the accent wall introduced the idea of more colorful rooms, but we’re seeing color used more and more throughout the house,” she says.

“There’s also a definite trend to use strong color as an accent to a neutral space. Furniture painted in bright like Rectory Red, Arsenic and Drawing Room Blue are increasingly being used to add color to more neutral schemes,” says Cole.

Experts say it’s important to note that creative use of color isn’t limited to walls.

“Adding a few throw pillows in a funky fabric is a fun and innovative way to update a space,” says Balcom. “It can be in the fabrics that you choose, it can be on your sofa, it can be a piece of bright-colored furniture,” either bought new or rehabbed, suggests Balcom.

For a quick DIY job, rescue a rocking chair from the basement or a yard sale and paint it a few coats of sunny yellow. The same goes for a beat-up dresser, desk or night table. Breathe new life into the item with a dose of eye-catching color, she says.

Parquet (BP 4105), Farrow & Ball’s interpretation of the classic herringbone parquet floor.

Parquet (BP 4105), Farrow & Ball’s interpretation of the classic herringbone parquet floor. Photo courtesy of Farrow & Ball.

Place the piece in a room that, she calls “calm with color,” and it will surely add drama. Just like the throw pillow philosophy, a new accent rug in an of-the-moment color or pattern can do the trick. A Grecian key, trellis pattern or geometric print can transform the look of a room when placed beneath a glass-top desk or coffee table. And wallpaper in those designs, as well as the still-on-trend chevron, can add personality to portions of walls or behind bookshelves.For an easy color update, add a lacquer tray or bold basket to serve as an uncluttered catch-all for TV remotes or neat stacks of magazines.

For a quick spring refresh, give a soothing, neutral white or gray room a shot of bright color. Purchase a bench and place it at the foot of the bed. Bonus points for added storage below. A plush, cushioned top in a flash of fuchsia or lovely lavender will let you rest those weary bones in style.

Check out pet accessories shops for a new perch for your pooch—select a soft, durable fabric in a kicky print that complements your spring updates.

Now’s also the time to swap out heavier bedding and window treatments to make way for lighter, whiter versions, says interior designer Sallie Kjos. Despite their softness, ditch the flannels for crisp go-with-everything whites. Retire the down duvets until the warmer months and top the beds instead with lightweight quilts and coverlets in whites or pretty pastels.

White bedding is always in style and provides a gorgeous clean slate for changing up any look. Amp it or tone it down, according to the season’s trends. Consider hanging white linen window treatments to catch those spring breezes and create a softer edge. Keep the bases neutral, then disperse deeper pops of color throughout, says Kjos, in pillows, throws, artwork and accessories like vases and decorative glass jars.

Farrow & Ball Parquet (BP 4104)

Farrow & Ball Parquet (BP 4104). Photo courtesy of Farrow & Ball.

Another prime spot for a spring update is the foyer. Start small, suggests Kjos. “Set the tone for what you want it to be.” Sometimes that’s just a matter of switching out a piece of furniture to clearly mark the change in season. Instead of a formal table that might have been appropriate for fall, Kjos suggests brightening up the space with a mirrored side table that reflects light and creates interest. And if there’s seating in the foyer, swap out autumnal tones for spring’s pastels and brights. Bring the outdoors in; set out a tall glass vase of early spring favorites like scarlet flowering quince or pleasing pussy willows.

The same goes for a typically staid mantel, says Kjos. “Most come from the builder in white, and homeowners think they shouldn’t mess with it, so they don’t. But you can do whatever you want to your mantel.” she says. “It’s not a big deal to paint.”

Her suggestion: In a white room with white chairs, consider painting the mantel navy blue, then add a thin, gold-framed mirror and candlesticks, a natural jute rug, a couple of pillows. The result: Instant drama.

“That’s a quick, very inexpensive job that can have a huge impact in a room,” she says. “You just tie it in with accessories and pillows and a throw and call it a day.”

(March 2014)

21-year-old entrepreneur takes on NoVA

By Anjelica Michael 

Hayes Organization Solutions

Photo courtesy of Brandon Hayes.


In October 2013, Hayes Organization Solutions was born out of 21-year-old Brandon Hayes‘ Fairfax apartment. “I’ve always been an organized person” said Hayes. “When I started working with friends and family and organizing their homes, a friend recommended I start my own business.”

As part of a generation of budding entrepreneurs, Hayes took the next step and put his dream into motion. 

Brandon Hayes of Hayes Organization Solutions.

Photo courtesy of Brandon Hayes.

A Michigan native and George Mason University student, Hayes saw there was a market for home organization and decided to pursue it, forming his own before even graduating. We talked to Hayes to learn more about his business, and what makes it different from the competition. 

“We can do anything from just going into your closet and color-coordinating your clothes, to a whole closet redo,” Hayes said. “It’s all about functionality and easy access. Each time we go into a home it is different, because it is specific to what a customer wants. Catering to the individual is what its about.” Hayes said that he wants his team to get to know a client before any work is done to evaluate works best for them and their every-day lifestyle. 

When asked if he feels like his age plays a role in his business, Hayes laughed and said, “Of course people take it into consideration. But I notice all the ever-changing trends in homes. I notice what works and what doesn’t.”

But despite starting a business when many of his contemporaries are worried about graduation, Hayes is confident in his abilities.

“I’m serious about what I do, and I am in someone’s home to do a good job. Not everyone starts a business at 40.”

Keeping on trend and up to date with new tools are important, but Hayes says it goes beyond that. He always tells clients with kitchen organization projects to go grocery shopping beforehand, so he can see the products they use on a regular basis and work that into the organizational design of the space.

“I like to incorporate style into the space,” he said. “If I go into a space and organize it without knowing the person, sure, it will look nice and trendy, but it won’t work. It needs to be personalized to their daily routine.” 

So why start the business in NoVA and not his native Michigan? “There are a lot of homes and businesses and everyone is on the go.” Hayes pointed out that people in Northern Virginia want the perfect home, and with perfection comes organization.

Even if you are on a budget, Hayes said there are solutions that are wallet-safe, ” You can find a lot of things at Target or on Amazon that are nice and inexpensive.”

In the end, Hayes just wants people to be happy in their homes with spaces that they are comfortable in. “I’m looking to create a perfect plan that fits their needs.” 

For more about Hayes Organization Solutions, visit its website at







Get Spring-Ready with The Capital Home and Garden Show

Posted by Editorial / Friday, February 21st, 2014

By Janeé Williams

The Capital Home and Garden Show 2013 tulips

Photo courtesy of Fredde Lieberman.

All this snow is a drag and the warm weather is just around the corner. Start preparing for Spring at the Capital Home and Garden Show this weekend at the Dulles Expo Center. Equipped with 3,000-square-feet of Gardens with fountains and water features and exhibits for home decor, this show will definitely keep you on your toes.

The Capital Home and Garden Show 2013 garden

Photo courtesy of Fredde Lieberman.

More than 375 companies are coming together to provide you with the latest products and services for landscaping, home decor, remodeling, home improvement, gardening and more. The show provides hundreds of professionals to help you with your current remodeling or gardening ideas. Celebrity guests John Gidding from HGTV’s Curb AppealMike McGrath, host of the radio show You Bet Your Garden and garden editor for WTOP, and Jennifer Bertrand, season three’s winner of HGTV’s Design Star will also be there to share their advice.

This show will offer more diverse exhibits, more categories and more presentations. Browse new products, ask professionals questions about your home and garden and go to a variety of presentations by their special guests to get more ideas for your home decor.

The Capital Home and Garden Show 2013 shade tree designs

Photo courtesy of Fredde Lieberman.

“ We are very excited to bring the Capital Home and Garden Show back to Northern Virginia,” said Liz Benkovich the manager of The Capital Home and Garden Show. “We’ll be showcasing more than 3,000 square-feet of gardens creating by six local landscape companies. And more than just gardens, we’ll have 375 exhibitors bringing the latest in home remodeling products, home improvement services and décor.”

Capital Home and Garden Show
Dulles Expo Center
4320 Chantilly Shopping Center
 Chantilly, VA 20153
Phone: 703-378-0910  

5 Decorative Throw Blankets to Keep Warm with

By Janee Williams

It’s freezing out there. This by far is one of the coldest winters we have had and it seems nearly impossible to stay warm. After soldiering through the frigid weather of the week with the endless errand running and long commutes to work, why not wrap up with something that will protect you from the chill.

But instead of dragging the bulbous bed comforter around the house like an anchor, throw blankets are just the thing to beat back the cold. Not only will these look nice laid across your bed, they will also keep you warm when the day gets a little too arctic for your liking.

Here are our picks for five fashionable blankets to have in your home:


Photo courtesy of

Vintage Kantha Throws: Keep warm and brighten up any room within your house with these Vintage throws. This unique handcrafted Indian throw is created from recycled saris and textiles, catching everybody’s attention with its vibrant colors and designs.


Photo courtesy of

Biddeford Zebra Plush Heated Electric Throw: Get in touch with your animal side with this funky throw. Not only can you wrap it around your body to keep you warm it is electrically-heated just in case you need a little more heat to get you through the night. It has a great design to make any room in your house creative and it is guaranteed to keep you warm.


Photo courtesy of

Hudson’s Bay Point Blanket:  Let it light up your home by adding a splash of color to any room. This throw is guaranteed to keep you warm. It is windproof, water repellent and it is made with 100 percent virgin cotton.


Photo courtesy of Bedford Cottage.

Luxe Rose Petal Throw:  This polyester throw is super soft and designed keep you warm throughout the day. Made by Bedford Cottage, this blanket epitomizes the brand’s modern design, but retains the softness of a bed of roses.


Photo courtesy of Valerianne of Vienna

Valerianne: Keep warm with these great throws, made from soft organic yarns and Alpaca. Alpaca is one of the warmest fabrics out there. It is insulated to keep you warm in the winter and is very breathable to keep you cool when the days start to warm up.  Grab this throw, snuggle next to a fireplace and keep the nippy weather away.

Color of the Year: Orchid

Pieces to keep your home on trend. —Lynn Norusis

Photo courtesy of West Elm.

Organic Orchid Duvet Cover and Shams @ West Elm; $24-$119.


Photo courtesy of The Hour.

Blenko Amethyst 2 Spout Water Pitcher @ The Hour; $250.


Photo courtesy of XXX.

 Aloha Orchid Reed Diffuser @ The Nest Egg; $30.


Photo courtesy of Lamps Plus.

Radiant Orchid Bold Stripe Giclee Glow Plug-In Swag Pendant @ Lamps Plus; $129.99.


Photo courtesy of Annie Sloan.

Annie Sloan Chalk Paint (in Henrietta) @ Stylish Patina, $38.50 for 32 fl. oz.


Photo courtesy of NestEgg.

Rhapsody Wool Woven Rug @ The Nest Egg; $101-$2,119.


Photo courtesy of Restoration Hardware.

Stonewashed Belgian Linen Hemstitch Placemats, set of 4 @ Restoration Hardware; $48.


Photo courtesy of Timothy Paul Home.

Patmos Quilt, in varying sizes @ Timothy Paul Home; $80-$325.


Photo courtesy of Anthropologie.

Smoke Rings Dinnerware @ Anthropologie; $12-$18.


Photo courtesy of NestEgg.

‘Painterly View I’ Artwork (42×32”) @ The Nest Egg; $485.

(February 2014)



Northern Virginia home design blogs offer handy DIY tips

By Cassandra Sturos

Looking for some tips on how to fix up your homestead? Check out these Northern Virginia bloggers, who are building a strong following with their savvy DIY skills.


These married home innovators turned blogging sensations invite you into their house (in Virginia) and their young love, which handily enough is the title of their blog: Younghouselove.

Photo courtesy of Young House Love

Check out their savvy home decorating tips and tutorials, along with loads of other fun ideas on painting, crafts, DIY projects, money-saving tips and more. This blog has so much to offer for the DIY-er that it could make your head spin, but in the good overwhelming way.

Start by taking the house tours of all three homes that the couple has now lived in, all the way up to their current home and check out the before and after pictures. Then to feel inspired, start in on the projects section (which is ample) or take a peek at how the couple used their knack for craftiness on their wedding day. All the home decorating excitement offered in this blog will have you itching to put down the remote control, find a paint brush and hot-glue gun and get artsy.


Pretty Handy Girl

Courtesy of Pretty Handy Girl

Brittany Bailey, who grew up in Northern Virginia, A.K.A the Pretty Handy Girl is pretty modest, because she is more than pretty handy, she is downright impressive.

Besides taking on home repair, electrical, lighting and plumbing projects,  Brittany went into labor with her second son while trying to fix a bathtub at eight and a half months pregnant! Now that’s a can-do spirit!

But don’t be put off by all the handiness, because Brittany gives great step-by-step instructions on all her home projects and how to build up your tool kit. She even owns power tools (and has tutorials on how to use them) but encourages you to start out basic and embrace becoming handy. And there’s no better way than by cruising her sight for ideas from holiday creations to installing a toilet seat.

Richmond native pens book on the gentility of Colonial design

Photo courtesy of Holly Holden & Co., Ltd.

Interior designer Holly Holden has a knack for the classics. A Richmond native, Holden recently authored The Pretty and Proper Living Room, a design book which displays the elegance of colonial decor at home.

Holden, whose work has been featured on HGTV, lays out in meticulous detail every facet and function of designs emblematic of Virginia’s colonial heritage.

With a wealth of colorful photographs and vivid descriptions, The Pretty and Proper Living Room is a must for fans of the Colonial aesthetic. You can purchase the book on Holden’s website or on Amazon. -Carten Cordell   

Falling for Color

Autumnal Tones Are Steeped in Tradition

By Jennifer Shapira


Walls in Hazy Skies (OC-48) and accent stripe in Beacon Hill Damask (HC-2) and Desert Twilight (2137-40) from Benjamin Moore.

Fall. The word itself is synonymous with color. The last of summer’s blooms and scents give way to a backdrop of foliage in vibrant reds, oranges and yellows.

“There’s just something about fall,” says Renatta Holt, a designer at Merrifield Garden Center. “Even if, typically, you don’t like oranges and yellows in your garden, when it gets to be September and October, people are just longing for fall colors.”

People by their very nature tend to be seasonal, says Sandra Hambly, principal interior decorator at Herndon-based Décor and You DC. People won’t necessarily decorate in anticipation of a season, but they are often inclined, she says. “We certainly have clients that are more attuned to sort of be in the fall or winter color, and then we do have some clients who like change it up.”

There is a small percentage of her “client base who will want to do a room in neutrals, for example, and they will want a spring rug and a fall rug, and then coordinating spring or fall accessories,” she says. The idea: Keep the base of the room the same, but add some seasonal punch.

Gray wall painted in Behr Sorcerer 760F-7.

Pewter Palette
The “in” and trendy [paint] color now is all about gray,” says Michael Sapienza, regional director of Decorating Den, adding the popular color is a direct correlation from the runway to interior design.

“Gray, gray, gray is what we’ve been saying all year,” he says. “Gray with accents of citron yellow, navy blue, emerald green. It’s everywhere. You see it in the clothes, you see it at Crate and Barrel. You see it on the furniture in all the lines that we do. You see it even in carpets now. It’s crazy.”

Sapienza is a fan of a number of Benjamin Moore grays: the lighter hued Collingwood OC-28, Old Prairie OC-42, Gray Owl OC-52 and “a little deeper” Stonington HC-170 and Edgecomb HC-173. “I have used and loved them all,” he says, adding they work “great with dark wood furniture and crisp white woodwork.”

Hambly agrees. “Pewters, charcoals and grays have been hot this past year,” but based on the vibrant color splashes she saw at the High Point Market this past spring, she says she’s very happy to see a resurgence of color. She recalls a recent makeover of an elegant library-slash-cocktail sitting room in Vienna in which she paired cool pewter tones with her take on Pantone’s sunny Lemon Zest 13-0756, one of its selected spring 2013 colors. The high-pile rug beckons bare feet; the two chairs invite unwinding—drink in one hand, book in the other.

“There are a lot of economists who say that people have started using gray, not to really be fresh, but because that’s the mood of the country,” Hambly half-jokes. “I think some of that’s true. And what’s really fascinating is that this year it was so evident that the colors were so much more vibrant than they’d ever been—we definitely saw those sorts of Pantone colors—and supposedly that’s because we’re feeling more optimistic. So now everybody wants a pop of color, in their clothing or in their homes,” she says. “It’s fascinating. We were really happy to see bright colors.”

Painterly Pride

Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, says rich accent colors like the gemstone-hued emerald, Pantone’s 2013 color of the year, can “add a luxurious feel to any room.” But she says, the “unexpected pop of color,” doesn’t have to come from paint.

Furniture accented with Farrow & Ball Lulworth Blue (89FP_L)

“We are already seeing many (emerald) home accessory colors, particularly in glass and ceramics, lamps, but there are some wonderful examples in home furnishings such as chairs, pillows, bed and dining linens, tabletop and housewares,” she says.

For the more daring: Eiseman suggests, “an accent wall can be a beautiful statement.” Another idea for interpreting the year’s most on-trend hue: “turning a small powder room into a jewel box with emerald paint on the walls.”

But for those who are color-shy, and can’t envision painting a room or accent wall, there are more casual ways to introduce bolder palette choices. Consider painting a stair runner or the floor of a room, even the mantel for a quick update to a fireplace. For the DIY-er, minimal cost and effort is all there is to lose.   

“A simple upgrade is to paint small pieces of furniture,” says Sue Kim, color strategist at Valspar. “Use bright colors like Valspar Iris Moon 4004-9C and Valspar Mustard Glaze 3006-3A on chairs or side tables to add pops of color. These smaller pieces allow for some change without being too overpowering.”

Hambly is also a big of fan of wallpaper, so much so, she says, “we try to work it into every space. And there are some real easy places where we think it makes a major impact.”

Her favorite spot for papering? “We love to put it on ceilings, because it’s kind of the fifth wall—or the sixth, if you do the floor—and so for people who might be a little nervous about putting it on four walls, we suggest the ceiling,” in bedrooms, foyers and powder rooms. Add a chandelier, she says, and “when the light hits it—it’s fantastic.”

Today’s wallpapers have really exploded into gorgeous textures and patterns. Hambly says the 1980s saw unadventurous mini-prints, but today’s makers are turning out vibrant graphic, geometric designs. “We love to put them in shadow boxes and then hang artwork or mirrors on top of that because that’s just a really great textural element,” she says.

Quick Change Artistry

While most experts would agree that the average homeowner doesn’t regularly change out paint color or wallpaper with the seasons, in an entryway or powder room, for example, they say people like to seasonalize living spaces by adding clever, colorful touches.

Perhaps it’s a back-to-school-inspired lampshade to freshen up a reading nook, or a couple of throw pillows that provide some pep to an otherwise neutral sofa.

Ceiling color: Valspar Bluer Than Blue 4006-8C; Wall color: Valspar Iris Moon 4004-9C

The trick, experts say, is to rotate often. And if you don’t break the bank on these accessories, you can do so a few times a year.

An important tip: Pare down before embellishing. That’s how guests really take notice of the changes in a home, says Sapienza. Remove the clutter—even if it means concentrating on just one area of the home—and start anew.

One of the easiest areas of the home to seasonalize is the entryway, says Sapienza. Dressing it up with in-season flowers is a good idea, it’s cost-effective and a quick fix. But he also suggests keeping the space as clean and simple as possible. “Because then people will notice when you actually do change things,” he says.

“A lot of times, people put so much clutter in that first room of their house,” he says of the front hall area. By virtue of its location, it’s a classic dumping zone for mail, shoes, book bags—often a literal shedding of the day’s detritus.

Sapienza also suggests mounting an eye-catching mirror for instant interest. “Whether it’s oval, rectangular, etc., depending on the size of the space, a mirror can really liven up an entryway.”

Fall decoration by Cathy Haskell at the Suite Shoppe with the walls painted in Behr Silver Sage.

Punches of Pumpkin

Deep purples are really starting to come into trend, says Alyson Skinner, co-owner/decorator of The Suite Shoppe. And while most homeowners in this area aren’t repainting their neutral blue-greens and sea glass walls, aubergine accents can provide a touch of fall.

“When you bring in the fall colors, if you have a very pale blue or green wall, that works really well,” she says. “It really pops against it and looks really nice.”  

There are a number of small ways to introduce shades of fall color into the home, with minimal effort. Purchase an inexpensive pouf in a bold color to add seating and personality to a living area. A couple of throw pillows, or a throw blanket provide a bright makeover to a neutral couch.

Make a quick seasonal update to a powder room: add vibrant hand towels and coordinating decorative soaps. Place a cinnamon-scented candle in a pretty holder and a branch of autumnal leaves to a small vase. If there’s a shelf of photographs or other keepsakes, shop a local farmer’s market and add a tiny gourd or two to add a little more fall interest. In a foyer, fill a tall, clear glass vase with pinecones or acorns, then add low-maintenance branches of red or yellow twig dogwood, or snips of shrubs like iridescent purple Beautyberry or scarlet Burning Bush.

And don’t neglect the front of the home. At the front door or the porch steps, add pots of classic gold chrysanthemums or gorgeous blue asters.

There are also perennials that have rich oranges and reds colors; grassy sedges called Carex, Evergold and Toffee Twist, says Holt. “They’re great to use in arrangements or in containers by your front door because they’re basically evergreen perennials, and they’ll be around for most of the season.”

And everybody still loves that old Martha Stewart trick, says Skinner, of pumpkins stacked like snowmen. “That’s so easy to do. And if you do that, everybody walks by and says, ‘That’s so cool!’ That’s still a great way to give your front porch a sophisticated look.”

And while Pantone’s color of the year may seem more spring—even winter—but decidedly less fall, emerald is a color that designers and decorators say can transition into winter and its ubiquitous presence at holiday parties. In the home and just outside, think pine-scented evergreens, red-berried holly and festive front-door wreaths.

All that is in the not-too-distant future. But for now, the focus is on autumn. 

“Fall makes us feel a certain way,” says Holt. “You get rejuvenated. It’s cooler, the air has a different smell and everybody is just clamoring for those bales of straw and chrysanthemums and pumpkins. It’s something that happens to all of us.”

Bring it on.


(September 2013)



DIY: Outdoor Votives

By Meghan Furey

Create Your Own Lights for Warm Summer Nights.

Coming from a very crafty family, I always love finding ways of keeping money in my pocket, and so with Pinterest and blog searching, I have been finding easy and fun ways of creating my own outdoor votives with items I find around the house. For those evenings when you are relaxing on porch with friends and family or warm weather events when you are setting up table arrangements, these DIY votives are simple and beautiful ways of adding a unique touch to your outdoor décor. Here are some of the surprising things you may find around the house that can actually make your life a lot brighter!


Mason Jars:

Try this cute yarn-wrapped painted DIY mason jar pattern from Sophie's blog, The Forge! (Photo courtesy of The Forge)

Mason jars are probably one of the most popular ways to create your own outdoor lighting. The patterns on these jars create a beautiful authentic feel to your home’s outdoor décor. One can just place candles inside the jars, but many projects involve filling them with other materials such as floating candles in water or placing them in sand or pebbles to make them more ornamental. These jars also look great when wrapped in twine or ribbon, painted or even bedazzled with glitter. One can go on and on about how you can decorate these jars, and even when they’re just plain, they add a simple and unique light to any outdoor space.

Once you have the Mason Jar lights made, there are so many ways you can arrange them too. One can simply them set on tables for dinner lighting. Many DIY bloggers have also created chandeliers or hanging lanterns like Holly did with her Mason Jars on Chez Beeper Babe. While creating a chandelier or hanging lantern may sound more complicated, both projects are a great way of spending time saving some dimes.


Tin Cans:

Tin cans are also an easy and accessible material to use to create beautiful lighting for those fun summer backyard parties or even just for your outdoor seating areas. Tin can lanterns can be a shiny decoration that glitters in the light and glows in the dark when lit. Most cans are opaque, which allows the holes punched in create beautiful prints and patterns. From birthday parties to outdoor dinner events, these votives can be a personal and unique ornament for any outdoor event. The cans can also be painted to match with other outdoor furniture or to make them even more festive décor like. .

Brighten your outdoor space with colorful lanterns! (Photo courtesy of Grow Creative)

While these luminaries look great on tables, many DIYers say that they look just as amazing hung. Decorating a backyard with strung up tin can lanterns would make an excellent source of light in any part of your outdoor space, and all without busting your wallet. Not to mention, it is an excellent summer activity for the kids to showcase their creativity to your friends and family! 

Look at them glow! (Photo courtesy of Skip to My Lou)


Wine Bottles:

Despite its narrow opening, wine bottles can be made into and are beautiful sources of light for any outdoor gathering. With their various glass hues and shapes, wine bottles can be versatile décor pieces that create a summery glow without spending more than a bottle of wine (literally).

Light 'em up! (Photo courtesy of Design Sponge)

A great wine bottle votive can also eliminate those nasty mosquitoes in your yard by creating a wine bottle tiki torch. By placing a using citronella torch fuel on a tiki wick in a wine bottle, you can make an effort in fighting against these pests while also creating a nice ambiance for your outdoor space. 

With a glass cutter, you can also make a beautiful candle cover with a wine bottle . This creates a beautiful glow that can last all night long. With long-lasting light like this, you can enjoy those summer nights hours on end and the people you are spending them with. After, that is what summer is all about, right?

Creating that luminous glow for those memorable summer evenings (Photo courtesy of Wedding Bee)


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