The Great Pumpkin

Though I do love a pop of color and the orange of a pumpkin definitely gives you a lot with which to work, decorating with white pumpkins has become quite alluring to me.  A small grouping of three tangled in a twig of orange berries makes a beautiful centerpiece.  

If you veer toward darker colors, the traditional orange pairs well with deep purple lilies, as does a blue gourd.  Place on your mantle or vanity.  Pair in odd numbers for greater impact.

For the front porch, the skies the limit when it comes to pumpkin carving.  My favorite this year is the polka-dotted pattern.  Randomly placed dots or geometrically designed lanterns shining brightly at night are just stunning.  

Pumpkin decor transitions seamlessly into Thanksgiving.  When you’re taking down the skeletons, witches, and black cats, your pumpkin display can hang around a little longer.  So, pull out the inner artist in you, and create your masterpiece.

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Crawl out of that box...

“It's close to midnight

Something evil's lurking from the dark…”

Decorating doesn’t have to be limited to fabrics, furnishings and arrangements.  Creating a mood is what decorating is all about.  When it comes to Halloween, there’s nothing better to set the mood than smells, sounds, and cocktails.

For me, it’s not Halloween without the Monster Mash album, a few scary sounds, and Michael Jackson’s Thriller.  Keep the playlist of eerie ghost howls, creaky doors, and clapping thunder on while the kids are trick-or-treating.  Then start the party with Alice Cooper’s Ghouls Gone Wild, Creedence Clearwater Revival’s Bad Moon Rising, or The Rolling Stones Sympathy for the Devil.

Spiced candles.  Bonfires.  Both help to sell the sizzle.  Pardon my attempt at a pun.  Fog machines or dry ice add the right amount of creepy.  

Check back at the end of the week for the perfect party cocktail recipe, and more DIY ideas. It’s Halloween. Time to crawl, I mean think, outside that box.

“You hear the door slam

And realize there's nowhere left to run…”

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Design Principle #3

Actually, design principle #3 is the number 3.  There’s just something about 3.  Things in threes are simply more appealing.  Five, seven and nine, work just as well as, too,  However, three holds the magic.  When viewing things arranged in odd numbers, your eye if forced to move.  This movement creates for a more visually interesting experience.  

If you have an area that is difficult to fill, try using a grouping of three different furnishings to fill the space.  Vary the height, width or depth.  The trusty triptych can fill a large wall.  Use colors and textures in threes when considering accessories.  When it comes to shelving, the principle works there as well.  Try grouping vases or bowls in odd numbers there, too.

Instantly bump up your room’s Wow Factor by experimenting with odd numbered grouping, particularly the number 3. You’ll never have a dull, boring room, again.

Let There Be Light

Have a room that’s bathed in light?  Lucky you.  Sunlight is nature’s gift, quite possibly, the greatest gift to your design plan.  It brings warmth and happiness.  So, don’t obstruct it. 

A large window or a bank of windows will both bath your room with light.  Both can be easily worked into your design plan but when you have lots of light pouring in, build your design around nature’s gift.

Since your room is already filled with brightness, you have a few options on which to decorate.  You can continue with bright colors, or you can contrast with dark, rich palettes.  You choose.

Focal Point

Every room needs a focal point.  I’m not an interior designer but even I know that.  Your eye needs to land somewhere.  It’s a basic design principle in all disciplines. 

Being an artist, I love art and art does wonders for creating a focal point, especially a triptych.  The triptych is a three piece series.  For the greatest effect, it should be hung so that it appears to be one great big piece.

Another great option is a dark wall.  If it’s up your alley, try using black for a bold punch.  Going bold brings out your personality without saying a word.  Luckily, the ways of achieving boldness are endless.  Color, accessories, furnishings.

If you’re lucky enough to have great architecture, your focal point is built in.  Use it.  Let it shine.  Windows, fireplaces, built-ins can all be show stoppers.

Find the focal point of every room and build around it.  Remember, focal points are the art of the room.

The Element of Surprise

Most living rooms have the same functional features.  The features serve a purpose.  The furniture is there for comfortable seating, no matter the decor style.  However, repurposing and re-using furnishings in unexpected ways creates an element of surprise, making it interesting and unique.  

Try using an old wooden stool as a night stand, or a picnic bench as a coffee table.  Shop the antique stores for that one-of-a-kind item.  In my house I have my father’s 1930s safe that doubles as an end table.  It’s quite the conversation starter.  

In addition to creating conversation, the element of surprise is a great way to make your room memorable.  

The Eclectic Room

A beautifully, successful eclectic room takes more effort than one might think.  Though it may look as if it were thrown together in a hodgepodge, willy-nilly way, it has not.  It’s actually been carefully thought out and created around one particular style.  The hodgepodge look comes from the other styles that are mixed in to support the main look.  

Since the eclectic design blends elements from many styles, start with neutral palettes; then, accessorize the room with pops of color.  Continue accessorizing with complementary textures to tie the different decorating styles together.  You can easily swap out the accessories with any color you desire.

Have fun.  Comments welcome.

The Ever Loved Accent Wall

The trend that isn’t going away.  The accent wall, a portion of a room that receives attention due to its special treatment.  It makes an impact.  It creates drama.  It gives a room flair, all in an easy, budget-friendly way.  Accent walls work in any room with a variety of techniques.  It’s your home.  It’s your room.  It’s your wall.  Make that it special.

Paint it.  Pick whatever color that makes you happy, and don’t be afraid to go bold.  Go for a solid color, paint a pattern, or one big bold stripe.

Wallpaper can be a good option.  Patterns, florals, and even textured paper will all draw the eye and make that statement.  Wallpaper does take a little more effort to change.  So, make sure to love what you select.

Murals.  Have it custom painted or find it in wallpaper.  Use murals to add personality.

Stop the boredom and give it flair.  The point of an accent wall is to pack tons of style into a small space without breaking the bank.  Create drama with a dark rich color or pick a bold floral wallpaper, murals or large scale art on just one wall.  Choose what makes you happy.

The Art of Decorating with Less

To create a warm and livable minimalistic space, a lot of effort is required.  Otherwise, you will be left with a cold, sterile environment.  Don’t worry.  Here are a few ideas to help you out.  

1. De-clutter.  De-clutter.  De-clutter.

Clutter is not minimalism.  Obviously.  Give you surfaces space.  Select only a few items to display.  Choose items you love and those that have meaning.  Then, store the rest.  Taking advantage of furnishings that do double duty helps with any storage issues you may have.  For example, try using trunks as coffee tables.

2.  Learn to Love Empty Space

In order to de-clutter, you will have to learn to embrace the negative spaces.  There’s no need to fill every inch of every surface.  Minimalism works with the bank spaces allowing the items on display to shine.

3.  Got Great Architecture?

If you have a space that has great architectural detail, highlight it by letting it stand alone.  If you have great windows, don’t dress them with bulky curtains.  Keep your mantle sparse, to show off that beautiful fireplace. 

4.  Quality over Quantity 

Since less is more, every item is important.   Cheap, broken or disposable knickknacks will make an impact, just not the impact you are hoping to make.  Therefore, go for quality to make every item count.

To recap, instead of cramming shelves full of dust-collecting knickknacks.  Don’t over crowd.  Give your items and architecture plenty of room to make an impact.  Be selective.  Choose meaningful quality pieces and love blank spaces.  Remember less is more.

Large Scale Art

Love it!  Want it!  Gotta have it!  There’s nothing that makes a bigger impact in a room than a great big canvas.  The bigger the better, most of the time.  Believe it or not, there’s always room…

The Bedroom-Hang a large expressionism piece behind and above the headboard.  Instead of a statement wall, make it a statement piece!

The Living Room-above the couch is a perfect spot for that oversized piece.  You can either drop one large piece or an oversized triptych.

The end of the hallway or landing on the stairs- Go full scale.  Paint a mural from floor to ceiling.  Use every inch of space.

Bathroom-Ok.  You got me there.  A great big canvas may not work but you could substitute with a Moroccan tile.  Carry the floor tile all the way up the wall to the ceiling.

Go big and go home!

The Eclectic Room

A beautifully successful eclectic room takes more effort than one might think.  Though it looks as if it were thrown together in a hodgepodge, willy-nilly way, it has not been.  It’s actually been carefully thought out and created around one particular style.  The hodgepodge comes from the other styles that are mixed in to support the main look.  

Since the eclectic design blends elements from many styles, start with neutral palettes that let you accessorize the room with pops of color.  Carry that through with diverse textures to tie the different decorating styles together.  You can easily swap out the accessories with different colors as seasons or moods change.

Subtle Or Bold

Most of my work for years was in the neutral palette, with a pop of color, or perhaps, colors. The splash of color created a statement.  It drew attention.  In a room filled with shades of whites or browns, it stood up and said, "Hello.  I'm here."  

Pick the pop that's in style or simply choose your favorite.  Either way, don't be afraid to say, "Hello.  I'm here.”