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4 Ways to Warm up a Cool Space

Grey is in right now, and I am digging this trend. While grey is known as a cold color, I cannot disagree more. When I see grey, I think of cozy knit blankets, furry kittens (what?), and fuzzy mittens. Of course, if everything in my home was suddenly white or grey with no accents and cool lighting, I'd have to offer my guests a blanket or robe at the door to make them feel at ease! But, there are so many wonderful ways of warming up a grey space.

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10 Designer-Approved Halloween Decorations

I love Halloween. LOVE it. The smell of face paint combined with an itchy wig just gets me giddy. I love to surround myself in the decor, and when I say I surround myself, I do not mean that I stream fake cobwebs over every inch of my house, hang witches and ghosties from every tree, and try to make my front yard look like a cemetary. Honestly, I don't dig that. Here are some wonderful ideas for Halloween decor that I really DO dig: 1. Tattered books and Tarnished Silver

Take down all the year-round decor and use your landing spaces to group candles and tarnished silver. Add a tattered book, and a little spider for the finishing touch!

 

2.  Creepy Art

It should still be art. A glitter fabric mural with a cartoon witch may be cute, but going abstract is what will really blow your guests away.

 

3. Magic Potion Jars

I've seen this done a few ways and it's always fantastic. Fill up mason jars with eyeballs, skulls, or worms  from Archie McPhee or your local Dollar Store. Spray paint wine bottles black and make a new label that describes your poison of choice, line up antique apothecary bottles for a more vintage appeal, or stop over at Dot & Bo for some pre-made poison bottles.

 

4. Create a focal point

Every home should have a focal point anyway, so here's your chance to have some real fun with it. Pull the pretty candles and picture frames off the entry table and go a little overboard. But, just a little. Keep your cool!

 

5. Take it outside
Okay, here's where people lose it. Inflatable spiders, boards on the windows, cackling witches,  and 50 gravestones in the front yard. Honestly, even as a kid I was thinking "wow, that's fun... but totally cheesy". My favorite trick-or-treat houses looked like REAL haunted houses! So, while we can't all create beautiful mesh wire ghosts in the front yard, a lesson can be learned from this amazing artwork. It is beautiful and haunting because it is simplified. Three of these are subtle in a decent sized front yard. Cramming together twenty of them with giant bats and a spider the size of the SUV... yes, it's fun, but it's not exactly creepy.
6. Bones in a jar
Okay it's a bit of a repeat from what I was saying in #3, but it further proves my point. Some bones in a jar offers a subtly creepy vibe to a an otherwise sophisticated space.
7. Haunt your doorstep with ravens
Forget the vinyl door cover with bright red "blood" and opt for something more subtle by placing a few ravens in and around your porch decor.
8. Cozy up between Trick-or-Treaters under a black throw
Not only do you get to snuggle up with something warm, but toss it over the corner of the sofa to add to the ambiance!
9. Rubber snakes
Okay, first you have to promise me that if you do this, the only other thing on your front porch are your jack-o-lanterns. This idea loses its fun if it is bombarded with other ideas. Place a bunch of dollar store rubber snakes under the doormat for a startle!
10. Add a Halloween tree
Christmas trees are great, but who says it has to stop there? Let's bring the outside indoors with a wonderful Halloween tree! You could even leave a few creepy "presents" below the tree!

Clearing the Clutter

I'm a clutter-hater. There, I said it. Nothing makes me as squeamish as an overloaded bookshelf with knick-knacks oozing out of every crevice. Why, oh why must we hoard? I also admit that I've been known to sell, donate, or dispose of items and regret it later. So is the life of a desperate wanna-be minimalist. Yes, I dream of minimalism, but I am realistic and know that it's not on the plate of every occupant of my household.

Some of you, however, have the dream but not the know-how. So, let me give you the first big step. You need to be able to either 1. break sentimental attachments to objects or 2. have a great storage space! A little of both goes a long way. Now, go into each room of your home and one at a time, put every decorative item in a place where you can review them. Every.single.one. Ready? Pick five. Your five favorites… the ones that you absolutely cannot live without. Put the rest in a box, no matter how much you love them- just do it. Now, put those five items on your shelves or your table. Oh my gosh, look at you, you little minimalist! You may pull out one or two items NEXT WEEK after you've had some time to decide if it is 1. too sparse or 2. depressing without your favorite ceramic cat (ouch). But, really take some time before pulling those trinkets out again.

I find it is good to repeat this action every six months or so.

Designing a Beach Home

As I mentioned in my post about Driftwood furniture, this is an easy area to fall overboard with (bad pun). With any "theme" in design, it is important to think abstractly and veer from the literal interpretation. A wonderfully designed "beachy" home, will rarely have seashell photo frames, anchors on the wall and sailboat murals.

I'm going to tell you a secret. Ready? The idea is to look at what these things have in common and pull from this. Now, this gets complex, but the gist of it is this… we want a "beachy" theme, so what does the beach make you think of? Stop saying "sand, shells, boats" and look more at texture, line, shape, color, harmony, and gradation. Every beach is a little different, of course, but think of YOUR beach, the one that you want to be reminded of every time you step through the door.

sandy beach, grass, driftwood

My beach is sandy, and littered with broken sea shellls. It has wispy grass and pebbles closer to the water line. The water is a grey-blue and the skies are clear. My beach is brimming with life. There are crabs under every rock and clams squirting me with every step. I have a place to play and a place to relax and enjoy the sun. Now, to interpret this: My beach has the following textures: grainy, rough wood, and smooth ripples. Lines are horizontal and long. Shapes are random and imperfect. Harmony and gradation may be seen in the blue, blue-green, and green-yellow colors. See where I'm going with this?

 

Okay, now everyone go to your favorite online store and pick one item for my beach house! Or, even better- describe your beach and then show me an item you've selected for it and explain why.