I absolutely love fall entertaining. And better than that, I love SIMPLE fall entertaining.
You can create a beautiful table in just a few simple steps.
Recently, Tom and I agreed that in order to have more quality family time, our kids were going to need to start helping out around the house. As it stood, Zack (8) and Emma (4) acted like the world was coming to an end if I asked them to pick up their dirty socks. I was spending all of my work day picking up after the kids (and including Tom, if we are being honest), so little of my own tasks were being accomplished.
I still have tons of tiny little squares to paint, people! No, I’m not done. Just shush.
As we were figuring out what responsibilities each child should have, an idea was brewing in my head. If we were really going to make this change for our family, I was going to make it cute. And use real change. And put magnet strips behind two metal boards we’ve had in the attic for years and real change would stick to it. And the kids would just collect their change (10 cents per task – $7/week if they do everything they are supposed to) at the end of the week put it into their piggy banks. And I was an awesome genius!
Well, until Tom pointed out to me that dimes aren’t magnetic. Neither are pennies, nickels, quarters, 50-cent pieces, dollar coins, or any other random piece of change that the Toothfairy or your grandmother gives you. Doh! That’s too bad, because that was a fantastic idea.
Back to the drawing board I went. I never could figure out an easy (and inexpensive) way to have a magnetic board where the kids collect their change at the end of the week (I could have used jars, but I was determine to make it a chart). However, I think I figured out the next best thing: penny magnets. And now I don’t have to have endless amounts of change sitting around the house each week.
I call it the “Make a Change” chore chart. I crack myself up.
A blank wall is perhaps one of the most daunting challenges in decorating. Although there’s all sorts of things you could do there – hang a piece of art, add a piece of furniture, paint crazy stripes – it’s hard to make a decision when there are so many options.
My friend Kim had a similar problem in her eat-in kitchen. She has a blank wall next to the back door that is begging for attention. She’s a really great photographer (seriously) so she knew that she wanted to hang some of her images on the wall. But, even coming up with a plan for doing that felt overwhelming, so she hasn’t done anything yet.
Don’t we all know that feeling? I hear it over and over again. I’m even guilty of it myself!
So, I asked Kim to send me the dimensions and take a quick photo of her wall so that I could help her come up with an idea for a gallery wall of some of her images. This is the image that she sent me:
I set to work recreating this wall in my photo editing software (Photoshop Elements, if you were wondering). I was careful to make sure that the digital image I created was scaled to be the same dimensions as her wall. Then, I came up with a layout that I liked for the space using different sized frames that were also appropriately scaled from their actual dimensions.
I am a reluctant seasonal decorator. I absolutely love the thought of decorating my home to usher in each season. But, the thought of putting things out only to be taken down and stored a few weeks later brings my lazy side to the forefront.
This year, I haven’t even started adding any Fall decor into my home. In all honestly, we are still wearing shorts and flip flops in Central Texas, so it’s hard to embrace the new season. I have been thinking about it, though, and I have come up with some ways to help me decorate for Fall without feeling like I’ve gone overboard.
In case you also consider yourself a reluctant seasonal decorator, I offer you four ways to embrace Fall in your home:
1. Start Small
When seasonal decorating feels overwhelming, start small. Often times, the best styled rooms just give a hint of the season at hand.
Take this gorgeous living room by Julia at Cuckoo 4 Design. She usually has some mini disco balls in the coffee table vignette. By replacing them with some mini pumpkins, she was able to give a nod to Fall without moving around everything in her room.
Today, I’m excited to share a little thrift store upgrade with you. I am participating in Swap It Like Its Hot, a contest of sorts where bloggers send each other items that they found at the thrift store or flea market. The recipient has to transform the item into something for their home.
These sorts of swaps are always fun, but really nerve wracking for me. My style is different than most of the other bloggers participating, so I was really scared about what I would be getting in the mail! Luckily for me, Katrina from Chic Little House sent me an awesome thrift store score.
Truth be told, I really loved these horse head bookends as they were. One of the horses has a chipped ear and the monkey pod wood was a little scratched up. But, what fun would that have been if I just left them as is? No fun at all!
I decided that these would be great for Emma’s room, and I would put them on her dresser underneath the crazy carousel horse shelves. I wanted them to have a little more character, so glitter came to the rescue.
As a self-taught professional decorator, my experience decorating the three homes I’ve owned is what attracted my first clients. They wanted my help with their space, but I think I got the better end of the deal.
By serving my clients I learned the number one thing it takes to decorate better for myself. It was glaringly obvious, but I didn’t see it for a long time.
When I designed spaces for clients, I couldn’t just give them a list of things to buy. I had to explain why. Why that sofa. Why those three vases. Why that rug with that coffee table. Why that color. Why that pattern.
I spent more time explaining my choices, than making them. Part of it was my natural desire to educate my clients to help them pull off the room. The other part was feeling I owed that to them. That if I couldn’t explain why I was recommending they buy something or make something, then I shouldn’t recommend it.
For every furniture of decor selection, I required myself to explain things like:
For example, in the office design below I recommended an accent table by the sofa. I could have recommended many different tables. So why did I choose the ceramic stool (#9)? Well, because the subtle theme in this office is aviation, because my client and her husband fly as a hobby. I chose this ceramic stool, because the angular shape reminded me of a folded paper airplane.
Explaining myself made me a better decorator for my clients, but even more powerfully it made me a better decorator for myself. It is how I stopped bringing home things I didn’t love or need, because I couldn’t explain why. It’s what stopped me from doing DIY projects, because I couldn’t explain why. It’s what made everything in my home more meaningful and every decorating decision easier.