House & Home


Shaker style goes beyond utility for a pure perfection that stands the test of time.

The Backstory

The Shaker movement was started by Mother Ann Lee, a British expat who brought eight followers to New York in 1774. Outsiders called the sect “Shakers” for their ecstatic trembling and whirling during worship, yet its members were highly progressive, embracing gender equality, pacifism and technological advances.

They lived in communal families, sharing all possessions and profits, and shunning worldly goods. At a high point in 1840, there were 6,000 Shakers in the U.S. in 18 communities from Maine to Kentucky — since then, their numbers have dwindled to single digits.

Nonetheless, their legacy lives on. In preserved Shaker communities like Hancock Village, Massachusetts, and the Shaker Museum Mount Lebanon in New York near Albany, there are many examples of their beautiful, functional and innovative designs. Shaker style’s elegant austerity has weathered the winds of change well, so renovators take note: this aesthetic is built to last, and there are many ways to incorporate it into your home.

Looks We Love

Shaker style living room with two area rugs, a gray couch and old-fashioned built-in cupboards.

In this living room, design firm Jersey Ice Cream Co. chose vintage pieces to underscore the room’s old-school built-in cupboards, an organization system appreciated by the Shakers.

This Swallowtail wallpaper from Memo Showroom mimics the wooden joint detail from oval Shaker boxes.

Shaker Style kitchen with white vertical wall paneling and floating shelves.

To the Shakers, craftsmanship was considered a form of worship. Designer Emily Netz chose the simplicity and sturdy construction of Shaker cabinets — identified by a recessed panel set in a face frame — for her own kitchen. “I drew a lot of inspiration from the 18th-century Shakers,” she says. “Their ethos was simplicity and functionality, and I’m always striving for more of both in my life.” A peg rail under the shelf and hanging basket are two other Shaker hallmarks.

Shaker-style living room with a simple side table and beige couch.

In this Notting Hill, London, home, designed by Colin King, a Shaker table proves its timeless appeal: the clean lines complement contemporary art and furnishings.



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5 Ways to Refresh Your Space


Throw open the curtains, let the breeze in and brighten your home decor.

With springtime comes a sense of renewal, and a desire to clean, organize and refresh — especially if you’re spending a lot of time at home. Get your creative gears turning, and whip your space into shape. You’ll be surprised how a few simple changes can give you a whole new outlook.

1. Embrace natural light

Create the feel of windows with large mirrors. Photo via Laurel & Wolf.
Create the feel of windows with large mirrors. Photo via Laurel & Wolf.

With warmer days comes more sun, so open those blinds and bask in the natural light. Instead of flipping on your lights in the morning, pull back the curtains and let sunshine light the way. The simple act of opening your windows can help lift your mood, and you’ll save a little on your electric bill too.

Don’t have many windows? Fake it by using large mirrors to reflect light and brighten up your room. Bonus: mirrors also give the illusion of a bigger space, making your home feel brighter, larger and clearer.

2. Give your furniture a clean slate

All white furniture creates a spring vibe in a living room. Photo via Laurel & Wolf.
All-white furniture creates a spring vibe in a living room. Photo via Laurel & Wolf.

Spring is the perfect time to break out all of your lighter and cooler clothes — and this also goes for furniture. A white, beige or light gray couch is the perfect nesting spot.

Light neutral chairs set the tone, reflect light and keep you from getting too warm. If desired, you can keep these pieces out year-round to invoke springtime memories and stave off wintertime blues when skies are gray. If you don’t want to commit to white furniture, invest in slipcovers that you can use seasonally and remove once colder temperatures return.

3. Let nature be your guide

Wickers and wovens are materials that work through spring and well into summer. Photo via Laurel & Wolf.
Wickers and wovens are materials that work through spring and well into summer. Photo via Laurel & Wolf.

Incorporate lightweight natural materials into your decor — think wicker, woven baskets, light wood grain and cotton curtains. Keep it airy and light, leaning on nature to inspire you.

Switch out heavy blankets for summery throws, and pack away heavy, dark decor items in favor of woven baskets paired with colorful or nature-inspired accessories. By adding earthy materials to your home, you invoke nature inside and out for a fresh and renewed feel.

4. Pack some punch with pops of color

Spring is the perfect time to ditch all those moody blacks and grays of winter, and trade them in for something a bit cheerier. Oranges, pinks, yellows, purples, blues and greens are all colors that recall spring and sunshine. Pick your favorite hue from the rainbow and run with it. Try a few peachy throw pillows, springy green candles or periwinkle decorative bowls.

Step out of your comfort zone and try a bold statement, or keep it cool with subtle hints of something you know you love. You’ll be surprised how much your mood lifts when you’re surrounded by a sea of pretty shades.

5. Go green and breathe deep

Adding potted plants, bouquets of flowers and herb gardens to your home is a great way to bring the outdoors in. Not only do they provide beautiful focal points and improve your mood, they also give off little hits of oxygen — so breathe deep.

Hit up your local farmer’s market for pretty blooms on the cheap, or grow herbs in windowsill pots. And for all those black thumbs out there, faux plants will still give off a fresh green look, but without all the hassle and maintenance.

Whether you’re looking to freshen up a couple of rooms in your house or overhaul your whole space, there are easy steps you can take to get your home spring-ready. Give yourself a new outlook and a fresh perspective by taking the time to rejuvenate your space and your mindset.

From mixing up colors to looking to nature for inspiration, you can completely transform your home into a sunny, light and airy space.

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Originally published March 2016



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Creating a Home(work) Station That Gets Top Marks


Good study habits are easier to build when you have a dedicated and attractive spot to hit the books.

When was the last time your home workspace or study station inspired you? For most people, the answer is, “Not recently.”

Whether you’re prepping an area for your work-from-home days or setting up a spot for young scholars to study , you can kick inspiration into high gear with home office solutions that will get your creative juices flowing again.

Window wonder

It’s no secret that sunshine does the body good. Fix up a space near the window so you can soak up plenty of vitamin D while pumping out price lists or writing that term paper.

Greenery looks great near a bright area, so a potted plant or two might help naturally bring your space to life.

Arts and crafts

The age of DIY is upon us. Embrace the casual-cool vibes and create your very own home desk area.

Need a semipermanent to-do list? Try using chalkboard paint to make yourself a giant notepad on a nearby cabinet or a framed chalkboard. Tired of the overdone corkboard for your sticky notes? Framed chicken wire with clothespins makes a more shabby-chic memo board.

The possibilities really are endless for this type of style. Just don’t let your DIYing get in the way of the tasks you originally sat down to do!

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Photo from Zillow listing.

Collaboration is key

For those less focus-intensive projects, investigate a collaborative workstation with several small spaces or a giant community table. This type of work environment has been popular among small companies and creative agencies for the purpose of bouncing around ideas.

If you still want your own personal space, put a divider between you and the other desks for some extra privacy, and take it down when it’s time to meet and discuss. You know what they say: Teamwork makes the dream work.

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Photo from Zillow listing.

A clear mind

While many of us would like to think we have complete control of our habit of logging onto Facebook or checking what else our calendar has in store for us, most of us really don’t. And the greatest enabler of this sidetracked behavior is a cluttered workspace.

Set the stage for a clean slate with a bright white desk and matching chair, a simple light fixture and an inspiring element. Keeping your workstation simple and clutter-free ensures you have a productive day — even if your homework is less than exhilarating.

Whether you’re up all night cramming for exams or prepping for a work presentation due first thing in the morning, you’ll feel more focused and productive by incorporating any of these tips into your workstation.

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Originally published September 2016.



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What Style Is Your Dream Bedroom?


The best way to create a cozy bedroom you’ll love snuggling up to? Find a look that reflects your personality.

Aah… the bedroom of your dreams. Will it include fuzzy pillows or homespun quilts? Perhaps it’s covered wall to wall in plush rugs. Or maybe it’s a clutter-free, serene space.

Rest assured, this quiz will help you discover your style.

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Originally published January 2018.



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8 Ways to Incorporate Your Passions Into Your Home Decor


Surrounding yourself with reminders of your hobbies and interests makes any space more meaningful.

Your home reflects who you are, and you’re way more than a selection of tasteful paint and furniture. Why not celebrate your passions by incorporating them into your decorating? When your talents, skills, and hobbies are on display as a natural part of your decor, you feel more inspired and more at home.

You don’t have to remake your life to incorporate your passions into your home decorating. In many cases, just a small change of storage or placement will make all the difference — and you may even save money because you’re using items you already own.

If something makes you happy, bring it out and let it shine.

Store your tools in arm’s reach

Many creative hobbies come with beautiful tools. Don’t hide your paintbrushes or yarn — show them off with pride of place!

Make sure to put tools you use frequently in accessible places where you can grab them. Nothing’s worse than being inspired to create and having to wrestle a guitar off the wall or extract a crochet hook from the back of a cabinet. A good rule is to keep anything you use once a week or more within easy reach.

Display seasonal equipment year-round

Just because you can only ski a few months out of the year doesn’t mean you forget about hitting the slopes. Keep your seasonal passions alive by keeping them in sight, but out of the way.

Mount skis or fishing poles over a door in the off season. If you have space above kitchen cabinets, that’s a great place for the gorgeous fondue set you only use in winter. You could even ceiling-mount a canoe paddle — or the whole canoe if there’s room. The good thing about most seasonal equipment is that you use it outside, so you don’t have to worry too much about interim storage.

Put your talents to work

Give your creative passions room to shine in everyday life. If you’re great at calligraphy, write a stylish meal-planning list for your week or create a framed school checklist to put by the front door.

Woodworkers can make anything from cutting boards to furniture. If you embroider, make your own cushion covers and embellished hand towels. Potters, once you fill your mug cupboard, branch out into making planters and wall hooks.

For almost any art or craft, there’s a practical application, so make it a fun challenge to find yours.

Bring the mass-appeal objects into the conversation

When you have an interest in common with someone, the conversation just flows. That’s why it’s great to have some pop-culture touchpoints in your living space. Items like framed vinyl albums give your guests an easy way to learn about your interests and start talking.

Not everyone will be able to contribute to a discussion about your 19th-century Japanese chisel, but almost everyone who sees your framed program will remember the first time they heard about “Hamilton.”

For a living room where you entertain friends, or a home office where you have clients, these objects can help create connections.

Let your collection tell a story

When you’re a collector, every piece has a story. As a whole, the items in a collection tell a narrative of their own history and how they came into your life.

Keep collections in a place of honor where the whole story can come together. Cabinets and display shelves are great for 3D objects like glassware, figurines and curios, and albums are perfect for stamps, old photos and ephemera.

Active items inspire action

If you need a little motivation to practice your passion, let your decor help inspire action. Match each inspiring object with the place you’re most likely to need a boost.

If you aren’t feeling your usual gourmet self, display your antique bakeware in your kitchen. To help with writer’s block, display your diploma, your first pitch acceptance letter or special first editions of your favorite books over your desk. Hang athletic medals and photos of you at the finish line over the shoe bin near your entryway to encourage you to go for a run.

Match the vibe of the room

In general, keep the purpose of the room in mind when deciding where to display your prized possessions. Don’t just go by where you have available wall space; take time to find the right fit.

A shelf of antique clown toys can look great in an office or playroom, but might not feel restful in your bedroom. And your championship soccer cleats or a signed football may be perfect inspiration in your workout room, but they’re less than appetizing hanging in the dining room.

Mellow treasures set the mood

Some of your possessions are just for you, and they spark special memories and feelings when you see or touch them. If you have an object that brings your comfort, place it according to how it makes you feel. Does that beach rock make you feel calm? Keep it by your bedside.

If your grandpa’s old pipe reminds you of how he taught you to read, keep in in a display case on a bookshelf or by your desk.

These are just a few of the ways you can bring your passions into your home decorating. Hopefully these ideas inspire you to bring your most important possessions into your decor, so you can keep those passions alive in your daily life.

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Originally published April 2018.



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7 Retro Trends Making a Comeback


These styles from the ’70s and ’80s prove it’s OK to say “in with the old!”

Each year, fashion leaves a strong impression on the design industry and its offerings for the season. For 2020, the vibe includes handmade organic details paired with the sparkle of the ’70s disco club and the velvety softness of the ’80s.

But beyond the nostalgic hints that those artistic impressions carry, what lies ahead for interiors? How will we change and evolve in our home environment? Read on and see what speaks to your design style as we approach another new year.

Cork and recycled elements

Many manufacturers, designers and architects have focused their products and projects on a sustainable, environmentally friendly approach to home building and design. Thanks to modern technology, sustainable products don’t mean inferior quality, comfort or design.

In fact, these products celebrate eco-chic versions of modern or traditional designs in both elevated and affordable versions. While products like linoleum or cork flooring may have been long forgotten, they will see a strong comeback in the new season, thanks to its natural characteristics.

Abloom with florals

The traditional beauty of floral patterns, either abstracted or straight-up chintz, will continue to be the pattern to use, especially when paired with deep luxurious velvets and maximalist styled spaces. But home designer, beware: Chintz can be tricky. Its bold old-fashioned prints can easily turn to frilly English bed-and-breakfast if you’re not careful. When done right, the floral theme can add color, texture and just the right touch of classic elegance to your interior.

Handmade accents

Handmade items made with sustainable materials like jute, rice paper and clay will be all the rage in 2020. These elements go far in grounding a home, allowing its inhabitants to be in touch with the earth and their roots. The incorporation of natural materials popular years ago — like caning, rope, sea grass and bamboo — has a strong influence over modern furniture silhouettes and decor details. Elaborately embossed wall coverings, including gold rivets and metallic accents, give surfaces a beautiful tactile sensation and modern ambiance.

Plastic and acrylic

Increasing social consciousness around climate change has influenced the design industry to produce products accordingly. Plastics are being used for indoor and outdoor furniture frames, while water bottles are being used to create outdoor rugs and accents.

For a more luxe look, acrylic products are having a comeback, giving a room the architectural structure it needs without taking up visual real estate. Acrylic in a small space, like an entryway or sitting area, provides a surface that can be layered with more organic items and not feel fussy.

Authentic construction

The rise of digitally printed fabrics has created a true appreciation for real embroidery, thick wool boucles, linens and other artisan-inspired elements. Rich textural expressions are the theme of the upcoming season. Think velvet upholstery, hemp drapery, cork walls, wicker and jute for furniture and finishes.

Maximal artwork

The surge of minimalism and Scandinavian design, characterized by neutral colors and simple materials, is finally declining. In its place, bright colors and graphic patterns are becoming more prevalent in the home.

Don’t be afraid to mix colors, patterns and textures. Take a gallery wall to the next level by having it cover an entire wall, or add a dramatic large-scale piece to your space. In this case, more is more.

Metallic accents

And speaking of timeless metal accents, sparkle is still on the design scene for living room decor compositions. Add a hint of disco glamour and luxury by introducing bronze, gold and chrome details through decorative accents, furniture inlays, hardware, lighting, mirrors and accessories.

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Personalize Your Space With a DIY Gallery Wall


Curate a magazine-worthy gallery wall — with everyday masterpieces you already own.

Blending interior design styles with a roommate or partner is all about including personal touches and pinpointing a shared interest or aesthetic. The floor-to-ceiling gallery wall we created for a special couple on the West Coast is a perfect example.

Homeowner Lauren and her fiance Greg are taking a big step: cohabitation. They’re recently engaged, and Lauren is making space for not only his furniture and accent pieces but also his style.

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The active couple shares a love for food, wine and entertaining, so we set out to brighten the dining room.

Graced with iconic Seattle views of the waterfront, seaplanes and hillside homes, the dining room connects the home’s cozy living room with the kitchen, from which we drew foodie inspiration for the gallery wall.

When creating a gallery wall, it’s a good idea to create a balance of organic shapes and square corners.

On Lauren’s wall, vintage cookbooks, antique kitchen tools and metallic shapes like street signs and decorative letters complement the framed art and images, while a variety of shapes and sizes provides visual interest.

Make a game plan

Lay the items out on the floor so you can try different arrangements — without hammering a single nail.

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Once you’ve decided which items to include, trace their shapes on leftover wrapping paper or butcher paper, and then tape these templates to the wall to guide you in placing nails and hangers.

For a final touch, include a small piece of furniture at the bottom of your gallery wall. A chest or bench anchors the whole scene and makes a lovely spot for a row of glasses or a flower arrangement.

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Originally published August 2016



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4 Ways to Cozy Up Your Kitchen for Fall


Grab your hearty soup recipes, decorative pie plates and favorite cookbooks. Fall is here, and with just a little effort you can get your kitchen ready to make the most of it.

The season has changed, and so follows your home decor. Decorating for the chillier fall months means incorporating warm and inviting colors and textures into your home’s interior design, specifically in the kitchen.

Try these four tips to create a cozier kitchen for fall.

Weave in dark textiles

Fall means decorating with gorgeously textured throws, pillows and table linens. Introduce your kitchen to an autumnal palette using dark, natural window coverings and similar table linens for a cozy effect. This look juxtaposes raw texture with soft details like fresh fruit, warm place mats and smooth surfaces.

Bank on butcher block

Found most often in farmhouse-style or rustic homes, butcher block is great for countertops and tables because it’s durable and looks better the longer you have it.

If you’re thinking about switching out your countertop, consider butcher block for a warm, inviting feel. If you don’t want to commit to a full countertop, try a large cutting board or table to add earthiness to your kitchen.

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Photo from Zillow listing.

Add pops of color

If your kitchen has a blank space or accent wall, consider painting it for an inviting scene. For the fall season, you can choose to use warmer, darker colors like a deep red, warm orange, or olive or brown tone.

Don’t want to paint an entire wall? Select a piece of art or two featuring deep and rich colors to create a cozy ambiance. You could even paint your cabinets or counters.

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Photo from Zillow listing.

Nurture indoor plants

Houseplants are always good go-to decorations because they require little upkeep and add a touch of freshness to any space. They are particularly useful in the fall because they can double as herb gardens or unique decor.

Install a small indoor garden on your window sill or on a shelf near a window to have easy access to fresh rosemary, sage, and basil, even when the weather might not call for gardening.

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While these suggestions may seem small, they are great touch-ups to boost your festive theme this fall season. Add one or two, or mix all of the design tips for a home-sweet-home feel.

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Originally published October 2015.



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How to Decorate Simply for the Holidays (With Big Impact)


Focus on these three areas to maximize your decor efforts.

You may have dreams of decorating your home like it’s a display window at a fancy department store, but then reality strikes: You’ve still got gift shopping and wrapping to do, holiday parties to attend and host … not to mention your everyday life to live.

Don’t get overwhelmed. Go for intentional minimalism. Some years, less is more.

Simple decor can still have a big impact — not the least of which is relieving you of some holiday hustle and bustle. All you need to do is hone in on sprucing up three key areas in your home.

Target your tree

The most obvious place to start is your Christmas tree. For an easy, fuss-free tree, go with a monochromatic color scheme.

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Metallic ornaments give your tree extra glitz and seasonal sparkle.

Another option is to use all neutral colors so you don’t have to worry about balancing a color palette or tree placement — it will coordinate with any room’s normal decor.

Make your mantel magical

If you have a fireplace in your home, the mantel is an ideal spot to bring a little holiday cheer, but don’t make it too complicated.

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Cotton branches intertwined with silver artificial garland.

Choose a statement-making garland to hang or drape across the top. Place some candles on the mantel to light at night, and you’re good to go.

Top off your table

The holidays are a prime time for entertaining, hosting and gathering around the table. So bring seasonal flair to your table with a beautiful garland, which can go a long way as a table runner.

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A garland made of magnolia leaves and evergreen creates a dramatic table runner.

Make the decor as simple as placing a lush garland in the center of your table and mixing in candles for added ambiance.

Decorating for the holidays doesn’t have to be a chore. Focus on these three spots, and your home will feel magical and holiday-ready in no time.

Photos courtesy of White Buffalo Styling Co. 

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Originally published December 2016.



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The Secret to No-Fuss Holiday Decor? Use What You Already Have


Holiday decorating can be as simple as dusting off your flower vases, unrolling a spool of burlap and polishing your silver.

Hold your holiday decor horses! Before you purchase gobs of tinsel and piles of twinkle lights, take another look at items you already have — they may be the holiday embellishment you’ve been looking for.

By hunting through your cabinets and closets, you can easily repurpose common household items into yuletide decor for your abode. Need a little inspiration? These design experts share how they style up everyday objects into festive flourishes.

Dig through the craft closet

“Bust out the burlap! I’ve been known to use burlap for anything from tablecloths to a Christmas tree skirt. It’s so versatile and lends an organic, rustic vibe.”
— Brooke Wagner, Brooke Wagner Design

“Roll out brown or black butcher paper on your table like a runner. It somehow elevates everything you set on it. Plus, you can write your guests names on it in black marker (or chalk marker for black paper) instead of place cards.”
— Jenn Muirhead, Jennifer Muirhead Interiors

“Paint a wall with chalkboard paint. It’s the perfect themed accent wall that’s fun and creative, and it gets the kids involved, too.”
— Melissa Martin Molitor, MMM Designs-Interiors

Photo courtesy of Melissa Martin Molitor.

“Tie ribbon on everything! Thread it through chandeliers or banisters. Or put festive printed fabric in picture frames and scatter them throughout the house.”
— Katie Schroder, Atelier Interior Design

Scour the kitchen cupboards

“Place a set of teacups on a pretty tray, and fill each cup with a succulent or small flower arrangement. Or create a centerpiece by placing candles on a serving tray or cake stand.”
— Gita Jacobson, In The Deets

“Fill a large glass serving bowl — or maybe a punch bowl or trifle bowl — with whatever seasonal item you want. Just use the same thing so it looks purposeful and pretty.”
— Jenn Muirhead, Jennifer Muirhead Interiors

“Take an ordinary flower vase, and stick glass ornaments inside with a string of white lights. It’s a pretty display that’s simple and creative!”
— Wendy Berry, W Design Interiors

Ransack the fridge

“Dried fruit garland is still classic and sweet. Take a needle and thread to some popcorn, cranberries or dried sliced oranges, and string it up wherever you want to!”
— Jenn Muirhead, Jennifer Muirhead Interiors

“Cut up fresh fruit and put it in a pitcher before adding flowers for a centerpiece. Throw in some cloves and cinnamon sticks for added flair. For a dash of festivity, use oranges with cloves in them for place card settings.”
— Christine Estep, Jackson Thomas Interiors

Sift through the closet

“Use a vintage plaid throw as a tablecloth or runner. Or decorate a small tabletop tree with jewelry or ribbon.”
— Katie Schroder, Atelier Interior Design

“Repurpose one of your favorite scarves as a cozy centerpiece runner.”
— Gita Jacobson, In The Deets

Forage in the yard

“Instead of placing a star at the top of my Christmas tree, I’ll take a handful of fallen sticks and tie them together at the top of the tree with a raffia bow. I’ll also layer pine cones throughout my tree to balance out the glass ornaments for an organic, natural feel.
— Wendy Berry, W Design Interiors

“I gather sticks cedar branches, along with magnolia, holly, boxwood and pine. I spread them around the bases of containers or arrange them in colorful tea tins. It’s an easy way to bring in greenery without spending too much money.”
— Susan Jamieson, Bridget Beari Designs

“I love to add a garland of fresh greens around my dining room chandelier and hang ornaments from it. The fresh scent mixed with holiday cooking is wonderful.”

— Jennifer Stoner, Jennifer Stoner Interiors

Look everywhere!

“Scatter some festive items that aren’t necessarily holiday themed. For example, we’ll set out some naturally shed antlers in the fall or a tuxedo hat around Christmas. I’ll mix in a few of these types of things that feel seasonally appropriate but aren’t necessarily traditional holiday decor.”
— Summer Thornton, Summer Thornton Design

“Give a corner of your home a holiday touch with just a handful of tweaks. We made a sitting area more festive by adding new pillows (they needn’t have an overt holiday motif – a wintery look works just as well), some evergreen cuttings from the yard (with a few sprigs of berries), a stack of wrapped gifts, a scarf and bow for our deer, and a teddy bear found in the attic.”
– Chris Stout-Hazard, Roger + Chris

Photo courtesy of Chris Stout-Hazard.

“Gather objects with a similar color scheme. I pull out all of my white and silver anything and group them together — candle holders, vases, pots, ribbon. Then I go to my neighbors’ yards for magnolia and holly cuttings and get laurel out of my own yard. I just keep everything green, white and silver — jumbled together it works.”
— Lesley Glotzl

“Repurpose a metallic vessel into a vase for displaying rich greenery or arrangements of holiday objects. A brass champagne cooler, a bright silver trophy cup or even small copper mugs could work perfectly. Add fresh pops of red with cranberries, pomegranates, deep-red apples or even a few red roses.”
— Kerrie Kelly, Kerrie Kelly Design Lab

Photo courtesy of Kerrie Kelly.
Top photo from Zillow listing.

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Originally published November 2017.



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