Design For Real People

Design For Real People

Real Rooms, Real People, Real Lives, Real Budgets

Stunning Candle Wall

What do you do with a giant blank wall? Add a ton of drama and romance with a candle wall! 

Below is the wall before (this picture cuts off the wall a little bit on the right). We wanted something interesting and bold.

Here are the photos that inspired us:

So this is a very large wall and we knew we didn't want to fill up the entire area. In brainstorming about it, I came up with the idea of wooden blocks. Here's what we used:

My client bought 18 of them in white. We cut out paper in 5" squares, the same size as the blocks, and taped them all over the wall in a random pattern. The blocks were hung and my client placed small mercury glass votive holders on each one. The candles inside are battery-operated and work on a remote control, to make it easy to light the ones that are really up high on the wall.

As my client says, "It's my favorite part of the room for $200!" The dramatic impact is truly amazing: beautiful, soft candlelight washing across the wall. Gorgeous!!


Cozy Decorating, Part 1

Cozy Decorating (Part 1)


Brr! It's cold outside! But come on in to your house—it's cozy, warm and inviting. There are comfy places to sit, fluffy throws to wrap around your shoulders and soft rugs for your cold toes.


If your house is still in summer mode and nowhere near the cozy refuge I just described, here are a few things you can do! Soon, you'll have the coziest house on the block!


Arrange the furniture to face the fireplace

Even when you don't have a roaring fire going, it's still cozy to have the furniture face the fireplace. It is the natural focal point of the room, after all! So pull the sofa around and create a grouping centered around the fireplace. And then, of course, light a fire, sit back and enjoy it!


Don't have a fireplace? Fake one!

Get a salvaged mantel from a cool store like Building Value in Cincinnati. You can lean it against the wall and hang art above it to make the mantel a casual, changeable focal point. Or you can screw it into the wall, paint the wall behind the opening black (or use a mirror, as in this picture) and accessorize as though it were a real fireplace. Light candles instead of a log fire.


Use warm colors

Toasty colors like these make you feel warm even if you're not wearing a sweater! Read more about these colors here.


Layered rugs

Cold feet are one of the worst parts of winter (along with shoveling, of course). For extra warmth and style, feel free to layer rugs. This works especially well if you have a large, neutral rug, such as sisal. You can put a thick and colorful rug right on top. Cowhide and sheepskin rugs are very fashionable this year and that is good news for bare feet, since they both have wonderful textures. You can layer area rugs over carpeting, too. Your feet are going to be warm all winter long!


Blanket drapes

This door drape was made out of a blanket! The same technique could be used at a window to supplement lighter-weight drapes or sheers. Simply take a blanket, turn over enough at the top so the blanket reaches from the floor to the curtain rod. Clip on some curtain rings and hang the panel on the curtain rod. It's like putting a sweater on your cold windows!


Stack up quilts and blankets

When the cold wind comes creeping through the cracks around your door, it's lovely to have a warm quilt or blanket nearby. Wrap up and settle back to enjoy your cozy home!


Keep an eye out for Cozy Decorating Part 2: The Winter Bed



The Colors of Fall

Get inspired by these beautiful fall colors!


Oh, the colors of fall! Who doesn’t feel invigorated by autumn’s blue skies, crisp red and yellow leaves and fresh air? If you’re eager to bring some of these warm and bold colors into your home, let me give you a few ideas!


I’ve chosen some beautiful Sherwin Williams paint colors that say “fall” to me. You can certainly use these to repaint a room or a piece of furniture, but feel free to use them just for inspiration. Perhaps the teal would look beautiful as a throw on your brown leather couch. Try the clear orange as placemats or kitchen towels. And wouldn’t that dark red look gorgeous on a vase holding branches of yellow leaves? Spread these colors throughout your home this season and bring the pleasures of fall into every room!


I always recommend starting a decorating project by creating a list of words that describe how you want the room to feel (what I call Emotional Decorating). As you will see below, I give you some of these adjectives for each of the colors. That way, it will be easy to match your list of words with the colors that will work best!


From left to right in the photo:


Captivating Cream, SW6659: this is a warm, yet fresh, off-white that looks beautiful as a background for all the brighter colors of fall. If you paint a dresser or table with this color, distress a bit afterward and it will look charming! On the walls, this color feels: casual, warm, fresh, pretty.


Folksy Gold, SW 6260: this color glows on the walls. Use it in a room without a lot of natural light or one that always seems to be cold. Folksy Gold will warm it right up! This color feels: warm, casual, cozy, gender-neutral.


This accent wall is painted in Sherwin Williams Folksy Gold.


Goldenrod, SW6677: A beautiful yellow! It is difficult to find yellows that don’t vibrate on the wall. This would be a good choice, especially as an accent wall. Or picture it as pillows on a mossy green sofa or as picture frames on a tan wall. This color feels: friendly, warm, energizing.


Fireweed, SW 6328: This is a rich, beautiful red. It feels elegant yet cozy. It would work very well in a dining room or as one of the main colors in a rug. Imagine a pair of velvet drapes in this color against a wall painted with Folksy Gold—gorgeous!! This color feels: rich, warm, elegant, dramatic, cozy.


Java, SW 6090: A warm, deep brown that reminds me of chocolate! I’d love a dining table in this color and I’d set it with creamy china and teal linens. And my centerpiece would be a big pitcher of mums and bittersweet berries. This color feels: warm, rich, welcoming.


Refuge, SW6228: This teal is the accent color that sets off all the other colors perfectly! It is elegant and plays well with both warm and cool colors. Paired up with these autumnal shades, it reminds me of a deep pond with fallen leaves floating on the surface. Bring this teal into your home as the main color in a piece of art, a tablecloth under your turkey centerpiece or plump chenille pillows in your family room. This color feels: elegant, interesting, rich, calming.


Copper Harbor, SW6634: This is a very pretty orange, that doesn’t bring to mind Jack-o-lanterns. Use this as a fall accent color and you can keep it long past Halloween! It is nearly the color of a terra cotta flower pot, so bring some in from outside and fill them with mums (they’re not just for your porch anymore!). If you have a brown house, consider using it as your front door color. It will provide a cheery welcome for your guests. This color feels: earthy, cheerful, casual, warm, energetic.


I hope you continue to be inspired by the colors around you. Every seasons brings its own delights and I will share all kinds of ideas in future blog posts. And, of course, I am always happy to help you in person!


So... tell me how you bring fall beauty into your home!

Super Simple Fall Decoration

Pumpkin topiary

This pumpkin topiary is cute, simple to make and will last through Halloween until Thanksgiving.

To make it, all you need is a garden urn or large flower pot, two pumpkins (one larger than the other), some poster putty and a handful leaves from your yard. Snap the stem off the larger pumpkin and settle it in the urn. If your urn not already full of dirt, you can stuff it with newspaper with grocery store bags on top (in case it rains). Use the poster putty to stick the smaller pumpkin on top, tuck the leaves around the bottom pumpkin and you're done! Happy fall!

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