Tips for stress-free holiday decorating

Wrenda Goodwyn • special to the Fort Myers News-Press •December 3, 2016

If you haven’t given your holiday decorating a thought, you aren’t alone!

Simple and elegant: garland with crystal ornaments draped over Frontgate’s Rosamund wall mirror. Photo: Frontgate.

As a Southwest Florida interior decorator, I face the same dilemma as my clients. How much do I want to do this year and what is the best way to get it all done with the least amount of stress? And yes, it has to look fabulous! Especially that. And cheerful.

There’s no need to go over the top. Simple really is better when it comes to the holidays. I‘ve had years to practice that philosophy in my own home and in those of my clients. There are advantages to a more simple (but beautiful) decorating scheme. It’s prettier. There is less clutter. You can appreciate the quality of your decor rather than creating visual overload with too much. An added benefit: there is less to put away when the season is over. Love that.

Use your traditional favorites. But don’t be afraid to try something new.  Some of my favorite (simple and stress-free) decorating tips:

 

Have a plan.

Don’t head out the door without it. Come up with a color scheme and a specific (short) list. Stick to it.

Make an entrance! 

Add some bling with a celestial starburst tree topper. Beautiful on a tree, shelf, wall or mantel. Metal, hand painted with glitter and bead accents. Photo: Frontgate.

Start at the front door and take your door from drab to fab with a fresh pop of color!  Think greens, reds, turquoise (if you are bold). Remember, it is only paint, so don’t be afraid!  And don’t stop there! Take last year’s wreath and give it a makeover to complement the door.  Beautiful shells, branches, feathers, colorful ribbons or burlap will help you create a new wreath in no time. A huge impact with minimum expense and effort.

Use what you have! 

Don’t put everything away and transform your home into a winter wonderland.  Use what you have in your home as your stage.  If you have a piece of artwork that you love over a mantle or table, start there and add holiday decorations that compliment it. And don’t forget: what comes from nature works best!

Speed decorating.

No time. No problem! Wreath on the door. Poinsettias at the entry. White, candles in every window. Small tree with lots of white lights, add candy canes and wrap it in ribbon in your favorite color. Spread a few candles around the house. Wreath on the bathroom mirror. Fill a large glass with colorful glass balls. Done. Minimal and just enough. No stress.

Wallpaper the gifts.

Not literally but wallpaper in a color or theme is great for giftwrap. Presents look beautiful around the tree and the paper is easier and sturdier to work with when wrapping.

Edit your collections! 

Pick a color palette and stick with it for you holiday decorating. At Frontgate, select a theme and order ornaments, tree, greenery and wreath. Easy! Photo: Frontgate.

Don’t try to use everything that you have. Declutter your ornaments, snowmen and Santa’s.  Use sparingly and use what you love most.  Don’t hesitate to donate what you no longer use.  There is a fine line between classic holiday decorating and too much.

Table it for now! 

If your dining room table just sits there taking up space except for a couple of times a year, use it for a holiday tablescape.  Start with a pretty holiday runner and use candles of different heights and widths as your start. Fill it in with greenery, poinsettias, a few ornaments, small holiday trees or sea glass sprinkled throughout and you have a holiday tablescape. 

Small space?

No problem. If your space is small, don’t overdo it.  A small tabletop tree, a wreath and a few wrapped gifts will make any space festive! And when the holiday is over, you will not have as much to put away.

Seeing too much red? 

Feng Shui teaches us that there can be too much red or “fire” energy in our homes this time of year. It promotes burnout and who needs that over the holidays?  To prevent an imbalance, think about using more green than red.  Plants, and evergreens decorated with “cool” colors such as light blue, silver, white will tone down and balance out the red.

Trade secret: 

Designers like to use white lights and pick two colors for holiday decorating. Cool, calm and beautiful! It works. 

Reign in the Snowmen.

Don’t let your Santa (or snowman) collection scatter all over the house. Group your collections together on a beautiful tray make a much nicer presentation than having them in every room. Or arrange them on a bookcase for a “you must have hired a decorator look.”

Feather your nest! 

Change your tree by using your collectible ornaments but add colorful or white feathers for an updated, new look. They are available at any crafts store.

Add some bling! 

Jewel tones this season are the rage.  Crystals, metallics, and beaded ornaments will give your tree a little sparkle and will go with your existing ornaments or go for the glam use them for the entire tree. My favorite: hang ornaments from the chandeliers.

Voila! Your house is done. So light some candles. Hang the stockings. Watch “It’s A Wonderful Life.” And enjoy a beautiful holiday season. Stress-free.

Wrenda Goodwyn is a Southwest Florida interior decorator, A.S.I.D. associate and certified gold member of the Interior Redecorators Network. She has helped homeowners throughout Southwest Florida with timeless, affordable ways to create beautiful spaces and to solve decorating problems. Her column appears the first Saturday of each month. For more information visit her website at spectacularspaces.com. Call her at 949-1808 or e-mail wrenda@spectacularspaces.com. For more decorating tips, articles and photos, visit spectacularspaces.com/blog

The bespoke door

Way before I was an interior decorator, I was obsessed with doors.

And it's much more than the actual door with its style, color and design that the homeowner has used to set it apart. It's about imagining what lies beyond the door. What the home looks like and the lifestyle of the residents.

And London has some of the most beautiful doors anywhere. Tucked in among London's beautiful streets with pubs, museums and history are these beautiful doors that I love.

Benjamin Moore's "Color of the Year" casts a dramatic Shadow

Wrenda Goodwyn • special to the Fort Myers News-Press •October 29, 2016

As someone who lives, sleeps and breathes color, I have always believed that popular color trends somewhat reflect what is happening in the world around us.

When Benjamin Moore Benjamin Moore announced its Color of the Year 2017 – Shadow 2117-30, a rich, royal amethyst, I thought, this is it. A shadowy, brooding, deep color that speaks for itself.

Shadow, Benjamin Moore’s Color of the Year, makes a dramatic statement in an entry.  Photo: courtesy of Benjamin Moore.

If you are tired of looking at all-white and grey rooms that need lots of color to make them work, you will love this color. It stands on its own. And it’s also a great color to use in an existing white or grey room.

Beautiful with white trim, ceilings, draperies, Shadow stands on its own without a lot of fuss as Color of the Year.  Photo: courtesy of Benjamin Moore.

“Allusive and enigmatic, Shadow is a master of ambiance. It is a color that calls to mind a ‘past’, yet it can also make a contemporary, color-confident statement,” said Ellen O’Neill, Benjamin Moore Creative Director. “Shadow is sophisticated, provocative and poetic, it can bring energy to a space or harmony and a moment of respite.”

Benjamin Moore has announced its Color of the Year 2017 – Shadow 2117-30, a rich, royal amethyst, a shadowy, brooding, deep color that speaks for itself. Photo: courtesy of Benjamin Moore.

It’s a lot of pressure to put on a color but honestly, don’t we all need some energy, harmony and respite after surviving this campaign season? 

The Benjamin Moore Color Studio forecasts color trends annually after a year of research attending major industry shows around the world, while also taking cues from standouts in architecture, fashion, textiles, home furnishings and the arts. In addition, the color trends palette for 2016 includes 23 colors that work beautifully with Shadow.

For use with Shadow, the Color Trends 2017 palette features 23 rich and sophisticated hues ranging from muted pales to saturated deeps. Photo: courtesy of Benjamin Moore.

You may remember last year’s Color of the Year was Simply White. Well, Shadow is the total opposite. It’s a bold step. The color is dramatic, rich and says, “Here I am. Just look at me.”

It’s a color that stands on its own without a lot of fuss.

As a Southwest Florida interior decorator, I spend a lot of time doing color consultations for my clients.  I always advise against following a color trend just for the sake of the trend. But they can be fun and bring a little energy to a room that needs some refreshing.

How would I suggest using this color?

In a library, office, powder room or accent wall. And I am thinking about a closet makeover using this color and a sparkly chandelier. Luscious.

Also: wall coverings and fabric for pillows or window treatments.

I can also see painting an eclectic piece of furniture in Shadow. Picture it see it on a Simply White wall. Yummy.

Shadow was selected by the Benjamin Moore Color Studio after a year of research attending major industry shows around the world, while also taking cues from standouts in architecture, fashion, textiles, home furnishings and the arts. Photo: courtesy of Benjamin Moore.

So, if you are feeling like adding a little pizazz to your space, give it a try. If it speaks to you, buy a pint and test it out. You just may love it!

 

Wrenda Goodwyn is a Southwest Florida interior decorator, A.S.I.D. associate and certified gold member of the Interior Redecorators Network. She has helped homeowners throughout Southwest Florida with timeless, affordable ways to create beautiful spaces and to solve decorating problems. Her column appears the first Saturday of each month. For more information visit her website at spectacularspaces.com. Call her at 949-1808 or e-mail wrenda@spectacularspaces.com. For more decorating tips, articles and photos, visit spectacularspaces.com/blog

 

Bring timeless French style into your home

Wrenda Goodwyn • special to the Fort Myers News-Press •October 8, 2016

Inspired by an antique she found in Paris, Susan Kasler’s bookcase from Ballard Designs is finished in the classic Louis style with fluted details and hand carved florettes. Perfect for your favorite books. Photo courtesy of Ballard Designs.

On my desk, I have a card that says: “I often dream that my life is just as it is now…only I have well-behaved hair and I live in Paris.”

And all of this is true. To live in a dreamy (small) apartment in Paris, I can just see it: White walls (the light is great). Beautiful billowing drapes that puddle on the floor. Huge antique gilded mirror that is propped against the wall. A few antique pieces here and there. French armoires to hold my clothes. Artwork on the walls and lots of books on a small bookcase. A tiny bathroom with a claw foot tub. A cornflower blue kitchen with a table for guests (separate dining room not necessary). High ceilings and French doors that open to a small terrace. And a view of the Eiffel Tower. Especially that.

Casual elegance with creamy white walls. Moldings. Architectural elements. Photo courtesy of Ballard Designs.

Okay, I am awake now but it’s a beautiful dream that I thought about a lot when I was in Paris several weeks ago.

Let’s face it, when it comes to fashion and interior décor, the French get it.

They make it all look effortless. Thrown together. Très chic.

I found myself searching for that “it” that the French have for making it all look stylish and easy.

You don’t need to be born in Paris to have Parisian style. -Ines de la Fressange, model, face of Chanel, author of Paris Chic.

Designed in the timeless Louis XV style, this classic French bergere chair looks fresh for today dressed in double piped, flaxen cotton. Frame is crafted of solid oak with fluted scrolling arms, serpentine skirt and cabriole legs. Photo courtesy of Ballard Designs.

And you don’t have to be born in Paris to have it. Although it helps. You don’t set out to have French style. It just evolves.  It’s about timeless beauty. Much of its simplicity is already in our homes and we can, with a few simple steps, include more.

Whether inspired by visits to Paris or the countryside or from daydreaming with decorating magazines, your home can be a tranquil retreat inspired by some of the best of French style.

A few French décor starter tips

Drapes (silk or linen) that puddle to the floors. In a bold color.

Offset the shininess of contemporary furnishings with older, more traditional pieces.

Don’t be afraid to leave something “undone.”

In the classic Louis Philippe style, the iconic rounded shoulders and squared base of this Louis Mirror strike a perfect balance between casual curves and crisply tailored lines. Composite frame with beveled glass. The orb chandelier features an openwork sphere of hand wrought iron surrounding six upright globe lights to illuminate your space in a dining room, living room or entry. Photo courtesy of Ballard Designs.

In the classic Louis Philippe style, the iconic rounded shoulders and squared base of this Louis Mirror strike a perfect balance between casual curves and crisply tailored lines. Composite frame with beveled glass. The orb chandelier features an openwork sphere of hand wrought iron surrounding six upright globe lights to illuminate your space in a dining room, living room or entry. Photo courtesy of Ballard Designs.

Create a clean, spa look in the bathroom with toile wallpaper, marble tile, claw foot bathtub is optional.

Add a huge, beautiful mirror.

And whether you are a Francophile or a homeowner looking for a calmer, timeless interior, you may enjoy trying a few of the following tips:

Simplicity. It’s about keeping things uncomplicated. We often need this reminder. 

Collect from earlier times. Used pieces that have been passed down. Architectural salvage. 

The rustic weathered finish of this zinc framed mirror reminds us of the metal flower pots you see outside the country houses of southern France. The mirror has wide bevel for light-catching contrast. Frame is hand crafted of galvanized metal and may be hung or leaned on a wall.  Photo courtesy of Ballard Designs.

Characteristics.  Clean and simple. Casual and comfortable. Calm, relaxed style, no fussing.

Classic. Rooms that flow (perfect with Southwest Florida’s open floor plans). Mix elegant and casual to make it all work. Blend antiques/modern/vintage. Shop yard sales, flea markets, antique shops.

Minimal decorating. A few scratches are fine: character. Blend old with new. Iron scrollwork on stairway and doors. Lots of light. Arches.

Quiet, neutral color palette with hints of color. Creamy white walls with small accents in art and accessories.

A touch of gold. Add a gilded framed mirror or a gold sunburst mirror.

Add some sparkle. A crystal chandelier in powder room, bedroom or closet. Or anywhere! 

Marble. Countertops to balance out the wood.

Bottom line: Fill your home with what you love. This is always true. You can make your home a tranquil retreat inspired by a bit of the French style. 

Eiffel-tower-paris

 

Wrenda Goodwyn is a Southwest Florida interior decorator, A.S.I.D. associate and certified gold member of the Interior Redecorators Network. She has helped homeowners throughout Southwest Florida with timeless, affordable ways to create beautiful spaces and to solve decorating problems. Her column appears the first Saturday of each month. For more information visit her website at spectacularspaces.com. Call her at 949-1808 or e-mail wrenda@spectacularspaces.com. For more decorating tips, articles and photos, visit spectacularspaces.com/blog