Giving thanks for your home

Keep it pretty and simple this Thanksgiving with handcrafted ceramics from Pottery Barn that let you bring nature into your home with botanicals and colorful fruit. Photo: Pottery Barn.

Keep it pretty and simple this Thanksgiving with handcrafted ceramics from Pottery Barn that let you bring nature into your home with botanicals and colorful fruit. Photo: Pottery Barn.

Wrenda Goodwyn • special to the Fort Myers News-Press • November 3, 2018

Even in our year-round tropical paradise where there is little change in the weather, fall brings a noticeable shift.

Unlike the rest of the country, the slight drop in temperature has most of us heading for the beach, sprucing up our lanais for the season and getting outdoors more. It means football games, antique markets, holiday open houses, the beginning of a series of celebrations and family gatherings. And Thanksgiving.

Sadly, Thanksgiving gets lost in the Halloween/Christmas shuffle. Wedged in between the two, it doesn’t get the recognition that it did when I was growing up in Virginia and it was a major family holiday.

In a time of many challenges, most people are stressed, shuffling too many obligations and trying to do it all, Thanksgiving is a good time to stop and take a breath. And to be thankful for where you live and for your home.

Bombarded by beautiful, professionally-styled homes featured in magazines, Pinterest and HGTV, we live in a constant state of wanting to do more, more, more. And a visit to model homes on a weekend sends most of us into a deep case of home envy. Everyone has a better, more gorgeous home. Or so we think.

Our homes provide comfort, safety, calm and happiness. And yet, we are never really satisfied

As a Southwest Florida interior decorator, I make homes pretty. Solve problems that bother the homeowner. Pull everything together for a calm, cohesive look. The ultimate goal: happiness when you walk in the door.

The right paint color helps to pull everything together for a calm, cohesive look and makes you happy when you walk in the door. Benjamin Moore: Wall in Mascarpone AF-20; trim in Whipple Blue HC-152. Photo: Benjamin Moore.

The right paint color helps to pull everything together for a calm, cohesive look and makes you happy when you walk in the door. Benjamin Moore: Wall in Mascarpone AF-20; trim in Whipple Blue HC-152. Photo: Benjamin Moore.

Sometimes this may only require a new color palette. Color is the big change in any home. And it can be the best investment for your money. But it may also require new furniture or a bath or kitchen redo. The most important thing: start with where you are and work from there. But don’t go crazy.

Take a minute to stop, look around and give thanks for what you have. A fresh perspective. Often it is the simple things.

A few things that you don’t need:

· Oversized coffee tables

· Too many chairs (eat-in kitchen, dining room, bar stools, patio chairs….how many chairs do you really need?) make a home look like a furniture store.

· Bar carts. Cute but unnecessary and take up space.

· Too many throw pillows.

· Media centers that span an entire wall. A lot of fuss for a TV.

· Layered rugs. One is enough.

· Dining room table and chairs that see use once a year (or less).

· To strive for perfection. It will never happen and you will just be exhausted all the time.

Giving thanks with a twist on the traditional napkin ring with these wraps from Frontgate. Photo: Frontgate.

Giving thanks with a twist on the traditional napkin ring with these wraps from Frontgate. Photo: Frontgate.

What you need:

· Keep it simple.

· Declutter something. You will feel better.

· A chandelier in your closet. It will make you happy.

· A calm space. A spa bath, a patio, a yoga nook, a chair with a reading lamp.

· Nature. Plants in the house have health benefits and make us feel good.

· Good lighting. Up the wattage.

· Decorate as though you will live there forever.

· A pretty guest room. Company is coming!

· Aim for timeless and affordable.

· Don’t live in a storage garage for someone else’s memories. Your home is about you.

Wherever you are spending the holiday, be thankful for your home sweet home.

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 article appears the first Saturday of each month. For more information visit her website at Call her at 239-949-1808 or e-mail For more decorating tips, articles and photos, visit

Home resolutions (easy) to make you love your space (a lot)

Wrenda Goodwyn • special to the Fort Myers News-Press• January 3, 2015

Stage your coffee table and make it the focal point of the room. Photo: Pottery Barn.

The houseguests have departed. The decorations are packed up (well, most of them). Home sweet home may be looking a little sad without the twinkly lights.  And while it's nice to have all of the space back, it may be looking a little drab. Maybe time for a refreshening. Not a total redo. A few tweaks for positive changes that make you feel good about your home.

Stage a coffee table and make it the focal point of the room. Photo: Pottery Barn.

Welcome 2015! Each year, I forgo the impossible, guilt inducing resolutions that are broken before my Christmas tree is picked up by the recycling truck. Instead, I come up with a list of resolutions for the home.

As a Fort Myers interior decorator, I help my clients make major changes in their homes with new color choices. Giving old furnishings a new look with beautiful upholstery. Purchasing a new accent piece or rug. Changing accessories, artwork, lighting.  Giving an outdated bathroom a spa look. Deciding if now is the time for a room renovation.  Pick just one of these for your home interior resolution in 2015 and you will have a major change.

Design a gallery wall for your entry. Photo: Pottery Barn.

My resolutions are designed to be stress-free. Isn't that what we want for the New Year? Some you can do when you finish reading this column. Others will require a little thinking and planning. Whatever you select, happy decorating. I wish you a spectacular home in 2015!

•    Love everything in your home. If not, get rid of it. Open the space for something new. Just because you have had it forever doesn't mean it is still working for you. Donate it and let someone else love it.

•    Declutter. The New Year is the time. Be brave. A lot of our "stuff" has past emotional attachments. Let it go and love the extra space and calm that results.

•    Open the windows and breathe. Seriously, those windows do open! Let the toxins out (as well as the holiday smells)  and enjoy the fresh air. In southwest Florida where we run the air conditioning nonstop, this is important. Do it now!

•    Make your outdoor space more livable. Whether it is a tiny balcony or a spacious lanai with a pool, make it part of your living space. Furniture, lighting, artwork, a rug to pull it all together. Increases your space and gives you a reason to enjoy the outdoors this time of year.

•    Be realistic and don't believe everything you see on TV. If you have worked endlessly on your home and have everything you want but something is still not quite right, it may be time to call in a professional to help you rethink your space. The home shows are just that: shows. They make it look easy and inexpensive.  It's neither. Remember this is television and what looks great may not always be practical in real life.

•    Bring some new color into your home. Whether it's a new palette for the walls or a new color scheme for accessories, this is the most impactful change you can make. Visually and emotionally, it changes everything.  And for the money, it's the best value.

Add new color and give an old piece a new look for 2015. Photo: Kravet.

•    Exercise restraint. Before you blast out the door to start making purchases, stop and make a plan. Think about how you want your home to feel and what you can do to get there. Avoid mistakes.

•    Check out your lighting. One of the biggest mistakes I see in homes is lack of or incorrect lighting. And this is relatively easy to fix. We need task (work), ambient (overall) and accent (on a particular object or part of the room). Sometimes all you need to do is increase the light bulb strength!

•    Add a gallery wall. Pull your artwork or photos together on one wall for a museum or art gallery look. Go with a dark color as a backdrop. Short on space? An entry is a great place to do this.  

•    Stage your coffee table.  You likely have everything you need! A pretty tray,  favorite books, accessories, flowers. Gorgeous!

•    Tidy up the laundry room. Paint it a color that you love but are afraid to use in any otter room. Add a piece of art. Reorganize and declutter. You may enjoy doing the laundry!

•    Always go for timeless over trendy. Will you love it in five years? Buy it. And buy the best you can afford with major items like your sofa.

Wrenda Goodwyn is a Southwest Florida interior decorator. Home Inspirations appears the first Saturday of each month. Visit her website at Call her at 949-1808 or e-mail For more decorating tips and photos, visit

Related posts:

Resolutions for a happy new year

Fill home sweet home with happiness

Home Inspirations: When to save and when to splurge

It's always a dilemma! Where in your home should you splurge and where should you save? For some of the tricks of the design trade, read my column in the Fort Myers News-Press!

Wrenda Goodwyn • special to the Fort Myers News-Press• September 6, 2014

It’s a talent. Some of us are good at it. Designers have all kinds of tricks to make it work. And you can also do it with a few trade secrets! It’s all about knowing when to splurge and when to save. And it can be a little tricky.

 Splurge on dining room table but save on chairs that can be reupholstered when you are ready for a change.     Photo: Pottery Barn.  

 Splurge on dining room table but save on chairs that can be reupholstered when you are ready for a change.     Photo: Pottery Barn.

First of all, establish a reasonable budget when you are making changes and purchases for your home. It will save a lot of frustration and heartbreak. And if you are working with a decorator, a budget allows them to focus on doing the best job for you.

Here are a few of my tried and true tips on when to spend and when to look like you did.


Sofa: As a southwest Florida interior decorator, I tell all my clients to spend as much as you can afford on your sofa. This is the most important piece (or pieces) in your home and you need to get the most for your money. It gets the most use on a daily basis. If you are purchasing a sofa that you plan to keep for a while (as opposed to a sofa that the kids will use as their play space for a few more years before you throw it out!), look for eight-way, hand-tied construction. It will give you the long-lasting durability and is the best value for your expenditure. Don’t be misled by trendy brands that look pretty in the showroom or photos, ask about the construction before you purchase. Suggestions: Vanguard, Sherrill, Stickley, Henredon.

Stainless appliances: This is a purchase that you are making for the long-term. It’s worth the investment.  

Fabric: If you are going to go to the expense of upholstering a chair or making drapes, it’s worth the investment in quality fabric that has the texture, pattern and feel that enhances the look of your home.

Kitchen counter tops: Quartz, granite, marble.

Lighting: Get the lighting right and everything else in your home will look beautiful. Don’t forget the dimmers.

Bedding: Including mattresses, pillows, and linens. It goes without saying, there is nothing better than slipping into a comfortable bed with fine linens.

Art: If you have the budget, yes, build a collection. You can also, especially in southwest Florida, visit the many consignment shops that resell art.


Splurge on the dining room table and save on the chairs. The table should be a purchase that will last a long time. Go for a timeless look. For the chairs, save by purchasing fabric chairs that can be reupholstered when you want a change.


Bathroom vanities: Purchase these off the rack! Forgo custom and check out Restoration Hardware, Pottery Barn, Lowes and Home Depot for vanities that come in a style to fit your décor. 

Drapes: This is one of my favorites for clients who want to save. Because custom drapes can quickly drain your decorating budget, purchase off the rack and embellish with trims and ties. Or if you have your heart set on a designer fabric, create panels for both sides of the window and save on the amount of fabric needed.

Pillows: Create beautiful pillows embellished with trims and save $$$ by using a less expensive fabric on one side of the pillow.

Accessories: This is what makes your home. It gives it a personality and reflects your style. And this is the easiest place to save by shopping around for the best deals. Online, big box stores, antique shops, flea markets. Go for what is unique to your taste.  

Custom closets: If this is not in your budget but you want the look of a custom closet, check out the storage systems offered at the Container Store and Bed, Bath and Beyond. You can install these yourself. Then add a piece of furniture and a chandelier and you have a designer closet!  

Wrenda Goodwyn is a Southwest Florida interior decorator. Home Inspirations appears the first Saturday of each month. Visit her website at Call her at 949-1808 or e-mail For more decorating tips and photos, visit

Want a home that makes you happy?

Call me. I will help you create Spectacular Spaces in your home!

Time to hire a professional? Read my tips for working with an interior decorator in the Fort Myers News-Press.

Tips for filling home sweet home with happiness

Wrenda Goodwyn • Home Inspirations special to the Fort Myers News-Press• Feb. 2, 2013

Let’s face it. We are all on decorating overload. HGTV. Pinterest. Facebook. RSS feeds. Blogs. Magazines.... and the list goes on and on and on.

Create a new color palette as shown in this bathroom featuring Benjamin Moore's Sea Star (lower wall) and Lime Sickle (upper walls). Visit for more ideas. / Photo courtesy of Benjamin MooreWe are constantly being told what to do, how to do it, the best way to do it, what color to do it and where to go to purchase what we need to do it. All good information but it is easy to focus on what you would like to have rather than what you do have.

And I feel your pain. Imagine being a southwest Florida interior decorator — we are exposed to the most beautiful of everything that can possibly go into a home. The result: We are in a constant state of wanting to redo our own homes (speaking for myself of course).

So my suggestion is this: If you have not done your 2013 decorating resolutions yet (anyone?), take a deep breath (or a time out) and think about what is most important to you.

For example, rather than throwing out all of your furniture and purchasing new, think about what is in your home that makes you happy. What do you love? Make a list and start from there.

Maybe rather than redoing your kitchen, you should think about painting the walls, adding some new hardware and purchasing a beautiful light fixture. My favorite four changes for the most impact: paint color, crown molding, new switch plates and new door knobs.

Remember: Decorating is all about happiness in your home. It is not about what is in or out. It’s about what makes you happy.

Try this exercise: Pretend you are selling your home. Take an imaginary prospective buyer room-to-room. Point out the best features of each room. Make a list.

Read More

Simple Pleasures: A vintage piece becomes a holiday treasure

It was easy to walk right past this little gem at the antique market in Mt. Dora.

Photo of vintage, shabby chic chair before

Someone had tossed some dried twigs on top of it and this vintage, white rocking chair didn't have much of chance with all of the other great pieces for sale. Plus, it was covered with dirt.

But the minute I saw it, I knew it was going home with me. More shabby than chic, it's white paint is very weathered. Perfect. Someone put a lot of love into making it as it has a pretty curved back. It must have spent many years on someone's porch. And now it was looking for a new home.

So, after negotiating a rock bottom price, into my car it went. I had no idea how I would repurpose it but as I always tell my clients, when something speaks to you, buy it. You will find a place.

Photo of vintage chair repurposed for ChristmasAfter a good bath and some gluing, it has found the perfect home. Years ago, a dear friend in Orlando gave me two holiday reindeer (dressed for Christmas dinner) that she purchased at an auction for a children's charity. It has become my most treasured holiday decoration. Today, they sit in my new (old) chair on my front porch with a holly berry wreath on the back.

Simple pleasures really are the best.


Want to turn plain rooms into Spectacular Spaces? I can help. Contact me!

Follow me on Facebook.


Spring forward with these tips to refresh your home

Spring forward with these tips to refresh your home

Wrenda Goodwyn • special to the Fort Myers News-Press• April 7, 2012

Since this is a close to spring as we get in Southwest Florida, most of us are looking for ways to give our homes a little freshening up! Some decluttering.  And maybe a couple of home projects that we have been thinking about since the holidays. Something about spring, wherever we live, always gives us a nudge to shake things up a little. And even if budgets are tight, you can still do a little decorating to make an impact.

Photo of vintage pickle jars from Pottery BarnAdd spring color with vintage glass pickling jars from Pottery Barn.10 tips for putting a little spring into your home:

• Say goodbye to clutter.  Spring is the perfect time to get rid of anything that you don’t love.  Go room by room and drawer by drawer.  Closet by closet.  I find that tackling one room at a time works best. Don’t aim for perfection.  Just try to make a dent. And don’t forget to dump all of the piles of magazines that you have not read in the past two years.  Too many collectibles?  Put some away and rotate them back in the fall.

• Don’t try to redo the entire house but pick one room and give it a makeover.  Maybe the family room or the bedroom.  Make changes that you have been thinking about.  Spend some time and plan it out like a decorator.  Find photos in magazines or on the internet.  Make a vision board.  Establish a budget.  Set some priorities.  Have fun.

• Add some color for the biggest change.  Try some pops of that Tangerine Tango that you have heard so much about.  Pantone’s Color of the Year is cheerful and bright.  Try new throw pillows, a throw, picture frames. It goes with almost anything when used as an accent and is a very happy color!

• Give the kitchen a facelift. Not a remodel but some small changes that will make you love your kitchen again. Take all appliances off the counters (you will have room in your cabinets or pantry that you have decluttered).  Okay, leave the coffee maker.  But seriously, remove everything else.  Now you have room for a vase of beautiful spring flowers.  Now…replace the drawer pulls and any other outdated hardware. Then add a fresh coat of paint.

Read More