Company is coming! Is your guestroom ready?

Wrenda Goodwyn • special to the Fort Myers News-Press • February 2, 2019

If you live in Southwest Florida, there’s a chance that family and friends are making their vacation plans right now and they likely include you!

It’s that time of year when the winter weather everywhere else sends them in droves to our tropical paradise in search of sun and fun. And they are planning to stay at your home sweet home.

As a Fort Myers interior decorator, many of my clients are booking their appointments around their houseguest’s arrival and departure dates. Welcome to season in Florida. It’s a busy time.

Which brings us to the bespoke guest room. And how we can make it comfortable and beautiful in time for their visit. After all, if we like them enough to share space in our homes, we want them to be comfortable. Right?

Keep luggage off the guest room floor with a luggage rack. Light and easy to store this Gaspar rack is from Ballard Designs and many homeowners use a couple of these at the foot of their bed for pillows. Photo: Ballard Designs

Keep luggage off the guest room floor with a luggage rack. Light and easy to store this Gaspar rack is from Ballard Designs and many homeowners use a couple of these at the foot of their bed for pillows. Photo: Ballard Designs

Think about your favorite hotel room. What did you love about it?

It’s usually not one big thing but a lot of little things. They make a difference.

Like the fresh flowers that one of my friends always has in her guest room and bath.

And the new Christmas sheets with the Eiffel Tower that my best friend had on my bed over the holidays because she knows that I love Paris.

Or the great travel books from places that I have visited that a friend left in my room, knowing that I would stay up and read late into the night.

They all say “Welcome. I’m glad you are here and want you to be comfortable.”

I’ve pulled together a few tips to help you get your guest room in shape so you will be ready to roll out the welcome mat in time for their arrival.

Glam it up in a guest room with a decorating style that pampers your guests. Pottery Barn’s Addison storage bed includes two deep drawers for linen storage. Photo: Pottery Barn

Glam it up in a guest room with a decorating style that pampers your guests. Pottery Barn’s Addison storage bed includes two deep drawers for linen storage. Photo: Pottery Barn

· Spend the night. Sleep in your guest room and check it out. Is the bed comfortable? Is the temperature okay? Is it dark enough for sleeping? Is there a good reading light? Make adjustments.

· Invest a few $$$$. Purchase a new set of sheets. And a couple of sets of towels, washcloths and hand towels.

· Vary the pillows. If you’re like me, you like pillows on your bed. Shams. Decorative. Sleeping. Include both soft and firm so your guests have a choice. Whatever you do, don’t send your old, flat, no-longer-useful pillows to the guest room!

· Be creative. In the guest room you can switch up the decorating to something that you might not do in your own bedroom. Bright colors, artwork, rugs and wall art. After all, it’s a room that will not be used every day.

· If you don’t do anything else…Include a luggage rack. Or a bench or stool that allows for a piece of luggage. No matter how small the guest room is, you can find a space for this and it keeps luggage off the floor (a luxury when you are a guest).

· Clear surface space. Clear out any personal items from surfaces and give your guests a place to put their things.

· Phone charger. Make it convenient so they aren’t crawling around looking for an empty outlet. I just purchased an alarm clock with two USB ports and you can dim the time at night.

· WIFI password. A handwritten welcome note with the password is such a nice touch and costs nothing! Someone did this for me and I still talk about it.

· Those little conveniences. A robe. Shampoos. Hair dryer. Nice soap. Magazines that you know they like. Candles. Fresh flowers. Think about that hotel you loved. And leave a tray for jewelry.

· Bathroom niceties. Extra toothbrush, razors, toothpaste, cotton balls. Items they may have forgotten. And leave some empty space under the vanity for them to store their personal items.

· About the clothes. Chances are that you use the guest room for storage or an extra closet when it’s not occupied. If possible, move a few things out for a few days to give your guests some space. Some empty hangers and a little room in the closet. If this isn’t possible, an over-the-door hanger works great.

· Keys. It’s nice to have an extra key so your guests can come and go as they please. Just be sure to get it back when they leave so you can give it to the next guests!

Ballard Designs.

Ballard Designs.

Wrenda Goodwyn is a Southwest Florida interior decorator, A.S.I.D. associate and certified gold member of the Interior Redecorators Network. She helps homeowners throughout Southwest Florida with timeless, affordable ways to create beautiful spaces and solves decorating problems. Her article 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

Forget the resolutions and set realistic goals in 2019

Wrenda Goodwyn • special to the Fort Myers News-Press • January 5, 2019

We are five days into a new year. And if you’re anything like most of us, by now you have likely broken all of your resolutions for 2019.

The house guests 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 the space back, it could be looking a little drab. Maybe time for a refresh and a few tweaks that make you feel good about your home.

When it comes to a fresh, new look for the New Year, it’s all in the details. Carefully planned furnishings, artwork, lighting and accessories that all work together. Shown: Frontage’s Griffith X-back swivel bar stools in linen or leather, beautiful Carmel-by-the-sea giclee print on canvas and gilded blossoms hand-painted ceramic vase collection. Photo: Frontgate

When it comes to a fresh, new look for the New Year, it’s all in the details. Carefully planned furnishings, artwork, lighting and accessories that all work together. Shown: Frontage’s Griffith X-back swivel bar stools in linen or leather, beautiful Carmel-by-the-sea giclee print on canvas and gilded blossoms hand-painted ceramic vase collection. Photo: Frontgate

Before you make sweeping resolutions like redoing your entire home or decluttering every room or losing 30 pounds, let’s have a little reality check.

Maybe the closet that needed decluttering before the holidays is still a mess. Maybe the floor plan in your family room that you have tried to fix is still not working. In a couple of weeks, more house guests will be descending upon your home sweet home (after all, we do live in paradise) and the guest room is looking more like a storage room than one that will welcome guests.

Overwhelming right? The same old issues that resolutions just won’t fix.

I have the answer.

It’s a new year filled with optimism and new ideas. The goal is to have a beautiful, safe and happy home that is calm and peaceful.

I’ve learned to 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 achievable goals for the coming year. Reasonable solutions that will solve a few nagging issues. And they are doable.

As a Fort Myers interior decorator, I help my clients find solutions for both minor and major changes they want to make in their homes each year. We do this by breaking them down into smaller goals and work to find solutions.

Maybe we give the living areas a fresh look with new color. Transform old furnishings a new life with beautiful upholstery. Purchase a new accent piece or rug. Change accessories, artwork, and lighting. Give an outdated bathroom a spa look. Decide if now is the time for a room renovation. Pick just one of these for your home interior goals in 2019 and you will have a major change.

Looking for an organized, new closet (don’t forget the chandelier!) in 2019? Shown: Ballard Design’s Sarah affordable storage system offers the look of custom luxury. Photo: Ballard Designs

Looking for an organized, new closet (don’t forget the chandelier!) in 2019? Shown: Ballard Design’s Sarah affordable storage system offers the look of custom luxury. Photo: Ballard Designs

And like the resolution goal of losing 30 (or whatever) pounds. How about a smaller goal and then we can add more? Break it down into smaller pieces.

Our goals should be stress-free and guilt proof. 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. Pick one or two and enjoy making the change. Whatever you select, happy decorating. I wish you a spectacular home in 2019!

· Goal: 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. I always say that your home is not a storage garage for someone else’s memories.

· Goal: 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. Overwhelmed with the prospect? Start with a drawer or part of a linen closet. Or at least say goodbye to your spices and start fresh for the New Year. This is one of my rituals each year.

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

· Goal: 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. This increases your space and gives you a reason to enjoy the outdoors this time of year.

· Goal: Bring 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.

· Goal: 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.

· Goal: 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!

· Goal: 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, A.S.I.D. associate and certified gold member of the Interior Redecorators Network. She helps homeowners throughout Southwest Florida with timeless, affordable ways to create beautiful spaces and solves decorating problems. Her article 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

Finding more with less: When is enough enough?

Finding more with less: When is enough enough?

Although everyone is shocked at this number, no one really argues with it.  Let it settle in for a moment. The bottom line: we have too much stuff.

We read a lot about living a minimalist life. You can call it downsizing. Decluttering. Living with less. Intentional living. And other terms that are just part of the solution. But what it comes down to is letting go of what is not necessary.

If you feel like your home has become a storage unit for items that you don’t even like anymore, can’t remember where they came from and the problem seems to be getting worse, it may be time for an evaluation of what you are doing. In other words: time to stop the madness.

Read More

Color Me Pink: a splash of happiness

Color Me Pink: a splash of happiness

Wrenda Goodwyn • special to the Fort Myers News-Press • May 6,  2017

It’s everywhere: Pink. The color.

Fashion designer Lilly Pulitzer said that “Anything is possible with sunshine and a little pink.”

We are tickled pink. In the pink. Pretty in pink. And there is pink champagne.

And it’s no wonder we are seeing so much of it in home decor. It’s a happy, light-hearted color. It makes us feel good.

Read More

Bring timeless French style into your home

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.

Read More

Designing by the book

There was a time when my Southwest Florida decorating clients wanted to know what to do with all of their books. Donate them? Sort through them and keep a few? Or for those who were downsizing, how to go about the painful task of deciding what to keep.

But these days, decorating with books is a huge trend. So much so that I find myself actually ordering books in specific colors to accessorize client’s homes.

Read More