Freshen up your home heading into the holidays!

Wrenda Goodwyn • special to the Fort Myers News-Press• December 3, 2011

It always happens just as we are heading into the holidays.

I receive calls from clients who want to do a mini home makeover before the out-of-town guests and friends arrive.  Everyone wants their home to look its best but we are all surprised that the holidays came upon us so fast and before we have time to redo our home into absolute perfection!

Wait.  Stop.  Take a breath!

We can’t do it all so I have come up with a short list that will refresh your home before you begin your holiday decorating.  Not a total makeover but some easy and painless tips:

Photo of Pottery barn entry tableThis stylish table from Pottery Barn is perfect for bringing organization to busy family spaces. With a compact profile and simple silhouette it is perfect for smaller entry areas.• Start at the front door.  Literally with the door! Transform the entry to your home with a new paint color.  This is inexpensive and fun. It will be a nice change for a boring front door that has been the same color for far too long.  The color depends upon your exterior color but if it is a neutral tone, try a red, turquoise, blue or orange shade.

• Add some new plants to the front porch and clear out any that have seen better days!

• Before you bring out your décor items, give your home a quick decluttering. Take 15 minutes and put items away that are taking up extra space on surfaces that you will need for your holiday treasures.  

• If new bedding is on your list, now is a good time.  Nothing transforms a master bedroom and guest bedroom like new linens and comforters.  And when the holiday stress sets in, a beautifully made bed to sink into is pure bliss!

• As much as you would like, you probably do notPhoto of a blue doorThis beautiful blue door and surrounding plants say “welcome” to your guests during the holidays or any day! have time for new window treatments but you do have time to order a beautiful cornice for a window or two.  Pick out some beautiful fabric find an upholsterer and they can help you with a cornice that will change the room. Or do it yourself with some easy step-by-step directions that are readily available online.

• Open the windows and light scented candles, add potpourri and seasonal aromatherapy.

• Since we all have guests over the holidays, make sure that you have a place in your entry near the front door where visitors can put their bags and purses.  A chair or a bench or a wide table. Takes away that awkward “what do I do with my bag” moment when guests arrive. And make this a permanent part of your entry.

• This is a good time of year to add some new pillows and throws to your couches.  Try out a new color that pops and compliments your wall color (no, you do not have time to repaint!).

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Repurposing Objects from the Past Can Turn “Worn” into “Wow.”

Wrenda Goodwyn • special to the Fort Myers News-Press• November 29, 2011

Decorating your home with things that have already seen a long life – furniture, art, sculpture--man-made or from nature --- can bring a unique, one-of-a-kind charm that shopping for something new can never achieve. And when objects that were intended for one purpose are given a brand new life as something entirely different ---well, the word “creativity” can take on a whole new meaning.

Photo of steel hatch cover tableA steel hatch from a salvaged Navy warship, still with its original rivets and brass fittings, becomes a wonderful coffee table in a local Captiva beach house.

Everything old is new again, as the saying goes.

The word “repurpose” appeared in Webster’s in 1984.  The definition: to change something so that it can be used for a different purpose. 

Repurposing is not a new concept. People have been looking for new uses for their “stuff” since the beginning of time. Sometimes out of necessity.  Often because it is just hard to part with something and you need to find a better use for it.  Repurposing is very popular at the moment,  a trend that is hopefully becoming a permanent part of our lifestyle.

Photo of handcrafted lentilA hand-crafted lentil that once hung over a window of a southern plantation home now serves as a wonderful display shelf for a collection of favorite shells and coral.There are some really good reasons to repurpose.  It helps to cut back on what takes up space in the landfill. You will save money repurposing instead of buying new.  And it gives a lot of satisfaction to know that you have “saved” a vintage piece that has been tossed aside.  

With antique fairs, flea markets and garage sales in full swing with the cooler weather, you may wantPhoto of vintage oarsFanciful-colored wooden oars, worn from years of service on row boats of all sizes, now hang as a striking nautical family on a rack that was originally designed for drying tobacco plants. to give repurposing a thought.  As you are browsing, remember that many items can be cleaned, painted or completely restored.  Look for items that can be used for functional, everyday uses or for an eclectic accent piece or as artwork.  The possibilities are endless if you develop a new way of looking at objects.  Several weeks ago I was going through an architectural salvage yard with a client who fell in love with two beautiful vintage doors.  She asked what she could possibly do with them.  I said:  "Headboards."  You will not find these new in a furniture store.

And repurposing does not have to cost anything. Think about the beautiful treasures from nature: wood and items that wash up on our beaches every day.  With a little imagination, they become art for our homes. 

And what will I do with the vintage ten foot Nantucket wooden rowboat that I just bought last week? It is falling apart, has charming but peeling turquoise paint and came with four antique oars.  And a big hole in the side. It cried out to me to be repurposed.  I am thinking of hanging it from an open beam ceiling over an outside gazebo bar!

Photo of vintage Nantucket boatOnce this vintage Nantucket rowboat is patched up and painted, it will be a focal point as it hangs from the open beam ceiling of a client’s outdoor gazebo bar.

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Try these (FREE!) decorating tips at home

In this week's Home Inspirations column I thought I would share a few of my favorite decorating tips! 


Wrenda Goodwyn • special to the Fort Myers News-Press• August 27, 2011


When I speak to organizations throughout southwest Florida, I always offer some tips that my audience can actually go home that day and either try them out or include them in the decorating plan in their own homes. 

Try some of these ideas for making quick changes that may make you like your home a lot more! 

The best news: Many of them are absolutely free or will cost very little to implement. My top decorating trips that anyone can implement are listed below. Give them a try! 

• Keep your decorating plan simple and uncomplicated.

• Declutter. It makes all the difference: Start with the refrigerator magnets and work through old stacks of magazines. Then remove some furniture if your room seems too crowded.

• Color is a decorator's most valuable tool and it can be yours as well. Follow this color rule for distributing color and you can't go wrong: 20% walls, 30% furniture, 10% accessories.

 • When selecting paint colors, follow nature as your guide. Mother Nature has perfected the color palette so imitate her. This is a rule I always follow and I have never been sorry.  See below:

Photo of nature's colorsOne of nature's color palletes photographed at Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary.

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Spectacular Spaces tips for eliminating color confusion!

If you are thinking about making some color changes in your home, like most of my clients, you may be feeling a little overwhelmed by the choices.  Check out these tips from my Home Inspirations column in this weekend's News-Press.

Wrenda Goodwyn • special to the Fort Myers News-Press• June 4, 2011


Color is a homeowner's most powerful tool when it comes to dramatically changing a home. Used correctly, it completely transforms a room or an entire home. It is the biggest change that can be made for the least amount of money.

It has the power to change everything, like magic. Color is the first thing we notice. The wrong color sends us in the other direction and the right color draws us in. It turns a dull space into something exciting. It can soften a room. But picking just the right color can be a challenge. Color confusion!

Much of the process has to do with the emotional aspects of color and deciding what you like and how to achieve a feeling or an emotion in a room or in your entire home. It is what happens before you begin to pick out paint colors.

When I do a color consultation for a client, I find that most are confused about where to begin the exciting task of picking out color. Because it is about the client's home and not mine, what is a decorator to do?

First, we decide how you want the room to feel. For my own home and for my clients, I am constantly taking pictures of vignettes of color: flowers, pots around a pool, a setting in a park, that draw me in and speak to me and inspire me. This helps me to decide what mood I want to create: Playful. Whimsical. Elegant. Exotic. Cozy. Sexy. Exciting. A spring garden. Summer. Nature-inspired.

Here are some tips that are tried and tested. Use them and you can't go wrong.

• When redoing the color in a room, follow the 60-30-10 color rule. Many decorators use this rule and it works every time. The 60 percent should be your wall color. Your furniture and fabric should be 30 percent. The remaining 10 percent should be your accessories, pillows and rugs. When you see a room or photograph in a magazine and it seems to work, chances are that this rule applies.

Mother nature's color palette at Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary.JPG

• When selecting new colors, follow nature as your guide. Mother Nature has perfected the color palette so imitate her. This is a rule I always follow.


• Think about each room and how it is used. In southwest Florida many of my clients want a palette that is calm and that may mean the blues and greens. For my own office, I use a coral because reds and oranges are energizing. In bedrooms, think about neutrals such as the Benjamin Moore whites. Pop color in with accessories.

• Stick with two or three (at the most) paint colors for your home. I recently redid a beach house for a client who had previously painted each room a different tropical color. She found it to be tiring. We completely transformed the house into an old Florida beach cottage look with a pale gray and bright white trim in the living areas and bedrooms and a pale blue in the baths. Tropical colors were added with fabric and accessories. The result: Beautiful and restful.

• Avoid trends. Each year we talk about the trends in color. This is fun. Pink is the hot color. Gray is the new beige. What is a homeowner to do? Go with what you love. No matter what the trend of the moment happens to be. And don't forget my rule: Stick close to nature and you cannot go wrong with color.

— Wrenda Goodwyn is a Southwest Florida interior decorator. Visit her website at Call her at 949-1808 or email For more decorating tips and photos, visit

Home inspirations: Romancing the closet

Home inspirations: Romancing the closet

Technically, it is still the new year.  So, if one of your resolutions was to gain some control over your closet, check out the fun, fast and affordable tips from Spectacular Spaces that were in my column in this weekend's Fort Myers News-Press.

Wrenda Goodwyn • special to • January 29, 2011

Photo of Wrenda GoodwynIn "Sex & the City," Carrie Bradshaw told Mr. Big that she would rather have a really big closet than a diamond. It is a woman thing.

Closets are very complicated. They have the power to make us feel happy, fat, thin, sad, unsettled. It is an emotional relationship that we have with our closet.

As a decorator, I get to peek into a lot of closets. They tell me a lot about my clients. And I tell my clients that your closet is the one area in your home that you can control with minimal expense and effort.

We go into the closet at least 10 times a day. It is first place we stop in the morning. And usually the last stop at night. Unless you have a Mr. Big around to drop a bundle, a Carrie-style closet is probably out of reach. But I have tips on doing a closet makeover that will give your closet a designer look.Photo of Elfa designed closetKeep your closet organized with an Elfa system.

If your budget allows for a total redo of the closet - including lighting furnishings, drawers and all of the amenities - go for it. You can also check out some of my favorite closet systems: California Closets, Elfa at the Container Store and IKEA Pax. These vary in a medium price range and are easy to customize.

For budget systems that are easy to install, try Closet Maid (Lowe's and Home Depot) and Rubbermaid.

Once you have a system in place, we need to make it pretty:

- Select a yummy paint color. This will give you immediate results. I love Benjamin Moore's Blue Dusk.

- Depending on the size of your closet, pick out a beautiful runner or square rug. Something whimsical and fun. West Elm's Chrysanthemum rug is hand-tufted wool and starts at $129 for a runner

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Mission: Declutter after the Holidays

Mission:  Declutter after the Holidays

Check out my latest Home Inspirations column in the Fort Myers News-Press for tips on decluttering your home now that the holidays are over!

Step-by-step plan of action will make you feel so much better about your home
Wrenda Goodwyn • special to • December 25, 2010

In a few days, you will be clearing out the holiday decorations. This is the perfect time to do a quick decluttering. It is easy and will make you feel so much better about your home.Daily System from Pottery Barn. Photo: Gannett.

We all know that clutter makes us feel tired and overwhelmed. Check out my list and see what works for you. This is the time for cleaning out the old so some great new things can come into your life in 2011.

Old magazines: You are not likely to catch up on that stack of 2010 (or older!) magazines. Tip: As a decorator, I keep a year’s worth of magazines to show great ideas to my clients and toss the rest each January.

Furniture: Take a look at your traffic patterns and furniture. If something is obstructing the flow in your space, rearrange it or store some of it. Tip: a U-shaped configuration always works.

Collections: Declutter your collections by grouping like items together instead of having them all over the house. If you have too much, put some away and rotate. Tip: If you don’t love it, donate it.

Quick cleanup: Vacuum under all furniture.

Books: If you have too many, donate them. Tip: If books are taking over your space and you cannot part with them, consider adding shelving that fits in with your decor.

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