Give your home a mini-makeover before the holidays

Wrenda Goodwyn • special to the Fort Myers News-Press• November 2, 2013

It’s the first Saturday in November and it's official, we are heading into the holidays.

That means most of us are beginning to take a look around our homes and beginning to make some plans for the coming season.

Whether your plans include lots of holiday guests and a home that is transformed into a Clark Griswold Christmas with reindeer prancing on the rooftop OR if you plan a quieter holiday with a minimum of fuss and decorating, most of us could use a mini makeover (for our homes) before we pull out the holiday cheer.

This is a great time to give the front door a fresh coat of paint and red is perfect for the holidays! Or any day. Photo: Pottery Barn


As a Fort Myers Interior decorator who helps lots of clients with their holiday décor, I always suggest a starting with a clean and uncluttered slate before bringing more "stuff" into the home. Let's face it, having so much clutter around whether it's for the holidays or any time, makes us tired. Some of my quick mini makeover tips for a big impact may help you to have a more peaceful and balanced home this holiday season and beyond. And that's what we all want. Right?

Make an entrance. Start at the front door:  Clean the mailbox. Invest in a new welcome mat. Paint the door (try a new color). Clean light fixtures.

Give it a good cleaning: Do it yourself or hire a service for a thorough cleaning before decorating. Include washing all windows inside and out until they sparkle.

Starting at the front door, your mini makeover begins with a new welcome mat. Photo: Pottery Barn

Lamps Plus makes it easy to select lighting with Sherwin Williams and Pantone shades and custom-coordinated shades. Photo: Lamps Plus

Declutter: If you only do one item on this list, do this one! Remove everything from tabletops and counters. Store it all until after the holidays.

Lighting:Every home that I make over is light deficient! Think about increasing your lighting: Use wall sconces to fill in the dark spots in dining rooms, hallways, bathrooms, bedside. If wiring is a problem: no problem. Use the swing arm lighting. With lamps, think pairs. Basically, you cannot have enough lighting. Favorite to add quickly: Gourd lamps. They are inexpensive and come in great colors. Favorite source:

Living room: This is a good time to add new pillows and throws. 4-6 on a sofa is enough. Don't make it look like a pillow fight. Style your bookshelves with some upright, some horizontal, add pottery and photos along with space for some holiday pieces. For a dark corner in the room or hallway, put a tree in a basket and decorate with white lights.

Kitchen: No time for a complete renovation but you can make some quick changes in the room that is the main gathering place during the holidays. Find new containers for flower, coffee, sugar, etc. and buy a pretty tray to hold everything neatly together rather than spread around. This time of year, we all need more kitchen space. If you don't have an island, create your own with an antique or flea market table or purchase a metal table that you can also use as a corner bar. If you want to add some sparkle, change the cabinet hardware. One of my favorites: colored class knobs. A good source: yourself an early present and add a colorful appliance. My favorite: the KitchenAid cheery red mixer from Williams-Sonoma.

Dining room:Create a holiday tablescape in the middle of the table that will work for meals and when it is not in use. Bored with your dining room chairs? You have time to spray them black and upholster with a fabulous new fabric! Set up a pretty bar with new accessories.

Master bath: Your sanctuary during the holidays! My best tip: Use a real rug (not a bathroom scatter type rug) in front of the sink. Looks great and will make you happy. Hang hooks on door for towels. This is a good time to invest in oversized towels in a bright new color. Same for candles.

Invest in luxurious, oversized towels to give your bath a spa feel during the holidays. Photo: Pottery Barn

Guest bath/powder room: Invest in a sparkly new light fixture or chandelier. If mirror need to be replaced, think "oversized." Favorite source: Home Goods.

Master bedroom:No better time than now to invest in new bedding. You will thank yourself when you fall into bed after a day of holiday frivolity! And to add a nice design element: paint the ceiling. A favorite: Benjamin Moore Opal Essence. Gives the feeling of staring up at the sky and is very restful.

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

Home Inspirations: Window treatments define a room's style

Wrenda Goodwyn • special to the Fort Myers News-Press• October 5, 2013

From Ballard Designs: Drapes hung just below molding give this beautiful room a balanced look.

Every designer knows that from the fabric to the hardware, window treatments define the style of a room.

Drapes provide impact through the use of color, pattern, texture and decorative details. And when hung right, they give the illusion of height in a room. They can visually widen a window, letting in lots of light.

And yet, window treatments are the most confusing component of interior decor to homeowners. We dress up a window for various reasons: privacy, to block sunlight, to disguise a not so pretty window and to add fabric and color to a room to make it interesting.  And if you don’t need window treatments for any of these reasons, you may wish to think about leaving the windows bare, especially if your window is architecturally beautiful or if you have a view that should be unblocked. 

It is a good idea to live in the room for a while to decide what works best for your lifestyle. Because there is a financial commitment, you don’t want to make a mistake. And there are lots of choices. From shutters to shades to panels to full drapes. Not an expert? No problem. Here are a few tips that I use for my southwest Florida clients who want to incorporate fabric into their space with draperies.

Still need a puddle? Try this mini puddle from Pottery Barn.

Puddling or not?

For the most part, I say, not. Oh, sure, the yards and yards of fabric gathered on the floor in a prefect arrangement are gorgeous. And if they are being done for a photo, they are great. But that is the problem. Like the big wedding dress that gathers at the bottom, it only works in photos. If you vacuum or open and close your puddled drapes, they are not for you.  One the other hand, if you have a large room (like a ballroom with lots of space) and someone to constantly rearrange and dust them, they may work. But on a day to day basis for most of us, they are just too formal and need lots of floor space to do the look justice. The theatrical look works for some (large) spaces and certainly adds drama to a room. But remember that big wedding dress.

Still not convinced? Okay. If you must have a puddle or a mini puddle, hang your silk or faux silk drapes all the way to the floor with a break to get the effect. But not a full puddle. Two or threeinches.

Hang them high!

Don't do that (left)! Do this (right)!

This rule works every time. To give a room height and an elegant look, hang them high. From just below the crown molding or ceiling. And this applies to any window in your main living space. Indoor/outdoor fabric is a great way to go for cleaning and dusting.

Drapery panels

If you have a shade, panels or shutter over the window and really don’t need a full drape to block light or to provide privacy, this is the way to go. It’s a very elegant look and will save some money. Pick out a beautiful fabric or readymade panel with some fullness to it. Select decorative hardware and ties, if needed, and make sure to give the panels some width to make the window look larger and as always, hang from the ceiling or just below molding.

Toppings, cornices, valances

Depending upon your window, this may be the perfect accent. These work with shades, shutters and panels. Just the decorative element to add some style to the room. Whether they work as an accent or to cover up unsightly tracks and rods, they work in combination with other treatments. Southwest Florida clients like them with shutters and blinds because they soften the hard look of wooden window coverings. They also visually raise the height of a window.

And whether it is a beautiful view or exotic fabric, we all want beautiful windows.

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, visit

Sweet dreams are made of these: tips for a glamorous bedroom makeover

Wrenda Goodwyn • special to the Fort Myers News-Press• September 21, 2013

Headboard doubles as a comfortable backrest, creating a cozy spot for reading and relaxing. Available in slipcover options, so it can be changed. Paint color: Sensuous Gray by Sherwin Williams; Light fixture at left: Capiz shells. Photo: Pottery Barn.

It’s true. The best sleep comes in a beautiful bedroom. A gorgeous bed with sheets and pillows that are so comfortable that you can’t wait to land there at the end of the day. Perfect lighting, accent touches, color, window treatments. It all works together for a touch of glamour that makes you say “Ahhhhhh” when you walk in the room.

Headboard doubles as a comfortable backrest, creating a cozy spot for reading and relaxing. Available in slipcover options, so it can be changed. Paint color: Sensuous Gray by Sherwin Williams; Light fixture: Capiz shells. Photo: Pottery Barn

Getting there can be a challenge and for most homeowners, it is hard to know where to begin. Often it is the most overlooked room in the home. Everything else gets the design touches and because no one else sees the bedroom, it is the last on the decorating plan. Wrong. Because it is where you spend your sleeping and resting hours, it deserves top priority and some thoughtful planning.

Petal-shaped capiz shells form a translucent cluster of flowers on this flushmount lighting. Photo: Pottery Barn.

To start, it is important to select calming paint colors for the bedroom. Declutter the room. Move the computer and work station out of sight. If you can live without at television in the room, great.

Stratton Bed with drawers for storage, Swing arm-sconces and a porcelain blue duvet. Photo: Pottery Barn.

Stratton Bed with drawers for storage, Swing arm-sconces and a porcelain blue duvet. Photo: Pottery Barn.

Now to glam it up a bit and add some drama! Most of these tips are simple and will totally transform the bedroom. So much so, that you will likely want all of your guests to see the beautiful transformation!  And the best news: You can spend as much or as little when and if your budget permits.

Mark Fanta, general manager of Webster & Company, which includes Ralph Lauren Home, at Miromar Design Center in Estero, says the most important thing when planning a glamorous bedroom is to decide on a theme and stick to it.

Place a small sofa or bench at the end of the bed to create a sitting area. Bed and sofa: Ralph Lauren Home at Webster & Company, Miromar Design Center. Photo: Wrenda Goodwyn.

“Whether it is a color theme, a period, or even a style like French country, the key to glamour is simple elegance.  Keep your color scheme to one or two hues and include at least one neutral.  Color clashing and cutesy florals should be banished from a bedroom.  Accessories should compliment your color scheme with clutter being kept to a minimum.

And the bedding is the ultimate in creating a glamorous bedroom. I believe in using simple white-on-white pique and bed linens of the highest thread count afforadable in your budget. Simple and clean but very elegant.”

Doug Ulrich, general manager at Norris Home Furnishings, says that a current trend is to take classic lines on pieces and give them a unique finish or paint to transform a ypically traditional piece into one with transitional timeless elegance.

"Take unique pieces such as secretary,  flip top desks and armoires and make them the statement piece of the room by having a unique size, shape or finish."

More tips to add drama to your bedroom:

Traditional design gains modern boldness in this Frances canopy bed, inspired by the open industrial feel found in revitalized loft spaces. Photo: Pottery Barn.

Select neutral paint colors. Popular now: calming grays, browns, blues. Favorites from Sherwin Williams: Bamboo Shoot, Sensuous Gray, Smoky Blue, Turkish Coffee.

Add crown molding to the room in a high gloss super white.

If the room has a tray ceiling, paint with a splash of color and hang a chandelier.  Make sure it is on a dimmer as with any overhead lighting.

A large mirror, leaning on the wall or attached, adds sparkle and shimmer.

Select direct lighting for reading and ambient for mood lighting. If space is at a minimum on your nightstands, consider adjustable swing-arm lamps or sconces.

Because the bed is the focal point, use a high, upholstered fabric headboard, leather or tufted fabric. This softens the look and has a clean, glam feel. And a modern take on a canopy bed is always in style.

Don’t overlook the foot of the bed: add an upholstered bench or trunk that can be used for storage. If there is space, a loveseat.

An upholstered chair or tufted lounge for reading adds a relaxing touch.

Repeat colors and textures to unify the space.

Writing desk or vanity is functional and should be the spot for treasured accessories that you want to see every day.

Create a master suite with use of color, fabrics, connect the bedroom and bath spaces so they work together. Much as you remember from your favorite hotel, carry the theme into the bath with the window treatments and color. This is a great way to make both spaces will feel larger.

Add fresh flowers and have sweet dreams!

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

Moving: Putting some happiness into a new home and making it yours

I have a good friend who is moving from Orlando this week to Florida's west coast to begin a fabulous job with a major hotel company. He has leased a very cool apartment that is just a hop from the beach (which he loves). He wants to make it home for a year while he takes the time to explore the real estate market.

His new apartment is in a fun neighborhood just blocks from the water. With hardwood floors and stainless appliances, it has a loft, industrial feel.

The first thing that has to be changed is the green (not a good green) accent wall in the living room and he needs to select colors for the rest of the apartment. I suggested that he add a splash of red for the accent wall and greys in the master bedroom and bath. For furniture and accessories, I suggested clean lines to go along with the style of the apartment.

After talking a walk through West Elm last week, I suggested that he shop there because of the new sofas and accent pieces that I saw. As a Fort Myers interior decorator, I often recommend West Elm to my clients when working with smaller scale spaces. I have put a few together that will make his apartment a home and reflect his style right away.

To new beginnings and a happy, new home, my friend!   

Source: West Elm.

Source: West Elm.

Source: West Elm.

Source: West Elm.

 Source: West Elm.

 Source: West Elm.

Source: West Elm.

Source: West Elm.

Stuck in your kitchen? Tips for a makeover!

Wrenda Goodwyn • special to the Fort Myers News-Press• August 3, 2013

Kitchen painted in Benjamin Moore neutrals.

Kitchen painted in Benjamin Moore neutrals.

Just one look through House Beautiful or Coastal Living and you will start thinking about redoing your kitchen.

It is the hub of activity, the heart of your home. And if you every plan to sell, you will find thatitis the most important room in the house.

But often the most expensive redo in your home, it may be out of the question. Or not!

Okay, so ripping out the walls and “opening up the room (as all of the home shows say)” is pricey and maybe not currently in your budget. What is a homeowner to do? We all want a beautiful kitchen. Right? Here are a few tips that will give you a quick kitchen update without spending a fortune.

But first, some things to consider.

Do your homework. Have a plan. This may be a good time to call in a designer. You may think that you can't afford this step but if you are on a budget, a two hour consultation will help you make some decisions and decide where best to put your money.

Determine your look before you begin to shop around. Are you just looking to refresh your kitchen or are you ready to make major changes? Are you overwhelmed about what to do and how to get the most bang for your money? Do you want painted cabinets or wood stained? What type of flooring? Countertops and what kind if any, backsplash?

Okay. So let's begin with a few tips that will make a BIG difference if you are on a budget or need to sparkle it up for resale.

#4 Kitchen cabinets.JPG

For space above cabinets: create a pretty vignette of pottery and artwork. • Change the color. This will give you the most for your money. If the space is small, keep everything in a neutral palette.  If your space is huge, give it a warm, personal feel.

• Declutter! Take everything out of each cabinet and drawer and clean thoroughly. Put back only what you need and use. This will make you feel like you have a new kitchen!

• Change the cabinet hardware. Big impact for a moderate price. Favorite sources: Restoration Hardware, Anthropologie, Home Depot.

     Pottery Barn Blacksmith Pot Rack.

     Pottery Barn Blacksmith Pot Rack.

Photo: Blacksmith pot rack from Pottery Barn.• Hang your pots and pans. This has a nice designer look and can be done in even the smallest kitchens when hung flush against the walls. Favorite sources: Crate and Barrel; Bed, Bath and Beyond; Pottery Barn. Also check restaurant suppliers.

• Havea pantry? Paint the door! This costs very little and will instantly brighten things up.

• No island? Create one. Flea market finds or an industrial stainless one on wheels will be versatile and useful in your space.

• If cabinets do not go to the ceiling, please remove all greenery. It cooks bad, collects dust and need I say more. Just take it away! What to do: Fill in the space with crown molding that goes to the top OR purchase rope lighting and place on the top of the cabinets for a nice effect OR create a pretty vignette of pottery and artwork.

• Need new cabinets but not in the budget? Two suggestions: Have them refaced. This can be done for a fraction of the cost of new and will totally change your kitchen. OR select a couple of cabinets and put glass fronts on them. Buy some pretty, colorful dishes at HomeGoods or Pottery Barn and brighten things up instantly.

• One of my favorite tips for a bar area: Use wainscoting in an accent color to bring in some textureand a pop of color. Very inexpensive and you can do it yourself!

• New bar stools or paint or reupholster the existing ones. Source:

Wrenda Goodwyn is a Southwest Florida interior decorator. Her practical and affordable interior decorating helps clients transform a house into a beautiful home.  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

Time to hire a professional? Tips for working with an interior decorator

Time to hire a professional? Tips for working with an interior decorator

Wrenda Goodwyn • special to the Fort Myers News-Press• July 6, 2013 

Home sweet home says everything about us and our lifestyle.

Do you love what you see when you walk into yours?

Does it make you feel happy, calm, relaxed and glad to be there?

Or is it a constant work in progress that seems to never end? 

If you are feeling a little overwhelmed, keep two important facts in mind:
#1 You don’t have to be rich to have a beautiful home. Really. It's not just for the rich and famous.
#2 Decorating is about beautiful things that enhance what you already have and living well in surroundings that speak to your lifestyle. In other words: Quality. Not quantity.

Sometimes we all need a little help. A new pair of eyes to offer some solutions. A professional interior decorator can make all the difference.

Maybe you want to update a bathroom. Create a beautiful bedroom.  Redo a kitchen for entertaining.  Replace old carpet with wood or tile.  Change paint colors or go all neutrals with pops of color. Create conversation areas in large open living areas. Blend old furnishings with new to fit your lifestyle. Update your lighting.  Add new accessories.

Photo: Benjamin Moore

If this is your first time working with an interior decorator, you may be a little nervous. There are a few tips (right from the source) that will help and give you exactly what you need to know before the first appointment!

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