The weather is great! Time to move outside!

Beautiful-photo-of-spring-flowers-taken-by-wrenda-goodwyn

Wrenda Goodwyn • special to the Fort Myers News-Press • April 6, 2019

It’s spring and if you are like me, the past few weeks of perfect Southwest Florida weather have you getting outdoors as much as possible. It’s the time to create or enhance your outdoor living space.

Because I was born and raised in the south, I love porches. Today, it can be a porch, a lanai patio or balcony if you are up a level.

When I was growing up, the "porch" was where the family headed after dinner. I can hear my mother saying, "Help me finish the dishes and let's go out on the porch." It was where all important discussions and decisions took place. Even though the "porch" was only a small cement stoop with a couple of aluminum chairs. It was still the place where we retreated at the end of the day. And so did all of the neighbors.

As a Southwest Florida interior decorator, I’ve had many "porches" since those days. Small apartment balconies barely large enough for two chairs, front porches with comfortable wicker furniture, large lanais' with summer kitchens surrounding a pool and filled with friends. But to me, they are all "porches." And I love them all.

Frontgate’s Myla collection brings a laid-back coastal vibe to any outdoor setting. All-weather resin wicker is intricately handwoven in an open looped pattern around durable powder coated aluminum frames. Add a rug to tie the area together. Photo: Frontgate

Frontgate’s Myla collection brings a laid-back coastal vibe to any outdoor setting. All-weather resin wicker is intricately handwoven in an open looped pattern around durable powder coated aluminum frames. Add a rug to tie the area together. Photo: Frontgate

For years, I have helping my clients makeover their outdoor space as an extension of the home's living space. No matter what the size or budget. I hope a few of my tips will inspire you to move outdoors!

Don’t crowd your space. Decide what is most important. Dining? Relaxing? TV area? And plan the space accordingly with the appropriate sized furnishings.

Protect from water and sun. Purchase cushions with performance fabrics such as Sunbrella.

Anchor your seating area with an outdoor rug. Even on a tiny balcony this works and adds color to the space. It also makes it an extension of your home.

Lighting for atmosphere. If there is space, add an outdoor lamp, twinkly lights, a few lanterns.

Add a bar cart. Yes, it's great for a party but you can also use it for storage...liquid refreshments, cups, stirrers, coasters, books, magazines, speakers, and anything else necessary for a relaxing retreat.

Purchase a new set of dishes, place mats, glasses. Add some color with a few new table enhancements that will bring some fresh, new color to your space. Use them indoors as well. After all, we will soon be heading into summer so let’s make it easy!

Replicated from original watercolor renderings, the Venetian-inspired patterns that artfully accent this outdoor dinnerware collection provide a creative pop of blue and white to an outdoor space. Use it indoors or outdoors. Photo: Frontgate

Replicated from original watercolor renderings, the Venetian-inspired patterns that artfully accent this outdoor dinnerware collection provide a creative pop of blue and white to an outdoor space. Use it indoors or outdoors. Photo: Frontgate

Something blue. Paint the ceiling blue. Why? It's pretty and adds another dimension to your porch. Giving your own outdoor space a hint of blue is the perfect way to play into history, and it just might keep wasps and evil spirits away, too! According to the legend, years ago, in the deep South, many people painted their porch ceilings a specific shade of Haint Blue, a soft blue-green, to ward off evil spirits called "haints."

It's especially common in the historic homes around Savannah, Charleston and Key West. It’s believed to keep wasp and bird nests from forming because they confuse it with the sky. Two favorites: Benjamin Moore Bird’s Egg 2051-60 and Palladian Blue HC 144. I don’t know about the legend but I love the look.

Anchor the space with a rug. Even small spaces are perfect for summer days. Check out Pier 1's Coastal Collection. Photo: Pier 1.

Anchor the space with a rug. Even small spaces are perfect for summer days. Check out Pier 1's Coastal Collection. Photo: Pier 1.

Add some green. Give it your personal touch with lots of greenery. If there is space, add some pots, a small tree and a vase or two of fresh flowers. Use perennials so you will not have to replace them each year.

Go vertical. Hang a piece of artwork or sign on a wall. This makes it feel like part of your living space.

Tiny space? No problem! Bistro table and chairs may be all that you need. No room for furniture? Fill your tiny balcony with plants and let the outdoors inside.

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

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