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Easy, Natural Holiday Decorating Ideas

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the idea of decorating your home for the holidays, I’d like to encourage you to take a deep breath and relax. A trip to the grocery store or a trek in the great outdoors is all that’s needed to create lots of holiday cheer, all around the house. So pour yourself a hot cup of tea or spiced cider, and get ready to deck those halls.

http://emiliajane.pass.us/danielle
Photo: The Everygirl

First up, my favorite quick trick for creating a festive holiday mood: evergreen garlands and wreaths. You can find garlands and wreaths premade at many grocery stores, nurseries, and Christmas tree lots at this time of year. And while a wreath on the front door and a garland over the mantel are popular places to deck with greenery, consider branching out and draping a garland over a window, too. Hang a wreath from ribbon in front of the window to complete the look.

Simple Natural Christmas
Photos: Top row, The Everygirl; bottom left, Trendenser via Apartment Apothecary; bottom right, The Merrythought via Apartment Apothecary.

Next, consider where you can tuck smaller bits of greenery throughout the house. Try placing a few swags of greens around a bar cart, tuck a mini tree onto a tabletop, prop a small wreath on a bookshelf, or fill the bottom of a large glass hurricane with greenery, and top with a tiny strand of twinkling lights.

When you come up against a holiday decorating dilemma, try brainstorming ways of using natural elements to solve your problem before hitting the shops to spend (more!) money. No mantel to hang the stockings? Attach a branch foraged from outdoors to the wall using Command hooks, and hang your stockings from the branch. Short on holiday-themed gift wrap? Cut a simple tree or star shape from a potato, and stamp it on plain paper to create your own design. Need a gift embellishment? Tie on a sprig of greenery with twine for a charming finishing touch.

Simple Christmas 2
Photos: Lark & Linen

And remember, you can always tweak these ideas to fit your location. Those in the South can use magnolia garland and a wreath featuring natural cotton instead of evergreen! Get creative and use what you have.

Simple Christmas 3
Photo: The Waves We Make via Apartment Apothecary

I love to keep a bunch of potted bulbs on hand for easy hostess and last-minute gifts. Amaryllis, paperwhite, or hyacinth work well, and you can pot up a dozen or more bulbs in a matter of minutes. They look so beautiful lined up on a windowsill, you’ll want to be sure you have a few extras for yourself!

Wintry Rug Picks

Looking for a new rug to make all of your holiday gatherings extra-special? A soft, textured rug in a warm neutral hue (like the four shown above) will make your natural holiday decorations and twinkle lights really sing.

Rug shopping guide: All rugs from the Jaipur Rugs Fables Collection (clockwise from top left) Alicante; Malo; Greek in frost gray; and Mythical in ivory and gray.

For more inspiration from Laura, follow along with her at LauraGaskill.com!

Copyright © Rugs Direct ®

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Dreamy Home Libraries

On a cold and rainy (or snowy) weekend, not much can beat curling up in a comfy chair with a hot mug of tea, surrounded by beautiful books. If you’ve been dreaming of crafting your own home library, you’ve come to the right place: you’ll find plenty of bookish inspiration, straight ahead.


Photo: Jenny Komenda via Architectural Digest

I love the idea of having a dedicated home library — a screen-free retreat where you can indulge in the simple pleasure of relaxing with a good book. Floor-to-ceiling shelving makes a big impact on its own, but why not put the icing on the cake with a rolling library ladder to reach those upper shelves, and a row of lights to illuminate your tomes? In the library shown above, a buttery leather sofa piled with cozy knit cushions sits atop layered rugs. Wouldn’t you just love to curl up and read here?


Photo: Kathy Collins

If you don’t have an entire room to devote to books, consider letting your library share space with a home office, guest room, sun room, or master bedroom. The living room can be a wonderful place for a library, but keep in mind that if you also have the TV in the living room, blaring sports may not prove to be the most serene backdrop for reading. However, if your TV is in a separate den, the living room can be ideal. The most important part is comfort, so wherever you decide to put your library, it’s worth investing in a high-quality reading chair. You can’t go wrong with a pair of classic wingbacks, as shown here.


Photo: The Style Files via Apartment Therapy

Of course, your bookshelves don’t need to be built-in to be amazing, as the library shown above proves. Just get the tallest bookcases you can find, anchor them to the wall (to prevent toppling) and fill them to the brim with fabulous books. And instead of library lights, you can simply dangle a fun set of string lights vertically down the side of your shelves to add readerly ambiance.

Every library needs a cozy rug underfoot, and I love the look of layered rugs. Layering rugs might sound complicated, but it can be really simple — scroll back up to that first photo to see how great it can look! Above, I’ve shared two of my current favorite combos; get the largest size natural fiber rug that will fit in your space, and top it with a traditional rug in a slightly smaller size for color and softness.

Rug Shopping Guide: (Clockwise from top left) Surya Country Living jute rug; Surya Caesar rug; Loloi Rugs Izmir; Safavieh Natural Fiber sisal rug.

For more inspiration from Laura, follow along with her at LauraGaskill.com!

Copyright © Rugs Direct ®

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Ideas for a Simple, Graceful Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite occasions to host. With traditional dishes and family favorites on the menu, there’s no stressing over what to serve, and (most importantly) with everyone home and hanging out together on a Thursday, there is always a lot to be grateful for! Whether it’s your first time hosting Thanksgiving, or your twentieth, let these ideas inspire your own simple, graceful celebration.

Thanksgiving 1
Photo: Ella Claire

Set the table in advance. If the table is set, you will instantly feel like you’re ready for company. Short on glassware? Use jam jars for water. No tablecloth? Pick up an inexpensive canvas painter’s drop cloth, and have your guests write messages of gratitude on it with fabric markers. Decorate the center of the table with seasonal finds, like colorful pumpkins and gourds and unscented candles. One thing to think about in advance is where all of that glorious food will go! I prefer to set up a buffet on a separate table and let people serve themselves. It’s a lot easier than passing hefty casserole dishes and leaves more room for your beautiful centerpiece.

Thanksgiving 2
Photo: Bless’er House

Incorporate gratitude. I love the gratitude lists shown above: paired with a mini pencil at each place setting, this makes a natural way to encourage each guest to begin thinking about things they are grateful for this year. Other fun ways to show gratitude are with a thankful tree or gratitude pumpkin. A thankful tree is simply a cluster of branches in a vase, with paper cutouts of leaves available for guests to write their gratitudes on, plus mini clothespins to attach them to the branches. And a gratitude pumpkin is just a white pumpkin that folks can write messages on using a black permanent marker!

Thanksgiving place cards
Photo: Lark & Linen

Get creative with place cards. Another sweet way to elevate the Thanksgiving table and make it extra-special is with place cards. I don’t know about you, but in my family, we almost never use place cards at gatherings … except at Thanksgiving! In the past, we’ve used a photo of each guest (printed out in black and white) and set atop the napkins; homemade place cards created by my little one and his cousins; and pears with the names tied to the stems. This year, I’m dying to try the autumn leaf place cards shown above. The gilded edges and calligraphy style writing make these worth the effort.

Thanksgiving bar cart
Photo: Julie Blanner

Set up a drinks station … but not in the kitchen! Trust me, you do not want thirsty guests getting in your way when you’ve got a turkey in the oven and every stovetop burner full. Make things easier all around by setting up a bar cart or sideboard with wine, cider, carafes of water, and anything else you’re serving to drink. A vase of colorful autumn leaves is a festive touch for the drinks area. If you need to keep beverages cold, use a cooler filled with ice: it will be easier for guests to access, and saves precious fridge space, so it’s a win-win.

Thanksgiving Rugs

Thanksgiving shopping guide: Drape the Kate Spade New York Seaport Tassel Throw over the back of a dining chair for a boost of warmth. Underfoot, I love the rich gold hue of the Surya Centennial Rug (above, on right), or the classic stripes of the Kate Spade New York Nolita Seaside Stripe Rug (above, left). And of course, all of these items would look perfectly cozy long after the Thanksgiving meal is over!

For more inspiration from Laura, follow along with her at LauraGaskill.com!

Copyright © Rugs Direct ®

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Not-too-Spooky Halloween Ideas

Halloween in my neighborhood is a really big deal, complete with elaborate haunted houses, spooky soundtracks, and some really frightening scenes. It can be a lot of fun for older kids and parents, but overwhelming for the youngest ones. Whether you have small children, or simply want a softer, gentler approach to Halloween decor, you’ve come to the right place. The following ideas are just spooky enough to feel Halloween-worthy, and come together quickly and easily.

Halloween decor ideas
Country Living

Harvest Theme Front Door. A decked-out front door lets trick-or-treaters know you’re open for business, so if you only have the time to decorate one spot around the house, make this the place! When you’re going for a low-spook factor, I find it helps to think more “fall” than Halloween, and bring in some farm and harvest accessories to play up this theme. In the space shown here, a bale of hay turned on end acts as a display stand for a beautifully carved jack-o-lantern, while a lush harvest wreath adorns the door. The only slightly spooky elements are the sweet “boo” doormat, and the little flock of bats hanging overhead.

Halloween decor ideas 2
Revel Blog

Gourd Tea Lights. If you have a bit more time, one simple craft project I highly recommend is making a few of these beautiful gourd candleholders. All you need is a sharp knife or Exacto blade, a spoon for scooping, and tea lights to pop into each gourd. This also works well with apples, which can be floated in a basin of water to create an atmospheric display for your porch.

Halloween decor ideas 3
Ella Claire

Classic Kids’ Party Games. If you will also be hosting a pre-trick-or-treating Halloween party for little ones, it’s nice to have one or two simple activities ready to go. This pin the spider on the web game from Ella Claire looks sweet and fun. Throw in bobbing for apples, or donuts on a string, and you’re good to go!

Halloween decor ideas 4
Oh Happy Day

DIY Mini Witch Hats. Last, but certainly not least, we have these adorable DIY mini witch’s hats from Oh Happy Day, which would make the perfect finishing touch to a treat table. Just add a selection of animal toys, and a scattering of candy corn or confetti to complete the scene. Happy Halloween!

Rugs to get your porch + house in a fall mood, for Halloween and beyond: (clockwise from top left) Surya Sheffield Market in Burnt Orange; Kaleen Regency in Pumpkin; and Dalyn Studio in Chocolate and Spice; Orian Rugs Spoleto Candy Chevron.

For more inspiration from Laura, follow along with her at LauraGaskill.com!

Copyright © Rugs Direct ®

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