Create a Comfy Dining Room Your Guests Won’t Want to Leave

The dining room may play second fiddle to the kitchen table for much of the year, but from Thanksgiving through the new year, it’s the place to be. Think of your dining room as the backdrop that makes all of your most memorable holiday meals possible. From rich wall colors to soft lighting and conversation-sparking details, here’s how to get your dining room in tip-top shape in time for the holidays.

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Paint colors: If you’re thinking of repainting your dining room, consider going bold with rich red, sophisticated smoky gray, or a bitter chocolate. These fully-saturated hues have a jewel box feeling that is just right for creating a convivial dinner-party atmosphere.

Art: Including some conversation-sparking artwork in the dining room is a wonderful way to get mingling guests chatting. Hang a unique painting, create a salon-style gallery wall of quirky photographs and small prints, or set an interesting sculpture or artistic object on the credenza.

Cozy Dining Room

Warmth: Whether you use a crackling fire in the fireplace, sheepskins draped over the chairs, a cozy rug, or an abundance of twinkling candlelight (or all of the above!), creating a feeling of warmth and comfort is the best way to encourage guests to linger at the table.

Cozy Table Setting

Table settings: The final details to attend to are how you choose to set the table, from linens to place settings to flowers or foliage. I love setting the table the day before a big holiday gathering, as this relieves so much last-moment stress on the big day…plus you get to enjoy the beauty of your handiwork just a bit longer! If you are just beginning to collect items for your table, I’ve found a classic linen tablecloth to be the most versatile. Dress up your everyday white dinnerware with a special set of colorful salad or dessert plates, and go for something low and organic as a centerpiece, like a piece of driftwood draped in tiny twinkle lights and berry branches, or a display of fall gourds and fruit. As a finishing touch, include something special at each place: a tiny jar of homemade jam, a delicate sprig of herbs tied with twine.

Choosing a rug: The dining room is a tricky place for a rug, because it is quite likely it will get more than its fair share of crumbs and spills! The key is to look for a flat weave (deep pile is incredibly hard to keep clean) in a deep color. You can skip the rug, but there’s nothing like having a cozy rug to warm up the dining room in the depths of winter! If you want to save wear-and-tear (and cut down on cleaning), consider leaving the rug out for fall and winter, and rolling it up and storing it for the spring and summer months.

Dining Room Rugs

Rugs Shopping Guide (clockwise from top left): Safavieh Tunisia rug in dark brown; Nourison 2000 rug in lavender; Loloi Rugs Anastasia rug in slate; Loloi Rugs Anastasia rug in granite.

Photo Credits: Domino

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

Copyright © Rugs Direct ®


Savoring the seasons: Autumn

The leaves are changing brilliant shades of red and orange, the air is crisp, and the markets are bursting with pumpkins, apples, and gourds: fall has arrived! Read on for easy, natural decorating ideas using fall leaves, fresh produce, and farm-stand flowers, plus some simple pleasures to savor like sipping hot apple cider by a crackling fire…

Savor FallPhotos: Country Living

A quick stop at your favorite market or produce stand is all you really need to decorate your home for the season. Fill a few tall glass vases with cut branches of crab apple or Japanese Maple, hang a leafy wreath on your front door, and lay out a stack of cozy woolen blankets from your stash. And of course, what would fall be without pumpkins? Try a fresh twist this year with a few no-carve pumpkin decorating ideas – use stencils and craft paint to apply your house numbers or state silhouette; or coat dried leaves with Mod Podge for an elegant nature-inspired look.

heirloom-pumpkins-fall-decor-1Photo: 100 Layer Cake

And speaking of pumpkins, there are so many gorgeous and unusual heirloom varieties out there, if you usually just run to the grocery store for your Jack O’ Lantern pumpkins, why not try something a bit different this year? Search locally for a farm or u-pick pumpkin patch, and you’re likely to encounter more types of pumpkins than you knew existed! And heirloom pumpkins are so lovely on their own, there’s no need to carve or paint them.

FallPhoto: Food 52

While you’re out collecting gorgeous pumpkins, don’t forget to put apples on your list! Picking apples at an orchard has become one of our favorite fall traditions, and coming home is even sweeter when you have a basket full of apples to crunch…and bake into your favorite apple-y treats.


Fall GamesTop photo: Kristen Perers for Remodelista; bottom photo: We Are the Rhoads for Kinfolk, via A Cup of Jo

After a crisp fall day full of adventures, there’s nothing better than cozying up at home under some toasty blankets beside a crackling fire and playing games or having a movie night with popcorn and apple cider.

Cozy up your home for fall with warm, wooly rugs in rich, earthy tones. Here are a few of my favorite fall picks:

fall rugs

Rug Shopping Guide (clockwise from top left): Rugs Direct Gallery Yama Istanbul Kilim; Orion Rugs Kilim Patches; Rugs Direct Gallery Ottoman Kilim; Safavieh Striped Kilim.

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

Copyright © Rugs Direct ®


Cozy Up With A Good Book and Reading Nook

When the weather turns crisp in the fall, I can’t help but be drawn in by the magic of books. I love to get cozy beneath a blanket, a mug of something delicious by my side, and a new book in my lap. So today, let’s get inspired by super-cozy book nooks, plus I will share a few of my top picks for home and garden books to read this fall.


The first essential to a great book nook is a really comfortable chair. I love a classic wingback chair (like the one shown here) for its enveloping feel. Just add a thick, cozy blanket and a rustic stool to set your mug, and you’ll never want to leave!

Country Living

In the fall and winter months, being surrounded by rich, highly saturated colors feels just right. If you are lucky enough to have an entire room to devote to a home library or study, why not paint it a deep shade of blue? A leather armchair and live-edge wooden table add warmth to the serene deep-sea color of the walls, while a vintage portrait, nubby wool rug, and sconce lighting add character.

Becki Owens

And what to read while you are sitting in your cozy nook? If home design inspiration is what you are after, may I suggest textile designer Rebecca Atwood’s new book Living with Pattern? It is filled from cover to cover with visual inspiration and helpful tips for design lovers of all experience levels. For those who love to entertain friends at home, Holly Becker’s latest book, Decorate for a Party is packed with creative, heartfelt ideas for making any gathering feel special. And if the outdoors beckons? On my own wish list is Gardenista, the much-anticipated book by the editors at the sister-site of beloved design resource Remodelista.

Of course you can’t have a proper reading nook without a cozy rug underfoot! Try something in a warm, rich color palette like any of the picks shown above, and you really can’t go wrong. Happy reading, and happy fall!

Rug Shopping Guide (clockwise from top left): Karastan Panal Kirman rug in red; Jaipur Rugs Bedouin Amman rug in red; Surya Alfresco rug in black and camel; Rugs Direct Gallery Istanbul Yama Kilim in brown.

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

Copyright © Rugs Direct ®



Breakfast Nooks for Happy Mornings

Having a good breakfast is such an important part of starting the day, and yet it’s so common to skip it altogether. Even if you simply sit down for a few moments to sip your coffee in peace and enjoy a quick bowl of oats or chia pudding, it can really set your day off on the right foot. Why not entice yourself to make the time with a welcoming breakfast nook?

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Design: Pencil & Paper | Photo: Leslee Mitchell | Via: My Design Chic

If you have the space in your kitchen, a round table is a good choice, since it’s easy to maneuver around. Comfy chairs are a must, so I recommend splurging on a set you love (I adore the wishbone chairs shown here) and save on the table (Ikea has great basics). Always seek out the light, and position your breakfast table near a window when possible. Getting some morning sun while sipping coffee is the best!

The Everygirl-MarissaCoxphotography-HaleighWalsworth24

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The Everygirl

Super tight on space? Seek out a drop-leaf table like the one shown above – it can be pulled out to seat more when friends drop by, and tucks neatly against the wall the rest of the time.

breakfast nook
My Domaine

If you have the room and budget set aside, my favorite breakfast nook solution is a custom banquette, like the swooping version shown here. A banquette is great because tons of people can slide in, and if you get it covered in a stain-resistant fabric, it’s kid-friendly as well.

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The Everygirl

And of course, what good is a breakfast nook without a scrumptious breakfast? Even if you only have time for toast, you can make it extra-special by tracking down the best local bakery for bread or croissants, and treat yourself to a jar of seasonal jam.

For a quick breakfast nook refresh, get comfy with some new pillows. Here are my current favs:

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Shopping Guide (Clockwise from top left): Surya Charming Key indoor-outdoor pillow in teal and ivory; Surya Arrow Southwest Pillow; Kate Spade New York Embroidered Dot pillow in navy and ivory; Surya Candice Olson Maze pillow in teal, taupe, and brown.

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

Copyright © Rugs Direct ®