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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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Fall Closet Makeover

The air is crisp, the leaves are changing to brilliant hues of red and gold, and the farm stands are bursting with pumpkins and apples: fall has arrived. As you shift your wardrobe from lighter early-autumn pieces to cozier items, why not take this opportunity to do a fall closet makeover, too? Read on for ideas and inspiration to make it happen.

closet organization
Unfancy

Your first task, if you choose to accept it, is to pull everything (yes, everything!) out of your closet and assess it. Try items on if you’re not sure about them. Keep pieces that are currently in season, fit you well, are in good condition, and that feel good. Other pieces that you love — but are no longer in season — should go in a storage bin or secondary closet until they are needed. Items you don’t love, or no longer fit, should go in a bag destined for the nearest charity or textile recycling bin.

Even if your closet is small, make the most of it by using a mix of hanging rods, shelves, and bins, as shown above. To get organized, store shoes on open shelves to prevent the dreaded shoe pileup, keep sweaters and other soft items in bins, and use a set of matching hangers for a uniform look. And to keep your closet looking this good, keep a basket on the floor to collect giveaway items.

closet organization 2
Unfancy

Once your closet is looking better, it’s time to think about how you organize the outfits you’re planning to wear. One idea I love is using a freestanding garment rack (like the one shown here) to hang up the coming week’s outfits, along with shoes and bags. Taking a little time with a cup of tea (and some good music on) to shop your closet and put together outfits is a wonderful way to start the new week ahead of the game.

Erin Spain
Erin Spain

The last step is to make sure you’re handling your accessories with care. Messy piles of scarves and tangled heaps of necklaces will only make getting ready in the morning more difficult! One simple solution is to repurpose a tall bookcase as your accessories display. Fill the shelves with pretty baskets and bowls, hang a mirror on the wall, and attach some hooks for hanging up necklaces. For extra-credit, back the bookcase with gorgeous wallpaper!

Closet organization 3
Manifesto Photography for Quentin & Co.

Here is another beautiful example of a tall bookcase being used as a closet organizer, with shelves devoted to jewelry, bags, shoes, and sweaters. If you don’t have a proper closet, try combining a bookcase with a garment rack (or two) and a chest of drawers, to make a dressing area right in your bedroom.

Once your wardrobe has been decluttered and your closet organized, what’s next? A super-plush rug to sink your bare toes into, of course! My favorite type of rug for the dressing area is a cozy Moroccan-style rug — see below for four great options. And happy fall!

Rug Shopping Guide: All are included in the beautiful Jaipur Rugs Zuri Collection.

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

Copyright © Rugs Direct ®

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5 Tips for Decorating on a Budget

Lauren Edith Andersen
Lauren Edith Andersen

Every autumn the urge strikes me to get every room in the house shipshape before the holiday landslide hits. The conundrum, of course, is that the holidays can be pricey and I probably shouldn’t be spending a ton of money on myself – I should be socking it away to put towards lovely things for other people! I’m a single woman on a budget, so I try and stick to these five rules throughout the year when it comes to decorating my space which helps more than I can say when I decide I want to change a few things up.

1/ Stick to neutrals
The more a piece costs, the more likely I am to choose it in a neutral to give it a longer life. When your tastes change it’s much easier to make an off white or light grey sofa fit with your new aesthetic than that red one you were considering. (I still thank my mom for talking me out of that decision in my first apartment!) This line of thought also extends to other pieces – large indoor planters, floor rugs, throw pillows – that I think I might like to switch between rooms at some point.

Pampa

2/ Paint is your friend
One gallon of paint will easily accommodate two coats in most rooms and is some of the best decorating money you can spend. Nothing will change up the vibe of a space faster! Keep in mind that lighter colors will make a room feel larger, make wall art pop, and serve as a general canvas for whatever else you plan on putting in it. Darker walls (I’ve been so tempted to paint my dining room black!) are moody, and while they might make a room feel smaller they can also make them oh so cozy. You can even change up an entire piece of furniture or create your own art – so many possibilities.

Design*Sponge

3/ Be a scavenger
Some of my best finds have been found at online sales sites (Everything But the House, Chairish, etc), garage sales, or simply sitting out with someone else’s trash. A chair with great bones can be recovered, a credenza with some nicks can be rehabbed. If you’re willing to put in a little time or elbow grease you can save oh so much money and own some very unique pieces for your home.

Decoholic

4/ Plan the splurges
Maybe you’ve long dreamed of owning a leather couch or four posted bed, something that you’re certain you’ll be hanging on to for some time. All that’s required is a little strategic planning, AKA saving up. This always helps me stay away from impulse purchases – usually accessories – that I really don’t need. Eyes on the big picture!

Royal Roulotte

5/ See things differently
That trunk you found on the sidewalk would be a great coffee table with built-in storage space. The old dining chair from that estate sale perfectly fits next to your bed as a table. Get my drift? Start thinking outside the box more when it comes to your decor and all of a sudden the things that make up your home no longer need to be relegated to one lonely purpose. One last example: floor rugs make for great wall art.

Rugs-Direct-Collage

For more inspiration from Kelly, follow along with her at Design Crush!

Copyright © Rugs Direct ®

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