Entryways don’t hold much weight during summer, when we’re all wearing far less clothing and the school year is an afterthought. But once autumn rolls around things find a way of stacking up – fast. A good entryway can act as ground zero when it comes to keeping life organized and thought out. Check out these simple tips for making the most of the space you have.
Perhaps the most used lamp in the entire place, a tabletop lamp in the entryway can be flipped on as you head out the door. No one wants to come home to a dark place after work. Not only that, but it manages to add both height and style to whatever nook you carve out.
Every entryway needs a place to sit while wrangling shoes on and off or waiting for someone else to get ready. A bench, a chair, a small stool – all do the job nicely without occupying a lot of real estate and also offer an extra seat to pull up to the table when necessary.
Clip a few flowers from the yard and pop them into a vase or pick up a bunch of greenery at the farmer’s market for a fast and cheap bouquet. I don’t do this all the time, but make a point of it when having guests over. The extra touch makes the entryway feel like more than an afterthought and helps to give a great first impression of your home.
Add a medium size basket to act as a catchall for umbrellas, scarves, and whatever else can be tossed in. You’ll never have to wonder where that second glove disappeared to ever again and manage to keep rain and melting snow off of your floors. Bonus tip – add a boot tray nearby to keep things even cleaner this winter.
If you can spare the space for a small library table or desk your entryway organization can be taken to the next level. Add a tray for mail, keys, and sunglasses while storing stamps and other little things in the drawers. It also makes for a great spot to have your kids leave permission slips and anything else that needs signing.
It’s no secret that any rug in an entryway is going to have to be able to handle more foot traffic than others. Choose a sturdy, durable weave in a color or pattern that’s not likely to show small marks from dirty shoes, etc. Here are a few of my favorites from Rugs Direct:
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
I’m in all-out nesting mode for autumn – the house is decorated for Halloween, all of the plants have been brought indoors until spring, and I’m making a few changes in each room to add that cozy factor. You know what I’m talking about, that thing that makes you sigh with relief when you walk into your home and just feel good. My biggest focus is on the bedroom because it really is the ultimate nest and I tend to spend a little more time in their when it’s chilly outside. (You, too?) And the thing that makes the biggest difference is adding texture in droves.
#1 Bring in the plants
Maybe you’re a crazy plant lady and have a ton or maybe one large one will do just fine. Some plants – like lavender, ivy, spider plants, and snake plants – are even proven to help you get a better sleep! That bright green color is also sure to add some much-needed energy come cold winter mornings.
It’s common sense to add an extra blanket or two to your bed come this time of year, but think beyond that. Mix different patterns and textures together to get those dive-right-in vibes. Choose something with a heavy knit or some fluff that begs to be touched to take things over the top.
If you don’t have a headboard consider adding (or making) one. Something like the tufted one above that simply hangs on the wall would make the perfect cushion to lean against while reading at night or enjoying a weekend breakfast in bed.
Add some texture and practical storage at the same time by bringing in a few woven baskets. Put them up high on a wardrobe, under a nightstand, or at the foot of the bed. You could even use one to hide the pot of that big plant you’re going to bring in!
Maybe you have boring blinds (hello, renters!) or prefer no window coverings at all, but adding – or changing up – curtains for the cooler months has a money-saving benefit as well as aesthetic. Cover your windows to help keep the heat inside! The heavier the material you choose, the more of a barrier between the glass and your heating bill.
A piece of fiber art can add a pop of artistic interest to your walls or even double as a headboard. Consider stepping outside the box and getting really creative with a shaggy, patterned rug instead. This way you can always relegate back to the floor when you want to change things up or spring arrives, whichever comes first!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!