Decorate with the Senses for a Feel-Good Home

A home that delights the senses puts us instantly at ease — just think of the warmth of a crackling fire, the scent of baking bread, or the flicker of candlelight. Makes you feel all cozy inside, right? We tend to get hung up thinking about how our homes look, without giving nearly as much thought to how they make us feel. But if you want to walk in the door at the end of a long day and feel that great big, delightful sigh of relief (and who doesn’t?), it’s time to tap into the power of the senses.

Sarah Andrews via Design Sponge

Warmth. At its most basic, our homes are shelter from the elements. By playing up your home’s warming elements — think crackling fires, cozy blankets, and thick, cushy rugs — we can access this fundamental human need to feel snug and safe. If you don’t have a woodstove or working fireplace, you can still suggest warmth by stacking up a pile of rustic firewood or a basket of pinecones, and bringing in other cozy accessories like good books, mugs of tea, and soft blankets.

Sarah Andrews via Design Sponge

Views. Whether your home’s best view is to a stunning seascape like the one shown here, or a more modest sliver of green, aim to make the most of what you’ve got. A connection to the outdoors — even if you’re in the middle of a city — can extend sight lines, make your home feel more spacious, and bring in the changing blues and grays of the sky. If possible, try shifting furniture to position a desk or favorite armchair so it’s angled to better enjoy the view out a window.

Stephanie Ryan
 via Design Sponge

Texture. Playing up texture in the home is all about contrast. Look at the fabric and other materials of your home up close and count how many different textures you can find. If it’s less than five, aim to add a few more! Mix it up with nubby linen, crisp cotton, rustic wood, woven rattan, silk, smooth leather, and shiny glass or metal.

Sofia Jansson
 via Design Sponge

Soundscape. What you hear in your home can have a big impact on your mood. Can you hear nature sounds out the windows, or traffic? If the sounds around your home are ones you’d rather not hear, consider investing in better sound-proofing, or a small tabletop fountain to create a burbling white noise. Next, take some time to think about what sort of music you most enjoy listening to. Consider curating playlists for yourself on Spotify, or within your personal music library, to suit different moods.


Scent (and taste). Scented candles might be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of scent at home, but there are many other ways to create layers of delicious scents at home. Pick out potted houseplants with scents you love (scented geranium is a favorite of mine), use cleaning products infused with essential oils, light natural beeswax candles, and don’t forget to open up the windows to let in the fresh breeze! And as far as taste goes, consider keeping your pantry stocked with wonderful-smelling teas and local honey, and growing a few pots of fresh culinary herbs in the window.

Focal Point

Focal point. Having a visual focal point is an interior design principle that you can put to work in every room in the house. In the space shown here, a wild purple-painted piano tucked into a nook covered in leafy wallpaper is sure to grab the eye! Your focal point can be as dramatic — or as soothing — as you like. Consider hanging a single work of art, using a rug in a rich hue, or putting the spotlight on a single great chair.

Little Lights
Stephanie Ryan via Design Sponge

Mood lighting. Last but not least, think about how light flows through your home. Do certain rooms get a lot of natural light, while others are dim? Boost lighting where needed with lamps, strands of twinkle lights, and plenty of candles for a diffused glow that makes everyone look (and feel) better.

Rug Shopping Guide
Rug Shopping Guide: (fantastically textured rugs, clockwise from top left) Surya Anchorage in taupe; Surya Sheepskin in white; Artistic Weavers Kentucky Ethan in brown; Karastan Prima Shag Fassi in ivory, cream, and taupe.

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

Copyright © Rugs Direct ®

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Going Grey

via Coco Lapine Design
via Coco Lapine Design

Your hair going grey can be seen as a negative thing, as is overcast grey weather. But when it’s in your home it can be game changer of the positive variety. The vast array of hues this color has to offer can turn your space super moody or light and bright – it just all depends on the intensity. Grey’s versatility allows for exceptional layering of tones, whether it’s grey on grey like the living room above or some other color. One of the most beautiful things about this color that’s often seen as cold is just how nicely it plays with everyone else on the spectrum!

via homeedit

This kitchen couldn’t feel more inviting if it tried. The grey on the bottom cabinets play the ideal middleman between the white subway tile and farmhouse sink and the black countertops and grout. Because it’s tinged with yellow the tone feels warm, rather than cool like we’re accustomed.

carolina bak for loft

I do love a good concrete floor, but what’s more in this bathroom is the texture the medium grey walls and divan bring to the game. By adding a light wood to the supporting cast, this space manages to bring even more texture and a nice contrast into the picture. The natural light the large windows allow in go a long way toward warding off any dreariness as well.

Avenue Lifestyle

This light grey is the color I have in my own home, literally my entire home. If you like your belongings to be the stars of the show, this is the way to go because this silvery hue acts as a nice neutral canvas for everything to make its mark upon. Very light grey is also a hallmark of Scandinavian chic interiors and many a minimal space. This bedroom feels like a great place to relax and wake up refreshed!

Tracey Ayton

Let’s not forget about one of the most popular members of the grey family – deep charcoal. The white moldings and picture frames paired with it in this lengthy hallway are doing everything right and playing off of the dark neutral beautifully. You would expect it to feel dark and imposing, but the effect is actually just the opposite!

If you’re not looking to redecorate and entire room or paint at the moment, another way to integrate grey into your space is through a floor rug that ties in with what you’ve already got.


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

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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!

Copyright © Rugs Direct ®

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6 Tips for an Organized Entryway

bria hammel interiors
Bria Hammel Interiors

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.

Tip #1
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.

Jenny Komenda

Tip #2
Someplace to Sit
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.

Homey Oh My

Tip #3
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.

Style At Home

Tip #4
A Basket
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.


Tip #5
A Console
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.

A Pair & A Spare

Tip #6
A Sturdy Rug
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:

Entryway Rugs

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

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