Tag: Pottery Barn

How To Style A Round Table

Quick Post :

There are so many reasons to love a round table.  Round tables really improve both the physical and visual flow of a room.  They also serve to ground a space by literally establishing a center point; a round table forces one to gravitate to that spot, thus fostering conversation.

However, many people struggle with how to style them.  Maybe it is the lack of a straight edge that people find difficult.  Below, I show you a quick and easy way to place objects that make this shaped table beautiful.  This of course, is not the only way, but an easy no fail approach.

table from Pottery Barn

add a stack of books

add greenery

add a group of objects – here, I chose small white vases

add a tray in an interesting shape

add a “crown” to your stack of books

viola! A beautifully styled round table!

I hope you enjoyed my quick and easy tutorial!  Let me know what you think!

XO

Laurie


My #1 Styling Trick for Holiday Tablescapes

I’ve had some really exciting and fun projects this year.  Clients have kept me insanely busy, which has left me little time for anything else.  This has resulted in my breaking the cardinal rule of blogging the past few months, which is the importance of consistent posts; thus, leading to my official induction into the “Blogger Hall of Shame”!!  As I have mentioned in past posts, I don’t believe in posting unless I have something useful to say.  These last few months of being knee deep in construction dust, hunting for the perfect chandelier, as well as researching the latest trends is the stuff that keeps me inspired, feeds my soul and allows me impart my knowledge on to you.   Putting together inspiration boards for fictitious rooms doesn’t lend one the experience to convey the practical application, or the wisdom in designing, as well as how to avoid possible pitfalls.

Below, I will give you my best tips (as well as my #1 tip) on holiday styling.  Let me first give you a brief background on my (accidental) career in holiday decorating.  Decorating homes specifically for the holidays is a niche.  A lot of people who just decorate for the holidays work in retail merchandising and do things like store windows or holiday displays.  In my case, this is a niche I NEVER meant to get into!!! From September through January, I am usually swamped with clients calling in a panic needing to get their powder room, dining room and/or family room done before they host the holidays.   During this time, I would usually put a few decorations on their mantle or create a beautiful, but simple centerpiece and be off on my way.  Little by little my clients would add something to the list; for one client it was decorating her foyer, another it was decorating her tree, on and on, until one Christmas Eve I was at a client’s house setting her table (this included ironing her linens!!!….which is something in my everyday life that I hate to do).  To my surprise, I always had a blast doing it and it was a really nice deviation from what I do the rest of the year.  I also love to entertain, which allows me to look at my holiday decorating in a practical way.  I know just how much decoration a table can handle while still being functional.

Below, I will deconstruct my tablescapes to help you execute decorating yours beautifully (and stress-free).

So, my #1 styling trick for holiday tablescaping is: USE SOMETHING UNEXPECTED as your centerpiece!  There is NOTHING more interesting than using an item for something other than its intended purpose.  Below, I used a window shutter as the base for my centerpiece.  It is the perfect base for my modern farmhouse centerpiece.  It looks really sophisticated with the muted gourds, greenery, burlap ribbon and candles.  I also like to use a raw wood cheese boards (as seen in the 3rd and 4th images), cloches, cake stands etc…. as centerpieces.  Below, I used a throw blanket as my table linen.  I’ve used scarfs as runners as well.  I happen to love showing my wood table at then ends, so not having the throw blanket covering the entire table was a bonus for me.

Another tip for successful tablescaping is to vary your linens.  I have very few “rules” in design; however, I NEVER, NEVER, NEVER match my tablecloth and napkins.  Is it wrong if you do? No.  However, it is such a missed opportunity to inject style and visual interest to one’s table.  If you are not confident with pattern mixing, choose one pattern and one solid, as I did in the first image.  If are confident, try mixing in another pattern.  In the second image, I added in a gray ticking stripe napkin.  I love the depth that mixing patterns gives to a table.

In the pictures below, I was presenting to a local women’s organization on how to tablescape for the holidays. This is one of my favorite tablescapes because it is not fussy, yet still sophisticated.  I used tons of mercury glass and my favorite pattern of the season, the black and white buffalo check (which I got from Pottery Barn). I LOVE a black and white table!  It is so extremely versatile; if you look to the bottom right you can see all of the different colored napkins I brought to show these lovely ladies how many colors and patterns you can inject with this color scheme.  Every color pairs well with this scheme.

Finally, 90% of the time I create a long linear centerpiece as opposed to a round centerpiece.  Every guest should have something beautiful to look at.  Sticking a vase in the center of the table only allows a beautiful view to the two guests sitting across from each other in front of the vase.  When I’m done, I walk around to every seat at the table to ensure everyone, when seated, has something pretty to look at.  Creating a long linear centerpiece also aligns with my philosophy of having a separate food table when hosting 6 or more guests.

When in doubt (or pressed for time), fresh flowers and candles are always my go-to.  Group the flowers and candles in alternating groups down the center of the table for a simple, but elegant table.  However, I highly recommend keeping a flower-less centerpiece in your closet for when you don’t have time to stop for fresh flowers and you are having last minute dinner guests.

I hope this post has inspired you to try something new for the holidays. Most of my resources are listed below.

On a final note, in order to reach those who do not use social media, I will be posting weekly a “Insta-post roll” to keep you in the loop of what trends I’m loving, my client before and afters and just general musings.

Wishing all of you a Happy Thanksgiving!

XO

Laurie

List of Resources:

Both throwblankets:  Buffalo check, First one is not available but here is an alternative

Raw wood cheese board base (under tray in black and white tablescape)

Candle sticks, large, medium and small

Mercury glass,

Shutter

solid gray napkins, ticking stripe napkins

 


Fall 2016 Trend Report

My Summer break is officially over 🙁  I had such an amazing Summer of traveling and relaxing.  I am excited to share my experiences from London, Barcelona and Paris in upcoming blog posts.  I was so inspired by the beautiful architecture and culture of each place I visited.  Oliver Wendell Holmes said ” A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions”.   When I travel, I feel that each place I visit and each experience I have changes me in the most profound ways. It creates a new filter by which I view everything new and old.

So, its back to reality for me 🙂

It is hard to believe during this oppressive heat wave here in the Northeast, that Fall is right around the corner.  Sooner than we would like, Summer will wind down and each day will become just a bit shorter than the last.  Soon we will be sailing into September; salty air and sandy toes will be a (not too) distant memory.

Therefore, now seems a good time to preview fashion and home trends for Fall of 2016.  Even though New York Fashion Week was in February for the Fall/Winter season, I can never wrap my mind around planning two season in advance while I am still wearing snow boots and a down jacket.  Dreaming of Summer in February is the only thing that gets me through the Winter; I refuse to disrespect Summer!  It is only right that Fall waits her turn.

Fashion-home decor posts are among my favorites; the parallels one can draw are endless.  There have been many times when I am designing a room and contemplating color schemes that I ask myself “would I wear that if it were an outfit?”   I draw much inspiration from fashion, and it definitely informs my design choices.  There are so many trends I am loving for the Fall that I am making this a 2 part post.   Here are the first few trends for 2016 that I am loving:

 

  1.   Pinstripes– Menswear is always chic.  Crisp tailoring and a rich navy are as flattering for one’s wardrobe as they are for one’s home.  Navy pairs well with yellow, camel, orange and gold.
Image via Elle

Image via Elle

2.  Velvet – This textural powerhouse creates a soft sheen that is as beautiful to the eye as it is to the touch.  It is a rich fabric that elevates any piece it adorns.

Image via Elle

Image via Elle

 

Ethan Allen Baldwin Settee, West Elm Cross Base Ottoman

3.  Patent Leather – Admittedly this is a hard fabric to make the jump from runway to real life.  Its glossiness adds a smooth surface that reflects light beautifully.  The key to making this look work is to use it in small doses.  Picture frames, stackable trays or boxes are a great way to incorporate this trend without making a big commitment (although, a statement piece of furniture is the way I would go with this trend). Pick a classic color such as the cream or black as shown below, to make this trend more employable.

 

Image via Elle

Image via Elle

4. Statement (faux) Fur –  This soft fuzzy texture conveys warmth and boldness.  Adding fur in unexpected colors adds a fun element to any space. There should always be one thing in each room that people want to run their hands over.

Image from Style Caster - NYFW

Image from Style Caster – NYFW

West Elm Mongolian Fur stool, Lulu & Georgia Dekla pillow

5. Ruffles – this feminine trend is very flattering if the ruffles are structured and strategically placed.  Adding small touches to drapery or pillows is a great way to incorporate this trend.

Image via Style Caster -NYFW

Image via Style Caster -NYFW

One of my favorite apartments in Paris

One of my favorite apartments in Paris

Evelyn Drapes, Flounce Pillow

6. Gold Metallics – Gold is my favorite metal.  I could (and probably will) devote an entire post to gold.  It is warm, compliments every skin tone and gives a luxe feel to any outfit/space.  This trend has been going strong for quite a few years now and doesn’t seem to be going away any time soon.  If you are still wary of fully embracing this metal, try using a champagne hued gold which will allow you to still incorporate silver into your space.  The list of colors that gold pairs well with are endless.

Image via Style Caster - NYFW

Image via Style Caster – NYFW

MGBW Pillow, MGBW Vase

Great design can be much more obtainable if you view colors and patterns like you would when putting together an outfit.  Pay attention to the scale of each pattern you choose, as well as the intensity of the colors you are pairing.  A good rule of thumb is, if you wouldn’t wear it together, don’t pair it together.  Most of all, have fun with it.  Trends are a guide, not a directive.  Choose a classic style that incorporates fun trends in small ways.

I’m looking forward to tackling Part 2 of Fall/Winter 2016 trends.

Let me know what trends for the Fall/Winter that you are loving.

XO

Laurie


5 Things To Buy In Multiples

Since going to Paris last year, I am obsessed with the Parisian concept of the capsule wardrobe (read about it here).  Parisians believe in buying the best you can afford, but only buying what you need.  When I was in Paris I saw very simple (yet very chic) clothing that was well made and fit beautifully.  Don’t get me wrong, Parisian women love to dress on trend; however, they are not slaves to trends and would never be caught dead following more than a few trends each season.  A Parisian acquaintance of mine revealed that women in Paris view simplicity and minimalism as “tres Chic”.  Conversely, Americans believe that luxury is acquiring as much as we possibly can.  I admit, I fell prey to this way of thinking as well.  My shoes were crammed on my shelves, I could barely fit one more hanger in my closet and I could go at least two months without repeating an outfit. This past year I have done a complete 180. I finally realized that true luxury is in owning a few beautifully crafted items that are current with timeless appeal.

As seen in my post on the home-fashion connection (read here), Parisians feel the same about their homes as they do about fashion.  The key is selecting and showcasing pieces in a refined and restrained way . Their minimalist mentality regarding their home results in a home that is equally as chic as their outfits.  In a typical Parisian home you will find a few well made pieces of furniture, gorgeous fabrics and a few chic, well placed accessories or art.  As with my wardrobe, I have also seen the value of fiercely editing my home.

Below is a REAL Parisian apartment that my husband and I will be renting when we go back to Paris this Summer.  Although it is not professionally designed, it illustrates the chic, minimal and well edited design philosophy of Parisians.

paris apartment

 

So, with this concept in mind why did I title this post “5 Things To Buy In Multiples”? Because, while there is beauty and freedom in a well edited home, there is also a need for functionality.  Spending time enjoying the company of our friends and loved ones is the truest extravagance.  Therefore, there are things that help one in creating a beautiful environment, thus enhancing those special moments.  My short list of items will undoubtedly make life more pleasurable and functional when entertaining those we love.

Here is my list:

  1. Stools/Ottomans:  I love any item that has multiple uses. Stools and ottomans are as beautiful as they are functional.  They can be used as seating or a landing place for a cocktail or small plate.  They are easy to store away when not in use, or artfully arranged to form a chic conversation area.

Here are a few that I love:

Serena and Lily Moroccan Pouf

Serena and Lily Moroccan Pouf

Pottery Barn Vince Stool, West Elm Cross Based Ottoman, Christopher Knight Rosalynn Ottoman, Serena & Lily Moroccan Pouf

2.  Picture frames:  Unless it is a showstopping piece, groupings always look better than a singular piece of art.  Therefore, using the same (or similar) frames creates a stylish and unified look. Read my post here on how to hang art.  The frames below are the ones I use most frequently for my clients. These frames are well priced, have professional quality mattes and are easy to hang.

Here are some of my favorites:

West Elm Mirrored Frames,  WS Home Gold Metal Frames,  Pottery Barn Black Wood Gallery Frames

3. Throw pillows:  Surprise, surprise 🙂 There is no faster, easier and least expensive way to update one’s home than with throw pillows.  The key is variation.  Choose at least three pillows of various sizes, textures and patterns for your grouping. This is the perfect time to update your home with fun, bright accent pillows.

Here are some that I am loving right now:

Z Gallerie Modena Pillow,  Coco Cozy embroidered pillow, Lulu & Georgia Melia Pillow

4.  Lanterns:  Lanterns are such a fun way to make a statement.  They can be grouped together to create a dramatic centerpiece or scattered around to create mood lighting.  My favorite way to use lanterns is to place them along the edge of either indoor or outdoor stairs to illuminate the stairs in a dramatic fashion.

Here are a few of my favorites:

Pottery Barn Malta Lantern, Wayfair Iron Lantern, Pier 1 Bay Harbor Lantern

5.  Throw blanket:  Throw blankets add a well placed pop of color and pattern.  The flat weave throws also make perfect table covers.  I love to drape it in the center of the table and let the ends of the table show.

Here are a few gorgeous throws:

Jonathan Adler Greek Key Throw, Serena & Lily Brahms Mount Throw, Dot & Bo Lattice Throw

I hope this post helps you to reevaluate the way you think about decorating your home.  I truly believe that design is an art and one’s home is the canvas.  Challenge yourself to start editing out the things in your home that no longer serve you.

As  William Morris stated:

Have nothing in your house

that you do not know to be useful,

or believe to be beautiful. 

XO

Laurie


Happy Memorial Day!

Most holidays have a correlating color scheme.  Some color schemes such as the red and green palette of Christmas have a short life, while other holidays such as Easter have a scheme that can last for a whole season.  Memorial Day falls in the latter category.  It’s patriotic palette of red, white and blue looks crisp, fresh and can last from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

Memorial Day also brings some of the best home sales.  Pottery Barn is offering 25% off orders of $1000 or more with code: SAVEMORE (this is a rare sale for PB!  Need a new sofa? NOW is the time to order it!).  William Sonoma Home is offering up to 40% off bedroom furniture, Lulu and Georgia is also offering 25% off of $1000 or more with code: MEMORIAL25, Grandin Road is offering 40% off select outdoor items with code: MEMORIALDAY2016 and Ballard Designs is offering 25% off when you spend $750 or more!.

Here are some of my favorite items to help you ring in the Summer season!

Wishing you and your family a safe and happy Memorial Day!!!

XO 

Laurie


How To Have A CHIC Home Instantly…….ONLY 3 Items Needed!!

It is usually the small things in the right places that give one that extra touch of style and chicness.  It is the string of pearls, the diamond studs, the addition of truffle oil or champagne, that will take things from good to great. Every so often our home needs the same boost.

There are really only a handful of items that can immediately up the chic factor of any space.  When a small but impactful update is in order, these three items will be all you need!

A BAR CART

Veanne Bar Cart, Misha Bar Cart, Jacques Bar Cart, Vince Bar Cart, Gerard Bar Cart

Check out this chic outdoor bar cart

Horchow Tamsin Chinoiserie Bar Cart $795

Horchow Tamsin Chinoiserie Bar Cart $795

This bar cart is my favorite; it is stocked, styled and ready to go!

Image Via Elle Decor -Nicole Gibbons

Image Via Elle Decor -Nicole Gibbons

CHIC LIGHTING

People usually think to add unique lighting in the kitchen.  However, I feel that pendant lights and chandeliers make an even bigger impact in more unexpected areas like the living room or hallway. Here are a few that have major style.

 Roxbury Pendant, Crystal Drop Pendant, Lucia Semi Flush Mount, Olive Leaf Pendant

Image via Coastal Style

Image via Coastal Style

Don’t have an electrician on speed dial?  Here are some table lamps that will also do the trick.

Lamps I Love:

Madison Crystal Lamp, Ripley Geometric Lamp, Diamond Omega Table Lamp, Alexis Lamp, Loring Table Lamp

STATEMENT MIRRORS

I love the use of mirrors for so many reasons.  They are the design equivalent of Houdini.  They can give the illusion that a space is larger, ceilings are taller, rooms are brighter and make a space look as though there are more windows than there actually are.  Without a doubt, mirrors are a designer’s best and most used tool.

Petal Mirror, Frederick Wall Mirror, Evie Geo Mirror, Cassia Mirror, Studded Mirror

My favorite:

Quatrefoil Mirror $347

Quatrefoil Mirror $347

These mirrors below not only make a statement, they serve to balance out a wall with a single window!

Image via Pinterest

Image via Pinterest

Napoleon Hill said “If you can not do great things, then do small things in a great way”.  I hope this post inspires you to the make small, impactful additions that will elevate and revitalize your home.

Thanks for reading!

XO Laurie


Green With Envy!

Green can be a precarious color to decorate with.  It is bold and demands attention.  However, it is one of the few bold colors that can actually serve as a neutral.  We associate this color with life, nature, growth and renewal.  It can also be associated with greed, jealousy and money.  Whether you have an affinity or an aversion to this color, there is always a place in any room to make this color work harmoniously.  With a myriad of variations, there is a shade of green for everyone.  Green plays well with navy, gray, brown, gold and black.

If green is a favorite color of yours, you can make this color the star by using it on larger pieces such as bedding or upholstery.  However, if you’d rather use more restraint when decorating with green, you can use it on your accent pieces such as pillows and throws.

In the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day, here is my post on all things green.  I hope this serves to inspires some new additions to your home.

 

Below, these rooms utilize this color successfully.  The first room shows this color used with a black and white palette. This palette is bold, graphic and masculine.

This dining room is a more refined use of green. This color is just used on the drapes and accent pillows.  It is paired with gray, cream and gold.  It is a more sophisticated and feminine use of green.

Image via Pinterest - Blogspot

Image via Pinterest – BlogSpot

I hope you enjoyed this post.  I leave you with this Irish blessing:

May your troubles be less

and your blessings be more

And nothing but happiness

come through your door

Thanks for reading!

XO Laurie

 


Spring 2016 Style Preview! The Fashion-Home Design Connection

Historically, home design follows fashion.  However, the converse is also true.  Fashion designers often proclaim that architecture and interiors serve as their inspiration, and I can personally attest to having found design inspiration from a beautiful or unique piece of clothing.  Below, I will illustrate the parallels that can be found in fashion and home design.  Here are some key trends for Spring 2016:

Blush tones for home

  1.  It is no surprise that soft pastel colors take the spotlight as Spring draws near.  One can argue that both fashion and home design take its cues from nature. Therefore, it is not surprising that as nature’s palette of colors expands and the trees and flowers begin to bloom that fashion and home decor follow suit.  Of all the pastel colors that have been highlighted for Spring 2016, Blush is the “IT” color.  Blush has long been a favorite color of mine.  This soft pink works on every skin tone.  Everyone looks healthier when wearing blush tones.  It is soft, chic and understated.  The same can be said when using blush in one’s home.  This color serves as a perfect complement to almost any color.
Image via Style Me Pretty - Design by Anne Hepfner

Image via Style Me Pretty – Design by Anne Hepfner

2.  Mixing Stripes and Floral

This is a classic mix.  This mix is fun,preppy and will always look chic.  There is no one who does this look better than Ralph Lauren.  Below, I love this wide stripe rug from Lulu and Georgia paired with a classic Louis dining chair in a modern floral from Ballard Design.

 

Floral and Stripe Dining Room - Image via BHG

Floral and Stripe Dining Room – Image via BHG

 

Texture is IN

3. In the image below, Christian Dior mixes a chunky knit sweater in pastel blue with white delicate, scalloped sheer shorts.  The pillow from Williams Sonoma Home beautifully mixes lush velvet with a leather croc banding.

Jonathan Adler is a master at mixing textures and prints. Below, he artfully mixes grasscloth wallpaper with mirrored furniture, which he then pairs with his soft Maxime lounge chair.

Jonathan Adler Delphine Bar $2995 and Maxime Lounge Chair $2250

Jonathan Adler Delphine Bar $2995 and Maxime Lounge Chair $2250

White HOT!!

4. Is there ever a Spring where white is not in?  This color signifies purity, innocence and new beginnings.  A fresh update this year on the runway is seeing all white looks for evening.  This trend lends itself seamlessly to home design, and unlike its fashion counterpart, an all white room is always stylish (see my post here on this topic).

Photo via Pinterest - My Domaine/Every Girl

Photo via Pinterest – My Domaine/Every Girl

Metallics

5. Adding metallics to your space is like adding jewelry to your outfit.  Jewelry adds the finishing touch to every outfit.  No one did jewelry like Elizabeth Taylor.  She was quoted as saying “Big Girls need big diamonds”.  She understood the importance of sparkle.  Metallics add life and dimension to a room.  EVERY room needs to have metals in them.

On the runway this Spring, silver held just a little more of the spotlight than the other metals.  However, every shade was represented.  In the room below, bronze and gold add depth and drama to this dining room. I love the gold dining table.

Image via Elle Decor

Image via Elle Decor

I hope you enjoyed this post.  The trends that I highlighted from Spring 2016 were among my favorites.  Let me know what trends you are loving for Spring.

Thanks for reading!

XO Laurie


Shop Like A Designer! Where, When, How……!

One of the most FAQs I get is where I shop for Chic home decor.  My answer: EVERYWHERE!  The honest answer is that great things can be found anywhere.  It is learning what elements are critical to the look trying to be achieved, that will determine one’s success.  However, I do have my little black book of the best places and websites for certain things (I will save that post for another day).

Every designer will use elements that are a splurge and that eat up a hearty portion of the budget, as well as elements that cost next to nothing.  This high/low design strategy is used often because it keeps the budget in check, as well as provides the perfect juxtaposition that is crucial in successful design.  Now, Juxtaposition is a design buzzword.  Personally, I find buzzwords annoying.  At their best, they clarify a concept that has become mainstream; at their worst, they anesthetized us to their impact, rendering the word meaningless.  That being said, juxtaposition is a VERY important design concept.  If I had to choose only three design principles that are crucial to good design, juxtaposition would be one of them.

A leather and fur pairing creates the ultimate yin and yang

A leather and fur pairing creates the ultimate yin and yang

driftwood and glass

driftwood and glass

Williams Sonoma mixes a cozy faux fur throw with leather; coincidence?  Crate and Barrel artfully mixes rough organic driftwood with sleek glass.  The mix of yin and yang creates the perfect visual tension.

Determine what elements are crucial in aligning you with your theme.  If you are going for a Farmhouse Chic look, the accessories and wall decor will be the elements that make this look successful.  If it is a mid-century modern look you are going for, it will be the furniture that will be the star of the room.  Spend your money on the things that are crucial in establishing your theme.  Upholstery is always a wise place to invest.  Historically, January and August are the best months to buy furniture.  This is when the new inventory for the upcoming season arrives, resulting in deep discounts on last season’s pieces.  If you are looking to buy a splurge worthy piece, it is worth it to wait to purchase during these months.  A couple of my favorite places to buy furniture are Mitchell Gold and Bob Williams and Crate and Barrel.

Undoubtedly, accessories make the design.  They are the jewelry that serve as the finishing touches.  Accessories bring one’s theme to fruition, as well as add authenticity.

Below, this glam (albeit tiny) living room is well-appointed due to the shag rug, tactile throw pillows, gallery wall and table top decor.

Image via Home and Fabulous

Image via Home and Fabulous

Below, this rustic chic entertainment area features a TV mounted on a distressed white washed wall panel.  The vintage suitcases add another rustic layer to this room.

image via Rustic Crafts Chic Decor

image via Rustic Crafts Chic Decor

Here are some accessories I am loving now:

Spring is drawing near.  Rough organic elements (such as the driftwood bowl) and soft colored decor (such as the blush velvet pillow) are very on trend for Spring.  Although Spring in not here yet, it has already sprung in the stores.  Now is the time that Designer’s start shopping for elements to update client’s homes for the upcoming season.  Start making a mental list of all of the Winter accessories that you would like to put away, so you can make room for the new accessories you bring in.

I hope this post helps you to shop like a Designer!  Thanks for reading!

xo Laurie


5 Ridiculously Simple Things For A Better 2016!

The new year is always filled with such promise.  We make resolutions to do or not do things to make our lives better in the new year.  We are always so well-intentioned when we set these lofty goals, only to feel defeated when we do not succeed.  We set the bar high each New Year’s Eve, vowing that the upcoming year is going to be the best year yet.  However, embarking on creating THE BEST year can be a little overwhelming.  Why can’t we strive for a year that is just better than the last?  If we look to make small improvements throughout the year, then creating a year that is better than the last becomes inevitable.  We can finally have a year where we successfully meet our goals and feel good about it instead of beating ourselves up for the goals we did not achieve.

I am proposing something a little different this year.  Since I truly believe that it is the environment in which one places oneself that determines one’s success, why not change our environment to foster some of the changes we are looking to make.  Here are 5 SIMPLE (key word) things we can do to improve our environment, thus allowing us to reach our goals in 2016.

  • CLEAN OUT ALL DRAWERS AND CABINETS IN YOUR KITCHEN.  This is the room we spend the most time in when we are home.  We spend countless hours here making breakfast and dinner for our loved ones, setting our kids up to do their homework and where we entertain our family and friends.  Pick one day (preferably the same day) for the next 4 weeks and choose a section of drawers and cabinets to tackle.  Predetermine and write down what section you will tackle each week.  Go to Container store or go online and buy drawer liners and dividers that will help you maintain your nice neat drawers and cabinets.  Pick something pretty and fun to get you excited about your project.  Here are some things I will be getting for my kitchen.

Below are shelf paper options from Chic Shelf Paper and Container Store:

If you don’t like these options, Target and Bed, Bath & Beyond sell other options as well.

Below are some drawer dividers from IKEA that I already own and love:

I love bamboo because It is not a porous wood; therefore, you do not need to worry about it warping or fading.

So, I know that you are thinking, “how is this going to help me have a better 2016?”  Well, if one of your goals is to spend more quality time with your family, or to eat more meals together, think of how much more relaxed you will be when you are making dinner and you can actually find everything you need.  With each drawer you open, everything is neatly organized with a bright, pretty drawer liner peaking out from underneath.  Cleaning out all of your drawers and cabinets helps create an environment that fosters stress free family meals.

  • BUY YOURSELF NEW BEDDING.  Throw out your worn sheets with the bleached out spots from whatever face cream you bought last New Year’s (that promised better, younger looking skin).  New sheets are such a luxury that makes one feel better and instantly make one’s bedroom look more put together.  This is a great time to score great prices on bedding just before the spring bedding rolls out.  Here are a few sets from Pottery Barn I just picked up for myself (Right now, Pottery Barn is having a 20% off white sale and free shipping!!…..hop on that, girl!):

If your resolution or goal for 2016 is to get more sleep, or to spend more time reconnecting with your spouse 🙂 create the environment that will increase the chances of your success.  An addendum to this tip: make your bed every morning before you leave the house!  Don’t underestimate the benefits of this simple act.  It is a great visual and mental cue that your day has started off right. It also allows you to accomplish at least one thing each and every day, thus paving the way for more accomplishments throughout the day.

  • CLEAN YOUR WINDOWS INSIDE AND OUT.  If money is tight, use the same strategy as with your kitchen drawers.  Sit down and set a 4 week schedule in the Spring to tackle this project.  Determine what windows you will clean and on what day (again, choose the same day each week).  Put it in your phone now, and when the time comes, just DO IT!  If you can afford to hire someone to come and clean all of your windows, put a reminder in your phone now to schedule it at the end of Winter.  Keep a look out in your mailers for coupons…..there are always a ton of coupons for this service.  If it has been a few years or even after just one winter, you will not believe how dirty your windows are!

If some of your resolutions are to keep up on house cleaning, delegate more duties to others or create more time for yourself, this is a great way to accomplish all of these goals.,

  • BUY YOURSELF FRESH FLOWERS, OFTEN.  This might sounds frivolous or silly, but to me, flowers are a metaphor for life.  They reminds us of a few very important things such as:  there is always beauty to be found even in the depths of winter (or sadness), their only meaning is the meaning in which we give it (we determine if they are a symbol of love, sympathy or celebration), and to take time to savor and appreciate them and their beauty, for their beauty and life are fleeting.  Choose a flower that is bright, happy or fragrant. Some of my favorites are peonies, tulips and orchids.

This practice would help in creating an environment that supports your resolution of doing more things for yourself, or in being more present to enjoy the blessings in your life.

  • ON NEW YEAR’S DAY, ONLY DO THINGS THAT BRING YOU CLOSER TO YOUR GOALS.  The last step I recommend in creating a better year ahead would be something I practice every New Year’s Day:  It is my belief that ANY and ALL actions and behaviors you partake in on this day sets the tone for the entire year.  Therefore, I make sure to spend some time with family, spend some time alone, time improving my health and wellness and spend some time in activities that will make my year more productive.  I try to plan a day that is as well balanced as possible.  I do not spend all of New Year’s Day loafing around or pampering myself.  Also, because I am fairly superstitious, I NEVER pay bills on New Year’s Day (this would symbolize a year of money going out).  So, my day tomorrow will consist of going to work out, going to the spa, making my family a nice Spaghetti and Meatball dinner and finishing watching a movie with my sons that we started the other day.

I wish that your year ahead is filled with love, beauty, health and happiness.  I truly appreciate your support, and I look forward to posting things that I hope help and inspire you!  I would love to hear some of your New Year’s Day rituals.

xo Laurie