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fall-leaves1

Fall Decorating Idea:  Fall Leaf Branches 

Last week the hubby and I headed off on a road trip to visit my mom in Oklahoma.  Our travels took us through three states and lots of countryside where I really started to notice the coming of fall.  Trees are starting to turn, leaves are beginning to trickle to the ground and the warm, rich colors of fall are starting come alive.

One of the things that struck me on our drive was the simplicity and beauty of fall foliage.  Since I don’t do a ton of decorating for fall, I’m loving the idea of a few fall leaf branches placed in a jar or vase.  The leaves add color and texture, the branches create visual dimension and a natural touch like leaves makes any space feel more inviting.

Decorating for fall doesn’t get any easier than that!

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Clip and gather branches of brightly colored leaves and arrange them like flowers in a decorative vase.  Clear containers let the beauty of the leaves stand out while colorful glassware creates a more modern look and feel.

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With so many varieties of leaves just outside your door, it should be easy to find a color that works with your décor.

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For a dramatic centerpiece, gather several large branches into a large vase or pot.  Let the branches extend up and out to create a more organic arrangement.

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Large groupings of leaves can create a visual backdrop over a mantel just as a mirror or piece of artwork would do.

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If you like the idea of decorating with fall leaf branches, here are a few tips that will help your arrangements last:

  1. Choose bright-colored branches that have not peaked in color
  2.  Clip branches with a sharp garden clippers
  3. Remove 2 to 3 inches of bark from the end of the branch and then pound the end of the branch flat.  This will help the branch absorb water better.
  4. Place branches in a container with a mixture of 1/3 glycerin and 2/3 warm water.  Branches should last for a couple of weeks.

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When it comes to fall décor, do you go all out or do you like simple touches?

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I’ll be back tomorrow to share some high-end designer looks you can hack on a budget.

Shelly Signature

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I came across the image the other day and all I could think about was cooler temperatures and getting cozy under a plush throw blanket.  Cooler temps are on the way and now it the time to shop for that perfect fall throw blanket.

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When I’m shopping for a cozy throw blanket, there are a few things I look for and avoid…

  1.  I avoid synthetic fibers like acrylic which won’t provide much warmth and typically has a rougher feel.
  2. I look for natural fibers like cotton, wool or cashmere all of which are soft to the touch and will keep you warm.  And now you can even find washable wools which provide warmth and allow for easy care.
  3. I look for oversized throw blankets that will cover you from head to toe.  A great size is 60″ x 80″.
  4. I prefer blankets with a straight edge and no fringe.  I’ve found that over time, fringed edges tend to pull apart or tangle.  note: I would buy all of the fringed blankets I’ve shown in this post because they are well made and the fringe is individually knotted.
  5. You can never go wrong with classic styles like herringbone or cable knit.  And solid colors are naturally more versatile than patterns although I love the African Shibori throw below.

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These Natural Hyacinth Braided Cameron Tote Baskets are perfect for flat weave throws because they won’t snag on the basket. And the handles make it easy to move around the house or wherever movie night is happening. Grab these now because they are on sales–$20.99-$23.99!

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For chunky throws you want a basket with a smooth interior like these Kiel Rope Weave Baskets or this Mamba Basket.  I love the subtle texture and  pattern on both of these baskets and the robust size means you can stash lots of blankets away.

Kiel Rope Weave  $59-$99

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Mamba Basket $64.95

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And if you like to keep your throw blankets under wraps, theses lidded Collin Mocha Wicker Storage Baskets are two of my favorite.  $79.95-$99.95
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The season is almost here!

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Shop these throws:

Herringbone Throw $39  available in 4 colors // Interlochen Throw  $98 available in 2 colors
 Landyn Chunky Knit Throw–$69.95 available in 3 colors // Moroccan Wedding Banded Throw–$399 available in 2 colors
Handcrafted African Indigo Shibori Throw–$349 // Cashmere Cable Knit Throw–$199-$299  available in 8 colors

Shelly Signature


dwell-by-cheryl

I’m so excited to share this interior designer and blogger with you as part of my Behind The Blog series.

Cheryl Luckett is a Charlotte, North Carolina based interior designer that juggles a full-time Human Resources career with a blossoming interior design business.  I first came to know Cheryl through her design blog, Dwell By Cheryl and was captivated by the beautiful and budget-friendly spaces we creates for her clients.  And she is one of my thrifting soul-mates finding the most amazing pieces at thrift stores, flea markets and Habitat for Humanity.

I had the pleasure of meeting Cheryl a few years ago at the Design Bloggers Conference and I have to tell you that she is a true Southern Belle with an engaging and warm spirit about her.  Sit back and enjoy my conversation with Cheryl…

Cheryl Luckett--Dwell By Cheryl

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Cheryl, you have done what many aspiring designers want to do and that is build your design business while working full-time in another career? Can you share a few tips for anyone wanting to turn their ‘day’  job into their dream job?

My best advice would be to simply “DO IT!” I receive countless inquiries from folks wanting to know how I balance my business, school and my current career, but honestly I don’t have a good answer. All I can really say is that I committed to doing it and I did it. Often what separates those who succeed and those who don’t is the ability to keep going. I made the sacrifices, I put in the time and I stuck with it. The fact that I’m single without children certainly adds to the flexibility that I have, but like everyone, I have responsibilities as well. It hasn’t been easy. I will say that I began my business as if it were my sole source of income not as if it were my “side hustle”. This meant making investments in learning, photography, networking, branding, marketing, etc. very early on. This helped to create a professional image and put me in the ranks of those working full-time in design even if I wasn’t at the time.

Cheryl Luckett--Dwell By Cheryl

 

In addition to your design business, you write your blog, Dwell by Cheryl. Tell us about the blog and what readers can expect from your posts.

My blog began as a way for me to get my name out. It focused on projects I completed in my own home and inspiration and ideas for creating a beautiful home on a modest budget. Lately however, the blog has become more of an extension of my business. It’s a way to see the behind the scenes work that I do to pull a client project together from start to finish. It still occasionally features my own home improvement projects but, for the most part, it’s focused on design trends and client work.

***you are view Cheryl’s website & blog at www.dwellbycheryl.com

Cheryl Luckett--Dwell By Cheryl

 

What do you love most about being an interior designer?

I love helping my clients love and better utilize their homes. I absolutely love coming home each day. There’s a sense of comfort that I feel when I open the door. My goal is to create that same sense for my clients. It’s extremely rewarding when that happens.

 

Cheryl Luckett--Dwell By Cheryl

 

I’d love to learn more about your design philosophy so tell us what three design elements you think every home needs?

(1.) Layers – I’m in no way a minimalist. I think that a home should envelop you. Layers help to achieve this. From drapery to rugs, to art and accessories, it’s the details that make a house a home. (2.) Something old– I’m known for my love of vintage furnishings and décor. I think they add history to a space. I also love them because they can help stretch the budget. Everything old is new again and many vintage items are totally on-trend today. Utilizing the originals in your design can provide better quality without sacrificing of-the-moment style. (3.) Pattern– I’ve become a bit of a pattern junkie. I love the way patterns play with one another to add visual interest to a space. There’s something so “designer” about a space that has a great mix of pattern. It’s not always easy to do, but when done well, it totally makes a space.

 

Cheryl Luckett--Dwell By Cheryl

 

When it comes to decorating with color, I believe every designer has a favorite color palette.  What’s colors do you love to incorporate in your projects and why? 

I love incorporating neutrals as my backdrop. I love taupe. It’s one of those colors that walks the fine line between gray and beige. It also works so well with so many other colors. While I love neutrals as the foundation for a color scheme, I’m obsessed with pops of color. They add life to a space.

 

Cheryl Luckett--Dwell By Cheryl

 

Where do you find your design inspiration?

I love studying other designers work. I comb through Houzz in the evenings, soaking in every detail. It’s a great place for inspiration. I also love textiles. When I experience a creative block I’ll take a trip to a fabric retailer or wholesaler to get inspired by the patterns and color options available.

 

Cheryl Luckett--Dwell By Cheryl

 

Like me, you are an avid thrift store and vintage shopper. What items are always on your shopping list?

Interesting framed art, mirrors, brass planters and animal figurines are among my favorites. I essentially built my business on my ability to stretch a dollar until it hollers. Thrifting with a great eye for the “good stuff” is one way I’m able to create spaces for my clients, even if they have modest budgets.

How would you describe your personal design style?

My style is definitely transitional. I love traditional elements mixed with more modern pieces. You can also expect to ALWAYS see a bit of vintage in my projects.

Cheryl Luckett--Dwell By Cheryl

 

If you could lunch with any famous woman, who would it be and what burning question would you want to ask them?

I’m obsessed with Canadian designer Sarah Richardson. I’d love to pick her brain on how she approaches the design process. Her interiors are beyond beautiful and I’d take any pearls of wisdom from her.

What’s your favorite way to unwind?

I’m a wine lover, so a good glass of red on my front porch swing flipping through the latest issue of a shelter magazine is heaven to me.

 

Cheryl Luckett--Dwell By Cheryl

 

I always like to throw a quirky question into the mix so tell us about your favorite things…

Favorite Paint Color: SW Balanced Beige
Favorite Decorative Accessory: Brass animals make me happy. : )
Favorite Design Magazine: House Beautiful
Favorite Styling Tip: Greenery adds so much life to an interior space.
Favorite Vacation Destination: Wine country. (Any of them)

Personally and professionally, share a few items on your bucket list?

I will own a mountain home!
I’m dying to go to Rome. It’s likely this Art History class that has me itching to go.
Well, if I’m honest, getting married would be nice. : )

dwell-by-cheryl

Didn’t I tell you Cheryl’s spirit (and design work) was captivating?  Thank you Cheryl for sharing your projects, inspiration and dreams with us.  I can’t wait to see what amazing things will unfold for you and your business in the years ahead.

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P.S.  Just a few days ago, Cheryl received some amazing news and learned that her home office space was one of the rooms featured in the new design book, Southern Space for Beautiful Living.  You’ll definitely want to add a copy of the book to your shelves.

Shelly Signature

all images except book cover via Cheryl Luckett

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♠  VINTAGE TOAST RACKS  ♠

 

I’ve mentioned before that I have an Etsy shop where I sell vintage decor and handcrafted items.  One of my best-selling items are vintage toast racks. Whenever I come across one in good quality I pick it up.  You might be thinking that I sell these rack to use to hold toast but you’d be wrong.  After buying my first toast rack and styling it as a stationery/letter holder, that’s how I’ve been promoting them ever since.

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Most of the racks I’ve round have been silver-plated but you can find them in brass, milk glass or even decorative ceramic styles like this blue and white beauty. #yesplease 

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Toast Racks are the perfect chic storage piece to hold thank-you notes, bills or small electronics like your cell or linens. During the holidays, they are a great way to display Christmas cards without taking up a lot of room.

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They come in all shapes and sizes and prices can range from as little as $5.00 up to hundreds of dollars.

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Designs range from ornate and Victorian to simple and classic and some designs have more slots than others.

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When shopping for vintage toast racks on Etsy, use these search terms to narrow your findings:  toast rack , letter rack, card holder, letter holder, Victorian rack

I’ve made shopping easy for you and rounded up a few of my favorite toast racks, all under $20!

 This one is for all you blue and white lovers.

This one is perfect for a desk and can hold more than just stationery.

If your style is art deco, you’ll love this one.

And I love this brass swan piece.

We’re heading off on a road trip tomorrow and I plan to stop at a few flea markets along the way.  Fingers crossed that I score a few toast racks.

Shelly Signature

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One of the things I love most in life is shopping flea markets.  There is something exciting about looking for a hidden treasures amongst piles of dirty, dusty and cast-off relics.

Shopping flea markets isn’t something I’ve done all my life, I’ve only been treasure hunting for about the last 6 or 7 years.  In that time I think I have become pretty savvy at vintage shopping, partly because I’ve taken the time read about, study and research the craft.

If you love flea market shopping and want to learn how to find the best collectibles and vintage pieces, I have 5 books I recommend you read.  All of these books are filled with valuable tips on what to look , how to tell if an item has value and they highlight the best flea markets around the country.

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Because I’m a big fan of Better Homes and Gardens books, Flea Market Decorating was the first ‘thrifting’ book I purchased.  Included in this book is a state-by-state listing of flea markets and antique fairs and well as tips on refurbishing your vintage finds. There is also loads of decorating ideas using real room settings with actual vintage items. The cover alone should entice you!

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I stumbled upon Flea Market Secrets in a thrift store and gave it my usual flip through to get a feel for the images.  One of the best things about this book are the 10 Golden Rules of shopping flea markets that the author outlines.  The rules are tried-and-true and things you’ll want to employ no matter where you shop.  I also like that there are chapters dedicated to different types of items like glass, furniture, textiles and jewelry.  Each chapter give you in-depth information on what types of items to buy, what to pass up and how to care for your treasures.  You’ll also find the authors favorite flea markets around the world from Paris to Round Top, Texas.

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I remember when Lara Spencer first announced that she was writing a book of thrifting–I was so excited.  I’m a big fan of Lara’s, have watched all  her HGTV shows and love her design (and fashion) style.  Her book, I Break For Yard Sales is one of the best out there and I love the fact that it combines flea market and thrifting tips with great design advice and inspiration.  Page after page Lara shares her passion form shopping yard sales, thrift stores, estate sales and flea markets.  You’ll learn her bargain hunting secrets and get insight from appraisers on what to look for when shopping.

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You gotta love that Lara isn’t above dumpster diving for a treasure!

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Lara’s second book, Flea Market Fabulous expands upon her flea market shopping tips by showcasing nine rooms that have been decorated with thrifted pieces. The book walks you through the entire process of decorating with vintage finds, from creating a design plan to building a mood board.  I also love the room illustrations and before and after photos of the DIY transformations Lara and her team pull off.

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And finally, my list of inspirational flea market shopping books would not be complete without Eddie Ross’ amazing book Modern Mix.  When you want to take you flea market and antique shopping to the next level, this is the book that will guide you.  Throughout the 8 chapters of the book you’ll find beautiful images of chic interiors, table settings, bars and parties created using vintage pieces.  And along with sharing his secrets to shopping, Eddie will teach you how to expertly combine colors and pattern, mix old and new & curate a high and low mix within your decor.

“Modern Mix cracks the code to navigating thrift shops, yard sales and flea markets with confidence.”

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And of course I had to share a few of my flea market shopping tips with you:

  1. Have a list of items you’re looking for but be flexible.  Shopping flea markets can be overwhelming and you can easily get side-tracked so it’s a good idea to have a list of ‘must have’ items to keep you focused.
  2. Let your creativity flow.  Whenever I’m out treasure hunting, I always stop and think about an item I’m interested in.  I think about the different ways I could use it in my decor or how I could transform it into something else.  Many of the items you’ll find shopping won’t be a perfect fit but with a little creativity and work they can be become real gems.
  3. If you love it, buy it.  We’ve all been there–spotting an item but then giving it too much thought and passing it by.  Then we have buyers regret and go back hoping the piece is still there but sadly it’s not.  I learned early in the game that if you love it and it fits your budget and needs then get it.
  4. Negotiate.  Flea market and vintage shop dealers are used to bargaining so don’t be afraid to negotiate the price.  And remember the more items you buy from one dealer, the better your bargaining strength.

For even more flea market shopping tips, read my 10 Tips for Shopping Flea Markets Like a Pro post.

Happy hunting friends.

Shelly Signature

**this post contains affiliate links

Carnival Cruise Lines--Carnival Conquest

Hi friends.  I hope everyone is having a great day.

You may have noticed that it’s been quite here on the blog recently. I could come up with a dramatic explanation like ‘I decided not to return from our cruise and stay Aruba to live the island life’ but we both know that would be stretching the truth.  To be honest, after seeing the beauty of Aruba and experiencing the amazing shopping, I really did give some thought to moving to Aruba but then reality hit and I begrudgingly returned to Atlanta.  Great memories and an awful cold are the only things I brought back from our cruise.

It seems that whenever I travel and my body gets a chance to decompress, I catch a cold.  Luckily my sore throat didn’t hit until the second to last day of the cruise so I was able to enjoy everything the cruise had to offer.

{warning…this is a photo heavy post that might have you booking a cruise at the end}

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We traveled with Carnival Cruise Lines on their beautiful ship the Conquest. Our 8-day cruise left from Fort Lauderdale and the ports of travel were Grand Turks, Bonaire, LaRomana Dominican Republic and Aruba.  We also had several days at sea which gave us the perfect opportunity to enjoy the ship and really relax.

Carnival Cruise Lines--Carnival Conquest

Carnival Cruise Lines--Carnival Conquest

If you’ve never taken a cruise before, I have to tell you that it is a great way to vacation.  This is our 7th cruise and it was decidedly our best one yet. Here are a few things you can expect on a cruise and some of the sights and sounds we experienced on our vacation.

♦  Cruising On Carnival Cruise Lines  

  •  More food than you can imagine.  A big part of cruising is the food and dining experience.  In addition to enjoying formal dining each evening, there are tons of casual food options like Guy’s Burger Joint for burgers and fries, BlueLaguana Cantina for Mexican food, Steakhouse Restaurant for steaks and seafood and a barista style coffee bar serving a variety of coffee and beverage drinks.  Oh, and if that isn’t enough, how about 24 hour pizza, ice cream and soft-serve yogurt. #youwillgainweightonacruise

Carnival Cruise Lines--Carnival Conquest

Carnival Cruise Lines--Carnival Conquest

  • Lots of lounging (or public sleeping in our case).  If relaxing is what you want to do, a Carnival Cruise will let you do that in spades.  We always find a spot off to one side of the boat, pull up a lounge chair to soak in the sun. I lugged a stack of magazines with me and didn’t get through a single one.  #donotdistrub 

Carnival Cruise Lines--Carnival Conquest

Carnival Cruise Lines--Carnival Conquest

  • Lots of activities.  All of the Carnival Cruise ships we’ve been on have had an abundance of activities you can enjoy.  The Conquest had a casino, comedy club, outdoor basketball and ping-pong, a dance club, 2 swimming pools, outdoor movie screen and several shops on board. And boy was it fun watching adults embrace their inner child and enjoy the water slide. #wepassedontheslide

Carnival Cruise Lines--Carnival Conquest

Carnival Cruise Lines--Carnival Conquest

  • Meeting great people.  Our dining table assignment grouped us with 4 other couples and they turned out to be some of the funnest people we’ve ever met.  We got along great and actually ended up hanging out together a good portion of the cruise.   We had such a great time together that we’re already talking about cruising together again next year. #freindsforlife

Carnival Cruise Lines--Carnival Conquest

Our cruise tribe: John, me, my hubby, Jack, Dorothy, Eleanor, Roberto, Eileen, Marie and Sal
  • Fun towel art.  Every Carnival staff person is skilled at creating these amazing towel animals which you’d find all around the ship and in your stateroom. And if you’re inclined, you can even take a class in ‘towel art’.

Carnival Cruise Lines--Carnival Conquest

Carnival Cruise Lines--Carnival Conquest

  • Tropical beach settings.  If its white sand and clear blue water you looking for, it will be delivered right to your door.  In Grand Turks the beach was just steps away from the ship and the water was crystal blue. #don’tforgetthesunscreen #HOTisanunderstatment

Carnival Cruise Lines--Carnival Conquest

Carnival Cruise Lines--Carnival Conquest

And if you want to explore the islands you can do that too.  In Grand Turks we visited the lighthouse, saw the donkeys that roam free and petted some horses.

Carnival Cruise Lines--Carnival Conquest

Carnival Cruise Lines--Carnival Conquest

Carnival Cruise Lines--Carnival Conquest

Carnival Cruise Lines--Carnival Conquest

We also popped into Margaritaville which was bustling with activity and impromptu dance sessions.

Carnival Cruise Lines--Carnival Conquest

Carnival Cruise Lines--Carnival Conquest

Anyone for a game of chess?

Carnival Cruise Lines--Carnival Conquest

LaRomana was more rural than the other islands we visited but was still beautiful and lush.

Carnival Cruise Lines--Carnival Conquest

Carnival Cruise Lines--Carnival Conquest

Carnival Cruise Lines--Carnival Conquest

Carnival Cruise Lines--Carnival Conquest

Carnival Cruise Lines--Carnival Conquest

Carnival Cruise Lines--Carnival Conquest

A Michael Jackson super fan gave the crowd a show in the Dominican Republic.

Carnival Cruise Lines--Carnival Conquest

As for my favorite ports of call, Aruba won by a landslide (and it didn’t have anything to do with the fact that the Louis Vuitton store was in walking distance from the ship).  Aruba is an upscale island with great restaurants/bars, beautiful beach areas and amazing shopping.  Every designer brand you can think of has a store on the island and there was a large Zara store and several Starbuck locations.

Carnival Cruise Lines--Carnival Conquest

Carnival Cruise Lines--Carnival Conquest

Carnival Cruise Lines--Carnival Conquest

**the panoramic photo above was taken my Marie who was the photo ninja in the group

Carnival Cruise Lines--Carnival Conquest

Carnival Cruise Lines--Carnival Conquest

Carnival Cruise Lines--Carnival Conquest

We took a trolley ride through the city and I loved looking at the architecture and colors of the buildings.   They looked like they had been snatched from a Bavarian village.

Carnival Cruise Lines--Carnival Conquest

Carnival Cruise Lines--Carnival Conquest

Carnival Cruise Lines--Carnival Conquest

 

  • Amazing Sunsets.  Just when you think you’ve seen all the beauty that you can stand, you’ll be greeted by beautiful sunsets every evening of your cruise.  There’s nothing like warm weather, great people and watching the sun go down over the ocean to put a smile on your face.

Carnival Cruise Lines--Carnival Conquest

This Carnival Cruise was one of the best trips we’ve ever taken and we can’t wait to set sail again.

Carnival Cruise Lines--Carnival Conquest

Shelly

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Dissecting the details is one of my favorite things about designing a space.  Over the years I’ve learned what essential components need to come together to make a room sparkle and come alive.  Today I’m sharing four great posts with you, tackling some of the most common decorating challenge many people face.

Click on any of the image below to view the entire post.

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Learn how to use accessories to pull together any space in your home in the Anatomy of A Well-Styled Room post.

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Often time the vignettes you have in your home tell a story about you and your family.  In my Anatomy of A Vignette post, I give you tips and visual inspiration for creating vignettes that are dynamic and personal.

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Do you want to get your linen closet organized and looking pretty once and for all?  Read my tips for an Organized and Stylish Linen Closet.

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And your bathroom needs to decor love too!  I’ve outlined 10 tips for Accessorizing & Styling Your Bathroom to help you pull your space together.

Traditional Home

Let the accessorizing and organizing begin!

Shelly Signature

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Creating beautiful tablescapes is something I really enjoy doing.  It’s always a challenge to see how I can mix and match my china, glassware and linens to create a new look. After years of decorating tables, I’ve learned that one of the best way to invest in table decor is purchasing decorative salad  plates instead of dinner plates.  If you own a set of white dinnerware, you’ll be able use your decorative salad plates to easily change the look from season to season. I hope you enjoy a few of the table settings I’ve shared here on the blog.

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Blue & White Tablescape

It’s not secret that I love blue and white chinoiserie decor so of course I had to create a tablescape inspired by blue and white. Its one of my favorite table settings to date. This pretty table also included two DIY projects, my easy monogram napkins and paint pen bowls which I just realized I never shared the tutorial on.

Read the full post here.

Blue and White Tablescape

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Natural and Gold Fall Tablescape

Last year I pulled together a gold, off-white and grey tablescape for fall.  It was the perfect mix of soothing fall colors with a touch of glam. I also wrote a post with tips on creating a fall table setting here.  p.s. I’m going use the white pumpkins again this year but with a different color combo.

Read the full post here.

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Thanksgiving Table For Two

In 2014 I pulled together a Thanksgiving tablescape to enjoy Thanksgiving eve with my hubby.  I shopped my house and used items I had on hand to give the table an eclectic look.

Read the full post here.

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Anatomy Of A Place Setting

One of the post I shared as part of my Anatomy Of series was all about creating beautiful place settings. It’s all in the mix and you can read the full post here.

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Dots and Plaid–A Christmas Tablescape

I love creating a festive table at Christmas and I was thrilled with the way my dots and plaid table turned out.

 tip:  use wrapping paper as an inexpensive alternative to a cloth table runner.
Read the full post here.
2014 Christmas Table By ConfettiStyle (25) copy

I’m looking forward to styling my table throughout fall and holiday.

Shelly Signature