How to Decorate Simply for the Holidays (With Big Impact)

Focus on these three areas to maximize your decor efforts.

You may have dreams of decorating your home like it’s a display window at a fancy department store, but then reality strikes: You’ve still got gift shopping and wrapping to do, holiday parties to attend and host … not to mention your everyday life to live.

Don’t get overwhelmed. Go for intentional minimalism. Some years, less is more.

Simple decor can still have a big impact — not the least of which is relieving you of some holiday hustle and bustle. All you need to do is hone in on sprucing up three key areas in your home.

Target your tree

The most obvious place to start is your Christmas tree. For an easy, fuss-free tree, go with a monochromatic color scheme.

Metallic ornaments give your tree extra glitz and seasonal sparkle.


Metallic ornaments give your tree extra glitz and seasonal sparkle.

Another option is to use all neutral colors so you don’t have to worry about balancing a color palette or tree placement — it will coordinate with any room’s normal decor.

Make your mantel magical

If you have a fireplace in your home, the mantel is an ideal spot to bring a little holiday cheer, but don’t make it too complicated.


Cotton branches intertwined with silver artificial garland.

Choose a statement-making garland to hang or drape across the top. Place some candles on the mantel to light at night, and you’re good to go.

Top off your table

The holidays are a prime time for entertaining, hosting, and gathering around the table. So bring seasonal flair to your table with a beautiful garland, which can go a long way as a table runner.


A garland made of magnolia leaves and evergreen creates a dramatic table runner.

Make the decor as simple as placing a lush garland in the center of your table and mixing in candles for added ambiance.

Decorating for the holidays has never been so easy. Focus on these three spots, and your home will feel magical and holiday-ready in no time.

Photos courtesy of White Buffalo Styling Co

Posted by Lindsay Jackman on Zillow

5 Distinctive Dining Room Styles

Dive into prime entertaining season with a great new look for your dining room.

Dining rooms are a wonderful place to express your style through furniture, lighting, art, and color. Here are five favorite dining room styles, and the elements that make them so appealing.

Tailored and traditional

Traditional style is all about the details: intricate carving, unique upholstery, textured linens, and statement lighting all make up this exquisite look. Take your style for a traditional trip by focusing on architectural details like embellished table legs or an ornate console serving as a bar.

Paneling is also a classic element found in traditional dining rooms. A gray-toned wall with bright white trim creates a crisp and clean look. Top off the style with an eye-catching chandelier and a few sconces along the wall for ideal ambiance.

Some other style-boosting elements? Mixed finishes, graceful decorations, and textured rugs balance the look.

Courtesy of Zillow Digs.

Modern and modish

The modern-style dining room takes many shapes and forms, but some themes are very prominent and consistent throughout. Abstract art serves as a must-have focal point in any contemporary setting, but especially in a dining room. Modern art and decor add just the right amount of movement to an otherwise structured style.

Clean lines and crisp corners are another important detail in contemporary design. Whether your chairs’ frames are perfectly rectangular, or your table’s angles are prominent and precise, having perfectly formed 90-degree angles is key to a modern motif.

Other favorite contemporary design elements include high-gloss finishes, metallic details, and sleek and simple tablescapes.

Courtesy of Zillow Digs

Restful and rustic

Rustic design often conjures up images of old log cabins and less-than-lovely ski lodges. Because the rustic look is so heavily influenced by wood and organic textures, it’s best to keep it as light and airy as possible, adding in elements of contemporary and traditional designs.

Try creating fresh farmhouse style with exposed beams, a distressed dining room table with bench seating, and plenty of greenery. Details like barn-inspired doors, nailhead trim, and reclaimed wood offer up a refined version of the classic rustic style.

Courtesy of Zillow Digs.

Cool and cottage

If you’re partial to the calm and collected vibe of the Nantucket shoreline, you might be a fan of cottage design. This cozy and unpretentious style offers a light and bright alternative to traditional design with distressed wood elements, tons of texture, and simple, elegant lighting. You can’t go wrong pairing a seagrass rug with an ornate dining table.

Keep colors soft and sinuous with tones of gray, beige and white, and lightly add pattern with an area rug, table linens, or upholstered chairs. Other cottage elements to consider: gentle patina on surfaces like tables, consoles, and shelves, slipcovered chairs, and curated tabletop decor.

Trendy and transitional

Taking cues from modern and traditional design, the transitional style is a cultivation of contemporary elements and classic architecture. Minimal accents and culled accessories lend a clean touch to a timeless dining room setting, and the less-is-more-approach is alive and well throughout the space with statement lighting and just a few curated fittings detailing the space.

If you’d like to mimic the transitional style further, consider these design elements: crisp window treatments, a calming color palette, and organic decor.

Courtesy of Zillow Digs.

While these are only a handful of the possible design styles to outfit your dining room, they are great starting points.

Posted by Kerrie Kelly on Zillow



7 Ways to Make a Bold Palette Work in a Small Space

Add some color to your home — and your life — with these tips from Sherwin-Williams.

Nothing energizes a personal space like a pop of color — and small rooms are no exception. Best of all? Painting is an easy DIY project that can make a big impact.

We consulted the Sherwin-Williams Director of Color Marketing Jackie Jordan for a closer look at the trends (and expert tips) for heading in a bold new direction.

1. Get to know bold

Bold colors range from dark to bright, adding drama — and depth — to a space. Think jewel tones or bright, summery shades. Contrary to popular belief, when it comes to making a room feel “bigger,” color is not the enemy … yet picking the right one is key.

2. Pick your palette

First and foremost, skip the trends and start with hues that resonate with you, first and foremost. Not sure where to start? According to Jordan, Sherwin-Williams’ Indigo Batik SW 7062, Naval SW 6244, and Coral Reef SW 6606 are popular options, according to Jordan.

Inspiration can come from anywhere — including the fashion world. If you see a look you love on the red carpet, Jordan adds, take a few Color to Go® paint samples for a test-drive at home. You might love it there too.

3. Go natural

Draw inspiration from Mother Nature for amazing, bold colors that work well with neutral walls and natural materials like wood, linen, wool, and leather.

“Think of how a flower looks on a tree or bright blue sky pops against a sandy beach,” advises Jordan, who suggests pairing bold hues with neutral bases. “Try a bright yellow green [see Sherwin-Williams’ Sassy Green SW 6416] or a brilliant blue [consider Aleutian SW 6241].”

4. Look past the living room

According to Jordan, powder rooms and dining rooms are perfect for bolder palettes, from red and green tones leading into the kitchen — which have been scientifically proven to rev up or calm snack habits — to sunny yellows and bright blues that can elevate your bathrooms from a purely functional space to a spa-like escape.

Curious about what your room might look like in a fresh new hue? Snap a photo on your smartphone and then use this brilliant app to virtually paint your walls, or upload an existing photo here to preview the job on your desktop or iPad before you even start.

5. Keep the accent on the accent wall

“An accent wall should be the feature wall or the wall with the most interest in the room,” says Jordan.

Have a hearth or a gallery wall situation going on? Don’t split the difference — or the focus — by applying paint on yet another wall in the room. Double your efforts and execute attention-grabbing projects in the same spot as your bold hue.

6. Finish strong

Contrast is key to playing up a bold palette. For example, pairing orange ceramics against deep-blue walls, or trimming shelves or picture frames in white or metallic are great-looking ways to make bold backdrop colors pop.

7. Remember, it’s not all about paint

Renters and noncommittal types can — and should — still get in on this bold trend. A few simple mini-makeover swaps will keep you in love with your space from season to season (or design whim to design whim).

“Stick with a neutral wall color [try Accessible Beige SW 7036, Nomadic Desert SW 6107, or Amazing Gray SW 7044], then change out your pillows and a few key accessories to shift in warm, cozy fall colors, summer brights, or seasonal finds,” says Jordan.

Posted by Tiffany J. Davis on Trulia

This post was sponsored by Sherwin-Williams.


How to Create a Standout Fall Centerpiece

Elements from nature and items you may already have on hand work together to create a beautiful fall centerpiece.


Fall encourages us to spend more time at home with friends and family — which undoubtedly leads to gatherings around the table. Luckily, a little fall foliage can make it easy to update your table’s centerpiece without investing in new dishes and linens.

Look to nature and items you may already have on hand. Here are some simple elements to create a standout seasonal centerpiece.


Shop in your own backyard or even on your next nature walk. Look for leaves, branches and acorns. Bare branches can be accented with small votives or air plants, as a more sculptural centerpiece for a rectangular table. Collected feathers can look striking in a simple glass vase while providing texture and interest to the tablescape, too.


Visit your weekly local farmers market and look for more substantial items like persimmons, pomegranates, berries, squash and interesting foliage for an arrangement that will last for weeks. For a more modern aesthetic, grab a few pumpkins, spray paint them white and line them up down the center of the table. Fresh flowers are an expected centerpiece and last only a week, where these finds can last anywhere from one month to a whole season.


Embrace the season by making your seating the center of the show. Consider painting a single bench or the wooden head chairs of your table red, persimmon orange or yellow. If you have fabric chairs, consider a patterned slipcover or throw pillow reflecting a harvest palette. It’s easy to swap these items out at the end of the season.


Think beyond standard vases and planters for centerpieces. Pitchers, plate stands, mason jars, teacups, coffee mugs, serving platters, trays and soup terrines can all make wonderful containers for seasonal flowers, fruit and candles. You may even wrap some in burlap for a textural effect. Have some pretty herbs or flowers growing at home? Grab those, too.


Display silverware and monogrammed napkins in a galvanized bucket for a more functional and approachable centerpiece. Keep ready-to-eat fruit on a pedestal or cake stand when guests are visiting and kids are between activities. If the containers you choose don’t coordinate, give them a fresh look with a coat of seasonal paint to complement your decor.

This post was originally published by Kerrie Kelly on Zillow Blog. See it here. See dining room designs for all seasons on Zillow Digs.

Empty Feeling: How to Fill All That Space in Your Bigger Digs

You’ve moved on up. You made apartment living a thing of the past. Or you found a way to trade that small, starter home for a larger model.

Finally, room to stretch! But also, more space to fill.

All those fabulous Pinterest finds and that living room of your dreams take time, and money, to assemble. Follow these tips to keep your sanity and your budget in line when sizing up:

Don’t Buy Until You’ve Bought

Make sure the ink has dried on your closing papers before whipping out your plastic at a favorite home store. It’s hard, especially when you’ve waited a long time for a place to call your own. But you don’t want to be left holding the bag (or a very, very large furniture purchase) if a deal unravels.

Live First, Buy Later

Your new home is a longterm investment. There’s no need to rush into anything. Give yourself time to acclimate to the new space, create new living habits, and get a feel for the types of appliances, furniture and colors that will work with your newly expanded lifestyle. A little patience is better than a large piece of furniture you’ll come to regret.

Budget, Budget, Budget

Resist the urge to splurge just because you have the space to do so now. There’s no need to take on more debt for the sake of a sofa, especially when you’ve just taken on so much debt with a new mortgage. A thoughtful approach matching needs, wants and finances will ensure you’ll have a space you truly love at a pricepoint you can live with.

Invest in Basic Tools

If you had been a renter, remember that you no longer have a landlord or property manager to call when things go wrong. If you sold a home to move into another, there may be differences in plumbing, electrical fixtures or landscaping that require different tools to adjust. The mauve kitchen may drive you batty, but a gushing, midnight leak you can’t turn off could end up causing costly damage.

Hit the Most-Used Rooms First

As glorious as that dining-room-set of your dreams might be, a table and chairs that will get occasional use aren’t as vital as a place in the kitchen to sit for breakfast and dinner. And consider putting up bedroom curtains to fend off early morning jolts of sunshine before you get started on painting the future basement rec room.

Keep Things Moving

You may have envisioned a sofa by that window and the TV in the corner, but flipping them could provide a better flow to the room. You won’t always know what works until you try new arrangements, and since you now have plenty of time and space, why not experiment?

Retain Those Small-Space Habits

You’ve lived for so long without under-the-stair storage, do you really need to rush to fill it? Or those painfully organized kitchen cabinets — a necessity in your former galley space — what if you kept those systems and used the new space to indulge in that roaster you’ll finally have room for? Living the organized life of a small space in a large abode gives you room to play with as time progresses.

Don’t Fear the Footage

While creating a cohesive look and investing in the right furnishings can feel like a daunting challenge when you have only two bedrooms, adding two more bedrooms and a playroom could easily make the task seem overwhelming. So, take a deep breath. This is supposed to be fun. Make a budget. Attack each room one by one. Give yourself plenty of time. Soon you’ll marvel at how much your larger house feels like a home.

Originally published by Anne Miller of To see the original article, click here.

8 Ways to Prep Your Dining Room for Thanksgiving

With so many dishes and serving utensils — not to mention the number of guests — Thanksgiving puts your dining room to the true test. Here are eight ways to get more out of your space, maximizing enjoyment of the meal and the day’s family joys.

No. 1: Clear the space

If the dining room is filled with nonessentials — in a small dining room that could mean everything but the table and chairs — clear them out for the holiday. This “less is more” approach will make the room seem more spacious, and a spacious room is more comfortable. Also, removing unnecessary furniture will place emphasis on the table, which seems only right.

No. 2: Set up a buffet

Take the burden off your dining room by serving food in the kitchen on a table, countertop or island. For second helpings, guests can simply return to the kitchen, or hosts might take a mid-meal lap around the table.

No. 3: Ride the bench

If big, bulky chairs are occupying more than their fair share of space in your dining room, consider using a bench along one side of the table to accommodate one or two additional guests. It’s a family holiday, after all; closeness is fitting. You might also think about renting chairs that are more compact than your existing furniture.

No. 4: Extend the table

Most dining tables are made in standard sizes of 36 inches wide by 72 inches long with one leaf. You can extend the width 1 foot and the length an extra 24 inches by simply placing a sheet of standard plywood on top. With a tablecloth draped over the surface, you won’t know the difference.

No. 5: Limit table decor

As tempting as it may be to adorn your table with an elaborate centerpiece or grouping of candles, decor can quickly become clutter if space is short. Opt for minimal ornament and make the most of your table’s total surface area.

No. 6: Establish a kids table

A kids table has been done before, and usually youngsters prefer to be on their own anyway. If your guest list overwhelms your dining room’s capacity, consider creating a satellite table even for adults.

No. 7: Take it outside

If you are fortunate enough to live in a warmer climate, why not move the feast outdoors? You can always use the dining room table as a buffet station, then enjoy the meal on a deck or patio — even by the pool.

No. 8: Rethink the space

If your extended table is a tight fit for your dining room, brainstorm ways to position it differently. If you position the table diagonally, it might give guests on the end a little more breathing room, or even free up space for a couple more chairs.

This article was originally published by Larry Bilotti of on Zillow Blog. See the original article here.