Monday, November 25, 2013

Flower arrangements for thanksgiving (or any other festive event)

Yes, I know I've already posted lots of ideas for your thanksgiving table decorations, but I cant resist adding even more... Below are some flower arrangement ideas. All are simple and easy to create. However, repetition is crucial to the success of a simple idea, so pick out an idea or two from below and repeat the theme a few times along your table. "Variations on the theme" are welcome (different height containers, different flower colors etc.), but keeping a common theme will make it look cohesive.

Pick out some glass containers with varying heights, fill them with green apples and place some white and green hydrangeas on top.

ciao! newport beach: autumn dinner party ideas & decor
glass hurricane vases with apples and hydrangeas

Or do the same but with chestnuts and flowers of your choice.

Easy Fall Arrangement
gourds as flower vases

Butternut Squash Centerpiece
butternut squash as a flower vase
Your vases don't match? Forgot to get glass vases? here's an original idea - use peppers for flower arrangements. My guess though is you have to a "last minute" kind of person, because these arrangements won't hold for long. Also, you would probably need to place something heavy inside them so they don't tip over.

Flower Arrangement with Bell Peppers
very original - using peppers for flower arranegements
Simple glass jars and bottles (remember to play with different heights) with bright colored pink and purple single flowers pair well with a neutral linen table cloth.

#dahlias in little #jars - #pretty

No need to run to the art store to fill us your glass vases. You might find something in your pantry that will work just as well, and even better. see the example below. so pretty! 

Eye Candy Friday : v30 {simply beautiful floral arrangements} — Brenda's Wedding Blog - stylish wedding inspiration boards - affordable wedd...
simple and pretty - sliced lime as a "filler" for glass vases
Fall leaves on branches are not flowers, but can be just as colorful.

Fall Branches in Vase

Let us all be thankful for what we already have...not only on Thanksgiving, but even more so on the day AFTER Thanksgiving...:)

be thankful!

Happy thanksgiving



Sunday, November 24, 2013

More design ideas for your thanksgiving table decor


More design ideas for your thanks giving table
It's that time of the year, when the days are getting shorter and shorter, so candles are a great way to spark up your table. 
Here are some cool and unique ideas for candle holders and candle decoration. Get some glass containers and candles. stick with the same color for the candles, preferably a contrasting color to your table cloth. Fill up the glass container with anything from corn kernels, to lentils, chestnut and cranberries, and you've got a pretty display. Remember - repetition is a very effective design trick, so no need to do it all. pick one or two ideas and that's it.

1. Tea lights embedded in grains. Dried corn kernels, beans, lentils, rice can all work because the colors are fall colors.

Super cute  for Thanks Giving table setting!
Tea lights embedded in corn kernels

ciao! newport beach: autumn dinner party ideas & decor
candles in glass filled with grains

fill up a glass container with chestnuts and a candle

2. Mixing candles - same color, but different sizes and heights works well. Mix in some fruit, branches or gourds and you've got a beautiful center piece.

beautiful table
tall, short, fat and skinny candles, on a reclaimed wood, surrounded by fruits and leaves

same candles, different glass containers, plus fall leaves and gourds

If you're worried that someone will knock those candles, fill a wooden box with candles. Add natural decor around the candles (branches, gourds, etc.) for a festive but safer decoration (see below).

Fall Table Centerpiece - made from old fence boards and filled with candles, pumpkins and gourds.

3. Simple and cheap  idea - glass hurricane vases wrapped in layers of tissue paper for a soft, glowing effect.

hurricane vases are wrapped in layers of tissue paper for a soft, glowing effect.

3. Cranberries - fill a jar or glass bowl with cranberries, with or without water, and float some tea candles over them. For a Christmas dinner party, add some greenery and a white table cloth.



4. Instead of filling up a glass jar, you can also wrap something around it.


Need more ideas? in the next post will show you some cool flower displays.
Happy decorating

Additional readings

flower arrangements for thanksgiving


Thanksgiving tablescape ideas

Are you hosting thanksgiving this year or helping out with the table setting? do you need some simple ideas for your table setting? if you do, please read below what I've shared.

Getting ready for the holidays; Thanks Giving home decor idea :) ~Julie Leblanc Oct 10 2013 MDS Blog Hop
Even though it feels as chilly as the dead of winter today, it's still "officially" fall, so why not decorate with nature's gifts? gourds, fall leaves, branches, mums or even cranberries.

Does the table setting below looks too elaborate? it might, but if you look at the photo carefully, you'll realize that it would be fairly simple to recreate something similar. Most of the decorations on this table can be found outdoors (branches, pine cones) or purchased at your grocery store (gourds, rice/assorted grains to fill up the glass vases). Tall glass hurricane vases are cheap and easy to find, as well as large candles.

Pumpkin Tree Tabletop Decoration
oh, so pretty!
Decorating with gourds 
Gourds are great for decorating. They come in different shapes, sizes and colors, so will look fabulous in groupings for a center piece, as candle holders, filled up with flowers or branches, as name tags on plates, or any other creative idea you can come up with.
here are some I found online: 

1. mini pumpkin as name tags

Isn't this little gourd/pumpkin an adorable place setting?
mini pimpinks as name tags are so cute!

ciao! newport beach: autumn dinner party ideas & decor

2. Gourds as candle holders
Thanksgiving Home Decor Ideas
using gourds as candle holders
3. Mini pumpkins filled up with flowers
mini pumpkins and mums
mini pumpkins filled them with flowers are so festive
ciao! newport beach: autumn dinner party ideas & decor
gourds used as vases

4. Displayed freely at the center of the table. 

Go With a Saturated Shade - Our Favorite Thanksgiving Table Setting Ideas on HGTV
use gourds in different shapes, sizes and colors as a center piece

5. Displayed on white or black dishes or candle holders, they look fabulous.

ciao! newport beach: autumn dinner party ideas & decor

ciao! newport beach: autumn dinner party ideas & decor

So, have you got enough ideas? if not, take a look at my next post. I will share some ideas for decorating with candles and unique, simple candle holders. 


ciao! newport beach: autumn dinner party ideas & decor

flower arrangements for thanksgiving


Saturday, November 23, 2013

Pin it! how to create a lighting plan for your living room

I've taken my last post on "how to create a lighting plan for your living room in four steps" and shrank it one image you can pin into your "how to" idea board on your pinterest account. This way you can get a reminder of the main ideas I mentioned in my previous, more lengthy post.
If you click on the image, it will lead you to Pinterest, or you could use your "pin it" button on your computer bookmark bar.

how to create a lighting plan for your living room

happy pining!


Friday, November 22, 2013

How to light up your living room in four steps

How to create ambiance in your living room - lighting is everything
Beautifully designed interiors look great only if the lighting is right, and the opposite is true just as well: even the most beautiful decor would look kind of "blah" in bad lighting. I think the reason why so many of us overlook the importance of lighting is because it's sort of like your body. You don't really notice it, unless it hurts. when looking at a beautiful room from a magazine, you probably don't notice the lighting, but you sure will if the lighting was not done right.
So how do you create a lighting plan if you're not an expert.

Let me start with a few important guidelines to remember:
1. Layer your lighting - add lighting at a variety of heights and directions. For example: a table lamp usually sits low and shines up and down. Recessed lights shine down from the ceiling, wall sconces can shine either up, down, or to the sides.
2. NEVER rely on one single light fixture in a room, even if you load it with 300 watt. You'll have a "glare bomb" and lots of unflattering shadows.
3. Dimmers - always install dimmers on fixed lights, so you can easily change the mood of the room. When you have guests turn the lights down a little to a softer, warmer feel. Try and remember your favorite upscale restaurants. They are often dimly lit, so people wont feel too exposed, and will more likely feel comfortable talking to each other. 
4. Use soft warm light bulbs - "day light" CFL's are actually cooler then the soft warm kind.

How to light your living room in four steps 
Let's focus on the living room, since its one of the most important rooms in every home, and perhaps at the top of your list of rooms to invest in good lighting. 
Below is an illustration of a living room which I sketched for you. We will add up lighting as we go through the four steps.

living room (before)
1. Start with task lighting - if you like to read, play an instrument or board games with your family in that room, you'll need bright focused lighting. Typically, I use table lamps, task lamps and floor lamps for that purpose, simply because they are fairly cheap and movable. You need that flexibility to direct the light exactly where you need it most. This step is the cheapest of all steps, but probably the most important.

Task lighting (table and floor lamps)

2. Next - accent lights. These are intended to light anything you want to accentuate, such as artwork, architectural features like an alcoves, high ceiling, built ins etc. You might need to install (directional) recessed or wall sconces for that purpose. This step is obviously more expensive the the previous.

accent lights ( directional recessed , alcove wall sconces)

3Decorative lighting - Decorative lighting is any lighting fixture that adds style and artistic flare. The focus is on the looks, not necessarily the amount of light, but obviously you can combine both form and function and find lighting fixtures that have both style and sufficient wattage for your needs. Decorative lighting examples: table lamps, floor lamps, wall sconces and ceiling mounted pendants or even flush or semi flush ceiling lights.
decorative lighting (ceiling pendant, table lamp)

4. Ambient lighting - this is essentially what we call "general lighting". It's a fairly low amount of light, enough to see your way around a room. 
Now, at this point of your lighting project, you might already have enough lighting, so you can skip this step.That's why it's the last step, not because it's less important, but because it might already be taken care of.
However,if there are still dark areas in the room, your best options for lighting them are recessed lights. or ceiling mounts (flush/semi-flush mounts). 

ambient (general) lighting - recessed

Lighting is an art, and you never know EXACTLY how a room will look and feel with the lights on, until they are "on". That's why adding lighting in stages, is a safer, more economical way to go. You start with the easiest, cheapest method and add on as you go. Play around with the "movable" lamps (table lamps and floor lamps), and make sure the light bulbs are of soft warm lighting.
If you need further help with picking out the right lighting for your personal style, or figure out exactly where to install those recessed lights, contact me 617-584-9965,


Monday, November 4, 2013


This is a single idea post if the topic is relevant for you. No bullet point or lists.
One single tip for choosing dining room chairs for round tables. That's it.

A rectangle or square dining table can work well with both straight back chairs, or curved back, as long as the straight line of the table are echoed in the chairs. 

A round dining table, on the other hand, works best with curved back chairs, because it follows the curved line of the table. The curved back can be subtle or pronounced, depending on the style you like, size of table and how much free space around the table you have.

North Andover - contemporary - dining room - boston - Ana Donohue Interiors

A straight back chair could still work with a round table, if the arms are curved, like in the picture below:


See how the table and chair arrangement in the photo below don't work as well as the round back ones?

                                             City Home - transitional - dining room - toronto - Jennifer Worts Design

The exception to the rule above is when the chairs are not as visually pronounced, and almost "fade into the background" like in the picture below: see how the white chairs have a very slight curvature to their back, and the almost fade into the white walls 

                                    Dining Room Design Ideas, Pictures, Remodels and Decor

So what's your take on this? please share
If you've been struggling with making the right choices for your own home design projects, you might benefit from some guidance. 
call or email me at 617-584-9965