Whether you’re a go-getter who already has all of the holiday shopping done or prefer the exhilaration of a last-minute rush to find the perfect present, you’ve probably left someone important off your shopping list this season: yourself! Too often, people become caught up in giving others the perfect holiday and decking the walls in the most stylish trim, but it’s also important to take a few moments for yourself in the midst of all the holiday bustle. This week’s collection of blogs may inspire you to create a tranquil space that’s just for you.
DeDe of Designed Decor loves to find a quiet place and read to relax, but finding new homes for her used books isn’t always easy. She has a great step-by-step plan for transforming books that have become too damaged or dog-eared to donate into beautiful, stylized flowers for your mantel or bookshelf. The simple project only takes paint, glue, scissors and a rubber band to turn a book into a decorative accessory. Part of the design’s charm is its visible text; each flower-like piece is unique because you choose where the story starts and stops. Her book-flowers would also be a perfect finishing touch in a library or study.
If you like do-it-yourself projects, the furniture makeovers at Decorating Ideas Made Easy will give you inspiration for weeks. Jennifer Davenport shows you how her flea-market finds take on new life with a new coat of paint, a few squares of fabric and some sandpaper. Each project features photos of the finished product and descriptions of the changes Jennifer made to her garage sale treasures. Her transitions only take a few hours, yet each of them is beautiful enough to be the focal point of a room. Any of these tables, desks and dressers would look magnificent in a guest bedroom. If you’re preparing for visitors this holiday season, add a decorator’s touch to the space with a reinvented nightstand or chest of drawers.
When you have a crowded house, sometimes the great outdoors is the only place that lets you reconnect with yourself. At Gizmodo, Jordan Kushins has some excellent suggestions for outdoor furniture that feels as good as it looks. Each item uses radiant heat to keep you warm when the temperature dips, extending your outside time well into the winter months and even throughout the year in southern climates. If the sleek, modern design isn’t your style, let the heated-seat concept be your inspiration and paint your outdoor wooden furniture a rich, dark hue. When it stays in the sun, darker furniture warms up enough to make an outdoor excursion cozy in the fall.
Sitting outside in your comfortable, warmed seat gives you a chance to see what’s going on in the neighborhood. If you have new neighbors, The Moving Blog has a good neighbor guide that will help them feel welcome. Families who move during the holidays can feel cut off from traditions and customs they find familiar, so this guide is wonderfully timely. Most of the suggestions are free or inexpensive; it costs you little to bring over herb cuttings from your garden or sidewalk chalk for the new kids in the neighborhood, but you could earn a friend for your thoughtfulness. Fruit baskets are always welcome, but when they accompany a folder of phone numbers to the neighborhood’s best pizza parlor, veterinarian’s office and babysitting service, they make you a hero.
A bathroom can become a tranquil oasis in the middle of a busy household, especially when it’s painted in restful neutrals. Layla at The Lettered Cottage has helped her friend Kathy with a bathroom update, and she has a sheaf of pictures to show off her work. Plain wood walls, white paint and luxurious details make a simple design scheme into something special. Tone-on-tone whites and large windows that flood the room with warm light would make it a worthy retreat even if it didn’t have a walk-in glass shower and a mirrored vanity. Chandeliers don’t usually find their way into the bath, but it’s the perfect accent in an otherwise sleek design.
If your home is full to the rafters, maybe it’s time to consider redoing the attic. Brenda Craig’s guest post at Classica Decor is bursting with fantastic ideas for redecorating an often overlooked space. If you’re lucky enough to have a skylight or dormer windows that let in plenty of light, your attic already has one of the most important elements for its transition into a usable room. Even a darker attic can look bright and fresh with paint in sunny yellow and clean white. A few well-chosen pieces of furniture make an attic into a hidden gem and avoid any hint of the clutter for which attics are usually known. It isn’t too late to turn your attic into a quiet place for yourself, a guest bedroom for visitors or a cozy conversation nook for the holidays.
Traci at Beneath My Heart is masterful at making the most of small spaces. In this week’s post, she reclaims the lost space behind doors and turns it into handy storage. From kitchen cabinets to medicine chests, she shows how these unused spaces can become prime real estate for storing spices, kitchen gadgets, accessories and cosmetics. As Traci points out in the comments, it’s important to measure carefully before attaching any storage elements to a door with shelves behind it. Placing storage racks at the wrong height could keep the door from closing. These ideas save space while making cabinets and closets more organized, so it’s a doubly good idea to look around your home and see where your doors could use a little makeover.
Chefs often say that people eat with their eyes first, so having a beautiful holiday table is the first taste your guests will have of the magnificent meal you’re about to serve. At The Well-Appointed House, you can find beautiful suggestions for Thanksgiving table decorations. Ranging from Old World elegance to whimsical accents, these designs work for any decor or color scheme. You’ll find ideas for long, low centerpiece arrangements that let diners converse across the table and towering designs that add a festive accent to a corner table. Clever arrangements of flowers, feathers, nuts and vegetables breathe new life into conventional bouquets. Although the designs are perfect for Thanksgiving, they’re also easily adapted for a Christmas banquet, a New Year’s Eve party or any day that feels special.
Chris at Just a Girl is using her holiday to remind herself of all the reasons she and her family have to be thankful. She turned her chalkboard into a design element with jute, leaves trimmed from book pages and handwritten notes describing the things for which everyone in the household is grateful. The result is elegant with its cream-on-black color scheme yet lighthearted in its casual style. This project is more than just a way to add a touch of whimsy to a plain space or keep the kids’ hands busy; creating it is a chance to spend time together and talk about what makes the season special.
No matter how hectic your holiday season becomes, give yourself the gift of time and enjoy something just for your own sake. Whether it’s a long soak in a claw-foot tub, a morning mug of cocoa on the porch or a quiet hour with a book at night, treating yourself well helps you maintain your equilibrium and your holiday cheer.
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