DESIGN & CONSTRUCTION ARTICLES Holiday Decorating
YES it's possible!! Successful home holiday entertaining and decorating is more than just a good meal and traditional ornaments; it's about creating a warm and comfortable place to call home. And the most memorable holiday home is a place where your friends and family will enjoy themselves while basking in a relaxed stress- free holiday glow radiating from you. So this holiday season why not set a goal to relax and really enjoy yourself at your own party by keeping the number one rule of successful entertaining in mind; Think 5 …senses that is! And by designing your holiday decorating and entertaining efforts around the 5 senses you'll end up with plenty of stress free time and dollars to spare….here's how:
SIGHT: House in disarray and no time to deep clean every surface? …no problem: simply examine your home with the same set of fresh eyes your guests will have as they enter your home and then only spend time cleaning & straightening what they will see. And to help you determine what's in their view, simply use a disposal camera and take several photos of each and every room staring at the left hand wall as you enter the room. Once the photos are displayed in an overlapping format you'll be amazed at the clutter, dangling cords and disheveled furniture you'll find. You'll also be surprised to discover that the frayed sofa you've been so concerned about is not even visible to the camera… and your guests! An additional benefit for viewing your room with photos fresh eyes trick is that it also solves the dilemma of where to add holiday touches. Just go back to the pictures and find the spots that seem to lack luster and charm and concentrate your holiday decorating efforts there and forget the rest.
SMELL: Our sense of smell is linked most to memory so why not create a holiday season that no one will forget starting at the front door. To give your guests a whiff of your pre party cleaning efforts, be sure to spray a little lemon furniture polish directly on the front door and powder room door knobs for a lingering burst of clean .... trust me, guests always notice a fresh smelling home. And they will also perk up when the air is heavy with the 'scent direction' mood of the party. And to create the perfect signature scent for your holiday get together, simply arrange three color compatible scented candles together on an entry side board or hutch nestled in a bed of fresh greens … For me, I just love the combined aromas and harmonious colorations of sensual MORICCAN HOLIDAY, richly inviting PUMPKIN PIE and holiday zesty CINNIMON from COLONIAL CANDLE. Yummmm a sensual treat of the good things ahead! And according to my friend Dr. Alan Hirsch a neurologist and director of the Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago, these three scents pack a powerful punch when it comes getting ( and keeping ) your guests in the holiday spirit! It seems that the warming flavors of ginger, clove, cinnamon and black pepper contained within the Moroccan Holiday will actually help to keep you awake and alert all evening long! So that you can get an idea of how to scentscape your next gathering, here's a list of additional scents Alan found to be useful. AUTUMN FIG – promotes togetherness, happiness and learning PEAR – Decreases claustrophobia and reduces anxiety APRICOT MANGO SORBET- makes you feel nostalgic and the combination of the scented candles VANILLA and PASSIONFRUIT will promote feelings of youthfulness … yeah we can all use some of that!
TOUCH: Face it….we all do it; love to get comfy and cozy whenever we're having a good time so pr party is the time to make it easy for your guests to enjoy the comforts of your home by getting your throw pillows ready for action. Luxurious down filling is the number one insert for any accent pillow but the high cost makes it prohibitive for most folks so why not treat your ready make throw pillows to the DOWN EFFECT? Simply take any fiber filled throw pillow and snip the seam for about 6 inches across the bottom. Then reach in and remove enough loose fiberfill to form a good size football, spread the remaining fiber fill throughout the pillow and re stitch. Now for the down effect….since all down pillows feel mushy and look their best when displayed with a slight crease on the top, simply flap the pillow hard against your knees a few times to level out the fill, position on the sofa and with a holiday burst of energy karate chop the pillow on the top…. See not only a great way to spruce up your sofa but a fun way to blow off steam! And let's not forget the textural touch of a simple to make holiday arrangement created specifically to invite your guests to feel right at home… using potpourri in an inexpensive bowl surrounded by a holiday wreath makes it easy with numerous holiday scents…my favorite is PEAR and of course HOLIDAY GLOW which comes in an attractive double duty glass hurricane container. Simply pour the potpourri into a decorative bowl or chrome colander, crush the petal and leaves and snuggle the bowl into the center of the wreath… a perfect compliment to your cocktail table or powder room countertop! SOUND: Every day each one of us is bombarded with noise and the holiday season is no exception. But the worst sound any party guest can experience is silence… yep that's right, and a party without music is nothing but irritating noise. So be sure to fine tune your entertaining efforts by selecting music that complements the mood you are trying to project. Whenever I entertain during the holidays I always have several Swing ERA titles, lite jazz and soft rock CD's intermingled between my holiday tunes and my player set to RANDOM. Having the stereo set to randomly play between the holiday favorites and party mood makers is a great way to keep the party fresh and exciting. And here's a tip to keep in mind if you don't have a whole house stereo system. Simply, locate 5 or more satellite or FM radios positioned ontop of the tallest furniture piece in every room and tune to your favorite commercial free station.
TASTE: Yummmm everyone loves the holidays and your taste buds are no exception. But did you know that taste is actually determined by your nose? So why not give your senses a holiday to remember by preparing a holiday menu that is supported both by your mouth and nose. And the best way I know to accomplish that is to include flavor intense candles and potpourri throughout the room in a scent that compliments and supports the menu I'm serving. I've had great luck and many compliments whenever I serve a hearty winter beef stew and crusty French bread topped with hand whipped butter surrounded by the lingering fragrance of a MERLOT scented candle. And for making sure that Santa has a bit of scented sweetness to great him when he arrives, why not use the glass hurricane container left over from the HOLIDAY GLOW potpourri to pretty up his platter of cookies. Simply arrange a decorated holiday platter on top of a wicker charger plate, and then situate the glass hurricane with a delightful HOLLY BERRY 9 inch pillar candle secured inside and then add a few delicious cookies…Santa will be so pleased! And for your holiday get together with the girls, don't forget that the best luncheon ever will always feature plenty of good things to eat and savor. And what better way to set a festive and creative holiday table than to use fragranced candles selected specifically to enhance the sinfully delicious food and girls- only mood! And to create the perfect table top arrangement, why not combine the new and unique scents of the holidays; a warming VANILLA BERRY, decadent STRAWBERRY RHURBARB, and holiday spice MULBURY jar candles. And here's a tip on creating a colorful arrangement by including 5 – 7 candles nestled among a grouping of 3 salmon colored poinsettias which are wrapped in shinny silvery foil… WOW what a way to impress the girls and only you'll know how simple it was!
© copyright 2000 DESIGN SERVICE INC.
Use WD-40 or a high quality furniture polish sprayed directly on a scratched countertop surface to conceal deep surface scratches and blemishes. Let it set a few minutes and then rub into the surface in a circular motion. Be sure to wipe up the excess before preparing any meals.
When vacuuming Oriental rugs, never let the sides or fringe come in to close to the beater bar of the vacuum. Instead, roll five or six inches of the fringe side onto the body of the rug, shake loose any dirt and then unroll and vacuum the center. To really clean the area close to the fringe use a broom and sweep really hard.
When cleaning vinyl floors be sure to dry mop regularly with a soft mop. Using a broom will scratch some surfaces. Avoid using coco-fiber mats because they can also scratch or mar the surface or finish of the floor. Do not use wax on a new vinyl floor, instead wash and clean the floor with a warm water and vinegar solution. Use one-to-one proportions. This homemade cleaning product is also great for old floors too!
Never use vegetable oil to season or clean butcher-block counter tops because they can spoil or turn rancid. Instead use a lemon cut in half rubbed directly into the wood. It will smell great and look almost new.
Short on window treatment dollars in a small bedroom? Try using a lace tablecloth draped overtop of an existing curtain rod. Use a ribbon to secure each side and let the ends hang loose. The style will look like an expensive "swag or jabot".
© copyright 2000 DESIGN SERVICE INC.
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© copyright 2000 DESIGN SERVICE INC.
Deborah Burnett appears regularly on HGTV, National TV and worldwide radio with design ideas and decorating tips. She is a nationally recognized health and wellness design authority and keynote presenter bridging the gap between science and evidence based epigenetic design which explores how the body and brain are affected by the interior environment. As a member of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine she specializes in research and design pertaining to how color, light, sound and daylight affect sleep.