The Pros and Cons of Ordering Rugs Online

Have you noticed all the great prices on rugs lately that are available online only?  I have ordered four myself over the last year and have been happy with them all – for the most part. One of them had a good-sized flaw, but after waiting months as it was back-ordered, I decided I was ok with it – it was such a great deal, and I certainly didn’t want to wait another three months.  Two of the four were slightly different in coloration than I expected – one was lighter blue than it appeared online and one had a beige background when I thought it would be white.  In spite of these things, the rugs were beautiful and I could not complain because the prices were GREAT. 

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How to Choose the Perfect Store-Bought Pillows

Allison and I did some very efficient shopping for her Home Makeover this week!  

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My happy assistant, Allison with the goods!


She could not believe that we were able to find nearly everything on our list in one trip – three stuffed shopping carts, as you can see.

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We purchased bedding for the master and her daughter’s bedroom, bed pillows, sofa pillows, a pair of lamps, a throw for the sofa, a large piece of art, a tray, a shower curtain, bath towels, and a few accessories.  A store like HomeGoods makes it easy to find so many things in one place!

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After redeeming a gift card and getting a discount for opening a HomeGoods credit card, here was the grand total:

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Even the cashier was smiling!


What a sweet deal!  Allison had budgeted $1000 for the extra decor, so we came out well ahead.  We still have to get an apothecary floor lamp and another pair of lamps.  When I assist clients in shopping, I always bring paint and fabric samples to help us make smart choices – you would not believe what a difference it makes.  

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I sometimes draw a bit of an audience with my methods of “testing” new items while still in the store.  I had Allison do a quick video to show you guys exactly what I do when I’m choosing store-bought pillows for a sofa:


Sometimes you need to “stage” your living room right there in the store – I do this with bedding combinations, too.  Allison is excited about our finds, and so am I!  Oh, and her new kitchen light fixture went up this week.  Now we just have to wait for the rug and chairs to arrive.  I’ve gotta run and get a new headshot made for the book  today – let’s hope it’s a good hair day!

Last Minute Shopping: My 10 Favorite Design Books and Magazines

If you are like me, you are tripping over yourself trying to finish up your shopping for the holidays.  I’m hoping that I can give you just a little more help before your time runs out!  Over the last few years, I have appreciated how easy it is to order gift items online – particularly for those of us who don’t have time to run from store to store finishing up our gift-giving lists.  So today I am sharing my favorite design and decorating books – and remember, these are the ones I recommend for my readers, too!  The first eight are my favorite books, and the last two are my favorite decorating magazines – subscriptions make great gifts, too!  Click on the links below to find out more and to order immediately:



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Top 10 Christmas Gifts for Decorating Addicts

Christmas shopping frenzy is in high-gear by now.  It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the list of people you need to buy special presents for, particularly if you are a woman and have to do all the purchasing – maybe a few of you married ladies know what I mean.  Not stereotyping here – that’s just how it is at my house!  I thought it might be helpful if I shared my top picks for the decorating addicts in your life.  Or maybe you will want to forward this post to your husband to give him ideas on what to get  for you!  

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And the best part?  No need to fight the crowds – all of these items are available online (just click on the links below the photos).

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A Step-By-Step Guide to Reupholstery

Amanda Brown owns Spruce, a furniture redesign studio in Austin, Texas.  Formerly a contributing writer for Design*Sponge, Amanda just published a book called Spruce:  A Step-By-Step Guide to Upholstery and Design. Since so many of my readers enjoy DIY projects and budget-friendly ideas for updating furniture, I agreed to review her new book.  Family heirlooms and flea market finds could bring so much character to a room, but their saggy cushions, dated fabric, and out-of-style design details can mask their potential.

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 Amanda Brown’s Spruce:  A Step-by-Step Guide to Upholstery and Design


The book itself is beautiful and colorful.  Lots of great graphics and tons of photography not only keeps your attention, but also helps you visualize each step as she lays it all out.

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Amanda gives step-by-step instructions for all kinds of projects, including reupholstering a Louis chair, slipper chair, wingback chair, sofa, ottoman, and pillows of all kinds.

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There are 900 color photographs that really helps illustrate each and every step for a given project.  Amanda even provides a guide for mixing and matching fabrics with lots of updated ideas to give your furniture a one-of-a-kind look.

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If you are interested in learning how to reupholster furniture for yourself, this is the book to get. It’s very thorough and detailed.  But I must tell you . . .

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This book is not for the faint of heart, or those with my level of skills (or lack thereof).  My skill level in this department is LOW, so it’s pretty much all Greek to me.  But if you have some basic carpentry or sewing skills, you will absolutely love it.  It would be make a great Christmas gift, don’t you think?  If you want to learn a bit more about Amanda and the book, check out this video.

How to Create A Maine Cottage Dining Room

When the folks at Maine Cottage asked me to put together a room using their furnishings and accessories, I began the room’s concept  with a COLOR SCHEME.  Imagine that!  You knew I’d start with that, didn’t you? At the Maine Cottage website, you can shop by color, by room, or even by fit (depending on your size!).  I decided on a dark backdrop to anchor the fun colors of Maine Cottage:  Benjamin Moore Van Deusen Blue.


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I wanted to create a dining room with Maine Cottage furniture to show my readers how delightful a colorful dining room can be.   Who says dining rooms have to be all stained wood?  Certainly not me.  At Maine Cottage, they create handmade, cottage style wood painted and upholstered furniture well-suited for coastal living – but you don’t have to live on the coast to appreciate the fresh look their furniture can bring to any home.  I started with the warm and casual Barn Wood Table:

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Can You Use Outdoor Furniture Indoors?

You may be noticing lots of sales and clearances for outdoor furnishings this time of year, or at least you should be.  When I saw this end-of-the-season outdoor furniture sale from Ballard Designs, I knew I had to share these great pieces at great prices that can be used INDOORS just as well as outdoors.

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Ballard Designs is one of my favorite online furniture retailers.  Great style, quality, and prices make them a great value overall.  This chair and ottoman is weather- and stain-resistant, which means it’ll hold up great with young children and pets indoors!  And you can’t beat the price:

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Ballard Design Ceylon Whitewash Lounge Chair and Ottoman – $369 for both, plus an extra 15% off

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