We all try to make great first impressions...but are you forgetting about your guests' first impression of your home?  Here are some tips to make your front entryway impressive and welcoming to all your guests.

  • When you get out your vacuum for the floors, open your front door and suck up all those cobwebs.
  • Hang a seasonal wreath on your door.  There are all kinds of new hangers at the hardware store.  It gives your guests something pretty to look at while you are picking up those last few shoes and magazines before they come in.
  • Add a pot of mums or flowers near your door.  It doesn't have to be huge, but a dash of color makes it nice.
  • Have a small table near your front door for guests to put things on.  It wouldn't hurt to have a nice vase or a big picture of your smiling family right there.  Add a scented candle for a nice glow and smell!
  • I know my coat closet is always full, but try to have a little room and a few hangers available.  I also put a few 3M plastic hooks on the inside of my closet for kid's jackets.  Hang them low so they can hang them up themselves.
  • Hang a mirror near your door--so you can check your lipgloss before you greet your guests.
  • Don't forget about the back of your door.  Why not hang a wreath there too? You will get to enjoy this one everyday.

Now that the sun is setting earlier, it's time to get out those candles!  Nothing sets a nice mood like candlelight.  (Added bonus - no one can see smudges or dust you missed in candlelight.)

We love battery powered pillar candles.  There are many that have timers which allow you to turn on the candle at sunset the first night, then it will turn itself off in 4-6 hours.  Every day after, it will turn on and off at the same time.  Some candles have remotes, which are great for displays on top of cabinets or on plant ledges.  You can't reach them, and may not need them everyday, but with just a push of the remote, you can add some ambiance for guests.  Some of the newer candles have flames that are so realistic, the flame actually moves and flickers.  You may spend a little more on batteries, but you won't have to replace them when you use them, and you'll enjoy the soft glow candles create.  Try some candles around your home to add some warmth and mood to your room.

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Glass centerpieces are a staple in our houses!  We have have huge glass jars, lanterns & bowls throughout the house.  They are the perfect and versatile centerpiece to use on your kitchen table, island or coffee table.  We love them because you can change them seasonally, but winter filler is so fun!  Start with a glass hurricane or lantern that is large enough to fill with goodies, but fits comfortably where you are placing it.  This will allow you to create a large, contained area that you can decorate and it won't take over your island!  It will feel more grounded with a platter or tray under it.  For the winter season, start with a large candle or several smaller candles inside which will create a warm glow with their flickering, amber light.  (Use a small glass pillar holder to make the candle higher if needed-or a can of tuna - you won't see it!)  Your local craft store has tons of "filler" for whatever tickles your fancy!  You can add any items that you like; from simple potpourri to favorite glass ornaments to an assortment of fake snow, berries, fir branches or nuts.  Put in one layer at a time until you love the effect!  

Layering your table is a great easy way to add some interest and warmth to your setting quickly.  First step is to find a great neutral runner to put over your simple tablecloth.  I love the burlap runners that add a touch of "casual" to the table, then you can add silver & gold accents that won't be too formal.  You can add a thick ribbon down the middle of the runner to add seasonal color, and add a pop of color with your napkins.  We also love the $2 plastic chargers from Hobby Lobby.  You can use these in the centerpiece, or at each place setting.  When shopping, pick a runner, candle and centerpiece that can always work in your room, then just add a seasonal ribbon or small pots of flowers to change your look!  Easy!!

Lighting is a very important element to complement your decor.  Nothing can ruin your atmosphere more than "stadium-like" lighting!!  In addition to  using candles, dimmer switches are a great way to soften lighting in any room.  They are found at your local hardware store and can be installed very easily.  (Your kitchen chandelier should be first on your list!!)

We also love a small table lamp on a timer.  You can add it to a desk are in a kitchen, a table in the foyer, or a hallway.  This allows a little soft light to shine in a larger area to add a little warmth

I truly love the winter holiday season and all the wonderful decorations that it brings out of storage...but I also truly love taking it all down and creating a more simple, clutter free look!  I use the quiet of winter to start getting things in order for a new busy year.  You've read lots of articles on how to break up the task of organizing into small jobs;  tackle one drawer at a time, one room at a time.  More important to me is not to neaten the clutter that has accumulated, but to prevent clutter from coming back!  When I tackle a new area, I take everything out--then I have to "touch" every item before I put it back and ask the question, "Do I use this enough to warrant space in this area?"  My rules are...

Only put it back if you will miss it in a week     

Only have items on your counter or desk used daily

Only have items in your desk drawer used monthly

Anything you touch once or twice a year does not have to be in your main area. Space is too precious!  Take more away than you think and put it in a box; if in two weeks you don't go to that box, you know those items belong somewhere else!  Don't give up valuable counter or cabinet space to a mixer you rarely use, cookbooks you don't reference or canisters that only leave a flour-y mess behind.  Keep those platters, pasta machines or bundt cake pans in a high cabinet, laundry room or basement.  Leave room in your cabinet so there isn't an avalance every time you need a dish!  The hardest part is starting, but remember "A year from now, you will wish you started today!!"  So, if you need a push, give us a call and we will come over and dump out your junk drawer to get you started!!

For more inspiration and ideas, please visit us on Pinterest and Facebook!

Place items where you use them.  Spices and spatulas by the stove top;  silverware and napkins in a drawer closest to the table.  If you keep the mindset "how do I use this?" and "do I use this?" you will find a logical place!

Don't forget to think vertical -- there's a lot of wasted space in many cabinets!  You can also find shelves to plug inside cabinets to add another layer of storage.

Take advantage of containers and organizing tools.  You may make a small investment, but they will last a long time and serve you well!

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