Want to know the secret to creating a home that wraps you in a warm embrace? Make it personal.
Whether I'm decorating my home or helping a friend or customer decorate hers, my guiding light is to design interior spaces that celebrate the homeowner's style and spirit. What better way to do so than by adding distinctly personal touches? That's exactly what I did when I decorated my home for a fall open house. I wove in playful and welcoming touches of "me" throughout the seasonal decor. You can do the same!
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When I plan my fall open house, I put a lot of thought into how to decorate the front of my home because that's my first chance to make a big impression. My historic home features two stone pillars on either side of the walkway that leads from the street. The tall, flat posts are an ideal spot to stage a seasonal display. This year, I knew exactly what I wanted to showcase there: personalized pumpkins.
If you want a sophisticated jack-o'-lantern but don't have the time or inclination to carve a pumpkin, consider getting metal monograms. You could easily paint them any color that suits your fancy. If the monogram has small spikes in back, just press the monogram to the pumpkin. (Or try glue if there aren't small spikes to work with.) When the pumpkin is ready for the compost pile, remove the monogram and use it to decorate a wicker clothes hamper or basket.
We took two terra-cotta pedestals, painted them black and turned them upside down to serve as pumpkin holders. We finish off the look with a few twists of honeysuckle vine.
My ode to monograms continued on my front porch, where I hung a metal monogram from my door knocker. Let me tell you, this quick but dramatic door treatment was a showstopper.
If you're ever stumped by how to decorate your door, this is a great option. You can hang it solo, like I did, or layer it on top of a seasonal wreath. Next summer I'm going to change the look of my monogram by painting it white, dressing it up with a seasonal ribbon and some faux gerbera daisies and hang it on my door again. You can reinvent the monogram over and over again with just a can of spray paint, a roll of seasonal ribbon and maybe a faux bloom or two.
About five years ago I made some adorable pillows, bearing my house number, to display on the wire chairs that flank my front door. They are so simple, yet so fetching, giving my front entrance a very personal touch. My entry is pretty sheltered, so I took a bold step and used cream fabric with a black monogram. To my delight, they have held up wonderfully, despite being outside all spring, summer and fall. I only wash them twice a year, and I probably wouldn't even need to do that if my two cats didn't sleep on them.
As soon as guests walk through my front door, I like them to feel warm and cozy and welcomed. To make my lofty foyer more intimate, I've filled it with furnishings. A chair, personalized with a monogrammed pillow, is one of the first things you see when you walk in the front door. I'm crazy about monogrammed accent pillows because they take a generic piece of furniture and make it yours.
• The column has been adapted from Mary Carol Garrity's blog at nellhills.com.