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Dining Room Ideas, Home Accessories Ideas, How To December 19, 2017

Dining Room Style: Cozy Christmas

Imagine this: it’s been a whirlwind month and you’ve been in high gear since Thanksgiving – shopping, decorating, wrapping, and planning. Now imagine that it’s Christmas Day. It’s finally time for the pay off – a peaceful, joy-filled dinner in your cozy dining room. The dining room of your dreams may look a little something like this:

Here are some tips on how you can create a cozy dining room of your own for your Christmas dinner.

Begin with a Great Foundation

Say goodbye to ho-hum dining room tables and chairs.  New seating options, from upholstered arm chairs to elegant side chairs and benchesOpens in a new window, provide plenty of stylish seating for you and your guests.  

brown urban dining room set with upholstered chairs and server

Hint: An extension table is perfect to ensure there’s room at the table for everyone.

detail of dining room set in dark brown finish

Replace the Boring Placemat

Fresh cut juniper under your china adds a splash of green, as well as a burst of fresh fragrance that is decidedly Christmas.

No juniper? Use whatever foliage appeals to you. Carefully selected boxwood, magnolia leaves, and even palm leaves are true foliage favorites. Set aside additional greenery to adorn the rest of the table, adding a few sprigs of holly and ivy for another layer of Christmas cheer.

Add the Magic of Candlelight

Make a bold statement with candles – but not just any candlesOpens in a new window. Weighty pillars with a distressed finish add rustic charm. Consider adding candle holders in varying heights for visual interest and enhanced incandescence.  Thread a strand or two of battery-operated fairy lights into the evergreen garland for added glow.

Hint: Use as many candles as you’d like, just make sure to use unscented candles, as fragrance can compete with the aromas of good food. And if you’re using scented candles (pine, cinnamon and peppermint are all wonderful Christmas fragrances!) in other areas of your home, light them 15 minutes before guests arrive so they’re greeted with a pleasant aroma.

Deck the Walls

Creating a cozy dining room means more than just setting the table. Adorn the walls with art and holiday decor to complete the warm atmosphere. A lighted wreath, red and green wall artOpens in a new window, and winter-inspired canvas art all fit the theme.

 

Baskets and small lighted trees – real, artificial, or even painted wood – add texture.

Hint: Freestanding decorations like these wood trees add homespun texture and charm, no matter where you place them.

And what’s the magic of a cozy Christmas without a heartwarming meal? Keep the menu simple – bonus points for every dish you can make ahead – so you can spend quality time with friends and family. Here’s a simple, and simply delicious, cider ham recipe you can whip up in your crockpot, freeing you up to join in the fun.

SLOW COOKER CIDER HAM

Photo of slow cooked ham.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 1/4 cups fresh-pressed apple cider (unfiltered, raw apple juice- I used organic apple cider)
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons smooth or grainy Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 orange, scrubbed
  • 1 best-quality bone-in smoked ham (6 to 7 pounds)
  • 1 cinnamon stick

DIRECTIONS:

Pour cider into a 6-quart slow cooker.  In a small bowl, combine maple syrup, Dijon, ginger and pepper.  Zest the orange into the bowl and mix the marinade ingredients together.

Rub the marinade onto one side of the ham and place it marinade-side-down into the slow cooker.  Spoon the rest of the marinade all over the rest of the ham.

Peel the orange and coarsely chop the pulp, discarding any seeds.  Add the orange around the sides of the ham and tuck the cinnamon stick inside too.

Cover the slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 4 hours.

To serve, transfer the ham to a platter.  Cover to keep warm.  Strain liquid from the slow cooker into a gravy pitcher and serve with the ham.

SOURCE:  RecipeGirl.com (Reprinted from Brown Eggs and Jam Jars: Family Recipes from the Kitchen of Simple Bites : Pintail; February 10, 2015 : Recipe: © Aimée Wimbush-Bourque, 2015)

 

Dining Room Ideas, Winter Inspiration December 12, 2017

Winter Wonderland Dining Room

It may be frightful outside but you can make it delightful for everyone inside, especially in the dining room. Warm the space by creating a fresh, inviting look.

Where Do I Begin?

Start with the furniture. Is your table set showing its age or leaving you cold? You may want to look into getting new furniture before decorating.

Start with Great Dining Room FurnitureOpens in a new window

Easily bring a warm feel to the room when you add large, cushiony chairs and roll out a plush rug that insulates the room and your feet from the cold. No one will want to leave the table.

light silver gray extension dining room table and chairs with server buffet

Add a Fireplace

If your dining room does not have a fireplace and you have the space, use a TV standOpens in a new window with an electric fireplace insert as a buffet. Heat and beautiful ambiance is delivered with the touch of a button.

these fireplace media stands are a warm addition to any family room

WHEN DECORATING, THINK SEASON

Use a mix of decor in neutral and winter colors. Light blue, sky blue, turquoise and white are popular. Bonus: Decorating with items you can use year round means you won’t have the hassle of packing away dishes and decorations when the holidays are over.

Placemats

Set the table. Bring tone and texture to your tabletop with stylish placemats. Satisfy your taste for easy elegance.

DinnerwareOpens in a new window

Keep it simple. Look for patterns you can use for every occasion.

Candles, Candleholders

Make it unforgettable. Place flickering candles around the room for perfect ambiance. 

Hint: Get candles and candleholders in neutral colors for year-round use. You can add seasonal elements, like seashells in the summer and mistletoe and ivy in the winter.

Hang wall sconces for a soft background glow.

 

Plants

Bring life to the area. Greenery, faux or real, connects you with nature, especially when you’re snowed in.

Wall ArtOpens in a new window

Yearning for warmth? Hang works of art that remind you of warm places. Seascapes are perfect.

large sailboat waterscape framed canvas painting

Throws

When the room is chilly, have throws on hand so everyone can keep warm.

ivory white throw blanket with fringe

Centerpieces

Look for frosted pinecones, or spray plain pinecones with white paint, topped with glitter. Put them in a bowl or dish and you’ll have an instant winter centerpiece. If you feel crafty, use twigs, branches and winter greenery to create arrangements.

Bowls of pine cones with spray paint on top to look like snow.

Tip:

Use risers like these below to provide a winter backdrop for displaying small accents like plants.

three white metal risers for displaying your home decor

Once you apply these ideas, your dining room is sure to become everyone’s favorite gathering spot.

 

Bedroom Ideas, Home Accessories Ideas, Seasonal December 4, 2017

A Winter Solstice Bedroom

It’s the shortest day (or longest night) of the year: winter solstice. For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, winter solstice generally falls on December 21. Also known as the official start of the season, winter solstice can make anyone want to hide under the covers.

Winter solstice themes bedroom with fluffy pillows and gray and white colors all around.

If you’re a warm weather soul who plans on spending more time in bed in the coming months, better make yourself comfortable. With that said, we invite you into our winter solstice bedroom retreat.

Like what you see? Here’s how we created it, step by step:

1. Roll with it.

Starting from the ground up, we rolled out the cozy warmth of a Moroccan trellis-pattern rug with a decadently plush shag pile. It’s sure to make rolling out of bed on a cold winter’s morn less jarring.

2. Welcome gray days.

The onset of winter puts us in a quieter mood, so we downshifted our palette with less color and more texture. We mixed muted shades of gray and soft neutrals for a restful retreat.

3. Pile on the layers.

To make our winter bed as warm and inviting as possible, we layered it on thick. We folded a comforter and laid it at the bottom half of the bed for a sumptuous look that gives our damask duvet another layer of interest. And then we propped up plenty of toss pillows, mixing size and texture. Faux fur really puts you in the mood for winter hibernation, doesn’t it? (Tip: When topping a bed with toss pillows, think odd numbers, which adds visual interest.)

4. Lighten up. 

Winter’s overcast days and long, frosty nights call for bringing in more light, which we clearly did with clear-base floor and nightstand lamps. A simply striking wall mirror reflects precious daylight throughout the room. Flameless candles are a delightful touch.

5. Add artful touches.

We decked the walls with abstract artwork reminding us of gently falling snow. For some subtle shimmer and shine, a few well-placed chrome-and silver-tone accents gave our winter retreat a touch of glam.

 

Fall Inspiration, How To, Seasonal November 14, 2017

How to Decorate a Fall Mantel

Celebrating the season doesn’t have to be daunting. With just a few simple additions, you can transform your everyday mantel into a fall focal point.

It Really is as Easy as 1, 2, 3:

  • Sprinkle in some seasonal and dried greenery.
  • Add texture with gourds, pinecones and some fruit.
  • Swap out your existing floral and add some seasonal sprigs.

How’s that for a fall focal masterpiece.

Need more inspiration? You might well fall in love with a few of our favorite looks for fall:

Rustic warmth reigns supreme with this exquisite pair of deer candle holders.

Set of 2 Deer Pillar Candle Holder

This remarkably realistic artificial fruit looks good enough to eat, doesn’t it?

Fake Home Boxed Pomegrante

Galvanized metal pumpkins,: what a gourd-eous addition to your seasonal decor.

decorative silver metal pumpkins

Talk about instant romance. Flameless LED candles that turn on and off by remote control are sure to safely enhance your seasonal mantel.

Box of two remote control LED candles.

Fall’s cooling temps call for bringing a sense of the outdoors inside. Rustic yet refined wood accents naturally work for your seasonal mantel.

Bring a taste of nature inside in the most on-trend way with its geometric design

With its rich seasonal hues and shifting light, this wrapped canvas wall art is fall…all the way.

a walk in the woods with these art prints