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Winter Inspiration

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.

 

DIY, Home Accessories Ideas, Home Decor & Furniture January 9, 2017

Winter Candle Scents Made for Mixing

A classic fashion that resurfaces each winter is the layered look. This timeless style is also a great way to work fashion into your home. Typically, we add layers to interior designs by incorporating textiles such as pillows, throw blankets, and rugs but today we’re going to be layering with candle scents.

Step 1: Envision Your Intention

Think of your ideal getaway–anything from the outdoors to a five star restaurant. This will be the foundation for bringing optimum relaxation into your home!

Step 2: Acquire the Scents

Shop for scents that complement each other and create a complete theme. I opted for a natural tone and chose scents like woods, florals, and seasonal titled aromas.

 

Step 3: Finish with Visual Accents

Set the scene for your candle arrangement. For the natural theme I wanted, I used branches, leaves, and candle holders to give the display a sophisticated and elegant yet organic look.

Feel free to utilize this style throughout the year, try it out for every season and play around with all of the unique scents you can create! Let us know what your favorite combinations and displays are in the comments below!

Health & Wellness, How To, Seasonal January 5, 2017

Healthy, Hydrating Winter Skin Care Tips

We all know the feeling of winter, and our skin can feel it before the local meteorologist has the chance to tell us it’s coming.  The following are tips to help you combat the harshness of winter, without being harsh to your skin.

Tip 1: Amp Up the Moisture

Our faces tend to be the areas most vulnerable to cold weather dryness. In the mornings, use a regular moisturizer that works well with your makeup. Before bed, use a moisturizing oil such jojoba, grape seed or coconut.  Be sure to lightly pat this into your face, as rubbing it in can clog pores and cause breakouts.

 

Tip 2: Drink More Water

Keeping your skin hydrated is as much about what you put into your body as it is about what you apply topically. By drinking sufficient amounts of water, and even more in the winter, you can help your skin feel and look nourished.

 

 

Tip 3: Add Supplements

If you’re already at maximum hydration, another option is to add vitamin C, zinc, or an omega-3 supplement to help your body boost its production of collagen and elastin. These proteins keep your skin glowing and smooth.

Tip 4: Simmer Down

When the weather gets colder, it’s tempting to use hotter water. Unfortunately, bathing in very hot water can remove the natural oils from your skin, leaving your face and body dryer than before. Try using lukewarm water instead–your skin and hair will thank you!

Tip 5: Don’t Underestimate Sunscreen

Although the weather may be dreary, UV rays are actually stronger on partly cloudy days. This means that leaving your skin without proper sun protection can lead to permanent damage, and sun damage can leave your skin feeling dry and rough. To avoid this, opt for a moisturizer that offers SPF protection.

Step 6: Use a Gentle Exfoliator

It may seem counterintuitive to use something that scrubs your face, but ridding the skin of dead cells is essential for beneficial oils to penetrate the skin’s surface. For the face, you can use a microdermabrasion tool (start by using once a week and see how your skin responds) or an exfoliating cleanser. For the rest of your body, sugar scrubs are a great way to gently remove dead skin cells.

Step 7: Invest in a Humidifier

Sleeping next to a humidifier is another great way to keep your skin moisturized, and it’s extremely easy to work into your skincare routine. Simply turn it on before going to bed and wake up with refreshed skin! Apart from the great benefits to your skin, a humidifier can also reduce your risk of getting a cold or the flu.

Winter may be harsh, but your skin doesn’t have to show it. Following these tips can give you that summertime glow all year round. Share your favorite tips and let us know how these worked for you.

Entertaining, How To, Party & Event Ideas December 19, 2016

How to Host a Midwinter Party 101

Forget the drama llama. It’s time to party like an animal!

It doesn’t have to be hard to throw a midwinter party, especially if you follow our easy instructions.

Warm up your guests with a cup of liquid joy.

Hot Cocoa Bar

In addition to the standard toppings, include a few unexpected treats like crushed peppermints, cocoa powder, chili powder and cinnamon.

Spiking Station:

Peppermint Baileys Irish Cream, Kahlua, Tequila, Schnapps

Peppermint Bark

A perfect match with the cocoa.

  • White melting chocolate, melted
  • Mini Reese’s peanut butter cups, halved
  • Pretzel sticks, broken in half
  • Orange sprinkles
  • Red Hots

Spread melted chocolate on a wax paper covered sheet pan, arrange snowman parts and let cool in refrigerator for 10 minutes. Break into pieces.

Fruit Tree Tower

A Styrofoam cone, toothpicks and a medley of fruits are all you need to create an edible centerpiece. Surround the base with more fruit and toothpicks for easy eating.

Snowman Veggie Platter

What an easy way to dress up the ubiquitous veggie dip tray.

Slow Cooker Cranberry Apple Cider

Set it and forget it.

  • 1 liter apple juice
  • 1 liter cranberry juice (unsweetened)
  • 2 cups orange juice
  • 1/8 tsp cloves
  • ½ cup sugar
  • cinnamon sticks, cranberries, orange and apple slices for garnish

Winter Cranberry Martini

A little something to warm up the adults is always appreciated.

  • 2 oz gin
  • 1 oz cranberry infused simple syrup
  • 1 oz vermouth
  • Cranberries on a rosemary sprig for garnish

Place ingredients in a shaker with ice, shake and strain into a glass.

Home Accessories Ideas, Home Decor & Furniture, How To December 14, 2016

HOW TO: STYLISHLY WINTERIZE YOUR MUDROOM OR ENTRYWAY

The crisp days of fall have retreated, inviting in a new season and another opportunity to get creative with your space. Revamp your front and back door areas to make room for wintertime essentials. Here are a few tips for transforming your entryway or mudroom into a wintery landing pad.

3 EASY STEPS TURN YOUR MUDROOM & ENTRYWAY INTO AN ALCOVE OF STYLE & CONVENIENCE 

Coats, hats, gloves, boots and wet shoes are just a few pieces of this season’s ever-present clutter. Need a spot to dry winter gear and warm up after trekking through the snow? Why not transform your entryway or mudroom into a drying area complete with plenty of spots to stow away gear and seats for taking off your boots. Relief is on the way with some helpful tips for repurposing this space and giving it a cool weather vibe.

STEP 1: REFRESH THE ROOM AND ADD CHARACTER

Front door or back door, it’s the first place guests see when they enter your home, so it’s worth the effort to clean it up to provide a warm welcome. Remove anything that doesn’t serve a purpose or isn’t being used—then donate it or trash it. Once you have decluttered the room, add a fresh coat of paint, and if you’re feeling ambitious, come up with a theme for the area. For example, you could transform your space into a lodge-like escape by adding items or art that give the room a woodsy feel.

STEP 2: COVER THE FLOOR

This time of year, absorbent mats or runners, some with rubber backing, are great choices since they are made for keeping your floors dry. They are available in different sizes, styles and designs to meet your needs.

STEP 3: FURNISH THE ROOM

Your goal is to make the space more useful by introducing designated storage areas for everyday necessities. By attaching a chalkboard wall shelf with cabinet and hooks, you’ll have a handy spot for hanging coats, keys and wet gloves. A cabinet is perfect for keeping handbags, hats, gloves, earmuffs, ice scrapers and more. For those busy work and school days, a chalkboard is an added bonus for leaving messages, creating calendars or jotting down lists.

Use a lengthy table with drawers and a lower shelf. Add bins on the lower shelf and presto—you now have the perfect spot for winter gear. Look for rustic style to introduce the lodge-like feel and add a lamp or two that will help cast a pretty glow over your neat and tidy “welcome center.”

A storage bench can serve double duty by giving you a place to put on boots and hide them away.

Add baskets. They make great catchalls.

Get box sets to stow away outdoor gear. They provide easy access when in a pinch for time.

If you have the room, a bookcase extends your storage and display potential. Find one that fits your space and fill it up with bins or baskets and a knick-knack or two.

Add a little touche like a stylish umbrella stand—great idea for handling wet items.

Since lighting is important too, hang an interesting pendant light to provide stylish and functional overhead illumination.

With an entryway transformation, odds and ends won’t end up in the rest of your home, and you’re sure to make great first impressions when guests admire how you’re keeping it all organized in style. How do you rearrange for winter? We’d love to hear your ideas in the comments section.You can also share your photos with us on Instagram, use the hashtag #MyAshleyHome.

Seasonal, Winter Inspiration February 16, 2016

Winter Blues

It’s February. And if you're like us, you're so over the grey and gloom, and ready for warmer temps and longer, sunnier days. Being holed up in the house is no fun, and can make you feel unmotivated, tired and itching for something energizing and bright. So we've got some ideas for turning your home into an oasis in the midst of these cold, dark winter months.

THINK BRIGHT

Up for a small project that will give your home an instant infusion of happy? Paint your walls with a bright color like orange or green! Green is very soothing, creates optimism and can make you feel happy and fresh, while orange evokes feelings of friendliness, ambition and relaxation. We'll take any of that right about now.

Don’t feel like painting walls at this time of year—or ever? Try some well placed accessories to brighten up your space. Add sunny pillows and a blanket to your sofas for pops of color in your living room. Mix in a colorful throw rug and a vase of fresh flowers and it will start to feel like spring has already sprung.

Pillows

Photo Credit: @kaeelynn

HAPPY SCENTS

We’ve all heard of aromatherapy and essential oils, but do they really work? The answer is yes! Their aroma can positively affect your mood and your general sense of wellbeing.

Citrus is a proven mood booster. Orange, lemon and grapefruit can give you an instant burst of energy, while relieving stress and anxiety. Light a citrus candle in the rooms where you spend the most time and you’ll feel yourself perking up in no time!

citrus

LIGHTEN UP

Instead of trudging around a dark house, lighten things up by adding a few strategically place lamps and overhead lights where you hang out most. Be sure to use full spectrum bulbs which do a great job simulating sunlight. Also, consider adding mirrors near windows and lights in your home. Mirrors reflect light and can make a room feel brighter and happier!

Mirrors
So go forth and conquer your winter gloom. And let us know your tips for staying sunny and bright during the cold and dark months!