Entertaining Etiquette

Homelegance-Tove-5-Piece-Panel-Bedroom-Set-in-Brown-01

Homelegance Tove 5 Piece Panel Bedroom Set

The holiday season is all about entertaining.  Sometimes guests come into our lives for one meal, and sometimes they stay for a week or more.  Whoever they are and whatever their length of stay, it is our job as hosts to make them feel as welcome and comfortable as possible.

Some of us are fortunate enough to have a guest bedroom, while others will have to make do with their living room doubling up as a guest room.  Wherever your guests will be sleeping, our guest etiquette guidelines will give you tips to ensure your house guests have the best stay imaginable.

Clean Up

Prepac-Sonoma-White-Cubbie-Bench-03

Prepac Sonoma White Cubbie Bench

First and foremost, before your guests arrive you must clean up the area that they will be staying in.  Even if you are short on space and they will be on a sofa bed in your living room, clear the clutter away.   I like to stash any day to day clutter in storage boxes, that I can tuck neatly away at the bottom of a small storage bench.

Cupboards for Company

Alpine-Beaumont-Dresser---Mirror

Alpine Beaumont Dresser with Mirror

One of my pet peeves is when my husband and I stay in a hotel and he won’t put his clothes away.  He is quite content to live out of a suitcase, where as I absolutely can’t bear to think about it. Clear out a few drawers in a dresser, make space in a cupboard and provide hangers for your guests to hang their clothes.

Hospitality

Taking a cue from the hospitality industry, you’ll want your guests to have everything they need during their stay in your home.  Like a hotel, you’ll want to make sure that the bathroom is stocked with toilet paper, that you provide your guests with fresh linen, bath towels and a wash cloth. Don’t forget to wash bedding and towels in anticipation of your visitors’ arrival. Leave the clean towels and an extra warm blanket on their made bed.

Go the Extra Mile

Just about every time I have ever hosted an overnight guest they have forgotten to bring something that they need with them.  Asking to borrow or to use an item can be embarrassing for some overnight visitors, so I always try to anticipate disaster and put together a guest-basket of essentials.  You can put anything you like into the basket, but I always make sure to include a toothbrush, toothpaste, sample sized shower gels, soaps and shampoo.

Stock Up

Kitchen-Canisters

Kitchen Canisters Source: Everythingsimple.com

You’ll want to encourage your guests to eat and drink whenever they want and feel free to help themselves to anything they need.  I always leave coffee, tea, sugar and mugs in a place where my guests can access them easily.  Keep simple foods in sight: bagels, cereal, fruit and snacks. That way if your overnight visitors wake up earlier than you in the morning, they can help themselves to something to eat and drink without having to disturb you.

All About Attitude

Just remember, if you set out to have fun and stay relaxed, your guests will too.  I like to create balance by giving my visitor enough alone time while ensuring they feel part of the household. Giving them a key on their arrival is a nice way to symbolize this.  It lets them know that they can come and go as they please and that you trust them in your home.

Being a great host won’t cost you a thing.  It won’t even take up too much of your time.  But the small things  you do make a big difference to your guests, leaving them with fond memories of the perfect stay with you.

If you’re looking for more ideas on how to furnish a guest bedroom  take a look at our extensive collection of bedrooms sets.

 

A Humble Holiday Table

A Rustic Holiday Table

Do you worry about holiday spending? Does financial stress put a damper on your seasonal cheer? We have some great tips on how you can create a luxurious looking holiday table without cutting into your holiday shopping funds.

Explore Your Home

I’m sure there are many items in your home that don’t scream “festive” but when used well can help create the perfect dining table. A plain white tablecloth can make the ideal base for an elegant yet festive table.  A few small glass bowls can be filled with different colored candy, making a delicious holiday table treat.  A bright scarf can make for a pretty table runner.

Create Your Own Centerpiece

I love candles and often use floating candles as a centerpiece on my own festive table.  They bring a beautiful warmth to the table, and make my home-cooked food look even more tempting.  Another great centerpiece idea is to fill a plain glass vase with pine cones and paper ribbons, or you can even set a bowl of floating apples on your table.  Both these centerpieces cost virtually nothing and create a rustic-chic-feel effectively that will definitely get your guests talking.  You can create your own centerpiece in no time with just a little imagination.  Try recycling a pumpkin and using it as a vase, or wrap ribbons around an old glass bottle and fill it with with flowers.  If you are feeling more ambitious then check out this step- by-step guide on how to build a centerpiece yourself.

Inspiration in Nature

Uttermost Thoro Wood Bowl

You can find some beautiful store bought wreaths and nature inspired decorations, or you can always opt to do it yourself . Step outside and gather pine cones and beautiful fall leaves to scatter over your table. A simple bowl of oranges will add a splash of color to any drab looking table.

Mix & Match

The more guests you invite the more plates you’re going to need. Rather than shopping for a new dinner service, mix and match what you have.   A bit of mixing and matching can create a fun, memorable and cheerful table that your guests will certainly enjoy.

Focus On Taste

As much as you would like your guests to love the taste of your food, you’ll want them to appreciate your taste in design as well. Avoid falling into the trap of shopping for kitsch.  If you are planning to purchase items to decorate your home keep them simple and tasteful.  Make sure you buy classic decorations that you will be able to use again and again, for years to come.

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Sunny Design Jefferson Server

No Table, No Worry

These days not having a table is no excuse for not hosting.  A buffet is a fun alternative to the typical sit down holiday meal.  Decorate a side table or server using any of the table decorating ideas and give your guests a festive party to remember.

Be sure to check out our Decorative Accents sectionfor more design inspiration, and please send us in photos of your decorated tables – we’d love to feature them here on the site!

Bringing Your Garden Indoors

Artevasi-Santori-Tall-Round-Planter

Artevasi Santori Tall Round Planter

Following on the theme from my last blog post, Warm Up Your Winter Home, I have recently come to appreciate just how much my indoor plants have brought a sense of joy and warmth into my home.

Trust me, I am certainly no gardening guru, but  I have actually managed to successfully bring my garden indoors. In doing so, I have brought a breath of fresh air into my home.

Winter can be a particularly difficult time for indoor plants.  We tend to keep the heating on, the windows shut and the curtains drawn much of the time. Luckily there are some plants that will survive and actually thrive indoors during the winter months.

Here I present you with my favorite winter indoor plants that need minimal care and virtually no attention.

Nearly Natural

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Nearly Natural Hibiscus with Vase

This option is for those of us who lack both the time and energy to care for many indoor plants.  Here at Beyond Stores we have a large variety of faux floral and plant options. Though these nearly natural plants lack the fragrance of real plants, they are becoming increasingly difficult to tell apart from the real thing. The Nearly Natural Hibiscus is one such beautiful alternative that will definitely add a nice blast of color to your home.  The great thing about the Nearly Natural plants is that you can put them anywhere in your home without worrying about how much sunlight they will need.

Cyclamen

All of you who do want to try your hand at indoor gardening will love the cyclamen as much as I do. The Cyclamen is a beautiful, flowering plant that thrives in slightly chilly conditions. They can bloom all winter long and their pretty colors make them my top Christmas plant. Simply place the plant on a dish or decorative plate, close to a window, or in an area of your home that’s slightly breezy.  These plants love indirect sunlight and don’t need much watering; just add water to the dish that they’re sitting in, every few days, so that the soil stays slightly moist.

Geraniums

Bamboo-3-Piece-Square-Planter-Set

Bamboo 3 Piece Square Planter Set

I love geraniums and keep them in bamboo planters outside all year-round. I didn’t realize what great houseplants they would make until I brought mine indoors last year. With so many colors to choose from, they have added a delightful splash of color to my home. Geraniums are pretty hard to kill; I have forgotten to water mine on a number of occasions, and they still seem to be holding up well.

 Aloe

I try to keep  aloe in my kitchen at all times.  I love the look of its gray-green, spiky leaves, but I also love its medicinal properties.  Aloe’s ability to soothe any kitchen burn puts it in prime position in my kitchen window all year round.

The Christmas Cactus

christmas-cactus

Christmas Cactus source:babble.com

The Christmas Cactus, otherwise known by it’s longer and more difficult to pronounce name, ‘Schlumbergera’,  is a winter flowering cactus that really seems to enjoy living in centrally-heated homes. I can testify that this plant is as low-maintenance as any plant gets, needing very little light and water.

Kalanchoe

I am a big fan of the kalanchoe.  These flowering plants are bursting with color  and  if treated right, they can remain in bloom all year long. The kalanchloe survives on little water, making it easy to care for.  Just be sure to place your planter close to a window to give it as much light as possible.

Your winter home certainly won’t be lacking in color if you try any of our plant ideas. We’d love to hear about your favorite winter plants, so feel free to send us your pics and tips for growing indoor plants!

 

Warm Up Your Winter Home

I love this time of year. The holiday season is fast approaching and summer feels like an eternity away. I look forward to long nights snuggled under a blanket, watching the holiday classics.  With the change in season I find myself indoors more and more.  I want my winter home to be my sanctuary from the cold, a haven from the grey skies and the stresses of work.

Chelsea Home Oneida 3 Piece Living Room Set

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Sterling Industries Coat Rack

Staying warm and cozy doesn’t mean giving up on style. In fact, we have some great ideas for staying warm and on trend this winter season.

Hang  it Up

Returning home late from work on a rainy night? Make sure to hang your wet coat and umbrella on a stylish coat rack before you change into your pj’s.  There is a certain elegance and sophistication  about a coat rack as well as it being a very practical item that you will be able to use all year round.

Create Your Own Space

My home is open plan in design.   While this works well for me during the summer and spring months, creating a cozy space can be a little bit tricky.  One solution that has worked very well for me is to purchase a room divider.  I have been able to create a cozy space within my larger space in which to hibernate.

Howard-Elliott-34053-Cobalt-Blue-Glaze-Ceramic-Vases---Set-of-2

Howard Elliott Cobalt Blue Glaze Ceramic Vases

Think out of the Box

During the winter months you may be tempted to opt for neutral colors with which to accent your home. Most of us feel the need to  to stick to browns, reds and oranges to create a sense of warmth.  Be creative and think out of the box.  I myself love playing with richer textures and color. Midnight and indigo blue are my  preferred colors this season and with just a couple of blue cushions and with just one or two blue ornaments, you can really transform your room.

Indulge

A winter home should be all about indulgence and I am a big fan of textured throws and rugs to create a sense of luxury.  The way they feel is just as important as how they look, so make sure you go for natural materials over synthetics. Sheepskin and chunky knits are two must haves this winter season.  UGG Australia, famous for their boots, have created a sumptuous line of blankets and throws that will make you feel like you are literally walking on a cloud.

Play with Lighting

If you aren’t lucky enough to have an open fire place (how many of us really are?), you can create a beautiful feeling of warmth in your home with both natural and artificial light.  A simple floor lamp and some candles will do the job nicely.  Play around with candles of various colors and sizes and go for scented candles as a way to create atmosphere.

Shop now at Beyond Stores for some classic pieces that you’ll use  year after year to warm up your home.  And most importantly, stay warm and cozy this winter!

A Nursery Fit for a Prince or Princess

AFG Baby Leila Crib Changer Set

What could give us a better excuse to talk about nurseries than another upcoming British Royal birth?  The latest  rumors speculate that William and Kate are looking forward to the arrival of their very own princess.  But with no official word we are all still in the dark.

If you are expecting or preparing to be expecting,  I don’t think there is anything more exciting than designing and shopping for a nursery.  Of course there are some must have pieces to purchase and our collections cater beautifully to every expectant parent.

Modern, Elegant and Classic Cribs

We offer a huge variety of cribs that cater to any taste and style.  Choose one style you love or don’t be scared to mix & match different pieces of furniture from different collections.  I tend to go for gender neutral items that could be used again for the next child.

AFG-Baby-Nadia-Convertible-Crib-w--Toddler-Rail-in-Cherry

AFG Baby Nadia Convertible Crib withToddler-Rail

Chelsea-Home-Cambridge-Crib-in-Asbury-Brown-Stain

Chelsea Home Cambridge Crib

Comfortable Rocking Chairs and Gliders

Our timeless collection of rocking chairs make the perfect addition to any nursery.  I’ve spent more time in recent years on my glider than any other furniture item in my house.

Monarch-Specialties-1501-Arrow-Back-Juvenile-Rocking-Chair-in-White

Monarch Specialties Rocking Chair

AFG Baby Deluxe Glider Chair with Ottoman

Smartly Designed Combined Changers and Dressers

Although I’m sure the Royals don’t suffer from space saving issues if you need to conserve space in your nursery, the changing table/dressers in one make for a perfect solution.

AFG-Baby Grace 3 Drawer Changer

When the time is right, be sure to contact us here at Beyond Stores, and we’ll be more than glad to help you start setting up or upgrading your nursery and kids’ bedrooms.