Getting into the Spirit this Halloween

Halloween_Witch_2011

Hi fellow house decorating enthusiasts!

My previous post on Halloween decorating garnered a lot of mail and feedback and requests for some more in- depth ideas on how to Halloween-ify(!) your homes. Believe it or not, many readers are really looking for ways to go all out! I can really relate. As I mentioned previously, Halloween is one of the less intensive festivals and it leaves us with more energy to spend making our homes look spectacular.

Decorating the Lawn

Ghosts

The creepy graveyard makeover seemed to really tickle the imagination of many readers, to be honest, I think that this style of decorating whilst incredibly eerie and wonderfully thematic, is also a little frightening for the little people – and some of the big ones as well. You can achieve a similar but more lighthearted effect by creating a yard-full of ghosts all over the garden. The beauty of creating these otherworldly creatures is that all you are going to need is a large white sheet or tablecloth. You can also make a trip to a craft sore and buy some plain white, inexpensive material. The basic ghost shape is easy enough to make and you can decide how scary/funky or creative you wish your ghost to be by accessorizing with pretty bows, ghoulish makeup and facial expressions.

Witches

Witches feature prominently in Halloween decorations.

Now that we have the ghosts sorted out, it is time to move on to witches and skeletons. Again, you can make this as lifelike, scary and realistic as you like.  The classic decoration of the witch that has crashed into a tree never gets old. You can re-create this hilarious prop using a broomstick, some black garbage bags, some old stuffed tights and a homemade hat from paper.

Skeletons

Skeleton Bride And Groom
Skeleton Bride And Groom for Halloween (image: cc0 public domain)

There are endless ways you can place skeletons around your yard. For a comic effect dress them up and sit them around the patio furniture having a tea party or mowing the lawn. Alternatively, you can take the more traditional route and have them hanging from a tree or hanging out by the front door.

The Doorway

Speaking of the front door, pay special attention to the entrance of your home. If you have a porch or a covered entrance, this is the perfect place to have some creepy hanging bats as well as some intricate looking spider webs. A swinging hammock by the front door is also a great place to place a skeleton or even a friendly witch! A large planter or even an interesting looking wood chest by the door is an excellent spot to pile some mini pumpkins and complete your look.

Dress Up Your Home for Halloween

fall wreath

It’s never too early to start planning your Halloween decorating!

The origins of Halloween date back over 2000 years.  The reason that people would get dressed up and stroll in the streets, was, as tradition has it, Halloween was the night that evil spirits would roam the streets. In an effort to please the spirits, people would leave out sweet treats for them and dress up so that they would not be recognized by any long dead relatives looking for some revenge! Yikes!



Today, Halloween is one of the most popular festivals in our yearly calendar. Due to the fact that we do not have to prepare a huge feast and spend hours entertaining great aunt Sally, we can spend all our energies decorating our home, perfecting our costumes and preparing great baskets of goodies for anyone who dares knock on our door.

A Simple Home Decoration

Those of you who are short on time, patience or otherwise unmotivated to go to any great decorating effort, can go the minimal route and begin by placing a lone pumpkin by the front door. If you have a little more energy slice the top of the pumpkin, scoop out a little of the inside and place some greenery and flowers inside, voila, you have yourself a pumpkin holder!

Nearly Natural 24″ Pumpkin & Berry Wreath

To complete the look, purchase a ready-made pumpkin wreath, attach it to your front door and you are Halloween ready. Of course, if you purchase a faux pumpkin wreath, you can break it our year after year and it will always look fresh and beautiful.

Nearly Natural 28″ Harvest Wreath

Go All Out

As you may have guessed, I fall into the ‘all out Halloween decorating’ category! Now, I’ll admit that I have never gone so far as to turn my house into a haunted home with witches falling out of the closets or a lawn turned into a graveyard, however I do invest quite a lot of time decorating not only the front door and porch of our home, I also extend the decorating to the entryway and sometimes even the living room.

Ren-Wil OL898 Autumn Mist Horizontal Canvas Wall Art by Olivia Salazar

As you would expect, there are literally hundreds of decorating ideas online that will give you some great ideas and pointers. In our home, the decorating starts on the inside, in the hallway. I start by tying orange and black ribbons down the banister and scoop it up with some randomly attached bows.

In the hallway, I fill a large basket with different sized and colored pumpkins. Over the years I have collected a number of Halloween inspired blankets, pillows and even this bright orange beanbag that I scatter around the hallway for even greater Halloween fun!

Happy Spooky Decorating!

 

Partying in the Fall

Simple Ways to Have a Thematic Autumn at Home

The air is turning crisp and leaves have begun to fall off the trees in my yard. Hold on to your hats! Spring is making its way in. Now is the time to wave a final hurrah to the long, lazy summer days.

Autumn in the Mountains (CC BY SA 3.0 ForestWander via Wikimedia Commons)

Throw a Party

Invite over your friends and family for a casual, pot luck celebration. Make a food list and ask everyone to bring a cooked dish, fresh vegetables or even some decorations. Spend the time reminiscing about the summer and ask your friends to bring with some snapshots or short videos of their summer trip. Create scrapbooks or put together a list of trip recommendations that everyone can enjoy the following year. Surprise your guests with an inexpensive picture frame so that they can frame their favorite picture from their summer vacation.

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10 More Cheap and Cheerful Ways to Spruce up your Home

Living Room Accessories & Living Room Accents
The Modern Living Room (CC BY 2.0 Dan Taylor via Flickr)

There are some core accents a complete house needs to be, well, complete. You can find these all over the place, but not necessarily in one location. Here are just some of the samples of our massive collections at Beyond Stores that would accentuate your living space:

1. Pillows

Yep, pilling on the pillows is a sure way to change the feel of a room and add some visual design. Do not stick to a couple of pillows in the corners of your couch, instead pile them up and contrast patterns, colors and even fabrics for a great and interesting look.

2. Wallpaper

Last week we spoke about using a little paint to change up a room, even if you are only painting one wall of it. An equally successful idea is to incorporate some wallpaper into a room for a great new look. Again, this does not have to entail you wallpapering all the walls of your home even just wallpapering over some closet doors will do the trick.

3. Ottoman

For a perfect two-in-one combination, consider purchasing an ottoman that can be used as both a coffee table as well as the perfect piece of furniture for stretching out your legs. Where possible, try and purchase furniture that can be used for a number of different purposes. This will save you both money and space and it is also better for the environment.

4. Indoor Plants

Use plants as the perfect way to bring some greenery into your home, as well as a great solution for cheering up a lonely corner. A faux plant or flower arrangement works equally well.

5. Benches

Switch up your seating at the table. Instead of having a set of matching chairs, mix it up with a bench for a warmer, more adventurous and exciting look.

6. Lighting

Even though your closet is not usually on display, sprucing it up will definitely cheer you up! Consider lining the shelves with some pretty paper, adding extra lighting or even hanging up some pictures that you love.

7. Rugs

Purchase a number of small area rugs and use them is the same room for a less cookie cutter and more eclectic look.

8. Woven Chairs

Who says wicker or woven chairs only belong outside? Consider lightening up the mood of your room by mixing up some wicker pieces with more upholstered chairs.

9. Mirrors

Add a mirror to the wall of your foyer and create both drama and light to the space. A small foyer is the perfect backdrop for a more dramatic mirror or piece of art.

10. Books upon Books upon Books

This has to be my favorite tip, use books to create visual interest and character. If you have run out of room on your bookshelf, simply stack books on a flat surface or an end table.

Follow Elizabeth Wallace’s board Book Stacks on Pinterest.

Homework

After a short, well deserved break, I am happy to be back brimming with ideas and inspiration for your home! For many of us, this week marks a return to school, college and nursery. To get this school year off to a great and successful start, I have decided to dedicate the post this week to creating a useful and inspirational homework area in your home. A special place where your kids can do their homework will make studying easier, more productive and hopefully, less of a chore.

Homework at the Kitchen Table

Your house size and limitations as well as the age of your children will determine the scope and nature of the homework area that you can design.  Younger children often require assistance as well as encouragement and support, the ideal spot for them to do their homework is at the kitchen or dining room table.  This way, the parents can tend to dinner and still be available to provide any assistance that is needed at the same time. As well as some space at the table, some cute accessories can make homework a lot more fun. Set aside a special container with a selection of school supplies and to help create a work zone feeling, place a pegboard or bulletin board on the wall by the homework area where both you and your kids can keep track of their school schedule.

A Purpose Built Homework Area

Eurostyle Desk Lamp with Adjustable HeightEven if you only have a small nook under the stairs or in your own home office, a purpose area set aside for homework is an ideal way for your children to get their work done. To help your child focus and stay motivated, it is important to provide adequate lighting, comfortable seating and a space for them to store their books as well as essentials such as a dictionary and writing supplies. As well as the overhead lighting that is already available, provide each child with a desk lamp. Although a specially designed desk chair is ideal, especially for older kids who will (hopefully) be spending extended amounts of time at their workstation, any comfortable chair will do. Do not forget that any modern day work space will also need plenty of electrical outlets for all of the devices that are an integral part of our children’s learning experience.

Get Your Child Involved

The best way to ensure that your child actually makes use of their homework area is to let them get involved in planning it. This may mean choosing the color on the walls or of the table or having a say in the organization of the area by picking out the cubbies, storage boxes or even a fun memo board. School work can be educational and fun, especially if you have a great place to study!