Ask A Designer™
Q. I just moved into a five year old home with my husband and two children. The house is in good condition including the paint, but I would love to change a few rooms. Originally, we had planned to have the house picture perfect by Christmas and have our extended family at our house for the first time. We have the largest house now, but our plans were delayed 3 months.
We used up some of our budget living in a hotel and most of my vacation days shopping for homes. What’s worse is I threw away all our Christmas decor thinking we could make a brand new start. Now, the family is coming to an empty dining room. The living room has furniture, but no art, rugs, or curtains. The kitchen is beautiful because of the cabinets and hardwood floor. Can you wave a magic wand or at least tell me what to do first?—S.M.
A. When there are both time and budget constraints, look at the items that will give your family and home the most pleasure for the longest time. Provide guests with only what is truly needed. In your case, I would think in terms of making the house comfortable and presentable for the winter months.
Skip all time-consuming Christmas decorating such as lights on the house and even the tree which together take at least 2 full days of shopping and assembling. With the pressure you have, you will not enjoy the process; and you are unlikely to make purchases that are picture perfect since so many elements are required. (Gifts can be placed in creative stacks on tables or on the floor.) So we will start with that.
Instead, buy one beautiful item for the inside such as this 41-in. angel to place in a prominent place and one piece for the outside such as a door wreath or candles in each window. You can build on these classic themes next year. Getting back to your family’s comfort, I would recommend buying things to add warmth to the living room. An area rug, pillows, and throw are easy to accomplish in the time frame and will be enjoyed for months.
If you can manage the time schedule, draperies and paint will make the room look finished. Buy accessories that can be used for more than Christmas. Notice the lighting and make long term purchases there as well. Skip the dining room furniture until after Christmas. Unless you find furniture on the showroom floor, it won’t be here in time. Never compromise on major purchases.
Folding tables and table cloths will be fine. Buy a rug if you love it. A little garland at the window, and candles on the table are enough. Guests will eat and leave the room. About 7 to 10 purchases and 2-3 full days of effort should get the job done. Set a stop date for the work, and enjoy the time with your family.
Editor’s Note: We welcome all questions related to home design—ask us about color, room arrangement, planning for a new home, selecting furnishings, lighting, flooring, and more. Questions are answered by Tanna Miller, allied member ASID, a well respected designer who has operated her award winning interior design practice, Trends & Traditions, in Nashville for 18 years. Visit http://www.shopdesignnashville.com/ or call 615-601-0552.