10 Ways to Glam Up and Zen Out Your Place On The Cheap

I’m on the verge of a move! In just two weeks I’ll be settling into a three bedroom apartment a few blocks east with my first-ever exposed brick wall. It’s a beauty! And the last thing I want to do is ruin it with all my decorative clutter. You know, if you pamper your palace it’ll pamper you back. My first goal is minimalizing my collection of all-too-excessive trinkets and decor, and after that, it’s adding the perfect select pieces to finish it off. With a small budget, and keeping in mind that we plan to be entertaining a lot (hello ugly sweater party!), it’s important to have a strategy. Interior design guru Michael Craig, founder of dinette.com, shares his budget-friendly tips on how to glam up your place with just a few strategic moves, along with my picks, all under strong consideration for purchase!

1.  First thing’s first… LESS. IS. MORE. Take away unnecessary items that distract the eye from the Main Event. Take notes from your favorite zen spa ambiance: de-clutter, ladies!

2.  Jazzy pillows. Add some to spice up your boring sofa. Also, make sure they are comfortable for your guests to relax. My pick: Add a patchwork safari touch from Urban Outfitters for conversational comfort- $36

3. Orchids. Orchids always add sophistication to any space – make sure to water accordingly and watch them blossom.

4.  Add a shiny bowl to your tabletop – nuts look great in a glitzy silver bowl. Editor’s pick: A giant spoon! From Z Gallerie – $29.95

5.  Put a runner on your tabletop.  Not only does it protect against nail polish remover spills (the worst!) but it will add charm and style. Editor’s pick: Opt for an unusual shape – who said runners need to be straight-edged? This red flamenco flower runners from Pier 1 will pop, even under 2 tons of turkey and potatoes. $29.95

6.  Candles. Not only do they provide great lighting but can fill the room with relaxing aromas. Go easy on the strong scents! Editor’s pick: get in the holiday spirit with a little luxury from Diptyque’s new Joie de Vivre collection, a pine and candied plum scent. Visit diptyqueparis.com - Starting at $32

7.  Edit your framed pictures. Too much is too much! We don’t need to see a 100 pictures of your baby. We already did on Facebook. On a similar note, here’s an idea for a very cool use of picture frames!

8.  Live plants. Putting a live plant in your home is never wrong – but proportional size is key. Editor’s pick: Bring the desert home with these small and very low maintence little cacti plants from Home Depot. 3-pack for $23.96

9. Rugs and runners.  Add a runner or rug to give warmth to your space. It keeps your toes from touching the cold surface. Editor’s pick: Dare to go furry and white for a cozy elegant touch. Crazy, you say? Actually – my friend has one just like this, and surprisingly it has remained unstained and looking brand new for over a year! Not recommended if you have kids… and keep Drunk Uncle Bob in the other room. On overstock for $290.

10.  Dimmers are key. This one takes a little more planning, but mood lighting always helps control the ambiance and allows you to drift off to your happy place.

5 Elegant DIY Holiday Centerpieces

It’s hard to believe that 2010 is almost finished and done with it. Seems like just yesterday we were compiling our lists of hopeful accomplishments for the year. Well, Thanksgiving is a week from today and if your list included saving money or being a little more crafty around the house, Woman’s Day gives your goal a jump start with 5 seasonal DIY holiday center pieces.

Splatter Paint Pumpkins

Halloween might be over, but left over pumpkins make for great decoration. Paint them white and the stem gold to for a more luxe-than-ghoul display.

Nut Sphere

A bouquet of freshly roasted nuts sets the tone for a cozy family evening nestled under an open fire. Place the nuts into a sphere and add gold embellishments and a rose satin ribbon.

Birch Log Candle Stick Holder

Build a glamorous, one-of-a kind candle holder by drilling small horizontal inserts into two small logs and spray paint for a golden luster.

For a couple more elegant table pieces, click HERE.

And if you’re thinking of getting crafty with your cranberry sauce too, it might not be such a bad idea.

“Tasteful” Wall Decor

Guest Column by Candy Silvasy, Spa Expert and CEO of Art of the Spa

Wallpaper has a bad rep thanks to the cheesy borders and prairie prints of the 80′s.  But the drywall disguiser is making a comeback.  Glam metallics and flocked graphics, along with nirvana neutrals with natural touches like grassy texture are some of the best choices for a spa atmosphere.  These more opulent choices are perfect for entries & powder rooms for a jewel box effect.

However, there’s one wallpaper that’s super tasty.  Flavor Paper produces hand screened wallcovering – specializing in modern graphic prints.  But my favorites are their unique scratch and sniff designs.  Scratch a cherry – it smells like a cherry.  Rub a banana, it smells like a banana!  Very Willie Wonka (remember the lickable fruit wallpaper?)

Fab decor to add whimsy to your kitchen?  A super fun conversation starter?  Found!  With it’s trendy turquoise background, Banana flavor is my favorite.

Live, love & lounge, Candy

SpaHome Seasons: Create a Flirty Fall Flat

Guest Post by Candy Silvasy, Spa Expert and CEO of Art of the Spa

Fall is such a flirt isn’t it? First it’s 90 then it’s 60. Technicolor foliage lures us with a brilliant new wardrobe only to begin a striptease! The holidays aren’t here just yet, though Halloween and Sweetest Day are right round the corner.

As tentative as it is, autumn makes us want to cozy up our lair too. But with Hanukah and Christmas round the bend, we don’t want to go overboard. And since we don’t need to go into total hibernation (yet), we want to keep our pad flexible to opening up and hunkering down.

Here are a few ways to have a fall fling with your flat:

1. Bring It Flowers

With summer color fading, vases of flowers bring in fresh fragrance and instant indulgence. I actually make room in my budget for flowers in the rooms I spend the most time in. The targets? The bathroom, bedroom, living room and kitchen.

Recessionista SpaHome Secret: A little can go a long way. Try mixing twigs or inexpensive greenery with a large store bought bouquet to make multiple bouquets.

Flowers to try: Zinnias, Mums, Lilies, Gladiolas, Birds of Paradise. Check out these glorious sunset lillies from Calyx Flowers for inspiration.

2. Open Up Your (Home’s) Heart

The crisp days of fall and Indian summer are perfect for throwing the windows ajar – ejecting the stale air and toxins accumulated during the air conditioned summer days. Plus, when the days are too chilly to open the windows but sunny, you’ll want window treatments that open easily and breathe for eco friendly heat.

Dupioni Silk has a fabulous raw texture (reminds of fall leaves) and readily available in rich neutrals like these from Pottery Barn.

3. Show Your True Colors

Fall light projects a muter light into your home, than the flashlight summer sun. This motivates me to put away the whites & pastels and add candle-like rich, glowing colors to amp up the energy in my rooms (and me). Cinnamon, pumpkin, chocolate, olive – sounds like a recipe no?

The good news is bringing in color can be painless. Try:

-Switching out lampshades, putting covers on pillows, adding throws.

-Feeling more adventurous? Paint a wall to change the entire look of a space fast.

-Embolden your bath with new towels, rugs, and a shower curtain. Check out this romantic shower curtain from Anthropologie.

4. Fall Head Over Heels

If you have hardwoods or tile floors, you know they can be cold in the morning and who’s awake enough to put on slippers? A thick throw rug assures a warm wake up walk.

Live, love and lounge, Candy

Candy Silvasy is CEO of Art of the Spa, a spacentric brand for design, entertaining, cooking and style. Her book SpaHome: Makeover Your Maison will be released in February 2011. Email her for a gratis subscription to Haven Magazine or to pick her spa brain at candace@artofthespa.com

Fragrance F-air-ytale: Scents to Belie Your Sky

Guest Post by Candy Silvasy, Spa Expert and CEO of Art of the Spa

Last week in our quest to help you create a spa home, we showed you how to detox your oxygen – we got the muck out.  Now it’s time to adorn your lair’s air.

Imagine lounging by a garden of jasmine, walking in a dense forest or having a massage by a beach.  Fragrance can take you on these escapes instantly.  I know what you’re thinking:  “I’ve got a candle for that!”

Blow out that match.  The stress- (and almost) maintenance-free way to aroma up your abode is a fragrance plan.  Otherwise it’ll end up smelling like the perfume counter at Nordie’s – sickly.

One very strong candle is like one superbright light – too much and not enough.  For a superspa nosefest, follow these steps:

1.  Emulate Euphoria

What would your ideal home smell like? Because spa homes are healthy & relaxed focus on that.  What makes you happy?  Dream vacation?  Your disses?  For instance, I can’t stand patchouli – so any fragrance with that is banned from my bungalow.  Some examples to get you started are:

Love the beach? -  go for aqua fragrances with citrus notes.

More of a skiing or hiking hottie? – woodsy tones will be your choice.

Trying to lose weight? – keep away from sweet foodie fragrances, while mint can help keep you from snacking

2.   Choose Your Base Fragrance

Shopping! Yay! Find a home fragrance that matches your pick.   AnthropologieBath and Body Works, TJ Maxx, are fun fragrant field trips.  Remember your base is the background the under note upon which you will layer other fragrances like candles.

Best way to waft?  Reed diffusers are low maintenance. Flip the reeds occasionally & change when the oil is gone. My favorite base: Agraria Golden Pomegranate it’s fruity for energy and earthy for a nature vibe.

Place one diffuser for each 900 square feet of house.

Another option is the Hush Air Diffuser System.  It lets you control the intensity and program the time of fragrance release.

3.  Take Your Nose up a Notch

With your base in place, you should feel happy whenever you arrive home.  But sometimes we need more.  This is where aromatherapy comes into play.    For example, in my office I burn Slatkin’s grapefruit candle to revive my brain.  Or at Christmas I burn the Thymes Christmas Tree to harken holiday cheer.

For more aromatherapy ideas check out The Little Book of Aromatherapy – it’s simple & you can take it shopping with you.

In addition to candles, consider room sprays, scented stones, like Esteban Paris’ Teak and Tonka (woodsy) below sachets and oil burners.  Most important, get creative and have fun.  That’s common scents!

Live, love and lounge, Candy

Candy Silvasy is CEO of Art of the Spa (www.spaaroundtheworld.com), a spacentric brand that delivers home decor, beauty, cooking, style and living advice.  An internationally recognized spa expert, her latest book SpaHome: Makeover Your Maison from Blah to Ahhhhh will be released in February 2011.  Is your pad more stress than sanctuary?  Pick her spa brain at candace at artofthespa dot com.