December 2012

Winter is upon us!  With all the hustle and bustle of the holidays, the changing of the season can escape us until all of a sudden it’s January and we’re in the middle of the coldest season. 

Many people detest winter but I’ve grown to like it as I’ve gotten older.  Winter is a time of rest, renewal, and an opportunity to bloom and grow with a fresh start in a new year.  I embrace the chill in the air by bundling up in warm winter coats and scarves.  I welcome the warmth of a home filled with cozy textures and firelight and I love to curl up with a great read and a hot beverage, don’t you?


cozy fireplace and slipcovered chairs bhg


Once a month, I curate a collection for BH&G Shop, and the focus this time is Cozy Finds for Winter.  Warm blankets, candles, slippers, linens and a cup of hot tea are essential!   Hop on over to see my picks for the month.


cozy winter finds



The holidays are in full swing and it’s a time of year to welcome family and guests into our homes to share a cup of cheer.  Staircases offer the perfect opportunity to deck the halls during this festive season.  Natural holiday decor plays a large part, but there are other creative ways to make the balustrade merry and bright.

Large scale snowflakes will set a wintery scene.  Craft them with wood sticks or use store-bought versions to create a frosty white Christmas indoors. 

winter snowflakes on staircase bhg


Secure winterberry branches to the spindles on your staircase and tie a fetching piece of ribbon to hold them in place.  Extra ornaments and evergreen clippings add another layer of texture and color. 

winterberry branches on staircase bhg


Felted flowers in a classic palette of red and white add a fresh botanical detail to an evergreen swag. 

felt flower garland bhg


Swap the draping green boughs for tinsel instead and finish off the sparkling swags with vintage ornaments tied up with ribbon. 

tinsel garland bhg


For a light and airy look that is still reminiscent of the holiday season, drape rows of ribbon in bright colors accented with miniature berry wreaths.  

ribbons and wreaths bhg


Evergreens add a classic touch, and you can choose fresh greenery or realistic faux versions to drape along the railing.  Cozy knit stockings await treats from Kris Kringle on Christmas morning. 

boxwood and stockings bhg


Citrus and cinnamon will fill your home with the scent of spice and the verdant color of the fresh fruits of the season. 

citrus staircase accents


Cedar garland gracefully draped down the balustrade and secured with satin ribbon sets a simple and elegant scene in your holiday home.   Blooming narcissus in pots continue the fresh white theme and fill the entry with a favorite bloom of the season.  

evergreen garland bhg


Entries and staircases are a blank canvases each December – don’t forget wreaths and mistletoe, berries and ornaments too!  Together on display they make for a festive and welcoming home.   What is your favorite way to decorate your staircase or deck the halls this time of year?  



Decorating the mantel is one of the things i most look forward to every Christmas.  I always bring out the old and then introduce something new each year.  Evergreens and ornaments are always on display as are my kids velvet stockings which await the arrival of Santa who will fill the with treats before he retreats up the chimney. 

Mantels offer a world of potential for festive holiday decor.  Here is a collection of some of the best featured at Better Homes & Gardens over the years.

Stacked logs and a repeating forest of white trees keep this mantel fresh and fabulous.  Contrast is introduced with pillows, stockings, and garland in vivid red.

white and red mantel bhg


Silver and sparkle take center stage on this mantel where a simple mirror frames an ornament wreath and the family’s white stockings await special gifts from Santa.

stockings in a row bhg


The simplest way to decorate for the season is with greenery.  Bring in fresh garland and a wreath in addition to your tree to add color and scent to your main living space.

greenery on mantel bhg


Gather boughs of fir and pine together into a basket for a unique grouping of evergreens above your hearth. 

simple mantel with greenery bhg


Skinny trees that flank a mantel allow for a less is more approach to mantelscaping where simple ornaments large and small complete the scene. 

woodland mantel bhg


Bayleaf garland needs no embellishment since its grouping of leaves are beautiful on their own.    

bayleaf garland bhg


Woodland accents pay tribute to the beauty of the outdoors.  Combine fir, pinecones, burlap fabric, terra cotta pots, and miniature reindeer for a fresh-as-a-forest feel. 

woodland accents on mantel bhg


Whimsy is one of the hallmarks of the season so showcase it in doses large or small such as these fun Old World stockings hung with care.

whimsical stockings on mantel bhg


Pink tinsel swag and a variety of this homeowner’s favorite things combine to create an unexpected fun-loving presentation that keeps the eye moving from accent to accent.

pink tinsel garland bhg


Who says you have to be predictable when decorating your mantel?  A pile of seasonal citrus mixed with a few ornaments and paired with candles makes a perfectly festive display.

citrus and ornaments bhg


If you don’t have an actual mantel, don’t fret.  An evergreen wreath suspended on a wall above a hearth is just as welcoming. 

evergreen wreath and red trees on hearth bhg


No fireplace?  No worries!  Evergreen garland draped across bookcases brings festive holiday fun to your living or family room space. 

christmas display bhg


How do you decorate your mantel each Christmas season?  Do you use evergreens and favorite ornaments or do you decorate with something new and unexpected each year?



A couple of months ago a friend and I were discussing painting her oak kitchen cabinets and one thing I recommended was to (at a minimum) paint her kitchen island.  Kitchens with both painted and wood surround will benefit from the modern look of an island painted in a completely different color.   

Galley or small space kitchens don’t allow for a work island, but for those where space permits, a kitchen island is a handy surface and storage area for cooking preparation and also casual meals when counter stools are factored into the design.  

Your style of your cabinetry and personal color preferences should always be considered when opting to paint your kitchen island a different color.  Often homeowners choose a serene shade of blue or green they’ll enjoy for years to come. 

cornflower blue island bhg

painted pale blue island bhg

painted blue island bhg

seafoam green island bhg


Since the kitchen is the space where you start your day, consider making your island a focal point in a sunshine yellow or other fresh citrus shade of lime green or tangerine.

sunny yellow island bhg

citrus island bhg

green kitchen island bhg


Neutral choices are wonderful too and guaranteed to be soothing.  Think of taupes and grays or classic black as sophisticated choices for bringing contrast to your kitchen cabinets. 

taupe island bhg

neutral gray island bhg

black painted kitchen island bhg


If you’re thinking of painting your kitchen island the steps are doable and can be completed in a weekend, just follow these steps to paint your cabinets.  A really good bonding primer is key and also a high quality paint that will stand the test of time.  I prefer the modern water based enamel paints for a harder finish, the ones that mimic oil based paint.  Always be sure to test a few sample colors too before you commit to the final choice!

Happy home improvement!



© Copyright , Meredith Corporation. All Rights Reserved Privacy Policy Data Policy Terms of Service AdChoices