Preparing for Holiday Guests: 4 Things You Can Start Doing RIGHT NOW

Let’s be honest, your house is the most fabulous in the family. This is why everyone always wants to be your holiday houseguest. And really, you did spend all that time, effort, and money on your pristine home, so why not show it off?!

Even though you have a chic, daily setup that works for you, there’s always a fair amount of preparation to be done right before the guests arrive. Your guest space looks great, but to be the ultimate hostess and make your guests feel as comfortable as possible, there are a few things you might want to put on your to-do list right now. But don’t boggle your brain trying to figure that out, we have it all figured out for you. Just stick around for this quick read on what you can do to be prepared for holiday guests. 

 

Clean and Declutter

Woof. This is the least exciting part of guest prep. But it has to be done. Move any unnecessary clutter to a storage closet, far away from the guest space. Friends and family will be living here, so make it easy for them to move around. They don’t want to have to worry about bumping into that super expensive picture frame and breaking it. 

Want to make your cleaning life easier? Use cloth diapers (clean ones, of course) for cleaning. They’re fantastic for all the surfaces! And they’re so absorbent, they can take a stain out of just about anything.

 

Create Additional Space

This doesn’t mean start that over-the-garage guest suite addition you’ve been waiting on. Don’t get too crazy. All you need to do is create space within the rooms you already have. Make sure there’s space in your coat closet, add a guest laundry basket to the mudroom, and free up extra drawers and closets in the guestroom. This is why decluttering and moving things out of the guest space is important. Especially if your guests are staying longer than just an overnight visit. 

If you really want to go the extra mile, you can add a coffee bar in your guest space or kitchen. You can also make snacks and beverages easily accessible by adding a mini-fridge and treat basket. Remember, the ultimate goal is to make your guests feel at home, without you having to wait on them hand and foot. And, it helps you avoid awkward conversations when someone has to ask you for something. 

Putting extra stools at the breakfast bar and chairs at the table also helps guests feel more welcome. Additional seating is like a subliminal message to guests that they’re free to sit wherever, no need to wait for an invitation. 

Our designer Debbie is basically the queen of houseguests, here are a few of her suggestions for making a guest area more functional:

  • Make sure the guest bed is layered with plenty of pillows and extra blankets. Also, make sure there are more in the closet. 
  • Bring in an extra chair or bench, if you don’t already have one. Guests need a space to put their belongings, like a handbag, that isn’t the bed.
  • Fresh towels are a must! And lots of them. 
  • Provide good mirrors. A magnifying mirror in the bathroom is great, and a full length mirror in the bedroom. 
  • Add a blow dryer and let your guests know they don’t have to bring one.
  • Provide makeup remover sheets, your towels will thank you!
  • Keep a vanity cabinet empty so your guests have a place to store their items and keep the counters free from clutter.
  • Stock those small bottles of water so your guests don’t feel like they’ll disturb the household if they need some water in the middle of the night. 
  • If your guest room was previously one of your kiddos’ room, make sure it’s updated to be a true guest retreat. Tuck away any of those high school relics that might usually live in this room. 

 

 

Stock Up

Now THIS is the fun part. It’s time to shop… for the guests, of course. Your endgame here is to get everything you need for your guests to take full advantage of the space you’ve already designed. Here’s a quick list of things you might want to buy while you’re on your shopping adventure:

  • Breakfast foods and late night snacks
  • More toilet paper and paper towels than you think you’ll need
  • Outdoor activities for the little ones
  • Treats for any traveling pets
  • Extra toiletries 
  • Additional phone chargers
  • Adult beverages (little bottles are cute to have on display in your guest space)

 

 

Add the Finishing Touches

Before you stand back and brush the dust off your hands from a job well done, we have a list of things you can do to make sure your guests remember who is the most wonderful host in the whole world. Give them a stay they’ll never forget by “polishing” your space:

  • Add a welcome sign or a simple handwritten note.
  • Make a list of nearby coffee shops, cafes, and grocery stores.
  • Add motion detector night lights in any areas where guests might venture out to in the night.
  • Make a playlist of background music and share it with your guests… holiday music is a bonus.
  • Put together a basket of toiletries in the bathroom and a separate snack/bev basket in the bedroom. 
  • Frame your wifi password for easy access, or just create a QR code so guests can have it handy at all times. 
  • Add fresh flowers wherever you can. And, to keep it festive, add just one or two holiday decs. You still want to keep it minimal, but festive at the same time. 

 

 

Now you can take a step back and admire your hard work. Pour yourself a glass of wine and relax… until the guests arrive, of course. And, if you’re realizing you really do need more space, or you’re ready to design that home addition you’ve been dreaming of, we’ve got your back!

 

Michelle Lynne Interiors Group is a Dallas-Ft. Worth based Interior Design team that specializes in creating homes that are happier and more efficient for busy people. If you’re ready to take your Dallas hospitality to a new level with a smart, stylish, and fun space give us a call or reach out via our contact page

 

Need A Respite? These 4 Dallas-Ft. Worth Staycation Destinations Could Be Your Fix!

Raise your hand if you’re ready to get the heck out of town?! There’s no doubt that you could use a serious, two week long vacay, with another week off tagged on for the recovery from completely disconnecting on the vacay. But finding time to squeeze in a solid chunk of restorative time is a challenge – it’s almost more mind boggling than relaxing. 

The solution? A staycation! And lucky us, we live in an area with some incredible destinations, all within driving distance. Our group of experts, aka ML Interiors Group’s designers Megan and Debbie, put together a list of their favorite local-ish escapes. So pack a cooler and snacks, find someone to watch the kiddos, or even bring them along! These four DFW staycation destinations need to be on your radar (and in your maps app).

 

A Full Foodie Experience in Celina

If you hop on the tollway and head north, you’ll run right into Celina, a small Texas town that’s inhabited by native Texans and transplants alike. Our teammate and fellow designer Debbie also calls Celina home. So you can plan your staycation here, knowing it’s been personally approved by a Celina local. 

“The Square,” or downtown area, has recently been updated to bring on a hint of modern flavor while still maintaining the small-town-Texas feel. This is where all the magic happens, with country music playing throughout the town square, just to pack as much Texas as possible into every moment of your adventure. 

While you’re in Celina, you HAVE to check out the Toasted Walnut. Chef Joey Dawkins cooks up an incredible menu, including top secret offerings that are only revealed on Facebook. But, if you want to know a secret within a secret, we have the inside scoop from Debbie, so lean a little closer and listen carefully… order “The Italian,” a sandwich, and ask for it “Tribiani” style. That’s right, Tribiani, as in one of our favorite “Friends,” Joey! Clearly, this is our kinda restaurant. And yes, Chef Joey gets a little nod in the name, too. 

If you’re lucky enough to stay in Celina for a couple of meals, be sure Tender Smokehouse is on your list. While most Texans can recognize some good BBQ, Tender is a nationally recognized brand for having some of the best smoked meats in the entire country. Their brisket is so good, Chef Joey uses it for a few menu items at Toasted– that’s what the locals call the Toasted Walnut, so now you can sound like you’re “in-the-know” when you visit. 

The Little Wooden Penguin is a fabulous little gem that’s just a hop, skip and a jump from The Square. This is the ideal spot for those that like a little action with their wine (or beer), there’s an outdoor space with games, including a putt-putt! But this spot really takes off on the weekends, when food trucks roll in and guests enjoy live music. And, as if all of that wasn’t enough to satisfy even the most energetic of bar-goers, LWP has a succulent bar, where you can make your own adorable little party favors! 

Wine Not Check Out Anna

Next up, Anna- a sweet little town, just Northeast of Dallas proper. You could easily make Anna a day trip, but your main event in Anna is visiting Barn Hill Vineyards, so do yourself a favor and just  book yourself a place to stay for the night. 

Not only is the local wine selection just what you need to take your staycay to the next level, the obscene amount of fresh air makes your escape from the city (or the ‘burbs) really feel like a true getaway. Barn Hill also features live music, only this time in the form of 80s tribute bands… 80s music + wine? Do you need any more convincing?

Channel Your Inner Farmer in Gunter

When you need a mental break but can’t make an overnight happen, put on your best farm gear and head toward Gunter. This little town has one of the best places to buy trees in the entire DFW area. 

The town itself  has classic small town Texas feel, so be sure to stop for a few snaps along the way. Especially if you’re dressed to impress in your Texas-best boots and hat combo. You’ll need proof that you didn’t just wear them for looks, you’re actually putting in some work down on the farm. 

Now for the real fun, make your way to Treeland Nursery, where all the cool kids go to pick out their own trees for home landscape. You’ll find plenty of inspo on the grounds, so hop in one of their golf carts available and take notes… just make sure someone else does the driving. And be on the lookout for animals! There are geese, goats, and even a giant turkey that call this place home. And here’s a little insider tip to keep in your back pocket… this place is especially gorgeous in the fall when leaves change colors, not to mention it’s not a million degrees outside so you can walk around and enjoy your trip without melting. 

 

Escape to the Other Big City

Fort Worth is still a major metropolis, but not nearly as busy as Dallas. This is what makes it such a perfect staycation destination! For starters, book a night or two at Hotel Drover, brilliantly designed with Texas’ history in mind, with a sprinkle of modern. 

You don’t even have to leave the hotel, 97 West Kitchen & Bar is on-site and fantastic, but within walking distance is Atico. Here you can take in city views with your meal, or just make it a pit stop on your way to more exploring. But if you’re really in the mood for drinks, like drinks, drinks, Texican Court is a must. They have an entire room dedicated to tequila tasting! Megan loves the Mexican vacay vibes in this joint and highly recommends adding it to your staycation list. 

But let’s be honest, what’s any kind of getaway without shopping?! Fort Worth is full of fabulous boutiques and shopping areas, but here’s Megan’s list of faves, so you know they’re good:

  • The Shops at Clearfork: all the high end shops packed into one area, along with a bowling alley and movie theater. A definite must if you’re bringing the whole fam. 
  • Beehive: a trendy boutique with fashions latest and greatest.
  • Esther Penn: another FW area shop overflowing with clothing and accessories. 
  • Archie’s and Guardado Gardens: if you need to satisfy your green thumb, check out either (or both) of these two nurseries. 
  • All of Magnolia Street: if you’re in a hipster sort of mood, you’ll love taking in all of what Magnolia Street has to offer, including oh-so-much artwork and lovely eateries. 

So no more excuses. Fill up your gas tank and go. Don’t overthink it, your brain’s already been working overtime lately. Your obligations will still be here when you get back, but you’ll be much more equipped to handle them after a little time off. 

And… if one of those lurking obligations happens to be revamping your existing home design, or finally creating a more functional space, we know a gal (or three) that can make that happen for you. You know where to find us when you’re ready to create the home of your dreams… unless you really don’t know where to find us, then we’ll leave that info right herea the end of the page. Enjoy your staycation!

 

Start NOW To Make Your Home the Most Merry This Holiday Season

 

It’s July in Dallas-Ft.Worth, you’re sitting by the pool with a refreshing beverage in your hand, deciding how much longer you can possibly take the heat. The thought of diving into the pool crosses your mind, but you’re having a really good hair day and a commitment at 7 o’clock, so that’s just not really an option. What you’re not thinking about are the holidays. That’s right, Christmas… Hanukkah… we said it, NOW is the time when you need to start prepping for the holiday season. 

To avoid the stress with last minute holiday scramble, unavailable items, vendors, and services, and overall being stuck with less than your creative mind has brilliantly imagined, stick around. This blog post has everything you need to know about efficiently making your home (and your gatherings) everything you want them to be this holiday season with ease and plenty of time to spare. 

 

 

Make Your Lists 

 

Checking things off a to-do list is really soul satisfying, but making a list is equally fantastic. Whether you keep a handwritten list in your planner, or add everything to a color coded calendar, lists are life and the holidays are no different. 

Your best route here is to make multiple lists. The obvious list is your gift list but let’s expand on that a bit with gifts to make, gift ideas for yourself (this will save you from getting something random from the husband that tried really hard, but missed the mark just a tad), gifts for any parties or special events (no one likes to arrive empty handed – especially not during the holidays). 

Additional lists that have proven oh so helpful are lists of events or gatherings you plan to attend (and let’s go ahead and get those on the family calendar now), menu lists – anything that’s non-perishable you can buy ahead of time, which will save you the heartache when you inevitably can’t find that one rare ingredient two days before Christmas dinner. 

If you’re hosting your family’s Hanukkah celebration, you HAVE to visit your local Kosher meat shop now to make orders for your menu. Many specialty shops do their orders weeks in advance, and you don’t want to be responsible for ruining Hanukkah dinner, do you? This also includes Thanksgiving and New Years, we can’t say it enough. There’s no harm in ordering now. 

A few other must- have lists: any travel plans and necessary packing items and a “supplies list” for gift wrapping and any homemade gifts you’re planning to create. 

By now, there’s probably a major brainstorm going on in your creative mind. So run with it! Go get your favorite notebook… or go out and buy a brand new one, because shopping is fun (and so are fancy notebooks and planners)! 

 

Choose a Theme

 

You may or may not do themes at your house but everyone has a specific style when it comes to holiday decor. It could be around your tree or your table settings – whichever it is, nail down yours. If you do this early one, you’ll have a much clearer vision in your head, which helps in making decisions when shopping. 

For those visual learners out there, gather images for inspo. In addition to helping you build your vision for a cohesive design, it’s also really fun to pour a glass of wine and scour the web for photos.

 

Take Inventory 

 

What do you have? What do you need? What can be thrown out? Once you have a better idea of your theme, take inventory of what you already have. The holiday season is packed with activities, so take advantage of a more laid back schedule and test those tree lights out now. 

Look for any broken items that you might need to replace and where needed, thin out your collection. There are plenty of places that would love your unwanted decorations, so make a donation to a local thrift shop or shelter, so they’re in the hands of someone new by the time the holidays roll around. While some organizations will resell these items at a discounted price, there are others that will use them on-site, like a women’s shelter or foster care organization. 

For the items that align with this year’s plan, organize them separately from the bulk decor. Next, create one more list of what is needed to achieve your goals for this season.

 

Plan, Plan, Plan 

 

You have your lists ready and a solid inventory of your decorations. Now you can start taking action in the planning department and get things set up as much as you can, without interrupting your day to day life. 

Holiday Cards

If you take family photos for your cards, or have them custom made, now’s the time to get those scheduled. 

Gift Wrapping Area

Save yourself the hassle of ribbon rolling across the floor when you drop it while looking for tape and create a dedicated space for a gift wrapping with plenty of room to create those dreamy pinterest-perfect packages. If you have a room with a lock that you can set this up in, you can even use it as gift storage. 

 

 

Get on the Books

 

Book any and all catering and vendor services as early as possible. As in yesterday! Not to send you into a full panic, but the best of the best (which is who and where you want to book) book-up quickly, so you want to get on their calendar right away. 

Caterers 

If you plan on having any catered events, even if it’s just a few appetizers, contact your caterer right away. This goes for any specialty food items, like cakes or cookies. You’ll never be sorry you ordered ahead.

Reservations

This goes for restaurant reservations as well as travel plans. Everyone wants to have a special holiday meal, but the best restaurants book quickly. Same for travel reservations- the best flights are already full if you book in October or November. There’s no harm in booking any of these early.

Venues

If you’re in charge of planning Christmas dinner and you have a big family, or you really just don’t want to host it at home, consider booking a private room at a restaurant or renting an event space or large outdoor tent, all of which take planning.  

Event Planners

For bigger parties and holiday soirees, hire an event planner to help remove some of the workload. Event planners can help with the smallest tasks, such as day-of coordination, or take over the event entirely. 

Other Rentals

Florals, tables, table linens, chairs, flatware, additional furniture, etc., you name it, you can rent it. And, rental companies will set these things up for you for an additional fee, which is a huge timesaver during this incredibly busy time of year. 

 

In Summary 

Christmas in July may sound a bit ambitious, but you’ll thank us when you’re able to enjoy the holidays without having a lurking sense of “I have SO MUCH to get done.” Host that cookie exchange and enjoy it! Go to the neighborhood mingle and jingle without having to rush home to send out holiday cards. Planning ahead gives you the freedom to step back and absorb those holiday feels.

If the idea of doing all the holiday things in your home makes you realize there are some areas that need a little work, we’ve got your back! Contact us today to enlist the help of our professional design team. 

We’ve had years of experience designing homes to be happier and more efficient throughout the Dallas-Ft. Worth metroplex. You can feel confident that our team creates a space that accurately fits your style and provides the solutions you need to make your life even easier. If you’re ready to take action on your space, contact us today to get started.

Setting Up Your Kitchen for Healthy Eating in The New Year

Setting Up Your Kitchen for Healthy Eating in The New Year

The first rule for setting up your kitchen for healthier eating? Don’t buy sh*t. Just don’t. Because then you’re going to eat it and well, that’s the opposite of healthier eating. 

My #1 Rule for a Healthy Kitchen:

Don’t buy sh*t.

Unless you have Yoda-level self-control (if you do, tell me your secret), my biggest piece of advice is to not fill your kitchen with those junk foods you can’t seem to resist.

I’m not saying you can’t indulge but the problem is mindlessly eating and I know if I have a stash of snacks on my countertop or in my cabinets, I’m more than likely to start munching away in front of the TV and before I know it, oh look, that entire bag of chips has magically disappeared — into my stomach.

Setting up your kitchen to be healthy is a great way to make your whole house feel healthy, not to mention your own body. 

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Decorating Your Christmas Tree with Ribbon

Decorating Your Christmas Tree with Ribbon

I love decorating my Christmas tree with ribbon rather than garland; in my humble opinion, it is dressier and more elegant than garland.
Another benefit? You can choose the ribbon to match your Christmas decoration theme! Bright red or burgundy?  Plaid or plain?  Silver or gold?  Velvet or organza?

Choose a color that will match the decorations you already have or are purchasing.  There are many many (many) options and you want to keep the decor of the tree consistent throughout itself as well as the rest of the ribbon you may have in the house.  It doesn’t have to be “matchy matchy” but it does need to be similar in style.

Hang your ribbon vertically for a waterfall effect

I have strung my ribbon both horizontally, like a spiral as well as vertically, like a waterfall flowing down the Christmas tree:
(Yes, that is a peacock topper, but we’ll discuss those in another post.)
 

Should ribbon come before or after lights & ornaments?

There are varying opinions as to whether you ribbon the tree at the beginning or the end of the process of decorating, so I’ll share my best practice with you: I decorate with ribbon just after I light the tree.
Some people swear that you should add the ribbon last;   I’m not here to say they are wrong, it’s just not how I do it.
Here are some things to consider when you hang your ribbon on your tree, regardless of whether you’re taking it vertically or horizontally:

What kind of ribbon should you use on a Christmas tree?

Have a small tree? Go for a thinner ribbon so it doesn’t overwhelm the tree. (Think of Charlie Brown’s tree — too much ribbon will make it sag in all the wrong places.)

Prefer a giant tree? Skinny ribbon will look wimpy — go for a wider ribbon to work with the scale of the tree.

Whatever the width, the key to hanging good ribbon garland is that the ribbon should be wired so that it holds it shape.

How much do you need?

You’ll need to purchase more than you think necessary! Sadly, there’s no magic formula to know the exact linear footage you’ll need … but here are some general tips on how much to buy:

  1. If you’re running the ribbon vertical, you’ll need to account for at least 5 – 7 waterfalls of ribbon and you’re not just going to let them hang, you need excess so you can wrap and twist and “pouf” the ribbon. (So probably the height of the tree x 10)
  2. If you are running the ribbon around the tree horizontally, remember the tree is fatter at the bottom than it is at the top and again, you’ll have to account for wrapping, twisting & “pouf-ing” the ribbon.

When in doubt, get extras. It may be inconvenient, but purchase extra spools knowing that you can either take it back or use it to wrap your gifts with.

How to actually hang the ribbon the your Christmas tree

Once you have decided on color, width and direction of the ribbon as garland, it’s time to start attaching it to the tree.

Don’t laugh but I put chairs all the way around my tree so I can walk around the tree adding the ribbon if I’m going horizontal.  (It’s easier than asking the hubs to stand there with the ribbon while I run around the tree!)  In either instance, I start at the top.

  1. Find an inconspicuous spot to start and wrap the end of the ribbon around a branch — just the tip of the ribbon, maybe an inch or two of a wrap that can be hidden by the topper.
  2. Swag the ribbon either horizontally or vertically, and consider giving it a gentle twist.
  3. Wrap it around a branch with alternating a small & large “pouf.”  You can also create a bow out of excess ribbon and put on the edge of the branch if you don’t like your “pouf.”
Remember that you are going to follow the ribbon with your decorations, so don’t get caught up in the perfection of your twists & poufs…you can always mask the imperfections with bows & bulbs.
 
Most importantly: have fun!!!
 

As always, if you want some help with making your house feel smart, stylish & fun — hire a designer. That’s what we’re here to do. We’re based in Dallas but can provide virtual support anywhere.


Not sure which style to choose? Check out our new quiz, “What’s Your Design Style?” to help you find the interior design style that works for you.

3 Simple Thanksgiving Table Decor Ideas

How to set a perfect Thanksgiving table

It’s almost turkey time, but you can still plan a perfect Thanksgiving — and I’m not talking about that bird and all the sides and desserts, although those are clearly important.

I’m here to tell you how to set the perfect dinner table for your Thanksgiving festivities. Don’t worry — I promise even your mother-in-law will be impressed.It’s almost turkey time, but you can still plan a perfect Thanksgiving — and I’m not talking about that bird and all the sides and desserts, although those are clearly important. I’m here to tell you how to set the perfect dinner table for your Thanksgiving festivities. Don’t worry — I promise even your mother-in-law will be impressed.

It all comes down to, yet again, layering. So pull up a chair — or two or 10 — and let me share my secrets for an amazing Thanksgiving your family and friends will never forget.

Place food and drinks on a buffet

First up, don’t put everything on the dinner table. It’s too much. Everything is crammed and everyone is reaching over each other and passing dishes around, all wishing they were blessed with eight arms instead of two. And something inevitably gets knocked over along the way.

Dining Room Design | Dining Room Decor | Michelle Lynne Interiors Group | Dallas Interior Decorator

Instead, place your food on a buffet next to the table or even on the kitchen island so that everyone can put together their own plate with a much less likely chance of spillage or breakage. Definitely leave salt and pepper on the table and putting out some extra rolls in a bowl is also a great idea.

You can also use this guideline for drinks by setting up a complete bar on the other side so you’re not lugging out wine glasses, coffee cups, champagne flutes, old-fashioned or other drinking glasses and water glasses for every place setting. People can choose what they want to get — and you can still keep a wine decanter on the table so refills are a little easier.

If you want to have a little more fun with drinks, make some festive ice cubes with pomegranate seeds. These are great in mulled wine or cider. And you can also gin up your own signature cocktail. I even have one this year myself: an adult apple cider:

Lighting and floral & greenery centerpieces help set the mood

Florals and greenery are a great way to add texture to the table — and a fresh aroma. And you don’t have to go far to find them. Just get outside and cut some branches and put them up. Herbs are also nice because they pair well with all the smells from the food. You can even start sprinkling in some winter white into your florals since we’re about to jump right into the Christmas holiday season.

Vases are a great addition to the table to hold whatever greenery or florals you use. And don’t forget some decorative accents like mercury glass and whitewashed gourds.

Just make sure whatever you put up is kept at a low height so you’re not blocking conversations across the table — unless you don’t like them and in that case break out the tall branches to avoid those awkward discussions.

When it comes to lighting, make sure you have a variety at different levels. Your overhead lighting, whether it’s a chandelier or not, should be on a dimmer. You can then layer in different levels of candles so that you have some taper and some tealight candles, including a tealight or votive at every placesetting if you want.

If you’re worried about someone setting the house on fire, just get battery powered candles instead. Either way, avoid scented candles because it will just be overwhelming with all the other food aromas in the room. No one wants that much pumpkin spice smell on top of your turkey, potatoes and pumpkin pies.

You can even combine the florals and candles into a stunning centerpiece,

Go all out with your dishware

Break out your nice dishes, buy a new set exclusively for Thanksgiving or stick with white dinnerware that will stay in style all year round. Whatever you do after that, make sure you layer it up.

 

When it comes to dinnerware on the Thankgiving table, there’s really never too much. You can have a full tablecloth and still use a charger with your plates on top. And throw in a placemat underneath the charger if you want. You can swap out a table runner for the tablecloth if you like or even layer a runner on top of the tablecloth. It all just adds a layer of depth and the more you add the prettier the table gets. You can even have some more fun and add some cool copper flatware. And don’t forget to add some nice napkins.

 

Just make sure you stick with one color scheme. We tend to use a range of metallics and ivorys to coppers and also accessorize with some black and some greenery. Bright orange isn’t our favorite, but if you love it, go for it and consider using some turquoise, jade or navy to match with it. Or do a rust orange and play with that instead.

Love these ideas but don’t have time to order new decor before the holidays? Check out our last minute Thanksgiving table setting ideas using items you probably have around your house!

At the end of the day, it’s all about setting a table you love and then welcoming your family and friends to gather.

Happy Thanksgiving!

How to decorate your fireplace mantel for fall

How to decorate your fireplace mantel for fall

Pumpkin spice? No, try pumpkin EVERYTHING.

Halloween might have been last week but it’s not time to abandon our pumpkin friends, or their in-laws the gourds, just yet.

Pumpkin spice? No, try pumpkin EVERYTHING. Halloween might have been last week but it’s not time to abandon our pumpkin friends, or their in-laws the gourds, just yet. Hallmark may already be playing Christmas movies 24/7 but it’s still too early — for most — to put up holiday decorations, and Thanksgiving is a good three weeks away yet. So how do you keep your fall home decor looking crisp? Keep it neutral, that’s how

Hallmark may already be playing Christmas movies 24/7 but it’s still too early — for most — to put up holiday decorations, and Thanksgiving is a good three weeks away yet. So how do you keep your fall home decor looking crisp? Keep it neutral, that’s how.

Gone are the days of overblown bright orange, yellow and red everything, complete with faux leaves dangling from your mantel.

The trend for fall decorating continues to be all about muted tones — white pumpkins mixed with some greenery and other organic-looking decor such as a large wooden bowl.

You can still use orange, but try using a variety of colors, and you can even find frosted faux pumpkins that tone down the orange a bit. Gourds are great too, especially as bowl fillers.

And don’t stop at just those regular paper or plastic faux pumpkins — there are so many options today: stone, mosaic, and glass. You also don’t have to abandon real pumpkins either — don’t be afraid to head to the pumpkin patch and pick up a few. There’s a ton of different varieties nowadays out there.

As for greenery, you can use a mix of branches, eucalyptus leaves or even a fall wreath that’s more muted than bold.

Tie all that in with some neutral or black accents such as vases and candlesticks and you have a fashionable fall look that will work all the way up until you finally pull out those Christmas decorations.

Don’t forget that less is more, here. You don’t need to buy 20 white pumpkins and make a big statement.

This trend is all about subtly bringing fall into your home without it whacking you and your visitors in the face. Your aim should be that relaxing fall is here, time to wrap a blanket around you while you drink your morning coffee.

Design your Ideal Kitchen Island with Seating and Storage

Design your Ideal Kitchen Island with Seating and Storage

Ah, the kitchen island. It can feel more like a source of stress than a place of order and function without the right design. So how do you pick what’s right for you?

how to include seating & storage in your kitchen island design

If you’re building a house, you have the opportunity to work with a completely blank canvas, but a lot of our clients don’t have that luxury. Instead, they’re trying to reimagine a space within the confines of the square footage of the kitchen that’s already there.

That doesn’t mean you’re completely stuck with what you’ve got, although you will want to take into account where plumbing and gas lines already do — or don’t — exist, whether you want to move them and the cost of adding or moving any pipes.

Regardless of whether you’re building from scratch or renovating, start with the basics: Where do you want to be looking while you’re cooking, doing prep work for your meals or cleaning dishes in the sink? Out a window? Toward your family or guests sitting around a bar or in the adjacent family room? Or perhaps even overlooking a dining room table.

Kitchen islands come in all shapes and sizes — from large islands to portable rolling carts. They can include stovetops with a hood that comes out from below or one overhead. They can contain sinks, prep areas, storage, wine fridges, icemakers and more. The options are almost limitless.

Come up with your plan for kitchen island seating

Pretty much all of our clients want to incorporate seating into their islands, so let’s start there. Bar seating is the most common feature, and you’ll want to think about how many people will need to fit. Three seats are common, but we always tell clients to seating for 4 — or even more, depending on how many people live in the house and if there’s enough space.

kitchen island with bar stool seating for 6

If you can’t expand the island depth, a wraparound option can provide the best of both worlds — plenty of space to prep meals, with or without a sink and other features, and enough seating for everyone. One of our favorite island projects seats six people at one end of the island while leaving plenty of counter space and storage on the other side.

But what if you don’t really like bar stools for your seating? Guess what, you can still have an island with meal prep space, storage, a sink and attached seating. You just have to think a little outside the box.

Adding banquette seating on one side of this island provided these clients with more space around a large table. It’s so big, you can fit at least eight people — more than you could fit at a regular island with bar stools. And the island still provides all the things you need, plus lets the cook or entertainer overlook the dining area while they work.

Lakewood neighborhood new construction kitchen with reclaimed beams, antique lanterns and custom hood | Interior Design Dallas | Michelle Lynne Interiors Group

Why not double your kitchen island space?

If you have enough space, here’s something you might never have thought of before: The double island kitchen. Why choose what elements you want in an island and which you have to leave behind when you can have the best of both worlds?

One of the kitchens we renovated originally had a single kitchen island so massive that it wasn’t completely functional or efficient. The client couldn’t even reach the middle of the island, and there was only storage space on one side, leaving a ton of wasted space.

So we split it into two functional spaces: One island became a prep space for cooking with a sink. The other island became an entertaining area with a beverage fridge, icemaker and seating — perfect for hosting those get-togethers with family and friends. We included a sink on the second island as well, making it perfect as a sort of built-out wet bar.

Keller kitchen and living room design and remodel | ML Interiors Group | waterfall quartz countertops, white backsplash, wood shelves, black range hood.

Don’t forget the necessities — and accessories

Now that you know the type of island you’d like and where the major features such as a sink or stovetop will be placed, it’s time to think about a few other elements. Obviously lighting is key, but don’t forget the extras you can incorporate into the space. In addition to a beverage fridge or icemaker like the kitchen above, you could add other features like a microwave, coffee bar, a second dishwasher or whatever else will make your island — or islands — more functional.

Just make sure you’re leaving enough space: You don’t want the island to take up the entire kitchen and make it difficult to move about. Instead it should feel like it’s always belonged there and keeps the kitchen and dining room design flowing.

The basic architecture of your house and kitchen will often guide your renovation. And if you need help, just give us a call. We can give you all the design ideas to make your kitchen a joy to cook and entertain in, whether or not you live in the Dallas / Fort Worth area.

And, as always, for more stylish and fun design tips, just subscribe to our email list.

Design your Ideal Kitchen Island with Seating and Storage

Design your Ideal Kitchen Island with Seating and Storage

Ah, the kitchen island. It can feel more like a source of stress than a place of order and function without the right design. So how do you pick what’s right for you?

how to include seating & storage in your kitchen island design

If you’re building a house, you have the opportunity to work with a completely blank canvas, but a lot of our clients don’t have that luxury. Instead, they’re trying to reimagine a space within the confines of the square footage of the kitchen that’s already there.

That doesn’t mean you’re completely stuck with what you’ve got, although you will want to take into account where plumbing and gas lines already do — or don’t — exist, whether you want to move them and the cost of adding or moving any pipes.

Regardless of whether you’re building from scratch or renovating, start with the basics: Where do you want to be looking while you’re cooking, doing prep work for your meals or cleaning dishes in the sink? Out a window? Toward your family or guests sitting around a bar or in the adjacent family room? Or perhaps even overlooking a dining room table.

Kitchen islands come in all shapes and sizes — from large islands to portable rolling carts. They can include stovetops with a hood that comes out from below or one overhead. They can contain sinks, prep areas, storage, wine fridges, icemakers and more. The options are almost limitless.

Come up with your plan for kitchen island seating

Pretty much all of our clients want to incorporate seating into their islands, so let’s start there. Bar seating is the most common feature, and you’ll want to think about how many people will need to fit. Three seats are common, but we always tell clients to seating for 4 — or even more, depending on how many people live in the house and if there’s enough space.

kitchen island with bar stool seating for 6

If you can’t expand the island depth, a wraparound option can provide the best of both worlds — plenty of space to prep meals, with or without a sink and other features, and enough seating for everyone. One of our favorite island projects seats six people at one end of the island while leaving plenty of counter space and storage on the other side.

But what if you don’t really like bar stools for your seating? Guess what, you can still have an island with meal prep space, storage, a sink and attached seating. You just have to think a little outside the box.

Adding banquette seating on one side of this island provided these clients with more space around a large table. It’s so big, you can fit at least eight people — more than you could fit at a regular island with bar stools. And the island still provides all the things you need, plus lets the cook or entertainer overlook the dining area while they work.

Lakewood neighborhood new construction kitchen with reclaimed beams, antique lanterns and custom hood | Interior Design Dallas | Michelle Lynne Interiors Group

Why not double your kitchen island space?

If you have enough space, here’s something you might never have thought of before: The double island kitchen. Why choose what elements you want in an island and which you have to leave behind when you can have the best of both worlds?

One of the kitchens we renovated originally had a single kitchen island so massive that it wasn’t completely functional or efficient. The client couldn’t even reach the middle of the island, and there was only storage space on one side, leaving a ton of wasted space.

So we split it into two functional spaces: One island became a prep space for cooking with a sink. The other island became an entertaining area with a beverage fridge, icemaker and seating — perfect for hosting those get-togethers with family and friends. We included a sink on the second island as well, making it perfect as a sort of built-out wet bar.

Keller kitchen and living room design and remodel | ML Interiors Group | waterfall quartz countertops, white backsplash, wood shelves, black range hood.

Don’t forget the necessities — and accessories

Now that you know the type of island you’d like and where the major features such as a sink or stovetop will be placed, it’s time to think about a few other elements. Obviously lighting is key, but don’t forget the extras you can incorporate into the space. In addition to a beverage fridge or icemaker like the kitchen above, you could add other features like a microwave, coffee bar, a second dishwasher or whatever else will make your island — or islands — more functional.

Just make sure you’re leaving enough space: You don’t want the island to take up the entire kitchen and make it difficult to move about. Instead it should feel like it’s always belonged there and keeps the kitchen and dining room design flowing.

The basic architecture of your house and kitchen will often guide your renovation. And if you need help, just give us a call. We can give you all the design ideas to make your kitchen a joy to cook and entertain in, whether or not you live in the Dallas / Fort Worth area.

And, as always, for more stylish and fun design tips, just subscribe to our email list.

Setting Goals In the New Year Is a Bad Idea

What?! I’ll bet you’ve been seeing all sorts of goal setting and New Year’s resolutions all over social media for the past couple of weeks. What am I, crazy?!  To say that setting goals in the new year is a bad idea. Yep. And the rest of the year too.

Why goal setting in the new year is a bad idea | ML Interiors Group | Dallas Texas

 

Why? Because when you set goals, you limit yourself. You box yourself into that definition – what if you could have achieved MORE? Become an even better version of yourself? You’re also working in a state of under-achievement every step of the way until you hit that goal.

And if you’re setting lofty goals, there is also the chance you may not achieve them for whatever reason. Maybe you injure yourself and don’t finish the marathon you actually showed up to and ran the first 20 miles of. Or maybe you just stop going to the gym because you’re not seeing the results fast enough.

In any case, setting goals is a short term strategy. What we really want when we create our New Year’s resolutions (aka goals), is long lasting change. In order to do that, you need to create new habits and processes.

By not setting specific expectations, you’re always in a state of satisfaction, which in turn builds your confidence and fuels your productivity. Read that again. (Kinda “woo woo” but it’s true.) I spent quite a bit of time pondering this after writing this blog post at about this time last year.

So rather than goals, create intentions. Who do you want to be? What do you want to do? And then back into them with daily activity.

Instead of the popular goal of “I want to lose weight”, set the intention of “I live a healthy lifestyle” and then schedule the habit or process of daily exercise or movement – and weekly meal preparation.

Instead of the resolution of “I want to read more” or “I want to read X number of books this year”, set the intention of “I am a reader” and create time each day to read 20 pages.

By creating daily habits, accomplishing goals is a side effect. And THIS creates real and lasting change.