Living Room Decor Tips for Your Vacation Rental

Make sure the remotes to the TV are easy to find and navigate. The coffee table is also a great place to leave local magazines, your recommendations for guests, and a guest book (if you choose). You don’t want guests to have to hunt around the room for things they will need, so baskets or trays are also a great way to keep these essential things all in one location. This should be easily visible (often on the coffee table). Make sure your sofa has plenty of pillows (usually 2 in each corner is a good portion). Is your sofa in decent condition, and the cushions are full? If not, you may consider replacing the cushions, or replacing the entire sofa, if needed. This is often an area where you guests will spend most of their time relaxing, so your furnishings should be sturdy and comfortable. It is best to hide as many cords as you can as well to give the space a less cluttered feeling.    

Here are a few photos of my living room, which has hidden cords, bright lighting, storage, and plenty of seating options with many pillow options.  



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Front Door & Entry Tips for Vacation Rentals

Front doors and entry ways are the first impression your guests will get of your home. Make sure it has a clean doormat with a working light. Consider the condition and color of your door as well- does it need new paint? Maybe a pop of color so it draws more attention? What looks best in the photo of the entry? Should you add a plant for some color and texture? These are all things to consider when addressing the front door, since this will be your guest’s first impression of you, your home, and what the rest of their experience will be like. 

Make sure there is an area to “drop” everything a guest will have with them by the front door (luggage, cellphone, keys, hats, jackets, etc.). You want your guests to have somewhere to set everything while they take a look around and explore their room options and get themselves orientated with their new surroundings (without lugging everything with them, and possibly damaging the walls, doors, rugs, trim, etc. of your home). This could include a console table, with a bowl for keys, a coat rack to hang jackets and hats, maybe even somewhere to leave their shoes. This is also a good place to leave any directions for your guests (key codes, directions, suggestions, etc.) since they will pass this area everytime they leave the house. 


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How to make your Guests Feel at Home

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Since our homes are often filled with family and friends for the holidays, likely the hardest part of making your home feel welcoming to guests is finding the motivation to get started. I get it. Life gets busy, and preparing your guestroom is probably the last thing on your mind.

Often times people travel for the holidays and stay with friends and family. As a host you want your home to look beautiful, and welcoming to your overnight guests.  Here are a few helpful hints to remember when preparing for guests:

The Prep Work


Do your best to de-clutter the room so your guests feel comfortable moving around the space. Check out our e-book “How to Organize and Declutter Your Home” for more help with this!   


Clean thoroughly. Clean the surface. Then, clean deeper. Give extra attention to corners and windows and hard-to- reach areas.


Just like in the bathroom, make clean and bright your goal. If you’ve successfully removed a good portion of personal possessions, you’ll find this task far easier to complete.

Give your bathroom the attention it deserves. Put away personal hygiene products. Scrub bathtubs, toilets, and shower walls. Make clean and bright your goal.

Bathroom Needs- Make sure whatever bathroom your guests are using is well stocked with toiletries and easy for them to use and replace if needed. It’s also nice to have extra toothbrushes, hair ties, toothpaste, etc. for guests who might have forgotten these items. Also, be sure to have plenty of towels and washcloths.  


Have a light on the nightstand next to the bed for those people who may be “night owls” or perhaps may need to get up during the night.

Lots of pillows and bedding: keep sheet sets together by placing a neatly folded set inside its matching pillowcase or, for a pretty and functional detail, tie the whole set with ribbon.

Provide a place for guests to unpack. Having an empty dresser is nice, but if that’s not possible or not something you want to encourage with your guests, be sure to leave some empty floor space or a resting place for your guests to easily open their luggage.

Provide privacy. This means doors, window treatments, etc. to help make the room more private.

Temperature controls- whether you provide a fan or heater (depending on where you live), be sure your guests are comfortable.


Kitchen utensils- including enough silverware for you and your family, but also enough for your guests too. Nothing's worse than running around your kitchen trying to find your guest a clean fork.


If your guests are staying with you during your normal work week, it’s always nice to have a copy of your key made so they can come and go as they please.

To entertain your guests while you are at work or otherwise unable to entertain your guests yourself, I suggest making a list of local tourist attractions, or a list of your favorite local spots so they have something to do while you are away.


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How to pick the right finishes for your room

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Long gone are the days when bedrooms that were sold in matching sets were the most desirable look. Now, it often seems like it takes a professional (like me!) to pull together a room. 

Here are just a few helpful hints when selecting furniture:

Select three finishes that you enjoy. Do you like a high-gloss white lacquer? Or do you like dark walnut? If so, write a list of finishes you like. Now select three from this list and only purchase furniture in these finishes. Each room should have a mix of these finishes. If one room has more of one color, make the next room have more of one of the other two color options. 

If you aren't sure what finishes you like, go to a furniture store nearby and ask the sales person to tell you about the options they have available. I would suggest going to a store that will have more than one finish option for each item they show. For example Bassett Furniture, Restoration Hardware, sometimes Pottery Barn/West Elm/Macy's can have finish options. This should help give you an education on the types of finishes available in the market. From here, you will probably have a strong gut reaction either for or against each finish. Write these down, or keep a mental note about the ones you liked. 

For instance, were you drawn to oak finishes? Or did you not like the walnut options that you saw? Keep a list. 

From this list, note a light, medium, and dark option that you liked best. Use these as your three finishes to look for when shopping.     


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How to choose upholstered furniture


Let your lifestyle determine what colors and fabrics you choose. For example, I have a large, hyper dog constantly climbing on the furniture. If I brought home a white suede couch, it would be torn apart and stained in minutes. If you have kids or pets, stick with dark colors and stain-resistant tough fabrics like linen or tweed. 

Stick to neutral colors for your bigger and more expensive pieces. Save bold colors for décor pieces. 

If you like firm sofas, look for one with traditional coiled springs. If you want a softer feel, go with zigzag coils. Before you buy, take off the cushions and press down on the base of the sofa. The coils should push down and spring back into place immediately. 

Look for firm cushions with a removable cover matching on both sides. Firm cushions hold up better over time. Fully covered cushions cost a bit more than ones with the pattern on one side and a plain white or tan backing, but they’ll last longer and wear evenly if you can flip them over every few months. Find removable covers that are easily washable.



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How to Organize and Declutter Your Home Part 1

Since it is a new year, you have probably made a new years resolution. Maybe going to the gym more? Maybe eating healthier? But have you thought about your home? Your home is where you spend most of your time, and you want it to feel relaxing, cozy, and inviting, but you can't do that when your space is filled with clutter! So I wanted to remind you of my e-book that I wrote:

How to Organize and Declutter Your Home (available on Amazon for $0.99!)


For the month of January I am going to share some of my secrets on how to organize and de-clutter your home!

Lets start with the Organization:

The Organization

The First “real” step to organization is to define how you are going to decide on what you will keep or get rid of. You’ll want to start by creating three piles- sell it, donate it, keep it. Maybe you are going to have a yard sale after you’re done organizing your house? Then sell it. But if it doesn’t sell, donate it. We are trying to organize and declutter your life, not add more clutter from one area to another. Maybe you hate yard sales and will simply be donating everything? Or maybe you have something that isn’t worth selling? Donate it.

The best way that I have found is to clear a space- possibly in another room, on the floor and dump out all the pieces (maybe it’s just a few drawers? Maybe it’s the whole kitchen?).

Why? The chances are that you will find things you forgot you had, or maybe you will discover you have two of something you only need one of.


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7 Simple Steps to Painting Furniture

In order to paint furniture, you will need to follow these 7 simple steps:

1. Clean your furniture down with an neutral cleaner (I like Murphy's Oil Soap) , and remove all hardware.

2. Use a medium grit sandpaper to sand down whatever finish is already on your furniture, and make sure all surfaces have the same type of finish after using the sandpaper.

3. Use an Oil Based Primer (I prefer a spray, but if you prefer liquid you can also use that).

4. Use Floetrol in your paint (this is an additive that will help your paint stay wet longer, making all those brush strokes go away while drying at a slower rate).

5. Paint in small sections using a natural bristle brush, roller, or paint sprayer.

6. Use a fine grit sandpaper to sand down any rough patches of paint after it has dried. Repeat paint as necessary. 

7. Use a finishing wax once your furniture has approximately the desired finish will help hide any impurities. Let your furniture dry. TA-DA! You should have a gorgeous like-new piece of furniture with a beautiful new paint job.   


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Make Your Home Smell like Christmas!

Put the following ingredients in a bowl and bring to a boil:

1 Orange Sliced

 4 Cinnamon Sticks

2 Tablespoons of Whole Cloves

4 Bay Leaves

1/2 Cup Cranberries

1 Lemon Sliced

4 cups water


Want more tips on How To Decorate For The Holidays? Check out my e-book available on Amazon now for only 99 cents! 


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How to Decorate Your Tree

Below is a little glimps of my new e-book "How to Decorate Your Home for the Holidays", available on Amazon!

There are many ways to decorate a christmas tree, here is a step by step guide on how to make your tree great:

  1. Start with the lights. Wrap the lights around the tree from the top to the bottom in equal distances if your tree will be visible from most sides. If you are tucking your tree into the corner of a room I suggest you string your lights back and forth down the tree in a zigzag pattern to save on lights, your electric bill, and the condition of your walls.

  2. Secondly- the ribbon. You can get creative with your ribbon choices- maybe your prefer to go more rustic and use a natural element like popcorn or cranberries, or maybe you prefer something a little more glamorous like a sequin ribbon string. Or maybe you would rather decorate with faux poinsettias or cranberry bunches- which ever type of “ribbon” you prefer, refer to the diagram on the right for a visual on what type of ribbon you would prefer.  

  3. Thirdly- the ornaments. Try grouping the more simple ornaments together in sets of three. This way the ornaments will look more full . If you are going to display a collection, spread the ornaments out across your tree in an even distance from one another.

Want more Holiday Tips? Check out my new e-book "How to Decorate Your Home for the Holidays" available on Amazon for only 99 cents! 


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How to style a coffee table tray

Domino has taken all the guess work out, and put together a foolproof coffee table styling starter kit for you.


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How to Style Bookshelves


This is one of the most Frequently Asked Questions I get! Here are my suggestions:

If you have multi colored books, you could organize them by color to give a fun pop to your bookshelves. 

Try grouping objects together. Display a collection: collect objects that are the same color, style, or shape and place them together in a group. Its best to group it in odd numbers (3,5,7,etc)  Place objects together based on size; the tallest in the back, the medium height in the middle, and the shortest in the front.

Layer Objects- Placing a vase on top of a book with a picture frame is a great way to layer objects. Or placing an orb with a small box on top of a stack of books is also a great way to layer objects. Regardless of how you choose to layer objects, just keep the rule of odd numbers in mind.

Arrange objects by size- When you arrange objects on a shelf, arrange them in groups by height. The tallest objects should almost visually connect (think of it like a connect the dots that move like a snake back and forth up the bookshelf)   


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