Five Tips To Freshen Your Décor

A few years ago I was wearing a
flowing black pant suit that 
I thought I looked fabulous in and my mom said 
"It's time to retire that outfit.  It's worn out."
The black was fading and the 
material was balling up
…I just didn't notice.
Hope the weather is like this on Saturday...
I put my photos like this and more on Instagram.

So, if you haven't already, take notice...

1.  Immediately remove those dusty, fake 
ivy plants on top of your kitchen cabinets.  
They really will look better.
2.  Group your collections together
My client grew up in the U.K. and loves her Portmeirion collection.  
So, we put it on display.

3.  Use baskets to add texture and neatness.
I might have messed up her organization by cuisine a tad
...but it looks prettier :)

4. Replace your foam pillow inserts with 
down/feather inserts or synthetic feather inserts.
These were made for Lisa who said "Mares, I want nice pillows!"
She calls me Mares.  
 You deserve the extra softness in your life.  
Right now.  
Chief appreciates a nice pillow…hey, get off there!

5.  Keep the lamp but replace the dirty or dated shade.  
Measure the existing one and check out
 Restoration Hardware, Pottery Barn or Ballard Design
 (even Target--depending on where it's going).
I just realized that mine was in bad shape (stains)
when I took it over over to a client's 
for her to try out the scale. Above is a new one.

5.  Wash or Dry Clean Your Slipcovers
Yes, it's a pain...I get feathers coming out and it takes work
…but your sofa even smells fresher afterwards.
My representative from BSC furniture said if you want a tight
slipcover look, don't get it with the skirt…makes sense.
Or have your upholstered furniture professionally cleaned.

I just washed our slipcovers to get ready for this party...
I also cleaned some ceiling lights and did some polishing…
June 21 is summer solstice --
lightest day of the year…sort of like a spot light on my housekeeping.

Decoration is really about
creating a quality of life and a 
in that life that
nourishes the soul,
that makes life beautiful.
That's what this is all about, 
not just what's in and what's out.
~Albert Hadley


  1. These are some wonderful little tips Mary Ann, thanks for sharing. And I love that Hadley quote, it's so true.

  2. Amen to everything Mary Ann especially #1! ;-)

  3. I do these things periodically and it really does make a difference. I have a lamp shade on my list to replace right now. Also, when we moved in our house two years ago the light fixtures were awful. We've been replacing them slowly and that has made all the difference too.

  4. Thank You Mary Ann! Great tips.


  5. Such simple but practical tips! Now if we just remember to do them!! That sofa and pillow combination is lovely!!

  6. So many great ideas here! I couldn't agree more with the Decoration is about... quote. Totally agree. I really love that mirror, btw. Those kinds of accessories make a home's decor, IMHO. I have a similar styled one painted in green and hung on a wall with a cherry red removable wallpaper. I love the way the two go together and like the quote says, it nourishes my soul!

  7. Hi Mary Ann,
    Everything is better with down isn't it? My husband gives me full reign with design and decor, but his 1st request is... It has to be down and comfy! Easy for me, we value comfort as a luxury...
    Happy Summer I bet the bay is gorgeous this time of year!

  8. Couldn't agree more! It's amazing what a few seasonal changes will do for a room – and your mood. For me, switching out a pair of pillow covers along with a few art prints is just enough to energize me for spring cleaning (or holiday decorating).

  9. Great post and great tips too! I removed my fake plants from the top of my cabinets a couple years ago and felt so much better afterwards. Sometimes we get so used to seeing things in our own homes that we don't even notice them anymore! Now you have me scanning around my house looking for some things to freshen up...

  10. Mary Ann,
    What a great reminder for us all. It's so easy to not even notice some of those things that truly can make a big difference.
    Hope your party is fun and that the weather cooperates.

  11. Wonderful post and all great tips...I'm looking at a lamp shade right now in my office that probably should be replaced, looking a little dingy. Your home is beautiful as always!

    I love my Portmeirion dishes too...my best friend will pick me up a piece from the collection if she is out shopping at T.J. Maxx or wherever she happens to be. The last item she gave me was a mixing bowl. So thoughtful.

    I just bought that same orchid at Trader Joe's recently, I absolutely love that color!


  12. Mary Ann, all great recommendations and several if not all I try to do or maintain. Stepping back and being objective can be hard, but it is necessary in keeping our homes, tidy, clean and current!
    Great post,

  13. I just removed the fake NDI ferns from my cabinets, new pillows are being made and dropped the lamps off for Annie Sloan freshening in white and French linen, slipcovers will be washed next weekend after the grandchildren visit:) Loved for once to be able to say "check"!

  14. P.S. I was just looking at "your home" and noticed the Schumacher Pyne Hollyhock pillows in a room. I am using that same colorway for my family room freshening...those are the pillows that are being made that I spoke of in the previous comment, I was too excited to see them here!

  15. is it wrong that I think I need to do the whole list? ok. #1 I did a few years ago thank goodness :) whew. at least I'm ahead on something. :)


  16. I agree with everything. I think faux plants are getting really old. Especially in places where they could never really exist if they were real...like up on a cabinet in the shadows!


  17. The faux greens are really my pet peeve because most people let them get some grimey and dusty. I prefer to use the real thing or top quality dried flowers. Great tips.

  18. Right on Mary Ann.....sometimes we have a bind eye to our own homes.....I also believe in buying new towels every now and then......!

  19. That is so funny. I know someone who has dusty ivy fake stuff over there cabinets. And a fake wine dripping fountain. I just want to rip the whole thing out of there

  20. Yes. Slipcovers are a pain to wash but you gotta do it especially if you have pets.

  21. Hate ivy. Had it my kitchen for 15 years
    I'm finally rid of it. Thank god.

  22. Sorry. This is driving me crazy
    Hate fake flowers. I know someone who put fake plants on their deck in the summer. How horrible is that? I mean really. Go to the nursery and get some beautiful live ones.

  23. Love it all.......and so agree about the fake plastic ivy, yuck! Ditto down pillows they are the best, the squishier the better. You are a master!

  24. Great tips Mary Ann! Can you tell me fabric or source info for the two coral/terra cotta colored pillows- one with Chief (so cute!) and one on white sofa. I've been on the hunt and can't find what I'm looking for. These look great. Many thanks

    1. The fabric on the leather chairs isVervain - Ishtar Cinnabar and the coral lumbar on the sofa is on sale at Pottery Barn.

  25. Good advise, Mary Ann, and I love the Hadley quote.

  26. great advice mary ann! love the pillows by the way!

  27. Great ideas, Mary Ann! I've been procrastinating cleaning my slipcovers, but you've inspired me to get on it!

  28. Balance your spiritual energy and get in harmony with your soul by practicing these Radha-Krishna meditations.

    Sri Gita Govinda
    -A book written in the 12th century, this is a description of the intimate loving affairs of Radha and Krishna

    Govinda Lilamrta
    -An 400 year old book which poetically describes the eternal daily pastimes of Radha and Krishna

    Ananda Vrindavan Campu
    -This is probably the most poetic and intimate portrayal of Sri Krsna’s life in Vrndavana that has ever been written.

    Prayers of Service to Radha and Krishna (Sankalpa Kalpadruma)

    Prema Samputa The Treasure Chest of Love

    And the following four are taken from Visvanath Cakravarti's Camatkara Candrika, a 300 year old scripture that talks about the love meeting of Radha and Krishna:

    The Meeting in the Box

    The Meeting of Sri Krishna Disguised as a Female Doctor

    The Meeting of Sri Krishna Disguised as a Female Singer

    The Meeting of Sri Krishna Disguised as Abhimanyu

    And lastly, we have the supreme scripture which describes the 24 hour daily loving affairs of Radha and Krishna in Vrindavan, called Bhavanasara Sangraha. This book is now available on Amazon for Kindle, for only $3.49


    Here is a 41 page sample of Bhavanasara Sangraha:

    The above book can also be read on your PC using Amazon Kindle for PC, download here for free:

  29. All great tips but I especially love the one about ditching the fake ivy - it's one of my decorating pet peeves!!

  30. So many great ideas and I often have my daughter go through and tell me what needs redoing. So easy to get in a rut with my own home…

  31. Great tips! I really need to replace my pillow inserts.


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