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Decorating with Heirlooms

Have you ever taken the time to think back to the past and remember times you've shared with family or friends that hold a special place in your heart? Perhaps you have some treasured item you inherited from someone you love that holds a special place. Perhaps something has been handed down for several generations and now you have it and one day you'll pass it on to a child of yours.

Often times we will connect some treasured object with a special song, a date or an individual. These wonderful pieces should be incorporated into our homes as they have been in our hearts. Our homes not only reflect the present but also our past.

Here is a brief list of the kind of treasured item I'm talking about:

  • Musical instruments
  • Sheet music
  • An old clock
  • A treasured watch or timepiece
  • An old automobile
  • A treasured rug
  • A book or collection of books
  • One or more photo albums
  • A great chandelier or lamp
  • An old styled radio
  • Some vintage clothing
  • Well preserved silverware or serving pieces
  • Old picture or art frames
  • Handwritten postcards or letters
  • A stamp collection
  • An old typewriter
  • A old rotary phone

While you may have some truly valuable heirlooms amongst your collectibles, you might also have thought of them just as dust collectors. But if you understand their intrinsic value you may just find great reward in displaying them in your home.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Mount or hang a very large, empty picture frame against or near a wall. Suspend your collectibles from the ceiling and place where they will hang within the confines of the picture frame. Perhaps you could hang up some old musical instruments. You can vary the distance from the wall as well as the height.
  • Back a shadowbox with colored mica. Then attach a small collection of tools to the mica in an interesting arrangement.
  • Purchase or acquire a coffee table with a recessed area or shelf below a glass top. Fill the bottom with pebbles and then arrange some small heirloom collectibles on the pebbles. Ideas: an old pocket watch, old belt buckle, black and white photos.
  • Place a contemporary dining room table on a Persian rug, surrounded by a collection of antique chairs. Hang an heirloom chandelier over the table.
  • Assemble a group of old handwritten postcards, envelopes and notes in an arrangement and have it framed by a local framer. Use acid-free liners and UV-protected glass to preserve them.
  • Create a floor to ceiling gallery wall of memorabilia:  old wall vent covers, old license plates, door knockers, stained glass windows, old signage, parts from an old grandfather clock, candle holders, and so forth.

Warming Up for Cooler Weather

Last week it was 113 degrees in downtown Los Angeles - a record. Thankfully I live near the beach so it didn't get that hot for me, but my daughter was miserable. Now this week it's raining and in the low 50-60s. Go figure. But one thing is clear: colder weather is a-coming. So what does that have to do with decorating? Here's what.

First of all, it's a good time to do something different. Just as we pull out a different set of clothes or go shopping for a new wardrobe, so too our homes beckon us to do something different - something more warm and cozy.

Light the oven, honey. Time for some cookies, hot chocolate and a good book. Bring in some dried wood for a rustic, "fall leaves kind of thing".

I'm all for hardwood floors, or tile or marble but when cool weather sets in, I want something warmer under my feet, don't you? One inexpensive idea is to put down some warm, color-appropriate area rugs. How about a runner down that long, dark hallway?

Why not rearrange the furniture? If you need ideas or guidance, we offer a fabulous ebook on the subject called Decor Secrets Revealed. Over the years it's been one of my best selling guides and I've had more than my share of grateful readers whose homes have literally been transformed almost instantly. What about yours? Rearrangements are completely FREE and will revitalize any room in your home. You can even offer this service in a business of your own if you like and we have plenty of training available if that's appealing to you.

Create a new cozy conversation area in your living room or family room - do it right by that crackling fire. If you have a fireplace in your master bedroom, you'll want to place a seating arrangement there as well.

Now's also a time to add some extra candles with fall scents like cinnamon, apple or vanilla. Bring in some twigs and pinecones for your dining room table arrangement or on your mantel.

Add a temporary lining to your drapes using Velcro. It helps keep the cold outside where it belongs. You can wash them and remove them when spring rolls around again.

Add a table cloth or runner to your table. Look for fall motifs and colors. It's that layered look that you use in your wardrobe - well, now use it in your home.

Change your towels in the bathroom to fall colors. Add some more candles.

Put pinecones in bowls for centerpieces on your dining table and coffee table. Toss a fall colored blanket or throw over the back of the sofa or casually over the arm. Not only does it make the room more cozy and inviting, you're sure to want it when you read your favorite book.

Get started. You've got lots to do and it will be colder than it is now by time you get done.

Question About a Staging Business


Hello I am considering starting a home staging company. Although I have a real knack for merchandising, organizing and de-cluttering I have no decorating education. I also have little knowledge of the industry as a whole to see if there is a need or demand in my area. I have registered a business name and am trying to find someone to do a website for me. I work fulltime and think I should start out staging part time until I can see if the business can grow. I guess I am just trying to educate myself as best I can looking at the available options. There are several programs as well as seminars to consider and I am trying to figure out the best value of training for the money. I am looking at which program or course offers the most. They are all a lot of money. What is the best way to start the business? Just jump in fulltime or start part time? What courses should I take? Who can do a good inexpensive website? Is it worth getting into? These are some of the questions I am trying to find answers for. Thanks.


Well we're always happy to find people interested in the industry, and there is a dire need for the service no matter where you live. However, no one can honestly tell another person that they will be successful in any venture. Like any other business, it requires work and dedication beyond acquiring the knowledge. Happily you can learn what you need to know in design. Just make sure you choose a trainer that offers solid design training as many do not, or have had to pay someone to write theirs. Without strong design skills, long term success cannot be achieved.

There are two schools of thought on starting part time or full time. The case for part time is that you still have full time income as a back up and are under less stress as a result, unless you have a mate bringing in sufficient income. The downside is that you are not fully focused on building a business and it's very easy to just lumber along getting no where because you're too tired and too distracted with other priorities. I have found in my own life and that of my students that those who choose a course and just dive in tend to be motivated enough to get through the training and go on to build successful businesses. Those with lower commitment levels and lower investment tend to fall out more easily.

My best advice to you is to search your heart for your own level of commitment. No one can make that decision for you and you should never let anyone do so. It must come from you. Otherwise the effort and tenacity will be lacking and it will be all for naught in the end. We offer two best value courses at the moment, which not only teach you home staging as a business but also interior redesign, and a host of related products and services you can add when you choose.

One is called the Diamond Ruby Combo Course and the other is the Platinum Combo Course course. The Platinum has a little more design training plus personal mentoring for 45 days from our marketing and public relations expert. Both courses come with simple websites where all you have to do is submit your copy. This gives you fast online presence and affords you the opportunity to take more time to build your own to launch wherever and whenever you like.

Our marketing expert can help you with a private website and design if you like. I suggest you visit our checklist page for a quick overview of the courses and menu we offer. You'll find it at Our Pricing and Checklist Page

As for whether it is worth getting into or not depends on the individual, your goals, your circumstances, your dreams, your needs and a whole list of topics unique and individual for everyone. No one can answer that question but you. To do so would be unethical. I can tell you that our courses will give you more than you need for success but not less than you want or deserve. But you are the X-factor. Unless you go for it you will never have an answer to the question. There is a dire need. Will you be one of the entrepreneurs who fills the need?

I hope I've been helpful. Let me know if you have further questions.

Warm regards,

Barbara Jennings, Author/Director

P.S. The personalized mentoring service we just started offering is also available "a la carte" and runs for 60 days instead of 45. It also comes with another book we offer called "Do's and Don'ts in Home Staging and Redesign" which is filled with 101 examples of staged and redesigned rooms that are also critiqued. It's another approach to honing one's design skills.

Trendy Shoes

Watch these very funny segments on shoes for the fall by Spankie Valentine. You'll love the fantastic styles.

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