Outdoor Holiday Decor Etiquette

Every neighborhood has one. You know, the house so bright with holiday lights that it can be seen from the space station. If your that guy or gal, who prides themselves with their over the top decor follow these rules of holiday etiquette to maintain peace on Earth with your neighbors.

James Wheeler

Put up the holiday lights the day after Thanksgiving. Even though all the stores are pushing Christmas before Halloween, follow the Black Friday to the Epiphany (January 6) rule for putting up and taking down your own holiday decorations.

Know your neighbors floor plan. If your neighbor’s bedroom windows overlooks the side of your house, be courteous and not shine the lights directly at them. Make sure your display is not in your neighbor’s line of vision either. You don’t want to temporarily blind as they pull into their driveway. Same goes for those inflatables, that could block visibility to the road. If you’re not sure, create good will and ask your neighbors if the decorations are a nuisance.

It’s OK to keep the lights on all night. Putting the lights on a timer is an easy way to save energy, however it’s fine to leave them on all night as long as no one complains.

Cut the music. A light display set to music may look and sound fantastic but you must resist. Even if you were to turn off your display at a reasonable time, none of your neighbors want to hear Tis the Season to be Jolly on repeat.

Wesley Tingey

Know your neighborhood. Take note of the level of decorations in your neighborhood. Festive as it may seem, a massive holiday display is going to attract visitors, possibly creating a traffic nightmare. Don’t land on your neighbor’s naughty list! Proceed with restraint in your your Christmas decorating.

Don’t be a Scrooge. If you find your neighbors are the ones with lousy holiday décor etiquette, approach with caution. If their multiple generators keeping the lights going or blaring music is keeping you up at night, say something. Do so in a polite way and offer a compromise, such as an ideal time to shut the party down. If it’s an aesthetic complaint, keep it to yourself. That mechanical Santa and eight tiny reindeer is filling your neighbor with holiday cheer and that is what this time of year is all about.

Mr. H says: Christmas lights makes us feel eight years old again-Enjoy!

bathroom decorating Holidays outdoor living seasons

8 Easy Design Tips for Fall

Bring that Fall feeling inside by adding cozy autumnal touches around your house with these festive and easy decor ideas.

Front porch greetings

Greet family and friends with a Fall themed wreath or porch vignette. Incorporate natural dried materials, gourds, and seasonal flowers into your display for a delightful seasonal welcome.

Fall wreath ideas
Creekside Farms

Faux Fur Pillows

Swapping out lightweight summer throw pillows to more textural ones like faux fur, velvet or chunky knits in darker jewel tones is an easy Fall upgrade.

Faux fur pillows
Grandin Road

Bring the Outside In

Add natural textures to your decor by mixing twigs, hay and gourds with pewter and mercury glass for an elegant Fall theme.

Natural fall decorating ideas
Pottery Barn

Pretty Paisley

A richly colored, set of paisley napkins is an easy way to transform your dinner table for Fall. Add a monogram for a personalized look.

Paisley monogrammed napkins
Donovan Design Linens

Chic Baskets

The warmth of natural woven baskets feels instantly Fall. Pile a basket with fruit in the kitchen or group a few on the coffee table to stash the remotes or hold magazines.

Natural woven baskets
West Elm

Copper Accents

Handcrafted copper items have a rich glow that fits seamlessly into Fall decorating. An occasional polish will keep it looking shiny or allow it to mellow into a verdigris patina.

Copper candles
Akkadian Candles

Tidy Up the Bath

Don’t get caught off guard by holiday guests. Stock the guest bath now with fresh towels, soap and scented candles.

Marrakech towels Matouk
Fine Linens

Cozy Up Outside

Enjoy Fall’s cooler evenings outside with seating arranged around a fire pit. Keep cozy pillows and throws on hand if the weather turns extra chilly.

Mr. H says: Autumn is a second Spring when every leaf is a flower-Enjoy!

decorating Holidays

Holiday Decor Eye Candy

If you are like me and haven’t decked your hall yet, here are some enchanting holiday decorating ideas.

Trees with a theme

Michelle Edgemont-HGTV


Balsam Hill

Front door festive greetings

Jamie Lee

Balsam Hill

Holiday table top ideas

Todd Trapani


Over the top decor can be found in public spaces.

The Biltmore House in Asheville, NC

Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, PA


The Roosevelt-A Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New Orleans, LA


Dominika Roseclay

Mr. H says: Christmas is a tonic for the soul-Enjoy!

Artwork design history

Tromp L’oeil Illusions

The ability to trompe-l’œil or “deceive the eye” was a highly prized artistic skill of ancient Greek and Roman painters.  The ability to fool one with a painted illusion is a practice that continues in today’s modern interiors.  Whether to expand the visual size of a room, add decorative elements, or introduce a bit of whimsy, decorative painters and designers collaborate to create fantastic tricks.

The Ducal Palace in Mantua c. 1470 by artist Andrea Mantegna


Fashion designer Martin Margiela added faux architectural details in his hotel room design

La Maison Champs Elysees by Martin Margiela
La Maison Champs Elysees

Expansive light and space is created in a powder room with a trompe l’oeil garden

Andy Eccleshall-The Mural Works trompe l'oeil door way
Andy Eccleshall-The Mural Works trompe l’oeil door way

A bedroom shrouded in luxurious drapery

Artist Mariani Affreschi trompe l'oeil bed curtains
Artist Mariani Affreschi trompe l’oeil bed curtains

Trompe L’oeil can be trans formative as evidenced by artist Janie Atkinson’s garage doors.


Janie Atkinson

Tromple l’oeil allows for a touch of whimsy: look closely in the Paris Musee de la Chasse for the painted mouse lurking about.

Carol Gillott

This restaurant floor was turned into a coral reef complete with the illusion of water and sea life.

Trompe loeil ocean floor
Epoxy 3D Flooring

Faux marbre, faux boise….

Artist Caroline Woods faux marble column
Artist Caroline Woods faux marble column

Artist Jill Biskin faux marble wainscot
Artist Jill Biskin faux marble wainscot

Artist Arthur Morehead faux boise wood panel
Artist Arthur Morehead faux boise wood panel

Fauxto Finish faux boise garage doors
Fauxto Finish faux boise garage doors

Dogs are a favorite subject for trompe l’oeil artists

Artist Lara Meissirel

Artist Janet Fadler Davie
Artist Janet Fadler Davie

Mr. H says: Through a painting we can see the whole world-Enjoy!

decorating Holidays

Five Festive Christmas Tabletops

The countdown is on before the big Christmas meal.  Find inspiration for your holiday table decor with these elegant and unexpected design ideas.

North Carolina interior designer Kathryn Greeley, is no stranger to creating a luscious table top having authored the eye candy packed book The Collected Tabletop.   Layering china patterns with hand blown martini glasses and beaded holly place mats hit all the notes for a lavish Christmas party.

Kathryn Greeley The Collected Tabletop Christmas

Better Homes and Gardens TV host, Tara Dennis is well known for her decorating, style and craft ideas.  Keeping things fresh and simple she crafted this beach inspired Christmas tablescape with just a few basics.  Natural linens, solid plates and plain glassware, along with a scattering of shells, is sure to transport diners to a tranquil beach.

Tara Dennis Beach Christmas tabletop

Tara Dennis Beach Christmas centerpiece

Red, green and white elements set a simple yet classic holiday table.

Pottery Barn

Sweet Peach featured this playful, kid friendly Christmas table by Beth Lord.  Utilizing vintage ornaments under glass, wrapped “gifts” and mismatched table ware, she sets the stage for laid back holiday supper.

Sweet Peach holiday table top

A mix of Waterford and Lenox “Holiday” china sets a gorgeous holiday table.

Mr H. says: The best memories are those made gathered around the table-Enjoy!

decorating Holidays

Holiday Decor Don’ts

It’s time to deck the halls and you can keep your decor merry and bright by following some simple rules.

Don’t start your holiday decorating without clearing out the clutter.  Adding holiday decor to an already overstuffed space makes for an unhappy home.  Remove art, accessories and even furniture that don’t fit your decorating theme.

Photo by It’s The Little Things
Don’t forget to measure your ceiling height before shopping for a Christmas tree.  Bring along a tape measure to scale your tree choice too.

Too tall christmas tree

Don’t try to decorate every room of your home.  Make an impression by focusing on the areas of the house your family uses most.

Photo by Piccadilly Design 

Don’t adhere to red and green color schemes.  Purple, blue, gold, silver and white all make for a festive atmosphere.


Don’t forget the natural decor in your yard.  Wreaths, garlands and festive tablescapes can all be created from outside your door.  Seal naturals in an airtight container and place in the freezer for 24 hours to kill pests.

Williams Sonoma

Don’t leave candles unattended.  Use non-flammable holders and keep away from children, pets and items that can catch fire such as trees, other evergreens, decorations, curtains and furniture.

Pottery Barn

Take Mies van der Rohe’s “Less is More” advice. In a season where we visually assaulted at every turn practice some restraint with your own holiday decor.

Ballard Designs

Don’t keep the lights on all night.  Regardless of how tasteful they may appear, your neighbors and the electric company would appreciate them being extinguished at some point. Lights can be controlled on a timer to prevent your neighborhood from glowing for weeks on end.

Exterior house Christmas lights

Don’t decorate the pets.  Choking, strangulation and suffocation are enough reason to keep your fur kids free of humiliating costumes.

Dog holiday costume

Mr. H says: Christmas is a box of tree ornaments that have become part of the family-Enjoy!

decorating Holidays

Easter Decor

Here comes…Peter Cottontail

While the origins of the Easter Bunny remain fuzzy, it is generally believed that the custom of an egg laying rabbit was most likely brought to the United States by German immigrants.  Deriving from the ancient tradition of rabbits being symbols of fertility and Spring obviously being the most fertile time of year.

Regardless, this iconic image of the Easter holiday can be found in a myriad of forms

World Market Bunny Decor
World Market

Orange Bunny PillowBlue Bunny Pillows

Table Top

Fabric Easter Bunny on Etsy

Moss Bunny Topiary

French wire rabbit

An Easter meal would not be complete without bunny acroutments

Williams Sonoma Bunny Plates
Williams Sonoma

Williams Sonoma Easter Plates

Martha Stewart Easter Bunny Glasses

Pottery Barn Bunny Salt and Pepper Shaker

And of course, rabbits are just meant for the garden

Plow and Hearth rabbit rain guage

Gardeners Supply rabbit stake
Gardener’s Supply

Mr. H says: Easter is when a lot of people repent and wish they had not ate that last chocolate bunny-Enjoy!

Holidays interior design

Holiday Eye Candy

With Christmas fast approaching, here is a sprinkling of stunning Christmas décor courtesy of a dear friend and fellow interior designer who really enjoys decking the halls.

The stage is set for a holiday celebration

Designer Christmas decor

The glamorous red living room suits the holiday appointments

Red living room walls

Black candles and a Venetian mirror craft an elegant holiday tableaux


Garland up the staircase

IMG_2102 modified

A tall, slender Christmas tree adorns a corner of the living room

IMG_2104 modified

The table awaits desert to be served

IMG_2106 modified

Mr. H says: It is Christmas in the heart that puts Christmas in the air-Enjoy!

Holidays interior design

Thanksgiving Tabletop Ideas

Create a spectacular table to match all that incredible food this Thanksgiving with these inspiring ideas.

Amber colors warm up this casual holiday table

Photo by sharon70

Gray and white stoneware are paired with russet linens for an economical holiday table.

Crate and Barrel

Fresh herbs tied to place cards signal the start of a savory meal

Photo by Houzz 

Interior Designer, Kathryn Greeley mixes old and new in this traditional table top for the Asheville, NC Williams Sonoma store.  See more of her fabulous ideas on the blog The Collected Room

Kathryn Greeley Thanksgiving table top

An elaborate al fresco affair for those of us in warmer climates

Photo by Anita Diaz for Far Above Rubies

Green accents standout on an otherwise neutral table.

Photo by Amanda Carol Interiors

Mr. H says: Give thanks for unknown blessings already on their way-Enjoy!

charleston Holidays

Festival of Wreaths

The 6th annual Festival of Wreaths wrapped up last night and it was my pleasure to participate in memory of eleven year old Harper Drolet, who sadly lost her battle with cancer on September 31, 2011.  My thoughts go out to her parents Jamie and Amy.

Charleston Festival of Wreaths

The event was held at the Charleston Place hotel which as always is decked out for the holidays.

Charleston Place Hotel

Seaside Holiday was our theme this year

J. Rhodes Interior Design "Seaside Holiday"

Past wreath themes have included Old Glory

Old Glory Wreath

Purple and Gold

J. Rhodes Interior Design holiday wreath

And Mr. H’s personal favorite Dog Bones

Dog bones wreath

Mr. H says:  “Gifts of time and love make the best presents”-Enjoy!