Front Door and Porch Decorations for Christmas (DIY)

Christmas time calls for special ways to decorate your porch and front door because this is the point of entry into your home and you want to make it exceptional for the festive yuletide season.

There is something outstanding about cheery and merry entrance areas of a home at Christmas. It not only depicts a sense of merriment and high-spirits within the home, it is also a clear indication of what type of Christmas decor to expect within the home's interior.

At this special time of the year, traditional Christmas decorations which includes anything from the traditional Christmas tree and its strings of shimmering garlands, to glass baubles, glitter, bells, angels, candles, snow globes, candy canes, and pine cones are used lavishly indoors.

But with the exterior, not much attention is paid to Xmas decorations. The exterior is either left bare and bereft of any decoration and if there is any, it will probably be a stringy garland or a non-descript wreath hung on the front door.

Today, decorating your porch and front door goes beyond garlands and scant wreaths and you will find that there are several more creative ways to decorate the entry of your residence.

The good thing too is that they are quite affordable to put together and set up, and best of all, they are re-useable which means you can use the items again and again; every Christmas, for years.

Before you can decide on the best way to decorate, you must think about what will suit your porch and entrance door best.
  • The size of your porch or entry area.
  • The type of front door - Is it a single or double leaf door?
  • Its surrounds - Do steps lead up to the porch or is there no porch at all?
  • Your desired theme - Traditional, modern, minimalist, eclectic, etc...
  • Colour scheme - There are basic Christmas colours and they are red, green, and gold. But there is no hard-and-fast rule on what to use. Let your theme decide your colour choices.

I like to start by viewing my front door and its short adjoining walls as a background for my set up. So, if you have walls on each side of the front door, they will serve as part of the backdrop. If you don't have that much space and, for instance, only have the front door, that's fine too.

The front door decorations can be a door-hung wreath (hung high or midway) with lights, or a lush garland draped leisurely around the entrance door.

You must pay attention to scale. You don’t want to hang an over-sized wreath on a narrow front door or a skinny short garland around a tall wide door.

What is now required is to add some Christmassy type of activity around your decorated front door, to one (or both) sides of the porch.

Create a Cluster of Faux Gift-Wrapped Boxes

Christmas is a time of giving and receiving and what is better than to have displayed on your porch and around your front door boxes of faux gifts wrapped in pretty colours and tied with large bows

Arrange these gift boxes anyway you wish. These faux boxes can be placed in an orderly fashion on the floor of the porch. They can be set as a cluster, haphazardly, in a stack, or as a tower of boxes.

For DIY enthusiasts, get some empty boxes or cartons, buy some cheap but colourful Christmas-themed wrapping paper, and make your own faux Christmas gifts.

Pre-lit gift box decorations can be placed by the front door or anywhere you think works best for your porch. They are beautiful and can be remotely operated to light up at night.

Walking onto your porch and to the front door, with an array of colourful gift boxes almost surrounding you is a lovely, warm, and welcoming way of decorating your entrance area at Christmas.

DIY Faux Fur Wrapped Gifts for Your Porch at Christmas

Affordable Downton Abbey Inspired Home Furnishings

For those of us who remember the drama television series Downton Abbey, what stands out about this famous fictional historical series is not only its depiction of life in the post-Edwardian era, but also the elegance of its interiors.

The drama series, set in England of the early 1900s, explores the everyday lives of the aristocratic Crawley family and their domestic servants. If you want a piece of the Downton Abbey home furnishings, some inspired by specific rooms of the Grantham Estate, or wish to decorate a room in ways that hints at the glamour of the Edwardian Era, you’ll probably be interested in some of these Downton inspired home decorations.

You can make your home look stylish by incorporating affordable Downton Abbey furniture and furnishings for that classic traditional style. It doesn’t have to look exactly like the manor-style home of the Earl and Countess of Grantham with its gorgeous English country gardens, but indoors, your home’s decor can still shine with that ‘always impeccable’ aristocratic look.

Classic country dining table - Downton Abbey inspired furniture.

From table decorations, runners and antique book hideaway safes, to throw pillows, Edwardian wine bags and tea towels, all items in the Downton Abbey Collections will coordinate easily with a variety of modern furniture, colours and fabrics.

Downton Abbey vintage animated musical phonograph - Tabletop Decor

Abbey ottoman that can be used for extra seating, as a footstool, or as a step-pad.


Study Interior Design Course Online

If you've always wanted to pursue a career in interior design or decoration, whether you want to become a professional, or you simply want to be a part of a high-flying career, and you have scheduling conflicts - a job or family commitments, long distance' study is a great option to consider. 
Today, it is now a fact that you can become a professional in most fields of endeavour by being schooled and tutored in the comfort of your own home.
Isn’t it time to embrace this opportunity?

When you study interior design in a school, college, or university, online or off, you give yourself the opportunity to be a professional in the field, and a part of a high-flying career in the building and real estate industry.

Before You Decide

Before you make your decision, you'll first have to know which program you intend to pursue, a diploma in interior design, or a BA degree program that is a more advanced study.

You'll also want to know where to study online, requirements for enrollment, financial obligations, and the job opportunities in the interior design industry.

Having answers to these will help in your decision making.

Which Program Should You Pursue?

To be a professional in the field, a formal training is essential. You don't really need a formal training if you don't plan to go commercial with your skills. There are many that have a God-given talent of being creative and don't plan to go beyond doing decorating tasks for their own homes, their friend's, or their family's but if you want to go steps further and approach it as a business venture, you want to pursue this educationally.

Interior design, a highly competitive career, is a lucrative market in the building industry and services of interior designers are always required, especially by private and commercial clients, architects, the real estate industry, the movie industry, retailers of furniture and furnishings, property developers, and builders, just to mention a few. 
So, depending on how extensive your dreams are, you can opt to go for the diploma course or for a degree program.

Diploma Course – It’s always best to start at this stage where you are taught the fundamentals of interior design, like drawing, decorating, and simple perspectives. The topics covered in most online schools include:
  • Form and space
  • Colour and texture
  • Technical expertise
  • Environmental and global awareness
  • Expressions of creative sensibilities

HND Interior Design Course - If you already have a foundation course in interior design and decoration and wish to up your status to become more professional, you can enrol in an HND course. With this, you will also learn marketing and business skills required in the industry, and will know how to:
  • Design and know all the factors of space planning and interior layouts
  • Remodel, renovate and reconstruct interiors
  • Offer simple project management services related to interior design

BA Degree - This is a more advanced study where you’ll learn the elements and principles of design with its practical applications, including (but not limited to):
  • Problem-solving in space planning
  • Exploring creative designs
  • Business aspects of interior design
  • Use of CAD (computer aided designs) software
  • Relationship between people and spaces
You will also be taught on how interiors if designed properly and inventively, can influence human interaction, emotional responses, and improve the quality of human lives.

All class projects including attendance will be done by telephone, email, the internet, online forums, and courier services.

When you pursue a degree program, you will have the opportunity to work in an equally lucrative niche in interior design - rendering and perspectives, the good old-fashioned way, before the advent of CAD technology.

Where Can You Study Interior Design Online

A decade ago I’ll probably tell you there were just a handful of colleges offering interior design as an online course, however, things are now different and you will find more schools and colleges offering interior design course, with a majority of them in the USA, Britain, Canada, some parts of Europe, and South Africa.

Some of the top schools and colleges that offer an interior design online course include:

Requirements for Enrollment

You are probably aspiring to become a professional interior designer if you are reading this. But there are many who may not be reading this article because they believe that to become an interior designer, you must be creative and have the ability to draw. This is true to some extent, but I'd like you to know that some have become professionals in the field, just by getting an education to become one.

Truth be told though, there is no doubt that being creative is an added plus.

If you aspire to go for the associates or diploma course, you don’t require much more than your academic marks and your creative abilities which must be demonstrated through a portfolio submission of your artistic and creative works.

However, to obtain a degree, you'll need to fulfil the following conditions (the general requirements stated under Colleges of Arts and Sciences):
  • 75 hours of art courses.
  • Foundation in fine arts courses
  • Required courses in art history
  • Credit hours selected from ceramics, advanced drawing, advanced design, printmaking, painting, photography, sculpture or visual communications.
  • Required fine arts courses in the interior design concentration.

And if you are a transfer student, to study interior design, you must take a minimum of 12 credit hours of 100-level fine arts courses at a university, with 9 hours of it being in their area of specialization.

Financial Obligations

You might consider applying for financial aid to study interior design online but it can be a bit complicated in that you need to start the process of applying at least three months before you plan to enrol for the course. If you can, apply for a scholarships or grant. They are the best options because you don't have to repay.

Outside or private funding is another option worth considering. If you start your research early enough, you’ll discover some charities, benevolent individuals, charitable businesses, and community organizations that offer scholarships to study.

And of course, there is self-finance. If you are blessed enough to have funds at your disposal, that means you are good to go ahead to pursue your dreams conveniently. 

Job Opportunities

A formal training is required if you want to get a headway in this competitive job market, however, in a number of cases, an associate's degree in interior design is sufficient to get your foot through the door of the industry.

As a professional designer, you can either opt to work for an establishment, a small firm, or privately for yourself. It all depends on your aspirations. Job opportunities include working for:
  • Interior design firms
  • Architectural firms
  • Hospitality design firms
  • Design departments of corporations and institutions
  • Carpet manufacturing industries
  • Commercial furniture dealerships and retailers
  • Real estate firms
  • Contract design firms
  • Home design magazine publications
  • Kitchen and bathroom manufacturers
  • Product, accessory, and furniture retailers
  • Stage set design firms
The great thing about interior design is that there are many ‘branches and twigs’ (niches) that sprout out from a huge ‘tree trunk'. Additionally, here are some entry-level jobs you will also qualify for:
  • Interior Designer Assistant
  • Junior Designer
  • Business Development Coordinator
  • Interior Decorator
  • Color Consultant

Studying Interior Design Online Requires Discipline

Like any other distance learning education, with interior design, you will have to be committed and disciplined as there is no tutor 'breathing down your neck' during class. You work at your own pace. Learning can be slowed down or accelerated to suit your needs thus offering a flexibility that'll fit into your busy lifestyle.

So, though it takes discipline and motivation to stick with an online course, you will still find it exciting, beneficial, and satisfying.

Further Reading:
Interior Decoration by Distance Learning
7 Ways Interior Designers Charge for Services
Interior Design Masters Program

7 Pet Furniture You Will Find in Stylish Homes

Have you ever wondered how the pets of interior designers, decorator's and those obsessed with home decor trends live? A typical designer's home is an expression of his or her style and the way their pets live is always stylishly incorporated into their designs.

Not only are private pet zones created, furniture, and furnishings required are also planned to fit into the theme of the interior. After all, their pets also require their own nicely made-up space, just as yours does too.

Pet lovers like you and I are very particular about the well-being and comfort of our cherished family member. We know their well-being isn't limited to a good healthy diet and regular visits to the vet. We almost always consider their comfort too, because of the warm personal attachment and deep affection we have for them.

Cats and dogs are the most common pets you'll find in most pet lovers home. As they serve as just pets to some, they are regarded as children and family to others. From cats and Yorkshire terriers to the golden retriever and Great Dane, they all require a nice and comfortable place to relax or sleep, just as we all do.

Affordable but Stylish Pet Furniture

Here, you will find some favourite pet beds many interior designers and the house-proud provide their pets. From simple floor cushions to a play/sleep item, you'll find that if you desire a stylish and aesthetically pleasing interior for your household, make sure your pet's space fits well into the theme of your home decor.

1. Chevron Snuggle Pet Bed

Chevron Snuggle Pet Bed - A stylish and comfy pet bed with a storage area for 'bones', chews, and other pet toys.
The snuggle pet bed is great for both cats and up to 10lb dogs. It is so ultra plush, it will fit well into any modern home. One good advantage - it has a removable cushion which you can clean when necessary.

2. New Age Pet Crate End Table

A dual function pet furniture that will not warp, crack, or split. It also resists moisture and is maintenance free. Serves as an end table as well.

This modern piece, the Pet Crate End Table, is a multi-purpose pet and human furniture item. It works as an end table as well as a cosy crate for a pet. Its door has stainless steel spindles and it includes a front latch. I saw this in a fellow interior designer's small home and fell in love with it. It can be painted to coordinate with other interior furnishings.

 3. Cat Scratcher Lounge and Bed

This elegant and trendy cat lounge offers your cat both the ease of scratching and the smooth comfort of lounging, all in one.

The Ultimate Cat Lounge and Bed is also a cat scratcher. Your pet will love this sleek furniture, just as well as you will because it is actually a decorative piece as well. It has a trendy and sophisticated design that will complement any modern style home decor.

4. Premier Cat Tree

Elegant cat furniture is intended for smaller cats. It will fit into most decor themes and you can also choose a colour that 'll complement your home decor.

This chic Cat Scratch Post and Sleep pet furniture is perfect for the scratching and sleeping needs of cats. It is stable (tough wood skeleton)  and highly durable, and the 'scratching' material is sisal and it is covered in soft and plush carpet.

5. Hooded Dog Chaise Lounge

 You and your family can enjoy a relaxing time in the sun while your dog relaxes in a cool shade, lying on a stylish bed constructed of durable waterproof poly rattan.

You must agree with me that this outdoor hooded dog chaise lounge is an aesthetically pleasing chaise for your dog to use outdoors on the porch, on a deck, by the poolside, or in the garden.

6. Bambu Cross Pet Hammock
This hammock style bed combines clean lines with a unique sleeping surface and is one of most sought-after designs of pet furniture.

The Bambu Cross Pet Hammock has a unique comfortable surface that responds to a pet's body weight. This quality helps to relieve many of the pressure points that create discomfort and often lead to arthritis in dogs and cats.

 7. Ultra Plush Dog Sofa

An ultra-posh dog furniture with a storage compartment to hold doggie fun toys. It is raised from the floor and has a removable seat. Easy to clean piece.

This large-sized ultra plush dog sofa comes in beige and grey colours. It's perfect for a set up in your pet zone and will compliment your interior brilliantly. It will work well in both contemporary and traditional settings. It's a good size for both small and medium-sized dogs, up to 50lbs.

Show Off You and Your Pet's Style

If you own a pet, you can show off your personal style by carefully creating pet home zone that blends perfectly with your style of living.  Let your pets understand that this item of furniture is theirs and this particular space or zone is theirs to relax, play, or sleep in.

And remember, if you are looking for a great gift idea for your pet(s),  pet furniture is a wonderful one.

Further Reading:
Décor Gifts You Can Give Interior Designers (Less Than $200)
How to Create Zones Within a Room

Décor Gifts You Can Give Interior Designers (Less Than $200)

It’s gift giving time and you’ve made up your list or it's someone's birthday and you need some idea of what best gift to buy. It's probably a gift for someone that's special or important to you but you don't know what he or she will love.

There must be a couple of kind of people (or so) that you are never sure what to get them, like your interior design consultant, colleague, interior designer spouse, a house-proud friend, a family member that's a decorator, or even yourself if you are in a similar profession.

Don’t think because these creative geniuses are choosy and have a sharp eye for details means they won’t appreciate simple but unique things that won’t cost you more than $200. As long as the gift is unusual, different, and has a creative touch, it is certain they'll love your specially chosen gift.

Gift Ideas for an Interior Designer That's Under $200 

If you need some gift ideas of special presents you can give an interior designer for a celebration, a holiday, or a ‘thank you gift for a job well done’, here are a few that even I, as an interior designer, will love to have.

1. Laminated Corner Wall Mount Shelf

An ideal accent for any interior space, this decorative corner shelf is great to display decor items, photos, awards, tiny potted plants, videos and CD's, and more.

Coming in white, grey, brown, and black, this stylish but simple Laminated Corner Wall Mount Shelf will make a great gift and can be installed on any corner wall of the home. Its modern clean lines will fit into almost any interior decor style.

2. Mother of Pearl Inlay Table Lamps

A beautiful gift idea that creative people will love. It will add a hint of elegance to the living room or bedroom. Also great to place on a console in a hallway

Any interior designer will certainly find a place in her home to use these Mother of Pearl Inlay Lamps. She will proudly display these beautiful pear-shaped pairs of table lamps (yes! 2 table lamps). The table lamps reflect light from its bulb, creating a beautiful shimmer that'll give a warm and inviting ambience in whichever room the gift recipient places these lamps in.

3. Robertson Desk Lamp

An industrial style adjustable desk lamp (can also be used as a side table lamp) comes in an oil-rubbed bronze finish. It features a pulley-style design.

Still, on lamps, this exotic Robertson desk lamp is so vintage-inspired with an industrial flair.  I must say it is a showpiece on its own, worthy to be called a conversation piece. This brilliant gift idea for any home decorator will light up any desk with style.

4. High Heel Storage Side Chair

Durable and sturdy, this storage chair/ottoman is a dream choice of gift for those who love the unusual. Its signature neutral print also makes it a classic.

The high heel storage chair is an unusual piece that will fit in will fit perfectly in any living room style and decor. With its classic motif print, it serves as an ottoman, side chair, and functions as a storage unit as well.  

5. Laurent Oval Wall Clock

A modern version of an antique style wall clock that will serve more as a decorative centrepiece in virtually any room in the house than as a piece that just tells the time. Crafted to resemble an antique pocket watch.

The Laurent oval wall clock tells more than just the time. It also serves as a decorative piece of art that will go very well with both modern and traditional style of interiors. This out-of-the-ordinary gift idea has a romantic appeal with its 'aged' face, Roman numeral numbering, and the classic French handwriting. A great gift for antique and vintage enthusiasts.

6. Zen Mini Garden

The indoor Zen bamboo garden is a tabletop decor item that stands at over two feet wide and about two feet tall. An authentic oriental decor, it brings a sense of tranquillity into any interior space. You can add your own bamboo plants and display the item on an accent table or a special display stand.
Figurines, sculptures, and other tabletop decorations like the Zen Mini Garden, Greek Spartan Helmet Sculpture, and Spiral Stairs Sculpture are smart accent décor. Every interior designer knows that using some of these smaller but statement touches help to set the stage for the entire design concept of any room in the entire house. 

7. Tabletop Water Fountain with Light

This tabletop water fountain will bring elegance and tranquillity to any designer's home. Its slate stone attachment, halogen accent light, and polished river rocks draw extra attention to this beautiful water feature.
The Moonshadow Tabletop Fountain is a handcrafted water feature that's small enough to fit on any table surface but still large enough to attract the attention of a selective eye. The soothing sounds of flowing water will certainly relax and captivate anyone in the room.

Further Reading: 
How to Develop an Interior Design Concept
Decorate Your Bedroom Walls with Mood Enhancing Decals  

8. Teak Wood Floor Vase

Floor vase that's uniquely structured with raw teak wood. A great gift for interior designers that have an eye for the unusual and exotic.

One great gift idea that's rustic and organic inspired is the natural Teak Wood Floor Vase stylishly created with teak tree burls (the hard woody protuberance that forms on tree trunks or branches) and structured into a unique urn shaped form. I have always loved the twisted wood grain found in most burls. Burls are highly valued and sought after by artists, furniture makers, and sculptors. 

9. Wood/Metal Triangle End Table

A stylist accent table with an iron triangular prism frame and an inverted-pyramid-shaped top made of mixed ash tree wood, pear wood and high density board.

This piece is a modern and stylish table that will fit into any contemporary interior decor style. The wood and metal combo Triangle End Table is made of an iron triangular prism frame with a pyramid-shaped wood surface. This delightful gift idea will be a must-have for most interior designers.