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Winter: A time not just to Deck the Halls but also to Redesign your Garden

Winter: A time not just to Deck the Halls but also to Redesign your Garden

Always loved and enjoyed the world of design and decorating? You have reasons to celebrate then! With the upcoming holidays, it’s the season for home design and makeovers. And call it a holiday bonanza, or whatever, in this blog, we address not one, but two interesting house design topics for you. Keep reading…

By the by, in keeping with the jingly jolly spirit of the most wonderful time of the year, the Room Flip™ team has already put up its Christmas-special holiday makeover event — ‘Deck the Halls’. Have you checked it out? Well, I recommend that you do it for two reasons: 1. It can get you started with some very useful tips and ideas on how you can redecorate your personal spaces for Christmas, for real. 2. There are gorgeous gifts to be unboxed by the charming hearth as you sip your hot chocolate, for virtual.

Christmas Holiday Season Pass
A sneak-peek at the Holiday Season Pass to ‘Deck the Halls’ event in Room Flip!

Getting back to the idea of home design and makeovers, have you ever wondered why we like to decorate our homes? The answer is simple: “The best rooms have something to say about the people who live in them.” ~ David Hicks, English interior decorator, and designer noted for using bold colors, mixing antique and modern furnishings, and contemporary art for his famous clientele. 

Or if you like a more descriptive answer, here’s what author Susan Clayton says: “…for many people, their home is part of their self-definition, which is why we do things like decorate our houses and take care of our lawns. These large patches of vegetation serve little real purpose, but they are part of a public face people put on, displaying their home as an extension of themselves.”

🩳👠Just like clothes reveal a lot about our personalities, decorations reveal a lot about the lifestyle of people living in a home. Let’s take some examples from Room Flip™ itself.

The first episode of Season 1 opens to a newly-acquired penthouse suite in a plush Manhattan neighborhood that has to be renovated into a tastefully designed living room in minimalist interior design style for client Tabitha Russo — a philanthropist, who’s also known for her parties worldwide. In the next episode, you remodel a kids’ bedroom in the Hygge or comforting Nordic style for the Taylor family, who are attorneys.

Luxe Manhattan High Rise & Nordic Style Kids Room
Luxe Manhattan High Rise for client Tabitha Russo & Nordic Style Kids Room for the Taylor family. Each room speaks volumes about the clients’ personalities and aspirations.

The third episode gives you the opportunity to remodel Jennifer Browne’s cookhouse into a Modern French-style Country Kitchen. Jennifer was facing a tough time with her daughter’s school schedule, marriage, work, working out, and housekeeping and wanted to renovate her kitchen where she spends a lot of her time, when at home. And finally, Season 1 closes with a beautiful rooftop garden fashioned in the splendid Mediterranean design, overlooking Lake Sunapee for client Sofia Romana Adley an artist by profession, who wanted to gift it to George as their anniversary present. Why a garden? Well, because George is an author who needs a quiet and inspiring place to fuel his imagination!

Modern French Style Country Kitchen (left) & Mediterranean Style Rooftop (right).
Like clothes reveal a lot about our personalities, decorations reveal a lot about the lifestyle of people living in a home.
👜🎒 We decorate to personalize our spaces. Identity is an essential part of human existence, and the home is one of the few places that bear evidence of personality. When making decisions about our home decorations, we’re free to choose whichever color, design, and features we like. We’re also allowed to use these elements in any manner – based on our personal preferences, and tell whichever story we want them to tell the world.

For American fashion model Karlie Kloss, the places she’s traveled and the cultures she has experienced have been reflected in her home decor choices. For Dutch designer and art director Marcel Wanders, all his design choices reflect a marriage between past and present as he believes “Designers and people, in general, are too attracted by ‘new’, but nothing ages more quickly than ‘newness’.”

Eclectic Venetian Dining Room & Mid-Century Modern Master Ensuite
Decorating is about personalizing our spaces. Client and comedian Monifa Turner wanted her dining room to ignite that feeling of comfort and coziness. Renowned fashion designer Edna Scott wanted to redesign her bathroom as a place of retreat and solitude where she also pampers herself.
🧸Decorating our homes is also about comfort. When you personalize your spaces with decorations, you become more comfortable living and moving around in those spaces. With the luxury of choices available when decorating; we get to arrange spaces in such ways that will make it easy for us to move around and do other essential things. “Comfort starts from having peace of mind that your home is well-decorated; you don’t have to feel weird about receiving a visitor if your home is in good shape.” ~ Decoration Channel
She-Shed in Shabby-Chic Style
She Shed: women’s answer to the Man Cave! And this one oozes comfort, style and is so idyllic.

🪔🦃🎄Special Events. Ooh, I love those! Have you ever imagined a Christmas without decorations? There is nothing more magical than decorated trees, lights, presents, family, and friends to brighten up your life, along with delicious home-cooked food. Not just on Christmas, but any festivity. There, that’s another reason why we decorate our homes.

Every now and then, special events arise, and they require special celebrations with distinct decorations and specific themes. Birthday parties, weddings, housewarmings, and a lot of other joyous occasions need decorations to set the right mood.

Diwali Decor in Maharajah Lounge, in Rajasthan & a Flamingo-themed Pool Party on the Tropical Rooftop, in Bali

Festivals always give us fabulous opportunities to reorganize/redecorate our homes. On your left is the Maharajah Lounge, in Rajasthan that has been decked up for Diwali – the festival of lights. On your right is the Tropical Rooftop in Bali that’s been dressed up in a flamingo theme for a pool party at the client’s.

👰👼📦To Mark the Beginning of a New Journey. We also decorate when we’re about to begin a new adventure, or turn a new chapter in our lives. Like the birth of a child, or moving to a new city/country with a job change/promotion, or when a newly married couple aspires to design their ‘dream home’ to decorate their living space in celebration of the wedding and a new life together. The decorative efforts not only beautify our interiors, personalize our spaces, and make them comfortable, but are also ambient for the new journey we’re about to embark upon.

Moroccan Riad (Courtyard) groomed for a wedding event.
The Dreamy Moroccan Riad in Room Flip, all fancied up for a ‘destination wedding’ event.

💠To Impress! And of course, be hospitable. Like it or not, we humans are social beings who like to entertain and be entertained. So it’s a good idea to have a well-decorated home that feels welcoming to the visitors. And believe me, your excellent interior design choices WILL be commended in your social gatherings and among your social circles.

 ✔️To Upgrade and Use the Extra Space. Often we get bored with the same look inside our homes. So when you can afford it, spend money to decorate your abodes. 

 It’s a common misconception that one needs to spend a lot on home decorations. “The truth is that you don’t have to spend more than you can afford. Decorating can be as simple as applying a new coat of paint or buying some curtains.” ~ Decoration Channel You’ll be surprised at how just a new coat of paint or new drapes freshen up your interiors!

 Space should never be wasted. If you have too much space in your house or some awkward spaces that you know not what to do, like dead corners or niches, just DECK THEM UP! Place a small table, add some flowers, bring in some greens, hang or stand a piece of art, insert a floor lamp, occupy the corner with a modular sofa – there’s no dearth of things that you cannot do and you’ll be shocked at the stunning transformation of those awkward spaces. 

 💰Last but not least, Decorating helps to Maintain or Increase the Resale Value! How the exterior and the interior spaces of a house look affects the cost of the property. It’s a no-brainer that nobody wants to cough up a lot of money for a property that has an ugly or uncomfortable landscape or looks bland on the inside. “Repainting a house alone can increase the value of a home by a considerable amount,” notes Decoration Channel

 You don’t have to wait until you decide to sell your house to decorate. Make sure you decorate from time to time to keep the house in good condition; this will help maintain or increase the value of the home as time goes by.

 Care to know why house decorating games have become so madly popular? Head our very first blog by Team Room Flip™ on Design your Dream House without Spending a Dime!

An Apparently Insane but Practical Tip for ANY Makeover Project

Whether you’re furnishing a new home, updating your kitchen, or just wanting some inspiration to refresh your rental, the first and foremost thing to do is to Determine Your Style. How do you do that?

💡  👒👖👗“Take a look at your closet,” — says San Francisco-based interior designer Grant K. Gibson. Ask yourself if you prefer tailored pieces or do you prefer looser and more comfortable items? Do you gravitate toward certain colors or patterns?

💡  👠👟Next, determine your style with  ‘keywords’ that define how you want a space to feel. Traditional, formal, elegant? Playful, humorous, inviting? Monochromatic, streamlined, modern?

💡  🏩💺Take note of design inspirations in every facet of life. Recall a hotel in which you’ve stayed or a restaurant in which you’ve dined that particularly struck your fancy. Perhaps it was a minimal interior from your trip to Japan or a clubby bar in New York furnished with worn leather chairs.

You’ll of course learn by doing. So get started…list down your preferred clothing, keywords, and inspirations.

And now to why winter is a good time to redesign your Garden? Well, as they say: “make hay while the sun shines”, I say: plan in winter so that you can enjoy your garden in summer.
A flourishing peachy rose garden

🏡Award-winning garden designer, Michael John McGarr of Warnes McGarr & Co, recommends planning and booking any garden design and landscaping work in winter. “Ensure you get to use your garden in the summer because if it’s being landscaped, you definitely won’t be able to use your outdoor space. It’s unlikely you’ll be sitting outside in the sun that much in late autumn and through into winter, so it’s the perfect time to begin a redesign.”

🌻 Also, it’s much easier for your garden team to work with a garden when it’s not in full growth mode in the summer. Plants and shrubs will be dying back for the winter, and weeds won’t be growing voraciously.

🐇🐦And as Olivia Heath — Executive Digital Editor, House Beautiful UK rightly points out “It’s hard to be a garden designer and not have a love for wildlife and its place in the garden. It’s much better to do a big garden project over the winter when there’s not as much wildlife out and about to disturb.”

Gardens attract wildlife
Aww, look at that beauty!

🎍And finally, “…it’ll protect your plants in the long-term.” ~ Olivia Heath as it’s much better to move and relocate plants and shrubs over the winter when they aren’t growing or flowering. 

Garden Decoration Tips

Now that NOW is the best time to redo your garden, here are some lush tips for your garden makeover project. 

Casual and Inviting: For starters, “A furnished garden shouldn’t look too perfect or contrived,” says Susie Beall, an interior designer. Succulents spilling out of a pillar-like planter at a path entrance, with an iron bell hanging from a nearby tree lend that natural look while at the same time keeping it casual and inviting. A garden is after all a place for recreation.

Some examples of how you can make your furnished garden look casual and inviting
A garden is a place for recreation. Small or big, your garden, even when “furnished” should look casual and inviting. Don’t be afraid to personalize it.

2. Dress Up Garden Entrances: “Even in a small landscape, a sequence of discrete spaces, connected by passageways and paths, adds a sense of mystery and expansiveness to an ordinary stroll.” says lifestyle author Susan Heeger. She adds that “Paths indicate the way; iron arches and gates—many from gardener’s-supply catalogs and covered with vines—mark transitions to different areas. Potted bougainvillea, citrus trees, and palms further accent entries, as do finials perched on pedestals.”

Trellis at a garden entrance
Don’t forget to deck up your garden entrances. Trellises and Gazebos add that character to an otherwise ordinary landscape!

3.  Craft a Cozy Dining Space: Set up a small table and chairs inside your garden for an Alice-In-Wonderland-style al fresco dining spot. Arrange a comfortable dining spot, complete with soft throws, decorative pillows, and lanterns. 

But beware: ⚠️i) the style of any tables and chairs you choose has a big impact on the look of your outdoor spaces;  they should feel cohesive with the other decorative objects and materials you use. ⚠️ii) Choose decor suited for the outdoors.

Landscape and Alfresco arrangement
Such neat garden landscaping along with cozy alfresco arrangements make for a great ambiance.

4.  Build a Fire Pit and Give Your Pavers Some Pattern: Construct a fire pit by arranging curved paving stones in a circle. Goodhousekeeping.com clarifies that It’s tip-proof, even without mortar, and the entire undertaking takes just 20 minutes from start to finish.” 

Then, lead the way to the fire pit with stenciled stepping stones. Your trampled lawn will thank you.

Fire Pits
It’s actually not that difficult to build a firepit! So make sure to have one where you can relax with your loved ones in a cold winter or a pleasant summer evening.

5.  Build a Tree House, Fairy Garden & Bird Baths

Delight your kids — and create visual interest — with a treehouse that they’ll want to hide out in all summer long. For more details, check out our previous blog Treehouses: the Arboreal Hideaways that are in, and branching out!

Add a tiny fairy garden to your real garden to lend that magical feel to your backyard!

Fairy garden
Fairy gardens: tiny spaces, rather miniature gardens created and tended with love, and throught to lure fairies bringing and with them, good luck, to your home.

Finally, the Bird Baths, which in my opinion, are perhaps the best additions that your garden can have. While the chirpy feather friends hang out to take a dip or sip at your birdbaths, they will hunt for the insects and worms and seeds and flower parts they like to eat. In the process, they will help aerate the soil, help groom dead plant material, and help keep plants healthy as they devour pests. Yes, birds may eat some fruit, especially if you grow berries or cherries, although gardeners can certainly take steps to mitigate losses. But hey, isn’t delightful to hear them twittering as they debate on the year’s produce!

🔖Special tip: “A birdbath with a fish at its center, placed where paths converge, has the look of an Old World fountain.” ~ ThisOldHouse

6. Don’t underestimate the power of Twinkle Lights: You’ll be surprised how a couple of strands of twinkle lights turn your garden into THE spot in your house for outdoor summer hangouts.

Twinkle Lihts and Lanterns
Besides their decorative appeal, lights have functional usages, like guiding your path after dusk!
7. Lantern’s Lane: Well, I certainly don’t intend to bring to mind the creepy urban legend thriller that was released around Halloween, but hanging lanterns from the boughs of trees is most functional, and it adds an old-world vibe to your garden. In fact, many landscapes are most romantic after dark—by the glow of the moon or when well-placed electric lights spotlight trees and light up paths. 

8. Showcase your Plant Collection: Besides singling out your favorite specimens for pots and pedestals, group container plants where they can be appreciated at eye level. For example, if you have a thing for succulents, display them on a vintage pine table and a painted chest of drawers coated with a waterproofing sealer for wood. That way, you can study all their unusual shapes!

Showcase your Succulents
Who doesn’t adore the gorgeous succulents that come in all shapes, sizes, and colors!

9. Ooh! So CERAMIC! Use Pottery to Add Color: Imagine what a world of difference it would make in your garden to switch out earth-toned pots that blend in with the background with containers that visually pop in shades of blue, red, orange, or even purple. Colorful containers can be used in many ways to stand out and grab our attention in outdoor spaces — often where it’s more challenging to add color.

Potteries in eye-popping colors
Drop the plastics and “get real” with colorful potteries.

10. Mix Up some Old World Flavor with Fountains and Figurines: both of which can be easily scored at pottery yards.

Have you ever tried to track the source of trickling water in a garden? It is an all-but-irresistible lure to exploring a garden. Add fountains and birdbaths. Rusty lanterns, plant baskets, and watering cans, some picked up at flea markets, can round out the timeworn decor.

And to lend some historical context, strut up a few Garden Statues and Figurines although you gotta be careful with this one lest they look tacky. ⚠️Here’s a humorous pick on how to avoid tacky yard decor blunders!

Fountains and Figurines add that old world vibe
Timeworn decor pieces like Fountains and Figurines add that old-world vibe.

11. And the Sun Dial! Garden Sundials are unique time-telling pieces with roots in ancient societies. When placed at the correct angle, sundials use the sun to tell time while being beautiful and ageless decorative items. Place it amidst a bed of petunias, geraniums, and other colorful annuals and perennials.

12. As a last piece of advice, I’d like to quote Susan Heeger on the usage of Garden Ornaments who summarises it exquisitely: “Much more than an afterthought, garden ornaments can guide how you shape and use your outdoor space, and affect how it feels when you’re in it. A wrought-iron gate can mark the entrance to a world of green, a tree-hung lantern raises your perspective, a curved bench inspires a nap. Carefully placed, pretty yet practical, these elements offer subtle but effective clues: Turn here. Look up. Slow down. They also give a garden space a finished look in all four seasons. The trick is to not overdo it.”

There, you have it. Now there are some aspects of Garden Decoration that you can achieve yourself. But for things like paving, landscaping, installing certain fixtures and so on, you will need professional help unless of course, you are the expert. So go on, get those interior designing mags out that you’ve been collecting, and along with my tips, plan your garden escape. And don’t forget to share some clicks.

Happy Decorating, Ciao!