6 Ways to Help Your Guests Feel at Home


Interior of a classic Scandinavian bedroom.

Here are some quick tips that will make your guests feel at home during their stay.

Cheat sheet

Create a home cheat sheet that provides your guests with the Wi-Fi code, instructions to turn on the television, garage code, and any other amenities they may need. Be sure to include your address, landline number and emergency contact information.

Spare samples

Hotel toiletries and deluxe samples placed in a glass jar look elegant displayed in the guest bathroom. Your guests will like the availability of extra products, especially if they may have forgotten something.

Fresh flowers

Plants or well-crafted flower arrangements in the guest room add brightness and freshness that anyone will appreciate.

Cozy essentials

To create the ultimate retreat for your guests, place a basket in the corner with items that will make them comfortable. Think soft throw blankets, magazines, bottled water, snacks and a reading light.

Freshen up

Make sure to leave extra towels and washcloths in the bathroom so guests can always use dry ones. An extra toothbrush is a nice touch, too.

Sense of smell

Adding a candle or diffuser to the guest suite is always a good idea. Be careful, however, because not all guests love the smell of warm vanilla. Avoid polarizing scents and use neutral fragrances, such as fresh linen. A small bottle of room or linen spray is also a great addition to the room.

Prepare Your Home for a Storm


 

Prepare Your Home for a Storm

 

In light of National Preparedness Month, we are reminded North Texas is still susceptible to natural disasters even far from the coast.

 

Prepare your family and home before a storm, and be sure to share this disaster preparedness information with friends and family.

 

Gather disaster supplies

  • Water: One gallon of water per person per day for at least three days (drinking and sanitation)
  • Food: At least a three-day supply of non-perishable food (canned meat, milk, fish, fruit and vegetables)
  • Battery-powered or hand-crank radio
  • Flashlight
  • Extra batteries
  • Cellphone with chargers and a backup battery
  • Cash
  • First-aid supplies
  • Medications (both prescription and non-prescription)
  • Personal identification
  • Non-electric can opener and utility knife (like a Swiss Army knife)
  • Local maps
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags, and plastic ties (for sanitation)
  • Bar soap and toiletries
  • Blankets or sleeping bags
  • Change of clothes for each family member (rain gear, sturdy shoes)
  • Paper cups, plates, and plastic utensils
  • Wrench or pliers (to turn off utilities)
  • Whistle (to signal for help)
  • Special items for babies, young children and elderly
  • Copies of your critical information:
    • Wills, insurance policies, contracts, deeds and investment information
    • Passports, social security cards, immunization records and medical/emergency information
    • Bank account numbers, credit card account numbers
    • List of valuable household goods
    • Family records and photos (e.g., birth, adoption, and marriage certificates)
    • Pet records (vaccination records and medical information)
    • List of accounts with log-in information and passwords

Click here to download an Emergency Supply List from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.


Stay updated

Pay attention to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio, a smartphone, or a portable radio for updates and weather information. Staying in-the-know will allow you to be proactive if a storm suddenly changes direction, speed or intensity.


Protect important documents

Valuables and important documents should be stored in a safe deposit box on the highest level of your home.


Prepare your refrigerator/freezer

Turn your unit to the coldest setting, and only open it when absolutely necessary. Fill plastic Ziploc bags with water and stick the bags between items and in open spaces in the freezer.


Store drinking water

Use clean bathtubs, sinks, and plastic bottles to store drinking water.


Unplug major appliances

This will help reduce the power surge when electricity is restored.


Fill cars up with gas

 

Bring outdoor objects inside (i.e. lawn furniture, hanging plants, etc.)

 

Trim or remove limbs from trees

Prepare your doors/windows

 

Close all interior doors; secure and brace external doors.

 

Go over evacuation plan

  • Select a place to meet if your family becomes separated
  • Decide what route you would take to get there
  • Bring your disaster supplies
  • Keep a list of emergency contacts
  • Plan ahead for pets


Evacuate if advised

Make sure to bring your disaster supplies and let an out-of-town contact know where you are going.

For more information, visit:

American Red Cross
Ready.Gov (Official website of the Department of Homeland Security)
HealthyChildren.org

How to Style Your Bedside Table


 

How to Style Your Bedside Table

 

Clear your mind and get a good night’s rest with a clean and organized bedside table.

 

We’ve gathered experts’ advice on what you need on your bedside table for a restful sleep.

 

Must-Have Essentials

 

For a well-balanced nightstand, outfit your bedside with a lamp that has a yellow-based light. A good book to read will help your mind slow down and calm your eyes from staring at screens all day. Experts recommend reading books that aren’t too thrilling or engrossing, which will also keep you up later than you’d like.

 

Keep hydrated with a glass of water next to your bed. Keeping water close will prevent you from heading to the kitchen, where late-night snack temptations exist.

 

A pen and paper are essential for any last-minute ideas for tasks and thoughts you have.

 

An alarm clock separate from your phone will wake you up on time without having your phone screen be the first thing you look at in the morning.

 

Stay Organized

 

Keep a small jewelry dish or tray on your nightstand for any rings, bracelets or earrings.

 

A storage basket underneath the nightstand, or a nightstand with drawers, is key for keeping too much clutter from piling onto the tabletop.

 

A small tray or basket for hand cream or a calming lavender spray is a necessity for keeping skin hydrated throughout the evening. Keep your lip balm nearby, too.

 

Scents and Sounds

 

Just as the smell of coffee helps you wake up in the morning, so too do certain scents help you fall asleep at night.

 

Lavender, vanilla and jasmine are experts’ recommendations to calm the body and mind. Burn the scents through your favorite candles or essential oil diffusers.

 

If ambient noise is a distracting factor for you, drown them away with a sound machine evoking dreamy beach waves or a rainstorm.

 

Final Touches

 

Add small plants, such as succulents, or a floral bud vase, to bring a little life and color to your bedside table.

 

Read our blog for more home advice:

Back-to-School Bedtime Routine Tips

How to Use Bold Patterns

The Art of the Xeriscape

Back-to-School Bedtime Routine Tips


 

Back-to-School Bedtime Routine Tips

 

A new school year is upon us, which means readjusting summer sleep schedules.

 

Experts recommend prepping for school-year routines two weeks in advance but, sometimes, the bittersweet end of summer vacation catches many of us unawares.

 

Here is some helpful advice to help little ones adjust quickly to new routines.

 

Make slow changes

 

Neither adults nor children adjust to changes that are made in one fell swoop.

 

When adjusting bedtimes, move them earlier only by 5 to 15 minutes at a time, every two or three days. This will help you and your children feel less groggy in the morning.

 

Children under 12 years old need between 10 to 11 hours of sleep, while older children need eight to nine hours.

 

Work together as a family

 

Children will feel better going to sleep early if they have an example to follow. That doesn’t mean your bedtime should be as early as 7:30 or 8 p.m., too.

 

Finish up any homework soon after dinner, and get ready for the next school day together. Having backpacks and lunches packed and any parental forms signed will help the next morning’s rush go much smoother.

 

Start having more calming family activities an hour before your children’s intended bedtimes. Avoid the TV and smartphones and together choose a book to read, or help them with a calming bath.

 

Turn off your devices

 

Blue light from electronics can stimulate the mind too much before bedtime.

 

Turn off the TV or smartphones and dim bedroom lights an hour before to start calming the mind down. Try having a charging station in the kitchen or another shared space where everyone can store their devices for the evening.

 

Are you using your phone as your alarm? Try going analog or looking into some of the alarm clocks we’ve recommended for Daylight Saving Time

 

Promote positivity

 

There may be some struggles having earlier bedtimes, but remain patient and positive for you and your child.

 

If children — especially very young ones — see bedtime as a positive activity rather than a punishment, they’ll be less likely to resist the new schedule.

 

Counter any last-minute requests by incorporating them into your children’s new routine. Experts say that if children’s routines keep getting interrupted, the harder it will be for them to adjust.

 

Read more back-to-school advice on our blog:

Back-to-School Essentials

Chic Staples for the Home Office

Alarm Clocks for Daylight Saving Time

Back-to-School Essentials


 

Back-to-school season isn’t just for little ones.

 

Get in on the excitement of a new school year with your own back-to-school accessories — with a luxe spin.

 

Here are five items you’ll want to add to your back-to-school arsenal.

 

Back-to-School Essentials

Edison Collier Fountain Pen | $169

 

Those with a fondness for the written word will love writing with a fountain pen. A changeable ink cartridge allows for mess-free writing, while an option of three nib sizes allows for different writing styles. Use the pen for artistic calligraphy or making note writing more luxurious.

 

Back-to-School Essentials

Sugar Paper Back to School Bundle | $75

 

One-stop shopping is simple with Sugar Paper’s Back to School Bundle. The set includes file folders, notebooks, a notepad and a pen — all coordinated in Sugar Paper’s signature gold accents. This set will make organization and planning a breeze.

 

Back-to-School Essentials

Box Appetit Stainless Steel Lunch Box | $34.95

 

Forego plastic sandwich bags for this stainless steel lunch box, which includes its own fork and a removable divider. The steel allows you to store a variety of food without it leaking or leaching into the container. With the removable divider, pack a multitude of snacks or your lunch with a special dessert.

 

Back-to-School Essentials

Moleskine 12-Month Daily Planner | $19.95

 

Plan your year in style with Moleskine’s daily planner. Each page is a day, which means plenty of room for notes and activities for the busiest person.

 

Back-to-School Essentials

Resurrection Rinse-Free Hand Wash | $10

 

Back to school means it’s almost time for cold and flu season. Get a head start and stave off germs around you with Aesop’s elegant hand sanitizer. Made of mandarin rind, rosemary leaf and cedar atlas, you’ll feel refreshed even without water.

 

Read more product recommendations on our blog:

How to Use Bold Patterns

Chic Staples for the Home Office

Home Offices for Summer Vacation

How to Use Bold Patterns


 

How to use bold patterns in a room

 

Neutral spaces provide the perfect palette for selling a home, but you’ll want to personalize once you move in.

 

For a bold impact that reflects your style, opt for patterns that will make every room in your house feel like a unique space.

 

Whether you choose to use one statement pattern or you’re ready to mix like a pro, patterns are a design scheme you’ll want to use. Here are our favorite tips we’ve gathered from the experts.

 

Mix master

 

When thinking of patterns, most visualize an abundance of various graphics clashing together. Patterns aren’t meant to be overwhelming, rather they can be a fun mixture of prints that liven up a room and prevent it from being stodgy.

 

To mix patterns well, experts recommend the cardinal rule of scale in order to coordinate correctly. For example, if using at least three patterns, use one large-scale pattern to combine with a medium- and small-scale pattern.

 

So for a large stripe, a medium floral pattern or even a delicate ditsy floral would work well if the patterns are in the same color family or in contrasting colors.

 

Experts also recommend the patterns have the same color intensity. Jewel tones don’t mix well with pastels as they don’t typically don’t evoke the same type of style.

 

How to use bold patterns in a room

 

Make a statement

 

To make a bolder impact in one concentrated area, use only one large-scale pattern.

 

Whether it’s in the rug, a statement wallpaper or a bold bedspread, make that the focal piece and star of the room. Choose solids that coordinate by drawing colors from the pattern and use throughout the space.

 

Remain neutral

 

For a twist on pattern mixing, play with tone-on-tone patterns in neutral tan, white, black or navy.

 

Combine fabric in various textures but in neutral colors for a similar effect.

 

When mixing similar tones, make sure to choose colors that are in the same shade family. For example, there are different shades of white — from cool, blue whites to warmer, more beige tones. To avoid confusion, look at all the patterns under the same lighting conditions.

 

Read our blog for more home advice:

High-End Looks from Ikea 

The Art of the Xeriscape 

How to Start Composting

High-end Looks from Ikea


 

Ikea is known for its affordability as much as it is for streamlined, Scandinavian design.

 

Whether you’re searching for a trendy statement accessory for the season or in need of minimalist pieces, the Swedish retailer is one spot you shouldn’t overlook. Ikea’s much-anticipated 2019 catalog was recently released and includes bold graphics, natural fibers and solid birch staples that will make you rethink its affordable products.

 

We’ve selected 10 pieces from the 2019 catalog that are inexpensive yet extremely stylish  — no hacking required.

 

High-end Looks from Ikea

Stockholm 2017 Sofa | $1,699

 

High-end Looks from Ikea

Strandmon Wing Chair | $279

 

High-end Looks from Ikea

Tobias Chair | $79

 

High-end Looks from Ikea

Lovbacken Side Table | $59.99

 

High-end Looks from Ikea

Snidad Basket | $27.99

 

High-end Looks from Ikea

Nordmarke Wireless Charger | $17.99

 

High-end Looks from Ikea

Rundlig Serving Bowl | $14.99

 

High-end Looks from Ikea

 Osternas Leather Handles | $14.99 for two

 

High-end Looks from Ikea

Fascinera Chopping Board | $12.99

 

High-end Looks from Ikea

Stelna Mug | $0.79

 

Read our blog to see more recommended products:

Poolside Accessories for On-the-Go Adventures 

Outdoor Furniture for Cool Summer Nights

Must-Have Designer Collaborations

5 Chic Ways to Store Toys


 

Clearing your children’s clutter may be the ultimate Sisyphean task — another playtime session is always just around the corner.

 

Make cleaning up easier and more enjoyable by storing their toys in something more stylish. We’ve picked five storage solutions that can seamlessly blend your style with your little one’s needs and grow with them through multiple stages in their life.

 

5 Chic Ways to Store Toys

Pottery Barn Kids Metallic Woven Wool Storage | $47 to $63

 

Made of jute, cotton, wool and lurex, these storage bins are soft to touch, so they can be used from infancy to toddling and onward. The texture is excellent for developing children’s sensory processes and chic enough to be displayed in any room.

 

5 Chic Ways to Store Toys

The Land of Nod Publisher’s Clear House Bookcase | $399

 

This bookcase marries the structure of your favorite dollhouse with sophisticated and sleek molded acrylic. There are nine compartments to display favorite books and toys. The transparent design allows you to add sufficient storage capacity without weighing down the look of a room.

 

5 Chic Ways to Store Toys

West Elm Mid-Century Storage Bench | $499

 

Tufts and padding make this storage bench a safe solution for crawling infants and running children. The Mid-Century modern aesthetic provides an elegant hideaway for pillow fort materials.

 

5 Chic Ways to Store Toys

CB2 Cork Credenza | $1,099

 

A high-gloss white lacquer makes cleaning fingerprints and markers an easy task. Natural cork doors hide a generous shelving space for books or bin storage. Its neutral palette blends with the most colorful of playrooms or muted living areas.

 

5 Chic Ways to Store Toys

RH Baby & Child Tribeca Storage Chalkboard Armoire Set | $1,719

 

Use this armoire for toys, clothes and more. Drawers at the bottom are within easy reach for toddling tots helping to tidy. Chalkboard doors at the top provide ample room for little Picassos to show off their creativity. The armoire transitions well throughout childhood and into teen years.

Start your art collection


 

Get your art collection started

 

Wandering among museum masterpieces or exploring new galleries may tempt you to start your own art collection at home. Though it’s certainly a big project, you don’t need to be intimidated by the task.

 

Kevin Vogel, president of the acclaimed Valley House Gallery and Sculpture Garden in North Dallas, gives his advice on amassing art – no art degree required.

 

Be adventurous

With work, life and kids, there’s not much time left over to pore over stacks of art history books. But, you don’t need to. Vogel says to venture out – go to the Dallas Museum of Art or wander around the Design District’s many galleries and find something that you connect with to help you find what your tastes are.

 

“Buying art should be an adventure,” Vogel says. “We’re in a period where time is limited for everyone, you can take Saturdays and wander the gallery scene. If nothing moves you, keep looking for what does.”

 

Fall in love

It’s an adage many art and design experts abide by. You want to connect with each piece you buy and carefully consider your purchase. After all, you want to buy something that you treasure for years to come.

 

“Art comes from the heart and soul. You have an investment in the artist’s energy,” Vogel says. “As an art dealer, the most wonderful thing I hear from my clients is that they connected with the art work. The art is talking to them, and they see something new every time.”

 

Be patient

If you’re wandering art galleries, itching to fill your space with as many pieces as possible – think twice. Vogel says buying too much art at once never works out well.

 

“If you’re starting from scratch, don’t buy 15 pieces at once. The chances of it working are less,” Vogel says. “If you see a piece you absolutely love, and you know it’s going to work, then yes, absolutely buy. But, don’t just buy it instantly.”

 

Don’t focus on money

Buying art as a financial investment might not reap the benefits you’re seeking. Art experts say that almost all art never goes up in value. Further, Vogel says art is not a liquid asset – you can’t return your piece to the dealer and have them buy it back immediately. While art is an investment, it holds so much more meaning than a stock, Vogel says.

 

“Art is something that improves your environment. It uplifts you, or should,” Vogel says.

 

Travel with a focus

Touring distant cities is an ideal time to search for additions to your collection. The local artists and design tastes will be different to what you usually see. It’s a rare moment when you can take your time to explore the city and galleries with your spouse, Vogel says.

 

“A couple can relax, not worry about the car payment, the boat payment. And they can make decisions together,” Vogel says. “Now they have something that not only is a work of art, but it reminds them of a wonderful time together.”

 

Mix and match

Don’t be afraid of falling in love with pieces from different eras. A turn-of-the-century work and a modern piece can create an interesting contrast.

 

“I know people who have 18th century furniture and contemporary art on the wall. It’s a really fascinating dynamic, and what’s amazing to see is how well it goes together,” Vogel says.

 

Find new artists

Be on the lookout for new artists to inspire and update your collection. Vogel recommends visiting galleries, which use connoisseurs like him to curate and hone collections. And visit the graduate shows from Dallas’ universities to get a taste of what’s truly up and coming.

 

“People don’t have a lot of time to become an expert in the art world,” Vogel says. “They need to rely on experts to help them. Someone who’s a straight shooter will tell it like it is.”

 

Neutralize your space

As you grow your collection, keep your home neutral so swapping pieces from room to room or introducing new art into your home is easier.

 

“Most collectors, their houses are spare. When you walk into the living room, you don’t look at the furniture. You look at the art,” Vogel says.

Mark the fall season with warm scents


 

Mark the fall season with warm scents

 

While the changing leaves and chilly air may not arrive in Dallas until long after the first official day of fall, the season is approaching quickly.

 

If you’re longing for a New England autumn to come your way, mark the change at home by transitioning to warmer scents. Musky florals, foreign spices, smoke and luxurious textures can transport you to cooler climates.

 

We’ve chosen 10 indulgent scents to make your home feel like autumn.

 

 

Mark the fall season with warm scents

Le Labo Santal 26 Home Diffuser | $590 | 1 fluid ounces of diffuser oil | Fresh up to one year

Notes: Amber, Coco, Vanilla, Cedar, Spices, Musk, Sandalwood

 

Presented in a unique, patent-pending electric diffuser, Le Labo’s Santal 26 fragrance oil penetrates through the home through a special misting process adjusted by the knob on the base of the reclaimed wood.

Mark the fall season with warm scents

Jo Malone Pomegranate Noir Luxury Candle | $470 | 88 ounces | Burn time: 230 hours

Notes: Pomegranate, raspberry, plum, pink pepper, Casablanca lily, spicy woods

 

Jo Malone’s signature scent has reached cult status for good reason. The warmth of the Casablanca lily and fruity pomegranate fuse with the smokiness of guaiac wood and amber to permeate the home in cozy luxury.

 

Mark the fall season with warm scents

Tom Ford Café Rose Candle | $190 | 21 ounces | Burn time: 40 hours

Notes: Rose, exotic spices, coffee, incense resin, amber, woods

 

Roses are not just for spring if you’re asking Tom Ford. From Ford’s private blend line, Café Rose blends three enigmatic rose essences with the spice and depth of dark coffee.

 

 

Mark the fall season with warm scents

Diptyque 34 Boulevard Saint Germain Hourglass Diffuser 2.0 | $175 | 2.5 fluid ounces

Notes: Damp moss, crumpled blackcurrant leaves, sun-dried fig leaves

 

Diptyque’s fragranced hourglass is as much design as it is fragrance. The unique diffuser allows oil to be dispersed through the home in one-hour cycles. Notes of sun-dried fig leaves with hints of citrus will radiate through the home and leave it smelling like Dyptique’s first boutique.

 

Mark the fall season with warm scents

Cire Trudon Byron Classic Candle | $95 | 9.5 ounces | Burn time: 55 to 60 hours

Notes: Black pepper, mugwort, saffron, cognac, iris, vetiver, patchouli, cedar, sandalwood, leather, labdanum, opoponax

 

The eminent brand in candles, Cire Trudon has evoked the British Romantic poet Lord Byron by fusing wood, cognac and spices.

 

Mark the fall season with warm scents

Byredo Bibliotheque | $80 | 8.5 ounces | Burn time: approximately 60 hours

Notes: Peach, plum, peony, violet, leather, patchouli, vanilla

 

Snuggle in a warm blanket with a good book and let Byredo Bibliotheque create the warm and mysterious atmosphere of stately libraries.

 

Mark the fall season with warm scents

Molton Brown Black Peppercorn Three Wick Candle | $74 | 17 ounces | Burn time: 65 hours

Notes: Coriander, black peppercorns, vetiver

 

Travel to the aromatic sands of Madagascar with Molton Brown’s Black Peppercorn which will scent your home with the mysteries of a foreign land blended with the indulgence of a relaxing beach vacation.

Mark the fall season with warm scents

Nest Moroccan Amber Three Wick Candle | $64 | 21 ounces | Burn time: 80 to 100 hours

Notes: Eucalyptus, Moroccan amber, patchouli, heliotrope, bergamot

 

One of Nest’s top selling fragrances, Moroccan Amber was inspired by a dinner party featuring Persian and Indian spices.

Mark the fall season with warm scents

Neom Real Luxury Intensive Skin Treatment Candle | $62 | 5 ounces | Burn time: 30 hours

Notes: Jasmine, French lavender, Brazilian rosewood

 

Neom’s Real Luxury candle is true to its name. After burning the candle for 30 minutes, let it cool and pour the wax where you feel you need the most treatment. The wax is composed of 24 essential oils, cocoa butter, soybean and almond oil to make your skin feel supple and smooth.

 

Mark the fall season with warm scents

Malin & Goetz Tobacco Candle | $54 | 9 ounces | Burn time: up to 60 hours

Notes: Basil, rye, chestnut honey, ylang ylang, tobacco leaves, guaiac wood, bourbon vanilla

 

While smoking is bad for you, Malin & Goetz’s Tobacco is certainly not. Handmade in Brooklyn, N.Y., using natural wax, Tobacco saturates the home with a warm, velvety scent.