Home Decor

10 Holiday Gifts Under $100 for the Home-Lover You Love

It’s hard to believe the holiday season is already upon us (even if some stores would have you think the Christmas season started in August). The winter months are the perfect time of year to re-imagine your interior spaces…and a great source of ideas for loved ones you are looking to shop for!

Here are ten of my favorite decorating finds (all under $100) that make great gifts this time of year (or really any time)!

Agate Cheese Board (Anthropologie) - $78   A cheeseboard is a great gift, but one can only have so many. What I love about this chic option is that even if your gift recipient has one, it can be used as a decorative item on a coffee table (put a few votives on it) or on your vanity. Lots of options to choose from, too!

Agate Cheese Board (Anthropologie) - $78

A cheeseboard is a great gift, but one can only have so many. What I love about this chic option is that even if your gift recipient has one, it can be used as a decorative item on a coffee table (put a few votives on it) or on your vanity. Lots of options to choose from, too!

Enamel Coated Mango Wood Canisters (VivaTerra) - $99   Decorative and functional for the kitchen, but also consider using in the bathroom, home office or as decorative pieces on a bookshelf.


Enamel Coated Mango Wood Canisters (VivaTerra) - $99

Decorative and functional for the kitchen, but also consider using in the bathroom, home office or as decorative pieces on a bookshelf.

Windowpane Pitcher and DOF Set (Mark & Graham) - $89   Mark & Graham is known for lots of quality gifts that can be monogrammed, like these pitcher and glass set (which I actually prefer without the monogram). This set will get a lot of use for everything from juice at breakfast to homemade cocktails!

Windowpane Pitcher and DOF Set (Mark & Graham) - $89

Mark & Graham is known for lots of quality gifts that can be monogrammed, like these pitcher and glass set (which I actually prefer without the monogram). This set will get a lot of use for everything from juice at breakfast to homemade cocktails!

Opalhouse White and Gold Polka Dot Vases (Target) - $14.99-$24.99   Give one or more of these fun vases to the home-lover who splurges regularly on fresh flowers and is a fan of great lines.

Opalhouse White and Gold Polka Dot Vases (Target) - $14.99-$24.99

Give one or more of these fun vases to the home-lover who splurges regularly on fresh flowers and is a fan of great lines.

Embroidered Letter Pillow Cover (Serena & Lily) - $88   This pillow cover adds a tasteful touch of personalization to a living room sofa, master bedroom or even a nursery. (Note: Pillow insert sold separately.)

Embroidered Letter Pillow Cover (Serena & Lily) - $88

This pillow cover adds a tasteful touch of personalization to a living room sofa, master bedroom or even a nursery. (Note: Pillow insert sold separately.)

Your Hometown Puzzle (Sundance) - $44   This Thanksgiving, I had a chance to do something I hadn’t down for 20+ years…put together a puzzle. It’s a great indoor activity and even more fun when the image is your hometown. It even could be framed and become wall art when you finish!

Your Hometown Puzzle (Sundance) - $44

This Thanksgiving, I had a chance to do something I hadn’t down for 20+ years…put together a puzzle. It’s a great indoor activity and even more fun when the image is your hometown. It even could be framed and become wall art when you finish!

Voluspa Maison Candle (Anthropologie) - $68   Candles may not be a unique gift, but an amazingly scented candle in a decorative container is the perfect hostess gift (and has life beyond that of the wick). If you are worried about choosing the wrong scent, stick with safer choices featuring vanilla, citrus and other crowd-pleasers.

Voluspa Maison Candle (Anthropologie) - $68

Candles may not be a unique gift, but an amazingly scented candle in a decorative container is the perfect hostess gift (and has life beyond that of the wick). If you are worried about choosing the wrong scent, stick with safer choices featuring vanilla, citrus and other crowd-pleasers.

Textured Oil + Vinegar Set (West Elm) - $39   For the foodie or home chef, this set adds some fun to the countertop. Sadly, they won’t ship until next year but they were too cute not to feature. Consider  these as an alternative !

Textured Oil + Vinegar Set (West Elm) - $39

For the foodie or home chef, this set adds some fun to the countertop. Sadly, they won’t ship until next year but they were too cute not to feature. Consider these as an alternative!

Barefoot Dreams Contrast Trim Throw (Amazon) - $99.99   What’s winter without a cozy throw? I am a big fan of Barefoot Dreams for their softness, stretch and washability (I even have a larger version of this one on my couch now…received as a gift).

Barefoot Dreams Contrast Trim Throw (Amazon) - $99.99

What’s winter without a cozy throw? I am a big fan of Barefoot Dreams for their softness, stretch and washability (I even have a larger version of this one on my couch now…received as a gift).

Faux Fur Hot Water Bottles (World Market) - $33.98   Even with more high-tech, longer-lasting options, there’s nothing like a hot water bottle to warm your bed in the winter or soothe an ache. Add in a soft faux fur case and your warm and stylish.

Faux Fur Hot Water Bottles (World Market) - $33.98

Even with more high-tech, longer-lasting options, there’s nothing like a hot water bottle to warm your bed in the winter or soothe an ache. Add in a soft faux fur case and your warm and stylish.

And, if you still can’t decide how best to delight that home-lover in your life, consider giving them expert help with a gift certificate for decorating services from At Home DC…available in the DC area and for remote consultations!

Amber Harris is the owner of At Home DC, an interior decorator and a licensed real estate agent with Keller Williams Capital Properties working with clients in DC, Maryland and Virginia. 

Own Your Own Gallery (Wall)!

I've written before about my love of (and more recent investment in) art, but I am also a big fan of adding personality to your home by framing pictures from your travels or featuring your family to create an impactful (and cost effective) statement.

In my own home, I have pictures taken several years ago during a trip to Latvia of my family's former farm where my mother was born (but my family had to flee during WWII) as well as photos from visits to the Great Ocean Road in Australia, Venice and South Africa (my safari at Arathusa still remains my favorite vacation to date). 

For this reason, I was excited to share this idea with my clients who had a blank (but beautifully and newly blue) wall in their DC rowhouse living room. The couple has international roots and travel is important to both of them, so I asked that they go through their archives and find 8-10 images that meant something to them - with a few bringing out the blues and yellows in their home's first floor color palette. Pairing these with double matted white gallery frames (these are from Bed, Bath & Beyond, but you can also find them - often on sale - at Michaels, Pottery Barn, etc.) with the stunning images resulted in just the impact desired.

Clients' Finished Gallery Wall (Note Rest of Room Still in Progress...Pics )

Clients' Finished Gallery Wall (Note Rest of Room Still in Progress...Pics )

Gallery walls can be intimidating but they're a great project to take on to add interest to a blank wall, whether behind a couch, in a hallway or along a staircase. If you're still nervous, here are a few tips:

  • Put the focus on images by selecting stylish but simple frames. I am a fan of white frames with white mats (as above) but you can achieve great looks with black- or wood-toned frames as long as they don't detract from the photos. To create interest, use frames of different sizes. 
     
  • Select more photos than you need for the space. As you piece your layout together, sometimes you'll find one or two images may not be working. It's always good to have options so you can play with alternatives on the fly. And, if you don't use the for the gallery wall, you may think of a new location to pair two or more of them (like your bathroom).
     
  • Embrace the flexibility of a gallery wall. Gallery walls can be permanent but they also can be dynamic - replacing images, adding new ones, playing with arrangements, etc. I highly recommend using Command Universal Picture Hangers for projects like this. Even if you own your home, no one likes an overly holey wall and these are reusable and allow you to make easy adjustments. I also love the mini strips for ensuring photos are secure and level .
     
  • Play with the layout on the floor or a table, diagraming on paper with measurements. I find the best way to find your ideal layout is to frame your images, measure the horizontal and vertical space you want to fill (you can event tape it out with painters tape on the floor/table) and then experiment. Don't forget to use consistent spacing between frames, as this ensures the wall looks purposeful but doesn't have to be grid-like. Once you have your planned wall, document it on paper - including frame sizes, spacing, etc. With this, you can then hang your frames in relation to the previously hung frames easily (taking into account the additional measurements for the placement of the nail or hanger). 
     
  • If you're not using an interior decorator or designer, enlist a friend or two! You'll find at times that you'll be wishing you had a third or fourth hand as you balance the hanger, level, measuring tape, etc...not to mention who doesn't want at least one more pair of eyes! Put on a pot of tea or pour a glass of wine and make an afternoon of it!

This is by no means an exhaustive or step-by-step list, but hopefully these tips will help you if you decide to embark on your own gallery wall! Happy hanging!

Emeralds Are A Girl's Best Friend

With the arrival of October, comes the return of rich seasonal colors. One of my favorite tones in fashion (as a redhead) and design is emerald green.

While it may have been Pantone's color of the year back in 2013, I still find that it can add a nice pop to any room and ups the sophistication (especially when in a lux fabric, like velvet). Emerald is great with various shades of blue, but you may want to save the navy pairings to smaller pops if you have a smaller room since both are such strong colors that can make a space seem smaller than it is. The jewel-toned green also pairs well with medium to light grays, as well as taupes and creams.

Emerald can certainly inspire a room re-design, but that doesn't necessarily mean a full living room or bedroom makeover. Just imagine how cozy and posh a powder room could be with the right wall paper and metallic accents!

Below are a few emerald OODs (objects of desire) that I would love to add to my home or another. Let's obsess together...

Investing in Art, Enhancing Your Home

When your first starting out on your own after college, "art" is a word that most likely was associated with what you'd check out in your local museum or when studying abroad...certainly not something that seems accessible or a priority for a tight budget.

"White Forest" by Texas-Based Artist  Austin Allen James

"White Forest" by Texas-Based Artist Austin Allen James

If you're like me, your first wall art might have started with framed posters from the aforementioned museums or perhaps some mass manufactured pieces from Ikea (although I did make the move to paint four canvases in two shades of green and arranged behind my bed early on). However, as I've matured and especially as I bought my first home, I saw the value in adding unique pieces to my walls - buying a large-scale original painting a year and a half ago and later investing in a beautiful panoramic print (both acquired during travels for work) a few months later.

"Kennilieti Lunduna" by London-Based, Icelandic Artist  Kristjana S. Williams

"Kennilieti Lunduna" by London-Based, Icelandic Artist Kristjana S. Williams

I decided I was going to start investing in art well before I found the right pieces and, since it may be intimidating for some, I thought I'd share a few tips if you would like to do the same:

  1. Identify wall space (blank or that has something you'd like to replace) for your forthcoming investment.
  2. Consider the scale of the space and surrounding items, the color palette of the room and they type of art you are most interested in (abstract, pop art, realism, etc.).
  3. Set a budget range that is comfortable but treats this purchase as it will be - an investment.
  4. Search for local galleries online (or post on a local message board to inquire about local artists, which I did) and set aside time on the weekends to browse and find out what you like and what you don't.
  5. Do the same browsing when in different cities and even online. As noted above, my two recent acquisitions came from a trip to Austin, Texas and during an overseas stint in London.
  6. When you find "the one" that speaks to you - if it fits with your space, design and budget - go for it! Don't forget to take into account any framing costs (if it's a print or canvas that needs it) and transportation (local delivery or cross-country shipping); both can be pricey but well worth it (my print required a custom mat and frame and my Texas painting had to be shipped via a specialized art freight company).
  7. Hang that piece and pour a generous glass of wine as you stand back and admire! (Note: This step can be repeated.)

Down with and Long Live Pumpkin Spice

As I got myself up this morning and checked my watch for the current weather before taking my dog for a walk, I was happy to see a temp that started with a "5." Cooler temperatures are certainly a sign of fall in DC...much more for me than the much maligned arrival of all things pumpkin spice.

As much as I am not a fan of PSLs and every food product that now comes laced with cinnamon, nutmeg and other lovely flavors under the pumpkin spice banner, I am a fan of spice-inspired design (I even have a tufted ottoman in a light cinnamon tone).

So, whether you like or detest PSL season, I've gathered a few design pieces below that I can fully support adding to your home decor this fall and year-round! Any others you would add?