In the spirit of the changing season, now is a great time to infuse your home with refreshing updates. This issue of Good to Be Home is full of inspiring ideas, including tips for shifting your decor from fall to winter, a closer look at creating an indoor-outdoor connection, and so much more.
Though fall may currently be wrapping us in its embrace, the season will give way to winter before long. To help you transition your decor accordingly, this issue offers festive tips for infusing your living spaces with the scents, textures, and colors of winter, creating a warm atmosphere during the cooler months.
Freshly baked cookies are a timeless delight, but certain kinds pair best with the magic of fall. Inside, discover two new twists on classic recipes that feature a burst of bold and seasonally inspired flavors, each of which will undoubtedly leave a lasting impression on your taste buds.
If you enjoy being in the relaxing presence of nature, then indoor-outdoor connection is the home trend for you. With this seamless design, the barriers between your home and the outside world dissolve, allowing you to experience the best of both. The enclosed guide offers strategies for blending together and creating harmony between your indoor and outdoor spaces.
You may not realize it, but fall presents a golden opportunity to prepare your garden for the bountiful days of spring. Learn more about tasks you can do this season, including clearing debris, mulching, and planting seeds, to ensure a smooth transition into spring and have the garden of your dreams.
Here’s to a wonderful, happy season! As always, it’s a pleasure to send you this magazine.
As fall winds down, it’s time to give up your pumpkin spice lattes and shift into hot-cocoa-and-peppermint mode. And your palate isn’t the only thing ready for a change. From pine-scented garlands to magical glittering lights, the winter months offer many ways to infuse your home with the textures, colors, and scents of the season.
Switch out your autumn-leaves wreath for one with winter greenery like evergreen, eucalyptus, or pine, adding a ribbon accent in shades of white, blue, or silver to convey the coolness of the season. Or go more rustic and minimalist with a bare pine cone wreath.
Before you know it, those cute pumpkin faces you carved in October will start to transform into more sinister and stinky scowls. Now is a great time to say sayonara to the gourds and replace them with more wintry items like big metal lanterns or mini faux frosted trees in white planters.
Nothing emphasizes the beauty of winter like lights. Whether you are aiming to be the neighborhood champion of holiday displays or simply want to come home to a cozy glow, decorating with string lights or even a projector can help you achieve your vision.
If you have trees in your front yard that are accessible, create an outdoor tableau by hanging various ornaments and lights on them. For extra effect, place a spotlight at the base of the trunk to illuminate the branches and decorations. And, of course, no judgment if you decide your display isn’t complete without an inflatable snowman or a whole team of reindeer. Decorate with your heart!
The outside isn’t the only place to incorporate lights. In your main living space, turn off your bright overhead lights and lean into softer table lamps for an intimate ambience. Or go a step further and arrange electric or wax candles of various shapes and heights on your tables or in your windows for a hygge-like environment that would make the Danes proud. You could also string fairy lights around banisters and across mantels to carry the holiday magic through your home.
If maximalism was a season, it would be winter. This time of year is all about adding elements, especially since the greater the number of layers, the better insulated you are from the cold. Play around with adding smaller rugs on top of large area rugs or carpets, and stock up on blankets and throws in winter textures like chunky boucle, faux fur, and wool. Besides keeping you warm, they’ll also create an intimate and comfortable space that beckons you to curl up on the couch with a good book or cup of tea.
Chilly months are an ideal excuse to showcase thick quilts and bedding that would normally be too heavy for other seasons. Whether it’s an heirloom with sentimental value or simply a modern pattern that brings you joy, these pieces are simple and elegant solutions to any winter bedroom makeover.
Smell is our most primitive sense, and it’s also the only one that gets processed in the parts of the brain that are linked to emotion and memory. Bringing certain scents into your spaces can evoke nostalgia and remind you of treasured memories like baking gingerbread cookies with family or drinking mulled wine with friends. Explore other winter scents, such as peppermint, vanilla, cinnamon, or pine, via candles or plug-in air fresheners to keep your home smelling comforting all season long.
Garlands are quintessential decor for winter—and for good reason. These lush and flexible branches of pine, spruce, or fir smell like a forest and add a touch of the outdoors to any room. They’re also a verdant canvas for accents like pine cones, red berries, lights, and artificial snow, any of which can quickly transform your home into a winter wonderland.
Bring the enchantment of the season to your dining room with an upscale, snow-inspired table. Choose a white or cream damask with a bit of shimmer or a subtle pattern; to create even more interest, layer a white lace cloth overtop. Highlight the center of the table with a chunky frosted garland adorned with soft-white twinkle lights, adding metallic-white globe ornaments and small faux trees in a white hue. As a finishing touch, nestle white votive candles throughout the garland and in between the trees. Crisp white dishes or delicately scalloped ivory plates would both look beautiful with this tablescape.
Decorating for the season is all about infusing warmth and sparkle into our homes through the magic of lights, delicious smells, and cozy textures. Use these tips to transform yours from an autumnal haven to a winter respite.
If you’re seeking a unique way to indulge your sweet tooth this season, try sprinkling delightful fall flavors into your desserts. Blend warm autumn spices with classic cookie recipes to create these chewy, ever-so-slightly zesty treats courtesy of Sugar + Spice Cookies. Their vibrant kick of bold flavors will make them as memorable as fall’s seasonal colors.
Update simple sugar cookies with smacks of invigorating blood orange juice. With plenty of citrus zest, herbs, cinnamon, and other bright essences to stimulate the palate, these treats are the perfect end to any meal.
Inspired by a traditional Mexican dessert, these nutty and warm spiced cookies can make any occasion feel like a celebration. Enjoy their soft, crumbly texture with your favorite fall beverage.
Reprinted with permission from Sugar + Spice Cookies by Megan Neveu. Page Street Publishing Co. 2022. Photo credit: Megan Neveu.
recipe by megan neveu
photos by megan neveu
Citrus and rosemary are such a beautiful flavor pairing. There’s a reason you’ll often find herbs such as rosemary paired with citrus. These soft and pillowy cookies are full of fresh citrus and a touch of cinnamon. While the color of the blood oranges makes these cookies stand out, any citrus fruit works well here. Fun little fact: These cookies are my two little munchkins’ favorite cookies in the entire book.
Makes 24 cookies
recipe by megan neveu
photos by megan neveu
I absolutely love Mexican wedding cookies. There’s something so completely delicious about a simple buttery cookie coated in confectioners’ sugar. These are full of toasted, buttery pecan flavor that pairs perfectly with sweet and spicy cinnamon and bright orange zest. Once they’re coated in confectioners’ sugar, they are absolutely divine. In fact, they are my favorite cookie in this chapter.
Makes 32 cookies
In recent years, the concept of linking indoor and outdoor living spaces has gained significant popularity in contemporary home design, and it’s not hard to see why. People love the comfort of home, and they also love the wonder of the great outdoors. So why not have the best of both worlds? With a bit of planning and effort, you can create a seamless design that gives you a beautiful, functional, and boundary-free living environment to enjoy year-round.
To promote indoor-outdoor living, it’s important to eliminate physical boundaries that demarcate the inside and outside areas of your home, such as thresholds and solid walls and doors, to create a clear connection between the two. As you consider the design, ensure the transition is visually appealing and practical. For instance, you could expand your main living space by adding or taking advantage of an existing patio, deck, or balcony. This would increase the overall square footage of your home and provide ample areas to relax, dine, and entertain. (This is especially beneficial for smaller homes or urban dwellings, where space is often limited.)
In addition to modifying the physical layout, select furnishings that work well in both your indoor and outdoor spaces. This can include plants, natural fibers, and earth-tone colors, all of which will help develop a cohesive and harmonious atmosphere throughout.
Installing glass doors, spacious palladian windows, or skylights in your home can significantly enhance the influx of natural light and the circulation of fresh air, facilitating an easy transition between the different areas of your home. Depending on your location, implementing these design elements may also improve the aesthetics of your living spaces by giving you a better view to enjoy.
Even if you aren’t able to invest in more windows, there are still many ways you can maximize the amount of light in your indoor spaces. For example, replace light-blocking blinds with more airy alternatives, such as fabric curtains or drapes, to allow more natural light to enter the room, making it brighter and more vibrant. Similarly, you can enhance your outdoor spaces by installing mood lighting with dimmers, illuminating your landscaping with spotlights, and incorporating soft overhead lighting in gathering spaces to ensure sufficient visibility for social activities.
Whether you have a deck, patio, or concrete balcony, there are various ways to blend your indoor and outdoor flooring for a simple transition. For example, if you have a deck, consider selecting composite materials that mimic wood grain patterns’ warmth and natural appearance. These materials are not only highly resistant to fading and deteriorating but can also work well with your interior flooring, whether it’s carpet, wood, or stone. Using natural flooring and mixing it with neutral colors and textures is another way to create a seamless flow between the two spaces.
Introducing natural features into your design is a great way to bring the outdoors inside and take advantage of its numerous benefits, including enhancing your home’s aesthetics, improving the air quality, and promoting a sense of tranquility. For instance, you can place potted plants or build a small garden near the entryway, bridging the gap between your indoor and outdoor spaces. These additions would not only provide visual appeal but also contribute to reducing stress levels.
You could also install an indoor water fountain, either wall-mounted, freestanding, or tabletop, close to the pathway that leads outside. The sound of water engages multiple senses, such as sight, sound, and movement, creating a soothing effect that fosters a deeper connection with nature.
An outdoor kitchen can be the ideal addition for those who enjoy cooking, dining, and entertaining among nature. Its design can be as elaborate or straightforward as you desire, depending on your budget and preferences. To ensure maximum convenience, consider keeping the floors at matching levels. This can minimize the effort of transporting food between the two areas, making your outdoor culinary experience more functional and enjoyable.
By adding certain features to your outdoor space, you can extend your entertainment enjoyment beyond the confines of your living room. Opt for a weatherproof TV with a bright screen to ensure it stands up to the elements, and consider utilizing surround sound for an immersive experience. This way, you can enjoy your music throughout your entire home and watch your favorite TV shows or movies either indoors and outdoors.
As you create your design, consider the predominant weather conditions in your area, particularly during less favorable times of year. If you live in a warm climate, prioritize having sufficient shading and good ventilation in your outdoor area to maintain airflow and ensure you can comfortably use your outdoor kitchen even in hot weather. On the other hand, if you reside in a cooler climate, consider incorporating features like a firepit or a heat lamp to provide warmth during chilly evenings, allowing you to continue enjoying the space no matter the temperature.
By bringing the outdoors in and blurring the boundaries between your home and the natural world, you can enjoy a wide range of aesthetically pleasing and functional benefits.
With fall in full swing and winter on its way, you might think it’s too early to ready your yard and garden for spring. However, there are still plenty of tasks you can do this season to make your outdoor spaces more beautiful and enjoyable next year.
Get a head start on your spring plans by making a list of any additional tools and supplies, such as pots, gardening gloves, or a new watering can, you may need or want. Also note any upgrades you’d like to make—like swapping out your leaky garden hose or replacing some broken pavers. If you shop now, you might even be able to get these items at a reduced price from retailers discounting leftover stock. Or keep an eye out for them at garage sales or on the Buy Nothing app or one of its local Facebook groups.
Take the time to rake up leaves, pull weeds, and clear out debris like fallen twigs, all of which you can either compost or put out for your municipal pickup. If you have a decent amount of leaves, you could also shred them to use as mulch; apply a two-inch-layer base of it around your trees and on your garden bed to prevent weed growth, protect your plants, and keep the soil moist during winter. (You could also use store-bought mulch.) As a bonus, mulching in fall may help free up your schedule for other outdoor maintenance tasks next spring.
Another element of your yard to consider is your grass. If it hasn’t gone dormant and is still growing, you should continue mowing until it stops, keeping it at a height of 2½ to 3½ inches. Long grass is more likely to get matted down by the winter elements, encouraging disease and leading to a tougher recovery come spring, while grass that’s too short is subject to root damage
Additionally, you’ll want to winterize your garden gear to ensure it’s available for spring use. Before it gets too cold outside, empty the soil out of your pots and the water from your hose and faucet; this will prevent water from getting trapped in the dirt or equipment and freezing, causing cracks. You can also ready your planters for spring blooms by scrubbing them clean with soapy water and then soaking them in a solution of one part vinegar and four parts water.
If you haven’t planted spring-blooming bulbs like crocuses, daffodils, and hyacinths already, you might still be able to as long as the ground hasn’t begun to freeze. Getting your bulbs in the dirt before it gets too hard and cold is important if you want them to flower plentifully next spring. However, some plants, such as tulips, might still bloom even if you plant them in December or later. You could also consider adding grass seed to your lawn if temperatures haven’t begun to fall below 60 degrees yet.
To help you hit the ground running next spring, invest some time cleaning and organizing your shed. Start by sweeping and scrubbing the floor and shelves, and consider covering the floor with a durable layer like porch paint, vinyl flooring, or rubber floor tiles to increase its longevity. Then create a detailed plan for where to store everything, mapping where to add organizational tools like shelves and containers to free up needed space. For instance, you could find a spot near the front of your shed for your spring gear so it’ll be ready to go—just be sure your winter tools are also easily accessible. Keep a copy of the map you create either posted within your shed or on your phone for quick reference. If you don’t have a shed, think about creating a storage area in your garage if possible.
To protect your outdoor furnishings and tools from mold and rust, scrub off dirt and debris with soapy water, using a stiff brush as needed. (You might want to protect your eyes and hands with goggles and gloves while doing so.) Then give your items a rinse and allow them to air dry completely. For an extra protective touch, spray your metal tools with a lubricant like WD-40 to prevent corrosion and rust, taking care to wipe any stray oil off wood handles. Additionally, consider stowing away any delicate outdoor furniture that could be damaged by harsh winter weather.
With good planning and a little effort, you can have the spring yard and garden of your dreams.