5 Steps to a Quick Christmas Arrangement

I love using natural materials at any time of the year to decorate my home, but I especially love it during the Christmas holiday decorating season. 

Here is one example of a quick arrangement that I put together in a very short amount of time. I took photos of the process.

  1. Gather from your garden (or local nursery) some cedar branches, huckleberry or boxwood branches along with some decorative ornaments.

cedar branches

2.       Fill your urn with water and place the cedar branches inside, arranging them to hang over the edge of your planter. cedar branches planter box

3. Place about 3 twigs of huckleberry or boxwood (which you can spray paint to add colour or sparkle) among the cedar branches near the back.

4. Place an oversized ornament (or lichen ball as shown) in the centre of the branches to weigh them down to keep them in place.

5. Add other decorative ornaments or ribbons to your arrangement for the finishing touch. Cedar branches arrangement

Now wasn’t that easy?

If you have any quick holiday decorating ideas, share it with us by leaving a comment!


The European style for displaying objects

The North American rule of thumb for decorating is to display items such as vases or photo frames in odd numbers. On my recent trip to the Netherlands, I found that the decorating style there is to display items in even numbers. And it works!

displaying objects

Why? Well a symmetrical display of two identical items is a balanced look that is pleasant to the eye.

displaying objects in even numbers

If there are more than two items and they are different colours and sizes of the same shape, a small cluster can be a more interesting focal point. For example, an artist might use three focal points in a painting because it creates more interest instead of having just one or two focal points. The irregular visual causes the viewer to look longer as they try to find the main focal point. People are naturally drawn to visually balanced displays, so when artists and decorators add a twist by creating balance in an odd numbered collection, it is sure to get the viewer’s attention.


In many ways the variety of shapes and heights in a collection is more important than the number of objects in it. I think the photo below of a window from a home in Kinderdijk, Netherlands shows this example beautifully.

displaying objects in even numbers

Everything is balanced using the rule of reflection symmetry.

So what is your preference? Do you like the pleasant balance of displays with an even number of items? Or do you prefer the dramatic effect of offset, odd number items?

displaying objects

House & Home

If you would like help with styling your home, contact me for a professional decorating consultation.


Urban Aesthetics’ top 5 desks that you should check out

Homework Desk

The design of this contemporary
desk makes it the perfect workstation for a work space where the furniture is
visible from all sides. The floating cabinets and glass top give it an airy
look with style. And the best part is that it’s designed and made in Canada.




I think this desk is a one-of-a-kind. It has


Hendrix desk

a rustic and contemporary style because it blends a reclaimed wood façade with a clean black walnut frame and top. And it’s all held up by the “M” shaped, black finished metal legs. My favourite is the offset drawers which gives it just a touch of whimsy.






This modern desk has a mid-centurydesks
style that makes it the perfect choice to blend new modern with traditional
styling. It shows off clean lines with its exposed hardwood legs while
discretely highlighting its storage drawers. It’s perfect as a desk or console table.




Crate and Barrel Bedford Secretary

Bedford Secretary

This dresser from Crate and Barrel combines storage and a writing surface.  It’s made from reclaimed pine from old buildings. The top of the cabinet flips down, giving you an optional writing surface at the tip of your fingers.







And finally, this one is for those Pottery Barn Whitney desk
of us who prefer more storage drawers in our workstations. This work zone
cabinet features two wood finishes, shuttered drawer fronts and decorative bun feet, making it look just a bit more like a piece of furniture.






Do you have a favourite desk for your work space?



How to make the best first impression of your home. Part 2

6. Coordinate your house numbers and mailbox.

Updating your house numbers and mailbox is one thing, but why not make them a matching set? And to make sure that your house numbers are visible from the road, step across the street to confirm that they are easily spotted.

First impression homes

7. Add a bench or chair to your entry.

Having a place to rest your bags – or yourself! – when you get home after a long day is the nicest way to come home. Dress up the chair or bench with colourful toss or seat cushions that should coordinate with the colours of your home.

first impression homes

8. “Spit and shine” your door hardware.

Door hardware is a very important décor feature of your door. Consider matching the metal of the hardware to your mailbox and house numbers. You can also add a matching metal door kick plate which can add a look of elegance to your home. If you have brass door hardware and it’s looking a little worn, check out this link on how to spruce it back to a shiny finish.

exterior door hardwareexterior door hardware









9. Accessorize your front porch.

There are lots of great outdoor accessories like glass lanterns filled with sand & candles, welcome signs, baskets with flowers, colourful toss cushions, decorative outdoor area rugs or decorative stone pots. But remember, less is more!









10. Make sure your doorbell works as it announces your guests.

The doorbell is the first piece of hardware your guests notice when visiting your home.  Make a memorable best first impression of your home with a high quality and unique doorbell.


How to make the best first impression of your home. Part 1

2. Put down a new front door mat.

Whether you prefer functional or whimsical, refresh your entry with a colourful, humourous or just a plain new doormat that makes you smile when you get to your door.

3. Brighten up your entryway with a new light.

There is a good selection of affordable outdoor light fixtures in various styles.  Choose a fixture that matches the architectural style of your home.  Some lights are motion sensitive, while others can be put on dimmers, allowing you to control the mood lighting so you can enjoy your front porch at night without feeling like you are in a spot light.

Restoration Hardware


4. Seasonal plants in a stylish planter.

If you are not a green thumb kind of person, you can purchase beautiful premade planters and hanging baskets at your local garden centre or grocery store. For those who love playing in the dirt, get creative with your planters and recycle unused items such as old watering cans or teapots.

5. Match all your front facing window coverings.

This is one decorating must-do to make your home look put together from the curb. When all your windows are dressed the same, your home will look uniform.


Nantucket entry