Gift Wrapping Guide

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Do you have that odd shaped gift you need to wrap but don’t know how, or do you simply want to step up your wrapping game to impress your in-laws? This year, we decided to tackle these dilemmas head on and share our tips with you to help ease your mounting holiday stress! We will cover everything from what wrapping paper to choose, to making your own gift tags, to adding that little extra something to make the recipient awed. So grab a glass of wine, clear a large working space, put on your creativity hat, and get wrapping!


WHEN TO WRAP VS. GIFT BAG
 

If your gift is in a nice rectangular box, wrapping it with paper is the most obvious and elegant choice; however, not all presents are packaged in neat boxes. Your first thought will be to put it in a gift bag, but you don’t have to! Just because the gift does not come in a box does not mean you can’t put it in a gift box! Gift boxes are readily available at craft and hobby stores during this time of year! They come in every shape, size and color you can think of If you are crafty or have extra time, opt for a plain gift box and decorate it with holiday stamps, stickers, or doodles. And remember, when purchasing the gift, never hesitate to ask if gift boxes are available! They usually are and will save you the trouble of having to purchase an extra one.

When your gift is heavy, slightly too large, cumbersome, or you can’t find a gift box, then it is then appropriate to use a gift bag! Use a festive bag and tissue paper or decorate your own bag (as seen below)!


WHAT KIND OF WRAPPING PAPER SHOULD I USE?

Wrapping paper should always be beautiful, festive, decorative, and fun! Here are seven kinds of paper and wrapping paper alternatives!

Kraft Paper

Kraft paper is a form of cardboard that is typically designed for packaging because of its high tear resistance. This paper is great for the crafty gift wrapper who wants to add her own designs! Since it is a blank canvas you can stamp it, draw on it, add stickers or adornments! It is also perfect for those who have to send gifts through the mail. Wrap your presents in kraft paper and place into a shipping box. It is less likely to rip in transit!

Gift Wrapping Paper

Gift wrapping paper is the wrapping paper we all know and love. It comes in millions of colors and designs to cater to the gift recipient. Choose gift wrapping paper if the gift is for kids (because of the bright and bold illustrations), you want a lot of color, you want to make a bold statement, or find a pattern you absolutely love. Make sure to buy at least two gift wrapping paper patterns if wrapping multiple gifts to add dimension under your tree!

Newspaper

For a sentimental look, use newspaper! The black and white colors look classy, and are a great juxtaposition for a bright bow. Plus, it’s environmentally friendly to recycle! Be sure to layer at least two pieces of paper together so you can’t see through to the gift.

Paper Grocery Bags

Paper grocery bags are a budget and environmentally friendly alternative for kraft paper! Use the same way you would kraft paper.

Old Maps

Have a bunch of old maps laying around or shoved into your glove box? Now you have a perfect way to recycle them! It is great for travel related gifts or gifts for your favorite adventurer!

Fabric

If you have some large fabric scraps you don’t know what to do with you now do! Fabric makes a great gift wrap for round presents; you can simply bundle the gift up in the wrap and tie with a ribbon. Or you can traditionally wrap a gift with fabric, it just takes a little finesse.

Wallpaper

Wallpaper can be used as an alternative for any of the paper product wrapping papers, but it should be noted that it is easiest to use on box shaped gifts because it is so stiff. Wallpaper is an amazing wrapping paper option because it has fun textures you won’t find with any of these wrapping paper options!


WHEN TO USE TISSUE PAPER

Tissue paper is like the supporting actress, important for the project as a whole but not the starring role (that’s the wrapping paper or gift bag). It is especially fun to use for the holidays because of the holiday designs printed on it! Tissue paper can be used in two ways:

As Fluff for Gift Bags

A proper gift bag always has a bunch of tissue paper sticking out from the top. This fluff not only helps hide the gift inside, but also adds the supporting flair to the gift wrapping as a whole. A plain colored gift bag can become more intriguing with bright tissue paper flowing from the top! Or, simple colored paper can be used to highlight the amazing gift bag you chose!

As Protective Cushioning or an Extra Layer:

Tissue paper is also important for protecting fragile gifts. Wrap easily broken presents in a layer or two of tissue to ensure it is safe from chipping or cracking. Wrapping non fragile gifts in tissue paper can act as a barrier against any unknown elements, plus it is an extra fun unwrapping layer for the recipient! Also, use tissue paper to keep items from shifting around in a gift box!


HOW TO WRAP A GIFT OR FILL A GIFT BAG

Before you begin your wrapping adventure make sure to gather all supplies (paper, bag, tissue, tape, & scissors), clear a large working space, and allow yourself enough time to get it done! Once your gifts are wrapped you can begin working on the tags, ribbon, and any other decorations (we will explain how to decorate your wrapped gifts following this section). Note, if decorating a gift bag, decorate it before wrapping the gifts in it.

Wrapping with Paper or Paper Alternative

  1. Cut out a piece of paper large enough to wrap the entire gift and place design side down.
  2. Place gift, front side down, in the center of the cut out paper.
  3. Pull the two longest ends over the gift and tape down
  4. Working on an open end, push the sides of the paper inward to create 45° angle flaps and crease.
  5. Fold down the top flap, then fold up the bottom flap and tape. Repeat with the other end. Make sure you do not have too much excess paper during this step or else your flaps will not match up.

Filling a Gift Bag

  1. Place a layer of tissue paper on the bottom of the bag to keep gifts from shifting inside.
  2. Gently put gift(s) into the bag. If desired wrap gifts in tissue paper first.
  3. Take two layers of completely opened tissue paper, design side up, (here you can be creative and use two different patterns or colors) and pinch the center.
  4. Swiftly lift your hand up so the paper forms a cone shape. Repeat one to four more times depending on how large the gift bag is.
  5. Place the tissue paper into the sides or corners of the bag, pinch side on the bottom, so the gift inside is no longer visible.
  6. Gently fluff the paper to get a voluminous effect.

HOW TO CREATE GIFT NAME TAGS

Name tags are a must-have design aspect for your gift wrapping. This year, try to make your own, or buy a pretty tag to string onto your gift. To make your own you will need card stock, scissors, a hole punch, and markers. Just cut out a gift tag shape in the card stock, decorate with a festive design, and sign the recipients name to it! Punch a hole on the end so you can string ribbon or twine through! You can also decorate your tag with stamps, stickers, adornment, or whatever else your heart desires! If you do not have time or a creative bone in your body there are plenty of beautiful tags already made- you just have to add the name. Or print gorgeous free tags from Gather & Feast!


THAT EXTRA SOMETHING SPECIAL

Now that your gifts are wrapped they need some pizazz! We’ve created a list of ways to add a little extra to your gift, whether it is wrapped with paper or in a bag:

Ribbon or Twine

Ribbon or twine is a must for your gift. Wrap around your paper wrapped gift or tie the handles together on your gift bag. If using ribbon, make the length longer than needed so you can curl the extra on top. String the ribbon or twine through the gift name tag to secure it on the gift!

Bow

Create your own bow with ribbon or buy a big one from the store. Place in the center of where the ribbon is knotted or in the corner of your gift box/bag.

Adornments & Stickers

You can buy adornments and stickers at any craft shop or online. Tape or glue adornments, or place stickers, on to your gift to add texture, a pattern, or just that extra spark of design. Adornments and stickers are a great way to showcase the hard work and thought you put into wrapping the gift!

Stamps

If using kraft paper or a cardboard gift bag, stamps are the perfect way to create your own design. Keep it simple with black ink and one stamp, or go crazy and do multiple colors with multiple different stamps! Whatever you do it will be beautiful. This is also a way to get your kids involved with the wrapping process. Let them stamp a design onto the paper to give to your family!

Festive Items

Festive items such as holly, jingle bells, pine cones, candy canes, tree sprigs, etc. can be added to your gift! String them through the ribbon or twine or tape in place. It will definitely show your thought and consideration! Plus, it looks professional and stunning!


Our Favorite Black Fiday Deals

Photo Source: Stephen Chernin

Photo Source: Stephen Chernin

Black Friday is just around the corner, and we want you brave souls who go shopping to get the best deals! Here is our list of the best and biggest Black Friday deals!


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  • Beats By Dr. Dre Beats Studio2 Wireless Over the Ear Headphones: $159.00, regularly $379.99
  • Kitchen Aid Professional 500 Series Stand Mixer: $199.99, regularly $499.99
  • Save up to $200 with activation of iPhone 8 or iPhone 8 Plus

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  • 40% off Women’s Shoes and Boots
  • $39.99-$59.99 Women’s Cashmere Sweaters
  • 60% off Men’s Outerwear
  • 20% off all Sunglass Hut Sunglasses
     

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  • 50% off Time for Joy Holiday Toys, Treats, Apparel, and Accessories
  • 50% off You & Me 2-level Cat Tree and Vesper V-High Base Cat Furniture
  • 50% off Aqueon Aquarium and Zoo Med Reptile Starter Kits

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  • TLC 49” 4K Ultra HD 120 Hz Roku High Dynamic Range Smart TV: $349.99, regularly $379.99
  • GoPro HERO5 (black) plus free $50 Target gift card with purchase: $349.99, regularly $399.99
  • Dyson V6 Animal Vacuum: $249.99, regularly $499.99

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  • Nintendo Switch Console with Red and Blue Joy-Con: $299, regularly $337.99
  • Google Home plus $25 Google Express Offer: $79, regularly $129
  • Save $100 on Frozen Sleigh or John Deere Gator 12V Ride-On
     

How-To: Friendsgiving

Image Source: House of Jade

Image Source: House of Jade

Thanksgiving is one of the best holidays of the year; you can eat as much food as you want, drink yummy cocktails, and lounge around all day watching (or pretending to watch) sports and chatting with your family. However, not everyone can celebrate with family and that is OK! In lieu of Thanksgiving, have yourself a Friendsgiving with all your closest friends! Friendsgiving is the perfect way to show your friends how much you appreciate them and a lot less stressful than hosting for your family (no more unwelcomed questions about your love life from Aunt Martha). Never hosted a Friendsgiving before? Well, we’ve come up with a how-to Friendsgiving hosting guide to help you in your quest for throwing the perfect holiday celebration!


INVITES

Take the time to send your guests invites to your Friendsgiving gathering. This little extra action shows your friends you really want them to attend, and it’s a refreshing reminder that paper invites are much more elegant than e-vites (plus who doesn’t love getting mail?!). Make sure your invites include your address, RSVP-by date, and any instructions about bringing a dish or dessert to lessen your cooking load!


FOOD

Let’s be real, food is the most important part of this holiday, so make your spread the star of the night.

Appetizers: Appetizers should be light finger foods that won’t fill up your guests before dinner. Charcuterie boards are the perfect appetizer option; you can customize it however you’d like and it offers a great number of options for your guests.

Dinner: The sit down dinner is the highlight of the party. Serve food family style (in your most stylish serving dishes) and enjoy the quality time you have with your friends. Go around the table and give thanks for all things you appreciate in your life.

Dessert: Dessert should be placed on its own table before dinner. This will alleviate the task of setting up the dessert table after you’re stuffed with turkey and potatoes. Offer coffee and tea so your guests can wind down and digest with a warm drink.


DRINKS

Prepare a signature drink, such as a sangria or cranberry cocktail, for everyone to enjoy. Have a selection of wine, beer, and non alcoholic beverages to cover everyone’s preferences. Now is a great opportunity to utilize that dusty bar cart in the corner of your living room!


DECOR

Your decor should be festive and sophisticated. Gravitate towards fall decor (leaves, gourds, pumpkins) and Thanksgiving staples (turkeys and cornucopias). Put up wall art, decorate the mantle, and add floral arrangements to each room. Place a festive wreath on your front door for a notable first impression of your decorative skills.


TABLESCAPE

The dining table must be inviting, comfortable, and beautiful. Let your table settings be neutral and add color with a table runner or centerpiece. Decorate the table with festive items such as pumpkins and corn, and incorporate candles to elevate your tablescape. Make sure there is enough room for your serving dishes!


How To Guide: Halloween Parties

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Halloween is just around the corner, so let your inner child free with a fun and spirited party! Have nothing planned yet? We’ve got your back! Follow our entertainment guide for awesome recipes, decor, and games guaranteed to make your party a success.


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We decided to keep the food and drinks elegant, classy, but still spooky and Halloween themed! For appetizers we chose bite size and portable foods so you can easily mingle and save room for the entrèe and dessert. The entrèe should be beautiful and delicious, and the dessert should be fun and lively!.


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Drinks should be festive and enticing. Think dark colors and bright garnishes. Experiment, and take your mixology skills to a new level!


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The decor can be as over the top or subdued as you like! Want to scare your guests? Place creepy skeletons and masks about the house. String spider webs everywhere, and hide motion activated decorations to scare unexpecting guests. Want to keep it simple or have less of a clean up? Decorate with colorful pumpkins, leaves, and lanterns. Place some crows or bones across the mantle and on side tables.


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If you want a sit down dinner, make your table the focal point of your decor. Use dark table linens and plates. Make a table runner of flowers, skulls, and tall candlesticks. Scatter some creepy crawlers on napkins and flatware. Your guests will love the creativity!


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It’s not a party without some fun and games! Go all out and make the whole night a murder mystery game involving all your guests, or hire a fortune teller! On a smaller scale, carve pumpkins, play charades and pictionary with a Halloween theme, or assemble the classic donut-on-the-string eating contest!

Fall Dessert Inspiration Board

Fall is here! -and while you trade in your sandals for cute ankle boots, you can also trade in your bright and fruity summer food palate for a more savory and spicy fall one. Fall flavors are defined by bright punches of spice like cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger, as well as the savory tastes of squash, figs, and root vegetables. We love highlighting fresh and in-season food in our desserts, and these recipes combine sweet dessert elements with the spice and savory flavors of fall to produce the tastiest seasonal baked goods. We hope to inspire you to step out of your pumpkin spice comfort zone and try a recipe with a more daring flavor combination-- you won’t be disappointed!

2017 Summer Shoot Behind the Scenes

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This August, we snuck down to coastal Rhode Island to shoot our 2017 summer concept! We’re so excited about this look that we had to share some behind the scenes shots with you. Splitting our time between Mackerel Cove Beach and Beavertail State Park in Jamestown, RI, we teamed up with the extremely talented Melanie Zacek for photography and Dmitry Gordievsky of Embark Films for videography.

Our beautiful models, Abby Lynn and Danny Deitz of Maggie Inc. Models were assisted by the wonderful glam team at Upstyle! Abby sported various looks throughout the day, including 2 stunning dresses by Cathy Telle and a veil from Bridal Heirlooms. We’re so grateful to once again have partnered with DMG Noho for our flawless jewels!

As always, working with Flowers by Justine was an incredible experience. We always fall head over heels for her wonderful floral skills! New to our list, we were honored to be able to feature these spectacular custom dinner plates by Susan Gordon Pottery!
 

We had a wonderful day and a fabulous shoot despite some rain later in the day and we couldn’t be happier with the end result! We hope you enjoy this behind the scenes sneak peek and we cannot wait to share the full concept with you in the very near future!

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Easy Seasonal Décor Changes

With every season that passes us by outside, it’s always fun to bring the seasons inside too; however, buying all new decorations and furniture to accommodate every season can get a bit pricey! Here are some easy décor changes to match any season!

image source: home bnc

image source: home bnc

Having a simple centerpiece filled with seasonal décor is a great way to bring the weather inside! Whether it be a bowl of seashells and bright fruit for summer, or autumn leaves and pumpkins for fall, it will be easy to save money during every season!

image source: society6

image source: society6

image source: little dekonings

image source: little dekonings

Another easy décor change is changing out the colors of your décor, such as with curtains and throw pillows. You and your guests will feel warm and cozy in the colder months with darker colors such as reds and browns, and cool and fresh in the summer months with light colors such as blues and whites!

image source: moms spark

image source: moms spark

image source: seasonal bounty

image source: seasonal bounty

Spend little to nothing by bringing nature inside your home! Whether it be a fresh vase of tulips in the spring, or frosted pine cones in the winter, it is the easiest and more affordable way to transform your house as the seasons change!

Honeymoon Hotspot: Austin,TX

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Image Credit:  The Every Girl  

Image Credit: The Every Girl 

It’s time for another U.S. honeymoon hotspot! This week, we have all the details for you to plan your perfect honeymoon in Austin, Texas. From legendary live music to the surrounding unique culture, Austin is a great place to celebrate your new marriage life!

Image Credit:  Lennar.com

Image Credit: Lennar.com

There are so many options for hotels in Austin to celebrate a romantic getaway! Experience a life of luxury at Travaasa Austin with their spa, walk-in-showers, and plush robes. On the other hand, you can stay at the Hotel Saint Cecilia that takes you back in time to the 1960s. Each room is inspired by a famous musician or band, how fun! 

Austin is home to numerous beautiful parks and a diverse choice of activities. Attend a show at the historic ZACH Theatre, or visit the famous botanical garden at Zilker Metropolitan Park. Get some fresh air and exercise and enjoy the Boardwalk Trail at Lady Bird that takes you around the lake. 

Image Credit:  CN Traveler

Image Credit: CN Traveler

From food trucks to elegant dining options, Austin is the place to go to try a variety of foods! If you’re feeling Mexican, try Licha’s Cantina. Enjoy your Mexican cuisine with your favorite margarita! Another favorite is Swift’s Attic which offers an electric blend of dishes full of fresh ingredients, and also offers an extensive list of delicious craft beers! 

Memorial Day Inspiration Board

Happy Memorial Day weekend! Going into this holiday, it’s important to remember and honor those who have fought for our country. With that in mind, it’s also a day full of great American spirit! Enjoy the outdoors with a cookout, fun games, and great food surrounded by your family and friends!

Spring Inspiration Board

Spring is in the air and we couldn’t be more excited to put those cold winter days behind us! We’re celebrating with fun, pastel colors and florals galore. This spring, the natural makeup look is back with subtle shadows and no more overdrawn lips or brows. For everyday fashion, everything is flirty and off-the-shoulder. Florals are being incorporated everywhere, between hairstyles, patterns on skirts, and even signage and favors for your big day!We are seriously loving these style trends heading into warmer weather!

Literary Inspiration

Calling all bookworms, March is National Reading Month! To celebrate we have gathered book and literature-inspired images to help start taking your ideas from the page to reality! From Shakespeare to Great Gatsby your favorite book can be a great place of inspiration. So if you're a bookworm like us, we know that you will love the idea of adding literary charm to your wedding day celebrations. 


Pantone Color of the Year 2017:Greenery

With the announcement that Greenery will be the 2017 Pantone Color of the Year. we have all gone green crazy.

This "zesty yellow green" is so versatile and can be added to any color scheme a bride and groom are working with! So add that greenery to your bouquet, ceremony, tables and so much more. Best part of greenery? Helps keep the floral cost down! High style, low budget is what we live for.

We have pulled our favorite greenery inspiration to help jump start your designing process.


Satisfying our growing desire to rejuvenate and revitalize, Greenery symbolizes the reconnection we seek with nature, one another and a larger purpose. This is the color of hopefulness, and of our connection to nature... Every spring we enter a new cycle and new shoots come from the ground. It is something life-affirming to look forward to.
— Pantone's executive director, Leatrice Eiseman

New Year's Eve Party Inspiration

New Year's Eve is a night of celebrations. Whether you decide to have your wedding, have a dinner party or throw a count down, here are our favorite New Year's Eve designs. Wishing you loads of confetti and champagne this New Year's Eve.

Designer + Planner: Kelly McLeskey-Dolata,  A Savvy Event  / Photographer:  Scott Clark Photography  

Designer + Planner: Kelly McLeskey-Dolata, A Savvy Event / Photographer: Scott Clark Photography 

A wedding is a party, but a wedding on New Year's Eve is a big party! If you choose to have a New Year's Eve wedding you want to find a balance between your wedding details and the traditional New Year's Eve elements. You don't want to have one overwhelm the other.  We loved this inspiration from A Savy Event. Mixing silver and gold design elements showcases the glamour of the evening but also is an elegant wedding color palette!

 


Now this is a party! We love this rich and moody color palette designed by Beijos Events. Think geometric shapes, a bar cart filled with bubbly and confetti.  The richness of this look is accomplished by mixing deep jewel tones including pink, green and blue. Don't forget to add elements of gold to round out the look.

Photographer: Megan Welker / Design & Styling: Beijos Events


This look designed by Gray Harper Maker is everything you want for a beautiful and festive New Year's Eve dinner party. Ring in the New Year surrounded by a white and black tablescape, softened by pink and gold accents. Love this look? Be sure to check out our shopping list below!


Want to throw a bash for your besties? Sounds fabulous! We loved this girly, gilded and spunky design from Francine Ribeau Events. To capture this fun look layer different patterns, go for stripes and chevron. Use black accents as your base and glitter the room with golds and pinks!

Photography: Melissa Biador Photography | planning + design: Danielle from Francine Ribeau Events

Loving these looks? Us, too! We wanted to share our shopping list with you so you can design your own sophisticated New Year's Eve gathering. 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, Happy New Year!

Holiday DIY Gift Guide

Photo Source:  Extra Petite

Photo Source: Extra Petite

The holidays are just around the corner! Have you started your shopping? If you are looking to gift something more personal, we have rounded up our favorite DIY holiday gift ideas. From the hostess to your bestie we have the perfect idea for you. Cheers to a weekend of DIYing and hot chocolate!


Photo by Christopher Baker, Source Real Simple

Photo by Christopher Baker, Source Real Simple

Gold-Leaf Bud-Vase Trio

What You Need

  • 3 glass bud vases of different shapes
  • gold-leaf kit
  • scissors
  • 2 small, soft paintbrushes

What to Do

1. Dip a paintbrush in the adhesive (from the gold-leaf kit) and paint loose, slightly irregular upward strokes to cover the outer rims of the vases. Set aside for an hour while the adhesive becomes tacky (it will turn clear).

2. Cut sheets of gold leaf into 1- to 2-inch strips. Press the gold leaf onto the adhesive.     Peel off the paper backing. Dust away any excess gold leaf with the clean      paintbrush

                                                                                    3. Apply the sealer and let dry for 30 minutes.

 

Holiday Stovetop Simmer

Ingredients

  • 3-4 sprigs of fresh pine and/or fir
  • 2-3 sticks of cinnamon
  • 1 mandarin, whole
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries
  • Small window tin-tie bags
  • Small rectangle text labels
  • Large oval hang tags
  • Sprigs of fir for garnishing your gift bags

Full instructions can be found here.

 

Personalized Bracelets

Supplies:
-flat leather (10mm x 2mm) or oval leather (10mm x 6mm)
-letter sliders (I love this font in either 10mm x 2mm or 10mm x 6mm, and they sell hashtags too!)
-magnetic clasp (10mm x 2mm or 10mm x 6mm)
-jewelry glue

Full instructions can be found here.

 
Source: BBC Good Food

Source: BBC Good Food

Chocolate Brownie Mix

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 95 g plain flour
  • 35 g cocoa
  • 75 g plain flour
  • 135 g brown sugar
  • 150 g sugar
  • 100 g chocolate chips
  • 100g white chocolate chips
  • 50 g walnuts or pecans (optional)

Decorating as a Couple

Moving in together is just like wedding planning: an exciting time that can filled with stressful decisions. Find out how to combine styles and who to look for when you need inspiration!


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The first step in making your space a home that reflects you as a couple is to identify your couple's style. Odds are that each of you is bringing a different aesthetic, so just being able to articulate your style will prove helpful in the design process. This sounds easy but it can be difficult! To help in this process take this Style quiz by Lonny.

Here are the three main styles that are trendy right now.


Don't feel like you need to stick to one style! If you are bringing a modern style couch to the space, it doesn't mean the entire room needs to have a minimal modern feel.


To save you time, we have done our research and are excited to share our tips and top pieces of advice with you. Happy designing!

  1. Identify each of your styles- See our What's Our Style section.
  2. Take inventory- What are you bringing to the home? What is your partner bringing? This way you can quickly identify what major items you have duplicates of. Two couches but just need one? Our advice is to pick the one that is more neutral. Having your major pieces be neutral allows for more options. Once you have taken stock of your inventory, then you can create a shopping/wish list for decor items that will help bring in your new couple's style.
  3. Live in the space first- We suggest taking a few weeks to live in your new space. You need to have time to see how the space works for you, your style and your schedule. Pay particular attention to what your high traffic areas are and plan your design accordingly.
  4. Look for inspiration- While some times Pinterest can be overwhelming, when it comes to the home design process, it will be your most useful tool. Designing is a visual process and if you are not familiar with it, look to the experts! Use Pinterest not only for room design ideas but also for the small designs, like how to style your coffee table.

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