Festive and fabulous decorating inspiration for your holiday table this year includes glam touches, Scandinavian accents, and easy DIYs to wow your guests.
Creating a holiday tablescape that wows can be as easy as 1-2-3. Check out our favourite festive table settings for 2016, as well as the straightforward DIYs that make them come to life.
Credits: Maya Visnyei
VIDEO: GOLD GLAM TABLESCAPE: Make your holiday table sparkle and shine this season by setting it in glamorous gold.
Credits: Maya Visnyei
VIDEO: RUSTIC SCANDINAVIAN TABLESCAPE: Bring a taste of the Norse pole to your table with elegant Scandi-chic rustic elements.
A dinner party that has guests raving for days is all in the details. Take this masterfully muted, fashionably festive and quietly romantic rustic Scandinavian tablescape. We love its creamy taupe, linen white and pale minty green colour scheme – a fresh take on tradition topped with subtle seasonal elements like sprigs of fresh evergreen and soft touches of gold. But even better are the elements you don’t notice at first glance like the effortless DIYs that even an uncrafty hostess can easily achieve. Here are the highlights.
You’ve outdone yourself with this year’s holiday tablescape, but don’t overlook your chairs! What a perfect place to underscore your seating arrangement with ready-made mini buntings stencilled with snowflakes. Each topped with a gift tag and a sprig of greenery, the unexpected adornments are an easy way to add extra details that are sure to impress guests.
These sweet place cards are not only wintry and whimsical, they’re also easy and inexpensive to execute: Simply tie a handwritten gift tag to a wooden toy sleigh (which, like the rest of the supplies, can be found at any craft store) with ribbon or yarn that matches your holiday colour scheme. Top it off with two FERRERO ROCHER® chocolates to treat guests with a decadent sweet to enjoy later – and maybe even dub you the host with the most!
Candles are key to tabletop mood lighting, but these festive votives look just as fabulous when they’re not lit. Gussied up with burlap wrap effortlessly secured by a tiny tree-shaped clothespin and a deer-stamped strip of cotton, they lend a quintessentially rustic-chic vibe. Frayed edges keep this craft virtually fuss-free but also require the use of battery-powered tea lights rather than open flames.
Credits: Maya Visnyei
VIDEO: DESSERT TRAY DIY PROJECT: Serve guests in style with the help of this super simple marbled tray DIY.
Credits: Maya Visnyei
VIDEO: SLEIGH PLACE CARD HOLDERS DIY PROJECT: Inspired by the man in red himself, these DIY FERRERO ROCHER® bearing sleigh place card holders are easy, playful and – best of all – delectable.
Credits: Maya Visnyei
VIDEO: STYLISH SLIPKNOT MENU DIY PROJECT: Create gorgeous slipknot menu cards your guests are sure to love.
Credits: Maya Visnyei
VIDEO: FESTIVE WRAPPED VOTIVE DIY: Add a festive flair to your holiday table with these adorable wrapped votive candle holders.
Check out these great gift ideas for your holiday hostess. Source: Donna Griffith
Get holiday party ready with these gift ideas for your holiday host or hostess.
Forget the wine – say thanks to your holiday host with one of these less-than-obvious options.
Scent Surround diffuser in English Pomegranate Noir, Jo Malone London, $95.
Red Grip Gingerbread man cookie cutters, Crate and Barrel, $10 per 3-piece set.
Meraki hand cream in Cotton Haze, Drake General Store, $29.
Champagne Collection macarons, Delysées Toronto, $25 per 20-piece.
Blank Swan Lake notecards, Indigo, $15 per 12-piece set.
Faceted Geo frame, 4" x 4", HomeSense, $10. Metallic Geo frame, 5" x 7", HomeSense, $8.
2017 Herb Garden wall calendar, Rifle Paper Co., $18 US.
Concrete Hex coasters in Gold, Mindtheminimal on Etsy, $30 per set of 4.
Sapele wood Geometric planter, Adrian Martinus on Etsy, $40.
Kate Spade New York Deco Dots travel mug, Hudson’s Bay, $40.
The Ladybird Book of the Hipster book by Jason Hazeley and Joel Morris, Indigo, $13.
Cotton Eve dish towels, Crate and Barrel, $22 per pair.
HBC Collection bottle opener, Hudson's Bay, $15.
Nostalgia Edition Twister board game in tin box, Hudson’s Bay, $80.
Buying guide: The truth about thread count
Is there anything better than sliding into a bed laden with good quality sheets? At the end of the day, I can't wait to stretch out under my fresh, soft covers and nestle my face into a good cotton-covered pillow. We spend a third of our lives in bed so quality sheets are key, but how do you get quality for your money? There's no doubt that most consumers believe the higher the thread count, the better the quality, but this isn't entirely true. With the help and expertise of Joanna Goodman, owner of Au Lit Fine Linens, we expose the truth about thread count and what it takes to find quality bed sheets.
What is thread count, really?
Simply put, thread count is the number of threads woven into one square inch of fabric. This number is based on the threads woven horizontally ("weft") and vertically ("warp"). Extra threads can also be woven into the weft threads to increase the thread count. These added threads are called "picks" and are added in the overall count, which is how some sheets end up having thread counts in the thousands. This is why the idea that high counts equal better quality isn't really accurate. Consider this: Joanna says most weavers will say the maximum number of threads that can be woven into one square inch of fabric is 500 to 600. Though the number is arguable and, according to Joanna, "depends on the mill you deal with," it gives you an idea of where the line is between single-ply, unpicked weaves and ones that add threads here and there to bump up the count.
What to look for when buying sheets
Joanna lists three things to look for on the label: if it's Egyptian cotton, where it's woven and, lastly, the thread count. While thread count is a bit misunderstood, the buzz around Egyptian cotton is true. "The very best cotton in the world is grown in Egypt. So Egyptian cotton will be of a better quality," Joanna says. She also recommends pima cotton, which is grown in America, "though not quite as exceptional as Egyptian." When it comes to weaving, however, she swears by the Italians as being the "master weavers of the world" due to their "long tradition of weaving" and use of the best Egyptian cotton. Be sure the label says 100% or pure Egyptian cotton though, otherwise it may only contain a small percentage of the good stuff. As for the thread count, look for a minimum of 200. From there, it's all about preference!
What to avoid when buying sheets
Joanna's one key piece of advice is to watch out for extremely low priced, high thread count sheet sets. A complete sheet set with a high thread count for $100 or less is probably not the dream bargain you think it is. As Joanna believes, "you always get what you pay for." The price tag for bed linens will vary depending on the sheet size and what items you're buying, such as a duvet cover, sheet sets, or pillowcases. "A superior quality 200 thread count queen set (including flat, fitted, two pillowcases), made of Egyptian cotton and woven in Europe, could retail reasonably for about $150-$250," says Joanna.
What do you prefer?
After going through the quality checklist, go with what feels best for you. If you're looking for a durable linen, Joanna recommends any percale from thread count 200 to 800. Percale is any cotton woven with a 200 thread count or higher and will be more durable than a cotton satin of the same thread count. It's also less likely to pill than cotton satin because it has a denser weave. Love the feel of a cotton button down shirt? Joanna advises a crisp, dense 200 thread count percale. Prefer a silkier sheet? Go for a 300 to 600 cotton satin. If you want lighter sheets, Joanna says, a 400 thread count sheet can be soft and light, while an 800 percale would be soft and dense. The higher the thread count, the more likely multiple-ply thread is used or picks are added, making the fabric denser and heavier.
Now you know that quality is not just about the number, so don't let numbers rule your bed! Remember what to look for on the label and be wary of too-low prices for supposedly high quality items. Beyond that, go with what you prefer. Get a good feel of the sheets before buying. Whether you're unzipping the packaging or lying down on a display bed, make sure the fabric feels good against your skin and soon you'll be having sweet dreams!
Find out how to keep your new linens crisp and clean with our tips to whiter-than-white sheets.
Celeb home tour: Kim Kardashian and Kanye West's Bel Air mansion
Take a look inside celebrity couple Kim Kardashian and Kanye West's Bel Air estate in LA., California.
It would have been Bel Air living for Kim Kardashian and husband Kanye West, but after multiple unsuccessful renovation projects it seems they've finally listed their 9,000 square-feet unfinished home.
When the couple purchased their first home together in 2013 for $9 million, plans of completely renovating the property - like adding 4,000 square-feet, taking entire walls down, and changing the Mediterranean-style home into an Italian-villa - were in the works. Proving to be too difficult to complete, the pair then bought a second move-in ready French country-style home in Hidden Hills, L.A., tailored to their liking.
Although the interior is a blank canvas now, the original modern-meets-traditional layout was designed by architect Ron Firestone and included a library, hallway balcony, elevator, gourmet kitchen, master bath with a massage area, and large backyard with tons of outdoor space and patio. This 3/4-acre gated property could be your next project for a listed price of $11 million.
- Two-storey living room
- 5 bedrooms
- Massage room
- Gourmet kitchen
- Spa tub
Find out more and check out the listing here.
Welcome to Kimye's Bel Air estate, where curb appeal speaks for itself at this Mediterranean-style home.
The house is in a gated Bel Air neighbourhood, known as Bel Air Crest. It seems like the gated front door was the inspiration for the Georgian-style design of the interior, and candelabra chandelier, making a bold statement in this first sneak peak of the home.
Dark walnut flooring is added throughout the main floor of the two-storey house, as well as on the stairs and of course white interior columns, for a grand entryway.
Although the couple may not have kept the interior the same, this neutral design with a touch of colour brings out the Tuscan stone fireplace as the focal point of the room. Above it, a snippet of a Romeo-style balcony, fit for rap mogul, Kanye.
The dining room may be small, but the tray ceiling design and deep peach colour helps the room appear broader, and gives an eclectic feel.
Outlined by dark wood beams, windowsills and flooring, this eating nook has a great colour contrast and warm feel, perfect for breakfast and brunch.
With an opening to the backyard, new traditional interior and rich wood flooring, this gourmet kitchen can fit any large family, even the Kardashians.
Full of mahogany and chevron flooring, this warm home library is customized with French doors, making it easy to access the outdoor patio. While you're there, enjoy reading a good book in privacy, made possible by the contemporary style arched doorway.
Need a lift? Let this customized elevator give you a hand, with its rich combination of texturized wood interior.
We all know how fashion conscious the West duo is, so this large walk-in closet was exactly what they needed. Rows of built-in storage, wooden shelves and racks perfectly line the walls, as several can spotlights shine down, accentuating the trendy fashion labels the couple wears.
A fireplace in the master suite, seating area, and a spot to change, would give the couple plenty of room to lounge, along with tons of natural to brighten up the space.
For a night out on the town, the Wests need some extra time getting ready, and this lavish master bath delivers. Equipped with an impressive steam shower, spa tub and massage area, the Wests could have been pampered all day.
This spa tub is definitely soothing, with a cultured marble deck, steps and even an arched window for a view to the luscious outdoors.
To escape their busy lives and paparazzi, Kim and Kanye most certainly need a personal retreat. This balcony, off the master suite, offers tranquility with a seating area perfect for two.
No Mediterranean-style home would be complete without a grand pergola. This elegant pergola is elongated for outdoor dining under massive canopy pillars, and is situated in the grassy area at the back of the property, next to the swimming pool.