I’m a junky for change and all the positive energy that comes with new beginnings, so I love to make New Year’s resolutions, especially when they revolve around improving my home décor. Since I am surrounded by a crew of amazingly talented folks at both Nell Hill’s stores, I asked a few members of our team to share some New Year’s decorating resolutions you might want to adopt to make your home even more lovely in 2013 (thankfully, none of them involve dieting!!). 

Mary Carol: Do Something Wonderful with Your Windows

For years, I was convinced that shutters were the only kind of window treatments that would work in my living room.  I was afraid that since my old home is no longer plumb, drapes would hang unevenly and look funny. But my aching love of beautiful textiles made me reconsider. I wanted to add more of the drop-dead-gorgeous fabrics we sell at Nell Hill’s Briarcliff to my home. So, I revisited the idea of drapes, thinking they could be my ticket to fabric paradise. I am so glad I did, because I was completely wrong – my windows look lovely framed by simple fabric panels.

Pandora’s box was opened, and I started dressing as many windows in my home as possible with beautiful fabric treatments.  Next on my hit list: updating the tired drapes in my bedroom. I prefer subtle colors in my bedroom, perhaps because I am around lots of brilliant color at the stores all day and by bedtime, my over-charged brain needs a chance to chill out. The camel and cream zebra  print I used for my drapes is the perfect blend of edgy and serene.

Check out these cute-as-a-button Roman shades I had made for my kitchen windows!


Chery: Re-envision Your Decor

My home always seems so bare right after I take down the holiday decorations. But I’ve found that this is the perfect time to look at my décor with fresh, new eyes and make some much-needed changes. That’s exactly what Chery suggests as her New Year’s decorating resolution. First, she says, take a critical look at everything in your home. Start with the displays in your bookcases and on your side tables. How can you edit them so the design is clean? As you pinpoint items you are not using or no longer love, donate them to a charitable organization so they can bring joy to someone else.

Once you’ve done a good, thorough cleaning out, Chery suggests taking a second look at your furniture placement. Does the flow of each room work? Are all the furnishings to scale? If not, try moving pieces from room to room, using them in new places and in new ways. Often, when Chery helps Nell Hill’s clients redecorate their homes, she will move chairs or bookcases from one room to another, dramatically remaking the appearance of the home without spending a nickel. To find out more about our in-home design services, give us a call!


Diane:  Hang Some Beautiful Art

Take a look at the walls of your home. Are they filled with artwork that makes your heart sing? If not, here is Diane’s New Year’s decorating resolution for you: Fill those big, yawning spaces. She explains that you can pick out amazing furniture, sensational window and floor coverings, and perfect accents, but until you hang some artwork, your space will not feel finished. I couldn’t agree more.

Far too often, Nell Hill’s customers tell us they don’t hang art in their homes because they are afraid they won’t buy the “right” artwork or hang it “correctly.” Toss that one out the window, because in my book, the only “right” artwork is the kind that makes your heart skip a beat. And the only “correct” way to hang it is the way that pleases you. Can it get any better than that?

Diane suggests that when you shop for artwork, first focus on the emotional impact the piece has on you. When you find a piece that makes you all goosey, don’t even think about whether it will match your décor. It doesn’t have to use the same colors as your sofa or wall. It just has to make you happy. That’s the rule of thumb I follow in my home, too. I toss together every color, medium, style and size. None of it matches. And I think that makes my displays that much more powerful.

Diane also points out that you don’t have to spend a lot to get great art. They could be inexpensive framed prints like we sell at Nell Hill’s, originals by beginning local artists, family heirlooms or vintage pieces from an antique store.


Bruce: Add Theatrical Lighting

“All the world’s a stage, so you need to light it well,” says Bruce, our resident actor and singer. Bruce uses three creative techniques to create dramatic lighting in a home. The first is “framing,” where you place a pair of matched lamps on either side of a killer display. Try it on your buffet or mantel this year. You’ll be surprised by how the lamps spotlight the tableau.

Bruce’s second category is “illuminating,” using lovely lamps to provide the light you need to perform a task, like reading. His favorites are the pharmacy lamps we sell at Nell Hill’s.

I love Bruce’s last category: “highlighting,” where you use a small accent lamp to call attention to something very special to you. To pull off this fun technique, pick out a few sentimental objects, like snapshots of loved ones, a treasure from vacation or a family heirloom. Then, place it on a side table under the downward light of an accent lamp. Every time you walk by this special, sacred space, you’ll smile.


Macy: Freshen Up Your Accent Pillows

At Nell Hill’s Briarcliff, Macy is our Pillow Princess. She designs custom pillows that will make you swoon. Her secret? Fearlessly mixing textiles and filling the pillows with high-quality down form inserts. Her New Year’s decorating resolution suggestion is to replace all your old poly forms with down pillow forms.

When you do, you will be amazed by how sink-into-soft your pillows look. Instead of the stiff, uninviting appearance you get with poly form pillows, those stuffed with down inserts are plump and full and indulgent. Unlike poly forms, down forms don’t lose their shape. Just plump them and they are perfect again. We have a huge stock of down pillow forms made of duck and goose feathers and down, the only kind we use in our pillows at Nell Hill’s. Come on in and pick some up!


Next Week … January is an ideal time to get your home organized. I’ll share some tips for doing so with style.


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20 Responses to “Nell Hill’s Decorating New Year’s Resolutions”

  1. Lisa Fernandez Says:

    I am actually excited for tomorrow to come so that I can start taking down all my Christmas decor. As much as I live 335 days a year anxiously awaiting Thanksgiving so that I can begin to decorate for Christmas, once New Years comes I want a change. I want to put things away so that I can re-invent for the coming year. Like you said there is something to be said about seeing your home after and beginning again to think of what to change, re-arrange etc. I love all your tips and pointers. I must say the little lamps idea, accenting your favorite things is such a wonderful idea. We found a little antique secretary on ebay that arrives this weekend. Ever since I went to your home and saw your sweet secretary in the livingroom which you have pictured on this post with the little lamp, I have been searching for one so that I can put my blue and white ginger jars and blue and white vases on top like you have. Perhaps I will find a small accent little lamp and place it on the secretary as well. Can’t wait to try it. Here’s to 2013 may it be a blessed year for all of us. It has to be, your new book is coming out! Yeah!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Funny I’m already excited about next fall.

  2. Patty Every Says:

    Love getting your blogs in my email. Reminds me when I get a new magazine in my mailbox!
    makes my day!
    My question is I need to repaint a couple rooms in my home and loved the paint color in Mary Carol’s living room. Would you share the color?

  3. Ana Says:

    Wonderful ideas! Can’t wait to start taking down my Christmas, as well, and trying some fresh ideas! Love your stores and blog!

  4. Lisa Brown Says:

    I too, love your cute-as-a-button Roman shades. I would love any insight into your source or a pattern number. Or, does Nell Hills offer custom window treatment services? Thanks in advance. Lisa Brown, number one Nell Hills fan :-)

  5. Carrie Says:

    Love these tips! I’m very inspired! Happy New Year!

  6. Franki Says:

    HAPPY NEW YEAR to ALL!! franki

  7. Bobbie Pullen Says:

    Thanks for the motivational ideas for perking up my home. I am going to begin with my window treatments.

  8. Barbara Medeiros Says:

    Happy New Year!
    I wanted to make a comment about the roman shade treatment you’ve highlighted in this newsletter. I’ve used the identical style in our south-facing guest bedroom and found that I needed to use a roller shade underneath to prevent sun fading. And, if I did it again, I would opt to use a hobbled roman or simply create the same effect with a deep valance…I don’t care for the “sheet-at-the-window” look when the shade is lowered…all wrinkly and flat!

  9. cindy Says:

    Thank you for the great ideas and inspiration.
    Hugs, Cindy

  10. Barbara Mura Says:

    I certainly enjoyed all of the suggestions in your current newsletter. However, when I read Bruce’s suggestions regarding lighting, it hit me again how awful I think the new light bulbs are. Can you give those of use who love the warm glow of incandescent light bulbs any suggestions to compensate for the dreadful “white light” of the new bulbs? I know there are some bulbs that supposedly mimic the color of incandescent, but they just don’t make the grade. Do you know if there are any improvements coming in the near future?

  11. Sherry Cat Says:

    Happy 2013!!! My new year resolution is to follow through with more of the ideas you inspire in me. Keep up the fantastic work you do and the positive attitude you put into it. Wishing all of you peace, prosperity and happiness this fresh new year. Now what color shall I paint the bedroom………..Hmmmmmm

  12. Cheryl Schwindt Says:

    Thank you for the blog. Again, I read this several times because I will notice something else in your blog. I talked to Bruce about buying 2 lamps for a cabinet that I loved even though it doesn’t match anything else I have bought from your store but love the look. The cabinet was distressed and made to look old with paint but he did tell me that the Chinese Fu Dog lamps would be perfect. I want to say “thank you” to all the help that we get at your stores. It’s okay to lke things just because and then incorporate them in your house. I need 2 more chairs and am waiting for the right chair to come into the store. I also am rearranging furniture. Didn’t know that it was okay to put a sofa table next to a wall and then the sofa in front. Again another myth.

  13. Mary Carol Says:

    Hi Patty, I’m so glad you like my living room! It’s been a lot of different colors, as you can imagine (Dan begs for one thing in our marriage: color security. Can’t deliver on that one!). Right now, it’s Sugar Cookie, from my own Mary Carol Artisan Paint line. Give us a call at 877-746-4320 for samples of this or any of my other custom colors.

  14. Mary Carol Says:

    Hi Lisa, AKA Number-One-Nell-Hill’s-Fan! Thanks for your kind words about my kitchen curtains! We do handle custom curtain orders at Nell Hill’s and we could make you some just like mine (with your fabric of choice, of course). Just give the Fabric Room Queens at Nell Hill’s Briarcliff a call for details, 877-746-4320.

  15. Mary Carol Says:

    Hi Barbara,
    Great ideas! My windows face my shaded courtyard so I don’t have an issue with sun fading. Your tips will be really helpful for those with sunnier views than mine. Thanks for sharing!

  16. Mary Carol Says:

    Hi Barbara (Mura), I’m sorry to say I don’t have any suggestions for energy efficient bulbs that have a softer, warmer glow. I would suggest talking with a lighting specialist at a lighting store. Or, does anyone else out there have any ideas?

  17. Lisa Brown Says:

    Thank you sooo much for the info!! I will give the Briarcliff store a call.

  18. Robin Frank -- Vision Interiors Says:

    Mary Carol , you are so right about window drapery panels ……. Hang em high … And more over on the wall … The vertical line is Always right and with very few exceptions always the perfect window treatment for every room (. And nothing kills a room like most gathered valances ) you have such beautiful and reasonable fabrics …. 3 -3.5 yards more than enough for any panel , and best investment for the $$$ for rooms !

  19. Joy Says:

    Thanks so much for sharing your wonderful ideas. Your blog reminded me about questions I have had about choosing draperies. Do you hang them with other window coverings? If so, what is appropriate, bamboo shades, regular shades, small shutters? If draperies are hung in order to close over the window, do you suggest the baton pull that one finds in hotels? if draperies are hung with rings, it doesn’t seem like a good idea to pull on the fabric to close the draperies. One last question, what draperies can be used over sliding glass doors (for example for a bedroom)? Do they just pull to one side? Thanks again for any and all advice.

  20. Robin Frank -- Vision Interiors Says:

    To Joy …. I suggest that at your bedroom slider to (hang bigger panel that is to close ) use a rod wider than the door and split the fabric so that it pulls to both sides and hangs more over on the outside walls . Then the bedroom window remains balanced .you would do the same thing at any door or French door as well . Love to add shades under the panels as i prefer to hang panels higher than than the window trim closer to the ceiling which leaves room for a shade like a matchstick or a short roman . Yes to a wand so your not grabbing the fabric to close . Panels are my go to window treatment ….

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