Category Archives: House & Garden

Christmas Decorating Ideas

If you’re like me then somehow Christmas catches you by surprise every year. I always say “next year I’ll get everything done in advance”, but I never do. So here are some ideas for easy, last minute Christmas decorating:

Seasonal Foliage

Holly, berries and pine cones all give a seasonal feel and can be found for free – just make sure you have permission to gather them. For a jollier look you can use red or metallic indoor spray paint on them. Or if you don’t live where this sort of thing grows can always buy artificial holly instead.


One upon a time candles were just for providing light. Now they’re items of decor in their own right. Not only can you buy candles that look cheerful and Christmasy, you can buy ones that smell Christmasy. Mulled wine is the one I like best, I find it very evocative of the Christmas spirit as well as pleasant in its own right. Always take all safety precautions when using candles.

Seasonal Appliques

I prefer to use the word “applique” or “decal” rather than “sticker” because I’m talking about the sort you can remove easily. You can buy packs of Christmas themed stick ‘n’ peel decals at very affordable prices and some can even be stored for use next year. Another advantage is that they’re simple enough for kids to use, letting them feel part of the holiday decorating. Just make sure you really do get ones that will come off easily! As always, remember to check out the reviews before you buy.

Ribbons and Bows

Almost anything can be made to look seasonal if it’s wrapped up like a gift! Different people like different colours, but red and gold are a classic combination for Christmas. Try using some Christmasy ribbons and bows on cushions, chair backs, doors, etc. Crafters can probably think of more advanced uses and ways to incorporate a seasonal feel into other projects. Be careful not to place ribbons or bows on electrical equipment or anything else that could be a fire risk.

Mini Trees

Not everyone has the space – or the desire – for a full blown Xmas tree, natural or artificial. However a miniature Christmas tree or two placed on a strategic shelf or tabletop can be extremely effective addition to the decor. Some come pre-decorated or even prelit.


There are many more ways to display your Christmas cards than simple putting them on shelves – there are a variety of greeting card holders available to buy, from plain to intricately decorated. If you’re especially creative then you could combine your favourite to form a display or even a hanging mobile. Or you could just string them together with twine and hang them at appropriate points.

And there’s no need to restrict yourself to the cards you’ve received this year. If you get a particularly attractive card you can keep it for next year. As well as extra decoration, this provides a growing string of memories.

Don’t forget about the cards you’ve bought yourself to send. I always buy far too many. So rather than let them go to waste I use them for decoration as well.

Dolls’ Houses

Why should the full size house be the only one to be decorated for Christmas? If you or a child has a dollhouse or other miniature building it can be great fun to decorate that as well. Almost anything you can get for a full size house can also be bought in miniature, from sacks of toys to Christmas trees. Make sure you double check the size to make sure that whatever you buy fits the scale of the doll house.

Whatever decorations you choose, please be very careful. Keep anything flammable away from danger spots and take special care to make sure that children and animals can’t get caught up or otherwise hurt themselves.

Gothic Bedroom Ideas

“Gothic” doesn’t have to mean dull and miserable – it can also be exciting and sensuous with the suggestion of forbidden fruit. No wonder so many people like the idea of a gothic bedroom design. Here are a few ideas for how to turn your bedroom into a gothic lair:


The word “gothic” makes most people think “black”. Black certainly has its place in any gothic colour scheme, but don’t overdo it. Too much black can be impractical. As well as making the room very hot during the summer it also makes it more difficult to find things and to prepare yourself. If you do want a lot of black then make your you balance it with pools of light in strategic places – for example by the dresser or mirror.

An alternative to black is grey, which can give the impression of stone, castle walls and dungeons. Grey on its own is pretty dull, so if you go down this route you’ll need accessories to complete the image.

The other main colour for a gothic bedroom is red – blood red, of course. Again, don’t overdo this. A few splashes in strategic places will make a big impact.

And don’t forget white. Yes, it does have a place in a gothic colour scheme – think skulls and bleached bones!

The Bed

The bed is the centrepiece of any bedroom. It’s possible to buy intricate wrought iron structures or even themed coffin beds! If that’s a little over the top for either you tastes or your bank account then there are less drastic ways to “goth up” your bed.

Bedding is the first place to start, and here black can be a good choice. Combining black sheets with blood red pillows or vice versa is a classic option, the whole thing made more sensuous if you can afford to buy silk. If you want something a little less dark and with a touch of humour then there are plenty of appropriate designs such as skull sheets. Although many of these are aimed at kids there are some tasteful options for adults.

If your bed has a headboard and/or bedposts then these can be used to display appropriate accessories. How do you fancy waking up to a grinning skull staring at you from the end of the bed?


As well as the bed, most other furniture can be bought in gothic style. It doesn’t have to be extreme. Just a few extra twirls in the design of a cabinet can make it feel at home. A less expensive option is simply to use your existing furniture and cover it with a drape of appropriate colour and/or design.

Remember that even vampires need light! Wall lights, fittings and shades are also available in many styles that would suit the gothic theme. You’ll probably want to arrange for “light pools” in strategic areas where you need to be able to see well, for example when dressing.


I’ve already mentioned these in association with the bed, but they can be used all round the room. From large wall hangings to small items such as trinket boxes you can buy almost anything with a gothic theme. Avoid overdoing it though – you don’t want your bedroom to end up looking like a junk store! Less can be more.

Mirrors are a great addition to most rooms, even if your reflection doesn’t show! You can buy mirrors with wonderfully gothic surrounds, everything from bones to dragons. In addition, mirrors help to make a room feel larger and less cramped – this might be particularly important if you’ve gone heavy on the black.

Another classic gothic accessory is the candlestick. Be extremely careful if you decide to use real candles. To avoid the risk of fire you might prefer to use artificial candles that simulate flickering flames without the risk of fire.

Kids’ toys might sound strange for an adult bedroom, but they can work really well. Toys have a great emotional impact, especially when found in an incongruous setting like a gothic bedroom. That’s especially true if the toys themselves are somehow “wrong” – a warped doll or an evil clown perhaps.

A big advantage of accessories such as these is that they are easy to change. So if you do have a large number of items and can’t decide which you like best then you can swap them around every so often rather than cluttering the room up by trying to display them all at once.

However you decide to decorate your room, remember: even goths are allowed to have fun!