Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

How to Get a Wellness-Inspired, Living and Dining Room

People of all ages and levels of wellbeing are interested in leading their best lives in their homes and that means their homes must support them in all their health and wellness endeavors, with or without a gym membership. In this week’s Joy of Nesting, you’ll learn how to get a wellness inspired living and dining room to give you better common areas for reconnecting with yourself and loved ones.

Why You Need Better Spaces for Reconnecting with Yourself and Loved Ones

Being at home more has made everyone think differently about how your home supports your health and wellness. Now and for the foreseeable future, your home is one of the most important assets in your life, not just as a financial investment but from an emotional standpoint too.




You need it to be not only beautiful to your senses but also, supportive of the healthy lifestyle you want to lead. A bright, well-planned kitchen for prepping healthy meals; a bedroom designed as the perfect down time respite; a beautiful, comfy common area or two for reconnecting with yourself and loved ones; inspiring spaces for your workouts; and restful color schemes. Making your home ‘user friendly’ doesn’t mean you have to give up the aesthetics you want either, in fact, quite the contrary. How it looks is actually super important too.

A beautiful room has all the power of the ocean because it elevates your mood, energizes or relaxes you, and most importantly it inspires you to live a healthier, happier, more balanced life. But if your home is dragging you under instead of supporting you in your best life, let’s get you some real results.


I’ve got you covered.

Where to Begin

Start your design projects with the living room and work your way around to the dining room and entry. Whether you design one room or your entire home you want the styles and colors to flow; to form a visually unified whole.

I always start with the living room. Sometimes you need additional window space, sometimes you need a doorway widened, and sometimes you need a strong visual anchor (some might call it a focal point) like a mantel, fireplace surround and flanking built-in bookcases. It depends on the home and budget.



Above, Leanne Ford




Furniture and Accessories

Choosing furniture and accessories is an art, not a science! Therefore, strict decorating rules really don’t apply. However, there is always one best furniture arrangement in almost every situation.

Start each room by placing the largest pieces first, with no furniture placed on diagonals. When first starting out, I like to stand in the main entrance to the room, where you approach the room, generally coming from a formal or informal entry. I try to make the biggest design statement from this vantage point. In my own living room, you turn left from the formal entrance from a double wide doorway with a Palladian arch Since only the side of the fireplace is seen upon entry, I placed the sofa to be the main focal point facing the entrance. The sofa, main armchairs and cocktail table are grouped around the fireplace, floating in the room. I also chose this floating arrangement because the room is over 800 square feet and a room this large really needs two to three conversation areas, or furniture groupings.





An average size sofa is 90 inches wide. An average size chair is 34 inches wide. For larger rooms you can go well over 100 inches for sectional sofas and 40 inches for armchairs. Just remember with pieces this large, other furniture will look dwarfed if they’re not to this scale.



Choose simply and elegantly designed cocktail tables and lamps. A lot of designers think they can save their clients’ money by choosing cheaper lamps and tables but really, it’s better to save money on the overall size of your home rather than skimp on quality anywhere else in the home.

Today good quality lamps cost $800- 2,000 per lamp. Similarly, many cocktail tables today have poor quality and tacky design. When in doubt, choose iron framed designed cocktail tables with simple finishes in gold, black or gunmetal gray and thick, beveled glass tops. Wood finishes are particularly sensitive to nicks and chips in many of today’s products so again, go with high quality brands.

Warming up the Dining Room

I’m fond of telling my clients and readers that a dining room is a vast sea of wood. Think about it. Wood chairs, wood table, wood sideboard. Add to that wood frames on the floors, base and crown molding and doorways. It has all the potential for being the coldest feeling room in the home! For this reason, I always have at least two chairs and drapery panels done in fabric. I love to coordinate them with whatever is going on in the formal living room, even if they not within sight of one another. Whether you have print fabrics or solid fabrics include a sense of continuity between the two formal room’s finishes and materials.



How your rooms flow; where you place furniture; how densely you furnish your home; the amount of natural light it has; the ceiling height; even the dimensions of the doors all add up to the overall feel of your home.

A home that’s open with plenty of natural light, natural materials, healing colors and clean lines give your home, and thus, you the feeling of wellness and contentment.

Thanks for dropping by Joy of Nesting! I love sharing all my best design and wellness tips with you right here on the blog and on my InstaGram page! But I also created this great little, at a glance check list to help you better navigate the whole new world of Wellness Design! It’s free yes, but it acts as a great primer and outline for your journey to a healthier home.

Here is the link to the Wellness Home Check List.

See you next time friend!


For more on spaces for reconnecting with yourself and loved ones, check out “The Functional Home: How to Use all the Rooms in Your Home”.

“Your Exercise Sweet Spot: how to create time and space for yoga, workouts and meditation”

You’ve been procrastinating on your workouts. You know you need to exercise but you don’t want to go to the gym. It’s time to create time and space for yoga and workouts; it’s time to identify ‘your exercise sweet spot’. 




Finding the Time and Space for Yoga and other Workouts

Whether it’s a proper in-home workout room, a guest room, or an unused corner of your formal living room, decide on the best option and start optimizing it! Your health is priority number one.

Items to Have on Hand

Have any items you will need stored nearby such as hand weights, a rebounder, a Yoga mat, stationary bike, etc. Earmark a nearby closet or purchase attractive, lidded baskets for storage. If everything is close by and in attractive containers (that maybe even coordinate with your design scheme!) you’ll be more likely to use them. You are setting yourself up for success early on! 




I also like to have a few new gadgets to inspire me like an attractive mat, great fitting workout clothes, 5 and 10 lb. hand weights, a stability ball, foam roller and kettle ball. Having these little purchases handy signal to your brain that it’s time to work out and that you’re important enough to invest in. And hey, turn on some fantastic music and light a soy scented candle while you’re at it!

There is usually at least one untapped spot in your home to claim as your workout space. Choose a space with plenty of natural light and if possible, one with a view. Don’t feel you have to have only one space for working out though. Having two or three spaces is ideal. Where you use your stay bike can be completely different from where you do your yoga or use your rebounder.



Alternate Yoga Spots

When the weather is good my favorite yoga spot is on my beautiful, protected patio surrounded by potted boxwood and ferns. In bad weather it’s at the end of my large formal living room with big picture windows overlooking a beautiful garden path and fountain. Once you’ve experienced the ease of working out at home, you’ll wonder why you never bothered to do it before.

In order to be effective, in order to actually move that stubborn needle on your fitness-o-meter you will want to be able to rely on your home as a default place for exercise. I’m not suggesting you give up your fitness center or yoga studio, keep them by all means. But home is where you will be your most consistent. Let’s dive into why. 



MIndset Tools for Following Through with Yoga and Workouts

“Motivation is overrated. Environment often matters more” says James Clear in his book “Atomic Habits”. The majority of my workouts happen in my own environment: at home in our den and out in nature around the neighborhood. In the den, I have a stationary bike; a rebounder that I love to dance-bounce on; a yoga mat; stability ball; ankle and wrist weights and hand weights. These didn’t cost a fortune and they don’t take up a huge amount of space and that’s why the den is so perfect for them. The den is also where the big flat screen is. When I work out, I allow myself to watch Netflix, Peacock and Amazon Prime movies. 

My days are so tightly scheduled that there really isn’t much time for television. Having a movie or favorite series on in the background is great impetus to get my afternoon workouts done. This works beautifully for me, and I’ve been consistent with my exercise programs my whole life, so I know this will work for you too.




A designated, in-home space for exercise helps you be more consistent on a daily basis, with or without a gym, social distancing or not. Going to the gym for some of us is not an option. But there’s more. Relying solely on a gym allows too much room for excuses. “I’d have to do my hair or drive somewhere to workout” or “I don’t feel like going anywhere in the rain” or “by the time I drive, park and walk to the gym i won’t have enough time left to workout”. 

Sometimes even a short ten-minute drive to your club and finding a parking spot and walking across the parking lot can be too much when compared to the thirty second walk to a den or workout room in your home. 


Creating Time for Yoga and Workouts

Equally important to where you work out, is the mindset shift of the actual ‘scheduling’ your exercises. The actual scheduling it in your daily calendar is a huge shift from just hoping you’ll get your workout done before dinner. The three most powerful ways to do this are 1) set a certain time of day, every day to exercise. 2) split your workout into two shifts, one in the morning before work, say a 20-minute session on your stay bike or 15 minutes on the rebounder and one in the afternoon, such yoga and abs. 3) put it in your digital calendar.  

For me, a 7:30 a.m. stationary bike session and a 4:30 Yoga session work extremely well. And lastly, make it non-negotiable. When you think about it, nothing is as important as your wellbeing. Being physically and emotionally healthy is the foundation for everything you do from feeling and looking great to how you show up for yourself or as a partner or parent, to how you perform at work, to how deeply you enjoy your down time. 

Get out your digital calendar. If you don’t have one, get one on your phone today. Digital calendars allow you to type in an activity and repeat it on a daily basis without the need to retype it over and over again. Starting next Monday, schedule your morning exercise at 7:00 am. Choose from walking, treadmill, stationary biking or rebounding. 

Next, schedule your afternoon workout at 5:30 or whatever time you know without a doubt you’ll follow through. If you wait too late in the day it won’t get done! The afternoon workout should be devoted to weights or yoga.  Having set routines will keep you successful. And if you fall off your routines, do not, I repeat, do not beat yourself. You’re going to slack off. This is a fact. Just accept it as part of life and forge ahead. Come Monday, get right back on that pony. No excuses! Monday is a non-negotiable day and sets you up for success the rest of the week. 

Lastly, save Sunday for an enjoyable walk with the dog, or take Sunday off completely. Down time is important enough to schedule too!



That’s it for today. Thank you for tuning into Joy of Nesting! If you don’t already follow me, I’m on Instagram at @ssegerstrom where I post all things design and wellness. And if you’d like to delve deeper into my health and wellness plans, take my free ecourse, the  7 Week Wellness Challenge for Women! When you’re healthy, in shape and feeling attractive, taking care of yourself is an incredible joy! You can read each module in under fifteen minutes, just once a week.

Bye for now!


For more tips on wellness at home, check out my article, “Zhush Your Nest in 2022.”


The Fall Home, Beautiful Ways to Freshen Your Look Before Halloween … plus To Do’s for Your Fall 2021 Calendar

  • Each season has its own energy and fall inspires baking, entertaining and freshening up your nest. To help you make the most of it, I’ve compiled my favorite list fall decorating plugins to freshen the home and elevate your energy. Get some beautiful ways to freshen the look of your home this fall. 






It’s okay to want your home to function, feel and look it’s best. It is after all, a foundational part of living your best life. Keep it clean, organized and beautiful to the senses and it will reward you every day of the year.

Saying goodbye to summer is definitely bittersweet. So, let’s set you up for success now by dialing in some autumn joy around the homestead.  

Fall Wreaths

Make the announcement at your front door that you’re ready for fall. Try fresh wreaths made of olive leaves and branches, or beautiful magnolia leaves.

I like to skip the bows. I like the look of just the greenery but also, so many bows are cheaply manufactured these days.

Lap Blankets in Fall Tones 

Lap blankets are such a cozy touch. I think I have them in every room! They encourage downtime and snuggling and impart feelings of wellness into your home.

What autumn hues can you add to your home that won’t look out of place? Rusty colors like cognac and burnt orange tend to go well with blue or gray themes. Just look at a color wheel and you’ll see they’re opposites on the wheel and quite compatible.







Fall Salt and Pepper Shakers 

This may seem silly at first, but shakers are a mainstay for holiday entertaining. Using them as seasonal decor is only natural. I have shakers for every season. My cherished shakers for fall are a pair of classic ceramic pumpkins my sister-in-law Ann gave me. It’s a joy to bring them out every year. 

Fall Candles

There are so many great fall candles to choose from. I especially love Votivo Tuscan Olive and Black Ginger; and Archipelago Pumpkin Macchiato. I also love little pumpkin shaped candles. They look so sweet scattered on tables and kitchen counters. 

Fresh Foliage to Freshen the Look of Your Home for Fall

Any fall foliage is beautiful indoors. If you’re lucky enough to have them in your garden and know how to work with difficult materials, branches of maple, fig, pomegranate, and pear make spectacular entrance arrangements. Remember to pulverize a few inches of the ends of the branches so they can absorb water. Use a tall, narrow, heavy vase for such arrangements and a sturdy, heavy “frog”. ‘




Some Fall Foliage Suggestions

Nandina/Heavenly Bamboo is an absolute beauty in the fall. No water needed.

Liquid Amber is lovely too. Pulverize the ends of the branches so the water can get in. 

Pyracantha berries are toxic but if kids and pets aren’t regulars in your home, they’re beautiful in tall vases. Again, pulverize the ends.

I love fresh persimmons in my entry; as a dining room center piece; and on my kitchen counter. When they’ve ripened, I make Sharon Shore’s soft and tender persimmon cookie recipe. 

Pomegranates look great on your table tops, last for weeks and are quintessential fall fruit. Red pears too.

Myrtle, besides smelling great is beautiful in cut arrangements alone or as a filler. They require no water, and look good for months.



Fall Home Items for Festive Occasions

Tablecloths in tones of burnt red, chestnut or deep olive green.

Napkins, fall themed paper and fabric.

Serving platters, rustic or refined.

Special vases (as opposed to plain, clear glass)

Fine china, crystal and silver.

Handmade ceramic dinnerware and serving pieces.

Rustic wooden salad bowls.




To Do’s For your 2021 Fall Home Calendar

Fall is a transitional time and in Martha Stewart’s newest book “Organizing: the Manual for Bringing Order to your Life, Home and Routines” she states going from summer to fall means getting back to basics like freezing big-batch soups; preparing the garden for next year’s blooms; and reorganizing your pantry and closets.


  • September 25th: plan a weekly fall soup menu through November. I love vegan soups and do red bell pepper soup; tortilla soup; and minestrone among many others in vegan form.


  • September 30th: plan a monthly baking menu through November. I do homemade apple pie, pumpkin pie, white bread, focaccia and cornbread.


  • October 1st: bake apple pie.


  • October 15th: plant spring annuals and bulbs in pots. I like snapdragons, pansies, stock, tulips and daffodils. Plant before the ground turns cold and you’ll be rewarded with a health spring bloom.


  • November 1st: bring sensitive plants and topiary indoors for winter.


  • November 5th: hire help to do a deep cleaning around the home and garage.




  • November 15th: hire an organizer to work on the kitchen and pantry.


Baking and Cooking Product Rave 

My good friend and scripture expert Darlene recommended Miyoko’s Vegan Butter to me several months ago and it literally changed my life. I use it in all my soup’s, in baking, cooking fish and roasting veggies. It’s delicious! Thanks Dar. 




That’s it for today … and if you’d like to dig deeper into creating a home that elevates your mood and supports and inspires you to live a healthier, happier, more balanced lifestyle then check out my premier download “The Wellness Home”!

Bye for now! 



Get more tips for fall with my “Making Healthy Vegan and Vegetarian Soups that are Satisfying and Delicious“! You don’t want to miss these flavor combos!

Styling the Patio Like a Designer (with Things from Your Hardware Store!)




Who doesn’t love being in the garden? The fresh greenery, the blossoms, the smells. Sitting in my own garden or on the patio fills me with so much joy and energizes me like literally nothing else. I really feel for those who have seasonal allergies! Styling your patio like a designer is easy with things from your favorite hardware store.





Styling the patio is one of the most enjoyable, satisfying and dare I say, ‘easy’ designer projects you can do! To get you started, first peruse your favorite hardware stores, nurseries and even a discount store or two like Home Goods or TJ Maxx for an idea of what’s available right now, then start planning your space to understand what size furniture you need and what size pots and plants will work. Don’t be shy with size. I like to err on the larger side believe it or not.




Materials and Finishes for Patio Furniture

Rather matching the materials of your furniture, coordinate them. Choose things made from a variety of materials. Wicker or wood both mix well with iron, but iron doesn’t mix well with aluminum. Iron and aluminum are too similar to create visual interest plus the iron makes the aluminum look a little cheap.

Also, choose two to three matching pieces like I did with my dark brown weather resistant settee and chair which are my anchor pieces. This shows some planning and provides continuity. Then add different materials like iron. I added a black iron settee and a black, weather resistant, woven egg chair. These provide variety and give my outdoor room a unique, custom vibe. Adding even one piece of interest like a fashionable teak daybed with lots of pillows makes a big statement.





Patio Accessories

For accessories, always choose items that have a job or ‘purpose’ such as oversized lanterns, candlesticks, potted topiary, big comfy pillows in weather resistant fabrics, and even subtle wall décor like metal candelabra’s, iron trellis or wall fountains. By accessorizing your patio with things that have a purpose you’ll keep it from looking pretentious.

I recently ‘planted’ and ‘styled’ my own, current ‘downsized’ home patio using all the beautiful, glazed pots, full grown plants and iron pieces that came from my previous home. Because this yard is so much smaller than my previous home, I had lots of fun things to work with. 



I added things that go well with my existing potted ivy, double ball topiary, in gorgeous turquoise glazed terra cotta pots with bronze metal ‘feet’; my 8-foot-tall Texas privet triple ball topiary in a large cobalt blue glazed pot; my 20-year-old Meyer lemon in its rolled rim clay pot; the mature star jasmine I trained on an iron spiral topiary frame; and the five, enormous asparagus ferns that previously surrounded our pond.

Styling the Patio with Potted Plants

For the remaining iron planters and glazed pots I brought to the new home, I purchased English lavender, Spanish lavender, white bacopa, white geraniums, and several beautiful, upright rosemary from our beautiful nursery, Green Acres and my local Home Depot. I’ve never been a fan of colorful gardens, preferring instead lots of greenery and touches of white and purple flowers.





Patio Furniture Placement


But before purchasing any pots or plants, get your furniture placed. Placing the patio furniture will likely be the most challenging task you face. When placing furniture, place the outdoor dining table and chairs first. Try and place them so they are situated the closest to where you’ll exit the home with the food. In my previous home, because there was a central beam right in the middle of the patio, we had to be inventive. Also, one half the patio is covered so I chose to put the ‘softer’ furnishings under cover leaving the table and chairs to be placed furthest from the kitchen exit. In other words, weigh your options. 




This is where you and another family member might want to move things around, trying several arrangements. Or try the old-fashioned way, using life sized paper cut out versions of the furnishings you intend to buy.

Once you get the right furniture layout, it will feel ‘right’. You’ll know it like you know when you’ve bought the perfect handbag or jacket. You know without a doubt. I like to say it ‘double clicks!





Shiree’s Style File


  • For a more polished patio look, keep fabric, furniture, flower and planter colors to a minimum.


  • Opt for natural materials like iron, wood and woven for your furniture, but materials that are weatherproof and also natural looking are great choices too.


  • Do your base patio plants in classic evergreens like boxwood, English, French or Spanish lavender, rosemary, ivy, Texas privet, ferns and ivy and also add classic flower choices like white geranium and jasmine.


  • Choose classic garden art such as statuary, urns, plinths, trellis’, bird baths and fountains with a focus on quality, particularly in their finishes. Current day garden art has notoriously bad finishes. You can train your eye by touring Designer Showcases with gardens; paid garden tours such as Fioli in Northern California; and travels through Savannah Georgia, New Orleans, England and France where their sense of garden style is unerring.


  • Choosing patio fabrics is a challenge. If you’re unsure of how to use style, colors or don’t have a clear idea of quality stick with Sunbrella fabrics that are black, white, dark green and a little red.





Wellness Design is a huge topic! Creating a healthier, more beautiful lifestyle in your home is easy when you have my pretty little, easy to skim download, the Wellness Home Check List that gives you quick, at-a-glance details on the many aspects of wellness design, including adding non-toxic materials, more window space, views of nature and greenery to your home’s design or remodeling project.


The Wellness Home Checklist

That’s it for today friend! Bye for now!
For more on styling your patio, check out my blog post, “Creating a Healthier, More Beautiful Lifestyle in Your Home“.

Summer Entertaining Outdoors, Post Vaccine!

Summer and entertaining outdoors are almost synonymous, and now that the doors to our lives post covid are slowly opening, we are chomping at the bit to cook for our friends. 

As the gathering house and garden for many a summer party, I have summer entertaining down to a veritable science. Here are some of my best tips for organizing your next outdoor dinner party.



Via Suzie Anderson 


Shiree’s Summer and Outdoors Entertaining Blueprint

Monday- menu, table settings, and flower planning.
Tuesday- table linens washed and ironed. Place in a convenient place till the day before the party.
Wednesday- shopping for groceries, flowers and wine.
Thursday- have the house cleaned and do the “do-ahead” food prep. Pull out the necessary serving pieces and put them in a convenient place till the day before the party.
On Friday- do any baking or dessert that needs to be done, flower arrangements, choose music, more food prep, chill the wine, and do the table settings.
That leaves Saturday morning for the remaining food, a little time to get dressed, clean the kitchen one last time, and make the final preparations for your guests’ arrival.

Because I don’t have a lot of counter space in my kitchen, I usually set up a buffet on the dining room table and let guests serve themselves. There is a swinging door separating our dining room from the kitchen. This means I can close off the kitchen when it’s time for guests to come inside and serve themselves.

Getting in the Mood

I like to get into a festive mood a couple of hours before guests arrive by turning on the music and pouring a glass of iced tea. Right before they arrive, I assign the husband the jobs of door greeter and of lighting candles, opening and placing the wine on ice, and pouring us a glass. Since most guests enter our home by the front door, and access the patio through the living room, we open all the windows so we can catch the evening breezes and hear the fountains from outside.
Via Southern Girl City Mom

No Excuses About the Food

Once the noshing begins, take this bit of advice: make no excuses for the food. Friends and family are happy to be in your home enjoying your hospitality, and they really don’t care if the asparagus is a little undercooked. And don’t remind them. Put your perfectionisms away and enjoy yourself without explanations. People won’t remember the chilled salad fork, they’ll remember your relaxed, contented demeanor.


Shiree’s Style File

  • For parties of more than eight guests, encourage them to move around the home by doing a table for wine, glasses and chilled water in one room and a table of hors d’oeuvres in another. Shrimp is a great way to get people to circulate too.
  • Keep last minute plans to a minimum to avoid stressful situations when guests start to arrive. Do menus that can be mostly done in advance.
  • Remember to provide things such as a few throws for guests if the night turns cool.


  • Use lanterns for candles so the wind won’t blow them out.
  • I like to use white, unscented candles for entertaining. But still, I have been known to cheat and mix in battery operated ones too. They’re especially nice for hard-to-reach places or if children are present. And they don’t get messy as the night progresses. 
  • Grab a guest to assist you and personally serve the dessert course and coffee as an intimate touch. Let guests pass the tray with sugar and creamer.
  • Never use paper plates, paper napkins, plastic cups, and plastic utensils for entertaining. I like plain white, ten-inch buffet plates (one of my caterer friends says they’re too big but I love them), vintage silverware, and simple, clear glass, high quality wine glasses so guests can appreciate the color of the wine.


  • Cloth napkins that tend to go with the decor are my first choice. And white dinner plates work so well with them.
Via Cynthia Record
That’s it for today! And if you like polished skin, high energy, and an elevated mood, you have to try my free eCourse, The 7 Week Wellness Challenge where you learn tip of the spear health and wellness basics on fasting, anti inflammatory eating, exercising for joy and convenience, how to make your doctor part of Team You and more. Written and delivered once a week so you can go at your own pace. In an easy to read, easy to follow eCourse format delivered right to your inbox each week. 

Click here and give yourself the best Mother’s Day gift: the gift of health and wellness!
Bye for now, Shiree
For tips on “Zhushing Your Nest” click here and get my 3-to-5 Things Framework, a great tool for freshening things up around the homestead. 

The Functional Home: Use All the Rooms and Zones in Your Home

Even if your home is attractive, if it’s dysfunctional, disorganized or ill planned it can have a pretty negative effect on your health and psyche. So, before you do any decorating, let’s find ways to make your home more functional and utilize all the rooms and ‘zones’ in your home.

I hope you’re ready to make some lasting changes in your home. Let’s dooo this!




Clear the Clutter

A cluttered home causes anxiety and contributes to arguments; missed workouts; poor eating habits; lost items; missed deadlines and more. A cluttered home even contributes to… more clutter! Think about how smoothly your life runs and how balanced you feel when your home is in order. You don’t need Martha or Marie to tell you when you need to get organized! You know.


Organization Items

Baskets, bins and crates in different sizes

Drawer dividers (bamboo is nice!)

Labeling gun for binders and labels

Manila labels for labeling baskets

Tote bags/kitchen pot rack hangers for hanging totes

Ties for organizing electrical cords and wires

Binders, pocket divider pages and a triple hole punch for organizing papers that can’t be stored digitally

Lifts and pull-out drawers for inside cabinets

Lazy Susan’s

Professional or DIY closets and cabinets




Use All the Rooms in Your Home

Opening up the unused rooms of your home gives you choices and freedom. If your home could talk it would tell you that a closed off bedroom is like a leg that’s fallen asleep! Seriously though, why are you waiting on this? If you fail to plan a use for your spare room, someone will make plans for you. Don’t let that happen.

Here are some ideas for transforming your spare room.


Workout space

Craft’s/sewing room

Media room


Home office



Working at Home

To be their most effective, work zones must be well designed, and light filled. They are at their best cleanly designed and minimally decorated with custom built in cabinetry.

Place your desk near or in front of a window with a lovely view. For me, office design all starts with the desk. Provide three types of light: natural, ambient and task. In office design it’s all about the lighting and the storage. 

If you’re adept at space planning and product sourcing, you can design a lot of functions into your office space. My favorite hack to designing small work spaces is going vertical with tall storage type pieces and built-in cabinetry. Office spaces in the home are a great place to invest in built-in storage units. Sometimes the value of the home warrants this size of an improvement and sometimes not.

Reconnect at Home

The living room is usually considered to be a zone for connecting with yourself and loved ones. They are generally the most popular spaces within your home. But let’s think about this for a second. Let’s step outside the box.

If the room’s purpose is to reconnect with yourself, your partner or family, then watching television is actually counterintuitive. I get that sometimes you want to refrain from conversation. And that certainly has its place in life too. But a better way to reconnect than watching movies or television is through meal preparations (kitchen), during workouts or walks (exercise room or outside), eating (kitchen or better yet, the dining room), or savoring a cup of tea, or glass of wine together (kitchen, living room or patio).



Exercise at Home

The biggest obstacle to healthy habits is follow through. By having a space you love that’s designated for exercise, you create impetus which makes it easier to follow through consistently. The ideal is to have a standalone space for this purpose but if that’s not possible, don’t panic. Let’s explore your other options. Can you carve out a wonderful corner of your formal living room that’s seldom in use? Can you repurpose the guest room and maybe expand the window space? What about transforming a sewing room into a workout space? Would it be of better use as an exercise space or yoga room?

Whether it’s a room of your own or the corner of an unused formal living room, find a place that inspires you, where you want to spend time. Have any items you need such as hand weights, a rebounder, a Yoga mat, etc. stored nearby in a basket, closet or armoire for easy access.

If the space is attractive and everything is close by and in attractive containers, you’ll be more likely to follow through!

My Favorite Equipment


Peloton or Stationary bike


Two-, five- and ten-pound hand weights, two of each.

Yoga mat

Stability ball

Kettle ball

Hand towels

Full length mirror


Flat screen television Stereo

Inversion board




Sleep and Downtime

How are you sleeping? Do you get an optimal 8 hours a night? If you don’t now, the good news is you will once you start eating right and exercising. Sleep is the body’s time to heal. In order to do this efficiently you require your full 8 hours. 

For bedding, I recommend two weights of comforters (one light weight for warm weather and one heavier weight for winter); one decorative duvet cover (it’s like a giant pillow case that protects your comforter); two foam pillows for bolstering; two decorative pillow shams; two down or synthetic-down sleeping pillows; two decorative rectangular throw pillows (also called kidney pillows because they support your kidneys when you sit against them); one throw blanket for over the foot of the bed; an optional bed skirt; and an electric blanket for warming the bed before you crawl in. Consider getting an upholstered headboard. They’re luxurious additions especially if you enjoy reading in bed. Most designers can have these made-to-order for you. They are available in a wide range of prices and styles and are comparatively priced to wood or wicker.

For the best night sleep, keep the room temperature cool. 

Light Control for the Bedroom

In the main bedroom, plan on room darkening window treatments such as lined Roman shades, lined woven shades. Wooden blinds or shutters or not effective for room darkening and darkness, is imperative for a good night sleep. If you choose shades have them measured and installed to be big enough for exterior mounting. If you mount them inside the window frame, the gaps will allow light to seep through. Add an additional inch or two in width for better light control. 




That’s it for today! 

I hope you find all my ideas super helpful! I love sharing with you. And if you’d like to dig deeper into this topic then check out my free download “The Functional Home Blue Print” where I go further into each of the zones, plus I cover the biggest, most important zone of them all: the kitchen!

Here’s that link again.

Bye for now!



Design Help, Wellness and a Little Woo Woo

Wellness Design is a thing! Your home is one of your most important assets. You need it to be not only attractive and comfortable but also, supportive of the healthy lifestyle you want to lead!  Get some design help, wellness and a little woo woo for your own home with my at-a-glance Wellness Design Tips below.




A bright, well-planned kitchen for prepping healthy meals; a bedroom designed as the perfect respite; a beautiful, comfy common area or two for reconnecting with yourself (and your loved ones!); inspiring spaces for your workouts; and color schemes that soothe and refresh you. Making your home ‘wellness driven’ or ‘user friendly’ doesn’t mean you have to give up the aesthetics you want either. Quite the contrary!

In fact, how your home looks is actually super important.

When Wellness and Design Collide

Maybe it’s a new concept to you but wellness design is an actual ‘thing’. You certainly know what interior design is, what’s Wellness Design? Wellness Design is a fairly new concept that was first conceptualized by architects, designers and builders in an attempt to create building standards that protect you from the hazards of toxic building materials like asbestos and formaldehyde.

But there are other facets to Wellness Design too. It’s a proven fact that your home has the ability to elevate your mood, and energize or relax you but most importantly it can inspire you to live a healthier, happier, more balanced life at home. Unfortunately, if your home is dragging you under instead of supporting you, it can have the exact opposite effect. Let’s get you some real results post haste so you can get moving on your home today.

I’ve got you covered in this week’s article.




Colors for Wellness Design

Color is a powerful design tool and one of the easiest ways to engender feelings or emotions in your home. But reaction to color is highly subjective and each color comes with its own attributes and/or stigmas attached. For instance, yellow can feel sunny and cheerful for some people and signify cowardice for others. Pink is a pretty, feminine color that some love and other’s find cloying.

When you create spaces with health and well-being in mind, choose cooling, restful colors like cool blues; soft lavenders; pale blue- greens; the palest blushes; and crisp, clean neutrals. Cool colors recede, meaning, like a hairline they “go back” so when your walls are painted in light, cool colors it visually increases the size of the room. It adds depth at the end of a room, hallway or garden path. To give your home a healthy feeling and visually enlarge your spaces, use light, cool colors with minimal color changes and minimal darkness to lightness contrasts meaning keep everything fairly light, even if the colors are different.




Wellness Design in Common Areas

How your rooms flow; how you place furniture; how densely you furnish your home; the amount of natural light it has; the ceiling height; even the dimensions of the doors all add up to the overall feel of your home. A home that’s open with plenty of natural light, natural materials, healing colors and clean lines give your home, and thus, you the feeling of wellness and contentment. When each element is chosen within these perimeters the result will be a home that’s healing to your frayed psyche.

The goal is to create a home where you feel your best, most healthy self: organized, and on top of your game.

If your home needs a new floor plan, Chief Architect Room Planner is super easy to drag and drop and helps you easily visualize your furniture or remodel in 3D. For bigger jobs we use a Chief Architect rendering program. Your furniture layouts should be kept simple and straight forward. Nothing should be put on angles. Not rugs. Not sofas. Not fireplaces. Not kitchen islands.

Start placing furniture first with a large scaled piece like a large cabinet, at least 72 inches wide if you can. This acts as storage for entertainment equipment and also as an excellent visual anchor for the rest of the room. Having an ‘anchor’ piece (like a cabinet or fireplace) as I like to call them, and knowing where to place them will later simplify building the rest of your layout around it. I also prefer to plan the living room around an entrance facing sofa whenever possible.

Next identify any door-to-door traffic patterns (most living rooms have more than one doorway). Always keep traffic patterns clear of furniture and cords. Remember don’t get creative with furniture layouts. Save the creativity for your furniture styles, fabrics, rugs and accessories.

Choose sofas under 90 inches for small rooms. For large rooms, choose sofas 90 inches and over. Sofa tables and end tables are cumbersome and “busy” next to the sofa. Instead, use the cocktail table as a place to set drinks and save the end tables for between chairs. If lamps are needed next to the sofa use beautiful, swing arm lamps. They come in a variety of metals like shiny nickel and brushed brass.

Too much furniture is just as disconcerting as too little. Too much looks silly and too little feels impersonal. For the average size living room you need a 110 inch sectional or one to two 90 inch sofas, two 34 inch armchairs, two wood framed accent chairs, one cocktail table, and one to two end tables for between the armchairs. I like to do two armchairs and two open wood framed accent chairs in large living rooms.




Non-Toxic Materials in Wellness Design

Building and remodeling with natural materials throughout your home respects your health and allows you to feel your best when there. Ever been in a room that feels noxious? The wrong flooring or paint will do that. Natural solid, hardwood flooring is one of cleanest and safest options with few caveats. There are many green options for finishing or staining the wood, and a few less toxic glue options for sensitive types. Other great “wellness minded” flooring choices are tile and natural stone, though they are hard surfaces to stand on. Bamboo and some linoleum and some carpet options are more comfortable options but not as ecofriendly.




The Wellness Home at a Glance

Soothing colors and comforting textures

Supports healthier eating habits

Provides space for exercise and down time

Nature via enlarged window space

Fresh flowers and plants in the home

Features for a better night’s sleep like room darkening curtains

Better air quality and ventilation

Non-toxic building materials such as bamboo flooring, low voc paint and wool carpet

Supportive spaces for child and adult care such as assisted bathing, dressing and feeding

Water filtration systems

Luxury bath designs and features

Accessibility/having certain items within reach in the kitchen

Functionality such as space planning, rocker style light switches, lever doorknobs, touchless kitchen faucets or single-handed faucets

Safety such as textured flooring and even, consistent flooring transitions

Bringing joy home via mementos from travels, heirlooms, gifts from loved ones, artwork, books and things you personally find to be beautiful and useful

Kitchen amenities like pull out drawers or hydraulic pop-up drawers to keep counter appliances out of sight, walk in pantries, and swing out corner cabinets; stream lined or low-profile cabinet and appliance fronts

Zones for specific tasks and number of cooks

Smart refrigerators with built in family hubs; food inventory capability; smart faucets that automatically gauge water temperature

Anti-bacterial surfaces like quartz counter tops. Wood and many stone counters harbor bacteria, germs, fungus and mold


The Wellness Home Checklist

Thank you for stopping by Joy of Nesting today! 

Wellness Design is a vast topic, but understanding it is easy with my sweet little download, the Wellness Home Check List ! This check list gives you quick, at-a-glance details on the many aspects of wellness design for when you’re ready to remodel your kitchen, primary bath, replace flooring, increase window space and more.

Here’s that link again. Bye for now!

Bye for now, Shiree


For more on Wellness Design check out my post, “Bringing Beauty, Comfort and Joy into Your Home”!

8 Ways a Designer Can Make Any Small Room Look Larger

There are many ways to make any small room in your home look larger. Here are 8 tips from a pro designer. One of the things we learned in design school is how to visually enlarge and visually decrease spaces. Everyone loves a little trickery, especially when it comes to fooling the eye around your home! 






These simple elements and principals of design, light, line, scale, color, texture and many others have become helpful tools I use again and again in many of my projects.

Let’s have a little fun with small spaces!

What elements and principals of design visually enlarge a room? It depends on how and where they’re used. Take color for instance.

Colors that Make Small Rooms Look Larger

Red is a warm color. It advances, meaning it comes ‘at’ you. That means when put on a sofa, it will visually enlarge that sofa. However, when placed on walls, again it advances (just like on the sofa) but when it advances on wall the walls visually come toward you thus making the room appear smaller!

The key to visually enlarging your space with color is to use cool, receding colors like pale blues; cool greens like sage; pale lavender and soft grays.




No Skirts on the Furniture

This trick isn’t really a design element or principal but it’s one of my favorite visual tricks. Omitting skirts on sofas and chairs exposes more floor and allows light to pass beneath them, in return making the space around them feel larger.

Vertical Lines to Enlarge Small Rooms

You can enlarge a space with vertical lines such as floor length draperies mounted high on the wall, and possibly even right at the ceiling height. Be sure to allow enough room to mount them by allowing space for the finials, rings, drapery ‘header’ and brackets where applicable.

Minimal Color Contrasts Help a Small Room Look Larger

Color contrasts (contrasts ranging from dark to light) break up a space visually while few or no color contrasts expand a space visually and give it a more flowing appearance which allows the eye to move freer around the room. It does this because large color contrasts (i.e., navy blue versus baby blue) tend to stop the eye from moving around a space.

Minimal color contrasts give spaces a larger, open, airier feeling.




Plentiful Window Space Enlarges a Room Visually

Small spaces veritably cry out for windows, don’t they? Windows allow the eye to travel beyond the walls into the outdoor spaces beyond thus expanding the interior spaces significantly.

Expanding a Space Visually with Scale

This one is more advanced but you can really enlarge your spaces visually by using fewer and larger pieces of furniture. A large-scale piece in a pale wood such as a hutch, particularly if it’s backed with mirror with allow a space to feel ‘anchored’. Adding a large-scale sofa or small L-shaped sofa in a corner of the room is another great way to add space visually. They can offset one another nicely.

Clear Cocktail Tables

Instead of doing an ottoman or wood cocktail table, opt for a two leveled one of glass. Because cocktail tables are usually centered in the room, the transparency is a better option.




Shiny Surfaces

Lacquered cabinets/doors; highly polished floors such as polished stone; and glass or mirrored surfaces add space visually by reflecting light and/or imagery back into the space.

And there you have it!




That’s it for today and if you would like to learn how to create inviting retreats in your home; create spaces for exercise so you have more options (and stop missing those workouts!); and get all my basic how to’s on kitchens, work zones and techy kitchen stuff then download this free workbook The Wellness Home, 5 Ways to a Soothing, Supportive Home for Women with Arthritis and Chronic Pain today!

Bye for now, Shiree

PS – for more design goodness, check out “My 5 Design Principles that Make Your Home More Restful” to help you make the right decisions when it comes time to designing a home with health and wellness in mind.

Learning Mindfulness with Marsha Gehl

Marsha Gehl, DC (Doctor of Chiropractics) has been a healthcare provider/chiropractor for 30 years. Learning mindfulness has helped people with acute and chronic pain. It helps them establish healthier lifestyles. Her career naturally progressed over the years to include continued education in mental health and wellbeing.





Her own struggles with depression and chronic pain led her to discover meditation and later, led her to the mindfulness arena including a certificate in a teachers’ training program and eventually to becoming a Mindfulness and Meditation Educator.

I recently had the pleasure of talking to Marsha about ‘mindfulness’ and its role in our health.

Hi Marsha, thank you so much for taking time with us today! I’m excited to dig into this timely topic with you!





Q: What is Mindfulness?  


A: Mindfulness is an awareness of oneself in the present moment, on purpose and with intention, and without judgment.  It’s being aware of one’s thought and feelings in the moment and having the intention to make wise choices.  

It’s being aware of oneself and others, being able to notice how we are showing up in our relationships.  And it’s bringing wise choices to life’s circumstances as opposed to our habitual reactions, or reacting based on our conditioning, biases, or opinions.  

Mindfulness is a skillful means for navigating life with more meaning and purpose.  Like exercise is beneficial to the body, mindfulness is beneficial to mental fitness. It is training for a healthy mind. 





Q: Why Practice Mindfulness? 


A: The research and benefits of Mindfulness over the past twenty years has grown exponentially.  The growing evidence demonstrates the positive outcomes in physical, mental and emotional wellbeing.  Some of the benefits of mindfulness include improved blood pressure, alleviation and management of chronic pain, reduction in anxiety and depression, improvement in mood and behavior, decreased stress response, increased focus and attention.   

While mindfulness seems like a fairly new trend, the practices of Mindfulness have been around for thousands of years.  The history goes back to early Buddhist teachings and many other religious practices, taught by great philosophical teachers. Yoga is one of the very first practices of mindful meditation. 

Contemporary neuroscience shows that mindfulness practices can improve our brains.  They increase the brain’s areas of executive and critical thinking as well as shrinking areas of emotional reactivity and stress activation.  





Q: How Can Someone Cultivate Mindfulness? 


A: Like anything we do that is meaningful, worthwhile and important to our wellbeing, it takes practice.  A mindfulness practice increases our mental health and well-being.  It is an essential part of good physical and mental health.  

Mindfulness and meditation practices can be explored in many ways today. There are apps online, as well as personal teachers and virtual trainings.




Marsha’s List of Mindfulness Benefits


Understanding the nature of our minds, emotions and feelings; self-exploration and discovery into who we are and how we show up in the world.  

Relief of Anxious and Overwhelming Thoughts and Feelings


Practical skills to navigate life, creating a greater sense of wellbeing and ease in effective stress management of day-to-day stresses.

Positive Change


Exploring mindfulness and meditation practices to promote habits and establish a healthier mind and greater sense of well-being.




Skillful development to assist in mental and emotional regulation and intelligence.  Finding more focus and attention.


Developing and cultivating personal resources to move through life’s challenges with wise choices.  Quieting the reactive conditioning that keeps us stuck in negative cycles.  Learning to be present and open to the present moment; learning to befriend one’s self in all that life brings – the good, the bad, the ugly and the wonderful.  Making room for all of it leads to a more meaningful life.

Awareness, Choice and Agency

These contribute to our healing and the healing of humanity.





Shiree: Thank you so much Marsha for sharing this today. If my readers are interested in your services how can they connect with you?

Marsha: Yes, I do virtual classes on Zoom. There are 4 classes, one per week, each lasting about an hour. They are in 3 parts: didactic teaching bringing information and knowledge; practical application in meditation and practical tips to everyday living; and time for Q & A and sharing. Learning is best when we learn interactively from each other.




Shiree: for more info, email Marsha at [email protected].



The Wellness Home



If your home isn’t supporting you the way it is, are you ready for a change? Get some help via my complimentary premier design and wellness download, The Wellness Home, 5 Steps to a Beautiful, Restful Home for Women Who Value their Health and Wellness. It’s the prettiest little book. It’s a quick read with super easy design solutions that help you lead a beautiful, healthier lifestyle at home, plus my 3-to-5 Things Framework that gives you step by step actions to get started and stay on track. Get yourself some help, post haste!

That’s it for today. Thank you for stopping by!



Your home can be such a positive force in your life, providing structure, stability, protection and in my case, a place to heal. To find out how your home can be a place of healing, check out “Healing from Loss in the Home and Garden“.

How to Work with a Professional Organizer: Q and A with Stacy Hamilton!

I’m betting you love beautiful interiors almost as much as me, and that’s a lot! But as much as I love how a home looks, there is something else equally important that I want to share with you. Today we are going to learn how to work with a professional organizer. Enjoy my Q and A with Stacy Hamilton!

Why Work with a Professional Organizer

In order for your home to help you lead an active and balanced lifestyle it must be so much more than a pretty face. Even if your home is attractive, if it’s dysfunctional, disorganized and ill planned it can have a very real effect on your life. So, before you do any designing or decorating, I’ve joined forces with professional organizer Stacy Hamilton of Sorted by Stacy, Sacramento, California to get some key questions answered for you.

Let’s get started.





Q: Stacy, thank you so much for being a guest on Joy of Nesting today! As a professional organizer, what do you feel is the most important area or room in the home to get organized?

A: The most important area or room to get organized is the one that has the biggest impact on your day-to-day routine. I usually suggest the pantry and the kitchen because you’re going to see and feel an immediate improvement. A simplified kitchen means less time searching for things and more free time in your day. And it’s easier to shop for the week when you can see at a glance what you have and how much you’ll need. It also a great way to introduce my clients to the process of working with a professional organizer. It makes it easier for them when we later make the shift to organizing items with more emotional and sentimental attachment.




Q: Where and how do you start an organizing project with a client? Do you assess their situation? Or just look in cupboards and drawers and plan out from there?

A: Before we begin the process of organizing, I have an initial conversation with them about where they are now – possibly overwhelmed and stressed with no free time. And then find out where they want to be – calm, able to relax, and have more time to spend on what they want to do. After we figure out their priorities, I then create a plan to help them get to their desired outcome.

One of my roles as an organizer is to reconnect people with the things that bring them joy and happiness. For example, you may want more room for crafts, a home gym, or to have more time to spend with your kids or grandkids. We can help bring your vision to life through hands-on organizing sessions, as well as organizational tactics, systems and maintenance tips.




Q: How important is being organized in our homes?

A: We’re all spending more time at home now. It is so important for our mental and physical health to have a functional, beautiful environment that supports our lifestyle. When you have too much visual clutter and stored clutter, it is distracting. It takes us out of the present moment by reminding us of all the things we need to fix, donate, give to someone else or do something with. It also costs us by taking up valuable real estate in our homes and the time and energy to maintain it. By letting go of clutter and creating homes for everything you can have more space, more time, and more peace of mind.


Q: How can you inspire your clients to stay more organized, after you’re gone?

A: Hiring a professional organizer is like having a personal trainer for your home. We get you started, cheer you on and motivate you to keep going! I have found that after my clients have their homes or spaces organized, they feel lighter and free. Knowing what’s on the other side of an organized space motivates them to keep going and to choose ease and joy over “stuff”.


My main tips for upkeep are:


  • Be very intentional about what you buy or bring home. Clutter accumulates if we don’t continually get rid of old things to make room for new things.
  • Schedule regular organizing appointments for yourself and put them in the calendar. Being accountable to yourself and seeing the difference it makes will give you the positive momentum you need to maintain a happier, healthier, more peaceful home.






Q: How often do you have to return to a client’s home and re-organize them?

A: I don’t have to return very often to re-organize spaces. Most of my clients are able to maintain the systems and keep up with the routine maintenance themselves. Others have the ability to do it on their own but prefer not to. They would rather spend their time on something else, so they call me back every six months or so.


Q: How do you charge for your services, by the hour, by the project or by square footage?

A: We charge by the hour only for the time we spend on-site. Complimentary services for packages of 10 or more hours include a custom Pinterest board, product selection, two hours of shopping time for supplies, time spent designing layouts and organizing solutions, arranging appointments with other service providers, and taking one carload of trash or donation items after each session.





Thank you joining me Stacy and thanks for sharing these great insights into hiring an organizing pro!


The Wellness Home


We are spending more time in our homes now. The good news is your home can be a wonderful foundation, inspiring and supporting you in so many ways! When designed right, it provides light, nature and beauty as well as optimizing areas for work, play and self-care.

Get your home the help it needs so it supports and inspires you. Your home has a much bigger effect on your life, health and overall habits than you realize. Here ya’ go! … The Wellness Home, 5 Steps to a Beautiful, Restful Home for Women who Value their Health and Wellness. Get help today!

Bye for now, Shiree

For more on planning your home, check out “The Functional Home: Use All the Rooms and Zones in Your Home“.

Stacy Hamilton, Sorted by Stacy, Sacramento, California 1-916-644-0550