What gives a home soul? When is a place welcoming and alluring? Bunny Williams, author of the book "Scapbook For Living," (Stewart Tabori & Chang; $60) finds homes that are filled with signs of life - flowers, a cluttered desk and the smell of cooking, are the ones she remembers.
A renowned interior designer, Williams has been in every type of dwelling from cottages to palaces, but the homes that stand out to her are the ones whose owners had great style and offered incredible comfort.
In this book Williams explores the homes of clients whose homes transcended decorating and became something more. I find it to be a valuable resource for all sorts of entertaining and decorating dilemmas.
Here are a few of the pearls of Williams' wisdom we all can benefit from:
A bedside table should have a reading light tall enough to be above a book, as well as a bottle of water, a glass a clock, and tissues in an attractive container.
"Having a place for everything makes putting things away much easier." For entertaining, Williams suggests having 12 of all the basics, like plates, glasses and votives, so if the party grows in size, the basics are covered.
Make your own scrapbook. Carry a small camera; when you get home print the pictures and sort them into different categories - gardening decorating, furniture, patterns and architecture.
In whatever room you use most, create a bar that can be freely used. Three-tiered trolleys make great bars.
When hanging a mirror over a fireplace, tilt it to reflect the room not the ceiling. The larger the mirror the more dramatic the effect.
Benches are perfect in front of the fireplace. They offer additional seating, or a place for books or magazines.
Living with animals: Buy gallons of Nature's Miracle. Find interesting flat-bottomed heavy bowls for water; put them in the kitchen and any room the dogs sleep in. Provide dog beds in the rooms you spend time in.
A daybed on a screened porch is a perfect place for an afternoon nap.
When collecting china for entertaining, start with a basic plain one, or one with a simple border. The add salad and dessert plates with different patterns for variety.
Edit: Have a place for everything. Once a year take all your clothes out of the closet. Thewn make sure every piece has been worn in a year and that it still fits.