Happy Holidays area rug used as a front door mat.

Preparing Your Home for the Holidays

Written by Dolphin Blogger on . Posted in 4 Seasons of Decorating, Area Rugs, Carpet, Design and Decorating, Family, Floors, Hints, Tips and Advice, Holiday, Kitchen and Bath, Lighting, Outdoor, Thanksgiving, Tips and Advice, Vinyl

Happy Holidays area rug used as a front door mat.

Greet your guests with some holiday cheer before they even walk through your front door! This Happy Holidays area rug from Liora Manne makes the perfect door mat. Get it online only at Dolphin.

Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and the winter holidays aren’t too far behind! If you’re expecting holiday guests, it’s good to start preparing your home early for their arrival.

We’ve got some great tips to help you get organized, broken out into 3 phases: Projects & renovations, cleaning & decorating, and week-of final prep!

  1. Projects & Renovation

There’s no better motivator to finish up your ongoing home repairs & improvements than an impending holiday gathering! Get enough of a jump and you may even be able to start and finish a big project before family arrives.

Whether it’s a time-intensive task like a partially painted bedroom or a quick and easy fix like installing some new coat or towel hooks to a wall, intentionally block off some time to finish.

For things you can’t do on your own, call a professional well in advance – specialists tend to get booked up close to the holidays! Make sure all appliances, plumbing & heating are working. Then there’s our area of expertise here at Dolphin – home renovation! If your floors have seen better days, it’s entirely possible to get them repaired or replaced in just a few weeks.

A living room fireplace, with Mohawk brand carpet on the floor.

Nothing is cozier than warming up by the fire on plush carpet!

New carpet is one great choice for the colder months, adding a cozy comfort that’s perfect for large families who spill off of your limited couches onto the floor. Your nieces, nephews, children & grandchildren will also have a soft place to sit and play.

Another option making its way into just about every area of the home is waterproof flooring, such as COREtec vinyl or even wood-based RevWood+. These floors continue the elegant tradition of wood-look flooring in an affordable way that stands up well to messes & wear. Plus, installation is quick & easy! These floors can be laid and walked on in as little as a day or two.

A kitchen & dining area with Mohawk RevWood Plus flooring installed.

Looks like normal hardwood, right? This is actually waterproof RevWood Plus from Mohawk, a revolutionary new wood floor that can stand up to all of your family’s holiday messes!

  1. Cleaning & decorating

Cleaning is an obvious, but important step in preparing your home for the holidays. Since you know your home better than we do, we’ve made a list of some of the key spaces you may want to focus on in anticipation of family arriving:

  • Make space in entryways – these are the first parts of your home that guests will see! Store away your own shoes & coats so that family have a place to put their things when they arrive. Have a clear shoe rack, plenty of hooks, or even a standing coat rack!
  • Organize your kitchen – make sure you have a clean microwave, and consider setting up a well-stocked coffee station in a separate common area so that you don’t literally have too many cooks in the kitchen!
  • Seasonal décor can be simple. Lay or hang some fall leaves or tinsel, harvest vegetables such as gourds, and simple dining set pieces such as a tablecloth, candles & ornaments. Place some nice seasonal area rugs in hallways, at entryways, under tables & in seating areas.
A holiday area rug laid in front of the kitchen sink.

Add a subtle touch of holiday flair to your floors with a seasonal area rug like this floor mat from Liora Manne!

  1. Week-of, Final Prep

It’s finally the week of the holiday, and all that’s left to do is make some last-minute changes to your home’s normal setup.

Make sure you have ample seating for everyone anticipated, bringing out folding chairs if necessary. High-traffic areas such as bathrooms should be stocked with extra supplies, such as towels, soaps, and the all-important toilet paper!

You should also place nightlights throughout your home to guide guests who may wake up to refill a glass of water or use the bathroom in the middle of the night.

The wisdom we shared here today can be applied to your home year-round – no matter what time of year, when you’re planning to have guests, use these tips to get prepared!

Energy Saving Lightbulbs

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Lighting

In this day and age there are so many ways to save energy. The easiest way to start saving energy in the home is by changing your lightbulbs. Incandescent bulbs provide a nice warm light, but they also use a lot of energy, burn hot and have a short life span. They are very fragile and break easily.

Fluorescent bulbs are very durable. They do not break easily and they can last up to seven years, unlike its predecessor, the incandescent bulb. People are drawn to the type of warm light incandescent bulbs provide. The color ranges for fluorescent is constantly expanding. You can get them in a wide range of colors. They are being made in all different sizes and shapes. These bulbs are available to fit many different types of fixtures. You can replace incandescent bulbs all over your house. Fluorescent bulbs are ideal for providing general light to a space.

LED bulbs come in an array of colors. For interior lighting LED lighting is generally a bright white. It is amazing how much light these little bulbs give off. The fact that the bulb hardly heats up is also a plus. LEDs are also being made to fit all types of lighting fixtures. This type of bulb is best for shinning a direct light. Use this type of bulb for task lighting. For example select an LED lamp for your desk or workspace. Where ever you need direct light to see the task at hand.

A combination of fluorescent and LED lighting can add dimension to a space. If you like efficiency then get on board with these energy saving light sources! They can be bright or dim and shine different shades of light. Incandescent lighting is becoming obsolete as these energy saving alternatives are becoming more versatile each day!

How To DIY Create Marquee Letters To Decorate a Room

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Lighting


This project instantly adds wow factor to any room! You can incorporate just one letter or a whole word or name. It’s a project that requires time and patience, though, so choose wisely – especially if you have a deadline. We promise, though, the effect is worth the wait.


  • Paper mache letter(s) found at the craft store or online retailer. For our example we worked with a 23.5 inch letter.
  • 1 strand globe string lights with 25 globe light bulbs. Use the kind that use a standard plug, not the ones that require knowledge about electrical wiring.
  • Hot glue gun and plenty of glue sticks
  • X-Acto Knife
  • Extension Cord
  • Large, clear plastic ruler, found at craft stores.
  • Spray Paint – for letters, and the color of the wall the letter(s) will hang on.
  • Pencil

Using the ruler and a pencil, mark each spot where a light bulb will be inserted. For our example this would be 25 dots (according to the number of bulbs on the string.) Distribute them evenly around the letter, use the ruler to clean up your estimate, and center each dot. If it’s a symmetrical letter, such as A, you’ll need to be more precise. Double check the number of dots, just to be sure it’s exactly as many as you need. Unscrew all of the bulbs out of the light string. Use one of the sockets to trace the size of the hole around each mark you made.


Next, cut out the back panel of the paper mache letter and remove the cardboard stuffing.

Flip it over and hand cut each circle where a socket will go, using the X-Acto knife. This will take some time because it’s important that the size of the hole isn’t compromised because you were in a rush. Otherwise, the socket will slip through the hole rather than stay firmly behind it. Then, spray-paint the letter to your liking. Next, flip it back over and glue each socket in place using hot glue. It should be flush with the hole.

Hold each socket in place for 15 seconds to ensure the glue sets completely. As you proceed, tuck the cord into the back of the letter. You can also hot-glue sections of the cord, to ensure it fits tightly and doesn’t pop out. It’s important that the end with the plug is where you want it – likely on the side that is nearest to an outlet. If the cord is too short, add the extension cord. Paint it the same color as your wall so it’s not too obvious. Screw the bulbs into the front of the letter, plug it in and hang it or set it on a table or desk. Showtime!

Brighten Your Room

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Lighting


Light is a major component of design in a home.  A room with plenty of light feels open, large and inviting, while rooms without enough light can have the opposite effect.  If these are problems you face in your own home, try one of the following to help bring more light into your life!

Let the Sun Shine In

Natural light is a wonderful source of free decoration.  This can come into the room from windows, doors or adjacent rooms.  In order to use any light possible to its fullest, try using reflective surfaces throughout the room. Mirrors and glass can both ramp up any light in your room.  Try various placements of mirrors to maximize available light – the difference may surprise you!  Glass decorations in the room allow light to travel through rather than blocking it.  Glass tile or a reflective backsplash can change the lighting of a room dramatically.

Colors Matter

Dark colors in a room have the effect of closing off the space.  The first reaction may be to choose light or bright colors, however this is not the entire answer.  Warm colors, even those that are light, can make a room feel cozy.  This is not the desired direction for enlarging a small room.  Cool colors are the best when opening up a small space.  Bright white, cool gray or blue help the space to open rather than close the space.

More Light

A very important step in brightening a room is of course, more light.  Artificial light sources fall into three categories – ambient, spot lighting and task lighting.  Ambient lighting does not focus on one area but brightens an entire room or space.  This is often installed overhead.  Spot lighting focuses on a specific area and is ideal for a small space, a corner or an item on display.  Don’t forget to add a mirror nearby to amplify this light!  The final light type, task lighting, provides light to specific tasks, for example, under-cabinet lighting or a desk lamp.  Task lighting can give much needed illumination for activities when overhead lighting is not ideal.

Bring more light into your home and see how your home opens up!

Bedside Lighting

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Design and Decorating, Lighting

The exaggerated height of the bedside lamps in this bedroom makes the lamps a standout feature in the room. The black headboard anchors the bed area while the tall lamps appear to soar. Bedside lighting can be more than functional; it can become a beautiful design element in the bedroom.

Bedside lighting is essential in the bedroom. Whether it is for a master bedroom, a guest room or child’s room, having a light next to the bed is a must. Even if you have overhead lighting, reaching the switch to turn it off or on might not be convenient from the bed. Adding a lamp to the bedside table or nightstand will make flipping on or off the lighting in the room more convenient.

Lighting in the bedroom, like most rooms in the home, should be layered. Overhead lighting is great for getting dressed or looking for a lost earring in the carpet. It can be bright and too harsh for other times. Pairing an overhead light with bedside lighting creates lighting zones and layers of light.

Reading in bed or using the laptop is better done with bedside lighting that can create pools of light rather than washing the entire room in light. Stylish bedside lamps can be sat on the nightstand or mounted as wall lamps bedside the bed. Either provides adequate lighting for reading in bed. Look for a pair or near pair of table lamps that are keeping in scale with your nightstand and headboard for stylish and functional bedside lighting.

Creating Outdoor Magic

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Design and Decorating, Lighting, Outdoor

What makes this outdoor space feel so magical? Of course, the view helps, but there’s more to this look than that.

First, take a look at how the lighting defines the space. The light above the dining table provides more than illumination. Its design creates a montage of reflections on the ceiling of the patio cover.

The flooring also defines the space, both in terms of outlining the room and setting a style. By using a variety of stone types in a rectangular pattern, it feels as if the room has a well-designed rug underfoot. Stone choices and styling elevate the space beyond the normal and add style.

The furniture, while able to handle the outdoor environment, doesn’t look much different than indoor furnishings. The exceptional variety of fabrics and cushioning materials that can handle the weather have opened up the possibilities for outdoor rooms, as this space shows.

Most homes don’t have the space or style for this type of patio cover, but there are so many ideas that anyone can borrow to add personality and splash to any outdoor entertaining area.

  1. Use lighting to make specific outdoor locations feel special. By combining general lighting with one fixture that emphasizes the table area, lighting both illuminates the key areas and adds charm to the entire space.
  2. Don’t be afraid to mix flooring to support your design plans. The intriguing stone mosaic in the center helps the main entertaining area pop. This is a low-maintenance way to add color and personality to an outdoor living space.
  3. Explore furniture choices that make the outdoors as comfortable and inviting as the inside of your home. Today’s products allow you to do that.

Its All About the Light

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Lighting

Photographers really think through how an object, person or space can be lighted to its best potential. As you can see in this photograph, even something as simple as this chair gets special attention with three lights – two with reflectors.

This emphasis on lighting is one reason why room designs shown in magazines are so professional and beautiful. You can make your home more like a magazine illustration by paying attention to your home’s lighting.

Photographers use lights and reflectors to open up shadowy areas and emphasize highlights. We can do the same thing. Our challenge is more difficult because we have to pay attention to a room’s appearance during the day as well as at night.

In daytime, reflecting window light provides the best way to bring sunshine into a room. If a room has limited sunlight, look at ways to maximize what you have. Use window coverings such as shades that can be pulled completely out of the way during the day. Consider light reflective flooring such as a light bamboo with a glossy finish. Paint the walls light bright colors and add a mirror or two positioned to reflect window light.

Alternatively, if a room gets too much light during the day, consider adding those window coverings that will limit the light or adjust to shut down glare. Dark, non-reflective flooring choices such as carpet or tile or dark wood in a matte finish will help minimize glare. You can go darker with the walls or furniture in this room also – the sun will keep it from feeling gloomy.

In the evening, add floor and table lamps to add sparkle to darker areas of a room. Ceiling spots positioned to show off artwork also add ambiance and interest to a space. For more lighting possibilities, use a strong flashlight to try various up-lighting and spot effects – moving it around the room to determine where some additional light would add to the appeal.

When you decorate your home, lighting is as much a factor as any other architectural characteristic. If you include it in your plans, your designs will always benefit.