Dear Nyla:

Do you have any quick and easy holiday decorating tips?

Answer: It's hard to believe that it is that time of year again! I am a working mom who used to dread decorating for the holidays. Since opening this showroom my philosophy has changed. Holiday decorating is a perfect time to make silk out of a sow's ear. Anything goes! Just have fun and be creative.

• Use the things in your pantry: A quick, easy, cheap (yes, I said cheap) way to add color and texture to your holiday décor is to fill large glass containers with Cheetos. You have to use the Giant Puffs to get the right effect. It's definitely cheesy, but it looks wonderfully festive and your guest will love it.

It's the perfect time to buy up some of that discount candy corn and taffy from Halloween - it, too, displays beautifully.

• Embrace remnants and leftovers: Here in our showroom we use fabric remnants to add color and texture to our tablescapes and product displays. Fabric remnants are basically scrap pieces and leftovers. A couple of yards of faux silk pinned and tucked just the right way can make a wonderful table topper or holiday table runner. Stray tassels make great napkin rings as do random buttons. A discount fabric store is a treasure trove of goodies.

• Recycle: A fun way to get your kids involved with holiday decorating is to challenge them to a wreath/garland stringing competition. Most people stick to traditional wreathes made of greenery, ornaments or ribbon. We encourage our clients to let their imaginations run wild - our 2010 holiday wreaths are made of Sherwin Williams paint chips. What do you do with 600 spilled paint chips? String ‘um! Now we have a unique one-of-a-kind wreath. We suggest you do the same thing with the dozens of wine corks you have stored in the cabinet or the hundreds of holiday photos and cards you have been collecting from years past.

When it comes to holiday decorating just have fun - the rest will fall into place. Everyone appreciates hospitality and good cheer during the holidays. However you choose to decorate it will be greatly appreciated. If you do require assistance, we are just a phone call away. Happy decorating!

Maria Bailey Benson is owner of Nyla Simone Home, a full-service showroom offering a wide range of design services, furniture, artwork and accessories. Reach her at (480) 422-6178 or


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