I’m on the verge of a move! In just two weeks I’ll be settling into a three bedroom apartment a few blocks east with my first-ever exposed brick wall. It’s a beauty! And the last thing I want to do is ruin it with all my decorative clutter. You know, if you pamper your palace it’ll pamper you back. My first goal is minimalizing my collection of all-too-excessive trinkets and decor, and after that, it’s adding the perfect select pieces to finish it off. With a small budget, and keeping in mind that we plan to be entertaining a lot (hello ugly sweater party!), it’s important to have a strategy. Interior design guru Michael Craig, founder of dinette.com, shares his budget-friendly tips on how to glam up your place with just a few strategic moves, along with my picks, all under strong consideration for purchase!

1.  First thing’s first… LESS. IS. MORE. Take away unnecessary items that distract the eye from the Main Event. Take notes from your favorite zen spa ambiance: de-clutter, ladies!

2.  Jazzy pillows. Add some to spice up your boring sofa. Also, make sure they are comfortable for your guests to relax. My pick: Add a patchwork safari touch from Urban Outfitters for conversational comfort- $36

3. Orchids. Orchids always add sophistication to any space – make sure to water accordingly and watch them blossom.

4.  Add a shiny bowl to your tabletop – nuts look great in a glitzy silver bowl. Editor’s pick: A giant spoon! From Z Gallerie – $29.95


5.  Put a runner on your tabletop.  Not only does it protect against nail polish remover spills (the worst!) but it will add charm and style. Editor’s pick: Opt for an unusual shape – who said runners need to be straight-edged? This red flamenco flower runners from Pier 1 will pop, even under 2 tons of turkey and potatoes. $29.95

6.  Candles. Not only do they provide great lighting but can fill the room with relaxing aromas. Go easy on the strong scents! Editor’s pick: get in the holiday spirit with a little luxury from Diptyque’s new Joie de Vivre collection, a pine and candied plum scent. Visit diptyqueparis.com – Starting at $32

7.  Edit your framed pictures. Too much is too much! We don’t need to see a 100 pictures of your baby. We already did on Facebook. On a similar note, here’s an idea for a very cool use of picture frames!

8.  Live plants. Putting a live plant in your home is never wrong – but proportional size is key. Editor’s pick: Bring the desert home with these small and very low maintence little cacti plants from Home Depot. 3-pack for $23.96

9. Rugs and runners.  Add a runner or rug to give warmth to your space. It keeps your toes from touching the cold surface. Editor’s pick: Dare to go furry and white for a cozy elegant touch. Crazy, you say? Actually – my friend has one just like this, and surprisingly it has remained unstained and looking brand new for over a year! Not recommended if you have kids… and keep Drunk Uncle Bob in the other room. On overstock for $290.

10.  Dimmers are key. This one takes a little more planning, but mood lighting always helps control the ambiance and allows you to drift off to your happy place.