Seasonal decorating accents that make a difference

Oct 13, 2008 at 3:00 a.m. ET

Adding inexpensive decorating accents that change with the seasons can bring a smile to everyone's face. Jolanta Gierba has found this to be an easy way to bring joy into her kitchen and her life.

Walking into Jolata Gierba's kitchen, you can't help but smile. No matter what the season, it's a place that's bright, cheerful and always changing.For the past five years, Jolanta has enjoyed rotating the room accents in her kitchen/dining area with the change of seasons and holidays. Her accent items include framed pictures, ceramic plates, cups and floral arrangements."I like it. It makes me happy and is fun to do," says Jolanta. Jola and her husband, John, run an assisted living home in Scottsdale, Arizona, where they live with their two children and three female residents."It's just fun, enjoyable, and not just for me, but for the ladies, too," she says of the three women who share her home. The atmosphere Jolanta creates is always a positive one for her residents, family, and any guests who enter her home. Resident Nellie Borruso says,  "It makes it interesting. Since we don't go out, it gives us something to look forward to." "I don't want my ladies to be bored," explains Jolanta. Actually, the truth of the matter is Jolanta's work has her at home 24/7, so rotating seasonal accents helps Jola keep her bright and cheerful attitude.

Depending on when you ring Jolanta's doorbell, you'll enter a colorfully themed kitchen/dining area that reflects the current season or holiday. On months when non-holiday accents are used, you might see such themes as striking red poppies, refreshing blue and green glass, or her café bistro look.Jolanta starts with a basic background and then builds on it for the incoming season. In October, Jolanta's kitchen comes alive with bright and cheerful golden sunflowers. As Halloween nears, she adds in touches of scarecrows, pumpkins and jack-o-lanterns. She removes the Halloween accents when Halloween is past, leaving the pumpkins. She then adds turkeys, Pilgrims, and gourds to welcome in the Thanksgiving season. After Thanksgiving, all is packed away for a change to Christmas decorations.Jolanta's spring color is pink with accents of tulips and spring flowers. When Easter rolls around, she adds in bunnies and eggs, then replaces them with red roses with the coming of May and Mother's Day.

You must be thinking this is an expensive idea, but for Jolanta it isn't. She manages her dollars well and doesn't let seasonal decorating become costly. "I shop at thrift shops and wait for sales," In addition, Jola accumulates accent items from year to year so her selection can build up. Jolanta has also solved the storage problem. Large, labeled storage boxes for each change of season keep everything together and ready for the next time she needs it. No doubt John is also happy, since her excellent organizational skills enable all the items to fit neatly into their storage room. Can anyone of us bring the same creativity into our own home with the change of the season? You bet! Jolanta's enthusiasm and creativity can, certainly, be an inspiration to us all. Just start small and add a bit more each year. Whether we live alone or in a busy household, a change in room accent with the seasons can bring a smile to everyone's face and can be fun and inexpensive, too.Photo credited to Nina Spitzer.

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