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Solutions: Decor that makes you, your guests smile


Though the holidays are often a time for celebration, they can be stressful as well. That’s where our homes have the power to heal us on many levels. Whether it’s providing warmth during the freezing temps or by greeting us with a favorite color, we can take this theory one step further with some whimsical touches that spread cheer throughout the year.

While I understand that my sense of humor may be unique, the amusing touches I have around my home make me happy.

After all this time they still make me smile, like the Please Seat Yourself sign in my living room that’s intended for a restaurant and the giant teacup filled with wine corks that tops a bookcase in the hallway.

Better yet, they often bring smiles to others who seem to appreciate the less serious tone of our home. These unique pieces also spark conversations when people comment on them and ask where I found them.

Although the cafeteria-style tray that says “You’re a Mess” is a recent purchase (from Leon & Lulu) it has already gotten a lot of attention so far. Guests are often drawn to humorous messages, especially when many of the headlines seem to be negative.

An easy way to provide some comic relief is through your decor.

It can be just as much fun to be on the receiving end as I was when approaching Tracey Garcia’s house where I found myself smiling in her driveway. Though I’ve not yet seen the inside of the Farmington Hills-based interior designer’s home, I was delighted by her front door and I’m sure there are more whimsical touches beyond that point.

An adorable vinyl sign from Etsy ( that says “hello” greets visitors with a cheerful tone that is welcoming any time of year.

This reminds me that a lighter approach to decorating begins at the front door in my own home as well with a welcome mat that says “Hello I’m Mat” that makes people smile.

When my mom lived in an independent living facility in Michigan, she had a shelf outside her apartment for display. I was always intrigued by the residents’ personal mementos, especially because each one was so different from the next. Some chose sculpture or pottery while others went with photos and other artifacts.

For my mom, we found a wine bottle holder in the form of a glittery black high-heeled shoe at Home Interior Warehouse and filled it with an empty wine bottle that says “YOU HAD ME AT MERLOT” from a now defunct drugstore that had a great gift department.

It definitely fit her personality and style.

Now that she has made her way back to Florida, these pieces have found a spot in my living room where I hope they will continue to make people smile and start conversations.

I might even add some more whimsical items to the mix. By doing so, you not only lighten up your interiors, but you also lighten the mood.

Jeanine Matlow is a Metro Detroit interior decorator turned freelance writer specializing in stories about interior design. You can reach her at