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The dining collection from Rhapsody is perfect for entertaining a crowd.

The heart of fall is upon us, the time for warm blankets, bonfires, pumpkin everything, and cozying up in the home. The Rhapsody Collection  by Hooker Furniture is a marriage of casual elegance that can make any home feel cozy for the brisk fall days and holiday season that lie ahead.

And just in time for warming up your home and preparing for the holiday season, Hooker Furniture is launching the Rhapsody Casual Elegance Sweepstakes, in which you could win your favorite piece of this luxurious but relaxed collection by entering here. One of the stars of the Rhapsody Collection is the Rectangle Dining Table, perfect for fall entertaining. The dark, rustic finish with scroll and rope twist design details make this table the perfect centerpiece to a fall evening gathering in the home. Cozy up to the table with loved ones in the plush, upholstered Rhapsody tufted dining chairs and wood back side chairs to enjoy a warm bowl of soup and a heaping slice of pumpkin pie!


The rope twist and fleur de lis design on the Rhapsody tabletop are exquisite.

For an intimate setting, serve dinner family style at the dining table and put the Rhapsody credenza to use as a bar for wine and cocktails. With a larger crowd, serve dinner buffet style on the credenza. Add a few pumpkins for a pop of casual elegance.


The Rhapsody credenza can serve many purposes, including acting as a bar or buffet.

To complete the look for a cozy entertaining setting, light a fire in the fireplace. A fire will make the brisk fall night that much more pleasurable. Garland isn’t just for the holidays. Drape some leafy garland over the hearth for a rustic look. To add a pop of color, clip some branches from a maple tree and place them in a hurricane vase. The burnt leaves will add texture as well as bring the look of autumn indoors and brighten up the room.

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Mixing natural and rustic décor elements with the casual elegance of the Rhapsody dining collection creates the perfect setting for a fall dinner gathering.

What is a fall dinner party without a great dessert? Try making these Pumpkin Pie Cutout Cookies from the October 2014 issue of Southern Living. The taste of pumpkin will elicit the flavors of fall and the decorated cutout leaf cookies are sure to impress! To view the Southern Living recipe, visit here or scroll to the bottom of this article for the full recipe.


Pumpkin Pie Cutout Cookies are the perfect dessert for a fall get-together. Image credit: Southern Living.

Love the casual elegance of the furniture in the Rhapsody Collection by Hooker Furniture? Enter to win a piece from the collection! The National Rhapsody Casual Elegance Sweepstakes is happening now.  Visit here to enter to win.

Pumpkin Pie Cutout Cookies Recipe


COOKIES ¾ C butter, softened ¾ C granulated sugar 1 large egg 1 tsp. vanilla extract 1 ¾ C plus 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour 1 ¾ tsp. pumpkin pie spice ¼ tsp. salt

Parchment paper

ICING 1 (16 oz.) package powdered sugar 2 large pasteurized egg whites Food coloring (optional)


Prepare Cookies: Beat butter and granulated sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer 5 to 7 minutes or until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla; beat 1 minute.

  1. Sift together flour and next 2 ingredients. Add to butter mixture all at once, and beat at medium speed 1 minute or until combined. Flatten dough into a 1-inch-thick disk, and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill 2 hours.
  2. Preheat oven to 375°, with oven racks in 2 middle positions. Place dough on a lightly floured surface; roll to 1/4-inch thickness. (If dough gets too soft to handle, chill 5 to 10 minutes.)
  3. Cut dough with desired cutters, and place 1/2 inch apart on parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Reroll scraps as needed. Chill cut cookies 30 minutes.
  4. Bake cookies, 2 sheets at a time, at 375° for 9 minutes. Rotate pans front to back, and top rack to bottom rack. Bake 2 to 4 more minutes or until slightly golden around edges. Remove cookies to wire racks, and cool completely (about 15 minutes).
  5. Meanwhile, prepare Icing: Beat powdered sugar, egg whites, and 2 tsp. water at low speed 2 minutes. (If necessary, add up to 1 Tbsp. water, 1 tsp. at a time, to reach desired consistency.) Divide icing, and tint with food coloring, if desired. Cover icing with plastic wrap or a damp towel when not in use.
  6. Spread a thin layer of icing over each cookie. For a swirled effect, immediately dot cookie with another color of icing, and blend with a wooden pick. Let base layer of icing dry 10 minutes before piping details. Let finished cookies dry 15 minutes before serving.

Makes about 3 dozen cookies.




Home, Hearth and Holidays Design Tips


Once the calendar flips to October, interior designers begin to feel the big push towards getting their clients’ homes holiday ready. I know I have been consuming a few extra cups of coffee to keep the midnight oil burning a little brighter!  For many of our readers, it’s about one residence and one room, so it eliminates the pressure of managing multiple interiors projects. 

As we’ll touch on in this post, statement pieces, luxury leather, beautiful benches, gracious guest quarters and pumpkin patch palettes are all part of getting your home holiday-ready.  There’s no time like the present to get started, so here are some holidays design tips!


The Davlin Sofa by Bradington-Young offers a lot of style in one piece of furniture.

Every room needs a great beginning. If you are staring at an empty living space, think of its overall “voice”.   Do you want it to be bold or do you need for it to whisper?  Typically the larger furniture item, such as a sofa, brings out the character through its lines or architecture.  The covering can also enhance the statement it makes, either through pattern, texture or color.  Details, such as nailheads or trim, also can make it sing.  Find the right piece and you can have a beautifulfoundation for your room. 

Designer’s tip:  While I don’t encourage purchasing major pieces off the cuff, there are many retailers who have beautiful, ready-to-go selections on their showroom floors.  I would also inquire as to lead times and availability of sofa coverings, as special order may still be an option.


Selecting a flexible style, like the Marilyn Memories Sofa and Chair, make it possible to create multiple design options.

After you’ve determined your main upholstery item, you can further enhance it by selecting some of the other layers. Some designs allow you to move up and down for different levels of formality and styles.  For example, the Hooker Furniture Marilyn Memories Sofa and Chair have straight lines but also have button-tufted backs, which make them very flexibleI’ve chosen to use the Hooker Furniture Kinsey Cocktail Table as a way to bring in a classic, yet modern look.  The accessories have a bit of curve, in their edges, so the room would take on a softer appearance.  

Designer’s Tip:For a twist to this space, use a rustic antique chest, substitute a modern oil painting for the mirror and you would have very different style!


Make a beautiful retreat, for your guests, with a fabulous bed and some special accoutrements.  The Corsica Shelter Bed is so welcoming and would make even the smallest room feel grand. In my experience, the guest room is often a decorating afterthought. Most people are so busy considering the public domains of their homes; it’s easy to feel a bit frantic when a favorite relative or friend announces they’ll be passing through town.  Of course, there is always the local inn or hotel, but wouldn’t it be a gracious gift to offer them a spot in your home?  Because we’re speaking about a short term stay, it’s best to consider the most important feature . . . the bed. 

I love using upholstered beds because they give a certain presence, provide a soft back board for reading or watching TV and they add texture/color when perhaps there are no other fabric treatments in the room. They also allow you to decorate with more eclectic pieces.  Night stands or chests can be a mixture of finishes.  Even taller end tables work so it’s not so “match-y”.


A great array of benches awaits your selection at Sam Moore! Some of my favorites?Andre, Clover, Maxim and Larache.

 Designer’s Tip:Add in a pair of benches, like the Sam Moore Estaban bench, on my design board, for assistance in dressing or for keeping a suitcase within in reach.  I make sure there is a good-sized mirror for grooming.  The bed linens and mattress sets should be super comfy, too.


Of course, another space receiving special notice, during the holiday season, is anywhere food is served – be it a formal dining room or an open kitchen concept. Seasonal accents allow colors to be readily changed with tableware and accessories.  I think using anything fresh or real just adds to the dimension.


 In the dining space, above, you can see how the mixture of greenery with white pumpkins introduces a holiday transition. If your greens are preserved, you could carry them on into the New Year and enjoy them in the late months of winter.  I love Hooker Furniture’s Rhapsody Dining Room setting as it’s graced by a fireplace.  It beckons one to stay a little longer for conversation. 

 Designer’s Tip:  When a living room was rarely used, but featured a beautiful fireplace, I counseled a client to move their dining room into that location for an amazing, entertaining experience.  Why not enjoy the warmth and texture?  The old dining room then became the home office where wall units had a better fit.


Color and texture are key ingredients for capturing the eye in dining spaces. Personal touches make it your own.

My final designer’s tip is this:  Prepping for the holidays shouldn’t be stressful.  Making important design decisions, under duress, is never a good thing.  The reason for any home update isn’t just about appearance.  It’s about creating an environment where you will feel you’re at your best.  It’s like how you feel when you put on a special outfit or get a new hair color or have been paying better attention to your daily workout – whatever brings forth a more positive outlook and radiates to the rest of the world.  Make wise choices to last the year-long.

Here’s hoping your home will be glowing during the holiday season!





How to Make a Festive Fall Pumpkin Wreath


Choose front door décor that welcomes your guests while expressing your personal style.

My front door is one of my favorite places to decorate as the seasons change.

I love trying new ideas for wreaths and decorations that welcome my guests. The festive fall pumpkin wreath that I recently made, shown at right above, is bright and oversized.

It definitely makes a statement–so much so that my husband calls it “The Great Pumpkin,” referencing the classic Charlie Brown cartoon. It’s just fun, and it definitely lets my guests and neighbors know we’re excited about fall.


 Here’s how to create a festive fall pumpkin wreath like this one:


1. Wire wreath frame (24″ as shown)

2. Mesh ribbon in orange (21″ width as shown)

3. Mesh ribbon in green (12″ width as shown)

4. Floral wire or wire coat hangers

5. Orange pipe cleaners

6. Scissors

7. Wire cutters


Step 1: Fill in the center of the wreath.

First, run your floral wire in a crisscross pattern through the center of the wreath frame. It doesn’t have to be uniform or attractive; you just want to create a frame for attaching the mesh ribbon.


I misplaced my floral wire, so I improvised using wire coat hangers for this step. The objective is to fill in the center so you have something for anchoring your mesh ribbon tubes.

Step 2: Cut and roll the orange mesh ribbon.

The body of the pumpkin is made from tubes of mesh ribbon attached to the wreath frame. Start by cutting about a dozen lengths of mesh ribbon, each approximately 8-10″ wide. The mesh ribbon will want to naturally roll itself into a tube, so let it. Depending on the size of your wreath frame, you’ll need several dozen tubes.

Step 3: Attach the tubes to the frame

I started by folding a tube in half and attaching it to the center of the wreath frame using a pipe cleaner. Once I had several in place like this, I was able to just loop the other tubes in and out of the wire frame without securing them with a pipe cleaner.


Start by folding a mesh ribbon tube in half and attaching the middle of it to the wire of your wreath frame using a pipe cleaner.

You want both of the finished ends of the tube facing outward, and the middle of the tube attached to the frame. Keep filling the frame, working from the center out, until you reach the desired fullness–the more tubes you use, the bigger the wreath.

Step 4: Create a stem

Next, use the green mesh ribbon to create a stem at the top.


Use a green mesh ribbon to create a stem for your pumpkin wreath.

I selected a narrower ribbon for the stem, instead of using the tubes.

I looped the ribbon in and out of the top of the wreath frame, leaving loose loops. Lastly, I fashioned a small circle with a pipe cleaner and attached it to the top of the back of the wreath for hanging.

Here’s a look at a few more fall wreath inspirations:


The beauty of this acorn, burlap and grapevine wreath is in its simplicity–and the ease of creating it. Photo credit: bhg.com


This nature-inspired wreath features a beautiful gradient of all colors and harvest elements. Photo credit: bhg.com


A twig and berry motif is customized with a twine-covered monogram on this wreath. Photo credit: bhg.com

So what’s hanging on your front door right now? If you’re ready for something new, which of these wreaths inspires you most? Let us know in your comments.