5 DECORATING TIPS I LEARNED FROM A PHOT SHOOT-title page-stonegableblog.com

Last week The Cottage Journal magazine came for a visit. To say I was excited is a huge understatement! Linda, the editor… Yukie, the stylist… and Will, the photographer spent several days in my beautiful Lancaster County and a day at my home. They were professional, personable and so so lovely! We also spent a wonderful evening at StoneGable having dinner and learning about one another. They came to photograph StoneGable and we had such a fabulous time! While they were here I learned many things. So today I want to share 5 decorating tips I learned from this magazine shoot!

If you have never picked up The Cottage Journal you really must! It’s my favorite magazine! Totally beautiful and inspiring. I do not miss an edition! Click HERE to see more about Cottage Journal.

Here’s this month’s issue…


Here are 5 decorating tips I learned…


5 DECORATING TIPS I LEARNED FROM A PHOT SHOOT-title page-stonegableblog.com


This is the best decorating tip I can give any home decor enthusiast…This may sound funny to most readers but it is amazing what one picture will tell you. I watched the magazine team take a picture of something in my home and then pour over it. It can show you what your eyes can’t see by just looking at a room. A chair askew, a misplaced accent piece, the need for a pillow or throw and so, so much more. 

Now we have the ability to take pictures and see them instantly so this is a very very good practice. When you decorate take a picture and study it. You will be thrilled how a picture will act as a decorator’s assistant and tell you how to make a room better or more comfortable or less cluttered! 

Easy-peasy, who knew?


5 DECORATING TIPS I LEARNED FROM A PHOT SHOOT-title page-stonegableblog.com

I am a self-professed Embellishment Queen! I love to take something and make it prettier! I can embellish almost everything! But my friends at Cottage Journal used a very edited hand. They liked “space” and they let my decor “breathe”. They didn’t pile on and add more. They were extremely selective about putting vignettes together. They looked at each object with an eye for its beauty and the synergy of what they were shooting as a whole. Simplicity is best and beautiful and a good decorating tips to keep in mind!


5 DECORATING TIPS I LEARNED FROM A PHOT SHOOT-title page-stonegableblog.com

Yukie, had a wonderful way of making my throw blankets looks luxurious and lumpy and inviting. I usually “drape” mine.  She sorta draped them and bunched them up to make them look like someone was just curled up in them a minute before the picture was taken. Give throw blankets a disheveled, lumpy look.



I was so amazed at the darling little bouquets that Yukie put together with just bits and pieces of what was left in my garden. And I loved the look far more than my usual bouquets. She found a large fuzzy sprig of sage and a small dried hydrangea and a dill pod and a few weed looking thingies. Put together they looked wonderful. I’ll be looking at my garden with a different eye now. And no roadside will be safe! I now see a gorgeous bouquet of possibilities in the leaves and sprouts and pods along the road. 



The Cottage Journal team visited my friend Fran’s home too. She is an amazing collector. She collects giant vintage cookie cutters and German beer steins and people. She is a treasure herself. 

Yukie, had a trove of unique collections to style! She chose some of Fran’s cookie cutters and created a vignette with them that was fresh and updated. She pulled tole trays from around the house and spun her magic to fashion a visual story of sorts.

The big takeaway is to shop your house, change things up and use what you have!


What a blessing and a privilege to have these kind, talented people in my home. Not only did they teach me a little more about beautiful home decorating and give me helpful decorating tips but I feel like I made three new friends!

Make sure you check out The Cottage Journal. It’s the most BEAUTIFUL magazine!

You might like to follow me on Pinterest and see all the great things I am finding to pin, HERE.





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  1. Congratulations, Yvonne. I love The Cottage Journal. Which issue is targeted for your home article?

    1. Hi Pamela,
      My home was decorated for fall so maybe next fall. It was such a nice experience. Fabulous people!

  2. Linda Wright says:

    Thank you Yvonne, we had such a great time visiting you and the beautiful countryside you call home. Can’t wait to see it all fill our pages at The Cottage Journal.

    1. Linda, thank you so much for visiting! I had the best time. You and Yukie and Will are AMAZING!

    2. Hi Linda, this is Nancy formerly of St Peter’s Choir and Hoover Library. What a wonderful moment upon learning that you and your team visited StoneGable for a photo shoot! Cottage magazine is my favorite decorating magazine and StoneGable is my favorite decorating blog! Looking so forward to seeing the wonderful photos of this beautiful home,

      1. Cottage Journal, that is!?

  3. I love the idea of lumping up the throws – I’m always trying to make mine perfect, which makes it look all wrong.

  4. What an awesome experience for you! They obviously were impressed with Stonegablr, as we all are. I can’t wait to see the edition with your house featured.

  5. So happy that your home will be featured in my favorite magazine. Can’t wait!

  6. Great tips here, and hearty congratulations! I am a big fan of The Cottage Journal. Does your friend, Fran, have a blog where we might see some of her collections?

    1. My friend Fran is too busy loving people right in front of her for a blog. She is such a special person!

  7. Valerie Tingley says:

    I’m getting my camera ready to take a few pictures of my recently redecorated living room to see what my eyes can’t see! Thank you for sharing!

  8. Great ideas….. Taking a photo certainly helps the eye. Can’t wait for next years fall issue, congrats !

  9. Carol Elkins says:

    How exciting that your beautiful home is featured in The Cottage Journal!!! I will look for the magazine!

  10. Congratulations Yvonne. I had not heard about The Cottage Journal before now. I will definitely have to pick up a copy soon. And, what fabulous tips as well.
    I did have a question…do you remember the name of your candle chandelier in your kitchen? Is it from Lowes?

  11. Cheryl Ann says:

    Thanks for the great tips…especially taking a picture. Great idea! Your home is always lovely Yvonne and I can’t wait to see the magazine article.

    1. Congratulations Yvonne, You deserve it! <3 I am a also a big fan of The Cottage Journal.

  12. WENDY HOWELL says:

    Congratulations Yvonne!!! I’m sure your beautiful home was a treat for them to shoot. 🙂

  13. Hi Yvonne ~
    I thought I would get away from the cottage style look, but as I was browsing through the magazine I realized how much I love cottage style.

    I think we are always trying to do something new, but I know my style is French cottage.
    Have a wonderful day.

  14. I love the Cottage Journal {and every other publication Hoffman Media produces!} I can’t wait to see your feature, it will inspire everyone who sees it. Congratulations, Yvonne, exciting news!

  15. Hey lady…congrats!!!….So well deserved…so I guess I will look for you in the next Fall issue of Cottage Journal…..I LOVE that magazine!!

  16. Yvonne, Hoffman Media, in general, is my favorite publisher. I subscribe to the Cottage Journal and always, always look forward to their quarterly publications which never disappoints. I know your home will shine. Congratulations on this well-deserved opportunity.

  17. Anna Starner says:

    Congratulations on the photo shoot. Great tips! I will always remember taking a class on accessorizing and Robin stressing how important it is to vary the height and shape and give the eye some space to rest. She also was a firm believer in every room having something black.

    1. A decorating course I took in Toronto once said the same thing about black – he said it “grounds a room”.

  18. Excellent, excellent advice Yvonne! And your magazine photos are going to be amazing!!

  19. Congratulations! Your home is my choice for one to be featured! I’m always admiring your style and have used your ideas many times in my home.
    I think you are very deserving for sure!!

  20. Nan, Odessa, De says:

    I am so pleased they visited/photoed you bccause you are the best about sharing/teaching us!
    What issue will you and Fran’s homes appear? Are you in the same issue? Congrats to you and Bobby, you both work so very hard at home making and gardening.

    Please share some of these flower/pod arrangements in the future that Yorkie made.

    Waiting for your next post!

  21. I guess I’m doing at least one of your tips- my throws are always crumpled since I use them daily! I like the tip about taking pictures to analyze your decor. I’m definitely going to try that!

  22. Betty Hill says:

    I am thrilled for you. You work so hard on your blog and you are so deserving. I am glad that you had such a wonderful experience. I will be looking for this magazine. Your family must be very excited for you as well. Kudos to Bobby as well. I know he is very supportive and helps with alot of projects.

  23. Diane Moon says:

    This is a lovely post and I also love the Cottage Journal magazine. However, I was so distracted by all the pop up ads!! I love your blog, have read it for years now. But I would promise to look at all the ads at the end of each post – just so they wouldn’t disrupt a very informative and beautiful post! Please give some thought to how to remedy this aspect of your posts. Thanks, Diane

    1. Hi Diane, Those ads are just a part of the blogging world right now. Sorry! Without them I could not produce StoneGable as it is now!

  24. Congrats on being featured in CJ. Great tips! I love the fabric on your gray sofa! Can you share where the fabric is from?

  25. Christina Maze says:

    Love Cottage Home Journal!. Thank you for sharing the secret as I am about to go from summer to fall this week. I just love your blog. I draw great inspirational ideas for my home, you’ve been known to impact me spiritually, and I look forward to seeing what you have to share every day! Prays for blessings for you and your family.

  26. congratulations yvonne! the cottage journal is fabulous and how well deserved & appropriate for your beautiful home to be featured. it’s gonna be a looong year waiting to see it. lol. thanks for sharing the tips- it’s always great to hear advice from professionals. have a wonderful day. xo- maryjo

  27. You are queen of all embellishments. I need to check Cottage Journal. What a great idea to take pics of a room and then critique it.

  28. When the grands bring me over their magazine fun raiser soon from school, I plan to order the Cottage Journal. AND what a super idea that is to take a photo and study it!!

  29. My friend is a designer and helping me redo my home. The first thing she did was “shop my home”. Rejects from the attic, things that weren’t working in one room went beautifully in another. That tip is a wonder, as are they all. Great post.

  30. Took photo, per your suggestion….shocking. Picture showed to much on one tabke, not enough on bookcase on other side. I just didn’t see this with my regular eye.

  31. Have used interior photos for home inventory insurance purposes, but never thought to use them for analyzing decor choices. Thanks for sharing that new tip! Congratulations on your upcoming magazine feature.

  32. Your home is certainly magazine worthy!

  33. Teresa Alexander says:

    sure do enjoy reading/looking at all your wonderful ideas! thank you!

  34. I am a regular reader of your blog, Yvonne, but never commented up to now.
    But today I need to.
    First up, because I find you really deserve it to be in such a beautiful magazine (and thank you for all those practicable tips …)
    I adore your decoration skills since years and found so many inspiration here (thank you also for that).
    And second, I am kind of proud because I always did that thing with the photographs. I did not know that this could be a professional tip, but I recognized that I do not see the things in reality the same, like I can see it on a photograph. Therefore I always take photos while decorating to see what is missing or where it is too much. Such a good feeling to read, that professional decorator do that also.

  35. Congratulations on the photo shoot. I take a photo each season to remind myself where I put certain decor items. I always drape my throws, thanks for the tip on bunching them. I recently found some strange pods growing in my garden. I thought it was a weed so pulled it out. I will think twice the next time I see one and try to incorporate it in a flower arrangement .

  36. Wow such great tips from some very talented people! Congrats on having our home photographed. I always love your ideas, and pictures and look forward to seeing your posts everyday.

  37. Congratulations of the feature in Cottage Journal! It is a well-deserved honor and I can’t wait to see the pictures.

    I had to smile when your number one tip was to take a picture and study it. You see, I have been taking pictures of my decor for years. But, I always did that to get inspiration for the following year (i.e. where did I put this last year?). When I would look at those pictures, I would think to myself “That didn’t look as good as I thought it did!” So I see my mistake is that I should look at the pictures in the “moment”! Which is exactly what I am going to do today!

    Thank you Yvonne for all your hard work in providing such wonderful tips and inspiration! You are a very special lady!

  38. Love The Cottage Journal! These suggestions you just gave are wonderful. I have a problem “tying everything together”, so this is very welcome to me. Lovely looks and great suggestions!!

  39. Such exciting news, huge congratulations, but I am not surprised, everything I have seen of your home on your blog is magazine worthy. The decorating tips are really useful, especially taking a photo, they are so right, you can see things that otherwise would have been overlooked.

  40. Pearl B Simmering says:

    I love receiving StoneGable newsletters! Always informative and inspirational! Is the fall flower pot sitting in a big white bowl? I love that! I will definitely buy the Cottage journal.

  41. Congratulations, Yvonne! We have lots of designer show cases here in Southampton, and I always try to learn something! A few things I learned…no karate chopping the top of the throw pillow and that good brass is a classic, don’t paint it!
    I’m getting ready to put my house on the market so I’m on the lookout for tips. I’ll be sure to crumple my throws! If my son’s 5 kids have been here, that’s how they are when they leave!?

    1. I just sold my house a year ago and loved doing my own “staging”. I found the whole experience exciting and fun. I had to smile about your chopping the cushions. Canadian House & Home magazine had a vote on that a few issues back – re to “chop” or not to chop. Along the same line, many decorators like carpets that have plush pile that shows footprints as some say it makes a home look lived in while a lot of us hate footprints in carpeting. One big thing I didn’t do when I showed my house was I never had scented things around like potpourri on the stove, etc. because (in my opinion) if I walked into a house with scented items, I’d think to myself “what are they trying to hide?” Some say to put family photos away as potential buyers can’t envision themselves in the house. Again, in my opinion, if I loved a house and there were family photos out, it wouldn’t prevent me from presenting an offer. One thing I did do that people seemed to like was: it was late Fall/early Winter when I listed so I left out a few photos showing our garden in the Summer so they could see my lilacs and masses of peonies and perennials. Good Luck!

  42. Yvonne,

    My favorite magazine is Cottage Journal as well, I receive it 4’x per year, can’t wait to c the edition
    With your home in it!!
    U must b so proud, what an honor!!

  43. Congratulations, Yvonne, on Cottage Journal visiting your home!! I’m sure it was a fantastic experience! I’ve been collecting Cottage Journal for some time now; it’s a little bit more here in Canada but I consider it my “treat” since it isn’t a monthly magazine. Their vignettes inspire my oil painting so much and certainly motivate me when I hit a “wall”! I’m always going around removing things from my rooms because I know how important it is for the eye to rest and to give space so that certain objects can shine. I love your family room much more now that you’ve moved the trio of stars you had – even though I liked them very much. It seems to have opened up the room a bit more and I can’t wait to see you in a future issue of Cottage Journal …. how exciting!! Congrats again – you deserve it!

  44. Kymberly Starr says:

    How fun to have someone come in and help you. I will be using the picture taking tip soon. Moving day is in two and one half weeks. I can’t wait to decorate my new home.

  45. I have loved the Cottage Journal for years. I can absolutely see how your home would be a beautiful addition to the publication. Congratulation!

  46. Looking forward to seeing the feature on your home which is gorgeous and certainly magizene-worthy.

  47. Wonderful news for you! This was a great post….especially taking a good hard look at photos of your rooms. Years ago I realized how crowded and overly cluttered my kitchen looked when I was putting birthday celebration pictures (taken in the kitchen) in an album. I really had become “numb” to all the clutter in the room until I looked at the photo. You really do get another perspective when you look at a photographic shot! After that revelation I started de-cluttering! I always take pictures now all my decorations to remember what I did and also to critique them. Thanks Yvonne for bringing this topic forward!

  48. I will look for the Cottage Journal soon. Also I like the idea of taking a picture and then studying it for flaws or what to improve. Good ideas on this post

  49. Shelley Anderson says:

    That is wonderful Yvonne! I love the Cottage Journal and purchase each one with such anticipation. Your home will be just the right one to add to this special magazine and I can’t wait to experience the thrill it will bring! You and your home are very special to me and I get so excited to read and look at all your post daily even though I don’t get to comment much. Looking forward to tomorrow. Shelley

  50. Oh Yvonne…I LOVE Cottage Journal and am very excited that you are going to be featured in it! Congratulations and I can’t wait to see it!!!

  51. Congrats on having the magazine come to your lovely home. I’m going to have to seek this magazine out, I’ve never seen it before.

  52. Thanks for the fresh tips!
    Hey, I have a Fran who sounds just like your Fran! My Fran’s in Hilton Head though, so how nice to know there are two wonderful God and people loving Frans! She has taught me that the mission field is whoever is in your face. 🙂

  53. Yvonne,
    Congratulations on having Cottage Journal photograph your house to showcase in an upcoming issue. Quite by accident last year I discovered the benefits of studying a photo to really “see” a room. After photographing my kitchen for a blog post, I realized there was a tupperware container on the bottom shelf of my shelves that can closed off with bifold doors. Standing at the unit, I could not see the very top item on the stack of platters on the bottom shelf. Turns out it was left-over birthday cake that had been there long enough to grow mold. Yuck! No telling how much longer it would have stayed there had I not spotted it in the photo. Pretty embarrassing…


  54. Congrats Yvonne! I LOVE COTTAGE JOURNAL -actually any magazine published by Hoffman Media. They are the best! So exciting for you. Can’t wait to see the pictures in print.

  55. How exciting for you! I love this magazine, it always has the prettiest pictures of homes !

  56. Congratulations and thanks for the great tips.

  57. Congrats Yvonne, you sure do deserve this! I will be taking pictures of my home!

  58. Debbie Reynolds says:

    Wonderful tips! I am going to take pictures tomorrow!

  59. Congratulations Yvonne! I’m so excited for you and can’t wait to see the issue with your lovely farmhouse featured.
    And… thank yu for the tips. You are so kind to share. {{{hugs}}}

  60. Ooooooh – Love Cottage Journal! It’s my favorite too! It’s like decorating book in a magazine! I am so excited for you and it is so well deserved! Stone Gable is the perfect fit for Cottage Journal and I can’t wait for next fall’s issue to see you in those pages!

  61. Bernadette says:

    I will be looking for Cottage Journal, thanks Yvonne.

  62. Theresa Kleinschmidt says:

    Congratulations,Yvonne you are so deserving of the honor to have your lovely country home to be featured in the cottage Journal. I can not wait to pick up an issue of the Cottage Journal. I decorate my home and enjoy decorating a few of my friends homes, I take pictures of the vignettes so I can refer back to the previous years and know what I did. Thanks for the wonderful tips.

  63. Less is more so to speak, always open to learn and appreciate how others decorate. Well done!

  64. Oh, Yvonne, how wonderful! I’m sooo excited for you. I can’t imagine, even with their updating your vignettes, that their photos will be better than the ones you share here. Enjoy every moment! 😀

  65. Loved this practical post. Thank you for sharing this even though you have had to be extra busy! Congratulations on a feature in the gorgeous magazine, Cottage Journal. You are most deserving! Your personality shines through your beautiful home. I am sure people will be able to see it just as we, your followers do, when it hits the racks next fall!

  66. Congratulations on your photo shoot…I have been getting the Cottage Journal for a while now. I love the magazine and there are so many ideas in each issue! I know it will be a special issue with your home in it. Again, thank you for sharing your talent with us.

  67. Oh Yvonne, I am so happy for you, I remember I told you, you should be in a magazine, and now you are, and in my favorite on too!But don’t cut your self short, you are an AWSOME decorator too, I always look forward to your blogs, I love your style, I remember when my house was also in a magazine and how they came over and edited collections, and tried new things, and I shopped my house too. I was a blast. And I was so excited to see my house, in a magazine.. wow! and I know you will be the same way, like its not real. But congratulations Yvonnne, I am so happy that my favorite blogger and magazine were working together, can’ wait for that issue .

  68. Looking forward to seeing your house in the next fall issue! I love that magazine and my mom just got me a subscription for my birthday. It’s beautifully done.

  69. Roxann Johnson Schwarze says:

    This was so informative!!!!! Thanks for sharing….always fun to see pics of your lovely home!!!! And of course I love The Cottage Journal!!!! I have subscribed for years!!!!! Roxann

  70. Congrats on your feature in Cottage Journal! Can’t wait to see your beautiful home in print!

  71. Mary Chris says:

    I love Cottage journal. It will be exciting to see your home featured next fall. Congratulations to you

  72. How exciting for you, Yvonne…CONGRATULATIONS!! And I love how you observed and shared what you learned. It would have been so much fun to watch them in action.

  73. Congratulations on a well deserved recognition. Cottage journal is one of my absolute favorites. I actually have a post pending that includes the journal. Lovely behind the scenes tips my friend. Thank you for sharing. Hugs!

  74. I hope we have that periodical in our area. Lucky you!! Which month will it be released?

    I can’t imagine they needed to alter much in your lovely home. Maybe they took away a few ideas from you as well. 😉

  75. Oh, so true about pictures not lying. You see the messy, what can be changed, and a multitude of other little things that you just don’t see every day living in the spaces.

    I often take pics of a room, or party/event set up, to see what others will be seeing, and it helps me make changes prior to guests arriving. OCD? Or just finicky? Lol!! My house will never be a showcase, but I still try to make it welcoming and as pretty as I can with what I have and have learned over the years.

    Your home looks like it could be in a magazine all the time, to many of us, but as you have said–you have a working kitchen, so we know it can be “messy”– we just never see it, and bathrooms need cleaning, and beds need making, and then there is laundry to contend with, so we will just treasure the illusion you allow us into your beautiful home. ?

  76. Linda Byrnes says:

    Hi Yvonne! Such great news and well deserved feature!
    Can’t wait to see it! On another subject, last fall, I attended a workshop you did at the Pottery Barn in King of Prussia….any chance you are doing another one any time soon? Any where in the area?
    Also, our paths crossed on the Christmas House Tour in Strasburg….have they put your house on it this year? They certainly should do so!
    Your friend in New Jersey,

  77. Portia Read says:

    How exciting for you Yvonne! The Cottage Journal is a wonderful magazine! Can’t wait to see your beautiful home there. What an honor!

  78. Excellent tips!!! Thanks for sharing them!!!

  79. Congrats and thank you! I’m looking forward to finding this magazine to see your photo shoot. Thanks for the inspiration and tips.

  80. Thank you for the wonderful ideas and tips! Taking photos and editing is great idea!

  81. Carol-Lynn says:

    I love your home and use it for inspiration! Cottage Journal is one of my favorite magazines. Even the pages feel luxurious!

  82. All tips that I have learned from my experiences as well and I will have to look for that issue!

  83. LOVE Cottage Journal – and am absolutely thrilled you will be featured. It’s a perfect marriage!

    My very best congrats to one of the very best out there. Yay!!!!

  84. Karen Webster says:

    Yvonne. .. congrats to you! Your beautiful home is certainly magazine worthy. I Love love love the Cottage Journal. Like the Stone Gable blog I find wonderful inspiration there. Look forward to seeing your lovely home featured.

  85. cheryl conway says:

    over decorated..over done…. like a ‘commissioned retail decorator’ charging by the piece… makes your style hard to look at and so predictable…. LESS really is MORE…

  86. pamela Lepage says:

    I’m so glad I got to read this post ,Congrats!!! They took some awesome photos of your family room. Thanks for the tips they are great.

  87. Donna Scearce says:

    I loved the tips! Love the whole blog!

  88. Fran Braun says:

    Yvonne ! When you said that Cottage Journal was going to photograph our home I about fell over! Clean! Boy did I clean! What a shock it was to have the folks from Cottage Journal blow in like old friends. In no time at all I learned so much and had so much fun! One of my 16 year old grandgirl’s friends once said “This is how grandma’s house should look!” So in my door flew CJ folks and made me see so my home in a whole new light. The magazine is so beautiful and I can’t wait to see our little post and beam cottage on their pages. I suspect that most of us are collecting things we love like we collect dear friends. We want to create a home that reflects our personality and welcomes friends to visit and feel at home. What fun! Fran

  89. Connie Dees says:

    Congratulations! I love the Cottage Joural .The magazine has some beautiful pictures. Your home is so awesome and beautiful.

  90. Hi Yvonne! I was looking at your article for some decorating tips when I noticed you wrote “my beautiful Lancaster County!” Are we talking Lancaster, PA? That’s where I live! Your home is so gorgeous and everything you decorate is too! I’m on Hometalk FB Live tomorrow at 1:00 eastern but we had to set up in our garage because my home is a little small but I’m just excited to find out you live in the same area. Maybe you can critique what I do tomorrow LOL!

  91. juliehuck@att.net says:

    Love the color schemes and ideas. I’m going to be looking outside for flowers and natural elements to bring inside. Not sure what I’ll find here in Texas tho!

  92. Jony Baron says:

    I did see your article in Cottage Journal and I knew right away it was you just from the pictures alone. The quality of the photos were amazing I will definitely pick up other issues. It was such a treat to see you in this issue and I shared it with my mother and sisters. Thanks again

  93. PAT WILDE says:

    As soon as I read about the magazine I rushed to Barnes & Noble to get a look. They had it but your home wasn’t there!!! Do they do different versions for different areas? Some do.