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Don’t Break the Bank

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Blogger Katie Taylor shares her tips for how to give meaningful Christmas presents, regardless of the budget.

By Sommer Brugal, Photos by Reagen Taylor Photography

It wasn’t until Katie Taylor purchased her first home in 2009 that her creativity and love for home décor became a top priority. She’s always been crafty, but decorating a new home, she says, allowed her to let her creativity flow.

Katie Taylor

Today, Taylor is the creative force behind Spray Paint & Chardonnay, a blog dedicated to DIY crafts and home-décor inspirations for any budget. Blogging about a range of topics, from hosting a cocktail party to mounting a DIY mailbox to your front door, Taylor says she has a special passion for home décor and remodeling, especially during the holiday season.

“I go completely all out for the holidays, even if I don’t plan on having anyone over,” Taylor says, laughing. “There’s just so much out there that you can do.”

Halloween and Christmas are her favorite holidays for decorating, the blogger confides.

To gain some insight and a bit of advice for the holiday season, Austin Woman sat down with Taylor to ask about her holiday must-haves, favorite shopping destinations and reliable gift selections for every price point. Staying true to her passion, Taylor is quick to point out you can’t go wrong gifting houseware.

“I tend to steer away from gifts that are very Christmas-related,” Taylor says. “I like to gift very useful things, so houseware is always a good idea.”

 

Price point: $$$$

For higher-budget gifts, those ranging from $100 to $125, Taylor says she typically opts for decorative pieces, like a nice throw or throw pillow, both of which can provide colorful additions to a friend’s living room.

Her pick: Milla Pillow in peach and cream from Lulu and Georgia, $113, or an alpaca sea-blue throw from CB2, $129.

“Lulu and Georgia is a great resource for pricier items,” Taylor notes. “I’m really loving everything that they’re doing right now.”

Editor’s note: Stay tuned as Lulu and Georgia gears up to debut a new rug line designed by AW’s November cover woman, Claire Zinnecker.

For those looking to purchase throws locally, Taylor suggests checking out Hacienda or Prize, two boutiques located in Austin’s Second Street District.

 

Price Point: $$$

A set of cocktail glasses or a glassware set is a great idea for a midrange price point, or gifts $50 to $75, Taylor says, noting how she was gifted a glassware set last year and has since begun collecting different styles and sets. The blogger says helping a friend start a new collection of housewares is always a good idea.

Her pick: Ultima Thule highball glass two-pack from Hive, $65.

Other ideas for those in the midrange price point include a coffee-table book, a decorative vase or a French-press coffeemaker like Crate & Barrel’s Bodum Eileen French press in gold, $50.

 

Price Point: $$

For lower-priced gift items, it’s clear Taylor has her list of favorites and go-to destinations to find them.

“I love something marble for this category,” Taylor says, “like a salt cellar from a kitchen store, for example. It’s small but cute and chic.”

One of her favorite items, though, is an Anthropologie candle. They’re a never-miss item, according to the blogger. Her pseudo-DIY trick, though, is to hop in the car and head to HomeGoods.

“[HomeGoods] has really great Anthropologie-esque candles for half the price,” Taylor explains. “You can get your friends a set of two, or enough to last them through the year.”

Her pick: gold-rimmed bubble-glassware set of four from World Market, $19, or decorative brass cactus objects from West Elm, $19 to $24.

 

Price Point: $

When it comes to DIY gift giving, Taylor is an expert. As her blog title demonstrates, she loves anything with a bit of gold spray paint.

“You can pretty much spray paint anything in gold and make it look like you bought it in Anthropologie,” Taylor says.

Her suggestion: Purchase plain coasters, dip them in paint and embellish them however you see fit. Personalizing a Christmas ornament is another idea for that perfect gift between best friends or family members, she says.

Although it’s easy to see Taylor enjoys crafting gifts, she recommends taking one piece of advice to heart when it comes to gift giving: Spend your money wisely.

If you’re going to spend $75 to $125, Taylor suggests opting for something luxurious. But if you plan to spend about $50 or less, Taylor suggests purchasing a gift and making it your own.

“One thing I love doing is adding something personalized to a [purchased]gift,” Taylor says. “DIY a Christmas ornament [and]tie it to the package of something you purchased.”

She suggests spending a little extra time wrapping the gift too. Doing so, Taylor says, makes the gift a little more fun for you and a lot more meaningful for the recipient.

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