Whether or not guests see your home on a regular basis, the idea of having a home that looks and feels great is a desirable one. Adding value to a property shouldn't just be for those that are planning to sell in the near future, for many small additions can add life to your home. So whether you're selling or staying put, consider these small improvements that can be for less than $100.
1. Accent Lighting
A few cleverly positioned floor and table lamps or even twinkly outdoor lights can make a difference to the atmosphere of a room. These items are relatively cheap, and you can find them almost anywhere so it's definitely worth shopping around. If you want to be specific about the type of mood- the warmer the bulb the more romantic and softer on skin is reflected, the whiter the bulb tends to bring a clean or natural feel to a room.
2. Mount/Prop a Mirror
The human brain can easily be tricked, and mirrors are great at creating the illusion of space and bouncing light around a room. For a chic look try looking for mirrors with dark wood or metal crossing frames, and for a more contemporary/modern look try finding geometric shapes or placing an oversized mirror on the floor and propping it up against your wall.
3. Paint It!
Everyone wants a new kitchen or bathroom, but there is no way to complete a remodel of such spaces under $100. However, you can freshen up those spaces with light pastels, or whites on the bathroom walls, cabinets or even your vanity. In these spaces having light is important for prep work (either on your face, or for your food). Because of this, you want to make sure to work with the light (hopefully natural) that you are given. Light bounces off lighter walls better and creates a clean effect in those spaces. For a pallet of pastels and whites to choose from click here.
4. Planting Indoors and Out
Whenever passing down a street full of "cute" homes you'll be sure to find that the outdoor landscaping is typically superb. What is great, is that you don't need to have a green thumb, or even know how to keep up with plants to boost your outdoor curb appeal. Trees, shrubs and ferns tend to need water about once to twice a week, and some even less. If this seems too difficult finding a colored mulch and placing solar lighting up your walkway is a sure way to add a more dramatic effect coming up to your front door.
If you want to take planting a step farther, any room can be improved with a fresh piece of greenery. Remember to keep it in proportion (or just think smaller is better), and plotted plants as opposed to cut flowers are generally preferable, as they are less likely to wilt.
5. Freshen Up Your Front Door
Painting your front door may seem terrifying at first, but don't let it be listed are four simple steps to become a door-painting-pro.
1. Remove the Door and Clean:
Use a slot screwdriver to remove the hinge pins and then remove the other half of the hinge from the door. The door will be heavy, so get help to lift it onto some sawhorses.
Remove all the hardware off the door, including the door knocker, peephole and doorknob.
Wash and allow the door to dry before painting.
2. Prep the Door:
Patch cracks in the door with a quick-drying wood filler. When it is dry sand the filler smooth so that it becomes flush with the door.
3. Apply Primer:
If the existing paint is in good condition, no primer is necessary. However, if you are using a dark color like red, it's advisable to use a primer first.
Prime all six sides of the door, including the inside, the outside, the left and right edges and the top and bottom. Any surfaces not primed will absorb moisture. Let dry completely.
If the door's surface still has cracks, fill them with caulk . Let the caulk dry and re-prime the spot.
Use a fine-grit sandpaper, such as 180 grit, to smooth the surface and remove any paint drips particularly in the crevices of the panels. Use an old paintbrush or a tack rag to brush off the dust from sanding.
4. Paint the Door:
Start painting with an angled sash brush, painting the corners of the panels first (raised or recessed). Work from the top panels down to the lowest. Don't use too much paint or let the paint puddle.
Use a roller to apply the paint to the raised panels, rolling with the grain of the wood. Then paint the muntins (top and then bottom), transoms (top, middle, bottom) and finish with the stiles.
Paint the door with several coats, continuing to use the angle brush first and then the roller. The darker the color, the more coats that will be needed.
6. Pick a Scent
This is a sensitive subject at my house, due to my husband being allergic to floral scents. So if you want a fail-proof way to get your house smelling great, but not over-powering try Doterra essential oils with an aromatic diffuser (essential oils that are 100% naturally derived from leaves, roots, and petals), or you could simply put lemon slices into your garbage disposal, or try slicing them into a beautiful bath of steaming water (if you do this, be sure that it is out of reach from children).
7. Organize Your Guest-Used Rooms
There may not be anything more agitating than being a guest who has to sleep in a messy room. Even if they would normally have a messy bedroom for themselves, having a room where you know where everything is placed or everything has a place gives them a peace of mind. Try using cake plates, low trays, racking systems, benches, hooks or even clear Tupperware to store and place the objects your guest is welcome to use.
8. Reboot The Coffee Table
Much of the art of creating a stylish home is stopping to consider how you have things displayed for guests, and ease of access. A pile of arty hardcover books piled on the coffee table may sound cliche, but it can be a rather effective way to add personality to your home and keep guests temporarily entertained with your reading selections. If you rather do something more decorative, try an oversized low bowl to store fruit, remotes, wooden toys, or art projects.
9. Add a System for Organized Hello's & Good Bye's
Clean your hallway. Is your entryway hall a place for shoes to pile up, coats to be tossed, mud to be tacked in, and keys to be left in pockets. Hallways get more of a bettering than nearly any other place in the house. Especially if you have bikes, strollers or children, and especially if you live near or on a ranch. However, a few minutes with some all-purpose cleaner, a duster and a trip to Target, Wallmart or the Container Store can make all the difference. Try a dresser (to place shoes, books, scarves, sweaters or coats), or a bench simply to unload your daily gear (and store the shoes underneath), a simple key-hook near the entryway can lead to less lost keys can better habits leaving from, and coming into the home.
A Home For Pets
Growing up with dogs, cats, many fish and a lizard I understand the frustration my parents had when it came to where those pets slept and where they ate. The common questions would arise, such as, "How do I hide the cage?" "Will I ever stop sweeping up this hair?" "I wonder if there's a better place for the pet to live?" Now, as an adult who has a husband who frequently travels, my little family is debating on purchasing and caring for a small animal for our small space. As a designer one of the thoughts I had was how to keep my home clean and where to keep the pets' living quarters. If any of you have stumbled across this dilemma, on creating a stylish and sensible place for your pets, below are a few helpful tips and example photos!
Reuse. Don't get rid of that old coffee table or nightstand you've had hiding in the basement. With your new or old pet, now is the perfect opportunity to use the spare space underneath the tabletop and store your pets bedding. Want your pet to be even more hidden? Consider boxing in the sides, or creating a simple, yet stylish den for your four-legged friend by scratch. This also works with nightstands (if your pet is extra small), use the bottom half and create a hidden home.
DIY. Have you always wanted to give your pet a chic or eclectic styled home? Here is a great opportunity! Whether you have a small dog, cat or rodent this hut (pictured below) is created with four sticks, some string and fabric. All you need is patience and a good eye for what fabric to use! Keep in mind that if your animal is on the wild side a sturdier fabric will be best.
Another way to create a stylish home for your pet is using an old armoire, chest, portable linen closet or storage unit for the family pet. In the example below a portable linen closet, once used in the bathroom for spare towels, is used for a small rodent. This creates easy access for the owner and an eclectic addition to any room. Also pictured below is a dollhouse converted into a chinchilla’s home. Add in a sturdier back, a few toys and thick chicken wire and you're all set to play!
Purchase and Adapt. There are always going to be modern options for reptiles, fish tanks and birdcages, and a great way to incorporate that into your home is buying a set up that can be used for multiple things. In the picture below you will see a dresser and bookshelf unit that has a cage on the top. When your pet dies, you can either reuse the cage/tank for another animal or take out the wire/glass and use the space for toys, books or spare clothes.
Think outside the box. Consider: "Where can I give this animal what it needs and still optimize my home space?" "What are my limitations?" "Is this room too small for them?" "Can I easily feed them near their space?" And so on. Your pet is apart of your family. Treat them with respect and be sure, no matter what stylish home you give them, that they have enough space and everything they need to be a healthy, happy member of your home.
As my husband and I continue to frequently travel, I have often pondered the subject of what makes a room successful for guests. Being both an individual that travels regularly and one that throughly enjoys hosting guests, I have acquired a few general tools for successful visits. Listed below are five different ways you can help ensure your guest feels welcome in your home.
1. Clear The Air. Before anything happens, clear the clutter in the area that your guests will be staying in, whether it's a guest bedroom or a living room. Stash your excess stuff in lidded bins or baskets. The goal is to give your visitors a landing spot for shoes, jewelry, coats and their suitcases. Rather than emptying out your drawers, pick up inexpensive luggage racks! This way every guest can easily access clothes. This also can be a great place to set out the towels, extra blankets, and pillows ahead of time. Then, add the universal welcome sign: fresh flowers.
2. Stay Awhile. Before the visitors arrive, a great way to know what is needed in the room is, staying in their assigned room or space for an evening to see what is and isn't working. Lamp needs a new bulb? Crumbs under the sofa? Cobwebs in the ceiling corners? TV remote need batteries? All of these things will be overlooked by your guest if taken care of, but makes all the difference in a flawless visit. And don't forget the necessities: clean sheets, blankets, pillows, and an alarm clock. It's also nice to provide guests with a water carafe and motion sensor night-lights.
3. Bathroom Necessities. Isn't it always unfortunate to get out of a shower and search high and low, while shivering in the no-longer-hot-shower, for a towel? The unofficial houseguest's bill of rights should include a fresh towel and washcloth- in plain sight, along with some tissues. But be sure to prep for the unfortunate folks who forget a toiletry or two by holding onto those hotel sample-size shampoo, toothpaste, and the like. A great way to store these is in individual baskets or glass tubes.
4. Give Em' The Hook. Don't want visitors to see whats lurking inside your closet? Save your dump-it-all zone from scrutiny while giving guests a place to hang clothes with an over-the door hook stocked with hangers.
5. Be Our Guest. The last step could very well be the most important, be welcoming. Show your guests why you're a great host. They may not be expecting a grand party for their arrival. But waking up to the smell of fresh cooked breakfast certainly doesn't hurt. Remember to ask what could make their stay perfect, and if everything thus far has met their needs. Finally, remember to smile. You never know when you'll see them again. Treat everyday and everyone as a gift.
Placement Is Key
A few days ago I found myself thinking, “Placement is everything!” Why? As a temporary Barista, I had accidentally burnt my hand with 250-degree water. I will admit that I am a clumsy individual, but never have I caused a serious injury to myself. I had traded shifts with another employee who decided to move the banana basket under the water, and there appeared to be enough room for my cup. However, upon taking my full cup of water out for my customer the banana stem had caught the bottom of the cup, causing the hot water to spill over a good chunk of my hand.
Now I don’t blame my co-worker. In fact, I blame the previous Architect or Interior Designer, who had built that “Coffee Shop” as a gift shop, and that’s it. The space was not designed to hold multiple machines, water lines and excessive amounts of coffee. If they had previously thought about making the space a coffee shop, then this individual simply had not thought things through. So today, we will talk about the importance of placement, for all objects. Everything in your home should have a designated place. Your “junk drawer” that we all have lingering near our office or kitchen; should only be ONE drawer. Even then, you should have a pretty confident idea on what lives in that disorganized drawer.
Need help understanding how things work in your home? Take one day, just one to carry with you a small note pad. Every time you leave one room- write down what you used. In a separate column make notes on how easy it was to access. By doing this, you will not only recognize all of the unnecessary “needs” you have lingering in your cupboards, but you will find a better way to organize your rooms. Here are a few examples:
KIDS. If you have children, you might be on the verge of finding it to be impossible on getting them to clean up. Now in order to get them to clean up, you too must show them that cleaning can be easy…because it can! Use colorful baskets for toys, clothes, shoes, and more. If they are old enough, take them shopping with you. A child will always respect an object more if they felt like they purchased it. Finally, when you have set aside areas for these lovely bins or baskets, create times of the day to clean their spaces. Whether you teach them that after each time they go play in a room, or after every meal. Make a game out of cleaning it up (maybe the ground is lava, and you don’t want the toys to melt!). Finally, Understand that your kids listen and watch you, all the time. If they hear you complaining about cleaning, they will complain; likewise, if they see that you leave rooms messy, so will they.
FOOD. The refrigerator can be your friend and your worst enemy. However, a way to minimize looking into a fridge for more substance is to clean your shelves, use Ziploc baggies with labels, and designate spaces for: Dairy, Veggies, Fruits, Snacks, Sauces, and Meats/ Cheeses. Find a day once a month to clean your shelves. By cleaning simply and yet everyday objects you will find your mind becoming uncluttered itself.
BOWLS & TRAYS. Make sure they can stand on uneven surfaces, and make sure they can hold with added weight. A simple way to make sure you don’t purchase an unstable object is by placing the bowl or tray on the store floor and then making sure it can hold the weight of your purse or wallet, without rocking or falling over. After you purchase your beautiful organization helper, place it in a spot where it is either so obvious or so hidden that no one can hit it on accident.
SHOES. If you are like my husband, you have an extreme tendency to take off your shoes as you close the front door, and if you’re like me you get a little ticked that seven pairs of shoes are piled up next to the first place every stranger and friend walks in. You want to make a good impression, but you also want those shoes hidden! To solve this simple dilemma acquire a bench or tiered rack, place large baskets, tubs, or matts in the necessary slots where shoes can remain hidden and yet ready to access as you prepare your daily adventure.
MAKEUP. I personally don’t like to publically display how vain I can be, so my makeup is in a drawer. If yours is too, and you have trouble separating your hair from your foundation listen up! Next time you order something online-keep that cardboard box! Or parts of it. Use the flaps to cut out dividers for the necessary sections of makeup world: your go-to brush in the bottom, foundation and powder in the top left…etc. etc.
OFFICE SPACE. At work or at home, you can be certain that one day the papers will suddenly form their own skyscraper. A great way to minimize this is with simple Walmart filing bins or any wire paper tray. They don’t have to be by category or even make sense, but the simple fact that you have something in a compact and organized-like stack will make you look like a pro.
Now that you have a few tips, go out and explore your home. What do you truly need? What could someone else use more than you do? How do you operate on good days and on terrible days? How do we make your life simpler? You have all these keys, all you need to do is a little soul searching.
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