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.
Displaying Your Children's Art
So you want your kid to be an artist, or perhaps they were born with the creative gene. Whatever the situation may be, one thing is for certain, you are proud of what your little one has accomplished. But, now the task is hanging this unique piece of art in your home without your lovely home looking like kindergarten classroom walls. Here are some tips on what you can do to ensure your little ones art piece looks more stellar than usual.
First of forget on giving your child computer paper to doodle on. If you think that your child produces good art then give them a different canvas. You could even ask, or take your kid with you to the store, to figure out what type of canvas to use. Most Importantly, the more you focus on your children's art the more special and unique they are bound to feel with your increased participation.
1. Linen paper is sturdier, creates a textured look (especially when they use crayons or water colors) and is easier to frame than computer paper. Also, Try using a different utensil to paint (in the example picture below a flower is used instead of a typical brush).
2. Scan. Use whatever doodles, paintings, watercolors or sketches your little one has created and scan them into a file. Then, create miniature images with those works of art. Finally with your miniature scans, find a large frame and matte those scans.
3. Chalkboards. Hang sets of Chalkboard on your walls about 2 to 3 inches apart. There is no need to use different paper here. The collection of their art will speak for itself.
4. Tile. Painting on tile was always one of my favorite childhood memories. You can by tile at any local home improvement store, and space out the days you paint or make a creative day out of it. Once you finish be sure to put a thin layer of clear paint (or clear nail polish works too) and use the tile in a frame, in freshly poured cement, as the bathroom backsplash or whatever your child thinks would be stellar.
5. Wood. Painting on a wood canvas is always interesting. Any size, shape, or type works. Make sure that before you hand over that piece of wood that it was sanded, washed and re-sanded. Splinters are no fun.
6. Water Colors and Scissors. If you are a creative parent, or even just a parent that understands symmetry this is a project that is fun for everyone Have your child or children use water colors to make a tie-dye sheet of paper. After they dry, cut the water colored paper into shapes and paste them on card stock. Frame the art modestly, and whah-la you made art as a family!
Remember to have fun, and if you are the creative parent yourself - join in!
Windows Making A Difference
To me a wonderful evening can be spent many ways. An utter and surely peaceful way is listening to the rain. Understand that if you are building a new home, opening your windows to listen to your outdoors is a fantastic way of connecting with nature, improving your guests appreciation for your home, and always finding the perfect room and position under blankets. Take a look at the photos below to find inspiration on your favorite types of windows and how you can find better uses for your windows in your home!
How To Honor Your Hero
Each and every day you wake up, what do you do to contribute to the world that day? I'm not talking about your career necessarily, but how do you make a difference in the world? We all have hero's who inspire and drive us to be better individuals; whether it be a soldier fighting for his country, a beloved actor, or even our Heavenly Father. Inside each of us is a need to be better; to make a difference. How do we ensure that we are consistently reminded of our divine potential? A great way is to find a spot in your home to honor your hero. Listed below are a few ways to do this with style in mind.
Black & White Music. Have you ever stopped to smell the roses? Or listen to beautiful music? Music is something that our spirits love. For whatever reason, good music changes our moods, our personalities and the overall atmosphere in a room. In a room that may contain your childhood piano, violin or maybe just your stereo set this is a room that is perfect to display your hero in. But, wait, not just any photo. Make it black and white. A photograph taken in black and white instantly turns into a classic photo. Even the silliest of photography can be made timeless when made black & white. Matt the photo or poster, and choose a honorable frame. This room now means more to whoever chooses to play music within its walls.
Statue. There was a time when honorable men, no matter of what class or how expensive it may have been, were made into statues when they past away. Still a great way to honor men or your hero is through a reasonably sized statue, safely placed in your home. In our home we have a Christus sitting in our living room, reminding us that as we leave to house to live a Christ-like example. Another great place to put a statue is in the center of a garden, where it can shine in the bright daylight and put a different texture in your luxurious greenery.
Flags. Put them everywhere. If you have a soldier away from home, or one that has past away, my heart goes out to you. A great way to remember the dedication and courage it took to be on the battlefield is by placing flags around your home, inside or out. Many gardeners will place them in a pattern in their back yard, or in their front patio. A consistent reminder of who you love, that is truly a remarkable choice for your hero.
Remember whatever you choose, keep it clean, make sure to share the reason why you chose that picture, statue or other object in your home. Share your favorite memories, and be joyous in all that you do to remember your hero.
Understanding Your Dream Home
You hear the term often enough, and you may even think you understand it: Dream Home. It's something highly sought out, and not just for the extremely wealthy. Every class seeks to have a piece of paradise, a home to be proud of, and a refuge. What is a dream home for you truly? What do you need in a home? What makes a home easier for your lifestyle? Does it reflect you and your family? Just take a deeper look at your current living preferences, and you'll be able to answer all of these questions!
YOUR Dream Home: Whether you're building a home, remodeling, seeking out the perfect humble abode, or redecorating there is a way to understand what you need in every room. Ask yourself simple questions. Start with your Entry, you walk into your home and what's the first thing you want to see? A table where you can put the car keys? The laundry room, where you can kick off your dirty shoes or shrug off that stained jacket? Write down your traffic pattern. Next, the Mudroom. The Mudroom/ Laundry Room is an important part of any home. Laundry is a must in homes, and in order to obtain a healthy and happy family, make sure you have the space needed to do everyones dirty clothes. The Kitchen, and heart of the home, is it enough to have all of your regular cookware out? Is it enough to prep for those big Thanksgiving dinners? Is the sink deep enough? How old are the appliances? The Living Room and Family Rooms are also a big part of a regular family lifestyle. How many people can you fit in this room? Will the flooring ware well? How much natural lighting does the room have? Is it easy to access? The Bedrooms and the Master: in a room where you will be spending a lot of time, make sure it can reflect you easily. Is the room layout pleasant to look at? Is there a nice view? Can your bed fit in here comfortably? Is the bathroom easy to access from here? Now, blindfold yourself or close your eyes. Can you still easily access the bathroom? Next step, the Office! This room is very important, whether you're a child or adult. Doing homework or bringing home work is usually no fun. So, you'll want a room with plenty of natural lighting, a nice space. And when it comes down to finishes, you'll want your office to feel light and clean. So that your thoughts may roam freely. Finally, the Bathroom a regularly looked over piece of the home until you've actually moved in. But, wait! Take a seat, literally! Is the toilet comfortable? Could you reach everything you would need while sitting on the throne? Is there enough storage (for towels, shampoo's, lotions, makeup..etc)? Remind yourself, "Yes, I am being picky. Yes, it is worth it!" Your home is just that, a home! It should be a place where you can relax and not have to add chores to your list every day because the layout is terrible. Learn to seek for what you know and love.
YOUR Family and YOUR Style: This is quite simple. Take into consideration the things you own now, and the things you know you will soon own. Write them down as you either rearrange, home seek or remodel. Ask yourself, "Where can I put this object that I love?" "Why do I love it?" If you can answer those two questions you will be able to understand why that piece works in your home. Remember to pick things that your family loves also! Only choose things you can use. Decoration will get old.
See the photos below for help on building or choosing your dream home!
Set An Attractive Table Centerpiece
A stylish or cute centerpiece is not just used for weddings. It can be used for even the simplest of occasions. Having a family friend come over? Welcome them with your new dish set and flowers from the garden. Your spouse is coming home early? Whip up some table art by using your finest linens and china, light those candles and express your appreciation for your better half! There is no need to hide away your grandmother's linens or your newest purchase at a design fair, just like a kitchen being known for the center of a home, a nicely set table warms the heart of any space! Listed below are a few photos and tips on creating a stunning atmosphere at your table.
Theme: What is the occasion? Is it a family dinner, a holiday, or lunch with friends? Select a theme that its the occasion. Possibilities include using the months freshest flowers or arranging the table in a way that flatters your guests. Is their favorite color purple? Serve grape juice and bring out the closest linen color you have. As a general rule of thumb, as a family you should own one tablecloth or napkin set in every color of the rainbow. Now, don't fret if you only own white linens. A white tablecloth, will forever remain the classic table setting. A great way to dress up that classic look is with colored dishes, glassware, silverware, or floral arrangements.
Table Coverage: Your table cover is the background for the food and table appointments (dish ware) you place onto it. It protects the table and makes for less noise. Placemats and/or tablecloths may also be used. Sometimes a table is left bare, but whatever your occasion choose a cover that is appropriate for that time. Matching and blending colors is a great way to spruce up your meal, also don't be afraid to mess with textures in the dishes, centerpiece and more. Finally, don't forget to use something quite different for contrast.
Place Setting: You will need at least 20 inches for each person's dishes. Place the plate or china in the center, about an inch from the edge of the table. Place the knives and spoons on the right, and forks on the left. Turn the edge of the knife towards the plate. Napkins folded into oblongs are placed next to forks, but placement of a napkin will always vary. The first beverage glass is placed about an inch from the knife, additional glasses to the right of the first glass. If coffee is served, the cup is placed on the saucer and set to the right of the spoon.
Fresh: Inspired by the colors and aromas of nature, cut fruit makes a very appealing centerpiece when it's done right. Make sure to use a variety of fruits that will stay firm for the duration - melon, pineapple, apricots, grapes and lemons would all be good choices. You'll also need wood skewers of varying lengths and a stable base. Cut fruits are a natural for a summer celebration. They smell wonderful, look great, and you can eat them if things are running late in the kitchen.
Let It Resemble You: Your home should be a reflection of yourself, your hobbies, family, loves, style and personality. When you prepare dinner it's a reflection of your heritage, your appreciation for food and your patience in learning the right ingredients. Your table setting should flatter not only your meal but who you are, what you like and accent your homes atmosphere!
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.
Upon growing up my mother took me and my siblings to church every Sunday, alone. Growing up without my father attending church was confusing to me. "Why would someone not want to worship God on a day of rest?" I often pondered. It wasn't until later that I learned that my father had no religion, even though he believed in God and supported our beliefs, and because of this, put a slow and steady strain on my mothers eagerness to attend church. By the time I was in my teens I had monthly church magazines arriving, from my mothers parents, for me. They were to help me build my personal testimony, and in hopes I would never feel alone attending church. Which they did quite well. I read an article one summer day with a question that still sticks with me, it went along the lines of, "If a non-member was to walk into your home or bedroom, would they know your beliefs?" Essentially the question posed, did I represent my faith in my room, either through: art, books, posters, and/or simply my actions? I decided to make the change.
As a member of a Christian faith, specifically The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, we are known for overloading our homes with posters, memorization charts for youth, statues and plenty of temple and church-like photos. It's great feeling, even if you have no religion, to walk into an environment and feel welcome. Art and warm smiles always accomplish this feeling for me and my family. Listed below are tips and tricks on showing off your faith, in style, and in hopes that those that you welcome into your home, will feel at home.
Less Can Be More. Like previously stated having multiple photos in the same area, can be overwhelming. A great way to show off your religion, in a room, is through small art. The example listed below shows a framed quote from the Bible. Another way to make a settle statement, is hanging up art that speaks to you. Being LDS, we believe that God the Father and Jesus Christ created all things and in that: talents. Art is a talent, if something speaks to you or your family member and it looks great, find a way to incorporate it into your space!
Statues: Many faiths have statues, and of those that they idolize and/or worship. The example below is of the Christus, which is displayed in the Salt Lake City visiting center, only the actual statue is 10.5' and the replicas you can purchase only run about 15" tall. Nevertheless, display whatever statue that represents your faith in a safe spot. Somewhere your guests can admire the craftsmanship that took place and possibly ask you what your statue represents.
Reuse. You have probably seen this before, but lets take reusing church art and stained glass to a new level. Take out your standard window and have this old, beautiful art piece put in! If that's outside your budget, consider this: weld two strong and narrow chains to your glass and hang it in your home. Not only are you giving this piece another life, but it will be a conversation starter and a great way to add antiques to your home.
Displaying Family Photos: A classic way of showing off your religion, through a very discreet way is hanging up or displaying family photos. To become like a pro, spray paint or purchase frames of the same color or hue. If you want to go one step further, turning your photos into black and whites adds a timeless touch to any photograph and is sure to be adored for ages.
Appreciate the Outdoors. If you're building a new home or remodeling try adding large windows into your space. Because, if God created us, he created the world we live in. Everything is his, so take time to appreciate it. Simply put, wherever you live, find the time to enjoy the outdoors.
When you're finished with redecorating your space, take a step back. Does it represent you? Does it resemble what you believe in, and who you believe in? Does it make you smile, or possibly tear up? Can you feel the joy and peace that it brings to your home? If so, bravo. Your home shows off your religion, and in doing so it shows off a part of who you are.
Space Planning Your Rooms
Space Planning sounds rather simple at first, throw a sofa there, put the chairs on the side, and coffee table in the middle, right? Of course that's not always quite how it works. Successful planning requires considering a variety of tangibles: physical limitations, size,furniture, flow, and more. Before you start remodel or redesign your space consider the following.
1. Graph it. A great way to carefully plan out your space is measuring your space and using each graph paper square as a foot. Cut out your furniture using the same tools. and place them in your floor plan. Consider the following questions. Can you walk through the space? Can your guests have a conversation without cranking their necks? Is it a comfortable layout? Can multiple people pass through the space at a time? Can you reach the tables from sitting down? And more. When you are done creating your optimal space: make the move, take a seat, and have your family sit down, then ask yourself, "Does this work?"
2. Determining Function. Think carefully about what you want your new room to do and who will be using it. What will be required of this space. Will you be having family movie nights? Hosting parties? Also, consider the ages of those in your household, and if they need space for disabilities. How durable and accessible does everything need to be? Be flexible if you need to, so that your room can grow with your family.
3. Make Your Home Flow. Your new room needs a space that not only flows within itself, but flows with the other rooms in your house. A great way to accomplish this is by using materials and colors similar from room to room. Consider the furniture, millwork, baseboards and interior doors this will allow your home to visually flow.
You can accomplish even the biggest room successfully by combining colors, graphing the plan and then laying it out, finally ensuring that the rooms' design is functional. Take a look below at plans and examples on how to design your space.
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