Tag Archives: home

GAP comes home (with home decor)

It looks like Gap is expanding into home decor like other companies like Zara and HMV. As Apartment Therapy explains:

Gap Home is a new brand of over 400 home essentials including bedding and bath, kitchenware, and general home decor like curtains, pillows, and bathroom necessities, with prices starting under $16. The brand plans to release seasonal and special lines throughout the year, so get ready to add a bunch of goodies to your holiday decor collection.

For more on it, see Apartment Therapy.

More help for people who hate chores


For those of us who suffer through household chores, I have two links for you. I can’t say they will help. Lord knows I have posted many such links and I still hate chores. But I keep trying. No doubt you do too.

  1. Making chores more joyful
  2. Housework as meditation

 

On what not to do when you are moving apartments


I thought this was great: The Decorating Lessons I’ve Learned From Moving 12 Times in 12 Years

I’ve made many of these mistakes the last time I moved (e.g. waiting too long to decorate). I’ll review this list the next time I am getting ready to move.

If you are planning to move, you owe it to yourself to read that piece.

Good luck with your move!

(Photo by Michal Balog on Unsplash)

It’s the weekend. Time to clean house. And you hate cleaning house. So read this.

Some people love cleaning their house. I envy them. I hate it, and only the thought of a dirty and mess place gets me through it.

If you are like me, I highly recommend this: The Lazy Person’s Guide to a Happy Home: Tips for People Who (Really) Hate Cleaning | Apartment Therapy

You will find some tips to make the process less painful. Will you enjoy it? Please. Let’s not get carried away. But you will not mind it so much.

(Photo by Daiga Ellaby on Unsplash )

 

Crazy coffee tables!

Coffee table that is also a planter

Let’s face it: many coffee tables are boring. For a view of some that are anything but, you want to go to this link.

Take the one above, where you can have a coffee AND grow a garden.

For something completely different, there is this steampunk version:

Steampunk coffee table

There are also simpler but unique ones as well.

If you live in a small space and you are getting tired of it, this can help

It’s tough being at home all the time during the pandemic. It’s tougher still if you live in a small space. Indeed, the sameness and smallness of it can get to you.

One way to get some relief — short of moving — is to rearrange your space to make it seem newer and different. If you are stuck for ideas, you might be able to steal some from here: The Best Studio Apartment Layouts We Saw in 2020 | Apartment Therapy. Make a note of the ideas you like. Maybe get some paper and pencil and start drawing new layouts. Soon you will be on your way to freshening up your place.

If you treat it like a game, it might actually be fun to redo your space. Maybe throw out some old piece or wall hanging and get something new too while you are at it.. Paint an accent wall, even.  With all this rearranging and redecorating you just might find your old place seems fresh and new again. And that will make the pandemic bearable over the next while.

(Photo by Alexandra Gorn on Unsplash)

If you want to recreate a cubicle in your home, you can (but why would you??)

Hey, if you are really really really missing your office cubicle (why?) and you want to recreate that at home (why??), you can, with this:

Cubicle at home

It’s called the Hug desk, and you can read about it, here.

Please try and make a nice work place in your home instead. I wrote about home offices to die for, here.  These are much better to recreate, imho.

 

Sure your dog’s bed is nice. But here’s how to take it to the next level

Sadly, you cannot buy this modular dog bed that industrial designer Hyemin Kim created called the MUF as a project for his studies. But if you go to this link, you can see more of his approach to making his dog bed that can appeal to all types of dogs. You might be able to take some of his ideas and apply them to your own dog bed. Your dog will thank you for it, because of course, they are a good dog. 🙂

Want help getting your place neat and tidy this weekend? I have some links

cleaning products
If you are in a rut with keeping your place clean and organized, this could help:

  1. Zettelkasten is the German Secret to a Super-Organized Life | Apartment Therapy
  2. The Best Cleaning Apps – For Families, Roommates or Anyone | Apartment Therapy
  3. 7 Smart Cleaning Hacks Using White Vinegar | Apartment Therapy

It’s a pandemic: it’s hard to go anywhere nice and clean, so make your place that place. Or you can do what I do: procrastinate about cleaning and organizing by reading about it instead. 🙂

On starting your own Orangery this winter


Ok, ok, maybe that is a bit ambitious. But as the winter settles in, you might want a bit of summer in your home. If just to help you get through the days when it seems like winter will never end and summer will never come. (Collapse face first on the bed after you say that. :))

If you like that idea, read this: The Plant That’ll Make it Feel Like Summer in Your Home All Year Long. 

Then go get one and get started on making your own orangery.

Need more encouragement: read this from Bon Appetit.

P.S. if you are asking, “what the heck is an orangery”, then go here: Orangery – Wikipedia. It’s a fascinating idea and history.

Image above of the Belvedere Orangery in Vienna, via Wikipedia.

Four good ideas from IKEA


Nothing radical decor-wise, but here are some good ideas from IKEA. For example, they’ve packaged up some of their products to make improving your home easier: IKEA Launched Decor Kits That Let You Mix Up Your Style Easily

They have these speakers (seen above) that I would quickly get if I didn’t have a Sonos speaker already. It combines the quality of Sonos with the affordability of IKEA: SYMFONISK WiFi bookshelf speaker – black – IKEA.

Speaking of affordability, here’s a reminder that IKEA is always stocked with affordable items: Under $10 – Affordable Furniture and Gifts – IKEA

Finally, it is easy to criticize rooms with too much IKEA furniture in it. Such rooms tend to look like a showroom rather than your room. However, for people who have a hard time making good choices about their decor, stealing ideas from IKEA makes a lot of sense. To see what I mean, check this article out: IKEA Catalog 2021 Neutral Calming Rooms | Apartment Therapy

How to get the most out of your Google Home device?

Use Routines. As Wired magazine explains:

Instead of saying, “OK, Google. Turn off bedroom and play rain sounds,” and hoping Google correctly processes that those are two separate commands, you can say “OK, Google. Good night” and have a routine take care of the rest.

Essentially Routines are programs for Google Home devices to run. If you find yourself giving your Home device multiple instructions at a time, consider making a routine.

In praise of cozy corners (and how you can make your own)

Cozy corner.

Coziness is in the eye (body?) of the beholder. For example, I find the above image cozy. Other people might find the picture below cozy.

Cozy with cats.

Regardless of which one you prefer, I think having a cozy corner in your home is essential, especially as the cooler weather starts.

If you don’t have one or need inspiration, here’s 12 cozy corners from Cup of Jo you can check out and steal ideas from. A nice couch helps. So do blankets and pillows. Sleeping dogs and cats are nice. As are books and fireplaces. But don’t let me tell you how to be cozy: I think you should get there however you think best. 🙂

(Images from links to that blog post on Cup of Jo).

Two good decluttering projects for you to do this week

 

One is analog and one is digital.

The analog one is to declutter the space you are using to work from home. Apartment Therapy has a plan to not only declutter it but to make it better. (I find it easier to declutter if you can image the space looking good at the end).

The second decluttering plan is for your phone. Let’s face it, you have tons of digital clutter. Here’s another Apartment Therapy plan to tackle that.

(Photo by Minh Pham on Unsplash)

Is this “Saturday Morning” Weekend Cleaning Checklist doable?

So I read this, The “Saturday Morning” Weekend Cleaning Checklist | Apartment Therapy, which begins with

So you didn’t clean this week but you want a clean house to hang out in over the weekend. And you don’t want to spend half your weekend getting ready to enjoy it. Good news: You can condense your weekly cleaning into one super concentrated Saturday morning blitz of chores. It’s best if you can solicit some housemates (sometimes known as spouses and children) to help.

Now I am skeptical. But I will try it tomorrow and see how it goes. If you need a “goal” for the weekend, maybe you can too.

(Photo by pan xiaozhen on Unsplash)

Quote

Change your rug, change your room

You might reply, sure Bernie, that’s fine and I agree, but rugs are expensive. I can’t argue that: rugs can be expensive. But there’s also good cheap rugs  and if you don’t believe me, read this: Cheap Thrills: Vintage-Style Rugs Under $100 | Apartment Therapy

Now, that’s an older piece. Some of those rugs may not be there. But it’s worth reading just to get the names of websites that have low cost rugs. Check them out; you’re sure to find one you like.

If you want to change your room, you can change your furniture and you can paint your walls. But that’s can end up being a lot  time and money. A cheap rug could just be the thing to freshen up your room.

P.S. Not all the rugs are colorful, but I like colorful rugs so I chose that image. Also that rug has pink and pink in a rug tends to go with many room colours.

P.S.S. IKEA is also a source of inexpensive rugs. And their black and white Stockholm rugs is famous for a good reason while being low cost.

Quote

If your house is in shambles, you’re not alone


If your house is a bit of a mess right now, don’t beat yourself up. As this article showed me, it’s a pretty common problem: My House Has Not Kept Up With the Pandemic in The New York Times.

Now what you do about it is up to you. If you are fine with the mess, then fine. But if you are like me and the mess is getting to you after awhile, I recommend you start setting up a schedule to tackle it. Even bits at a time, starting with an area you can manage. You may find (like I did) that after you clean and tidy a bit, you feel better. Sure, no one may be visiting, but you’ll feel better, and that’s important too

Quote

You are not travelling any time soon, so now is a good time to make your master bedroom feel like one in a boutique hotel :)

For example, if you have space, do what good hotels do and make a lounging area, like this:

Let’s face it we all have more time these days to lounge.

For more such tips, see: 25 ways to make your master bedroom feel like a boutique hotel

Quote

How to clean with vinegar

Hey. You’re home. You feel: I might as well clean this place. Or maybe you want to get started on your spring cleaning. Good. Here’s a great list of how you can replace many of your kitchen cleaning products with just vinegar (and maybe a bit of water): 18 Places You Should Be Cleaning with Vinegar in Your Kitchen | Bon Appétit

Save money. Cut out those terrible chemicals. Learn some skills. 🙂

Quote

The limits of minimalism…

Might be here: Under 200 Square Foot Studio Apartment in Hong Kong | Apartment Therapy.

Cozy and minimal is fine, but this is basically the space you find in a big camping tent. I am sure some people can adopt just fine, but I don’t know if I could live in such a space for long. I also wonder if this is the direction we are heading for cities other than Hong Kong. Higher property costs and lower incomes might cause this to happen in other cities. I don’t look forward to that.

Quote

6 good links for living well for less in a small space

I am fascinated by living in a small space. Here are some of the better links I’ve found on how to live well in such confines.

  1. Tiny Living Inspiration Small NYC Studio Apartment | Apartment Therapy
  2. Large Picture Frames You Can Make on the Cheap | Apartment Therapy
  3. Smart and Stylish Wall Storage to Organize Your Small Bedroom | Apartment Therapy
  4. Gabby & Adam’s Smart & Functional Small Space | Apartment Therapy
  5. Small Apartment in Bucharest — Shoebox Dwelling | Finding comfort, style and dignity in small spaces
  6. 14 Genius Tips for Living in a Small Space | A Cup of Jo

(Picture from the Cup of Jo piece.)

Quote

Home offices to die for

Your home office may never get near to any of the ones in this piece,
25 Home Office Designs & Decorating Ideas — Dwell – Dwell, but it’s nice to dream and get inspiration, and that article can help there. The image above is one of the more modest ones. But hey, go check it out and steal some ideas.

Quote

A few thoughts on Marie Kondo

Marie Kondo and her method of cleaning up are very hot now, likely due to her TV show. This hotness sparked a number of discussions about her, such as this: “Tokimeku” Means So Much More Than “Spark Joy” in Japanese | Apartment Therapy. It also sparked other, more extreme discussions, such as how it is racist to not account for the deeper Shinto meaning in her works.

I read her book when it first came out and I admired it. I didn’t agree with all of it, but I liked her approach to life and the things we own. I got the Shinto aspect of the book, but I don’t recall that  it was emphasized, so criticizing people of missing that who are unaware of Shintoism is a ridiculous criticism.

There have been shows like Marie Kondo on before. It makes sense. We are driven in North American culture to accumulate, and shows like hers provide us with an antidote to this. When Marie Kondo is forgotten, another home organizer will come along.

I have read more extreme versions of Marie Kondo, like “Goodbye, Things”, which promotes a very minimal life style. I bought it the way I buy other books that have subjects to aspire to but will never achieve. I guess others have too.

There is something to be said for a minimalist lifestyle, a maximalist life style, and something in between. In the end, what counts is that you have positive feelings towards the place you inhabit, however much you have.

One thing Marie Kondo misses is the notion of a room as a workshop. If you have a hobby, be it cooking or woodworking or gardening or reading, you likely have a room where all your tools and supplies are. If you are good at your hobby, you likely have alot of them. That makes sense. It doesn’t make sense to get rid of them just because you want to have less things. Have what you need to do the job when you want to. You could still trim back: do you really need 10 cutting boards or 3 screwdrivers that are exactly the same? But otherwise keep the tools you need or may need.

I think Marie Kondo is great because she encourages us to live better with some simple guidelines. Even if you don’t follow them all, you will live better if you consider her message and try to apply it. In the end you’ll have a better home, and you will have a better idea of what you consider a better home.

Image from the NYTimes article on her, here.

 

Quote

If you are looking to set up or improve your home working environment….

Then you need this. Top 40 Tricks and DIY Projects to Organize Your Office. Quite a few good set ups and tips there.

I thought this was clever:

Quote

What makes a house a home? IKEA has the answer (no, it’s not a new Billy bookcase)

(

This is a really good study put out by IKEA: IKEA Feeling Of Home Study – Emotional Needs At Home | Apartment Therapy.

According to the summary piece in Apartment Therapy, what makes a place feel like home are:

  • privacy
  • comfort
  • ownership
  • security
  • belonging

It makes sense. Sadly, those are feelings that people may not have towards the place they live. People struggling to pay rent, or sharing with others, may not feel like they have privacy or ownership or security. People always moving lose that sense of belonging.

It’s a good thing to read, and a good thing to contemplate about your own living space. Here’s hoping you have all those feelings about where you live right now.

 

Indoor plants for people lacking green thumbs

If that describes you, then you want to read this: Low Maintenance House Plants – How Often Should You Water | Apartment Therapy as well as this this.

Those two pieces are also good for people that travel alot, but want to still have indoor plants.

Decluttering tips for people who have a hard time with it.

If you struggle to declutter your places, then Apartment Therapy has two good guides on how to make some progress on it:

  1. Professional Organizer Tips: What NOT To Do When Decluttering
  2. This Decluttering Pro’s 10-Percent Method Will Help You Pare Down Guiltlessly

Decluttering is always a good idea. You can live easier, and you can appreciate the things you have better.

Cozy small bedrooms


Some of you might hate them, but there is something cozy and restful to me in these type of bedrooms: (Really) Small Bedroom Inspiration | Apartment Therapy. 

This one is also nice:

They make me think of sleeping on a train. Good night!

Quilting as a form of coding


First off, I think the quilts by Elizabeth Elliott are beautiful. Besides their beauty, I found it remarkable how she goes about making them.  According to this piece, Quilts Made of Code by Elizabeth Elliott – Design Milk,  the quilts are designed…

using a programming language called Processing. Through Processing, Elliott edits coding and generates random formations of geometric and traditional quilt block shapes. Afterward, she plays and edits the configuration until it becomes a quilt design she likes.

Here’s one more:

.

Go see the Design Milk article to see more and get more information.

It’s the weekend. You should be painting.

Now, you might think: ugh, painting is alot of work. But as this piece shows, there’s some good paint jobs you can do in a weekend that still leaves you time to do other things.

For example, you can paint a door:

Or even just part of a wall, like the moulding:


The piece in Apartment Therapy is worth looking at to get ideas. If you’ve been tired of looking at the same old space and you don’t want to get new furnishings, a splash of paint can do the trick of improving the space.

Another option: do a painting (or buy a painting if shopping vs doing is your thing).  This article has lots of examples, such as this:

And if you think: I suck at art, then read this piece in Hypoallergic about how making art, no matter how bad, can reduce stress.

Now head to the paint store and start your next project.

(See the articles for credits for the pictures.)

An alternative to decorating with flowers

Is this: decorating with large vases and branches. As you can see from this article, the result is beautiful.

(Image credit: Emily Henderson)

Of course, you can also do flowers:

(Image credit: Design Sponge)

Either way, if you have the space, oversized branches, flowers and vases are dramatic and gorgeous.

For more on this, click the Apartment Therapy link above. Images linked to from that article.

The 5 Home Lists You Should Make (And Keep) 

A very smart list of things you should have to make your home better: The 5 Home Lists You Should Make (And Keep) via Apartment Therapy.

And if you want to set up a blackboard wall like that, you can get them by here

How to arrange supermarket flowers and other flower arranging tips

Flowers
If you are fortunate, you have access to a great florist and they can arrange your favorite flowers for you. If you don’t have that, if the best you have is flowers from the supermarket or the corner store, you can still do great things, as these three articles show:

  1. How to Make a Stunning Bouquet with Supermarket Flowers | Bon Appetit
  2. Three Stylish Takes on DIY Flower Arrangements – Bon Appétit | Bon Appetit
  3. Three Great Tips for Making Better Flower Arrangements | Healthyish | Bon Appetit

My advice: pick one or two of  these rules or examples and then get some flowers based on them. If in doubt, start small and keep it simple.  As you can see from the photo, you don’t have to spend a fortune on a big bouquet stuffed in a large vase: a simple collection of one type of flower in a simple bottle still looks wonderful. If you get a bunch of 4 or 5 different flowers from the supermarket, break them up into groups of 1, 2 or 3.  Try different things. Flower arranging is an art in more ways than one.

Also, when cutting your flowers, take your time and cut away a bit at a time until you get the height you want. You can always cut further, but obviously you cannot lengthen them!

Flowers bring automatic beauty into your life. Go get some.

P.S. If you have to get vases and you don’t want to spend alot, consider the local dollar store. Most will have a collection of simple glass cylinders of all heights. Get a small, medium, and large size cylinder and you will be all set for whatever flowers suit your mood that day, be they a small bunch of daisies or a big batch of sunflowers.

The surprisingly easy way anyone can start an art collection

If you love art, but believe you have to have tons of money or an art history degree to have an art collection, then take a few minutes and watch the above videos from the good people at art interiors (two of whom are in the video). After watching it, you’ll feel it’s something you can achieve, I’m sure.

Next step? I recommend a visit to their site and store to see what they have that suits you.

Good luck!

40,000 home decor links to make your place more attractive

Ok, not quite 40,000, but quite a lot. Some are very practical, some are inspirational, and some may even have you building your own furniture (as I did).

First, here are a bushel of links from the Apartment Therapy web site. They have lots and lots and lots of pages filled with ideas for people who rent apartments that can be used by anyone, renter or owner. Very practical, low cost, smart ideas and approaches to home decor. Good stuff.

Not so how to oriented, but this handful of links might give you some ideas and inspiration to improve your place:

Now that you are inspired, here are some good links I found for buying furniture:

Or if you want to build vs buy furniture, you might want these links:

Finally, if you are not so much into furnishing your place but more into painting it, then consider these few links:

(The lovely entrance at the top of the post is from a link to How to Make a Small Apartment Feel Huge | A Cup of Jo)

My latest batch of home decor links

Image of a bedroom from Cup of Jo website

As I redo my place, I have found dozens of interesting links, mostly from  the site Apartment Therapy. There’s lots of great ideas, tips, and other news from that site. Buzzfeed Home also has some good stuff, some of which you’ll find below. (The image is a link to the Cup of Jo website. It also has some great home decor ideas, among other things.)

Before & After: Budget Bathroom Upgrade | Apartment Therapy – it doesn’t take much to upgrade your bathroom, and if you want a manageable space to redo, this may inspire you to get going on this.
Furniture Finds: 10 bold and brilliant removable wallpapers – perfect for people who want the boldness of wallpaper, but also the ability to change your mind.
Renters Rejoice: Stylish Solutions to Your Most Common Design Woes | Apartment Therapy – if you are new to decorating, this is worthwhile
The Best Plug-in Sconces (No Electrician Needed!) | Apartment Therapy – like the wallpaper, this is another good idea for people who don’t want to commit.
31 insanely clever cleaning hacks for your messy home – before you decorate, you need to clean. Use this to get your going.
Decorating Mistakes First-Time Homeowners Make – Hither & Thither  – more good advice for those starting off
Affordable Vintage Rugs – Best of Etsy – rugs make such a difference, but they can be very expensive. Use this to help with that.
5 Ways to Update Thrift Store Art | Apartment Therapy – original art is better, in my opinion, but if you have lots of walls and/or lots of thrift art you want to use up, check this out.
A Brief History of Memphis, The Design Group that Defined the Look of the 80s | Apartment Therapy – I don’t know if we will ever see a resurgence of the Memphis Design style, but in the 80s it was influential. Not everyone’s cup of tea, but interesting nonetheless.
The Kitchn’s Guide to Cleaning Your Small Electric Appliances — Cleaning Guides from The Kitchn | The Kitchn – more good cleaning advice.
A Bubbly Life: DIY Wooden Shoe Rack – this is a great, simple project for anyone. I am not sure how good it is to sit on, though. Be advised.
Small Design Details That Make a Big Impact | Apartment Therapy – a handful of good ways to simple ways to improve your living space
A First Apartment in Boerum Hill | A Cup of Jo – a great place. Lots of ideas to take away from here.
31 creative ways to hide eyesores around your home – good advice from Buzzfeed Home
31 insanely clever cleaning hacks for your messy home – good cleaning advice here
How to Make Vinegar Cleaning Spray (That Smells Good!) | The Kitchn – …and here
Grown-Up Versions of Your Favorite Teenage Decorating Trends (You Won’t Believe How Good They Can Look) | Apartment Therapy – ha! If you miss your old room, you can go back again…and reuse those ideas.
DIY Mid Century Modern Coffee Table (Under $50!) – Wonder Forest – another good DIY project. This one is especially good if you want to design a table that fits a particular place. Other than Ikea’s Lack table, you won’t find a cheaper one anywhere, save a garage sale.
25 Clever DIYs for Small Spaces | Apartment Therapy – more good do it yourself ideas.
Get the Warm Industrial Look on a Big Box Store Budget | Apartment Therapy – if you like that look, you can get it without shelling out big bucks at places like Restoration Hardware by reading this.
This is What It’s Really Like to Live in One of Those Tiny Houses | Apartment Therapy – intriguing.
Bright Ways to Beautify a Basic, Boring Bookcase | Apartment Therapy – more good ways to improve your house.
12 Useful & Beautiful Things You Can Do With Butcher Paper | Apartment Therapy – plus you can let your kids draw on the walls and not freak out. 🙂
7 Ways to Fill a Wall that Are as Useful as They Are Beautiful | Apartment Therapy – have a big wall? Here’s some good ideas to make it look great.

A very cool Ikea Billy Bookshelves Hack

Over at themakerista.com is a very cool hack of 3 Billy bookcases that result in something with a built in look. Here’s the work in progress:
And here’s the final product:

You may not try something as challenging, but if you are interested in spiffing up your tired old bookcases, check this out this: The Makerista: Laura’s Living Room: Ikea Billy Bookshelves Hack

MyDomaine will make you appreciate IKEA in a new way

The folks at MyDomaine.com have a number of great articles of how to use IKEA furniture in a chic way. Here are four of them:

Well worth a look if you are on a budget and need to furnish your place. For example, I really like how they used IKEA bookcases to make this:

Some beautiful and inspiring examples of floor tiling to inspire (or fright you :))

This post, 12 Creative Ways To Use Floor Tile from Design Milk, has some beautiful and imaginative uses of floor tiles. The one above is one of my favorite, but all of them are great.

You want a garden. You have no space. You need this…

This Huffington Post article may be just the thing:
Start A Garden, No Matter How Little Space You Have. Here’s How.

I found it because I was thinking along the same lines. After you read it, you will see you have alot more options than you think.