Tag Archives: home

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)

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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.

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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

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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

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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. 🙂

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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.

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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.)

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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.

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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.

 

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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:

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

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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:

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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.

Need a weekend project to do around your home? Here’s 10

From Remodelista, here are their Our Top 10 Weekend Projects. Something there for all sorts of skills, from klutz to adept.

If you like those, check out the rest of their DIY projects.

The elegance of (some) IKEA furniture

Domaine makes the case on this page and here on this one .

Can you spot the IKEA in this photo?

How about in this one?

Of course, it’s the composition and layout of all the furnishings in the room (and the room itself) that makes the spaces look great. However, you can also see the IKEA pieces, as the centerpieces, more than hold their own.

THE wall sticker decoration for computer geeks

I am not sure if wall stickers are passe or not, but this one, from Retro Basic Custom Wall Sticker – Spin Collective UK, appeals to the computer geek that I am. If you know one or are one, and you want to get this, the link has all the details you need.

Making walls better with moulding


While you can do interesting things with paint or wall paper to your walls, another idea is to use simple moulding to break up boring walls. The woman featured in this post, Charlotte’s Budget Beauty — House Call | Apartment Therapy, has  it throughout her place, and I think it looks great.

Want more ideas on how to do that? Here you go 🙂  http://lmgtfy.com/?q=add+moulding+to+walls

Add colour to your room: no paint required

While there are lots of great rooms that consist only of neutrals, I think every room benefits from bright colours. If you can’t paint your walls — and many people who rent cannot do that — there are ways to get around that, as this article shows: Put Down the Paintbrush: 10 Ways to Add Color Without Painting — Renters Solutions | Apartment Therapy. Some require more require more work than others. Others, like in the photo above, just require some a book shelf, coloured paper and adhesive. (If you are stuck for coloured paper, go to a place that sells sheets of wrapping paper.)

Sofas online and on sale

Shopping for sofas is a pain, I think. But I was looking into them and came across this: Bargain Alert! 10 Stylish Sofas on Sale Now at Apartment Therapy. The prices are good, the styles are varied and should appeal to many, and best of all, many of the places featued deliver.

If you are in the market for a sofa, check it out.

(The sofa above is Fog Kendall Sofa from World Market; was $699, now $549.)

 

The typical American room, and incidentally, the importance of home decor

This is not a typical American room:

No, not because of the actors in it. It’s not typical because it is interesting. It is packed with things to capture the eye. It is a “typical” room to an art director of a TV show.

To see and think about the typical American (and Canadian) room, I highly recommend this piece, The American Room — The Message — Medium. The author takes a number of YouTube videos to explore the typical American room and what it means. It sounds potentially boring, but I found it thought provoking.

I think home decor is important. The furniture you choose, the pictures you hang, and the color of the walls you choose are important. It stimulates the mind and gets you to think about yourself, your world, and your  life. I read once that the great artist Ferdinand Leger painted his floor red because he wanted it to stimulate him to produce better art. You need to live in rooms that make you better.  The typical room discussed in the article has none of that.

Here’s me hoping you strive to furnish your home in a way to gives you a better life.

How to go about cleaning your place when you hate cleaning

I hate cleaning my house. I like a clean house, but I hate cleaning it. So I am always on the look out for ideas that can help with this.

I have to say that I practice most of the tips here: The Lazy Person’s Guide to a Happy Home: Tips for People Who (Really) Hate Cleaning | Apartment Therapy.

Another tip I have that isn’t here is to keep a notepad and pen nearby. I find I often have the best ideas spring to mind when I am cleaning. When I pause to write them down, I am amazed at how productive I am. It makes me feel like I am getting more out of cleaning that just a clean/less messy space.