Five Tips for Decorating Like a Pro

There’s nothing that gets you going like the opportunity to completely decorate a blank canvas or update your home’s decor. You’ve spent numerous hours on Pinterest looking for some inspiration now you finally have the chance to put your creative brain to work.  While designing a space can be exciting it’s also a tough process that can definitely get overwhelming.  That’s why we’re letting you in on some of the insider secrets of decorating like a pro.

 

Don’t be in a rush to purchase furniture

Be sure to take your time when investing in furniture for your home. You don’t want to rush the process just so you can fill up the empty space. Shop around and only buy furniture that you absolutely love. It’s important to create a space that you’ll  thoroughly enjoy.

 

Go with your gut feeling

Relying on your instincts during the design process is crucial. Sometimes the endless possibilities can make the decision-making process so difficult. But what was your first choice? When you go with your initial feelings you’ll likely be happier with the results.

 

Remember the light

Between the wall treatments and floor plans, lighting often gets left out of the equation. However, the right lighting strategy can have a dramatic effect. It sets the mood as well as highlight the room’s best features. Chandeliers, lamps and other types of lighting fixtures can be the perfect accessories to dress up the room.

 

Avoid over-designing

With so many ideas running through your head you might be tempted to find a way to combine several different elements in one space. This will make the room look cluttered and tacky. You want your home to feel like it’s been curated over time not like you purchased a bunch items at once.

 

Create an area of emphasis

Every room needs a focal point or an element of surprise. The location of the element will be the conversation piece when your guests enter and it will tie in the overall look. This element should be bold and stand out from the rest of the elements in the room

The Master Bedroom: Creating Your Own Relaxing Refuge

The master bedroom is your personal sanctuary.  It’s the place where you can shake off the stresses of the day and unwind in whatever way you see fit. So, it makes a lot of sense for this area of your home to be more customized than rooms that are commonly shared with the rest of your family and visiting guests.  To make sure that your bedroom design is serving your needs in the best way possible, read on for some tips to make sure it’s potential is maximized.

 

Color

The color scheme of the room is the first thing that will create a sense of calm upon entering. Be sure to choose a relaxing neutral or cool color for your most dominant hue.  Warm colors such as red and orange represent activity and wakefulness—not exactly what you’re looking for in a room you want to catch some quality sleep in.  Instead try a cool gray or blue on the walls since this space will account for most of the surface area in the room.  If you enjoy bright colors, you can still inject them into the design through accents such as pillows, artwork or the base of a nightstand lamp.  But again, this room is all about alleviating the burdens of the day, so be gentle with your color choices.

 

Lighting

The right lighting is essential for resting your eyes after a long day.  Be sure to install light bulbs that emit warm white light, which will be softer on the eyes and better transition them for lights out later in the evening.  When the lights are on, however, using a dimmer switch is recommended.  This way you will be able to customize the brightness of the room to coincide with your activities. Reading a book will require bright light while catching up on your favorite TV show with a glass of wine handy will not.  The more options you have, the more customized the space feels.

 

Organization

Place the items in your bedroom that bring you satisfaction.  If that is a large screen television or a leather armchair and floor lamp for reading, then so be it. This space is all about what makes you happy and helps you feel good at the end of the day.  Only allow items that bring you joy into the room. The flip side of this idea is to keep what you have in the room organized. Once you have all the things you need, do not clutter up the space with unnecessary extras.  It is worth it at the end of the day to enter your personal sanctuary and have it clean and ready to receive you. 

Your Lovely Home Part 3

In the second part of our series, we discussed reworking your daily cleaning routine and dedicating an extra 15 minutes a day to organizing your home.  We also talked about how purchasing supplies to give each item a designated area will help you keep them maintained once the process is complete.  In the final part of our series we will be discussing making your living space work for you, keeping surface areas clean and being open to making adjustments to the process as you go along.

 

Consider Rearranging Space

 

While you may have gotten started on organizing each room of your home and purchasing supplies that will help keep things clean, look at the configuration of each space. Having the room arranged in a way that is not conducive to cleanliness can contribute to the problem.  Are there items that are hard to reach or difficult to put away? Simply moving some things around so there is a direct line to where they need to be can give you the motivation to see a task through. If it feels like you have to walk through a maze to return an item to its spot, then it’s time to create a path.

 

Simplify Your Surface Areas

 

While you are making sure that the floors, walls and storage areas are clean, do not forget your open surface spots.  Counters, dressers, and TV stands are all good examples of places in your house that may end up with a bunch of random items on top of them.  Keep these areas as free from clutter as you can.  Cleared areas are easier to wipe down during the day.  Having to remove the items, dust them off, clean the surface area and then return them to their spot can be a deterrent from cleaning due to the time involved. 

 

Remain Open to Change

 

As your routine evolves each day, keep note of what is working and what’s not.  Always be open to making little tweaks here and there to make your organization project work for you.  Every plan is not one size fits all, so try out these methods and customize them as you go along. You may find that you have more time for organizing if you space your household chores correctly.  More time will help you reach your goals more quickly.  Also allow yourself time to take a break if you are having an overwhelming day.  You need to be your best, and the tasks will still be there tomorrow.

 

We hope you enjoyed our series on home organization. Check back with us for more ideas on how to make your living space work for you!

Your Lovely Home Part 2

In Part One of our series we talked about how to get started on your organization journey by deciding to accomplish your goals gradually. We also discussed preparing a to-do list ahead of time and incorporating daily walkthroughs to prevent further clutter. Now it’s time to tackle that list, and we’re here to help you get started. 

 

Rework Your Cleaning Routine

 

To make this work, you need to be able to fit your new to-do list in with your current cleaning duties.  An extra 15 minutes of commitment each day will help you reach your goals.  This 15 minute period is also a good time to decide which tasks are daily tasks and which ones can wait a little longer.  Not only are you organizing in a gradual way, but you also have to spread your responsibilities evenly, so you have the best chance of success.  While the kitchen should stay on your day to day list for hygienic reasons, you may find that you can skip a day or two of laundry.  Changing things up will help you find the time to keep your home maintained once the organizational process is complete.

 

Tackle One Area Each Day

 

Once you complete your routine tasks, pull out your list and stick to one location.  You have a short block of time to work with, and you do not want to spend it running around all over the house.  At the same time, decide if any items have outlived their usefulness and can be discarded. Check for expired products in the bathroom, paperwork in the home office that can be shredded or old clothing in your closet that can be donated. Taking the time to remove these items will save you space when you tidy that particular area up. Once 15 minutes has passed, move on with your day.  Keep in mind that each task may take more than 15 minutes to complete but maintaining this limit will conserve your energy in the long run.  Don’t worry, in time you will start to see some significant changes.

 

Consider Purchasing Organizational Supplies

 

While you work each day on organizing a different section of your home, think about its functionality.  Sometimes just purchasing organizational supplies will make it easier for you to keep things clean.  Organization could be as simple as using plastic containers and a label maker so that items have a designated space and can be easily retrieved.  Installing wooden shelves can help display items that may have been taking up space in a box on the floor.  If pictures are lying around, find a frame for them and hang them up.  Give each item purpose and make it work for you.

 

For more tips on how to organize your home, please read on in Part Three of our series!

Your Lovely Home

Have you ever looked around your home and tried to remember the last time it was as clean as you wanted it to be? Life gets busy, and things go to the wayside.  With family obligations, meals to prepare, children to keep track of and animals to care for, keeping your house immaculate can seem impossible. While you can’t always achieve perfection, try adjusting your expectations to being the best you can be to make life easier and more organized.

 

Time & Dedication

 

One thing is sure in this process: it is not a quick fix. The way to get your household operating at your desired standards is to give it time and make a commitment to see it through.  Trying to change everything at once is a simple way to set yourself up for failure.  Make small changes each week that will steadily improve your daily life without overwhelming you every day. 

 

Make a List & Delegate Responsibilities

 

A good way to get started it to make a list of the goals you want to achieve when everything’s said and done. Having a clear picture of your expectations will help prepare you for how long each task will take and what kind of support you will require to complete the job. Make a list for each room and include all the things that are important to you for keeping the area clean.  Once you have completed a thorough list, your next priority is to see what items you can delegate to the other people in your household, be it your spouse, children or other live-in family members.  Everyone contributes to the messes that happen in your home so they can also contribute to cleaning them up as well.

 

Incorporate Daily Walkthroughs

 

Once you have determined each person’s responsibility, you can start taking steps towards making your home beautiful again.  Make an effort each day to do a walkthrough of your home for misplaced items.  Using a spare hamper or box, walk through each room and place the wayward items inside. Make sure they are returned to their rightful place, not just inside the room they are supposed to be in.  The key to starting this whole process is to not add to the current mess you are trying to clean. By doing just one walkthrough a day, you can stay on top of any additional messes that can pile up while you are trying to get your home organized.

 

For more tips on how to organize your home, please read on in Part Two of our series!

Repurpose Your Kitchen Items into DIY Decor

Over time you can expect to replace certain kitchen items and have the existing ones fall into disuse.  Before you relegate those things to the trash bin, consider repurposing them into kitchen decor. Incorporating these kitchen-themed items will make a bolder and more unique statement than if you went out and purchased a mass-market item at the home goods store. By doing it yourself, you will guarantee that no one will have a decor item the same as your own.  Here are some great DIY ideas for repurposing your old kitchen items.

 

Kitchen Wall Art

The following project is an excellent way to spruce up your kitchen using custom decor.  Simply find an inexpensive frame you are okay with altering and remove the glass insert.  Paint the frame using a color that coordinates nicely with your kitchen.  Remember to lay down a protective cloth on whatever surface you are using to do your project.  Take a damp rag, wipe the frame clean and wait until it is dry.  Paint the frame and allow to dry according to the paint can directions.  Cut a piece of patterned fabric from a craft store and stretch it across the current cardboard backing included with the frame.  Secure the taut edges with duct tape. Hot glue your old utensils to the new fabric backing and wait for them to dry.  Then hang them up in your kitchen and enjoy!

 

Utensil Hooks

Take your old metal spoons and forks and turn them into hooks for hanging keys, coffee cups, and even coats.  First, find a piece of wood to mount the silverware on.  You can keep the wood in its original condition or paint it a color of your preference.  Use a pencil to mark each spot where you want the pieces to be mounted.  Gather your spoons or forks and bend them near the center of the handle.  If they are on the thicker side, boiling them will make them more pliable.  Use tongs and protective gloves to do so.  If you are hanging lightweight objects, use waterproof adhesive to secure the silverware to the wood.  For heavier objects, secure with screws.

 

Cocktail Shaker Utensil Holder

Here’s a quick repurpose for that old cocktail shaker you’re not using.  Purchase contact paper with a design that would look great in your kitchen and adhere to the outside of the container all over or in a striped pattern. That’s it!  Put your whisk, wooden spoons and ladles inside and place on your counter!

How to Live Well in a Small Space

It can be difficult to know exactly what the best way is to organize your space when you don’t have much of it! Fear not, for there are several tricks that expand your small space into a manageable size. Utilizing just a couple of these is sure to help make your space feel like a castle.

 

First take a look at the space.  Are the walls or the floor dark?  Dark colors will close off the space, while pastel or white will open the space and encourage a feeling of airiness.  Examine the floor.  Has it become stained, worn or outdated?  A small change in this department will make a world of difference in a small space.

 

When it comes to furniture, make sure that your furniture matches the scale of your space. If you purchase items that feel too big they will make your room feel stuffy. Go for smaller and lighter items. Furniture with legs that are showing will give the illusion of lightness as well. Try looking for furniture pieces that could serve two different purposes in your space. Tables on wheels can double as your night stand and your living room table. 

 

Be sure that anywhere you can you utilize your space. That means whenever you can, have pieces of your apartment serve dual purposes. If you have an ottoman, try purchasing one with storage. If you are looking at your couch next to your mattress, it may be time to switch to a futon. Storage becomes a snap when you use different types of modular systems. These can be used to display your clothes and shoes and any other items you might want to store. Added value? It can add a deconstructed modern feel to your space. Voila, instant art!

 

This leads to another tip for organizing a small space. Make sure that you don’t bring clutter in. You don’t have the space for it. And keep organized—if everything has a place then it will keep your space feeling much larger so be sure to put things away after you use them. You’ll also want to be conscious of the fact that if you don’t keep it clean it will end up looking cluttered as well. So be sure to keep your space as clean as possible!

 

The most important thing to remember is that when you have a small space you are going to have to get creative. Find what works for the space you have and always be sure to keep your space clutter free!

5 Tips on How To Ensure That Parents and Children Enjoy Your Wedding Reception

It’s important to consider every single one of your guests when planning your wedding. Below is a great list of ideas about how to make sure that kids will be entertained on your big day.

  1. Hire a babysitter for the tiniest children, those under age five who need constant supervision.
  2. Hand out mini Etch-A-Sketch’s. Have a contest and ask the kids to make the best drawing of the bride or groom. Award a prize to the winner and let the kids keep the toy as a wedding favor. If you want it to feel more personalized, put a permanent sticker on the back of each Etch-A-Sketch that features your names and the date of the wedding.
  3. Offer a treat with which the kids can take part in the toast that follows a formal speech. For example, the speech made by the parents, best man, or maid of honor. Fill small glasses with milk and place a chocolate chip cookie on top.
  4. Create a busy box and gift one to each child when they arrive at the reception. Include items that are age appropriate. For example, a coloring book and crayons for small children, or a jump rope for slightly older children. Include things like snacks, stickers, disposable cameras, bubbles, candy, themed pen and paper, etc. If you’re not sure what kiddos like best, ask friends and family to quiz their children and learn what they would enjoy finding in a busy box. Don’t let on as to why you’re asking, or the surprise will be ruined at the wedding. Just tell them you’re taking a survey, which you are.
  5. Hungry kids are grumpy kids so take them into consideration during the various times throughout the evening when food will be served. Especially during the appetizer hour. The sooner they eat the better. Then continue to present them with small plates of food throughout the night. For this to be successful it’s imperative that you include food that kids love. For example, peanut butter and jelly mini sandwiches during hors d’oeuvres hour, pizza during dinner, and ice cream during dessert. If you want to up the fun factor, include a soft serve ice cream machine at the reception. Set up a station with cones and toppings so they can access and create their own ice cream cones all night.   

Easy To Follow Schedule: How To Keep Your Home Clean

Cleaning the house is a daunting and endless task. It seems like no matter how much you try to stay on top of it, one day not paying attention and the whole thing falls apart. It’s also a challenge to manage a schedule. No one has time to deep clean their home every weekend, and some chores only require your attention a few times each year. Others need regular attention, and some daily. Here is a simple, straight forward guide for emerging triumphant from the game of ‘you versus the house!’

DAILY

  • Wipe down countertops and high traffic surfaces (tables, kitchen, bathroom, microwave)
  • Wipe clean sinks and mirrors
  • Sort things and send them to their home room (toys to the nursery, bills to the desk, etc.)
  • Take out trash

WEEKLY

  • Deep clean bathroom (tub, toilet, floor)
  • Clean and sanitize kitchen (countertops, floors, appliances)
  • Vacuum all of the carpet
  • Do laundry
  • Sweep floors

BIWEEKLY

  • Dust
  • Change bed linens
  • Sweep and mop hard surface floors
  • Open windows, turn on fans, spray house with air sanitizer

MONTHLY

  • Clean baseboards, window sills, door jambs
  • Remove items from cabinets and drawers and clean inside
  • Remove items from refrigerator and clean inside
  • Clean oven
  • Clean rugs
  • Replace fragrance plug ins

SEASONALLY

  • Wash the windows
  • Organize the garage
  • Go through everything and get rid of stuff no longer needed or used
  • Redecorate for the approaching holiday or season
  • Clean throw pillows
  • Wax floors

An easy way to manage this is to purchase a calendar that you can hang in a main area in your home and use it strictly for marking up the cleaning schedule. This way, everyone will see it on a regular basis, and it won’t be cluttered with all of the other information that consumes calendars. Assign tasks each week, and you’ll be amazed at how a simple plan can turn into a space you can be proud of at any time!

How To Prepare For Guests and Be the Ultimate Hostess Part 2

Part 2 – Kitchen, Guest Bathroom, Pets

Moving right along let’s continue with more guidelines as to how to be the best possible hostess when guests come to stay in your home. The goal is ensure that they feel appreciated, relaxed, and a little bit at home.

Kitchen

  • Set out everything your guest might need for morning coffee or tea. You’ll get extra points if you arrange it prettily. Fold a napkin, place a spoon on it, and set an empty mug next to it. In the morning set out the cream, sugar, and tea bags.
  • Ensure that your guest is comfortable and well taken care of by also preparing your refrigerator ahead of time. Before their arrival ask what they like to eat. Not just for a formal meal. Ask what they like to snack on. It will be much easier to keep them satisfied and save yourself excessive food prep time if tasty, easy-access food is in the house. Such as fruit, nuts, sandwich ingredients, etc. Plus, nothing says guest of honor like a spread of food that was clearly purchased with your guest in mind. 

Guest Bathroom

  • Prepare the guest bathroom by overstocking it with clean towels. Even if your guest only uses a few of the towels, there is something about extra towels that make a bathroom feel luxurious. Make sure to stock all the necessities of bathing. Even if your guest brings their own, they won’t have to ask for anything they forgot and they’ll realize how thoughtful you are. Things to include are shower gel/soap, razors, shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, extra toothbrush, q-tips, cotton balls, and lotion.

Pets

  • If you are allowing pets into your home everyone will have a much better experience if you plan ahead. First, remove or block off anything in the home that absolutely cannot support the presence of an animal. Next, create a space on the floor for the animal’s food and water. By deciding ahead you can avoid the inconvenience of randomly placed pet dishes under foot. Give your guest an extra house key if they will need to leave for a short while to walk the dog when you’re not home. Provide doggy waste bags to ensure your guest doesn’t upset your neighbors. Last, ask you guest to bring along a pet carrier or crate if you aren’t comfortable with the animal running loose in your home when everyone is out for the day or night.