How to Get a Lot Out of a Little (Space)

Sadly, major cities offer little to no space in homes and apartments. It has become a necessity for people to quickly adjust on how to manage their small space. Over time, we accumulate more and more items which can add to the stress of finding storage in a tiny space. There is no need to fret, here is how to get a lot out a little (space):

 

1. Store high above.

There is so much storage right in front of our eyes that we may not even realize is there. When in doubt, just look up. You can install cabinets, hooks to hang your bike, place extra clothing rods, put in a pot rack, etc. 

 

2. Double the purpose.  

When there is little space available, your items will begin to serve several purposes. In recent years, products on the market have begun to institute this rule. You can buy a shelving system that turns into your dining room table. This comes in handy because during the day your items are tucked away neatly but come dinner time you have a nice dining room table. 

 

3. Sensible seating.

 Seating is extremely important when you are entertaining guests. Think about the layout of your space, it may be wise to get a small sofa and a fabric chair rather than two large sofas to take up space. 

 

4. Fold them up. 

Sellers know buyers have small spaces.  This is the reason why foldable items are available today. Depending on your space’s size, you can invest in a fold-down bed, vanity or desk. These items create an efficient amount of space in rooms while being tucked away. 

 

5. Pegboard Please. 

Pegboards are not just for garages anymore. They can add a stylish storage function for homeowners. Clip on a mail bin or hang portraits from the pegboard. They offer endless possibilities and they are unique to each homeowner. 

 

6. Deck it out. 

Your small space does not have to be boring. Decorate the walls where there is extra space. Do not rely heavily on the areas provided by the floor, walls are your friends. 

 

We hope that you can utilize these tips in any of your small spaces!  Remember, they are not exclusive to small apartments!

How To DIY Picture Frames Using Old Candle Jars

Isn’t it about time we started displaying photos in more unusual ways than standard photo frames? Even the most creative frame from the local store is still a bit mundane, because it relies on the old ways of a flat piece of glass surrounded by a wood or metal frame. Here is a truly whimsical way to feature your favorite photos in your home.

  1. Clean candle jars until they’re crystal clear. Fill the jar with water that’s at a full boil. Let it cool completely! Once it’s cool the wax floats right to the top. Discard the water, and absolutely do not pour it down drain. (Or you might as well just put hot wax down the drain!) Check for stubborn wax remnants and get rid of them by using soapy water and a brillo pad. Rinse and let dry completely.
  2. Decide which photos you’d like to display. Print them at a size that allows the image to fill as much of the glass as possible. The bigger the better, so don’t be afraid to print an image 5×7 or 8×10, and then trim the edges with a paper cutter. We recommend having them professionally printed. Although home printers are great, the images don’t typically do as well behind glass
  3. Slip the photo in and form it to the curve of the glass. It is not imperative, nor even advised, that it wrap around completely. This project looks best when there is still some clear glass to be seen.
  4. Fill the jar part-way with a material that is similar to the theme of the photo. For example, use sand behind a photo from your beach vacation. Or, streamers and confetti behind a photo from New Year’s Eve.
  5. If you like, tie ribbon, twine, or something else around the top of the jar to make the final product a little more fanciful and complete.

How To Reuse and Repurpose Glass Containers: Candle Jars & Essential Oil Bottles

Now that we’ve got recycling under control and most folks are on board, people have shifted their focus to upcycling. Rather than simply destroy the materials in order to reuse them, upcycling involves creating a new and/or better use for them. No turn around process necessary! Household items have infinite possibilities, but here are two ideas that will allow you to hang on to glass containers and save money.

Candle Jars

The method you choose depends on how clean you want the glass to be when you’re done. If you don’t mind a bit of “foggy” residue then you can simply use the freezer method. Freeze the candle jar for 30 minutes, and presto, the wax pops right out. Use a butter knife to gently dislodge it.

If you want the jars to be clean and clear, opt for the hot water method. Simply fill the jar with water that’s at a full boil. Let it cool completely! Once it’s cool the wax floats right to the top! Discard the water, and absolutely do not pour it down the drain. (Or you might as well put hot wax down your drain!) Once the jar is rinsed and dried, check for stubborn wax remnants. To get rid of them, use soapy water and a brillo pad, and you’ll have a great basic glass piece for your project.

Essential Oil Bottles

Although it might sound like quite a challenge to reuse a container with a strong, concentrated fragrance, a little soaking goes a long way! Start by peeling off the label. Remove plastic cap and dropper cover, and submerge all parts in warm soapy water. Soak overnight. Discard water and remove any remaining particles from the labels. (Lemon essential oil will help if a label is especially sticky and stubborn.)  You might be able to stop at this point, but if traces of the scent remain, put all parts in a bowl of ½ water and ½ alcohol. Soak overnight again, rinse, and air dry. 

Make Your Own Mug Cakes

If you’re in the mood for something a little sweet, but don’t want to go through the trouble of making a complete cake just for yourself, consider whipping up a mug cake. Just like it sounds these fast cakes are made right inside your coffee mug, so they’re just the right size for one person to eat. Best of all, they take just minutes and cook up inside your microwave, so you don’t need to mess around with mixing bowls, pans, and oven timers just to enjoy a few bites of warm, delicious cake.

How to Make Mug Cake

This cake is so easy to make, you’ll want to make one every day of the week.

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup flour
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup + 1 tablespoon milk
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon chocolate syrup or chocolate spread

Instructions

  1. Whisk together the dry ingredients in a 14 ounce mug.
  2. Carefully add the milk and vegetable oil and stir to combine.
  3. Take a spoonful of chocolate syrup or your favorite chocolate spread and scrape it into the center of the cup so that the batter covers the top of it completely.
  4. Set your mug in the center of your microwave on top of a plate or paper towel in case some of the batter spills out while cooking.
  5. Microwave on high for roughly one minute and ten seconds. Keep in mind that microwaves  do vary, so you may need to experiment with the timing using your microwave.

Take your cake out of the microwave and let it cool for a few minutes before eating it. The chocolate spread in the center will keep your cake moist and delicious, with a thick, gooey center. The rest of the cake should firm up perfectly to a delicious chocolaty bite that is sure to eliminate any and all chocolate cravings you may be having.

The next time a chocolate cake craving hits you, try a mug cake on for size and see if it hits the spot.

Halloween Inspired Treats

22534191_STrick or treat? Most of us would pick treat. Whether or not you have kids, Halloween can bring out the inner child in all of us. Why not grab a few pumpkins to carve and cook up some of the following spooky treats. It’s a fun way to spend an evening entertaining little ones and adults alike.

Once you have hollowed out a pumpkin you can use it to hold all kinds of dips. Use black tortilla chips for a creepy effect.

Make witch fingers out of bread stick dough. Cut pepperoni slices to look like fingernails. Don’t forget to score the dough with a knife, creating knuckles and wrinkles for a more realistic look. If you don’t want to use breadstick dough you can make fingers from carrot sticks. Simply attach an almond fingernail with cream cheese and stand the carrots up in a bowl of ranch dressing.

Make green jello, mix in pineapple juice, lemon lime soda and vodka (if adults only) and pour into a punch bowl. In the meantime add dry ice and water to a large cauldron. Fit the punch bowl into a cauldron. Now you have magically smoking witches brew.

Use test tubes to hold tomato soup. Cut out pumpernickel bread in monster shapes and make grilled cheese.

Making Use of Recessed Art Niches

One of the best ways to show off art work in your home is in a recessed niche. Niches are fantastic because they allow you to group and arrange many items without taking up space in a room. Niches go into the wall rather than taking up valuable floor space. They give space where you didn’t think you had any. There are lots of ways you can use a recessed art niche in your home; try some of these ideas to turn any room into an art gallery with niches.

What to Put Inside
The biggest question many homeowners have about using recessed niches is what to put inside them. Think of your niche as the area where you place things you want to focus on or notice. Because they are a part of the wall, niches tend to get a little extra attention. You can place anything at all in in this extra space. But yet, by taking the time to select and arrange the items with care, you can make a statement in the room. Ideas for using art niches include:
• Placing pottery and unique items gathered on trips inside them.
• Arranging seasonal décor and including unusual items like a branch of fall leaves or fresh flowers with the objects.
• Resting a picture or a mirror inside the niche, rather than hanging it on the wall to draw extra attention to it.
• Painting the back of the niche a different color than the rest of the wall so that it stands out and highlights what’s inside better.
• Lining the back of the niche with glass mosaics, decorative wallpaper, or other unique materials to draw extra attention.
• Placing unusual items like small lamps inside one or two to bring extra light to the entire display.
• Placing items that have a special meaning like a bottle of sand and some shells from a favorite beach trip.
Remember that no matter what you place in the niche, it will become something that people focus on when they enter the room. So take the time to find special and unique items that say exactly what you want the viewer to hear about your personality and style.

Ways to Organize Your Family

Do find yourself getting overwhelmed and disorganized? Does your mind sometimes feel like the wall behind this man?

You can use a wall to get yourself organized and remember appointments and activities for you and your family. Here are a few tips to keep yourself from ending up with a messy wall.

Create a chalkboard door. If you have a smooth kitchen door or place on the wall, consider painting one side of it with either chalkboard or whiteboard paint. You can create sections for every family member, with notes, appointments, homework, chores, or other events and responsibilities. Position a shelf with chalk or dry-erase makers, and an eraser. Develop a check-off system to ensure that everything on the board gets done. It’s pretty hard to ignore a list that’s right in front of you every time you go for a snack.

Use personal corkboards. Have a combination of corkboard posted on the door of your children’s bedroom, with their to-do lists, chores, and homework assignments. The corkboard provides a place to pin assignment sheets, permission slips, or any other related paperwork. Once again, have everyone check off items as they are completed. Parents can have their own version in the kitchen.

Provide a place to file things for every family member. These can be used to store class notes, project instructions, completed papers, and materials needed to study for final exams. Parents can store product manuals and warranties, paid bills, and tax materials.

Post a large monthly calendar for family activities. The best location for this is a hall or space that everyone passes by during the day. It could be in the garage or a mudroom. Make it every family member’s responsibility to post their activities and cross them out when they are done.

Use a computer program to log family appointments. Many calendar packages allow multiple people to interact, and provide visual and audible reminders before something is scheduled. If your family uses the computer frequently, this may be your best method for keeping things organized.

These are just some helpful hints and don’t feel obligated to use all of these methods.  It may require experimenting with several tools before finding the best choice for you and your family. In the meantime, hide the post-its.

Organizing and Cleaning Your Shower

14420915_SYou just completed a beautiful remodel of your bathroom. You have heated floors, subway tile, plate glass shower doors, toothbrush holders, towel storage and lots of cabinet space. But your shower floor is littered with shampoo bottles, shaving supplies and body wash. It’s time for a bit of shower organization. And just for good measure we’ll also talk about how to keep your plate glass looking clean and sparkling.

If you were really thinking ahead you would have had shower shelves or niches built into your shower walls. If you’ve already completed your remodel or you have inherited a shower without such features, fear not.

You can use caddies to store everything from shampoo and conditioner bottles to shaving supplies to toothbrushes and bath toys. Look for deep pockets and baskets to keep knickknacks from slipping out of the caddies and getting underfoot. A wire mesh or large drainage holes are required for proper drainage. A number of racks will hold bottles upside-down like ketchup so you can easily get that last squirt of shampoo or conditioner.

There is even a shaving pedestal that can be mounted two feet off the floor of the shower to help women shave their legs. Other products combine mirrors with storage racks for razors and shaving cream. Mounted soft soap and shampoo dispensers put those products at your fingertips, and covered bar soap dishes can keep the bars from melting. Brilliant!

To keep those glass shower doors sparkling clean plan on mixing one cup of white vinegar and one cup of dishwasher soap together. Use a scrubby and wipe down the glass. Rinse with water. This should do the trick but if there are a few stubborn spots use a good glass cleaner.

Now not only do you have a beautifully organized and functional shower but a clean one as well!

Fall Decorating Trends

8679206_SFor those of us who need to be “the” home trendsetter, here is a list of what’s hot for this fall:

Neutrals: These are also called colorless designs, this trend is using texture and shape instead of color and contrast. Think fur, chunky knit throw pillows, 3-D art and cloth wall coverings.

Museum trend: Display your collections like they would in a museum. Also called the “curated” look, this trend is displaying what you love to collect in a whimsical and quirky way. To nail this look hang portraits in groups on your wall like they do in art galleries.

Mix and match: Get rid of the idea that everything has to be matchy matchy. This fall, mix modern and old pieces of art and furniture together. Make a vignette by grouping unique pieces you have collected like globes, books, shells, and antique toys in groups of three to five. Display these items in a hall on a table or on a bookshelf.

Tell a story: Do you travel all of the time, do you love to cook, do you sew, what’s your favorite color? Make each room in your house tell a story about your passions. Bicycles in the dining room? If that’s what you love, it can totally work.

Color: Instead of muted tones, clear bright high contrast color is very popular this year. Paint a wall black or dark grey and see how that will make other colors in your décor “pop”.

Vintage:  This is also called “Americana” design and it’s making a big splash. Shop at flea markets for vintage inspired accessories that celebrate handcraftsmanship. Old toys, quilts, kitchen items, dressers and baskets are all good finds.

Finally, add some bold graphic patterns to your home. Whether you decide to wallpaper an entire room or just add some new throw pillows, patterns are back in fashion. If you are not ready to do an entire room in a pattern try using graphic wallpaper on the back of a bookshelf, or cover your dining room table with super bold tablecloth.