Eight Things You Can Do To Make Your Apartment Your Own


Apartments come with several key advantages. They’re often closer to downtown and the lifestyle that comes with it and they’re less expensive. You don’t have a yard to maintain and every maintenance issue can be handed off to the apartment manager to take care of. One major disadvantage is that you’re limited in what you can do to make it your own. Most apartment managers don’t want you painting the walls and you certainly won’t be allowed to tear out counter tops and install something better. You also wouldn’t want to even if you could because you couldn’t take them with you when you moved out. The following ideas are things you can do to make your apartment feel like yours and you can take them with you if you want to.

Bring in plant life

You’d be surprised how much a few little plants can transform a space. If you’re like most people, you’re too busy to take care of a plant that requires constant attention so go with succulents or some other plant that is hardy and can survive some missed feedings.

Hang some curtains

Even if your apartment already came with some kind of blinds or shutters, you should install your own window treatments. Leave the blinds or shutters that came with the apartment but select your own curtain rods and curtains to add some personality. For heavier curtains, make sure your curtain rod is attached to a stud behind the wall to support the weight.

Upgrade light fixtures

If your apartment is like most, your landlord went with the absolute cheapest light fixtures around. You can replace boring dome lights with chandeliers and pendant lighting. You’re also not limited to overhead lighting. Most apartments don’t have sufficient lighting to begin with so add in some desk or floor lamps as well. If you don’t want to bother with light fixtures, at least swap out the bulbs for LEDs. They’re brighter and use a lot less energy. Just keep any old bulbs and fixtures so you can swap them back before you move.

Install new sink/shower fixtures

If your bathrooms or kitchen feel a little bland, you can swap out your shower heads and faucets, maybe even your sinks if your apartment manager allows. If you’re pretty handy, you can do the work yourself with a good wrench. Some apartment landlords will have their maintenance guy do the work for you if you’re leaving the upgraded fixtures for the benefit of future residents. If not, just save the old fixtures so you can swap them back out.

Make use of removable wallpaper

Though you probably can’t paint the walls or use traditional wallpaper (it’s almost impossible to remove), it’s safe to use removable wallpaper since it’s easy to apply and remove and it doesn’t leave sticky adhesive residue behind. You can also take it with you and use it in your new apartment or home.

Add in some textiles

From larger textiles like area rugs to smaller ones like throws and pillows, you can add in lots of color, pattern, and texture by purchasing your own textiles which you’re free to take with you when you leave.

Install baseboard radiator covers

If the baseboard heaters in your apartment have seen better days, you can make them look like new again by installing baseboard radiator covers. This is another upgrade that your landlord may be willing to pay for if you will be leaving them behind, your landlord may even decide to have them installed in every unit.

Interior Decorating and Remodeling News Brought to You by


Four kitchen remodeling tips to help you get the most out of it


The kitchen is typically the first room in the home to seem dated. As a result, it’s the most frequently remodeled. If you’re one of the many thousands of Americans planning a kitchen remodel this year, following these four tips will ensure that you get the most out of your remodeling budget.

Have a plan

All successful remodels start on paper. Homeowners tend to get overly excited and rush through the planning stage of a remodel in order to get started as soon as possible. You have to fight that urge to start buying materials and hiring contractors and make yourself take the time to carefully plan out the project first. The internet is a good place to start since there are many different resources that will give you ideas and help you visualize them. Once you have some ideas about what you want to accomplish with your remodel, you can start researching the estimated costs for the work and materials that will be necessary. Depending on the scope of your planned remodel, you may need to bring in an architect to help you turn your vision into actual blueprints that contractors can then use to make your dream into a reality.

Plan on that plan not going according to plan

There will almost surely be setbacks during the course of the remodeling project and while there are a few things you can do to minimize the chances of this happening, it’s always a possibility. Contractors may uncover unforeseen problems that need to be addressed before work can continue. Materials may be late in arriving or some of the work may not be done to your satisfaction and may need to be redone. The best you can do is plan on this happening by setting aside extra money in your budget and by having realistic expectations regarding the timeframe for the project.

Make do with the space you have

Kitchens are often the most expensive remodels because homeowners want bigger kitchens. Knocking down a wall, rearranging the layout, and expanding the kitchen outwards is going to eat up the vast majority of the budget and these are also the kinds of projects that are most likely to result in delays and added costs. Instead of physically adding to the space, you can use your budget more wisely by spending it on creative storage solutions. Also focus on various smaller projects that get you big results for less money. Good projects to consider include tiling a backsplash, replacing cabinet hardware, repainting the kitchen, or installing baseboard heater covers.

Functionality before aesthetics

While your kitchen needs to look good, it’s even more important that it’s functional and meets the needs of your family. When planning a remodel, make sure all of your money isn’t going into beautification. Under-cabinet task lighting makes food preparation easier. A deeper sink is easier for washing dishes and plenty of electrical outlets ensures that you’re never hunting around for a place to plug in a small kitchen appliance.

Interior Decorating and Remodeling News Brought to You by

Six interior decorating tips to help you decorate like a pro


Interior decorating might seem easy if you watch a lot of interior decorating on TV, but there’s actually a lot that goes into the designs that professional interior decorators pull off. Since the average homeowner isn’t going to want to invest money to hire a professional decorator, here are a few simple tips that can make it seem like you did.

Start with a neutral base

You’ve heard the saying that fashion favors the bold and there is some truth to that, but many amateur decorators make the mistake of being too bold when it comes to their base color scheme. Bright vivid colors are find when used sparingly as an accent. But wild colors are difficult to match with so if you start with unusual colors, you’re going to have a difficult time finding pieces that look good in that space. When selecting a paint color for the walls, go with something off-white. Everything goes with that color and it will open up the space making it appear larger. You also won’t have to repaint when it comes time to sell since off-white is a universally appealing choice that won’t offend any prospective buyers.

Don’t overdo it

Another cliché phrase that you would do well to remember is “less is more.” You don’t need to fill every space in every room for it to be decorated. In fact, you what some empty space since it provides contrast that makes the occupied space look even better. It’s also relaxing on the eyes to have places in your home that don’t have as much going on visually. This applies to accessories as well as larger furnishings. Don’t put 14 decorative pillows on your sofas, it will just be a pain whenever you want to sit down.

Plants that are easy to care for

When most people envision decorating with plant life, they think of bouquets of fresh flowers and lots of color. The problem with this kind of plant life is that it’s expensive and difficult to take care of. Unless you have a lot of time to commit to keeping flowering plants alive, you’re going to lose a lot of them and spend a lot of money replacing them. Instead, get some nice green indoor plants that are a little more durable. Place them near open windows and water them occasionally and they’ll thrive and beautify your home.

Focus pieces

Every room should have a focus piece that draws the eyes to it. Instead of decorating a room with lots of little knick-knacks and accessories, consider a large piece of artwork of some kind—a mural or large ceramic vase perhaps—and a few other little accessories as a finishing touch. A large painting or photograph may be a better solution to a large wall than having a gallery wall which requires a lot more work.

Avoid themed rooms

The problem with themed rooms is that they end up looking cliché plus you find yourself passing over pieces you love in favor of pieces that fit a predetermined theme.

Don’t be in a hurry to get rid of the baseboard radiators

Many people are opting for central heating over baseboard radiators since they can look a little old fashion and they’re a more expensive way to heat the entire home. However, they’re good to have even if you already have central heating because they can be used to heat individual rooms as needed. If you’re not crazy about their appearance, you can get some baseboard radiator covers to make them look more modern.

Interior Decorating and Remodeling News Brought to You by


What you can expect from your home remodeling project


Homeowners choose to remodel for many different reasons. Often, they do it to make it easier to sell their home or to add to its value. Many homeowners do it to make it more suited for aging in place or simply or to make it more functional for a growing family. Unfortunately, many homeowners say they regret their decision to remodel. One of the biggest reasons homeowners give for regretting a home remodel is going into it with unrealistic expectations. Simply having realistic expectations going in can make all the difference. Here are a few things you can expect.

Noise. Depending on the extend of the remodel, there’s likely going to be a fair amount of noise during working hours. You should arrange to be out of the house as much as possible if you want to keep your sanity.

Unforeseen costs. One of the certainties of home remodeling projects is that it will go over-budget. There will almost certainly be problems that are uncovered in the course of the remodel so when setting a budget, add at least an extra 10 to 15% as a contingency.

Delays. Those unforeseen problems that are uncovered will do more than add to the budget, they’ll add to the timeline so expect the project to take longer than you think.

Tough choices. A remodel isn’t as simple as handing over plans to a general contractor and bowing out. Plan on being involved throughout the process even if you’ve arranged for a place to stay while your home is a construction zone. Stop by frequently and be ready to make some difficult decisions as the particular difficulties for the project come to light.

Frustration. Because of delays and added costs and the many inconveniences that come with sharing your home with re-modelers for weeks or months at a time, you will become frustrated. You will doubt whether you should have undertaken the project in the first place. It’s helpful if you can visualize what your home will look like when the work is done when days are particularly difficult.

Is it worth it?

Maybe, maybe not. Knowing how difficult the process can be going in, you’d be wise to carefully consider if it’s what you really want. If you’re just trying to sell your home, then costly, large remodeling projects might be overkill. Whether you plan to sell or you just want to make your home more comfortable and attractive, there are plenty of small DIY projects you can do for a much lower cost. You can repaint the interior or swap out appliances for new stainless steel ones. You can install baseboard heater covers or resurface your kitchen cabinets. These smaller projects may be the better option if you’re not willing to make the sacrifices required for a more extensive home remodel.

Interior Decorating and Remodeling News Brought to You by

Decorating for a St. Patrick’s Day Party


Decorating for St. Patrick’s Day is easy. You can start off with some of the basics that can be used for any party—but for this one, get everything in green or gold.

Green streamers can be hung from the ceiling or draped along the walls. Green and gold balloons can litter the floor and ceiling (depending on whether you want to splurge on helium or not). Paper cuts out of leprechaun hats, pots of gold, and four-leaf clovers can be taped to the walls.

If you’re just looking for simple and easy that might be all you need. But if you want something more, here are some additional ideas:

Four Leaf Clover Wreath

You can easily make a four-leaf clover wreath by simple cutting out clovers on different shades of green paper, tape them together in a circle, and hang on your door. Add a green or gold bow at the bottom for an embellishment, if you so desire. Or you can add little gold coin stickers or glue actual pennies to it with a glue gun. Have fun, get creative, make it your own.

Tissue Paper Rainbow

Or you could get tissue paper in all the colors of the rainbow, bunch it up, and tape it to the wall in an arch to make a leprechaun’s rainbow. This would be ideal on a blank wall, or displayed over the refreshment’s table for your St. Patrick’s Day party. If you’re hosting you might want to supply snacks well to keep your guests happy.  Some ideas for holiday-themed treats are green Oreos, lime-sherbet punch, green M&M’s, gold coins, kiwis and grapes, and other green colored food items you may think of.

For extra fun, you can try dying regular food green. Putting a few drops of dying in a pot of boiling pasta will turn the pasta green. Or make a green cake. Or there’s always green eggs and ham. Your guests will surly get a kick out of these bizarre colored foods. Especially kids!

Pot of Gold

Or, if you are a DIY kind of person, you might be interested to try and make a pot of gold out of an old flower pot. Once completed you can fill the pot with gold coins, Rolos, or other gold wrapped treats.

Lucky Sign

Another project for all you DIY folks, is this lucky sign, made by painting paper machete or wood latter blocks (you can make them yourself or buy them from a craft store) copper, and then hot gluing pennies on them. They can then be displayed on a table or mantle wrapped in a St. Patty’s Day garland.

Other Fun Things for Kids

Kids will also love holiday-themed window stickers, or magnets that they can put on the fridge. Or, you can let your kids put the magnets on the baseboard heater covers, which makes it easier for little ones to reach, since the covers are low to the ground, and it will keep them out of the kitchen. Or let them try and find other magnetic surfaces in the house. You could even decorate your car for the holiday.

Whatever you do, make sure you make this St. Patrick’s Day a memorable one, and be sure to have fun at the party and with the decorating.

Interior decorating and remodeling news brought to you by



Remodeling your home: One room at a time


It can be tempting to take out a huge loan and remodel your entire house to be exactly what you want it to be. This is especially true if you are buying a new house and just want it to feel finished before you move in. But the problem is that remodeling takes time and money you may not have to spare. However, if you do just one room at a time, you’ll be much better off. Here are some tips for remodeling one room at a time.

Pick the first room to work on

If you are moving into a new home and want to remodel one room before you get in, pick the kitchen and/or bathroom. These are the areas you will use the most when you have finally moved in to your house, so they will be the most inconvenient to lose for a few weeks at a time. If you only have one bathroom, you definitely want to do that before moving in because it is too difficult to be without a bathroom for more than a day or two. Otherwise, the kitchen might be a good first move.

However, if you are going to be living in the space while you complete the remodel, you should consider starting on the easiest room. If you have one room that needs nothing more than a paint job, do that one first. You will complete it quickly, and you’ll feel like you’ve made a lot of progress getting one room finished.

Do your planning

Planning exactly what you want in the room is another important step in remodeling. Set a budget you can stick to for the room. If you are on a tight budget, this is when you would want to make hard decisions on what you can and cannot afford to do. Ask yourself, do you really need the most expensive finishes? Or can you be happy with ones that are still as nice but not quite as expensive? If you aren’t able to plan and stick to a budget at this phase of the remodel, you may not be able to afford to do any of the other rooms in your house when you are finished.

Go with the flow

Anyone who has ever done a remodeling project in the past knows that it is a hard road. Not all remodeling is as easy as snapping a baseboard heater cover into place. Maybe you have terrible contractors or you find mold during the remodel. Whatever the case, don’t go into this expecting it will all run smoothly. The truth is, something always comes up or goes wrong. You need to be able to go with the flow, so you don’t stress out too much about what is happening. Prepare for bad things, but hope they don’t happen. Stay in close contact with your contractor (if you have one) to make sure things are getting done as you want them to. It could be a big problem if your contractor put in the wrong color paint or installed the wrong countertops. As long as you are flexible and communicating well with those who are working on your house, you are in a pretty good position.

Interior decorating and remodeling news brought to you by


Office decorating tips during holidays


Going to work everyday during the holidays can feel like a drag, especially when it gets cold outside. More than likely all you want to do is curl up with a cup of hot chocolate and watch a holiday movie with your loved ones. But, unfortunately, going to work pays the bills, so you can’t just stop going for a month. But if you decorate your office space, you can bring that cheer with you. Here are some tips for decorating your office during the holidays.

Bring in a small decoration

Whether you have a cubicle desk or a whole office to decorate, putting a small trinket on your desk that represents how you celebrate the holidays will make it feel much more festive. This is a good idea of something you can do at every holiday to make it feel more festive.

Change your computer background

Another great idea of something you can do at every holiday is change your computer background to make it feel more seasonal, according to CNBC.

String lights around your desk

You may need to get approval from management for something this vocal, but stringing lights around your desk or office door can make it feel much more like home. It is a good way to cover up the boring feeling of your desk, just like a baseboard cover can make your baseboard heaters much more appealing to look at.

Mini tree, menorah, kinara

Whatever your religion or holiday preference, you can bring it in and keep it on your desk to celebrate. If you have a full office, you can bring a whole tree to put up in the corner, while those sitting at cubicles will have to resort to keeping a mini one on their desk that won’t get in the way of coworkers.

Scented pinecones

You can buy scented pinecones at practically any home goods store and put them in a bowl by your desk to give your office a holiday scent while also making it look more like winter. These can get very strong, so be careful if you have anyone with allergies in the office and be prepared to have your coworkers spending more time in your office where it feels more like home.

Have a decorating competition

If you are office manager and you want to ensure the whole office isn’t feeling the drab of having to go to work during the holidays, then make it a little fun by hosting a competition. Have all the employees do holiday decorations in their office, and offer a prize to the person that does the best job. It will get everyone excited about the competition and will make the whole place feel better for everyone.

Interior decorating and remodeling news brought to you by

You can’t go wrong with these interior decorating projects


Some interior design projects are safer than others. Projects that are dramatic and expensive may turn out all right and make your home look wonderful, or they may go completely wrong and you’re stuck with a huge bill and an end result you’re not happy with. If you’re new to interior decorating your own home and you’re nervous about undertaking a project you might regret, you might want to consider one of the following projects which are relatively simple, inexpensive, and safe.

Set the tone with a new front door

Your front door sets the tone for your entire home since it’s the first thing they notice as they approach it. If your door is dated or worn out—or even if it’s not—consider replacing it with a nice steel entry door or repainting it in a fun, new color. Either project is doable for the average DIYer. Not only is it a fun, easy project, it’s a project with an excellent return-on-investment since it adds so much value to your home and practically pays for itself.

Opt for lighter paint colors

Another way you can do yourself a favor when it comes to selling your home eventually is to opt for lighter foundational colors throughout your home. Use accent pieces and artwork for pops of color and stick to light, neutral colors like whites, grays, and beiges for the walls and ceilings. Not only are these kinds of colors appealing to more people, they’re easier to match other pieces to them and they make rooms look larger and more opened up than dark or bright colors. If you don’t want a single color throughout, you can still take a neutral base color and vary the shades from room to room.

Let in plenty of natural light

Another way to make your home look more open and spacious is to have plenty of natural light. If your home doesn’t already have skylights or large, floor-to-ceiling windows, you probably don’t want to spend the small fortune necessary to add those kinds of features. What you can do is take down those thick drapes. Go with very, very light and thin window treatments to provide adornment without diminishing the natural light that comes through.

Make the most of mirrors

You can maximize the effect of all that natural light by being strategic about mirror placement. So often homeowners think of mirrors as being just for the closet or the bathroom but mirrors can be for more than just looking at yourself as you dress or apply makeup. Well-placed mirrors can reflect light around rooms including corners that don’t get as much natural light for a more open and spacious look throughout your home.

Layered lighting

Natural light isn’t a replacement for artificial light since you’ll still need plenty of that for evenings or overcast days. Most homes have ambient light pretty much taken care of since every room probably had some kind of overhead light to begin with. But the best lighting incorporates task and accent lighting as well. Task lighting such as under-cabinet LEDs or reading lamps next to armchairs ensures you have light for every occasion and you don’t always have to have the brighter, harsher overhead lighting on all the time. Accent lighting can be used to draw attention to a gallery wall, or emphasize unique architectural features in your home.

Baseboard heater covers

Few projects are as easy as installing baseboard heater covers on your old baseboard radiator system. It’s as simple as measuring your radiators, ordering covers by the foot, and snapping them into place. No hardware or tools necessary. It’s a quick and easy way to give your home an update.

Interior Decorating and Remodeling News Brought to You by

Eleven Interior Design Tips from Interior Decorators


Ideally, every homeowner could afford to bring in a professional interior decorator to decorate their homes. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case. Interior decorators can be pretty pricey and the average homeowner can’t afford that expense. Fortunately, interior decorators are often willing to share some of their tricks. Here are eleven interior design tips that come straight from interior decorators.

1. Let your home tell a story. So many homeowners think that interior decorating is about imitating that beautiful room you saw in a magazine. But anyone can do that (with an unlimited budget). The trick is making the space look nice but still personal. Your home shouldn’t look like a picture in a magazine. It should look lived-in and should reflect your personal style. So worry less about trends and worry more about adding your own touch.

2. Start from the ground, then up. A good rug is hard to find so start with that and then work up from there. It’s easier to find fabrics, furniture, and paint colors that will work with a rug but not vice versa.

3. Style every corner. Don’t let any space go to waste. That doesn’t mean you can’t have any empty space in your home but it does mean that every corner in your home has to have some attention paid to it as you decorate.

4. Mix and match. Don’t think that all of your furniture and pieces need to match or even come from the same period. Acquire furniture and other home décor items from different periods and styles to have a home that’s truly yours.

5. Be curious and inquisitive. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box. A little curiosity and a willingness to experiment and try new things will yield exciting results.

6. The rule of 3. Though you don’t want an entire room to be a single color, you don’t want to have too many colors clashing with each other either. Follow the rule of 3: a main color, a complementary color, and a highlight color.

7. Flexible lighting. Most rooms have two options when it comes to lighting: lights on and lights off. But as the lighting changes throughout the day due to the location of the sun, it’s nice to have lighting that comes with a dimmer so you can adjust the light to suit the time of day and the mood you’re trying to set.

8. Make use of vertical space. Most people don’t utilize the vertical space in their home very well. Some floor to ceiling book cases or tall mirrors can make a room seem larger simply because it uses some of that vertical space that usually isn’t used in a room.

9. Don’t neglect the ceiling. Believe it or not, it’s okay to paint the ceiling too so don’t forget to.

10. Give old things new meaning. Everyone has vintage items, antiques, or family heirlooms that have sentimental value. If you’re struggling to find a way to make use of them, think of creative ways to give them new meaning. For instance, you might convert a vintage cabinet into a new bathroom vanity.

11. Switch things up. Once a space is decorated, that doesn’t mean you’re not allowed to change it anymore. Periodically move things around and try to create new looks.

Interior Decorating and Remodeling News Brought to You by


Ten Home Décor Mistakes to Avoid


Any interior designer could tell you within minutes all of the design mistakes that have been made in a space. Some are obvious and some are more subtle. Here are ten common home décor mistakes as reported by interior designers. These are the mistakes they’re quick to spot when they enter a room.

Over decorating

Every room needs “visual pauses” where the eyes can rest. If every single possible space has an item filling it, chances are you’ve over-decorated. Remember that less is more and a little empty space never hurt anyone.

Too many materials

When there are too many different materials being used in the same space, the effect is overwhelming. If you want a clean, timeless look, try to be a minimalist when it comes to selecting the materials for a space.

Playing it safe

It’s clear to a designer when a homeowner has been too afraid to make any bold decisions. The space ends up looking cookie-cutter with no personality. Make one wall an accent wall and paint it a crazy color. The great thing about home décor is that it’s easy to change it up. So do something a little wild and if you don’t like it after a few days, switch it out.

Curtains mounted low

Many homeowners make the mistake of hanging their curtains just above the top of the window. But if instead homeowners would hang their curtains as close to the ceiling as possible, the ceilings will appear higher and the room will appear larger.

Small furniture

A mistake many homeowners make with smaller spaces is trying to find small furniture to match the scale of the room. But furniture should be comfortable first even if it’s a little large for the room. Besides, you can’t trick the eye into thinking a space is large by filling it with small things.

Lack of contrast

A space doesn’t have to be all classic or all modern. In fact it shouldn’t be. While you don’t want too many styles clashing in a space, a little bit of contrast can go a long way in creating visual interest in a space.

Nowhere to set your drink

Even when you’re going for a minimalist design, you can’t forget about functionality. If a room is designed for people to sit and socialize, for example, there needs to be end tables or somewhere where people can set down a drink.

No inspiration

Don’t go to a single home décor store and buy everything you need for a room. Sometimes that perfect piece that will complete the look is sitting in a thrift store somewhere. Don’t buy everything from the same store, show room or collection. It will take more time and effort but it will be worth it.

Under-scaled rugs

A rug that’s too-small throws off the scale of the whole room and makes things seem unbalanced. If you’re putting a rug beneath a table and chairs set, the rug should be large enough that all of the chair legs stay on the rug even when pulled out.

No rule breaking

Rules are meant to be broken and the same goes for interior decorating rules. The key is to make sure you’re breaking rules with a purpose and not on accident. It’s obvious when a rule has been broken on accident.

Interior Decorating and Remodeling News Brought to You by