Why not take in season fruit to create a sweet smelling centerpiece. Display your favorite delectable delights in a clear vase for bright bursts of color. Scatter them down a dining table runner for unexpected desserts to munch on after a festive party.

To create a simple yet elegant display, you only need a few items. First, decide which fruit you want to use as your centerpiece and how you'll display these sweet delights. I really like a simple white vase or urn as the base. Clear vases or any clear bowl work well and can also create stunning displays. One of my favorite fruits is the meyer lemon. These wonderful fruits bring back strong memories of living in California as a kid and baking lemon meringue pies almost every weekend. They are also wonderful because you can eat them alone like you would an orange or tangerine. Their smell is very distinctive and will permeate your room.

To create this utterly simple display, find oranges with their stems and foliage attached, if that's possible. Begin arranging them inside the bowl so they form a triangle design, or close to it. The top of the centerpiece should be one lone lemon. Don't worry about placing them perfectly, in fact they look more natural when you plop them around randomly. Under the vase add a table runner or piece of material to accent the arrangement.

Another simple and delicious way to use a fruit at your next dinner party is with oranges and cloves. Yes, I said oranges and cloves. That's all you need. Begin by poking the cloves into the orange, navels work best because of their larger surface area, and use the cloves to design their first or last initial on the orange. This piece of fruit now becomes their place holder at your next dinner party. The scent of the cloves mixed with the citrus smell will fill the air and can also be used as a partying gift for friends and family. How simple is that?


Reinvent Space

For those of you who live in cities without the luxury of having your own home office, I feel your pain. Small, cramped apartments or tiny one bedroom lofts are hard to arrange to include your own cozy workspace. Here are some ideas on how to convert any space in your home into your own home office.

A small closet, originally used to store your coats and other accessories, can be turned into your own home office. First clear out all of the items in the space, including the closet rod. To keep the costs down, find a small desk, one already in your home, or at your local consignment store that can be inserted into the closet. Check out any local universities that have a surplus department where you can find very cheap desks. Make sure you can still close the closet doors so be sure to measure the space beforehand. Another idea, and one that costs a little more, is to invest in custom shelving across the closet. This will allow a functional work surface and shelving for books and other accessories. If you're handy, you can also create your own shelving by visiting your home improvement store and having them cut shelves to fit inside the closet.

Now to the fun part. Buy colorful storage boxes to store your pictures and other trinkets and to keep clutter at bay. You want a clean workspace that invokes a minimal feel so keep the junk stored above on your shelves. Ikea and the Container Store both carry storage boxes in every color imaginable. Lighting is also key to your cozy space. Don't use harsh overhead lighting, rather find a simple desk lamp to place in the corner of your space. I love the Barometer work lamp from Ikea becuase it takes up little space and has an adjustable arm. It also comes in a few different colors which is perfect for matching to your design palette.  Now for the seating. Stay away from the oversized and boring black office chair. Go for something simple that can also be used in your living space for extra seating. The Patrik chair from Ikea is a vibrant chair that would look cool anywhere in your home and it comes in 2 colors. To keep your budget down, use one of your dining room chairs that can be stored when you're not using the home office. Have fun!


Backyard Retreat

What do you do with the old shed in the backyard or pigeon coop from days past? Use it as a home office or playhouse for your kids. For gardeners, convert the shed into your own personal greenhouse or garden shed. Design a space away from home to use as your personal area to relax and do business. Having a separate space creates a private retreat away from the main living are.



unique centerpiece

Think outside the box and come up with an interesting centerpiece for the upcoming holidays. Design something that will create a new conversation or one that can be eaten (my favorite kind!). Take a look around your home for interesting containers you could utilize. One really neat way to display your favorite flowers is with old baking pans. Antique cake pans have an aged patina that contrasts nicely with deep purple and raspberry colored flowers. You can use any old baking pan and even old cheese graters. To create the design, fill up the pan with wet florist foam, which can be found in all crafts stores. Wedge the piece of foam inside the container and begin adding your flower stems. The foam will hug around each stem and ensure a secure fit in your arrangement.

Cheese graters are also perfect for adding height to your table. Simply add a thin clear vase inside the grater filled with water. Use flowers in the cheese grater or consider using fresh vegetables like asparagus and carrots. The orange and green colored veggies create a vibrant and interesting centerpiece. A trick is to gather the vegetables beforehand and tie them together with string to secure the bouquet. This will keep them looking tall and balanced in the containers.


Seasonal Trellis

Creating a focal point in your backyard space is the perfect way to update the look of your home. One way to utilize your outdoor area is by building a trellis for growing your favorite flowers and vegetables. Use natural items that evoke the feeling of being outdoors, like twigs and branches. Scout your backyard for old tree limbs and branches you can recycle into a rustic trellis. If you have a small patio, you can plant the trellis into an outdoor container.

During the summer months, plant tomatoes and cucumbers to meander up the structure. When you have limited space but love to garden, a trellis is the perfect vertical structure that does not take up a ton of space. In the cool months of fall and winter, plant vines like grapevines and jasmine that will produce sweet fruits and colorful blooming flowers throughout the winter.

If you don't have space for a trellis, you can also use the side of your home for supporting colorful vines. Electric blue morning glories creates a stunning design and focal point to your home. Train them to grow around an outdoor window or set of french doors for a stunning look. Wake up early and enjoy watching the blossoms pop open. As the day progresses, the blooms will begin to swirl to a close.


Rentals Can Be Cool

Renting can make you feel like your in a transitional period and hinder you from decorating your home because you don't own it. I say go for it. Make your current space as cool and you would if you owned it. Add artwork to the walls and create your own style.

Typically in rentals you can't change out an outdated light fixture or other major element. Instead, why not bring in items that can create a stylish and functional space without having to be "installed". This brings me to my first idea. If you are dying to get rid of an old and dingy light fixture or chandelier, consider a large lamp in place of a light fixture to use over a dining table or living space. They can create a bold and dramatic statement without you having to bust out any tools.

When the walls are all white, think of your rental as an open palette to use to hang brightly- colored artwork or photographs. Large lithographs and black and white photographs look magnificent against a bare white wall. Bring in home furnishing that have texture and pattern to contrast with your white walls. If your dying to paint, try adding a thin stripe of color along an open staircase.

Cozy Bungalows

Bungalows are cute and cozy, what more do you need? Bungalows are pieces of history, reflecting the needed space at the time, which rarely exceeded over 1000 sq. ft. Today's floor plan laughs at the small and boxy floor plans of an older home. The large garages of today resemble a monster's mouth and would eat a bungalow for breakfast. So, why would anyone want to buy a cute and cozy bungalow when there are SO many huge homes out there, many cheaper, they could afford?

The character that permeates an older home cannot be found today. Bungalows not only have character but the floor plan makes sense and can sometimes reduce your heating bills. Small rooms with the right furniture and layout are utilized to their full potential while visually creating a happy and vibrant space. Sturdy and durable hardwood floors throughout the home are beautiful. With a little sanding and staining they can be brought back to life.

Architectural details like old glass windows or built-in cabinets are details that become part of you home, and give it a unique quality that can be hard to recreate. Bungalows come in a wide array of styles and colors, making each one really unique. Most have small porches perfect for a set of outdoor dining chairs or porch swing. The open front windows of a bungalow flood the front room with light, creating an open and airy spot.

Bungalows can be hard to find and some will require TLC and possibly a big restoration but in the end, you bring back to life a unique part of history and architecture that will someday be lost among the developments and strip malls. More importantly, you might realize that you don't need a lot of space to be happy.


Every Girl's Dream...

Transform a spare bedroom into a cool boudoir using patterned wallpaper on the walls and ceiling. Install a crystal chandelier to create an eclectic and sophisticated design. Stack hat boxes in the corner to store accessories. For the floors install wood or add carpet tiles, depending upon your design. FLOR, a company who carries a variety of carpet tiles, is a perfect place to shop online. They have a digital design center where you can mix and match colors and patterns in a virtual room before you buy them for your own space. Keep the tiles a darker color to hide any dirt and debris you might track in.

On one side of the room, install a station for ironing, steaming, and de-fuzzing your clothes. Folding ironing boards are ideal in small spaces where they can be installed on the wall. When not in use, simply fold the board up and stow away. Add an upholstered ottoman to the middle of the room to use as a focal point to the room, as well as a spot to sit on when trying on outfits.

Accessories are essential in your closet and will add a creative design element to your room. Add artwork and photographs to the wall for inspiration. Prop one or two floor-to-ceiling mirrors against one of the walls to create the illusion of a larger space. In the morning and evening, you can unwind from a long work day in a relaxing and cozy boudoir.


Add pavers in your backyard to lead you into your garden or back patio. Lay them around the backyard every 5 to 10 inches for an inviting design. Add color by planting grass or creeping vines in between each stone. Creeping jasmine or thyme will provide a sweet scent when brushed as you meander outside. Bright green mosses also contrast beautifully with the neutral colors found in stone.

Use outdoor furniture over the pavers to create an outdoor dining spot. Scatter comfortable chairs and accent tables around the patio to create intimate spaces. Surrounding the patio, plant colorful flowers and shrubs to create a makeshift border to your outdoor area. Use the natural lines of the earth to create a curved and fluid border. Using perennials, which pop up every year, is ideal when creating a backyard garden. Over time, they will grow and fill out your backyard landscape.

Nestle a water feature in the garden to create a soothing sound in your backyard. You can create your own fountain using an old birdbath, making this a very affordable project. The main items are the pump and container to hold the water. Add water and a few colorful water plants and you have a beautiful garden fountain. When the pump is running, the water will spill out into the container and attract birds and butterflies. At night, the soothing sound of the garden fountain will create a relaxing spot.

{Images via myhomeideas.com}


freshen up with

an old church pew! Church pews can be tough to find so browse local antique markets and salvage yards. Turning an old pew into a functional seating area is a great way to reuse old furniture. Also, check your local paper for tag sales or give-aways. You never know what you'll find. -Callie

{photograph from Decorpad}


Mudroom Ideas

Mudrooms can keep your family organized and provide a space to store jackets, backpacks and shoes. Install shelves with cubbies to store your belongings, along with benches for seating and extra storage, to keep your mudroom clutter-free and tidy. Storage for a busy family is key to keeping organized. For a mudroom, consider installing lockers for each member of the family. Inside the locker you can hang up each person's coat, backpack or purse and outdoor gear. In addition to lockers, a place to sit is essential in all mudrooms. Benches provide a lot of space and you can install one easily along a wall. Benches with storage underneath provide another area to store accessories such as shoes and sports equipment. When kids come home from school, they have a space to throw their stuff without cluttering up the rest of the house.

Storage in the bathroom needs to be accessible. Consider hanging a cubbie storage unit on the wall in the bathroom to store bathroom supplies. Use baskets inside the cubbies for a touch of color as well as a way to easily access your items. This keeps the space clutter-free and the floors free of furniture, which makes it easy to clean.

Flooring in a mudroom and bathroom needs to be easy to clean and durable. A neutral color which hides dirt and blends in with the space is ideal. Tile has all of these components and will not break your budget. It is also very easy to maintain--when you have spills, use warm water and soap for a simple clean-up. Install the same color tile throughout the mudroom and bathroom for one seamless design. For a border, consider installing colorful mosaic tiles. Place an entry rug inside the door so you can wipe your shoes and prevent dirt from tracking in.

Paint the mudroom and bathroom a color to match the design in your tile and create a warm and inviting space. Relaxing gold and beige colors are cozy and blend well with neutral colored tiles. This color scheme also hides dirt and grime. To keep your family organized, paint one of the walls in your mudroom using chalkboard paint. Here you can write your grocery lists, maintain a family calendar or keep track of chores. Remember white and light-colored walls accent scuff marks and dirt so be wary when painting a mudroom white.

For the ceiling in your mudroom, consider tin. Tin comes in affordable sheets and can be installed in under a day, making it an easy project and an affordable update for your mudroom. The silver color creates height in your room while providing a creative design element.

For the mudroom benches, purchase colorful and comfortable pillows to soften up the space. Hang artwork and photographs to create an inviting and colorful touch to the mudroom. Black and white photographs grouped together above the lockers can create a personal touch. -Callie

(photo via Pinterest


Lights, Lights, Lights

Candles create a warm, magical glow. From paper bag lanterns to jelly jars, you can put your candles in a variety of fun and unique holders. Place them around your house or in your garden for a romantic and cozy ambiance.

For a dramatic centerpiece at a party or wedding, create stamped glass candle holders. Using frosted glass candle holders, take a rubber stamp in a decorative pattern and dip into white paint. Press firmly on the holder and roll from side to side. Repeat the motif for a pattern covering the holder. For a custom design, visit a stationery store and have your stamp custom-made for you.

Believe it or not, you can use fruit as a candleholder. Lemons and limes, as well as tangerines and oranges, work well with tealights. Simply hollow out the middle of the fruit and place the light inside. Use these as a centerpiece for a garden party or outdoor dinner. Place them in the foyer on an accent table for an inviting welcome. Once the light has warmed up, the scent of the fruit will permeate your room.

Create paper lanterns and place them along a garden walkway or in your garden. To create these luminaries, fit two paper bags, one over the other, to form a box lantern. Cut a hole in the bottom of the bag and place one small candle light inside. The glow from the light will light up the bag and create a beautiful luminary. For an added design, try covering the inside of each bag with doilies, that when lit, will look like warm lace.

A mirror centerpiece topped with votive candles and tealights will create a beautiful addition to your table. Top each mirror with candles in glass votive holders. For color, sprinkle rose petals around the candles, which will smell delightful. When lit, the glow from the mirror and candles will reflect shimmering light onto your table.

If you have wood around your house, try this as a candleholder. Drill a hole large enough to fit the candle inside. If the wood is flat long enough, drill 4 or 5 holes for a rustic centerpiece. Use it in your fireplace in the summer for a warm glow.


Bedroom Shelving Ideas

Shelves are an attractive way to display your favorite items and provide extra storage in your bedroom. Because you can find shelves in practically every color and material, you can match them with your bedroom design. Shelves are also very affordable and easy to install.

A wall shelf is an affordable way to hang up your favorite things without taking up a lot of space. Hang them in pairs to showcase your decorations and create a interesting design, or in your closet for extra storage. A bookcase can also make a great shelf as well as create height in your room. Shelves are simple to install with the right tools.

If you need a lot of shelving storage in your bedroom, consider one or more bookcases. Depending upon their size, bookcases can provide a lot of storage and create height in your bedroom. Most bookcases come in the basic colors so you may want to paint them a bold color to create a focal point in your bedroom.

For a modern design, try glass shelves. Because glass is colorless, it showcases your objects nicely. They are very sturdy and match most bedroom palettes. Try installing brushed metal brackets to hold up your shelf and create a clean design in a modern bedroom.

Wall-mounted shelf organizers with built-in hooks work well in a bedroom when you don't have a lot of space. Use these in your closet or by your door for hanging accessories and keys. Shelf organizers come in many colors and can be painted.

Corner shelves work great in bedrooms. This is often wasted space in a room. Corner shelves are easy to install and are effective spaces to display items. They usually hold up to six pounds so you can't place something extremely heavy on a corner shelf. You can also find corner bookcases that provide a lot of space for keeping your odds and ends.

Dining Room & Kitchen Layout Ideas

A functional kitchen is essential for those who love to cook. When deciding upon which layout works best for you, consider how much space you have to work with and your design preference. Dining rooms can be tricky to configure but are easy to change, so you have more freedom in decorating this room.

If you don’t have a lot of space but like the feel of an open kitchen, it's best not to add an island. Islands work well in larger L-shaped kitchens where the space is open to a family room. In smaller spaces, try to keep clutter to a minimum. Keep the stove, refrigerator and sink within 6 feet of one another. This is known as the kitchen triangle; the fewer feet you have between the three main areas, the easier it is to navigate.

The size of the dining room is the biggest variable that affects its arrangement. If you have a large space, center the dining room table in the room, preferably below the main light fixture. This allows you space around the table and walls for your accessories and other pieces. Place a hutch, which holds dining room essentials like napkins and plates, in a corner of the room. On the opposite wall, if you have adequate space, try two large mirrors hanging side by side on the wall. Mirrors open up spaces and create ambiance in rooms where you gather.

If you don’t have a formal dining room, but instead an eat-in kitchen, consider built-in benches on one of the walls. Benches don’t take up a lot of space under windows and can provide extra storage. Placing your dining room table opposite the bench makes an attractive arrangement. Adding accessories such as bold light fixtures and mirrors can also create a dramatic statement.

Some homes have breakfast nooks or other areas where you can set up a more informal dining space. This area is typically small but serves as the main eating area. A solution for this small space would be to build two rows of built-in seats with a table in the middle. This would provide a lot of seating as well as space for doing homework or weekend projects.


What's After Stainless Steel?

While visions of stainless steel danced in their heads...Stainless steel appliances have now become the standard for all new homes and for those looking to upgrade. It's not that they are unappealing but what else is out there in terms of innovative design? What's the next big thing? What will eventually replace stainless steel?

If you're looking for something a little different in a refrigerator, check out the Smeg Fab28 . It's a sleek 1950's style refrigerator that is now available in the U.S. Originally from the UK, this little gem is available in 10 different colors. I really like that it's not GIGANTIC like most of the new styles are now. I mean come on, most of us don't have a family of 10 where we need that much space, right? Here are the specs:

  • Capacity 9.22 Cu. Ft.
  • Antibacterial interior
  • Interior light
  • 3 adjustable glass shelves
  • 1 bottle storage shelf
  • 1 fixed glass shelf
  • 1 fruit and vegetable container
  • 1 dairy box

  • Another design inspired by the 1950's icebox is the Italian Meneghini refrigerators. Not only do they come in over 500 colors, but you can also choose from 8 different wood finishes, single or double models, and 3 different height options. These are a little pricey but I think they are really neat.

    What about transparent appliances? Will they replace stainless steel? In Asia, they've come out with transparent refrigerators and dryers. A company called Inventables is working in their concept studio on a transparent toaster. This cool design means no more burnt toast! Check it out: Inventables

    If you've ever been to England, read a Rosamunde Pilcher novel, or are an appliance aficionado, you'll know about the Aga. They are the ultimate in cooking. Really. Here's what goes into this one of a kind creation and here's the history. I think these are by far the BEST appliance anyone could invest in. I guess it doesn't help that I've wanted one since I was about 15. They come in a range of colors and will last you your lifetime.



    Small Dining Rooms

    If you live in an apartment without a real dedicated dining space, don't worry, I have some solutions for you. For years I've lived in the typical apartment/condo that is basically one large room (minus the bedrooms/bathrooms) that you're supposed to configure into a dining room and living room together. The room is never really big enough so what ends up happening is the living room furniture takes up most of the space and the you're left with the awkward and ever so small "dining" space. This space is never big enough for a full size dining set so you either end up shoving the table against one of the walls (which makes it look more awkward) or you throw in a computer desk, make it a office, and then eat in your living room!!! So, here are some ideas on how to configure/decorate a small dining space.

    One of the best pieces you can buy for a small dining room is a round table. Round tables don't take up as much space and quite often you can center them below the light fixture creating a more harmonious space. The typical rectangular shaped dining tables take up a lot of space and can overpower an already small dining room. We have a really neat dining table that was given to us as a gift. It's an original Gustav Stickley oak table from the early 1900's. If you're not familiar with Gustav Stickley, check out this site: The Stickley Museum.

    With a small dining room table I find that different chairs, usually a light modern make, can create a unique and open look in the small room. Mixing up different colors looks great with an antique table. I have 3 modern brown chairs with thin brushed metal legs and one leather chair. They all are fairly small and can fit under the table. Another great way to open up the space is with artwork. If your walls are a neutral color, almost everything looks great. I have two large pieces on the wall and a few smaller pictures. All of the frames I have up in the dining room are black which again creates a more cohesive space.

    Another great thing you can add to your dining space, especially when it's small, is a big mirror. Mirrors create the feeling of a larger space and can really brighten things up. A great place to find an inexpensive mirror is at Home Goods.


    Lamps, Lamps, Lamps

    If there's one thing I have too many of (besides shoes), it's lamps. I LOVE them. They provide soft light in areas for reading, come in tons of designs, and can be a very affordable accessory in your home. You can find small ones for your bathroom and larger ones for your kitchen. At night, they can provide light for you becoming a make shift night light.

    A great place to find inexpensive lamps is at IKEA. You can pick the base and lampshade separately, creating a one of a kind design. Target also has nice tabletop lamps that can jazz up any room. I like modern designs so I like to pair up Lucite (transparent plastic) lamp bases with patterned shades or even a simple white or cream color shade. I also love lamps that have a built in dimmer or can handle a 3-way light bulb. This allows you enough light for reading/studying or to create an atmosphere that is more relaxed and cozy.

    I also like integrated lighting. Integrated lighting is defined as combining elements (lights & bookcase in this example) so as to provide a harmonious, interrelated whole. So for example you can light up a bookcase with spotlights or clamped lights that you attach to the top or inside of the case. This is integrated lighting. I have two lights clamped on the top of my bookcase. This is really nice for lighting up photographs or vases. Another great thing about these lights is that you can move them around. They are not bolted in so you can change the location as well as what you are lighting up. They also swivel 360 degrees so you can also use them to light up a wall behind the bookcase. A great place to find integrated lighting is IKEA.

    Lighting your office can be a challenge but I find the sleeker, the better. I like modern lamps for my office. I like a streamlined look. I have the Antifoni work lamp from IKEA in silver on my desk and it's great. The adjustable arm makes it easy to direct the light and the overall design is sleek yet simple. The silver color also stands out against most colored office desks. I have a black desk with silver legs and they coordinate well together.


    Super Cool Office Ideas

    We spend a lot of time in our offices so why not create an environment that inspires you and your work. Blah offices are not visually stimulating, in fact most consist of the following:
    1. one black chair that claims to be ergonomic.
    2. one black or gray waste paper basket.
    3. one gray desk.
    4. 3 gray walls. Ugh.
    Why do institutions pick the same awful, traditional, BORING, stuff to fill their buildings? Don't they know that humans need some stimulation or our brains might go to mush staring at the same gray walls for 20+ years! Here are some ideas on how to create a visually appealing and really cool office space! After all, shouldn't "Happy Hour" be from 9-5.

    One thing you'll need is a place to sit, have some lunch, maybe read a book. This is where the Bibliochaise comes in handy. It's a chair which holds books, 5 meters to be exact. Its' cushions come in a wide range of colors and the exterior (book case part) comes in white, black, or aubergine (also available in other colors upon request). If you want to ramp it up even more, they also make Bibliochaise + which is veneered in oak tinted wenge or tinted black, with a wax finish and removable leather cushions in tons of colors!!! This is one of the coolest chairs I've seen.

    Another cool idea is to invest in a really nice office chair. Here is an excerpt from office chair maker Herman Miller:
    What do we do every day? We sit. We sit in the office and at home. Staring at our computer screens moving nothing but our fingers. We get stiff and tired.chair

    This has now become a fact. We sit and stare in front of computers ALL DAY LONG. Humans were not meant to sit all day but we have to and we do so why not enjoy it while you can. Check out the Embody Chair by Herman Miller. It's pretty cool and comes in 13 colors!

    Most likely your office floor is made of old tile or beige carpet. To remedy this atrocity, I would install FLOR carpet tiles. FLOR is the company that makes modular carpet tiles which come in many different designs, colors, and textures. It's also made from recycled and renewable material. I have it all over my house and it's one of the greatest inventions ever. If you spill something on one of the tiles all you need to do is send in the tile, they'll recycle it, and send you another one (cost of tile + shipping fee). If you have an oddly shaped room, you simply cut down the squares to fit! Check out their website: FLOR.



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    Creating an Eco-Friendly Environment

    There are many little things you can do to minimize your "footprint" on the earth. You can start with one room and slowly expand to the entire house so that each area you are using is as environmentally friendly as possible. I started this process a few years ago and am still learning great ways to lessen my footprint and save money along the way! Here are some ideas for you.

    One huge energy saver and eco-friendly way to green your home is through your light bulbs. Compact fluorescent bulbs are great and should be used in replace of the traditional light bulb but there is an even better light bulb called the LED light bulb that lasts much longer than the traditional CFL. LED bulbs use less power (watts) per unit of light generated (lumens). LED's can also last as much as 50,000 hours versus the CFL that lasts an average of 5,000 hours. The costs is much higher than the CFL so you can start with just a few bulbs and gradually replace them over time. To read more about CFL's and LED's go to eartheasy.

    Another great way to green your home is through non-toxic cleaning products. My grandmother used a solution that proved to be cost effective and non-toxic for many, many years. To clean windows, bathroom, kitchens, and floors you can use a mixture of vinegar, water, and a dash of dish soap. Fill up a large spray bottle approx. 3/4 full with water. Then add a squeeze of non-toxic dish soap, about 1/2 cup of white vinegar, and shake up. That's it! It's great on windows and very affordable.

    Another tip is to use an old cloth/dish towel over paper towels when cleaning your house. I have a stash of old dish towels I use to clean that I've had for years. You end up saving a lot of money instead of using paper towels which are expensive and quite wasteful and when you're done, you throw them into the washing machine for the next big clean!

    One thing I've not yet tried but am interested in is to start a compost pile/ bin. Basically, it's a bin/pile you can store in your backyard to put all of your organic matter into. Organic matter is defined as leftover vegetable waste (no meat/bones in your compost) and even paper products. After a few months, you can use the compost for fertilizing your plants and growing a garden. The idea of turning garbage into something usable is pretty cool.

    Some other things you can do to lessen your footprint is to carry reusable shopping bags every time you go to the grocery store. I find that the larger ones store a lot of groceries and are easier to carry! Also, when you go to the coffee machine at work or at your local coffee shop, always use a reusable mug. For more cool ideas check out this website: Green Home. Have fun!


    Small Bathroom Design Ideas

    A lot of older homes have very small bathrooms. When you don't have a ton of money to do a complete overhaul, there are some really easy and affordable tricks to jazz it up.

    The first thing to change is the wall color. I suggest a light cream/white color or nice pattern of wallpaper to snazz up your bathroom. You might even try doing one wall in the bathroom a color/wallpaper design and leaving the rest white/cream. If you have an old sink, those are easy to replace and can be quite affordable too. Also, mirrors are easy to change out and you can find them in thousands of different styles. I've seen antique mirrors put up in bathrooms that look beautiful.

    Another cost effective way to spruce up your bathroom is to change out your faucets. You can create a whole new look when installing new faucets. Remember to choose a company that has good reviews and offers long-lasting and durable products. Also, make sure it's going to compliment the rest of your bathroom and won't become outdated in a few years. There are many classic designs out there so try out different stores to find the one that you LOVE!

    Where are you going to put all of your products in a small bathroom? Consider installing shelving or building storage into the corner to make use of all existing space. Corners are great because they can provide extra inches in an already small room! And remember, keep it clean and simple. The room will always look larger when there's not a lot of clutter.


    Cool Headboard Ideas

    If you don't have a bed set complete with a matching headboard, don't worry, you can create your own! I think when you come up with different ways to create a headboard, the end result is a much cooler design. And, it's one of a kind!

    One way to create a headboard without spending a ton of money is to use art. You can create your own canvas, enlarge your favorite photograph, or hang a set of art flats or panels. Check out the eco-friendly wall flats at Inhabit Living. They are made out of %100 bamboo pulp, %100 bio-degradable, and come in 5 different patterns. Here are the specs:

    Dimensions: 18"x18" panels
    Content: 10 panels per box
    Coverage: 22.5 square feet
    Material: 100% molded bamboo paper pulp.
    No chemical fillers or additives.
    Color: Off-white paintable surface
    Hand: Feels like a dense hardboard
    Cost: $86.00

    If you have a very small space and your bedroom is serving as a multi-purpose room, you can build or purchase a wall divider and then use your favorite fabric/paper to cover the entire piece. This make shift wall will double duty as a headboard, break up a small room, and give your sleeping area a nice cozy feel. Another way to creat a headboard is to use fabric. I've seen some really neat headboards made out of curtains hung behind the bed. You can create a lot of height in a bedroom when you hang the fabric at the very top of your wall directly behind your bed. And the great thing about fabric is that you can easily change it out when you want to update your room!


    Outdoor Living

    When warm weather and long sunny days are upon us, you can almost always catch me eating a meal outside with family and friends. I love going to restaurants but I prefer eating at home where I can relax and sit outside. Having an outdoor living space is simple to create and will be an area to have dinner in, read a book, or take a nap.

    The first thing you'll need is a table and chairs. This is where you can get creative. I use a black iron round table that seats 6 but you can use any table and chair combination you want! I've seen dinner tables made out of door tops, picnic benches that have been painted bright colors and brought out to a garden, and even benches built around trees. It's up to you to decide what kind of material you want to use and how you want to incorporate that into an outdoor space.

    Another essential item is light. I always have a string of lights, candles, or an outdoor torch whenever my outdoor room is being used, especially when you have people over. Lights are really cheap and can be used under a table, in a tree, in a trellis, or hanging under an umbrella. One creative and very inexpensive way to create outdoor lighting is by saving your jelly jars (or any jar for that matter). Wash them out, place a candle in the bottom, and viola you have a miniature lantern. Ikea has giant packs of tea lights for CHEAP so I usually buy a few bags.

    When you're outside and having dinner, it's always fun to have a potted plant or two around (I have a giant herb pot), and a couple of vases full of whatever is in your garden/growing on the tree. A simple clear vase with something colorful or green always look attractive on a table. If you're having a more formal dinner, you can use a white table cloth. I always see those at estate/tag sales for great prices. The quality of those is much better so pick up a couple. If you are a seamstress you can make your own table cloth out of any material you want.

    When it comes to an outside meal, the simpler the food, the better. In the spring/summer you have so many good vegetables to choose from so you can have a few salads, some really good cheese/olives/bread, wine, and your done! Dessert could be a basket of fresh fruit or if you want to make something simple try a tart. Those are an easy way to use whatever fruit is in season. Also, don't worry if your plates and cups don't match. I have a set of green plates I've had for years that I use with a few white plates. If you've ever seen the brand called Fiestaware, you'll see that mixing up different colors looks neat!


    Design Your Revolution is a site dedicated to home design run by blogger, Callie Barber. Launched in May of 2009, it covers product reviews, gift guides, interior design ideas, as well as musings on all things design. Updated throughout the week, the site reaches over 11,000 unique visitors per week and has an average of 30,000 pageviews per month.

    Visitors to the site visit for creative and affordable ideas for their home, as well as where to purchase new products for themselves or as gifts.



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    To contact Design Your Revolution please email: erincalliebarber [at] gmail [dot] com

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    let's get crafty: chalkboard-magnetic paint

    You can turn any surface into a chalkboard/magnet. It's pretty cool. I've seen refrigerators, kitchen walls, kids rooms, and entry ways all accented with chalkboard/magnetic paint. You can use it to draw pictures, make grocery lists, write out recipes, provide background for your artwork, and educate your kids.

    Step 1 - Prepare Surfaces

    Once you have selected the wall(s) to paint, clean the surface and repair all imperfections. Lightly sand the entire area to be painted with fine (#220) grit garnet paper, then wipe off with clean rags.

    Step 2 - Taping/Priming

    Use masking tape to tape off the area around the surface you are planning to paint. Next you'll need to prime the surface. Priming is needed to ensure adhesion of topcoat and to block all stains. Prime the entire surface to be painted. Allow to dry.

    Step 3 - Painting

    Apply the chalkboard paint with either a roller, nylon brush, or foam brush. Two coats will give you the best finish. Allow a week for the paint to cure.
    Here are some ideas on how to use chalkboard paint:

    Decorating Small Spaces

    Decorating small spaces can be a challenge which I find really fun. It forces you to think creatively and to minimize clutter. Here are some reasons why I LOVE small spaces:
    1. They are cozy.
    2. Smaller spaces require you to think outside the box.
    3. They are much easier to clean.
    4. Smaller places force you to de-clutter.
    5. Last but not least, small spaces force you to get outside!
    Here some decorating tips for small spaces:
    1. Paint the walls and ceiling a neutral color. This will open up the room and give the feeling of a larger space.
    2. Minimize your furniture to the things you absolutely love so your space feels like home.
    3. Add in a few "light" pieces. This means adding in things that might have glass tops that give the impression of an open space. This also means mixing heavy (antique) furniture with a few modern pieces.
    4. Bring color in with accessories. Accessories are my favorite things in a room. These are things like art work, photographs, cool lamp shades, and pillows.
    5. Adding mirrors are a great way to open up the space. You can choose to hang one over a fireplace or set one on a mantle.
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