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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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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