Messy house? Here are 5 things you can blame it on

We all want a clean house, but sometimes life, kids and our own habits can get in the way. If you feel like you come home every day to a messy house, there may be a few reasons why. Here are five problems that can make it difficult to keep a clean home and how to overcome them.

#1 Your schedule is busy and you don’t have a lot of time to clean.

Busy schedule

It’s hard to keep a house clean when you’re constantly on the move or your to-do list seems to never end. Taking time to clean, however, is important because a tidy home will help you feel less stressed and more organized. Even taking 15-30 minutes each day to clean can help you accomplish more of your tasks.

#2 You tend to procrastinate.

There are many times when I see a mess and think, “I’ll get to that later.” But then the mess piles up and pretty soon I’m feeling overwhelmed. By taking care of a mess right away, whether it’s dirty dishes or a cluttered room, you can prevent the mess from becoming a disaster.

#3 You have kids, a messy spouse or roommate.

If you aren’t the only one living in your home or apartment, then you aren’t the only one making messes. Split tasks to make your messy house easier to manage, and if you have roommates, talk with them. They might not realize that you prefer a cleaner home, and they are more likely to respect your living style if you ask nicely.

#4 You have too much stuff.

Declutter with shelving units

I’m not a hoarder, but there are times when I accumulate too much stuff and realize it’s time to de-clutter. If you don’t have enough room for all of your things, sort through them and get rid of what you don’t need.

#5 You need better storage solutions.

Ottoman with storage

If everything in your home has a designated place where it should be put away, cleaning will be easier and quicker, too. Consider ways you can improve the organization of your home. Dual-purpose furniture like ottomans or beds with storage are a great way to keep your home organized without taking up more space.

By Wendy Weinert

How to put sheets on your bed without losing your cool

Putting on bedsheets – you’d think this task would be a no-brainer, but you and I both know that’s simply not true. There’s a reason why videos like the one below exist (watch if you’re looking for a good laugh). I can’t count the number of times I’ve become frustrated with my bedsheets! Fortunately, we’re not the only ones to have experienced problems with making the bed, and I’ve found some useful tips that can make the process more manageable. Just follow these steps.

1. Make sure you have the right sheet size. If you’re struggling to put on your fitted sheet, it may be simply because the sheet is too small.

2. When putting on your fitted sheet, start with one corner. Stretch the sheet corner over the mattress so that it completely covers the mattress and pad, if you have one. If the sheet is not securely tucked underneath the mattress, you could easily undo your work when moving on to the next corner.

3. Pull the second sheet corner over the mattress, choosing the corner that is diagonally opposite from the one you just completed. Repeat steps with the two remaining corners.

4. Smooth out the fitted sheet, making sure each corner is tucked securely underneath the mattress. If it’s not tight, the flat sheet will look lumpy.

Photo credit: Pinterest

Photo credit: Pinterest

5. Place your flat sheet over the fitted one, with the wrong side up. That way when you fold over the sheet at the head of the bed, the decorative side will show. Make sure that the sheet hangs evenly on both sides of the bed.

6. Tuck in the bottom of your sheet and then move on to the sides, tucking them in about three-fourths of the way toward the head of the bed.

7. Place your comforter on top of the flat sheet.

8. Fold the flat sheet over the comforter so the decorative side shows and there is about 15 inches for pillows. If you would prefer not to fold the flat sheet over, put it on your bed right-side up instead.

Voila! No longer do you have to struggle making your bed. And with practice, the process will only become easier.blue bedding

By Wendy Weinert

Enjoy a more peaceful home with these 7 tips

I recently shared an article on farmhouse style and how its simple characteristics can make a home feel very peaceful. The farmhouse style isn’t for everyone, though, and you don’t have to enjoy country living to create a relaxing and quiet home. No matter what your preferred decorating style is, you can design a more peaceful environment with these quick tips.

1. If bright colors are energizing and oftentimes too stimulating, try decorating with muted colors instead. A softer shade of your favorite color can help you to feel more relaxed. (If you’re trying to decide on a color, blue is well-known for its calming effects!)

Blue walls are calming

Photo credit: Pinterest

2. To keep your overhead lighting from feeling too bright, install a dimmer switch that will soften the lighting. At night, you can add even more ambience by lighting a few candles.

3. I know cleaning doesn’t exactly sound relaxing, but keeping your floors and surfaces clear will help to reduce stress. At the end of the day or right away in the morning, set aside 10 minutes or so to tidy up each room so you can enjoy a clean home for the rest of the day.

4. If your home is lacking in decor, try bringing in some fresh flowers and plants. The natural scents will help you feel calm and some plants can even purify your home’s air.

Fresh Flowers

Photo credit: Better Homes and Gardens

5. I think most people would agree with me when I say that nature is very peaceful. Along with decorating with plants, you can bring the outdoors inside with natural materials like jute or wicker.

Natural fiber rug

Photo credit: House of Turquoise

6. A simple decorating scheme is refreshing. Be careful not to add too many complicated patterns in one room or overcrowd your space with decorative accessories.

7. Are the loud neighbors or annoying traffic patterns causing you to feel stressed? Tune them out with soft music or consider buying a decorative water fountain.

Indoor Fountain

Whether your home is modern or traditional, you can enjoy a more peaceful environment. Try incorporating a few of these tips in your house and see how they work for you!

By Wendy Weinert

Pet-friendly decorating tips for a home you and your furry friend will love

Parents are always aware of their young one’s safety and comfort, and they also consider their kid’s messy habits before picking out new furniture and decor. The same strategy can be applied to pets, too, and I know many of you think of them as family, too. By remembering your furry friend when decorating, you can design a home that is comfortable for both of you and still be able to enjoy a stylish space. These pet-friendly decorating tips will help get you started.

1. Opt for rugs rather than wall-to-wall carpet

Carpet traps bad odors and hair, making it hard to keep it clean. Rugs, on the other hand, are easier to clean and much less expensive to replace. Natural-fiber rugs like sisal are affordable and more durable than synthetic materials.

Natural Fiber Rugs

Photo credit: Bryn Alexandra

2. Set up a space just for them

I know pets aren’t people, but that doesn’t mean they don’t enjoy having space to themselves. Everyone in the home has a bedroom, so set up a small area in a room of your choice where a dog or cat can go to eat, sleep and play.

Pet's Area

Photo credit: Room Service – Decorating 101

3. Choose comfortable and stylish bedding

Animals love their naps. Give your pets the comfort they deserve with a plush bed made just for them. With so many options available today, you won’t have any trouble finding a bed that is both comfortable and stylish to match your home’s decor.

Dog bed

Photo credit: Etsy

4. Match upholstery to your pet’s fur color

Your puppy is cute, but he sheds a lot. The next time you’re searching for a new sofa or chair, try matching the upholstery to his fur color. It won’t solve the shedding problem, but it might help hide some of the hair so it isn’t too visible to guests.

5. Choose plants carefully

Certain plants are poisonous to animals, so make sure the plants you bring inside won’t hurt your pet. Learn which plants are toxic to animals here.

Your pet is family — there’s no question about it. Follow these pet-friendly decorating tips to offer your family a comfortable and safe place to live.

By Wendy Weinert

Decorating with renewable resources: Why bamboo is good for the home

Green Bamboo

I love the concept of decorating my home to mimic the outdoors. Bringing nature inside is a great way to create an environment that can be both soothing and energizing. Designing a nature-inspired home allows me the opportunity to consider using natural materials. I’ve taken an interest in learning more about what we as homeowners can do to design a stylish space while lessening our environmental impact. And one solution I’ve found is to seek out materials that are sustainable and defined as renewable resources. Bamboo, for example, is a renewable resource that can be used to create eco-friendly furniture, light fixtures, accessories and even linens. Plus it’s stylish, so why wouldn’t I want to consider it for my home?

Bedvoyage Bamboo Bedding

Bedvoyage bamboo bedding

As I began researching more about the benefits of using bamboo, I found that it’s a great alternative to many of the materials we use today. Bamboo grows very quickly and requires little maintenance – some species grow more than a yard in just 24 hours! Plus, if harvested from bamboo farms, animals such as the panda who rely on bamboo for food are not negatively affected, while local communities are positively affected as they can build a better economy for themselves.

Fanimation Islander Ceiling Fan

Fanimation Islander ceiling fan

Wood from trees is natural, but many trees are not as renewable as bamboo. Using bamboo as an alternative to wood from other trees makes a lot of sense, because the plant is just as strong but it doesn’t take years to grow back. It also can be a great alternative to metal and plastic, which are much more challenging and time-investive to manufacture.

Neu Home Bamboo bowl by Organize It All

Neu Home Bamboo bowl by Organize It All

With so many positive reasons to use bamboo and renewable resources in general, it’s hard for me even to consider anything else! I encourage you to make the switch as well when seeking out new furniture and home decor accessories. While you may not always be able to choose a natural material or a renewable resource, making the effort where you can is the first step toward making a difference.

By Wendy Weinert

The tiny house movement: what it is and why it’s so popular

Tiny house

Photo credit: Hooked on Houses

Lately I’ve been hearing or reading a lot about “tiny houses” (also called “small houses”). It has made me curious, so I wanted to take the time to learn more about what these tiny houses are and why so many people are talking about them.

It seems that a tiny house is exactly what its name implies. Several sources define a tiny house as being less than 1,000 square feet, but that’s generous considering many who build or buy one choose to go as small as 400 square feet or less. Although the new trend is in no way taking over, the small house movement is growing in popularity; many Americans are now choosing to downsize or start their life in these tiny homes.

Floor plans of a tiny house

251 sq. ft. of living space
Photo credit: Hooked on Houses

The question is, “Why?” Why are people choosing to live their lives in such small spaces? Well, there are many reasons, but the biggest ones are because of financial concerns, environmental impact and the desire for freedom. Tiny homes are a much more affordable and sustainable living solution, and many people use them to travel. They are, after all, a much more comfortable way of moving from place to place than an RV.

Although I’m not ready to pack up my home and move into a tiny house just yet, I think there is a lot of good in the movement. It’s an adjustment for sure, but many creative architects and designers have managed to make their small houses feel open and even spacious. It’s all about choosing your furniture and accessories carefully. A futon, for example, can be a great substitute for a couch or sofa in one of these tiny houses, as they are typically smaller and serve a dual purpose. When decorating, look for accessories that make an impact so you can still enjoy style with less decor.

Kichler small ceiling fan

Perfect ceiling fan for a small space

 

What are your thoughts on the tiny house movement? Do you think you could live in such a limited space? Write a comment and let us know!

By Wendy Weinert

 

How to create a welcoming porch

I don’t know about you, but I want my home to feel welcoming to guests. A welcoming home means that friends and family will feel more comfortable during a visit and may even mean that they will be anticipating their next stay! While every room in the home can be decorated to feel inviting, the best place to start is actually outside, since the front porch is the first “room” guests will see. Here are some of my favorite ideas for welcoming guests into a home:

Porch_Livingroomset_Club-4

Offer a seat

I like to think of the front porch as being an outdoor living room, where you can socialize with close friends and family while enjoying the nice weather. A porch swing is a popular choice for kids and adults alike, but if your space isn’t big enough you can also seat guests on a smaller patio chair.

 

porch blog- rug

Photo credit: Pinterest

Make it cozy with a rug

A rug instantly makes any room I’m in feel more cozy. You probably use a rug to cozy up the living room, so why not do the same for the front porch? A welcome mat can also look inviting, especially if you’re working with limited space.

 

porch blog- lighting 2

Photo credit: Pinterest

Add light for nighttime

It’s hard to create a welcoming vibe when your front porch is completely dark. Plus, evenings are often the best time to enjoy a front porch – when the weather isn’t so hot. Try using a couple of outdoor wall lights to invite guests outdoors.

 

porch blog- painted door

Photo credit: Pinterest

Paint the door

You don’t have to paint the front door to make it welcoming, but I love the idea of a a bright-colored door! If you have a small front porch, this can be an easy way to add color and style without cluttering the area.

 

porch blog- final touches

Photo credit: Pinterest

Complete the look with a few final touches

A couple of potted plants, a few accent pillows on your swinging chair and a hanging sign on the door – these types of finishing touches are perfect for tying the welcoming look together.

Does your front porch invite people into your home? If not, try out a few of these welcoming ideas!

By Wendy Weinert

5 home Feng Shui tips to create positive energy

5 Feng Shui elements

Photo credit: Free People blog

Feng Shui is an ancient Chinese practice that has made its way into Western interior design. When using Feng Shui, the goal is to design a home that aligns with who you are as a person. It is also a way to ensure a space allows your energy (or “chi”) to remain positive and constant. And who doesn’t want that?

You don’t have to be a Feng Shui expert to apply some of its principles in the home. I’ve gathered five easy tips that even beginners can use!

1. Get rid of the clutter

We’re all guilty of creating clutter now and then – I know I am. Living in a cluttered home can make you feel stressed and overwhelmed. An easy way to keep the junk from piling up is to do a quick de-clutter session once a week.

Decluttered Living room

2. Ensure quality lighting

Dim lighting can drain our energy, so make sure each room has the right amount of light. For me, the best source of light is natural light. Installing various light sources is necessary, of course, so you can have light  during evenings or in rooms without big windows.

Natural light is the best source of light

Photo credit: Home Adore

3. Keep electronics out of the bedroom

This is hard, I know, but quality sleep and relaxation is essential for creating good energy. Not only does a TV or computer in the room tempt you to stay up later than planned, but electronics can also diminish your quality of sleep.

Keep electronics out of the bedroom4. Let nature in

Nature is soothing and the five elements of Feng Shui (wood, earth, fire, water and metal) have a lot to do with the outdoors. Wooden furniture pieces, plants and an indoor water fountain are all great ways to add nature to your home.

Bring nature inside

5. Choose colors carefully

In Feng Shui, colors are important. For example, if I want a room to be relaxing, I could use the color blue to create a sense of calm. Here is a useful guide I found for choosing colors in Feng Shui.

Feng Shui Color

Photo credit: Know Feng Shui

After applying some of these basic Feng Shui techniques, you might start to notice a change in how you feel at home. Feng Shui can help you feel happier, relaxed and more energized.

By Wendy Weinert

 

Throw the Perfect BBQ With These 5 Tips

Everyone loves a good barbecue, and this summer you can be the one who brings family and friends together to enjoy delicious food, good company and sunshine. Just follow these five tips and throw a BBQ guests will remember fondly for years.

Throw the Perfect BBQ With These 5 Tips

1. Create a theme

BBQs are common in the summer, but you can make yours stand out by creating a theme. Turn your barbecue into a luau or set up a Wild Wild West theme. You can even have guests dress up for the event!

Throw the Perfect BBQ With These 5 Tips

2. Decorate your space to match the occasion

When you decide on a theme, decorate your patio or outdoor space with accessories to match. For example, if you’re hosting a luau, add bright colors with tablecloths, outdoor lights and furniture cushions. To create a western theme, use red or blue plaid napkins, hang up a “Wanted” poster on the tree and stick with wooden furniture for a rustic feel.

3. Set the mood with music

Every party needs a little music! Try this summer playlist from Spotify while the party is going on. Just be sure to keep the volume low so that guests can converse without trouble.

4. Prepare a first-aid kit

Kids love BBQs because they get to run around and be active. This, however, can sometimes lead to cuts and bruises. Be prepared for an accidental fall or a burn from the grill by keeping a first-aid kit handy. It should be filled with essentials like triple antibiotic ointment and band-aids.

Throw the Perfect BBQ With These 5 Tips

5. End with the perfect party gift

As guests leave your party, send them off the right way by handing out thoughtful gifts. A great party favor to consider would be a stylish recipe box filled with the recipes you used for the barbecue!

Are you ready to host the best barbecue to date? Incorporate some of these useful tips at your next event and guests are sure to have a great time!

By Wendy Weinert

Buying a ceiling fan part one: matching the fan to your space

Buying a ceiling fan isn’t just a matter of picking out the design you like best; in fact, that part comes later. In order for ceiling fans to be most effective, it’s essential that you first select a fan to match your space. Before you even start to think about styles and finishes, though, you must determine how your space will be influencing your purchase decision.

Buying a ceiling fan part one: matching the fan to your space

Outdoors or indoors?

Although outdoor and indoor fans look the same, they’re actually built for different environments. Outdoor fans are designed to handle conditions like heat, wind and humidity, while most indoor fans would just rust if installed outside. Some indoor fans, however, are also designed for special conditions, such as humidity. If the fan is going to be installed in a room where there will be moisture, such as a bathroom, look for a UL-Damp rated fan. This rating means the blades will not warp.

Buying a ceiling fan part one: matching the fan to your space

Room size

In order for a ceiling fan to properly circulate air in a room, the blade span has to be large enough to handle the room’s size. Once you know where you’ll be installing the ceiling fan, the next step is to measure that space and determine the appropriate blade span to match.

Rooms up to 75 sq. ft. = 29 to 36-inch blade span
Rooms up to 175 sq. ft. = 42 to 48-inch blade span
Rooms up to 350 sq. ft. = 52 to 56-inch blade span
Rooms more than 350 sq. ft. = 60-inch or larger blade span

Ceiling height

It is best to hang up ceiling fans so the fan blades are about 8 feet above the floor. Most fans have more than one mounting option, which allows you to install yours at the proper height.

Buying a ceiling fan part one: matching the fan to your space

Flushmount: These fans have no extra attachments and are designed for low ceilings.
Downrod mount: If you have a ceiling that is higher than eight feet, use a downrod mount.
Angle mount: This type of mount should be used for angled or sloped ceilings.

Now that you’ve factored in space considerations, you can start to think about fun details like design and lighting! Stay tuned for our next article’s tips on buying a ceiling fan to match your preferences.

By Wendy Weinert