Mom Cave

With the Super Bowl on our minds, you are probably seeing a lot of talk about how to build a better man cave. In fact, we did one in this very space last week. But in the interest of equal opportunity escapism, we knew it was time to think outside the cave to a more beautiful, more elegant place. We’re talking about a spot more notable for heart and its art than the size of the big screen on the wall. Enter the Mom Cave. That’s right, a little nook where pretty is appreciated. Tell your man to cave down the street with his buddies.

Here are a few simple pieces to help you put together your Mom Cave:

Furniture

Women and men are equal and all, but there are differences. Men love their big recliners with a drink holder built-in the arm rest and a remote control compartment within arm’s reach. For years women have fought the good fight against the traditional recliner, which they see as an eye-sore of the highest order. They see recliners as a place where elegance goes to die, along with an entire bag of chips.

While a recliner might be comfortable, women know there are seating options that look stylish and feel comfy all at the same time. Somebody has to keep an eye on style. It’s why your wedding wasn’t held at the local Buffalo Wild Wings. Still, we’re pretty sure with a little time on Pinterest, you could make that look good too. We digress. Think about a chaise lounge sofa. It’s the perfect spot to entertain multiple friends or to simply curl up into a ball in the corner when no one’s around.

Chase

You’re probably also going to need a table and a chair. Perhaps a desk set, or maybe something more customized to your tastes. This is where you’ll do your scrapbooking, where you’ll spread out your idea boards, or plot the family vacation down to the minute. But you’ll also have to make sure there is room left over to place your wine glass. More on that later.

To add a dash, or more than a dash, of color, consider an ottoman or a pouf. An ottoman is great for stretching your legs and storing your supplies, but it can also serve as extra seating in a pinch. Poufs are fun to look at, and even more fun to say. Pouf. Pouf. Pouf. See what we mean?

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Accessories

Yes, this is a broad topic, but women do love to accessorize. This is where we’ll categorize your wall art, throws, accent pillows and rugs.

And by art, we don’t mean a giant poster of Aaron Rodgers. But hey, it’s your lounge. Whatever you’re in to. We really mean pretty pictures, in beautiful frames that tell the story of you or inspire you. Art can be emotional, inspiration, evocative. You want all that in your lounge. Because the term lounge is a bit of a misnomer. You’re not much for lounging anyway. You’re about getting stuff done, and even when you’re “resting” you’re mind is never truly at rest.

Throws and pillows are soft, fluffy and colorful. They’re both nice to look at nice and to cuddle up next to. Another difference between men and women: While men like to stretch out in their chair or on the couch, women can often be found all wound up in a pillows and throws, using only a fraction of the sofa or chair, no matter how much surface area it has.

The last thing a lady wants to do when they unfurl from their blanket and pillow fort is to step down on a cold, hard floor. That’s where the accent or throw rugs come in. They tie the room together and add texture and style to any space. They’re so soft, ladies might be tempted to add them to their pillow and throw fort. Alas, those rugs are made for walkin’, and that’s just what you’ll do.

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Closets and shelves

When a lady says she wants a lounge, what she’s really telling you is she wants her very own dressing room – with the red M&Ms picked out by hand and with a never-ending supply of Fiji Water on hand. But in the absence of those luxuries, you’ll settle for a closets and shelves everywhere. You can’t have enough places to hang things and enough shoe cubbies.

Of course, you’d love to have these conveniences built into your home, but some of us must settle for less. There are kids to think of, husbands to support. A wholesale remodel is probably not in the cards (playing card is another fine use for your table by the way). Instead, you may have to buy shelving units cubbies, garment racks and wardrobes. In fact, maybe you can forget about the wall art. Just line these babies up and down the walls of the room. Your clothes and shoes are art. Show ‘em off.

Wine Fridge

Last but not least. You must account for booze storage, or to sound more lady-like, your wine refrigerator. We’re not saying you need a drink, but the option is always nice. From cabernets to pinot noirs, some wines are better chilled. The other alcohol you can stow in the ottoman. Because let’s face it, a glass of wine in your hand is the very best accessory.

Your Mom Cave is going to draw raves. Now all it needs is you. So carve our a little time for yourself and enjoy your special space. This time away will make you a better mom, a more loving partner, and it might just save your sanity.

Feel Happy in Your Home This Year

We are officially well into the new year – a time to “start over” and make changes to one’s lifestyle. There are a lot of different resolutions we make to better ourselves each year, but ultimately, we just want to be happy. That’s why I’ve compiled a list of tips and suggestions to find happiness at home. Try a couple or try them all, and see if they make a difference for you!

Embrace your style

You can have a professional interior designer redecorate your entire home, but that doesn’t mean you’ll  be happy with the new setup. Decorate each room to match your own personal style, rather than what you think is “in” this year. By selecting patterns, colors and styles you like, you’ll be able to create a space you’ll love.

Photo Credit: Hubbardton Forge

Photo Credit: Hubbardton Forge

Decorate to boost your mood

Fresh plants, uplifting colors, a picture frame filled with people you love. These are the things that can boost your mood and help you feel good at home. Flowers and green plants can energize a space, while certain colors like yellow can create a cheerful environment.

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Take your time

If you’re unhappy with the way your home looks now, be patient. It takes time to design a home sweet home and it’s important not to rush when making big purchases. If you carefully consider each item before buying, you’re more likely to be satisfied with the results.

Spend 10-20 minutes picking up every day

No one likes chores (I certainly don’t), but what would you rather do: spend an entire Saturday cleaning or take a little time each day to pick up and prevent large messes? I would choose the latter, and I’m sure most of you would agree. Plus, a clean home can reduce stress rather than create more. Hint: Part of your plan may be to invest in shelves and other organizational items to make sure everything has a home.

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Start with a few small projects before tackling a big one

A big house project can feel overwhelming, so start with smaller ones to get the ball rolling. Maybe you need to paint several rooms? Take a few steps at a time and just go to the local hardware store and pick out paint swatches to get you started. Before you know it, you will be done. Once you see how quickly that project went and you can check it off your list, you’re much more likely to follow through with each project and end the year feeling accomplished. You never know. You may become a DIYer like the sisters on Shanty-to-Chic!

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How do you find happiness at home? Write a comment and let us know!

By Wendy Weinert

6 ways to get rid of bad odors in your home

I can handle a little clutter in my home from time to time, but as hard as I try to keep my home tidy, I know I’m not perfect. What I can’t handle, however, is a bad odor – and I certainly don’t want guests walking into my home if there is a rotten smell lurking. These six tips can help you conquer foul odors if they are becoming a problem in your home.

  • Open the windows: Fresh air is often the best way to eliminate bad smells. Even in the middle of winter, you can open your windows for just a few minutes to get rid of odors naturally.
    Photo credit: A Simpler Thyme

    Photo credit: A Simpler Thyme

     

  • Clean: Vacuuming, washing the counters and sweeping the floors can help to prevent bad odors. Even cleaning your light bulbs can help, as warm dirty bulbs tend to give off a dusty, burning smell.
  • Decorate with candles and fresh flowers: While masking bad odors won’t completely eliminate them, it will help.

    Photo credit: Peaches & Mint

    Photo credit: Peaches & Mint

  • Find the source and remove it: Detecting why your home smells will help you determine the best way to eliminate the odor. If it’s the trash, take it out even if it’s not completely full. If you have rotten food, toss it.
  • Turn on a fan: Fans circulate air in a room and prevent the air from becoming stale. In the bathroom and kitchen, turn on your exhaust fans when cooking or showering.Breckenfield RmShot
  • Take advantage of bleach, vinegar and citrus: These items are great for getting rid of smells. If your washing machine is starting to smell moldy, run a cycle with only bleach and warm water. You can use vinegar to eliminate odors in the dishwasher or kitchen. And if your garbage disposal is the problem, cut up a lemon and run the pieces through the disposal.

No matter how bad the smell gets, there are ways to eliminate the odor. Instead of plugging your nose, try these six solutions and enjoy a fresh smell every time you walk through your front door.

By Wendy Weinert

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

Tricks to Sizing Your Dining Room

Dining room

Working for Bellacor made me realize how much there is to consider when buying furnishings for your dining room. Not only do you have to worry about budget, color, and personal taste, you also have to consider size.
Figuring out the best size table and the perfectly proportioned fixture for your needs can be confusing. Here are the tips I use to direct people to their best pieces.

Sizing Your Dining Table

The table is the heart of the dining room. Whether you use your dining room for every meal, or only special occasions, the following tips will help you choose the most functional table for any space.
1. Make sure you have a clearance of 42”- 48” around your table. This will allow enough room for seating as well as traffic flow.
• If you have a small dining room, consider using a round table. Not only does this
maximize your small space, but it also allows for a more intimate dining experience.
• Consider choosing a square table if you have a square room. This will give more
symmetry to your space and create a more put-together look.

2. Determine how many place settings you need. Each person will need about 24” of space.
• A rectangular table has as many place settings as it does feet. A 6’ table will sit 6 people, an 8’ table will sit 8 people, and so on.
• A round table’s place settings depend on what kind of base it has. A round table with a pedestal base has 1 more place setting than feet, and a table with legs has 1 less place setting than feet. For example, a 5’ pedestal table seats 6 while a 5’ table with legs seats 4.

3. Don’t forget about seat height! Look for chairs with a 16” seat height for a table that is 27” high. For tables between 28” and 30” high, use chairs with an 18” seat height.
• Don’t worry if you and your family are very tall or on the shorter side, these are just general tips. Play around with seat height until you find the one most comfortable for you!

Dining table size chart

Photo credit: Holiday Home Times

Sizing Your Light Fixture

Now that you’ve picked out your table, let’s move on to finding the perfect overhead lighting for you. While sizing your fixture might seem overwhelming at first, here are some tips you will find illuminating.

Kichler Hayman Bay Chandelier

1. The width of your chandelier should be three-quarters to one-half as wide as your dining table. Ideally, your fixture should be about twelve inches narrower than your table to prevent your more accident-prone guests from bumping their heads.
• If you have a long, rectangular table, consider using an island pendant instead of a traditional chandelier. A longer fixture will draw your eye down the length of the table.
• Try using pendants installed on an adjustable track if you have a dining table with a leaf. This lets your lighting expand as your table does.
• For those of you choosing lighting before your furniture, just add the length and width of your room together to determine the best width for your chandelier. A 10’x10’ room would have a chandelier 20” in width.

Maxim Lighting Pendants

2. Your lighting should hang between 30”- 32” above your table. If you have a ceiling more than 8’ high, add three inches for every additional foot. For example, if you have 12’ ceilings, hang your fixture between 42”- 44” from the table.
• Low hanging lighting over a table creates intimacy while high hanging lighting creates formality. Feel free to play around with your hanging height to best fit your style, but make sure to allow enough room to comfortably enjoy your food.
• Adding tall chandelier shades can help put your chandelier in proportion with high ceilings. Try using 12” chandelier shades for high ceilings.

3. Remember to consider the visual weight of your fixture. The shape and design of your chandelier has a big effect on your vertical space.
• Sleek, light fixtures look bigger and will help fill up dining rooms with high ceilings.
• Remember that traditional style chandeliers may look smaller in spaces because of their detailed design.
Now that you know how to size up when it comes to the dryer side of design, you can focus on the fun things like color and style!

About Jessica Olson

Jessica Olson is a Minnesota blogger who writes about home decor and interior design. She has a BA in English from the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire.   She loves stories, pops of color, and a good joke.

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

The art of hanging your artwork at home

Hanging your artwork is, quite frankly, an art in and of itself. If your favorite painting is hung too high or too low, the room’s proportions and balance will be thrown off. Grouping pictures can be a challenge, too, as this strategy usually involves trying to create a put-together look with different-sized frames.

Although hanging artwork isn’t easy, take heart in knowing there are strategies that will make it less of a nightmare. Here are some tips I’ve found most helpful.

1. Hang art at eye level (or 57 inches from the floor)

Guests shouldn’t have to strain their necks to appreciate your art. That’s why it is usually recommended to hang pictures at eye level. Of course, “eye level” isn’t an easy height to guess. A more accurate method for determining eye level is to hang art so that the center is 57 inches from the floor. If you’re hanging art in a room where people spend most of their time sitting, you might consider lowering the art for a better view.

Photo credit: Forever Cottage

Photo credit: Forever Cottage

2. Group pictures about two inches apart

If you’re hanging art salon-style, where you group a collection of pictures close together, just be sure there is an equal amount of space between each frame. Two inches is usually recommended, but if you’re hanging smaller frames you might consider spacing each picture one and a half inches apart.

Photo credit: Pinterest

Photo credit: Pinterest

3. Be patient and expect some trial and error

If you hang your art but it looks “off” for some reason, some adjustments may be needed to make it feel right. This is especially true when grouping photos together, as you’ll have to rely mostly on your own judgement to mix and match sizes. So you don’t make unnecessary holes, make a paper template to tape on the wall before you use a nail. Have some fun rearranging the templates to get the look you want. It may take time, but I guarantee the effort is worth making. Once you master the art of hanging art, you’ll be able to show off your fabulous collection with pride.

By Wendy Weinert

Summer staycation ideas for a relaxing break at home

Sometimes the best vacations are spent at home. Now don’t get me wrong, it’s fun to go out and see new places. But, I always come back home exhausted from all of the sightseeing and activities. Don’t you? When I’m looking to just take a break from work and relax, a staycation sounds much more enjoyable. You don’t have to spend time driving, waiting in line at the airport or trying to read maps. You can just sit back, relax and enjoy your week.

Plan your own staycation this summer and go back to work feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. Here are some ideas to get you inspired.

1. Add a front porch swing 

Porch swing

Photo credit: Midwest Living

You won’t want to spend all of your time indoors, especially in the summer. A front porch swing is a small investment that will allow you to create a relaxing environment outside for your staycation, and for spring, summer and fall as well.

2. Organize your home before the vacation starts

Organized pantry

Photo credit: Better Homes and Gardens

It’s hard to relax when your house is a mess. Believe me, I know. Plus, there’s a reason why hotel rooms often feel so refreshing. They’re not cluttered. As your staycation approaches, take some time to make sure everything is in order. You’ll be able to enjoy your week much more fully if you do.

3. Take your coffee outside

Coffee on the porch

Photo credit: Pinterest

Instead of chugging a cup of coffee like you normally do on mornings before work, take it outside and allow yourself to enjoy it on your porch swing or patio. Mornings are the perfect time to spend outdoors because the weather isn’t unbearably hot yet.

4. Refrain from checking emails

If you absolutely have to check your email throughout the week, set aside a time each day where you can check it…and then forget about it the rest of the day. It’s also a good idea to turn your phone on silent, and call or text only when catching up with old friends or ordering food.

Let yourself take a break this summer and take a staycation. A week at home with no errands or work to do is the perfect way to enjoy the summer and rejuvenate.

By Wendy Weinert

Backyard camping: enjoy the great outdoors without leaving home

Backyard camping

Photo credit: Pinterest

Camping is one of my favorite summer activities, but sometimes it’s hard to set aside a week or even just a weekend to get away. That’s why I love the idea of backyard camping. It gives families the opportunity to spend time outdoors and bond. Plus, staying close to home is often recommended for young children who are not ready for the full camping experience.

Backyard camping seems like a simple concept, but there are some strategies you can use to create an experience that is similar to an actual camping trip. For example, you can:

Set up a tent
Backyard camping

Photo credit: Daily Mail

Okay, I know it seems silly to sleep outdoors when you have comfortable beds inside waiting for you. However, your backyard excursion will feel more like a bonfire than an authentic camping trip if you head inside after the fire dies down.

Design a sitting area
Seating area next to camp

Polywood Adirondack Chairs

Most campsites have benches for dining and generally people bring their own chairs. Set up your backyard to mimic an actual campsite by arranging outdoor chairs and tables near the tent area.

Install a fire pit
Fire pit

Firescapes Fire Pit

In my opinion, it’s not camping without a fire and s’mores. If you don’t already have one, consider adding a fire pit to your backyard space; you can use it all summer long! On chillier nights, make sure you have extra blankets for sitting around the fire!

Add a sprinkler

If you live within walking distance of a lake or ocean, head out for a swim in the afternoon. Otherwise, a sprinkler can add a splash of fun for the kids (and the adults).

Keep technology indoors

Phones and laptops are hard to leave behind — believe me, I know. Camping, however, is all about taking a break from technology and connecting with nature. While you might not have a forest in your backyard, you can at least enjoy the sunshine and breeze without having to check your cell every five minutes.

Roasting marshmallows

Photo credit: Pinterest

Are you ready to roast marshmallows and tell ghost stories? A simple camping trip in your backyard can be a special memory you and your family will cherish for years.

By Wendy Weinert