Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Things Every Home Needs: Living Room

This post is part of a series titled "Things Every Home Needs"

This room is one of my favorite spaces because it is where I sit down, relax, and gather with friends and family. This post was a little difficult to title because this room has so many names to different people and can apply to multiple rooms in your home. So I'll just go over all the names for this space that came to my mind: living room, family room, den, sitting room, great room, common room, lounge, parlor.

Whatever you call it here's all that you need in that space:

A basic couch. Make sure it's comfy. You don't have to get a basic couch, you can get a sectional or a couch with recliners, but a basic couch is more versatile.

A type of entertainment such as a TV, or a computer/laptop/tablet.

What happens when the sun goes down? You'll need a light source (lamp, sconce).

Optional things, but I would consider them must-haves if you have the space:

End tables are super nice the have. They provide a place to set a drink or that bowl of popcorn.

Chairs or another couch

Baskets for toys/books/mags/games only if you have no other spot for them in your house

Storage ottomans or footstools (you gotta kick your feet up after a long day).

Throws for those cold days and nights. I would suggest getting one for each family member.

Pillows for naps.

That's all you need for the whatever-you-call-it room. Up next is bedrooms.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Things Every Home Needs: The Dining Room

This post is part of a series titled "Things Every Home Needs"

The dining room is perhaps the simplest room in your house. It is the place to eat. Cooking and baking does not happen here, the dining room is mainly just for eating.

If you have an eat-in kitchen and no other dining room, ignore the rest of your kitchen and just focus on the dining part of your kitchen. However, if this is your situation I would recommend a counter height table so your table can double as an island.

The easiest approach to tackling a dining room is to purchase a dining table and chairs set.


When selecting a table make sure the table is big enough for your needs. If you entertain and host family gatherings, make sure your table is big enough to seat everyone, or as big as your room allows. Also think about how you use the dining table on a daily basis. If your dining table is used as a place to pay bills, do laundry, homework or crafts, you're going to want a bigger table. Bottom line is: the bigger the better, but measure to make sure the table will fit in the space with room for chairs and room for people to walk around the chairs.

A dining room set isn't your only option. Chairs and a table can also be purchased separately, so if you're not the matchy-matchy type, this is the way to go.

 This table (above) is a great option because it expands to seat more chairs.

Comfortable seating is also important, so it would be ideal to sit in the chairs before purchasing them.

These look comfy though.
If you want something different than chairs, or if you are tight on space, a bench could be a great choice. Remember though, with a bench everyone must be the same distance away from the table and if there is more than two people on the bench, the middle person is blocked in until someone on an end moves.
With a small space a bench can be placed against a wall and the table can be pulled up to the bench. A basic bench can be a great option. 
Additional seating for guests is also important, unless you want them to sit on the floor.
These stylish folding chairs would be neat, more basic folding chairs will provide the same function.
One additional thing you might need to consider when creating your dining room is storage. Where are you going to store extra chairs? Table leaves? If you have a closet nearby, that is a great option. Other options could be under stairs, the garage, or a large wardrobe.

This one (above) is great, here is another option.
If you don't need a lot of extra seating, consider purchasing nicer extra seating options and just leaving them out in the rest of your house. You can pull one or two chairs to the side of one wall in the dining room.  

A banquette might be a great option, especially if you just have a corner or need to seat a lot of people. Restaurant use this type of seating because they can seat more people in a smaller area. It is important to keep in mind that if Little Johnny, who is seating in the middle, needs to use the bathroom others must move to let him out.
Don't forget about lighting in your dining room. A chandelier is typical in most dining rooms.
Recessed lighting and wall sconces are other great options.
Should your dining room have more than just lighting, a table and seating? I tend to think not but maybe I am missing something. Let me know in the comments.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Things Every Home Needs: The Entry

If you missed the last post, I announced I am participating in a Blogging Challenge! Well... that was in May and now it's November. Better late than never.

This series will go through each room in a typical home, give a detailed list of everything you need in the space. Not "things you might want to have around" or "things that you need once a year." Need as in it would be uncomfortable or very inconvenient to live without these items.

I find that, in many rooms in my house, I have unnecessary items taking up space and creating clutter. So, this series will help you declutter and get back to the basic items.

This series is excellent if you are:
-Just starting out
-Moving into a new house
-Currently have a cluttered/cramped home
-Dealing with small spaces
-Always finding something you forgot you had
-If you're missing something
So, everyone!

Now, I know there are lists and slideshows of things that people think you need. But I find that those list are overdone and still include unnecessary items. Unless you're really into cooking and baking do you really need a food processor and a blender and a toaster oven and a toaster and a regular oven?

This series will give a master list of everything your home needs.

Let's start this challenge off, shall we?

When you enter your home where are you?

Your house of course, duh.

Well, more specifically, your house entry.

If you think your house doesn't have a formal entry, we are going to make one. Right. Now.

Picture this... you walk in the front door, go ahead open the door, step in, okay good, you're there, that is the entry! Easy right? No? Still confused? Think about your guests. When a guest walks through the door and into your house, that is the entry.

Some homes have a front entry and a back entry or garage entry. We are talking about the front entry here. However, this list would also work for a back entry.

What you need in a fuctional entry:
-Hang coats/sweater/jacket
-Take off shoes

Highly Recommend:
-A rug to catch dirt
-Place to sit and take off shoes

If you don't have a back entry or if this is your (your, as in, yourself + guests) main entry:
-A place for keys
-Spot for purse/wallet

If this is your main entry and you live in an area where you need winter gear:
-Place for hats, gloves, mittens, etc.

Easy Option:

For a simple, buy one thing and done option, this is great. It provides hooks for coats, cubbies for shoes and winter gear, and a place to sit. You could also put this piece in a closet.

If you don't have room or don't prefer the option above, then start focusing on each function you need the space to perform.

Hanging Coats:
If you have a closet near your entry, you can use it as your place to hang coats by using hangers. I would suggest investing in wood hangers because this is a space that your guests will see, plus it will make you feel all fancy when you come home from work and hang your coat on a sturdy, wooden hanger.

If you are able to drill into the walls, you could put hooks in the closet instead of using hangers. You could even just put up a row of hooks.

Help! I don't have a closet! What am I going to do?

If you don't have a closet:
-Can you drill into the walls? If you can, put up some hooks. If you can't, or if you don't have an available wall, due to light switchs or an entryway that just collides into another room (aka: no formal entry), get a coat rack. You could even get a coat rack with an umbrella stand, or you could just hang the umbrella(s) on one of the coat pegs.

-Easy, shoes go on the floor. No storage purchases needed. But, if you want to purchase something or if you are in a tight space and shoes would end up filling up your entry and spilling out the door, get shelving. If you have a closet, you could put low shelving in the closet under the coats and/or get an over-the-door shoe rack. If you don't have a closet, you can use the low shelving below the hooks you put up or placed somewhere else in your entry.

If you don't have room for the low shelving, these door/vertical shoe cabinets would work. Ikea has more options.

A Spot for Little Things and Winter Gear:

Entryway can get cluttered easily, and that sets the mood for the rest of your house. So, a cluttered entryway is more likely to create a cluttered house.

Having a functional, easy storage option for your keys, wallet, etc is important because those are the things that we tend to just drop somewhere and cannot find the little things back when we need them.

If you have a closet, an over-the-door organizer is perfect. Even though some are called shoe organizers, they function perfectly as a spot to catch the little items.

If you have a table nearby, a bowl or basket would also function as a catcher for the little items. A basket on the floor would also work well for storing winter gear.

A traditional key hook would work wonderfully for car keys, spare keys, and all the other keys.


A Place to Sit:

Having a place to sit is almost a must in an entryway. It provides a comfortable place to take shoes on and off, without having to sit on the floor or try and balance on one leg.

A bench with storage would provide a place for winter gear, or storing other larger items that end up in the entryway such as purses.

A simple bench, without "storage" still provides storage. Under the bench is a great spot to drop shoes.

If you don't have space for a bench, a small stool or a chair will do just fine.

Catching Dirt and Defining the Entry:

A rug traps some dirt, and visually provides a designated entry area. I highly recommend using a rug that is also meant for outdoor use, for more durability.

Also, get a rug that is as large as you can fit in the space, when guests come in they don't want to feel like they all have to squeeze onto a 2 x 3 rug. However, if a small rug is all you can fit, then just get the small rug.

I also do not recommend a light colored rug, as lighter colors tend to show dirt better.

So, that is all my advice for creating a functional, organized, clutter-free entry. Did I miss any must-haves for an entryway?

Friday, May 3, 2013

Blogging Challenge

Hey everybody! Just to let you know this May, I am participating in a Blogging Challenge. The challenge is hosted by The Blog Designer Network, Creative Girl Media, and Delightfully Inspired.

For the Blogging Challenge, I will be hosting a series that will clear clutter from your home and help you live a simpler life! More details to come soon.

If you have a blog, link up!


Wednesday, May 1, 2013


We talked about adding color to an all white bathroom. But there are a few basic household items that should always be white.

Before I go on, remember that it is completely, 100% okay for these items to be a color other than white. I just find that it is nice for these items to be white because you are able to bleach white. I also find it easier to just buy a basic white item instead of debating what color, and what shade of the color, to buy. So, to keep it simple, just get these items in white.

First off, bath towels and washcloths.

Bath linens are my one must, must be bleachable white items. Once again, it is okay to buy these in a color, but I would strongly suggest to buy these items in white, especially the bath linens.

Rules for white bath linens:
-At the very least I would purchase one "body" towel and a few white washcloths.
-Buy the softest towels you can afford. If you can only spend more on either the towel or the washcloths, spend it on the towel.

Other items that I would suggest purchasing in a basic white color, for the purpose of keeping it simple, are pillowcases and a white down (or down-alternative) comforter. Since this is most of the bedding, it would be convenient to stick with white sheets so you can wash everything together. Adding a colorful, patterned throw to the end of the bed would add interest so you don't see just white. That being said, I would easily change my mind and buy non-white bedding. But buying basic, white bedding simply keeps it simple and classic. Classic items also cause you to spend less money in the long run because the item is less likely to go out of style or not fit with the decor of the rest of your home.
So, tell me in the comments, are brown linens better because they hide dirt, then I don't have to do laundry?    

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Red Hot

I once heard that every room needs something red in it.

What do you think? Does every room need a hint of red? Maybe not every room, but a touch of red certainly adds some interest to the space.

1. Brown and red lamp with cranes. $223.00
2. Armchair with nailhead detail. $999.00
3. Classic wall clock. $24.00
4. Spindle chairs. Set of 2. $189.00
5. Ceramic lamp. $139.95
6. Buffalo check drapes. $49.50

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Blue, Blue Blue Blue Flooorrr

Get it? You're suppose to read it like "Blue Christmas" by Elvis.

Ok, moving on.

I'm talkin' about blue rugs. Blue and white trellis patterned rugs to be exact.

Here are some I found on Overstock:

1. This one also looks great in fuschia (it is mostly navy, with white and pink detail). $155.69
2. My favorite one. $94.49
3. Similar to number 1, but a more detailed patterned. $165.99

These rugs, and other rugs on Overstock, are currently on sale, so go get one!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Up, Up and...to the Ceiling

Would you put a swing in your house? And I don't mean a swing in your basement or off in a corner where you'll probably forget about it. I mean, would you put one in your living room?

Of course, it's cool! Right? It's not like it's one of those yellow, plastic swings off a swingset. A nice, handcrafted, wooden swing is perfect for a living room. Or is it crazy?
I love the idea, and not just for kids, why wouldn't you want a swing in your living room? It's like having your swingset in a climate controlled room.  

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Sittin' Round the Fire

Everyone knows the best smores are made over a fire. Designing a fire pit and seating around the fire pit is key to making a good tasting smore. Okay, not really, but having a good-looking fire pit and some nice seating nearby will make you want to go roast a smore even more.

There are two ideas for seating around a fire pit that I love:

The first is more rustic and natural. Log benches.

Here is a great tutorial from Popular Mechanics on how to build the firepit and the log benches as shown in the image above.

Another option for seating is adirondack chairs. I mentioned a great tutorial on how you could DIY some of these in this post. But, if building your own adirondack chairs isn't your thing, or you don't want wooden chairs, buy some basic plastic adirondack chairs at your local hardware store. Tip: make sure they're stackable for easy storage. The chair pictured below is "Adams Adirondack Chair in Red" from Lowes.

But, here's the fun part, don't buy them all in the same color. That is so boring, and expected. Buy a few different colors. A bright turquoise, orange, a bold red, etc. A group of colorful chairs would look inviting and say "hey, the party's right here."

This is not a sponsored post.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Washable Colors

My favorite bathroom is an all-white bathroom. All-white is perfect for a bathroom because the bathroom is one space where it is important to have good lighting, and white keeps the space bright by reflecting light. A nice blank, white wall gives a good backdrop to whatever you might be wearing that day. If you're standing in an orange bathroom, wearing an orange shirt you probably would be thinking wow that's too much orange, when, really, you're just wearing an orange shirt. You probably won't even be standing by an orange wall for most of the day, heck, you probably won't be near an orange wall for the rest of the day but because you're standing by that orange wall with that orange shirt on, you feel like orange juice. So you go back to your closet and realize you have nothing to wear, partially because you are having trouble finding something that looks good with the orange wall. But, if you eliminate the orange wall. The orange shirt is perfect... and that is why an all-white bathroom is perfect.

Anywho, getting to the point, an all-white bathroom can get a little blah after awhile. So how do we add a little color to the white space. Should we paint the walls orange?

No, the answer is not to paint the walls. The answer is washable colors. Don't grab a box of kids markers either. "Washable colors" means that the color you are adding to the space can easily be removed, and by easily, I mean easier than painting because painting can take a couple of days, at least.

So how do we add these "washable" colors?

Think accessories.

Trying to add accessories to a bathroom can be tricker than the rest of your house because one of first things that comes to mind, when thinking about home accessories, is pillows. And, well, you don't find pillows in many bathrooms.

So here are some options to add "washable" colors to almost any bathroom:

1. Change out a hand towel with a simple print that has a hint of color. The one on the far left is perfect for any bathroom and the one on the right is adds more of a feminine touch. $7.99 each.
2. For a little more color, change out your shower curtain. I love this blue and white print. It is classic, and has a light, airy cottage feel. $24.99
3. Even though this shower curtain doesn't look very colorful, it has pops of coral. This would be perfect if you want to add just a subtle amount of color. $19.99
4. An organic, coral rug would add a summer-y, bright pop of color to a cold floor. $29.00
5. This Ultramarine colored rug add a masculine touch. $19.99
6. If you're really having trouble adding temporary color to an all-white bathroom, change out your soap dispenser to a simple, grocery store brought one that has colored soap. price varies
7. If you can commit a little more than number 6, than this option would be good for you. This is perfect if you're okay with a pale pink color. $9.99
8. Ok, so pink isn't your thing. Add a little nature to the sink area this soap dispenser, well technially it's a lotion dispenser but it will work just as well, and it has a nice little birdy and lots of detail. $19.99

With these choices you should have no problem adding a little color to an all-white bathroom. The least you could do is change out the soap dispenser. Updating one white accessory in your bathroom will add a little more interest to the space.

I find that when updating one thing in an all white space, make sure whatever you're switch out has a little white in it. See how most of the objects in the image above have a bit of white?

Most of the accessories that I picked out would work well together. The second shower curtain (number 3) and the coral rug would especially work well together. But the other objects would also work well together for more of an eclectic style. 

This is not a sponsored post.    

Friday, April 19, 2013

Making Use of a Small Porch

With the weather getting warmer the urge to be outside will be ever-present. The porch is a place attached to many homes, but why don't we spend more time there? It gives a sense of a friendly neighborhood. A nice big porch would be a dream for many people, but how do we enjoy a small porch?

A porch swing is something that can be squeezed onto many porches, what are some other options?

First, it is important to think about what you would be using your porch for or what you would do on your porch? Reading? Napping? Just sitting, relaxing? Eating?

So, here we go. Keep in mind that these options can work for porches bigger than what is it is suggested.

For a really small porch, like, so small you could hardly fit the front door on the porch, a swing would be perfect! Yes, those things aren't just for trees and swingsets. You could hang one of these right next to your door. Think before you swing though. Your porch should be open on the side you would be swinging on. That is very important!

For a swing like the one pictured check out this tutorial from A Beautiful Mess.

For a longer than wide porch, or wider than long, a bistro set would be perfect. Especially if you plan to eat, drink your coffee, or fill out some papers while spending some time out there.

Another option would be an outdoor chaise lounge chair, or two, depending on the size of your porch.

A lounge chair would be a perfect option for the napping-porch. A hammock would be another fantastic option.

When selecting furniture for your porch make sure it looks nice, not like it's portable furniture. So, buy a wood hammock stand to go along with your hammock. A white, plastic lounge chaise or those fold-up bag chairs are not acceptable.
If you have extra space, or if these options are not your type, just plop down some adirondack chairs. You could even DIY some of these chairs.

There you have it! Do you plan on spending some time out on a porch during these warmer months?
Note: This is not a sponsored post.  

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Spring Up the Table

Eatting off white plates can get a little boring after awhile. What better time of year to switch out your white plates than in the spring?

A spring table setting should be colorful. I love this color combination with the blue, redish coral, and yella. It is a lot of colors, but somehow it all works. I like to keep the drinking glasses clear, because I like to see the color of what's inside. If I did chose a colored drinking glass, I might add a clear glass next to it. But can't ya just picture this arrangement with simple drinking glasses and white linen napkins? So springy.

1. Flatware in "Sunflower"5-piece set. $13.00
2. Detailed dinner plate. $3.99
3. Reminds me of fish scales, placemat. $2.99

Adding flowers to the table would also springs thing up a bit.
A round table with a jar of peonies would be beautiful. For a rectangle-size table, line the middle of the table with jar of peonies. Tulips would also work.
Image of peonies in jar via interiorcanvas.com. 


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Hedgehog in the Kitchen

This post is part of a ongoing series titled "Better Basics." Better Basics is about having unique, functional, must-have items.

When you're in the kitchen trying to bake something, how often do you pull out those boring white plastic measuring cups and spoons?

Unless you're Rachael Ray and can just eye-ball how much something is, you probably use those plastic white measuring tools almost everytime. But why are they so boring? Are they white to make you feel like you should not be using them, and that you too should just be able to eye-ball it?

Well, I am not going to be one of those people that is able to eye-ball anytime soon. If I tried to "eye-ball" a 1/4 cup of sugar would end up being 4 cups of sugar. Here are some measuring cups and spoons that even Rachael Ray would be using:

Note: Please ignore the awesome job of cutting around these images. You can click on the links in this post for better pictures.

1. Still simple, but with added color. $11.50
2. Who wouldn't want a hedgehog in their kitchen? $36.00
3. Cute, detailed print. $18.00
4. Hearts are not just for Valentine's Day. Yes, those are hearts. (Like I said, click the link for a better image.) $3.60

Now, I know these are more pricey than your standard plastic white measurers, but wouldn't they just make you happier when you're in the kitchen whippin' up a batch of cookies? And, if you search Etsy or check out store cookware sections, you can probably find some cute measuring cups and spoons for a lower price than these ones. Check out this one that I found on Etsy for 8 bucks, doesn't it look exactly like number one?

So, feel free to comment. Which one is your favorite or would you rather stick with tride-and-true plastic white? Or are you a born-to-be chef and do you not even need measuring tools?