Eight Simple Home Refresh Ideas for Spring

It is the first official day of spring as I write this, and each year I try to make an effort to do at least some spring cleaning.  So far this year, I’ve gotten as far as printing a spring cleaning checklist.  It’s currently pinned to our kitchen bulletin board where it’s hard to ignore – hard but not impossible.

But spring is about more than just cleaning.  All we have to do is observe nature to be reminded that spring is really about having a fresh start.  It’s time to open the windows and let the fresh air in.

So today I’m sharing my favorite eight ideas for refreshing my home for spring.  And the good news is that they are all very simple.

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1.  Swap Out Window Coverings

I’m often tempted by the botanical print wallpapers and other wall coverings that are trending now.  But they are a huge commitment, and a wallpaper that appeals to me in spring may not work year-round.  One way to get some of the impact of wallpaper without the commitment is to change curtains or Roman shades to match the seasons.

Washable linen Roman shades by Karuilu Home

I always buy washable curtains so I can remove and launder them as part of my spring cleaning routine.  On some windows, I use this exercise as an opportunity to swap out the winter curtains for curtains that have a spring-themed pattern.

2.  Refresh Bedding

To me, spring calls for lighter but still luxurious bedding and crisp, fresh sheets.

Provincial Living handmade linen bedding

3.  Swap Out Accent Pillows

One of the simplest ways to update a room for spring is to swap out accent pillows.  And here is an excellent example of how not all spring-themed decor need be light: The charming floral print of this garden bird botanical throw pillow really pops against the dark background.

4.  Replace Hand and Dish Towels

It doesn’t take long for hand towels and dish towels to look tired, so spring is the ideal time to repurpose them into rags and replace them with something fresh.

Organic cotton Turkish hand/dish towels

5.  Add Touches Of Natural Texture

It’s amazing how much impact a touch of natural texture can have in a room.  And it can be in something as simple and utilitarian as a plant wrap.

Handwoven Kenyan sisal planters

6.  Adopt A New House Plant

I say “adopt” because I’ve had some of my house plants for so long that they almost feel like family.  But there is always room for one more, and adding an intriguing new variety to my collection can often be the simplest way to infuse a fresh spring vibe.

I’ve previously shared my favorite ferns, and I especially love my bird’s nest fern.  But this variety, called “Crissie,” has me curious.

7.  Upgrade A Hand Soap Dispenser

I promised these tips would be simple, and what could be simpler than upgrading a small and inexpensive item that I use multiple times a day.

Ribbed glass hand soap dispenser

What I like about this particular dispenser is that it’s glass, so I can see when it needs a refill, and the ribbed glass pattern conceals runs and drips and almost always looks clean.

8.  Try A New Eco-Friendly Cleaning Product

Spring cleaning is a little more pleasant with fun new products, and I’m eager to try these eco-friendly eucalyptus and mint scented bowl bombs.

Since I have a pet, I will make sure the lid is closed while these bombs are in use – just in case.

Now that I’ve shared my eight simplest tips for a spring refresh, I have no excuse not to start my spring cleaning.  So I’m off to do just that – right after my next cup of coffee.

Posts on this website are for entertainment only and are not tutorials.

 

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Redecorating Your Heritage Home The Right Way

Our home was built in the 1920s, and I find it a fun challenge to make every upgrade look as original as possible. One advantage to having an older home is that, while decorating fads may come and go, you can never really go wrong by using the home’s original design features as a template for upgrades and remodels.

So, here today, we have a guest writer with a few helpful hints for redecorating a heritage home.

The following is a contributed post.  For more information about my contributed posts, please see this page.

Redecorating Your Heritage Home The Right Way

If you are lucky enough to have a heritage home, then you probably have a property that is filled with beauty and character. People are attracted to heritage properties because they tell a story and they have so much personality. Because of this, it is imperative that you consider every redesign process carefully. The last thing you want is to end up ruining the overall look and feel of your heritage property because you have cut corners when it comes to any sort of design and/or repair services. With that being said, in this blog post, we are going to provide you with some helpful advice when it comes to redecorating your heritage property.

Replacing the Windows and Doors Of Your Heritage Property

There may come a time when you will need to replace the windows and doors in your heritage property. When you do this, it is imperative that the materials you choose are in keeping with your home’s character.

As companies like New Rochelle Window will tell you, windows have advanced dramatically over the years, and the models available today are incredibly energy-efficient. You will want to capitalize on this to boost the performance of your property, ensuring it stays nice and warm throughout the winter months. However, you need to do this without losing the overall appearance and character of your period home, and this is why it makes sense to work with an experienced and reputable company that has worked on heritage properties before.  

You also need to apply this concept when replacing the doors in your heritage home. Heritage properties tend to have very rustic, authentic, and traditional doors fitted in them. However, as time goes on, wear and tear take over, and they can become creaky, shabby, and simply ineffective.

While the old school vibe is in keeping with the heritage feel, you cannot keep your doors forever. No matter how much effort you go to in terms of maintaining your doors and looking after them, you may some day reach the point where a replacement is going to be needed. You can help to bring back that authentic and rustic feel to your home by choosing wooden doors with care.

It is vital to make sure you choose a contractor with care and that you carefully discuss your wants and needs with them. Again, it makes a lot of sense to work with a company that has provided replacement doors for period properties before, as they will have an understanding of what is required.

You also need to make sure the company you choose has expertise in the sort of repair that you require. For instance, should you have period wallpaper that is currently in place around your door frames, you will want to make sure that the company you choose will be extremely careful when maneuvering around this part of your home. After all, the last thing you want is for the wallpaper to be ruined because of carelessness and lack of experience. 

In addition to this, it makes sense to use the original fittings whenever you can, or to at least look for something that is incredibly similar. From brass knobs to period door handles, it is finishing touches like this that really make all of the difference. 

Replacing Countertops In Your Heritage Property

Aside from getting new windows and doors for your period home, there are other ways that you may wish to redecorate your property. For example, you may wish to replace the countertop that you currently have in your kitchen. 

The kitchen tends to be one of the key rooms and features when it comes to any sort of period home. A lot of the kitchens in heritage properties tend to have traditional pine and oak elements. Others have stone countertops.

However, the trouble is that these worktops would become damaged over time. They would get scratched and, naturally, wear and tear would take place. Plus, the countertop materials were not treated with the same sort of products that we use today for protection.

If you are going to replace the countertops that you currently have in your kitchen, it is imperative to look for something that is as close to a match as possible. Luckily, wooden and stone worktops are still very popular today, so it should be relatively easy to find a material that is suitable to the period of your home.  

Plus, there is always the option of having the kitchen countertops custom-made so that they fit in with the style of your kitchen.

Always Make Sure to Choose Similar Materials To Ensure Consistent Design

In fact, this piece of advice is something you can use irrespective of what part of your period property you are decorating: Always look for the closest possible match in terms of material.

Materials have a massive impact on interior design. Their color and texture play a huge role when it comes to developing a room’s personality. Some materials look incredibly modern whereas others have that rustic and old-school vibe. With that in mind, it makes a lot of sense to look for materials that match the original features in your home so that you can be sure you do not lose the authentic feel and vibe of your property.

So there you have it: Some important tips and pieces of advice when it comes to redecorating your heritage property. If you are lucky enough to own a heritage property, it was probably the unique character of the building that attracted you to it to begin with. Considering that, it is imperative to do everything in your power to make sure that the beauty and authenticity of the building are not lost whenever you embark on a redecoration process. By following the tips and advice that have been provided above, you can help to make certain that this is the case.

 

Posts on this website are for entertainment only and are not tutorials.

 

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Refreshing A Vintage Dollhouse

Once Upon A Time, a little girl was gifted a charming Bavarian dollhouse by her grandmother.  It came with hand-painted furniture and tiny dolls dressed in traditional Bavarian costumes.

Vintage Dora Kuhn dollhouse and furniture with vintage dolls

The dollhouse gradually fell out of favor as the girl grew.  It was stored for decades in places like basements and attics, never seeing the light of day.  But the dollhouse never really left the girl’s heart.

Then a pandemic swept across the land.  The girl, now a woman of some years (the actual number of years will not be revealed here), finally found she had the time to bestow some love and attention upon the aging dollhouse.

So today you’re invited to leave reality behind for a moment and come along on a tour of a refreshed vintage dollhouse.

But first . . .

A Little History

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It didn’t take much searching to find that my dollhouse and its furniture were made in Germany by the Dora Kuhn company.  Dora Kuhn’s father began making toy furniture in 1911.

I learned that my dollhouse is also called a “room box.” It and the furniture were likely made in the 1960s, and all the pieces are hand painted.

My dollhouse measures about 20″ X 13″ X 8″  but I was surprised to learn that the company made several sizes of room boxes and furniture.  Some of them look almost exactly like mine in photos, but they are actually much smaller.

This informative blog post covers the company’s interesting history, and it contains some great photos of various Dora Kuhn pieces.

 

Old Doll House, New Goals

My main objective with the dollhouse was to make it usable for my little niece so that she can enjoy it when she visits.  But, since this dollhouse does have some value, I want to preserve all of its original features.

Am I worried that my niece might damage it?  No. The pieces have been pretty durable so far and, when she is able to visit us again, she’ll only be playing with it on occasion.  (Since it’s really just a one-room cabin, I expect her interest in it to be fleeting anyway.)

What Goes And What Stays

When I first brought the dollhouse out of our attic space, where it had been stored for the past 12 years or so, I was expecting it to look worse.  But it was in surprisingly good shape.

The topcoat of varnish on the furniture pieces and on the room box itself had developed a patina, but that just added to the charm.  I simply gave the pieces a thorough and careful cleaning.

However, as expected, fabric items did not fare as well over the decades.  The doll costumes were beginning to fray, and attempts to clean and repair them would no doubt result in further damage.

Vintage German dollhouse dolls

Uncleaned, these decades-old fabrics potentially harbor mold and mildew.  So it just doesn’t work for my niece to play with these dolls.  I don’t yet know if they have any value other than sentimental, but for the moment they will be safely stashed away.

The curtains and bed cushions are in fairly decent shape, but the bed cushions are stuffed with something.  It feels like either sawdust or something that has disintegrated into sawdust.  So washing the bedding is probably not a great idea.

Vintage Dora Kuhn dollhouse and furniture

I decided to carefully remove the curtains and store them and the bedding somewhere safe.

The Fun Begins!

Even as a child, I wasn’t crazy about the red and white checkered fabric anyway.  So off I went to the fabric store to find some fun new bedding and curtain fabrics.

The Bed

I’ve always adored this four-post covered bed.  But, as far as I can remember, the bed didn’t come with a mattress.

So I cut a piece of foam and covered it with fabric for a fitted sheet.

Dora Kuhn Dollhouse bed

I made two pillows with the same fabric.  The bed is topped with a quilt made with a coordinating, reversible quilted fabric.

Dora Kuhn dollhouse bed

 

Vintage Dora Kuhn dollhouse bed

Table, Chairs, and Curtains

I made curtains and a table runner with the same fabric as the fitted sheet.

Vintage Dora Kuhn dollhouse and furniture

I tried to make sure the new curtains didn’t cover too much of the hand-painted window shutters.

 

The Crib

The tiny crib doll was easy to clean, so she could stay with the dollhouse.  I made some simple bedding for her crib.

Vintage Dora Kuhn dollhouse crib

The Dresser

I didn’t do anything to the dresser but stock it with a few little decor items for my niece to use if she wants.

Vintage Dora Kuhn dollhouse dresser

A tiny clock hangs on wall above it.

Vintage Dora Kuhn dollhouse clock

The Wardrobe

I wondered about the stylized lettering painted on the wardrobe front.  I thought it might be artist initials.

Vintage Dora Kuhn dollhouse wardrobe

But, according to the website I mentioned above, it stands for “Jesus His Savior” and, on the opposite door, “Maria is the Mother of Jesus.”

The wardrobe doors are beautifully painted on the inside.  But the actual cabinets were bare and boring.

Vintage Dora Kuhn dollhouse wardrobe

I still had some pages from a child’s book leftover from my Storybook House project, so I measured and cut an interesting background from a book page to use as “wallpaper.”

Vintage dollhouse wardrobe

I simply pressed it snugly into place in the wardrobe without using any adhesive.  I want to be able to remove it later to keep the wardrobe original.

Then I stocked the wardrobe with a few blankets I made from fabric scraps and a tiny broom that I made myself.

vintage dollhouse wardrobe

After finding this post for guidance, the broom took me about ten minutes to make, and I could use items I already had on hand.

DIY dollhouse broom

The Exterior

I learned that no two Dora Kuhn dollhouses are exactly alike.  For example, the painted exterior trees are slightly different on each one.

Vintage Dora Kuhn dollhouse
Dollhouse side
German dollhouse exterior
Dollhouse back

A Sweet Little Cabin

Lots of furniture is crammed into this little one-room cabin, but it’s a cheerful place.

Vintage German dollhouse and furniture

 

Vintage German dollhouse and furniture

 

Vintage German dollhouse and furniture

 

Vintage Dora Kuhn dollhouse and furniture

Now it just needs . . .

New Occupants

Someone has to take care of that baby and fit the storybook vibe of this place, and these two dolls will do nicely.

Madame Alexander dolls with vintage German dollhouse

Some time back, I stumbled upon one of these these two Madame Alexander McDonald’s Happy Meal dolls on Etsy and the other one at a local vintage sale.  I didn’t pay much for either of them.  These Little Red Riding Hood and Peter Pan dolls are newer and cleaner than the vintage German dolls they replace – and less precious.  So my niece can play with them without any worries.

Right now, they are still getting to know their new home, and they are finding that caring for a baby is a lot of work.  So they’re having a little coffee break.

Madame Alexander dolls with vintage German dollhouse

It’s been fun bringing my old dollhouse back into the daylight and learning things about it that I hadn’t known in all these years.  Now it’s time to go rearrange the furniture!

Sources

Vintage dollhouse furniture by Dora Kuhn and others does show up fairly regularly on Etsy – and the affordable and sweet Madame Alexander McDonald’s Happy Meal Dolls are plentiful at the moment.

The actual dollhouses and room boxes by Dora Kuhn, in all their charming sizes, are a bit trickier to find on Etsy, but they do come up on occasion.

Posts on this website are for entertainment only and are not tutorials.

 

Here you’ll find seasonal goodies, my current decor obsessions, and more!

 

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5 Ideas To Improve Your Home’s Curb Appeal

I love to walk nice neighborhoods and get inspiration from the beautiful homes that I see.  Looking at them always gets me thinking of ways to improve my own home’s curb appeal.  Sometimes small changes can make a huge difference – like rerouting a front walkway to enhance a home’s symmetry.  Or adding window shutters to give a home a more traditional vibe.

So I thought it would be fun to share this post, brought to me by a guest writer, with a few more suggestions for adding curb appeal to our properties.

The following is a contributed post. For more information on my contributed posts, please see this page.

5 Ideas To Improve Your Home’s Curb Appeal

Do you ever look at the front of your home and wonder what steps you can take to improve it? Your home’s curb appeal is important for a variety of reasons. It is the all-important first impression that neighbors and guests have of your home.  And, if you’re thinking of selling, curb appeal is a crucial element in attracting buyers.  After all, if the street view of your house is not appealing, many potential buyers won’t bother coming inside to see the rest of it.

Here are some of the best ways to add curb appeal to your home. 

1. Define The Property With A Border

Adding a border to your property in the form of an attractive fence or retaining wall can help define the boundaries of your property and make it look neat and contained.  Even doing something as simple as placing stones around the edge of your property can make a difference.

Believe it or not, this can have a tremendous impact and catch the attention of anyone looking at your home. It gives your home a little more texture and character too. You’ll just need to make sure that you are taking the right steps to maintain the border and keep it tidy and weed free. 

2.  Add More Color

Consider adding more color to your home exterior. One of the ways to do this is to add some tropical plants around the outside of your home. Seek out plants with unique texture and color.  If you research online, you’ll find that certain tropical plants will grow in a variety of climates, including colder temperatures.  

 

Front doors are important too.  Add a coat of fresh paint to your front door in an eye-catching color and then choose plants and flowers that coordinate with the door color.  If you are planning to sell your home, it pays to research currently popular color themes and choose colors that are likely to appeal to most buyers.

3.  Choose A Unique Feature

A water feature can create a wonderful aesthetic in your garden. Some water features, such as terraced ponds, can be quite expensive to install and maintain.  Yet they are very rewarding.  Others, like birdbaths and small fountains, are much easier to create and care for.  Just do the research and be honest with yourself about how much time and money you are prepared to devote to a water feature.  

Other features, such as trellises, oversized pots, statues, and gazebos, can also add impact and character to your garden.

4.  Improve The Driveway 

Next, you might want to think about improving your property’s driveway. The driveway takes up a massive surface area of the property, so it does make sense to focus on this. You might also find that your driveway has seen better days. Perhaps there are a few cracks and potholes due to extended use. If that’s the case, then a repair could be the right decision. Alternatively, you could opt for a brand new driveway. 

Your options here aren’t as limited as you might think. You can make a lot of fantastic changes depending on the material that you use. For instance, you could use river rock to create a mosaic. If you’re not sure how to achieve this type of effect, speak to a contractor. They should be able to help you with the right choices here. Be aware that you still need to think practically. The driveway has to be strong enough for both cars and foot traffic. 

5.  Improve The Garage Door

Perhaps even more so than front doors, garage doors make an important first impression with your home.  You might think that garage door options are limited, but actually there are many design options available.  And adding a system so that your garage door opens automatically will make your home look like a contemporary dream. 

We hope this helps you understand some of the best ways that you can improve the curb appeal of your home. By taking these steps, you can have a tremendous impact on the value of your property and the impression that it makes on anyone who comes to see it. 

Posts on this website are for entertainment only and are not tutorials.

 

Here you’ll find seasonal goodies, my current decor obsessions, and more!

 

Want to see more? Browse my photo gallery or check out these categories:

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From Ugly to Snuggly: Repurposing A Sweater Into Pillow Covers

All winter, we’ve been using our covered front porch as a safe place to visit with a few people at a time.  We also sometimes use it just for ourselves – to sip coffee or cocktails and feel like we are getting out of the house.  We fire up our small tabletop heat lamp and, if we have visitors, we bring out comfortable, appropriately distanced seating and a few small tables.

The bench is always on the porch, and during the holidays we had a couple of festive throw pillows on it.

The large pillow is actually from our sofa, so I didn’t want to keep it outside indefinitely.  And it was time to change the look.  I wanted comfy, warm-looking pillows that could transition from winter to early spring.

I wanted to make pillow covers that looked knitted.  I’d been meaning to find a used sweater to repurpose, but I ended up using this sweater – which was on clearance for $12 at a local chain store.

In the title, I referred to it as ugly, but that wasn’t fair.  It would look nice on the right person, it’s simply not my style.

But style is not why I bought it.  I chose it for the texture and also for the blocks of color.

 

Creating The Pillow Covers

I started by ripping all the seams of the sweater apart and placing the fabric flat so I could see what I was working with.

I cut two 17-inch squares from the sweater pieces and stitched them on to cotton muslin squares cut to the same size.  The muslin served as a lining for the sweater squares.  It stabilized the knit fabric and gave it some heft and support.

Once the two sweater squares were lined with the muslin, I used them to sew a simple pillow cover for a 16-inch pillow.

Mistakes Made and Lessons Learned

I had enough scraps left to cover a small rectangular pillow, but this time I didn’t take the step of attaching the sweater fabric to a muslin lining first.

This was a mistake, and this pillow cover doesn’t look as good as the first one.  I learned that the lining really does matter when working with a knit sweater fabric.

 

But what about the sleeves?  I saved the sleeves of the sweater, and I’m going use them to make wine gift bags.

Snuggly Pillow Covers At Last

The pillows help my front porch decor make the leap from holiday to winter and early spring.

I have a variety of looks now – not only with color combinations but also with texture since I intentionally used some of the sweater fabric inside-out.

 

 

 

The Promise Of Spring

I’ve decided that paperwhites are not just for the holidays.  The bulbs are sprouting well under the protection of our porch, so now they serve as an optimistic little reminder that spring is just around the corner.

A New Porch Goodie

One thing I gave Chris for Christmas is this little Sanag Portable Bluetooth Speaker.

It makes our porch visits more festive, and I’m looking forward to using it on our back patio and on camping trips as well.

Posts on this website are for entertainment only and are not tutorials.

 

Here you’ll find seasonal goodies, my current decor obsessions, and more!

 

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An Easy DIY Lemon Cypress Wreath

Ever since I made my all-natural, fully compostable fall wreath last year, I’ve been sold on making simple hand-formed wreaths using natural ingredients from my own garden.

They are surprisingly easy to make, and recently I made a winter wreath using this technique.

A DIY Lemon Cypress Wreath

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For my wreaths, I just use trimmings from my garden – plants and vines that I am cutting back anyway.

The Foundation

I still had a few grapevines in my garden that needed pruning.  Most of the vines were a bit brittle by this point, but I found a few bendable ones.

So I simply cut the vines to length and carefully bent and wrapped them together, winding them around one another, to make a wreath form.  I tucked the ends in around the vines as I worked to make sure everything was secure.

It didn’t look perfect, but it didn’t have to.  This would just be the wreath’s foundation.

Note:  For those who don’t have grapevines or other suitable vines to work with, pre-made grapevine wreaths are easy to find and relatively inexpensive.

 

The Main Attraction

We have a large lemon cypress (or goldcrest) shrub in our yard.  It started out as a little accent plant in a pot on our patio, and I originally chose it for its lovely, groomed shape, its lemony fragrance, and for its fresh, vibrant shade of green.  I always make sure to have a couple of these beauties in pots on our porch.

Fresh colors really pop against our charcoal-colored door, and this plant needed trimming anyway.  So I saved a small branch for this project.

I cut sprigs of the lemon cypress to the length I wanted and then, starting at the top of the wreath and working my way down one side, I just wedged the ends between the grapevines until they seemed secure. No wires were needed.

If a sprig failed to secure, or if it didn’t look right, I just used a different one.  When I had that side done, I started at the top of the other side and worked my way down.

The lemon cypress draped nicely and was easy to work with.  Soon I had the wreath form filled.  I gave it a few shakes to make sure everything was secure.

I was tempted to leave it just like this:  Understated and all-natural.  But it did need a little something.

 

Accent Pieces

I’ve learned from experience that natural winter berries, at least the ones that I grow in my garden, don’t look good for long.  So I did add one man-made element, which I already had on hand:  Faux berries.

The faux berries are on wired sprigs, but I just covered the wires as best I could with the cypress greenery.

I tried adding a bow and a few other decor pieces, but they just didn’t look right.  Sometimes simpler is better and, since the berries are slightly over-sized for the wreath, they make enough of an impact on their own.

 

Some of the grapevine foundation is still showing in places, and that’s okay.  Unlike a wire wreath form, the grapevines add a rustic interest.

I think the snappy green of the lemon cypress is a fun departure from traditional holiday greens.  This wreath cost me nothing to make, and making it only took about an hour of my time.

Once the season changes, I can easily remove the berry sprigs and then toss this wreath straight into the yard waste  bin.

Here I must admit two things:

One, since I’ve never used lemon cypress in a wreath before, I have no idea how long it will look good.  I will probably mist it from time to time.  My hope is that it will last at least through Christmas.

And two, our front door is in a protected area.  A wreath like this in a different, more weather-exposed environment, may not hold up as well.

More Fun With Wreaths and Lemon Cypress

It’s fun to use old wreaths in new ways.  A few years ago, before I started making wireless wreaths, I made this wreath from birch twigs.

Recently, I trimmed that wreath down to make it more compact.  I used it, along with lemon cypress cuttings and fresh berry sprigs, to create this very simple and natural look for the pillar near our back door.

 

 

Finding Lemon Cypress

Lemon cypress trees can usually be found at better nurseries and garden centers – and from various online sellers, including some on Amazon and Etsy.

Posts on this website are for entertainment only and are not tutorials.

 

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Here you’ll find seasonal goodies, my current decor obsessions, and more!

 

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Personalize Your Home With These Brilliant Interior Tricks And Tips

Many of us are spending more time at home these days, so today I’m happy to share this guest post with some lovely tips for beautifying and personalizing our homes.

The following is a contributed post.  For more on my contributed posts, please see this page.

Personalize Your Home With These Brilliant Interior Tricks And Tips

When you live in a home, you want to make it feel as personal as possible. After all, it’s where you spend most of your time, especially during the present crisis. 

But what if you look at the four walls of your abode and get the sense that it is not a reflection of who you really are?  What can you do to fight back and make your property feel more like yours?

Here are some ideas to get you started. 

1.  Add A Pleasant Scent

 

There’s no denying that many of us react strongly to certain scents. When we detect a familiar fragrance, it suddenly transports us to a different place, and we feel refreshed.

That’s why we need to add pleasant fragrances to our homes. 

Your options here are almost endless. You could go for the subtle scent of potpourri, or you could fill your diffuser with essential oils. 

Whichever you choose, try to go for fragrances that remind you of home. Think about the scents that you enjoyed in your childhood.  Familiar scents might include lavender, sandalwood, or beech.  Or the scents of warming spices like cloves and nutmeg.

If you have a penchant for essential oils, you could also experiment with stronger fragrances. Peppermint, for instance, is distinct and helps you relax and unwind after a long day. 

2.   Personalize Your Furniture

Generic furniture is affordable and often high quality. But it doesn’t always feel like yours. Your home can often start resembling something out of a magazine instead of an environment that reflects your character. And that can be a little soul-destroying. 

So what can you do about it? 

One option is to start personalizing your furniture and making it your own. 

The easiest option is reupholstering. You just select a suitable fabric and then get a reupholstering service to fit it to your sofas and chairs. 

If you love DIY, then you can get creative and take things much further. And upcycling old pieces of furniture allows you to stamp your mark on them and make them feel more personal. 

3.  Soften Harsh Lines

Straight lines can make a property feel clinical and formal, but there are several ways to remedy this. One is to add more soft furnishings, like throws and cushions. Another is to disrupt some of the straight lines by hanging wall art or adding more sideboards to your rooms.

Play around with furniture placement.  If you have space, you might want to add a round rug to your living room and place furniture on it. Placing furniture pieces in the center of the room on something round can dramatically change how the room feels. 

4.  Add Heirlooms And Memorials

Don’t just put your heirlooms and memorials in a box in the attic and forget about them. Instead, leverage them to make your house feel more like home. 

Memorial and keepsake stone rocks can have a profound influence on how you feel about your house. They remind you of the connections that you have with the people in your life. And they help to stamp your mark on your interiors. Your rooms no longer look like something you would see in a magazine. Instead, they’re personal and reflect your values. 

5.  Put Colorful Plants Everywhere

Research suggests that people react positively to plants in their environment. The more of them that we have, the better we feel. 

Adding plants and color makes a home feel more inviting.  Start in the bathroom. Choose species that don’t require a considerable amount of natural light, as these will tend to thrive the most. 

Once you’ve done that, begin adding plants to your hallways and living spaces. Put them in the kitchen to brighten up the countertops and make them appear friendlier.  You could also try growing herbs in your kitchen so you can have fresh herbs readily available for cooking.

6.  Improve Your Seating Arrangements

Seating arrangements can make a room feel static, or it can make a room feel dynamic and interesting.  Think about how most people arrange their seating. More often than not, they push the furniture up against the walls, dominating the room. 

That’s not what you want. If your living room is only large enough to accommodate a single two-seater sofa, then limit yourself to that. Place it on a rug in the middle of the room and allow it to become a focal point. Don’t let your furniture dominate the size of the room. Let the room’s size determine the kind of seating you put in it. 

7.  Add Flashes Of Color

Neutral homes are good for making you feel relaxed and keeping things simple. But there is currently so much use of beige, white, and cream in interiors that using these colors can make your home feel impersonal – and just like everyone else’s.  

Fortunately, you can fight back against this by adding pops of color to your living and dining areas. 

Try painting the wall on the opposite side of your front door an accent color. If the rest of your property is neutral, try adding black. The interior will immediately feel more personal to you. There will be an edginess and sophistication about it that wasn’t there before. 

So, how will you make your home feel more personal?

Posts on this website are for entertainment only and are not tutorials.

BROWSE MY COLLECTION OF PANDEMIC STOCKING STUFFERS

 

Here you’ll find seasonal goodies, my current decor obsessions, and more!

 

Want to see more? Browse my photo gallery or check out these categories:

Our Kitchen Remodel Series
Our Master Bath Remodel Series
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Garden Design
The June Bug Diaries
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Exploring

 

Two Easy Black and White Projects

Black and white is a timeless color combination.  And because it serves as a neutral base for other colors, it works almost anywhere.

Earlier in fall, I finished a couple of small sewing projects that involved black and white fabrics.

Project 1:  An Easy DIY Dining Chair Upgrade

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Recently we bought a beautiful antique dining table and chairs from a friend who was moving.  This craftsman-era set is in wonderful condition and had been in our friend’s family for generations.

Craftsman dining set

The set has six chairs – all of which have the original leather seats. The leather is probably over 100 years old, so the seats all have a lovely vintage patina.

Craftsman dining chair

But they don’t have much padding, and it doesn’t take long for them to become uncomfortable.

There is a way to go in underneath each chair seat and add some padding to the middle, but it would hardly be worth the work – or the risk of damaging the leather.

Topping them with cushions was the best option, but I could not find pre-made cushions that would fit these chairs.

So I decided to make my own.

 

Choosing the Fabric

We don’t have any Western decor in our home, so cowhide is not a fabric that I would normally consider.

But by accident, I happened to notice how nice an animal print fabric would look with the old leather of these chair seats.  So, rather than looking Western, I was hoping that the cowhide would enhance the rustic craftsman-era look of the chairs.

For several reasons, I wanted to use faux cowhide instead of the real thing.  The local fabric store didn’t have what I had in mind, so I ended up buying this suede velvet cow print through a vendor on Amazon.

Faux cowhide fabric

It looked authentic enough to me.  It was soft and had a nice texture, and it was easy to work with.

Choosing And Cutting The Foam

I figured if I was going to upgrade these chairs, I might as well go for maximum comfort.  So I used two-inch thick high-density foam cushion squares similar to these.

The chair seats are not a true square.  They taper in gradually towards the back.  So, I made a cardboard template and traced it onto the each foam square.

Then I cut the foam using an electric knife.

My electric knife is very old, but it’s similar to this one.

Sewing The Cushions

I sewed simple cushion covers with box corners.  I did this so that the fabric pattern would continue down the sides of the cushions without being interrupted by a seam.

So, the only visible seams are in the corners.   For the bottoms of the cushions, I used a felt fabric that I had on hand.  (Whenever I can, I like to try to use up what I already have.)

A corner and the bottom of the cushion.

Corner Straps

So that the cushions don’t slide around on the chair seats, I sewed small faux-leather straps into the two back corners of each cushion.  They wrap around the chair backs and adhere together with Velcro.

By hand, I baste stitched each cushion cover closed in the back where my stitching would not be visible.  The stitching will be easy to remove if I ever want to replace the cushion covers.

 

The Result

The chairs are much more comfortable now.

Craftsman dining chair with faux cowhide cushion

And the original leather remains intact.

There is a slight bevel around the edge of each leather chair seat, and I wanted that bevel to remain visible to show the contrast between the leather and the cowhide.

The fabric has a large pattern repeat, so each cushion is a little different.

Craftsman dining chairs with faux cowhide cushions

It’s fun to mix the rustic cowhide look with vintage linen and fine china.

And the cushions work with my new buffalo plaid tablecloth – a little gift I bought for our new table.

I became enamored  with the black and white buffalo plaid tablecloths that I saw at a home decor shop.  They were a fun look for fall and were reasonably priced – and the fabric was good quality.

None of them were the right size for the big square table, but it occurred to me that it would be less expensive to buy one anyway and alter it to fit the table than it would be to buy fabric of that quality at the fabric store.  And this way I would be getting exactly what I wanted.

And since I would be firing up my sewing machine anyway, I bought a second tablecloth for another project.

Which leads me to:

Project 2:  New Greenhouse Shades

Yes, I would be cutting up a large tablecloth and using the fabric to make shades for my greenhouse!

For several years, I’d had these cute DIY burlap shades in our greenhouse.

Sunglo Greenhouse

I loved them.  But they were in the greenhouse year round, and they were starting to show some wear.

It did not occur to me when I made the shades that I might want to wash them from time to time.  And machine washing burlap can be a tricky business.

But the tablecloth, on the other hand, was machine washable.  It was made of good quality home decor fabric that hopefully will hold up nicely in the greenhouse.

So I removed the burlap shades (which, since they were natural burlap and therefore compostable, I could put in my yard waste bin).

Then I deep cleaned the interior of our greenhouse.  I’m talking the entire interior, from the floor to the acrylic panels and everything in between.  I try to do this every year in early fall.

Sunglo greenhouse

 

Now the greenhouse was ready for the new buffalo plaid shades.

The shades were easy to make.  I just cut the tablecloth into the rectangular panels that I needed and then hemmed them.

Sunglo greenhouse

 

In the greenhouse, they are attached to a thin cable by clothespins – making it super easy for me to remove them when I want to wash them.

Sunglo greenhouse

 

These photos were taken a couple of months ago – right after my greenhouse deep clean.  Now the greenhouse is jam packed with plants that I am overwintering.

The buffalo plaid is a big change from the burlap, and in truth it took me a while to get used to the new shades. But now I love them.  And of course the plants are enjoying the filtered light that they provide.

Christmas decor is the focus now, so the tablecloths I found aren’t in the shop anymore.  But there are many options for black and white buffalo plaid tablecloths on Amazon.

To see more greenhouses like ours, check out the Sunglo Greenhouses website.

Posts on this website are for entertainment only and are not tutorials.

BROWSE MY COLLECTION OF PANDEMIC STOCKING STUFFERS

 

Here you’ll find seasonal goodies, my current decor obsessions, and more!

 

Want to see more? Browse my photo gallery or check out these categories:

Our Kitchen Remodel Series
Our Master Bath Remodel Series
Entertaining
My Dressing Room Remodel
Dan’s Workshop
Decorating and Holidays
Our Little Sunglo Greenhouse
Floral Design
Garden Design
The June Bug Diaries
Our Laundry Room Remodel

 

Exploring

 

 

How To Beautifully Decorate Your Porch

Lately I’ve been focused on reworking our front porch so that we can better use the space to safely and comfortably visit with friends during the upcoming holiday season.  So the timing could not be better for this guest post, which reminded me of a few easy things we can all do to beautify our porches.

The following is a contributed post.  For more on my contributed posts, please see this page.

How To Beautifully Decorate Your Porch

Your porch is the first impression that visitors get of your home.  It has the potential to set the design tone for the rest of your house.  But even more than that, it is an extension of your home – a bonus space that you can utilize for storage, outdoor activities, socializing and relaxation.

Here are three quick and easy ways to beautify your porch.

1.  Add Seating

You might picture an old farmer sitting on the porch with a hay strand sticking out the side of his mouth but, in actual fact, porch chairs are a lovely addition to your home. Unless your porch is enclosed, you should invest in weather-proof chairs like a plastic adirondack chair which will brave all the elements. In addition, you can cover the chairs with decorative or protective covers to add color and style to the furniture. 

A chair on your porch means you can sit and take in the world as it goes by. Or you can visit with friends in the fresh air.  A porch chair is relaxing, functional and decorative too. 

2.  Incorporate Plants

Another way to make your porch more beautiful is to add plants. If your porch is enclosed and/or protected by glass, you can find stunning house plants which love to soak up the sun. If your porch is exposed to the elements, you could add hanging baskets of flowers, or small shrubs or potted trees in  attractive containers, to your porch space. 

Either way, a splash of green adds vitality to the porch, making it a refreshing, welcoming space for all who visit. 

Some house plants that love sun and are easy to maintain are: 

  • Golden pothos. The beautiful leafy tendrils of golden pothos are hard to kill – and it grows at rapid speed!
  • Cacti. Cacti are easy to maintain, virtually unkillable and funky to look at. If it can survive the desert, it can survive the porch. 
  • Fiddle leaf fig trees.   These trees are a very popular choice at the moment.  They can be bought as young trees or as full sized ones; outdoors in warm climates or indoors in any climate, these stunning plants bring any room to life.

But remember that not all plants survive in all outdoor areas.  If your porch is not enclosed, check before buying a plant to make sure it will survive, and thrive, in your planting zone.

3.  Add Color

A splash of bright color is bound to make your entryway space come to life. You could invest in a rug made of recycled plastics which is environmentally friendly, gorgeous to look at, and easy to clean.

Alternatively, an enclosed porch could benefit from tasteful artwork or a wall hanging that takes it from a bland entryway to a stylish part of your home you can be proud of. Adding color to a particularly neutral, bland space in your home can transform it for the better, and what’s more, this can be achieved relatively cheaply without any stress or hassle!

In conclusion, your porch isn’t just a neutral place you bypass on your way into your house. The porch can be a beautiful, welcome entry to your home with these simple steps!

Posts on this website are for entertainment only and are not tutorials.

 

Here you’ll find seasonal goodies, my current decor obsessions, and more!

 

Want to see more? Browse my photo gallery or check out these categories:

Our Kitchen Remodel Series
Our Master Bath Remodel Series
Entertaining
My Dressing Room Remodel
Dan’s Workshop