How to Find Your Individual Design Style

Your Style. How do you want your house to look? What style would you choose? Go for eclectic. What is eclectic? Eclectic means mixing styles to create a style that is all yours. You want a style that represents you and makes you feel comfortable. Your style will include all kinds of different items that you are attracted to. You want to be able to put those items together cohesively so that they are inviting and pleasant to the eye. Every space in your house does not have to have something in it. One way to know what you want in your house is to think back to pictures of homes and homes you’ve visited and what appeals to you. Google pictures of living rooms or the room you want to decorate and look through them all. Take inspiration and ideas from these pictures. Think of ways to use items you have to get the look you see in the pictures. Use your items in non-traditional ways to give the feel of something you have seen before. Go to the library and check out the interior design books available, they have tons of pictures to set your imagination on fire. Don’t choose the neutral, matchy-match room because you think it looks good and may impress others. Choose what you love. Choose the orange wall with the faded black table if that’s what appeals to you. When you make your home feel welcome and inviting for you, your friends and visitors will see your personality in it. Your visitors enjoy your company, therefore, they will enjoy the experience of spending time in your home. That’s how you will make an impression on them, not by having a home that looks like the cover of a furniture store catalog.


How to Remodel Your Kitchen on the Cheap


Do you have a drab kitchen and not much money?

Here are some great tips to help you redo your kitchen without spending too much money.

Idea #1: Paint your cabinets, sand them down lightly by hand, enough so that the primer will stick. Paint a coat of primer. No need to paint the inside of your cabinets or the back of your cabinet doors, unless you really want to. Then paint 2 to 3 coats of your favorite color on your cabinets. Why not? Go for it. What could be more pleasant than your favorite color to start and end your day?
Idea #2: Remove the cabinet doors. Do you have pretty dishes, pots and pans? Display them in an organized cabinet. For this, you may want to paint the interior of your cabinets. You can line the shelves in your cabinet with sticky shelf paper found at Wal-Mart.
Idea #3: Add fabric to the cabinets. Go to your nearest fabric store and buy 3 yards of your favorite fabric. It doesn’t matter what it is made of, as long as you love it. It can be cotton, fleece, upholstery fabric, whatever. Buy some non-stick velcro. Staple one side to the inside of your cabinets. You will need to hand or machine sew the other side of the velcro to the top of your fabric. You may also need a hem on the bottom and sides of your fabric, depending on what kind you bought. You can do a no-sew hem by using Stitch Witchery. You can buy a roll for about $2. All you need is an iron. Fold your fabric over, about 1/2-1 inch. Iron it, then place the Stitch Witchery under the nice fold. Iron it again. Now you have a beautiful hem. Stick the curtains up and when you need to wash them, just take them down and throw them in the washer.
Idea #4: Do you need more storage space? Put an old dresser or china hutch in your kitchen for extra storage. If you’re not sure if it will work, paint it the color of the cabinets or choose a coordinating color. Paint is a miracle worker. It can make the ugliest, drabbest piece of furniture look like a stunner! For furniture painting, I really like oil paint because it doesn’t chip easily and it’s shiny. When using oil paint, there is no need to buy paint thinner to clean your brush. Make a plan to complete your project in 1 day, you will need 2-3 coats, so start with the first coat and then wrap your oil paint covered brush in a plastic grocery bag, put it in the refrigerator or freezer, while you wait for the first coat to dry. Take it out and paint the second coat. When you are satisfied, just throw the brush away. No need to clean it. Adding unique furniture pieces creates a sense of charm and warmth in an otherwise typical space. It’s unexpected.
Idea #5: Ugly laminate countertops? I’ve had those before. I painted those too. Just sand down the laminate so the paint will stick. Primer it, then paint it. I did a faux finish that looked like granite. You could just paint it black or grey to give it an up-to-date feel. Then be sure to use 3 coats of oil-based polyeurethane to give it a hard coating. Then it will be water proof and easy to clean, just like it was before.
Idea #6: Window coverings. Why cover the kitchen window? I love having my kitchen window over my sink to see the outdoors. Sunlight improves mood. If you have to cover it for privacy, cover it with light or white curtains that can be easily opened for the day and easily removed to throw in the wash. Are you lacking windows in your kitchen? Hang a favorite cheery painting or photo over your most used workspace . Also, a mirror is great. It will reflect light and make the room feel brighter! I once hung a large picture frame in my laundry room. I had blue fabric under the glass and I painted lines to make it appear to be a 4 paned window. It just made the small closed in room feel more airy.
Idea #7: Wall colors. Does your kitchen have colored walls and/or ceilings right now? Be bold, paint it all a bright white! You will not believe the total change in the room. You will feel fresher and more energetic every morning when you walk in for your cup of coffee!
Idea #8: What about those old ugly appliances that still work? Did you know you can paint them? Get some oil-based Rustoleum paint and revitalize them, even make them a matching set. You can also glue beadboard to them. The beadboard will give them a custom look, and cost you very little. Just trim out the beadboard with some molding and voila.
Idea #9: Analyze your kitchen. How do you currently use your kitchen? Is there a table and chairs that are just taking up space? Remove them and add your favorite reading chair for a cute little coffee/reading nook. Or, you can put in a dresser for more storage. What about some bar stools that never get used? Take them out and put a small bookshelf under the overhang. Use the shelves as a mudroom. Shoes on the bottom, backpacks and coats on the other shelves. A place for you and the kids to leave necessary items that you need everyday.
Is there anything else I can help you with? E-mail me with your questions, I would love to help. My e-mail is I would also love to see your before and after photos. Happy cheap remodeling!

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Spring Cleaning-One Room at a Time, The Bedrooms



1. Start by informing the person who lives in the room that you will be doing a deep clean.
2. Require the inhabitant of the room to go through their personal belongings and fill a big trash bag with anything that can be donated and another with anything that is trash.
3. Next, move furniture away from its normal place.
4. Wipe walls behind furniture with a rag and hot, soapy water. Also , wipe behind the furniture.
5. Wipe down the ceiling fan and use the broom to remove cobwebs in the ceiling corners.
6. Wipe down the blinds, or throw the curtains in the washer. If you only have cheap mini blinds, buy another set and just put them in the old hardware. Do not throw the old mini blinds away until you are sure that the new ones fit. If you have curtains, throw in the wash and hang them back up.
7. Throw all of the bedding and bedskirt in the wash.
8. Sprinkle baking soda on the carpet and vaccuum all of the areas where the furniture usually is. Move the furniture back in place and repeat the baking soda vaccuuming process.

Now, you or someone you love can enjoy their freshly cleaned retreat!

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Spring Cleaning-One Room at a Time, Next Up-The Main Living Area


1. Since we are doing a deep clean. The first step is to move the furniture out of place.
2. Take any accessories out of the room that need to be washed. Put curtains, blankets, pillow covers in the washer. Any vases, picture frames, etc. can be moved to the kitchen to be washed and wiped down.
3. Dust anything that is attached to the wall. Hot soapy water and a wet rag will do.
4. Don’t forget about the ceiling fan. Use a ladder to get up high and wipe it down with hot soapy water and a wet rag. Otherwise, use a swiffer duster with an extendable arm and do the best you can.
5. Wipe down any furniture and remove the cushions from the couch. Vaccuum out any crevices.
6. Since the furniture is moved, sprinkle the carpet with baking soda and vaccuum or mop the floor where is doesn’t normally get it.
7. Now, move the furniture back in place and put the accessories back where they belong.
8. Take a deep breath.
Isn’t that much better? Watch for my next blog article about Spring Cleaning. You’re almost done…

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Spring Cleaning-One Room at a Time, The Bathroom

Now that you have completed your kitchen project. You can safely say that the hardest part is done. The bathroom is next.
1. This is a good time to throw out old stuff. I know random items tend to accumulate in my bathroom. If you haven’t used it in 2 months and it is not a first aid item, throw it out.
2. Wipe down the inside of your cabinets and put everything back in the cabinets in an organized way. If you need to, go to Wal-Mart or The Container Store and buy some of those clear (see-through) small drawer organizers which will allow you to slide out all of your small items and find them easily.
3. Any mold growing? Use 1/2 bleach and 1/2 water mixed together with a toothbrush to scrub away any mold areas. If you need to, now would be a good time to remove any old bathtub caulk and replace with new “silicone” caulk. Don’t make the mistake of buying waterproof caulk to save a couple dollars. It is not worth it. The “silicone” bath caulk will perform much better.
4. Any counter grout? Scrub with the bleach mixture to whiten, or scrub with baking soda and a toothbrush to clean.
5. Any floor grout? Baking soda and a toothbrush will get it clean. Scrub out any corners with a brush and any hard to mop areas should be scrubbed out as well. Floor cleaner will do, or even hot water and dish soap will get the job done. I prefer Ajax dish soap. It is cheap and it performs well.
6. Now you can pretty up the tub, sink and toilet. I like to use Barkeeper’s friend, a powder to scrub out my bathtub. Bleach will work well to wipe out your sink and the toilet.
The bathroom is complete. Wow, now the hard part is really over. The rest of the house will be a piece-of-cake! Watch for my next Spring Cleaning article.

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Spring Cleaning-One Room at a Time, 1st Room The Kitchen

Why should you Spring Clean?

If you do a deep clean every year, it is easier to maintain your home. It helps you to be more aware of any problems developing around the house. For example, you may be cleaning cobwebs out of your ceiling corners and notice cracking in the walls that wasnt’ there before. You then know you need to keep an eye on it and possibly call a foundation specialist in the future to resolve the problem before it becomes more costly to repair. Spring Cleaning also allows you to enjoy your home more. Who doesn’t love the feel of a nice, clean home?
I like to start with the hardest stuff and get it over with. Then I know that all I have left is the easy work.
My advice is to…
Tackle the kitchen first:
1. Scrub the inside of the oven. You can use the spray on oven cleaners, but I like to be able to breathe and work at the same time. So, try this instead: use SOS pads to scrub out the burnt on food. Then use a scrubby sponge and baking soda to scrub less difficult areas. You can also use a dish brush and hot soapy water to shine it up. Finish it off, by wiping with a wet rag and drying it. Beautiful! Now, don’t forget to line the bottom of your oven with a couple layers of overlapping foil. Slide them underneath the heating element. That way, next time, you won’t have so much hard work to do. Just remove the foil and replace with new foil. All you have left are the sides and top to clean.
2. Clean your rangehood. Be sure to scrub all of the grease. Use lots of soap and hot water.
3. It’s time to clean the inside of the refrigerator and freezer. Throw out anything you have not used in 2 months. Or, give it to your neighbor, they might want it. Wipe it out with hot soapy water and a scrubby sponge. Dry with a rag. You’re done.
3. If you have a deep freeze, tackle that next. This is a project that is best done, when the deep freeze is not at its fullest.
4. Next is the microwave. Heat up half a lemon in hot water for 10 minutes in the microwave, then wipe the grime away.
5. Wipe down cabinets with hot soapy water.
6. Wipe down the outside of your appliances with hot soapy water or an all-purpose spray cleaner.
7. Next, move on to the ceiling, remove cobwebs with a broom and clean blinds with a hot soapy sponge and a rag to wipe them down. I prefer curtains. It is so much easier to take the curtains down and throw them in the washer, then hang them right back up.
8. To the windows: If you have any mold or mildew growth around your window, due to condensation, use 1/2 bleach and 1/2 hot water with a toothbrush to get in there and scrub it out. Wipe it with a rag after scrubbing.
9. Time to deep clean the floors. Do you have grout. Scrub it with baking soda and a toothbrush. Then wipe away with a soapy sponge and a rag.
10. Bonus: You can eliminate and prevent odor in your garbage disposal by pouring in a cup of vinegar into the disposal. Let this sit for 5 – 10 minutes and rinse out. I also like to do this to my sink drain.
Did you know that vinegar is a great deoderizer? I had a plastic playset once, that I purchased off of Craigslist. It smelled like cat. I sprayed it down with vinegar and the odor was gone.
Now, get to work and stay tuned for the next room you should tackle.

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