5 Extra Storage Spaces You Might Have Forgotten About

When you’ve been living in an apartment day in and day out, it’s sometimes hard to see the place with fresh eyes. Looking for extra storage space is therefore typically a fruitless task—because if it were there, you’d have noticed it, right? But the following five locations are strangely evasive despite being relatively common. Your apartment probably has one or two of them; you just might not have realized you can stow something there at all. Go forth and maximize your storage options without having to move into a bigger place.

Above the Kitchen Cabinets

Though difficult to know what to do with, that shelf of open space abovethe kitchen cabinets should be utilized—and not just to stash the party platters you use only once a year. Here are our favorite creative ways to optimize that shelf (think: a big beautiful basket that hides six extra paper towel rolls).

In the kitchen of a Connecticut farmhouse, gold-leafed weather vanes top white custom-made cabinetry. William Abranowicz

Inside a Windowsill

If you’re lucky enough to have a window with deep casements, you can prop up a floating shelf or two inside that recess. Prop them out with potted plants and ginger jars or go the more utilitarian route: A collection of glassware is a doubly appealing set to display because the light will stream right through it.

Dodie Thayer lettuceware enlivens a shelf in a Hudson Valley, New York, kitchen. William Waldron

Airspace

By screwing a hook into a ceiling joist, you’re halfway to the hanging storage solution of your dreams. (For lighter loads, you can use a butterfly bolt to affix a hook to the drywall ceiling.) Hang bikes, shelves, or even seating—and free up the floor space underneath it.

At Patrick and Jillian Dempsey’s Malibu home, Ginger, a family dog, rests in the master bedroom, where a Teak Nichols Design bed is accented with Deborah Sharpe Linens pillows and a throw from Monc XIII; the mirror and the hanging chair are 1960s, and the table lamp is by Blackman Cruz. Roger Davies

Behind the Couch

If your couch is up against a wall, bump it out six inches and stash extra folding chairs back there ready for when guests come over. If it’s in the middle of a room, rest a console along the back of it and stash it with extra dishware, linens, or kids’ toys.

The family room of a farmhouse in Dutchess County, New York, contains a chesterfield sofa designed by architect Gil Schafer and upholstered in a Nancy Corzine velvet; the suzani throw is from Yellow Church Antiques. Eric Piasecki

Inside the Shower

If you don’t have the luxury of a linen closet but do have a few extra square feet in a standing shower, find a roomy stool and place it as far away from the nozzle as possible—then stack the bench high with the plushest bath towels you can find.

Budget-Friendly Kitchen Upgrades You Should Make

Whether you love to DIY or you’re looking at updating a few features of your house, the kitchen is a great place to start. Often, there are a few features that homeowners wish was a bit different. The good news is, there are some cheap ways to update a kitchen!

From a fresh coat of paint to installing a new faucet, see a few tasks you can add to your home improvement list that can make you fall in love with your kitchen again.

If you need some help with these kitchen projects, don’t forget, there’s always a pro available to help. Contact a kitchen remodeling pro today and receive quotes from contractors in your area for free.

Inexpensive Kitchen Updates

Like any home project, it’s always important to start with a plan. Take a look around your kitchen and notice some features you’d like to change or ways you may be able to add value. Keep in mind; inexpensive doesn’t mean free, so you’ll still need to set some sort of budget. Here are a few tips from Emily Hoefler, kitchen and bath specialist at Renovations Group Inc.

“While a whole kitchen remodel can be pricey, smaller portions of the kitchen project can be very cost-effective,” she said. “Opting for not remodeling the entire space can help keeps costs down. Keeping the scope of your kitchen project manageable will help with the cost. Instead of taking out a wall, try to work within the existing space. Instead of replacing all the cabinets, consider refinishing them instead. Keeping the existing flooring saves cost as well.”

Here’s a short list of kitchen updates on a budget, from most expensive to least expensive.

1. New Kitchen Flooring

Are your kitchen floors a little out of date? You might be surprised to learn that this is a project you can do on a budget. A hot trend right now are vinyl planks, which you may be able to install yourself with the right tools.

“New kitchen flooring is an easy and budget friendly project that can dramatically change the appearance of a kitchen without touching the rest of the space,” Hoefler said. “Whether homeowners take this on themselves or they hire a pro, new flooring can be a reasonable cost. Luxury vinyl plank or luxury vinyl tile are inexpensive options that can look like hardwood, tile, or any number of patterns on a budget and the install is easy!”

Use our vinyl floor cost guide to help you get started on your budget. Then research prices from home stores around you and do some comparison shopping to get the best deal.

2. Change Kitchen Color

If you’re unhappy with the look of your kitchen, it might be time for a fresh coat of paint. Color trends change quickly, so if you haven’t updated your kitchen paint color in a few years, it’s time to do so. Gray, sage green and even some shades of navy blue are now trending.

Painting your kitchen is a task you should be able to complete in a weekend or two, depending on the size of the area you’re painting. If you’re planning a DIY paint project, your budget will largely depend on the amount of paint you need. Try ImproveNet’s paint calculator to help you estimate how much color you’ll need so you can accurately budget for it.

3. Install A Backsplash

You might be surprised to learn that a backsplash is an inexpensive project and you might be able to DIY. It’s an upgrade that can turn your kitchen from drab to fab!

“Your backsplash doesn’t have to break the bank,” Hoefler said. “While a natural stone backsplash or an intricate mural above the range might look nice, the function of the backsplash is to keep splatters off your wall, and those types of tile aren’t as easy to clean. Fortunately, more budget-conscious options like subway tile, other ceramic tiles, and porcelain tile are also very easy to clean and require little maintenance. You’ll save some money and your sanity which is a win-win.”

Keep in mind, the average cost of a kitchen backsplash is between $22 and $41 per sq. ft., depending on the material you choose and how much of it you’ll need.

4. New Kitchen Light Fixture

Looking for a new way to brighten things up in your kitchen? A new kitchen light fixture can be just what you need. From great statement lighting to undercabinet, you’ll be surprised at what a difference it makes. The average cost to install a light fixture is between $177 and $328, but a lot of this cost depends on the style of lighting you choose.

The good news about kitchen light fixtures is that it’s often a project that takes as little as an afternoon to complete. So you’ll have a seemingly new kitchen to admire in no time at all.

5. Change Your Faucet

An old faucet can be more of an eye-sore than you realize. A simple upgrade to a new one can make you sink truly sparkle. Budget-friendly kitchen faucets styles will often cost between $50 and $90. Make sure the faucet fits your current sink. Otherwise, you’ll have to contact a pro to help with installation.

When To Contact A Pro

Of course, some projects should be left to the pros. Even if you enjoy DIY projects, Hoefler recommends leaving kitchen cabinets to contractors.

“My advice is never to try to do cabinets on a budget.” She said. It might be tempting because cabinets are the largest portion of a kitchen remodel budget, but they’re also the item that gets the most daily use which means wear and tear. Investing in good quality cabinets with a good finish and high-quality hardware will pay off in the long-run and stand up to the test of time.

You might also be surprised to learn that countertops, while not exactly a job for you to DIY, can be done by a contractor and fit a tight budget.

“New countertops, like flooring, can change the appearance of a kitchen,” Hoefler said. My recommendation would be to leave this project to the pros. Most countertop fabricators will come out to your home to template the layout and install the tops which are all included in the price. All you have to do is pick out your countertop material, backsplash height, and edge profile. Granite countertops are going to be the most durable and cost-effective. Other than sealing every 10 to 15 years, granite and quartz have the same amount of maintenance.”

Cheap Kitchen Updates Before And After

Whether you’re doing a complete remodel or a few inexpensive kitchen projects, be sure to take before and after pictures of your work! It can be amazing to see the transformation. If you’ve done that, share with us in the comments below. We’d love to see it!

Nifty Ideas for Your Family Room

Family rooms are diverse areas. Often the center of your home and the place most frequented by all family members and guests, family rooms are important to keep up. You do a lot in your family room! They are used for relaxing, watching television, playing games, reading, eating, and entertaining. And just as diverse as the rooms are themselves are the options you have to work with! Take a look at these ideas and reminders when decorating.

Shhh…It’s a library! Well, almost.

A reading area can be the perfect spot to sit down and get through your favorite novel or to do story time with the kids. Maybe you don’t have room for a library. Use your family room as one! You can line the walls with shelves and showcase all your books for easy access. If you have a smaller amount of books, perhaps think about a built into the wall reading nook complete with curtains, cushions, and shelves. Having a separate “nook” can also help with having a quieter, more solitary reading space.

Up High, Down Low

Make the ceiling height of your family room work to your advantage. If you have high ceilings, a nice ceiling fan/light fixture or even a chandelier can utilize that space well. Update and customize your rafters and ceiling beams to create an enhanced line for eyes to follow up to the centerpiece of your ceiling. Don’t clutter the height dimension of your family room if you just don’t have the space to do it. If you have lower ceilings, recessed lights may be the way to go.

Too Many Blankets?

We all like to be cozy and warm, but there is a price to pay. Blankets are big and take up a lot of space. Take a look at your couch. Is half of it take up by quilts, throws, and blankets? There are ways to combat this problem. Take a look at getting a blanket chest. A blanket chest, which can even be converted from an old traveling trunk, can be a great way to store your blankets. They are off the couch, they stay clean since they aren’t on the floor, and they are conveniently only an arms length or a couple feet away!

Colors Galore!

You really do have your pick when it comes to colors for a family room. Since it is a room that fits all needs, even the needs of rowdy kids, you can either go for many different themes or pick just one. For a more eye-popping, kid crazy, family room go for bright colors accented with zebra prints or other textures like polka dots or bold stripes. For a more laid back feel, look at soft white, blue, and gray colors that can be accented with greens, browns and blacks.

What do Coffee Tables, Ottomans, and Footrests Have In Common?

One word – everything! Although each thing leans either more towards eating, resting, and decoration, they can all be used for the same purposes. If you really want to be trendy, think about other things that can be used in place of store bought ones. One idea is to fix up and paint an old cellar door! Another idea that is becoming very popular is to use a tree stump as a side table or footrest. A simple, yet often looked over idea, is for small family rooms. If you are strapped for space in your family room think about adding a shelf to the bottom of your coffee table if it doesn’t already have one.

The Three L’s – Layers, Lines, and Lamps

The three L’s are very helpful when trying update your family room. You can create layers with rugs, steps, and shelves. When thinking about lines, think more in terms of visually dividing the space. Use architectural details, like a beam or corners of walls to define the area set apart for the family room. The look of your family room can be completed using artwork, framing, and decorative furniture. Lamps are not only the source of light in your room, they can really bring out the theme. Use lamps will intricate details and lamps with decorative shades to enhance the space with light.

6 Insanely Clever Ways To Organize Your Tiny Kitchen

An organized kitchen is essential for cooking, entertaining and everyday living. When the kitchen is out of whack, you feel out of whack. It’s harder to be productive and inspired in a messy environment. 

Now picture a kitchen that’s also small in size. The organization game gets even tougher. It becomes overwhelming to think about where you’re going to store items without creating more piles and clutter. See six insanely clever ways to organize your tiny kitchen so you can effortlessly cook, enjoy and entertain.

Cabinets & Drawers

Disorganized cabinets and drawers is a big pet peeve for most homeowners. It becomes difficult to find anything, or get to your other dishes, when stuff is thrown everywhere. It can also feel pretty frustrating when you’re in a hurry or have guests coming over. 

First things first, get those pots and pans in order with one of the many gadgets that are out there. Lowe’s has some great pullout shelves and cabinets that will have you jumping for joy! No longer do you have to spend time digging and clanging to reach that one specific dish you need.

Another practical option is to purchase a pot rack so you can hang your pots and pans for a clean and modern look. And let’s not forget about that silverware. Shop any home store for drawer organizers or inserts that divide and help you use the space more effectively. 

Coffee Mugs

Coffee and tea mugs are the one kitchen item most of us can’t live without. Even if you don’t use them often, my guess is that you have them in the house for family and friends to use. Sometimes it can be tricky to find a home for them in your kitchen because you have so many them or they’re mismatched.

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The first step is to take the time and get rid of or donate any mugs you don’t use, in order to make more space for the ones you love. If your kitchen is tight on storage space, think about using the wall or shelving for a pretty display. I found these attractive shelves for storing coffee mugs and creating your own mini coffee bar. The creamer and sugar are displayed on the top shelf and the mugs are face down on the second shelf. They’re cute, accessible and will come in handy when you need a matching set. If wood isn’t your thing, then go for something a little more delicate looking. 

Tupperware

We’ve all battled it out with our Tupperware at some point in our lives. I’ve witnessed situations where the Tupperware comes out on top and the person on the other end is left feeling annoyed and irritated. But don’t worry, this scene can be avoided with a little planning and organizing.

Drawers and cabinets that are overstuffed with old plastic containers can be taken care of in a few simple steps. Start by narrowing down the location where you want to store the items. Shop for storage holders and dividers that will separate and organize the space for you. The image above is an example of a homeowner who won the battle and installed dividers in the bottom of their kitchen drawer. I think this is a great idea! It makes it so much easier to find and store the different pieces and sizes of Tupperware.

Fridge

BuzzFeed did the work for us and came up with 27 hacks to keep your fridge clean and organized. Apparently mason jars are the longest-lasting way keep salads fresh for up to two weeks! Also, the bacon (cold cut) savor looks pretty fantastic for keeping gross juices from leaking out all over your fridge. I think the most important message here is to make a schedule for cleaning your fridge so that you keep it tidy and remove any expired or old items.

Beer, Wine & Spirits

Find a place or a practical way to store your beer, wine and spirits. There are beautiful wine racks and fridges out there for you to invest in. See tips fourteen and fifteen in the Buzzfeed article for gadgets that can help you keep wine and beer from spilling and rolling around in your fridge.

Sink

Under the sink is a spot that doesn’t always get enough attention when you’re cleaning, but gets a lot of attention when you need a spot to store random stuff or garbage. I really like the idea of installing pullout drawers or baskets in this space. That way you can neatly organize your supplies and don’t have to be reaching and stumbling for items near the back of the cabinet. Be careful not to overstuff the area as you fill it. When spaces get crowded, the organization goals get disrupted.

Spices

The storage options for spices are endless. The hardest part is making the time to find the perfect holder and actually rearranging the individual containers. I think wall-mounted magnetic spice racks are an amazing idea! Check out all of the magnetic spice rack designs on Pinterest. If you prefer to keep your spices hidden then think about using drawers, shelves or pantries to help you organize.  

Conclusion

Tiny kitchens can be challenging to work with, but as you read in this article, there are actually many creative solutions available to you. Implement some of your favorite ideas and start working your way to a more peaceful and orderly kitchen in no time.

Ready to get organized? Find a pro near you who can assist with your next home improvement project.

The Colors Of Spring

Each season, different shades of color can show off the season. Deep reds and oranges are typically found in the fall, while light pastels are generally considered spring colors. However, when thinking about color psychology, these hues become so much more than seasonal trends.

Color can influence peoples behavior and emotions, thus resulting in an atmosphere you create in your home. Feeling tense? Try softening up some of the colors. Want a room where you can focus? A deep green or blue can help. The same goes for the psychology of the seasons. If you want to welcome in spring, use a few of these tips from our friends at EZ Living Interiors.

Are you looking for someone who can help incorporate these spring hues in your home? Contact an interior designer today to get started on your redecorating project, and get quotes for free.

Spring Trends 2019

Along with colors, you’ll also want to incorporate the latest spring trends into your home. Here are a few popular home decor must-haves this spring:

Terrazo Patterns

What’s old is new again, at least when it comes to terrazzo. This style is best known in older flooring between 1940 and 1970 but has now come back in all sorts of patterns for vases, blankets and more. Use this spring trend to add little pops of color in a neutral room.

Banana Leaves 

While flowers are of course a sure sign that spring has arrived, try mixing it up with some greenery! Banana leaves are very popular right now, and you can likely find a quirky pattern at any home decor store. You can even include a few faux banana leaves in a large vase to get a long-time look. 

What colors are you excited to use this spring? How will you use them in your home? Let us know in the comments below!

Bathroom Makeovers with Before & After Pictures That Are Sure to Inspire

When it comes to the resale value of a home, renovating your bathroom is arguably one of the most important investments you can make. But there’s another, perhaps ultimately more beneficial, reason to consider a bathroom makeover. “I’m a firm believer that the space one inhabits has a huge influence on your personality and approach to life,” says New York–based designer Susana Simonpietri, creative director of the Brooklyn firm Chango & Co.. “Making your home beautiful and fresh is a great way to invite a daily influx of joy into your life, which eventually trickles down to everything you do. Nothing lifts your spirit like starting your day in a room you love.”

Ready to remodel your bathroom, but not sure where to start? Read on for Simonpietri’s tips for how to get started in your own home and peruse 14 stunning before-and-after renovations that are sure to inspire.

1. Begin with a clear idea of what you want.

“Whether the project is conducted by a design team or not, it’s really important to know what you like and dislike about your space, which will inform a comprehensive floor plan that integrates all of the desired changes,” says Simonpietri. From there, you can think about aesthetics, from the color palette to the types of fittings you’d like to incorporate.

2. Do your research.

“The best clients are often the most informed,” the designer says. “Gather as many images of spaces you love as you can—Pinterest and Instagram can be fantastic sources of inspiration. The more trained your eye becomes on what you love, the easier it will be to make decisions as you move along. It will also give you a solid database to use and compare against your selections.”

3. Know your budget.

“A flexible budget will allow you to make unexpected design decisions during the process, which add in cost but also significantly add to the space,” she says. “Always leave yourself some extra funds for great fittings and finishes, since ultimately that is what you will see daily, and things do come up during construction.”

4. Hire the right people.

“To achieve beautiful results, it’s important to start with a good team you can trust, and who understands your budget and where to allocate your funds so they shine,” Simonpietri says.

5. Be detail-oriented.

“When working with white marble, as we did here, I cannot stress enough the importance of dry runs with the material,” the designer says. “Your idea of a beautifully laid-out marble vein along the floor is likely not the same as the person who will be doing the tiling work, so make sure you rehearse this before anything is glued down. And make sure to open all of your tile boxes to sift through the material before starting to use it—colors will vary, and the sorting process will allow you to have more control over what is used where and what pieces to discard.” Most people, Simonpietri included, also recommend ordering at least 15 percent more material than needed for this reason, plus any cracking or breaking that often occurs during shipping and handling.

BEFORE

Simonpietri overhauled an en-suite master bath in a West Village high-rise apartment.

AFTER

Simonpietri removed the existing tub, allowing for a larger shower stall and more cabinetry and closet space. Gray wood paneling contrasts with sleek marble flooring and countertops.

8 Best Indoor Plants & How To Take Care of Them

Growing tired of a lifeless interior? Or maybe your room’s a blank canvas ready for its first dash of color. The best indoor plants can add just the right amount of intrigue—they’re free-form and organic yet clean and sculptural; they delight with their unpredictability yet reassure with their steady presence. And their life span, thankfully, is much longer than that of cut flowers. But when considering plants in a room’s design, there are a few things to take into account. Architectural Digest caught up with horticulturist Dennis Schrader from Landcraft Environments in Mattituck, New York, to get the dirt.

“You have to think of the container it’s going in like a piece of furniture,” Schrader says. “It should match the interior.” As for the plant, you’ll want to coordinate that as well. Below is a guide to appealing options and their respective requirements, but first, what if you choose to incorporate more than one plant into your design scheme? Schrader advises grouping plants the way they naturally grow. “You don’t want to put a fern next to a cactus,” he says. And what’s more, plants that grow together will have similar needs, making it easier on the caretaker. As for how many to include, he says, “That all depends on how many you want to take care of.”

Finally, location should be dictated primarily by the plant’s light requirements and then by the owner’s taste. Try a plant here or there and see what looks good to you, and don’t be afraid to move it around over time. For smaller plants, Schrader says, “you can use them as a table setting, then move them to a window sill later on.”

Fiddle-Leaf Fig Tree (Ficus lyrata)

This shrub boasts a long, elegant stem and branches with broad, leathery leaves. For placement, Schrader suggests “under a skylight or next to a window.” In other words, it needs as much sun as possible. Schrader suggests pruning the top branches when it grows above the window frame.

Fiddle-Leaf Fig Tree Care

Water once a week, or more if it’s winter and the air in your home is dry. AJK5MW fiddleleaf fig Ficus lyrataAlamy Stock Photo

Split-Leaf Philodendron (Monstera deliciosa)

Favored by Henri Matisse, this plant has a distinctive leaf that looks as though it’s been gently cut into by a careful hand. Schrader says you can cut off the top—as long as it has air roots attached—and replant it, meaning if you buy one of these, you could easily have more, if you’d like.

Split-Leaf Philodendron Care

Water once a week. A5CYDM cheese, plant, pot, potplant, house, green, eaves, leaf, grow, water, tending, tend, indoor, garden, soil, imported, tropical,Alamy Stock Photo

Meyer Lemon Tree (Citrus x meyeri)

This tree bears its namesake Meyer lemons, believed to be a hybrid of lemons and mandarin oranges with a subtler, sweeter flavor than lemons. But these trees don’t stop at fruits: “When they bloom you have this beautiful fragrance of citrus flowers,” says Schrader. Meyer lemon trees do well indoors as long as they have lots of sun.

Meyer Lemon Tree Care

Water weekly. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Kentia Palm (Howea forsteriana)

The fronds of this plant spring to great heights from the soil, then lean forward, quietly shading the ground beneath. “It looks great in a big urn,” says Schrader, noting that it should be given lots of space, as it can grow up to 10 feet with a broad reach.

Kentia Palm Care

Requires medium to bright light; water weekly. AJK7BG Kentia palm or Thatch palm Howea forsterianaAlamy Stock Photo

Castiron Plant (Aspidistra elatior)

Schrader says this plant is “mostly for foliage,” meaning if you’re looking to add a lush, dark green plant to your space, this one is for you. It does well in medium to low light and is tolerant of neglect, so it’s fine if you forget to water it once in a while.

Castiron Plant Care

Water once a week or every ten days.

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  UNSPECIFIED – JANUARY 27: Cast-iron plant or Barroom plant (Aspidistra elatior), Asparagaceae. (Photo by DeAgostini/Getty Images)De Agostini/Getty Images

Eucharist Lily (Eucharis amazonica)

Another dark green plant, but this one features large, white flowers that bloom throughout winter and early spring. “Even when it’s not blooming, it’s nice to look at,” Schrader says. It thrives in medium light; allow soil to dry between watering.

Eucharist Lily Care

The leaves will wilt when it needs water, but once a week should suffice. EBN0AA Amazon lily (Eucharis amazonica), bloomingAlamy Stock Photo

Snake Plant (Sansevieria trifasciata)

“I think they’re having a resurgence, especially for contemporary interiors,” says Schrader. With sword-shaped leaves winding gently from the soil like charmed snakes from a basket, this plant strikes a lovely balance between order and chaos.

Snake Plant Care

Care is minimal—place anywhere you’d like and let soil dry completely between watering. Check the soil every week, but it’s fine to skip a few. UNSPECIFIED – JANUARY 27: Ife sansevieria or African bowstring hemp (Sansevieria cylindrica), Asparagaceae. (Photo by DeAgostini/Getty Images)De Agostini/Getty Images

African Spear Plant (Sansevieria cylindrica)

“Very architectural, very sculptural,” says Schrader. Indeed, this plant’s conical leaves conjure images of spires, obelisks, and skyscrapers.

African Spear Plant Care