Reader Question – Organized Pantries

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Care and Maintenance, Family, Kitchen and Bath, Uncategorized

Q. It doesn’t matter how many times I reorganize and label my pantry shelves. The pantry is always a disaster. Do you have any advice on how to keep a pantry looking tidy?

A. Pantries are notorious for being a disorganized mess despite our best efforts to keep them clean. Unlike a bedroom closet or a nightstand drawer, the pantry is used by all members of the family. Husbands and kids can wreak havoc on our best attempts to have a “Martha” looking pantry. That said, here are some tips to help sort out the chaos.

In your kitchen cabinet or pantry, use S hooks to hold an inventory list — so you know what you have, as well as how much you paid per unit, for the sake of future comparison shopping. The hooks can also keep other necessities handy: scissors and a box cutter for opening packages, a funnel for decanting liquids, and a scoop for dry goods.

Retrieving a jar of honey from the back of a crowded pantry can be awkward. For a simple fix, gather the small items you store on the shelf onto a spare baking tray, then treat it like a drawer, carefully sliding it in and out for easy access. The pan will also catch drips, speeding cleanup.

Use canisters to hold dry goods such as flour and sugar, and label them with their contents. Small items, such as teabags, dried fruit or bouillon, should go into small plastic bins or baskets. If you are so inspired you can buy baskets or colored bins, or you can simply find plastic containers.

Put spices on a lazy Susan on a shelf or a wall-mounted rack on the inside of your pantry door.

Group like items together: pastas, rice and lentils on one shelf; canned vegetables on another, keeping all the cans of crushed tomatoes, black beans and so on in a row (newer ones in back).

Put all your dried goods in glass or clear containers. Label them. This will not only get rid of clutter but it will also make your pantry look pretty.

If you follow those few simple guidelines and make an effort to tidy up the pantry on a weekly basis it won’t become a disaster zone.

 

Decorating a Breakfast Nook

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Hints, Tips and Advice, Kitchen and Bath, Uncategorized

If you are lucky enough to have a nook or small space off your kitchen for a eat-in dining area you’ll want to take full advantage it. Decorating a breakfast nook or corner is very similar to decorating a dining room. Given the small footprint and the fact that the nook is adjoined to the kitchen make the breakfast nook easy to decorate.

If your breakfast nook opens onto your kitchen, use the same paint and flooring as you do in the kitchen to make the two areas feel part of the same room. If you want to call more attention to the breakfast space, you can paint the walls a different color or add window treatments to draw the eye. An area rug under the table can make the space feel more its own.

A table and chairs are a must for the breakfast nook. You can do a smaller table and fewer chairs than you would in the dining room. Use a bistro table for two or a simple round table that can seat four if you have the room.

Like the dining room, you’ll want to have good lighting over the table for dining and other activities like homework or bill paying. A pendant light or simple chandelier can make the space feel more special.

If you have the room in the nook, use one wall to add a buffet or hutch for additional kitchen storage. Artwork or a mirror can finish off the space, giving it the same polished design as your dining room.

Improvising with Design

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Design and Decorating, Hints, Tips and Advice, Uncategorized

A cardboard dressing table is probably not something most of us have in our homes. This picture illustrates what many of us do when we don’t have just the right piece of furniture or lighting for the space: we improvise. Now, we’re not saying go out to the garage and gather the cardboard boxes to make a table. Instead, think outside the box to come up with solutions for your decorating dilemmas.

Reinventing and renovating what we already have can save the piggy bank. Paint can perform miracles on not only furniture but fabric and even area rugs. Solid colored area rugs can be painted with textile paint with the hottest patterns and designs. Plain curtains can be transformed into the latest style with a little creativity and inexpensive trim. Nicked and scratched furniture can be given another life with a few coats of paint or stain.

If you do have to use a cardboard box as a table base as you save up for a real table, be creative. Cover it with a few yards of pretty fabric, a table cloth or even a sheet. Add trim and an inexpensive wood top to make it look like stylish. This can be done with an old door and a sawhorse—voila! A new table.

Shop your own house for pieces that might work to solve your design problem before you hit the stores. With a little creativity you might be surprised at what you can find and create within your own home.

Cozy Living Room Layout

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Design and Decorating, Hints, Tips and Advice, Uncategorized

Newer homes seem to have smaller living rooms in favor of larger family rooms. Older homes may have smaller living rooms because they have a smaller overall square footage. Whether your home is new or old, you might have a less than large living room to decorate. Smaller doesn’t have to mean you can’t create a beautiful living room. Smaller might mean more cozy, but this doesn’t always have to be a bad thing.

This living room does not have a large footprint yet manages to have all the bells and whistles you would want in a living room. There is plenty of seating on the sofa, loveseat and chair, with additional seating possible on the ottoman style coffee table. There is an array of lighting provided by a floor lamp, table lamp and, though not pictured, overhead lighting. Hardwood floors and an area rug make up the flooring. A fireplace is a beautiful architectural focal point. Despite its small footprint, the room is charming and well decorated.

Creating a cozy layout means creating a tighter seating arrangement. Floating the sofa in the middle of the room and placing the loveseat perpendicular to it, creates an L-shape seating area that faces the fireplace. The arm chair in the corner could be brought forward for better conversation, but makes a nice place to read next to the floor lamp.

The seating arrangement doesn’t feel too tight or constricted because there is flow around the furniture. Creating flow allows the room to feel bigger than it is.

Find Design Inspiration Online

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Design and Decorating, Uncategorized

Since you are reading this blog, you already know there are great resources for design and flooring information online. Finding information on the latest trends and products for the home can easily be done on your lap top, in the comfort of your own home. Besides online magazines, blogs are a great resources for inspiration to get you started on your next decorating project. And it seems like every home owner has a “next” on the decorating to-do list.

Blogs can be great resources for new DIY projects that can save you money while being big on creativity. Bloggers who are also homeowners are wonderful sources of before and after shots as well as the in-between photos that show what it really takes to finish the project. Magazines are a great inspiration but they rarely show the individual steps of a decorating project or discuss project time or costs. Bloggers who are willing to share the nitty-gritty of a decorating project are a huge resource for homeowners contemplating the start of a similar project.

If you see a product you love in a magazine you are lucky if the editor lists the products and resources. It is much better finding something you love on a blog, contacting the blogger and finding not only the product and resource but great tips as well.

From picking a tile floor to making a Roman shade or even stenciling your own wallpaper, bloggers are a wonderful resource.

Working with an Open Concept Living Space

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Design and Decorating, Kitchen and Bath, Uncategorized

Many people have open concept living spaces that flow into one another, like this kitchen and dining room. Working with an open kitchen and dining area to create a design that highlights both the kitchen and the dining areas can be a little tricky. Successfully decorating these areas will leave you with spaces that flow together yet maintain their own identities.

Making a dining room that is open to the kitchen feel like its own room means highlighting the dining space to make it feel special. Here that is done by a gorgeous inlay in the floor that has bands of darker wood outlining the dining area. The space is further anchored by an area rug under the table. If you do not want to go through the expense of having a stained border added to your wood floors, simply adding an area rug or room size rug in the dining area can help the space feel separate.

A pretty chandelier above the table is a lovely way to make the dining area feel more formal. A similar chandelier or pendant in the kitchen, above the sink or island, would tie the spaces together.

Working in the same color palette for both rooms, playing off the cabinet color with a similar toned wood dining table and chairs also unifies the design of the two joined spaces.

Open kitchens allow the chef to interact with family and guests. Use design to celebrate this great feature of open entertaining.

Cottage Style in the Living Room

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Design and Decorating, Uncategorized

Cottage style is a wonderful decorating style that is very easy to live with. Typical cottage furniture includes deep seating covered in slipcovers that is all about comfort and easy style. Painted furniture, a great DIY project, is another hallmark of cottage style. Distressed finishes on vintage pieces add character.

White is the dominate color in cottage décor like this living room. Molding and architectural features are painted in glossy white paint. Like the similar shabby chic style, white forms the base for pastels and soft patterns. Creamy yellows, minty green, soft aquas, dusty rose are all shabby chic colors that also work in cottage interiors. Deeper greens, reds and navys, along with creams and other neutrals, are additional colors that are also common in cottage interiors. The creamy yellow walls in this living room could be swapped for khaki, brown or navy and the room would still work with the furniture.

Flooring in cottage style décor tends to be hardwood with an accent rug. If the wood floors are not in good condition, the cottage style solution is to have them refinished.

While architectural details like a fireplace or built in bookcase can be a focal point on a wall, sometimes the wall needs a little more help to be the room’s focal point. In this living room, leaving the wall above the fireplace and bookshelves blank does these gorgeous details a disservice. Adding a large mirror or shelves, creating a gallery wall of family photos, or hanging a large scale painting would be the finishing touch for this focal wall.

Your Parents’ Safety

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Uncategorized

Children rely on their parents to keep them safe. Things like holding their hands when crossing the street are second nature for parents with small children. As those children grow, they need fewer protections. However, as our parents and grandparents grow older, they may need our help to stay safe.

It may be time to step up and do home safety checks for your parents and/or grandparents. As people move into their 60’s, 70’s and 80’s, mobility and balance can be more difficult, and falling can make the difference between a healthy old age and one that is more limited.

Your first step is to talk to them about your concerns. Nothing suggested here is particularly expensive or life-changing. Work with them to conduct a home accessibility audit. For example, are there things out of reach that require them to regularly stand on a chair or stool? Getting a sturdy home step-ladder with a handle to hold onto would be much safer. Or even better, keep everyday things accessible from the floor.

If any floors need to be replaced, encourage carpeting. For seniors, the cushion of carpeting is the safest option. It doesn’t get slippery and it softens a fall, reducing the risk of breaks. Check to make sure that all area rugs have non-slip pads and no edges are curled up to make a tripping hazard. Also look for any slippery situations in the bathroom and add non-slip mats both inside and just outside the tub to reduce risk. Safety handles, a chair in the shower, and a hand-held shower head are also helpful when balance is not as good as it once was.

The final step is home security. Do their doors all have deadbolt locks? A security screen door on at least the front door will allow them to answer it without risking a home intrusion. Check also to make sure that overgrown landscaping doesn’t obscure doors and windows from the neighbors.

When you were a child it was safety first for them. Now that you’ve grown, turnabout is definitely fair play!

Turn Your Closet into an Asset

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Uncategorized

Is your bedroom closet a cluttered mess? Are your floors covered with things that your closet can’t hold anymore? Well, in the interests of helping you show off that gorgeous flooring you recently bought from us, let’s walk through a complete closet update.

Start by removing every single thing from your closet. This may seem extreme, but it’s essential to get everything done properly. Now, you may notice quite a bit of dust and such – clean that up first. Next, sort through everything and put it into three piles – keepers, losers and undecided. Take all the losers and immediately put them in bags for give-away or trash if not worth donating. Put those give-away bags in your car now – no peeking or second-guessing your decisions!

Check all the keepers to see if they need any cleaning or mending before putting them back into the closet. This is a good time to develop an organization plan. Sort by season, color, function (work vs. casual) or any system that you think will work for you.

Now it’s time to tackle those undecided items. Here’s the first rule: you have to try all of them on – preferably in front of a full-length mirror. If you don’t want to try something on – it goes in the discard pile. If it looks like something you wouldn’t buy in the store, it goes in the discard pile. If you’re not sure, it goes in the discard pile. Put what’s left back in your closet, following your new organization plan.

Now, make a list of any wardrobe additions that would expand the versatility of what you own, such as a great pair of white pants for summer. They make any top look better. And then pause, look down, and admire that beautiful, empty floor!

Wood Floors Are The Best For Resale

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Hardwood, Uncategorized

Have you ever watched an episode of “House Hunter” on Home and Garden TV? If you have, you know that wood floors are the most requested home design feature.

Although you may currently have no plans to sell your home, it’s a good idea to consider resale when renovating your home. Would wood floors be a good investment for you? Consider the following factors.

Neighborhood: If you live in an upscale neighborhood with homes that feature higher-end finishes, choosing wood will make your home more competitive in the market. In an area of starter homes, how about wood in the living/dining area only, or choosing a less expensive wood such as oak? Laminate floors with a look similar to wood at a much lower price are another option to consider.

Region: If you live in the south, wood is almost expected. In the northeast it’s also a common choice.

Home style: A traditional style is well suited to wood. Modern homes have more flooring flexibility, but will also stand out with wood.

Personal preference: You have to choose flooring based on your personal preference first. Many people love wood, but if you don’t, select the flooring that suits you best. However, if you are attracted to wood floors, you can be sure that your choice will make selling your home easier when the time comes.