Birchbox: Treat Yourself Without Busting Your Budget

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Who doesn’t love a little retail therapy? After a stressful week at work or, heck, even a stressful meeting, treating yourself to something nice is a fun and easy way to banish those blues. The only problem? It can get pricey. And that’s doubly true if you love beauty products. That trip to Sephora adds up fast — and there’s no guarantee you’re going to like all the products you buy. That’s where Birchbox comes in.
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Birchbox sends you curated beauty or grooming samples for $10 a month. Image courtesy of Birchbox.

What is Birchbox?

Birchbox is a monthly subscription box that sends a curated selection of beauty or grooming product samples. Each box is stocked with five samples, some from iconic brands and some from new and exciting ones. Oh, and the best part? Birchbox is just $10 a month.

If you’re into beauty or grooming products, Birchbox is a dream. It’s a fun and easy way to try out a handful of new products each month, saving you from a medicine cabinet spilling over with partially used products you bought, tried and didn’t love. And, speaking of savings, it’s a whole lot more affordable to try products this way, too. Plus, they have a pretty impressive list of brands, so you can rest easy knowing your box is going to come with some quality stuff.

Birchbox customizes your box to you. When you sign up, they’ll have you fill out a Beauty Profile. You tell them what kind of products you’re into and give them some info about your hair and skin. Then, each month, they use your beauty profile to curate your box. (And I think it’s pretty effective. My boxes were spot on for me.) Plus, you have the chance to pick one of your samples each month from a set list of options, which I think is a fun add-on. They email you when it’s time to pick for each box so you never have to worry about missing your window.

Sounds pretty cool, right? But, as with all subscription boxes, it all comes down to actually testing it out. So I signed up for Birchbox to get an inside look.

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My February and March boxes. Image provided by Kacie Goff.

My Birchboxes

Good news, savvy reader. As of this writing, I’ve received not one — but two — Birchboxes, so we’ve got some good hard evidence to go off, here.

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The body creme was my favorite from this month’s box. Image provided by Kacie Goff.

February Birchbox

In February, my box included:

First things first, that body creme is incredible. I’m something of a lotion aficionado. You’ll never, ever catch me without a quality lotion in my purse, in my glove compartment, at my desk, by my couch — you get the picture. And JUARA’s product is worth talking about. It smells great, feels luxurious upon application and keeps your skin feeling hydrated without leaving you greasy.

And, bonus, my liquid eyeliner was on its last legs, so the Eyeko came at an ideal time. And it, too, is great. Plus, I don’t know if the sample size is just big or if I got a full-size liner in my box, but it seems like it’s gonna last me a while. And since the liner retails for $22 on Birchbox’s site and I only paid $10 for my entire box, this subscription was already feeling like a steal.

Would March be equally impressive? I tracked my box obsessively once it shipped to find out.

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The perfect prep-for-summer box. Image provided by Kacie Goff.

March Birchbox

In March, I got:

Okay, the people at Birchbox must be mind readers. This box was pretty much everything I had been thinking about getting for summer. No joke. I’m always looking for a good sunscreen that doesn’t feel gross to put on. And, as I’m coming up on 30 fast, I’ve noticed these beautiful crow’s feet developing by my eyes. Anticipating spending some time in the summer sun at the beach, I was thinking I should probably grow up and buy an eye cream.

And, speaking of quality beach time, what’s a more perfect look than a rosy lip balm and some highlighter on your cheeks? It was also pretty clutch that they gave me another leave-in conditioner since that’s the literal only hair maintenance I’m willing to do (so sorry, hair). So, yeah, I give them an A++ for this box.

The highlighting cream, in particular, is awesome. It’s super shimmery so you only need a tiny bit. And it smells like summer! That little tube is going to last me forever so, again, I feel like Birchbox is a steal.

Check out Birchbox for yourself

I’ve been trying quite a few subscription services lately (others I’ve loved include Home Chef and BarkBox). A lot of them are great, but Birchbox is one that I really don’t know why you wouldn’t try. I mean, it’s $10 a month. And I’m not big into makeup, but I love to treat myself. I got some seriously luxurious products (hello, collagen eye pads!) that felt truly tailored to me. As the product description card included in my March box reminded me, “There’s no time like now to take a moment for yourself.”

Ready to get your own personal moment shipped to your door? For a limited time, click this link and use coupon code FIRST10 to get your first box for only $10. (Regularly $15 a month.) Treat yourself.

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What No One Tells You About Flipping Houses

House flipping tips

Learn the secrets of house flipping. Image: Perry Mastrovito/Getty Images

We love binge-watching house flipping shows while dreaming of tackling a flip of our own. House flipping can be fun, and sometimes profitable, but your favorite shows don’t tell you everything you need to know before you jump into your first flip. Here’s the lowdown on what you should know before you take on a house flip:

1. It can take a long time to find a house

Flippers and investors are scouring many real estate markets right now, looking for a good property to flip. There are entire companies dedicated to flipping homes. These investment firms employ scouts to find homes to flip in most markets. Expect to make several offers and wait months to find the right home.

2. You don’t need a weekend seminar to learn how to flip a house

House flipping seminars can be valuable and give you lots of inspiration, but even if you can’t attend one, you can still flip houses. You’ll still need to learn everything you can before you start flipping homes, though. Watching HGTV can inspire you, but you can’t see all of the details that go into a successful flip. You’ll need to learn about financing, permitting and marketing before your first project. If you surround yourself with professionals, they can provide you with knowledge that you can use on future flips.

3. A standard mortgage isn’t used for house flipping

When you’re ready for your first flip, you’ll need “hard money.” Potential flippers often ask online if they can use a long-term mortgage for flipping a home. The answer is “no.” Standard mortgages are structured and priced for long-term financing. You’ll need a loan that is designed for a house flip. Hard money lenders and investors are often project-based, rather than credit-based, so it may be easier to qualify for hard money as long as your potential flip meets their criteria.

House Flipping Math

Math is an important part of house flipping. Image: Natee Meepian/Shutterstock

4. Flipping a home is all about math

Be prepared to explain the ARV (after repair value) when you’re applying for a loan for your project. It won’t matter how amazing your vision is for the finished project; investors are strict about the bottom line. Your flip project must come in within that investor’s numbers or you won’t have a deal.

5. Timing is everything when you’re flipping a house

Your hard money loan can have a 6-month to 1-year end-date, after which you may incur penalty interest. Having an attorney review your contract can prevent expensive surprises later on. Unexpected construction hiccups are commonplace and permits can take a long time. Before you sign a mortgage with a short maturity, check with the local building authority to see how long the wait will be for permits. It’s not unheard of to experience a 6-month wait for permits in some areas.

6. Be prepared to account for every cent you spend on your flip

It’s crucial to keep your receipts, use a project tracking app and stay current on your budget. Your lender will ask for this information several times during your project as they release more funds to you. Spreadsheet skills are especially valuable for home flippers. Having detailed information on expenses and loan balance can help keep your funding flowing through each phase of the project.

Contemporary Kitchen Flip

Learn what buyers want before you plan your house flip design. Image: Artazum/Shutterstock

7. Step into the home buyer’s shoes

Buyers love neutral palettes and homes they can move right into, but don’t be a carbon copy of every flipped house in your market. For a few years, every flipped home seemed to have an aqua front door — now yellow is the most common color. Your goal as a house flipper is to create a home that doesn’t feel like a flipped home. If you have to make choices when you’re creating your budget, bath and kitchen remodels are buyer favorites.

8. There will be surprises

You won’t know everything about your home until you open a wall or remove flooring, but don’t let surprises derail your flip. Even in the most simple cosmetic flip, you will encounter complications. Make sure your budget has a contingency for surprises. Work to run your project efficiently so that you can handle whatever comes your way. You can weather any complication with a positive attitude and laser-focus on your long-term goal.

House Flipping Tiles

Choosing the right materials is crucial to a successful house flip project. Image: Severija/Getty Images

9. Your home’s tile work is more important than you think

Many beginning flippers miss the mark with their tile choices and installation. Choosing attractive tile for the kitchen and bathrooms can contribute to your flip’s buyer appeal. This is not the time for elaborate tile designs, crazy colors or to express your artistic vision. If you’re not experienced setting tile precisely, hire a pro to help. Buyers want a home that is move-in ready and don’t want to be faced with the expense and mess of redoing the tile.

10. Set a realistic budget

Make room in your budget to include specialty contractors if needed. (They’re usually needed on most projects.) Make sure you understand the laws in your area for permitting and using licensed contractors for some tasks, as it can cost you money and time. Hard money lenders will require you to submit a detailed budget and estimate of the work you’ll be doing, so be ready to pay a contractor to write this up. Their experienced eye can help you see exactly what needs to be done.

11. Flipping houses isn’t for everyone

If you’re not ready to take on a house flip, you can still use the same ideas and strategies to sell your own home. Approaching your home as a house-flipper would, you can create a fresh look that buyers will notice. Visiting open houses and model homes can give you inspiration for changes you can make in your own home. 

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3 Ways to Plan a Small Yard Green Space

Small yards come with many challenges. One of the biggest is struggling to make a lawn work in them. The simple fact is that with less space to work with, the lawn itself has to be impeccably planned so that it fits in with decking space, decorative accents and other common yard functions. Otherwise, you risk a yard that looks cramped and cluttered. Luckily, there are a few design principles that will help that small yard green space just work.

Be prepared. Planning the landscape of your backyard is one of the most involved home projects you can undertake. It can take weeks to months to plan. You can also get expert advice from lawn care professionals on the best way to keep your small lawn green.  Depending on what you decide to do, prices can range in the hundreds to tens of thousands of dollars. After all, you could be looking at anything from building an entirely new deck to simply installing new landscaping accents. Projects can also run from a few days to a few weeks in time. But when you get your backyard just right, it will be worth it.

Small Yard Green Space Curved Design

Small lawns look amazing when designed in curved patterns. Image: Artazum/Shutterstock

Create geometry

If you’re working with a small yard green space, one key way to make the most of it is to create a geometric look. A more geometric design makes a smaller lawn look like its own design accent. Otherwise, a small grassy area can look like something that was crammed into a space just because backyards should have lawns.

You can see in the photo above how stylish a smaller lawn looks when designed to flow with the surrounding yard. The curves also give extra room for landscape accents around the perimeter of the grass.

You can get creative with this idea. Another small yard green space option is to have a more boxed design with landscape accents around the lawn. Some yards even have a tiered design, where different layers of lawn go in a step pattern with stone retaining walls between layers.

As an additional note, the smaller the lawn is, the more its borders should add a sense of organization to the space. For instance, equidistant small shrubs or batches of tall grass around the borders can add attractive accents while making the yard’s design look purposeful and orderly.

Small Yard Green Space Deck Area

Larger deck styles can fit in smaller backyards when balanced with green space. Image: Dimasik_sh/Shutterstock

Add balance

Another idea is to balance out the smaller lawn with other textures and materials. For instance, it’s common to add decking or stone pathways around small patches of lawn and shrubbery.

The photo above shows this idea working with a small yard green space. The lawn itself acts as an accent to the decking style around it. And since the decking totally surrounds the lawn, it gives a sense of balance. The square design of the lawn also gives a clean geometry to the space. Ideas like this are good for small spaces because you can expand your usable outdoor space with a larger deck or patio while minimizing the amount of your yard that requires upkeep. That makes it easier to keep your green spaces impeccably maintained, which is important in small areas where they’ll play a key role.

Small Yard Green Space Table Area

Lawns can be highly multifunctional. Image: rodho/Shutterstock

Merge spaces in your small yard green space

Another idea is to get multifunctional with your spaces. This is a common method for getting all you want out of a space, even if you’re working with less of it. You can see an idea of how this works in the photo above. Since there simply isn’t much space to work with, an outdoor eating area goes right on the lawn itself. Surrounding such an area with plenty of plant life can make for a cozy dining experience.

You can use this small yard green space idea in a few different ways. For instance, you could use the small space lawn for a single recreational use, like a volleyball net. You could put a child’s outdoor playhouse along the lawn. Or a small zen garden could go right in the middle of the lawn.

And remember, your lawn should reflect your lifestyle. If you’re more active outdoors, you may want to pick a more multifunctional design over a decorative one. You can also always get help from lawn care professionals to create your best yard.

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10 Must-Have Konmari-Inspired Home Organization Products

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TechCrunch recently reported that organization goddess Marie Kondo is looking for investors to expand her empire. Rumor has it that part of the expansion includes a possible home organization line. While we wait, how can we declutter and organize the minimalist-chic Konmari way? Yamazaki, a Japanese home organization brand, is the answer.

We love their understated, multi-purpose home organization products like an easy-to-move shoe rack or their genius folding dish rack. Their collection is available on Amazon, making it quick and easy to stylishly create a space for everything. Here are 10 must-have Konmari-inspired home organization products by Yamazaki:

1. Tower Over-The-Sink Folding Drying Rack

yamizaki home organization for marie kondo komari method

If your counter space is limited or you don’t want to keep an unattractive dish rack next to the sink, this folding dish rack can be put away when you’re done. All images courtesy of Yamazaki.

2. Tower Side Table

small side table ideas

Stylish steel and wood are not only versatile enough to work with any room’s decor, but they also add a sturdy feel to this small-scale side table.

3. Tower Shoe Rack

yamazaki japanese konmari-inspired products

This vertical shoe rack is perfect for small spaces and designed to be moved around easily.

4. Tosca Under-Shelf Storage Rack

small kitchen organization

Clear your valuable counter space by hanging this organizer from a floating ledge or open cabinet.

5. 7672 Tower Coat Hanger

small space organization ideas

Available in black or white, this coat rack can also work as a closet alternative.

6. Compact Tower Side Table

yamazaki home organization products

Modern and multipurpose, this side table can hold a lamp or work as a free-standing tray or laptop station.

7. Rin Toilet Organizer

small bathroom organizers

Bathroom organizers can be beautiful and Yamazaki proves it. This simple design hides everything you need while providing easy access to the items.

8. Tower Book End

home organization ideas featuring Marie Komodo inspired products

Never lose your glasses again with these bookends featuring a small pocket for items like pens, bookmarks and glasses.

9. Tower Free Standing Shower Caddy

small space home organization ideas

The smart design of this bath caddy keeps your bottles angled for easy access and is available in black or white to go with your decor.

10. Tosca Dish Riser

small space organization ideas

Make use of vertical space stylishly by stacking items using a shelf like this one.

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BarkBox: the Subscription Service that Treats Your Four-Legged Friends

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Who doesn’t love getting presents? If the spike of subscription box services has taught us anything, it’s that we love getting gifts in the mail. And if we have to buy them for ourselves, so be it. But, sometimes, we like to spread that love around. That’s where pet subscription boxes like BarkBox come in. Designed to delight our furry family members, these boxes ship stocked with treats, toys and more. When I set out to try the BarkBox — the dog equivalent of the subscription box trend — I expected a few toys my dog may or may not like. What I got was so much more.
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BarkBox is a monthly subscription service that ships your pet a gift box full of themed goodies. Image courtesy of BarkBox.

How BarkBox works

First, I hate to break the news, but BarkBox is only for dogs. (But don’t worry, there are plenty of cat subscription boxes out there.) Now, let’s talk logistics.


Each BarkBox shipment is valued at over $40 but costs notably less. How much you pay per box will depend on the length of the subscription you set up. Specifically, BarkBox costs:

  • $29 for one month
  • $25 a month, or $135 upfront for six months
  • $22 a month, or $239 upfront for a year

Based on the box I received, I’d say that’s a pretty great deal. But more on that later. We’ve got more details to sort out first.


Each box ships free if you live in the contiguous United States. That’s pretty neat, huh? If you live in Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rice or Canada, your shipping will cost $8.


To make sure your pup is getting treats and toys he or she can truly enjoy, BarkBox comes in three different sizes according to your dog’s weight:

  • Small: 20 pounds or less
  • Medium: 20 to 50 pounds
  • Large: over 50 pounds

When you sign up, you’ll let them know which size box you want to receive. And, if you’ve got a dog who’s still growing, you can change your sizing throughout your subscription.


Now, BarkBox isn’t just going to send you a random assortment of junk each month. Far from it. They curate monthly themes to add some zest and playfulness to each month’s box, making it as fun for the owner as it is for the pup. Some past themes include:

  • The Knights of the Hound Table
  • Chewrassic Bark
  • The Good, The Bad and the Pugly
  • Throwbark Thursday
  • Bento & Blossoms
  • Sniffin’ Safari

The box I received was Valentine’s Day themed and came with a cute card with the following poem that I just had to share:

Noses are wet,

Violets aren’t food,

I’m looking for chew love…

And I think it’s YOU!


Want more or less of a certain type of item? BarkBox offers a TAILored program that customizes your box to your specifications. Contact their Happy Team to make your requested changes.

And, if you’ve got a pet with food allergies, you’ll be happy to know two things. First, BarkBoxes never contain wheat, soy or corn. Secondly, BarkBox offers an allergy-friendly BarkBox if your dog can’t handle beef, chicken and/or turkey.

Maybe food isn’t your problem as much as your pet’s play habits. If you own a four-legged friend who loves to destroy toys, you can choose BarkBox’s Super Chewer offering, designed specifically for dogs like yours.

Scout’s Honor

BarkBox has a 100 percent satisfaction guarantee for both you and your dog. If you or your hound are less than impressed with an item in your shipment, you can get in touch with their Happy Team and they’ll make it right — scout’s honor.


Our BarkBox was very on-theme and very fun to open. Image provided by Kacie Goff.

My first BarkBox

Okay, that all sounds pretty good, right? But what’s it like in reality? I took BarkBox for a test drive to find out.

The BarkBox I received was packaged inside a cardboard box for shipping and tied with a pretty red ribbon. I’m a sucker for good presentation, so my first impression was solid. And that continued as I opened the box, which was lined with a très cute V-Day themed liner and stocked with the aforementioned card, three toys, two bags of treats and a chew.

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The very V-Day contents of our first BarkBox. Image provided by Kacie Goff.

Specifically, our box contained:

  • Coco-Nuts For U Valentine’s Treats
  • Ham Over Heels Valentine’s Treats
  • Hearts and Farts Boxers
  • Be My Howlentine Rose
  • Squeakhearts (three small squeakable plush hearts in a crinkle bag)
  • I Love Chew

The Squeakhearts have been a huge hit at my house. The little bag in which they come has an easily openable velcro top. When my dog is driving me a little nuts while I’m trying to work (like at this exact moment, actually), I put a treat in the bottom, stuff the hearts on top and close it. It keeps him occupied long enough for me to at least type out a paragraph uninterrupted.

The Coco-Nuts treats were also a pleasant surprise. When I first opened the bag, I got a huge whiff of chocolate. Which is, uh, disconcerting, to say the least. But upon closer inspection, I learned that they contain carob, a dog-safe chocolate alternative. A perfect Valentine’s Day treat!

Between all the fun and romantic toys and treats, I ended up with a bunch of items I would never have chosen myself that both my pup and I have been loving. So if you’re looking to spice up your pet’s life, BarkBox is an amazing resource.

barkbox rose

My dog got in the Valentine’s Day spirit thanks to his themed toys. Image provided by Kacie Goff.

The pros and cons of BarkBox

All in all, my impression of BarkBox is extremely positive. Letting their pros hand-pick items for your four-legged friend is an excellent way to change things up if you often find yourself getting in a toy or treat rut. And I was personally really impressed with the quality of both the toys and treats in our box.

TL;DR? Here are the pros and cons of BarkBox:


  • Fun themes make the shipments feel extra special
  • High-quality items
  • Reasonable pricing and free shipping in most states
  • Customization options based on dog size, allergies and toy destruction levels
  • Scout’s honor satisfaction guarantee


  • Inability to control what’s in your shipment (I see this as a pro, but I can understand wanting to be more involved)
  • $8 shipping in Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and Canada
  • You’ll definitely need a bigger toy bin/box
  • No options for cats

Get your free BarkBox

Sound like something you might want to try? For a limited time, you can use our link to sign up your pup for a 6- or 12-month subscription and BarkBox will give you an extra month free! Just use the code FRESHOME. As they told Freshome, “If you’re a dog, there’s nothing better than BarkBox — a monthly delivery of toys, treats and everything that makes tails wag. If you’re a human, what’s better than FREE?”

We can’t really argue with that. And even if they weren’t running such a great deal, I’d still recommend giving BarkBox a try. Whether you choose a single box or sign up for years, your pet will definitely thank you.

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10 Home Renovations You can Do in an Afternoon

Home renovations always seem like a great idea to start. When you’re six days in and covered in paint, however, major improvements start to feel expensive, time-consuming and draining. That’s because, when it comes to home improvement, it’s easy to bite off more than you can chew. Reality shows and websites make DIY seem so easy, which might be why you find yourself playing amateur electrician when you should have hired a pro.

The trick to home renovations is to know your limits. You don’t need a complete overhaul to see a huge difference in your place. In fact, a few afternoon improvements might be all it takes to really love your home or apartment. By choosing a couple of afternoon renovations, you can have the same sense of accomplishment without the time and expense of an extreme makeover. Here are a few of our favorite big impact, small effort renos.

Organized drawers of kitchen utensils

Organized drawers keep your entire house tidier. Image: Myvisuals/Shutterstock

Organize your drawers

Let’s face it: we all have junk drawers. Some of us might have many junk drawers. And while a few disorganized nooks and crannies might not seem like a big deal, that disorganization can bleed into other areas of your home. Miscellaneous phone chargers, keys and other stuff have a way of cluttering up other surfaces, making your home feel messy. While you might not be able to devote weeks to a complete cleanout, simply organizing your drawers puts everything in its place. Head to the dollar store and load up on inexpensive baskets and organizers. Then, dump out everything from the drawers and don’t put anything back until it has a specific spot in your home. Nothing beats tidy, organized drawers — even if you’re the only one who sees them.

Home with red front door

A bright door seems more inviting. Image: karamysh/Shutterstock

Spruce up your entry

Your front door is the first thing visitors notice about your home and it’s so easy to spruce it up in an afternoon. Painting your door a new color — or just repainting the same color — only takes about half an hour. While you’re waiting for the paint to dry for a second coat, clean up your porch and entryway. Get rid of old leaves and debris and add a welcome mat to match your new door color. Add planters with flowers or even sturdy faux plants. If you have extra time, swap out your porch light for something more modern before adding a second coat to your door. Then, step back and watch the compliments arrive with every guest.

Regrout and recaulk

Bathroom grout is one of those things that really shows your home’s age. Over time, the caulk and grout in your bathroom become dingy and yellow, and can even chip off and leave gaps. Regrouting and recaulking might not be the sexiest of home improvements, but it’s a quick fix that can make your entire bathroom look better. Caulking is simple: just pull out the old caulk with a scraper and add a new, clean bead with a caulk gun.

Regrouting takes a little more time because you’ll need to chip or grind down the jagged, old grout. Still, it’s a pretty simple process. Once the old grout is removed, you apply new grout to all of the tiles and then just wipe away the excess with a damp sponge.

Replace hardware

Hardware is one of those “set it and forget it” items in your home. You probably don’t even notice all of the handles and pulls on your doors and cabinets because you use them so often. But hardware can have a big impact on the look and feel of your home. If you’re itching for an update, hardware might be all it takes. Most cabinet or door hardware is swapped out easily with a screwdriver and an afternoon. Go for square pulls for a modern look or add more character with antique doorknobs throughout your home.

Modern kitcehn with gray cabinets

White cabinets brighten up the kitchen. Image: David Papazian/Shutterstock

Paint cabinets

If you don’t feel like hardware is a big enough change for you, think about repainting your cabinets. Installing new cabinets is a huge expense and takes a lot of time, even if you purchase them pre-made. The truth is that as long as the actual cabinet boxes are in good shape, you can remove the doors and paint them. Just make sure to use the right type of paint for your cabinets’ material (e.g.: wood versus composite) and prime your doors beforehand. The color of your cabinets makes a huge difference in your kitchen and bathrooms, so it’s a quick renovation that gives you a huge bang for your buck.

Palm printed wallpaper on one wall

Wallpaper one wall for impact and a quick change. Image:

Create a feature wall

Sure, you could paint an entire room. But taping off walls, patching and painting takes forever. You can probably get the same impact by just choosing a feature wall. A feature wall just means only painting or wallpapering one wall in a room to add color, draw interest and give more character. It also only means painting one wall, freeing up a lot of time. Don’t like the idea of paint? Choose a graphic wallpaper and only use it on one main wall in a room. Today’s wallpaper is simple and less messy than the sticky stuff of yesteryear, so it’s an even quicker way to spruce up a room.

Switch your switches

Light switches are only about $1 each, making updating them one of the cheapest home renovations possible. Switches can start to look discolored and dirty over time, making even clean rooms look tired. What’s more, you can score smart switches that have USB ports, streamlining power in your home. You don’t need to be an electrician to swap your switches, but you do need to make sure to turn off your electricity before you start taking the plates off. Then, it’s quick work to screw on new plates. Don’t want to install new switches? Try painting them or using washi tape to add character without changing them completely.

Master bedroom with sheer curtains

Swap out heavy blinds for sheer curtains. Image:

Update window treatments

If you’re still living with cheap mini blinds or your home’s original vertical blinds, it’s time to update your window treatments. Swap out faded or damaged blinds for cool new bamboo shades or hang sheer curtains for privacy without losing light. Or, just update your plastic blinds for wood versions. Many home improvement stores can simply cut new blinds with your measurements and you’ll have updated windows without a lot of fuss.

Stick on a backsplash

A traditional tile backsplash can definitely be a major time and cost commitment. It’s not something you’d want to DIY unless you had experience with tile before since it requires precision and skill. Still, you can totally update your kitchen with a simple stick-on backsplash. New stick-on tiles look just like traditional tiles but are lightweight and easy to use. Check out stick-on metallic tiles or try an urban loft feel with easy brick tiles. A steady hand and a little time are all you need to completely transform your kitchen.

Try a new living room layout for a fresh take. Image: Breadmaker/Shutterstock

Rearrange your furniture

It’s probably the easiest afternoon renovation of all: simply rearrange your furniture. Chances are you put your furniture in your home on move-in day and haven’t done much since. But moving around your major pieces — especially couches, bookshelves and tables — completely changes the way you see your home. Try this: walk into your home and visualize what you would think if it were the first time you’d ever seen the space. Pushing the couch on a different angle or moving a table that could be more functional somewhere else breathes a little more life into a stale layout. The best part? If you don’t like it, you can always put your stuff right back where it was.

Home renovations don’t always have to be complete home overhauls. With a spare afternoon and a few extra bucks, some of your home’s biggest pain points can be completed resolved — or at least reduced. Adjust the way you think about home improvement and, suddenly, renovations become a lot less overwhelming.

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A Gracefully Rejuvenated Industrial-Style Apartment in Warsaw

industrial-style apartment

Image courtesy of Design Studio Soma Architekci.

Design Studio Soma Architekci completed the design and development of Koneser Apartment, a contemporary 78 square meter (840 square foot) crib located in Warsaw, Poland. The newly refurbished industrial-style apartment is part of a building that used to house a local vodka factory.

“The factory is an example of European architecture from the turn of the 19th century,” the designers explained. “The red brick, along with narrow windows, lovely cornices, small towers and arched ceilings make for an authentic atmosphere.” Consistency with the characteristics of the industrial building was the main factor to consider when designing this apartment.

Image courtesy of Design Studio Soma Architekci.

The heart of the space is an open plan kitchen, living and dining area, which features modern finishes, as well as industrial-style detailing. The kitchen’s brick wall was restored and currently acts as one of the focal points of the living area. Some of the furniture and lighting units feature black metal structures, which add to the industrial vibe of the Warsaw apartment. The lamp in the kitchen made up of strips of fiberglass was envisioned by French designer Constance Guisset.

Despite its industrial style, the apartment feels warm and welcoming thanks to decorative cushions, soft fabrics and rugs. Natural light fills up the entire space through large windows which pay tribute to the architecture of the historical building. Enjoy the virtual gallery below and let us know your thoughts! All photos and information were provided by Design Studio Soma Architekci.

Image courtesy of Design Studio Soma Architekci.

Image courtesy of Design Studio Soma Architekci.

Image courtesy of Design Studio Soma Architekci.

Image courtesy of Design Studio Soma Architekci.

Image courtesy of Design Studio Soma Architekci.

Image courtesy of Design Studio Soma Architekci.

Image courtesy of Design Studio Soma Architekci.

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Check Out The New KitchenAid Walmart Kitchen Tools Line

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Are you (or is someone you know) obsessed with the classic KitchenAid stand mixers and the colors they come in? You’ll love the brand’s latest collab with Walmart. The new and exclusive KitchenAid Walmart line of modern utensils and kitchen gadgets comes in fashion-forward colors at a budget-friendly price.
kitchen aid walmart gadgets and kitchen tools

The new line of gadgets and tools is perfect for home bakers or cooks that already use the iconic KitchenAid stand mixer. All images courtesy of Kitchen Aid/Walmart.

Some items in the collection cost as little as $8, but each one offers KitchenAid durability and quality. Stainless steel, silicone, dishwasher-safe plastic and heat-resistant nylon handles are just a few of the materials in the collection.

The new collection colors are also fashion-forward and feature white, turquoise and a dark graphite grey. Here’s a look at the collection, available exclusively at Walmart. A bundle of these could make a great wedding or housewarming gift.

kitchen aid walmart gadgets and kitchen tools
kitchen aid walmart gadgets and kitchen tools
kitchen aid walmart gadgets and kitchen tools
kitchen aid walmart gadgets and kitchen tools
kitchen aid walmart gadgets and kitchen tools
kitchen aid walmart gadgets and kitchen tools
kitchen aid walmart gadgets and kitchen tools
kitchen aid walmart gadgets and kitchen tools
kitchen aid walmart gadgets and kitchen tools
kitchen aid walmart gadgets and kitchen tools
kitchen aid walmart gadgets and kitchen tools
kitchen aid walmart gadgets and kitchen tools

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How to Stripe Your Lawn

With how many chores a yard entails, deciding to stripe your lawn might seem like an added complication to the whole yard care process. But lawn stripes can give a classy, artistic look to a yard and add some unique visual geometry.

The beauty with lawn stripes is that they aren’t hard to get. Most residential lawn striping systems come as a simple attachment that goes on the back of a lawnmower. And these attachments tend to run in the $100 to $200 range. So in the time it takes to mow your lawn, you’re looking at an attractive big-league look in your yard.

Below, we’ll cover how to get this gorgeous lawn trend in your backyard. There are multiple lawn stripe patterns to choose from, plus a few tips to follow for the best lawn striping. And, of course, there’s the decision of whether or not to hire a professional lawn care service to stripe your lawn for you.

Stripe Your Lawn Subtle Style

Some stripe patterns are more subtle. Image: Michael Moloney/Shutterstock

Decide on the stripe style

The first step is to choose what type of striping you want. There are several popular types of patterns you can stripe your lawn with, including:

  • Straight stripes
  • Checkered
  • Diamond
  • Waved
  • Zig-zag

These patterns can also be subtle or pronounced, depending on the length of the grass. Higher grass means a more pronounced pattern. As a general rule, larger-scale green spaces will do well with more intricate and pronounced patterns. Smaller yards may be overpowered by such a dramatic style, so people with smaller yards might want to go for a more subtle striped look.

Stripe Your Lawn Lined Style

Lawn stripes can give a stately look to a yard. Image: Norma Cornes/Shutterstock

How to stripe your lawn

As mentioned above, getting this look is a lot easier than you’d think. A simple rolling attachment, usually placed behind a walking lawnmower, does the trick. What these attachments do is simply bend the grass blades without damaging the lawn. Grass that bends towards you looks dark, while grass that bends away looks lighter because of how the light is reflecting off of it. No fancy chemicals, no special grass seed. It’s literally just a trick of the light.

But there are several other tips to keep in mind so you can stripe your lawn the right way:

  • Try sketching how you want the pattern to look first so you know exactly where to run the mower.
  • To keep your lines straight, start by mowing right next to something straight, like a fence, building or sidewalk. Then, while mowing, look ahead and around to keep the lawnmower oriented. Don’t fall into the trap of just staring at the ground.
  • Striping the lawn with the same pattern repeatedly can permanently flatten grass, so try to switch up the pattern every couple of weeks or so. (You can read other lawn care tips here.)
  • For the best results, long-bladed and flexible grass, such as fine fescues, will take the striping better. You can stripe shorter-bladed and stiff grass, but the pattern won’t hold as long or be as pronounced.
Stripe Your Lawn Wavy Design

A pro can help you get more intricate designs. Image: Dave Yates/Shutterstock

DIY vs. Hiring a Pro

Another consideration is whether you should stripe your lawn yourself or hire a pro. Cost and ease are going to be at the center of this issue.

If you do it yourself, you can get your own attachment for around $100 and stripe your lawn whenever you feel like it. Renting a lawn striper might even be an option, as rental equipment usually goes for several dollars for a few hours or so. It really is one of the more inexpensive landscaping embellishments out there.

A landscaping service can also stripe your lawn for you. If you already have your lawn professionally mowed, it might not be a stretch to see if they will stripe it while they’re at it. Some lawn care services also specialize in striping lawns.

And remember, having a pro do it can be a great option if you just want an attractive lawn pattern for that big party you’re hosting. Click here to learn more about professional lawn care services in your area.

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6 Living Room Storage Tricks from Top Interior Design Pros

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If you’ve ever wondered how to make the most of your living room storage, you’re not alone. Nearly every homeowner is on the hunt for ways to keep their most-used room functional while still keeping it aesthetically appealing. In light of that, we decided to ask the experts for their advice. We asked six interior design pros to share their best living room storage tricks.

Here’s what they had to say:

living room storage

An ottoman can be a great option for storing odds and ends. Image: Breadmaker/Shutterstock

Invest in a storage ottoman

“Storage ottomans are a great solution for living rooms because they serve a dual purpose. In addition to having a lovely place to rest your feet, they provide a good-sized space to tuck away items you don’t want all over the living room. This could be a good place for blankets or extra pillows, maybe even sheets if you have a pull-out sofa bed. Storage ottomans can tuck away DVDs and games, remote controls and those magazines that pile up in the living room. This functional piece of furniture is the perfect place to stash items before guests arrive.”

—  Erika Bodine, Decorator, Interior Planner and Sales Manager, LuxeDecor

wall hooks

Create your own entryway with a few wall hooks. Image: New Africa/Shutterstock

Don’t overlook wall hooks

“Installing a couple of wall hooks is an effortless way to organize hats, coats and purses without cluttering drawers and counters. It’s important to find balance and spacing that works for the item you are hanging, as it will create visual appeal and also naturally function as wall decor.”

— Emilie Baltorinic, Interior Designer, Living Spaces

closed storage

Use closed storage to your advantage. Image:

Hide clutter in closed storage

“Some items, like books, can store really beautifully, while other items, like papers, children’s toys or small electronics, can be an eyesore.  For these more difficult items, consider closed storage like a fabric cube or wicker basket. This strategy still makes all items accessible but makes it easier to also design a functional space with storage in mind!”

— Kayla Hein, Creative Director, Modern Castle

wall storage unit

Go vertical with a wall storage unit. Image: Vadym Andrushchenko/Shutterstock

Think about using a wall storage unit

“Symmetry creates order out of dissimilar items. Storage wall units like the IKEA Kallax create a wall of squares that get items up and off the floor and other horizontal surfaces. They can also be used to create these little feature cubes where you can play with color, theme and texture.”

— Darla DeMorrow, Certified Professional Organizer and Owner, HeartWork Organizing

sofa table

Use a sofa table to add storage that won’t take up much space. Image:

Add a sofa table

“My favorite tip for increasing the storage space [in a living room] is to add a sofa table. In most cases, there is a little bit of space left between the couch and the wall. Take advantage of this space by placing a narrow table behind the couch. Pick a table with complementing color that’s the same length as the sofa. You can use it to store magazines, books, remotes, frames, decor or lamps. You can even install an outlet in the table to create a phone charging station.”

— Eva Bowker, Home Improvement Coordinator, Fantastic Handyman

under stair storage

Store larger items in the space under the stairs. Image: Jo Ann Snove/Shutterstock

Utilize the space under the stairs

“The space under the stairs can be used as a closet space with pull-out shelves or racks. A remodeling contractor can create this extra storage safely while maintaining the structural integrity of the stairs. This storage space can be used for many purposes like shoes, coats or a mini library.”

— Amira Johnson, Interior Designer, Emerald Doors

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