Sagging, Scratching and Tearing — Oh My! Don’t Let These Common Problems Ruin Your Furniture

Whether you recently invested in a brand-new sofa or you've had your furniture for years, everyone wants to keep their furniture in top condition. Here are some smart tips that will prevent sags, tears, and other common furniture issues in your home.

  • Flip your cushions frequently. To keep your cushions from getting too flat, make sure that you flip them frequently. You can use this trick on chairs, sofas, and anything else with a removable cushion.
  • Turn your mattress. Prolong the lifespan of your mattress by flipping it every six months or so. This will help to keep the springs in place and avoid placing weight on the same spot every night.
  • Keep wood furniture away from heat and sunlight. Wood is very durable, but when it comes to sunlight, things can start fading fast. Try to arrange your hardwood furniture so that it's not in the path of direct sunlight, and avoid placing wooden pieces near a heater to prevent warping.
  • Take coasters seriously. You may think of coasters as a bit of an annoyance, but when it comes to preserving the life of your wooden tables, they're actually very important. Keep a few coasters on hand so that your cold beverages don't make rings on wood surfaces.
  • Only use oil soap for wooden furniture. Cleaning your wooden tables and chairs with any old cleaner may damage their surfaces. Instead, always clean these pieces with oil soap diluted with equal parts water.
  • Dust frequently. It may look harmless, but dust can damage the inside of your rugs, sofa cushions, and on top of wooden shelves and tables. Make sure to take cushions outside and give them a good beating to shake out the dust, and frequently dust wooden pieces using a gentle feather duster or an old rag.

Caring for Furniture [HGTV]

How to Give Your Rental Home More Pizzazz and Personality

You want your home's surroundings to reflect your personal style, but this can sometimes prove difficult as a renter. Follow these tips to help give your rental home more life and character!

  • Keep fresh flowers and potted plants around to add warmth and life to your space.
  • Change out the hardware on your kitchen and bathroom cabinets and drawers. It will make a big impact, and it's easy to change back when you move out.
  • Add area rugs to help define your space and to add warmth and color.
  • Use temporary wallpaper to create a statement wall and bring some color or bold patterns into your space
  • Changing out your light switch plates is such a small detail but can really make a difference. Plus, this is also something you can change right back when you leave.
  • Hang your favorite art pieces around to brighten your mood and inspire you. Instead of hammers and nails, use 3M hooks to hang framed photos and posters.

How to Decorate a Rental [Style Me Pretty]
Dos and Don'ts of Decorating a Rental [HGTV]
5 Easy, High-Impact Rental Decorating Ideas (That Can Move With You) [Apartment Therapy]

Public Domain/Flickr/Anna Bieniek

Everything Green is New Again With These Cool Ways to Display Houseplants

Instead of the usual terra cotta pots and windowsill planters, why not try displaying your houseplants in a new and innovative way? If you're feeling a bit blue about the current state of your in-home greenery, try out one of these fun and stylish ways to show off your plants.

  • A hanging air plant. Air plants are truly unique, as these spider-like greens require absolutely no soil to grow. Because of this, it's easy to display them just about anywhere you like! Search the web for hanging ceramic planters that dangle from the ceiling to display your air plants.
  • A framed wall hanging. Love succulents? Rather than displaying them in the usual pots, line a picture frame with chicken wire and moss and grow a succulent garden right on your wall.
  • A zoo of planters. If you're a fan of all things fun and whimsical, create your very own "zoo" of clay plant pots. Browse stores or websites for planters in the shape of animals (you might be surprised just how many you find!) Fill them with succulents, cacti, or small plants and arrange the whole gang on a tabletop or sunny shelf.

Planters [Etsy]
20 Unforgettable Indoor Plant Displays [Decoist]

How to Squeeze Every Inch Out of Your Closet Space

If you have a messy closet, your whole room can feel off, and putting outfits together can be difficult when you can’t find what you’re looking for. Organizing your wardrobe can be a little overwhelming, so follow these tips to achieve an orderly, well-maintained closet.

  • Donate or get rid of any clothing items that you haven’t worn in more than two years.
  • Keep out-of-season clothes in large plastic bins and place them under your bed or on high shelves to make space for items that you’ll be reaching for during that time of year.
  • Use a shoe hanger to place over your closet door to free up some floor or shelf space.
  • Hang your most worn items at eye level where you can see them.
  • Keep your folded clothes and accessories neat and tidy by using shelf dividers.
  • Hang hooks inside your closet for extra storage space. These are great for jackets and will clear up a lot of space for your clothes.
  • Color-code your clothes so you’ll know exactly where everything is when you need it.

20 Ways to Organize Your Bedroom Closet [Apartment Therapy]
The Experts Spill Their Tips For A Clean, Well-Organized Closet [Who What Wear]
How to Organize A Lot of Clothing in Very Little Closet Space [Lifehacker]

How to Add a Pop of Color to Your Existing Decor

While a nice, neutral color palette is a great way to make your home feel chic and polished, things can also feel a bit drab without any color. If you’re looking for a way to add a pop of color to your home at Enclave at Hometown without going overboard, these tips will help.

  1. Add a throw pillow. Even if you already have throw pillows on your furniture, adding just one more in a bright, complementary color may be all that you need. Try one bold shade and keep the others simple by using textures or patterns in neutral hues.
  2. Freshen up your window treatments. Replace your blinds or shades with sheer curtains in a fresh color. If you don’t want to commit to one color, try curtains in a repetitive pattern with an accent color throughout.
  3. Add some bright artwork. If your walls are looking a bit bare, try framing some colorful prints that are much brighter than the rest of your decor. This is a great way to maintain your existing style while still brightening things up a bit.
  4. Add colorful chairs. Update a home office or your kitchen table by swapping out the matching chairs with something in a contrasting shade. You may even want to paint your current chair in a bold turquoise or rich red!

Top 10 Tips for Adding Color to Your Space [HGTV]
10 Surprising Ways to Add Color to Your Home [House Beautiful]
Five Ways To Add Color to Your Home This Week [Apartment Therapy]

Store Your Bike Indoors Without Wasting Space With These Savvy Tips

Commuting by bicycle is a great way to save money, cut down on pollution, and get some exercise, but creating storage for your bike can be tricky. If you’re looking for savvy ways to store your bicycle inside, check out these smart spots and innovative products.

  • Hang it on an all-in-one shelf. Many modern bike companies now offer floating shelves that pull your bicycle up off of the floor in an attractive way. As a bonus, these smart shelves also feature hooks for hanging your helmet, messenger bag and other small belongings.
  • Store it vertically in a slim wall space. Even if you only have a slim space between two windows or a doorway, that’s just enough space to hang your bike. Invest in sturdy mounting hardware and store your bike vertically on the wall.
  • Hang it over a door. If you have high ceilings, use them to your advantage. Hang your bike in the unused space over a doorway with a DIY pulley system or reliable mounts.
  • Use a two-bike gravity stand. If you have more than one bike, you can stack them on a tiered gravity stand. This attractive, minimal stand uses gravity to keep the bikes upright, and best of all, it doesn’t require any drilling into the wall.

6 Smart Attractive Ways to Store Your Bike Indoors [Dwell]
4 Places to Stash Your Bike Inside (Even if You Think You Don't Have Room) [Apartment Therapy]
The 10 Best Ways to Store Your Bike in a Small Apartment [Complex]

How to Brew the Perfect Cup of Tea

Even if you drink tea every day, you may not be brewing it properly. Don’t sweat it, however; simply read up on these simple tips for brewing the perfect cuppa.

  • For hot teas, such as black tea, you’ll want to first bring cold, filtered water to a boil to ensure the best possible taste. Add the tea bag to the cup first, and then gently pour the now-boiling water on top of it, using wide circular motions. Let the tea brew for three to five minutes, no more, and then serve with milk, sugar or by itself.
  • For large batches of iced teas, bring one quart of cold water to a rolling boil in a pot or kettle. Remove it from the stove and add eight to ten tea bags, depending on how dark you like your tea. Let it brew for three to five minutes, and then immediately pour it over a large quantity of ice cubes. You’ll also want to pop the whole thing in the refrigerator to get it completely cold.
  • For green tea, there is an entirely unique process. Because this tea is much more delicate, it can easily burn. Once the water starts boiling, you’ll want to let it sit for about 10 minutes to cool off. Then, pour it over the tea bag and let it brew for just one minute before serving.

How to Steep Hot Tea [The Republic of Tea]
Tea 101 [Teavana]
Brewing Tea [Tea Association]
Make a Perfect Brew [UK Tea & Infusions]

Update Basic Magnets and Pushpins WIth These Fun Tutorials

Who says office supplies have to be boring? Here are a few crafty ways to transform your basic pushpins and magnets into something eye-catching, playful, and perhaps a bit chic.

Bottle Cap Magnets and Thumbtacks [marthastewart.com]
Start saving up those used bottle caps, because you’re certainly going to want to try this adorable DIY project from Martha Stewart. Simply glue a small photo inside of each bottlecap, then use contact cement to attach them to the magnets and pushpins and create a tiny photo gallery.

DIY Gold Magnetic Letters [inspiredbycharm.com]
If you loved making silly words and phrases from those colorful magnetic letters as a kid, you’ll enjoy this chic, updated version just as much. Just cover those childish magnets with luxe gold spray paint for a modern, updated look.

Washi Tape Clothespins [designertrapped.com]
By covering affordable wooden clothespins with different types of colorful washi tape, you can create this fun project in less than an hour. Add adhesive magnets to the backs of each clothespin to use them on the refrigerator, or line them up on a wire to hang photos from a wall.

Food Safety Tips Everyone Should Know

Whether you’re cooking for your family or planning a potluck for a whole group, it’s always important to prepare and store food properly to avoid foodborne illness. Here are a few smart tips that will keep your food tasting great while also keeping you out of harm’s way.

  1. Be mindful of leftovers. As a general rule, leftovers should only be kept in the refrigerator for three or four days before they start to go bad. Keep yourself safe by storing all leftovers in airtight containers, and if you don’t eat them in within the recommended time frame, consider it a loss and toss them in the trash.
  2. Use a meat thermometer. When cooking meat, always use a meat thermometer to ensure that it is fully cooked. Beef should be at least 145°F, while poultry should be at least 165°F.
  3. Know your eggs. If you frequently cook eggs, be aware that they have a fairly long lifespan in the refrigerator of three to five weeks. Dishes containing eggs, however, should be discarded after three or four days.
  4. Stay informed about outbreaks. Always watch the news to learn about recent foodborne illness contaminations, such as E. coli or salmonella. Throw away any foods that might be contaminated immediately.
  5. Always wash your hands. The most important thing that you can do when handling any type of food is to wash your hands.

How long can you safely keep leftovers in the refrigerator? [Mayo Clinic]
Learn the Basics to Keep Food Safe at Home [Food Safety News]
Storage Times for the Refrigerator and Freezer [FoodSafety.gov]

How to Create an Eye-Catching Vignette

While design magazines and blogs make it seem effortless to throw a few things together on a shelf and make it look stylish, in real life, it’s not quite as easy. If you want to learn how to create a magazine-worthy vignette, these simple tips will show you the way.

  1. Start with a blank slate. No matter what type of finished product you have in mind, it’s always best to start with a blank surface so that you can really visualize where things will go.
  2. Gather complementary colors. Before placing the items in your vignette, make sure that they all look good together. They don’t have to match exactly, but they should look purposeful together.
  3. Start with the largest item. Place your largest item first, whether it’s a lamp or a vase of flowers.
  4. Think of layers. Place items at varying heights and depths, such as a couple of large frames against the wall and smaller candles at the front. You can also stack books horizontally to offset the vertical items.
  5. Play with spacing. Move objects a few times, then step back and admire your work to find the right spacing.
  6. Consider texture. Finally, create texture in your vignette. Incorporate lush plants, flowers, feathers or even a woven basket as a finishing touch.

Creating a Well-Styled Vignette Table [Jenna Burger]
8 Tips for Making Beautiful Vignettes [HGTV]
Rule of Three and Odd Numbers [Cecilia Walker Design]

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