Super Frugal Ways to Save on Your Interior Decorating

Super Frugal Ways to Save on Your Interior Decorating 1

Whether it’s your first apartment, or it’s time to overhaul the house you’ve owned for 20 years, interior decorating can get pricey. Designers can charge hundreds of dollars, and finished artwork can be higher priced than your budget can bear. If you want to redecorate on a shoestring budget you can do much of the work yourself and save yourself tons of money. Here are some ideas to spark your creativity and get designing on your own terms and budget.

Browse Consignment Shops and Thrift Stores

Everything from furniture to artwork can be found at second-hand stores. Look at the home section and work from there. Don’t forget to check out the bedding and the ladies’ dresses areas for fabrics that can be repurposed. For example, you can cut up a frumpy dress made of gorgeous material to cover throw pillows. A fine lace table cloth can be used to make window sheers, or a decorative throw over your head board. Second-hand shops can also supply you with ready-made art you may not be able to find elsewhere, ranging from hand-carved wooden items, to canvasses by obscure or unknown artists. It’s a great place to pick up unique pieces no one else will have, and build the rest of your design around them.

Check the Remnant and Outlet Store for Flooring

Cute little throw rugs or whole-room area rugs can be incredibly expensive. However, carpet remnants often have the edges bound and are sold as rugs of all sizes. Area rugs with even tiny flaws also end up for sale at outlets. After all, if the flaw in the weaving will be under your sofa, will it really bother you? Others may appear perfect and you won’t be able to detect the flaw at all.

Channel Your Own Craftiness
Pinterest and other Internet resources are full of step-by-step instructions on how to make your own decorative art projects. A trip to the craft store will save you a ton of money, and you can use your preferred colors and materials to make it truly unique. Whether you need wall art for the spare bedroom, or a quirky shelving idea for the bathroom, DIY options are fun and easy on your budget.

Make Your Own Window Treatments
You can easily make curtains and Roman shades, and even more ambitious projects like swags and valances are easy to drape yourself. Create the perfect curtain match to new Sunburst shutters from Las Vegas and browse ideas online and use items from the craft store to make your own decor. You can even create your own hardware for less than you’d pay for curtain rods. Use your imagination and look for online tutorials to guide you in the process.

Shop the Local Art Fair

Many cities and towns hold a fair or showcase to allow local artists to gain visibility and sell their wares. Sculpture, pottery, needlework, carvings, and paintings are usually available in a wide range of artistic styles and can help add visual interest to your space. If you decide to haggle with an artist, don’t forget that some supplies can be very expensive and that time and skill is worth money, too. Plus the expense may be worth supporting your local school, alum, or state programs.

Check out Garage and Estate Sales

These types of sales can be a great place to find art and furnishings, in addition to a host of other useful household items. Often, the items for sale are priced to sell, and can be had for pennies on the dollar. Check your local paper or Craigslist to find sales in your area. You never know what you might find at a private sale, so make sure to bring plenty of cash with you.

Redecorating on a budget can be a challenge, especially if you’re not particularly crafty or artistic. By searching in places you may not otherwise look, you can find tons of items at a fraction of their retail cost.


Six Creative Ideas for Window Treatments in the Bathroom and Kitchen



If you are the type of homeowner that enjoys dramatic, airy, or colorful drapes and window treatments surrounding your windows, you might resort to using boring blinds that you picked up at a hardware store in the bathroom and kitchen. Since these areas are typically cramped on space, and don’t allow for large, dramatic window treatments, we often sacrifice style for functionality. However, if you want your window treatments to add a sense of style to the bathroom and kitchen, there are a few options that will work. Try a few of the creative ideas for window treatments below, and breathe a little life back into your bathroom and kitchen windows.

6 Easy Window Treatment Ideas that Look High-End 1Roman Shades with Ribbons

For bathrooms or kitchens that have a feminine style, you can contribute to the overall tone of the room with roman shades that are held up with delicate ribbons. Have fun by pairing the ribbon with curtains that showcase a large floral print or a chevron design. You can then sew a complementing color of ribbon onto the fabric for a beautiful design that will also shade the inside of the home.


For a rustic touch that adds a cozy tone to the kitchen or bathroom, consider adding wood shutters that evoke natural, earthy tones. The shutters can be painted to create a worn look that adds extra character to the room, and prevents the windows from looking too bare. Consider adding shutters to bay windows over a breakfast nook, or on a large window just above the kitchen sink for a fixture that sets the overall style in the room.

6 Easy Window Treatment Ideas that Look High-End 6Bamboo Shades

For a modern look in the interior space, bamboo shades offer a stylish look that also provides plenty of privacy. For those who live near the water or in a coastal state, bamboo shades look tropical and come in a variety of different colors. Bamboo shades are also considered a natural and organic choice when using window treatments with environmentally-friendly materials that are made to create woven wood. Bamboo shades also work to filter rays, making them a great option for allowing natural light in without dealing with the harsh sunlight from entering the room.

6 Easy Window Treatment Ideas that Look High-End 5

Fretwork Panels

Fretwork panels offer a creative look that showcases a beautiful design in the home. The window treatments allow just enough light in without sacrificing privacy, or creating a glare. It will even cast a gorgeous pattern on the walls or floor around the window—adding to the style of the room. You can mix and match fretwork panel designs and colors throughout the kitchen or bathroom in order to keep the windows looking particularly chic.

6 Easy Window Treatment Ideas that Look High-End 4Curtains and Blinds

Instead of having to choose between curtains and blinds, opt for using both options on the windows for a gorgeous look that adds extra dimension to the room. You’ll have more of an option on how much light will be let into the room, while also choosing from various curtain patterns that can complement the color of your blinds. Using a combination of shorter curtains and quality blinds is a popular choice for many homeowners today who don’t want to choose between the two.

6 Easy Window Treatment Ideas that Look High-End 3Scalloped Valance

Instead of sticking with a traditional style of a valence, opt for one that features a scalloped design for a unique look that will add an extra mount of detail to the room. The style creates a whimsical touch and will look even more stylish when coordinated with wallpaper used on the bathroom or kitchen walls. To prevent the valance from looking too bare, consider hanging curtains underneath for a complete look that creates a focal point in the room.


Instead of having windows that appear mundane, enhance the aesthetics with unique window treatment options that are anything but boring. By thinking outside of the box and opting for a style that is more than just blinds, it will allow you to create a gorgeous room that truly feels inviting.


“Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most her time hiking, biking and gardening. For more information on decorating windows with plantation shutters in West Palm Beach contact Brooke via Twitter @BrookeChaplan.”



The Importance of Doing Home Repairs


Home repairs are critical.

A friend of mine who has been a stay at home mom for two decades, was lamenting about the work that she needed done on her home, but could not afford.  She said, “my home is now starting to look bad and that’s not what I want.”

The roof needs work, her kitchen floor needs redoing as well as some of the walls.  And she always wanted to have a little deck built on the side of the house.   She made the choice of having less cash flow by staying home with her children.  Her youngest just turned 13 but returning to the workforce is not of interest to her as she helps her oldest son with his son, who is just 3.  So the home repair will continue to wait and as she waits, the repair situation will become increasingly more expensive to do as the conditions deteriorate.

Most people have invested their lifetime income into their home.  Something that you’ve made this kind of investment in needs to be well-maintained.  You have to continue “reinvesting.”  The longer you wait to repair something, the worse it will get and the more it will cost to repair.  Waiting is not an option.


Set Aside Money for Maintenance

Everyone has a budget that they work with.  Whether it’s written down or not, scheduled or not, you have income and you have expenses.  Add home maintenance as an expense line in your budget.  Decide how much you can reasonably put aside and start saving.  They key is to accept that this money is not to be touched for anything but home repairs.

That’s the challenge a lot of people will have.  Holding on to money in a savings account or in a jar and not touching it!  You have to develop a resolve that no matter what else happens, this money is slated for home repairs and nothing else.  This is essential because you don’t want, for example, your water heater to burst and not be able to replace it immediately.

If you are not prepared for emergency repairs, then all the drama gets created….all the emotion, doubt, frustration, anger, etc.  You will run through your mental list of “who can I borrow money from?” in order to take care of these kinds of repairs.  Don’t put yourself, your family and your friends through that.  Don’t put yourself through that.  Take the necessary steps to set aside money and then don’t touch it.


Find Reputable Repair People

Where do you start?  Ask your family; ask your friends, neighbors, co-workers, even local churches and businesses.  People who have actually used contractors and other repair people are the best source of references.  Good repair people are concerned about their reputation and will do excellent work.  Their business is largely supported by referrals so they will do their best.   They know that if they don’t do a good job, the person that hired them is going to complain about what they did and how they did it.  So, you can probably trust referrals from others.


Licensed or Unlicensed?

Contractors and even handymen who have a license and insurance are safer to use than those that don’t.  If you hire someone to work on your property and they get injured, they can easily make you responsible for that injury.  So, you want to make sure that you are working with someone who is a registered business and has their own insurance.  This protects you and your assets.


What will the repair person do?

A good repair person is going to listen to your explanation of the problem, physically look at it and then put together an estimated quote for you.  That quote should include the cost of the materials, the cost of their labor and how much time to repair work or construction will take.    If you agree, then it becomes a document that you both sign and that you get a copy of.  This is a legal, binding agreement.

Make sure that this document covers the “what if” factors.  For instance, if you are having a roof repaired that has been in need of repair for fifteen years, the “what if” would include if they start to strip away the shingles and the wood and find rotted beams underneath.  Wood gets damaged from water over long periods of time.  A really good contractor may poke an prod and may be able to determine if there is damage underneath or beyond the eyesight, but they can’t always.  And, they should be the one to bring this up.


Will the work have to be inspected by a city official?

Some specific types of work has to be inspected by your town’s license and inspections people.  If you are adding on to your home, certain types of electrical and duct work, changing from propane to gas, installing pipelines or chimneys, etc., are required to be inspected.  Your specific city or town has guidelines as to what kind of work requires that a permit be pulled and inspected upon completion.  A good contractor knows what rules apply very clearly and will take the necessary steps to pull the permit and have inspections done accordingly.


Learn to ask questions

A good contractor is going to explain everything in great detail.  They will take the time to make sure you understand everything that is involved, include potential “what if’s.”  But, if they don’t, make sure you’ve done your research.  The internet is a great tool and there are literally thousands of videos on youtube demonstrating how to repair this or that.  Do your own research so that you are coming from a standpoint of understanding of what is involved and ask questions.


Do it yourself?

We mentioned the thousands of youtube videos.  If you’ve got the courage to take on what you consider to be a challenge, why not?  Plumbing is really a simple system of water flow through pipes.  Walls are made of wood studs and sheet rock.  Patching walls with joint compound is a very simple thing to do.  Most of us can get a roller, a paint tray and paint our own walls.  Changing a garbage disposal is simply a matter of unscrewing the old one off and screwing on the new one.

Doing your own electrical work is not recommended.  A licensed electrician should always be used.  Electricity kills and is not a good idea for a novice.


Your home is an investment

Taking good care of your home is a priority.  A home, for most people, is a lifetime investment.  You want it always to be solid and in good repair.  It has value.  Keeping it well maintained is necessary not just so you can live in comfort, but also in case you decide to sell it.  Well maintained homes sell much faster than those that are in need of repair.  The other consideration is that you may want to leave the home for your children.  We want our children to have the best and leaving them the family home in good condition will be a blessing for them.


Image Credit

The Handy Woman


 From the Editor


As women, we have to learn how to do things for our selves more.  We need to know how to do carpentry, upholstery, repair our computers, fix a broken toilet and even how to get the lawn mower to turn over when it won’t.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with being “handy” and having a wide variety of skills.  It all boils down to one skill though – being able to get it done on your own.

I know a woman who fixes her own car.  The only time she goes for help is if the car has to go up on a lift and that’s only because she doesn’t have one.  She also repairs her own plumbing, hangs her own sheet rock and cooks great food.  That’s me too – only without the car fixing part… and…er.. the cooking – I’m okay with it – not great.

I was fortunate to have a dad who fixed everything and he taught all of his children that we could do the same thing.   My dad fixed cars and you would think I would have picked up on something, but I guess I chose not to.  But, I can do carpentry work, some plumbing work, know how to change the oil in my car, can hang my own sheet rock and OWN and can use professional tools like a sawzall and other types of saws, drills, and welding equipment.    Okay, with the welding stuff, I don’t do anything heavy duty.  I have a small welder and use it for jewelry and have done some pipe welding with the supervision of my brothers.  (I’ll mention that if I need welding supplies, I get them on-line.  I find the prices a little more reasonable.)

Fortunately, I have not had to deal with any men with ego problems because I’m a woman who can do what they can’t (YET).   I am happy to teach them and a lot of men are willing students.   But, it’s good to know a variety of repair things because if you ever do need to call an expert for help, you have some knowledge of what they need to do, how long it should take them and a general idea of what a fair price would be.

But, most importantly, it’s about empowering yourself, educating yourself and preparing yourself to take care of you and your household.  How do you learn?  Youtube has lessons about everything you’d ever want to know.  Some of the larger hardware stores hold in-house classes and we all have friends who know how to do a variety of things.  It’s simply a matter of asking to be taught.  Maybe even volunteer to work with a handyman (or woman) for a few days in exchange for being able to learn – ?

Remember, that whatever you do, your children are apt to follow.  They certainly watch us.  So, even if we think they are not paying attention, they are and remember that you are their greatest source of inspiration.  If you set a good example, you are also teaching them at the same time.  So, ladies, if you’re not handy, there’s nothing wrong with gettin’ handy!





The Essence of the Kitchen



By Tomaca

What room in your home is the most important or the key pivotal room for the family?  Some people would say it’s the living room or family room.  In my home, it’s the kitchen.

The living room used to be called the “parlor” in old English times.  The name changed over time to the “living room.”  Maybe you call it the family room.  But, it’s the place generally where families hang out and watch television or entertain company.  However, the kitchen is the focal point of some homes.  Hopefully our busy lifestyles have not interrupted family meals in the kitchen too much and your family still does that.

When I grew up my parents made everyone sit down together at meal times.  After eating, everyone was assigned a task ranging from scraping the dishes, to putting away food, to washing, drying and putting away the dishes.  The lucky person got the easiest assignment of feeding the dogs.  I remember that as being something really easy and it was nice to make the dogs happy.  Just like people, they were excited about meal time!

The whole process of my siblings and I being in the kitchen all working together was really fun.  You get a feeling from being around your family that is hard to describe except to say that there’s no place like home  and there’s no feeling like that feeling inside you.

With ten kids and a full-time jobs, both my parents were really busy.  But, there were many times that my mom would be preparing meals and that was the time I could just sit in the kitchen to be with her and to chat while she worked.  It was such a cherished time for me.   When my children were young, especially my daughter, who is the oldest, we were always in the kitchen where she would read to me as I cooked.  We spent many weekends in the kitchen baking and designing sugar cookies and other goodies.  The kitchen was the homework spot.  Everyone would sit there and do their homework so they could all help each other.  Of course, that changed when they got older.  They migrated to their own bedrooms.

I don’t drink coffee, but to this day I love the smell.  It reminds me of my father.  Every morning the house was filled with the aroma of his coffee which of course is made, where else?  In the kitchen.

So for me, the kitchen is not just about food, but it’s about connecting with family and individuals by gaining more understanding about who they are, how they feel, what their day was like, etc.  through conversation, not so much through food.  Though my children are grown, the kitchen is still the room where I would entertain.   Not necessarily to eat food, but to sit in a comforting place to have great conversations without the distraction and noise of the television.

I like a nice open kitchen for that reason.  There’s room for everyone.  Someone can sit at the countertop/island or at the table and of course the pets are never far behind because they hope food is going to appear and they’ll be given treats in addition to being petted.

The “homey” feeling in the kitchen is important to me as is the decor.  Windows, a sliding glass door leading to a deck, nice cabinets with decorative cabinet knobs, my organic herbs growing in the pots and always fresh fruit on the table.    And some open space.  I like the kitchen to be a little on the large side so you can walk around freely even with the table, chairs and fridge, etc.  Plus, all the animals turn the kitchen into their lounge whenever people are in there.  There’s always the hope of food hitting the floor!  Yes, they are spoiled, they get lots of treats and hugs and most of all are welcome in the kitchen just like people!


What’s your favorite room in the home?

How to Deal With Attic Pests and Invaders


Ladies, we have to take care of the kids, our men and the home.  Our work list is an endless one.  Here is some practical advice on home care – which we will be offering more of in the future!


Pests are a homeowner’s greatest nightmare and when it comes to attics, it seems that the problems never seem to end. As attractive as it may seem to create a small, secluded corner for yourself in your attic, there are a few things you should consider before you do so. Most attics are made from wood, and as a result they are sensitive to moisture, mold and pests like termites. Unwanted attic guests are actually so hard to get rid of, that you might end up spending more to do this than to renovate the place if you aren’t paying attention. Fortunately, you don’t have to panic because there are many ways of dealing with these pesky critters, and as long as you take precautionary methods, you will be okay.

1.      Identify the Enemy

The first rule of war is to know thy enemy, and this also applies to unwanted home invaders. It is not only termites or bugs that can nest in your attic, but also small animals like bats or rats. They are extremely dangerous, because besides the diseases that they carry, they also chew through electrical wires, and destroy insulation. In order to save your “fortress” you must know what you are dealing with. Identify the type of invader that is destroying your home, and then use a trap to kill it.

But how exactly do you identify it? If I were you I wouldn’t go snooping around with a flashlight in search of diseased animals, so if you get the chance to see it from afar, make sure you manage to at least narrow down your searches. Conduct research related to their shape, size and pattern. For example, mice are 1/8 inches long and pellet shaped. Rats are shorter and fatter, while raccoons are, well, very hard to confuse.

2.      Prepare for Battle

Although it is advised to hire an exterminator, you can also try to fix things on your own. If you decide to do so, make sure to follow the Centers of Disease Control’s recommendations, and start to clean up the mess. I recommend that you open the windows and wear a mask during the procedure. Once you are done, exit the room and wait for fresh air to come in. Along with protective masks, you should also make use of gloves. Sanitizing spray and cream is a must, and toxic substances that kill the critters are also to be considered.

3.      Rats and Mice and Everything not so Nice

Mice can become especially problematic as they reproduce with lightning speed. If only two manage to get in, you might be faced with a serious problem in the near future. They follow electrical wires and walls which they usually destroy. And usually when mice find a nice home, they bring the entire colony.  During the winter months, mice appreciate being inside where it’s warmer.  Rats on the other hand, are not curious by nature, and they shy away from unknown environments. They can however take off traps, so make sure to screw them on the floors. Never, and I mean NEVER, attempt to get rid of raccoons or bats on your own. They are extremely aggressive and carry many diseases. In such cases you should definitely call an exterminator.

4.      Wrapping Up

Someone once said that the best way to make sure that pests do not enter your house, is by not letting them in in the first place. Make sure that your house is very well insulated and sealed. Repair wholes, secure pipes and frequently check the roof for rotting fascia or foundation cracks. Once the pests have invaded your attic you have to take appropriate steps to deal with the situation.