Living in an apartment isn’t always easy. It requires careful and strategic layout planning, streamlining and updating. Fitting everything you need into a smaller space is a challenge, and when you finally succeed in creating a functional (and beautiful) space, it feels like a major victory (and a little more like home).
Case in point; after several years (yes, years) in the same apartment, I finally created a functional, bright, inspiring workspace. I was tired of using the old dining room table as a desk, sitting on a pillow on the chair and working in a dark corner.
So how do you do it? You downsize, invest in some new décor, personalize and you’re ready to work (and rock).
- Offload your big furniture. This will make a big difference and take your space from awkward to inviting. Donate your oversized furniture or sell it. Craigslist has been the go-to option for years, but new mobile-friendly apps like Offer Up are simple and extremely helpful.
- Find space-saving new (or refurbished) furniture. Once you’ve offloaded your old furniture, find something new (or new to you). You don’t have to spend a fortune to get the look you want. Stuck in a corner like me? Go bright with a white desk and shiny accents.
- Dust off your stored artwork and décor.I’m a fan of typography art, and after I put together my new white desk, I immediately unpacked my art to hang it on the wall. This simple update energized the space, personalized it and made it more welcoming.
- Recycle unnecessary documents and paperwork. There are certain things you probably shouldn’t get rid of (tax files, birth certificates, etc.). But if you have a pile of pay stubs from several years ago sitting in a drawer (guilty here), scan and shred them. Online storage options like Google Driveand external hard drives have encryption codes and security settings that help keep your files safe and secure.
- Get creative with your storage. Downsizing your furniture may make it tougher to easily keep things stashed away. So if you still have stuff, take a trip to a local shop like The Container Store and get stackable storage blocks with stylish drawers. Or install floating shelves for books and décor. Use your wall to your advantage!
- Add a pop of color. I needed a new chair and I figured more light might help the dark space. Grab a seat in a vibrant color, and get a contemporary and fun lamp or other accessory for extra desk flair.
Even if you can’t throw fresh paint on the walls, or you don’t have an awesome view, you can still create a workspace that energizes, inspires, and helps you stay on track. Now have fun, and get to work!
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In the apartment community I live in, I have a neighbor who happily sits outside every few weekends, working on the flowers he planted in the small patch of land adjacent to his window. The landscapers take care of everything on the property, and the grounds are clean and beautiful. But pretty flowers are sparse, so I was happy to see this man take the opportunity to make at least a small part of the property look that much more vibrant.
There’s something about plants and flowers, how they brighten a living space, add to your decor and lift your mood. Like many who live in apartments or condos, I can’t exactly have a huge garden with veggies and pretty colors. If you’re lucky, you can take part in community garden projects. But if you don’t have that option, here are some great ideas for indoor plants (even if you lack a green thumb).
- Succulents – My niece has a thing for tiny succulent plants, and has scattered several throughout her apartment. They’re easy to take care of, come in all shapes and sizes, and (bonus) some, like Aloe Vera, even purify the air.
- Ivy – Want something with a little more drama? Devil’s Ivy (Golden Pothos) and English Ivy are both beautiful options, and like many indoor plants, help clean the air.
- Cactus – I’m a big fan of the desert, so it’s nice to bring it home. Want a pop of color? Try the Moon Cactus (Grafted Cactus).
- Moth Orchid – This is a gorgeous plant that’s easy to take care of. My trick? Whenever the moss is completely dry, give it a little warm water directly on the roots/moss until it’s soggy. They like warm areas but keep it out of direct sunlight.
- Ferns – They aren’t as generic as you might think, and come in all shapes and sizes. Try a Crocodile Fern for a touch of interesting texture.
- Ficus – Got a bit more space to spare? This small tree loves sunlight, and you can even braid its stems.
- Shamrock Plant – Feeling lucky? This charming little plant has cheery white flowers and is easy to take care of.
- Palms – Ready for a challenge? Bring the beach inside with smaller indoor palms, like the Areca Palm and the Sentry Palm. They’re a bit tougher to care for, but are worth the extra effort!
- Bonsai – Create a tiny work of art with your favorite Bonsai tree.
Once you dive into the world of plants, start your own small veggie garden in the kitchen! Fresh tomatoes; need I say more?
Deer-resistant shrubs aren’t Bambi’s preferred snacks, although he’ll eat most any plant when really hungry. Consult this list of bushes if your landscaping budget isn’t big enough to feed Bambi.
Deer-Resistant Shrubs That Are Evergreen:
I often take bike rides in the Lyme, Connecticut (U.S.) area and observe people’s landscaping while I’m at it. One shrub I see a lot of in the landscapes there is boxwood.
One reason why, no doubt, is that this classic plant for hedges is a logical choice, aesthetically, in an area of upscale residences.
But there’s more to it than that. Lyme disease, an illness spread by a deer tick(Ixodes dammini) is named after this town, so you know that lots of Bambi’s relatives frequent the region! Homeowners here have figured out that Bambi tends to leave boxwood alone more often than not.
Boxwood is an example of a broadleaf evergreen. Among the needled evergreens, junipers make for some of the best deer-resistant shrubs. It’s understandable: Juniper’s texture is bristly (not exactly a treat for the tongue). Blue Star juniper is a small, slow-growing, rounded bush that’s a good choice in beds where a bluish accent is needed. Meanwhile, Blue Rug juniper serves as a ground cover; you’ll often see it growing on hillsides.
For a totally different look, try the Pfitzer Chinese junipers that have been trained into pom-poms.
Flowering Deer-Resistant Shrubs:
- Arrowwood viburnum
- Russian sage
- Butterfly bush
- Candy Oh! Vivid Red Landscape Roses
Andromeda (Pieris japonica) is multidimensional, as well.
I could just as easily have listed it among the evergreens. But unlike boxwood and the other evergreens mentioned above, this bush is also grown for its blooms, which give off a powerful smell in early spring.
Bluebeard (Caryopteris) blooms in late summer, at a time when relatively few bushes are flowering. It would be difficult to choose between this desirable tardiness of bloom and the beauty of the flowers when deciding upon the plant’s outstanding feature. In addition, bluebeard is drought-tolerant. Like bluebeard, Russian sage (a sub-shrub, technically) has bluish flowers with silvery-gray foliage and is drought-tolerant. But it blooms earlier and for a longer time than bluebeard.
Don’t dismiss all types of Buddleia as being invasive plants for all regions. First of all, Buddleia is invasive in some regions, while in others, it is not; do your homework before planting to determine its status in your own region. Secondly, as I point out in my article on ‘Blue Chip’ butterfly bush, the word is that this promising new cultivar is non-invasive.
More Deer-Resistant Shrubs:
While the search for a non-invasive butterfly bush has apparently ended with success, I’m still waiting to be convinced when it comes to another invader, barberry.
I’d stay away from planting this one for now. That’s too bad. With its sharp thorns, it’s easy to see why barberry is a deer-resistant shrub.
“Bayberry” may be only one letter off from “barberry,” but they are miles apart in other respects. Bayberry is a native of eastern North America, a shrub you’re more likely to see in the wild there than in people’s yards. It’s the fragrance of bayberry that deters our cloven-hoofed garden pests from eating it.
I’ve saved ‘Carol Mackie’ daphne for last because I could almost have put this variegated bush into either of the two categories above. While not technically evergreen, daphne is virtually so, being leafless for but a short span of time. And its fragrant flowers are one of the true delights of the spring garden.
Read about other classes of deer-resistant plants here (trees, perennials, ground covers, bulbs, ornamental grasses).
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Get ideas for arranging your clothes closet with 8 combinations of shelves, hooks, rods and drawers.
Houzz Contributor, Laura Gaskill
Large, luxurious walk-in closets may be the stuff dreams are made of, but they are not always the reality. If the closet space you have to work with is on the petite side, there’s still plenty you can do to make the most of it. From ultraslim shelving to wall-mounted storage, here are steal-worthy ideas from eight closets that put every inch to work.
1. Dresser + hanging rod + curtains. Replacing the closet doors with curtains has freed up some much-needed space in this small bedroom, allowing access to every inch of the reach-in closet. Inside the closet, a high shelf holds baskets (perfect for storing less-used items) over a hanging rod, with a dresser below. The dresser top is put to work too, with a wire storage basket and space for a few pairs of shoes.
Best for: Reach-in bedroom closet.
2. Tall bookcase + hanging rods + wall hooks. A tall, shallow bookcase anchored to the wall provides ample storage space for folded clothes and accessories in this petite closet. Opposite the shelving, rods hold hanging clothes and a set of wall hooks provides a handy drop spot for scarves and jackets.
Best for: Narrow walk-in closet.
3. Shelves under eaves + short hanging rod. Shelves in graduated sizes make the most of this space beneath a sloped ceiling. Two wide drawers hold folded clothes below, and a short rod provides space for hanging items.
Best for: Bedroom with sloped ceiling.
4. Wall-mounted shoe rack + hanging rod + high shelf. A slim wire shoe rack mounted on the wall holds plenty of pairs without taking up precious floor space. At the back of the closet, two high wire shelves over the hanging rod hold luggage and other infrequently used items.
Best for: Deep, narrow closet.
5. Shelves + crates + lidded boxes. A simple setup with wall-mounted shelving is made more functional with the addition of crates to keep bulky items from toppling over. Wall hooks hung both low and high keep bags and belts neatly stowed, and lidded boxes provide a spot for stashing small accessories.
Best for: Small closet with more folded than hanging clothes.
6. Hanging rod + high shelf + floor basket. An easy setup for a petite closet, this allows room for hanging items on the single rod, with a storage shelf above and a basket on the floor to hold accessories (or clothes to be dry-cleaned). If your closet is a bit wider, add shelving to the wall opposite.
Best for: Small closet with more hanging than folded clothes.
7. Extra-high hanging rod + step stool. Take advantage of a space with a high ceiling by hanging a second rod extra high, and use it to store off-season or less-used clothes. This frees up the lower portion of the closet for shelves, with wire baskets to keep small items and accessories neat. Be sure to keep a step stool handy to reach the upper rod.
Best for: Petite closet with high ceiling.
8. Shelves + drawers + dressing table. With shelves on one side, a short hanging rod on the other and dresser drawers in the center, this petite closet fits in a little bit of everything. The mirror against the back wall turns the drawer unit into a dressing table with room for jewelry, perfume and other getting-ready essentials. Open bins on the highest shelves keeps less-used items out of the way but still easily accessible.
Best for: Small reach-in closet with mostly folded clothes.
Tell us: Do you have a small closet? Share a photo in the Comments!
I just heard from my longtime friend, Paul, who shared the news that he and his wife had just sold their beautiful house and would be moving in a few weeks. I was surprised to hear this because their sweet little craftsman was their empty-nester home, the smaller place they’d down-sized into after their kids had grown and gone and begun families of their own. Plus, Paul’s green thumb had turned the yard into a real standout. But things change and now, to be closer to the grandkids, a move was in order.
I’m thrilled for my friends, of course. In our red-hot real estate market they got multiple offers and, no surprise, sold for over-asking. I expect there’ll be an invite to a housewarming party soon.
Whether they’d planned to or not, Paul and his wife were part of an annual ritual: the spring/summer selling season. That’s the time of year when flowers start to bloom and for-sale signs sprout on front lawns everywhere – even your friends’.
Deciding to sell your home isn’t a choice you make lightly. In addition to knowing exactly why you want to move, you need to find a broker, prep and primp your home for sale, and understand who today’s buyers are and what they’re looking for so your home can showcase it and make it stand out from the others on the market .
If that all sounds like a lot to consider, well, it is. But the process of selling a home is much easier when you know what to expect.
Here is a checklist to help get your home ready to sell for top dollar.
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