budget decorating http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/7019/all en-US 10 Budget Design Ideas for a Kids' Playroom http://www.wisebread.com/10-budget-design-ideas-for-a-kids-playroom <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-budget-design-ideas-for-a-kids-playroom" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/family-3131202-small.jpg" alt="family" title="family" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Want to make a cool place for your kids to play, but don't want to spend a fortune? Whether you have an entire room or just a dedicated corner, there are a number of ways to make an affordable play space using some creativity, smart shopping, and items you already have around the house. (See also: <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-money-tools-and-toys-for-every-age-group">The Best Money Tools and Toys for Every Age Group</a>)</p> <h2>1. Turn a Wall Into a Chalkboard</h2> <p>A nice touch in any child's play area is a chalkboard. Save the money on fancy easel displays or a full-blown hanging board and just paint a wall area with chalkboard paint. This type of paint is now available in any color and transforms your wall into an actual, erasable chalkboard for a fraction of the cost. <a target="_blank" href="http://www.benjaminmoore.com/en-us/for-your-home/cool-things-to-do-with-chalkboard-paint">Benjamin Moore</a> has a great guide to chalkboard paints, as well as some excellent ideas on how to use these paints beyond the walls.</p> <h2>2. Make Your Own Storage</h2> <p><a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/organize-a-room-for-10-with-no-extra-effort">Storage containers are a necessity</a> to corral the sea of toys most kids seem to have. A great and attractive way to do this on the cheap is to decorate large, sturdy shipping boxes or extra-large diaper boxes. You can try ideas like covering the boxes in brown packaging paper and letting the kids paint or scribble on them. Or, if you are going for a more sophisticated look in a common area, find fabric you love and cover the boxes using glue. I took a hodgepodge of fabric pieces I had lying around and glued them to a giant shipping box to use in our playroom. It makes a great stuffed animal holder.</p> <h2>3. Find Cheap Seating</h2> <p>If you are handy sewing, then by all means making a square floor cushion for the kids to lounge on is easy and economical. However, if you are less than jazzed to fire up a sewing machine, there are still some cheap options. Check out affordable floor pillows and poofs from crafters at <a target="_blank" href="http://www.etsy.com/">Etsy</a>, where there are always some very economical, hand-made styles. Don't forget to check sale areas and clearance racks at superstores and discount stores, where there are usually some decent choices, too.</p> <h2>4. Decorate the Walls</h2> <p>Even if your kids are not budding artists, there has to be something they have made in school or at home that can easily get framed and hung on the wall. Some of my three-year-old's abstracts are perfect for this cause. Find a discount frame, and <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/cheap-ways-to-display-your-art">you have instant wall decor</a>. Personalizing the space with such creations can add flair to a designated kid's corner or playroom and also make the artist proud.</p> <h2>5. Install Sensible Shelving</h2> <p>If you are looking to add some shelves or small bookcases, many inexpensive options are available to accomplish the task. Some options, such as storage cubes and crates, only cost a few dollars. Single wall shelves that you can install yourself, like those from <a target="_blank" href="http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/categories/departments/living_room/10398/">Ikea</a>, are also great options often found for under $20. Or, make a corner useful and look for some budget-friendly, free-standing or wall-installed corner shelves sold at many big box stores. For the more adventurous DIY types, consider other affordable solutions, like <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-cost-effective-ways-to-make-your-own-bookshelves">making your own bookshelves</a>. The possibilities are endless.</p> <h2>6. Look Beyond Kid's Furniture</h2> <p>Often, children's furniture has a huge markup compared to non-kid items. With a little creativity, however, you don't need to buy super expensive kid's furniture to make your playroom complete. Look for cheap coffee tables, other low-height tables, stools, or ottomans that can do double duty as children's tables or seating. I randomly searched online to find a padded, faux leather, living room ottoman for our young daughters to use. There are no sharp corners and it's the perfect height, and it cost all of $40. Or search online to track down kid's tables and chairs on sale, and avoid paying the hefty mark up that many name brand furniture retailers charge for full price items.</p> <h2>7. Organize an Art Area</h2> <p>For kids that like to draw or make crafts, consider designating one of your table finds as an art center. You can easily use your table to keep art supplies lined up in containers and within easy reach. Clean and reuse small jars, such as old jam or salsa jars, to hold pencils, markers, and paintbrushes. You can also paint or wrap ribbon around these holders for a decorative touch. Shoeboxes, which can also be embellished to your liking, are great to store crayons and paper scraps, while small jewelry boxes and old spice jars can hold anything small from beads to glitter.</p> <h2>8. Install Replaceable Flooring</h2> <p>Kids like to play on the floor. This means that any flooring can get worn or messy. Find a cheap carpet that works in your play space to not only create a comfy place to sit, but also limit the damage to your area rug or hardwood. Carpet tiles are a cheap way to accomplish the task and can be re-arranged and cleaned easily as compared to a rug. There are also foam kid's floor tiles and mats, which often cost a bit more than carpet tiles, but are still pretty affordable, not to mention extra cushiony for smaller kids.</p> <h2>9. Monogram on a Dime</h2> <p>Kids love stuff with their names on it. Using monograms on the wall or as labels in a play space is a nice way to decorate and stay organized. You can do cheap stencils on the wall for a just a few dollars by investing in some paint and a craft shop stencil. Or you can find affordable papier mache or large cardboard alphabet letters at craft stores, which can be painted and mounted on the wall or just placed on a shelf. You can also make attractive name labels on your own computer using free templates online, such as the ones found at <a target="_blank" href="http://www.bhg.com/decorating/storage/organization-basics/free-printable-storage-labels/">Better Homes and Gardens</a>, which are great for labeling toy boxes and containers.</p> <h2>10. Source Affordable Dry Erase and Bulletin Boards</h2> <p>You can easily add a bulletin board or dry erase board to the wall of any play area for well under $10. Dollar stores sell small dry erase boards that you can line up in a row for kids to scribble on or play games. Craft stores and discount home stores also have bulletin board options for older kids looking to hang pictures or artwork. Little touches like these can help make the play area personalized and more inviting.</p> <p><em>What are your best kids' playroom design ideas? Please share in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kelly-medeiros">Kelly Medeiros</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-budget-design-ideas-for-a-kids-playroom">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-things-to-throw-out-today">25 Things to Throw Out Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-your-own-curtains">How to Make Your Own Curtains</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-awesome-uses-for-milk-crates">20 Awesome Uses for Milk Crates</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/maintaining-memories-how-to-save-old-photographs">Maintaining Memories: How to Save Old Photographs</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-things-in-your-house-youre-forgetting-to-clean">9 Things in Your House You&#039;re Forgetting to Clean</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Family Home Organization budget decorating children's activities games kids' room Thu, 11 Jul 2013 10:24:30 +0000 Kelly Medeiros 980436 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Inexpensive Spring Spruce-Up Ideas for Your Home http://www.wisebread.com/10-inexpensive-spring-spruce-up-ideas-for-your-home <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-inexpensive-spring-spruce-up-ideas-for-your-home" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/5590286986_8c95245b10_z.jpg" alt="spring home" title="spring home" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>After a long cold winter, nothing warms a decorator&rsquo;s heart like the first signs of spring. Spring is a time to pack up the old, usher in the new, kick off the snow boots, and slip on the gardening gloves. If the warm weather has you itching to spruce up around the house, here are a few budget-friendly ideas that spring to mind. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/your-one-month-guide-to-spring-cleaning">Your One-Month&nbsp;Guide to Spring Cleaning</a>)</p> <h2>1. Clean the Windows</h2> <p>Let a little sun shine in. Clean your windows inside and outside to frame all that springtime green. For an easy homemade glass cleaner, mix equal parts distilled white vinegar and water. Pour into a reusable spray bottle and channel your inner Hazel.</p> <h2>2. Declutter</h2> <p>No matter how wonderful your design skills or refined your tastes, clutter detracts from the overall function and beauty of your space. Box it up, bag it up, sell it, or donate it. It&rsquo;s time to clear your mind by clearing some space.</p> <h2>3. Accessorize</h2> <p>Simple accessories like new towels in the bathroom, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-remodel-your-bedroom-without-demolishing-a-thing">new pillows on the bed</a>, or a new area rug can change the vibe of an entire room (and change your mood). If you don&rsquo;t want to spend on new, check out the deals at your local thrift store.</p> <h2>4. Replace Hardware</h2> <p>Replacing knobs and drawer pulls on kitchen cabinets or a bathroom vanity is an easy way to update a look quickly. For a more coordinated look, match the finishes between door knobs, hinges, knobs, pulls, and other hardware like faucets, towel bars, and robe hooks.</p> <h2>5. Green It Up</h2> <p>Whether you grow plants, have a window-sill herb garden, or just arrange a few fresh cut flowers, adding a bit of green is a quick way to spruce things up. Get cuttings from friends or make dramatic bouquets with wildflowers, budding branches, and sculptural driftwood.</p> <h2>6. Reorganize Closets</h2> <p>Almost everyone hates to do it, but cleaning closets is nearly a rite of spring. Focus on one closet at a time &mdash; decluttering, cleaning, and organizing as you go. Trust me, Monday mornings won&rsquo;t seem nearly so bad when you&rsquo;re facing a meticulously organized closet.</p> <h2>7. Revitalize Furniture</h2> <p>Give natural wood a new lease on life with furniture wax or polish. For pieces that are a bit worse for wear, try a scratch cover that&rsquo;s formulated to match the wood&rsquo;s original stain. You&rsquo;ll be amazed how far a little elbow grease goes.</p> <h2>8. Paint It</h2> <p>Repainting is a simple way to get big design bang for your buck. <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/repaint-your-old-furniture-for-a-budget-d-cor-update">Paint can update old furniture</a>; brighten a room; or freshen up a front door, mailbox, or window trim. Choose timeless and coordinating (not necessarily matching) colors for a professional look.</p> <h2>9. Rearrange and Refresh</h2> <p>Sometimes sprucing up is as simple as <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/new-living-room-0-cost-of-rearranging-the-furniture-priceless">rearranging what you already own</a>. Rethink rooms and reconfigure furniture. Decorate subtly around a theme, bring in accent pieces from other rooms, and don&rsquo;t be afraid to experiment with an eclectic mix of periods and styles.</p> <h2>10. Choose One High-Profile Project</h2> <p>If you decide to splurge on a single item, make sure it&rsquo;s high-profile. Investments in good paint, a deluxe area rug, one professionally reupholstered chair, or luxurious bed linens will set the stage for the rest of your more frugal spruce-up ideas. Anchored by one high-profile project, all the smaller details will shine more brightly.</p> <p>I hope a few of these ideas inspire some warm-weather decorating ideas of your own. Remember, spring is the beginning of yard sale season too &mdash; keep an eye out for great bargains and weekend decorating projects you can do on a budget.</p> <p><em>What are your spring spruce-up projects? What projects have been waiting for your creative touches all winter long?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kentin-waits">Kentin Waits</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-inexpensive-spring-spruce-up-ideas-for-your-home">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-your-own-curtains">How to Make Your Own Curtains</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-awesome-uses-for-milk-crates">20 Awesome Uses for Milk Crates</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-remodel-your-bedroom-without-demolishing-a-thing">7 Ways to Remodel Your Bedroom (Without Demolishing a Thing)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-really-easy-ways-to-unclog-drains">10 Really Easy Ways to Unclog Drains</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-effective-grease-and-oil-stain-removal-tips">14 Effective Grease and Oil Stain Removal Tips</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> DIY Home budget decorating houseplants repainting spring cleaning Mon, 25 Mar 2013 10:24:34 +0000 Kentin Waits 971348 at http://www.wisebread.com 11 Ideas to Make a Small Space Seem Bigger http://www.wisebread.com/11-ideas-to-make-a-small-space-seem-bigger <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/11-ideas-to-make-a-small-space-seem-bigger" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/6839848535_af0e04b715_z.jpg" alt="small room" title="small room" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="250" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The winning design of a competition held by Mayor Bloomberg for the best micro-home proposal was <a href="http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/01/22/city-unveils-winner-of-tiny-apartment-competition/" target="_blank">announced recently</a> and was chosen for its smart use of maximizing storage space and lighting. The micro-units, measuring 250 to 370 square feet, are being established in part to address the housing shortage in the populated city of New York.</p> <p><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/How-Entertain-Small-Apartment-26232872">RELATED:&nbsp;5 Tips for Entertaining in a Small Space</a></p> <p>You don't need an interior designer to help make the most of your small space. If your home feels a little bit too micro for you, there are plenty of easy tricks you can use to make it seem spacier than it really is. Read on for some smart decorating tips.</p> <h2>1. Double Duty</h2> <p>Choose furniture that serve multiple purposes to make the most out of them. For example, using a hollowed out ottoman for a coffee table or opting for a sofa bed that can double as a sofa and a bed.</p> <h2>2. Translucent Is the Way to Go</h2> <p>Picking furniture that&rsquo;s transparent and translucent, like ones made out of lucite or glass, can lighten the room, which is key to making it look bigger than it is.</p> <h2>3. Display Them</h2> <p>Don&rsquo;t have a place to put certain items? Try to display them in an artful way and make them look like part of the decor.</p> <h2>4. Hidden Storage</h2> <div id="slide-content"> <p>Find ways to maximize every space possible, especially the ones that are hidden. Store clothes and other items in a plastic container under your bed or under your sink.</p> <h2>5. Furniture With Legs</h2> <p>Instead of furniture with a solid and bulky base, try picking ones that stand on thin but sturdy legs, such as chairs with metal legs.</p> <h2>6. Go Light</h2> <p>The color palette of your home should be on the lighter end. Think white, pastels, and muted colors. The light decor will open up your room and make it feel spacier than it is.</p> <h2>7. Think Up</h2> <p>When you live in a small apartment, the space gets filled up quickly. Be creative and make sure the pieces you have are tall and narrow. For example, pick tall and skinny bookcases and side tables.</p> <h2>8. Measure Before Buying</h2> <p>You need to work with the limited space so make sure you&rsquo;re measuring it before you get furniture that&rsquo;s too large or too small. Not having the right size can make the apartment look smaller than it is.</p> <h2>9. Clear Clutter</h2> <p>Purge your apartment of the unnecessary and be aggressive about getting rid of items. Digitize memorabilia you&rsquo;re hanging onto and dispose of items you&rsquo;re not using. Clutter can make a small home seem cramped and getting rid of it will create more visible space.</p> <h2>10. Don't Block the Windows</h2> <p>Let the natural light shine through and keep the curtains simple so as not to make the room feel stifled.</p> <h2>11. Mirror, Mirror on the Wall</h2> <p>Add mirrors if it makes sense and if it doesn&rsquo;t clutter up your tiny home. If placed correctly, mirrors can seemingly widen your room&rsquo;s perimeters as well as lighten your room by reflecting light.</p> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-blog-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Just because your apartment is small doesn&#039;t mean it needs to feel that way. Check out these tips for making the most of a tiny home. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-guestpost-blurb"> <div class="field-label">Guest Post Blurb:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p style="text-align:center;"><a style="border:none;" href="http://www.savvysugar.com"><img alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u4/savvysugar-300-small.jpg" /></a></p> <p><em>This is a guest contribution from our friends at </em><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/"><em>SavvySugar</em></a><em>. Check out more useful articles from this partner:</em></p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Storage-Space-Ideas-22707628">11 Ideas for More Storage Space</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/How-Decorate-Rental-Apartments-22742698">6 Tips for Decorating Rental Apartments</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Lisa-Ling-House-Photos-Tips-Peaceful-Home-26949318">Lisa Ling: 5 Ways to Make Your Home a Peaceful Oasis</a></li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/popsugar-smart-living">POPSUGAR Smart Living</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-ideas-to-make-a-small-space-seem-bigger">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-your-own-curtains">How to Make Your Own Curtains</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-awesome-uses-for-milk-crates">20 Awesome Uses for Milk Crates</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-ways-to-live-large-in-a-small-space">20 Ways to Live Large in a Small Space</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-fun-and-cheap-storage-solutions-for-tiny-apartments">10 Fun and Cheap Storage Solutions for Tiny Apartments</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-remodel-your-bedroom-without-demolishing-a-thing">7 Ways to Remodel Your Bedroom (Without Demolishing a Thing)</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Home apartments budget decorating small spaces Thu, 07 Feb 2013 11:24:34 +0000 POPSUGAR Smart Living 967630 at http://www.wisebread.com 20 Awesome Uses for Milk Crates http://www.wisebread.com/20-awesome-uses-for-milk-crates <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/20-awesome-uses-for-milk-crates" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/510735051_8610f4de37_z.jpg" alt="milk crates" title="milk crates" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="189" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Before IKEA began selling faux milk crates to use as storage containers, we had to steal the real deal from our local grocery stores. Milk crates were perfect for keeping vinyl records organized; they could be turned upside down to sit on when friends came over; and they made colorful, stackable cubbies for clothing. All fine applications, for sure, but those are just a tiny fraction of the many ways milk crates can make your life easier. Check out 20 more brilliant ways to use milk crates right here. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/another-36-uses-for-tin-foil">Another 36 Uses for Tin&nbsp;Foil</a>)</p> <h2>1. Bike Basket</h2> <p>Avid cyclists will benefit from strapping a milk crate to their ride so they can take packages to the post office, carry groceries from the market, or pack a lunch board for an afternoon of fun in the park.</p> <h2>2. TV Stand</h2> <p>When you don&rsquo;t have hundreds of dollars to spend on an entertainment center, position a few milk crates on the floor with the open ends facing out. You can put your TV on top of the crates and organize your media and cable boxes and game consoles within the crates. There are even holes in the back for the cables to snake through!</p> <h2>3. Planters</h2> <p>Create an urban garden using milk crates lined with plastic. Fill the crates with dirt, plant your seeds, and watch your garden grown.</p> <h2>4. Pet Dens</h2> <p>I have two dogs that love to nap in their crates or under the covers. If you don&rsquo;t have a secret spot for your pets already, turn a milk crate on its side, lay a soft blanket in the bottom of the crate, and drape another blanket over the top with space for the animal to walk in and out. They&rsquo;ll love you even more now that they have a private sanctuary of their own.</p> <h2>5. Stepstool</h2> <p>No need to pick up a dedicated stool when a milk crate will work just as well. Use it to reach high cabinets when your tippy toes won&rsquo;t cut it. Store it in your pantry so it&rsquo;s out of the way when not in use.</p> <h2>6. Donation Box</h2> <p>Keep a milk crate in your closet or bedroom and store your unwanted stuff in it. When it&rsquo;s full, make a trip to the local donation center and get rid of it.</p> <h2>7. Shelving</h2> <p>There are lots of ways you can turn milk crates into shelves. You can stack several of them vertically to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-cost-effective-ways-to-make-your-own-bookshelves">create a large bookshelf</a>, or you can screw the crates to the wall in a pattern to create shelving that doesn&rsquo;t take up space on the floor.</p> <h2>8. Chandelier</h2> <p>You&rsquo;ll need a bit of engineering prowess to turn milk crates into a lighting fixture, but it can be done. Take a look at this example of a cool <a href="http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/the-milk-crateaustralia-57287" target="_blank">milk-crate chandelier</a> from Down Under.</p> <h2>9. Ottoman</h2> <p>You can make an ottoman out of a milk crate the lazy way &mdash; by just placing it in front of your chair to prop your feet up &mdash; or you can go the extra mile to make it fancy-schmancy like this <a href="http://cruzinthroughwbt.blogspot.com/2012/10/diy-milk-crate-ottoman.html" target="_blank">milk-crate ottoman</a>.</p> <h2>10. Trash Bin</h2> <p>Line an extra milk crate with a garbage bag, and you&rsquo;ve got an instant bathroom trashcan.</p> <h2>11. Filing Bin</h2> <p>Did you know that the hooks on most file folders fit perfectly onto the sides of milk crates? Get organized with this DIY filing idea today.</p> <h2>13. Car Trunk Organizer</h2> <p>Instead of throwing your junk in the trunk, place it neatly in a milk crate so you can find it more easily when you need it.</p> <h2>14. Rec-Room Table</h2> <p>Don&rsquo;t have a place for the kids or your friends to play <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/play-on-5-great-card-and-board-games">board or card games</a>? Double stack a set of eight milk crates for an instant game table that will keep them from ruining your more expensive furniture. For a flat surface, cut a piece of plywood or cardboard and affix it to the top.</p> <h2>15. Scooter Seat</h2> <p>Even though these might be <a href="http://www.facebook.com/the.humble.milkcrate" target="_blank">the laziest kids in America</a>, the idea is kind of genius.</p> <h2>16. Door Prop</h2> <p>Keep a milk crate near a door that won&rsquo;t stay open to use as a prop so you don&rsquo;t get locked out.</p> <h2>17. Sports Target</h2> <p>Practicing your soccer goals or golf accuracy? Use a milk crate as a target to aim for when playing.</p> <h2>18. Recycling Bin</h2> <p>Line a couple milk crates with clear plastic bags and use them as recycling bins. Use one for paper and the other for glass, tin, and aluminum. When it&rsquo;s time to take the recyclables to the curb (or the collection center to make some extra cash), simply tie up the bags and be on your way.</p> <h2>19. Produce Bins</h2> <p>Give your apples, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-great-uses-for-onions">onions</a>, and potatoes room to breathe by placing them in a milk crate on the floor of your pantry. It&rsquo;ll do you well to line the crates with newspaper to avoid getting muck on your floor.</p> <h2>20. Money Maker</h2> <p>Don&rsquo;t have any use for the milk crates lying around your house? Sell them! There are lots of crates listed on eBay that are selling for more than you&rsquo;d think, but if you don&rsquo;t want to fuss with shipping, turn to Craigslist. Somebody somewhere wants a milk crate with which to do one of these 20 cool things.</p> <p><em>Have other ideas on how to use milk crates? Let me know in the comments below.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-awesome-uses-for-milk-crates">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-your-own-curtains">How to Make Your Own Curtains</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-remodel-your-bedroom-without-demolishing-a-thing">7 Ways to Remodel Your Bedroom (Without Demolishing a Thing)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-inexpensive-spring-spruce-up-ideas-for-your-home">10 Inexpensive Spring Spruce-Up Ideas for Your Home</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-home-diy-projects-you-can-do-in-one-day">10 Home DIY Projects You Can Do in One Day</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-americans-can-learn-from-how-the-rest-of-the-world-saves-energy">What Americans Can Learn From How the Rest of the World Saves Energy</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> DIY Home Lifestyle budget decorating cheap storage milk crates Mon, 04 Feb 2013 10:48:34 +0000 Mikey Rox 967564 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Make Your Own Curtains http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-your-own-curtains <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-make-your-own-curtains" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/450645340_ea84cec280_z.jpg" alt="curtains" title="curtains" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Although I am a die-hard do-it-yourselfer, sewing is not one of the home skills I enjoy very much. I used to sew a lot, and I think I got burned out. So, when our living room curtains started looking tired, I ignored them. When the cat stretched and put holes in one of them, I ignored them. When they looked dingy, I washed them, but they looked less crisp. I resumed ignoring them. However, the time came when I could no longer pretend they were fine.</p> <p>Thinking I could save myself a lot of fuss, I went shopping for ready-made curtains. Not only was the selection small, but not a thing was the right color, style, or weight.</p> <p>Only slightly daunted, I hit the Internet, and I looked hard. I was determined to find something. Unfortunately, the only ones I liked were expensive &mdash; and the wrong size, which meant they would need hemming, anyway.</p> <p>It was time to suck it up, go to the fabric store, and make my own.</p> <p>If you choose to embark on this project, here&rsquo;s how to do it in 10 easy steps. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-cost-effective-ways-to-make-your-own-bookshelves">10 Cost-Effective Ways to Make Your Own Bookshelves</a>)</p> <h2>Step 1: Assess Your Needs</h2> <p>Take a look at your windows to decide your purpose.</p> <ul> <li>Do you need curtains that give you privacy?</li> <li>Are they primarily decorative?</li> <li>Do you need them to help keep the heat in?</li> <li>If you have light sensitivity, do you need room-darkening curtains?</li> </ul> <p>In my case, I needed partial privacy but also wanted my curtains to be decorative.</p> <h2>Step 2: Measure Your Windows</h2> <p>Get out your tape measure and...measure your window openings!</p> <p>A general rule of thumb is that curtains should measure 1.5 to 3 times the width of your window opening. The more generous you are with the fabric, the more folds you will see when your curtains are closed, and the &quot;richer&quot; they will look.</p> <p>For length, you want the curtains to fall at least below the window trim. You also need to allow for the top and bottom hems. You can leave as little as a 2-inch bottom hem; but here again, the more hem you leave, the better the curtains will hang, and the richer they will look. A 3- to 5-inch hem is preferable. Add another &frac12; inch to each hem to turn them under before stitching.</p> <p>Will you be making a folded-over hem at the top? Or rod-and-pocket?</p> <p>An easy compromise is to just make a 1&frac12; inch hem at the top, which can be used as either a folded-over top hem or a rod-and-pocket. Add &frac12; inch to turn the hem under for stitching.</p> <h2>Step 3: Calculate Fabric Needs</h2> <p>This part gets tricky for the math-challenged (like me).</p> <p>If you choose a &ldquo;decorator&rdquo; fabric, they usually run at least 60 inches wide. However, if you purchase a non-decorator fabric, you will need to buy more, as the widths traditionally run about 45 inches. As a result, you need to do two calculations, so that when you decide upon either a decorator or standard fabric at the fabric store, you make sure to get enough.</p> <p>The two windows I was working on are 88 inches wide, and the curtains are partially open all of the time, so I decided that 1&frac12; times the width would be fine. It also worked out well with the 45-inch material I chose, requiring three widths of material per window.</p> <p>I wanted the finished panels to be 60 inches tall to cover my 57 inch high opening, so I added 3&frac12; inches to each panel for the bottom hem, and 2 inches for the top, making a total of 65&frac12; inches per panel.</p> <p>At three panels per window, that equaled 196&frac12; inches of fabric, or about 5&frac12; yards. I rounded this up to 6 yards per window, or 12 yards total.</p> <p>That gave me plenty of extra for un-square cuts from the fabric store, as well as extra material for accent pillows, etc.</p> <h2>Step 4: Gather Tools and Supplies<strong><br /> </strong></h2> <p>If you don&rsquo;t have them already, you will need curtain rods and hardware for hanging your curtains. Most &ldquo;big box&rdquo; stores sell these. You can also be creative. In our case, since bamboo is abundant in Hawaii, my husband cut green bamboo poles and flamed them to dry them and to give them a nice, toasted color. He then mounted them on some homemade, wooden wall brackets. If you are trying to keep your cost down, look around and see what alternatives you have. I also purchased curtain rings. If you choose this look, plan to buy enough rings that you can hang them at 4-inch intervals.</p> <p>Hopefully, you own &mdash; or can borrow&nbsp;&mdash;&nbsp;a sewing machine. Although curtains can be sewn by hand, this simple DIY job would then become time consuming and tedious.</p> <p>You will also need:</p> <ul> <li>Fabric and thread</li> <li>Pins</li> <li>Measuring tape</li> <li>Sewing or regular pencil</li> <li>Table or large work area</li> <li>Iron and ironing board</li> <li>Washer and dryer</li> </ul> <h2>Step 5: Shop for Fabric</h2> <p>The fabric store needs to be negotiated carefully. If you aren&rsquo;t careful, your fabric can run you as much as ready-made curtains.</p> <p>First off, ascertain whether your store has any discount programs. If so, sign up, and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/coupons">use those coupons</a>! They can save you a bundle.</p> <p>Since you will need a lot of fabric for curtains, clearance is a good starting place, where you can often find yardage for as little as $4 a yard. Here is a caveat about clearance fabric &mdash; check it carefully! Make sure there are no stains, tears, or other problems with it.</p> <p>Once you have made your selection, choose a spool of matching thread.</p> <h2>Step 6: Prepare the Fabric</h2> <p>If you have purchased an all-cotton or cotton blend, you will need to pre-shrink your fabric. This simply means getting it wet (easy to do in the washer) and drying it in the dryer. (Look at the fabric care instructions to be sure this is recommended.) This prevents your curtains from shrinking or puckering if you wash them later. Before washing, I like to run a stitch along the cut ends, to prevent excessive unraveling in the washer.</p> <p><img width="605" height="380" alt="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u805/CurtainsFray.JPG" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u805/CurtainsFray.JPG" /></p> <p>Once dry, also iron the fabric. It needs to be wrinkle free when cutting and sewing for greatest accuracy.</p> <h2>Step 7: Cut and Sew</h2> <p>With your measurements handy, lay out your fabric on your table or work area. Measure twice, and cut once!</p> <p>I use my dining room table to lay it out and cut it because the table holds the full width of 45-inch fabric, and also because the table has perfectly square ends, which I can use as a cutting guide for nearly square tops and bottoms.</p> <p>After cutting out the pieces, I mark the hems with a fabric marker or pencil, drawing a line the length of each side of the fabric, to aide in making a straight hem. I use a &frac12;-inch fold (or the width of the fabric&rsquo;s selvage, whichever is greater).</p> <p><img width="605" height="401" alt="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u805/CurtainsCut.JPG" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u805/CurtainsCut.JPG" /></p> <p><strong>Iron and Hem the Sides</strong></p> <p>Before hemming the sides, place your fabric on your ironing board.</p> <p>Fold the entire length, carefully ironing as you go. Fold over, and iron again. Pin. Sew. Repeat for the other side.</p> <p>Most instructions advise sewing the side hems by hand, to avoid puckers. Instead, because I know I will never complete the curtains if I have to sew every side hem by hand, I take a couple of steps to minimize puckering while sewing with the machine:</p> <ol> <li>I minimize the downward pressure setting on the pressure foot; and,</li> <li>I make sure that I do not push or pull the fabric, which tends to stretch it, while it feeds through the machine. I just allow the machine to feed the fabric, with minimal interference.</li> </ol> <p><img width="605" height="435" alt="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u805/CurtainsSideFold.JPG" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u805/CurtainsSideFold.JPG" /></p> <p><img width="280" height="350" alt="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u805/CurtainsSideSeam.JPG" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u805/CurtainsSideSeam.JPG" /></p> <p><strong>Iron and Hem Top and Bottom</strong></p> <p>Next, do the tops and bottoms.</p> <p>For the top hem, fold over at &frac12; inch, iron, and pin. Fold over again at 1&frac12; inches, iron, pin, and sew.</p> <p><img width="605" height="466" v:shapes="Picture_x0020_50" alt="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u805/CurtainsTopFold.JPG" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u805/CurtainsTopFold.JPG" /></p> <p><img width="313" height="350" alt="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u805/CurtainsTopHem.JPG" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u805/CurtainsTopHem.JPG" /></p> <p>For the bottom hem, fold over at &frac12; inch. Iron. Fold again at 3 inches. Iron, pin, and sew.</p> <p><img width="605" height="433" v:shapes="Picture_x0020_52" alt="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u805/CurtainsBottomFold.JPG" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u805/CurtainsBottomFold.JPG" /></p> <p><img width="314" height="350" alt="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u805/CurtainsBottomHem.JPG" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u805/CurtainsBottomHem.JPG" /></p> <h2>Step 8: Iron Again</h2> <p>Sorry, yes. I hate ironing as much as anyone, but if you want your curtains to hang nicely, iron them once more before they go up.</p> <h2>Step 9: Hang Your Curtains</h2> <p>This is most easily accomplished if you have a tall helper. If not, a stepstool or ladder is handy.</p> <h2>Step 10: Admire Your Handiwork</h2> <p>Pat yourself on the back for <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-less-creativity-can-make-you-more-creative">being creative</a> and saving some money!</p> <p><img width="244" height="350" alt="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u805/CurtainsWindow.JPG" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u805/CurtainsWindow.JPG" /></p> <p><em>Have you tackled this project? Please share your tips and advice in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/marla-walters">Marla Walters</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-your-own-curtains">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-awesome-uses-for-milk-crates">20 Awesome Uses for Milk Crates</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-remodel-your-bedroom-without-demolishing-a-thing">7 Ways to Remodel Your Bedroom (Without Demolishing a Thing)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-inexpensive-spring-spruce-up-ideas-for-your-home">10 Inexpensive Spring Spruce-Up Ideas for Your Home</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-home-diy-projects-you-can-do-in-one-day">10 Home DIY Projects You Can Do in One Day</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-diy-home-renovating-for-you">Is DIY Home Renovating for You?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> DIY Home budget decorating budget home projects curtains Wed, 30 Jan 2013 10:48:36 +0000 Marla Walters 967360 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Great Alternatives to Remodeling Your Home http://www.wisebread.com/6-great-alternatives-to-remodeling-your-home <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-great-alternatives-to-remodeling-your-home" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/3811108860_42c4477f0d_b.jpg" alt="woman and cat in living room" title="woman and cat in living room" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If your home feels a little &ldquo;blah,&rdquo; but a new kitchen or bath is not in the budget, try some of these less-involved solutions. They are all designed to freshen up your look or make your living space more usable.&nbsp;Plus, they cost less than a major remodel and are considerably less stressful as well! (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-home-decorating-ideas-for-under-5">15 Home Decorating Ideas for Under $5</a>)</p> <h2>1. Try New Trim</h2> <p>One way to add a little &ldquo;oomph&rdquo; to a room or hallway is to hire a good trim carpenter to install a high-quality trim or crown molding. Douglas Breaker, CEO of <a href="http://www.homefinder.com/">HomeFinder.com</a>, swears by this small update that can really dress up a house. Since it comes in a variety of looks, you&rsquo;ll likely find the perfect option for your age and size of home.</p> <h2>2. Dress Up Doors</h2> <p>Douglas also vouches for the value of new exterior doors (both aesthetically and in regards to property worth). &ldquo;Exterior replacement projects, such as a new garage door and a new entry door, offer some of the best returns at resale,&rdquo; he advises. Most homeowners can recoup 70% or more of the cost of the project at resale, and even if you don&rsquo;t plan on selling, it can create a stunning transformation for your home&rsquo;s exterior.</p> <h2>3. Move Your Furniture</h2> <p>Instead of buying all new furnishings, consider maximizing space with the items you already have. Lauri Ward of <a href="http://www.redecorate.com/">Redecorate.com</a> suggests creating a &ldquo;u-shape&rdquo; with your furnishings, instead of an &ldquo;L-shape,&rdquo; to create a more comfortable conversation area. Other tips include making sure your furniture isn&rsquo;t blocking traffic patterns and avoiding having all your furniture against the walls (something people commonly do when trying to &ldquo;open&rdquo; a room up). Both mistakes can make rooms appear clunky or smaller than they really are.</p> <h2>4. Declutter Walls</h2> <p>Lauri also recommends that one wall in every room be left clear of artwork so that the eyes have a place to rest. You may also want to move artwork three inches lower than where it already hangs as well. &ldquo;Everyone <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cheap-ways-to-display-your-art">hangs art</a> too high!&rdquo; she claims.</p> <h2>5. Update Cabinets</h2> <p>Cupboards and cabinetry take up a large amount of kitchen wall space, so it&rsquo;s important to do it right. Susan Serra, blogger at <a href="http://www.thekitchendesigner.org/">The Kitchen Designer</a>, reminds us that cabinet hardware is the &ldquo;jewelry&rdquo; of the kitchen, and she recommends replacing old knobs and handles with something stylish. She also advises home owners to remove one or two wall cabinets and replace them with open shelving; this can create a more spacious look for any size kitchen. Her best tip? &rdquo;For paintable/older cabinets, paint a few featured cabinets a different color (equal size wall cabinets on each side of the sink, for example).&rdquo;</p> <h2>6. Redo Lighting</h2> <p>Finally, there are several simple solutions to help correct and enhance the lighting in any room. The experts I spoke with came up with two that can be done right away, and both are more budget-friendly than a full room redo. Lauri Ward recommends pairs of lamps &mdash; never just one &mdash; for better illumination. She also explains that lighting directed downward and not at the ceiling can help your room avoid &ldquo;tiring and unattractive shadows.&rdquo; All of our experts liked the look of LED lighting under cabinets; this appearance can be achieved with DIY products that have the wiring done for you.</p> <p>While a full remodel will cost $10,00&ndash;$65,000, it isn&rsquo;t something that&rsquo;s feasible for many cash-strapped homeowners. By starting with even just one remodeling alternative from this list, you can <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-cheap-ways-to-stage-your-home-in-a-buyers-market">give your home new life</a> &mdash; for a fraction of the cost.</p> <p><em>What have you done to perk up your home&rsquo;s look?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/linsey-knerl">Linsey Knerl</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-great-alternatives-to-remodeling-your-home">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-remodel-your-bedroom-without-demolishing-a-thing">7 Ways to Remodel Your Bedroom (Without Demolishing a Thing)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-your-own-curtains">How to Make Your Own Curtains</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-awesome-uses-for-milk-crates">20 Awesome Uses for Milk Crates</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-home-decorating-ideas-for-under-5">15 Home Decorating Ideas for Under $5</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-budget-design-ideas-for-a-kids-playroom">10 Budget Design Ideas for a Kids&#039; Playroom</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Home budget decorating decluttering home remodel Mon, 14 May 2012 10:24:16 +0000 Linsey Knerl 929016 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Ways to Save Money on New Flooring http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-save-money-on-new-flooring <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-ways-to-save-money-on-new-flooring" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/3981377_210e9aad9d_z.jpg" alt="people on floor" title="people on floor" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>As a financial planner, you're probably wondering why I would be in a position to give you flooring advice. Personally, I don't blame you. Prior to <a data-mce-href="http://www.goodfinancialcents.com/23-ways-to-save-money-building-your-dream-home/" href="http://www.goodfinancialcents.com/23-ways-to-save-money-building-your-dream-home/">building our dream home</a> a few years ago, I didn't know squat about flooring. Now that my wife and I have examined every flooring know to man, we feel pretty confident to share some tips.</p> <p>Here are five tips and ideas for how to save money the next time you buy floor covering. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-home-decorating-ideas-for-under-5">15 Home Decorating Ideas for Under $5</a>)</p> <h2>1. Know Your Objective</h2> <p>The biggest mistake that people make when it comes to buying floor covering is choosing the wrong product for their lifestyle. Got a steady stream of messy kids going in and out of your house? Then installing carpet in a hallway, where it could easily stain or show wear, isn&rsquo;t a good choice. However, carpet might be perfect for bedrooms or other low-traffic areas of your home where you want to create a cozy environment.</p> <p>Different types of flooring products have inherently different usage limitations. For instance, if you want to install something that will hold up for 20 years, ceramic tile is obviously more durable and long-lasting than carpet.</p> <p>However, within each product category there&rsquo;s a wide range of quality to be aware of. An inexpensive ceramic tile can shatter easily if you drop something heavy on it, whereas a more expensive porcelain tile would hold up under the same situation.</p> <p>Similarly, a carpet made with an inexpensive fiber type (like <a href="http://www.carpet.org/types_of_fiber.htm" data-mce-href="http://www.carpet.org/types_of_fiber.htm">olefin</a>) can look trampled down after a year of moderate wear, whereas an expensive wool carpet would still look brand new. So remember that cheaper floor covering isn&rsquo;t always better if it ends up disappointing you or it wears out too quickly and causes you to have to invest in another floor sooner than you planned.</p> <p>To make sure you&rsquo;re buying the right floor covering for your needs, do your research and consult with a few experienced salespeople at different stores.</p> <h2>2. Buy In-Stock Inventory</h2> <p>No matter what type of flooring you want, you&rsquo;ll save money by selecting in-stock inventory instead of making a special order from a store sample. Floor covering manufactures give big discounts to dealers who buy in bulk and those savings get passed on to customers.</p> <p>There are probably one or two flooring stores in your area that are known for power-buying, or getting products by the trailer load. Then they stack it deep and sell it cheap!</p> <p>If you're building your dream home or have something specific in mind, you probably won&rsquo;t find the exact shade of pink carpet or the exotic hardwood species you want. But when you need to install flooring in a kid&rsquo;s bedroom, dress up a floor to sell your home, or freshen up a rental property, buying in-stock floor covering is the best way to get a quality product for less.</p> <h2>3. Install It Yourself</h2> <p>A big part of the cost of floor covering is labor and installation. If you&rsquo;re handy or are willing to learn how to install a certain type of flooring product, it can save you a bundle. While I'm not that handy &mdash; far from it! &mdash; my father-in-law is and helped us with our house. There are some products, like laminate flooring, which are easy to install with just a few <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/screwdrivers-to-saws-stocking-your-first-toolbox">basic tools</a>.</p> <p>If you can recruit a neighbor, friend, or family member like I did to help, installing new floors or a kitchen backsplash can be fun and gratifying weekend project. You&rsquo;ll find lots of help by searching YouTube for how-to videos on every type of floor covering installation.</p> <h2>4. Use a Remnant</h2> <p>One of the least expensive ways to put down <a data-mce-href="http://www.moneycrashers.com/best-home-flooring-ideas-and-options/" href="http://www.moneycrashers.com/best-home-flooring-ideas-and-options/">new flooring</a> is to take advantage of what floor covering dealers call a carpet remnant. Remnants are leftover pieces from a carpet roll that are sold at big discounts. They&rsquo;re a low-cost solution when you need good carpet for a small bedroom, home office, porch, or walk-in closet.</p> <p>Floor covering retailers also end up with leftover boxes of tile, wood, or laminate that they&rsquo;re willing to sell at a huge discount. This is a great option when you need to spruce up floor covering in a foyer, laundry room, or bathroom.</p> <h2>5. Ask For a Discount</h2> <p>My final tip is probably the easiest way to get a good deal &mdash; <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-laws-of-negotiation">ask for a discount</a>. You&rsquo;ll have more success negotiating price with a small, independent retailer than you will with a large home center. Most independent dealers have 5% to 10% of bargaining room built into their prices, because haggling is not uncommon.</p> <p>If a dealer isn&rsquo;t willing to lower their price, try offering to pay your bill with cash. When you pay a merchant with a credit card, you can get some great perks &mdash; but it costs them. The fees they pay to process your credit card can be over 2% of the total sale depending on the type of card you use.</p> <p>Another way to get a discount is to ask for a lower price if you&rsquo;re willing to do some or all of the installation yourself. By moving furniture or removing and disposing of your old flooring, you can shave a significant amount off the labor portion of your bill.</p> <p>I recommend that you build good rapport with a flooring retail owner or salesperson and simply ask them the best way to get a bargain. You might be surprised how much they&rsquo;re willing to help you save money, so you become a happy customer and refer your friends and family for future sales.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jeff-rose">Jeff Rose</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-save-money-on-new-flooring">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-7"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/chinese-money-habits-how-my-culture-influences-my-attitudes-toward-money">Chinese Money Habits - How My Culture Influences My Attitudes Toward Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-costly-things-new-homeowners-dont-prepare-for">9 Costly Things New Homeowners Don&#039;t Prepare For</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/home-details-i-overlooked-the-first-time">Home Details I Overlooked the First Time</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/seller-concessions-and-buyer-bargains-what-to-ask-for-in-the-current-real-estate-market">Seller concessions and buyer bargains - What to ask for in the current real estate market.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-rent-an-apartment-with-bad-credit">7 Ways to Rent An Apartment With Bad Credit</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing budget decorating furnishings haggling new flooring new homes Mon, 07 May 2012 10:24:08 +0000 Jeff Rose 927592 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Ways to Remodel Your Bedroom (Without Demolishing a Thing) http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-remodel-your-bedroom-without-demolishing-a-thing <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-ways-to-remodel-your-bedroom-without-demolishing-a-thing" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/bedroom.jpg" alt="Man in his bedroom" title="Man in his bedroom" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You spend roughly 1/3 of your life sleeping, so shouldn&rsquo;t you sleep in a room that contributes to sweet dreams? An uninspired or disorganized bedroom can make it tough to relax, and it probably doesn&rsquo;t help your disposition in the morning, either. What if your bedroom is a focal point for family time &mdash; maybe you read in bed, snuggle with the kiddos, or spend quality time with your pets while ensconced in the bedroom. A dingy or depressing bedroom won't contribute to relaxing gatherings.</p> <p>Fortunately, bedroom remodels are some of the most affordable projects for a make-over (unlike, say, changing up a bathroom or kitchen). You don't have to install new windows or remove any structural objects; often, all that's needed is a deep clean and a little surface work. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-home-decorating-ideas-for-under-5">15 Home Decorating Ideas for Under $5</a>)</p> <h2>First Things First</h2> <p>Ready for a bedroom re-do? First, before you get started, do a little soul searching and consider the following.</p> <p><strong>What Do You Need?</strong></p> <p>What needs to change to make you happy? Is the room too dark? Does street noise keep you awake? Can you fix everything with a simple furniture rearrange?</p> <p><strong>What&rsquo;s Your Style? </strong></p> <p>What kind of room do you really want &mdash; a bright, airy bedroom, or a dark, cozy den of slumber? Pick a style and stick with it to avoid getting derailed.</p> <p><strong>What Are Your Personal Limits? </strong></p> <p>Do you love stark, white bed linens but have three black cats that sleep with you every night? Choose bedroom components that work with your lifestyle and habits.</p> <p><strong>What&rsquo;s the Use?</strong></p> <p>Do you do more than sleep in your bedroom? Is it also your office? Your movie theater? If there&rsquo;s no way to keep the bedroom reserved for sleep alone, then you need to take its other uses into account.</p> <p>Have you meditated on your own nature and what kind of bedroom you are seeking? Excellent, let&rsquo;s get down to the nitty-gritty with these simple bedroom remodeling ideas.</p> <h2>1. Organize and Purge</h2> <p>Like with most home make-over projects, a good portion of the actual make-over involves simply <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-things-to-throw-out-today">getting rid of unneeded stuff</a> that is cluttering up the environment. Sure, you like to read before bed, but do you need a whole stack of books on the bedside table? Put the unread tomes back on the bookshelf or donate them to the library (you read everything on your Kindle now, anyway).</p> <p>Because your closet is in your bedroom, this is a good time to go through it and get rid of unused clothing, coats, and shoes. If you have a linen closet that needs organizing, consider paring down your excess towels and mismatched sheets.</p> <h2>2. Make Walls That Soothe</h2> <p>Painting a bedroom is probably the fastest and cheapest way to change the overall character. Choose a color that works with your trim (this is where paint chips come in handy). Strive to find a color that enhances the exact ambiance that you want in your bedroom &mdash; cozy and warm, light and modern, or bright and eclectic &mdash; there are thousands upon thousands of colors to choose from. And remember, if the first color doesn&rsquo;t work, you can always paint over it.</p> <h2>3. Consider Window Coverings</h2> <p>You may think that it&rsquo;s the rug that really pulls the room together, but window dressings are more important in the bedroom. Because bedrooms tend to be smaller and dominated by large furniture, the eye is drawn upward beyond the bed &mdash; that&rsquo;s where the window dressing can work its magic. Curtains, blinds, and shades can be very expensive, so first decide what kind of coverage you need, and then go from there. White panel curtains are simple, cheap, match with almost any style. If you need curtains that block the early morning light but don&rsquo;t appear heavy, consider thick cotton or velvet in light colors.</p> <h2>4. Hang Art That You Love</h2> <p>The bedroom is a great place to display the works of art that mean the most to you. Whether it's paintings or silk rugs, sculptures or kid's drawings, make the most of whatever wall space you have. If you prefer a clean, uncluttered look, choose one or two pieces that you like the most. If your taste runs toward the more eclectic, you can fill up your walls with whatever you want. Framing art can be expensive, so look into <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cheap-ways-to-display-your-art">cheaper art displays</a> for your favorite works.</p> <h2>5. Pick Appropriate Linens</h2> <p>Hey, this IS the bedroom, right? Sleeping is the name of the game, is it not? Your linens should be comfortable first and foremost, with style coming in second. Unless you are the type of person who fastidiously makes your bed every morning, don&rsquo;t plunk down hard-earned cash on pricey bedspreads and decorative pillow shams. Stick with the basics, in simple colors or basic patterns, and straighten up as needed.</p> <h2>6. Turn on Good Lighting</h2> <p>You can usually identify a well-designed room by the type of lighting used &mdash; it&rsquo;s always the exact right amount for the right time of day (or night). Is your bedroom suffering from too much light? Recessed pot lights are fine for the living room, but use a lot of electricity and can seem harsh in a bedroom. Consider installing a dimmer (between $60-100) to reduce the overhead glare. Alternately, your bedroom might have dim lighting that strains the eye. In either case, you can benefit from a few well-placed lamps that increase visibility without overloading the senses. Lamps are a wonderfully cheap accessory &mdash; check out IKEA&rsquo;s selection before hitting Target or other big box retailers. Try out a new lampshade on an old fixture for an instant bedside accessory facelift.</p> <h2>7. Find Furniture That Fits</h2> <p>New or different furniture should be your last resort in redoing your bedroom, unless a change is drastically needed. Sometimes a new coat of paint or varnish can completely change the character of your dresser or headboard. Check out <a href="http://www.designsponge.com/category/before-and-after">DIY websites</a> for inspiration, but don&rsquo;t get too caught up in the idea of completely overhauling every piece of furniture you own. A plain white table runner can hide a multitude of surface damage to dressers. Sometimes, wooden furniture just needs a good polish or <a href="http://www.stain-removal-101.com/fix-furniture-scratches-naturally-with-a-walnut.html">scratch repair</a>.</p> <p><em>Have you successfully changed your bedroom recently? Have any tips for readers about how to make a bedroom a better place to sleep?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-karim">Andrea Karim</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-remodel-your-bedroom-without-demolishing-a-thing">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-8"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-your-own-curtains">How to Make Your Own Curtains</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/build-a-bed-for-cheap-and-look-good-doing-it">Build a Bed for Cheap (and Look Good Doing It)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-awesome-uses-for-milk-crates">20 Awesome Uses for Milk Crates</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-great-alternatives-to-remodeling-your-home">6 Great Alternatives to Remodeling Your Home</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-inexpensive-spring-spruce-up-ideas-for-your-home">10 Inexpensive Spring Spruce-Up Ideas for Your Home</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> DIY Home bedroom budget decorating home remodel Tue, 10 Jan 2012 11:00:27 +0000 Andrea Karim 834328 at http://www.wisebread.com 15 Home Decorating Ideas for Under $5 http://www.wisebread.com/15-home-decorating-ideas-for-under-5 <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/15-home-decorating-ideas-for-under-5" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/framed_head_0.jpg" alt="Framed Face" title="Framed Face" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="150" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I&rsquo;m constantly on the lookout for ways to change up my home d├ęcor &mdash; whether it be to change with the seasons, for an upcoming holiday, or just an overall update. Constant change, though, can get expensive. So to keep the cost low while also keeping my inner decorating diva satisfied, I&rsquo;ve come up with my top 25 decorating ideas for under $5. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-great-gifts-for-5-or-less">25 Great Gifts for $5 or Less</a>)</p> <h2>Great Hang-Ups</h2> <p>Using some items you probably already have around the house and a few inexpensive dollar-store items can yield some spectacular wall art. Try these ideas to spruce up the walls.</p> <h3>1. Floating Invisible Bookshelf</h3> <p>Use old books and some L-brackets to create a <a href="http://www.homerejuvenation.com.sg/2008/03/build-your-own-invisible-bookshelf.html">floating shelf</a> for vases or, well, other books.</p> <h3>2. Cork Wreath</h3> <p>I&rsquo;ve covered this one before in <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-reuse-common-household-items">10 Ways to Reuse Common Household Items</a>, but wreaths are easy DIY decorations that yield maximum style for minimum cost. All you need are wine corks and a foam wreath from a craft store. Or, as an alternative, try this ultra-cute <a href="http://www.michaels.com/Blossom-Song-%22Paper-Wreath%22/e10315,default,pd.html">paper wreath</a>.</p> <h3>3. Garland</h3> <p>Use holiday cards or some of your favorite photos, some ribbon, and clothespins to create a <a href="http://www.realsimple.com/new-uses-for-old-things/new-uses-decorating/holiday-card-display-00000000043179/index.html">decorative garland</a>.</p> <h3>4. Plates or Records</h3> <p><a href="http://www.casasugar.com/DIY-Hang-Plates-Wall-4389690">Hang visually interesting plates or several vinyl records</a> on your wall using <a href="http://www.dischangers.com/">adhesive disc plate hangers</a>.</p> <h2>Keep It Natural</h2> <p>The beauty of using natural materials to decorate your home is that the materials are free and plentiful! Try collecting some items from nature and pairing them with inexpensive items to change up your decor.</p> <h3>5. Pinecone Centerpiece</h3> <p>Fill three jars, vases, or hurricanes with pinecones in the winter. Arrange in the center of your table for a beautiful, seasonal centerpiece.</p> <h3>6. Shell Bookends</h3> <p>Pick up two large shells on your next beach vacation (if you&rsquo;re lucky enough to take one!) to use as beachy bookends. Tun, whelk, or conch (yes, I know they&rsquo;re rare) work best for this.</p> <h3>7. Seashell Soap Dish</h3> <p>Make a simple soap dish a piece of art by <a href="http://www.marthastewart.com/273013/seashell-soap-dish?czone=home%2Fdecorating-with-nature%2Fdecor-nature-seaside">affixing a large clam or scallop shell</a> (the dish portion) to a smaller shell (the base).</p> <h3>8. Natural Wall Art</h3> <p>Make a statement wall hanging by suspending a piece of driftwood or birch branch from the wall. Screw drywall screws into the wood, wrap picture hanging wire around the screws, and suspend from wall hooks.</p> <h3>9. Dried Grass Centerpiece</h3> <p>Fill an assortment of vases or glasses with dried grass purchased from your local craft store. Tie each bundle with a ribbon and arrange vases on a mantle or use several down the center of a dining table.</p> <h2>Picture This</h2> <p>I love using picture frames to decorate the walls in my home, and I often pick up inexpensive frames from garage sales or the dollar store. You don't need to put just family photos in your frames, though &mdash; try thinking outside the box with some of these ideas.</p> <h3>10. Letter Art</h3> <p>In recent years, it has become popular to make art out of a series of photos of objects that look like letters of the alphabet, spelling out a word or name. Try snapping your own series to spell out your last name and proudly displaying the results on your wall. Print the photos inexpensively using <a href="http://www.shutterfly.com/">Shutterfly</a> or <a href="http://www.snapfish.com/">Snapfish</a>.</p> <h3>11. Earring Organizer</h3> <p>Similar to the shadowbox idea above, use a picture frame (minus the glass) to display earrings as artwork. Stick flat-head pushpins into the back of the frame and use those to string picture wire or fishing wire horizontally across. Hang the frame and then hang earrings from the wire.</p> <h3>12. Word Art</h3> <p>I thought a gift I received from a friend years ago was ingenious as well as inexpensive. She simply printed off the definition of the word &ldquo;Grace,&rdquo; highlighted and bolded the word, and framed it for me. Try doing the same with a meaningful word or phrase, like &ldquo;peace,&rdquo; &ldquo;believe,&rdquo; or one of your favorite quotes. Or, as an alternative, frame one of the pages of a favorite book (I would frame the first page of <em>A Tree Grows in Brooklyn</em>, for example).</p> <h3>13. Shadowbox</h3> <p>Pick up a cheap photo frame from a dollar store or thrift store and toss the glass. Hang the picture on your wall and use it to frame something with some texture to add visual interest to an otherwise dull wall. Try framing dried flowers or some meaningful mementos from a trip, like a few photos, plane tickets, and cardboard coasters from a bar or restaurant you visited.</p> <h3>14. Wallpaper Art</h3> <p>Frame a wallpaper sample or fabric remnant. Try framing multiple pieces of the same pattern, with patterns facing different directions in each frame.</p> <h3>15. Good Fortune, Good Art</h3> <p>Ever get a fortune in your fortune cookie that you think is incredibly clever or speaks to you? Try framing the tiny scrap of paper. Putting a mat and frame around such a small object creates a more dramatic effect.</p> <p><em>What do you all think? Any ideas you&rsquo;re going to try here, or any decorating ideas for under $5 you&rsquo;d add to the list? Share your thoughts in the comments.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/janey-osterlind">Janey Osterlind</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-home-decorating-ideas-for-under-5">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-9"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-your-own-curtains">How to Make Your Own Curtains</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-awesome-uses-for-milk-crates">20 Awesome Uses for Milk Crates</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-remodel-your-bedroom-without-demolishing-a-thing">7 Ways to Remodel Your Bedroom (Without Demolishing a Thing)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-budget-design-ideas-for-a-kids-playroom">10 Budget Design Ideas for a Kids&#039; Playroom</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-great-alternatives-to-remodeling-your-home">6 Great Alternatives to Remodeling Your Home</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Home budget decorating frame art under $5 Wed, 18 May 2011 10:36:19 +0000 Janey Osterlind 543174 at http://www.wisebread.com Keeping Santa Sane: Budget Holiday Decorating http://www.wisebread.com/keeping-santa-sane-budget-holiday-decorating <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/keeping-santa-sane-budget-holiday-decorating" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/santa_sane.jpg" alt="Santa&#039;s mugshot" title="Santa&#039;s mugshot" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="240" height="177" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I started this article desperately wanting to coin a new term that combined the words &quot;recession&quot; and &quot;holiday.&quot; Much like &quot;staycation&quot; implies a slightly downshifted and saner vacation, I think we need a word that describes a smarter approach to holiday spending and the crazy expectations that give rise to it. Alas, my linguistic skills have failed me; I&rsquo;ll leave it up to the readers to coin a term that fits the concept best. Meanwhile, how can we get a head start on our holiday festivities and not get caught up in the preholiday madness? Below are some tips for holiday decorating on a budget; they just might help curb the high price of decking the halls and leave a bit more green in your wallet:</p> <h2>Wrapping and Bows</h2> <p>The wrapping and presentation of gifts can be a great chance to challenge your own creativity and engage your kids. Newsprint, road maps, old wallpaper scraps, or rolls of standard brown shipping paper can each be personalized and embellished for a custom gift-wrap look. Swing by your local newspaper &mdash; often they just toss out remaining rolls of paper if the roll won&rsquo;t complete an entire printing. You can sometimes get yards of the stuff for free. I use brown shipping paper and unroll just the right amount for each gift. Then, using a ruler or T-square, I create graphic grid patterns and designs with markers or colored pencil. If you&rsquo;re a stamper or scrapbooker, this is a perfect canvas for leftover supplies and some holiday inspiration. It&rsquo;s customized, durable, reusable, and far less expensive than the big rolls of the glossy holiday-specific stuff.</p> <p>Bows don&rsquo;t need to be satin or silk &mdash; go for a totally organic look by using pinecones as the &quot;bow&quot; on plain brown paper and fasten with raffia or colored twine. Shells, small twigs, sprigs of pine, or family photos can also be used to replace the standard bow.</p> <h2>Gift Tags</h2> <p>I took a few calligraphy classes in college, but with a computer and printer, that skill is no longer a prerequisite for cool gift tags. Use your printer to make customized tags, then embellish with drawn or collaged holiday scenes. Fasten your tags with self-adhesive photo corners or frame them in small vintage frames from a thrift store. Dissect some old holiday cards for colorful and abstract folded gift tags that really pop on plain brown paper or newsprint.</p> <h2>Ornaments</h2> <p>Many of us have heirloom holiday ornaments for the tree, but if you&rsquo;re buying new, the prices can be outlandish. One quick online search put the average price for a dozen glass bulbs at $14. Try a new approach to trimming the tree &mdash; one that uses less cash for decorating and leaves more for merriment.</p> <p>First, choose a color palette for your tree. One or two consistent and repeating colors can help unify all the various ornaments you&rsquo;ll make and give the tree a more intentional look. Next, work with your family to craft ornaments from things around the yard and in the house &mdash; mist natural pinecones lightly with spray paint in your tree&rsquo;s color palette, or weave small twigs together to create stars or snowflake shapes using yarn that fits the color scheme. Wallet-sized school photos can be framed with Popsicle sticks and hung with twine to make a family of ornaments. Those old slotted clothespins can be painted to look like toy soldiers, animals, or other characters.</p> <h2>Garland</h2> <p>Popcorn is a classic here, but let&rsquo;s think outside the popcorn box. Evergreen boughs can be tied together and laced with dried fruit or dried flowers for a natural garland. Old wooden spools, beads from broken necklaces, even small glass ornaments can all be strung together for a unique handmade look. Anything that has a hole to loop through or a surface to weave through can become material for garland. Remember, with any natural tree, safety comes first. Always use properly sized tree stands, keep your tree moist, and use low-heat lights.</p> <p>If there&rsquo;s one thing this recession is teaching us, it&rsquo;s how to do more with less. Challenge yourself and your kids to create memories while you work on projects together. You never know what creative impulse or burst of artistic pride will define this holiday as one of your kids&rsquo; best. Now, back to that elusive new term for our frugal holiday&hellip;any ideas yet?</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kentin-waits">Kentin Waits</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/keeping-santa-sane-budget-holiday-decorating">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-10"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cheap-home-furnishings">Cheap Home Furnishing Ideas</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-festive-frugal-ways-to-spruce-up-your-home-for-the-holidays">6 Festive, Frugal Ways to Spruce Up Your Home for the Holidays</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-find-the-best-stuff-at-homegoods">How to Find the Best Stuff at HomeGoods</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-your-own-curtains">How to Make Your Own Curtains</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-awesome-uses-for-milk-crates">20 Awesome Uses for Milk Crates</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Home budget decorating decorating holiday decorations Holidays home decor wrapping paper Mon, 15 Nov 2010 12:00:12 +0000 Kentin Waits 295324 at http://www.wisebread.com