cheap decorating http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/7840/all en-US 14 Simple Ways to Make an Apartment a Home http://www.wisebread.com/14-simple-ways-to-make-an-apartment-a-home <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/14-simple-ways-to-make-an-apartment-a-home" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/home-200197119-002.jpg" alt="window" title="window" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Have you moved into a new apartment recently? Are you having trouble making it feel like it's yours? Check out these cheap decorating and design ideas that will turn your space from cold and drab to cozy and fab so you can feel at home again. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-ways-to-live-large-in-a-small-space?ref=seealso">Live Large in a Small Space</a>)</p> <h2>1. Drape a Handmade Blanket on the Back of the Couch</h2> <p>Add personality to your couch by draping a hand-knitted blanket or afghan over the back of it. You can knit it yourself if you have the skills, enlist a family member who likes to crochet, or find one that suits your style on a site like <a href="http://etsy.com">Etsy</a>. The blanket will add a little more life to your living room (so long as you don't choose something bland and boring), and it'll comfort you when you're ready to cuddle up with a good book or when you're watching TV. If you get a really good afghan, it might even serve as a focal point in your room a la &quot;Roseanne.&quot; <a href="http://www.etsy.com/listing/88777969/traditional-granny-square-afghan">Remember that one</a>?</p> <h2>2. Hang Curtains Instead of Blinds</h2> <p>Blinds are easy to manage, but they don't have the same hominess that curtains do. You can pick up curtains from all kinds of places, but I personally recommend thrift shops (where you can sometimes find really cool vintage ones) or the fabric shop. Granted, the latter doesn't sell ready-made curtains, but you can find all kinds of patterns and styles that <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-your-own-curtains">you can turn into one-of-a-kind curtains</a> if you're handy with scissors and a sewing machine. Curtains are versatile for sure, but the best part is that they can be changed, unlike blinds. You can switch them out seasonally, for the holidays, or whenever you want to update the space. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-cheap-home-decorating-projects-that-look-amazing?ref=seealso">Cheap Home Decorating Ideas</a>)</p> <h2>3. Add Ambience and Scent With Candles</h2> <p>Candlelight in a room instantly gives it a certain depth of ambience, whether the candles are on a windowsill, a coffee table, or as the centerpiece on your dining room table. The scent provided from the candles (if you like scented candles) will help you relax, and eventually you'll start associating your home with those nice feelings that your favorite scent gives you.</p> <h2>4. Use Lamps Instead of Overhead Lighting</h2> <p>Like candles, lamps provide a more relaxing kind of light than the large overhead lights you use to brighten up the whole room, helping you feel more at home when you're ready to kick back for the evening. There's also an aesthetic component to the lamps too, which allows you to infuse some of your personality throughout the house a bit more, and you can change or switch shades whenever you want to do something new. While lamps can be expensive, you can find lots of stylish, modern lamps at discounted prices at stores like Marshalls and HomeGoods. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-find-the-best-stuff-at-homegoods?ref=seealso">Finding the Best Stuff at HomeGoods</a>)</p> <h2>5. Put a Tablecloth and Place Settings on the Table</h2> <p>There's nothing special about a bare table, but it's instantly transformed into an inviting place to share a meal with family and friends with the addition of a tablecloth and centerpiece. You can take it a step further by setting the places with plates, cutlery, and folded napkins &mdash; even if you're not expecting company. Looking at those place settings every day will make you feel like people belong in your home, and you might even be motivated to invite them over more often. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-easy-dinner-party-dishes-you-can-make-in-advance?ref=seealso">15 Easy Dinner Party Dishes</a>)</p> <h2>6. Create an Original Piece of Art (Think Outside the Canvas)</h2> <p>There are very few things you can do to your apartment that will scream &quot;you&quot; aside from creating your own artwork. I have several of my own pieces hanging in my apartment, and they absolutely make me feel like this space is mine. Canvases are relatively cheap to pick up from the craft store, but you don't have to stick to that medium when <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-diy-ideas-for-creating-inexpensive-art">creating your own personal masterpiece</a>.</p> <h2>7. Place Plants in Bare Nooks and Crannies</h2> <p>Feel like a room needs something but you just don't know what? Try putting a plant in that space and see what happens. I've found that plants in the nooks and crannies of my apartment help fill the void, but they also add color, texture, and shape. Be smart about the type of plants you choose, however. If your apartment receives a lot of light, real plants may be ideal for you. Otherwise, you may want to invest in fake plants. They'll never grow, of course, but they won't die either &mdash; which is both a letdown and a hit on your wallet as plants can be pricey. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/garden-ideas-for-small-spaces?ref=seealso">Garden Ideas for Small Spaces</a>)</p> <h2>8. Rearrange Your Furniture to Make Your Layout Cozier</h2> <p>Sometimes it's not what you add to the apartment that makes it feel like home but rather how you position what you already have. If a room doesn't feel comfortable to you for whatever reason, try rearranging your furniture to form a different layout. You might surprise yourself by what you come up with.</p> <h2>9. Pick Up a Can of Paint and Freshen Up a Room</h2> <p>It never ceases to amaze me by what paint can do to a room. Color can transform a space completely, giving you a whole new outlook on your apartment &mdash; and perhaps even more decorating and design inspiration. You can paint a whole room or an accent wall, or you can create a design with paint using tape laid out in a particular pattern. The possibilities are nearly endless with paint, and it's a relatively inexpensive solution that provides a big payoff.</p> <h2>10. Switch Up the Hardware on Your Cabinets, Drawers, and Dressers</h2> <p>Just because your cabinets, drawers, and dressers come with hardware doesn't mean you have to keep it. In fact, changing out hardware is a cheap design trick that allows you to add small pieces of your personality throughout the apartment without making major changes that could cost you your security deposit in the long run. Take a trip to any home improvement store to browse the selection of standard hardware, or hit up a local joint that specializes in more unique designs.</p> <h2>11. Line Your Counter With Containers and Appliances That Suit You</h2> <p>If you like to cook and bake, a great way to give your apartment a homier feel is to buy appliances and other kitchen items that speak to your style. These days it's easy to find toasters, coffee makers, tea kettles, storage containers, and everything else in fun colors, patterns, and prints that'll make you want to spend more time making the delicious dishes you love to eat and share. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/learn-to-love-cooking-and-save-with-these-11-kitchen-tricks?ref=seealso">Learn to Love Cooking With These Kitchen Tricks</a>)</p> <h2>12. Choose an Accent Wall to Wallpaper</h2> <p>Like paint, wallpaper can completely change a room, but I wouldn't recommend papering an entire room. Instead, choose one wall to accent with wallpaper. I personally prefer to paper a wall behind a piece of furniture &mdash; like my bed or couch &mdash; but it's ultimately your choice. Many home improvement stores have stopped selling wallpaper because of its waning popularity, but it's possible to find really dynamic paper online, including wallpaper that's easily removable.&nbsp;</p> <h2>13. Lay Area Rugs Underneath Tables and on Large Bare Floors</h2> <p>Area rugs are another great way to bring a room together, add some of your personality, and create a focal point that draws visitors' eyes to an area that you want them to see and away from other areas you may not. IKEA has a great selection of fun, modern rugs at relatively affordable prices, but you also can find area rugs at discount stores like Target or Walmart.</p> <h2>14. Have Your Mother Visit and Criticize Your Cleaning Skills</h2> <p>Have you done everything on this list to make your apartment feel like home, but you still don't feel like you're there yet? It's time to call mom. Ten minutes into her visit she'll start rearranging your kitchen cabinets, judging your laundry-folding skills, and criticizing your cleaning habits. It's the only surefire way to get that at-home feeling without spending a single cent &mdash; not counting that bottle of wine you'll need, of course.</p> <p><em>How do you make your place feel more like your home? Please share in comments!</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/14-simple-ways-to-make-an-apartment-a-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-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/19-frugal-and-easy-ways-to-update-an-old-home">19 Frugal (And Easy) Ways to Update an Old Home</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/the-5-best-air-fresheners">The 5 Best Air Fresheners</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-create-your-dream-backyard-on-a-budget">How to Create Your Dream Backyard on a Budget</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/12-ideas-for-cheap-festive-fall-decor">12 Ideas for Cheap, Festive, Fall Decor</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/12-cheap-ways-to-make-your-office-look-awesome">12 Cheap Ways to Make Your Office Look Awesome</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Home cheap decorating decor home Wed, 19 Mar 2014 09:48:15 +0000 Mikey Rox 1130830 at http://www.wisebread.com 15 Theme Ideas for a Memorable Halloween Party http://www.wisebread.com/15-theme-ideas-for-a-memorable-halloween-party <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/15-theme-ideas-for-a-memorable-halloween-party" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/holiday-5392422-small.jpg" alt="Snow White costume" title="Show White costume" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="200" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Whether or not you consider yourself a creative person, you can throw a memorable Halloween bash without too much fuss. Choosing a theme is one way to make your party unique, and your guests will appreciate not having to think too much about their costumes. Themed parties can also streamline decisions on what to serve for food and drinks, if you include those in the theme. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/last-minute-halloween-parties-that-pop">Last Minute Halloween Parties That Pop!</a>)</p> <p>Always send invitations, even if you don&#39;t go with a theme. I like to send electronic invitations using <a href="http://new.evite.com/#home">Evite</a> because I can design my own cards, send out multiple invitations, and pay nothing. Handmade cards are also nice and cheap. People tend to attend parties that have a formal invitation because they know the host has taken the extra time and effort to send them something personal.</p> <p>No matter what method you choose, remember to send out invitations at least a week before Halloween. It&#39;s always a good idea to send an email reminder a few days before the party as well. Be sure to include details, such as what to bring and what to wear if it&#39;s a themed party.</p> <p>Here are fifteen theme suggestions to help make your Halloween party unique and stress free.&nbsp;</p> <h2>1. Pumpkin Carving Contest</h2> <p><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/halltheme-4352567-small-ggnoads.jpg" style="height:303px; width:605px" /></p> <p>A few years ago, I went to a BYOP pumpkin-carving party, complete with a contest for the best jack-o-lantern. To save on cost, the hosts provided pulled pork and a crockpot of spiked cider, and guests were asked to bring their own pumpkin and their favorite snack or drink. The hosts didn&#39;t participate in the carving contest so that they could judge at the end of the night. The winner received a modest gift certificate to a local restaurant just to make the competition more exciting, although you could come up with a cheaper prize or a gag gift. You don&#39;t necessarily have to make an entree, but it&#39;s nice to provide something for guests to eat and drink. Make sure you create a space large enough for people to work. Our hosts covered a long table with newspapers, but you can always move the party outside if it&#39;s warm enough. You can make costumes optional, which is nice for people who don&#39;t enjoy dressing up for Halloween.</p> <h2>2. Murder Mystery</h2> <p>I tried this last year at my house, since I&#39;ve always wanted to host a murder mystery soiree, a la the movie <em>Clue</em> (without the actual murders of course). A few weeks before Halloween, I started some online research to find out how to actually host a whodunit dinner party. I found lots of great murder mystery websites, but every site charged a hefty amount for the script and rules to the game. I did eventually find a few <a href="http://www.whodunitmysteries.com/sour.html">free mystery packages</a> after I had made up my own script, which I admit was a bit lame. A word of caution &mdash; some of the scripts can be up to 69 pages long! Give yourself enough time to prepare if you want your murder mystery party to be a success. They also work better with fewer guests, particularly if you want to serve dinner at the party.</p> <h2>3. Classic Costume Party</h2> <p>Ghosts, vampires, witches, zombies, and werewolves &mdash; you can&#39;t go wrong with classic horror. You can add a costume contest and hand out prizes to the best costumes, and/or hand out prizes for the lamest costumes. Guests could also bring their favorite classic Halloween music. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-sites-to-find-your-halloween-costume-cheap">12 Sites to Find Affordable Halloween Costumes</a>)</p> <h2>4. Rocky Horror Picture Show</h2> <p>Why not bring the cult classic into your home? You can show the movie if you have a large enough space for it. If you think this theme is overdone, you should see the crowd standing outside the theater any time this movie is shown. People who love this movie will definitely show up, and you might introduce it to those who&#39;ve never seen the film.</p> <h2>5. Couples Costume Contest</h2> <p>One of the best costumes I&#39;ve ever seen was actually a duo costume. A couple showed up at a party dressed as the main characters in <em>Raising Arizona</em>. The guy even had pantyhose on his head, and he was carrying a bag of Huggies. But you don&#39;t have to be a &quot;couple&quot; just as long as it is a costume that requires a pair.</p> <h2>6. Classic Literary Characters</h2> <p>This is a great theme for all the bookish types out there. You can also add famous authors to this theme. There are dozens of costume choices for your guests, including more options for couples or groups (consider the various <a href="http://www.algonquinhotel.com/round-table">Round Table</a> groups throughout the 20th Century). You can also ask guests to bring a favorite poem or short excerpt from a novel to read.</p> <h2>7. Food-Themed Party</h2> <p>Have your guests dress up as their favorite food or drink. This helps guests decide what to wear and opens up possibilities (I saw someone dressed as a piece of sushi once). You can also pair the costumes with a potluck and ask guests to bring their favorite cuisine. Make sure you offer a few different dishes so that there&#39;s some variety, just in case everyone shows up with pizza and hamburgers.</p> <h2>8. Film Nut Party</h2> <p>There are many ways to host a film-themed party. You can ask guests to dress up as characters from their favorite films, or they can dress up as classic or modern movie stars. If you turn it into a contest, you could hand out &quot;Oscars&quot; to the best costume, best supporting costume, etc.</p> <h2>9. Halloween Cocktail Contest</h2> <p><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/halltheme-5395586-small-ggnoads.jpg" style="height:303px; width:605px" /></p> <p>I know the &quot;contest&quot; theme has been a prominent one, but having a contest at any party makes it more interactive and adds energy to the evening. Plus, there are dozens of ways you could make a Halloween-themed cocktail. Asking guests to bring the ingredients for their entry will also save you money if you plan on serving alcohol anyway. Adding a contest will motivate guests to come up with some amazing drinks, and you can have different categories (drinks that call for wine, beer, or a specialty liquor). For prizes, you can give away a bottle of fine wine, a case of a microbrew, or a bottle of top shelf liquor. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-halloween-drink-recipes-to-scare-up-good-times">13 Halloween Drink Recipes</a>)</p> <h2>10. YouTube Halloween</h2> <p>Although I&#39;ve never done this with a Halloween party, I was invited to a potluck where guests were asked to pick their favorite YouTube video under three minutes. The host hooked up her computer to a large flat screen TV to show the clips. I saw some of the strangest and most hilarious videos that I would never have seen otherwise. You could ask guests to pick Halloween-themed videos, but make sure they&#39;re under three minutes if you plan on having a lot of guests, or it could go on all night.</p> <h2>11. Couch Potato TV Party</h2> <p>Like the film party, you can ask guests to arrive dressed as a character, but from a specific television show, with enough characters to provide options for everyone. (I&#39;m thinking <em>The Simpsons</em> or <em>Arrested Development</em>, or this could easily work for a movie with a large cast, such as <em>Grease </em>or <em>Star Wars</em>.) You could also incorporate games. At the risk of sounding like a complete geek, I own <em>The Simpsons</em> trivia game, and it is more fun when you have teams competing against each other instead of individuals. But you could make up your own trivia game for whatever show you pick and offer a prize to the team that wins the most rounds.</p> <h2>12. Brothers Grimm Party</h2> <p>One year my companion and I dressed up as Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf. It was an easy costume to put together, and we didn&#39;t have to answer, &quot;What are you supposed to be?&quot; all night as long as we remained in close proximity to one another. In any case, you could make this party interesting and ask guests to arrive as lesser-known fairy tale characters, and offer a prize to the most obscure costume.</p> <h2>13. Dead Rock Star Party</h2> <p>If you&#39;ve ever seen the movie <em>Spinal Tap</em>, you know from the spoof on dead drummers that there are plenty of famous rock stars who died young. Even so, you may have multiple Hendrixes or Joplins show up. In that case, you could offer a prize to the &quot;Best Dressed.&quot; You could also incorporate another trivia game about the lives of the deceased rock legends. After all, Halloween is all about celebrating the dead.</p> <h2>14. Era Party</h2> <p><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/halltheme-1353240-small-ggnoads.jpg" style="height:303px; width:605px" /></p> <p>If your friends are the last-minute type, choose a decade and tell them to come dressed as someone from that era. It&#39;s easy to pull together a 1920s flapper costume or a hippie from the &#39;60s or &#39;70s. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/85-easy-frugal-halloween-costume-ideas">85 Easy, Frugal Halloween Costumes</a>)</p> <h2>15. Political Party</h2> <p>Not only is this a nice play on words, but there are plenty of political players on the scene to choose from (just look at how many Republican presidential candidates are in the race). You don&#39;t have to limit your guests to elected officials or running mates. People like Jon Stewart, Bill O&#39;Reilly, or even the Wall Street protestors are also considered political figures. But you don&#39;t want everyone showing up in business attire, so offer a prize to the most creative costume.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-watson">Ashley Watson</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-theme-ideas-for-a-memorable-halloween-party">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/15-halloween-costumes-for-people-who-hate-dressing-up">15 Halloween Costumes for People Who Hate Dressing Up</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-creative-uses-for-peeps-beyond-the-easter-basket">20 Creative Uses for Peeps Beyond the Easter Basket</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/cheap-and-easy-halloween-costumes-for-kids">Cheap and Easy Halloween Costumes for Kids</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-8-trending-halloween-costumes-on-the-cheap">How to Make 8 Trending Halloween Costumes on the Cheap</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-cheap-and-easy-halloween-costumes-for-adults">20 Cheap and Easy Halloween Costumes for Adults</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entertainment cheap decorating frugal party ideas Halloween Thu, 20 Oct 2011 10:24:11 +0000 Ashley Watson 756416 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Cheap Ways to Stage Your Home in a Buyer's Market http://www.wisebread.com/6-cheap-ways-to-stage-your-home-in-a-buyers-market <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-cheap-ways-to-stage-your-home-in-a-buyers-market" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/bigstock_Realtor_gives_family_keys_to_n_14087699-2.jpg" alt="Family getting keys to a house" title="Family getting keys to a house" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="148" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When it comes to real estate, appearance matters. Especially in a buyer's market.</p> <p>Prospective home buyers hold most of the cards in today&rsquo;s real estate climate. That means sellers need to adjust expectations and prepare for the long haul. One of the simplest and most effective ways to boost your odds is to ensure your home looks the part.</p> <p>A disheveled, unkempt yard or messy interior turns off open house visitors. The key is to enhance the aesthetics without eating through your savings. Remember how the house sparkled when you fell in love with it? Make it sparkle again without overspending by checking out these tips below. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/quick-tip-how-to-sell-your-home-when-your-neighbors-are-too">How to&nbsp;Sell Your Home When&nbsp;Your Neighbors Are Too</a>)</p> <h3>1. Tackle What Buyers See First &mdash; the Outside</h3> <p>Get rid of any pet excrement, as well as weeds, fallen branches, limbs, and bushes that cover nice parts of the house. Keep the lawn cut short. Trees and bushes near the house should not be more than two feet taller than the roof line. If you&rsquo;re willing to spend a few bucks, buy mulch to pour around trees and shrubs. Clean the siding, bricks, gutters, doorways, decks, and sidewalks by renting or borrowing a neighbor&rsquo;s power washer. Being thorough might take a day, but it&rsquo;s far less expensive to rent the machine than to hire somebody.</p> <h3>2. Clean Like You Never Have Before</h3> <p>Prospective buyers do not want to see clutter. Kids' toys, tools, dirty dishes, stacks of old magazines, and all other unsightly objects need to be packed away. The house must look tidy, which will in turn make it look spacious and comfortable. Cupboards, cabinets, and closets should be organized and decluttered. With things out of the way, scrub every inch of the house. Dust baseboards, lamps, fans, and shelves. Clean all the mirrors, windows, bathrooms, floors, stairs, and parts of the kitchen. Pretend you&rsquo;re having houseguests for a weekend or a very critical in-law for dinner. That should be enough to make you use a little extra elbow grease.</p> <h3>3. Be a Handyperson</h3> <p>Leaky faucets, jammed drawers, and broken light switches are just a few of the several <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-household-fixes-you-should-stop-paying-others-for">repairs you can make</a>. Unless you know for certain that your attempt will exacerbate the problem, there&rsquo;s no need to hire a professional. Having a well-maintained home supports your asking price, too. Fresh paint is a must. Generally, real estate agents suggest neutral-colored walls.</p> <h3>4. Experiment With New Layouts</h3> <p>Move furniture, lamps, throw rugs, and whatever else to see which rooms look spacious and inviting. Just because you&rsquo;ve had a room set up the same way for years does not mean it will look welcoming to potential buyers.</p> <h3>5. Add Some Visual Flair</h3> <p>Greenery adds a nice element to the interior but shouldn&rsquo;t cost much. Search your yard for colorful flowers worthy of a vase. Group small plants together on coffee or dinner tables to give the room a visual center. To ensure everything in the room can be seen, let the natural light in. Again, windows and sunlight make a room feel spacious.</p> <h3>6. Appeal to the Other Senses</h3> <p>The prospective homeowners are looking at your home, but they have four other senses. Turn on some easy listening and keep the house smelling fresh. Surely, they won&rsquo;t want to move into a sterile, quiet home. Not only should it look, sound, and smell like home, but it should feel like it, too.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/chris-birk">Chris Birk</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-cheap-ways-to-stage-your-home-in-a-buyers-market">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/10-dumb-ways-to-scare-off-potential-homebuyers">10 Dumb Ways to Scare Off Potential Homebuyers</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/5-homebuying-questions-youre-embarrassed-to-ask">5 Homebuying Questions You&#039;re Embarrassed to Ask</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/9-easy-home-improvements-that-add-thousands-to-your-listing">9 Easy Home Improvements That Add Thousands to Your Listing</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/5-household-fixes-you-should-stop-paying-others-for">5 Household Fixes You Should Stop Paying Others For</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/17-cheap-ways-to-dress-up-your-garden">17 Cheap Ways to Dress Up Your Garden</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> DIY Real Estate and Housing cheap decorating landscaping selling a home Tue, 27 Sep 2011 10:00:12 +0000 Chris Birk 717079 at http://www.wisebread.com 20 Creative Uses for Peeps Beyond the Easter Basket http://www.wisebread.com/20-creative-uses-for-peeps-beyond-the-easter-basket <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/20-creative-uses-for-peeps-beyond-the-easter-basket" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/peep_wrangler_2.jpg" alt="Peep wrangler" title="Peep wrangler" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="171" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Love them or hate them, Peeps are here to stay. And I mean <em>stay</em>. The apocalypse will happen before they will go bad. And if there's ever a nuclear meltdown, viola! You have roasted Peeps. Here are new ways to use the eternal Easter treats. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-affordable-eco-friendly-easter-ideas">5 Affordable, Eco-Friendly Easter Ideas</a>)</p> <h3>1. Wreath</h3> <p>Hot-glue Peeps on a Styrofoam circle to make a Peeps wreath.</p> <h3>2. Table Centerpiece</h3> <p>Place chopsticks in the bottom of a dozen Peeps and arrange in a vase as a Peeps bouquet.</p> <h3>3. Outdoor Decor</h3> <p>Thread fishing line through the Peep heads, and hang on tree branches outside.</p> <h3>4. Collage</h3> <p>Make a mixed-media collage with Peeps.</p> <h3>5. Packaging</h3> <p>Use Peeps instead of packing peanuts for fragile shipments.</p> <h3>6. Romantic Gesture</h3> <p>Spell out your loved one's name on a bed using Peeps instead of rose petals.</p> <h3>7. Improved S'mores</h3> <p>Make Peeps S'mores using a microwaved Peep, a melted Cadbury egg, and graham crackers. You may fall into a sugar coma, but when you wake up, you'll realize it was worth it.</p> <h3>8. Garland</h3> <p>String Peeps on fishing line, leaving space in-between, and hang it as a garland across your windows.</p> <h3>9. Crown</h3> <p>Take floral wire and make the shape of a wreath around your head using a couple layers of wire. Then tie Peeps onto it that have been threaded with fishing line. You can also use fake daisies in-between the peeps to make a daisy/Peep chain for your head.</p> <h3>10. House of Horrors</h3> <p>Make a Peep house of horrors. Using the ever-faithful fishing line, hang Peep heads, ears, and beaks around the house on Easter morning. This is especially fun for teens.</p> <h3>11. Peeped-Up Egg Hunt</h3> <p>Have a Peep hunt Easter morning. Instead of eggs, which can rot if you don't find them all, hide Peeps. They won't rot. You can find one behind the couch next November, and you'll still be able to have a sturdy nibble. (Some people prefer stale Peeps to the fresh ones.)</p> <h3>12. DIY Candy Necklace</h3> <p>Peep necklaces are a fun way to entertain your children on Easter morning. String them with fishing line, and carefully intersperse jellybeans in-between each Peep.</p> <h3>13. Peepiary</h3> <p>Glue-gun Peeps onto a Styrofoam ball. Place a dowel in the bottom and place it in a decorative bucket with sand, rocks, or foam in the bottom to hold it. You have a Peep topiary.</p> <h3>14. Photo Frame</h3> <p>Glue-gun a wooden frame with Peeps and decorative Easter grass. Place your favorite Easter picture inside, and enjoy the ambiance.</p> <h3>15. Stamp</h3> <p>Use your Peep as a stamp. This one works best with the bunny-style Peep rather than the chick. Take your Peep and dip one side in your child's favorite washable, non-toxic paint. Then stamp away.</p> <h3>16. Peep Plate</h3> <p>Take your peeps and hot-glue-gun them to an inexpensive Easter platter that you can bring to parties. Just glue the edges so you have room to shove goodies on the plate...like more Peeps. A Peep platter, stuffed with Peeps. Never too much of a good thing.</p> <h3>17. Holiday Photos</h3> <p>Take pictures of Peeps in various locations around town. Then frame them for an Easter montage to be placed around your home once a year.</p> <h3>18. Peep Notebook</h3> <p>Take a Peep and glue-gun it to the cover of your favorite spring journal. You can also glue rows of them so they cover the whole notebook cover. This works best with the bunny ones rather than the chick ones. You can give it away or hoard it for yourself.</p> <h3>19. Peeps in a Jar</h3> <p>Fill a cute <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sanity-saving-ideas-for-canning-jars">mason jar</a> 1/4 full with spring-colored M&amp;Ms. Then place the peeps around the inside, facing out. This works very well with the bunny ones.</p> <h3>20. Non-Lethal Warfare</h3> <p>Give them to the boys and encourage an outside Easter battle. Bonus: The carcasses are edible.</p> <p>No spring is complete without your fill of these small, sugary confections. When you realize there are so many ways to fill your life with these treats, you may find yourself buying them in bulk to carry you through the year. Or you may just be waiting for the Peep season to pass. Either way, there's no escaping them.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sonja-stewart">Sonja Stewart</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-creative-uses-for-peeps-beyond-the-easter-basket">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/15-theme-ideas-for-a-memorable-halloween-party">15 Theme Ideas for a Memorable Halloween Party</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/15-ways-to-save-money-when-getting-your-drink-on">15 Ways to Save Money When Getting Your Drink On</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/best-kids-eat-free-restaurants">Best Kids Eat Free Restaurants</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/cheap-fun-and-libations-brewery-and-winery-tours">Cheap Fun and Libations: Brewery and Winery Tours</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/how-to-host-an-awesome-frugal-movie-night">How to Host an Awesome Frugal Movie Night</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entertainment Food and Drink cheap decorating Easter peeps marshmallows Mon, 18 Apr 2011 10:00:11 +0000 Sonja Stewart 525498 at http://www.wisebread.com Cheap Decorating: Three Simple Hacks for Style on a Dime http://www.wisebread.com/cheap-decorating-three-simple-hacks-for-style-on-a-dime <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/cheap-decorating-three-simple-hacks-for-style-on-a-dime" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/fruitbowl.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="240" height="180" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Going for an affordable little spruce up? Not wanting to spend an entire weekend sanding down Grandma's old bureau? Here are three easy and <a title="Cheap Home Furnishing Ideas" href="http://www.wisebread.com/cheap-home-furnishings">cheap decorating ideas</a> to add unexpected sass and style.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><strong>Hide a multitude of sins with the tablecloth of your choice. </strong></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Whatever you decorating style, there's a tablecloth to match. Damask for formal, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sassy-uses-for-sarongs">sarongs</a> for a more Bohemian twist, vintage embroidered pieces for the shabby chic approach and many other styles can be accomplished affordably. Even if you dish out full price, it'll still be less than paying big bucks for an expensive table. And you don't need a floor length cloth. Just one that goes half to three quarters of the way down the table legs will be enough to take the eye away from chewed up or chipped wood completely.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Our kitchen table is of a wood color and design that on its own looks quite dated. The formica covered top has kept that part of the table darker than the more weathered legs. But it's sturdy, has two removable inserts for larger sit down events and best of all, it was free. My parents bought this when I was in primary school and it's the main table I grew up with. My emotional attachment to this table ended some time ago and it's nearly been given away more than once. But you know what? I'm hard pressed to find a new one this sturdy.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">My answer to the dated looking doldrums? A tablecloth. When I feel like formal holiday damask, that's what comes out of the linen closet. Rustic? I have a woodsy plaid one that occasionally makes an appearance. Most of the time though, I have a selection of hand stamped Persian style cloths I picked up at various souks in the Middle East over the years. I love them. They have tons of color and strike a reasonable balance between casual and dressy. What can I say? That tribal look just works for me.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">The point however, is that you can really cheap it out with a tightwad spray paint makeover on nearly any dining or accent table you manage to pick up off the street corner on trash day. To come completely clean, I've even used up-ended cardboard and metal footlockers this way to put a statue or other accent piece on. Just snag an affordable covering or make one from a unique fabric remnant. Even if you don't sew, you can fringe the ends a half inch or so all the way around with a simple seam ripper from the notions department at your local chain department store.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><strong>When it comes to mouthwash, think outside the bottle.</strong></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">This one sort of came to me by complete accident. A short while ago, we decided one night to move the wireless online TV watching upstairs. We were tired, but not ready to fall asleep and the dog was getting antsy. Since she calms down if we allow her a few minutes on the bed with us, it seemed like a win-win all the way around. The wine bottle, stopper and our goblets made their way up with us as well. Before we fell asleep, I moved the glasses and wine bottle to the nearest safe zone &ndash; the counter top in the master bathroom.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">To make a short story long, I was wishing for some sort of classier looking reusable bathroom cup the next morning when I spied my empty wine glass. Thinking I'd won the same free ticket on the easy train as when I made my <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nine-frugal-suggestions-for-a-humble-bar-of-soap">bar soap discovery</a>, I poured in some mouthwash and gave it the old toss and slosh. On my way down to the sink bowl, I spied the bottle of wine with the glass topped stopper in it. Hmmnn . . . . you know, it looked kind of neat. Would this be another opportunity to turn <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/garbage-into-gold-great-ways-to-recycle-old-containers">garbage into gold</a>&nbsp;and find myself a new use for old wine bottles?</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">In the end, I decided to go with my port wine decanter. It came with a three piece set we picked up for cheap in Europe. While I use the brandy ones for various things, I have to usually dig deep for a use for the tall thin one normally considered appropriate for port. (or so I've been told) So, once I've emptied the pomegranate liquor out on our next alternative martini night, it'll be making its way to our bathroom counter along with an extra wine glass or two. If this doesn't fit your taste, you could always go with the wine bottle idea or any other type of alternative container and cup combo that fits your particular style. <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sanity-saving-ideas-for-canning-jars">Canning jar</a>&nbsp;and enamel cup for the rustic look, colored bottle normally used for vinegar or bulk oil storage, paired with an interesting high ball glass . . . you get the idea. The idea here is to use what you have on hand to provide an element of the unexpected.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><strong>Create your own edible still life display with a classic bowl of fruit. </strong></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Actually, it could be vegetables too. Anything organic that you'll eventually eat is game. On our kitchen table I usually keep a huge round cobalt blue glass bowl I got years ago at <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/i-got-it-at-ikea">Ikea</a>.&nbsp; When the table is smaller, or I have extra fruit I want to put out on the counter, I have a smaller pedestal one in the same shade I've been known to use as well. Crystal, cut glass, wood, woven grass baskets, thrift store pottery finds and many other things can be used. Just make sure it looks reasonably nice and load it up. My personal favorite frugal combo is green apples, oranges or clementines and a bunch or two of bananas. Other seasonal items can be used as well. Peaches, grapes, avocados, acorn squash and cherries have all made the cut at one time or another at our house.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">I think there are several reasons this works. First, who doesn't remember the still life assignments from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/but-is-it-art">art </a>class? Natural light and organic elements always make for a winning combo. Also, a full fruit bowl just screams &ldquo;abundance&rdquo;. You feel it, you kids feel it and your guests feel it. So if you're looking to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/voluntary-simplicity-as-hedonism">downsize</a> and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jettison-the-junk-why-clutter-clouds-your-mind-and-saps-your-energy">live with less</a>, this is a great way to have the feel of &ldquo;lots&rdquo; without having lots of stuff. Last but not least, people feel at home when they can grab a little something to snack on that's clearly out for communal consumption, but isn't a fussy party food. It sort of sends a statement that hospitality is built into your lifestyle in a seamless and relaxed way. When an old friend stops by out of the blue, make your way to the fruit bowl with some bread, cheese and a bottle of wine.&nbsp;You'll have a relaxing lunch that's low on prep and high on quality catch up time.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Need a few other <a href="http://webesharin.com/category/home-and-garden/decorating-and-entertaining/">cheap decorating</a> ideas? We have several resource articles right here on Wise Bread. Check out Sarah's posts on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/decorating-a-living-room-for-you-and-your-money">living room decorating</a> and stocking the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/stocking-the-perfect-love-nest">perfect love nest</a>, Andrea's article on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/more-bang-for-your-buck-paint-me-frugal">frugal painting</a> or Joann's interesting <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/pure-genius-all-in-the-name-of-eco-friendly">post</a> on decorating with industrial samples. A few others you might find of note?</p> <ul> <li>Affordable <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/gourmet-kitchens-on-a-shoestring">kitchen</a>, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/spa-bathrooms-on-the-cheap">bath</a> and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-loft-look-for-lots-less">loft </a>decorating ideas, including how to make a cheap DIY <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-ten-dollar-pot-rack">pot rack</a>.</li> <li>Cheap decorating ideas for <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-space-survival-strategies">small spaces</a>, sprucing up <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/stash-your-cash-how-to-have-cool-crap-for-less-money">old crap</a> or <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dumpy-to-divine-on-less-than-a-dime">decorating on a dime</a>.</li> <li>Using unexpected elements such as <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-love-affair-with-industrial-shelving">industrial shelving</a>, extra <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-do-with-all-those-coffee-mugs">coffee mugs</a> and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/bang-up-ideas-for-bandanas">bandanas</a>.</li> <li>How to have <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/campari-art-on-the-cheap">Campari art on the cheap</a>.</li> </ul> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><em>Got another great decorating idea for figuring out frugal? Share the love in the comment section below.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/staff">Staff</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cheap-decorating-three-simple-hacks-for-style-on-a-dime">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/6-cheap-ways-to-stage-your-home-in-a-buyers-market">6 Cheap Ways to Stage Your Home in a Buyer&#039;s Market</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/12-diy-ideas-for-creating-inexpensive-art">12 DIY Ideas for Creating Inexpensive Art</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/remove-car-dents-quickly-and-cheaply">Remove Car Dents Quickly and Cheaply</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/make-your-dvd-player-region-free-in-seconds">Make Your DVD Player Region-Free in Seconds</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/secret-lawn-tonic-recipe-from-golf-course-groundskeeper">Secret Lawn Tonic Recipe From Golf Course Groundskeeper</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> DIY affordable decor cheap decorating frugal decorating Sun, 22 Feb 2009 22:33:05 +0000 Staff 2859 at http://www.wisebread.com