6 Tips for Moving with Kids

Moving with Kids - Tipsaholic


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No matter how experienced or savvy  you are with relocation, every move causes challenges. Moving can be especially hard for kids with changes in neighborhoods and schools, along with saying good bye to friends. But with a little advanced preparation, the move can go more smoothly for the whole family. Check out these six tips to help you plan your move with kids.

 

1. Kids might be anxious about moving to a new place, so address any concerns they might have ahead of time. Communicate with kids as much as possible, so they know what is happening at every step. You can even make a calendar with them that shows the day of the big move plus other events such as a last get-together with friends or the date of a visit to the new neighborhood. If the children need to, let them talk about how they are going to miss the old place, but also let them know about possible adventures the new home might bring.

 

2. Let the children say goodbye to the old home, and hello to the new one. Have your kids make cards for both your old and new neighbors and let them pass the cards out themselves.  Let them take a moment during the move to walk through each room in the home and talk about all the fun things that happened there.  Encourage them to tell the old house what they will miss, but also what they are looking forward to.  Let them wave to the old house as you drive away.

 

3. Help your kids learn about their new place. Show them pictures of the new house. If it’s a new city, get books at the library about the town’s history or local sports teams. Use Google maps, with ariel views, so you can easily show the children the new neighborhood and any fun nearby places.  Point out (either in person or on a map) where they will go to school, where you will most likely go grocery shopping, the closest park they will play at, etc.

 

4. On the day of the move, it will be much easier on everyone if the kids are kept busy. Not only will that help the parents move faster during the packing and loading; it will keep the children from seeing their house slowly emptied. Ask friends to plan play dates to keep the kids out of the house, or have family or a trusted babysitter take the children to do an activity they enjoy.

 

5. Let the kids pack a special box with their most important things.  This way they won’t worry that their favorite books or toys will somehow get lost. They can even decorate the outside of the box, so it can be easily visible among the many boxes. Plus, this will get them involved in the moving process, so they feel more control over this event.

 

6. If possible, move the kids’ room last and set their rooms up first in the new space. This will help the kids quickly get settled, and make the new house feel more like home.

 

Moving with kids doesn’t have to be a nightmare!  For more moving tips check these out here.

 

Photo Source: Better Homes Gardens.

 

I’m Frances. I am a mother, a wife, and a community volunteer. I work as a scientist by day and moonlight as a blogger. Making lists helps me keep everything on track. While I have a good life, there is always room for improvement. Join me as I decorate, organize, and try new things over at my blog Improvement List.

 

6 DIY Outdoor Furniture Ideas You Can Build Yourself!

6Great DIY Outdoor Furniture Ideas - @tipsaholic. #DIY #outdoorfurniture #patio #summer

 

Have you seen the price tag of outdoor furniture these days? It’s crazy how expensive they can be, even on Craig’s List. Avoid emptying out your wallet by building your own DIY outdoor furniture! What’s more, you can build them to fit your patio or porch. Here are 6 great DIY outdoor furniture tutorials you can use to create your dream outdoor space.

 

1. DIY Outdoor Sectional

Ana White is the queen of the DIY furniture world and this outdoor sectional is a great example of how wonderful her creations are. It includes two plans, one for armless sections and one for corners and ends. These two simple plans combine to create a DIY outdoor sectional that can be as big or small as you want it to be. You can build one piece at a time, at your own pace, and create a sectional that perfectly fits your space. Bonus: cushions from Target will fit these sections, unless you want to make your own cushions.

 

2. DIY Outdoor Sofa

Here’s another plan from Ana White, which we couldn’t leave out because this beautiful sofa only costs $30 in lumber! You can easily adjust the measurements of this plan to fit whatever cushions you plan to buy or make.

 

3. DIY Outdoor Bench

This just might be the easiest DIY outdoor furniture ever. It requires no drilling or extensive cutting. All you need is concrete blocks, concrete glue, and four 4x4x10 pieces of lumber to build an outdoor beach for only $40. Nice!

 

4. DIY Tile Outdoor Table

This gorgeous outdoor table is made with lumber and glass mosaic tile. The coffee table is fairly simple to build, but if you already have an old coffee table laying around you could cover it with your favorite glass mosaic tile following the instructions in this tutorial!

 

5. DIY Tree Bench

Have a tree in your backyard? Build a bench around its trunk to add extra seating to your outdoor space! This plan is a bit extensive and will cost a tidy sum of money, but its cool factor is out of the world and this nifty bench can add so much charm and function to a backyard.

 

6. DIY Hammock

Okay, a hammock isn’t exactly a piece of furniture, but it’s something to sit on and can be left outside, so we’re including this great tutorial for a DIY hammock! The tutorial includes two different ways to make your own hammock – one that requires a sewing machine and one that doesn’t.

 

For more DIY outdoor furniture ideas, check out Outdoor Pallet Projects Ideas and Build a Patio Table with Built-In Ice Boxes.

Have you built your own DIY outdoor furniture before? What other DIY outdoor furniture plans have caught your eye lately?

 

Featured image via Better Homes and Gardens.

 

“I’m Elisa and I live in Austin, Texas with my husband and our two little girls. I used to teach reading and writing, but now I stay at home with my two kiddos and read and write in my spare time. I also love to undertake DIY projects, find new recipes on Pinterest, and dream about someday finally completing our home. Above all, I love to learn about new things and sharing my new-found knowledge with others.”  Please check out my blog What the Vita!

 

7 Adorable DIY Baby Mobiles

7 Adorable DIY Baby Mobiles | Tipsaholic.com #kids #nursery #baby #decor #mobile #crafts #diy

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When babies are little, there’s not much they can do except smile, coo, and lay around. Make the world a little more entertaining for them by hanging up a couple of DIY baby mobiles around the house! Other than hanging one above their crib, you could hang one up in your living room for tummy time and another one above the pack n play for the baby to look at while you cook. After all, DIY baby mobiles are so much fun to make, you might not want to stop at just one!

1. Hot Air Balloon Mobile

Try this hot air balloon DIY baby mobile and your baby will be reaching for the sky in no time. The clouds are a great touch! You don’t need a sewing machine for this, since it’s all sewn by hand. Don’t worry, it’s easier than it sounds, but it might take some time to finish. It’ll be so worth it, though!

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2. Painted Sticks Mobile

This is as easy as it gets to make a DIY baby mobile, but it’s colorful and will look great from your baby’s view. Paint stripes on a couple of sticks and hang them up, so simple.

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3. Yarn Balls Mobile

This DIY baby mobile is easy to customize to match your nursery’s colors. Choose yarn in the colors you want and wrap them around a couple of small balloons. Mix glue and water and brush that on the yarn, let dry, and then you’ve got a couple of cute yarn balls ready to hang up! Here’s a tutorial that shows you exactly how to make the yarn balls. If that sounds like too much work to you, you could simply wrap yarn around small styrofoam balls and call it a day.

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4. Butterfly Mobile

You won’t believe how these beautiful butterflies are made. They started out their lives as… wait for it… plastic milk jugs! After cutting them out, tracing them with butterfly shapes and patterns, and coloring them in, these little butterflies are ready to be turned into a mobile.

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5. Crocheted Dragonfly Mobile

Do you like to crochet? Or maybe you’ve always wanted to learn. This really cute dragonfly mobile is crocheted and will be soft and fun for your baby to grab.

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6. Floral Fabric Mobile

When I first say this DIY baby mobile, I thought it was beautiful but maybe a little hard to make. Then I looked a bit closer and realized that it was just circles of floral fabric that was cut out and stringed up. Wow, so easy but so pretty! You do need to have some vintage floral fabric on hand, but you can always find some on Etsy or eBay.

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8. Cloud Mobile

This ethereal DIY baby mobile will match any decor and, despite its simple white color, looks 3-D and interesting from both below and straight on. I can see myself making this while watching some good (or not-so-good) TV. Who’s in?

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I hope you’ve found a DIY baby mobile from this list that would be perfect for your baby… or yourself! Have you seen other great DIY baby mobiles around the web? Share your finds or creations, I’d love to see!

For more baby-related reading, check out 7 Steps to an Organized Nursery and 7 Creative Ideas for a Pregnancy Announcement.

 

“I’m Elisa and I live in Austin, Texas with my husband and our two little girls. I used to teach reading and writing, but now I stay at home with my two kiddos and read and write in my spare time. I also love to undertake DIY projects, find new recipes on Pinterest, and dream about someday finally completing our home. Above all, I love to learn about new things and sharing my new-found knowledge with others.”  Please check out my blog What the Vita!

Featured image courtesy of HGTV.

Interior Design by Decade Infographic

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Enjoy a visual look at the history of interior design with this beautiful infographic from Harvey Water Softeners!

Interior Design by Decade | Tipsaholic.com #home #design #decor #interior #style #history

A look back at Interior Design by Decade has been produced by Harvey Water Softeners. Thanks for sharing!

The Complete Curtain Cheat Sheet Infographic

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This amazing infographic is the perfect resource if you are choosing curtains for your home. This complete curtain cheat sheet has all the information you could possibly need, including tips about fabric and hardware.

The Complete Curtain Cheat Sheet | Tipsaholic.com #home #decor #design #drapes #curtains #infographic

 

Infographic courtesy of Chais Lund.

25 Water-Fun Crafts and Activities Kids Will Love

 30 Water-Fun Crafts and Activities Your Kids Will Love | Tipsaholic.com #waterfun #summer #watergames #summer #kids #activities

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Summertime and the living is… hot!  As temps start climbing, parents everywhere look for ways to cool their kids down while still allowing them to play outdoors and run off some energy!  No one likes to be cooped up in the air conditioning all day – least of all kids.  We’ve got the big list of creative cool-down ideas for you so you can still have fun in the sun!  Take a look at these 25 water-fun crafts and activities your kids are bound to love, and start cooling off now!

 

1. Sponge Boats - Make and Takes

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These adorable floating sail boats use three simple materials you may already have at home!  Your kids will love using them in the bathtub, wading pool or water table.  Have races, see if you can make them sink, or find little objects to take a ride!

 

2. Garden Hose Music – Spoonful

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Find fun objects around the house that are made from different materials and are different shapes and sizes – i.e. beach ball, pie tin, cookie sheet, small plastic sheet or tarp, plastic bowls, etc. – and hang them from a fence, bush or even the back of the house.  Give the kids a hose with a nozzle attachment and let them “play” the items as musical instruments by hitting them with jets of water. They’ll love getting sprayed, hearing the music, and making up songs while you’ll love getting the bushes and lawn watered!

 

3. Water Bottle Raft – Crafts for Kids, PBS Parents

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In a fun and thorough video tutorial, you can find all you need to create these bright and colorful rafts.  Use items from around the house, dig through your recycling and let your kids creativity run wild!  Kids will have a ball floating their rafts in the pool or lake, having races and trying to sink the rafts!

 

4. Water Balloon Piñata – Ziggity Zoom

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This is such an easy way to have fun and cool off!  Kids love piñatas – and what’s not to love?  They get to be silly and dizzy, swing a bat around, and try to burst a hanging balloon!  And instead of candy spilling out, the kids get sprayed and splashed with spilling water.

 

5. Ice Pirate Ships – Pink and Green Mama for Melissa and Doug Camp Sunny Patch

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These cute “ice ships” are so easy to make with your kids!  Just use some water, food coloring, small plastic animals and bendy straws to get your kids’ imaginations flowing.  Make your “ships” in plastic containers and pop them in the freezer.  Create sails with paper or craft foam to slip over the straws and you’re good to go!  Put a bunch in the wading pool, set them afloat in the water table or just have your kids push them around a metal pan of water!  The variations on this are endless!

 

6. Water Balloon Catch – Spoonful

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Not only do you get to craft with your kids – making cute catching “buckets” out of milk jugs and ribbon – but your kids get to play a super fun game while running around expending excess energy!  Water balloons are a hit with nearly any kid, and they’ll have a blast seeing how long they can keep their balloons intact, how far they can throw them without breaking them, and trying to soak each other.  And you don’t need any fancy materials to make or play!

 

7. Milk Carton Boats – Ziggity Zoom

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Imagination can really set sail with this fun water craft!  Build boats with juice or milk cartons!  You can use paints, markers or duct tape to decorate the boats, then make sails from straws and napkins or paper.  After completing your creations, kids can race these sail boats in pools or ponds, urging them on with lots of encouragement and some manmade wind!  Then let them play in the tub before retiring the boats in the recycling.

 

8. Sponge Ball - One Charming Party

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These sponge balls are a must for an easy, no mess water fight!  They’re fun and simple to make with only two materials needed – sponges and dental floss (or twine).  Kids can make them with very little help and they’ll love playing with them afterwards!  Why use sponge balls for your next water fight?  No time needed for “refills”, no sting when they hit you, and no annoying plastic balloon pieces all over the yard!  (Plus, they look cute!)

 

9. Milk Jug Whitewater Raft – Crafts for Kids by PBS Parents

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The bottom of a milk jug makes a fabulous white water raft with very little effort at all!  Watch the fun video tutorial to learn just how to cut the jug, poke holes for the “oars” and more.  Then let your kids take their lego people for a ride around the splashy wading pool!

 

10. Backyard Water Wall - All Parenting

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This super creative discovery wall is chock full of water fun!  Let your kids help you draw up a plan and design the elements on the wall, shop the hardware store for cheap parts and pull everything together on some pegboard.  Set it up in the yard and enjoy hours of entertainment for your little ones!

 

11. Water Balloon Yo-Yo - kiwi crate

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Your little ones will love these happy, bouncing water balloons!  Create a yo-yo with every day items in about a minute.  Easy and fun for your kids to create, playful and whimsical to use!

 

12. Paint With Water – The Frugal Girls

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Even the toddlers can get in on the water fun!  They may not love throwing around water balloons or getting sprayed, but with some brushes, cups and water they can paint with no mess all over the pavement.  They’ll be amazed by the “magical” disappearance of their “paint” and have tons of fun!

 

13. Water blob - Clumsy Crafter

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You may have seen this idea floating around pinterest already.  A giant “water blob” can be amazing fun for everyone!  It’s almost like a waterbed you’re actually allowed to jump on!  Let your kids help make it, then watch them perform crazy antics, jump and wiggle, roll and somersault for hours and hours of hilarious entertainment!

 

14. Water Bottle Rocket - Science Sparks

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Use some water fun to teach science principles!  Making the rocket is half the fun – and it’s fairly easy to do with a water bottle, some paper and tape.  But kids will flip for what comes next – when they launch their very own rocket into the sky!  It’s surprisingly simple to do and doesn’t take any special equipment or know-how.  Let kids take guesses on how  high their bottles will fly.

 

15. Water Playdate - Sweet and Lovely Crafts

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As temperatures climb, parents will jump at any opportunity to help their little ones have fun and cool down.  Why not host an entire afternoon of water fun?  Follow the link for ideas and activities to make your playdate a success.   Kids will have such a blast splish-splashing with their friends all afternoon they’ll be talking about it for months to come!

 

16. Simple Water Wall – Frogs, Snails and Puppy Dog Tails

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This variation on a water wall uses containers you’ve already got, along with some inexpensive PVC pipes, to create some pouring and splashing fun for the littles!  If you’ve got a fence or railing on a porch or deck, you can create this version in just minutes.  You can’t beat easy, cheap and quick for a whole afternoon of engaging fun.

 

17. Water Arms Race - Bob Vila

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All you need are watering cans or buckets with handles, water guns, and rope to play this hilariously fun water game with your kids! Divide into teams and see who can shoot their strung up bucket along the length of the rope faster!  Everyone will get soaked, and no one will keep a straight face!

 

18. Water Balloon Baseball - iCandy Handmade

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If your kids dig baseball, this ones for you!  Try setting up batting practice, games of catch, and even sliding practice to improve their baseball skills – with a twist!  Instead of baseballs, use water balloons!  For sliding practice, set up the slip and slide.  They’ll never look at baseball the same again!

 

19. Water Balloon Spoon Races – Two Shades of Pink

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You’ve likely seen the common egg on spoon races at picnic and outdoor parties… but have you tried it with water balloons instead? Purchase large wooden spoons at the dollar store to balance your balloons easily and see who makes it to the finish line first – without bursting their precious cargo!  Splashes and laughter guaranteed!

 

20. Angry Birds Water Balloon Game - No Time For Flash Cards

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Anyone familiar with the popular Angry Birds app is bound to love this water balloon version!  Here you can see they drew their targets – the pigs – on the ground with chalk, but you could use balls for the bigs and set them up on tables, chairs, blocks of wood or anything really for a more 3D version too.

 

21. Soap Boat Races – i heart nap time

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For once, kids won’t mind lathering up with soap!  Grab some cheap bars (you could even get them at the dollar store) and create boats with toothpicks and small triangles as sails. Use a plastic rain gutter and your average garden hose to make a river for your soap boat and let your kids race away!

 

22. Spray Away Carnival Game – Your Homebased Mom

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With very little effort, you can create the base of this game with a board, golf tees and ping pong balls.  Then give your kids some squirt guns and let them have at it!  They may end up getting each other a little wet as their “aim” goes a little awry, but that’s most of the fun in this game anyway!

 

23.  Water Noodle Sprinkler - Ziggity Zoom

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Connect a dollar store water noodle to your hose, poke some holes, hang from a tree and let loose!  As this noodles twists and turns in a wriggly, watery dance, your kids will have a ball jumping through those cooling jets!  It’s a unique take on the homemade sprinkler, and uses easy to find materials and minimal time and effort commitment.  Which is good, since you want to get to the fun part right away…

 

24. Colored “Glass” – Hurrayic

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Make giant, brightly colored ice cubes by putting food coloring in water balloons and freezing them.  Cut away the balloon and put the “colored glass” in the wading pool with your kids!  Or set them outside and let your kids spray them with the hose and watch the colors combine.

 

25. Mini Water Bead Aquarium – Sweet Little Peanut

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Aquariums seem to be kid magnets.  Why not make one they can actually play IN?  You can create a mini aquarium with lots of fun little sea creatures, water beads and – of course – a net to catch them all in.  It doesn’t take much, and kids will love being able to fish about in the water.  Not only does this promote discovery, curiosity, imagination and pretend play, but your kids will cool down and have a blast!

 

For even more water fun, be sure to check out 5 DIY Sprinklers you can make for your kids this summer!

 

Title image via Better Homes and Gardens.

Featured image via Sweet Little Peanut.

 

Kimberly Mueller is the “me” over at bugaboo, mini, mr & me, a blog that highlights her creative endeavors. She especially likes to share kid crafts, sewing attempts, recipes, upcycled projects, photography and free printable gift tags/cards. When she’s not enjoying being married to her best friend, chasing after the natives (AKA her three kids) and attempting to keep the house in one piece, you can find her with a glue gun in one hand and spray paint in the other. Aside from DIY pursuits, she also enjoys writing, reading, music, singing (mostly in the shower) and the color yellow. Kimberly recently published a craft book entitled Modern Mod Podge. You can also find her on FacebookPinterest,Bloglovin’ and Instagram. Email her at: bugabooblog(at)yahoo.com

15 Tips for Organizing Your Garage

15 Tips for Organizing Your Garage | Tipsaholic.com #home #organization #garage #storage #solutions #cleaning

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Most garage designs offer around 500 square feet of space. Not unlike many homeowners, you have most likely faced obstacles when it comes to keeping this large storage space under control and organized.

You may not be able to work a professional organizer into your budget, but that doesn’t mean you can’t experience a garage with complete organization systems. Here are 15 tips to organize your garage from the ground up!

 

1. Create a showroom-style garage, starting with new garage flooring.

If you aren’t completely confident that you can do the installation yourself or you are too busy to complete new flooring yourself, hiring a professional is the route to go!

New innovative garage floor materials are much more maintainable than traditional concrete flooring and easier to clean.

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2. Use your lids!

Keep your nuts, bolts, screws and other small objects organized and within easy reach. Install plastic lids to the bottom of a shelf, then just screw the jars on and off for easy access.

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3. Clear view makes it easy for you.

What!? You don’t have x-ray vision?! Clear labeled tubs (like those below, from Frazzled Joy) can solve your searching problem quick! Use this calculator to check your garage measurements.

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4. Stretch, hook and voila! Instant storage!

Stretch bungee cords from the floor to 2x4s attached to the wall to make a frame and store all your sports equipment!

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5. Upcycle your gutters for garage organization!

Old gutters can be recycled into a garage storage solution! Install them up high in the garage to hold spray paint and cleaning products to keep out of reach of the kids. (Here are more tips to organize a house if you have kids.)

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6. Closed doors can keep your belongings safe and out of sight!

Custom garage companies can install floating garage cabinets that are easy to clean underneath and protect your belongings from pests and water damage. If you decide to install the cabinets yourself, remember to provide a strong anchor, so you can protect from a possible fall!

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7. Pegboards can hold a plethora of items!

Utilize a pegboard to store your hand tools on the wall and off the garage floor! You can install a single pegboard or you can get innovative and make pegboard pages for multiple storage solutions! What a great use of space! Find more cool pegboard ideas here!

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8. Don’t walk under an open ladder or prop it against the wall.

A ladder propped up against a wall is not safe storage. The ladder can fall and cause injury or property damage. As an alternative way to store your ladder, suspend it on sturdy hooks that are part of a wall attachment system or hang it from your ceiling!

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9.Off the floor and on the wall seating.

Okay, so you can’t actually sit on the wall, but you can hang up your folding chairs, lawn chairs, etc. on the wall! You most likely have extra chairs stuffed in the corner of your garage. With a magnetic strip you can attach to the wall, chairs are easy to hang up and pull down when you need them!

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10. Hang a magnetic strip.

Keep tiny items in place with a magnetic wall strip. You can hang it horizontally or vertically, depending on your storage needs.

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11. Everything has a place and there is a place for everything!

Find the exact place you want your tools and trace around the outer edges. This will help keep you and anyone working in the garage organized by reminding you where to put tools away.

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12. Are you a biker? You need a bike rack!

Overhead bike racks are stylish, functional and sturdy so you can keep your bike hanging high and off the garage floor! Utilizing a bike storage rack is a fantastic way to remind yourself to hop on and cruise!
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13. Keep your chin up.

Overhead storage is another great way to make the most of your garage’s available space. Take a look at this system for attaching bins to the ceiling.

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14. Get on a roll with this unique trick.

Put up a simple paper towel holder, and your bags will be where you need them every time.

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15. Get it all off the floor.

Don’t risk ruining your pristine chip flooring. Get your items off the floor with garage wall racks!

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Don’t set limits upon your garage storage. From floor to ceiling, you have plenty of options to achieve complete organization. Just get creative! Check out some more DIY ideas for the garage here.

Here are more helpful resources for organizing your garage:

 

Special thanks to Arizona Garage Design for submitting this article. 

Featured image courtesy of Arizona Garage Design

 

6 Tips to Save Money on Your Energy Bill

6 Tips to Save Money on Your Energy Bill | Tipsaholic.com #energy #home #heating #cooling #solutions #green

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Summer’s here and with that comes all of its byproducts…pool parties, running through the sprinklers…but with that comes one other thing as well: ­the HEAT!

It’s worse in some places than others, but where I’m from (the Sunshine State, of course!) it can get amazingly hot in the summer time, and it’s been a chore just to find ways to stay cool during the heat.

So in light of this, I decided to compile together a list of six of the best ways to save money on your energy bill this summer. And hey—who knows—this might just save you a few hundred bucks!

I found a lot of this info out through simple hard work, but a lot of these were found by friends and a little “Google Searching” ;) so hopefully you get as much use out of this list as I did when I was wrestling with my A/C during the “summertime madness.”

 

1. Use your ceiling fan as long as possible

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Ah yes, the ceiling fan. This thing has been my savior over the last few years. I think the great thing about using your fan is that it’s going to dramatically extend the number of days you can keep your windows open throughout your home, and this will save you a ton. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Energy,running your A/C and heating unit can account for as much as fifty­ percent of your utility bill each and every month. Plus, believe it or not, using a ceiling fan will actually help keep your home WARM in the winter months as well!

Switching over to my fan was huge and I understand that sometimes you’re going to have to turn your A/C on, but even reducing your cooling usage by one hour can cause huge ripple effects on your energy bill and slash your bills for good.

 

2. Use energy efficient bulbs

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This is one that honestly not nearly enough people are doing, and there’s a HUGE reason to switch over to LED (preferred) or CFL bulbs, so I’ll try to summarize the main ones here.

Personally, I’d recommend switching to LED bulbs, which are, in some cases, up to 10 times more effective than traditional incandescents. Here’s why:

  • They’re a whole lot cheaper in the long run than regular bulbs and, in some cases, can be as much as 10 times more energy efficient than incandescents.
  • They are extremely durable , much more so than traditionals and nowadays you can find them at most home-improvement stores for under $10. You really can’t beat that for a light bulb that will probably outlast you.
  • These guys will save you up to a hundred bucks a year (or MORE) depending on your energy usage, so shop accordingly!

3. Do a nightly “energy sweep”

This is a big one that really saved me a lot each month, and just getting into this nightly habit has really helped me realize just how much energy I was wasting each and every night and in some cases while I was even sleeping!

One of the best ways to do this is to either mentally or physically create a checklist with all the main ways you’re spending money every night. For me, I was always leaving fans and lights on throughout the house and even something as simple as forgetting to turn off the living room fan can cost you big.

Did you know it costs around 40 bucks to run a large ceiling fan on high for a whole year? Imagine if you did this kind of math with your whole house? Easy to see how it starts to pile up, isn’t it?

 

4. Seal the cracks

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This was another killer and has completely altered my views on home heating and cooling even to this day. I was living in a nice old traditional home in Tennessee and, although I loved it,  it really had a lot of cracks and gaps throughout the windows and doors (it was about 50­-60 years old, I believe) that were absolutely killing my energy costs every month.

There’s a lot of different ways you can seal your home, but for me I found expandable caulk and sealant to be particularly effective when sealing windows. Investing in something like an “air seal” or “weather stripping” for your doors will pay off in spades in the long run as well.

 

5. Consider insulating your attic

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Now I know what you’re thinking: I understand what you’re saying, but why would I do THAT?!

There are many reasons:

According to the US Department of Energy, most of the energy/heat in your home escapes through the attic, and there’s a wide variety of different insulations and sealants you can get, so there’s really no reason not to! And I know this is probably not how you were expecting to spend your summer weekend (if you’ve got a husband, definitely get him to do this one) but you’re going to really be saving a bundle each and every month that your attic is insulated.

Furthermore, this not only helps a lot during the winter time, but it works surprisingly well in the warmer summer months as well. Because most of the heat in your home is going to rise through the ceilings and out the house, the attic is a great place to nip it in the bud and ensure that you’re home stays sealed.

 

6. Paint it white!

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I decidedly left this last on the list because there’s a little bit of controversy surrounding this, but let me explain.

The idea is simple: painting your roof white as opposed to tar black helps reflect sunlight back into the atmosphere, thereby effectively eliminating much of the heat that enters your home in the first place. Seem simple enough?

Well it actually is! And although it’s up in the air whether or not painting your roof white will pay nature a favor, YOU will definitely be eliminating a lot of the heat that enters your home in the summer.

A word to the wise though:­ if you do end up undertaking this kind of endeavor, do your research first! Google is a great place for this and a quick search will immediately illuminate the specifics of what type of paint to use and how much (and yes, there is a BIG  difference).

I’ve never done this one before so I can’t speak from personal experience, but the GacoRoof paint pictured above is the best product out there for this kind of project, so definitely go with something like that.

This is kind of the “all­out” approach for slashing energy costs and although it may seem a little far fetched many people have had great results using this stuff…your call!

 

At the end of the day…

To recap, there are a LOT of ways we’re wasting money every month with our cooling and heating costs, and there’s no reason to just let that money go down the drain. Hopefully this list opened your eyes to at least a few different ways you can save money on your energy bills each month!

 

Special thanks to HomeTradie for submitting this article! HomeTradie specializes in Home Improvement advice and has several region specific blogs based in the Central Florida Area.

Featured image courtesy of Consumer Reports.

7 Tips for Preparing a Guest Room for Company

Preparing a Guest Room @ Tipsaholic

 

 

prepare a guest room

 

If you’ve moved more than once in your life, chances are you’ve acquired friendships that have continued across the distance.  Or, you may no longer live by your family.  It’s time to open up your home to visitors!  It can be a stressful experience to host long-distance family or friends, but preparing for their stay doesn’t have to cause headaches!  With a few simple touches you can really brighten their stay.  Whether or not you’ve got a separate bed and bathroom for your guests, these 7 tips for preparing a guest room are sure to help you out.

 

1. Freshen up.  It can be tricky to know how your house really smells, since you are so use to it. To freshen up the room, I always wash all sheets and bedding the night before guests arrive, and give the furniture in the room a good dusting and vacuum the floor.  I also give the bathroom that guests will be using a thorough cleaning using a good-smelling cleaner like Mrs. Myer’s.  The finishing touch is adding a candle on the nightstand beside the bed.

 

2. Try to anticipate your guest’s needs. That might mean ensuring that a glass cup and bottle filled with water is beside the bed ready for that needed drink in the middle of the night. Or you could make sure that there is an extra roll of toilet paper readily visible in the guest bathroom, since nothing is worse than having to open up cabinets and search through other people’s things when toilet paper is needed. Also, lay out a stack of fluffy towels, and provide a few travel sized soaps and shampoos in case they forgot something.

 

3. Dress in layers.  Or rather, dress the bed in layers. You never know if your guest will be hot or cold when sleeping in the room. Make the bed with a light blanket, then drape a heavier quilt or comforter at the end of the bed making it easily accessible to the guest if they need it. Consider adding two types of pillows to the bed – one a soft down pillow and one that is more firm, so the guest can choose which one they prefer.

 

4. Lighten up.  Add a night light to the bathroom and leave the door open, especially if it’s easily visible from the guest bedroom.  If they need to find the bathroom in the middle of the night, they won’t grope for switches and can easily see where to go.

 

5. Try some light reading.  Set a pretty tray on the dresser or table, and add a book and few current magazines. Also, if this is their first visit to the area, include a few brochures about local attractions or a book about the history of the city. This will give your guest a few things to read at night if they need some down time.

 

6. Give them space.  Make sure your guest have enough space to unpack their suitcase if needed, especially if the guest room does double duty in your home. If you regularly utilize spaces in the guest room for extra storage, clear out a few drawers and make room in the closet.  Your company will appreciate it.

 

7. Accessorize.  For a finishing touch, add a vase of flowers to the room. It doesn’t have to be a formal bouquet; you can find in season flowers at your local grocery store, and after simply arranging the flowers, they look lovely. Also, add a short note beside the vase of flowers, thanking your guest for the visit and welcoming them to your home. It’s the small touches that truly make your company feel welcomed.

 

Photo Source: Better Homes and Gardens

 

I’m Frances. I am a mother, a wife, and a community volunteer. I work as a scientist by day and moonlight as a blogger. Making lists helps me keep everything on track. While I have a good life, there is always room for improvement. Join me as I decorate, organize, and try new things over at my blog Improvement List.

6 Ways to Make Over a Concrete Patio

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Concrete patios are very durable, but they’re just not very exciting. If you have a concrete slab in your backyard and you’re itching to jazz it up a bit, here are 6 ways to make over a concrete patio!

 

1. Paint a Pattern

Yes, you can paint your concrete slab. The Handmade Home scored their concrete slab with a circular saw to create a diamond pattern and then painted it with two shades of gray using concrete paint. What a transformation!

 

2. Lay Decking Flooring

Did you know you can lay decking over a concrete slab? And that it’s not as hard as it sounds! Here’s how you can do it. To finish it off, you can attach white fascia boards along the sides. This is a really great way to make over a concrete patio, because decking flooring will instantly warm up your outdoor space.

 

3. Add Curves With Pavers

A square concrete slab is standard, but you can add curves around your concrete patio with the help of pavers. For instance, you could add a half circle to one side to create a fire pit area. Or use pavers to border off a circular garden at one corner of your patio. This is such a pretty way to make over a concrete patio.

 

4. Lay Slate Tiles

Concrete is already a great base for tiles, so you could lay slate tiles to completely transform your concrete patio. First, check for any cracks or weak spots and repair them. Then you’re good to go! Tile your concrete patio just as you would tile any other space in your home.

 

5. Stain the Concrete to Look Like Tile

If you love the look of tiles but not the hard work or the expense, you could stain the concrete to look like tile! Use 1/2 inch tape (try car shops to find this size) to create “grout” lines on the floor and then stain over it. Peel off the tape and ta-da, instant tile! Just make sure to clean it beforehand and seal it afterwards and you’ll have a concrete patio that looks nothing like concrete.

 

6. Add a Beautiful Outdoor Rug

The easiest way to make over a concrete patio is to invest in a large and striking outdoor rug. Here’s a great example. The eye will instantly go to the rug and the concrete patio will disappear into the background. Put some great outdoor furniture on top of the rug and you’ve got yourself an outdoor space you can be proud of. If you like a beachy color scheme of blue and white, you’ll love this rug.

 

For some more inspiration, check out this painted concrete floor. And if you’re actually itching to get a concrete patio because you have nothing in your backyard right now, see how you can DIY a concrete patio!

 

Featured image via Better Homes and Gardens.

 

“I’m Elisa and I live in Austin, Texas with my husband and our two little girls. I used to teach reading and writing, but now I stay at home with my two kiddos and read and write in my spare time. I also love to undertake DIY projects, find new recipes on Pinterest, and dream about someday finally completing our home. Above all, I love to learn about new things and sharing my new-found knowledge with others.  Please check out my blog What the Vita!

4 Moving Tips to Ease Your Stress

4 Moving Tips to Ease Your Stress | Tipsaholic.com #home #moving #packing #tips #diy

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Moving has many stressful aspects. There are the big changes of moving to a new location and the many small details of the moving process. Here are four moving tips you can do to make your move go more smoothly and to eliminate some of the stress.

 

Keep a Notebook

Keep track of your move by having all the details in one place. Being organized is one of the best ways to stay calm and keep on top of things.

Purchase an organizer with pockets for loose papers and multiple section dividers. Make daily records of what you’ve accomplished, and keep lists of what you still need to do. You can use the pockets for receipts, business cards, and even swatches of fabric for the new house.

 

Pack a Travel Bag

Before you box everything up, set aside three days worth of clothes, toiletries and other essentials. Pack these separately. Have a bag for every member of the family. You can do this for kitchen items and food as well.

This way, when you arrive at your new destination, you have a few things to “camp out” with. Whether you are moving yourself or hiring a mover, this saves you having to search through boxes before you spend your first night in your new home.

 

Rent a Temporary Storage Unit

As you go from room to room, you will find big items of furniture and many smaller possessions to pack. Again, organizing will make the process less stressful.

It can be very helpful to rent a storage unit near your home for large items that are hard to move or may need to be moved on a second trip. You can also use the storage unit to hold already packed boxes and to give you more room to deal with what’s left. Finally, you can use the unit to store items you don’t have a place for right away. The items will be held safely until you are ready to retrieve them. Yellowhead Self Storage a company that does self-storage in Edmonton has said that storage units come in all shapes and sizes. There should be an option that suits your needs.

 

Give Yourself a Break

Even though it seems there isn’t enough time to get everything done, make a pact with yourself to take occasional breaks and stick to it. Go for a walk through the neighborhood. Take the kids to a family movie for a treat. Make a cup of tea, put your feet up and call a friend.

Keeping organized and allowing yourself extra time and space for the move will give you more energy and less stress.

 

Special thanks to guest, Chaleigh Glass, for submitting this article. Chaleigh is a freelance writer that lives in NYC. She writes about anything from Home Redecoration to how spice up your love life. In her free time she enjoys golf, snowboarding, and photography.

6 Fun and Stylish Home Office Organization Ideas and Tips

6 Fun and Stylish Home Office Organization Ideas and Tips | Tipsaholic.com #home #organization #office #storage #diy

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Has your home office become a dumping ground for old bills, pens, office supplies, computer and electronic gadgets and their accouterments, kids’ drawings, receipts, photos, and more?  It’s easy to let an office succumb to the chaotic activity – especially since it’s a highly used area with a lot of uses.  Chances are, if you’ve got a dedicated office space, you can use some organization inspiration.  Don’t let the clutter overtake your work area, and don’t let storage turn things drab  - use these tips and handy list of 6 fun and stylish home office organization ideas and whip that space into shape!

 

1. Everything Chalkboard

The chalkboard fad isn’t going away anytime soon.  And why should it?  Chalkboard paint and vinyl make it readily accessible and DIY-able.  You can even make your own chalkboard paint – in any color!  It goes on just about anything, from labels to boxes.  Since you can easily change what’s on it, it’s ideal for labeling office items, like these great drawers from Polka Dot Chair, or keeping lists.

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Check out these other chalkboard projects, too!

Giant Chalkboard Calendar Wall from Tatertots and Jello

Chalkboard Paperweight from Assemble

Chalkboard Clipboards from Anderson and Grant

 

2. Unique Shelves

Every office requires some kind of shelving.  Small spaces can take advantage of vertical height by building shelves up instead of out. Really tight spaces can install small shelves under desks or on the back of doors.  Shelves hold our storage bins and boxes, keep our books tidy, and offer us a place to display some decor.  They don’t have to be boring either; just take a look at these beautiful reclaimed wood shelf drawers from Not Just a Housewife.

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Here’s more fun shelf ideas!

DIY Ladder Shelves from Woonideeen

25 awesome DIY shelving ideas from Remodelaholic

 

3. Repurposed Utensil Holders

A home office inherently builds up tons of office supplies, writing utensils, scissors, punches, you name it.  The clutter from utensils can get way out of hand, if you don’t find a way to corral it.  A great idea is repurposing other household items (like this pencil holder made from cork trivets by Design For Mankind); it’ll save you money and have unique personality.

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Here are some other great solutions using items around your house:

Stemware Rack Caddy System from Better Homes and Gardens

Lazy Susan Tin Can Caddy from Cynthia Shaffer

 

4. Peg Boards,  Cork Boards, and Magnet Boards, oh my!

One easy way to get smaller items neat, organized, and out of the way – but still within easy reach – is to put up some kind of organizational board.  This makes use of wall space instead of surface space and keeps things tidy.  Bulletin or cork boards are typical options for offices, but you can use magnet and peg boards as well.  Or a combination, like this one from My Blissful Space!

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Here are a few more fun examples:

Fabric Cork Board with Nail Head Trim from Beach House in the City

Clear Lucite Pegboard System from Fashionably Organized

Oil Pan turned Magnet Board from Nic and Kate

 

5. Unexpected Filing Systems

Maybe you don’t have room for a large filing cabinet.  Or maybe you think ordinary filing cabinets are cumbersome, bulky, boring, or even downright ugly.  You can find ways to file those necessary papers that don’t involve your typical beige, metal rectangle.  Just look at this beautiful and stylish solution from Erica Lee Style!

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Check out these other smart filing solutions!

DIY Pull Out Filing Drawer from Beneath My Heart

Striped Filing Cabinet (with CHALKBOARD labels!  See?) from bugaboo, mini, mr & me

 

6. Recycled Baskets and Bins and Catch-Alls

Obviously you’ll have to store some items.  Whether in baskets, bins, totes, jars or bowls, storage containers don’t have to be ordinary.  And they are definitely not one size fits all.  Baskets can be hung on a wall instead of placed on a shelf.  Some storage totes are perfect from hanging on a rod with hooks.  Recycle diaper boxes with duct tape or fabric.  Look at normal items in new ways, like these magnetic dishes that A Girl and a Glue Gun used!

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Here are some more creative storage solutions:

Large Glass Jar Storage from Remodelaholic (check out the awesome wire baskets, as well)

Embroidery Hoop Storage Bins from Curbly

Belted Storage Totes from Brit and Co.

 

Kimberly Mueller is the “me” over at bugaboo, mini, mr & me, a blog that highlights her creative endeavors. She especially likes to share kid crafts, sewing attempts, recipes, upcycled projects, photography and free printable gift tags/cards. When she’s not enjoying being married to her best friend, chasing after the natives (AKA her three kids) and attempting to keep the house in one piece, you can find her with a glue gun in one hand and spray paint in the other. Aside from DIY pursuits, she also enjoys writing, reading, music, singing (mostly in the shower) and the color yellow. Kimberly recently published a craft book entitled Modern Mod Podge. You can also find her on FacebookPinterest,Bloglovin’ and Instagram. Email her at: bugabooblog(at)yahoo.com

 

Featured image courtesy of Polka Dot Chair.

5 Steps to an Organized Playroom

5 Steps to an Organized Playroom - Tipsaholic

An organized playroom can encourage creative play, imagination, teamwork, cooperation, and of course, playfulness!  These are all great qualities we want in our kids.  If you don’t want your playroom to fall flat, you’ll need to focus on more than the toys.  Make your space fabulous and organized with these five simple steps!

5 steps to an organized playroom

1. A place for everything, and everything in its place.

The old adage rings especially true in spaces for children. Kids need to know there are designated spots for every toy and tool they use, so labeling is key. What you store things in is secondary to the kids being able to easily find what they need.  This will save you from headaches when you ask them to clean up, too! There are tons of ways to label. Try clear bins, so the kids can easily identify the toys inside.  Use pictures and words for little ones who can’t read yet. Try chalkboard labels so you can easily change them. If there are wire baskets or handles, use tags that can be tied on. If your bins are plastic, use vinyl cutouts:

2.  Organize top to bottom.

Think about organizing the space “top to bottom”. Consider items that might best be stored up higher, and those things you want within easy reach of toddlers and other kids. For instance, you might want art supplies or fragile toys up on a shelf, while books and puzzles could be in a bin or rack near the floor. Thinking top to bottom not only helps you to focus your attention on where best to place items for safety and ease of use, but it also forces you to utilize the entire space. Take advantage of all that vertical area. Don’t forget about corners, closets and doors, which can easily be fully utilized for storage.

3.  Go for double duty.

Let your storage be part of the design. Use bins or buckets that are artistic and work well with the decor scheme. Stick to storage that matches the color palette. Use toys as art.

4.  Keep it colorful. Keep it playful.

It is a playroom, after all. Kids love color and this is a space just for them, right? Colorful storage solutions begged to be played with. You don’t have to decorate in a rainbows, but sticking to a fun, colorful palette makes the space more kid-centered. This is a room that should be geared specifically toward fun–even your storage solutions can do that!

5.  Think outside the box.

The toy box, that is. There are so many interesting, fun and unique ways to store all the items that come along with childhood. Recycle old crates. Paint antique suitcases. Put wheels on old drawers. Try reusing items in unexpected ways, like rain gutters or spice racks for book storage.

Thinking about adding a designated reading nook to your playroom or other space? Check out the ideas and tips for great reading nooks here!

 

Kimberly Mueller is the “me” over at bugaboo, mini, mr & me, a blog that highlights her creative endeavors. She especially likes to share kid crafts, sewing attempts, recipes, upcycled projects, photography and free printable gift tags/cards. When she’s not enjoying being married to her best friend, chasing after the natives (AKA her three kids) and attempting to keep the house in one piece, you can find her with a glue gun in one hand and spray paint in the other. Aside from DIY pursuits, she also enjoys writing, reading, music, singing (mostly in the shower) and the color yellow. Kimberly recently published a craft book entitled Modern Mod Podge. You can also find her on FacebookPinterest, Bloglovin’ and Instagram. Email her at: bugabooblog(at)yahoo.com

Feature image via BHG.com

8 Ways to Decorate Your Home with Flowers

8 Ways to Decorate Your Home with Flowers | Tipsaholic.com #home #decor #design #ideas #floral #flowers

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Bring spring into your home with floral decor! Florals are on trend and they can be a lot of fun to decorate with. Today’s florals are bold, graphic, and colorful, making them more modern than the florals of years past. Here are eight fresh ways to decorate your home with flowers.

1. Floral Wallpaper

Wallpaper has been trendy for a while, but with the emerging popularity of florals in home decor, we’re now seeing an explosion of floral wallpaper.

For an excellent example of how the right floral wallpaper can instantly add beauty and character to a space, check out this girly-glam closet makeover that includes an amazing floral wallpaper.

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2. Floral Pillows

For the past several years, pillows covered in geometric fabrics have ruled the home decor world. Right now, however, floral pillows are in demand. If you already have geometric pillows, you’re off to a great start. Geometric pillows pair very nicely with today’s colorful floral pillows.

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3. Floral Art

When you think of florals in art, you might conjure an image of a still life painting of flowers in a vase. That’s fine, but try to think bigger and just a bit differently. Can you imagine this rose painting blown up and hung in a bedroom? Gorgeous.

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4. Floral Lampshades

Jazz up your lamps by turning a plain white lampshade into a floral one. You could wrap a lampshade in a floral fabric or find vintage floral wallpaper and paste that to a lampshade. Of course, you could always simply buy new floral lampshades and swap out your old ones.

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5. Florals on the Bed

The bedroom is a natural place to include florals for the home, especially on your bed. Try to mix patterns so you don’t go too flowery. You could DIY a headboard with your favorite floral fabric for a bold statement or add a couple of floral pillows for a smaller change. Or go big and do both!

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6. Floral Rug

A soft floral rug adds softness and beauty to a room. Bright and cheery flowers on a rug can bring a lot of life to a fairly simple room, like this one and this one.

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7. Floral Curtains

Add whimsy to a room with a pair of beautiful floral curtains. Your favorite floral curtains could be a great starting point to a room design or makeover — just make your decor choices based on the colors in the curtain and you’ll have a cohesive and attractive room in the end.

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8. Floral Upholstery

The right floral upholstery can look really striking on a pair of chairs in the living room or on your dining chairs. You could even cover a sofa with floral upholstery if you absolutely love the fabric. Just be sure that the lines of your furniture are modern or at least contemporary so they don’t veer into grandma-land territory. Although, there’s nothing wrong with that if that’s the look you’re after!

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Life is busy, so don’t forget to stop and smell the flowers!

For more decorating tips, check out 9 Ways to Add New Life to an Old Space and 6 Ways to Use Crates in Decor.

 

“I’m Elisa and I live in Austin, Texas with my husband and our two little girls. I used to teach reading and writing, but now I stay at home with my two kiddos and read and write in my spare time. I also love to undertake DIY projects, find new recipes on Pinterest, and dream about someday finally completing our home. Above all, I love to learn about new things and sharing my new-found knowledge with others.”  Please check out my blog What the Vita!

 

Featured image courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens.