home spaces


Yep! Another design tip blogged because I LOVE sharing!

My neighbor and friend who invited me to the design class, gave permission to share the new look of her living room space. Her cat, Raphael (pictured), gave two paws up on the new look and blog sharing, as well! Thank you, Raphael!

It’s amazing how moving furniture around, without having to add anything to the space, can impact look and feel! Pictured are before and after photos. The goal is to bring the room together for a cozy and conversation friendly space, working with beautiful outdoor natural landscape and light.

This past week we learned how important it is to identify the focal point in a room and then arrange large furniture accordingly. Sometimes the focal point can be dual vs a singular point. In this case, the fireplace is a focal point and yet, so is the beauty of the outdoors with all the windows surrounding the living room.

Moving the sofa away from the window opens the space so the eyes are drawn outside instead of the view stopping at the sofa. The new placement of the sofa creates a soft divider to the kitchen, distinguishing the living room from the kitchen. Bringing the end table between the two chairs creates a functional space that can now be used when hosting company. The space is conversation friendly as guests are able to face each other with an added benefit of the area being framed by the fireplace and outdoor landscape. The amazing greenery of the outdoors feels like it is part of the room! The large floor lamp is moved to the back of the room, with the black shade anchoring the space.

This was all planned first, on graph paper, with the wisdom and guidance of Pam Smith, Instructor. Visit Pam at Pam Smith Designs.

Pam has shared many tips and here is an awesome one, HGTV Home Design Studio Room Planner, through Basset Furniture website. This tool allows you to place furniture on a graph, planning and visualizing different options before you begin heavy lifting and moving. The instructions are simple and the results are effective!!

You, too, can refresh your home! If you are feeling a need for change, all you have to do is MOVE it!! As summer gets ready to usher in fall, pick a room in your home to highlight the natural beauty of the layout and bring in the outdoors. Go for a whole new look and feel that may not cost anything but a little time and some physical work. You can do it! MOVE it!!

home spaces

POP That Color!

Recently, a friend of mine asked if I would be interested to attend an interior design course to learn basic principles. Wanting to do this for many years, I quickly said YES!! Last week we attended our first class. And, this past weekend, I took out the material handouts for review. It didn’t take long to look at my home with a different “educated” perspective. This is when a little acquired knowledge can sometimes be dangerous!!

The class was on COLOR and after watching the suggested video, noticed some areas of my home that needed POP!! It’s ok to use different shades of the same color in a room. To create interest, however, include contrast, either much darker or lighter.  An example is shown in the blog photo of a guest bedroom in my home. All the colors are different shades but too much along the same tone. I happened to have a black and light cream check flannel fabric. Practicing the simple principle learned, decided to make 2 pillows in this fabric for the bed. Notice the difference? The room and bed now feel warm and welcoming, like a magnetic draw into the room.

If you have a room with similar color tones, add pillows or consider an accessory or throw blanket that is in a much darker or lighter shade. Perhaps choose items in a complimentary color on the color wheel chart. If you need to introduce texture, this too will incorporate interest adding contrast and value to your room. As shown in the before pics of my dining room, I needed to incorporate lighter colors to offset the dark room and dining room furniture. I purchased the perfect find, a light distressed wood cabinet at our local Castle Rock, amazing shop, The Barn! The color and texture are perfect for this room and functional, providing needed storage for some of my collectibles. See the difference? 

Decor pillows are a great way to introduce simple and low cost updates without breaking the bank. If you are not one who sews, Home Goods/TJ Max and Ross Stores almost always have a HUGE selection, organized by color. Other favorite stores for pillows and trending accessories are Pottery Barn and Pier 1 imports. If you live  near Castle Rock check out The Barn and The Emporium. Small changes can make for BIG results. POP that color!!

home spaces

Oil To Perfection!

A year ago, the credenza shown in the blog photo above looked tired with patches of scratches and a surface that was becoming dull and light in color. After trying a number of wood products, nothing appeared to work. At this point I decided to put a generous amount of olive oil on a clean cotton rag, and in a circular motion gently rubbed the oil over the top of the credenza. Like magic all the markings and dry patches disappeared and my credenza looked like new! Amazing, it has remained looking this way until I noticed a 2-inch scratch yesterday.

No longer do scratches and tired looking wood surfaces bother me. Why? Because, the olive oil trick works better than any solution I previously tried and so far, the solution has been permanent!

OLIVE OIL!! Pure OLIVE OIL! Wish I took a BEFORE photo of the scratch, but I didn’t. After applying olive oil, the above photo shows where the scratch simply disappeared.

Checking other areas of the credenza, noticed a few nicks. Applied the olive oil and the nicks DISAPPEARED as shown above, BEFORE and AFTER.

Love when simple home remedies work! If you have scratches on your wood furniture, try applying olive oil on a cotton rag, and gently apply in a circular motion. Once the scuffs and scratches disappear, run the oiled rag across the top of your wood surface. You will be amazed…oil to perfection!!

home spaces

Stack It!

When our house was being built, we were BLESSED with a HUGE closet. And, I have had no problem filling it! About a year ago I took a weekend to share clothing no longer needed, filling bags for Goodwill Thrift Stores. While closet organizing I became frustrated with folded clothes continuously falling over on the shelf. Neat piles (especially with workout clothes) would topple over, blending in a pile. I am one of those who says; “What do I have on hand that could solve this problem?” rather than “Where is the closest organizing store to pick up shelf dividers?”

Remember the metal bookends that were probably more popular years ago than they are now? When we moved here, so did a box of those old metal bookends. I knew exactly where they were stored. Excited, I retrieved them with great hope and enthusiasm. They proved to be the BEST closet solution and are now successful shelf dividers for workout clothes, leggings, t-shirts and skinny jeans. After one year these bookends have “stacked it” well, embracing their new calling as shelf dividers. Job well done! Cost to me? $0

The blog photo shows various types and styles of bookends available today as well as how they are being used in my closet. They are typically sold in pairs and come in a variety of colors. If your shelf can accommodate the height, I would go with taller bookends. Measure first before ordering. Amazon.com has a great selection. I like metal because they are strong, solid (not clear plastic) and sturdy. Closets that are décor pretty, decorative bookends are also available online. There are some very cute ones that can be bought for children’s rooms.

Although bookends from the name alone suggest use with books, they can be repurposed to accommodate stacking closet shelf clothes, drawer items such as PJ’s and underclothes (smaller bookends) and even pantry food boxes and bagged items. Whether you already have metal bookends or if you need to purchase, give it a try and STACK IT for your organizational needs!


home spaces

Put Your Wine Bottles To Work!!

For the past 2 years I have been saving used wine bottles. When I began this wine bottle collection, I truly believed that someday the bottles could be repurposed to meet a need and prepared I would be! The storage cabinet is now full of bottles. Since I’m in a creative mood, this past weekend I focused on identifying a problem that could be solved with wine bottles.

It didn’t take long to find a need for such a solution. Whenever I have guests, be it for dinner or weekend wine and appetizers, there are frequent trips to the fridge for water. I have ONE water pitcher, which always tends to be in an inconvenient location at the wrong end of the table or placed somewhere in the living area that is not quickly spotted.

Realized, how perfect to repurpose wine bottles as water decanters! The bottles conserve space and can be spread out on a dinner table, placed at individual tables when hosting large dinner parties, or designated to various living area or outdoor counters when hosting a wine and appetizer soirée.

After washing wine bottles, identified a few design plans for their new purpose as water decanters. The blog photo shows 3 styles, from simple to a more complex decoupage. The first bottle (far left) is an awesome alternative to preserve wine labels if you have a special reserve bottle you once enjoyed or the label reflects a cherished memory. In addition, spray painting the bottles in colors that coordinate with a special event with added adhesive chalkboard labels, is a simple décor option. When used as water decanters, the best way to keep the water cold is to use crushed ice and fill the bottles with cold water from the refrigerator dispenser. Or, fill a large plastic dispenser with tap water and place in the fridge overnight. These plastic dispensers, (available at local grocery chain stores, Wal-Mart and Target) as you can see in the photo, make it easy to fill and refill bottles. Decorative wine stoppers are a creative way to keep the bottled water cold!

What are some other uses for wine bottles? A quick internet search reveals many websites sharing ideas, from simple to complex where kilns are needed to melt the bottle and create a serving dish – very cool!! Pinterest appears to have the most comprehensive listing of wine bottle ideas. Here is the LINK.

Instead of tossing out wine bottles, put those bottles to work!! Whether you choose to bring new life to your collection for use as water decanters or borrow Internet ideas to meet your needs, repurposing is FUN, $$$ saving, and eliminates environmental waste if you are not recycling.


home spaces

Home The Way You Live!

Home the way you live 4 _edited-1

Whether you are a parent with kids out of school for summer, empty nesters or none of the above but you have a home space that needs refreshing, this blog is for you. This next month could be a great time to inventory your home space; what needs to go and what needs to stay, what needs repair and what needs to be replaced and rooms that might function better if  repurposed. Otherwise, from time to time we come to a point of living among accumulated stuff in tired looking rooms with long past due home repairs and the thought of doing anything about it becomes too overwhelming!

Click Modify Organizing and Summer Cleaning List , which provides a great guide to help you get started. If you have children, get them involved! Including kids is a great way to build confidence with tasks that are age appropriate, especially when it applies to working their own rooms. When the tasks are done and rooms are organized, go celebrate!

A home should flow the way you live. What you no longer use (or wear if it’s clothes) donate. Unless something is so beyond useable, your items could be someone’s cherished find. Organization and efficiency are great habits to own and your habits today are your children’s habits tomorrow. A house well organized minimizes stress for you and all those living in the home. The amazing art projects and school papers your children brought home at the close of the school year, have them choose a few to keep and store in a memory box.  Plan to have a place for everything. Eliminate misc. junk drawers that become, just that! Consider 3M Command Hooks (no holes!) that can be placed behind doors for often used items to be off furniture and off the floor. Refresh walls, doorframes and baseboards with a coat of paint or change up paint colors all-together! There are so many awesome ideas to organize today from bedrooms to home offices, closets, garages and storage rooms. If you are no longer using a room in your home, it’s OK to change it to one that can be family functional. For instance, a formal living space that is rarely used can become a home library or family study room. Perhaps the unused formal space can become a wine room or an entertainment space with a pool table. You can break traditional space rules and repurpose rooms to reflect your lifestyle. Think outside the box! Get ideas from online searches. Pinterest is a great place to explore. You can also Internet search DIY ideas for what you are looking to accomplish. Forbes has an inspiring article that might help you. Answer the question… What is causing the most stress in this house? And then, work to find a solution to eliminate that stress. At one time, a common occurrence and resulting high stress factor in our home was losing house/car keys. Our son made a wooden key holder in Boy Scouts and placed it right by the door leading from the garage to our family room. We never lost keys again! And, it’s important to know taking home inventory extends beyond the interior of your home. Consider home exterior and outdoor living space. Every 5 years my husband and I order a full home inspection. It’s amazing what has come up that eventually could have led to huge repair costs. By catching issues early, we avoid bigger problems. Simple solutions do make all difference.

This summer, when the days are longer and the weather is warmer, work on your home space! This checklist Modify Organizing and Summer Cleaning List will give you everything you might want to consider. By fall, you can have a living environment that reflects the way you live, repurposing rooms for your lifestyle and bringing efficiency home where it belongs!


Bargain Boutique · home spaces

Summer Fleece Makes Winter Cozy!

You may want to read about fleece and faux fur even when temperatures and humidity are rising. Why??? The BEST and most COZY of all blankets are made from these fabrics and summer means sales! The fleece throws are awesome for adults, kids, and babies! Pets LOVE them, too!!

Many years ago, frustrated that I couldn’t find a functional size and comfortable winter blanket that works with my home decor, I purchased anti-pill fleece, 2 yards of print and 2 yards of solid. Trimming raw edges and with right sides together also trimmed the excess that didn’t align. A quick pin, I machine stitched with a 7-inch opening. Pulled the right side of the fabric through the opening and then closed with simple hand stitching. The perfect blanket was born! So easy and so comfy!! It didn’t take long for this blanket to be coveted by family and friends. And, yes, the dog became possessive over this awesome find, which in his mind appeared on the sofa so it must be his!!

Through the years these blankets have evolved and have been gifted to family (immediate & extended), many friends, newborns, and pets, ours and others!!! I also have had requests for more. Below is a list of different options, in order of popularity. Note: Anti-pill fleece (LINK)  won’t fuzz or ball after washings. Merchant website computer screen colors do not show well so best to purchase in-store rather than online.

  1. Anti-pill printed fleece with a Faux Fur Fabric – Swirl design, LINK 
  2. Luxury Faux Fur Fabric Chevron (LINK) design with a solid anti-pill printed fleece
  3. Anti-Pill printed fleece with a solid anti-pill printed fleece, LINK
  4. Anti-pill printed fleece with a complimentary color printed anti-pill fleece for the backside, LINK
  5. HEAVY blanket anti-pill printed fleece with a heavy Fashion-Faux-Fox-Fur, LINK

The photos on this blog illustrate the options except for (2). In all cases the faux fur is used for the backside of the blanket, with (2) being the exception, intended for the front side. At the time of this published blog, Joann Fabrics has 40% off on most of their fleece plus an additional 20% off total purchase. Also, suggest checking Wal-Mart yardage where everyday prices are similar to 40-50% sale prices elsewhere. The selection at Wal-Mart can be hit or miss and mostly juvenile prints but I have had great luck with their faux fur!

It’s best to shop for fleece and faux fur before inventory runs low and your selection becomes limited. Fall and winter birthdays along with thinking ahead for Christmas gifts are great reasons to design and make the perfect blankets now. Summer purchases make for a very COZY winter!!