Cheap, simple ways to spruce up the house
— Canwest News Service
ILOVE to share advice and tips with people on all sorts of subjects. I thought it might be helpful if I shared some of my favourite decorating things and ideas with you. Most are simple, everyday items or ideas I find helpful in my home, so I hope you garner some useful advice. Gadgets
Kitchen gadgets come and go; we see them all the time on infomercials. When you actually find some that work, it behooves you to share that experience. Here are three of my favourite kitchen gadgets.
Dishcloth Chariot, by Umbra: I picked this up recently and have since purchased a second one for the cottage kitchen. Before I got the Chariot, I was hanging my wet dishcloth on the spout of the faucet and it never dried properly. The wet cloth also eventually led to corrosion of the faucet. The Chariot is a simple, stainless steel dishcloth hanger that sits on the counter. The base holds a scrubby (included with purchase) and the hanger allows the dishcloth to dry so it doesn’t get smelly. This is a great product for around $15, is attractive and solves an everyday problem in the kitchen. www.umbra.com
Starfrit MightCan can opener: I bought this manual can opener quite a few years ago on a whim, hoping it would last longer that the one-touch battery-operated opener I bought that lasted only a few months. This manual opener cuts the lid off the can on the side so the lid doesn’t fall into the food. It works beautifully and has lasted a lot longer than I expected. It’s comfortable to hold and has a large, easy-grip knob that makes it a breeze to use. Because the blade rarely touches the food, it doesn’t get gummy and dirty like traditional openers do. I highly recommend it. www.starfrit.com
Miniminit Coffee Filters: I am a coffee connoisseur (my husband would say coffee fiend) and have been using these one-cup filters for years. Since I’m the only one in our home who drinks coffee, these single-use filters are a great alternative to making an entire pot because each cup is fresh and hot. Buying coffee at the office every day can be expensive, so if you have access to boiling water at work, you can simply bring your own coffee, filters and fixings and make yourself a fresh cup whenever you desire. I also love to use a coffee press but find the coffee is better if I filter it through a Miniminit filter after pressing it in the press. The filters are also great for loose tea. The filters may be hard to find, but I believe they will be launching soon (if they haven’t already) in Foodfare stores in the city. If you can’t find the filters where you shop, you can contact the company through their website to order online. www.miniminit.com
Decorator’s must-haves: One of the tools I use the most and couldn’t live without is my hot-glue gun. I have made countless crafts, adorned many decorating objects and have fixed many household items with my glue gun over the years. From adorning lampshades with beads to covering decorative containers with fabric, I’d be hard-pressed to find a more useful decorating tool. I even created our headboard with a hotglue gun, fabric, batting and plywood. The nice thing about a glue gun is they are readily available at most dollar stores (along with the glue sticks) and are inexpensive enough that you can buy a few to keep on hand.
Another must-have for the DIY decorator are small bottles of craft paint. Available at most dollar stores, these handy paints are great for creating or updating items in your home. For painting a faux area rug on a wooden floor, changing the colour of items like picture frames, embellishing plain lampshades or painting crafting items you can’t be without a colourful collection of craft paints. Buy a few good brushes and a whole bunch of cheap ones, including small sponge brushes, and you’ll be ready for whatever small project you have in mind for your home. sizes looks great on a dresser, side table or even in the bathroom on a countertop or corner of the tub. There are two on the dresser in our feature photograph, set alongside a trio of lovely vases. All are in similar shades to the lovely pastel purple Dulux Australia wall colour, which makes for a lovely vignette in this bedroom. Great decorating ideas I like simple and inexpensive when it comes to my home, so being able to create my own artwork is a great way to keep my decor fresh and exciting with minimal work and cost. One idea I like is to change coloured family photographs into black and white and frame them for wall display. There’s something vintage and artsy about a blackand-white picture that makes it great fodder for the decor. The nice thing about this project is it can be done on a home computer and printer. You can also make pictures larger or crop them in interesting ways to create drama. For example, if a family member has exotic-looking eyes, you might crop the photo to highlight only his or her eyes. I’ve seen this done and it’s quite artistic. Other similar cropping ideas might be a child’s foot in the sand or a dog’s wagging tail, for example. You don’t have to limit yourself to family photographs either. Nature photographs can also be stunning in black and white. Use your artistic eye to create something unique for your home.
To frame the photos, I use simple black frames that come with glass on the front and back. The photo floats between the two panes of glass with no matting or size restrictions, so it’s easy to display and change photographs as desired.
I hope my favourite things and ideas list will help you in your decorating adventures.
A small collection of large candles in varying degrees looks great on a dresser.