Certain rooms of the house lend themselves to wallpaper or at least a wallpaper border along the top of the walls. If you’re ready to take the next step in decorating, here’s how to wallpaper a kitchen.
Make a Plan
The first step to wallpapering is to actually select the paper. Many types of wallpaper now come with adhesive. You simply dip the wall paper strip in water and apply it, so this is your best bet. It’s far better to skip messy glues if you can avoid it. Look around for wallpaper you’ll enjoy for years to come. It’s challenging to change out wallpaper, so don’t settle. If you love rooster décor, by all means find coordinating wallpaper, but if you’re unsettled on a pattern, wait until you definitely prefer one before beginning.
Know What You’re Buying
You also need to understand what sort of wallpaper you’re buying and the level of commitment you’ll be extending to the project. A simple border can be hung in a few hours or less. Wallpapering an entire room can take days to do well, especially if you have an unusually shaped kitchen.
When its time to actually start the project, put on work clothes, find a large pan or bucket, a ladder, a trimming knife and a scraper and get started. Start at one corner of the room. Use a level to make a careful vertical line where the first two strips of paper will meet. This vertical line will ensure your paper is straight – be sure to draw another one each time you start a new section or wall.
Carefully measure the height of the wall area where the wallpaper will be hung. Measure it again to be certain, and then measure out the length on the paper itself. Cut the strip with your trimming knife and straight edge to ensure it is perfectly straight. Be sure to leave a two inch margin for trimming.
Then loosely roll the paper backwards so that the back of the paper is on the outside. Soak the strip in your pan of water to activate the glue. When the paper is thoroughly wet, carefully lift it out and spend a few minutes activating the glue. You can activate the glue by “booking” the paper. Booking entails folding the wet paper on to itself with glue to glue. You’ll want to have floor coverings in place to protect your floor from drips.
Hang the Paper
“Unbook” the wallpaper sheet and gently press it onto the wall leaving an inch at the top. Align the paper to the vertical line you drew to ensure its straight. Use a brush or other smoothing tool to press the strip against the wall. Be sure the wall paper is flush to the corners and along baseboards and the ceiling. Cut a small diagonal at the top of paper hanging in corners to ensure the excess paper doesn’t cause your strip to hang improperly.
Once the strip is hung, smooth is out to remove any air bubbles. Work diagonally from the top down. Any stubborn bubbles that won’t leave, pop with a pin and force the air out before the wall paper dries. Repeat the procedure with additional strips taking time to trim the top and bottom of each with a sharp razor and straight edge.
When dealing with a window, door or electrical outlet, paper over the obstruction and then trim away the paper using a series of diagonal cuts to ensure your corners are exact.
There is no faster, or less expensive, way to change the appearance of a room than to give it a new coat of paint. Painting a room requires a bit of prep work and time, but the more carefully you attend to the details, the better the result.
The first step to painting a room is to determine what paint color and any texture you will be using. You can obtain samples from a paint or home improvement store to see what colors work best in your room. Then, with a color in mind, head back to the store to buy your paint. Plan on at least two coats, so a small room may need only one can, but two gallons of paint is your best bet. If you are painting over stained walls or dark paint, you should also buy a gallon of primer. Be sure to also buy paint supplies such as rollers, brushes, painter’s tape and paint trays.
Tape the Edges of the Room
While professionals shun painter’s tape, it can help keep your ceilings and floors paint free. Take time to carefully apply painters tape to the outside of your paint area. This will give you a bit of freedom in case a brush slips or there are drips while you are painting. Tape the ceiling, doorways, floorboards, and any other built-ins that will not be painted.
Remove Wall Art and Spackle
Remove any wall art or other hangings and spackle the holes left behind. Sand down any spackle that dries uneven with the wall texture.
Prime and Paint!
Cover your floors with a drop cloth and carefully pour the primer (if you are using one) into your paint tray. Use a roller to carefully roll the primer onto the walls in a V pattern. Overlap your strokes and refill your roller with paint frequently to get the best coverage. Avoid too much paint on the roller at a time as this can lead to drips and splatters.
When the walls have been primed, clean the tray, attach a new roller, and pour in your paint color. Ensure the primer is completely dry, and then begin rolling on your paint color using the same V technique. Use a brush to paint the narrow spaces where a roller won’t fit such as corners, the tops and bottoms of walls and the areas around windows and doors. Allow the first coat of paint to dry, then repeat with a second coat. Some dark colors may require three or possibly even four coats of paint for solid coverage.
Allow the paint to dry completely before removing the tape. Pull the tape carefully to reveal crisp corners and straight lines. Throw the tape away, clear away your tools and drop cloth, and enjoy your painted room.
Who doesn’t dream of a home where everything is orderly and neatly in its place? Wouldn’t it be nice if everything had a place to start with? Organizing your home sounds like a lot of work, but with a few tools and a little elbow grease, you can get things together and reduce the amount of clutter that cramps your style.
Give Everything a Place
First, eliminate the piles of things that accumulate on the floors, counters, under beds, and the countless other places in your home. Use storage containers to help you with this daunting task. Plastic bins are sized to fit conveniently under beds, on shelves, and in garages in a variety of shapes and sizes. Find the ones that suit your needs and invest in this huge home helper.
Use decorative baskets to conveniently stash magazines, books, toys, or craft supplies. Even your keys, which you have indubitably spent many mornings searching frantically for, need a home. Key holders are a decoration with a very practical function. Mount one by your door and get in the habit of hanging up your keys on your way in, so you can quickly grab them off the hook on your way out.
A Little at a Time
Instead of letting clutter grow into unmanageable piles, clean up as you go. Try to put things away when you finish using them rather than leaving them out to clean up later. When you are talking on the phone, or commercials come on during your TV shows, use that time to multi-task, and put dishes in the dishwasher or clear off just one section of your kitchen counter, or work your way across the living room. You’ll be surprised what a difference just a little bit of time can make.
Don’t Be a Packrat
It is easy to fall into the habit of saving things “just in case.” Think back to the many pieces of junk you have saved “just in case.” How many times did these things come in handy? Is the space these things take up worth the cost of buying what you need. Take some time to go through closets and drawers to purge out the junk and the trash.
Keep just the things you actually need. Some people find it useful to only keep things that they have used in the past twelve months. While this method may seem extreme to you, it does alleviate a lot of mess to clean out the old useless items that hide behind closed doors. In no time at all, you will have a clean and organized home.
If you’re like most computer owners, the computer desk or work station is an unsightly mess of cables, wires, loose CDs and other computer related paraphernalia. Organizing your computer desk can be done in a single afternoon, and the results will be extremely satisfying and possibly even productive. Here’s how to organize your computer desk.
Remove the Clutter
To begin organizing your computer desk, you must first remove much of the clutter that seems to litter the area. Throw trash in the trashcan and remove old plates and cups to the kitchen. Small items that belong in anther room should be taken to their true home. The clutter of CDs, wires, and flash drives that accompany computers today can also be removed, but keep those items handy as you don’t want to lose anything important.
Arrange the Wires and Cables
Crawl around behind your computer table to organize the wires. You can organize computer cables by wrapping up the excess with tie-tabs from garbage bags or you can use a cable organizer to help keep wires from tangling and getting shorted by other wires.
Everything in Its Place
The actual computer is easy to clean with a can of spray air and a soft rag. Now that the clutter is removed, dust the table itself as well. Before you go and put the clutter back onto the desk in neat stacks the way you’re prone to do, consider finding a home for every item that is not on the top of the desk.
All of the CD-ROMs that lay around can be organized into a CD holder along with their covers. This eliminates the need for the many cases and keep CDs in a handy, yet organized location. A desk organizer fitted into a desk drawer can keep pens, spare change, USB drives and extra cables in one place, again out of sight. Instruction manuals and other information sheets can be kept in a file box at the top of a closet.
Find a place to store all of the items that usually make the desk messy. Then, you’ll be able to clean your computer desk in a matter of minutes in the future. Plus you’ll be able to find anything you need without having to riffle through the stacks of who-knows-what on your desk.
If you’re hanging new blinds, before you order, be sure you measure six times. That may seem extreme, but measuring blinds requires three measurements on each window. And you’ll want to measure twice just to be sure you got each one right the first time. Thus, you’ll be doing at least six measurements per window.
To measure for blinds, you’ll need a metal measuring tape, a stepladder, a pencil and a pad of paper. Be sure you use a metal measuring tape as a fabric one can stretch and give you a false measurement.
To measure the window, climb on your stepladder and measure the top of the window first. Then measure the middle, and then the bottom. It’s very common to have different widths at different parts of the window, hence the three measurements. All measurements should be across the window in a straight line to check width. Measure to an eighth of an inch and write down all three. Then measure the length of the window in at least two places. This measurement is not as critical.
Once you have all of the measurements recorded, take the smallest of the three widths and record it as the official width of the window. The blinds will fit most snugly here, and you don’t want them too wide.
When you have all of your measurements ready, order your new blinds rounding your measurements to the nearest eighth or quarter inch – whatever the company uses. Do not account for wiggle room as the company already does this for you. The hardware will cut a quarter-inch off each side of the window, so use your exact measurement (the smallest one.)
When the blinds arrive, you should use the manufacturer’s suggestions for hanging them in your windows.
Closets fill up fast. When your closet is full to bursting, but you still need more room, you need to take a step back and see about organizing your closet to maximize space. Here’s how to find more space in your current closet.
Clean Out Clothes
Start with the number one item in your closet – your clothing. Take everything off the shelves and rods and analyze each piece before you put it back. Only put items back on the shelves or rods if you wear it currently, have worn it in the last six months, or have just purchased it.
Any clothing you’re hoping to wear again, used to wear and still have, are too big, stained, torn, pilled, or otherwise in ill repair need to go. If you have a sentimental attachment to a pair of jeans or a dress, keep them, but limit this to one or two items – not your entire junior high wardrobe. If you lose weight in a month, you can treat yourself to a new wardrobe.
If you have a legitimate reason for two separate wardrobes such as a recent baby or extreme seasonal temperatures, remove the items you don’t fit into or can’t wear now and store them in a tote in the garage or attic. You can retrieve them when the weather changes or you lose that last ten pounds.
Clean Out Shoes and Accessories
While you’re at it, sort through your shoes and other accessories, too. If you haven’t worn a pair, no matter how cute they are, give them away to a friend or donate them to someone who needs them. You can do the same with purses, bags, and other space hogs.
Store the Bulky Stuff
If you have a wedding dress and heavy winter coat in your closet taking up half of the useable space, store them somewhere else. Perhaps stuff your coat into the hall closet, and consider hanging the wedding dress in a protective bag in the attic. Blankets, pillows and other soft items can be stored in space bags and then placed under the bed. This is also true of off season clothes.
Invest in a Closet System
Invest in a closet system if you don’t already have a system of shelves and drawers. A closet system will let you organize your things into their own spaces which helps reduce clutter and keeps all items in their most accessible location.
Apartments are often a bit short on space, especially in critical locations such as kitchens and bathrooms. Maximizing this space can be an exercise in patience or simply a task for someone ready to use their creativity to earn extra space and a bit of extra organization as well.
Maximize Space in an Apartment Closet
Apartment closets are often too small for all of your clothes. If this is the case in your closet, take the clothes that are currently out of season and store them in large storage bags or totes. You may be able to fit the totes on the top shelf of the closet or you can buy specialty totes that slide under the bed. When the seasons change, simply switch out the clothes you are currently storing.
You can also maximize apartment closet space by investing in a closet organization system. Find one that hangs on an existing closet bar so that you can take the system with you when you move on rather than being forced to leave it behind for the new tenants.
Maximize Space in an Apartment Kitchen
Maximize space in your apartment kitchen by eliminating waste such as a junk drawer. The items usually kept in a junk drawer can be organized into other areas by using gadgets such as a battery organizer, desk organizer, and a series of small containers to keep rubber bands, tie-tabs and other small items.
Store large kitchen items on top of the refrigerator or in a hall closet to leave the cabinets free for dishes and glasses. If you buy kitchen items or groceries in bulk, use the space under the table or above a washing machine to keep large boxes out of the way.
Maximize Space in an Apartment Bedroom and Bath
You can save space in an apartment bedroom by using shelves to store items up rather than along walls. You can also buy platforms for your bed to give yourself additional space for storage underneath. If you have a large bed, consider moving your dresser into the closet if it will fit to give yourself extra wall and traffic space in the bedroom.
In an apartment bathroom, maximize cabinet space, buy placing shelves inside the cabinet. You can buy shelves that don’t require installation so you can use them in other apartments down the road. You may also consider a series of stacking baskets for towel storage or a system of shelves or cabinets that can be arranged over the toilet. Again, look for ways to store up the walls rather than across them to maximize the height of the room as the width will be severely limited.
Dorm rooms are small, there is no question about it. But savvy students can store all of their things in those small rooms and still have space for an extra pair of shoes – so long as they are small ones.
Bring along a set of shelves to put inside your closet or against a wall. Some shelving units let you stack as many units together as you can, so you might consider these along with a stool. Put items you never use, such as textbooks and suitcases on the very top shelf with items used occasionally on the shelf underneath. Everyday items can be stored on the lower shelves. You can even store the stool on the shelf to keep it out from underfoot until you need it.
If your bed is not built in, raise it by using risers or cement blocks. Then, store as many crates and boxes as you can squeeze in under the bed. Off season clothing and extra towels can be stored this way since your shelf is taking part of your closet, and a big bin of shoes lets you dig through them when needed, but frees up valuable floor space.
Use Wall Space
Hang what you can from the bare, blank dorm room walls. If your walls are too tough for pushpins, try heavy duty hooks like Hercules hooks to hang your bathrobe, towels, jacket, scarves, earphones, TV cables and more.
Cute mementoes of dates and spring break trips are grand, except they take up valuable shelf space. If you have some mementoes, store them under the bed or in the closet until you have a space large enough to show them off properly.
Do you really need a full stereo system when your iPod and portable speakers will do? Skip the desktop in favor of a laptop and keep that little refrigerator safely stowed under the desk. You don’t need legroom anyway.
If your bedroom is an odd assortment of furniture pieces, you may be able to make them match more easily than you think. Here’s how to match furniture in a bedroom.
Decide on a Décor
Your first step is to decide on a pattern of décor for the bedroom. Some styles are easier to use as a basis for making furniture match than others. If you have your heart set on traditional styles, you may have a harder time than casual, eclectic, or even southwestern decor. Find a kind of style your comfortable with.
Take an Assessment
Your next step is to take an assessment of what furniture is already in the room. Are there various grains of wood or just different styles? Are some pieces of the furniture modern and other pieces classical? Look at other rooms of your home for pieces that you might be able to move into the bedroom to make a more unified look.
Start with a Core
Now, find a core. Do you have two matching pieces and only one or two unusual accents? If you have two coordinating pieces, such as a chair and dresser, make those your core. Then you have only to deal with the other pieces such as night tables, headboard and accents.
One way to help match furniture in a bedroom is to paint all of the pieces the same color. You may also choose to paint only some of the pieces. For example, if you’ve selected a casual style, you may opt to paint the uncoordinated pieces a creamy white. These white pieces will offset your chair and dresser you’ve left their natural wood color.
Another way to match furniture in a bedroom is to use fabric to simply cover up the unsightly pieces. You can easily create a headboard cover using fabric, a staple gun and some cushioning. You may even choose to create an entirely new headboard using fabric and plywood. Side tables that don’t match can be hidden under fabric tablecloths.
To make them unified, find two circles of MDF or plywood and place the circles on top of the existing tables. Then drape the new table clothes over the circles to make two round bedside tables. You may choose to make only one new round table which can still coordinate with another wooden table on the other side of the bed.
At the very least, use pillows, curtains and runners on dressers and side tables to help bring the room together. Use the fabric in a chair, headboard or linens to select patterns and colors, then lavishly cover the room in throw pillows and drapes. Soon, your disjointed bedroom will be a comfortable, matching place of rest – even if nobody sees it but you.
The shopping is done, the tree is decorated, the presents are wrapped, but something is still missing. When all your guests gather around the table for the Christmas dinner you have spent hours preparing, what will they see? A bare tabletop? Let’s hope not. With a few simple touches, your dinner table can become a showcase for some beautiful Christmas decorations.
The centerpiece will be the focal point of your table, at least until Aunt Mary starts telling embarrassing old family stories. While you can purchase a fresh or silk flower arrangement, a sculpture or figurine of some kind, or a potted poinsettia, there are other options that you can assemble yourself on a budget. Try filling a pair of clear glass hurricane lamps with cheap and colorful glass globe Christmas ornaments. You can also use a vase to hold peppermints or small red and green candies. Use the candy to support a classic taper candle or a small group of artificial flowers fitting for the winter season.
A great opportunity to add a personal touch to your table is with your napkin rings. Napkin rings can be a pricy investment, or they can be a creative outlet of your holiday spirit. For a basic approach, cut one inch segments from the cardboard tube inside your wrapping paper. You can cover these with the wrapping paper itself, or paint or color the cardboard. Hot glue a small ornament to the top of the napkin ring. Another option is to string festive beads or buttons on a piece of elastic. Whatever you create, your guests will appreciate the time and creativity you invested in this Christmas decoration.
For large or small crowds, use placecards to not only help guests find their place at the table, but to showcase your holiday spirit. You can adapt gift tags to be placecards, or glue rectangles of wrapping paper on a stiff backing and write guests’ names on your homemade place card. Another option is to cut a Christmassy shape such as a star or bell out of cardboard and cover it with aluminum foil. A permanent marker will have no problem writing on the surface, making a lovely placecard.