Thursday, December 30, 2010

Simple Storage Solutions for 2011!

Happy New Year!!!  One of my favorite things about saying goodbye to year end is also saying goodbye to clutter and reassessing my storage needs.  As much as I love Christmas and its abundance of decor and festivities, I love to pack it all up, scrub my house from top to bottom and organize!  It feels like starting the year off on the right foot.

A common problem in many small homes is storage.  I love to see clever ideas for storage paired with displays and home decorations!

Photos Courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens
These ready to assemble shelves mounted to the wall provide storage for books, CD's and also add to the modern look of this home's decor.  The divided shelves make organization easy, but still look stylish!

We've all seen armoires used for storing many different items, but it looks like art in this glass fronted cabinet! Large prints, vases and books can be stored in this piece of furniture and look lovely.

I love re-purposed furniture!  It makes me feel frugal and clever.  This end table was once wooden closet shelving and now doubles as a craft supply area while CD storage sits on top!  Love it.

Alcoves are often considered troublesome decorating areas in a home.  This homeowner thought outside the box and installed shelving in this alcove.  A perfect way to showcase art and display collections that might otherwise be relegated to the attic.

Peek-A-Boo!  This old desk got a fresh coat of paint and some whimsical curtains and now doubles as a dining room buffet.  The hidden storage behind the fabric holds linens, serving ware and table decorations.

Using your imagination can be the key to organization.  This entry way is fun and creative with a few re-purposed items.  Old air vents were spray painted and hung on the wall to organize mail and letters to the teacher.  A drawer was turned on its side, nailed to the wall and now doubles as a key holder.  And the wooden sectioned shoe rack is neatly labeled for each family member.

Transform a basic table into a multi-use work station by hanging wine racks and baskets under the surface to hold utensils and build a larger shelf below to hold big items like mixing bowls.  Instant kitchen island!

This vegetable bin once held potatoes and onions but is now transformed into a bedside table that holds clothes, but could also be used to store toys or books!

Look for hidden treasures in your attic or at garage sales around town.  You never know what new piece you can reinvent to serve an altogether new purpose for the new year.  Now, go get organized!


Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas Cottages!

Four distinctly different small homes decorated for the holidays should get us in the mood for upcoming festivities!  Seven days and counting...

Photos Courtesy of Country Living

Christmas in a New England Cottage

Christmas in a Cozy Cottage

Photos Courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens

A Red, White and Blue Cottage Christmas

Beach Cottage Christmas

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Help! My kitchen is tiny!!

In this holiday winter season a lot of time is spent in the kitchen!  Guests sit at the kitchen table as you prepare tapas and appetizers for a seasonal party or soup and stew for a dinner table full of guests.  As they gather around my kitchen island this Christmas season, my focus will be on bringing warmth, space and style to my tiny Jewel Box Kitchen!

Some tips!

Photos Courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens

Paint it White!  White is your best friend in a small kitchen.  It reflects light and makes any space feel larger than it is.  The walls recede and create a seamless space which tricks the eye.  Instant square footage!

White isn't your thing?  Use a low-contrast color scheme. When there's little difference between the colors of the wall, the countertop, cabinetry and the woodwork, your eye glides over the surfaces looking for a place to rest, and that movement tricks your mind into thinking the space is larger than it really is. Here white woodwork and pale gray walls are close in color value so the eye doesn't trip over any sudden shifts from dark to light. The effect is serene and expansive.

Replace cabinet doors with glass.  Fool the eye.  Instant space!
Let there be light.  Lots of natural light enlarges any space. You may have no choice about the number and placement of windows in your kitchen, but maximize the light you do have by keeping window treatments minimal.
Trick the eye with mirrors.  Mirrors create depth and space.  Ever consider using a mirror for a backsplash?  You should...
Take the eye high.  Hanging pictures, platters and wall hangings to the ceiling draws the eye up creating a larger height.  This makes any room bigger.  Consider hanging platters and serving ware high above eye level.  Great storage and it tricks the eye!

Eliminate clutter. Counterops crowded with cookware and cabinets crowned by collectibles swamp a small kitchen and cramp your work space. To enlarge the room visually, clear off the counters, the windowsill, and the cabinet tops, and stash as much as you can behind closed doors.

However you choose, you can create a homey, inviting space to welcome guests this Christmas season!