How to Simplify Your Spring Cleaning Routine

Spring has sprung! It’s time to open the windows wide, scrub the floors, and replace your heavy, winter down comforter with something light and fresh. These three tips will help you plan your spring cleaning attack.

  1. Stock your cleaning supply kit. There’s nothing more frustrating than going to polish your furniture and realizing that you’re out of wood oil. Before you begin your spring cleaning, make sure that you have new bottles of window cleaner, bathroom scrub, oven cleaner, white vinegar, baking soda, and all of the brushes, towels, and sponges that go along with them.
  2. Begin by de-cluttering. Throw away or donate anything that you no longer use, and pack away heavy winter coats or large blankets that you won’t need for the next few months. This will give you more elbow room for deep cleaning.
  3. Get the whole family on board. Spring cleaning is a task that’s much too large for one person, so plan a day when the whole family can help. Plan it in advance to ensure that everyone can take part in the action, and assign tasks to stay on track with your plan.

Top 10 Spring Cleaning Tips [HowStuffWorks]
Ultimate Spring Cleaning Guide [BHG]

How to Squeeze Every Inch Out of Your Apartment’s Square Footage

Use these smart, simple tips for squeezing every inch out of your apartment’s floor plan and you’ll be amazed at how much extra space you'll find!

  • Choose multifunctional pieces. Get rid of all of the furniture in your home that doesn’t play double-duty as something else. Choose sofas with built-in storage, a bed with hidden drawers, and a television credenza with a bookshelf to minimize the wasted space that comes from having too much furniture.
  • Arrange… and rearrange. Arrange your furniture as many times as it takes to find a perfect flow. You’ll want to be able to comfortably walk from room to room without bumping into things, which takes some trial and error. If something doesn’t fit, it likely means that you don’t have use for it.
  • Think vertically, not just horizontally. Many people forget about the horizontal space that they’re missing when furnishing a room. Add stacks of shelves on every wall, hanging organizers on the backs of doors, or new, custom storage systems from floor to ceiling in the closet.
  • Maximize natural light. Finally, replace dark drapes with sheer curtains to allow in as much light as possible and make your space feel brighter.

How to Maximize Space in a Small Apartment [Freshome]
Ten Apartment Organization Tips to Maximize Space [Forbes]
How to Maximize Your Apartment Space [For Rent]

How to Plant and Grow a Terrarium at Marquis at Barton Trails

You’ve likely seen stylish terrariums filling the pages of all of your favorite interior design catalogs, but did you know that these unique gardens are also very easy to make at home? Here are just a few simple ways to create your own terrarium and add a bit of greenery to your rental at Marquis at Barton Trails!

  1. Whether you choose a small, round terrarium that you can hang from the ceiling or a larger, tank-style option for very large creations, you’ll want to choose something in a durable class that will enable you to see the plants through the sides.
  2. Add a layer of small stones or pebbles to the bottom of the terrarium for proper water drainage. This should measure about one-inch thick.
  3. Add another one-inch layer of activated charcoal on top of that for a finer drainage system.
  4. Top it off with a 1.5-inch layer of sphagnum moss to hold the soil in place and prevent it from sliding into the pebbles.
  5. Take a soil designed especially for terrariums and pre-moisten it using a spray bottle of water. Add a thick layer of three to four inches on top of everything.
  6. Remove pot-bound roots from your plants and add them to the soil. You may need to divide the plant into sections if it’s too big to fit the scale of the terrarium.
  7. Decorate with rocks and other accessories.

Terrariums: A Guide to Plants and Care [Better Homes & Gardens]
How To Make Terrariums [About Home]
Make Your Own Terrarium [HGTV]

Basic Tips to Keep in Mind on Laundry Day

Laundry day is likely your least favorite day of the week, but it doesn’t have to be quite so difficult. By attacking your piles of laundry with a bit of pre-planning, you can make laundry day much more manageable. Here are a few tips to keep in mind.

  1. Separate lights and darks ahead of time. To avoid the tedious task of separating lights from darks, separate them as soon as you toss your dirty clothes in the hamper. Invest in a double-sided hamper that does the separating for you.
  2. Invest in good detergent. Using the wrong detergent (or a cheap brand) can make your clothes come out dull and dingy. Instead, choose one detergent designed for washing dark clothes in cold water, one for keeping colors bright, and a separate stain treatment to put on spots.
  3. Treat stains as soon as they happen. The most important thing you can do to remove a stain is catch it as soon as it happens. You can even rub in a stain treatment and toss your clothes in the laundry, leaving the stain to deal with on laundry day.
  4. Turn clothes inside out. Avoid fading and shrinking by turning your clothes inside out before washing them.
  5. Fold right away. To eliminate the need for ironing, prevent wrinkles by folding your clothes as soon as they come out of the dryer.

Laundry 911: Color care basics [She Knows]
How to Care for Your Clothes [How Stuff Works]
Laundry Basics – Sorting it Out [For Better Living]

How to Choose the Right Furniture for Your Apartment

Purchasing furniture is a big investment, and for most people, it’s something that requires a little bit of planning. If you want to make sure that you’re getting the best bang for your buck on furniture that really suits your space at Marquis at Barton Trails, there are some simple rules to follow. Here are a few things to keep in mind when choosing new furniture.

  1. Measure everything. You always want to measure your space before purchasing large furniture pieces such as a sofa or an area rug. Measure the entire room first, and then determine how much of that space you want the furniture to fill. Finally, take a measuring tape with you to the store and measure the furniture before purchasing.
  2. Consider the doorway. Be sure that you can fit the furniture through hallways and into the apartment itself before purchasing.
  3. Think of its uses. Will you use your sofa mainly for watching television, or will it be a gathering space for large groups of people? Keep the functionality in mind before making any furniture purchases.
  4. Choose high-quality materials. You might be okay with purchasing bargain furniture for your first apartment, but if you really want your furniture to last, it’s best to pay a bit more for high-quality construction. Look for pieces made with real wood, and if it’s a sofa, inspect the seams and cushions to test their quality.

How to Determine Furniture Proportion to a Room [SF Gate]
Choosing the Right Size Sofa: Four Key Questions to Ask Yourself [Apartment Therapy]
Choosing the Right Furniture []

How to Create an Eye-Catching Vignette

While design magazines and blogs make it seem effortless to throw a few things together on a shelf and make it look stylish, in real life, it’s not quite as easy. If you want to learn how to create a magazine-worthy vignette, these simple tips will show you the way.

  1. Start with a blank slate. No matter what type of finished product you have in mind, it’s always best to start with a blank surface so that you can really visualize where things will go.
  2. Gather complementary colors. Before placing the items in your vignette, make sure that they all look good together. They don’t have to match exactly, but they should look purposeful together.
  3. Start with the largest item. Place your largest item first, whether it’s a lamp or a vase of flowers.
  4. Think of layers. Place items at varying heights and depths, such as a couple of large frames against the wall and smaller candles at the front. You can also stack books horizontally to offset the vertical items.
  5. Play with spacing. Move objects a few times, then step back and admire your work to find the right spacing.
  6. Consider texture. Finally, create texture in your vignette. Incorporate lush plants, flowers, feathers or even a woven basket as a finishing touch.

Creating a Well-Styled Table Vignette [Jenna Burger]
8 Tips for Making Beautiful Vignettes [HGTV]
Rule of Three and Odd Numbers [Cecilia Walker Design]

How to Control Entryway Clutter

Are you one of those people who walk through the door and drop everything right in the entryway? If you answered yes, you might be looking for ideas for controlling clutter in this high-traffic area. These simple tips will show you how to control all of those shoes, bags, keys, and other essentials that tend to accumulate right inside the front door.

  1. Add hooks. Whether you have an overflowing hall closet or no closet at all, adding simple hooks somewhere that you can easily reach them makes it much simpler to store your jacket, scarf, keys, or purse when you enter the house.
  2. Add bins. For your shoes, add a few large bins or one long, low bench where people can store their shoes without them amassing a large, unruly pile. You can usually find this type of storage containers at the flea market, thrift store, or any home goods store.
  3. Try out a locker. For more serious storage, hunt for a row of vintage lockers that will keep everything in place (and also create a cool, industrial look).
  4. Add a key hook. If you frequently lose your keys, try adding another, smaller row of hooks where you can easily store them every time you come home.

Entryway Ideas [Martha Stewart]
5 Tips for a Clutter-Free Entryway [PopSugar]
Organizing Your Entryway, Hall or Mudroom [Dorothy the Organizer]

Interested in Modern Architecture? Explore Your Interest on Pinterest!

With its sleek, clean lines and open design scheme, modern architecture is fascinating even to those with no architectural experience. Here are two Pinterest boards with so many photos of modern homes and buildings that the possibilities for browsing are practically endless.

Modern Architecture
This particular Pinterest is dedicated to the more traditional styles of modern architecture. Frank Lloyd Wright homes feature wall-to-wall windows and natural elements that bring the outside in, while minimalist buildings designed by more current architects offer a tour of some of the very best modern structures from around the world.

Futuristic Architecture
If you take your love of modern architecture a step further, this board features homes so unique that they’re almost futuristic. Some of these buildings actually exist in cities around the world, while others are simply dreamed up and drawn in a cartoon-like way. Buildings like the twisted Cayan Tower in Dubai and the proposal for the open Hong Kong Alternative Car Park Tower, with its sides cut open in a way that almost looks like the building is sliced in half, are just a few of the fascinating buildings on this board.

Apartment Decorating 101: Tips Every Renter Should Know

While you may not be able to tear down walls or add new countertops in your rental, you actually have a lot of options for decorating your home. As long as you have bit of creativity and a vision for your space, you can achieve a look that works for you. Here are just a few decorating tips that every renter should know.

  • Add storage. To avoid clutter, add your own storage by using affordable bookshelves, dressers and shelving units.
  • Change the hardware. In a rental, anything that you can change back to the way it was before when you move out is fair game for changing. That means that you can add fun drawer pulls, bathroom hardware, and removable wallpaper.
  • Freshen up the window coverings. Dress your windows in breezy curtains, bamboo blinds, or privacy-enhancing drapes.
  • Hang art. One of the fastest and easiest ways to really add personality to a space is by hanging framed artwork on the walls. Just make sure to use temporary adhesives if your landlord doesn’t permit nails in the wall.
  • Add rugs. Colorful rugs brighten up any room in the home, and they feel soft underfoot!

The 10 Commandments of Rental Decor [The Everygirl]
11 Decor Ideas That Will Change Your Rental Apartment [HuffPost Home]
5 Easy + Affordable Decorating Tips for Renters [Design Happens]

Bring Spring in Bloom with These Crepe Flower Tutorials

Whether you’re decorating for a bridal shower, a child’s birthday party, or you simply want to spruce up your home for the spring season, crafting crepe flowers is an easy project that really makes an impact. These blossoms look beautiful, but they last a lot longer than the real thing! Here are three great tutorials for creating crepe flowers at home.

Martha Stewart’s DIY Flowers []
Martha Stewart’s website includes a number of different ways to make various types of crepe flowers. The single-petal method produces lush, full blossoms, while the tulip version is great for creating a bouquet of life-like flowers to display in your home or give as a gift.

Crepe and Watercolor Flower Tutorial []
If you’re interested in creating the most realistic crepe flowers possible, this is the tutorial for you. It involves first using crepe paper to form the petals themselves, then gently painting the petals with watercolor paints to create the gradation that you find on a real flower. By spritzing the petals with water, you can even get them to curl a bit in a truly realistic way.

DIY Crepe Paper Flowers []
This simple tutorial is perfect when you don’t have a lot of time, but you still want to get beautiful results. All it takes is a bit of crepe paper, floral wire and tape and some microbeads to form the flower’s center.

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