Turn Your Apartment Into a Happy Home With These 5 Mood-Boosting Design Tips

Your home should be a place for inspiration and relaxation, not just a place to store your belongings. Improve your rental's overall mood with these design tips that are sure to bring the "happy" back into your happy home.

  • Improve the lighting. It's no secret that natural sunlight improves your mood, so you want to maximize the amount of it that flows through your home. Switch out heavy draperies or blackout curtains with light, sheer curtains or bamboo blinds, and even replace fluorescent lightbulbs with modern bulbs that mimic the look of sunlight.
  • Create a place for everything. Target the areas in your home that collect clutter, such as the area around the front door or the always-overflowing recycling bin. Think of smart solutions for the storage in these areas to create a better flow throughout the home.
  • Add some plants and flowers. Studies show that adding some green to your home makes you happy, so fill small pots with leafy green plants, stylish succulents, or blooming flowers.
  • Redecorate in soft colors. If you're having trouble relaxing in your bedroom or feeling inspired in your home office, try switching up the color palette. Adding stark white bedding or soft colored throw pillows will create a calming effect in these frequently used areas.

Create an At-Home Art Gallery With These Simple (and Affordable!) Framing Tips

You want to fill your home's walls with art, but anyone who has ever tried to get something framed knows just how pricey it can be. Luckily, there are a number of great alternatives to professional framing that will still help you to show off your art in an attractive way. Here are just a few smart tips for framing art on the cheap.

  • Use an online framing service. Nowadays you can do just about anything online, including framing your art. Browse the web for online framing services like Framebridge and in just a few business days, you'll receive a beautifully framed art print in the mail — often for less than $50!
  • Stock up on frames. If you prefer to frame your art on your own, stock up on affordable frames at craft stores or thrift shops. You'll often find secondhand, mass-produced frames backed with craft paper and foam, but don't worry; those can be easily removed.
  • Remove the backing. If you do happen to find a great deal on a secondhand frame with built-in backing, remove the layer of craft paper by pulling out the staples or simply cutting it out. Next, remove the inner layer of foam or cardboard by again removing any nails or staples.
  • Add a mat. Whether you disassembled your own secondhand frame or bought one new, at this point you'll want to add a mat to create a professional look. You can purchase a mat at any craft store, so long as you carefully measure both the size of your frame (for the mat's outer edge) and the size of the print (for the mat's inside edge).
  • Clean the glass. Finally, clean the glass thoroughly and let it dry before placing it back in the frame. If you removed the backing, add your own backing with more craft paper and either glue or staples.

Frugal Living: How To Frame Your Art on the Cheap [Apartment Therapy]

Three Awesome Ways to Decorate With Maps

These days, mobile maps can definitely be more useful for traveling than a paper map. However, paper maps are beautiful to look at! So why not use them in your home decor? Here are three creative ways you can decorate with a map.

  • Use a map to revamp your lampshade and give it a warm, vintage feel. All you need to do is find an atlas with pictures of beautiful maps inside, a lamp with a shade, and a few craft items. Make a template for your shade and test it out to make sure it fits perfectly. Then, just lay out your template on top of your map pages and make the pages match the size of the template. Finally, use some rubber cement to glue your map on and you're finished!
  • Cover the drawers of your plain-looking dresser with a map. You're pretty much going to use the same process you did for the lamp. Make sure to measure everything out perfectly and remember to cut out tiny circles for the knobs.
  • Give your living room a unique, vintage feel by covering the top of your glass coffee table with a map. If you have a large enough coffee table, you may even be able to see the whole map.

Vintage Map Lampshade [Pretty Handy Girl]
10 Ways to Decorate Your Home with Maps [Babble]
7 Ways to Decorate with Maps and Globes [Conde Nast]

Headed to a Summer Cookout? Try This Recipe for Watermelon Salad!

Because there's only so much potato salad and baked beans a person can eat in one summer, we're sharing this delicious (and simple!) recipe for watermelon salad. It's easy to memorize, hard to mess up, and requires only a few ingredients. Translation: This recipe is a go-to for potlucks, cookouts, parties, or anything other occasion that request you bring one dish to feed a crowd.


  • 2 pounds cubed seedless watermelon
  • 20 halved kalamata olives
  • 1 cup each mint and parsley
  • 3 cups arugula
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/4 of a small red onion, sliced
  • 2 limes
  • 1 jalapeno, julienned
  • 2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Read the rest of the recipe on Saveur!

Looking for a Unique Design Element? Try Decorating With Citrus Fruits!

Now that summer is here, you're likely looking for fun, colorful ways to brighten up your home. If you want to add a pop of color and a burst of freshness to your kitchen or dining space, try decorating with something a bit out-of-the-ordinary: citrus fruits! Here are a few ways to decorate with oranges, lemons and more.

Dried Citrus Ornaments
While these types of dried citrus ornaments are normally used around the holidays, they look (and smell!) just as great in the summertime, too. Try drying your fruits and hanging them on a garland of eucalyptus over the kitchen window, or forage some branches, pop them in a vase and hang the ornaments on the ends.

Lemon Centerpieces
Planning a dinner party or a weekend brunch? Create your very own centerpiece made with bright, fresh lemons! If you're pressed for time, simply fill an attractive bowl with whole lemons for a subtle scent and a pretty pop of yellow. If you have a bit more time to spare, try filling a glass vase with water. Cut lemons into thin slices, and then submerge them in the vase for a more unique look.

Preserved Lemon Jars
This one plays double-duty as both a decoration and a helpful baking ingredient. Quick-preserve your lemons using just lemon juice and kosher salt, and then store them in large jars around the kitchen for a rustic, farmhouse-inspired look. Reach into the jars whenever you need something to zest up a pasta dish, roasted chicken or even a dessert!

Clear the Air With These Air-Purifying Houseplants

You might think that, in order to breathe truly clean air inside, you'll have to invest in an expensive air purification system, but that's not so. There are many houseplants that eradicate airborne toxins, and you can pick them up at any major home improvement store. Here are just four of them.

  1. English ivy. According to the scientists at NASA, there's no plant better at purifying the air than English ivy. It helps soak up any formaldehyde that could be floating around in your air, and you definitely don't want to be inhaling the stuff. Plus, it's almost impossible to kill them.
  2. Peace lily. The peace lily may be beautiful, but beauty can be deceiving. Don't fall for its game; this is actually a powerful plant. Harmful chemicals like xylene, ammonia, formaldehyde, benzene, and trichloroethylene will all decrease in your air when a peace lily blooms nearby.
  3. Red-Edged Dracaena. Named for the strips of bright red that run along the edges of its thin, long leaves, the Red-edged Dracaena is more than just a pretty plant. It also gets rid of xylene, trichloroethylene, and formaldehyde when you feed it enough sunlight.
  4. Golden pothos. If you really want to make a statement with your new houseplant, consider buying a hanging pot for the golden pothos. When positioned properly, its leaves will snake their way down to the floor in beautiful vines.

7 Plants That Purify Indoor Air [Rodale's Organic Life]
This Graphic Shows the Best Air-Cleaning Plants, According to NASA [Lifehacker]
10 Best Houseplants To De-Stress Your Home And Purify The Air [HuffPost Home]

Essential Kitchen Items Any Aspiring Home Chef Should Own

Stocking your kitchen with cooking utensils may seem daunting, and one look at the price tag on a new set of knives will make it seem even more so. When it comes to creating a functional home kitchen, however, all it takes are a few key items to help you make just about any recipe under the sun. Take this list of essential kitchen tools with you to the store and leave with your budget still in tact.

  1. Chef’s knife. This do-everything knife can replace almost an entire set if you’re trying to save space (or money). Choose one with an 8- or 9-inch blade and a sturdy handle.
  2. Tongs. Metal or rubber tongs can be used for flipping meats and veggies, removing hot garlic bread from a pan, and everything in between.
  3. Ladle. This is one of those items that you just can’t replicate. Instead of making a mess with too-small serving spoons, add an affordable ladle to your utensil collection.
  4. Rubber spatula. There’s nothing better for removing batters, sauces, and the last bit of peanut butter from the bottom of the jar.
  5. Measuring cups and spoons. They don’t have to be expensive, but they are necessary.
  6. Vegetable peeler. If you’re cooking from scratch, this will make your life a whole lot easier.
  7. Cutting board. A sturdy wooden or plastic cutting board will keep your counters safe.

The Kitchn's Guide to Essential Prep Tools & Utensils [The Kitchn]
Essential Kitchen Tools Checklist [Real Simple]
Stock Your Kitchen With These 12 Essential Kitchen Tools [Cooking Light]

Bring Some Green Inside With These 5 Unique Ideas for Displaying Houseplants

Instead of displaying all of your favorite herbs, flowers and succulents in simple terra cotta pots, create more artistic plant displays with these fun DIY projects. From the kitchen to the living room, these plant hangers and pots will show off your greenery in any room in the home.

Living Monogram Wreath [BHG.com]
Create unique wall art and a fun planter in one with this monogram frame. Simply line a plywood back with 2-inch cedar boards in the shape of your initial, then fill the inside with peat moss and cover with chicken wire. Plant succulents inside, and then hang the whole thing on your wall.

Copper Hanging Rod [morganours.com/]
Looking for a way to hang plants over the kitchen sink? Simply balance a copper rod across the tops of your kitchen cabinets (or any other type of cabinet). Hang lightweight plants or herbs from the rod using your favorite hangers.

DIY Rope Pot [nostalgiecat.blogspot.sg]
With this rustic DIY project, you can add colorful rope to your cheap terra cotta pots. Simply wrap a simple cotton rope with colorful thread in your choice of colors, and then wrap the whole thing tightly around various sized pots.

Store Your Bike Indoors Without Wasting Space With These Savvy Tips

Commuting by bicycle is a great way to save money, cut down on pollution, and get some exercise, but creating storage for your bike can be tricky. If you’re looking for savvy ways to store your bicycle inside, check out these smart spots and innovative products.

  • Hang it on an all-in-one shelf. Many modern bike companies now offer floating shelves that pull your bicycle up off of the floor in an attractive way. As a bonus, these smart shelves also feature hooks for hanging your helmet, messenger bag and other small belongings.
  • Store it vertically in a slim wall space. Even if you only have a slim space between two windows or a doorway, that’s just enough space to hang your bike. Invest in sturdy mounting hardware and store your bike vertically on the wall.
  • Hang it over a door. If you have high ceilings, use them to your advantage. Hang your bike in the unused space over a doorway with a DIY pulley system or reliable mounts.
  • Use a two-bike gravity stand. If you have more than one bike, you can stack them on a tiered gravity stand. This attractive, minimal stand uses gravity to keep the bikes upright, and best of all, it doesn’t require any drilling into the wall.

6 Smart Attractive Ways to Store Your Bike Indoors [Dwell]
4 Places to Stash Your Bike Inside (Even if You Think You Don't Have Room) [Apartment Therapy]
The 10 Best Ways to Store Your Bike in a Small Apartment [Complex]

Turn Your Kitchen at Portofino at Biscayne Into a Pizzeria With These Pizza Dough Recipes

The next time you’re planning a pizza night at home, forget your usual delivery spot and make your own pie. With these easy and authentic recipes for homemade pizza dough, you can turn your apartment into your own miniature pizzeria!

Pizza Crust [King Arthur Flour]
If you have some free time early in the week, make this simple recipe that holds for up to two days. It bakes thin and crispy when rolled flat with a rolling pin, but if you prefer a chewy crust, it can also be made thicker.

Quick Basic Pizza Dough [Martha Stewart]
For hot, fresh pizza on the spot, this quick dough is very simple to make. Simply mix your flour with olive oil, salt and a sprinkle of sugar, and then give it a few kneads before using. If you have leftover dough, you can also wrap it in secure plastic wrap and store it in the freezer for up to three months.

My Favorite Pizza [The Pioneer Woman]
Whether you’re a vegetarian or a meat lover, this recipe for pizza crust can be topped with anything to make it your own. This recipe makes two separate pies, so it’s perfect for pizza parties, and it even stores in the refrigerator for up to three days.

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