Sagging, Scratching and Tearing — Oh My! Don’t Let These Common Problems Ruin Your Furniture

Whether you recently invested in a brand-new sofa or you've had your furniture for years, everyone wants to keep their furniture in top condition. Here are some smart tips that will prevent sags, tears, and other common furniture issues in your home.

  • Flip your cushions frequently. To keep your cushions from getting too flat, make sure that you flip them frequently. You can use this trick on chairs, sofas, and anything else with a removable cushion.
  • Turn your mattress. Prolong the lifespan of your mattress by flipping it every six months or so. This will help to keep the springs in place and avoid placing weight on the same spot every night.
  • Keep wood furniture away from heat and sunlight. Wood is very durable, but when it comes to sunlight, things can start fading fast. Try to arrange your hardwood furniture so that it's not in the path of direct sunlight, and avoid placing wooden pieces near a heater to prevent warping.
  • Take coasters seriously. You may think of coasters as a bit of an annoyance, but when it comes to preserving the life of your wooden tables, they're actually very important. Keep a few coasters on hand so that your cold beverages don't make rings on wood surfaces.
  • Only use oil soap for wooden furniture. Cleaning your wooden tables and chairs with any old cleaner may damage their surfaces. Instead, always clean these pieces with oil soap diluted with equal parts water.
  • Dust frequently. It may look harmless, but dust can damage the inside of your rugs, sofa cushions, and on top of wooden shelves and tables. Make sure to take cushions outside and give them a good beating to shake out the dust, and frequently dust wooden pieces using a gentle feather duster or an old rag.

Caring for Furniture [HGTV]

How to Plant and Grow a Terrarium at The Paddock at Norwood

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 The Paddock at Norwood!

  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]

How to Transform an Old Piece of Furniture With Paint

Do you have a well-made but outdated piece of furniture in your home that you hate to throw away? Luckily, it’s easy to transform that ugly wooden chair or banged-up dresser into something fresh and modern with only a simple coat of paint. Here are a few tips that will save you money on new furniture by showing you how to re-vamp your existing pieces.

  1. Sand it thoroughly. One of the most important steps when painting furniture is to completely remove the old stain or paint first. Sand the entire piece with a medium-grit sandpaper on an electric sander, or if you don’t own one, get to sanding by hand—just make sure you don’t sand too much and damage the wood underneath.
  2. Wipe off the residue. After sanding, wipe the entire surface using a tack cloth designed specifically to remove sawdust.
  3. Prime the piece. Some people say that you don’t need to prime a piece of furniture, but if there’s a chance that the wood might be laminate, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Purchase a primer designed for your specific needs and smooth it on with a foam roller.
  4. Paint. Apply at least three coats of paint using a different foam roller, allowing at least eight hours of drying time between coats. Once the third coat dries, your furniture will look like new!

The 5 Biggest Mistakes You Make When Painting Furniture [Country Living]
Paint Makeovers: An Expert Tells All [Bob Villa]
Quick Furniture Makeovers for Fashionable Results [Benjamin Moore]

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]

Don’t Have a Green Thumb? Read These Tips for Growing Cacti and Succulents!

Don't have a green thumb? Try growing cacti and succulents! These low-maintenance plants are used to living in dry desert environments, which means they require little watering. Use these simple tips for keeping your succulents happy and healthy.

  1. Keep them in a sunny spot. Because both cacti and succulents like a lot of sunlight, try to position them in the sunniest spot in your home.
  2. Use well-draining soil. These plants are very sensitive when it comes to watering, so use well-draining soil and a pot with a drainage system in the bottom to help prevent root rot.
  3. Rotate frequently. To ensure that each side of your succulent gets an equal amount of sunlight, rotate the plant once a week or so.
  4. Water according to the soil. Instead of watering them on a set schedule, water your succulents only when their soil is bone dry. Soak them completely by letting the pot sit underneath the showerhead for a good ten minutes.
  5. Promote dormancy in the winter. While your cactus should be watered frequently in warmer months, allow the soil to go almost completely dry in the cold winter months to help the plant go dormant.

Cacti And Succulents Inside Your Home [Gardening Know-How]
Cultivating Cacti and Succulent Plants [HGTV]
Growing Guide – Cactus [Cactus Land]

Stylish Storage Solutions for Arts and Crafts Supplies

Whether you’re an avid crafter or your children are often doing art projects at home, you know how difficult it can be to find storage space for all of those paints, markers, fabrics, crayons, and other supplies. Here are just a few stylish ways that you can keep your arts and crafts supplies neatly organized until your next DIY project.

Mason Jar Storage System []
Turn your storage solution into an art project in itself. This colorful DIY idea involves covering old mason jars in fun, pattered washi tape, then using those jars to store everything from markers to paint brushes and even loose buttons.

Kids’ Craft Apron []
If your child has trouble keeping his or her craft supplies together while doing a project, you can make this simple apron as your next family art project. Simply take an old gardening apron, use the belt to tie it to the side of your child’s crafting table, and fill the spacious pockets with all of the essentials.

Hanging Storage Bins []
Screw a metal rod from any home goods store into your wall, then attach S-shaped hooks and hang bins in all sizes from each hook. You can use these to keep your art supplies within reach but off of your tabletop.

How to Keep Your Furniture Looking Like New

Purchasing furniture is one of the priciest investments that you make in your home, so you likely want to keep it looking as good as new. Follow these smart tips for preventing stains, rips, and other signs of wear and tear on your new furniture.

  1. Invest in high-quality pieces. First and foremost, investing in good quality furniture is one of the very best ways to ensure that it keeps its original look for years to come.
  2. Protect your fabrics and upholstery. When you first purchase a new rug or upholstered sofa, pay a bit extra to have a professional administer a protective coating to repel stains.
  3. Flip sofa cushions. By flipping your sofa cushions monthly, you can distribute the weight from frequent use to multiple parts of the cushion.
  4. Minimize eating in the living room. If you’re already trying to break this bad habit, just imagine a food stain on your brand new sofa for a bit of extra motivation.
  5. Tackle stains immediately. Whether it’s on a rug or the sofa, the most important way to prevent permanent staining is by addressing it immediately so that it can’t sink into the fabric. Read the care instructions on your furniture or rugs when you purchase them so that you know exactly how to remove that red wine stain before it inflicts major damage.

How to Keep Your Furniture Looking Like New [WikiHow]
4 Steps to Keep Your Furniture Looking New [Apartment Therapy]
Keep Your Sofa Looking Like New in 3 Easy Steps! [Shofer’s]

How to Make the Most Out of Your Closet Space

No matter the shape or size of your closet, there are ways to make it work for you (and your wardrobe). Here are a few smart tips for creating a space for every sweater, shoe, and t-shirt in your closet.

  1. Add shelves. If your current closet only contains a few clothing rods, you’re not getting the most out of the space. Hang some sturdy shelves along the sides or in any unused space underneath your clothing in order to store shoes and other small, folded items.
  2. Pack away out-of-season items. If your closet is overrun by winter coats that go unworn in the summertime, considering storing them in vacuum-sealed bags under the bed or on a shelf.
  3. Use tie and scarf hangers. If your ties and scarves are creating a tangled mess in your closet, invest in some hangers designed specifically for separating these items.
  4. Purchase storage boxes. Affordable storage boxes are available at just about every home goods store, and they can be stacked neatly on a shelf to minimize clutter. Use these to store things like scarves, hats, socks, and other small items.
  5. Give it a good cleaning. Finally, one of the best ways to clean your closet for good is by sorting through your clothes and donating all of the unworn items. As a general rule, donate anything that you haven’t worn in six months.

How to Gain More Closet Space Without Renovating [This Old House]
Maximizing Your Closet Space [Martha Stewart]
Maximize Small Spaces: 8 Revamps for Your Closet [HGTV]
10 Tips for Maximizing Closet Space [Apartment Therapy]

How to Give a Great Toast

Whether you’re the best man at a wedding or the godmother at a baby shower, there are a few pivotal moments in life when you’ll be expected to give a toast. Here are a few tips to help you make a memorable toast that’s equal parts funny and heartwarming.

  1. Set the scene. Begin by introducing yourself and stating your relationship with the guest of honor. Use a humorous comparison, describe why the day is so monumental for your relationship, or just simply tell the crowd how proud you are.
  2. Use an anecdote. Guests love to hear personal stories about the guest of honor, but be sure that you don’t get too personal. Describe a funny time that you had together, but avoid delving too deep into embarrassing situations or nights of youthful rebellion.
  3. Go easy on the jokes. A few jokes about the guest of honor here and there are great, but be careful of becoming hurtful. This is a speech, after all, not a roast.
  4. Seamlessly turn the story into a toast. Add a poignant ending note to your story, such as how the guest of honor has become such a kind, responsible or hardworking person. Finally, invite guests to raise their glasses for a toast.

Make a Great Toast in 5 Steps [Real Simple]
How to Give a Good Toast [Cooking Light]
Toasting [Etiquette Scholar]

Cooking 101: How to Sharpen a Kitchen Knife

It may seem strange, but sharpening your kitchen knives is actually one of the best ways to avoid cutting yourself while cooking. A sharp knife means an easier cut with less effort from you, which gives you more control and requires less force. Here are a few tips for sharpening kitchen knives at home.

  1. Place a whetstone, or a rough-surfaced stone made for sharpening knives, on top of a cutting board to offer more stability.
  2. Holding your knife by the handle, place it on a very slight angle against the whetstone (blade facing away, of course).
  3. With moderate pressure, glide the knife forward across the whetstone 10 times. Flip it over and repeat on the other side.
  4. The whetstone has two different types of grit, so flip the whole thing over to the finer side. Repeat the last step to smooth the knife's rough edges.
  5. Finally, hone the blade with a sharpening steel. Place the long, steel rod point-down onto the cutting board, just as you would a nail. Touch the part of the knife closest to the handle against the steel, then pull the blade toward you and slightly downward with a bit of pressure. Repeat this 10 times on each side of the knife, and again any time the knife needs a touch-up.

How to Sharpen a Knife [About Food]
Knife Skills: How to Sharpen a Knife [Serious Eats]
How to Properly Sharpen a Kitchen Knife [Le Cordon Bleu]

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