The silver lining of tax season is the tax refund – and deciding how you’re going to spend it! Some people use it for a fancy night out or a vacation, but we think you can transform your apartment into a fine dining establishment and vacation-worthy spot available for enjoyment every single day of the year. Did you get a little lagniappe from tax season? Here’s how to spend it!
A Kitchenaid stand mixer turns you into a Food Network-worthy home chef. (Photo credit MyOrganizedChaos.net)
Make your apartment a foodie paradise with smart purchases that create a restaurant-quality feel at home. A few ideas:
Vitamix blender. These high-performance blenders are perfect for at-home juicing, quick smoothies, and icy summertime treats.
Kitchenaid mixer. Another pricey – but totally worthwhile – kitchen appliance, the Kitchen-Aid mixer is a stand mixer that makes baking a breeze. But it doesn’t stop there. Use it for the fluffiest, dreamiest mashed potatoes or make homemade bread using the dough hook attachment.
Modern silverware. Upgrading your silverware to something hefty and sleek can instantly change the feel of a weeknight dinner. Crate + Barrel has several modern options like the Aero flatware, featuring matte black, aerodynamic handles.
Who needs a vacation when your apartment is as sumptuous as any hotel? Here are a few upgrades you can make with tax refund dollars.
A cashmere throw. Cashmere isn’t just for winter. Because it’s a natural fiber, it’s moisture-wicking and provides the softest, lightweight warmth any time of year (even in summer when the cranked-up A/C gives you a chill!).
A bold art print. Head to Society6 for a variety of affordable art prints that add a major impact to bare walls. Browse framed options – you’ll pay a little extra but the gallery-quality look is gorgeous and sleek.
Bamboo sheets and towels. Bamboo is an ultra-soft natural fabric that transforms showers into a spa-like experience. Bamboo sheets make it easy to fall asleep comfortably and quickly via a smooth and soft feel against your skin.
Did our Instagram blog post spark your desire for a picture-perfect home? Spring is a great time of year to freshen up your space through cleaning and redecorating, and you’ll probably want to photograph the results to share on social media (tag us on Facebook and Twitter!). We came across a great article on how to make your home more photogenic and wanted to share these easy home photography styling tips with you.
This nightstand vignette uses books and pops of color to look great on camera. Of course, we love the dog, too! (Photo courtesy Pinterest)
Add fresh flowers.
Fresh flowers – especially during spring, when they’re particularly abundant – are a great detail in a photograph of a room. While full bouquets and arrangements are gorgeous, they aren’t necessary. A simple bloom in a glass jar makes a photo of your nightstand, for example, fresh and visually interesting. Fresh fruit has a similar impact in a kitchen shot – citrus fruits like lemons and limes offer vibrant color while pineapples show off an interesting, architectural shape.
Use a flash of red.
It’s a good thing marsala is the Pantone Color of the Year, because a bit of red instantly attracts the eye and brightens up a photo. Red is psychologically one of the most eye-catching colors – even if it isn’t your favorite color, use it sparingly to add major pop to a photo.
Take advantage of books and magazines.
Stacking books and magazines can add height and depth to photographs. We recommend stacking your books neatly on a coffee table then placing a jar of flowers (red ones!) to incorporate several elements of photography styling into one beautiful shot.
Every room in your house has the potential to emanate peace and tranquility. How? Through the use of feng shui.
Feng shui is based on the idea that our homes are a reflection of what’s going on inside of us. By aligning the outside space with our inner feelings, you create a harmonious home.
This ancient Chinese method may seem a little bizarre on the surface, but feng shui principles are easy to follow and don’t (usually) cost a dime! We’ve culled a few simple ways to incorporate feng shui into your home.
A round coffee table facilitates ease of movement according to feng shui principles. (Photo courtesy Pinterest)
Easy Feng Shui Tips
Keep Toilet Lids Down
This is a good practice from a hygienic perspective, of course, but there’s also a feng shui explanation. Feng shui posits that the toilet is a drain – leave the seat up, and you allow good energy to literally drain out of your home.
Arrange Your Desk to Face the Door
In the feng shui method, having your back to a door puts you in a compromising position. Try arranging your desk so that it faces toward the door – you’ll feel an instant sense of control and empowerment that could show through in your work!
Place Your Couch Against a Wall
This is usually a natural spot for arranging couches, but it also has a feng shui purpose: a wall brings a sense of steadiness and security that can help you relax. If there isn’t a wall available, you can place a sturdy console table behind your couch instead.
Try a Round Coffee Table
Square and rectangular coffee tables have harsh lines that point directly at people when seated. A circular coffee table creates a harmonious flow that lets energy (and people) move around more easily.
Surround Yourself with the Items You Love
We devoted a blog post to this feng shui trick. Choosing items that bring you joy helps eliminate clutter and also amplifies positive energy. Move a favorite item to a prominent spot so you see it every time you walk in the room!
Mirror, Mirror on the Wall…
In feng shui, mirrors bring good fortune and double the abundance of positive energy. Use them!
Use Shapes to Create Energy Flow
According to Feng Shui, shapes are an important factor in the flow of energy in a room. Triangles, for example, are largely unwelcome as they convey a sense of hostility. Round or square furniture is a better choice, though Feng Shui encourages mixing shapes to avoid an overabundance of a single energy.
Fountains & Fish
If you’re a fan of the life aquatic, Feng Shui may be your ideal decorating method. Feng Shui literally means wind and water, so these natural forces play an important role in the practice. Ch’i, the life force, is said to be attracted to water so a well-placed fountain or fish tank is sure to attract positive energy.
A small water fountain or water wall will also attract good ch’i. Small fountains are available in many styles from retailers like Amazon.com and Pottery Barn. Prices, of course, vary, but you can find a nice fountain for your home for between $50 and $150.
America’s favorite starter pet, the fish, and its likeness are associated with success in Feng Shui. Stagnant water, though, is associated with a messy life so keep your fish happy and their water clean. If you’re not up for buying a fountain or new pet, mirrors are said to serve a similar function in Feng Shui.
The Practice of Placement
The best known aspect of Feng Shui is likely the practice of arranging furniture to achieve a harmonious energy in the home. For example, for all rooms in the home, artwork should be hung at eye level, though art should be hung above large pieces of furniture such as a sofa. Beds should not lie under exposed beams or near windows, as this blocks energy flow. The foot of the bed should also be kept clear.
As there are many rules in Feng Shui regarding placement of objects, you may want to research the finer points of the practice as they apply to your specific space, but achieving a more harmonious home is worth the effort.
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Related posts: What is Eclectic Home Decor? We Explore This Design Style, DIY Home Decor Ideas, Home Decor for Small Apartments
A beautiful picture can spark inspiration, which is why we’re obsessed with Instagram. Whether it’s searching for what to make for dinner or scrolling through images of cute animals, spending a little quality time on Instagram is one of our favorite hobbies. We also find it’s an especially good tool for home décor ideas.
Check out our list of the best home décor accounts to follow on Instagram below!
Favorite Home Decor Shops on Instagram
Following brand accounts brings multiple benefits – you’ll see incredible images of gorgeous interior spaces, plus, you’ll know exactly where to buy the products in each picture!
- @westelm – Find beautiful images of the brand’s modern home furnishings and décor. You can also follow the New Orleans store specifically (@westelmnola) for up-to-date information on sales and NOLA-friendly imagery like Mardi Gras floats and local eats.
- @jonathanadler – A designer and a brand, this Instagram user is your destination for snappy, preppy-chic design with loads of color and graphic prints.
- @fab – Fab.com’s Instagram highlights everyday design from around the globe. The shoppable brand recently featured a photo-realistic clutch from DVRA – a New Orleans-based company!
Favorite Home Decor Publications on Instagram
Print magazines and online publications are a great resource for on-trend designs.
- @elledecor – A classic. Sophisticated interiors that cater to a range of aesthetic styles plus a dash of wanderlust – to-die-for homes in Capri, Milan, and Los Angeles are all part of the mix.
- @dominomag – No longer a print publication, Domino Magazine has fortunately taken their eclectic interiors to the digital world. Expect a mix of decorating inspiration, entertaining ideas, and bright bursts of color.
- @apartmenttherapy – One of our favorite websites is also one of our favorite Instagram accounts. This apartment-specific Insta is chock full of space-saving tips, DIY tutorials, and the latest design trends.
New Orleans interior designer Whitney Jones shares design inspiration and DIYs on Instagram. (Photo courtesy whitneyjdecor on Instagram)
Favorite New Orleans Design Inspiration on Instagram
In a city full of style and character, these Igers serve up some serious design inspiration.
- @whitneyjdecor – This New Orleans based interior designer offers a behind-the-scenes glimpse of a day in the life of a designer and sneak peeks of DIY home decor projects.
- @hattiesparks – The Uptown boutique owner’s Instagram feed is a beautiful blend of local life and spot-on design inspo.
- @perchneworleans – The stylish Magazine Street home goods shop offers up antique, vintage & contemporary decor finds.
Favorite Home Decor Designers on Instagram
Take cues from these interior designers’ Instagram accounts – it’s like having a private consultation for free!
- @ryankorban – Elegant, decadent spaces juxtapose designer Ryan Korban’s witty captions.
- @kellywearstler – You’ll love her sartorial style as much as her interior design expertise. Swoon!
- @mrorlandosoria – The interior designer’s Instagram account is equal parts travelogue, foodie paradise, and clean-lined interior spaces.
Instagram user 5ftinf packs a rainbow of color into every photo. (Photo courtesy 5ftinf on Instagram)
Lagniappe – Irresistible Instagrammers
A few other favorites we couldn’t resist including.
- @5ftinf – Flowers! Botanicals! Tea! A dreamy Instagram account that celebrates natural simplicity.
- @themakerista – DIY prodigy Gwen Hefner shares some of her favorite projects.
- @sfgirlbybay – Stylist and blogger Victoria Smith shows us “the world through rose-colored glasses.” California dreaming at its finest!
Looking for more interior decorating inspiration?
Be sure to follow our Apartment Decorating board on Pinterest for even more home décor ideas!
You’ve been there before. Craving a snack or looking for dinner ingredients, you open the fridge, and whew! What is that smell?
Sometimes, even after a thorough cleaning, fridge smells can linger. Read on for 5 all-natural fridge cleaning hacks for freshening up your refrigerator. (These quick eco-friendly tips go far beyond the tried-and-true box of baking soda).
Fill a hollowed out citrus peel with salt for an all-natural air freshener perfect for the fridge. (Photo courtesy eHow.com)
Eco-friendly Fridge Cleaning Hacks
- Coffee Grounds
Spread freshly ground coffee evenly on a plate or shallow dish, and place it in the fridge for 24 hours. The coffee will absorb any rogue odors and also give off an energizing scent. Not a coffee drinker? You can also place several tea bags (or loose leaf tea) on a plate for the same effect.
Choose your favorite citrus (we recommend navel oranges or grapefruit for their size, but lemons and limes will work, too) and cut it in half. Scoop out one half completely so you’re left with a bowl-shaped hollow. Fill with sea salt and place in the fridge for a citrusy, neutralizing scent!
- Vanilla Extract
This baking staple has a hidden purpose: creating a soft, lovely scent for your fridge. Pour a bit of vanilla extract into a small dish, then place a few cotton balls inside. The cotton will soak up the vanilla extract and slowly release its aroma into the fridge.
- Tomato Juice
Perhaps you’ve heard of tomato juice’s deodorizing powers for anyone who encounters a skunk. The same holds true for your fridge. Simply soak a cloth or sponge in undiluted tomato juice and wipe down your fridge’s surfaces. Rinse with soapy water, then wipe dry. You can repeat the process (or try substituting vinegar) for any lingering smells.
Similar to baking soda, Alka-Seltzer is an oxidizing agent that can neutralize unpleasant scents. Drop a couple of tablets into a glass of water and place in the fridge to help mitigate odor.
Remember, setting your fridge at a proper temperature is an easy, preventive step to avoid odors in the first place. Learn how to ensure your fridge and freezer are at the right temperature here.
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