26 April 2015

simple no-cost home office update

In my small condo I've created a work space in the main living area, as I showed you in this post. Now that Spring has finally arrived, I wanted a quick update to make it feel a little warmer and colourful. Enter a Spring office refresh - with no budget.

small natural home work space
Spring refresh
white home office
Winter work space
I simply moved out the textured white cushion and sheepskin rugs and replaced them with a colourful cushion and natural jute mat. I added a colourful vase of willows and an antique jug with fresh flowers - move from other parts of my home. Vintage jars and canisters, along with some green plants add interest.

small condo office setup

vintage objects on reclaimed wood shelf

vintage plant shelf

vintage office accessories

Colourful DIY art adds a pop of colour. I simply washed a piece of card stock in yellow watercolour, and glued down a stalk of wheat on one and petals from a flower on another. Natural art in a pinch! 

DIY art with watercolour and natural elements

easy DIY office refresh

Easy peasy refresh done very quickly and without spending a dime. Are you refreshing for Spring? 

12 April 2015

choosing a kitchen backsplash

Wow, don't you just love the options for amazing kitchen backsplashes these days? All manner of materials, colours and patterns are accessible and pretty easy to install as well. So, with such a wide array of choice, how do you select the best one for your kitchen?

patterned cement tile backsplash
1. Complement your countertop and cabinets. It's highly debated whether to choose backsplash or countertop first, but for sustainability reasons, I always say choose neutral, classic, hard working and long last countertops and cabinets first, then select a backsplash that will augment them. A backsplash can always be changed out when you want a refresh - but the countertop and cabinets should last forever. And if your kitchen cabinets and countertops are neutral, whether light or dark, you can have a little more fun with the backsplash.

how to choose a kitchen backsplash
choosing marble for a backsplash
2. Decide on the tone. Do you want to have a little fun and add some colour or a dramatic pattern? Or, if you have a traditional or minimal home, perhaps you want to make sure the kitchen reflects this for continuity? That will drive a decision on colour and pattern such as classic white subway tile vs. colour Moroccan cement tiles.

how to choose a kitchen backsplash
Morrocan inspired kitchen backsplash
3. Decide on material. If you own your home and know that you will likely always have some sort of tile backsplash (even if you change it down the road), then I recommend tile or stone. It's fairly easy to install and affords a high-end look to the space relatively inexpensively. But if you rent, you'll want something that won't damage the walls. You could consider cutting wainscoting to size and fitting it in snugly. Or using removable wallpaper and coating it with a high-gloss durable finish.

Also, your material will determine how much upkeep you need to do. Remember that ceramic or glass tiles don't generally need to be sealed (seal the grout when first installing), but ceramic tile are porous and will need to be sealed from time to time. White beadboard or plank boards could also stain if not taken care of.

choosing material for a kitchen backsplash
glass backsplash
4. Determine where your backsplash will go. Generally it runs from countertop to the bottom of cabinets, but with the trend now for open shelving or bare upper walls, often running the bacskplash from counter right up to ceiling makes sense. You could run it up to the ceiling only on the range wall for a beautiful and functional focal point. If you plan having a large area backsplash, that will obviously affect your budget so plan accordingly.

choosing large tile backsplash
choosing a modern kitchen backsplash
choosing a budget modern backsplash
For my tips on installing a temporary wallpaper backsplash check out this post.

And for even more head to: DIY backsplash ideas and eco-friendly backsplashes.

8 April 2015

maximize the space above the fridge

I hate that awkward space above the fridge. It either has a cabinet that seems to obtrude into the room and is too deep to find anything in, or there is a small useless gap between the top of the refrigerator and the ceiling trim or base of that useless cabinet. Either way, it's an annoying waste of good space and pretty darn ugly.

Here are some stylish ways to better use that area to get organized and fit with the rest of the kitchen design. Most seem pretty easy to DIY using either new boards for a "custom" look, or by removing the doors on existing cabinets and making use of baskets or bins.

organized storage above fridge
DIY open cabinet shelf above refrigerator
tutorial via
maximize storage above refrigerator
cookbooks and wine storage above refrigerator
open shelving above refrigerator
maximizing stylish space above fridge
using basket storage above refrigerator
more stylish storage above refigerator