Sweater weather is right around the corner, but before you cozy up in front of the fire with your steamy--or spiked--beverage of choice, you’ll need to prep your home for the coming season. The changing of the seasons is a big transition for your house, both inside and out. That means tackling a few crucial tasks, from yard work to light HVAC maintenance. We’ll be totally upfront--not all these tasks are fun. That’s why we put together a handy list to help you check ‘em off so you can get back to enjoying the fall festivities.
Clean your gutters
Gutters are pretty unfussy in terms of maintenance, but they do need a little TLC at the end of summer. Leaves, grass clippings, and rodents have a tendency to set up shop in your gutters during warm weather. This leads to clogs, which creates problems like leaky gutters and flooding. Fast forward to winter, and clogged gutters can even lead to dreaded ice dams. Cleaning your gutters ensures they’re clear and unobstructed for the cold weather ahead.
You can also spring for a gutter cover to stop leaves from blowing into your gutter. No more rickety ladders or dirty gutter cleaning jobs!
Pack up your outdoor furniture
Nothing takes the cheery gleam off summer furniture quite like a relentless freeze and thaw cycle. It doesn’t matter if the label boldly claims it can withstand hurricane-like conditions. Freezing temperatures, ice, and bitter winds will take their inevitable toll on even the sturdiest pieces. A waterproof furniture cover like this one by Enzeno will help take the edge off the worst of the winter weather. Even better is a nice, dry storage space like a garage or shed. Your furniture will thank you!
Patch up any cracks in your driveway
You know those tiny cracks in your driveway? The ones you only see when you kneel down to tie your shoelaces? Ice has a way of getting into those little, barely-there cracks and making them...big. Way bigger, given enough time. That’s why it’s important to patch up any little cracks in the pavement before freezing weather comes your way. Pop a little concrete crack sealer over it and call it a day!
Drain your outdoor faucets
As the balmy rays of summer fade into fall, you’ll find yourself packing up the sprinkler and kiddy pool. Don’t forget to disconnect the garden hose from the outdoor spigot and allow excess water to drain. This is an easy step to forget, but the oversight can be disastrous for your plumbing--like, exploding pipes disastrous.
Check your windows for drafts
Feel a cold breeze near certain windows or doors? It’s not your imagination. Drafty windows account for up to 30% of energy used in the home, according to the US Department of Energy. That means higher bills, a bigger carbon footprint, and a stressed-out furnace. Luckily, this is an easy fix with the right supplies. Weatherstripping and window film are affordable and DIY-friendly. For a more permanent (and visually appealing) solution, you can spring for a nice set of insulated curtains.
Freshen up HVAC air filters
There’s nothing like coming home on a cold winter day and taking a deep breath of...ice-cold air. Psyche! That’s no fun at all. Changing your air filter every couple months will keep your HVAC system running smoothly all winter long. A fresh filter also seriously improves your home’s air quality and lowers your heating bills. It’s a win-win! And if you want to take your environmental stewardship to the next level, you can invest in a reusable air filter. These flexible filters are made of a sturdy mesh and are tough enough to last for years.
Replace your batteries
No, this isn’t a tongue-in-cheek reference to getting caffeinated on pumpkin spice lattes, although you can accomplish this task with one in hand. All of your home’s battery-powered systems, like the thermostat, smoke detectors, and carbon monoxide detectors will need a fresh pair of batteries for fall. Even if your device is hard-wired to your home’s electrical system, fresh batteries will keep these life-saving devices running during a power outage.
What other steps do you do to prep your home for fall? Let us know in the comments!
As more people than ever work from home, opinions remain divided: some people love it and can’t imagine returning to their cubes, while others hate it. Regardless of where you fall on the love/hate spectrum, you’ll still need to carve out a productive little corner of your home for work. But that can be easier said than done! For just a couple of days, setting up shop at your kitchen table may suffice, but long term WFH stints require a dedicated office space.
Here's a quick guide for designing a comfy home office:
Choose your location wisley
Let’s face it: you’re going to spend a big portion of your day in your home office. Something in the ballpark of eight hours a day, five days a week (or more). That means you'll need to choose your new space wisely. In other words, don’t cram yourself into a tiny, windowless nook in your house, or set up shop at the breakfast table where you have no privacy and no reprieve from distractions.
Here are some questions to ask yourself when choosing the location for your new home office:
How much privacy do you have?
Is it a high-traffic area?
What’s the noise level like?
Do you have enough room to work?
Depending on your home, you may not be able to check off all of these boxes, but your new office should fulfil most of these needs.
Lighten the mood
Light often gets overlooked, but it’s probably the most important feature after room layout. Without the right lighting, you'll end up with eye strain and headaches. Too-bright lighting can leave you struggling to see past the glare on your screen.
A few helpful rules of thumb:
Angle your computer monitor away from the window to prevent glare.
You may have to make some adjustments at first., depending on the direction your office faces. East-facing windows will have the worst glare in the morning, but western windows will only get bad later in the afternoon.
You’ll want a good solution for task lighting. A desk lamp is perfect for evening work hours. Unlike overhead lights, you can move your desk lamp around to adjust for glare.
And if your office is particularly large or shadowy, you may wish to pair your desk lamp with a floor lamp to lighten the atmosphere.
Colorize your space
Don’t be afraid to change the color of the room--even if your new office was once a guest bedroom, storage room, or even a converted garage. Now it’s your office, and you deserve to spend time in a room painted a color you love!
This is where “mood” comes into play.
Do you need something bold and exciting to get yourself going in the morning? Then try a vibrant color like electric yellow or lime green. But if you find yourself in need of calm during the stressful workday, opt instead for a tranquil shade of seafoam blue or leafy green.
This can be a tricky one, especially if your new office is light on square footage. But it’s important to get an organizational system in place so you know exactly where to find what you need when you need it. Vertical file folders, desk organizers, and small bookshelves are all excellent choices for keeping your papers, office supplies, and technology organized. Floating shelves are a lifesaver if you don’t have a ton of floorspace to work with.
....with a comfy desk and chair! You might feel the urge to nab a chair from your kitchen table or dust off a folding chair from the garage. Don’t do that just yet! Keep in mind that you’re going to spend forty hours a week parked in this chair, so you’ll be doing yourself a huge favor by getting one that’s comfortable and ergonomically correct. Even if you have to shell out some money for a fancy office chair, it’s totally worth it and certainly cheaper than a chiropractor!
Above all, be sure to have fun and get creative when designing your home office. It's your space! It's where you'll think of some of your brightest ideas and accomplish your proudest career milestones. You deserve to have a working space that's comfortable, productive, and most of all, fun!
Did we miss any tips? Let us know in the comments!
Siding is one of the most essential features of your home’s exterior. Not only does it give your home style and appeal, but it also has the lofty job of protecting it from the elements.
That’s why it’s important to keep an eye on your siding’s health. Once siding starts to break down, it can no longer effectively protect the underlying framing and insulation. And that leads to all kinds of issues, like mildew, wood rot, and pest infestations. Yikes!
Luckily, your siding will start dropping hints when it’s ready to be replaced. Here are some common warning signs that the time has come for replacement siding:
Mold is always a bad sign, no matter where in your house it pops up. Siding is no exception. When mildew grows on siding, it looks like gray or greenish stains. It may appear on all exterior walls of your home, or just in certain areas.
While mold doesn’t necessarily mean you need brand new siding (you may be able to powerwash it or scrub it off), it’s certainly a sign that your siding needs some TLC. However, if the mold is extensive or was left to grow for a long period of time, your siding may be damaged and need replacement. Especially if you have wood siding, which is more delicate and prone to weather damage than vinyl.
Healthy siding will lay flush against the exterior walls of your home, with each board stacked neatly atop the next. They should like the crisp horizontal lines on a piece of notebook paper. If your siding is instead bowing or arching away from the wall, that’s a serious problem. It usually means the siding has suffered from water damage, pest activity, or poor installation. Although warping is most common for wood siding, homeowners are often surprised that it can happen to vinyl siding as well.
Gaps and cracks
Just like holes in a suit of armour, siding with visible gaps or cracks can’t protect what lies underneath. Water from passing rainstorms and melting snow will eventually make their way through the gaps. Insects and rodents may decide to seek warmth and refuge beneath your siding. Cracked siding can even lead to drafts, which make your home less comfortable and energy efficient. As you can see, siding gaps can lead to a whole trove of problems!
Siding is routinely exposed to wind, rain, hail, sunlight, and anything else mother nature can throw at it. All of that exposure will eventually take a toll on your siding. Each type of siding will react differently to the elements. For wood siding, you may see peeling paint like the image below. However, vinyl siding isn't painted because it's manufactured in a specific color. Instead, it fades in the sun, so certain areas of your home may look lighter or darker than others.
So, do any of these red flags sound familiar? If so, your home is an excellent candidate for replacement siding. Fortunately, there are lots of exterior remodeling companies out there that can help you upgrade your siding. Just be sure to check out their reviews before you let them anywhere near your house!
Fall is in full swing, and seasonal design trends are popping up like bats in a lightning-struck bell tower. Too dark? Well, it’s been kind of a dark year. Maybe that’s why this fall’s looks are trending towards bright, airy, and simple. In a year filled with darkness and uncertainty, people are understandably turning their homes into calm, comforting oases where they can ride out the storm.
Without further ado, let’s have a look at some of Fall 2020’s hottest interior design trends:
This fall, it’s all about natural fibers: wicker, rattan, clay, linen. Dried grasses are also entering the mix and make a perfect down-to-earth accent. Wheat, pampas grass, and cattails are all neutral colored grasses that complement the muted, earthy palette that’s so popular this season.
You can find lots of beautiful dried grasses on Etsy, but they’re fairly fragile–if you’re looking for something more robust, you may want to splurge for artificial grass (Michaels has a good selection).
Floral wallpapers are still flourishing this season, busily seeding plain walls with their vibrant foliage. Although wallpaper has been out for some time, the recent love of plant-print fabrics (and plants in general) combined with a zeal for all-things vintage has created fertile ground for a major comeback.
If you’re not quite ready to surrender your walls to mother nature, you can experiment with peel and stick wall coverings; they’re non-permanent and easy to peel off. Perfect for the changing seasons!
Drag your rattan patio furniture inside–it’s not just for the outdoors anymore! Rattan furniture is making a big resurgence this fall: couches, armchairs, coffee tables, and matching end tables are just some of the many rattan items you’ll see this season.
If you’re not keen on replacing your entire living room with rattan, you can still get your fix with accessories like a rattan mirror or tea tray. Budget-savvy shoppers should be able to scoop up some great vintage rattan pieces for a steal at resale shops or eBay.
Many of us will be stuck at home this fall–working, studying, hosting socially distant gatherings, or simply biding our time until spring. An unintended consequence of social distancing is that our homes are becoming multi-functional spaces where we work, relax, and socialize–sometimes all in the same room!
Having different lighting options–a.k.a. layered lighting–gives you the flexibility to create the right atmosphere for any number of activities. Task lighting, like desk lamps or pendant lights, is great for getting work or chores done. Once you’re wrapped up for the day, you can switch to mood lighting with a chandelier or even light a few scented candles to relax.
(To learn more about different types of lighting and how to use them, check out this post)
The towering silhouette of a canopy bed is unmistakable, which is perhaps why it’s gaining such popularity during the year’s most visually dramatic season. And as bedroom designs trend towards becoming lighter and breezier, a large canopy bed can create a perfect “anchor” point in an otherwise airy space.
It feels wrong to say that vintage is “back” since it never really went away, but it’s definitely experiencing a popularity surge this season. Thanks to the brutally tumultuous year we’ve experienced, many people are seeking the comfort offered by vintage items. To put it simply, they remind us of a simpler time!
If you’re not comfortable going thrifting this season (which is totally understandable), you can putt a vintage twist on some of your existing accessories by applying a patina finish or pairing it with some of those lovely pampas grasses.
Fall 2020’s Design Trends: Key Takeaways
Despite this season’s many distinct trends, one thing is certain: it’s all about comfort. From cozy textures to ambient lighting, people are reinvisioning their living spaces to comfortably accommodate both work and leisure.
And remember: you don’t have to totally remodel your home to achieve the look. A few candles, comfy pillows, or dried grasses are more than enough to immerse yourself in this season’s interior design trends without leaving you bankrupt for the holidays.
We’ve heard the phrase “all the world’s a stage,” but its meaning doesn’t truly sink in until we list a house for sale. All of a sudden, your quiet, unassuming home is under a bright spotlight, scrutinized by everyone from real estate agents to discerning potential buyers. It’s a lot of pressure for home sellers. Especially when you’re juggling the stress of preparing to move!
Luckily, there are some easy ways you can doll up your house for a quick sale.
Declutter the House
It’s normal for a house that you’ve lived in for a while to get that, well, “lived-in” look. However, that doesn’t mean home buyers are interested in seeing your laundry piled up on top of the machine or hot-footing over your kid’s legos. To an interested buyer, clutter is a big distraction. It hides the clean lines and beautiful architecture of your home’s interior. It makes every room look like a messy closet instead of a beloved part of your home. You can help them focus on the many wonderful features of your home by eliminating some of that clutter. Clean floors and surfaces, like countertops and tables, are a great place to start.
Shampoo the Carpets
Carpets are one of the most popular flooring options because they feel soft and squishy underfoot, like a sponge. Unfortunately, that’s not the only trait they share with sponges: carpets also soak up dirt and bad odors like sponges! Years of foot traffic will make your carpets look dingy and flattened. It may even smell bad, like mildew or grime. Yuck! But don’t start tearing out your old carpets just yet, because there’s an easier solution: shampooing the carpets. Plus, the scented shampoo will make the room smell pleasantly fresh!
Powerwash the Exterior
As the years pass and the seasons change, it’s natural for your home’s exterior to start looking...kinda gross. Dirt, cobwebs, and mildew will hide your siding's bright, bold colors, making your house look like a drab version of its former self. Luckily, there’s an easy fix: power washing! When you powerwash your house, you harness the power of highly pressurized water to strip away years of accumulated dirt and grime. Most houses can be power washed in just a couple of hours, and the job is way cheaper than having the entire exterior re-painted.
Spruce up the Yard
First impressions matter, especially when it comes to home buying. And the first thing potential buyers will see when they pull up to your house is the front yard. That’s why it’s important to make the landscaping neat and presentable. Mow the lawn, edge the border, and pull any weeds. Pack away any yard clutter like kid’s toys and gardening tools. If your driveway and walkway look grimy, a quick once-over with the power washer will have them looking bright and welcoming to your guests!
Does your kitchen sometimes feel like it was built for ants. You're not alone--anyone living in a studio apartment, vintage ranch home, dorm room, cramped urban apartment, or cabin understands the same struggle. The cabinets are packed, the floors are cluttered, and if there's more than one person in the kitchen, you're doomed to crash into each other as your struggle to cook.
Luckily, there are some clever tips you can put to use that will make your kitchen feel roomier, more comfortable, and better organized. And not one of them includes a wrecking ball and construction crew! All you need is a bit of ingenuity and the right equipment.
Drop leaf tables
Drop-leaf tables are game-changers for small kitchens. They're basically two tables in one convenient package. The normally diminutive table can grow to accommodate guests by simply raising the drop leaf. When your guests go home, the drop leaf table shrinks back into a postage-stamp size perfect for small kitchens.
When you have limited floor space, even small pieces of furniture can make the room feel crowded. You can free up space by trading your bookcases for floating shelves. Like the name implies, floating shelves look like they're hovering off the ground because they're wall-mounted. And unlike free standing shelving units, you can get creative with floating shelves by spacing them as far apart--or close together--as you want. You can also create cool visual effects by staggering the shelves in a zigzag or diagonal pattern.
Under shelf storage
Do your shelves have tall gaps between them? Then there's probably room for some clever under-shelf storage solution. Baskets for cooking supplies and hooks for hanging mugs are some of the many ways you can tap into that under-utilized space.
Light color walls
Do you avoid wearing dark colors on sunny days? That's because dark colors absorb light while light colors reflect it. The same principle is at work when choosing paint colors. Light colored paints like white, beige, and light gray, are much better at reflecting light than darker shades like black, gunmetal gray, and navy blue.
Island with built-in seating
When you're trying to make a small kitchen work, it helps to think of furniture that serves multiple purposes. An island with built-in seating, for example, doubles as a kitchen table and a food prep surface. Not only is this is a practical use of space, but you can also get away with one large island instead of trying to cram a dining table and a food prep cart into the room.
High-gloss paint on the ceiling
Glossy paints are pros at reflecting light and making a room appear larger than it actually is. So why don't we see glossy paint everywhere? Mostly because it has its downsides, too. High-gloss paint has a way of making every scratch, bump, and irregularity glaringly obvious. This is especially problematic in older homes with lump, textured walls. That's why a high-gloss ceiling is a comfy middle ground. Ceilings typically have way less wear-and-tear than walls, so they're a smoother, more attractive surface for high-gloss paint.
As you can see, making a small kitchen feel bigger doesn't mean tearing down walls or spearheading a pricey kitchen renovation. There are many ways you can make the space look and feel larger simply by using some clever design tricks.
What are your favorite tricks for making a cozy kitchen feel roomier? Let us know in the comments!
So the day has come when you have officially decided that your bathroom just has to go. The walls are too yellow, the floor is too white, the cabinets are too green, the shower is too cramped. Whatever it may be, you simply cannot stand the sight of your bathroom anymore. Unfortunately, however, you have to use this bathroom multiple times a day.
Luckily, there are many ways you can renovate your bathroom, by yourself, without breaking the bank. All you need is a little bit of time, a burst of creativity, and some basic (but powerful) DIY skills. To help get you started, we have compiled a list of 6 budget-friendly bathroom remodeling ideas.
Upgrade the vanity with a fresh coat of paint
Rather than completely replace the old bathroom cabinets, just apply a couple fresh coats of new paint. Before you get started on any design changes, be sure to repair any part of the vanity that is broken or damaged. You also need to sand off any paint that is chipping or pealing back. This will help the new paint stick. Once you have "built" the vanity of your dreams, you should pick out a new paint color and finish, and get painting.
This is a great time to get a little creative! Maybe you want to add a piece of trim or replace a couple door knobs, replace the sink, or install matching bathroom accessories (like towel holders, mirrors, and toilet paper holders). Small changes like this are easily affordable if you shop at an antique shop, go to a secondhand store, or stop by a local yard sale.
Update your shower with a rain-style showerhead
Rain-style showerheads are very contemporary and stylish. You have your choice of finishes like chrome or brass for a modern and sleek look, and brushed nickel or oil-rubbed bronze for a warmer look.
The perks of these showerheads go beyond the looks, however: they are gentler than your smaller showerhead, and they offer better coverage. This is because the showerhead is wider, giving a larger surface area for the water to fall through.
Budget-savvy homeowners can find many affordable models at home improvement stores and online. They are very easy to install and make a great afternoon DIY project. All you need to do is a simple Google search to see what you like, buy it, install it, then experience it!
Revamp your hardware
Your bathroom hardware can really make you cringe, especially if you feel like the handles are always dirty or stand out in an unsightly way. Not to mention, broken or loose knobs are simply annoying. Fortunately, new hardware can breathe new life into your existing bathroom cabinets.
If you're comfortable with home improvement tools, you have more options. You can replace old hardware with hardware that does not align with the previous holes. More advanced DIY skills makes it possible for you to drill these new holes, and to carefully cover up the old holes. That being said, it might be simpler to pick out new hardware that match up with the holes on your cabinets. This could safe you a lot of time too.
You can also install new faucets on your sink and in your shower. This is like wearing a different scarf with the same white shirt. It adds a fresh touch to your bathroom, and can easily tie the entire room together, all while keeping the existing bathroom vanity intact.
Transform a plain wall with statement tiles
When you dress up a wall with statement tiles, you are essentially creating a feature wall. The feature wall adds character and personality to the room, especially if the bathroom is a little boring. Your feature wall can be subtle but bold, colorful but peaceful, artistic but simple. The choice is yours.
Statement walls in bathrooms are easy because most bathroom walls are small. The statement wall can be in the shower, behind the mirror, or where you hang your towels. If you want, you can tie the statement wall into a colorful floor pattern. As for materials, an inexpensive option is the 3x6 inch subway tiles.
Statement tiles are a great way to let your personality shine, and to add a splash of color and design to your bathroom, without breaking the bank or your back. A feature wall might be exactly what your bathroom needs.
Update your light fixtures
Bathroom lighting is supposed to be functional. You need to be able to clearly see your face. Lighting, however, should also be beautiful, and there are many different options for tying practicality with aesthetics. One idea is the showstopper chandelier.
Chandeliers really add an elegant look to your bathroom, making it suitable for an opera singer. Not to mention, the light is cast about the room in dancing patterns. Be sure to pick out a chandelier that ties into the rest of your bathroom in terms of size, style and color.
Maybe the lighting in your current bathroom is really poor, and any upgrade will do wonders. If you are looking for a simple and practical effect, you can always opt for wall fixtures with patterned or plain glass features. These are stunningly gorgeous and add a refreshing sparkle to your bathroom.
Install a Prefabricated Bath or Shower
Has your shower seen better days? Perhaps it is full of cracks, dripping with yellow stains, or coated with mold and mildew that just will not budge? Maybe you are hesitant to even think about replacing your bath or shower for fear that it will be too expensive. Unfortunately, it can be very expensive to replace your shower, especially if you hire a professional to build you a custom shower from square one. That being said, you have possibilities.
If you are trying to stay within your means (both talent- and budget-wise), you should consider a pre-fabricated shower unit. There are so many options to choose from, and they are much more affordable. If you simply cannot live with the idea of a pre-fabricated shower, you might be able to tile over your existing polyurethane shower pan. The outcome depends largely on the condition of your existing shower structure and your DIY skills.
Remodeling your bathroom can be fun, affordable, and a wonderful learning experience. You get to be creative, work with what you have, and see your vision come to fruition. It is important to do your research on where to get the most affordable (but durable) remodelling supplies, and to ask for help if you are having trouble remodeling on your own.
There are so many ideas on the web that you can browse for inspiration before you get started on your bathroom remodeling adventure. Let us know what you come up with, and feel free to share any and all questions in the comments below. We cannot wait to see what you create!
A thriving indoor plant garden is nice for a lot of reasons: it looks pretty, it purifies the air in your home, and it's immensely satisfying to see your hard work pay off as your plants flourish. It can also be incredibly frustrating. Sometimes, it feels like all of your diligent care, careful watering, and hemming-and-hawing over the perfect sunny spot don't pay off. Your plants wither and die; you feel sad. It's not fun.
Luckily, there are some very laid-back houseplants out there. We rounded up a list of the hardiest, healthiest, and least picky plants you can add to your indoor garden. Buy them, pot them, ignore them, water them--or don't, it's fine--and they'll be happy.
Pothos is a beautiful vine with heart-shaped leaves and the patience to overlook your inability to care for it. Nothing really bothers it-not low light nor dry air nor a super erratic watering schedule. Pothos has a near-mythical resiliency that earned it the nickname "Devil's Ivy" because it can survive in the dark and will smite down every attempt you make it to kill it. Yeah, it's a pretty cool plant.
Chinese Evergreens rightfully hold the title of One of The Easiest Houseplants Ever. These laid-black plants are happy with even poor living conditions like low light, drought, and dry air. In fact, Chinese Evergreens can also thrive under fluorescent lights, making them ideal cubicle buddies.
I'll be honest: opinions are divided on whether or not Peace Lilies are actually easy to grow, so let's err on the side of caution and say they're "medium-easy." Native to tropical forests, Peace Lilies enjoy damp soil and dappled sunlight. That means they like to be kept pretty moist (but not wet) and would prefer not to be right on a sunny windowsill--they'll burn!
Peace Lilies can be snooty with their water. They're not huge fans of the minerals in tap water, and exposure can cause their leaves to turn brown. If your Lily starts looking crunchy, switch over to a Brita filter or let your watering can sit out overnight.
One more important note: Peace Lilies are toxic. If you have pets or small kids in the house, keep your Peace Lily safely out of eating range.
Sansevieria, also known as Snake Plant and Mother-in-Law's Tongue (heh), is a hardy plant known for its thick, sword-shaped leaves. Despite its unique, almost alien appearance, the snake plant is a member of the succulent family (see below).
Easy to care for, snake plants don't need a whole lot of water or sunlight. In fact, they should be allowed to dry out between waterings; that makes them perfect for plant parents who miss watering day more often than not (don't worry, it happens to all of us). Just place them in a well-lit room (but not in a direct ray of sunlight) and they should be slithering blissfully away.
Continuing the trend of critter-inspired plant names, the spider plant is next on our list. While there's nothing creepy or crawly about this pleasant looking plant, it earned its nickname from the little spider-shaped offshoots it sprouts. The leaves have a beautiful variegated pattern of green and yellow, and their bushy form makes them great for hanging baskets and bookshelves.
Spider plants like indirect light and would prefer not to be placed directly on a windowsill. They like to dry out a bit between waterings, but if you have trouble figuring out how much is too much, you can water them in the sink and let the excess water drain out the bottom of the pot before you return it home.
Native to Asia, this hardy plant is built to survive in extremely wet, low-light conditions. Most bamboo plants are happy to hang out in a vase of water with some rocks for the roots to anchor to. Bamboo doesn't like direct sunlight and will burn if placed in a sunny windowsill. Their love of low-light makes them perfect for rooms without much natural lighting, like bathrooms, laundry rooms, and office cubicles.
Aloe has been used for its medicinal purposes for centuries. In fact, aloe is the main ingredient used in many sunburn gels to this day! Like many cactus-type plants, Aloe Vera enjoys bright light and infrequent watering. Your aloe will be a happy camper if you water it every three weeks with a deep, extensive watering (picture a heavy rainfall in the desert!)
Cousins of the cactus, succulents aren't a single species of plant, but an entire family. They're easy to care for and, like cacti, are drought-resistant. If you need a plant that's happy to overlook missed or later watering, then a succulent is your guy! Succulents come in an amazingly wide range of styles and colors, from the flower-like Echeveria to the long, elegant ropes of Burro's Tails.
The beautifully unique looking Jade Plant is another proud member of the succulent family. By now, you're probably noticing a pattern here: succulents = easy. Jade plants are no exception. These unfussy plants have a reputation for being super easy to care for (and lucky, too!).
The first thing to know about Jade Plants is that they love full sun. They're a great specimen for a sunny windowsill. When it comes to watering, Jade Plants are one of those Goldie Locks plants that don't like to be too wet or too dry. Here's a trick--instead of watering your Jade Plant on a schedule, give it a poke; if the soil feels damp on top, skip the water until it dries out.
Once you get your Jade Plant's sunlight and water situation figured out, it'll show you its appreciation by producing some beautiful little white flowers. Awww!
Cacti are the hardy, desert-dwelling cousins of our luscious succulent friends. Incredibly forgiving to drought, they can often go weeks or sometimes months without watering. Their rigid, spiky exteriors hide squishy, spongy insides that function like a camel's hump.
Cacti thrive best in sandy, well-drained soil. They're also big fans of terra cotta pots since the clay absorbs excess moisture that would otherwise cause root rot. To make your new cactus pal extra happy, plant it in a deep, narrow pot so its roots can stretch out to their full length--they're deep drinkers!
Orchids have a reputation for being fussy, but caring for them isn't all that bad once you understand their needs. Native to humid, swampy areas, orchid plants thrive in mossy substrates and will suffer if planted in potting soil. They also enjoy being damp -- but not soggy or wet. Give your orchid's substrate a poke with your finger; it should feel like a slightly damp sponge at all times.
Spritzing them with orchid fertilizer once a week will encourage them to grow an elegant stalk of alien-like flowers. Orchids have a learning curve, but it's totally worth it when you see those flowers come into bloom.
BONUS: Three plants that will ALWAYS die despite your best efforts to keep them alive
Some plants are just not destined to live happily on your windowsill. You follow the care instructions to a T, but still they defy your unconditional love by having the audacity to die on you. They're heartbreakers; here are a few of the worst offenders.
Venus Fly Trap
Known for their dramatic tooth-lined jaws and insatiable lust for live bugs, the Venus Fly Trap is one of the most iconic and instantly recognizable plants in existence. But if you want to have your own little pot of horror at home, be prepared to invest a lot of time and effort into its wellbeing.
These guys are picky--distilled water, high humidity, and bottom watering are musts. They also have a mandatory dormancy period each winter. If you live in an area that drops below freezing, you'll have to bring your Fly Trap inside and let it hibernate in a cool, dark room for winter.
Fiddle Leaf Fig
Fiddle Leaf Figs need a lot of stability and structure in order to thrive. They're extremely sensitive to temperature changes--even mild ones--which can make them tough to grow indoors. They need a few hours of bright, indirect sunlight each day and like to dry out between waterings.
Fun fact: healthy Fiddle Leaf Figs can grow up to 40 feet tall--hope you have vaulted ceilings!
Aside from having an adorable name, Cheese plants (aka Monstera Deliciosa), are known for their big, vibrant, dinner plate leaves. As the plant matures, its leaves develop the famous "holes" that make it look like--you guessed it--a slice of Swiss cheese! Cheese plants a great addition to any room, but as a tropical plant, they do need a lot of TLC to look and feel their best.
From dorm rooms to studio apartments and modern tiny houses, learning to live within small spaces is becoming the norm. And while you may not be able to knock down the walls and take over your neighbor's place, that doesn't mean you're doomed to feel cooped-up or claustrophobic in your own space. In fact, there are plenty of simple strategies you can use to make even the smallest areas in your home feel bigger and more breathable.
This one's a bit of an optical illusion, but that's okay--the key behind making small rooms feel larger is optics. Furniture on legs, like the couch and ottoman pictured below, makes the room feel larger and more open.
This one might sound a little counterintuitive at first...wouldn't a big rug make a small room look even smaller? Not quite. Large rugs can be used to organize the space into different sections--a trick that's especially handy in studio apartments or multi-functional rooms.
A set of floating shelves tackles two major hurdles of living in a small space: lack of floorspace for freestanding shelves, and a lack of surface space for your stuff.
Installing a hanging basket is a great way to tap into your room's biggest untapped resource: the ceiling. By hanging plants from the ceiling, you're freeing up the space they would otherwise occupy on the floor or furniture.
Light color walls
If your goal is to make a room feel larger, steer clear of dark walls and flooring. Light colors reflect light better than darker pigments, which tricks the eye into thinking the space is larger than it actually is. You can even take it a step further by painting the trim and crown molding a shade lighter than the walls--this makes them seem further away and opens up the room.
Never underestimate the power of a strategically placed mirror. Hanging a mirror--especially a large one--will make a small room look more open and airy. Placing the mirror near a window is extra effective because it bounces natural light back into the room!
When your floor space is limited, the only direction to go is up! While low ceilings can create a cramped, cave-like feeling, higher ceilings give the space (and everyone inside it) room to breathe.
Floor-to-ceiling windows do a better job at emphasizing a room's vertical dimensions than smaller windows. Plus, they let lots of natural light in; well-lit rooms feel larger and airier than dim rooms filled with shadowy corners.
Breezy and delicate, sheer curtains allow more natural light into your home than thicker curtain styles like blackout, light filtering, and room darkening. Look for curtains made of fabrics like voile, tulle, and steer clear of heavier fabrics like velvet and satin.
And there you have it! Put a few of these practices into play and your small space will instantly feel bigger, roomier, and more comfortable.