Paula Glazebrook's Blog
If you ride through the suburbs of America, you’ll likely notice that the houses just seem to get bigger and bigger. Like our taste for large trucks and SUVs, Americans tend towards the idea that bigger is better.
On the opposite end of the spectrum are people who feel quite the opposite. From this minimalist mindset has emerged the “tiny house.” What exactly is a tiny house?
There is no exact definition. However, most tiny houses are built on wheels--to adhere to local building code--and typically don’t exceed 500 square feet in size.
You might be thinking that’s a bit extreme. And you wouldn’t be alone--Americans have taken advantage of small homes in the form of modular homes, and cottage-style houses for decades.
With the cost of heating and powering a home rising year after year, it’s beginning to make sense to downsize.
So, in this article we’ll talk about what it means to live in a smaller home to help you decide whether it’s a good choice for you.
Barriers to building small houses
If it’s your dream to someday build a small house on a hilltop in your hometown, you might have to face-off with the local zoning committee first. Some of the biggest barriers to building smaller houses are local regulations involving minimum house sizes.
This isn’t a new problem, with towns struggling with the idea of minimum square footage as far back as the 1970s. In spite of this barrier, small house and tiny house proponents have been finding loopholes.
One such workaround involves simply building your house on wheels. However, that isn’t easy to do and it doesn’t always look great either.
Depending on your hobbies and philosophy, living in a small house can be a good or a bad thing. Those who seek to become more minimal in their belongings often find that small houses help them achieve this.
The more things we own the more we have to worry about storing and maintaining them. However, if you value experiences more than objects, living in a small house could save you money and therefore leave you with more funds for traveling and other experiences.
Family is another thing to consider when living in a small house. If you have a large family or pets, living in a small house can be difficult. However, there is something to be said about growing up in a small house (it makes it harder for kids to avoid their parents by playing video games in their room or the basement!).
How to decide if you can manage living in a small house
If you’re downsizing from a larger home it can be scary to lose all of that extra space you were used to. There are a few ways to see if you can adapt to a smaller home, however.
You could rent a small apartment while you search for a new home. This will allow you to acclimate yourself to living in a smaller environment.
If you don’t want to go through the trouble of signing a lease, there’s always renting a small property through AirBnB or a camping cottage for a few weeks. Then you’ll have time to notice what you like and dislike about the smaller space and will be able to plan for how to want to deal with those changes if you decide to move into a smaller house.
A home bar is one thing that most adults should have in their homes. Even if you’re not a drinker yourself, you should have something on hand to offer guests when they come over for an evening of food and conversation. You’ll need the right setup, the right tools, and the right recipes handy to have the perfect home bar. Whether you have a bar already or are looking to build your own, we have all the tips that you’ll need as a rookie bartender.
You’ll need quite a few essentials in your home bar including but not limited to:
- Bar tools
- Recipe books
Find The Right Surface To Transform Into A Bar
You can easily transform any table, sideboard, or cart into a bar. If the vessel that you’re using has a drawer, that’s even better. You can keep all of your bottles, glasses, decanters, and openers in one convenient place. It’s not bad if you can’t fit all of your supplies in one place. Less used items can be stored in the pantry.
You can even use a simple bookshelf to store all of your bar supplies. Transform any bookcase from “boring bookshelf” to home bar in no time. You can arrange the shelving by category, giving each shelf a purpose. You can keep spirits on one shelf, glasses on another shelf, tools on another, and recipe books on another shelf.
Does Your Home Have An Actual Bar Built-In?
Many homes actually have bars built in, but people rarely use them because they feel inexperienced in using the bar tools of the trade. Whether you have a full wet bar or a simpler dry bar, keep all of the essentials there. You’ll need:
- Bar towel
- Trash can
- Bar spoon
- Access to ice
- Simple Syrup
- Old fashioned glass
- Mesh strainer
Location Of The Bar
If you’re setting up a brand new bar, there’s a variety of places that you can put the bar. If you have space in the kitchen, you can add it to a corner right there. Other great places for your bar could be a den or a man cave. Wherever you’ll spend time hanging out with company is a good place to keep your bar. If you have children, you might even consider getting a locking cabinet system for your liquor. You don’t want little hands getting into what they’re not supposed to.
Setting up your own home bar is something to be proud of. It will be quite the conversation piece when guests come over. You’ll be able to discuss your collection of liquors and see if friends have any recommendations as to what you might add to your selection of liquors. A home bar is an entertaining essential.
Whether you're planning on selling your home in the near future or just enhancing it now for your own enjoyment, your kitchen is a great place to focus some of your attention.
If your kitchen is dreary, disorganized, and grungy, then several aspects of your life could be negatively impacted.
One surefire way to start your day on a sour note is to be "greeted" first thing in the morning by stacks of unwashed dishes, dirty cookware, and spills! Sound familiar? It happens to everyone occasionally, but it becomes a major issue when it occurs on a regular basis. Messy kitchens can not only leave you feel frustrated and irritable, but they can be a contributing factor to family squabbles.
Here's a related scenario that's worth avoiding at almost all costs: Leaning your arm on a dirty counter and realizing you're now wearing last night's tomato sauce or Cabernet on your work clothes! We won't even go into that sinking feeling you get when an important document, research paper, or business report gets placed on a wet counter top!
There's no solution that works flawlessly every time, but establishing consistent habits, routines, and family responsibilities is a great starting point. While it may be a bit of hassle to keep reminding your kids to clean up after themselves and put their dirty dishes in the dishwasher, it's usually worth it when you know you're not going to have to wake up to a messy kitchen!
Other ways to ensure your kitchen is an inspiring place, rather than a depressing one, is to remove clutter from counter tops and tables, keep windows clean and unobstructed, and make sure artificial lighting is adequate in dining and food preparation areas. Replacing old, heavy window treatments and installing recessed lighting with dimmer switches can also enhance the look and feel of your kitchen.
Besides doing a partial or complete remodel of your kitchen -- which many homeowners need to do at least once -- there are a lot of small, more affordable touches that can make your kitchen a more inviting and enjoyable place to spend time. Colorful wall art, a bowl of fresh fruit, a flower arrangement, and the use of citrus-scented cleaners are a few simple touches that can set the stage for a cleaner, more cheerful living space.
Painting or re-staining kitchen cabinets may be more of a cumbersome job than you're willing to tackle, but it can dramatically freshen up the appearance of your kitchen. For some homeowners, cabinet refacing is an economical choice that is relatively simple and budget friendly.
Cleaning and organizing your pantry, kitchen cabinets, and refrigerator is also a good way to weed out expired grocery products and take inventory of what needs to be replaced. When ingredients and food supplies are easy to find, mealtime tends to be more relaxing and enjoyable for everyone.
There’s a lot more to interior design than simply picking out the latest trends in home decor. Design principles are also used to make the atmosphere of your home spacious and welcoming, and to make your home livable in a practical way.
In spite of the fact that most people will own a home someday, no one is ever really taught interior design. So, it comes as little surprise that so many people are missing out on simple techniques that can drastically improve their home.
In today’s article, we’re going to share with you some of the best interior design and decorating secrets to help you spruce up your home and make it more practical at the same time.
Low ceiling? No problem
Having a low ceiling can make it difficult to decorate and make your home seem spacious. One great workaround is to avoid tall furniture and seek out chairs with low backs, and bookcases that are wide rather than tall.
Omit hanging lights and ceiling fans and used recessed lighting instead to maximize your space and avoid having taller guests having to dodge objects hanging from the ceiling.
Finally, paint the ceiling white and remove crown molding to give the impression of openness.
Making small rooms feel larger
If you have a small home it can feel difficult to keep things uncluttered while still making sure you have everything you need. There are a few ways to make rooms feel more spacious that don’t involve throwing out your belongings.
First, add mirrors to give the illusion (literally) of space. A single or group of mirrors can be a nice decorative touch that makes a room seem much larger than it is.
Next, paint and decorate with mainly light colors or white. Dark colors will make a room feel smaller.
Lastly, take advantage of hidden storage space, such as tables with drawers underneath, and avoid putting decorations on too many surfaces. Filling the room up with objects will make it appear smaller.
The size of decorations matter
There’s a rule in interior decorating called the “cantaloupe rule.” It states that you should avoid using decorations that are smaller than a cantaloupe.
However, that doesn’t mean this rule can’t be artfully broken. A better description would be that you should omit several small decorations in favor of just a few large ones.
Create a color palette
When choosing the color of your furniture, walls, and decoration it can be easy to just choose whichever color you like for that object rather than what works well in your home. Try making a color palette to adhere to when shopping for these items.
Create a house-wide palette and a palette for each room. Stick to three or four colors that complement each other well for each room, and make sure they aren’t too starkly contrasted from other rooms in your home.
If you aren’t sure about how to design a color palette there are several free online tools you can use to help.
In times of rising temperatures and growing concerns of climate change, many of us are looking for small ways we can make a difference in our everyday lives. What better place to start than your own home?
It can be overwhelming to plan drastic eco-friendly changes to your home. That’s why we’ve broken these tips down room-by-room so that you can make changes in just one area and then build from there. Starting small will help you see your environmentally-minded project through to the finish.
Read on for tips for each room of your home to make your life more eco-friendly.
We’ll start with a small and easy one: the bedroom. Odds are your bedroom isn’t hogging too much power or creating a lot of waste. However, there are a few small changes you can make that will help you save some money while helping out the environment.
If your bedroom tends to get chilly at night, try using insulating curtains to help keep the cool air from slipping in through the windows. Similarly, on hot days close the curtains at peak sunlight hours to keep the bedroom cool. This small change could save you from having to turn up the heat or air conditioner when you enter your room each night.
The next time you clean out your closet, bring your items to a local thrift store or charity drop-off. You can even ask for a receipt which will make your donation tax-deductible. This way your clothes can extend their lives and stay out of a landfill a bit longer, and you’ll be helping out someone who could use the clothing.
Kitchen appliances offer a lot of opportunity for energy and water waste. When shopping for appliances, seek out appliances that meet Energy Star standards.
When it comes to water, forego the plastic bottles and buy a glass or metal refillable water bottle. Tap filters can greatly improve the taste, and you might find after a few days that you don’t even notice the water tasting differently.
Consider composting kitchen scraps in a composting bin. You can later use this for fertilizing plants in your yard and garden. And, finally, be sure you’re recycling all of your empty food and beverage containers.
Is your living room your entertainment center? If so, many of your devices, like cable boxes and streaming media devices, might continue running on “standby mode” wasting electricity. To prevent this, simply plug all of your devices into a power strip and turn it off at night.
Start by using refillable hand soap containers rather than buying a new one each time you run out. This will save you a lot of money in the long run and save you trips to the store as well.
If your hot water takes a long time to heat up and you find yourself running the tap often, consider installing a recirculating water pump in your bathroom.
To save on electricity throughout the house, make sure you’re using compact fluorescent bulbs and only keeping the lights on when you’re in the room.
When cleaning, try using non-toxic cleaners or making your own from solutions of water, vinegar, and citrus essentials.