Keeping a Room Cool (While Maintaining Style)

March 23, 2018

Over the years, as a self-styled fashion maven and guru to my friends and family, I have noticed something rather odd. The most stylish people can have the most horrid home décor. It is true. You would expect that the two concepts to go hand in hand. You face the world in all your best (and the latest trends) and yet go home to a boring and bland place. How ironic! I was visiting a client the other day to help her organize her closet and sort through old things that had seen better days. I showed her ways of using them in a new way by changing from a skirt to pants or adding a scarf or jewelry.  I love the saying, “everything old is new again.” If you have selected well in the past, there is no need to toss items just because they are a few years old. Of course, if they are splitting at the seams, it is a different story.

I was so engrossed in helping my friend and watching her try on outfits. It was a wonderful game of mix and match. We were so buy having fun that it took a long time for me to look up and finally notice her ceiling fan. Not only was it beyond ordinary but it was mounted on a pole that stood out like a sore thumb. Didn’t they know about flush mounting when it was installed? In any case, it was older than the hills and so incongruous in a bedroom full of fashion. It wasn’t like her at all. There was a real disconnect here and I asked her why it was never replaced. It would have been better to choose a sleek wall mounted unit.

“I just can’t be bothered,” she replied with a sigh. She knows I am adamant about home style and that the fan was atrocious. “I could help you find a more attractive model,” I offered. “Mmm,” she mused. “Maybe later. I am so busy now. Who cares anyway?” I was aghast. If you care about style and fashion, then you apply it to your entire life. “It is just to keep cool,” she added. I was nonplussed. “No matter. It doesn’t have to be an eyesore. There are many ways to mount the new fans, so they are inconspicuous.” I went on and on to no avail, even pulling out my smartphone to show her a page all about this on Ceiling Fan Choice. She was clearly not interested. It was time to go anyway.

I started to look upward when I went into other people’s homes and noticed the same issue over and over again. I threw up my hands in despair. You can buy the nicest sofa and chair set and place the perfect coffee table, only to fail at your attempt to have style with an ugly ceiling fan. I feel the same way about tiled or cottage cheese surfaces up there. These are all big no no’s if you want to have a fashionable home life. I hope you all get the picture!


Home Security Accessories: Cute Motion Detecting Lights

October 20, 2017

I live for fashion in all aspects of my life. I hope to share this love with readers. Style applies to everything, not just home décor and fashion. When you are dealing with everyday products and utilitarian objects, it means good design. Take a look at kitchen implements these days. They are the epitome of form and function. A hand mixer is a work of art. I was surprised recently when I cared about the appearance of the motion detecting lights I was about to install on the back porch. I wanted them to be cute to match my home’s exterior. Don’t think I am crazy. I have to look at have to look at them every time I exit to the backyard to check on the dog. I don’t want big ugly metal blobs hanging from the rafters.

The dog is the reason for getting some outdoor motion sensor lights in the first place. When I let him out every night, I open the door fearing coming face to face with a would-be intruder. Maybe I am paranoid but the world has become a scary place, even the one around your own home. I am obsessed with personal security right now given the statistics in the press. The news blasts each and every case of home invasion. I listened and bought a system. I will not be the first victim in the neighborhood. I attended a police course and picked up a lot of helpful ideas. In addition to the security items, I learned a bit about de-escalation and how to handle an assailant.

Now I don’t worry when I let the dog in or out. I usually have to look for him for a minute or two which means standing alone on the porch. I am also interested in participating or even starting a neighborhood watch. This was another tip I got at the self defense class. There are many ways to ensure protection of oneself and loved ones. Sometimes you only get one chance. The life you save may be your own. Security is a serious subject for a blog but an important one. Everyone feels vulnerable while walking down the street even in broad daylight. We have heard the same horror stories. People now carry stun guns and pepper spray. It is selling like hot cakes online. You don’t have to resort to a formidable knife or gun. I am not sure I could use either even when in dire straits. The police also offer a course in weapon usage but I have yet to partake.

Motion sensors are great inside or outdoors. They are easy to install and work like a charm. Even the dog sets them off from time to time. I don’t want to deactivate them, however, just in case. You can’t be too careful, as they say. Meanwhile, I have a big job to finish. See you next time.


How Do You Wash Your Clothes?

September 16, 2017

Part of being fashionable and chic is knowing how to take care of your clothes so they last for a long time. Only then can you justify the great expensive of superior quality. It takes time and effort, but in the long run you will be the winner. One hot washing can ruin a silk blouse; one use of the wrong detergent can send an item to garment heaven. You need to read the instructions on every label. Don’t cut them out! People are afraid that they show, but you just need to tuck them in tightly. It’s a no brainer.

I have some basic tips about fabric in case your labels are unreadable. Cashmere can be dry cleaned, but survives a cold-water bath quite well. You can remove pilling with a special abrasive device and the material looks pretty good. Don’t expect a sweater to be perfect forever. The better the cashmere, the more the piling. Then there is the sturdiest of them all: rayon. You can machine wash it (even on hot for kids’ clothes) and hang it to dry in the shower if you are worried about wrinkles. A tussle in the dryer on low will work if you take the clothing out promptly.

With silk, dry cleaning is best to keep the texture and shine. It can fade in the wash, even with cold water soap. Wool is dry clean only, no other method suggested. It can shrink and is difficult to press with an iron. If you must, put down a wet cloth first. It creates a steam effect. As another simple trick, a travel steamer is safer than an iron and it dissolves wrinkles super-fast. If you resort to running a hot shower, your item may get wet. Cotton does steam out as well, but it is possible. Go for the iron this time. You can wash cotton in cold or hot water (if it is preshrunk).

Gym clothes need at least warm to hot washes. Jersey t-shirts are included in this advice. It is a tough fabric although it helps cool the body during exercise. I do a load of laundry every other day and am glad I have a good water heater so I never run out, even if I had a long shower in the morning. I organize my cleaning schedule so I do the same time of wash at the same time each week. You don’t waste time or money this way.

A final word on soap. Do not use harsh detergents on clothing that you might on bed sheets and towels. There are gentle liquid soaps, some for dark colors, and others for lights. I separate them so the white underwear doesn’t go gray with repeated exposure to runny dyes. Bleach is limited to sheets for the most part. While it removes stains, it also removes color. Be careful and you won’t go wrong. Did I say to read the labels? It is worth repeating.


Leather, Leather, Everywhere

September 6, 2017

Let me be your fashion guide today. I love to give out tips and tricks to help people overcome fashion amnesia. They are often unconscious about it. You can tell. People look disheveled, untidy, way too casual for the occasion, and indifferent to their appearance. You all need help, my friends! I know the trends and can guide you to your own individual style while keeping up to date and “in.” Fashion doesn’t have to be difficult. There are some basic rules. First and foremost, don’t pay too much unless it is something major that will last a lifetime. You can visit thrift stores, but be super careful of wear and tear and stains. These often come with used items.

Next, be on trend but not a slave to fashion. Everything doesn’t have to match perfectly. Plus, you don’t have to overload the accessories that call too much attention to themselves. This includes shoes and bags, jewelry and scarves for women. Men don’t have much to work with—sorry. For them, it is vital to have the proper footwear. It should be comfortable, clean, and not too worn. Ladies hate men with ugly shoes.

Buy leather goods as they add style and class to your image. The likely items will be jackets (bomber to classic), wallets, cell phone cases, glasses cases, zippered pouches, and of course backpacks. When it comes to skins, it is all about quality so don’t skimp. If you take care of your leathers, they will look new. You can clean them yourself with special pastes or solutions, or even dry clean them believe it or not.

A leather business backpack is the epitome of luxury, something to which many aspire. Personally you can’t beat a solid black or brown bag for everyday use. If it is expensive, you won’t want to take it camping or out in the rain and snow. You can use if for travel, however, as it will be safe and secure in an overhead compartment. It is chic, trendy, classy, and fun. You don’t have to look like a motorcycle moll or rider. To the contrary, such a fine bag is a sign of success and professionalism. It may be a splurge but will be well worth it in so many ways. Good leather backpacks like the ones at Business Bag Review are built to last, sturdy and durable. They can be maintained to ensure a new appearance. They are usually well-designed with multiple compartments and separate pockets inside and out.

My leather backpack goes from work to play in an instant. I just take out my work materials and replace them with my evening necessities. I don’t need much more, not even a handbag. When I keep money hidden in a secret pocket, the backpack stays at my side. Keep your eye on it in any case. If it is nice, someone will want to walk off with it, and not just for the contents.


Custom Jewelry

September 1, 2017

Making your own custom jewelry can be a fun hobby, but it can also be a lucrative enterprise. You can sell it online or at fairs and expos which will help build a client list. Promotion is easy once you have the email data. Great photography with dramatic lighting helps sell your wares on your website or in email blasts. Jewelry design is a wonderful offshoot of the fashion industry and an indispensable part of it. Everyone likes accessories and adornment. Women can’t get enough jewelry. It seems to be common knowledge. Men, you had better listen up.

Any materials can be formed into earrings, necklaces, bracelets, broaches, and rings. Artisans like to use precious metals like platinum, silver, and gold; gemstones and steel or other non-precious alloy like pewter. If you want to appeal to the youth market, simple bead and chain work will attract this market. Any craft or hobby store stocks ample choice of materials. Many a college student has worked their way through their four years selling jewelry in the dorm. It is nothing fancy, but it is what coeds like.

If you are not the maker but want very fine jewelry, you can go to a jewelry specializing in custom orders. Often they have settings that can be adapted to different stones. You are not limited to rubies, diamonds, sapphires, and emeralds. You can opt for less expensive opals, quartz, and moonstone. Price is your only limitation. Plus, you may be able to actively participate in the design. The result is unique and all your own. You can openly boast that you “created it.”

If you want something super modern, you can use the popular metal wire technique. It creates open and airy designs of twisted or wrapped metal that accommodate stones well. You may have to do a bit of welding to make your jewelry sturdy and secure. You can also size rings with it. Jewelers use small devices perfect for their needs—nothing too heavy or large. You can hire a welder or take a course and learn to execute this task on your own from here. Once you are trained, you are the one in control. The equipment includes a micro-mini gas torch welder for soldering. It requires a good eye, a magnifier, and a steady hand. Be sure to have good light. The kit you buy comes with a variety of tips for different kinds of projects.

Any kind of artistic creation is great fun. Designing and sewing fashions is only the beginning. You can make belts, detachable collars, covered buttons, handbags, jeweled or embroidered garments, and so much more. Jewelry takes the fashion hobby or business into another realm. Most people specialize in one or the other as it is absorbing and demanding to just do one. They get the bug to go in a specific direction. Try your hand at both and you will soon find out where your heart lies.


How to Pull Off a Statement Piece

August 13, 2017

OK, first things first: what exactly is a statement piece? Simply put, it’s the first thing you notice, either when you see someone or when you walk into a room. It can be as small as a pair of glasses, or as big as a sofa. It doesn’t have to be oversized or flashy, just visually interesting and unique. People usually gravitate toward a statement piece that says something about them—what they like, their favorite color, something about their personality—hence the term “statement piece.”

I think everyone should have a statement piece. A go-to that you put on to make you feel good, or something in your home that you love. However, not everyone wears or displays a statement piece correctly, or even well. Keep these things in mind and you’ll be pulling off a statement piece like a pro:

First things first—the statement piece is the star of the show. Don’t make it into a competition for attention. If we’re talking something in your home, like a painting for instance, it will become the focal point of the room. Treat it as such. Keep the area around it simple and neutral. There’s a reason why the rooms in an art gallery are boring except for the art—a statement piece is going to draw the eye, so don’t make the area around it too busy; there won’t be any place for the viewer’s eye to rest and you’ll ruin the effect. The same thing goes for your outfit. A killer trench coat in a bright color is going to look great, but it’ll get lost if you’re wearing a funky hat, a tie-dye dress, and multicolored shoes. Keep the rest of what you’re wearing neutral and let the statement piece speak for itself. I’m not saying you have to wear boring beige everywhere else: black, navy blue, and white can also be excellent neutrals. If your statement piece is something that you wear near your face, whether it’s earrings, a necklace, glasses, or something else—be sure to pair it with the right neckline. In other words, if you’ve got a fabulous pair of earrings and wear a plunging-down-to-your-navel neckline, nobody’s going to notice what’s on your ears. The same goes for a necklace when you’re wearing a printed turtleneck.

Second—have confidence. You can totally do this! It may be a crazy impractical necklace to wear on a daily basis. That’s fine. But wear it on a special occasion with your little black dress and act as if you own the room. Because you will! Confidence with a statement piece is a must. It draws the eye so you’re going to be looked at. Embrace that and show it off! In your home, a statement piece is going to be something people are going to gravitate towards, so be sure it’s something you love and don’t mind being asked about. If your grandma’s old Laura Ashley curtains are the loudest thing in the living room and you hate them, it’s all you will ever see every time you’re in therebinge watching Netflix.

Third—let the piece inspire you. You can design a whole room around a good statement piece of furniture, and a piece of clothing or jewelry can be the center of an entire outfit. Choose something that speaks to you and let it dictate the direction you go in.

And lastly, have fun with it. A statement piece could end up being your trademark, the thing you are most noticed and remembered for. Love and embrace it. Now go out there and rock that statement piece!!


Sporty Girls Still Want Cute Shoes

August 7, 2017

Fashion permeates one’s life. This is my sage advice and I know what I am talking about. I have made it my business. Don’t overlook opportunities to shine. This goes for men and women, boys and girls. Yes, kids can partake. They start to get very particular at the young age of two or three, telling mom what they want to wear. They can get testy so beware. It may be a superman costume or a cowboy outfit and so be it. This is how they start their fashion sense. Parents go for it!

As kids grow up, they get more demanding, especially about their feet. They want to wear the same brand of sneakers as everyone else and they are oblivious to cost. They don’t want to stand out in the elementary school crowd by wearing the wrong stuff. I suppose humans are born with the fashion gene. Help them out and be a good role model (I had to throw that in)!

Teens can make their own choices. Now is the time when the girls want to look their best. For the boys, not much matters beyond jeans and a tee. Shoes can’t be too new or clean. I have talked to many young ladies who tell me that above all, they hate dirty ugly shoes. They are just the opposite. Unless they have an orthotic problem, they don’t have to. Athletic shoes come in all sorts of colors and styles. They suit today’s fashions. When it comes time to play sports, style counts even when wearing soccer shoes. Look in any school gym and you will see a fine array of footwear.

I remember I had my favorite indoor shoes for running, indoor soccer, cross training, and even golf. I had a couple of pairs to fit the activity, both of which I got from here – I wouldn’t be caught dead in the wrong ones. I was a sporty girl who wanted cute shoes. I even painted some of them to match my outfits using my favorite colors and emblems. I had the most amazing pair of Adidas lime green indoor soccer shoes. I changed out the laces to purple. The effect was dazzling—at least to me.

When selecting a soccer shoe, in particular, there are issues beyond style of course so I will end this blog with a few basic tips so your time reading it will have been valuable. You want a pair that will deliver game-changing plays because they dominate passes, crosses, and shots. This might seem to apply to only a pro, but even a novice wants to play well. Make sure what you select fits snugly on your feet so have maximum ball control. You want to consider traction whether you are on artificial turf or the real thing. There are shoes for each location. It is all about high-speed control and stability. They still make those crazy electric hues in hot colors.


Stuff You Need in Your Closet

July 13, 2017

Ladies, if you are looking to build a wardrobe that works for you, there are some basic items you’re going to need to have. These are the pieces you will use as your go-to when you have a surprise event or to use to mix-and-match your way to a fabulous look. If you make smart purchases, they should be able to do double-duty and go from day to night with just a few modifications. These pieces don’t necessarily need to be incredibly expensive, but I have found that certain items are worth the money you spend on them. My general rule of thumb is if the item is trendy, the cheaper the better. If it is a classic piece, get something durable and well made.

The first thing every woman needs is a great little black dress. I recommend this not be too revealing (or invest in some sort of cover up in case the occasion warrants), flattering and simple. it will be more versatile that way. Then accessorize as you see fit for the function you’ll be attending: a beautiful necklace, some great heels, a sparkling clutch. Something to punch it up and that you can change up whenever you want. This will help you get more for your money. I have to say, though, that I do know some people who don’t have a LBD, they have a little red dress. Or maybe navy blue. Or something. If you’re the type of person who can pull that off, go for it!

Another great item is a pencil skirt. While these are supposed to be universally flattering, don’t just buy the first one you see. Find something that hits at a length that is work-appropriate but can be dressed up or down with blouses and accessories. You’ll be surprised at how often you end up wearing this. Same goes for a good, well-fitting pair of dark colored jeans. They need to be nice enough that you can wear them for casual Friday, and also cute enough to wear on a casual date night.

You also need a minimum of two pairs of nice shoes: a neutral flat that is comfortable and cute, and a pair of neutral heels. If you can rock a super high heel and it is work-appropriate, go for it. If not, then I recommend a kitten heel. You want something that is going to look equally as great with that LBD and pencil skirt as they will with a cute pair of jeans. Whatever you choose, make sure they’re comfortable. Also, if you can, find a cobbler. Your shoes will last a lot longer if you’ve got a friend who can repair a heel or refurbish a worn sole. Personally, I think a great strappy sandal and a cute pair of boots should also be closet staples, but you can probably survive without them.

You’re also going to need a couple pieces of rockin’ outerwear: a great trench coat is a good one, because who wants to get wet; a denim jacket that doesn’t look like you stole it from your roadie ex-boyfriend; a great blazer; and a buttery-soft leather jacket. You may not think you need all of these (and maybe because of the weather a leather jacket doesn’t make sense, or it gets so cold that you’d wear the denim jacket two weeks a year). If you only get one of these, get the blazer. Even if you don’t work in a business-attire office, you never know when you’ll need it—as a coverup for your LBD on a cold night, added to a cute blouse and your pencil skirt for a job interview or for a fancy dinner, or even just to make that sexy top you want to wear on your date right after work a little more office-appropriate. Get one that is flattering to your silhouette, and then bring it to a tailor to ensure a great fit. A great jacket is going to add variety to your wardrobe and give you more opportunities to dress something up or down.

I hope I’ve inspired you to invest in some great pieces. If you’ve had success with certain brands or styles, let me know in the comments!


Playing Favorites

June 27, 2017

What is your favorite item of clothing? Is it something super comfortable that you’ve had forever, or is it something trendy and new that makes you feel like a million bucks? When you put it on, does it feel like body armor that gives you the strength to tackle anything? I super love clothes so you would think that it might be hard for me to pick something, but you’d be wrong.

Although I would not call myself a shoe girl per se, the most loved item in my closet is a pair of strappy leather sandals with a nice stacked heel. They are comfortable and stylish, adding an extra little something to any outfit I wear. The heels aren’t incredibly high, so I can wear them with jeans to a picnic or somewhere that I’ll be doing a lot of walking or standing. Yet they are still cute enough to wear on a date night and look great with a dress. Whenever I wear them, I walk taller—not just because of the heel, mind you—and I also feel more confident. My legs look longer, too. The leather is soft and molded perfectly to my feet, and they’ve never given me even one blister. I know, right? Cute and fashionable and comfortable? While I can’t wear them in every type of weather (snow and rain come to mind) I do wear them out year-round. Because, ladies, let’s be honest here: a strappy sandal is always a good choice.

Running a close second is a burgundy wool overcoat with velvet trim that I bought a few years ago. If I was able to wear it year round, it probably would be my absolute favorite thing I own. It was a splurge item at an upscale department store. I had just gotten my first real job and wanted to buy a few quality pieces to really get my wardrobe started. The saleswoman pointed out the coat and told me that it was practically made for me. I didn’t quite believe her until I tried it on. I loved the color—not flashy or garish but definitely called for attention. It certainly would never get lost in the sea of black coats at a party or coat check. I am on the petite side and full-length coats often look bulky or too long, but this hit just below the knee. Although it was pricey, I looked at the liner and the stitching, and it was well made. I’ve owned it about five years, get compliments on it all the time, and it still looks fantastic. I put it on with a pair of sunglasses when it’s cold and I look like a celebrity trying to hide from paparazzi. It looks that good!

What about you? What do you have in your closet that makes you feel fantastic?


Mail Order Stylists

June 20, 2017

Have you tried this yet? You answer a few questions about the things that you like to wear,  your lifestyle, and the types of clothes you are looking for. Then a stylist hand picks clothes for you that are supposed to be a perfect fit for your wardrobe and your lifestyle. It hardly seems like it would work, right?Seems an awful lot toask somebody who has never actually seen you. What are the odds that they can pick outclothes that are supposed to look good and fit you? There are wore a few companies who offer this type of service now. Stitchfix, Dia&Co., Wantable, GwynnieBee, Trunk Club, and the list goes on and on. Some also have men’s clothing, and there’s even a few that exclusively outfit guys (Trunk Club started as exclusively men’s, now there’s also sites like the Five Four Club andBombfell). More seem to be appearing all the time, which clearly means that they have a following.

It is in these companies’ best interests to have you buy the clothes, so their questionnaires can be extensive. They really want to get to know you so that you like the stuff they pick out. Some even call you on the phone, or will do a video chat to really get to know you. Others have you use sites like Pinterest to help them learn the styles and colors that you gravitate towards in order to help them create looks for you.

Some companies force you to keep everything in the box, but some are much more flexible and let you pay only for what you want to keep. Many charge a styling fee so they aren’t completely wasting their time even if you hate everything—but it’s typically around $20, which probably doesn’t cover much more than the shipping. A few are monthly services; others can be ordered as often or as infrequent as you like.

Personally, I think it is a cool concept. Sometimes I feel like buying clothes is impossible. I’m saying that and I love to buy clothes. There’s just so much out there and sometimes you hate everything and other times the store has nothing cute in your size. Sometimes you see something on a mannequin and you get it stuck in your head and it turns out to look terrible on you—but nothing else looks nearly as appealing.

These kinds of services take the stress and sensory overload out of going clothes shopping. If you get a quality stylist (and you might; it can be hit or miss, especially at the beginning), they will send you items that are out of your comfort zone a little.They wouldn’t be doing their job if they didn’t send you something that surprised you. The hope is to uncover something that you would never have tried on but looks amazing on you and makes you feel awesome.If you don’t like clothes shopping, give it a try. Take the questionnaire seriously. Be as detailed as you can with the stylist beforehand, and rate all the clothes honestly when you receive them. And if you love clothes, you should definitely try it. You’ll be sure to get you’ll want to wear.


How to Avoid that “I Just Moved Out of the Dorm” Look

June 13, 2017

One thing I have started doing as I’ve become an adult is start decorating with a purpose. What does that mean, exactly? Well, the obvious answer is that my furniture no longer looks like random hand-me-downs from family or like I took it all out of a dumpster. Not everything matches exactly, but at least it looks intentional. I have some nice things (and most of those are hand me downs, it is true) and some things that are probably not even remotely made out of something that you could call wood, but I’m working on it. In the meantime, though, everything looks tied together and nice. I just replace things as I get the money.

Here’s the thing: even if the furniture is a hand me down, you have options. You can sand and paint things so that they match the rest of your stuff. I think it is what YouTube and Pinterest were made for. And if it is something that can’t be painted or stained, you can probably put a slipcover over it. These you can order online (just measure your stuff first) or if you’re crafty, go online and find how to do it. Furniture that matches (or at least is complementary in color and/or style) will look like it belongs together, and that’s really what you want. Nothing says “poor college student” like a roomful of threadbare furniture in three different styles and four different colors. And that’s cool when you are a poor college student, but it’s also not a room you want to invite your fiancé’s parents into. Or the stuff you want visible when you videochat for a job interview. Also—sheets are not window treatments. Stop that right now. Same goes for broken-in-six-places-by-the-cat blinds. If money’s really tight, you can make some no-sew curtains out of fabric (again, the internet will help you). Or you can try getting real curtains from the store. Even fabric shower curtains will work. Get something pretty that complements your furniture.

Another thing that I’ve learned is that there is a right and wrong way to display things. First, you need to be picky. I don’t care if it’s a comic book collection or Fabergé eggs. Collect only those things that are worthy of being collected. In other words, old happy meal toys are probably not something worth your time.Next, use the proper display. Not everything is designed to be thrown on a bookshelf. They make breakfronts, curio cabinets, and various other types of storage that might be more appropriate (unless we’re talking about books. Obviously use bookshelves for those). And lastly—and this is the real thing that separates something from being a horde vs a collection: display things very deliberately. You’ve curated your collection, you’ve got the proper display, make sure that it isn’t overwhelming to the eye either. Make sure there is empty space around items to break up the space and allow people to really see the items you care about. It also makes it easier for you to dust! If it’s important enough to you that you want to be able to see it, you should take care of it.

My last piece of advice is not to scrimp on storage. Seriously, storage is your friend! I have a coffee table that has room for two ottomans underneath, and when you take them out, they’re also storage bins. Genius! Get a low cabinet with doors and use it as a side table in addition to storage. Multi-purpose items are your friend, especially in places like your first apartment or if you have kids and do not want “toy store explosion” to be the theme of your décor! There are lots of options out there, you just have to do some looking—for example, my friend has an end table that is also her dog’s crate!

With a little bit of creativity and some work, you can make even your grandma’s worn and faded sofa look like an expensive custom piece. Now that you’ve read this post, take a look around your room and start thinking about what you can do to really make it great!