Moving into a house with a large yard may sound ideal, but it’s certainly not for everybody—especially if this is your first home and you’re a rookie as far as homeowning is concerned. This list of pros and cons can help you decide whether or not a large yard is the way to go.
It gives children and pets room to play.
Having a pet (or multiple) plays a large role for most people in whether or not they consider a large yard a necessity. The same goes for children: you want to make sure the kids and the dog have ample room for running around when it’s nice outside. A big backyard provides just that.
Space for entertaining.
While having room for the kids and pets is a plus, don’t forget about the benefits it provides for the adults as well! You can host more backyard bashes without worrying if people are cramped. And if you host a lot of parties, a large yard may be high up on the list of priorities when considering various homes.
Adds curb appeal.
Curb appeal is important for any neighborhood. It adds value to your home and, when going to sell, it provides a clear idea to potential buyers of what to expect. When kept up with, a large yard takes the entire home up a notch.
There’s more upkeep.
A large yard, while good for all of the above reasons, also comes with a few downfalls. The major one is the amount of upkeep it requires. There’s more things to take care of: landscaping projects, weed wacking, and maintenance all year long.
Cost is higher.
This one may come as a no brainer, but some people forget how expensive a larger yard can be. With all of the extra space comes more to keep up with, and you have to be prepared for the extra costs if you’re purchasing a home with a large yard. Everything from fencing costs to general maintenance could play a big role in if this is the right decision for you and your family.
Owning a home comes with many advantages and disadvantages—a large yard being one of the major factors you need to consider in the homebuying process.
If you dream of taking care of your own garden but are hesitant because of a lack of space, there might be a solution for you. Vertical gardening is a popular new trend that can help you fill your home with gorgeous plants all while maintaining valuable space.
Put one of the pots upside down in the center of one of the wood squares, and lightly trace a circle around the mouth of the pot. In the middle of the circle, measure out and draw a circle that is about ¼ inch smaller, and cut it out using the jigsaw. Repeat with a second wood square.
Use the ⅜-inch drill bit to make holes in each corner of the wood squares (about 1 inch from the edge) and then sand down the wood to prevent splintering. Paint or stain the squares to whatever shade you’d like, and allow to dry. Repeat steps with the rest of the wood pieces.
Cut out four pieces of rope at equal length, and begin stringing it through the holes you drilled in the wood. Be sure to tie a tight knot after each new piece of wood, about 10–12 inches apart. When you get to the bottom square, tie a larger knot underneath the wood square to secure.
To hang, pull the top of the rope through a metal ring, and secure with a knot. You can add floral wire to the knot as well for reinforcement.
When adding the plants, take note to put a saucer under the bottom pot to prevent water from dripping. Add coffee filters to the bottom of all other pots to allow water to come through.
Place the plants in each pot, and hang as a beautiful decoration.
Potential Indoor PlantsPeperomia: large, waxy leaves in a yellow-greenish hue with red outline
Herbs: fresh basil, thyme, rosemary
Philodendron: small, heart-shaped leaves that drape downward
Spider plant: long, hanging leaves that grow and replant easily
Let’s face it: cleaning is not fun for most people. In fact, it’s universally one of the least exciting necessities of life. However, if you’re the type who finds yourself spending hours, if not days, getting your home in tip-top shape, allow these essential hacks to guide you into the cleaning promise land.
It’s no secret that our bedrooms can easily become catchalls for the items we don’t want guests to see when walking through other parts of the house. Because we are typically the only ones in this room, it’s easy to let spots like the top of the dresser collect a pile of tiny trinkets we can’t find the time to put away. To keep this area organized, gather small items like hair ties, bobby pins, and clips in small jars. Likewise, keep easily mangled jewelry in a small dish to prevent a tangled mess.
Because the washer is washing our clothes, we don’t often think of it as being one of the dirtiest spots in the house, even though this can be the case. It’s important to give your washing machine a good scrub every so often to prevent the buildup of grime that can leave your clothes feeling less than fresh. Run a few cups of vinegar through a regular cycle, followed by a run with baking soda. Wipe the sides clean when you’re finished and your washer will look like new!
Between rushing to get out the door in the morning and wanting nothing more than to simply brush our teeth and go to bed come nighttime, our bathrooms could use a little organization and TLC. To prevent a jumbled mess, and help you find what you’re looking for much easier, use small baskets and dividers in bathroom drawers to keep items like hair brushes, hot tools, and products easily accessible. You’d be surprised the difference it makes when you don’t have to spend minutes searching for your essentials.
Save money—and the planet
Store-bought cleaning products can be costly, but more importantly, they are full of harsh chemicals that are not only bad for the environment, but also for people. The solution? Make your own! You don’t have to be a DIY master for this, either. All you need for an all-purpose cleaner, for example, are some citrus peels, vinegar, and essential oils.Tips
Avid DIYer Mila Moraga-Holz had design sense instilled in her from a young age. Despite growing up in a remote part of South America, she learned the importance of creating beautiful spaces with the tools you are given—a talent and passion she documents through her design-and-lifestyle blog, Jest Café, and in the intricate renovation projects she takes on with her Los Angeles home.
Where did you grow up, and what was your childhood like?
I grew up in the south of Chile, far away from the rest of the world, but I still felt connected to it by my parents. I was surrounded by nature and love. Growing up, my mother and father filled our home with beautiful things. They designed our house from the ground up, and they decorated it with art, plants, and fun furniture—specifically rustic and vintage items. Our home was carefully curated, which is not an easy thing to do when you live so remotely.
Have you always had a passion for expressing yourself creatively through design? Was this something you discovered at an early age?
My mom always asked my opinion when decorating my bedroom, and she supported my crazy ideas, like painting all the walls different colors. I was also very interested in DIY projects and loved doing needlework, but I didn’t know of anybody who did these things for a living, so I didn’t pursue them as a career. My parents were design aficionados, but in their daily lives my mom owned a very successful cordonería, or sewing goods store, and my dad was a lawyer; my world was very, very small.
When did you first start doing your own interior design work?
I have tried to bring something special to every room and home I’ve ever lived in, but I started to actively pursue my passion for design in 2015 when I started my blog, where I was inspired by other bloggers to do what I love.
How did you choose a name for your blog? Is there any significance behind it?
I wanted a name that wasn’t too serious but that embodied a place where people could gather, be entertained, talk, and have fun. I want my readers to laugh and feel connected to a community.
I took the word “jest” from the book Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace, which talks about the importance of entertainment in our lives and how the pleasures we choose define who we are. In the end, though, I just liked how the words looked together.
Where or what do you turn to for inspiration for your projects?
I subscribe to a lot of design magazines. Architectural Digest Spain is my favorite, but Instagram is another important resource. I have saved many images from these sources that help me come up with new ideas.
What is the first step you take when embarking on a new project for your home? Do you look at each room as a separate element or try to renovate the space more holistically?
I start with an object or an image that inspires me, and I move on from there. I definitely keep all the rooms in mind when decorating a space, especially in my home because it is very small—nine hundred square feet—so the flow between rooms is particularly important. I like the door frames to act as windows to the next space, which means that the color palettes have to work together.
It’s easy to see your appreciation of color in your spaces. How do you go about selecting a color scheme?
I get inspiration from nature, among other places. Any colors that work well together in nature will work well together in your home. I also pay attention to the shade of colors that I see throughout the day, and I try to use the ones that inspire me in my house. To narrow them down, I take a photo of a palette I like (a flower, for example) and I find matches in Photoshop or the Pantone app to come up with a final color scheme. As much as I like color, I like to keep a room within a palette and I try not to go too crazy with it.
How do you balance the color transition from one room to another?
I think the best decision is an informed one. I take my time when choosing a color. First, I look at the possibilities in Photoshop, and then I go to the paint store to get a lot of sample patches that I stick to the wall. I live with them on the wall for days until I can narrow down the choices to three. I buy paint samples of those choices to paint large patches on the wall, and, again, I live with them for a few days. I pay attention to how the colors change throughout the day until I am sure which one is the right one.
How do you decide what furniture to incorporate into each room?
My first thought when looking for furniture is the price. I have a budget, and the furniture I choose has to be within that budget. My next considerations are color and shape. I like statement furniture that is different, but my husband cares more about comfort, so I need to keep that in mind, too.
Tell us a bit about your most recent home project and your thought processes behind it:
My most recent renovation was my kitchen, which I did when I was eight months pregnant. That room started with a color: berry. I knew I wanted the kitchen cabinets to be painted in a fun hue, and I ended up using a color inspired by Farrow & Ball’s Radicchio. After that, everything else followed. Creating a room—deciding on shapes, textures, colors, lighting, and tiles—is a wonderful process that I love. Seeing it all come together is so exciting! It gives me life. I know it sounds corny, but it’s true.
What is most challenging about embarking on a new DIY or renovation project?
The most challenging aspect is envisioning the end product. I am good at seeing the big picture, but mistakes happen, and sometimes I need to take detours. A good quality I have is that I make fast decisions and don’t dwell in self-doubt too much. Plus, when you have a small budget, there is not much room for different options or for making mistakes.
Why are plants and flowers important to you, and how do you feel they contribute to the look of a space?
Plants were a major decoration item in my home when I was growing up, so I naturally incorporate them into my home as an adult. They warm up a room and make it come alive.
Did you conceptualize and paint the murals, like the ones in your kitchen and living room, yourself? How did you create them?
The mural in my living room was inspired by a textile by Roberto Burle Marx, and I created the mural in the kitchen with Adobe Sketch.
Do you have any exciting projects coming up?
I am working on an affordable and colorful home goods line. It’s taking a while to get it off the ground because I have three boys and designing is not my full-time job, but it will happen soon.
Need to make your home an escape from the rest of the world? Instead of remodeling completely, here are a few easy ways to make your home feel a little more private.
Keep large plants in front of or near windows to make the view to the inside of your home less direct. If investing in a fence isn’t for you, or you want a more natural look, build a garden wall to enclose your outside space or invest in growing hedges to act as a natural barrier. Whether you utilize plant displays inside or outside, both are easy ways to bring a space together.
If you have a lot of windows and need a little less exposure to the outside, you can install blinds or curtains so that you can decide the amount of privacy you want on a regular basis.
A fence is a great way to close off your home from people, and even animals. It is also an easy way to give a clean aesthetic to your home and showcase your personal style.
Indoor or out, you can decorate your home with art pieces, planters, and position furniture in a way that is not facing the outside. Simply rearranging furniture can make the space feel warmer without creating a barrier.
Pergolas are a great way to get the cozy feel of being inside while enjoying the fresh air. You can hang curtains and other light fixtures from the top of the pergolas to further close off the space from those around you and make it more personalized.
Make your home more private by adding on simple structures that make for a tasteful and peaceful escape from the outside world.
Most people have heard of the ancient Chinese concept of Feng Shui, but not many people know the ins and outs of the very detailed process.
It can be intimidating for someone unfamiliar, but once you’ve mastered the basics you can learn how to make Feng Shui work for you.
You can incorporate as little or as much of the theory as you want in your space, based on what you’re hoping to achieve—be it more light, better energy, or more open space!
There are three basic principles of Feng Shui that are important to master for beginners—ch’i, polarity, and bagua.
The idea that negative and positive energy are movable throughout a space is one of the most important principles of Feng Shui. Furniture, color, and other elements are key in pushing this energy along.
There are five elements at play in Feng Shui practice—water, wood, metal, earth, and fire—each has its own important role and meaning, and must be in balance to achieve good Feng Shui.
Cardinal directions are the last important piece of the Feng Shui puzzle, and are each assigned a particular area of life.
North: career (water)
North-west: helpful people (metal)
North-east: spiritual growth (earth)
West: creativity (metal)
South-west: love & marriage (earth)
South: fame (fire)
South-east: money (wood)
East: health (wood)
Put into practice
The bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen are among the most important rooms in your home to practice Feng Shui, according to tradition. In addition to utilizing the basic principles of polarity and bagua, ch’i can best be achieved through decluttering your home and bringing in plenty of natural light.
It’s also important to keep in mind that the various elements interact with one another. For example, wood supports fire, as fire supports earth, and water supports wood. In the same way, the elements may interact negatively with one another: earth weakens water, which puts down fire, and fire melts metal.
Whether or not the weather outside is turning frightful, add some warmth and spirit to your home this winter with these four fresh, simple themes. No matter which you choose, it will add a cohesive, seasonal style to your home’s interior!
Silver palace with a pop
Use mirrors to play up silver’s reflective sheen, and add a variety of bright, sparkling accents like crystals and glittery vases. For added contrast, mix shades of grey with a punchy pop of color like coral or rich fuchsia.
Details and color palette: Mirrors, glass, silver votives and trays, crystals,silver, white, grey, and a pop of coral/red
Outdoorsy and natural
Focus on the colors you see outdoors. This palette could change drastically depending on your location. From lush greenery, branches, and pine cones to starfish, seashells, and driftwood—bring the outside in, and pair with matte white accents.
Details and color palette: Anything from outside, wooden frames, white votives, lush greens, chocolate, and matte white accents
Warm, comforting, and nostalgic
Get cozy with a variety of candles that vary in height and intensity. Add a touch of nostalgia by using vintage ice skates and sleds for an outdoor display. Take advantage of texture with cozy sweater material, burlap, and branch accents.
Details and color palette: Sweater material, burlap, gold votives and trays, winter whites, soft creams, and warm golds
Playful, bright, and frozen
Perfect for kids of all ages. Have fun with characters like penguins, polar bears, and snowmen. Use your imagination by using jars filled with marshmallows and sugar cubes as decorations. Frame fun-filled photos of winter.
Details and color palette: Fake snowballs, bright bulbs, fun winter characters, bright aquas and blues, and clear-to-bright whites
Anyone who has had their basement flood can understand what a hassle it can be to resolve the issue. Whether it’s a completely flooded basement, or water seeping through your walls, fixing these problems is a time consuming and expensive process. Although there’s no way to guarantee that your basement will never flood, there are some proactive steps you can take to prevent things from getting out of hand.
Properly maintain your gutters
Although the work to keep your drainage system in tact may seem tedious, it’s essential in avoiding any type of water damage. The safest way to make sure this is done properly is to have it taken care of by a professional. It is relatively inexpensive and will save you the trouble of going up on your roof. Once the gutters are clean, make sure downspouts are properly installed to keep water moving away from your house. The rule of thumb for this is a three-foot extension, ideally directed toward the street so the sewers can do their work.
Check for points of entry
Are there cracks in the exterior of your home’s foundation? This is an easy way for water to make its way through from the outside. Similarly, if you find parts of your basement wall or floor with cracks in it, this may be an early sign of water damage and certainly poses a threat for water damage in the future. The best way to prevent these cracks from giving you problems is to fill them with epoxy. Another common way water can make its way in is through basement windows. By covering and securely fastening these windows, you’ll eliminate a point of entry for water to get through.
Take care of your sump pump
A sump pump is a fantastic way to help your home avoid mold, water damage, and flooding. An often-overlooked aspect of owning a sump pump is that these, too, require a degree of maintenance to be effective. Always make sure your sump pump is working properly in the days before a big storm hits so that you’re not left stranded when it does. To truly get the most out of your sump pump, invest in a generator. In addition to the numerous benefits a generator will offer you, your sump pump will have something to run on to prevent water damage from occurring during a power outage.
If your basement has already flooded
Depending on the severity of the flooding, calling a professional might be first on your agenda. If you aren’t quite there yet, or you want to do your best to combat the flooding yourself, you can tackle some of the work on your own. First, be sure that there are no exterior floodwaters surrounding your house so that the water will have somewhere to drain to. Next, do what you can to get any movable items out of the flooded area and to a place where they can begin to dry. Prioritize electronics and furniture you’re able to get out of the way and worry about the more replaceable items later. Once you drain water out of your basement and let the affected area dry out, do your best to disinfect the previously affected areas and prevent mold from spreading. The sooner you get this done, the more certain it is that mold and other types of bacteria will be unable to present themselves.
The threat of flooding in your basement is something that comes along with being a homeowner. Though not all homes are created equal in this regard, any homeowner is capable of putting their best foot forward to prevent and limit damage in case of a flood.
If you live a region that is prone to brutally cold winters, it can seem next to impossible to keep your plants alive during the harsh weather. But, not to fear! These tips can help you prepare and preserve your plants until the warm weather reemerges in the spring.
Bring them indoors.
If you have potted or hanging plants, bring them inside. If you don’t have enough space inside of your house, a garage or shed can still be extremely beneficial. Regardless of their new location, make sure that the plants still receive adequate sunlight and water throughout the winter.
Cut them down.
Keep an eye out for any bushes or shrubs that have diseased foliage. If you do spot the unusual colored leaves, trim them away with clippers, and discard them in the trash. Ridding the plants of diseased leaves will enable them to regrow once springtime comes back around.
Apply another layer of mulch.
Mulch can act as an extremely effective insulation tool for your plants. It holds the heat and moisture in the soil, ultimately protecting the roots from the bitter cold. Applying a layer of mulch that is 2–3 inches thick in the beginning of the fall can last until the springtime.
Feed them compost.
In addition to mulching, take the time in the beginning of fall to work in a 4-inch thick layer of compost around the plants. Compost breaks down over time, enabling the plants to receive adequate nutrients throughout the winter.
Sometimes it can feel like you don’t know where to start when cleaning your home—especially on those lazy Saturday afternoons when you’d rather do anything else. Even though it can be intimidating, it can also be satisfying when it’s finally finished. Here are the daily cleaning tasks you can do to make your life infinitely easier.
Create a list
It’s always good to break down your cleaning projects and figure out what needs to be done individually. If you make a list, it will help you understand what you need to clean in each room and when. A good strategy is to break it down by day:
Monday: Laundry and dusting (complete a few loads of laundry while you dust).
Tuesday: Vacuum and mop the floors.
Wednesday: Clean up the living areas (family room and living room).
Thursday: Tidy up the bathrooms.
Friday: Clean up the kitchen.
Saturday: Organize and complete any miscellaneous tasks.
Set a timer
It can keep you on task so you can complete your list, and it’s a big help if you get distracted easily. By cleaning in 20-minute increments, you don’t have to worry about spending all day on each task. Timers will also help when doing laundry, as you won’t forget you have clothes in the washer or dryer.
Prioritizing decluttering is always good idea. Decluttering can help cut down on the time you need to spend cleaning. You should also be sure to have a spot for everything you need. Complete one room at a time, focusing on categorizing items like papers, clothing, books, etc., and organizing those items in groups.
Don’t clean alone
Make sure to get your family or roommates involved. It creates bonding time for everyone as well as delegates work. It can also teach children the benefits of keeping a clean home. A good rule to establish is to never leave a room empty handed. If there is something that doesn’t belong in a room, make sure to take it with you to the proper room when you leave.
Set a routine
Make your bed every day. Your bed is the most visible thing in the bedroom and therefore it should look presentable. If it is not clean or presentable, it can make the whole room look messy—even if it’s not. And be sure to change the sheets when cleaning to keep your bed fresh.
Empty the dishwasher every morning. You can work it into your routine rather easily while you get ready for work, and it will keep the dishes from piling up excessively.
Sort and recycle paper quickly and consistently. But sorting and recycling you will stop them from pilling up in the kitchen or dining room area. It will help you sort through your priorities and help stay organized with bills and other needs. Also deal with your mail as you walk through the door, it will also help sort and organize your paperwork.
Getting into the details is helpful in any situation, especially when it comes to tedious work like cleaning. Always put on a good playlist or podcast to help cleaning go faster and make it more interesting. A little dance party while cleaning can make it much more bearable.