Curbly Original
DIY This! Watercolor Pillowcases that Match your Decor

by Holly Wade
DIY This! Watercolor Pillowcases that Match your Decor
Photos by Holly Wade

There's something about the look of watercolors that has always intrigued me, and I've been wanting to add that blended colorful look in my home for a long time. Well, I finally found my chance! With a simple tie dye kit, I updated my bedroom pillowcases to look like a watercolor canvas! Not only did it take less than 30 minutes, it came out light and blended just like I wanted for my decor. Incorporate your favorite colors to make a simple DIY pillowcase with faux watercolors that match your decor!          

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Curbly Original
Make These: Rorschach Ink Blot Pillows

by M.E. Gray

Make these: DIY Rorschach test pillows

Are you familiar with the Rorschach Test? It's the psychological exam where you look at ink blots and say what you see. Depending on how you interpret the ink, you receive a different diagnosis of your psyche. Now, I'm not a psychiatrist by any means, but I do know a DIY opportunity when I see one. Whether or not you interpret the shapes as a bear, or as the face of your mother, throw a little color in there and we've got ourselves a project. These ink blot pillows are easy enough for anyone to make, and each result is different!      

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Shopping Guide: 25 Large Area Rugs You Can Afford on a Budget

by Faith Provencher
Shopping Guide: 25 Affordable Large Area Rugs You'll Actually Like
Source: Amazon

Attractive, large area rugs can be hard to find... and even more difficult to find at an affordable price. Often, the two do not come hand in hand. They do exist, you just have to do a little searching. But lucky for you, we've done all the detective work for you... today we're sharing 25 cheap large area rugs that you'll actually want to put in your home.        

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IKEA Hack: Transform a Basic Cabinet into a Gorgeous Nightstand with a Geometric Design

Norse Interiors
Norse Interiors IKEA custom fittings
This post was contributed by Norse Interiors

Everybody loves IKEA, right? The simplicity of the designs, plus the sense of accomplishment from putting furniture together yourself... this combo makes IKEA a standard go-to when shopping for the home. There are lots of ways to hack IKEA furniture - however, would you like to customize these basic designs to set you apart from the thousands of other people that have the same piece? Turns out, it's a pretty easy transformation to make. Today we're taking a look at how easy it is to upgrade your IKEA furniture, thanks to Norse Interiors' system. You can style up a wide variety of IKEA furniture using prefab cabinet designs and knobs. Everybody will be asking, “Where did you get that?"            

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A Quick Start Guide For the Soft-Core Minimalist

by Tracy Leigh Morgan

Simple desk, minimalist workspace

It's tempting to think of minimalism as a "must do" trend. There's been so much chatter online, in books, and on podcasts about it lately - it's seemingly on everyone's mind. Minimalism is getting maximum exposure! For those new to the concept, it's also all too easy to peek at any of that material and feel immediately overwhelmed.         

 Ironically, it's that overwhelming feeling that is usually what starts people down this path AND is the leading cause of falling right back off.

So, let's approach this differently. Instead of worrying about what minimalism means "out there," or feeling like we need to adapt an all-or-nothing mentality to get on board, let's try just dipping a toe in and testing the waters. Feels good, right?  

Minimalist inspiration
Photo: Tracy Leigh Morgan

First, surround yourself with the vibe.

Enjoy some time learning a bit about what minimalism really represents and looks like in real life. It's not solely about stark, sleek interiors or capsule wardrobes. No one's ever accused me of living a minimalist lifestyle, but there is something in the vibe itself that speaks to me: it's about keeping things essential. (Between you and me, that's the word I tend do use when I'm trying on aspects of minimalism, like one might try on a new outfit.)

Scan the blogs, get lost in the gorgeous books, check out a few pins, and maybe listen to a podcast or TedTalk. Gather up your ideas about what minimalism could look like in your life, and see what the common themes are. Feel where this hits you - what pain point does this research bring up? Forget what everyone's saying you should do.

What are the one or two things in your life that could use a simpler, more essential approach and how would that make your life better?

Next, pick ONE thing.

Yep, this is where you already start practicing what you’re going to preach. Instead of trying to boil the ocean of lifestyle areas that need tweaking, identify the one thing that will 1) impact your life in a meaningful way, and 2) give you a quick win. There's nothing like momentum and success to keep us on the path when trying to make a shift.

Is your pain point a cramped closet, cluttered desk, chaotic mealtime, or an over-scheduled calendar, perhaps? Then, start right there. Don't fall into the trap that minimalism is an on and off switch; you can use the dimmer.

Simplify your closet with a capsule wardrobe.
Photo: All About Space/Shutterstock

So, if your closet has lost its mind and you've not worn half that stuff for eons, then envision what a capsule wardrobe might look like, and start putting together a "draft" version for yourself. Apply a little Marie Kondo, and strip out the things that don't bring you joy or inspiration. And get real if things are damaged, out of size, or otherwise unwearable now. You're living now, so prioritize the things that support your life today.


Meal planning & batch cooking can simplify mealtimes
Photo: Stephanie A. Meyer/Project Vibrancy Meals

Give technology a good, hard, side-eye squinty look. 

Tech can be your best friend or your kryptonite as you approach minimalism. Use it for good, friends.

Try these ideas:

  • Go as paperless as you can. It's 2018, let's do this.
  • Take breaks from social media & the relentless news cycle. The stress of keeping up often fuels the behaviors that got us into the maximalist, over-spending, stuff-collecting groove to begin with.

  • Lean on apps & digital services that can make your life easier. Struggling with mealtime decisions or spending too much money on take out? It's not a sign of defeat to pay someone else to do the meal planning; subscription services like Project Vibrancy Meals (pictured above) can do the heavy lifting for you. Or if money management is one of your Achilles-level pain points, apps like You Need A Budget can be a game changer.

  • Learn about minimalism, essentialism, and other related practices on podcasts and blogs online. The Minimalists is one of my favorites.

    Bonus points: Try a challenge! Most of the minimalist & simple living blogs offer jump-starts by way of simple challenges. Just remember to keep yours focused on your ONE thing and don't overdo it.

Create a stylish entry way "landing zone" to make your new routine easier.
Photo: Lucia Coppola/Shutterstock

Adopt a new mini-routine that supports your "one thing."

The most effective behavior changes happen when they become almost mindless, like turning on the coffee pot each morning or grabbing your keys before you walk out the door. Once you have your minimalist goal in mind, create a little routine around it that connects the behaviors to the change itself.

So, for instance, if clutter is your bug, start by creating a landing zone for keys, bags, mail, and other papers & detritus that come in the door with you. Make it your new habit to empty your pockets, dig the receipts out of your wallet, drop the change into a jar, leave the keys in a pretty bowl with your sunglasses, and plug in your phone to charge. Boom. You're on your way to a behavioral baby step that's directly connected to the everydayness of walking through the door.


Finally, reflect on what's working...and what's not.

I love a pen-to-paper journal for this, but use whatever format you prefer. There is little point in pushing for a change when it's not meeting your needs, or is only meeting them part-way. As with most "lifestyle" practices or approaches, it's always best to be honest with yourself and take the parts that work, and leave the rest in the dust. There are no martyrs in minimalism...that just wouldn't be essential or necessary, would it?

As an example, I love my Kindle. I use it each and every day and have since Kindle 1.0 was a thing. But, deep in my heart, I also love books...the smell, the feel of paper, the weight, and certainly the look of them on my bookshelf. So a book-free life is not for me. But I've adopted a new mentality towards how I buy books and what I keep around so that it works for my approach.


Quick start guide to soft-core minimalism
Share these ideas on Pinterest! 

At the end of the day, trust yourself to learn the basics, practice a bit, and then tweak what you’ve got to make it work for you. Start simple, get the small win, and keep on easing in.

Looking for more minimalist inspiration? Check out this streamlined home, owned by a very organized couple.

Minimalist House Tour

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The Wabi-Sabi Home: Learn to Embrace Imperfection and Authenticity

by M.E. Gray

Wabi-sabi home

I used to own this cup and saucer set. It was white with a yellow border - I found it at the thrift store. The handle of the cup was comfortable, and the saucer large. I loved it. I loved it in a way that it seemed to make my coffee taste better in the morning. One day, my yellow cup met a fate that many ceramic dishes face. It was dropped, and the cup cracked. The vessel was still usable after its accident, after a bit of gluing. But it never looked the same again. A piece of the ceramic was missing, a chunk gone. I still held onto it, because I loved this cup, and life happens, you know? This is, roughly, the definition of wabi-sabi.              

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How to Build a Cozy Radiator Cat Bed

by M.E. Gray

From the new book, "DIY Projects for Cats & Dogs." A tutorial on how to make a radiator cat bed.

If you're a cat owner, you know two things about kitties: #1, They like heights, and #2, they like warmth. I can always count on finding my own cat in a handful of different places around my apartment, including either right up against the radiator, or high up on my bedroom dresser. If your feline is anything like mine, she'd flip over a DIY radiator cat bed like this one.       

This project comes straight from the soon-to-be-published book DIY Projects for Cats & Dogs. The book was created for those who love good design, and value the DIY over an expensive buy. DIY Projects for Cats & Dogs offers 20 easy-to-build projects, from a dog-friendly bike basket, to a fancy rolling litter box cabinet. All the projects are cheap, and all are easy to make. The book publishes on May 8th, but in the meantime, you can pre-order it from Amazon.

For a sneak peek into the kinds of stylish creations you can make from this book, here's a look at my favorite project from the collection: the DIY radiator cat bed. 

 

WARNING: This project is designed for hot-water radiators in homes heated by gas or oil (usually older houses and apartment buildings). Electric radiators can overheat and cause a fire if they come in contact with a combustible object.

MATERIALS

  • 1 sheet OSB (oriented strand board)

  • 2 furring strips, about 2 feet (60 cm) each

  • 2 shelf brackets, minimum about 8 inches (20 cm) on shortest arm

  • 4 corner braces, about 2-3 inches (5-7.5 cm)

  • 2 nuts and bolts to fit the corner braces

  • About 12 screws

  • Fabric, foam, and a staple gun

  • Glue

Step

Step 1 | How to Make a Radiator Cat Bed

Cut the furring strips to the desired length, referring to the photo of the finished project - you determine the distance between the top of the radiator and the bed.

To prevent the wood from splitting when using screws, it's important to drill pilot holes first—don't just drill the screws straight into the wood.

Step

At the top of each furring strip, screw on a corner brace.

Step

Step 3 | How to Make a Radiator Cat Bed

At the bottom of each furring strip, on the side opposite the one with the corner brace, screw on a shelf bracket.

Choose your corner braces carefully—their shape will determine the success of your project. Use metal corner braces, which will hold up better under pressure, heat, and repeated use.

Step

Step 4 | How to Make a Radiator Cat Bed

At the top of each furring strip, use a nut and bolt to attach a second corner brace to the first corner brace to form a U-shape; this is what will fit over the radiator.

Step

Step 5 | How to Make a DIY Radiator Cat Bed

Screw the board to the shelf brackets as shown. Make sure you choose a screw that is short enough not to go through the top of the board. If the screws do slightly break through, use adhesive putty to cover the tips.

If you can find someone to help you, this step is easier with two people.

Step

Step 6 | How to Make a DIY Radiator Cat Bed

Glue the foam to the top of the board, cutting to foam to size as needed.

Step

Step 7 | How to Make a DIY Radiator Cat Bed

Lay the fabric over the foam, staple it to the underside of the board, and cut off any excess fabric.


In the end, this piece will have cost about $12, not counting the cost of heating—but who can put a price on keeping your cat warm and happy?

A cat bed that fits over your radiator - from the new book, "DIY Projects for Cats & Dogs"

If you enjoyed this DIY radiator cat bed project, you'll love the 19 other creations in this book! DIY Projects for Cats & Dogs will be available to purchase on May 8th. Pre-order your copy on Amazon today!

DIY Projects for Cats & Dogs

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Curbly Original
IKEA Hack: The Tarva Nightstand Gets Naked

by M.E. Gray

IKEA Hack Nightstand Edition - A Tarva nightstand with cutout handles

One of the easiest ways to change up a piece of furniture is to switch out the hardware - but what happens when the hardware is abandoned completely? When my wife found this nightstand during a recent trip to IKEA, she immediately drew inspiration from a different piece of furniture in our house - our hardware-less credenza. Could we replicate the cutout drawer handle on her new nightstand? Turns out, we could! Trading a little extra work for the extra cost of new hardware, here's how this IKEA nightstand hack worked out.                     

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Curbly Original
Trouble Sleeping? Here's the Trick that Works for Me, Every Single Time

by M.E. Gray

The one sleep trick I use to make myself fall asleep - it works every time!

I love sleep. My bed is without a doubt in the top ten list of my favorite places to be. I always thought I might grow out of it, but even as a twenty-something I require a solid 8 hours of sleep. Worse, if I get a late start going to bed, I always end up sleeping in. While I'm akin to a dead body all night, it's that getting-to-sleep thing that I get tripped up on. Anxious-minded people, where you at? If I ever can't seem to conk out fast enough, there's one trick I use that always gets me to sleep.      

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Trend Alert: Dark Moody Florals

by Faith Provencher

Trend Alert: Dark Moody Florals

Photo: Scouted Home

Trends go in and out of style faster than the blink of an eye, but some stay longer than others. And there's one that seems to be standing the test of time... dark, deliciously moody floral patterns. They've been a mainstay on the runways, in homes, and they're even popping up in DIY projects all over the web. So today we're sharing some inspiring home decor-related examples of this unique trend.   

 

Trend Alert: Dark Moody Florals

Photo: J...

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Curbly Original
It's Not Macramé! Make This Plant Hanger Using a Different Technique

by M.E. Gray

It's not macramé, it's crochet! Make this plant hanger!

I've been wanting to try my hand at making a macramé plant hanger for a bit, but just haven't gotten around to it yet. It got me thinking though... macramé is a knot-tying craft, and crocheting is basically knot tying, but with more loops. Could I make a crochet plant hanger instead? The answer is: yes! And you can too. Even if you've never crocheted before, I'm here to walk you through it.           

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