The Ultimate Indoor Gardening Cheat Sheet: Guest Post by Emma – Fixtures and Flowers

It’s a scientific fact that plants breathe life into the atmosphere. Without plants or trees to absorb carbon dioxide and produce oxygen the human race would have no source of clean air. The world would be forced to breathe recycled or artificially produced oxygen.

The more plants there is then, the less pollution there is. Cities with more trees have healthier populations than those that only have a park or two. This premise applies to individual homes as well. A household would greatly benefit from having more plants inside the residence.

The size of the home is irrelevant, what matters is that there are plants indoors to help clean the air. Other than a natural air purifying system, indoor plants can also produce fresh herbs, vegetables and even fruits. Starting an indoor garden is not all that difficult. Take a look at this ultimate indoor gardening cheat sheet to make it easy…

The Ultimate Indoor Gardening Cheat Sheet: Guest Post by Emma - Fixtures and Flowers

Planting in Soil using containers

The style of using pots and decorative planting containers is the classic method for indoor gardening. It is also one of the most popular and convenient ways to start an indoor garden. The containers can be made of any material, ceramic, metal, plastic or even stone.

There is a timeless beauty in using free-standing containers. They bring a touch of nature indoors and brighten any room as well. They are also easy to handle because one can move them around the house with ease. There are a few things to keep in mind before starting an indoor garden using containers.

Sun spot

Choose an area in the house that takes inadequate sunlight. Proper sunlight is essential for a plant to reach its full potential. As long as the spot gets at least four to six hours of daylight then that should be enough.

Position the plants in that sun spot and decorate around it. Setting the plants in sun-filled setting will be easier than having to move the pot or container outside for it to get some sun.

Soil

Choose the kind of plants that are suitable to be grown indoors. Different types of soil fit the needs of specific plants. Research the type of soil required for the plants before starting an indoor garden. Each kind of plant needs a particular kind of soil.

Preparing the right soil for potted plants is crucial to keep them healthy. For most plants, a store-bought potting mix is an excellent soil base to start with. Then mix that with some compost, and that will create the perfect soil to nurture indoor plants.

Succulents would need a gritty mix that drains well. This is one of those cases where crushed gravel would be the perfect top dressing. Don’t forget to add homemade fertilisers to give your plants more nutrients.

Water

All plant life needs water on a regular basis. That is their primary form of sustenance. Plants absorb water and carbon dioxide to jumpstart photosynthesis.

Water the potted plants using a watering can. Water them early in the morning so that they have the whole day to absorb the water through their roots.

Hydroponics

Indoor gardening has gone through many innovations over the years, and hydroponics is one of them. Hydroponics is a soilless growing system that substitutes soil with an inert media. The purpose of the inert media is to hold the plant upright. It is the base of the plant which suspends it over the water.

Water culture

This is often used in the most basic hydroponics systems. To grow plants in water culture, first put each plant in a container or a growing tray filled with inert medium.

Then immerse the plant containers in an even bigger container filled with nutrient solution. For best results, use an air pump to create bubbles in the nutrient solution to help with aeration.

Nutrient film

This technique foregoes the use on any inert media and suspends the plants right over the nutrient solution. Holes are drilled through PVC tubes to house the plants, and their roots are allowed to grow at the bottom directly immersed in the nutrient solution. It is also advised to use an air pump when using this method to promote root aeration.

Drip system

Instead of the plants being suspended over the nutrient solution. This hydroponic growing technique circulates the nutrient solution throughout the growing media. A water pump continuously pumps the nutrient growing solution.

Aquaponics

This indoor growing technique would be perfect for people that own and love their aquariums. Instead of suspending the plants over a container with a nutrient solution this technique uses the nutrient from fish waste and feeds it directly to the plants.

The plants are set on top of a growing media which is then placed atop the fish tank. The microorganisms in the growing media would then break down the fish waste into proper nutrients for the plants. The plants would then absorb these nutrients.

The microorganisms found in the growing media would technically clean the water of any waste. Aquaponics is an efficient solution to the disposal of fish waste and cost-effective as well because it forgoes the need for the nutrient solution.

Aeroponics

Aeroponics is another new growing technique that can be used for indoor gardening. Here, the plants are housed in containers that do not have any soil and isn’t immersed in any nutrient solution. The containers are there to support the plant and provide access when water is sprayed.

The lower half of the container is filled with small holes or grills which allow the grower to spray water or nutrient solution directly on the roots. This is the same growing technique used by astronauts and is gaining popularity all over the world.

Conclusion

There are several paths to start practising indoor gardening. Choose the technique that best suits your personality. Consider all the factors, pros and cons of each growing technique. No matter what method is used the end results will be the same. Cleaner oxygen, fresh vegetable, fruits and a healthier lifestyle.

Author Bio

Author picture - Emma - Fixtures and Flowers

Emma is a part-time property developer, part-time home improvements and gardening blogger at Fixtures and Flowers, and full time Mum. Given her background, Emma has a lot of advice, tips and tricks that she loves sharing on her blog.

What Food Can You Grow In Winter?

If you enjoy growing your own food, you maybe wondering what you can grow over the colder months and how to prepare your garden now autumn is here, ready for winter. So here are some tips…

What Food Can You Grow In Winter?

Greenhouse

Whilst some plants can survive directly outdoors in winter, is useful to have a greenhouse to successfully grow your own food during the colder months here in the UK. Variable temperatures, hard frost and possible snow means that some won’t thrive without help. If you don’t already have a greenhouse, it is worth investing. Even if you don’t have much space for something larger, there are plenty of options such as these lean to greenhouses for sale from GBC Group for example.

What to plant

There are several things you can still plant outdoors or in a greenhouse to grow over the winter months. Don’t forget you can also plant herbs inside to. Here are some ideas of what to consider planting around October, if you haven’t aready:

Winter salad

This is best planted in a greenhouse, as it will need some protection from the elements.

Leafy Crops

Rockets, chard, kale and other leafy crops manage over winter with some help. Cabbage also does too.

Broad beans

These tend to do quite well over winter and can then be harvested much earlier than those planted in spring.

Peas

Peas tend to be quite hardy so these can be planted outdoors if you wish.

Onions

Onions don’t need much care but they do take a long time to grow. If you plant some now they will be ready next summer. So no time like the present!

Growing onions

Garlic

Growing garlic is similar to onions; planting now will mean they are ready to harvest next summer.

Carrots

Carrots will both just about manage over winter with a little protection. Pop them in the greenhouse and they will do just fine!

Parsnips

Parsnips are also hardy and will do well over winter.

Brussel Sprouts

Brussel sprouts take up alot of space for a fairly long time, but they do well over winter so are worth considering.

Tips

• Protect your plants from hard frost by covering them over with a plastic sheet, tunnel, frame, or grow them in a greenhouse. Adding a layer of mulch will also help protect them.

• Use netting to protect your crop from birds over winter. Also beware of insects during these months, as you would throughout the other seasons.

• Water your crop sparingly over the wetter winter months.

Do you have any tips for preparing your food garden for winter? What else do you grow? 

*This is a collaborative post.

 

 

Eco-Friendly Tiny House Styles: Guest Post by Rose Burke

There are many reasons people decide to join the tiny house community. Some are looking for an off the grid lifestyle while others want the freedom to travel with their house in tow. Without a doubt, the most common reason people opt for living in a tiny house is that they want to reduce their carbon footprint. Ultimately, occupying a small space forces you to be more eco-friendly, even if that wasn’t your original intention. If you’re interested in changing your lifestyle by reducing the number of resources you use each day, find inspiration in these eco-friendly tiny house styles…

Eco-Friendly Tiny House Styles text with tiny house in side of hill image

Solar Powered Tiny House

When a tiny house is built on wheels or in an isolated area, you can’t always get electricity by plugging into the power grid. This factor has inspired members of the tiny house community to come up with some incredibly unique eco-friendly options. One of the most popular electrical alternatives for tiny houses is solar power. While the initial setup can be expensive, they can significantly reduce your electric bill. Over time, they pay for themselves while providing your tiny house with electricity.

Solar powered tiny house

Wind Turbine Powered Tiny House

Since solar power can sometimes be unreliable, it’s essential to have a backup plan. For this reason, those who are designing an eco-friendly home will often use both wind and solar power. Wind turbines can provide your tiny house with electricity during storms and cloudy days when your solar panels might not be getting enough sunlight. Of course, there are more reliable backup options such as a generator for those who can’t go without electricity.

Wind turbine tiny house

Tiny House Natural Lighting

A tiny house with an open design plan offers natural light during the day, eliminating the need for powered lamps until the sun goes down. While some houses do this with wall-length windows, an outdoor porch can have the same effect. Allowing natural light into your tiny house will also give the illusion that it’s larger than it really is.

Natural light

Tiny House Bathrooms Using Composting Toilets

Composting toilets are ideal for the eco-friendly members of the tiny house community, as they’re waterless. While it’s possible to hook up a traditional toilet, that would require being hooked up to a sewage system. If you’re taking your tiny house on the road or want to save some water, then a composting toilet is definitely the best option. They’ve advanced to the point where they can feel no different than being in any other bathroom. Here are the composting toilet options:

• Split systems which secure the composting tank carrying the waste below the toilet and is considered separate from the unit.

• Self-contained systems which store waste in the pedestal of the toilet.

• Continuous systems which allow waste to run out into a compost pile continually.

• Batch systems which separate the waste, composting them at different times.

Bathroom

Tiny House Community Vegetable Gardens

When you’re living off the grid, you can’t just hop in your car and make a trip to the supermarket. The same goes for those who like to travel. For this reason, having a personal vegetable garden has become a popular trend in the tiny house community. Someone with a stationary home will have more room to build their garden, but that doesn’t mean those who keep their house on wheels can’t participate as well. Additionally, many tiny house dwellers who rent pieces of the same land will come together to build a community garden. This allows people to work for their food, but also to have the freedom to pack up their house and move on when they want.

Tiny house veg garden

 

Tiny House Built Out Of Recycled Materials

Since most tiny homes are made on a budget, it only makes sense that they would be created from recycled materials. While some tiny house builders use wood or sheet metal from old and demolished structures, others repurpose storage containers, train cars, school buses, or anything else they can get their hands on. And that’s just the exterior. The interior tends to be eco-friendly as well. Everything from the house’s insulation to the lighting fixtures are often made of recycled or repurposed materials. Even those without a creative bone in their body will find themselves working on a few DIY projects if it means staying on budget.

Recycled house

Summary

As you can see, when it comes to choosing a tiny house style that’s most suitable for your needs, there are a number of eco-friendly options to choose from. To what degree you decide to reduce your mark on the environment is ultimately up to you. By taking on a tiny lifestyle, you’re already taking a big step in the right direction!

*This is a guest post.

Maximising Space in Your Home

As autumn draws in, you might be thinking about how to make your home cosy for winter. Clutter, or general lack of space, can take away from that homely feeling and often prevents us from fully being able to relax. Finding ways to maximise space in your home, so that everything is organised and has its place, helps us to create an ideal environment for those winter lazy days…

Maximising Space in Your Home text with image of shelving in a small room

Storage

Wall to wall and/ or floor to ceiling shelves help to keep everything tidy so the rest of the room has more space. Storage can also be used to section off rooms and provide various areas within your home, creating useful spaces for different purposes.

Woman sat on chair reading. Wall to wall ceiling to floor bookcase behind her

Put things higher up

If possible, keep things off the floor. Try to put shelving above eye level to give a spacious feel to the room. Wall mount your TV too if possible. The more stuff on the floor, the more closed in and cluttered a room feels. Shelving and cupboards help to spread things out; display on shelves what you want to see and hide in cupboards what you don’t.

Wall mounted tv in a modern room with nature themed decor

Furniture

Fewer but well chosen pieces of furniture will maximise the space you have available. Small, low furniture gives the impression the room is larger.

On the otherhand, larger furniture can be multi-purpose so uses space effectively too. For example, opt for a day bed or bed with underneath storage.

Use Rooms Effectively

If you have a particularly large room, or open plan, you might want to consider making these rooms multi-purpose. For example, you could create a small office space in the corner of your kitchen. You can use storage to partition rooms too, as explained above.

Kitchen with a desk and chair in the corner. Multi-purpose use of space.

Outdoors

It is very useful to have some form of outdoor storage, to get some of your belongings out of the house completely. Sheds can be handy, depending on what you want to store. Garages also provide excellent storage, and/ or can be used as an extra working space as well. When trying to maximise space indoors, remember to think of your outdoor spaces too!

A solid shed for storage

Do you have any tips for maximising space in your home? I would love to read them in comments!

*This is a collaborative post.

Energy saving tips: Are solar panels right for my home?

On paper, the prospect of using solar panels – otherwise known as solar photovoltaic or solar PV panels – to meet your home’s energy needs looks very promising. Imagine always having a stream of free electricity on tap, with its availability affected only by the sun.

This is the ideal, anyway – but, in practice, not all of this would be borne out. There are various issues to consider if you are undecided about whether to opt for solar panels…

Energy saving tips: Are solar panels right for my home?

Do you have a suitable roof?

Thinking about whether or not to have solar panels fitted could essentially be pointless if your roof wouldn’t be suitable for them anyway. You should rule out solar panels for a north-facing roof, as it won’t get enough direct sunlight, warns the Energy Saving Trust.

Your roof also needs to be sufficiently strong to hold up PV panels,as they are heavy, Which? cautions. A roofing North East firm could strengthen your roof if you live in the local area.

Do you primarily aim to save carbon or money?

People tend to decide on solar panel installation due to the possibility of trimming the household’s greenhouse gas emissions or its financial expenditure on energy.

In your case, you need to decide which of the two is more important to you. Though you could yearly save as much as two tonnes of carbon, the financial savings are not always so clear-cut, as the installation would typically cost over £5,000 and so could take a disconcerting while to pay for itself.

The feed-in tariff is getting slowly reduced

In an attempt to somewhat make up for the initial financial blow of a solar PV installation, you could apply for the feed-in-tariff (FiT), a government scheme that pays you to make your own electricity.

However, in July 2018, the government revealed its intent to bar new applications to FiT from April 2019. You would only be exempt if you both commission your installation and get a complete MCS certificate issued prior to 31 March 2019; you could apply for FiT until 31 January 2020, Which? says.

Investigate whether you would need planning permission

The good news is that, for the majority of domestic solar panels, planning permission isn’t necessary – provided that these panels are below a particular size. However, we still urge you to get in touch with your council to learn for certain.

You would require planning permission if, for example, you want solar panels added to a listed building or a building either in a conservation area or on a World Heritage Site.

Solar panels

Are there other costs to consider?

Once a solar PV system is in place, you shouldn’t expect to have to spend a lot of time on maintaining it due to its relative simplicity and absence of moving parts. Still, within 25 years, you would have to replace the inverter at a cost of roughly £1,000 in many instances. There is evidence that you might even need to replace it much sooner than that.

*This is a collaborative post.

Eco- Friendly Options For Your Interiors

After recently finishing off decorating a room, it can sometimes feel like you could start over as it just isn’t looking how you imagined. But, constantly changing your home’s interior can not only be costly to your bank balance, it can also have a big environmental cost. Even when starting a new project from the ground up, there are a number of environmental considerations to make in each step.

Choosing interior design pieces that are environmentally friendly is definitely something that you should consider. Eco-chic is becoming a large part of many professional designers work and something they are beginning to actively promote. Of course, going eco-friendly doesn’t mean that you have to compromise on your design.

Reusing & Recycling

Book chair #reuse #upcycle

Before you make the decision to makeover your room with a great new design, you should take into consideration what is working already. Maybe you have a set of cabinets which are serving a purpose that couldn’t be replaced, so there is no need to remove them. Perhaps consider moving them to another place within the room. If you don’t like the colour, you can simple spruce them up with a few coats of paint to match your new interior colour scheme.

Another great idea is to switch around your curtains or drapes between rooms. If you have a set of curtains/drapes which will not match up with the new design, perhaps you can change them with another room in your house, rather than going out and purchasing a new pair. If you don’t have anything suitable in your own home, then why not see if you can swap with your friends?

Recycling Glass

Recycled glass table

With a number of suppliers coming up in the past few years offering recycled glass to be used in your home. A wide variety of design options are available for using glass within your home, with specialists even developing recycled glass into a source material used in wall tiles.

The tiles produced from this recycled glass give a great reflective sparkle and really catch the light in a unique way. This means that they are the perfect addition to any bathroom. These recycled glass products can also be used on your kitchen counters, lighting panels and even on your table top. If you are looking to use either a quartz or granite in your design, then you should consider replacing these with recycled glass, which makes for a smarter and more environmentally alternative.

Timber

When it comes to timber, you are best avoiding any furniture which uses hardwood (high density) within its construction. Hardwoods are mainly brought in from tropical rain forests, which are already being heavily depleted. There are a number of environmentally friendly options available in terms of wood furniture, so make sure you take a look around before deciding.

If you are wanting to go with a hardwood then you should make sure that you look out for the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) mark. Eco furniture which is often made using reclaimed wood and saw dust, can often be a lot more stylish and fitting for a room than hardwood. So don’t go abandoning the idea straight away.

Other options to achieve a more wooden look whilst being environmentally friendly is to choose a real wood venetian blind for your window dressing. These blinds are made using wood from sustainable forests and have a very low impact on the environment throughout their production.

Hardwood floors

Eco-Chic Flooring

Choosing the right flooring for you interior can be challenging, especially when considering one that is made using a sustainable material. However, there are many suppliers who are seeing the demand for this style of flooring and the popularity it currently has. If you are looking for a floor that is hard wearing then bamboo is definitely a great choice! With bamboo having a high fiber rating than most hardwood flooring and being overall very strong.

As bamboo has a very short grow time which means that it can be harvested regularly unlike with hardwood. It has a great underfoot feeling and is a great natural material which can be recycled after it has been used. Another option would be to use interlocking eco floor tiles. These are made from hard wearing recycled material and look fantastic whether you use them in your kitchen or bathroom. With another benefit being that they give great thermal insulation.

Paint

VOC free paint logo

A number of paint products contain harmful chemicals, these are known as VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds). Therefore, it is important that you choose a paint which doesn’t contain these compounds (VOC Free), especially if you are painting your children’s bedrooms. Reusing your past paint trays are a better choice than going out and buying new ones. Of course, if you’re a first time buyer or have only just moved out of your parents home, you won’t have any old paint trays. Instead, you could select reusable paint trays, which are made using recycled cardboard.

*This is a collaborative post.

Make Your Home Green: One Room at a Time (Guest Post)

It’s easy to say you want your family to go green and live a more socially responsible lifestyle, but when you start to actually think about putting a plan into action it becomes overwhelming. Many people’s first impressions of sustainable living include practicing recycling and refraining from leaving the water running while you brush your teeth. In reality, there is a lot more to living a completely environmentally friendly lifestyle.

A great starting place to focus on is your home. This is the place where your family gathers and where you spend a large amount of your time in your life, so it’s an important place to consider when you want to go green. In order to cut back on the intimidation factor, this guide will break down room-by-room how you can encourage more sustainable practices in your home…

Make Your Home Green: One Room at a Time

Living Room

Natural Lighting

The living room is one of the easiest places in your home where you can embrace natural lighting as an alternative to keeping bulbs burning. Keeping your curtains open and allowing natural sunlight to light up your living room will be better for energy efficiency and there’s also just something about natural lighting that makes you feel better.

If you can prepare for this while you’re building or choosing a house, look into floor-to-ceiling windows. These are a great interior piece that make your space appear larger and they allow for more natural lighting in your home. You can also consider skylights to provide an easier path for sun to come in through the top of your room.

A living room with huge windows flooding the room with natural light

Energy

A staple in American living rooms is a television. To reduce energy usage in your home, cut back on the tv or even eliminate it from your home. Encourage your family to play games together, spend time doing outdoor activities, or reading in the evenings.

Furniture

When furnishing your living room, or any part of your home, try to use recycled materials or repurpose materials in your home. For example, a chair or stool can serve another purpose as a side table. It takes less energy to manufacture goods from recycled materials than from scratch, so try use recycled furniture to help reduce energy consumption in the grand scheme of things.

If you’re buying new materials, purchase from companies that are certified for using sustainable materials. You can also find furniture made with bamboo, a super sustainable material held together by glue rather than toxic chemicals.

Paint

Speaking of toxic chemicals, make sure the paint you’re using for your walls contains low levels of volatile organic compounds (VOC) or a paint that’s entirely VOC-free.

Plants

Part of healthy living includes having good indoor air quality (IAQ). A sustainable practice to help remove pollutants from your air and live in a cleaner environment is to place plants around your home. Some plants naturally purify air and can help eliminate toxins to improve your IAQ.

A shelf full of artwork with a green plant in the corner of the room

Kitchen

Groceries

Industrial farming practices are harmful to the environment because of the mass use of resources and the chemicals emitted, so when you’re shopping for groceries, shop locally. Knowing your food was farmed locally will make your meals even more meaningful and personal.

Recycling

The kitchen is the biggest area in your home to focus on your recycling efforts since your family will be consuming food daily. Some examples of waste that can be recycled are plastic containers from yogurt or sodas, cardboard cereal boxes, and aluminum cans. Learn about what materials are recyclable and then set up bins for designated items. Be conscious of the items you’re shopping for too so you can plan in advance to use recyclable materials more often.

Laundry Room

Would you be shocked to find out that 39% of a garment’s environmental impact comes from the care of the consumer? If you think making minor changes to your life to follow more eco-friendly practices isn’t making much of a difference on the world, this fact can prove you wrong.

Some simple steps to get you started are washing your clothes in cold water, reducing the amount of loads you’re doing by waiting longer to wash items like jeans, using toxic-free detergent, and line drying your clothes.

Washing hanging out to dry

If you’re ready to look into other changes, you can pre-treat your clothes with an enzyme spray to hold you over between washes. You can also soak your whites in oxygen cleaner to remove sweat stains without having to run the clothes through the washer.

Bedrooms

Your Bedding

The main factor defining your bedroom is your bed, so you should make sure it’s environmentally friendly. There are tons of factors to consider in a mattress to make sure you’re getting your best sleep for your best health, and the sustainability should be one of them.

Look for organic mattresses made from 100% natural materials, or companies that are approved by Oeko-Tex or have a GREENGUARD certification. There’s also a plethora of options for organic bedding materials to dress your mattress in so that your bed can be “green” from headboard to toe. And when it’s time to get rid of your mattress in about 7-10 years, be socially responsible and donate or recycle.

Bed and bedside table

Sleep Aids

Have trouble sleeping at night? Don’t turn to pharmaceuticals. Instead try natural sleep aids like a warm cup of herbal tea. You could also do nighttime yoga. Stretching your body out helps relax your muscles and your mind making you ready for your best ZZZs.

Bathrooms

Water Usage

You’re probably using water the most in your bathrooms, so it’s a great place to start when you’re looking to cut down your carbon footprint. Simple steps include taking shorter showers or using LED bulbs for your lighting. For shorter showers, try a 5-minute shower timer that sticks to your wall and helps you monitor your time spent scrubbing off.

Larger steps to take to be eco-friendly in the bathroom include investing in low-flow toilets and motion sensor sinks to cut back on water usage.

Outside

Decor

For your outdoor decor, use repurposed furniture from inside your home rather than purchasing new items. You can use old chairs you’re no longer interested in having in your home or give an old piece a new function by converting a coffee table into a planter.

Gardening

Create compost piles from the materials in your kitchen to help you start a garden. You can grow your own vegetables and herbs too.

A painted green hand holding a plant

Transportation

Instead of emitting gases from your car daily, ride a bike instead. Bikes are practical, environmentally friendly, and will give you more physical activity during the day to help your health.

Creating a Green Home

If you’re interested in getting used to environmentally friendly practices but you’re still new to sustainable living it may seem challenging and overwhelming. Taking it step-by-step will help you naturally progress into new practices. Don’t try to change your entire lifestyle in one day. It’s a process that takes time and research.

When deciding how to move towards a more eco-friendly life, adopt a minimalist mentality away from consumer culture. This will help you cut back to the essentials and be on your way to having a green home.

Author Bio

Laurie Larson is a freelance writer from Durham, NC. When she’s not busy writing, she enjoys spending time out in nature and reading her favorite books.

 

For more ideas on creating an eco-friendly home, see this guest post on Motherhood: Real Deal

Cleaner Home Hacks

You may find it hard to believe, but some people love housework. They thrive on the constant cleaning that is needed. Most of us feel the opposite though, and do it because we have to, not because we get any pleasure from it at all. Anything that will make the chores simpler is very welcome…

Cleaner Home Hacks

Declutter Your Home

Nothing will make your home look messier and hardest to clean than clutter. Create some storage space, put things in storage in your garage or shed, or get rid of some. Ornaments are just dust collectors, and although it can be nice to have one or two in your living room or dining room, do not have loads. You have to clean them before you can clean the shelf they are placed on, so they just create more work.

Look round your kitchen and see what appliances are taking up space on your work surfaces. Do you use them all often, or could some of them be fetched out of a cupboard for their occasional use? Decluttering your kitchen makes it much easier to clean, and you will have more room to work on your surfaces.

Bathrooms can have toiletries, bath toys, makeup and anything else put away until they are needed.

Simple To Care For Flooring

A dirty or dusty floor gives the impression of a dirty or dusty room, so keeping your floors looking pristine can make the whole house feel better. Carpets can be a lot of hard work and if they get stained they may be ruined. Real wood floors are expensive, and although they can look brilliant, they only stay that way with a lot of care.

The simplest way to have a floor that looks good, is stain and water resistant, and is easy to maintain too, is to install laminate flooring from Factory Direct Flooring. It not only has these advantages, it is cheaper than most other floor coverings.

Vinegar And Baking Soda

These two items that many homes will already have in their cupboards can help to make short work of some of the hardest cleaning tasks. Simple things like putting some baking soda in with your wash will make the clothes come out brighter. Soaking watermarks with white vinegar, which you can pick up on Amazon cheaply, for a while will make them much easier to clean. Mixed together they can work wonders on a dirty oven or grubby pots and pans.

Forget the chemical cleaners. With these two products, you can do amazing things. Put some vinegar in water in a bowl in your microwave and set it to high for 5 minutes. Wipe out with a paper towel for a spotless microwave oven. If you have any stubborn stains, have the setting for 10 minutes.

Two short cycles of your dishwasher, the first with vinegar in a bowl and the second with baking soda sprinkled on the bottom, will bring your dishwasher up like new, and get rid of any nasty smells coming from it.

Mop dustpan and broom

There are lots of tricks to make your home cleaning less of a chore, and these three tips are just a start.

What are your top tips? Let me know in comments!

*This is a collaborative post.

Brighten Up Walls With Some Wallsauce!

Do you rooms look a little dull? Are you trying to find a fun way to brighten up your walls? Or even trying to find new ways to improve your wellbeing? Whether you are designing the ideal child’s bedroom, creating a tranquil bedroom environment, decorating your cosy home office space, or perhaps even making a sensory therapy room – Wallsauce wallpaper murals might well be your perfect solution!

Brighten up walls with Wallsauce

Their beautiful murals will help you to create the perfect environment, whatever look you are trying to achieve. There are over a million designs to choose from; including fine art, fun kids murals, funky patterns and stunning scenes. You can also upload your own photography too!

I spent ages browsing their website just for fun, mentally redesigning every room in our home! There are so many amazing images to choose from. Here are some of my favourites…

Landscape Theme

The collection of landscape theme wallpapers are just so stunning, I literally couldn’t find a single one I wouldn’t love on my wall! Check out the waterfalls, they are particularly gorgeous. The Iceland photos grabbed my attention especially; they are literally the images I have in my head when I am practising visualisation and meditating. Simply beautiful. Here are just a few of the landscape choices available…

Yosemite landscape wallpaper by Wallsauce

Sunset jetty beach wall mural by Wallsauce

River sunset wallpaper by Wallsauce

Beach Scenes

I have written before how important I feel being around water is for our mental health; a concept known as Blue Mind. Therefore I adore the beach scenes and I think they would be fantastic for bringing an air of relaxation to any room in the home. I can imagine sitting in our lounge feeling like we are actually sat on the beach!

Windswept beach mural by Wallsauce

Tropical beach wall mural by Wallsauce

Forest and Tree Wallpaper Murals

Of course I definitely couldn’t go without mentioning this theme! I love the idea of bringing the sights of our natural environment into our home, and these tree images are so serene. They would be lovely in an office space, or in the bedroom – it would feel like camping every night! This birch tree scene is my absolute favourite…

Birch forest sunlight wallpaper

Kids Murals

There are loads of kids murals to choose from. No matter what your child’s interests, no doubt you can pick out the perfect decor for their room. I spotted a fab flamingo design that my flamingo-mad friend’s daughter would love for example! The fairytale scenes are fabulous for catching a young child’s imagination. Or maybe choose a map of the world for some educational value. Squiggle would have loved this arctic ocean scene when she was little…

Arctic puzzle kids wallpaper mural

Fairytale mural in a nursery

World map wallpaper mural

Sensory Room Ideas

If you are creating a sensory room in your home, some of these wallpaper murals would be brilliant for it. Obviously it would depend on the child and what you are trying to achieve – for example, whether it is a low visual chillout area to avoid overstimulation, or a highly stimulating, high sensory input for a sensory seeker – but there are some super funky designs and some nice calm ones too. I love this blue wallpaper if you are looking for something that is simple but not entirely plain…

Blue wallpaper

Whatever look you are going for, in any room, these Wallsauce wallpaper murals will jazz up the space and make designing your home much easier – and way more fun!

*Disclosure: This is a collaborative post. However, I have expressed my honest opinions about these designs! 

Help Your Home Help You

Rather than just assuming that your home is going to be the biggest bane of your life, for the rest of your life, it’s time to assume that your home is going to be able to help you. In so many ways, our home can be viewed as a pain; we have to go through the stress of money problems, problems with the home, price increases of mortgages… the list could go on. But we don’t want to focus on the negative side of owning a property. A home is meant to be a positive and happy place, and that’s the attitude we want to try and achieve. So if you feel fed up with the home you’re living in, and you feel as though it could be doing more to help you, then we’ve got a few ways to show you that it can…

Help Your Home Help You title inside home image

Let It Make You Money

This is the first thing that we want to talk about, because it’s probably the most exciting one for you. The prospect that your home might actually be able to make you money is one that you might not have considered before. But think about how your home is at the minute, and what you use it for. If you’ve got a three bedroomed house, but all of your children have moved out, then you really are wasting two rooms there. So, if you want to make money from home, you could always think about renting out a room. So many other people are doing it at the minute, but we already know what your first doubt is going to be. Yes, having a stranger in your home might be a little bit weird. But that doesn’t mean that you’re going to have someone living under your nose all of the time. You’ll find that the people occupying the room will want to be out of your hair just as much as you want them out of the way! You can make a lot of money from it, you just need to make sure you’re being fair with the pricing, and that you’re being a good host to the people you’re bringing into your home.

Something that is going to benefit you even further, because you’re not going to have someone random in your home, is renting out your drive space. If you look outside your home now, how many cars do you see lining the road. If you live on a main road, then we guarantee it’s going to be many. All you have to do is advertise a parking space on your drive, and we guarantee that people will come flocking for it. There really is a surprising amount of money to be made from this, so we do advise that you give it a go! Again, make sure the price you’re offering is reasonable, or you’ll be paying for an advertisement that isn’t even going to bring in any money!

Turn To Tech

Filling your home with the latest tech is the best thing that you can do. You’re either going to be someone who is a tech whizz, or someone who doesn’t have the first clue about what could be put in a home. If you’re the latter, then we’re here to help you. If we’re talking about tech that’s going to benefit you, we’re going to have to talk about home automation. It’s a cool feature that you’ll find in all the houses of the rich and famous, but it’s not just limited to them. You can easily have your own home automation system installed, and you can just watch your home life improve. So, what it does is allow you to control different rooms and features of your home, from either your phone, or from little control panels in different rooms. Imagine this… You’ve gone to bed, but you can hear the faint sound of the TV downstairs. What do you do, you get up and click a button from the comfort of your own bedroom, and the TV will turn off. Imagine you’re out for a nice meal, but the weather is so bitterly cold. You can turn your phone on, and adjust the heating setting so that your home is nice and warm for when you get home. It’s such a cool little system that you could have installed, that many people seem to be missing out on.

An organised modern living room interior

Keeping It Simple

Keeping it simple around the home is the best way that you can let your home help you. In fact, this is pretty much all to do with you. So many people clog up their homes with junk that they just don’t need, meaning that being in the home can make you feel rather cluttered. So if you want to help your home help you here, you’re first of all going to have to have a big clean out of the things that you don’t need anymore. Make space, and you’ll feel so much happier with the home you have. You can then think of unique storage solutions around the home, that will mean you won’t have to deal with as much clutter again. It might still be there, but at least it’ll be out of plain sight. There’s so many storage solutions you can choose from, such as these that are listed here. Try and keep it simple with things such as decor and furnishing as well. You don’t want to make your home look out of place by going overboard with the decor.

How else do you think you can let your home help you? Tell me in comments!