Halloween is less than one week away and to celebrate its arrival this week – 4 other bloggers and I are sharing some of our decorating ideas,Tricks and Tips. This Friday, October 28th – you get to share yours with us by linking up on a Share YOUR Trick or Tip. It is a 5-blog wide link party.
Here are 4 of my Decorating Tricks and Tips
Since we are entering the winter months and it is dark outside by 5PM the lighting in our homes is even more important. Most of us don’t give this any thought, but I like to add ambiance and mood lighting to make my home feel cozier and more inviting. I do it the easy and inexpensive way. No electrician needed!
#1 Easy Way to Add Mood Lighting to any Room
I wish my dining room hutch came equipped with lights, but it doesn’t. I had to add my own. Here is the top of my dining room hutch. Pardon my dust :) I have two can lights and one string of white Christmas lights. They are plugged into an extension cord that runs down the back of the hutch and into a wall outlet. To turn them on and off I just have to plug the extension cord into the outlet. I don’t use these lights everyday – just for special occasions or when I want to add some ambiance to the room at night.
Here is how the top looks in the daylight when no lights are needed.
With two can lights and the string of white lights. You can buy can lights for about $12.00 at Lowes. You can see the can lights cast a circle of light on the ceiling. Lower the wattage of the bulbs and that will go away.
I know these photos are grainy, but I wanted to give you an idea 0f how the light changes. Here the can lights are off. I only have the string of Christmas lights lit. You can achieve this same look with the can lights only – just use lower wattage bulbs. If you don’t want to use Christmas lights, you can use tube lights or strips of lights that are made to mount inside and under cabinets. Just lay them on top of the cabinet or hutch. IKEA also sells some ingenious cabinet lighting you may want to check out.
In this photo the chandelier is on and the string of Christmas lights only. The lights on the top of the hutch help balance the light in the room. When the chandelier is dimmed and I have the hutch lights and two lamps on the mantle on the opposite side of the room all lit – the room looks magical. When I entertain, I make sure I plug in all my mood lights around my house. They add to the ambiance.
I do the same thing in my family room. I have two corner cabinets. On top is one string of white lights along with the boxes and foam blocks I use to lift the decorative stuff I have on top. The extension cord runs down the back and into an outlet inside the cabinet. I just have to open the cabinet door to plug in the lights.
I use magazines, soft and hard foam to lift the basket I have on the top. The string of lights is to the back.
Here is how the room looks with no lights on top of the cabinets.
Here the lights are on. Much better. When you balance the light throughout and use both task and mood lighting in your rooms they will seem more inviting.
#2 How to Display Items on Top of a Cabinet or Hutch
You saw above how I use shoe boxes, magazines and foam to make lifts so the decorative items I place on top look like they are level with the top. If I didn’t use these lifts – the pieces would be partially hidden because the top is recessed. Corrugated cardboard boxes work well with heavier stuff as do bricks and metal cookie tins that Costco seems to sell a million of around the holidays.
What you can’t see – can so easily be faked.
#3 How To Hide an Ugly Electrical Cord
I have been in a lot of homes helping homeowners make the most of their rooms and the one thing I see in almost every home is ugly electrical wires hanging down from the land line phone. It is usually in the kitchen. My phone came with a dark grey wire and I have white walls. To hide it, I wrapped white ribbon around the wire overlapping it as I wrapped. I only wrapped the section that was not going to be hidden behind my desk. It is not perfect, but so much better than seeing unsightly wires hanging down.
* In the comments -Renee from Creating Cottage told me she paints her wires. This is a great idea if you don’t want to wrap the wire in ribbon as Arlene noted could pose a fire hazard. Love my readers – Thanks for the great input.
I place steel straight pins into nearby molding and bend each one to act as a hook to hold the wrapped wire in place against the molding. You can even spray paint the pins the color of the ribbon first. Do not put the pins through the wire.
3 pins were all I needed.
The last pin is behind the furniture. I let the rest of the wire hang down so I can plug it in.
No ugly wires- just neat and tidy.
#4 How to Hang Art on Your Wall
This is the best tip ever for hanging anything on your wall perfectly. Michele over at the Scrap Shoppe made her tool/gadget with a clothespin. I made mine with paint stirring sticks. A 5 gallon stick will be perfect for hanging large art. A 1- gallon stick for smaller items.
1. Duct tape 3- 1 gallon paint sticks together. If you want a large tool – use one 5 gallon paint stirring stick. They are longer and thicker – no need to tape them together. Hammer in a nail about 1-inch from the bottom so that the tip sticks out the other end.
To use the hanging tool/gadget:
2. Hook the picture wire or hook onto the nail head.
3. Find the exact placement on your wall where you want the art to hang and then tap the top portion of the frame into the wall. The nail tip will leave a mark on the wall.
4. You now know exactly where to place your nail to hang the art.
Simple, yet ingenious. No more guessing and putting unneeded holes in your walls anymore.
For more fun DIY Tricks and Tips check out my DIY Daily page tip section. It is the link section under the project links. This is where I link up ideas I find around the blogosphere that have helped me.
This Friday October 28 – Link Up Your Tricks and Tips
If you don’t have a blog leave your trick or tip in the comments on Friday Oct 28th.
We all have tricks and tips we do around our homes without even giving them a second thought. They are the little things you do that make accomplishing tasks easier or in a better way. You may be saying to yourself – Oh, everyone knows how to do what you do – but they don’t. Do you fold your sheets into perfect stacks the way your mom did that keeps your linen closet ultra organized, or is there a certain ingredient you add to your cake batter that makes it rise to lofty heights? How about the way you string your holiday lights, fold a napkin, or clean your floors.
Think about it – Don’t be shy – Share them with all of us!
With the holidays fast approaching – we all could use some tricks and tips to make our lives a little easier.
So get your Trick or Tip ready and link up next Friday, October 28 on one of these blogs below. It can be about anything – crafts, decor, DIY, gardening, paint, tools, organizing, holiday, blogging, etc…
You only have to post to one site and it will show up on all 5!
Have fun and enjoy – We can’t wait to see what you’ll share!
To learn more Tricks & Tips don’t forget to visit these participating blogs.Monday: Jenna SAS Interiors – Paint Tuesday: Sandra Sawdust and Paperscraps – DIY Wednesday: Diane In My Own Style – Decorating Thursday: Shannon Madigan Made – Blogging Friday: Brittany Pretty Handy Girl – Tools