7 Steps to an Eco-Friendly Kitchen

Eco-friendly living will continue to be a hot trend in 2019, with more and more homeowners realizing how the details of their lifestyle can affect the environment in the long run. If you want to keep up with the times, you ought to update your home with sustainable choices, from your living room to your kitchen. To get you started, here are 7 steps you can take for an eco-friendly kitchen.

7 Tips for an Eco-Friendly Kitchen

1. Choose Your Appliances Wisely

Look for energy-efficient appliances. These use just enough energy to do their job and can help you save 10-50% of the normal power consumption of their regular versions. Some of them even run on renewable energy, such as solar power. One indicator of an eco-friendly appliance is the Energy Star label, which is placed on products that the Environmental Protection Agency certifies as energy-efficient.

In addition, you might want to unplug your appliances when they’re not in use. Leave them plugged in and they’ll still use up power.

2. Cook Smart

If you tend to prepare meals without much thought, you’re probably using more energy in your kitchen than you actually need. This can increase your carbon footprint without you realizing it. Here are some points to keep in mind when you’re in the kitchen:

  • Use just enough water. The more water you use, the more energy you’ll need to heat it up or get it to boiling point. Plus, excess water is wasted water.
  • Use lids when you cook. This traps heat and speeds up your cooking.
  • Try using the microwave instead of the oven when you can. This way, you can use 80% less energy to reheat the same food item.
  • Cut down on meat and dairy. It takes up a surprising amount of resources to raise a cow. Forests are sometimes even converted into pastures just to raise livestock. The more meat and dairy you consume, the bigger your carbon footprint.

3. Upgrade Cookware and Utensils

Switch out your plastic cookware for modern equivalents made of eco-friendly materials such as porcelain, glass, or wood. It’s a good thing there are several brands selling sustainable kitchen products nowadays! These include Rustic Wall Co., which produces kitchen utensils made of logging scraps, or Bambeco, which reuses its leftover materials and plants a tree for every purchase.

4. Cook With Organic Greens

Try to cook with herbs and vegetables that are fresh and free of pesticides. There are two ways to do this: buy from local green grocers or farmers’ markets, or grow your own produce.

Locally sourced greens don’t consume as much fuel just to be transported, which is a big eco-friendly plus. Be sure of whom you’re buying from, though. A large commercial farm that douses its crops with pesticides could fall under “local” if it’s just across your street. Opt for produce from small, organic farms.

You can also try your hand at growing your own herbs and vegetables. Many common vegetables are perfect for budding gardeners. These include tomatoes, cabbage, and spring onions. The additional backyard foliage will help keep the air at home fresh, too.

5. Cut Down on Food Waste

If your kitchen is truly eco-friendly, it will ideally produce minimal food waste. The following tips should keep you from throwing out too much food:

  • Shop smart. When you’re at the groceries, be realistic and buy only what you need.
  • Don’t over-serve. When scooping food onto your plate, don’t pile it up in heaps. Instead, get smaller portions and go back for seconds if needed.
  • Save your leftovers. If you’re feeling creative, you can use leftovers to whip up a fantastic meal. Just label them to keep track of how long they’ve been in your fridge.
  • Note down the food you toss out. That way you’ll know what you don’t use and take steps to avoid repeated kitchen wastage, whether that means buying smaller sizes of the same product or cutting that item out of your menu entirely.

6. Use Your Fridge Right

Your fridge uses up energy to keep food cold. If you’re aiming to have an eco-friendly kitchen, you’ll want to reduce the work your fridge has to do. Position your fridge in a cool area of your kitchen, and let food cool before putting it in the fridge.

Make sure that your fridge is still efficient, too. Defrost it regularly to keep your fridge and freezer running efficiently. Also, check if the seals around the door need to be changed. A quick test: close the door on a dollar bill. If the bill easily slides out, that means that the seals are also loose enough to let cold air seep out. Replace the seals as needed.

7. Use Green Cleaning Products

Some kitchen cleaning products have chemicals which can harm your family as well as the environment. Switch to eco-friendly alternatives with natural formulas. Homemade cleaning ingredients won’t give off strong odors, yet they can often be just as effective as store-bought cleaning products.

With these 7 steps, you’ll be on your way to an eco-friendly kitchen with a smaller carbon footprint. This sustainable lifestyle choice isn’t just a great way to welcome the new year, but it’ll help keep your home cleaner and fresher for you and your family.

For more tips on sustainable living and interior design, visit our blog regularly.

8 Smart Refrigerator Organizing Ideas You Need to Know

Leaving your refrigerator unorganized isn’t only a hassle, but could be dangerous as well. Food that was haphazardly stored inside could spoil faster. This can leave bacteria and molds to fester inside your fridge and make you susceptible to a number of diseases.

Organizing your fridge is a necessity.

To keep you on top of this task, here are 8 smart refrigerator organizing ideas for your kitchen.

1. Schedule your fridge-cleaning

It would be much easier to keep your fridge clean and organized if you stick to a routine. Clean it once a week so you can be sure to always have space for your leftovers and midnight purchases. Pick out which ones you need to throw out and and those that are still edible.

Smart tips: Put mats underneath the shelves. It is much easier to launder the mats than to scrub away at the stains left behind your fridge. Place plastic wrap over the mats so it’ll be easier to discard liquid mess as well. Also, if you want to clean your fridge without risking getting chemicals in your food, you can put together a cleaner made of homemade ingredients.

2. Label to save time

Always pack and seal the food shut before storing them away. Improperly packaged and loosely sealed food could expose these items to different kinds of bacteria. Exposure to the open air could also make them spoil faster than you’d expect them to.

Smart tips: Always label the food after packing and sealing them. Label what they are and when they were stored in the fridge. Have a separate “eat me” bin so you could identify which food items need to be consumed immediately. You could also write on the fridge with an easy erase marker to easily track the food items that are about to expire.

3. Mason jars over tupperwares

If it’s fruit or vegetables, mason jars beat tupperwares every time. Mason jars consume lesser space than tupperwares since they’re smaller and shorter than the latter. They also make your fridge look better on the inside.

Smart tips: Be sure to use the sure-seal mason jars.

4. Group like items together

You should never mix different food groups together. Again, this makes your food susceptible to different kinds of bacteria and could lead to faster spoilage. The vegetables go in the vegetable and fruit bin. The leftovers should be put with other leftovers, etc.

Smart tips: Lazy susans or turntables can not only help you distinguish which belongs to what type of food group, but they also help make sure you never forget anything at the back space of your fridge. You could also use bins to segregate the food groups from each other.

5. Make room for more

Try to consume as little space as you can in your fridge. You could do this by maximizing the entire space available inside the fridge. Stack tall food items such as bottles and cartons on top of each other so you can add another shelf in your fridge.

Smart tips: Repurpose the containers available at home such as six pack containers, egg cartons, and magazine holders. Your six pack containers can be used to store bottles together. Egg cartons can be used to store condiment bottles upside down so they take up less space on the fridge. Magazine holders can act as bins for bigger food items.

6. Magnets will solve everything

Apply magnets at the inside your fridge. This can help in maximizing every space available in your fridge, so it would be easier to store your food inside.

Smart tips: Use the magnets to hang your bottles at the top of your fridge. You can use the space below to store food and other items that needs refrigeration.

7. Binder clips are the future

People often have problems with stacking bottles together since they tend to slip and fall from their pyramids. You can use binders to stop your bottles from rolling over. This is especially useful for those beer bottles you want to keep cool in your fridge.

Smart tips: You can use the binder clips to tightly seal your bag containers as well.

8. Hang the bag

Like the magnet idea, you can hang your bags in the in-between spaces of the shelves or trays in your fridge. You can use the binder clips again to hang them on your shelves and trays. This will give you more space to store food items underneath it.

Smart tips: Install a pull-out unit in your fridge so you can have an easier time to hang bags inside.

 

Do you have more smart refrigerator organizing ideas? Let us know by commenting below!

5 Homemade Natural Cleaning Recipes You Can DIY

It might have taken you months in decorating your home and choosing the perfect furniture. However, the aesthetic you were aiming for can easily be thrown off by an unsightly stain or a strange odor. Though store-bought cleaners can do the trick, they are usually expensive and hard to find as well.

So how can you keep your home clean and presentable without hurting your wallet?

Here are five homemade natural cleaning recipes that you can put together in the comfort of your own kitchen, gathered from respected bloggers who are also concerned with keeping households clean.

1. Scented All-Purpose Cleaner

This fragrant cleaner can be used to get rid of carpet stains and freshen laundry, among other things. The lemon rind lends some extra cleaning power to this recipe as well.

Instructions: Mix one part water, one part white vinegar, lemon rind, and a sprig of rosemary. Pour the mixture into a spray bottle and shake. Let the cleaner sit for a week for its ingredients to infuse.

Read the full article from Good Housekeeping here.

2. Brass Cleaner

Have you found some brass accents or furniture that would be perfect for your living room if only they hadn’t lost their sheen? Apartment Therapy presents a solution for you, “using only two natural ingredients you probably already have on hand!”

Instructions: Mix half a lemon’s worth of juice and a teaspoon of baking soda until a paste is formed. The paste can be rubbed onto brass with a soft cloth and then washed off.

3. Wood Polishing Spray

Say goodbye to spending on can after can of store-bought wood polish. You can also add your favorite essential oil to the mix for a personal touch!

Instructions: Combine ¾ cup olive oil, ¼ cup white vinegar, and (optional) 30 drops of essential oil. Pour the mixture into a spray bottle and shake vigorously. To use, shake the mixture well, spray it onto wood surfaces, and polish with a clean cloth.

Recipe taken from Keeper of the Home.

4. Mirror and Glass Cleaner

You’ll occasionally look into a mirror to check your hair but end up counting toothpaste smudges instead. Here’s a quick recipe for a cleaning solution for mirror and glass, which you can also customize with essential oils.

Instructions: Mix ¼ cup white vinegar, ¼ cup isopropyl alcohol, one tablespoon of cornstarch, 2 cups of water, and 8-10 drops of your favorite essential oil. Once you’ve poured the mixture into a spray bottle, shake it well. To use, spray directly onto glass and then wipe off.

5. Fridge Cleaner

How many times have you held your breath while opening your fridge? Although they’re meant to keep food fresh, fridges frequently end up housing strange smells thanks to forgotten leftovers. Fortunately, Hello Glow has a non-toxic cleaning solution that can be used to deep clean a refrigerator.

Instructions: Pour 1 cup vinegar into a spray bottle, add 2 teaspoons of dish soap and some orange essential oil, and then add warm water until the bottle is almost full. Shake well before each use.

 

It turns out that you don’t have to spend so much just to enjoy a house that’s both stylish and clean. Most of the homemade cleaning ingredients used in these 5 recipes can be found in your own kitchen!

Want to find out other ways to keep your home looking fresh and fashionable? Check out our blog for more tips and advice!

Window Treatments that are Better Alternative to Curtains


Window Treatments that are Better Alternative to Curtains

10 Window Treatments that are Better Alternative to Curtains

When you think of window treatments, curtains are probably the first things that come to your mind. But, while they remain the most straightforward option, they’re not necessarily the only choice to dress your windows.

If you’re looking for better alternatives to traditional curtains, this article lists some other options you need to consider. But, to refresh you, we also define the very reason why you need window treatments in the first place.

How Window Treatments Impact Your Home

Window treatments might be the only thing you need to transform your space. They set the mood and tone of a room, and the absence of them can make the space appear bare and naked.

Further, window treatments not only help manipulate the light that goes into your home, they also add privacy, while also aid with the cooling and insulating of a space. Now, no matter the purpose you want the treatment to serve – with the many options available – you’re sure to find one that fits your needs:

8 Window Treatment Options

1. Drapes

Although many use the terms curtains and drapes interchangeably, they’re actually two different things. But, the key difference is that drapes are typically pleated, heavy, lined and floor-length while curtains, on the other hand, are mostly lightweight, unlined and can differ in length. It is these characteristics that make drapes a more formal option.

2. Shades

Shades are a window treatment option made of continuous fabric that rolls up and down using pulley mechanism. They are often manufactured from light, colored and porous materials that filter and soften the light, instead of completely blocking it. They come in a wide range of shades, colors and materials such as polyester, cotton and linen.

3. Blinds

Instead of fabric like that of shades, blinds have slats or vanes. They are usually made of sturdier materials like wood, aluminum, composite materials or leather, and can come in different lengths, widths and orientation. Because they can be tailored according to one’s preferences, they nearly work well with any interior design.

4. Awnings

Awnings are the additional covering installed on the outside wall, often above the window and in a slanted position. Because of this structure, they offer great sun protection capabilities, without obstructing air circulation. These days, there are retractable awnings available, giving you more stylish options to update your windows.

5. Decorative Screens

A modern take on traditional curtains, decorative screens are great for shading, privacy and ventilation. They are often made from metal or wood, with intricate details engraved using laser-cutting technology. Because of its bold structure, this option allows for sunlight to filter through and cast beautiful shadows on its adjacent surfaces.

6. Shutters

Shutters offer a country-chic look to any interior design that is also functional and efficient. In fact, they’re sturdier than many other options which explains their higher price tag. But, given that you can expect them to last up to 20 years, shutters can actually be a great long-term window treatment that ensures sun-filtering and noise-blocking options.

7. Adhesive Film

When applied to window panes, adhesive films add texture to the interior, while reducing the sunlight that penetrates into your home. They are available in a range of tinted colors as well as patterns and textures so you can find one that complements your home décor. They can also be a cheaper alternative to stained or frosted glasses while providing the same benefits.

8. Vertical Garden

Finally, vertical gardens are a great multi-functional window treatment that works more favorably for those with limited horizontal space – condo owners and apartment renters, for example. Aside from allowing light to filter into the room, plants also add a touch of life and color as well as offer many health benefits for the family. Here are some low-maintenance indoor plants you can start with.

True, there is a wealth of options out there. But, given that window treatments are an investment, you should take time to see the options yourself as no amount of research will inform you how exactly they will look in your home.

Did you find this article informative? Let us know by commenting below!

Green Home Décor Brands You Should Switch To

These days, being eco-friendly is no longer limited to segregating your wastes, going paperless, avoiding plastic, and cutting down on energy consumption. It also means amending your way of shopping so it aligns with your commitment to green living.

The green way to shop, however – particularly for home decor – hasn’t always been black and white. But, until recently, the environmental consciousness of consumers has led interior designers and home décor brands to step up their game to offer an array of sustainable products.

Having placed greater emphasis not only on style but also on the environmental impact of their products, home décor brands have made it easier to be green responsible more than ever. So now, you can shop for sustainable furniture pieces confidently without worrying they’ll compromise your style.

If you’re wondering where to start with your responsible shopping, read on as we list 10 brands to shop for sustainable home décor.

1. Bambeco

Bambeco is a provider of home products crafted from either recycled, reclaimed, natural or raw materials. But, aside from harnessing these resources, the brand aims to further its green efforts by updating its processes to help restore forests, conserve water, provide safe workplaces and ultimately, achieve zero carbon footprint by 2020.

2. BottleCloth

BottleCloth is a sustainable homeware brand that makes graphic tablecloths, placemats and runners made from fabrics sourced from recycled plastic bottles. Using a multi-step process, the plastic bottles are spun into thread and woven into polyester cloth. The end result is a polyester fabric that is highly durable, low maintenance and spill-resistant products.

3. Chairish

Buying second hand is a great form of recycling. It not only avails you vintage finds for half the price but also cuts down on manufacturing demand – and Chairish, an online marketplace, lets you do just that. It has a well-curated list of vintage furniture pieces, art and home accessories, and basically everything that is dedicated to home decorating and design.

4. Cisco Home

You wouldn’t realize it right away, but Cisco Home is a sustainable furniture company that crafts its home goods with natural materials and methods that are friendly to the environment. Each product is made with pride by local artisans in Los Angeles and each of them emanates a distinct style that adds beauty to your home.

5. Colorhouse

Colorhouse is a premium paint brand that is committed to making the world more colorful but without the toxins, chemical solvents and toxic fumes that typically come with commercial paints. It offers 128 zero-VOC (volatile organic compounds), artist-crafted paints in its well-curated palettes to ensure that you have an eco-friendly alternative to your painting needs.

ALSO READ: 18 Low Maintenance Indoor Plants & Trees for Your Home

6. Coyuchi

Coyuchi is a home textile company that offers a range of luxury textiles, beddings and mattress made from organic cotton – and this claim is something more exceptional than you’d think as less than a percent of the world-produced cotton is organic. Further, despite being minimally processed, the fabrics don’t gall shouty on style and grandeur. In fact, they’re some of the softest you’ll ever lay your hands on.

7. Kazi

Kazi is an All Across Africa brand that helps African women support their families by crafting handmade goods. These include baskets and vessels handwoven in Rwanda using sweet grass and sisal sourced in East Africa – and because these plants thrive abundantly in the region, harvesting them has less impact on the environment.

8. One Nine Eight Five

One Nine Eight Five is a London-based homeware brand that focuses on print and interior textiles. It offers contemporary collection of throws, cushions, wall hangings and other accessories using ethically-sourced and eco-friendly materials. Each product celebrates world-recognized British craftsmanship and sustainable UK manufacturing.

9. Re-Found Objects

RE is a homeware brand that started as a mail order service in rural Northumbria. Today, it has grown to become one of the most-sought after home accessories and furniture brands, offering everything unusual, recycled and re-invented such as colander lamp shades, pressed metal decorations, recycled glass soap dishes, weave baskets and so much more.

10. West Elm

Brooklyn-based home design and decor brand West Elm believes in the possibility of manufacturing products through sustainable practices. It is why ever since it launched in 2002, it has committed to using products that are Fair Trade Certified, handcrafted, organic and sustainably sourced. Today, it sources its handcrafted products from more than 35 artisan groups in 15 countries, providing jobs to nearly 5,000 workers.

 

There are a lot of other home décor brands who are committed to sustainability. Whether that means creating something new out of old materials, sourcing products made by independent artisans or using sustainable resources – all their green efforts serve as a catalyst that inspire consumers to be more mindful of their choices.

If you think of any other green home décor brand that should be on this list, let us know by commenting below.

10 Christmas Window Decoration Ideas for 2018

Aiming to envelop your house in the Christmas spirit this year? Aside from putting up the good old tree in the living room and hanging stockings nearby, you need to dress your windows for the season. After all, this is one part of the house that you can see from both the inside and the outside. This means that the right decoration will be able to spread holiday cheer to visitors, neighbors, and carolers all in one go! Understandably, you can’t settle for a half-baked concept for your window decor.

You might think at first that windows will be a bit challenging to decorate. Fortunately, there are countless tried-and-tested ideas to choose from. Here are 10 window decoration ideas for you to try for Christmas 2018!

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ALSO READ: 25 Easy Christmas Decoration Ideas for Your Home

Did you find what you are looking for? Which one do you think will work best as your window display? Let us know in the comments!

Never miss the latest interior design tips and updates by regularly visiting our blog.

Air Fresheners You Can Make at Home

Wouldn’t it be lovely to come home at the end of a long day and breathe in a light, calming fragrance? An air freshener can give your house a comforting scent in an instant. You can easily pick up a commercial freshener at a nearby store, but a homemade recipe grants the additional security of having all natural and non-toxic ingredients. Several DIY air fresheners are easy on the wallet, too! If you’re thinking of making your own air freshener at home, here are 10 recipes for you to try out.

10 All-Natural DIY Air Fresheners

1. Scented Wood Blocks

They’re easy to make, they’re reusable, and they’re an ornament on their own if you arrange them in a glass bowl. What more can you ask for?

Instructions:

  1. Coat several small wood blocks in the scented oil or perfume of your choice. You may do this with paint brushes, a spray bottle, or a closed container where you can shake the blocks in more oil.
  2. Leave the blocks overnight to absorb everything, and then set them out.
  3. Simply repeat the above steps if the fragrance begins to fade.

2. Baking Soda Air Freshener

Here’s one quick solution to those unpleasant smells in your bathroom. The baking soda in this DIY air freshener absorbs any odd scents while the essential oil gives off a constant light fragrance. Simply shake the mixture if you need the scent to be a bit stronger.

Instructions:

  1. Combine ½ cup baking soda and 15-20 drops of your favorite essential oil.
  2. Pour the mixture into a glass jar and cover it with a piece of cloth or paper.
  3. You can embellish the jar with a ribbon matching your bathroom decor.

3. Floral Potpourri

The sight of a glass jar filled with dried petals might seem outdated. However, there’s a reason potpourri remains a common sight in offices and homes: it’s actually effective at making ambient air smell fresh. You can also put together your own jar of potpourri easily.

Instructions:

  1. Fill a container with dried flower petals. Put a few drops of essential oil.
  2. Close the container and let the petals sit in the oil for a few weeks. This allows the petals to soak up the oil.
  3. Transfer the petals to a bowl or jar and arrange them. You may further customize your potpourri with extra oils or scented ingredients.

4. Lemon-Rosemary Simmering Potpourri

It’s one thing to have a house filled with the savory smell of dinner, but it’s something else to have that smell last until the next morning. Get rid of overstaying cooking odors with some stovetop potpourri. This DIY air freshener gives off a scent that reaches from the kitchen to the corners of your home!

Instructions:

  1. Fill a small stock pot with water until it is about ⅔ full.
  2. Add a sliced lemon, some sprigs of rosemary, and ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract.
  3. Allow the mixture to simmer throughout the day.
  4. Change the mixture every 2 days if you want to maintain the scent for longer.

5. Orange Candles

A scented candle can set you back around $20. Meanwhile, a pound of oranges generally costs less than $2. With some careful carving, you can turn a few extra oranges into bright, round candles of your own!

Instructions:

  1. Cut an orange in half.
  2. Run a knife around the edges of the orange to loosen the fruit, and then scrape the fruit out with a fork. Take care to leave the inside stem intact–this white piece in the middle of the orange will be your wick.
  3. Fill the orange with oil until it’s ¾ full (any kind of oil will do). Leave it to sit for about 45 minutes so that the stem can absorb the oil.
  4. Try lighting the candle. Hold a flame to the stem for 2-3 minutes until the stem turns brown or black. You’ll need a candle lighter for this, as a match or a cigarette lighter flickers out too quickly. Once the wick has turned black, let it rest for a moment.
  5. Relight the stem. This may also take a few seconds, and there might be some crackling sounds before the candle begins to burn steadily.

6. Cinnamon Stick Candles

Ever wanted to fill the whole house with the warm, spicy smell of cinnamon? You’ll adore these cinnamon stick candles, which are as beautiful as they are easy to make. Try handing them out as gifts to friends and family.

Instructions:

  1. Take a pillar candle at least 3 inches in diameter. Measure its height and cut around 20 sticks of cinnamon to size.
  2. Use a hot glue gun to attach the sticks vertically to the side of the candle. Make sure that the sticks lie snugly beside each other.
  3. Tie some twine or ribbon around the candle. Not only does it complete the candle’s look, but this will keep the cinnamon sticks in place even as the candle and the hot glue melt away.

7. Long-Lasting Gel Air Freshener

You might not be all right with the thought of having an open flame in the house, especially if there are children or pets around. A DIY gel air freshener is a great alternative to scented candles. One 8-oz jar of this freshener can last you up to a month!

Instructions:

  1. In a heatproof jar, combine around 30 drops of fragrance and a few drops of food coloring.
  2. Boil 1 cup of water and mix in 4 packages of unflavored gelatin. Keep stirring to prevent the gelatin from clumping up.
  3. Add a cup of cold water and a tablespoon of salt. Continue stirring.
  4. Pour the gelatin into the jars and mix it with the fragrance and food coloring.
  5. Let the freshener set overnight.
  6. Decorate the jars as you wish! If the jar has a lid, punch a few holes in it before screwing it on. This will help the freshener last longer.

8. Reed Diffusers

Another flame-free DIY air freshener, reed diffusers make for a quick, simple project and an eye-catching decoration. Plus, you can also use them over and over as long as you have scented oil in stock.

Instructions:

  1. Fill a small vase or jar with essential oil, and then fill it to the brim with baby oil.
  2. Place bamboo skewers or rattan reeds in the vase. You can decorate the sticks beforehand with washi tape, tiny flags, or paper flowers.
  3. Tie a ribbon around the vase as a final detail.

9. Lemon and Basil-Scented Spray

Worried that commercial air freshening sprays might contain harmful chemicals? You can easily whip up your own non-toxic alternative!

Instructions:

  1. Pour ½ cup of water into a water and bring it to a boil.
  2. Add 4 tablespoons of dried basil and allow it to steep for a few minutes.
  3. Line a funnel with coffee filter paper and place it in the opening of a clean spray bottle. Pour the basil mixture into the funnel.
  4. Remove the filter and then add ¾ cup of boiling water, 1 tablespoon of vodka, and 5 drops of lemon essential oil to the mixture.
  5. Cap and shake the spray bottle.

10. Orange-Clove Pomander Balls

The fragrant orange-clove pomander ball has been making homes and closets fragrant since medieval times. Hang them up to spread their spiced scent or drive pests away from pantries and other storage spaces. These DIY air fresheners are also a wonderful craft project for kids!

Instructions:

  1. Poke the pointed ends of whole cloves into the rind of a fresh orange. You can arrange the cloves to form designs and patterns on the pomander.
  2. If you want to hang the pomander, simply thread some ribbon underneath the skin and tie the ribbon in a loop.
  3. For a richer aroma, you can roll the pomander balls around in other spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom.

Say goodbye to stale and unpleasant odors! Bring luxurious scents into your home with these 10 DIY air fresheners, and you’ll feel relaxed from the moment you walk through the front door.

For an even more comfortable atmosphere, try keeping a few pots of low-maintenance plants around the house as well.

Did you find this article interesting? Visit our blog regularly for more tips on home improvement and interior design.

Tips to Avoid Interior Design Mistakes

Mistakes are common in just about anything that the human race does. After all, we are indeed human, and we err all the time.

Still, we should always try to avoid mistakes, especially when it comes to projects that are literally closer to home, like interior design.

Many believe that all interior design serves is the homeowners’ ego, that it does nothing more than provide them with a way to pompously express and show off their superior taste in decorating a home.

The truth is, interior design is more than just about getting your décor right. While making the inside of a home aesthetically pleasing is a primary goal, interior design as we know it today also makes the use of any given space better and more efficient.

ALSO READ: Interior Design Ideas for Small Spaces

Look at what interior designers do these days, and you’ll see that most of their work has fully incorporated function with form.

Considering that interior designers now factor in function with their work, it has become imperative for them and their clients to keep the mistakes to a minimum. Check it out the infographic below for tips on the most common interior design mistakes to avoid.

Common Interior Design Mistakes To Avoid

Why Your Home Should Have More Natural Light

It’s sad that we depend so much on artificial lighting when we have an inexhaustible (at least in the next few billion years) source of natural light, our very own sun.

The natural light the sun provides comes with a host of health benefits, and it’s regrettable that we aren’t getting much of it into our homes.

Sunlight’s capability to trigger Vitamins B and D production in our bodies should be one primary reason to let in more natural light. Both vitamins are instrumental in keeping our teeth and bones strong and healthy, which is why it’s puzzling why we aren’t trying that hard to get more sun.

The rays of the sun are also a natural antiseptic. Instead of soaking our entire home in synthetic antibacterial products, why don’t we just fight them off with UV rays, which also happen to help boost red and white cell production, our circulation, and our immune system?

We all should let more natural light into our homes not only for the health benefits but also to complement our interior design. Check out the infographic below for tips on how to do just that.

ALSO READ: Paint Colors for a Bedroom Without Natural Light

 

Great Ways Interior Designers Can Let Natural Light Into Your Home Infographic

12 Homemade Cleaning Ingredients for Your Green Home

Most store-bought home cleaning products are loaded with harmful chemicals intended to make life easier. However, while they offer convenience, the cost of these chemical-based items are high: long-term health issues and environmental pollution.

In fact, reports claim that an average household fosters some 62 toxic substances, many of which are linked to asthma, cancer, hormone disruption and neurotoxicity. In the US, for instance, one out of three people suffer from asthma and allergies triggered by the synthetic chemicals found in air freshener, fabric softeners and other cleaning products. Yet, the government doesn’t require manufacturers to list ingredients on their products, making it harder for consumers to make more informed decisions.

The truth is, you don’t need to spend your money on these chemical-filled cleaners. Instead, you can make your own homemade cleaning items that can be as effective, even better than the commercial ones, sans the harmful effects they entail.

In this article, we listed some of the most effective, eco-friendly ingredients you can use to clean your home. We also included a handful of recipes you can try. You’ll be surprised to see that some of the items are already in your pantry.

Safe Ingredients for Homemade Cleaning Products

  1. Alcohol. Alcohol is an effective disinfectant. But, while isopropyl is a likely choice, the safety concerns surrounding it make the other forms of alcohol such as vodka or ethanol a better option.
  2. Baking Soda. The use of baking soda to clean, deodorize and soften water has been known for over a century. It is the workhorse of all cleaning items that is versatile and cheap.
  3. Cornstarch. A spoonful of cornstarch is often used in a homemade glass cleaning solution. It can also be used to polish furniture, clean the carpets and rugs.
  4. Hydrogen Peroxide. Aside from its antiseptic properties, hydrogen peroxide has a bleaching effect that makes it great for removing stains on fabrics and grouts. It is also used to disinfect the kitchen.
  5. Lemon Juice. For less than a dollar, you can already have one of the strongest food acids that can fight against most household bacteria. Stock a few pieces of lemon the next time you’re grocery shopping.
  6. Oxygen Bleach. Like any regular bleach, an oxygen-based bleach removes stains and whitens fabrics but, in the gentlest manner. It has many other applications in home stain removal.
  7. Soap. An unscented soap in powder, bar or liquid form is a multipurpose cleaning solution that is typically biodegradable. Castile soap is a great example of a versatile and plant-based cleaner.
  8. Tea Tree Oil. A few drops of tea tree oil is already a potent cleaning ingredient for the home. It is often used in combination with other materials such as vinegar and water to make a scented cleaner.
  9. Vegetable Oils. A plant-based oil such as olive or linseed oil is a safe and natural alternative to store-bought wood polishes. It lets you skip the chemicals in its commercial counterparts.
  10. White Vinegar. Like baking soda, white vinegar is a natural disinfectant that is both versatile and inexpensive. It can cut through grease, remove mildew and wax build-up, and eliminate bad odors.
  11. Washing Soda. Washing soda is often used to remove stains, clean walls and bathroom surfaces. It must be handled with care as it can irritate the mucous membranes.
  12. Citrus Solvent. A citrus solvent is a natural replacement for paint thinners. It is useful in cleaning paint brushes as well as removing oil, grease, grime and some stains on carpets and other surfaces.

NOTE: Use citrus solvent sparingly as it can cause irritation on the skin, lungs or eyes.

Homemade Cleaning Solutions

All-Purpose Surface Cleaner

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup white vinegar
  • 2 tbsps. baking soda
  • 10 drops of antibacterial essential oil (tea tree, lavender or lemon)

Mix vinegar with essential oils before adding the baking soda. Pour the mixture in a 12oz. glass spray bottle and fill it water. Shake well and use it by spraying on the problem surface and wipe off afterward.  

Hardwood Floor Cleaner

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 15 drops antiseptic essential oil (lavender, eucalyptus or tea tree)
  • 1 cup water

To remove scuff marks, mix equal parts of water and vinegar with 15 drops of the essential oil and pour in a spray bottle. Sprinkle some baking soda over the scuffs and spray the mixture over it. Allow it to fizz for a few seconds before scrubbing off until the mark fades.  

TIP: For a floor polish, mix equal parts of olive oil with white vinegar and use it as usual.

Kitchen Surface Cleaner

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup vinegar
  • 1 cup water

Mix vinegar and water and use it to wipe kitchen surfaces, countertops and other areas. You can also use it to clean drains by pouring the solution down the drain. Let it sit for 30 mins. before flushing down with cold water.

  • For grease stains: cover grease with salt and let it sit for an hour before brushing away.
  • For permanent marker stains: soak a cotton ball with alcohol and gently polish.

Window and Glass Cleaner

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup white vinegar
  • ½ tsp. liquid soap
  • 8 drops of antiseptic essential oil (orange, tea tree or lemon)
  • 2 cups water

Pour ingredients in a spray bottle and shake well. To use it, spray it on the window or glass surface, wiping it off after a few minutes of interval. Use a scrub, sponge or cotton cloth as needed.

Bathrooms

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup vinegar
  • ¼ cup baking soda

Mix baking soda with vinegar and use it to clean the basin and moldy tiles. You can also use it to tackle mineral deposits on the showerhead and faucet by pouring vinegar into a plastic bag, securing it with rubber bands and let it soak overnight. Rinse with water afterward.

Carpet Cleaner

Ingredients:

  • Baking soda (enough to cover the grease)
  • 1 tbsp. liquid soap
  • 1 tbsp. white vinegar
  • 2 cups warm water

Cover the grease with baking soda and allow it to sit for at least 10 minutes before vacuuming. Mix the dish soap, white vinegar, and water, then sponge the mixture onto the grease. Blot using a clean cloth until the stain fades.

If you are not inclined to make your own homemade cleaning products, there are also an increasing number of eco-friendly cleaning products that you can buy. Both these recipes and eco-friendly products are designed to contribute to a healthier environment. Meanwhile, you can also try these low-maintenance indoor plants and trees to further green your home.  

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