Art dealer examining painting in art gallery

A Guide to Collecting Art in the Digital Age

A Guide to Collecting Art in the Digital Age

You don’t need to spend your life savings on a curated art collection.

When you hear the phrase “art collecting” a couple things might come to mind: it’s expensive, it’s complicated, and it’s totally unattainable until you retire (or win the lottery). But these days, thanks to the Internet, it’s easier than ever to start your own collection—without breaking the bank.

Online retailers like Twyla and Saatchi Art have transformed the art-buying process by making it quicker, less expensive, and intimidation-free. To eliminate any first-time jitters, we’ve asked art experts to share their insider secrets and tips so that you can master the art of art collecting.


Listen to Your Gut


Photo by Hero Images/Getty Images

You’ll know when it’s love at first sight, says Ariel Saldivar, VP of Artist Relations at Twyla. “When I was 22 living in Dallas, I visited an artist community called The Continental Gin Studios. There, I met Douglas Cartmel, an artist, whom I befriended and bought my first piece of art from—a seascape on titanium for $400. I had such a strong connection to it that I had to have it despite the price (Which led me to eating cereal and ramen for every meal for a long while!).”

While a $400 price tag may be hard to swallow, Saldivar suggests mixing in less expensive pieces so you won’t go completely broke (and live off boxed food forever). And if you’d prefer to test the waters before you commit, Twyla offers a 30-day trial for $30. So if your heart doesn’t skip a beat every time you walk by the picture, painting, or poster, you can return it up to 30 days after receiving it—no questions asked.


Do Your Research

Rebecca Wilson, the chief curator of Saatchi Art, advises shoppers to get a head start on art collecting. “Buy works from emerging artists before they get snapped up by galleries and their prices start to go up.” If you’re unsure where to start, Saatchi Art hosts an “Invest in Art” series twice a year, which showcases the most exciting emerging artists to keep an eye out for. Wilson also suggests experiencing art before investing in a piece of your own—whether by going to shows, reading art-focused magazines, or simply browsing museums or online. “This will help you to get a clearer sense of what you like and the art market in general,” she says. Luckily, the Internet has made the art world more transparent and available to the masses.


Be Bold

Art is meant to strike up a conversation. There is no wrong way to collect art as long as you’re happy with the pieces you’re choosing and aren’t afraid to experiment. At Twyla, for example, the art is exclusive to the website, so it’s a sure way to get your hands on a one-of-a-kind piece. The bottom line? Your motive should be discovering a style that you love—not prestige or a high price tag. “If the work goes up in value in the future, that’s an added bonus, but shouldn’t be what drives your purchase,” Wilson says.


Mix It Up

Saldivar suggests collecting pieces from all over: a vacation spot, a local boutique, or even your daily commute. Instead of buying the same old keychain or mug when you travel, take home a piece of art that you’ll never tire looking at.

Overall, art collecting is about finding pieces that speak to you. So go with your gut, do your research, take risks, and incorporate fun finds from your life. That way, the experts say, you can’t lose.


6 Eco-Friendly Home Décor Finds

6 Eco-Friendly Home Décor Finds

Going green can also be glamorous with the help of these environmentally-friendly accents.


Recycled Glass Jug


The touch of twine on the neck gives this recycled glass jug a pretty, earthy flair. Use it as a doorstop in an entryway or as décor on a screened-in porch.


Woven Chindi Metal Bench


Made in India with repurposed fabric scraps, this one-of-a-kind bench offers a great way to add some eclectic flair into your space.


Recycled Rope Doormat


Leave dirt and debris at the door with this durable mat at the ready. The recycled polyester is resistant to mildew, so it can withstand the springtime mudroom mess.


Common Good Dish Soap


A concentrated, plant-based formula enhanced with natural extracts is stored within a sleek glass bottle to tackle a multitude of kitchen messes.


Reclaimed Teak Garden Stool


Whether adorning your indoor workspace or your exterior potting shed, this reclaimed teak stool will be a—ahem—natural fit wherever it’s placed.

Farmstead Stoneware Striped Serving Bowl


Crafted in Portugal with lead-free glazes and scrap materials, this handmade bowl may have had minor environmental impact, but its bright colors are sure to offer major wow-factor.


How to Reduce Food Waste

How to Reduce Food Waste

Every year, the United States chucks nearly 40 percent of its food. Dana Gunders, a senior scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the author of The Waste-free Kitchen Handbook, offers money- and planet-saving tips.


Photo by Peter Oumanski

Your book says the United States wastes 50 percent more food now than it did in the 1970s. Why is that?
Portion sizes have grown tremendously since then. Plus, it’s become normal for restaurants and caterers to produce excessive menus and buffets and for consumers to buy more than they need.

We’ve come to expect large amounts of food.
Yes. Research NRDC has done found that people are not comfortable with empty white space on plates or in fridges or grocery carts. There’s an urge to fill those spaces with food. And in our culture, throwing food out is acceptable. In fact, leaving something on your plate is considered posh.

What else contributes to food waste?
A lot of produce won’t get picked for market because it’s not pretty enough to be sold. It gets tossed or turned into the soil.

What’s the environmental impact?
About 70 percent of our water and 50 percent of our land is devoted to agriculture. So when we’re not eating that food, it’s a huge unnecessary use of resources. About 33 million cars’ worth of greenhouse gases are produced to grow food that never gets eaten.

What types of food get wasted most?
Fruits and vegetables. Tied for second are dairy products and bread. Meat is third, but it has the biggest impact. If you throw out a hamburger, that’s the equivalent of taking a 90-minute shower, in terms of the water it took to produce it.

How can we waste less produce?
If you need small amounts of specific fruits or veggies for a recipe, buy them from the salad bar so the excess won’t rot in your fridge. Or buy frozen versions, which have almost the same nutritional value with none of the pressure.

What else can we do?
Be realistic. What tends to happen is you buy all these groceries on the weekend because you’re feeling aspirational about how much you’re going to cook. But by Wednesday, life has happened and you’re ordering takeout. And then the broccoli goes bad. Instead, plan for that. If you can, shop often and buy less.

How else can we be conscientious shoppers?
Use a shopping list or an app. And take a last look in your cart before checking out. Think about when in the near future you’re going to eat each item. If you don’t have a clear answer, don’t buy it.

You also talk about conducting a “waste audit.”
For two weeks, jot down what you throw out to pinpoint what you are wasting and why. Did dinner plans change? Did you get wooed by a sale and buy too much? Write down the cost so you feel the financial pain.

How closely should we follow expiration dates?
Take them with a grain of salt, as they’re not federally regulated. A “use by” or “best by” date typically says when the product will be at its best quality. There may be a change in taste, color, or texture.

So we may be throwing out food that’s still OK?
Yes. A big misunderstanding is that when food is old, it will make you sick. The main reason for illness is pathogens like salmonella and E. coli that contaminate food at the farm or processing plants.

What do we need to be careful of?
Mold, green potatoes, and rancid meat, oil, or nuts.

What are some ideas to use up food?
Toss a mishmash of items into a tortilla or in fried rice or pasta salad. You can also sauté wilted lettuce with butter and garlic. Even if you waste a little bit less, it’s still an accomplishment.


5 Unexpected Causes of Pollution

5 Unexpected Causes of Pollution

Five surprising ways you’re hurting the environment—and the surprisingly easy changes you can make to be greener.


Using Body Wash All the Time


Photo by Aaron Dyer, Prop Styling by JoJo Li

Liquid soaps require five times more energy for raw-material production and nearly 20 times more energy for packaging production than bar soaps do. “And higher energy consumption usually correlates with a higher carbon footprint,” says David Tyler, a professor of chemistry at the University of Oregon, in Eugene.

Greener Habit
Stick with bars when you wash up. Not only do they have a considerably lower impact on the environment but also you’ll use less. A study from Zurich’s Institute of Environmental Engineering found that consumers use almost seven times more liquid soap than bar soap when hand washing, so it’s quite likely that we’re overdoing it in the shower as well.


Being Oblivious to Your Electronics Settings

The average home contains about 24 energy-sucking electronic devices, with TVs, desktop computers, cable boxes, and game consoles among the worst. Combined, they consumed about $20 billion worth of electricity in 2013, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), in New York.

Greener Habit
It’s easy to tweak a TV, so start there. Select “home” mode in the setup instead of “retail,” which is meant for a bright in-store display. If there is an automatic brightness control, turn it on. “This feature measures the amount of light in a room and adjusts the screen. This can cut energy use by up to 50 percent,” says Noah Horowitz, a senior scientist for the NRDC. On smart TVs, disable the quick-start function, which eats up extra power.


Running the Dishwasher and the Clothes Dryer During the Day

These machines produce heat and humidity, which means your air conditioner has to work harder, says Jennifer Amann, the buildings program director at the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, in Washington, D.C. Besides, many utility companies charge higher rates during peak hours.

Greener Habit
Use your dishwasher and dryer during off-peak hours, which typically start between 8 P.M. and midnight and end around sunrise. (Check with your provider.) For maximum efficiency, use a low dryer setting, and line-dry thick items, like jeans and towels, whenever possible.


Tossing Used Coffee Pods

Around 9.8 billion K-cup pods were sold in 2014. (They account for a reported 85 to 90 percent of the coffee-pod market.) The number 7 plastic most contain isn’t accepted at many recycling plants (also, plants won’t accept pods if they are filled with coffee), so a majority end up in landfills, says Elizabeth Glazner, the editorial director of the nonprofit organization Plastic Pollution Coalition.

Greener Habit
Find a nearby recycling facility that will take them by searching for “number 7 plastic” at Then separate the plastic cup from the lid, the filter, and the grounds. The Recycle A Cup gadget ($13, will do this in seconds. Or mail pod plastic to Recycle A Cup for free recycling. Easier yet, use a refillable pod (My K-Cup, $15,


Overdoing It With Aluminum Foil

Americans discarded about 2.8 million tons of aluminum—including containers, cans, and foil—in 2013, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Whereas soiled containers can be recycled, dirty foil can’t. And it can take centuries for aluminum to biodegrade.

Greener Habit
Use unbleached parchment paper for baking and roasting as well as for wrapping sandwiches and snacks. It’s biodegradeable, compostable, and often reusable.


Recycling Symbols, Decoded

Recycling Symbols, Decoded

What do those symbols on plastic bottles mean? And why are they different from the ones on the box your latest online purchase came in? Here, the cheat sheet you need properly dispose of recyclables.


When did lending a hand to Mother Earth become Hieroglyphics 101? We’ll admit—the chasing arrows and reuse codes befuddle us at times, too. According to the Sustainable Packaging Coalition’s 2015-2016 Report, 94 percent of the US population has access to some type of recycling program, but not every community accepts all materials, thus relying on symbols to dictate reuse and disposal. While the forms might resemble, they can vary in function for consumers and producers alike.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has outlined marketing guidelines for recycled merchandising and promotion, requiring prominent notation of product, package, and service claims. In other words, “recycled content” can refer to the product (say, aluminum foil) or the packaging (cardboard box). And just because your water bottle is recycled, doesn’t mean your cap is too. Here are a few everyday emblems handy for those moments of curbside confusion or grocery-aisle deciphering.


Recyclable Symbol


Recycling’s universal insignia, the Mobius Loop, was coined by University of Southern California student Gary Anderson in honor of the first Earth Day in 1970. Today, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recognizes it as an indication of recyclability, meaning it is accepted by most community programs for repurposing, but it doesn’t necessarily contain reclaimed materials.


Recycled Symbol


Three arrows enclosed in a circle implies the object is recycled, but take care to note what is repurposed—the packaging, lid or cap, or product itself—as producers are required by the FTC to indicate. Black arrows against a white background imply a combination of new and reused materials, and sometimes contain the exact percentage in the loop’s center. When the arrows are white and the background is black, the product is 100 percent recycled.


Plastic Codes


Often, plastic items identify the exact type by a ranked Resin Identification Code scale, which indicates the specific category and proper disposal method. For example, polyethylene terephalates (Level 1) compose most clear containers—think soda bottles and ketchup—whereas their screw-on caps are polypropylenes (Level 5). Both can typically be collected curbside, but the former is repurposed for tote bags and the latter becomes brooms or brushes. Not all communities will accept each number, so check with your center before discarding. Hint: The higher the number, the less common the plastic, and thus more difficult to reuse.

Industry-Specific Symbols


For discarded cardboard, glass, or even mobile phones, organizations like the Electronic Recyclers International or Recycled Paperboard Alliance have adopted their own trademarked badges apart from common monograms. You might recognize cereal boxes branded with the “100% Recycled Paperboard” seal, implying their cardboard is entirely recycled. Or maybe you’ve seen companies bearing certificates of ERI registration. While following FTC guidelines, these groups operate closely on the producer level to monitor accreditation requirements beyond the broad scope of non-trademarked symbols.


De-Clutter & Organise Your Homes With These 5 Tips

De-Clutter & Organise Your Homes With These 5 Tips

Get 5 of the biggest clutter hotspots organized quickly with our room-by-room tips and tricks.

Ring. Ring.

It’s unexpected guests calling. They’ll just be popping over to drop something off and chat in about an hour or so.


Everyone’s shoes are piled up at the front door, the heap of holiday mail is all over the dining room table, your three teenagers’ stuff is crammed in the half bath upstairs, a science project is strewn around the kitchen and you’re apparently coaching a professional sports team in the garage.

Don’t worry. If you’ve got a few minutes before people arrive, you can get all of that looking decluttered in no time.

1. The Entrance Area
The front door or entrance area can be a major clutter spot. When everyone comes in from a long day the first thing they do is plop down bags, coats, shoes and other junk right there.

Stow Away Shoes and Boots: Put a basket, bin or low shelf near the doorway for everyone’s shoes, bags, coats, mittens and hats. Just go ahead and dump them all in. Then fold up a winter blanket and place it on top, covering the clutter.

If you don’t have any bins or baskets sitting around, take two minutes to pair up shoes (instead of just lumping them in a pile) and line them against the wall. Good enough.


Tip: On rainy days, avoid muddy or wet footprints by using a boot storage system you can make yourself! Take a large, high-edged cookie tray and place it by the front door. Attach some pebble sheeting you can get at any home improvement store inside the tray and have the kids put their wet rain boots right on top.

2. Mail
Grab some manila folders from the office and quickly make a pass at organizing the mail. Stick letters in one folder, magazines in another, etc. Then, throw all the sorted folders in a cabinet or drawer. You can go through them after the guests leave – and you may have the beginnings of a long-term solution.

3. The Bathroom
Most bathrooms are quite small, yet we keep a lot of important things in there. Make the most of the space with our de-cluttering ideas.

Take a Makeup Inventory: There’s probably a ton of makeup cluttering the bathroom sink and vanity. Quickly assign a drawer to each family member and stuff their items in there. Who cares if it’s wrong – you can sort it all out later.

Organize Items Based on Frequency of Use: Keep things you use daily – like toothpaste, makeup, lotion and razors – and move them to the easy-to-reach spots on the shelves and cabinets.

4. The Kitchen
They say the kitchen is the heart of the home. That usually means it’s the most cluttered too.

Those Darn Dishes: If you’re going to tackle one thing, make it the dishes. Just corralling them all from the various countertops and getting them into the sink (or in the oven, assuming you’re not baking) should be enough. Wipe the counters and the stove, push in the chairs and you’re good to go.

5. The Living Room
A stack of magazines looks better than having them all strewn about. Put stray dishes in the sink. Put smaller toys in bins or drawers, but bigger ones you can get away with just putting in a corner. If there’s a stray cheese puff on the carpet, go ahead and throw it away. But you can get away with not vacuuming. Run a Swiffer Duster along the TV, shelves and decorations and call it good.


6 ways to make your bedroom tidy

6 ways to make your bedroom tidy

Find out how you can tidy up your bedroom.

A messy bedroom is often the trademark of a child or teenager but adults are guilty too. An orderly bedroom creates a sanctuary that helps ensure a good night’s rest.

When our surroundings are clean, uncluttered and well-organized, we tend to be more productive and calmer in our lives. Arrange things in their rightful place, from the closet to the dresser, to reduce visual stress. These six tips will tame the chaos a little bit at a time.

1. Tackle the toughest place first: the closet
If you can’t see the floor of your closet then it’s probably time to throw out clothing and shoes that aren’t being worn. As a general rule, if you haven’t worn an item in a year it’s time to consider donating it to a local charity or have a rummage sale. Next, sort your scarves, belts and purses with hanging organizers and hooks. The objective is to easily find items when you need them. To prevent misshapen handbag straps, use decorative purse bins. Box any miscellaneous items in neutral or pretty containers but be sure to label everything. Though not as attractive, a modular set of clear-plastic drawers may be used for items that don’t hang well, such as an evening wrap. Place all items within easy reach. Slim nonslip hangers maximize space and ensure items don’t fall to the floor.

2. Keep night tables and dressing bureaus uncluttered
The rule of three applies here as it does with other furniture surfaces. The only items you need on a nightstand are a light, alarm clock and a catchall tray for keys, eyeglasses and water. If you read in bed, keep a book within reach too. Gather all other reading material, CDs and DVDs on your nightstand or bureau and put them in alphabetical order on a bookcase or invest in shelves.

Owning a nightstand that contains more than one drawer means clutter can be kept out of sight. Notepaper for taking messages and other items can be placed in compartmentalized drawers for easy access in the dark. To curb the mess on your vanity or dresser, choose acrylic makeup organizers and other non-plastic containers with sections for heated styling appliances, such as hair dryers and flat irons. New accessory holders are designed to hang from towel racks when flat surfaces are limited.

3. What’s under your bed?
When you were a child, monsters hid under the bed. Now, space under the bed is a prized commodity. De-clutter by creating an under-bed storage system. Long boxes or blanket bags with or without wheels are easy to open and allow storage of oversized items. Underbed shoe organizers with dividers are the perfect tool to hide away out-of-season shoes. In fact, any items that switch from season to season are the first things that can be assigned to under-bed storage.

4. Don’t overdo pillows and bedding
Raise your hand if you make the bed every day. We didn’t think so! But a neat bed sets the tone of the room. While lots of pillows and layers of pretty linens look great in decorator magazines they turn into clutter when tossed aside for sleeping. A trunk or storage chest at the foot of the bed can serve as a storage unit for pillows and blankets. It’s a bit more housekeeping, but your room will look neat and tidy when you rise in the morning.

5. Sort and customize
Before going to battle against clutter, it’s important to have a strategy. Sort items by size, style and color. If you are new to organizing, experts suggest dividing drawers and spaces into equal quadrants to get started. Next, measure closets, floor space and drawer interiors and draw a quick layout before shopping. Linen or mesh inserts are great for separating drawer contents, but for bulky items (or extra-large drawers), look for extendable plastic dividers. If you store items out-of-reach on a high shelf in the closet, invest in a garment hook and foldable two-step ladder to store under the bed.

6. Be patient and give rewards
Don’t get overwhelmed. Decide how you want to confront clutter. The best way to keep your room tidy and not let clutter take over your bedroom is to spend a few minutes each day to put things away, hang up clothes and toss things out. Remember, your best friend when dealing with paper clutter is the rubbish bin. Stay on top of the mess. It will make cleaning easier too. Set an example and reward your kids for keeping their rooms tidy. When not searching some something in a pile, you will have more time to read, rest and enjoy your sanctuary.


5 Tips For Hosting A Memorable Overnight Stay For Your Guests

5 Tips For Hosting A Memorable Overnight Stay For Your Guests

Inviting guests into your home involves more than providing a comfortable place to sleep, you have to make their stay memorable. You have to make them feel welcome. Here are a few tips on how, but be prepared, your guests might not want to leave… especially, if Lenor is your cohost.

Decorate Sparingly
Comfort, space and scents are more soothing in a new environment than unfamiliar ’junk’ (what is valuable to you might be junk for others). Place a single flower bloom in a simple glass, add a nice clock, and a selection of books, or music suited to your guests’ tastes. Also put in some nice scented candles, and make sure everything is freshly washed with a long lasting crispy scent from Lenor. Also, make sure that you place spring water and a few snacks in the room for your guests.

Room, Closets and Drawers
Choose the guest room carefully, and make sure there is adequate closet and drawer space. Supply a variety of hangers, and make certain there is a full-length mirror. A desk is always nice with papers and pen on it.

The Right Pillows and Sheets
Use cotton or linen sheets, ironed. Provide both light and heavy blankets. With Lenor, you can give the sheets a long-lasting and comforting scent. Careful, they might be late for breakfast, because they don’t want to leave their lovely smelling new bed for a while.

Ambi Pur Car Freshener Vanilla Bouqet
Ambi Pur Car Freshener Vanilla Bouqet

Ambi Pur – Eliminate car odour with the refreshing fragrance of Vanilla

Discover Now!

Add Warmth
For visitors during the coldest months, think of putting out extra blankets, soft and wonderfully smelling thanks to Lenor.

If the bathroom is shared, clear space in it for guests’ toiletries, supply clean and wonderfully smelling soft cotton towels. Lenor, here as well, can do the magic for you by combining luxury treatment with coziness and warmth.

Do you know why scented sheets and towels are so important? Because whenever your guests will smell that scent or a nice perfume close to it, even years later, it will remind them of the great times at your place. Your hospitality will become a happy memory that will stay with them forever.



5 Tips to Easily Clean Out Your Home to Bring In a Festival

5 Tips to Easily Clean Out Your Home to Bring In a Festival

During the festive season, guests or relatives show up at your home unexpectedly. Which is why, it is all the more important to keep your home clean and festival-ready.

Let’s face it, in India, every cause for celebration includes relatives and friends, especially when it comes to festivals. And another very characteristic Indian trait is to show up with little or no notice. While you can’t change the way your guests are, you can certainly be prepared for their arrival by keeping your home festival ready. These 5 house cleaning tips will get your home in shape for any and every Indian festival possible:

1. Get Rid of Clutter

Festivals are a time of celebration and renewed hope. Which is why, in the spirit of the festivities, clutter needs to go. Starting with clothes, you can donate good clothes that you haven’t worn in a while and you can use clothes in bad condition as wipe cloths. Next, clean your kitchen. Check cabinets for ancient jars, expired stuff as well as ingredients that you hoarded and never used. Throw out the useless items and donate the good yet unused ones. Voila, you have successfully uncluttered your home.

2. Lists Are Good

It is important to list all that you think needs to be done to get your home festival-ready. Then start striking those tasks off your list first. This has two real advantages; one is, even if you run out of time, for whatever reason, you will take care of all the essential cleaning. Secondly, by being organized you will get things done faster, leaving you with more time for secondary cleaning tasks. This is one of the most useful home cleaning tips around.

3. Try Using Cleaning Products 

Whether it is cleaning dirty floors with the latest floor cleaning agent or a high-tech vacuum that can help you clean cabinets and shelves better, it is always a good idea to invest in products that can simplify the cleaning process.

4. Divide and Rule

Target one area of your home at a time; that’s how to clean home sweet home the right way. This will make the cleaning process more effective because you will clean each area thoroughly instead of rushing through the process. What’s more, it will make you more productive because you won’t be as drained. To illustrate, focus on the kitchen on one day, then move on to bathrooms the next day, do the bedrooms the next day and leave the windows and fans for the day after.

5. Embellish and Decorate

Make a mental note to purchase items like lanterns, new bed sheets and curtains during end-of-season sales. This will ensure that you have everything you need when the festival is nigh. Last minute purchases during festivals are an expensive affair; do so only if urgent.

Now that you know how to clean your home in no time, you can do it in time for any festival.


30 minute home improvement

30 minute home improvement

Home renovation made easy with these quick but effective ideas.

You don’t have to move house to get the wow factor in your home, just use bold interior design ideas and tackle rooms one at a time rather than putting off what might seem like a bigger, impossible task.

Change the focus of your home interiors – move the sofa and the TV to different positions in the lounge. You’ll be amazed how this changes your perspective of a room you use all the time.

If you have room for a table in your kitchen, make a virtue of this space as a ‘dining room’. Using lighting (a low-hanging ceiling light or a well-positioned freestanding lamp next to your table and chairs) to create a ‘restaurant’ feel and to make this space feel different from the rest of the kitchen.

If your tiles are looking rather old and tired, simply re-grout them. Carefully dig out the old grout with a grout rake (these cost less than £5 at any big DIY store), making sure you don’t chip your tiles. Then mix up some new grout (go for a waterproof grout, again very cheap), apply it between your tiles and easily wipe off the excess. Even if you didn’t put up your original tiles, this is an easy job and will make your bathroom sparkle.

Rethink your lighting design. Many of us have a main light and bedside lamps, but by adding an extra freestanding lamp or safe, wallmounted candle holders, you can make your bedroom feel more relaxing and ‘loungey’ in the evenings.

Liven up kids bedroom furniture with just a few stencil patterns you can paint on together. Buy a huge poster map of the world and pin it up, or if you have solid plaster walls, clean one of them down and paint it with blackboard paint, then encourage the kids to get creative with chalks.

Savvy tip
Switch your living room curtains for full-length drapes and create an immediate dramatic effect. You don’t have to spend a fortune on home décor – even if you’re not great at making curtains yourself, places like IKEA do long curtains very affordably because they aren’t lined, so all you have to do is buy two pairs and layer them. Easy and cheaper than regular full-length curtains.