Inside a Dreamy Bedroom Makeover for a Deserving Mom

Inside a Dreamy Bedroom Makeover for a Deserving Mom

How to Clean Pillows in a Few Simple Steps

How to Clean Pillows in a Few Simple Steps

When you’re washing your pillowcases and sheets, don’t forget to clean your pillows. The experts give us their best tips for different types, from the ones on your bed to decorative accents.

They cushion your head when you sleep, and they’re a major player in a polished-looking bed—but compared to bigger bedroom pieces, pillows can sometimes seem a little insignificant. So even if you’re the type who regularly deep cleans the house, it’s easy to overlook cleaning your pillows. You’re probably washing your sheets and the pillowcases on a regular basis—that is important, of course—but, let’s face it: Those fluffy, feather-filled sacks (which absorb oils from your hair) also need some extra TLC. Keep in mind that not all pillows can be cleaned the same—down and feather-filled ones require a different method than decorative accent pillows you have on your sofa or chair. It’s not hard or time-consuming; just follow our expert tips and tricks for foolproof pillow cleaning that will leave them looking like new. Plus, we’ll also give you tips for cleaning your mattress and pillowcases while you’re at it, too.

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Wash Pillowcases Weekly

When it comes to washing pillowcases, the pros suggest a weekly (and twice-weekly during the hot summer months) machine wash. If the cases are made of cotton, flannel, synthetic, bamboo, or modal, wash them in hot water. If your pillowcases are linen, silk, or sateen-weave cotton, opt for the gentle cycle and a cold water wash. Dry both on the low setting.

7 Sleek and Sophisticated Bathroom Accessories

7 Sleek and Sophisticated Bathroom Accessories

Mix marble pieces and metallic accents and even a basic bathroom will shine. Look for essentials with luxe details, like a brassy brush stand, a hand-carved storage box, or a gold-lacquer hamper.

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Fault Hamper

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At nearly two feet tall, this lidded laundry hamper would add just the right amount of metallic shimmer to a bathroom or bedroom.

Photo by cb2.com

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Geo Marble Box

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Stash jewelry or cotton swabs within this solid marble box. The addition of a brass handle makes it extra glam for your bathroom’s countertop.

Photo by westelm.com

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Brass Toilet Paper Storage Tower

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Functional and fashionable, this sleek brass tower will keep backup rolls of toilet paper at the ready.

Photo by cb2.co



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Classic Bath Towels

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Super soft and absorbent, these Turkish cotton bath towels will become the ones you reach for after every shower. Choose from four neutral shades.

Photo by parachutehome.com

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Quip Electric Toothbrush

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Yep, even a toothbrush can add to your décor. Sign up to receive replacement heads for this electric option every three months for ultimate freshness.

Photo by getquip.com

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Aila Earring Organizer

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Corral up to 43 pairs of studs and chandelier earrings on this hinged organizer. Choose from a gold or copper finish.

 

5 Mini Decorating Moves for a Boring Home Office

5 Mini Decorating Moves for a Boring Home Office

See how a designer transformed Broadway and TV star Sutton Foster’s home office in just five easy steps.

 

Photos by Matt Harrington Photo

A home office can easily become a neglected space. Since it’s not usually a place to entertain guests or hang out, people tend to keep the home office bare and focus their decorating efforts on other spaces, like the living room, dining room, or family room—which was the case with the home office in actress Sutton Foster’s New York City apartment.

So Foster enlisted the help of interior designer Mike Harrison and HomeGoods to give the office more personality and style. “Functionality doesn’t mean lack of style,” Harrison says. “One of the great advantages of this space was that there was so much natural light with a stunning view, so the interest is already built into one entire wall. Another great plus was that the three pieces of existing furniture were beautiful, quality pieces so my job was just to marry the function with the style of the space and execute a clear vision for the room.”

Foster, who wanted the space to be neutral but not boring, says Harrison’s updates make the new office “come to life.” And it was all done with some inexpensive styling tricks you can use to give your own space a makeover. Here, Harrison’s tips:

1. Bring in Color.
Your favorite, eye-catching colors can make a space feel unique and more relaxed. “For this room in particular, it was important to Sutton that it be a place of inspiration for her husband, who is a professional writer,” Harrison says. “She wanted a space full of interest with a sophisticated whimsy. I wanted to achieve this through a layered neutral palette, with an occasional pop of color.”

2. Add Accessories.
“When personalizing an office space on a budget, try to remember that a little goes a long way,” he says. “One new desk lamp or one new rug can really transform a room. Also, it’s important to remember that even if a room needs to function as an office, it is still an extension of your home. It doesn’t need to be stale and corporate, so inject personal touches like framed pictures, special objects, and artwork.” In Foster’s office, Harrison added a geometric rug, abstract art, patterned pillows, plants, and unexpected lighting.

3. Play With Scale.
Often, your home office might be a small nook or a tiny room, so it’s important to maximize every inch of space. “When dealing with smaller spaces remember that scale is important,” Harrison says. “I used a great mirrored end table to serve as a coffee table instead. I also found a clean, white leather desk chair that brightened up the space to juxtapose the dark wood in the furniture.”

4. Organize With Style.
Keep the clutter contained. “Since the office is a highly functional room, organization is key,” he says. “Let the organizational supplies that you use exhibit the room’s style.” And, luckily, you can easily find inexpensive office supplies that pack a lot of color and flair—think metallic notebooks and pens, acrylic boxes and pencil cups, and colorful tape dispensers and staplers.

5. “Fake” an Office.
Don’t have a designated office? Don’t worry: You can still create a working space wherever you have a little bit of extra space. “Create room for a small desk in your living area, bedroom, or even dining area,” Harrison says. “You can add floating shelves above it to house office supplies and display decorative objects.” Ta-da, an office nook.

Patio Furniture Cleaning Tips

Patio Furniture Cleaning Tips

Follow these simple instructions once a month and neither rain, wind, sun, nor drop of bird can ruin your patio pieces.

Cast Aluminum

Cover furniture pieces from top to bottom with all-purpose cleaner and rub with a nylon scrub brush. Next, wipe with a microfiber cloth. For extra protection, finish with a coat of car wax, says Linda Cobb, the author of the Queen of Clean book series.

Cushions

Combine 1 quart warm water, 1 teaspoon dishwashing detergent, and 1 tablespoon borax in a bucket. Dip a sponge in the solution, then use it to scrub the cushions on all sides. Let the solution soak in for 15 minutes. Rinse with a hose. Stand each cushion on an edge until dry.

Umbrella

Hose down the umbrella. Rub a wet soft-bristle brush across a bar of laundry soap. Run it over the open canopy, working from bottom to top. Rinse with a hose. Leave the umbrella open until dry. In between cleanings, wipe off bird droppings as soon as you spot them; the high acid content damages fabric, says Don Aslett, the founder of the Museum of Clean, in Pocatello, Idaho.

Wicker

Use the vacuum’s crevice attachment to dislodge leaves and bugs from the cracks. (A paintbrush works well, too, says Cobb.) Next, wet a microfiber cloth with all-purpose cleaner and glide it over the wicker. Rinse with a damp sponge. Dry with a cloth to prevent mildew.

 

How to Purge Plastic From Your Kitchen

How to Purge Plastic From Your Kitchen

Whether or not your plastic containers are BPA-free, some research suggests that they might still contain harmful chemicals. Want to go plastic-free at home? Here are six genius swaps to make it happen.

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Photo by Will Heap/Getty Images

Swap plastic wrap for…

  • Bee’s Wrap, reusable sheets of organic cotton muslin that are infused with beeswax. Use the heat of your hands to mold around the top of a bowl, sandwiches, cheese, or a loaf of bread. Each sheet lasts for a year, and comes in a variety of beautiful, vibrant patterns.
  • GIR Silicone Lids come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and colors, and suction onto every sort of bowl and casserole dish to keep food fresh.
  • Tinfoil! To keep things simple.

Swap zippered plastic bags for…

  • Lekue silicone food storage bags, which are safe for the fridge and freezer. Each reusable, dishwasher-safe bag has a sturdy zipper and flat bottom, so it stands up on its own. Each bag has cup, ml, and oz measurements marked clearly on the side.
  • Lunchskins Sandwich Bags are made from lightweight, quick drying cotton fabric. Each cute bag fastens with a hook and loop, and is dishwasher safe.

Swap plastic storage containers for…

  • Anchor Hocking Glass refrigerator sets, which are made from sturdy, dishwasher-, microwave-, and oven-safe glass. They come in a variety of sizes and have heavy glass lids that keep food fresh. Opt for these 100 percent glass containers over storage containers that have glass bottoms and plastic tops.
  • Stainless Steel Tiffin, traditional Indian food carriers made from stackable tiers. In other words, these compartments take up minimal space in your refrigerator, and keep food super organized. They make fantastic lunchboxes, too.
  • Weck jars or mason jars.

Swap ice packs for…

  • Oynx Stainless Steel Ice Packs are about the size of an iPhone, and can slip directly next to your food. Filled with distilled water, they freeze solid in about two hours, and will keep lunch cool for four to six hours.

Swap plastic water bottles for…

  • Klean Kanteen water bottles come in a variety of colors, shapes, and sizes—and are made entirely of stainless steel.
  • Hydro Flask products have insulated walls that keep drinks cold for 24 hours, and warm beverages hot for six hours.

Swap sippy cups for…

  • Pura Kiki Toddler Bottle, made from stainless steel with a silicone spout and travel cap, is totally plastic-free. Internal volume markings make measuring beverages a breeze.
  • Green Sprouts Glass Sip ‘n Straw Cup holds liquid in a glass insert that’s covered with a plastic shield for protection (which never comes in contact with the beverage). This is a great option if you’re looking for a transparent sippy cup.

How to Clean a Glass Stovetop

How to Clean a Glass Stovetop

Clean a scorched stovetop with this simple solution.

“I left a pan on a high flame, and now there’s a black ring on my glass stovetop that won’t come off.”

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The fix: Rub the stain with a silicone spatula; small circular motions will loosen debris and fade the color, says Meg Roberts, the president of Molly Maid, a nationwide cleaning service. Then make a paste with 4 tablespoons of baking soda plus a little water and spread it on the stain. Place a warm damp rag on top and let it sit for 30 minutes. Wipe the area clean. If the stain persists, make another paste using 4 tablespoons of baking soda and 1 tablespoon of distilled vinegar. Let the mixture sit for about a minute on the stain, scrub it in with a microfiber cloth, then remove the residue with a wet cloth. The next time you clean the stove, apply a glass-cooktop cleaner (such as Cerama bryte cooktop cleaner; $12, acehardware.com) to the stovetop, then polish with a paper towel, says Bridgid Blocker, the test-kitchen manager for GE appliances.

Patio Furniture Cleaning Tips

Patio Furniture Cleaning Tips

Follow these simple instructions once a month and neither rain, wind, sun, nor drop of bird can ruin your patio pieces.

index

Cast Aluminum

Cover furniture pieces from top to bottom with all-purpose cleaner and rub with a nylon scrub brush. Next, wipe with a microfiber cloth. For extra protection, finish with a coat of car wax, says Linda Cobb, the author of the Queen of Clean book series.

Cushions

Combine 1 quart warm water, 1 teaspoon dishwashing detergent, and 1 tablespoon borax in a bucket. Dip a sponge in the solution, then use it to scrub the cushions on all sides. Let the solution soak in for 15 minutes. Rinse with a hose. Stand each cushion on an edge until dry.

Umbrella

Hose down the umbrella. Rub a wet soft-bristle brush across a bar of laundry soap. Run it over the open canopy, working from bottom to top. Rinse with a hose. Leave the umbrella open until dry. In between cleanings, wipe off bird droppings as soon as you spot them; the high acid content damages fabric, says Don Aslett, the founder of the Museum of Clean, in Pocatello, Idaho.

Wicker

Use the vacuum’s crevice attachment to dislodge leaves and bugs from the cracks. (A paintbrush works well, too, says Cobb.) Next, wet a microfiber cloth with all-purpose cleaner and glide it over the wicker. Rinse with a damp sponge. Dry with a cloth to prevent mildew.

3 Feng Shui Tips

3 Feng Shui Tips

Follow these three decorating tricks to make your house feel happy and calm.

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1. Clear Clutter

Mess is the number one enemy of feng shui. Dead or uncared-for piles sap your home’s strength and block positive energy from entering. Most significant is entryway clutter, so deal with this first. Next up, any clutter at the center of your home.

2. Fix or Toss Broken Things

They’re impediments to vitality. Toss chipped plates, burned-out bulbs, and clothes with holes. Repair stopped clocks, clogged drains, teetering chairs, and loose cabinet pulls.

3. Clean the Windows and Oil the Doors

In feng shui, the windows are the eyes of a home, and the front door is its mouth. To bring clarity to the space (and to yourself), maintain them, making sure that they open, close, and lock well.

Want to know more? Learn all about fung shui, then use this 8-point guide to create a feng shui house.

How to Care for Hardwood Floors

How to Care for Hardwood Floors

Follow these easy steps and you’ll soon worship the ground you walk on.

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Tread Lightly

You don’t have to enforce a strict no-shoes policy, but whenever possible, avoid walking on wood floors in high heels, which can easily dent the surface. Furniture can scratch wood, too, so adhere felt pads to the bottoms of all chair and table legs. Put doormats outside every entrance to keep out dirt, sand, and salt. “If you take this precaution, you’ll prevent particles on the soles of your shoes from damaging—and possibly even removing—your floor’s finish,” says Brett Miller, the director of education at the National Wood Flooring Association.

Stay Cool

The ideal temperature for wood floors is 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit, with a 30 to 50 percent humidity level. Keep the thermostat in that range year-round and you’ll lessen the chance of planks gapping and buckling, which is caused by drastic changes in heat and moisture, says Miller. But don’t sweat slight heat fluctuations: The room temperature has to change radically and stay that way for a prolonged period to affect the wood.

Keep Dust in Check

Debris takes a toll on a floor’s sheen. Sweep or vacuum twice a week—or every day, if you’re up for it. Once a week, use a microfiber mop with a pH-neutral cleaner (like Bona Hardwood Floor Cleaner; $9.50, us.bona.com) or a homemade solution (1 tablespoon distilled vinegar in 1 gallon of water) to wipe up stuck-on dirt. Avoid products that claim to “shine,” “polish,” or “rejuvenate”; they often contain additives, like acrylic wax, which create a buildup, says Josh Frink, the wood-floor chairman for the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification.

Bring in Pros

Properly maintained floors may never require replacement. “Many wood floors on the East Coast are well over 100 years old,” says Frink. But when the wood loses its luster, hire an expert to apply a new coat of finish. If your floors see a lot of foot traffic, food spills, or pet mischief, have the surface sanded every 7 to 10 years or whenever you notice worn areas, loss of stain color, or gouges.