Entries in house (21)


Bringing the Garden Indoors

Indoor Gardens with 
Low-Maintenance Greenery  


As the colder months arrive and outdoor foliage goes into hibernation, many begin to crave the natural energy of greenery. Although maintaining house plants may sound like a chore, there are several house plants that require little effort or attention to grow. 

If you would like to start an indoor garden but prefer plants that require low maintenance and don’t cause a mess, consider starting with these five plants suggested by Midwest Living and The Huffington Post. 

Aloe vera 
This spiny green succulent does not need much water to thrive. As long as it does not sit in standing water and receives small amounts of water every week, it should remain healthy. If you want your aloe vera to thrive, keep it on a sunny windowsill in the kitchen so it can clean the air of formaldehyde and other chemicals. 

Aloe vera’s long, stalk-like leaves are filled with a gelatinous fluid that has anti-inflammatory and healing characteristics. Thus, having aloe vera on hand is beneficial for treating sunburns, scrapes and other wounds on the skin. 

Peace lily 
The white, spoon-shaped blooms of the peace lily have a unique appearance that stays hearty throughout the summer, and they do not need much attention to flourish. As long as the plant remains at a consistent, cool temperature with low humidity—easily achievable indoors—and receives occasional watering, it will remain healthy. 

The peace lily does not need constant, direct sunlight either; shaded areas of your home are suitable. Although it does produce pollen, it cleanses the air of toxins such as ammonia, benzene and formaldehyde. 

Spider plant 
The easiest houseplant to care for is the spider plant, which is recognizable for its long, thin leaves with a white stripe down the center. 

The spider plant’s leaves can communicate with inexperienced plant caretakers, as they will turn brown if they are receiving too much water, too little water or contaminated tap water. Weekly doses of rainwater work best for these plants. The spider plant thrives in indirect sunlight and is one of the best air-purifying plants, according to NASA. Benzene, carbon monoxide and xylene can all be purged from the air by a spider plant. 

Mother-in-law's tongue 
Many names exist for this type of sansevieria, including the snake plant, but mother-in-law’s tongue remains most popular because the plant can regularly be ignored, much like the words of its namesake. It prefers drier conditions and moderate sun exposure, only needing occasional watering and dusting. 

Unlike most plants, this resilient succulent releases oxygen throughout the night, keeping the air fresh and free of toxins. 

The climbing vines of the philodendron will spread their heart-shaped leaves across shelves, sills and tables. This durable and long-lasting plant can thrive indoors for years, growing as long as eight feet when untrimmed. Its preference for dry soil and low light makes it a staple of indoor gardening. Just keep your pets away from it, as it can cause severe irritation when ingested. 

Bring green into your house all year long by filling your home with these easy-to-maintain houseplants. They work hard to purify the air and require only basic attention—something any housekeeper could provide. 



6 Tips for Planning Ahead for an Eye-Popping Spring Bulb Garden

Contributed by Longfield Gardens

Fall is the time to plant spring-blooming bulbs such as tulips, daffodils, crocus and alliums. Before ordering your bulbs, here are a few tips to guarantee great results come spring.

1. Pick a color theme.

longfield1Interior designers often work with a color palette – a selection of colors chosen to give a room or a home a particular look, mood or style. This technique is equally effective in gardens and landscapes.

“One option is to choose a single color scheme,” says Marlene Thompson, creative director at Longfield Gardens. “The effect is simple and always has a big impact.”

Thompson says that you can also build your design around a pair of colors such as pink and white, red and yellow or orange and purple. Another approach is to use the color wheel and choose a harmony of several related colors, such as pink, lavender, burgundy and purple or cream, yellow, orange and red.

2. Include different bloom times.

From early-blooming crocuses to late-blooming tulips and alliums, the spring bulb season can stretch for as long as 8-10 weeks. When choosing your bulbs, be sure to include a few from each bloom time: early, midseason and late season. This way you’ll have flowers in bloom for as long as possible.

groups3. Plant in groups.

Fall planted bulbs look best when the plantings are generous and the bulbs are spaced just a few inches apart.

Small bulbs such as scilla or chionodoxa should be planted in groups of at least 25 bulbs. Tulips look best in groups of at least a dozen bulbs. Daffodils and alliums can be planted in threes, though groups of seven or nine bulbs look even better.

repeat4. Repeat shapes and colors.

Landscapes are more pleasing and cohesive when the same plant or grouping of plants appears in multiple locations.

“Our eyes connect these similar shapes or colors into one scene rather than a collection of separate elements,” says Thompson.

In a formal setting, plant in squares, rectangles or circles. For a more natural or informal look, use ovals, triangles, kidney shapes or a free-form shape that fits the location.

5. Plant both annual and perennial bulbs.

Many spring bulbs, including daffodils, scilla, chionodoxa, alliums and muscari, can be considered perennials, as they will return and bloom again every spring. In fact, most of these hardy bulbs will naturalize and multiply over time.

Tulips and hyacinths are often treated as annuals because they usually put on their best show the first spring after planting. In the right growing conditions (full sun, well- drained soil, hot dry summers), some tulips, such as Darwin hybrids, will re-bloom for several years. To ensure the most dramatic spring display, treat these bulbs as annuals and plant a fresh batch every fall.

6. Shop for large, high quality bulbs

When you are shopping for flower bulbs, pay attention to bulb size. Larger bulbs will produce bigger plants with more or larger flowers. Also remember that bulbs are perishable, so it’s important to purchase the freshest bulbs possible and store them in a cool, dry place until planting time.

Longfield Gardens is an importer of flower bulbs. For more information, visit the company’s website at longfield-gardens.com, or for more planting tips, visit Longfield Gardne’s blog at blog.longfield-gardens.com.


10 Shortcuts to Make Your Move Easier


packing to move

Near or far, there’s no short of challenges when it comes to moving. Between organizing an entire household, changing addresses and vetting out movers, relocating to a new home can be more hectic than happy. And the biggest stressor of all? Packing.

To help alleviate some of that stress, we’ve compiled a list of clever shortcuts that will ease the burden of packing before (and unpacking after) a move.

1. Find Freebies  Forget buying boxes. Pick up free ones through Freecycle.org or the “free stuff” section on Craigslist, both of which list items by location. If you can, seek out boxes of varying sizes. And skip the supermarket cartons–they may contain food residue.

2. Pack to Unpack – The hardest part about packing is figuring out where to start. When boxing up your belongings, start in the kitchen, which typically houses the most items that are not everyday essentials. When you arrive at your new home, unpack your bedroom first, and leave the kitchen for last.

3. Color-Code – Besides being time-consuming, labeling a box with its contents can give thieves the upper hand as you settle in. To save time and stay safe, assign each room a color and use coordinating colored duct tape. Stick a piece of tape on both the top and sides of boxes so that they can be easily identified when stacked or apart.

Related: Moving on the Mind? 5 Telltale Signs That You’re Ready

4. Bag It – Don’t waste time un-hanging (and re-hanging) closet garments. Group a few hanging clothes together with a zip tie, slide a black garbage bag over them, and make a hole in the top of the bag for hanger hooks. To “unpack,” simply remove the bag and tie.

5. Cover Up – Save yourself a step–and a few extra bucks–by forgoing the mattress cover sold by your mover. Instead, place the fitted sheet you use regularly on your mattress, then cover both sides of the mattress with two older fitted sheets you no longer use.

6. Wrap It – Instead of emptying out the drawers of small-scale furniture, like end tables or corner desks, wrap heavy-duty plastic wrap around the piece of furniture, from top-to-bottom and side-to-side. This will seal the drawers in place and prevent spillage on moving day, and save you hours worth of unpacking time.

7. Tape Under – If certain furniture pieces require disassembly before moving, keep all of the parts together to save time when re-assembling. Place all bolts, screws and small pieces in a Ziploc bag, and tape the bag with clear packing tape to the bottom of the piece.

8. Fill Space – Damage on moving day is often caused by items shifting en route. To make certain your household items stay secure, use socks to fill in ‘dead air’ space, especially in and around breakables like glassware. If you want to save even more time, use t-shirts to wrap larger items.

9. Even It Out – If you’re using a moving truck, even out the weight when loading furniture and appliances to help prevent damage. To make your move as smooth as possible, place the refrigerator in the front right section of the truck and the washer and dryer opposite, front left.

10. Be Secure – No matter how many precautions you take, there’s no fighting gravity. When loading your plastic-wrapped furniture, place the side with drawers against the wall of the truck to prevent them from opening. If your mover provides them, use tie-downs on the side walls for added security.

SuzSuzanne De Vita is RISMedia’s online associate Editor and social butterfly. She is moving in two days and has yet to start packing.



99-Cent Store Solution #3: Patch Drywall Hole

Fist through drywall- ouch

You're not "winning" if you have a hole in your drywall, but an easy fix can be done for about $10. Image: fstop123/iStockphoto

If Charlie Sheen is a friend of yours (no judgment), you’re probably ready for most anything, i.e., you keep a defibrillator in your living room. But do you have a drywall repair kit to patch the holes he’ll punch in your wall during your annual Labor Day party? Scrap the call to a handyman or the police, and stop by the dollar store for what you’ll need to set things right post-bacchanal.


  • Wire screen, 99 cents (actually an envelope sorter made out of screen — a big savings since a roll of screen at the big box store is about $20 or more)
  • String, 99 cents
  • Pencil, 99 cents
  • Joint knife, 99 cents
  • Masking tape, 99 cents
  • Sandpaper, 99 cents
  • Drywall compound, 3.58
  • Sizzle cologne, 99 cents (to get party-ready)

Total: $10.51 (if you can’t resist the Sizzle)

What you do:

  • Cut the wire screen 2 inches larger than the hole.
  • Tie one end of the string to the pencil and thread the other end through the middle of the screen—then bend the screen, and insert it and the pencil into the hole.
  • Pull the string until the screen is flat against the hole (the pencil helps push the screen flat against the drywall) and hold it taut while you apply the drywall compound.
  • Tape the string to the wall to hold the screen in place as the compound dries.
  • Cut the string when dry.
  • Sand and smooth compound with joint knife.

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How to Handle Your 'Open Concept' House

When your kitchen opens to your living room, you can't really use opposing décor in each space. Your entire home needs to flow. Here are some tricks to creating a space that is both cozy and functional.

  • Choose coordinated color palates: Decorating your kitchen in bold primary colors while keeping an autumn palate in your open living room will be torture for the eye. It is critical that you choose colors for each of these spaces that coordinate with one another. Choose one color to tie everything together and coordinating shades to blend the rooms together.
  • Create rooms within rooms: Not everyone loves large, open floor plans and sometimes it is important to create visual breaks. Use design tricks to create rooms within rooms. Use a rug, a love seat and two chairs to form a conversation area in one corner of the large space. Set your primary sofa with the back to the center of the room to break up the space and create a walking path.
  • Match your lighting: If you have a large crystal chandelier over your dining room table but your living room has a series of modern lamps, this can be confusing. Do what you can to create symmetry in lighting throughout the open space. Match the colors or the design aesthetics of lamps and light fixtures to tie the entire area together.
  • Add personality with accessories: Of course, you don't have to have one design concept for the entire house. You can use accessories to personalize each space. Maybe you would love to have owls in your kitchen. This doesn''t mean you have to extend that décor into the living space. Use different accessories around your house to separate the functions.