#51 Go to Open Houses

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.


Go to Open Houses

Here, I’m specifically talking about homes and residences that are for sale and host ‘open houses’ in an effort to entice people that are house hunting.Of course, you may not be in the market for a new place to live but attending open houses can still be a fun activity with benefits.


One of the most enticing reasons to attend open houses if you’re not house hunting, is to get real time and real people decorating tips. Even when you see a couple of homes in a ‘cookie cutter’ community where the floor plans are all identical – you are exposed to different configurations and design elements that give entirely different looks to the homes.

Model homes are great for professional flavor. They have had the personal touches of interior decorators – in most cases – and offer a well thought out idea of what your home could look like. Going to open houses though, allows you to see what kind of closet space there ‘really’ is… It offers real world visions of a room when three kids and a dog take up space with their belongings.  Yes, these days many open houses are staged and a good real estate agent will have you ‘de-personalize’ the home a bit but, your experience will most likely be more ‘real’ than a model home.


As long as you are keeping your visits to homes in your general socioeconomic bracket, you may fall in love with a place and find out that it’s entirely affordable. I’ve heard from real estate agents that a fair number of people who visit open houses aren’t actually in the mindset to move but only curious.


Potentially helpful is attending open house in your own neighborhood. It’s always advantageous to understand the housing market where you live. Scouting out sales comps and talking with a realtor who is experienced with homes in your community is a way to be informed about the value of your own home. It’s doing the preliminary homework for selling your house, someday.


You can attend open houses for sheer curiosity as well. Is there an architectural beauty in your town you’ve always wanted to tour? Is there a view in a Penthouse that you’ve often wished to see? Are you simply curious about the outcome of all that construction noise you listened to all summer? Go ahead and walk through the open house. Just be considerate and tell the agent your “just browsing” so that neither of you waste time or breath.

Looking for something interesting and free to do this weekend? Use a realty app or one of those free “Homes” magazines and …

Go to open house.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#67 Change the Pillows on Your Sofa

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.


Change the Pillows on Your Sofa

One of the quickest and least expensive ways to freshen up the look of a room is to change out the pillows on your sofa. After a few years, they get lumpy or flatten and no longer offer the comfort for which they were intended. Even if the pillows are in good shaped, the room may benefit from a change of scenery and pillow covers can easily handle that objective.


A standard couch pillow is 18 inches square and are frequently available as large as 24 inches. The larger and more ‘comfy’ the sofa, the larger the pillow can be and still have style. Go with a variety of sizes for the best look and make sure it’s an odd number of pillows overall.


If you want a pillow designed for lounging comfort, a feather pillow will fit the bill best. Other fillers may hold shape better but they are much more stiff and not necessarily the best choice for a sofa that is used for snuggling and relaxing.

Color & Texture

For the ultimate design experience, consider using pillows that offer variety in texture, color, and pattern. Of course, you’ll want to use colors that contrast your sofa color. If your sofa is a solid color, you can use a combination of complementary patterns and colors. If your sofa has a pattern, choose colors from the pattern for pillows of different shapes. It’s a great time to consider texture; chenilles, leather, and fringes offer a variety of textures to add contrast and interest to your design. Make sure that each of the seating options in the room has a complimentary pillow option. Chairs are great options for oblong shaped pillows that can act as lumbar support. Adorning chairs with pillows also allows for a more complete and pleasing addition for the entire room.

Pillows are another one of those things that can be purchased during January’s white sales and great options can be found at discount retailers such as TJMaxx or Marshalls in addition to online sites such as Overstock.com. A new look will be a great way for you to begin the new year and may offer a sense of newness or freshness for you.  If you are able to catch a sale, it shouldn’t take much more than $100 to …

Change the pillows on your sofa.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#168 Create a Piece of Wall Art

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.


Create a piece of wall art

Just getting started in your first home? Feeling crafty? Wanting a change of decor? Creating your own piece of wall art isn’t nearly as difficult as you may think! Depending on how industrious you feel, it can as little as a few minutes with some simple supplies or you can go all out, using power tools and scrap wood.

Starting small and easy is generally a good idea. Some masking tape, a couple of canvases, and complimentary paint colors is all you need for this first abstract look.


I used this technique for the bathroom walls in my daughter’s hall bath a number of years ago. It encompassed a pack of coordinating scrapbook paper, an inexpensive canvas, and some Modge Podge. Any shape works but this ‘leaf’ or ‘pointed oval’ makes a pretty great flower. You can make this for less than $20.


Using circles is also a great idea. There are lots of options here…  Paper on canvas, wood on canvas, wood on wood, even plastic. You can use a variety of items here or simply spray paint wood circles and clue them to a painted board or repurposed canvas you pick up at a thrift shop.


Getting more labor intensive, a variety of wood projects are also low cost. Scrap wood can be purchased at surplus shops for next to nothing and joined to create a panel ready to hang. A painted word purchased on Etsy or at a craft show adds a pop of color and personal interest.


A creative use of different stains can also be interesting. While the picture below depicts inlaid wood – the same effect can be accomplished by using tape and different stains.

This last piece may be as simple as sending the kids outside to pick up a few sticks nature provided the last time it was windy! Cutting them to fit inside a shallow box you’ve built and painted creates a really interesting focal point for a room anchored in natural elements. It brings the outside, inside.


These are only a few options and a really great way to decorate on a limited budget. It’s also a great way to change up your home decor without breaking the bank or investing so much that you feel compelled to keep something even though your tastes have changed.

This is a great family activity and a fantastic way to encourage creativity. Art is a completely subjective endeavor and so… if YOU like it – that’s all that matters!  Hopefully, this gets your wheels turning about how to fill some empty space on a wall in your home just waiting for you to …

Create a piece of wall art! 

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below


#260 of 365 Ways to live Easier, Happier, & More Productive

Sharing a daily life lesson, tip, or hack; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.


Change your curtains

I’ve talked a lot about little things around the house that create a big impact on our mental health and sense of well-being. When our daily environment is in order, we feel more in control. When our personal space is tidy and tailored to our taste, we experience a deeper sense of comfort and belonging – both important elements of true happiness.

One of the little things that can change the entire feel of a room is to change the curtains. Window dressings can be art, contributing to the overall decor in a majestic way.

They can be simple and elegant.


They can be creative and a deeply personal expression of you.


They can be eclectic and colorful.


Some people invest a lot of money in window treatments and feel compelled to keep them for a long time. The only problem with this concept is that style and interest changes as time goes by. After a few years, that significant investment represents a dated design.

If you’re not feeling particularly creative, use Pinterest to collect images of things you might like, things you may want to consider as you contemplate a change. As you consider modifications, remember to step out of your comfort zone and take a bit of a risk. Without that, nothing can be different. What would your choice be if you were to …

Change your curtains.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.