Gardening offers a means for us to reconnect with nature. Often, there is a sense of fulfillment in watching what one has planted flourish or bloom. Perhaps more than ever, gardening can be an important contribution to both a person’s health and spirits. But, what if a person lives in a building and does not have a yard? Apartment dwellers can still pursue their desire to have a gardening hobbies.
Begin with Smaller Plants
If you are a neophyte gardener, you should start with plants that are not difficult to grow. For instance, violets have thick water-storing leaves and thus do not need frequent watering and are easily maintained. Succulents, similarly, need minimal water. Succulents that work well for apartment dwellers include smooth Echeveri, small cacti, smooth Echeveri, spiky Sedum, or flowering Kalanchoe. These plants typically enjoy sunlight and dry air. Potting a small cactus in a cute container can further add to its personality and appeal.
Set Aside Time to Garden
Those who often work from home can tend plants that require more attention. However, if you have a busy schedule away from home, you should acquire low-maintenance plants. Succulents, as mentioned before, are a great option for new or absent gardeners because they require minimal watering. Another plant that can be neglected is the ZZ plant. With tall stalks of a rubbery deep green, this plant prefers being slightly dry and left alone.
Plant a Mini Garden
Even though a garden outdoors is not possible for most apartment dwellers, renters can use a kitchen window or other convenient window for a small herb garden that can help add flavor to dishes. These indoor garden patches can grow mini tomatoes, herbs and artisan lettuce.
Work with Low-Light or No-Light Areas
Adding life to an area that has low or no natural light can be brought about with plants such as peace lilies, weeping figs, money plants and fittonias. Placing these plants in unique vases and containers adds much to the beauty of the presentation.
Add Flowers to Brighten and Beautiful Rooms
If you want to beautify your garden, why not plant some flowers? Tenants can grow pansies, geraniums, petunias, and begonias in window boxes or small pots, thus providing pretty blooms that add color and life throughout a home.
Grow a Bonsai Tree
To add beauty and design to a room, apartment dwellers can have bonsai trees. With such graceful designs and their natural beauty, bonsai trees in Japanese planters are aesthetically engaging and visually delightful. They frequently become conversational pieces and the centers of attention.
Add Aromatic Properties to the Air
For apartment dwellers who work eight hours or more a day, returning home and opening the door to fragrant smells, rather than stale apartment air, is a joy. Certain plants are very fragrant, as well as pretty. For example, one variety of jasmine (jasminum polyanthum) can be grown indoors and emits a sweet aroma at night. It does well near sunny windows.
The well-known gardenia is another fragrant plant usually seen outside homes, but it can be grown indoors and will thrive if given the proper care. Likewise, geraniums can also be grown inside the home. Depending upon the particular geranium plant, apartment owners can enjoy several different fragrances, among which are strawberry or mint. Citrus plants emit those crisp, clean smells of lemon, orange and grapefruit. These plants, however, require more care than others and hours of sunlight.
Don’t let inexperience or a smaller floor plan keep you from nurturing your passion for gardening. Start cultivating indoor plants today!
Renters often have to work with small kitchen spaces. Luckily, you don’t have to be stuck with the cramped layout you get when you move into an apartment. You can always reorganize the space to improve its utility and aesthetics. Here are six tips to help you with your reorganization:
Do an Inventory of Your Items
Before you start moving things around, it’s important to have an inventory of your kitchen gear. What are you working with? Pull out every fry pan, skillet, casserole dish, and pot rack you can find in your kitchen cupboards — see which ones are rusty, worn out, and have the non-stick coating chipping off. If a tool isn’t usable, throw it out!
To separate the items that you should salvage versus the ones you should toss, ask yourself three important questions:
- Does it work?
- Is it necessary?
- Does it have sentimental value?
If an item gets a “yes” on at least two out of the three questions, you may want to keep it.
Do an Extensive Cleaning of Your Kitchen
Since your items are out of the cupboards and drawers, now might be a good time to wipe down these often-neglected nooks and crannies. You’d be surprised how much dirt, dust, and food particles you’ll find whilst cleaning these spaces. A quick wipe-down also gives you a chance to scan these dark corners of the kitchen for any mold growth or pest infestation.
As a general rule of thumb, you should group items that are similar in purpose.This makes it easier to find and grab whatever item you need when fixing yourself some food.
It’s easier to group similar items in your fridge, but most items that are stored outside of the fridge eventually end up scattered around the kitchen. Sort and store all of your baking items together, then do the same for poultry, dairy, fruits, vegetables, and herbs and spices. Breakfast items, such as cereal and pancake mixes, should be stored in the same cupboard.
Aside from food, you should also try to group similar cooking utensils and equipment.
Utilize All Available Spaces
According to the National Kitchen and Bath Association, the average size of kitchens in the U.S. is 151 square feet for bungalow-type homes while multi-floored homes have an average of 174 square feet. Renters in cities — including San Francisco — may have even smaller kitchen areas. In an apartment that is less than 1,500 square feet in size, the average kitchen size is 103 square feet.
You’ll want to use every inch of that space available, starting with vertical spaces. Install hooks underneath drawers and cupboards, so you can hang mugs, pots, tongs, and other tools. If you’re a wine aficionado, install a stemware rack. Any space you can use to hang items on should be used to save flat space inside your cupboard.
Install Drawer Dividers
If you own a significant number of cooking utensils, consider investing in a divider to organize your drawers. Dividers help maintain order and uniformity in your kitchen drawers. They are also nifty for drawers that are full of miscellaneous items, such as screws and bolts from previously owned and assembled kitchen appliances, batteries, delivery flyers, etc.
Create an Efficient Waste Removal System
Not having any trash bins or special waste receptacles for recyclables can train you to just leave empty food containers and wrappers lying around the kitchen counter. Over time, this can create health and hygiene issues as leftover food containers attract pests and creates bad odors around your kitchen space. Have at least two trash bins — one for food waste and another one for recyclables.
Kitchen reorganizing should be done at least once a year. A regular assessment and subsequent reorganization is essential to keep the space running smoothly.
You don’t need to be a big spender in order to beautifully decorate your apartment. Here are some easy, yet fun, ideas for cool crafts that are sure to add some style to your home:
This craft is a functional, yet attractive, decoration that everyone can use. You can feature it in any room in your home.
The materials you’ll need are:
- Poplar wood – 3 feet by 6 inches
- Macrame cording – 5 feet
- Nail, screw, or wall/curtain hook
First, you’ll want to paint the shelf; choose a color that goes with the decor of the room where you’ll hang the shelf. Next, drill a hole through each side of the piece of wood, close to the ends. The hole should be a little wider than the macrame so you can string it through the holes. String the macrame through the holes and make sure you create tight, square knots that secure the shelf. Your next step is to determine where you want to hang your shelf. Hold the cord straight up to see how the shelf looks hanging against the wall. Once you’ve found the ideal location, mark where you’ll put the nail with pencil. Finally, secure your nail in the wall and hang your shelf!
Another great DIY project is a wire photograph holder. These look cute in any home and are often something you may find in a boutique.
The materials you’ll need are:
- Small wooden block – about 2 inches all around
- Heavy copper wire
- Wire cutters
- Needle nose pliers
- Hot glue gun
- Glue sticks
Cut a fairly long piece of wire. Ensure there’s enough to form to wire hearts at the top of the wire. Take your pliers and create your first heart. Wrap the end of the wire around the base of the heart and then create a second wire heart flush against the back of the first. Twist the wire around the bases of both hearts a few more times to secure them. Then, straighten the remaining part of the wire. Next, take the small, wooden block and drill a hole through the center of it. However, make sure you do not drill all the way through the block. Apply glue to the cut ends of the wire and insert it into the hole in the block. Fill any remaining space in the hole with glue and make sure the wire is propped up until the glue dries. Once it dries, you can place a photo in between the wire hearts!
Fabric is a cool concept that requires next to no actual nitty-gritty work. You just need time and great taste to make it work.
The materials you’ll need:
- Four large frames in different shapes (square, rectangle, circle)
- Four different fabrics that coordinate, but don’t match
- Hot glue gun
- Glue sticks
- Four nails
Take each frame and remove the cardboard. Cut ⅛ of an inch off of each piece. Trace around the cardboard pieces onto the fabric, adding about 2 inches on each side. Cut the fabric. Once cut, wrap the fabric around the cardboard like you’re wrapping a gift. Run the hot glue gun along the edges to secure it. Put the fabric-wrapped cardboard in the frames and use your nails to hang each frame.
So, there you have it. Three simple crafts that can actually be classy decorations to spice up your home. Try these DIY projects today!
This year marks the 87th anniversary of the completion of the Golden Gate Bridge. The Golden Gate Bridge is a suspension bridge located in the San Francisco Bay. Some quick facts according to CNN.com: it is 1.7 miles long and weighs 887,000 tons and was initially conceived in 1916 by James H. Wilkins, though construction didn’t start until 1933. The bridge was also opened to pedestrians and vehicles in May of 1937.
There are many other interesting facts surrounding the construction and operation of the bridge. Here are six that you may not know.
- The bridge was not supposed to be orange
In fact, the History Channel reports that the U.S. Navy recommended the bridge be painted with bold yellow and blue stripes to make it more visible to ships. However, when the steel arrived in San Francisco, it was covered in a primer of burnt red. Irving Morrow, the consulting architect, preferred that color scheme to yellow and blue. Today, the bridge is painted in a color known as international orange.
- The construction of the bridge faced opposition
Mental Floss reports that in 1930, three years before construction began, the bridge had 2,300 lawsuits pending against it. One of the chief litigants was the Southern Pacific Railroad, which owned 51 percent of the ferry company that provided transportation between San Francisco and Marin County. Another litigant was the Sierra Club, which felt the bridge would prove an eyesore.
- The bridge experienced its first earthquake in 1935 while it was still under construction
Amazingly, no one was killed, but a dozen workers were stranded at the top of the bridge when a construction elevator broke. The tower of the bridge swayed 16 feet in both directions during the quake.
- More than 1,500 people have died by suicide after jumping from the bridge
A San Francisco Chronicle article reports an average of 30 suicide deaths per year. The first victim was a World War I veteran by the name of Harold Wobber. In 2018, construction began on a suicide deterrent net, but this safety device is still a few years away from completion.
- Safety was a top priority during the construction of the bridge
In an age where people cynically believed that one worker would die for every million dollars worth of value of the property, the team behind the construction of the bridge took safety seriously. Mental Floss reports that workers were required to follow stringent safety guidelines, such as wearing specially designed hard hats and glare resistant goggles. Those who did not comply with wearing protective equipment quickly found themselves unemployed. The construction workers also had a safety net to protect them from falls. In the end, the safety net saved at least 19 lives.
However, in the end, 11 workers did die during the construction of the bridge. Without the safety measures taken ahead of time, this number would have likely been higher.
- The engineer behind the bridge was Joseph Strauss
Hired in 1928, Strauss received a million dollars in compensation for his work. He built 400 drawbridges around the United States, but the Golden Gate Bridge is his best known accomplishment. According to PBS, there is speculation that the job ruined his health. He disappeared for six months during construction amid rumors of a mental breakdown. Strauss eventually moved to Arizona once the bridge was completed.
This year, as you celebrate the 87th anniversary of the completion of the Golden Gate Bridge, enjoy reading up on the history of the bridge. It is truly a feat of American engineering.
Organization is the key to productivity. Finding space to work in a small studio apartment can be challenging even when you aren’t working from home full-time. A functional home office provides you with a place to work where you can have minimal distractions. It can be challenging to set up a workspace in a studio apartment, but there are ways to creatively create an office that works for you.
Determine where to set up your office
Survey your apartment and make up your mind on the most appropriate section to set up an office. Consider where you’ll have the fewest distractions or what your favorite spot is in your apartment. Is there a place that makes you feel particularly inspired? Test out a few spots before deciding.
Transform an existing table into a desk
If you don’t want to spend a lot of money on creating a new workspace, evaluate what you already have at home. You may have an existing kitchen or coffee table you can convert for your workspace. Make sure it’s a comfortable height and has enough surface area for you to work.
Purchase a desk with storage
If you do choose to purchase a new desk, make sure it’s one with plenty of storage. You can keep all of your supplies well-organized out of your way when working.
Get a comfortable chair
You want a chair that fits with your apartment decor, but it also needs to be comfortable. If you’re working from home full-time right now, you need a chair that won’t put strain on your back and fits your desk. Consider getting a padded chair so you’ll be comfortable as you work all day.
Purchase a floating wall desk
If you find that you’re extremely short on space or need more storage, you should consider a wall-mounted desk. It’s a creative option and can really add to your space while serving a practical purpose. You can use it as your primary desk or in conjunction with another, more traditional, desk.
Have a program
You can make the best office space possible in your studio apartment, but you also need to have a schedule for your work. Even when you’re working from home, you need to stick to a regular routine. Have a set time you go to your workspace, when you stop for breaks, and when you’re done for the day. You’ll get your mind into a focused state to get your work done and you can help set boundaries to avoid overworking. A daily schedule and routine helps you work more normally, even when you aren’t physically going to the office.
As long as you are creative and organized, you can easily come up with a simple home-based office that will stimulate you to focus on your work.
No matter what any minimalist nay-sayers might tell you, decoration is important. The color scheme you choose, your knickknacks, your wall art — when taken together, they collectively reflect your personality, character quirks, and even mood. When you walk through your door, those tiny touches can make you feel at home and at peace.
Now that summer has arrived, you want to bring a little seasonal warmth and excitement into your home. But how will you go about your redecorating spree? We have a few ideas. Below, we’ve listed a few summer redecorating tips that won’t cause trouble with the landlord.
Hang Travel Photography
Are you an avid traveler? Select some of your best shots and frame them on the walls. You can use traditional photo frames, or paint them in bright colors to reflect a summertime mood. Showing off your past adventures is a mess-free way to personalize an apartment without damaging the walls. Find great ideas for decorating photo frames here.
Grow a Succulent Garden
If you don’t have space for a summer garden, try raising succulents! These plants do well indoors and are very eye-catching, with colors ranging from dark green to pink. Indoor plants on shelves can say a lot about your personality while staying true to the nature of summer. They’re usually low-maintenance, too; find the right ones for you!
Repaint Some Old Furniture
If you’re looking for a DIY project that will help express yourself while giving your apartment a summery look, rehab your old furniture with a little paint! Choose colors that will add a pop of color or contrasting note to your existing color scheme. Want a more summery feel? Decorate the newly-painted surfaces with vases of bright flowers for a finishing touch! If you want more ideas for the paint job, check out these!
Embrace the Neutrals
If your apartment has white walls, it’s the perfect background on which to display your favorite decorations. Glass wall décor, vintage photographs, and hanging lanterns are some simple ornaments you can use to breathe life onto that white wall. The idea is to shift attention to something other than the lack of wall color; a visit to the thrift shop and a bit of creativity can accomplish this fairly quickly. Stumped on wall décor? Here are some ideas.
If you can’t have a garden outside, bring the impression of one indoors!. Floral throw pillows and paintings on the wall, tapestries and carpets, and some bouquets on the coffee table with live blooms as the centerpiece. Keep these decorations when winter comes around and you miss the warm weather; you’ll still have your indoor garden. Check out these floral ideas to help you get started.
If you can’t go on that summer vacation you had planned this year, there’s no trouble; instead, bring the beach to your apartment. Decorate all your surfaces with loads of seashells. Gather them on the coffee table, the bathroom sink, even the fireplace. Use ocean themed curtains to add to the dreamy beach effect. With an ocean scented candle, you’ll feel like you’re out in the tropics. More beach-themed ideas here!
You can make your apartment look summery using these clever changes. There is no limit to human creativity, and your living space deserves some cheer. But don’t forget to go outside and enjoy the summer weather — after your redecorating spree, your apartment will look so nice that you might not want to step out of the door!