Clever Ways to Rethink the Linen Closet

Screen Shot 2015-01-20 at 12.18.41 PMThe Hardworking Home: Get rid of those toppling piles with these ideas for organizing bedding, towels and more

If you’ve been living with a linen closet crammed too full or jumbled and messy, bring order to the chaos by rethinking this hardworking space. From dividing and conquering (towels in the bath, sheets in the bedroom) to installing smart closet organizers, these solutions can help.

Hardworking space: The linen closet.
The challenge: Keeping an entire household’s sheets, blankets, towels, extra pillows, duvets and tablecloths in one little closet is asking for trouble. Too-high piles teeter and fall, and pretty soon the whole closet is a mess. Get things under control by thinking through exactly what kind of storage you need and where to put it.
Good to know: Check your linen stash before settling on any new storage system. Count the total number of towels, sheets and duvets to get a full picture of the storage space you’ll need.

Home Improvements: Upgrading in 2015


Dated Kitchens Get Long Overdue Makeovers

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

Dated kitchens are getting a makeover in many homes this year. About a quarter of about 3,500 home owners recently surveyed say they are remodeling kitchens that are more than 30 years old and another 41 percent are updating kitchens that are 16 to 30 years old. Wow, have styles changed in three decades too – when red oak cabinets, laminate countertops, and brass fixtures were “in.”

Here’s an interesting stat: Home owners seem to be more committed to their kitchen than their spouse. Most kitchens last two to four times longer than the typical U.S. marriage – which is 8 years, according to Houzz’s Kitchen Remodeling Survey. That means when home owners remodel a kitchen, they devote a lot of time to making sure it’s just right since they’ll likely stick with it for many years to come.

“We already know that kitchens are the biggest driver of discretionary spending in the remodeling market,” says Nino Sitchinava, principal economist at Houzz. “As the economy has improved, many home owners who delayed spending on kitchen updates feel like they now have the means to remodel. We should continue to see an uptick in discretionary spending on home improvements into 2015.”

So, what are home owners’ kitchen renovation plans?

Classic finishes: Home owners mostly are sticking to the classics, with finishes like white cabinets (49 percent) in shaker (37 percent) or raised-panel (22 percent) styles. They’re also staying loyal to granite countertops (45 percent) and stainless steel appliances (83 percent).

Added storage: Ease of storage (65 percent) is a top priority driving remodeling trends. Organization features like a built-in pantry (44 percent), pull-out shelves (62 percent), deep cabinet organizers (38 percent), and built-in pet bowls (6 percent) are popular.

Entertainment spaces: An open-concept layout (52 percent), bar with seating (27 percent), and built-in wine storage (21 percent) are making kitchens a gathering place for family and friends.

Big makeovers with big dollars: When home owners choose to undergo a kitchen remodel, the majority are going big with projects requiring substantial construction (68 percent). As such, home owners are spending big too, with 36 percent planning to spend between $25,000 and $75,000 on updating their kitchens. More than half of home owners budget $25,000 or less for their upcoming remodels.

Complimenting the rest of the house: Home owners want their kitchens stylish and beautiful (59 percent), but they also want to make sure that the remodel integrates with the rest of the home too (55 percent). Other characteristics they say are important is that it is filled with natural light, adds to the resale value of their home, energy-efficient appliances, and pro-style cooking set-up.


Creative Ways to Tame the Mess in Kids’ Bedrooms

Screen Shot 2015-01-12 at 1.22.04 PMThese cool storage features will keep your children’s rooms tidier — no threats or bribes required

While cupboards and drawers will always have their place as a storage solution, when it comes to kids’ bedrooms, why not think outside the box? Or in the box? Or attach the box to the wall? These original, vibrant and effective ways to keep kids’ bedrooms tidier will take the headache away for you and make it far easier for your kids to keep their things in order. And, with a little forethought, kids will discover that tidying up the mess can be just as fun as making it!

15 Ideas to Try in Your Garden This Year

Screen Shot 2015-01-15 at 7.49.38 AMThese gardening stories were tops among Houzz readers in 2014

In the garden more than any room in the house, no two years — no two days — are ever the same. Plants grow and die, it rains or doesn’t, and wildlife buzzes around and pollinates plants or deer eat a season’s worth of growth. In addition to the natural forces at play, each year provides an opportunity to refresh what’s going on in the garden or rethink what you want to get out of it.

With the days growing longer and spring edging nearer, it’s a nice time to think about any changes you may want to make — big or small, ecological or just for fun. Winter is far from over in many regions, so while you’re still cozy inside, here are the 15 ideas from the most liked gardening ideabooks of 2014. It was definitely the year of edibles and gardening for wildlife, but then there was greywater and how to get the flower bed just right. Read on to see what got Houzzers excited about gardening last year, and then click the link after each caption for the full story.

20 Ways to Design an Asian-Style Bathroom

Screen Shot 2015-01-15 at 7.47.08 AMWant a bathroom that’s inviting and serene, with spa-like luxury? Be inspired by these Asian-style spaces, which offer all that and more

Asian-style bathrooms provide the perfect spot in which to rest, unwind and recover at the end of each day, as well as a calming space where you can prepare for the busy day ahead. A sense of tranquility, well-being, balance and visual harmony is at the heart of the design aesthetic, which evokes these qualities with the use of clean lines, minimalist decor, soothing color schemes and natural materials. If you think an Eastern-inspired bathing sanctuary is just what you need in your home, take design cues from these stunning bathrooms that highlight various characteristics of Asian-style baths.

8 Laundry Room Ideas to Watch For This Year

Screen Shot 2015-01-13 at 2.30.15 PMThe Hardworking Home: A look at the most popular laundry photos in 2014 hints that dog beds, drying racks and stackable units will be key

The laundry room is one of those spaces that, if you’re lucky enough to have one, is always in use. If you have a large family, your laundry machines are likely running every day — sometimes even every night. With so much time being spent in these hardworking spaces, it’s worth taking the time to make them as functional and efficient as possible. Pullout drying racks, expansive folding counters and plenty of storage are sure to help you get the job done, but don’t overlook pet-washing stations or wine refrigerators. As you prepare for your laundry room remodel or new build in 2015, consider these most popular laundry rooms on Houzz in 2014 for inspiration and design tips.

10 Design Moves From Tricked-Out Bathrooms

Screen Shot 2015-01-12 at 1.20.32 PMCool splurges: Get ideas for a bathroom upgrade from these clever bathroom cabinet additions

Seemingly standard cupboards with smart, unique or high-tech elements and accessories behind their doors can make a world of difference when it comes to making a bath zone more organized and user friendly. Cases in point: The 10 bathroom cabinet ideas you’ll find here. While they may look fairly basic upon first glance, take a closer look and you’ll find that the beauty (and benefits) of these bathroom storage units go well beyond the surface.

How to Turn Almost Any Space Into a Guest Room

Screen Shot 2015-01-12 at 1.18.56 PMThe Hardworking Home: Murphy beds, bunk compartments and more can provide sleeping quarters for visitors in rooms you use every day

dedicated guest room is a luxury that not all can afford. But even if you need to use every inch of your home for your own living space, a guest room may still be in the cards. From combination home office–guest rooms to living rooms that do a disappearing act, these ideas are here to help.

Hardworking space: The guest room.
The challenge: Hosting occasional overnight guests is a fact of life for many … but not so many of us have the square footage to spare for a guest room that rarely gets used. Make your guest room work just as hard for you as it does for your guests by combining it with another space.
Good to know: A ceiling-mounted curtain is an easy and budget-friendly way to give your guests privacy in a shared space.