8 Weeks to a Better Me: Week 6/Home Sweet Home

Welcome to week number six!  This week's wonderful guest poster is the gorgeous and talented Mandi.  Mandi is one of those girls that could have written on any one of these topics, but lately I've really been admiring both her lovely home and her design aesthetic, so what better person to talk about making your environment a great place to be?  Mandi inspires me on a daily basis and I always find myself eagerly clicking on whatever she posts- I know that when I leave her blog I will always be filled with a sense of happiness, and of course, inspiration!  If you don't already read "Here's Looking at Me, Kid," then I suggest you hightail it over there...after reading her awesome contribution though- I know you'll love it!  Thanks again, Mandi.


Hello friends! I'm Mandi, from Here's Looking at Me, Kid, and I'm so honored to be a part of Danielle's 8 Weeks to a Better Me series. Making home a wonderful place to live is a great passion of mine, and sort of a necessity that goes along with living in Northeast Ohio. (Spending 6 months of the year inside can be a bit rough if you don't like your home). Danielle asked me to share some ideas for beautifying your living space, so I've put together three great tips on ways you can make your home a better place to live.

1. Don't buy or keep anything you don't love.

This one can be a tricky rule, when you factor in gifts from well-meaning family members, personal indecisiveness, and the original cost of said item. I adhere pretty strictly to this rule, but I do leave things in my home that are of absolute functional necessity. These things are called "place holders." You might not like it, and you're looking for something better to replace it, but in the meantime you just gotta have something to serve the function.

That being said, keep things personal. I like to have family heirlooms, things made by my family, and things of sentimental value out for display. I might not have selected it for my home had it not been made by someone I love, but I like it, and more importantly, someone I really love made it. So it's more likely to make the cut.

2. Start small.

Choose one room and tackle it! Transforming your space into your dream home really doesn't take a lot of money (take it from my personal penny budget), but it does take a lot of motivation and attention to detail. It can be really overwhelming to look at your home, not really like it, but also not know where to begin. My best advice is to start with one room, or even a corner of a big room, and start thinking about how you envision it to look. Browse home tours on blogs like Design Sponge and Apartment Therapy for inspiration, if you're lacking any, and then start getting rid of things you don't like or need (excluding placeholders, as mentioned above). Start a pinterest or, if you use Google Reader, star some favorite home decor images so that you can hone in on design elements that you really and truly love.

Sometimes paint can make a great difference. I personally love the fresh feel of white space, and while my apartment walls are off-white, I really wish I could paint them all a bright snowy white. My landlord did consent, however to my painting our kitchen cabinets white. The room didn't need much more than that, just a few cute thrifted accessories to make it feel happy and pretty.

3. Don't neglect function.

It's pretty easy to get wrapped up in prettifying your home, that you might overlook organization and function. For instance, if you have a lot of makeup, perfume bottles, hair brushes, and other things that take part in your morning routine, it's easier to keep them out on your dresser. But it's even easier for them to get out of control. I don't like to keep these things in drawers (out of sight, out of mind), because the drawers just get unmanageable and things wind up getting lost or forgotten. So I like to find little trays at the thrift store to corral everything together. They might all still be out in the open, but grouping them together looks a lot neater.

Also, if you are a crafter, an artist, or have children, please don't live in years of denial, like I did. I used to think that I could stow everything away in a closet, but that just resulted in either me not crafting, or crafting and being too overwhelmed by the mess to clean it up in a timely manner. Now, I have turned a corner of my living room into a crafting area. I hung up a pegboard wall so I can easily get things out and put them away. The desk I found for the space has plenty of drawers to keep the not-so-pretty items. I am not a girl who can't function (in a tidy fashion) using a desk without drawers, so I would never buy one or fool myself into thinking it will work. (Sometimes really pretty desks will try to deceive you into thinking this is not so! Trust me.) If you're going to be engaging in specific activities (especially the cluttered kind), make sure there is a place to do so. It will not only save your own sanity, but your family's too!

If you're craving more tips and inspiration, you can check out the "home" category on my blog where I share how my personal space has transformed through the years, as well as where I share some links to articles I wrote for Apartment Therapy.

1. Our dining room has been on my mind for weeks and week. There are a few small projects that I need to finish in there, but I keep getting overwhelmed when I think about all of the other things I need to do too. So, I'm going to take Mandi's advice and start small. I'm going to just focus on one room at a time, and this week it's the dining room!

2. I love what Mandi said about not keeping anything you don't love. I've already half-tackled that with my closet, but there are still some other areas of our home I could edit a bit. So, this week will "purge anything I don't love" week. Ahem, junk drawer!

3. And finally, I'm going to focus on getting up our family photo wall in the hallway. We had it up before but it could have looked better, so I took it down to redesign it. It's been months now and it's time for me to get on the ball. That hallway made me so happy when we had photos up, and I'm looking forward to getting it right this time!

How about you? What are you going to do to make your living space even more wonderful this week?