• Of all the things I'm interested in doing at home, cleaning is probably bottom of my list. So I've found a few shortcuts over the years that make tidying up feel like less of a chore, and help me get the job done fast. Here, three tried-and-true products that everyone should have in their toolkit.

    Microfiber Cloths. These are genius. They're machine washable, and can be used dry or wet (just add water-no chemicals needed) to clean anything from glass to stainless steel to wood to porcelain. They're supersoft so you don't have to worry about scratching, don't deposit any lint, and since the fibers are so dense, they pick up more dust and dirt than regular cotton rags.

    Dish Gloves. I'm maniacal about dish gloves. They protect your hands whether you're cleaning the oven, unclogging the sink, or scrubbing the tub, and allow you to tolerate piping hot water when you're washing dishes (which not only kills bacteria but makes it easier to remove grease). Casabella makes especially good ones:

    Read More »from 3 products that take the hassle out of cleaning up
  • If you want to give your kitchen a fresh look but you're not ready to spend thousands on a full-scale renovation, here are a few ideas to give your space an overhaul for minimal cash.

    Wallpaper your fridge. It's not as easy-or crazy-as it sounds. All you need is a roll of wallpaper, a quart of rubber cement, and a sponge brush to transform the most blah, 20 year-old refrigerator into a groovy design statement. Measure your fridge and cut out a swatch of wallpaper accordingly. Apply the rubber cement directly onto the surface of the fridge with a sponge brush. It dries fast, so work quickly to apply the wallpaper. If there are any bumps or creases, use a heavy book like a squeegee to smooth out any bubbles. Trim any overhang with an X-Acto knife. If you're renting, fear not-the wallpaper will peel right off and you can use a bit of Goo Gone to remove any residual glue.

    Re-paint. If you've got 80's-era laminate cabinets and are tired of looking at them, the best thing you can do is give

    Read More »from Tricks to make over your kitchen on the cheap (and easy)
  • Getty ImagesGetty ImagesNot even A-list celebrities are impervious to the topsy-turvy real estate market. According to CNN Money and the San Francisco Chronicle, Scarlett Johansson bought a stunning Spanish style villa in Hollywood Hills in 2007 for $7 million, threw down even more cash to remodel it to her exacting specifications-and now it's being listed by Sotheby's for over $2 million less than what she paid. We've got snapshots and more details here.

    The interiors are lovely, albeit surprisingly laid-back for a star who's known for being so va-va-voom (not that we were expecting pin-up girl posters or anything, but the décor does feel sweeter and more approachable than we would have guessed coming from someone we always associate with big-time glamour).

    The main floor of the gated four-bedroom house opens up to a light-flooded atrium-or in fancy (and somewhat preposterous) real estate terms, a "romantic loggia"-which ScarJo outfitted with cushy white slip covered sofas, jute rugs, and an

    Read More »from Take a tour of Scarlett Johansson’s Los Angeles home, on sale now
  • After a few weeks visiting my parents at their very grownup house in Chicago, returning to my own cute but tiny and not-nearly-as-nice apartment (left) in New York was a bit of a challenge. I think my roommate and I have done a lot with fairly limited resources, but my mom's museum-like stylings reminded me of the seemingly endless ways we could improve our own place. But while some-antique French chairs, for example-remain out of my price range, others-like switching out our crappy kitchen knobs for cute ones-are easy and affordable. After the jump, a few tips on instantly improving the look of your apartment.

    1. A fresh coat of paint does a lot. If you've been living somewhere for a year, consider spending a weekend repainting a room or two. The supplies will be around $40 and you can probably sucker a friend into helping. My mom, an interior designer, suggests doing an accent wall, which involves painting just one wall-like the one behind the couch or your bed-a color. For renters who
    Read More »from 5 Cheap Ways to Make Your House Look More Expensive
  • Between the harsh weather outside and the radiator sucking all the moisture out of the air inside my house, left unchecked this time of year my skin starts to look like a crocodile's. Still, I'm not so into buying a humidifier (at the end of the day it just seems like another thing to clutter up my space-challenged New York City apartment, and besides, they can get pricey), so I've suffered through this problem for many winters-until I finally discovered two ingeniously simple, inadvertently eco, no-shopping-required solutions that have been really helpful in staving off dryness.

    1. Drape a wet (not dripping, more like thoroughly damp) towel over a doorknob.


    2. Fill a bowl with water to place at the base of your heater.

    In both instances, the water evaporates into your space, which actually dampens the air inside your house. Seriously… does it get any easier? No fussy (or expensive) machine to contend with, and no electricity required. And it's amazing how effective these

    Read More »from Do-it-yourself humidifiers that are good for your skin, your wallet, and the earth
  • With the rest of life increasingly crazy-hectic, there are few things I look forward to as much as my morning shower-that five to ten minutes alone and away from it all can be incredibly restorative. There are plenty of things you can do to make the experience even more indulgent, and none of them require a significant investment of time or money. Here's all you need to do to create a blissfully relaxing, spa-like environment right in your own home:

    Do a clean sweep. Your bathroom shouldn't look like a drugstore. Stash your toiletries and cosmetics out of sight, instead of leaving them out on your countertop-it's hard to feel calm if you're surrounded by clutter. Anything that's left in sight becomes a display item, so make sure it's pretty. Try decanting your shampoo and conditioner into sleek, uniform bottles, which not only makes your shower look more streamlined, but also allows you to buy in bulk. A dainty porcelain saucer from the flea market could double nicely as soap dish. If

    Read More »from Transform your bathroom into a soothing, Zen-like retreat (it's easy!)
  • Photo by Peggy SirotaPhoto by Peggy SirotaIf you rip out her heart, she'll rip out your...bathroom? The March issue of Architectural Digest has a first look at Jennifer Aniston's Beverly Hills mansion (following an extensive, two-and-a-half year interior renovation). Among the many design modifications, the actress's master bath is now more conducive to single life than coupledom:

    "[The house] originally had his-and-hers baths, but Aniston has turned the 'his' into a spa bath with a soaking tub," the magazine reports. The article later quotes Aniston saying her new home is "like a big hug" and it "vibrates with the love that created it."

    This all sounds inviting for one, but it may not be ideal for prospective romantic partners. Last year, the 41-year-old's then-beau John Mayer described her one-story dwelling as rather intimidating: "There is no normal thing in the Aniston house," he told Ellen on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show." "You won't find a light switch. The light switch is not antiquated-there is a six-button light

    Read More »from Jennifer Aniston renovates her home with the single girl's life in mind
  • The conventional model of a family dinner (you know, the kind you used to see on sitcoms like "The Brady Bunch" way back when) is lovely in theory-but it's getting more and more challenging to achieve in an era of two working parents, kids with increasingly jam-packed activities and social schedules, and things like Blackberries and Facebook to distract us all. Before you give up completely, check out these tips we picked up for maximizing mealtimes at home.

    Make Your Own Traditions. Start small: Eating dinner together seven nights a week probably isn't realistic, but pencil in at least a few all-together, home-cooked, around-the-table meals (Sunday seems like a no-brainer, when life just feels more calm and you can prepare and eat at a more leisurely pace) and build from there. Serving dinner at the same time for the nights you're staying in helps reinforce the sense of ritual, and planning a regular activity-like having each family member mention one good thing that happened to them

    Read More »from You can! Improve your family's dinner time with 3 easy-to-follow steps
  • Interior designer Nate Berkus (featured in our first-ever Make Home a Haven episode!) just named gold and aged brass accents among his current favorite things-and he's not alone. We've been noticing handsome, vintage-inspired, warm metallic pieces all over the place (as Berkus pointed out, part of their beauty is they're available just about everywhere-and at tons of different price points). Whether your taste runs traditional or modern, bronzed accessories add a sense of old-school refinement to any space. From gilded bathroom fixtures to exotic-looking door handles, check out our ten favorite examples of the trend.

    Read More »from Get them now: Retro, cool, totally of-the-moment brass accents
  • Kitchen organization is a subject dear to cooks' hearts. Whether you're making the most of a small kitchen or you have acres of cabinet space to fill, if you're like many cooks, you have pretty definite opinions about What Goes Where. For example, in this Colin Cowie video (one of my all-time favorites), the entertaining expert reveals the organization strategies of his fabulously beautiful and buttoned-up kitchen, including a whole freezer dedicated to specific ice cube shapes, all stored in neat containers: It's extreme organization at its most luxurious.

    I happen to be an organization-obsessed person: I spend a lot of affectionate quality time with spreadsheets. My kitchen may not match Colin Cowie's in organizational splendor (he alphabetizes his spice rack...drool), but I do have some pretty intense feelings about the importance of labels, clear plastic storage containers, wire racks, and using vertical space, like the insides of cabinet doors.

    And I'm not alone in

    Read More »from Kitchen Organization: 10 Commandments


(219 Stories)