Tips to Spice Up Your Balcony for Summer

The days are getting longer and the sunsets are getting prettier. What better way to appreciate the warmer weather than to prep your balcony for summer?

1. Set the mood with string lights.

Gonna be spending the evenings on your balcony? String lights are the perfect way to complete create an ambient mood. Places like Lowe’s and AtHome have tons of options including solar ones if your balcony gets some sun during the day.

Want a cheap option? The Christmas lights you have sitting in the back of your closets work great as well!

2. Hang some curtains or tapestries for extra privacy.

One of the biggest downsides of living in a city is the lack of privacy. Have a balcony that’s really close to neighbors? Hang a tapestry or curtain to act as second wall to your balcony. Will you seem anti-social and unfriendly? Maybe a little. But aren’t you past pretending at this point?


3. Rugs add homeyness to your balcony.

Rugs are the ultimate way to make your space extra cozy (and prevent foot splinters). From a design perspective, use a rug that doesn’t cover the entire balcony. It’s visually pleasing to pair a rug with the wood or concrete elements of the balcony’s floor.


4. Create your own world with plants.

Plants are a great way to accentuate the homey feel of your balcony. They can also be functional for chefs (or wannabe chefs). Some easy herbs to get started with are rosemary, basil, cilantro, thyme and mint. You can pick up seeds or seedlings at your local nursery, garden center or home improvement store.


Pro tip: Get a hanging planter like the one above to save you some precious floor space!

5. Don’t go overboard on furniture.

Furniture really depends on what you want the functionality of your space to be. When furnishing your balcony though, it’s important to remember that less is more in small spaces. If you want to entertain people (we envy the fact that your balcony is large enough for this), you probably need at least a few chairs. If you’re creating more of an unwinding space, maybe a sofa or even a day bed will do the trick.


The most important thing is to get creative! Find unique seating options like this hanging chair (pictured above) that is super comfy and also gives the illusion of more floor space, making your balcony feel bigger.

Want some extra balcony inspiration. Keep scrolling:






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Do It Yourself Interior Design

Moving into a new home is the perfect time to experiment with some DIY interior design. Everything is already in flux, so you might as well tackle those design projects you never got around to in your last home! The phrase “interior design” may conjure up thoughts of expensive home makeovers, but fortunately, there are many ways to spruce up your new home on a budget.

Here are a few fun ideas to get you started!

Removing popcorn ceiling.

Getting rid of the spackle on your ceilings is not as hard as you might think. If you want a smooth ceiling, use a soaked roller to saturate the popcorn with water, then simply scrape it away with a spackle knife. You can also skip this step entirely and just cover up your ceiling with thin tongue-and-groove wood planks or faux-tin Styrofoam tiles.

Custom design with Sharpies.

Take out the inserts of pillows and use a ruler and some Sharpies to add custom graphic designs to your couch pillows. No need to go overboard here — simple lines or grids can go a long way.

Easy-install wall molding.

Adding trim molding to your walls is an easy way to add character to your home. Head to Lowes or Home Depot for some pre-primed trim-board. Use wood-glue to fix it to the wall, secure with nails, add some caulk and paint and you’re done!

The illusion of extra space.

Hanging mirrors is an age-old trick to make hallways and small rooms seem larger than they actually are. Another way to make a small room appear larger is to decorate with low-slung furniture that stands on legs, so you can see the floor underneath. Certain paint colors can also help, such as PPG Paints Swirling Smoke, Benjamin Moore Cloud White, and Farrow & Ball Skylight.

Open up cabinets.

Add some character and space to your kitchen by removing cabinet doors. You can also now add a piece of art to the back wall to pretty up the space!

Paint, paint, paint.

Paint is one of the easiest, cheapest ways to transform your home. Experiment with different hues for the kitchen, bathrooms and bedrooms. With a few coats of paint, you can also spruce up dingy items found at estate sales or thrift shops, such as old dressers, vases or frames.

Bring in the nature.

Scattering plants around the house is a wonderful way to breathe some life into the room… literally! Succulents are super easy to take care of, and some plants will purify the air in your home, such as spider plants, snake plants, golden pothos, and aloe vera.

Use the rule of three.

Interior design experts have known for years this simple styling secret for surfaces like coffee tables, mantels, and hallway dressers. Use three objects, of different sizes and shapes: something tall and vertical, something wide and horizontal, and something curvy and sculptural to tie it all together.

Hang artwork right.

Hang artwork so that the center of the piece is around 57 inches from the floor; this is the average sightline for most people.

For more tips on making your new house or apartment feel like home, make sure to check out our guide on the topic, here.

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10 Easy Steps to Increase Home Value on a Budget

There are many dramatic steps you can take to boost your home’s value. Most people recognize their house would be worth more after giving the kitchen and bathrooms a full makeover or repainting/residing the outside of the house.

But not everyone can afford such drastic projects! If you’re on a budget, there are still plenty of steps you can take to increase your home’s value before selling it.

Here is a list of 10 steps you can start with today:

  1. Hire an inspector — While you can easily complete the following projects yourself, a professional home-inspector can clue you in to the problems you didn’t even know existed. Some problems may not look like much now but could become a serious problem later on, crippling your home’s value. Best to nip them in the bud now, while they’re still manageable.

  2. Spruce up the yard — It doesn’t matter how nice your home is, if it’s surrounded by a dense jungle of weeds, it’s not going to look very inviting! Don’t worry about a full landscaping makeover quite yet; just start by cutting the grass, trimming the hedges, and cleaning up any trash or clutter.

  3. Is your entryway inviting? — You want it to be, as first impressions are important to potential buyers. Clean the place up, add some plants or flowers, and consider upgrading to a more-energy efficient front door, or at least giving the old one a new coat of paint.

  4. Clean, clean, clean — Pretend you’re a college student frantically trying to get your security deposit back and get down to the nitty-gritty. Clean windows in and out, remove the dust from light fixtures and fan blades, scrub bathroom tile grout, de-stain tubs/showers, rent a carpet cleaner, etc. You can always hire a professional cleaning service, but where’s the fun in that?

  5. Declutter and Organize — A home full of clutter looks cramped. Get started on the packing process by purging your home of old stuff you don’t need anymore, and organizing what’s left to make rooms appear larger and more open.

  6. Add storage — Buyers want storage space, and since you’ll soon be following step 5 to declutter and organize your home, now is the perfect time to accommodate them! Add a wardrobe to a living room or a simple wire-rack storage to a closet for an easy home-value boost.

  7. Light things up — Replace heavy drapes with blinds or shutters to make your home brighter and seem larger and more open. Add mirrors to spread light around and make small cramped rooms and hallways seem larger than they really are. Head to a local estate sale and grab one for cheap! Upgrade to brighter, more energy-efficient light fixtures, and install dimmer switches.

  8. Update your kitchen — The kitchen is the single best room to upgrade to maximize a home’s value. Some simple upgrades can go a long way here, like shiny new knobs/handles for your cabinets, drawers and faucets and eco-friendlier parts for your faucets. Check out for water-saving plumbing parts and DIY plumbing tutorials.

  9. Update your bathroom — After the kitchen, bathrooms will get you the most bang for your buck in terms of increasing your home’s value. The same upgrades as in the kitchen will attract potential buyers: new handles, new faucet parts, and new light fixtures. You can also install a more powerful, energy-efficient shower head, or replace the entire bathroom vanity without spending too much money.

  10. Kill squeaky doors/cabinets — Spray hinges with WD40 and get rid of that creepy door sound once and for all!

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