Quick Tips

Quick Tips - Decor Diva - The Design Tabloid

A collection of lifestyle tips & tricks – anything from arranging your bedroom scatter cushions to removing grass stains form a white sofa. We’ll post them as we think of them, adding a couple every week.

We need you! What is you favourite lifestyle tip or nifty trick? Maybe an old folk remedy or “boereraat”? Tell us about it!

Quick Tips:

#1   Feng Shui does not do clutter.  It is a no-no!!  Think of it this way, clutter hampers the flow of energy.  So get out there and as Nike says ‘just do it’.  To avoid getting bored while you de-clutter – take it on in bite sizes.

#2   Did you know you can stain your wooden furniture with coffee?! Yup, make a pot of (ground) coffee, leave it to brew overnight and then apply it with a brush to your sanded timber item. Stronger coffee equals a darker stain and weaker coffee a lighter tone. (via Re-Nest)

#3   Remove pen scratches and stains from vinyl, faux leather & sealed leather furniture by dabbing it with a bit of hand sanitizer on a clean white cloth or cotton wool. However, do not try this on suede or untreated, unsealed or soft leather as it would further damage your leather. I also read somewhere that you can use milk in the same way – the enzymes in the milk will break down the stain and moisturise the leather at the same time.

#4   You can remove ink stains and marks from fabric items & clothes with a bit of antiseptic liquid (like Dettol or Savlon). Dab some cotton wool in the antiseptic liquid, give the stain a good rub and then toss it into the washing machine.

#5   Here is a quick way to chill your drinks before an unplanned party or when on a camping trip. Place your bottles/cans in a bucket or container and add a layer of ice followed by a layer of salt; repeat the ice/salt layering until you almost reach the top. Fill the bucket with cold water to just below the ice line. Thanks to the salt the water in the bucket will be colder than normal, chilling you drinks in less than 10 minutes! (via Martha Stewart)

#6   In order to create depth in a room, you should include various layers of textures, objects and tones.  In other words, your floor covering would be one layer, into that you would add the paint colour or wallpaper, patterns on fabrics in the form of curtains, scatter cushions, furniture coverings. Thereafter, art on the wall, collections of objects ‘d art on tables, lamps, books, bed linen – all of these add further character and dimension to the room. It can be likened much to the fashion trends – you layer your clothes, starting with a T-Shirt, then a cardigan, coat, scarf etc.

#7   Whether it’s on your bed or on your sofa, never ever arrange scatter cushions at 45 degree angle (aka the dreaded diamond shape) – it looks terribly tacky and old-fashioned (“lekker oudoos”). No matter how beautiful the cushion, putting it at a 45 degree angle does your sofa no favours as it disrupts the natural eye-line of your space.

#8   When selecting a scatter cushion the density of the inner is quite important. Try not to buy scatters that are either too hard or too soft as they have a low comfort factor and will be an irritant when sitting. Down or feather-mix inners are considered to be the premium choice and can easily be reshaped and plumped. Try avoiding cushions with shredded foam as it gets lumpy or 100% polyester/hollow fibre inners that becomes as flat as a pancake. Rather have 2 quality feather-mix scatters on your sofa than 5 inferior scatters.

#9   A contemporary way of dealing with your bed base is to have it upholstered in a hard-wearing  neutral fabric. It is stylish and tidy choice and will always compliment you bed no matter your bedrooms changing colour schemes. A second prize would be to buy a chic fitted base cover or a boxed bed skirt. Try however, to avoid the gathered night frill as it is dreadfully old-fashioned and can easily appear untidy.

#11   Don’t toss away your old wooden ladder – repurpose it. Your old ladder, whether you give it a fresh lick of paint or keep it paint-splattered & earth-stained, can be used in a variety of interesting ways: as a rustic book shelf, funky bathroom storage or even a shabby chic way to store and display your beautiful shoes. All you need is a bit of inspiration.

#10   Extend the life of your Roman Blinds by having the fabric treated before hand with a stain repellent (like Scotchgard) and then giving it a regular vacuum to prevent dust from accumulating. Also remember, like with any mechanism, when drawing the roman shades up and down each day to do it with caution to avert unnecessary wear-and-tear on the cords.

#12   Keep your linen closet neat and organized by tucking sheet sets inside their matching pillowcases. Then stack the “pillowcase packets” according to size (twin, double, queen, king) or by the room you use the sheets in (master bedroom, guest room.)

#13   If all the bookshelves you find in stores are too tall, too wide, or too unwieldy, consider stacking sturdy wooden benches to make a streamlined shelf that’s just right for your space. Search flea markets and second-hand shops for old benches – all they need is a lick of paint.

#14   Save future DIY costs in repair by always insuring your bathroom is well ventilated. Constant exposure to moisture and trapped condensation can result in the development of unsightly and harmful fungi, rotting window frames, and can cause cornices to warp and pull away from the wall. Keep a window slightly open when you are taking a shower / bath or even consider leaving a small top window open permanently. Investing in a extractor might also be a easy long term solution.

#15   An easy way to age or distress unsealed / unvarnished wood is to use a combination of vinegar, steel wool & tea. Tear up some fine-grade steel wool and throw it in a glass jar, fill the jar 3/4 way with apple cider vinegar. Close the jar and let the mixture mellow for a minimum of 24 hours (the longer it sits the darker the stain). Next, brew a pot of tea and add brush the tea unto your well-sanded wood. When the tea has dried, paint the vinegar mixture onto the wood.

#16   Repurpose pretty and vintage tea and flour tins by using them as gorgeous herb or flower planters. Small sweet tins can also be converted into beautiful candle holders. One can also give pretty spice or sweet tins a second life by turning them into refrigerator magnets. Just slip a strong magnet inside the tin and voilà – stunning fridge storage.

#17   Turn too-beautiful-to-use tea towels into quirky yet affordable works of art by having them framed. If you have basic needle-and-thread skills, you can also sew pretty tea towels together to transform them into playful, one-of-a-kind tablecloths or runners.

#18   Finding it hard to source art that will perfectly complement your room style and colour scheme? Love a certain wallpaper pattern, but not brave enough to commit to a whole wall? Consider using wallpaper offcuts as quirky framed pieces of art. Group framed wallpapers of various shapes and sizes to create an inexpensive and unique gallery wall.

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