3 Steps to Creating an Organized Entryway (Even If You Don’t Have the Space)

Drop zones, mudrooms, utility rooms, entryways, “places to leave your stuff.” Whatever you choose to call them, these spaces are invaluable as a spot to kick off your shoes, drop your keys, and keep everything you’ll need for the next day right where you left it.

Sometimes these spaces can be hard to come by, especially if you live in an apartment or studio. Without organization, shoes usually end up piled in front of the door waiting to trip an unsuspecting victim, and an array of backpacks, mail, dog leashes and knickknacks can clutter your home to the point of embarrassment.

Photo from Zillow listing.

But having a dedicated, organized and stylish drop zone for all of your daily needs – and to welcome your guests – is absolutely achievable, no matter the size or design of your living space.

Try these tips to establish a functional entryway in a home of any size.

Make a little room

Since it’s generally not possible to remodel or add on to a rental apartment, you must work with what you have.

Try a narrow console table for tight hallways as a place to drop your keys or leave your outgoing mail.

If space is really tight and all you have is the wall behind your door, hang hooks for coats and bags so they stay off the floor.

Another small-space trick: Temporarily remove your coat closet’s door, and add a stool or small bench inside as a place to sit and take off your shoes – and still have room for coats.

If your apartment is inside a secure building, you may be able to leave out a basket or tray for shoes in the shared hallway.

Add functionality

A mirror can also go a long way in opening up and brightening tight areas by reflecting light and giving the illusion of more space.

Retailers like IKEA sell modern pieces that can be modified to fit narrow spaces or hung on the wall. Measure your desired entryway space, and find furniture that will make the most of the room you have.

Having dedicated spaces for accessories also will make your drop zone a functional center. A devoted bowl or hook to hang your keys, a folder to sort your mail, and a basket to keep your shoes in really makes a difference in the flow of your day.

Leave a message

Bump practicality up a notch by having a message center in your drop zone where you can pin important reminders or leave messages for family members. It’s a great way to keep everyone connected as they go in and out.

A docking station to charge all your electronics can also be useful here. Look for compact and small accessories that will fit your space, yet serve the purpose you need.

By customizing your drop zone with features you need that will fit your home, you’ll keep everything streamlined and easy to find when you need it.

See more entryway inspiration.


Originally published December 3, 2015.

Home Improvement – Zillow Porchlight

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3 Steps to Creating an Organized Entryway (Even If You Don’t Have the Space) was originally published on Southern Classic Realtors – Nivla Calcinore – Bringing You Home


Live Happily Ever After: Creating a Fairy Tale Interior

Pretty accessories, elegant touches, and finishes fit for a king all combine to create a fairy tale interior. From delicate pastel palettes to chic chandeliers, this sweet and sophisticated style is dreamy, decadent and perfect for any home.

Twinkle twinkle

Pretty statement pendant lights and elegant tableside fixtures create the perfect amount of illumination for a fairy tale interior. Create this look with layered lighting: choose a sophisticated statement pendant and complement it with dimmed floor lamps or bedside lighting.

Glass, nickel, and high-gloss finishes are all princely illumination options, and work perfectly in the master bedroom, dining and living areas.


Courtesy of Zillow Digs.

Powdery pastels

Create a space straight out of a storybook with soft and lustrous pastel colors throughout the room. Choose a satin-finish paint for the walls in a soft white or powdery gray, and add plush upholstered pieces in muted neutrals for additional elegance.

Top off the look with airy drapery and linens, and soft, tufted textures throughout.


Courtesy of AdamHunterInc.

Enchanted embellishment

One of the most beloved characteristics of fairy tale interiors is their decadence and grandeur. From crown molding to ornate coving and ceiling medallions, fairy tale style is nothing short of sophisticated.

For your own enchanted space, consider adding molding. Moldings add shape and dimension to a room, lending an opulent feel to the design.

Accessorize the room with ultra-feminine furniture and velvety fabrics topped with masculine elements like fur and metal fixtures.


Courtesy of Zillow Digs.

Plenty of sophisticated touches can be added for your own personal pampering. Ornate fireplaces, cozy curtains, textured tapestries and delicate details all add their own fairy tale flair. Four-poster beds covered in sensual fabrics, vintage throws, and tufted pillows create decadence, while calming colors create a restful haven.

Combine your favorite fairy tale elements to create an ambiance perfect for a beloved storybook character. Bring the look into modern-day design with transitional elements, or keep it classic by playing up its old-fashioned appeal.

See more home design inspiration.


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Live Happily Ever After: Creating a Fairy Tale Interior was originally published on Southern Classic Realtors – Nivla Calcinore – Bringing You Home

Creating a Homework Station That Gets Top Marks

When was the last time your study station or workspace inspired you? For most people, the answer is, “Not recently.”

Whether you’re setting up a spot for young scholars to study or prepping an area for your work-from-home days, you can kick inspiration into high gear with home office solutions that will get your creative juices flowing again.

Window wonder

It’s no secret that sunshine does the body good. Fix up a space near the window so you can soak up plenty of Vitamin D while writing that term paper or pumping out price lists.

Greenery looks great near a bright area like this, so a potted plant or two might help naturally bring your space to life.


Courtesy of Sennikoff Architects.

Arts and crafts

The age of DIY is upon us. Embrace the casual cool vibes and create your very own home desk area.

Need a semi-permanent “to do” list? Try using chalkboard paint to make yourself a giant notepad on a nearby cabinet or a framed chalkboard. Tired of the overdone corkboard for your sticky notes? Framed chicken wire with clothespins makes a more shabby-chic memo board.

The possibilities really are endless for this type of style. Just don’t let your DIY-ing get in the way of the tasks you originally sat down to do!


Courtesy of Zillow Digs.

Collaboration is key

For those less focus-intensive projects, investigate a collaborative work station with several small spaces or a giant community table. This type of work environment has been popular among small companies and creative agencies for the purpose of bouncing around ideas.

If you still want your own personal space, try to put a divider between you and the other desks for some extra privacy, and take it down when it’s time to meet and discuss. You know what they say: Teamwork makes the dream work.

collab sm

Courtesy of Zillow Digs.

A clear mind

While many of us would like to think we have complete control of our habit of logging onto Facebook or checking what else our calendar has in store for us, most of us really don’t. And the greatest enabler of this side-tracked behavior is a cluttered work space.

Set the stage for a clean slate with a bright white desk and matching chair, a simple light fixture, and an inspiring element. Keeping your work station simple and clutter-free ensures you have a productive day — even if your homework is less than exhilarating.

Whether you’re up all night cramming for exams, have a work presentation due first thing in the morning, or are halfway through your daily email routine, you’ll feel more focused and productive by incorporating any of these tips into your work station.

Now, you should probably go get started on that long-overdue term paper, don’t you think?


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Creating a Homework Station That Gets Top Marks was originally published on Southern Classic Realtors – Nivla Calcinore – Bringing You Home

Good to Grow: Creating a Custom Gardening Workspace

A garden shed is more than a place to stash your shovel and lawnmower – it’s a gardening workstation where you can plant and repot to your heart’s content.

Of course, if you don’t have a shed, you can always improvise. Turn a corner of the garage, balcony, or patio into the next best thing by including a potting bench and enough storage space for your gardening gear. And if you have to set up your workspace outside, keep it in a shaded space, and store your products and tools in watertight storage containers.

Wherever you choose to make your gardening workspace, give it the same attention you’d give your home office or kitchen. Follow these tips to make it work for you.

Show off your garden shed

A shed is a utilitarian place to store stuff, of course, but it’s also an opportunity to incorporate architectural interest into your garden.

Mirror your home’s paint colors to create a harmonious effect, or turn it into a focal point by painting it a bright accent color. Just be sure that it complements your existing color scheme.

Photo from Zillow listing.

Give your garden shed the same amount of curb appeal you’d give your home. To avoid mowing the awkward space around your shed, give it a foundation planting, and surround it with ground covers, like mondo grass.

Make room for a potting bench

Technically, you can use any counter-height table as a potting bench, but it’s all the bells and whistles that make the difference – features like potting sinks, open shelving, drawers, hooks, and even paper towel bars.

Make your own potting bench from scratch, or repurpose an old bathroom vanity or console table for a little more character. You can also purchase a readymade potting bench from your local garden center or hardware store, but choose one built with quality wood that can withstand moisture and sunlight.

Photo courtesy of Point One Architects.

Keep it clean

Dirt and debris are bound to turn up in your workspace, but too much will attract pests like cockroaches, silverfish, and earwigs.

To keep your workspace tidy, wipe down your mower, edger, shovels, and hoes with a stiff brush before putting them away, and store them by the door for easier cleanup.

Clear the floor for easy sweeping by placing large supplies in stacking plastic bins, then label one for herbicides, one for fertilizer, and so on. Keep a large, lined kitchen trashcan around so you always have a place to put those empty plastic pots and bags.

Don’t hoard supplies

Workspaces are made for working, so don’t treat yours like a storage shed. Excess stuff is more than a waste of space – it makes it harder to get things done and even creates hiding places for dirt and bugs.

Don’t feel guilty about throwing away (or donating) anything that accumulates a layer of dust. Even if you think they’ll prove themselves valuable someday, those old pots and decorations will never be as valuable as a functional and inspiring workspace.

Photo from Zillow listing.

Sort the small stuff

Once you’ve rid your space of clutter, make designated spaces for the things you actually use. Keep your most often used tools in a caddy so you won’t have to collect them each time you head to the garden. Store the tools and tidbits you won’t need for a while on a pegboard or in designated bins.

Shelving is the traditional choice for storage, but much of that space often goes unused. To make the most of it, stack plastic organizers and bins. Depending on the size and design, they’ll hold anything from potting mix to plant tags.

Organize the shovels and such

Don’t settle for leaning those big shovels and rakes in a corner. Either purchase a freestanding garden-tool rack or make your own wall rack with nothing more than two-by-fours.

Attach one or more two-by-fours to the wall horizontally, securing them to studs for extra stability. Purchase a variety of specialized wall hooks from the hardware store, and arrange them beforehand to leave enough space for each tool. Use large hooks in sets of two to store hoses and extension cords, or even in sets of three to store string trimmers by laying them flat.

Top photo from Zillow listing.


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Good to Grow: Creating a Custom Gardening Workspace was originally published on Southern Classic Realtors – Nivla Calcinore – Bringing You Home

5 Tips for Creating a Staircase Gallery

The wall adjacent to your stairs makes the perfect place to display family photos or photos of any kind. Normally that wall is bare and needs some kind of design scheme. Most of us have more photos than we know what to do with making this a project a win-win. Anyone with a two-story home can tackle this with a minimum of cash outlay.


Staircase Interior


Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to fashion a photo exhibit adjacent to your stairway. There’s no one right way to do this so we’ve included some variations. Once you’ve decided on the photos, then you move on to the arrangement you like and the frames that bring the whole gallery together.

1. Decide on a Layout

If you have just one particular photo you want showcased, center the frame and hang it using a hammer and picture nails. But more than likely you’ll have a larger grouping of pictures destined for this area. Choose to arrange them tightly, staggered, matching the rise of the stairs, in a collage, in a vertical line or any other pattern you select.

2. Collect Frames

Make a statement with the frames. Smaller ones can accent larger ones. Black mats and silver frames around black and white pictures give the wall a cohesive look. White mats with gold frames appear more traditional. Study some of the designs on Pinterest to give you an idea of the many types and styles of frames available and how they look in a grouping.

3. Add a Few Empty Frames

Family photos evolve as the kids grow, get married and have their own children. Hanging a few empty frames (or keep the photo the frame came with) allows you to enhance your display whenever you want.

4. Lay Out All Your Frames

Measure an area either on the floor or on a table that’s the same size as your wall space. Arrange your frames there, including the empty ones, until you’re satisfied. Use sticky notes to number the pictures or describe them. You can also sketch your design to be sure you get it right. Or cut out the frame shapes from brown paper and tape those templates directly onto the wall.

5. Start Hanging

Leave at least 6 inches of empty space along the bottom of the wall. Nobody looks down there and it clears an area for foot traffic. Some experts say start with the photo in the center and work out from there. Whatever order you choose, hang the photos with picture nails and once you’re satisfied with the placement, use museum putty so they won’t move around.

Do you need help with a home improvement project? Use our instant estimate tool to get a price in seconds and find certified professionals in your area. Get a price. Get a pro. Get it done.

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5 Tips for Creating a Staircase Gallery was originally published on Southern Classic Realtors – Nivla Calcinore – Bringing You Home

4 Stages to Creating the Perfect Pantry

You know you have a can of chicken broth, but you’ve scoured your shelves twice and still can’t find it. Or, you’re in the middle of mixing up cookie dough and the brown sugar you retrieve from the cupboard resembles an actual brick. And the expiration date on the can of tuna you just pulled out was three years ago. It’s time to clean and organize the pantry. But this time, do it differently and more efficiently.


Cluttered Pantry


Pro.com has divided this process into four simple-to-manage stages. When you’ve finished, you’ll have your dry and canned food readily available whenever you need to whip up a meal. No more hunting for that elusive can of beans.

Stage 1: Clear Out and Clean

Remove every can, box, bag, bottle and jar. Check for expiration or “best by” dates and toss any item that isn’t current. Trash any suspect food, as well. Donate what you’ll never use to your local food bank. Vacuum up any crumbs and give the shelves a good wash down with a warm, damp rag and dish detergent.

Empty Pantry

Stage 2: Make Changes

Evaluate and implement ways to make your pantry more user-friendly. Install sliding shelves that pull out so you can see what’s in the back, attach a spice rack on the door, place one shelf higher than the rest for tall products, and add adjustable shelves or even additional lighting to contribute to a more efficient pantry and meal prep.

Pantry Cabinets

Stage 3: Go Shopping

Make a list of the types and number of containers you need for maximum organization. For canned goods, consider a tiered shelf organizer that lets you see all available cans at the same time. Get rid of those bags and boxes by transferring the sugar, flour and rice to clear canisters. Staples stay fresher in sealed containers. On the floor, utilize baskets for bulk food storage, onions and potatoes. If you don’t have a spice rack, buy a turntable.

Kitchen Groceries


While you’re out, buy any staples you either don’t have or had to toss in the cleaning phase. Suggestions include:

  • Pasta
  • Rice
  • Coconut milk
  • Peanut butter
  • Broth
  • Tuna
  • Raisins
  • Cereal
  • Salt
  • Peppercorns
  • Olive oil
  • Vinegar
  • Flour
  • Sugar
  • Baking soda
  • Baking powder
  • Cream of tartar
  • Cocoa
  • Vanilla extract
  • Crackers
  • Popcorn
  • Beans
  • Vegetables
  • Olives
  • Capers
  • Your favorite spices

Stage 4: Organize in Zones

Group similar items together, either by taking up an entire shelf or a portion of that shelf. Put boxes of cereal together, spices in one place, baking ingredients in another, canned goods by themselves and smaller items in a plastic container. At eye level locate items you reach for everyday. Label all storage boxes with a label maker so you can see at a glance what’s inside. One task remains; training the rest of the family to return whatever they take out to its newly assigned place.

Pantry Containers


Do you need help with a home improvement project? Use our instant estimate tool to get a price in seconds and find certified professionals in your area. Get a price. Get a pro. Get it done.

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The post 4 Stages to Creating the Perfect Pantry appeared first on Pro.com Blog.

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4 Stages to Creating the Perfect Pantry was originally published on Southern Classic Realtors – Nivla Calcinore – Bringing You Home