Category Archives: Personal Space

High-Tech Hacks for the Kitchen by Amber Heckler

Have you been yearning to up your kitchen game but without bulky gadgets or “unitasker” appliances? Don’t worry. These days, there are many ways to optimize cozy kitchens with cool high-tech gadgets that save space instead of taking it up.

High Tech Kitchen Hacks

Measure With a Digital Kitchen Scale

Digital kitchen scales will change your life. They are more expensive than measuring cups, but not by very much, and the time and energy they’ll save you is more than worth it. Digital kitchen scales are slender and take up hardly any space. They’re also way more accurate than measuring cups or spoons, and are a real asset to your kitchen.

Install a Tablet Wall Mount

Gone are the days of giant cookbooks and their equally giant stands. If you have a tablet, install a wall mount in your kitchen. This will allow you to read your recipe on your tablet in “real time” as you’re cooking, freeing up your hands and making everything a lot easier. Pro tip: Place a protective cover on your tablet to guard against food splats.

Create Your Own Chalkboard

Ask your property manager before going forward with this one, but if he or she allows it, paint the inside — or outside, if you prefer — of your cupboards with chalkboard paint. This high-tech paint looks and acts like a chalkboard, so you can write on it with chalk and wipe it clean! You can use your new chalkboard to keep notes on recipes, measurements or anything else you want, freeing you of paper reminders or sticky notes, which can add a lot of clutter to a kitchen.

Magnetize Everything

Magnets are truly a miracle when it comes to saving space. There are several ways to take advantage of magnets in the kitchen. If you’re tired of your knife block taking up counter space, buy a magnetic knife strip. Just install it on the wall and your knives will hang from it, taking up little space and looking cool in the process. Another great magnetized product is a set of magnetic all-purpose racks. You can put this on your fridge and store spices or anything you want in it.

Immerse Yourself in Immersion Blenders

Immersion blenders, also known as “stick blenders,” take up much less space than “regular” blenders and are highly efficient. It’s true that they can’t do everything a large blender can, so keep your large blender in the cabinet for when you need to make a batch of margaritas. Immersion blenders, however, are great for making single-serving smoothies and for blending soups.

Steam Clean

Mops and buckets are the scourge of the closet. They’re germ factories and they take up an infuriating amount of space. Consider investing in a steam mop; it will make your life a lot easier. Just add water and this mop can clean anything (as long as you double check to make sure your mop is OK for use on hardwood floors). Your kitchen will be the cleanest you’ve ever seen it.

Pop Up, Pop Down

There’s no getting around the fact that you need a sponge, but it’s a huge waste of space. That’s where the Pop-Up Sponge comes in. It works like a regular sponge when it’s wet, but it really shines when dry. It shrinks down to a tiny rectangle that takes up almost no space at all. Whenever you want to use it again, simply immerse it in water and it will “pop” back up. Very cool!


Take advantage of the many handy mobile apps that make cooking super easy. Here are just a few:

Paprika Recipe Manager: This helpful mobile app helps you organize recipes and create menus. It also keeps track of nutritional information and lets you add notes to recipes as you go. A must for any cook.

Perfect Produce: This amazing app advises you on how to buy, use and store every type of produce you can think of. Use this app when you’re grocery shopping for an easy way to up your fruit and veggie intake, and say goodbye to the days of throwing away overripe avocados.

How to Cook Everything: This awesome app from chef and food columnist Mark Bittman is exactly what it sounds like. With more than 2,000 recipes, 400 photos, and tips and instructions galore, this app really will tell you how to cook everything. You’ll be glad you downloaded this one!

And if you’re looking for more tips, or even a new apartment, check out the ForRent mobile app.

Now go forth and cook! (And clean up afterward.)

About :

Amber-Heckler-HeadshotAmber is the Social Media & Content Manager for For Rent Media Solutions™ and has been with the company since April 2007. In her role, Amber helps execute and optimize a social media strategic plan across multiple channels, as well as manages the company’s social media product. This includes blogs, social networks, video sharing sites, and other conversational media. She spends a great deal of time building relationships with consumers, social media influencers, and bloggers to generate awareness of For Rent Media Solutions brand. In her free time, Amber loves running, #hashtags, and DIY projects.

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Fresh Design Ideas for the Holidays

HD Christmas DecorAs Halloween decorations are being taken down and stored in boxes for next year, decorating for the Thanksgiving and Christmas season works it’s way up the to-do list. Boxes stored in the garage, storage closet or extra room are begging to be opened and plundered for family favorites and treasures of years past. Each trinket pulled from colored tissue offers it’s own memory and sweet story. Baskets of scented pine cones, a simple wreath and beautifully colored ribbons adorn the rooms.

Putting a fresh face on the holiday season isn’t always easy. Using the exact same decor each year, we may not realize that while we make the house look festive and reflective of the season, we may neglect to infuse the personalities of the entire family.

Begin with the Basics

What counts most in any room, says interior designer Alexa Hampton, are balance, color, contrast and proportion. This is equally true when pulling together holiday decorations.

A few Examples

hd christmas decor IIIIf your family puts up a large tree at the end of the living room, the other end of the room should feature something equally heavy, although dissimilar. A garland wrapped around the stair rail or perhaps draped over a large mirror makes a tremendous impact.

White or ivory walls call for accents in deep purple and red.  Bright pillar candles in glass cloches on a hallway table and brightly colored flowers on the mantle piece. Another option would be to go tonal with white-on-white displays such as white hydrangeas interspersed with a few lemons and and limes for a casually elegant ambiance.

Choosing Colors

It’s your home, your style and should be indicative of that to everyone who walks in. When it comes to your theme for the holidays, think about your favorite color palettes. What color makes you happy? Whatever it is, claim it a yours ad create something fabulous.

hd Christmas Decor IIBegin outside and work your way in 

Make sure your guests feel welcomed every time they arrive at the front door by putting something uniquely “you” on it. If you lean toward the conventional, try a square wreath rather than a circle, or one made of feathers. Festive and modern, either should set the tone for what awaits inside.

For those who want something more unusual, Morse suggests making or buying a large wood replica of the first letter of your last name or a silhouette of your pet. Spray it a cheery color and hang it up with a poufy plaid ribbon. If greenery says “the holidays” to you, gather a bunch, and then wrap it in paper and tie with a big bow as though fresh from the florist shop. Then hang. If you’re hosting several get-together’s, suspend a framed chalkboard written with a special greeting for each, the type of party it is, directions to the pond where you’ll be skating or simply “Cheers!”

Other simple ideas

  • Have the kids cut out snowflakes from construction paper in white or a color that coordinates with their bedrooms.  Tie on various lengths of ribbons in the color of their choice and then, using double-face tape, affix to the ceiling.
  • Don’t forget the bathroom, especially the one used by guests. A bowl of lavender plus a sprig of it tied to the shower head look special and add a delicious scent.
  • Drape glittering tinsel around dining-chairs and add a smattering of silver stars and bells at the back for pizzazz. Or wrap them with ribbon, a tree ornament or name card tied at the back with a bow.

Sally Morse is the Director of Creative Services at Hunter Douglas and we are thankful for the tips and ideas sent our way. For more information and ideas, visit their site, follow Hunter Douglas on Pinterest, Facebook and download the Art of Window Dressing iPad app on their site.





Let’s break the rules; Hunter Douglas says, Turn Decorating don’ts into Do’s

Hunt Doug I

Duette® Fabric/Material Panache™ Color Daisy White

How many times have you heard so-called design experts say, “Don’t plan your décor around anything but the rug,” or “Don’t use light colors if you have young children or pets?” or any other such “don’ts?”

“Sometimes these rules are helpful,” says designer Sally Morse, Director of Creative Services at window fashions leader Hunter Douglas. “But often you’’d do better heeding Pablo Picasso’s advice: “‘Learn the rules like a pro so you can break them like an artist.’  All it takes is a little courage, and remembering that most anything can be fixed.””

Following, are some rules you can break with confidence:


It’s easy to see why so many think rugs are the best place to start when figuring out a room’s décor. They warm up a space, anchor a room, express your design personality and tie together the entire decorating scheme. But there are other equally appropriate places to begin.

If you have a large-scale painting that really “sings” to you, emotionally as well as aesthetically, start there. Work your color scheme around it, and choose furnishings that play it up, either reflecting it or contrasting.

You can also design a room around a collection, such as Delft pottery or contemporary art glass. Arrange the plates, vases, candlesticks and all on open shelves, and then capture their varying colors with the upholstery and perhaps a patterned rug. The key is to choose what is most important to you and go from there. Remember, there are many designers who say,
“If you love it, you can make it work.”

Hunt Doug II

Alustra® Duette® Architella® Fabric/Material Architella® Sheer Opalessence® and Whisper™ Sheer Color Bronze Glisten and Bronze Shimmer™


Experts often suggest playing it safe when you decorate, using old, familiar systems. But Hunter Douglas knows how to integrate the most advanced technology into products you’ve been enjoying for years. And you don’t have to be a NASA engineer to use them. 

The Hunter Douglas Platinum™ App for example, operates the brand’s extensive collection of motorized window treatments with the tap of a finger. It can be integrated into existing systems or be used on its own for a taste of home automation at a fraction of the cost. It allows you to set your shades in motion all together or by room, at the same time or one shade at a time, and by “scenes” you can personalize and pre-set, such as ‘morning light’ and ‘movie night’. You can even activate the timer feature to operate the shades while you’re away.

Among the many products the Platinum App works with are the new Silhouette® A Deux™ shadings. Created to simplify life, they offer the sheer, light-diffusing beauty of popular Silhouette shadings together with an independently operated room-darkening roller shade affixed behind them for added light control and privacy.  Two in one. Couldn’’t be better.


Morse disagrees with this, saying, “There couldn’’t be a better color for a family’s furniture than white, if it’s done correctly. Have slipcovers made of durable, machine-washable denim or canvas – make sure it’s bleach-safe– and designed with zippers so they fit  as snugly as upholstery but can be easily removed for cleaning.” Not only do they stay clean, but white provides the perfect background for colorful artwork, fine pieces or the kids’, and works well with nearly any style furniture and architecture.

Hunt Doug III

Duette® Architella® Fabric/Material Royal Color Olive Tree


No need to limit yourself to one style of décor or even one color palette as man y so-called experts extol.  A mash-up of your favorite things, when done carefully and thoughtfully, can be fabulous. Start small and see what happens.

An alternative to woven woods and solar shades, Alustra® Woven Textures® is a good example of how you can use both the iconic and the innovative at the same time, a combination that Hunter Douglas is well-known for. Offered in Roman shades, roller shades and Skyline® Gliding Window Panels, the collection has new fabrics that range from Primitive, which exudes the weather-worn look of an old oceanfront cottage, to Urban, with a cross-grid texture that brings today’s city blocks to mind.


One of the biggest mistakes anyone can make is to hang paintings and photography too high or too low. The rule of thumb is to place it at eye level or the mean height for all the adults in the house. But at times, this rule can be broken to beautiful effect.

Small pieces can be massed together on a wall in such a fashion that the entire assemblage transcends into one extravagant pattern and the beauty is more in the overall spectacle than individual pieces.

Another time eye level need not be taken into consideration is when a huge piece is placed on a small wall. Better than wallpaper – it can easily be changed – and much more interesting, it needs only to be centered taking any furniture below into consideration.

“There are so many other great rules to be broken,” says Morse, “and fall is a wonderful time to do it when change is in the air and fixing up our homes is on our minds. So listen to the experts. Then make their advice work for you in your own unique way. You might be happily surprised.”

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For more information, visit or call 1-800-274-2985.  Follow Hunter Douglas at, and Download “The Art of Window Dressing” iPad app through a link

Step into Spring with BHG’s Third Instagram Photo Contest

a bit about usAs the seasons change our colors indoors begin to reflect Mother Nature’s palette outdoors. Fall brings browns, golds, oranges, reds and yellows, winter brings, greens, reds and whites, and spring and summer hues are light and bright.  Pastel’s dominate spring and brighter tones are added as we move deeper in to the warmer weather.

Reflecting these seasonal changes in our wardrobe and in our home is an energizing event that does not have to zing our bank account.  Small, inexpensive changes can have a huge impact if done correctly.

Adding a few bright color spots in the flower bed or on the porch is a quick and inexpensive touch. Pastel colored pots or front porch accessories, and small gardening signs welcome spring with a bit of whimsy.

As we move indoors with our flair for change, the touches of color can be as simple as changing out the throw blanket and pillow on the sofa or chair. Put away the deeper hued kitchen towels and bring out the sunny colors to brighten your cook space.

Scent can alter moods quickly and bringing in a cucumber, lemon, coconut, mango or subtle floral scent can lighten the room dramatically.

BHG IIWhile the basic spring palette boasts light pastels, each year brings it’s own trends. Better Homes and Gardens® has revealed it’s first ever Color Palette of the Year, in it’s April issue with a collection of seven colors showcasing the most current trends from home to fashion. You will find advice on how to use the hues to have them working together beautifully in multiple combinations.

The 7 colors that the editors of Better Homes and Gardens have chosen are colbalt, yellow, lavender, apple green, chambray, coral and beige. The piece will show readers  more about how to use these in everything from fashion to interior design. The April’s issue is available on local news stands March 18th.  This is one issue we will make sure we do not miss.

With the advance of smart phones and social media trends, engaging readers to interact with their favorite brands is a trend consumers are loving. Digital issues are becoming interactive and readers are able to discuss topics with their favorite brands in real time. Embracing this trend, BHG  is launching it’s third Instagram photo contest. Readers take pics and share photos of their favorite color palettes on Instagram, using the hashtag #BHGColor, to enter the brand’s ‘Fave Color Palette’ photo contest.  Each week one winner will receive a $50 Visa gift card, and at the end of the contest, one of those winners will be selected to win the grand prize of $500. read official  rules and entry at

Looking for more information?  To stay updated on each issue please visit Better Homes & Garden at the following links. | Facebook: |Twitter|Pinterest:  | Instagram: