Wednesday, December 12, 2018

The Best IKEA Gifts for Everyone on Your List — 2018 Gift Guides

While assembling the furniture can be frustrating, shopping at IKEA for fun gifts and home decor during the holidays is nothing but fun. Whether you want a bit of greenery for a friend's desk or to treat yourself to a winter-y accent for your living room, IKEA will deliver at its signature I-can't-believe-that's-not-a-typo price.

Check out our favorite giftable finds below.


from Apartment Therapy | Saving the world, one room at a time

Unique Home Decorations That Will Give Your Apartment an International Flair

Settling into your new apartment involves creating an atmosphere unique to your personality. More simply put, how you decorate matters.

Utilizing uncommon pieces with an international flare can help set your home apart. Certain decorative pieces can also add a little luck and good feeling into your space through their symbolic properties.

Here are just a few ways you can give your apartment some global appeal.

Hang an international statement piece


There's nothing like incorporating a big, bold piece of art into your room to draw attention. Using art as a statement piece entices people into the room and serves as a great conversation starter.

Consider hanging a tapestry as a statement piece. Crafted around the world, these pieces add color, texture and pattern to your space. Although often large, tapestries are surprisingly easy to hang.

Use nails or pushpins if the fabric is pretty lightweight and you're OK putting a few holes in your wall. Aligning the nails on the seam of your tapestry will prevent noticeable holes on your piece. If you'd rather avoid holes in your walls, apply Velcro to the back of your tapestry for an alternative solution.

An additional benefit to this international art piece is that it can double as a room separator. If your apartment has more of an open concept, use a tapestry to help define your living space while simultaneously drawing the eye of your visitors.

Introduce positive energy


Many easy-to-find items symbolize luck and positivity throughout the world. Adding them to your apartment decor helps spread the good vibes. Some options include:


Aligned with Feng shui, this plant spreads good luck and energy when placed on the eastern side of your home according to Chinese culture.


These stunning Native American pieces – believed to keep bad dreams out – add a great pop of design to a guest room. They're also a symbol of protection.


Popular throughout the Middle East and North Africa, the open-palm design of this artistic piece usually contains an eye in the center. The Hamsa is a protective charm that also symbolizes peace. They're available as paintings or a solid piece made out of metal, glass, clay or ceramic materials.


Resembling an Easter egg, this “protective" art piece from Ukraine is decorated with traditional folk designs, written on the egg using beeswax.


A popular Egyptian symbol representing eternal life, it's also seen as a lucky charm.

Take on an animal theme

elephant statue

Certain animals have historically held cultural significance around the world. Creating a decorative theme around one of these animals – especially if they're already your favorite – can give your apartment a little something extra.

In India, elephants are placed near doors to give passersby a good dose of luck. They also help protect your home. The waving, Japanese cat, Maneki-Neko, so often found in small Chinatown shops, is believed to bring good fortune. Even frogs have symbolic significance. In Australia, they're thought to enhance abundance and symbolize prosperity in wealth and friendship.

Share your love of travel

travel decor

Letting a little international flavor influence your home decor doesn't necessarily mean using pieces from other countries. Maps of all the places you've been or want to visit can create an artful wall inspired by your personal connection to travel. You can literally take your decor global by showing actual places around the world in addition to the art created there.

Whether displaying international art, getting a little luck from significant objects, or sharing your passion for the world through maps, it's easy to find unique items for your home from around the world.

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Leesa, Our Favorite Mattress-in-a-Box, Is On Sale On Amazon For One Day Only

Amazon's 12 days of deals is almost over, but it looks like they are saving some of the best for last. Yesterday was stand mixers and blenders galore, and today is 29% off one of the internet's (and our!) favorite mattresses.


from Apartment Therapy | Saving the world, one room at a time

The Salary You Need to Live in Fixer Upper's Waco, Texas

Ask anyone about Waco, Texas, and most likely they'll ask "Isn't that where Chip and Joanna are from?" Thanks to Gaineses, the stars of HGTV's "Fixer Upper," interest in this central Texas community has skyrocketed over the last few years. As a result, Waco, Texas has not only become a huge tourist destination, but it has also sparked the interest of potential home buyers.

"Of course, Chip and Joanna have made a big impact on our town," said Jennifer Dolezel, Realtor with RE/MAX Centex REALTORS in Waco. "Those relocating to the area really like how Chip and Joanna present themselves and people kind of want to see that and be a part of it."

They've made such a big impact that the Waco Convention & Visitors Bureau even created a Magnolia Trail of places to see that have been mentioned on the show (yes, the restaurant and silos are on it!)

But before you pack your bags, you might be interested to know that Waco is more than just a fixer upper city. The Gaineses might flip many homes at significantly low prices, but the median home value in Waco is actually $116,800 and the median listing price is $175,000 (still super affordable compared to the national median listing price of $275,000.)

Using Zillow's mortgage calculator, with a 30-year-fixed loan at the current interest rate of 4.543 percent and a 10 percent down payment on a $116,800 home, your mortgage payment would be about $740 a month. That same loan for a home at $175,000 would cost you a monthly mortgage payment of about $1,084.

Based upon the guideline that your mortgage should take up 28 percent of your pre-tax monthly income, you'd need to earn about a household income of between $32,000 and $50,000 to afford to live in Waco.


from Apartment Therapy | Saving the world, one room at a time

A Luxe Long Island City Condo Is Perfect for Lounge Parties — House Call

Name: Craig Byers, my husband Justin Greer, and Buddy The Glamour Cat
Location: Long Island City — Queens, New York
Size: 820 square feet
Years lived in: 8 years, owned

Buddy the glamour cat has two dads. Justin is the dad who can never say no to Buddy. Justin used to be an actor in Broadway musicals, having been in nine shows over fifteen years. He's "retired" from that world now, and teaches performing arts to elementary school students at The Dalton School, a private institution on Manhattan's Upper East Side. Craig is the dad who keeps Buddy in check, making sure he stays model-skinny, since his cat job as photo muse is grueling. Craig is a Design Director for Gensler, a global architecture firm. Craig is responsible for the ideas and taste and style in the home. Together, the performing artist and the visual artist have created a home that is uniquely theirs, warm and welcoming.


from Apartment Therapy | Saving the world, one room at a time

There Are 6 Types of Smart Shoppers—Which One Are You?

While I've never met anyone who didn't love a good bargain, the truth is that savvy shoppers come in all sorts of varieties when it comes to coupon clipping and deal sifting. Some of us are dedicated to dig until we find that perfect deal, while others think a 10-percent-off coupon in the mail is good enough for the bottom dollar. These differences are enlightening, inspiring, and sometimes downright funny, but no matter which category you subscribe to one thing stays the same: Everyone loves to save some money.

Let's take a look at some of the savvy shopper types below, and see if you fall into any of the categories. If we're missing one, share what kind of deal hunter you are below!


from Apartment Therapy | Saving the world, one room at a time

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

See This Photographer's Total Apartment Decor Overhaul — House Tour

Name: Elizabeth Podlesnik
Location: Queen Anne — Seattle, Washington
Size: 900 square feet
Years lived in: 3 years, renting

Back in June, this former personal stylist-turned-photographer got an itch to redecorate. Like, seriously redecorate. "I sold everything on Craigslist and Offer Up, and started from scratch," Elizabeth told me. I was slightly jealous of the adventure she'd just been on. From scratch, you say? Swoon. I really do have a thing for blank slates. Over the course of the next several months, Elizabeth made regular visits to a huge consignment store in Seattle's Ballard neighborhood for interesting pieces, surfed Amazon more often than her friends feel is reasonable, and splurged on items she knew she wanted to last. More importantly, she took her time. She'd only finished putting the final touches on it about a week before I came to snap pics—or, that morning, if you count the fresh flowers she dashed out to get last minute.


from Apartment Therapy | Saving the world, one room at a time