4 Things a Financial Planner Thinks You Should Know
Think of the term “financial planner” and what comes to mind? Somebody in a suit talking about complicated money matters with somebody rolling in dough. Think again, according to Certified Financial Planner Professional Shannah Compton Game, host of the Millennial Money podcast. I got to chat with Game about all things financial, and ask her my embarrassing money questions—which actually didn’t feel at all embarrassing with her.
Mar 2, 2019
Don’t Make These 6 Common Cordless Drill Mistakes
If you only own one household tool, it’s probably a cordless drill. They’re pretty essential for even the most basic home improvement projects. But it’s not just a matter of grabbing one and getting to work. Drills may seem straightforward, but there are actually a lot of ways to mess up. Here are some common mistakes to watch out for.
Feb 23, 2019
5 Things You Should Never Do with Interior Paint
Painting is one of the easiest home improvements out there, and most people—whether renters or homeowners—have picked up a brush at some point in their lives. It’s also an easy project to jump into without asking questions first or thinking about the right ways to do things. Instead of wasting your time and money, here are five things you should positively, never, ever do with your interior paint. But what does one DO with all that paint? We’ll save that for another day.
Feb 9, 2019
My Credit Score Was Actually 70 Points Lower Than I Thought—And Yours May Be, Too
When my husband and I decided to take out a home equity line of credit for a renovation, we assumed we’d get a great interest rate based on our good credit scores. We’ve always paid our bills on time and don’t maintain any credit card debt. There’s just one demerit on my report; a medical bill in collections I’ve unsuccessfully disputed. But even with that blip, the credit monitoring service I use—CreditWise—said my score hovered in the high 700s!
Feb 8, 2019
This Super-Common Real Estate Tip is Actually Terrible Advice
We’ve all heard it. If you’re looking to buy, you should always go for the worst house in the best neighborhood. But have many of us ever stopped to question that conventional wisdom? I thought I was bucking convention when I bought one of the lowest priced houses in a neighborhood that many locals steer clear of (and to my eternal frustration that Uber drivers tell my Airbnb guests they should avoid) — but is it true?
Feb 3, 2019
5 Ways I’m Making Sure I Don’t See Another $700 Heating Bill This Year
When I moved into a sprawling old Victorian in Louisville, Kentucky three years ago, my neighbors terrified me with their tales of four-digit utility bills. I’d swapped an under-900-square-foot bungalow for the three-story, 1890 behemoth, and was so scared of the bill the first year, I chose to freeze rather than turn up the thermostat.
Feb 2, 2019
The Smart Way My Real Estate Agent Quickly Calculates My Home’s Value
Imagine my surprise when my real estate agent gave me a simple appraisal number—and all additional information in a completely jargon-free way.
Jan 16, 2019
I Doubled My Kitchen Sink Storage for Only $22
What is it about under-sink areas that make them so likely to turn into a black hole? Is it because they’re sort of low to the ground and tucked away that we have a tendency to just crack the door, shove stuff in, and slam the door? As a result, sink cabinets turn into these dank, dark, places where all the stuff you don’t want sitting on your countertop just accumulates.
Jan 9, 2019
Being Your Own Contractor Saves a Ton of Money, But I Don’t Recommend It
It’s funny how most of us know we can’t be our own physician or attorney after watching a few YouTube videos, but ask us if we can run our own renovation and an awful lot of us think we can handle it just fine. Who needs a contractor when you can find your own sub-contractors online and order all your own materials? Why pay them a percentage of the cost (ranging from 10 to 50 percent) on top of your already over-budget budget when you can just DIY? Well, I’ve done it. Twice.
Dec 9, 2018
Kitchen Flooring That Won’t Drain Your Remodeling Budget
When you’re redoing a kitchen, flooring has a huge impact on the way the room looks. The orangey faux terra cotta we inherited in our Victorian kitchen drove me nuts and I couldn’t wait to replace it. New floors aren’t cheap though. If you’re considering an overhaul of your kitchen up to and including the floor, it’s easy to drop way more than you intend to. The good news is you don’t have to.
Nov 4, 2018
You’re Missing Free Money—Here are 5 Places to Look
What would you say if I told you I stumbled across $2,000 in free money that I’m using to go to France? It sounds like the beginning of an email scam you’re too smart to click on, right? Well get this: It’s a true story. This summer my husband and I replaced the decrepit roof on our 128-year-old house.
Oct 16, 2018
7 Things Smart Shoppers Do Right Before They Hit “Add to Cart”
We’ve all been there. You’ve found just the right fill-in-the-blank (light fixture? bag? end table?) you’ve been looking for online, and are ready to load up your cart and check out. Then that nagging suspicion hits that there might just be a better price out there. It’s a valid concern. Prices can vary, sometimes drastically, from site to site, promotion to promotion. So how can you be sure you’re getting the very best price?
Oct 7, 2018
This $20 Mop Is So Much Better Than a Swiffer
Raise your hand if you have a household chore that you just love to do. Even if you hate cleaning, you probably have your hand in the air. There’s always something. I love, love, love using the Shop-Vac. It’s incredibly satisfying to watch it cut a swathe through dust and dirt, swooshing everything up into its roaring nozzle. I can Shop-Vac all day long, and I always claim the job when we’re doing a big project. I even picked one out as a Valentine’s Day present once.
Oct 6, 2018
Here’s Why We’re All Obsessed with the Scandinavian Lifestyle
Welcome to Scandi Week—Apartment Therapy’s seven-day focus on all-things Scandinavia (often defined as the countries of Sweden, Denmark, and Norway). Sometimes it seems like the whole world is obsessed with trying to copy this corner of the globe, from its timeless style aesthetic to its now-famous coziness rituals. For the next week, we’ll take a look at all of it—cleaning, pop culture, and of course tons of eye-popping design inspiration.
Sep 28, 2018
7 Must-Do Adulting Chores You Shouldn’t Avoid This Fall
Spring might get all the attention when it comes to cleaning, but it’s pumpkin spice latte season, and you know what that means—winter is coming. Fall is the time for hoodies and boots, but also the time to tend to some of those yearly chores. So get busy! It’s easy to forget about smoke detectors. They’re those things we sort of take for granted most of the time, but they save lives.
Sep 12, 2018
How to Paint Your Bathroom and Not Screw it Up
Painting the bathroom is just like painting any other room, right? Not so much, it turns out. I’ve painted my share over the years and never treated them any differently than any other room, but I’ve been doing it wrong. When it comes to bathrooms, there are a few things that make painting a little trickier than the rest of the house. Sam Ross of Nailed It Contracting was nice enough to pepper him with painting questions when he painted my bathroom recently.
Sep 9, 2018
Sorry, but Here Are 5 Things You Should TOTALLY Worry About at Home
We recently wrote about things at home you don’t need to worry about. But that doesn’t mean you’re off the hook. For every ahh, it’s not actually that big of a deal item on the list, there’s—sorry—something waiting to take its place. And it’s not always the stuff you might think about. So, just in case you need something to keep you up at night, here are five things that you should be worried about.
Aug 31, 2018
I Doubled My Bathroom Vanity Storage for Only $20
Your poor bathroom vanity. It has to hide all the things we don’t want on display, which is no easy task. Consider that we’re talking about a box that also has to hide a nest of plumbing pipes: No wonder it easily devolves into a jumbled mess and then a black hole into which toiletries disappear. Soon you end up with duplicates of mouthwash and deodorant—which only makes things worse—because you can’t find anything under there.
Aug 23, 2018
The Dark Side of Renovations That Nobody Talks About
If you’ve ever done a home renovation you know what comes along with it. Gut-shredding, teeth-grinding, hair-pulling, night-terrors stress. It is an absolute wonder why any of us would ever do it again. But, maybe as is the case with other painful things like tattoos, or (I hear) childbirth, we seem to forget in our headlong rush to start that next project just how bad it can be.
Aug 12, 2018
This $10 Buy Can Save You a Paint Job
In the midst of a kitchen and bath renovation in our 1890 home, I find myself uttering those four expensive words: while we’re at it. Most recently it was, “while we’re at it, why don’t we paint our dining room?” So I asked our drywall/paint contractor to add that onto his estimate for work in two other rooms. The total for the 225-ish square foot room? $1,890. (Turns out, we won’t be painting the dining room while we’re at it.
Aug 4, 2018
I Was “Househacking” to Pay My Mortgage—Then Things Fell Apart
Essentially we decided to buy the home, rent out the parts we weren't using, and cover our mortgage with the income. But then it got hard.
Aug 1, 2018
Stop Worrying About These 5 Things at Home
Full disclosure: I’m the last person to give advice about not worrying. I was up half the night last night thinking about everything currently going wrong with my home renovation. Trust me, if it wasn’t that it would be something else. But look, there’s plenty of actual Bad Stuff happening out in the world—none of us need to add to that worry load. So take a look at a few things around the house that I believe we can just strike off the list.
Jul 28, 2018
The 9 Deadly Sins of Bad Paint Jobs, According to a Pro
With so many things that really ought to be done by a professional when it comes to home improvement, the temptation—the need if you don’t have deep pockets—to DIY the simple stuff is totally understandable. And first on that list has got to be painting. All you do is grab a brush and go to work, NBD. Right? Well, it’s true that most anyone can do it. Doing it well, on the other hand? Maybe not so much.
Jul 7, 2018
This One Little Thing Made the Most Amazing Difference in My Living Room
It was one of those "huh!" moments where I wondered why this had never occurred to me before.
Jun 22, 2018
We Asked 5 Designers to Reveal Their Favorite Target Store Brand
Where else does spending at least a hundred bucks when you only went in for dish soap feel so good? Somehow it seems like Target’s goods just keep getting better, from clothes and health & beauty to home décor. It turns out we civilians aren’t the only ones who can’t get enough. People who make their living by making homes beautiful are loving some of Target’s newest brands—one in particular.
Jun 3, 2018
The Best Ways to Organize Your Kitchen, According to a Nutritionist
Your kitchen is kind of like command central for your house. Think about everything that goes on there—not least of which is the preparation of up to three meals a day, practically every day of your life. Unfortunately, sometimes in the hustle of that life, things can get a little… disorganized. And by that I mean your fridge may sport haphazard piles of random leftovers in unlabeled containers wedged between broccoli that’s seen better days.
May 23, 2018
10 Questions You Should Ask Before Tearing Down An Interior Wall
If you’ve ever watched any home makeover show ever, the big wall teardown signifies that Good Change Is Coming. It’s pretty much mandatory these days to knock down at least one interior wall in the quest for a more open floor plan. But, before you grab the sledgehammer (and pose for that obligatory kicking-through-the-wall Instagram photo op), hold up a sec. Here are ten questions you should ask yourself first.
May 18, 2018
Here’s the Truth About Open Shelving (From People Who Have Them)
Ahhh, open shelving. There are some very strong opinions about this kitchen trend. I’m 99% ready to take the leap myself, ditching the looming floor-to-ceiling boxy pantries a previous owner added to our Victorian home. They close in the already small-ish space But it’s a big commitment to move to an everything-on-display kitchen. Sure, they look beautiful on Pinterest, but what’s it really like to live with open shelves?
Apr 25, 2018
5 Minutes on This (Free) Site Will Shrink Your Airbnb Regret
Airbnb is awesome – until it’s not. Ten years in, face it, it’s still a leap of faith as a traveler to go stay in a stranger’s home. You roll the dice and could land in a place that makes all your dreams come true — I’ve found some absolute treasures like that. Or maybe it’s not horrible but it’s a boring corporate rental.
Apr 17, 2018
Everything You’ve Been Told About Thread Count in Sheets Is Wrong
Have you, too, stood in the linens department, eyes glazed as you try to figure out the best sheets? It doesn’t help that they tend to be folded up and jammed into a plastic container so that you can only feel a tiny corner of them. How are you supposed to know how it will feel on your entire body if only the tip of your finger can brush a sliver of the sheet? Well there’s always thread count, which is what it seems “they” want us to rely on.
Mar 23, 2018
Declutter With Confidence Using This Professional Stylist’s Closet Cleanout Checklist
What’s the easiest target when decluttering fever hits you? The closet, of course. It’s probably overflowing with clothes you haven’t worn since college or things you’re not sure why you even bought in the first place. And sure, there are plenty of cliches out there about when to get rid of clothes.
Mar 19, 2018
Smart Organizing Secrets to Steal From People Who Live Without Closets
“I have so much closet space I don’t even know what to do with it,” said nobody ever. I mean, even president Obama has a closet-space shortage, so for those of us wishing for just one more little nook to stuff our things in—we’re not alone.
Mar 12, 2018
The Dress I’ll Never Wear But Will Never Get Rid Of
Time can obscure memories as surely as fog can cloak a mountain, so when you posses an item — a totem, almost — that takes you back to a magical place you can never let it go. This romantic notion is how I come to own a dress that doesn’t really fit me and isn’t especially my style, but will never leave my hands.
Mar 6, 2018
My Best Valentine’s Day Ever Should Have Been the Worst
“There’s a pot pie in the oven made by a guy named Cookie Puss, who works at the hardware store. It’s 7 degrees outside. We have plastic hanging over the kitchen doorway to block the dust from the sander. There’s beer, and Kid Rock on the radio. We make Pigpen look clean. It’s our Detroit Valentine’s day.
Feb 14, 2018
Here’s How to Know If That Trend You Love Is Worth Your $$$
So there’s a design trend you adore. But you know perfectly well that it’s eventually going to fall out of favor (because of course, most things do). Unless your home is your forever home, you have to keep both Future Buyer and Future You in mind. Will your tile choice for your bathroom reno turn off a potential buyer when you want to sell in five years? Will you be turned off by the tile in five years (or worse, two years?).
Feb 9, 2018
The International Obsession With Cozy — More Than Just a Fleeting Trend?
What does cozy mean to you? I’m writing this story wrapped in a wool tartan blanket, my big dog at my feet, wearing a fuzzy sweater (hand knitted by a Norwegian, I kid you not). It would be better if the fireplace in the room where I’m writing worked, but late afternoon sunlight is pouring in the window and that’s almost as good.
Feb 6, 2018
The Evolution of the TV in the Home (& Why We’re Obsessed With Hiding It)
The biggest fight I ever had with my husband in a public setting was over a TV. We’d decided to put a television in our living room after a few years of hiding the object in our bedroom and were at Target to pick one out. Facing off in the electronics department, we had an epic showdown over whether we’d buy a big, black box, smart TV or the super cute retro-style little Crosley number that would fit in scale and style with the room it was bound for.
Jan 29, 2018
“Expert” Advice Designers Always Break (& Why You Should, Too)
If you're ready to play by your own rules, take inspiration from those who march to the beat of their own decorating drum.
Jan 18, 2018
I Traded a Compact Bungalow For a Sprawling Victorian (& Here’s What I Miss About Small Living)
More space doesn't necessarily equal easier living.
Jan 16, 2018
17 Small Space Hosting Hacks (From Tiny Home Dwellers Who Know Best)
“We have plenty of room. Plenty of towels. Plenty of everything.” The Griswold family home in “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” (otherwise known as the best Christmas movie ever) did have plenty of room—though that didn’t stop mayhem from ensuing, because it wouldn’t be a Chevy Chase movie without it.
Dec 16, 2017