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Manolo for the Home: House, Home and Lifestyle Advice - Part 30

Simplicity In Action: It Pays to Be Simple

It’s hard to be a fan of minimalism in the U.S., where every other media message is “BUY BUY BUY!” But there are some great benefits to choosing this style of decor, especially if you’re operating on a budget, live in a small space, or find that clutter makes you feel stressed out and overwhelmed. Pad Style makes a great case for minimalism in a recent post in which they argue that stripping your decor of stuff doesn’t have to mean stripping it of style.

So just how does simplicity of sensibility pay off? Minimalism is peaceful – you may find that downsizing your stash of possessions is stressful, but once you’ve pared down to the essentials you’ll feel a lot more in control. And minimalism can be inexpensive in the long term – if you’re not hooked up you may need to make some initial investments, but once you have the essentials you can put away your checkbook.

Plus, minimalism represents a great way to use space. Make your essentials awesome – like this very NOT budget friendly Alvar Aalto armchair – and you don’t need a lot of other decor!

Inspiration: Copper

Copper is a beautiful thing to bring into your home, whether in the form of a single copper colander or you’re outfitting your entire drain spout system and overhangs in it. Shiny or patina-ed, I love it, and here are some of the things I love. Hopefully they give you a few good ideas!

A pretty French kitchen photographed by Simon Watson

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Collecting the Material For This Furniture Is a Pleasure, Indeed

Short on furniture, but long on beer? Bernard Dier of Chicago, the Pabst Brewing Company, and Dier’s lovely bathing suit-ed ladies have the perfect solution for you. Provided that you have a soldering iron, of course.

Tips to Prevent Tipping

Let’s get serious for a minute, shall we? Thanks to the CPSC, I just found out that one child dies every two weeks due to furniture tipping over. One every two weeks! I love furniture, but ugh. And apparently that number is on the rise, which means something has got to give. Sometimes, when furniture keels over, the worst that happens is that you lose some books and objets d’art. But when you have kids, and they’re the ones doing the tipping, you can lose something so much more important.

Scary stuff, no? So if you have kids, take a few minutes to check your furniture and appliances to make sure that they’re secure and stable.

  • Furniture should be stable on its own. For added security, anchor chests, dressers, TV stands, bookcases and entertainment units to the floor or attach them to a wall with an anti-tipping straps.
  • Place TVs on a sturdy, low-rise base. Avoid flimsy shelves. Always check weight limits when buying a new TV stand, and don’t use dressers as TV stands.
  • Push the TV as far back on its stand as possible. To avoid temptation, push other interesting objects like DVD players and lamps as far back on furniture as possible, too.
  • Place electrical cords out of a child’s reach and teach kids not to play with them. Avoid cluttering up outlets or using power strips as much as possible since these can make it easier to pull multiple items off of shelves.
  • Keep remote controls and other attractive items off TV stands so kids won’t be tempted to grab for them and risk knocking the TV over.
  • Make sure free-standing ranges and stoves are installed with anti-tip brackets.
  • Install drawer stops so kids can’t pull them out more than two-thirds of the way, and choose furniture with wide, flat bases instead of legs.

Can the parents or caregivers out there suggest any I may have forgotten? Pretty please?

You *Can* Decorate For Halloween Without Kids

Halloween decorations… no problem, right? You grab some creepy decor, put it up, and you’re done. If you have kids, that is. Then Dollar Store paper pumpkins are usually the order of the day. But if you have time to get crafty and aren’t afraid of little hands undoing your handiwork, you can decorate for Halloween with a little more class.

If you have a mantle, grab a stuffed raven and some black and orange votives, maybe a little hay or some spiderwebs. Arrange them however looks good to you, and enjoy spooking guests.

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How to Be Hip With the Reeves Design Louis Collection

I’m having an ‘I want’ day – ever had one of those? It’s partly a matter of circumstance, as all kinds of situations conspire to show you awesome stuff (often it’s awesome stuff you can’t afford). And of course, it’s also a matter of attitude. You have to be in the right frame of mind to have an ‘I want’ day. On an ‘I want’ day, some stuff that would normally evoke nothing more than admiration now temps you mightily.

And so what is it that I’m wanting today? A REEVESdesign Louis Collection dining table!

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Reflections On a Coffee Cup

Looking for something fun to buy the coffee, tea, or hot chocolate lover in your life? How about these Anamorphic Cups? The text on the porcelain saucer can only be viewed correctly though the shiny, curved, reflective surface of the cup, so the (rather pedestrian) message thereon is only for you or your dining companion. It’s indeed a cool idea, but don’t you think it would be a bit more clever with either insults or swears?

NtB Loves: Vintage Suitcase End Tables

Steamer trunk coffee tables? Yes, please. And vintage suitcases as end tables? I am so all over that, too. What do you think? Is this one of those played out, immature ideas that’s too much like Breakfast at Tiffany’s? Or is luggage as furniture still cute?