Archive for November 2015

8 Easy Ways to Brighten Your Home

After Daylight Savings Time starts everything starts to feel a little cooler and look a little darker. If your home has started to feel dark inside, here are some simple ways to make your place look brighter even when the sun doesn't come out for weeks at a time.

Rework Your Windows

If you live in a particularly chilly area, you might need thick, insulating curtains and storm windows. If you don't though, opening up your window areas could allow more natural light in, making your home feel more warm and inviting. Try removing screens from your windows to bring in more light (since you probably won't have the windows open anyway. Make sure your curtain rods are installed a few inches past the window frame on each side to ensure light can get past the curtains when they are open. Also, try replacing your curtains with something sheer and white to let warm light in even when the curtains are closed.

Image via Horizonyc


Don't do just your usual dishes and floors cleaning routine, but clean your windows, walls and light fixtures. You'd be surprised how much grime can build up on these items and how much cleaner and brighter things will look just by wiping them clean again.

Image via Eric Ferdinand

Change Up Your Lights

Replace old, yellow bulbs with bright white LED ones. And if you don't have enough lights already, add some!

Image via Craig Sunter

Add Mirrors

Sometimes you might not need a new light, but just a wall mirror to reflect some of that light back through the rest of your home. As a bonus, mirrors are a great way to get your home feeling more spacious.

Image via Richard

Aim Low

At least, when it comes to furniture. Shorter items block less light, leaving your space to feel brighter and more open. If you do have some tall, dark and handsome furniture, put it against a wall and make sure to keep it away from the windows where it will block out your much-needed light. Also, try to stick with light-colored furniture that absorb all of your light.

Image via Wicker Paradise

Bring In Some Plants

Flowers and house plants can add a little touch of nature to your home and make it feel brighter. Even better, they'll also breathe some fresh air to your home, which can be a welcome addition when your doors and windows stay closed throughout the winter.

Image via Martin Olsson


Dark rooms look dark. The solution? Paint them lighter colors. If the room is already light but you have dark, oppressive wood floors, try adding some light-colored rugs around to add a little color and cheer to your space.

Image via bccnyc

Tear Down A Wall

Obviously this solution won't work for everyone, but if you have a non-structural wall blocking off an area, opening it up can make the place feel bigger and brighter.

Image via Jeremy Lavine

As a final touch, consider adding some of these space-inspired designs into your home and enjoy the beauty and brightness of the cosmos all day long.

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Don't Try This At Home -7 Terrible Pinterest "Hacks"

You can learn a lot of helpful hints, tricks and hacks on Pinterest, but while there are plenty of great ideas available out there, the site is also loaded with a number of hoaxes, misleading instructions and more.

Leaving A Magic Eraser in Your Toilet Won't Clean It

Everyone would love a way to clean their toilets without scrubbing, but you can bet that if the cleaning industry doesn't offer such a solution that there isn't one out there. (Think about it, that would be a huge seller).

Putting a small square of Magic Eraser in your toilet overnight won't clean those rings and spots, but it will waste your money. If you hate scrubbing your toilet, buy some of those tabs you put in the tank or some Scrubbing Bubbles Toilet Cleaning Gel -you'll still have to scrub occasionally, but at least you can make it less frequent.

Don't Use Coke to Clean Your Toilet

There are a lot of websites that suggest using Coke in place of traditional cleansers for your toilet because the phosphoric and citric acids will break down any germs in your toilet. The problem? Well, the Mythbusters broke this one down and found it to be bunk, but even if it did work, this cleaning site reminds us that there are cleaners with both phosphoric and citric acids that are drastically cheaper than Coca-Cola.

Baking Soda and Hydrogen Peroxide Isn't a Miracle Pan Cleaner

A popular pin on Pinterest swears that a paste made between baking soda and hydrogen peroxide works as a "miracle" pan cleaner, but the sad truth is that it not only fails as a miracle, but also as a cleaner at all.

A Banana Won't Fix A Scratched DVD

Bananas are great -just not for fixing scratched DVDs or CDs. Again, I've tried this and had no luck, and neither did this blogger.

A Wooden Spoon Won't Stop Your Pan from Boiling Over

Here's one I've tested for myself and can assure you it doesn't work. Wonder How To actually explains the science behind this hack and how putting a wooden spoon over a pot of water about to boil over will only help for a minute before gettin your spoon covered in frothy boiled water in addition to your stove top -and eventually ruining your wooden spoon.

Mountain Dew Won't Make a Camping Lantern

There are so many glow-in-the-dark pin hacks out there. Unfortunately, just about all of them are bogus -especially those suggesting Mountain Dew can be made to glow so bright it can be used as a camping lantern. While there are a few recipes out there, they are all bogus and here is one test proving that the mixture doesn't glow at all.

Borax is Not A Natural Ant Killer

It seems logical that Borax would kill ants if they ate it and that ants might eat something with Borax in it if it also had sugar mixed in. Unfortunately, as this blogger demonstrates, it just won't work. The good news? There are dozens of other great things you can do with Borax.

Remember, just because someone posts a picture and claims it's a brilliant life hack doesn't mean it will actually work or save you any time. If you want some tricks that actually do work, check out this list of surprising cleaning hacks.

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11 of the Strangest (Both Good and Bad) Airbnb Listings

Airbnb is filled with some fantastic and nightmarish properties and some just plain weird ones. Here are a few of the strangest both on the good and bad side.

The All-In-One Apartment

This startlingly strange space no longer listed on the site looks ok at first glance, especially when you read the list of amenities. It's only when you notice the shower in the kitchen and, even worse, the toilet right beside the bed that you realize that something is just not right here. For $35 a night in Paris, it's a great deal -assuming you're comfortable smelling your own business after using the bathroom.

Steve's Backyard

This listing has since been pulled, but while live, a man named Steve offered the generous luxury of staying in his backyard. You had your option of pitching your tent in Steve's backyard for only $80 a night. Don't have a tent? Steve would even rent you one and give you breakfast for an extra fee. You even had access to his house bathrooms.

Jeff Goodby's Office Chair

You might not know who Jeff Goodby is, but he is famous for being the man who created the "Got Milk" slogan. Now you can rent his chair from 9-5 on Friday while Jeff is out of the office. What you do with that time is up to you.

The First Ever "Tesla Hotel"

"Cozy" might be the best term for this situation, but "comfy" or "affordable" it is not. This is Steve Sasman's Tesla ad he thinks it seems reasonable for people to pay $85 a night to sleep in his garage on the air mattress in the car's backend. As for amenities, Steve threw in access to satellite radio and a few battery-operated candles so you can really enjoy the camping experience.

A Van in NYC

Sure it might not offer a bathroom, but this van does promise guests a view -supposedly one of The Empire State Building. For only $28 a night (including a $6 cleaning fee), guests could stay right in Queens, close to Manhattan in a clean, warm bed -inside an inoperable van.

A Tent in Mountain View, CA

Only a block away from Google X, this impressive listing is only $46 a night. The only problem? It's simply a tent in someone's backyard. The listing was originally put up by John Potter, a freelance Web developer, who meant it as a joke but was shocked when people started lining up to book the space. He ended up removing the listing eventually when demand got too high.

1 Square Meter House

One thing this rental could never be accused of is having a misleading title. It is simply a 1 square meter dwelling with a nightstand and wifi. You can even carry your tiny home wherever you want. Best of all? It's by far the most affordable option in Berlin, going for only one Euro a night.

The Open Book

Ever wish you could operate a quaint bookstore in Scotland? Then here's your chance to pretend to own your own adorable bookstore while sleeping in the apartment upstairs. You'll have your own volunteer staff and in you'll need to commit to keeping the store open 40 hours a week and updating the blog, but how you operate things is completely up to you.

A Land Boat

Sure it's a boat, but it isn't floating on the water. This crazy property in Marina Del Ray, CA is totally grounded and entirely unique and located on the backend of a boat converted into an apartment building. Of course, if you want to be on the water, you don't need to go far since the land-based ship is parked only a block away from the beach.

A Floating House

Don't like the look of a boat but wish you could sleep floating on water? Then check out this full 2 bedroom home that floats along the waters of the famous Thames. Complete with a yard decorated with a dog house and real apple tree, this adorable floating home was part of a contest by Airbnb to drum up business in London.

A Night in the Catacombs

Not many people would fantasize about sleeping in the world's largest graveyard, but when it's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity as part of a Halloween contest, you can bet people were chomping at the bit to get their chance to stay in the Paris catacombs. Sure the space probably has rats, no heater and no bathroom, but when else will you get the chance to sleep in one of the world's creepiest destinations?

Of course, that's not the only time Airbnb has converted a surprising space into a once-in-a-lifetime sleeping space. They also did the same with Fenway Park, an Olympic ski jump and the home court of the Chicago Bulls.

There are certainly some strange listings on Airbnb, both good and bad. If you want to roll the dice and try one of the spaces for yourself, here's a $20 credit to get you started. Of course, if you prefer a more traditional hotel, here's our list of the most unique hotels in the world and another list of some of the strangest hotel rooms available.

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9 Surprising Household Uses for Everyday Foods

You might just be amazed at what kind of great cleaners you have hiding in your pantry and fridge. In fact, lots of foods double as helpful household products. Here are a few you likely have in your kitchen right now.

Tea is Perfect for Cleaning Wood Floors

Even if you're not a big tea drinker you should still be buying and brewing tea if you have hardwood flooring. That's because it makes an excellent floor cleaner that won't strip the wood of either its finish or its patina.

Walnuts Can Remove Scratches on Wooden Furniture

Simply rubbing the meat of a walnut onto a scratched furniture surface can easily hide the scratches from sight by adding a perfect layer of polishing oil to the damaged area.

Vodka is a Great Bathroom Cleaner

Vodka isn't just great for making cocktails where you can't taste the alcohol -it's also great for disinfecting and killing mold and mildew. That makes it an ideal bathroom cleaner. Use it on shower curtains to prevent mildew, use it on toilets and sinks to clean and sanitize, and use it to clean your floors completely.

Baking Soda Can Clean & Deodorize Your Microwave

You probably know baking soda is handy when it comes to absorbing odors in the kitchen, but did you know that microwaving a bowl filled with water and baking soda is a great way to deodorize and steam clean your microwave? Just wipe down the appliance after zapping the concoction for a few minutes.

Bread Makes a Great Wall Cleaner

Use some stale bread rolled into a ball on wall smudges and you'll soon realize they work almost as good as those fancy Magic Erasers -and for a fraction of the cost.

Peanut Butter Makes A Great Goo Remover

The oils in peanut butter are perfect for loosening up stubborn gunk like gum, label residue or other sticky messes. To use, just apply a thin layer of peanut butter to the affected area, let sit for 10 minutes and then return to scrape away the mess.

Mustard Can Remove Skunk Smell

Ran over a skunk or had one spray your house? Mustard powder and water can help -just be prepared to do a few coats depending on how bad your property was skunked.

Ketchup is a Great Brass Polish

You might not think of ketchup when you think "clean," but on brass and gold surfaces, the slight acidity and soft texture makes it a perfect polish. Just apply the ketchup to the surface, let it sit for a minute and then use a soft cleaning rag to remove the ketchup.

Flour Can Polish Stainless Steel

Kitchen appliances, sinks and all other types of stainless steel products can be easily polished up with nothing more than your basic baking flour. Just wash the item with regular cleanser and then apply flour and buff it out like you would with car wax.

Can't stop now? Well, we have plenty more cleaning ideas for bread, lemons, vodka, vinegar and salt in this cleaning hacks article -so get to your kitchen and break out some edible cleaning supplies already.

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