Home Tips: How to Plan Ahead When Decorating a New Home

Moving into a new space can be one of life’s great joys, but it can also be a time of uncertainty, especially when it comes to decorating. How do you make the best use of your space while still keeping your personal style? With these helpful tips and a little bit of planning, you’ll have a much greater chance of success. 

Tip #1: Know Your Measurements

Before you start designing, measure the length and width of each room you intend to decorate, along with the ceiling height and elements that could get in the way – stairs, columns, radiators, etc. It’s also a good idea to measure window openings, along with the wall space below, above and to the sides of each one, to get ready for window coverings. Do yourself a favor and hold off on furniture shopping until you fully understand each room and its measurements.

Tip #2: How Do You Want To Live?

This is always the tricky part, and there are no right or wrong answers. Rooms can be traditional or modern, formal or relaxed, and visually warm or cool. A few questions to start asking yourself are, “What will you be doing? How many people live there? Are there children? What are your ambitions for how you would like to live?”. Start by mapping out what you do on a weekly basis and decorate accordingly. If you tend to host lavish dinner parties, then your living room might look a little different than if you are more of a tv and lounge type of individual. 

Tip #3: Copy The Pros

Look in design books, online resources, and tv shows to sharpen your personal style. Take pictures and save them in a custom folder on your phone to refer back to. Once you’ve spent a decent amount of time gathering ideas, look at what stands out to you the most or what you have naturally gravitated towards. Be mindful of patterns that work or where solid colors fit in best. These saved pictures and ideas will also help inform everything from the type of furniture you might like to a potential strategy for window coverings.

Tip #4: Develop a Budget

You always want to make sure you’re being strategic with how you spend your money. There’s no getting around the math: if you splurge on an overly expensive chair, you will have less money available for the rest of your home. A budget gives you a road map for how to divide the cost of things between rooms. You can still make an exception for a one-of-a-kind furniture piece, but in order to pay for it, you have to be thoughtful of where else you can cut back.

Tip #5: Tape It Out

Take your decor ideas one step further and map things out. Use painter’s tape in the real space to outline where the furniture will be placed on floors and against walls. Where will the rug be? Does it need to be cut? How far is the coffee table coming out? Even though you probably have everything down to a sixteenth of an inch on a furniture plan, there’s something helpful about visualizing it in your space, and being able to walk around.

Things to Do: Valentine’s Day Weekend

Check out some fun things to do this weekend with anyone you love!

Hike

Taking a scenic hike is a great way to unplug and unwind this Valentine’s Day. Maybe there’s a favorite spot where you live, or you might want to try one of the best hikes in the U.S. Either way, you’re bound to have a fun time because you’re in great company.

Take an online mixology class

Learn how to craft cocktails with a James Beard honoree who has been at the forefront of the NYC craft cocktail movement and the founder of the world’s best bar, and become each other’s favorite bartender.

Set up a waffle bar

Is brunch your favorite meal to eat together? Build the waffles of your dreams by setting up a DIY waffle bar. All you need is some waffle batter, a waffle maker, and all the toppings your hearts desire. Try the Sautéed Apples, Pear & Cranberries shown here.

Go for a drive

No destination? No problem. All you need for this fun Valentine’s Day activity is a sense of adventure and a full tank of gas! You’ll both get out of your comfort zones while you explore new terrain. There’s no telling what you might stumble across.

Streaming: Valentine’s Day

With the Hallmark holiday just around the corner, here are some films you can stream to celebrate love for yourself, your partner, your family, and even your pets! Check them out below.

To All The Boys: Always And Forever

Where to Watch: Netflix

It started with an old love letter — and turned into a new romance. What does the future hold for Lara Jean and Peter?

Cheaper By the Dozen

Where to Watch: Disney+

A dad finds it’s not that easy to care for his 12 children while his wife is out of town. 

Just Wright

Where to Watch: Amazon Prime

Queen Latifah and Common star in this romantic film which comes just in time for the month of Valentine’s Day.

A Dog’s Purpose

Where to Watch: Hulu

A devoted dog (Josh Gad) discovers the meaning of its own existence through the lives of the humans it teaches to laugh and love. Reincarnated as multiple canines over the course of five decades, the lovable pooch develops an unbreakable bond with a kindred spirit named Ethan (Bryce Gheisar).

LA & Valley Eats: 2021 Valentine’s Day Take-Out Specials

Give your special someone the gift of food on this Valentine’s Day! Check out some of our favorite 2021 Valentine’s Day Take-out specials or outdoor dining (if you’re comfortable with that).

Baltaire

11647 San Vicente Blvd

Los Angeles, CA

Baltaire, a popular Brentwood steakhouse, has a $220 four-course menu for two. Dishes include tuna poke, endive salad, roasted vegetables, two different desserts, and your choice of either Chilean sea bass or filet mignon and lobster tails. The best part, however, is that the package also comes with a bottle of Champagne. Available for takeout and delivery.

La Morra Pizzeria

8022 West 3rd Street 

Los Angeles, California 90048

Nothing says Happy Valentine’s Day quite like a heart-shaped pizza from La Morra. It’ll come cold and sealed up; all you have to do is heat it up whenever you’re ready! You can order your pizza online and pick it up at their pop-up location.

 

Tartine

3921 Sunset Blvd, 

Los Angeles, CA 90029

Tartine Valentine’s Day pizza kits are available for pre-order. The kit includes Tartine’s signature dough, toppings, salad, and a pastry, with the option to add on a bottle of wine. 

Nothing Bundt Cakes

14622 Ventura Blvd Ste 104 

Sherman Oaks, CA 91403

Top your Valentine’s Day evening off with a mouth-watering delicious bundt cake from Nothing Bundt Cakes! They offer traditional sized bundts, slightly smaller ones, bundtinis, and little mini-cupcake sized ones. Flavors vary from white chocolate raspberry, classic vanilla, red velvet, pecan praline, and more.

SALT

26500 Agoura Rd

Calabasas, CA 91302

SALT is a full-Service Restaurant serving Rustic California Cuisine. They feature local farmer’s market produce and seasonal ingredients. They are currently taking limited reservations for Valentine’s Day Chefs Tasting Menu! Contact them at info@eatatsalt.com for reservations and more information!

Love Ramen

18635 Soledad Canyon Rd, Ste. 104, 

Canyon Country, CA

Love Ramen not only warms our bellies but also our hearts! Known for their 12-hour slow boiled tonkatsu miso, finely-sliced pork chashu, and scratch-made miso tare, you will be sure to impress your loved one with this restaurant choice.

 

Things to Do at Home: Avoiding Cabin Fever

Starting to get cabin fever with the family? Check out these fun and low budget things to do with the kids at home!

Zoom around in cardboard race cars

Let your kids zoom through the living room in their very own race car.

Make a portable art easel

Don’t throw away that cardboard box! Make a sturdy and portable art easel for your mini Monet.

Play a game of hopscotch

You might think this game is too simple, but it’s always a great time-killer and super fun to play at any age.

Collect and paint rocks

Go to a nearby park and collect rocks, then make a craft day out of it. Paint them with whatever paint you have at home.

Do a puzzle

Exercise those creative, cognitive and problem-solving muscles with a good puzzle. You can use a store-bought variety or have the kids make their own. Have your children draw a picture on a sturdy piece of cardboard or Bristol board. Then use a pencil to outline puzzle pieces directly on their drawing. Cut out the pieces with a good pair of scissors, mix them up and get solving. Indoor games and craft in one fun activity!

Home Tips: Tips to Make Your Home Look More Expensive

Create a home that looks straight out of a luxury magazine with these home decor tips on a budget!

Tip #1: Create DIY Built-In Structures

The way to make any built-in structure look more expensive is for it to fit in your space perfectly. From bookshelves to kitchen cabinets, try expanding these built-ins from floor to ceiling or counter to ceiling.

Tip #2: Try a Backsplash

A backsplash is a great affordable home decor idea for a kitchen, bathroom, or laundry room without breaking the bank. If tiling a backsplash is too intimidating, consider creating an accent wall with bright colored paint.

Tip #3: Light Up the Room

Natural lighting and source lighting is very important to a room. Make it a point to not block windows, and also be sure to add table and floor lamps throughout your space for a huge statement. Big box stores sell light fixtures for about $50, but the look of a bigger room is priceless. Any pricey light fixtures might be better suited for your wedding registry.a

Things to Do: Home Organization

We have almost finished off the first month of the new year. Time flew! If you are looking to get organized at home over the weekend, check out these tips of can-do tasks to get organized!

Create a Command Station

Stick adhesive pockets to the inside of your spice cabinet to keep all of your grocery lists, coupons, and recipes in one spot. Add a pen loop, so you don’t have to go searching to jot something down.

Add a Towel Rack to the Linen Closet

They’re not just for bathrooms. An over-the-door hanger creates out-of-sight storage space for extra tablecloths, throws, or towels.

Invest in Drawer Organizers

Though it’s easy to think “out of sight, out of mind,” a messy desk drawer does not help your productivity. Mix and match acrylic dividers so your pens, pencils, and paper clips all have a spot to live.

Teach the “One In, One Out” Rule

Kids need to understand that storage is finite, and that continuing to collect eventually leads to clutter and chaos. When they get a new toy or new jeans, send an old one to the donation bin.

Streaming: January Top Picks

Check out some of what’s streaming on Netflix, HBO Max, Disney+ and more this month!

Flack

Where to Watch: Amazon Prime

Bad behavior calls for great publicists. Ever wonder what the real story is behind those celebrity gossip columns? This series has all the dirt. Robyn, played by Academy Award winner Anna Paquin, and other publicists are tasked to make the best of their celebrity clients’ terrible decisions.

Where to Watch: Netflix
Shia LeBeouf and Vanessa Kirby star in this film about a heartbreaking home birth that leaves a woman grappling with the profound emotional fallout, isolated from her partner and family by a chasm of grief.

LA & Valley Eats: Local Restaurants

This week we are highlighting restaurants that have been open and serving delicious meals this past year. Each of these businesses are open for takeout to enjoy and devour!

 

Barbie-Q

15928 Ventura Blvd, Encino, CA 91436
This is the place to eat well in the San Fernando Valley. Owner Fortune Southern’s new Encino restaurant, formerly a food truck, turns out some of the Valley’s best comfort food. From Polish boy sandwiches loaded with fries to smoked meats and more, you can’t go wrong.


Medan Kitchen

8518 Valley Blvd STE 102, Rosemead, CA 91770
Medan Kitchen is a SGV gem, the kind of place that only LA could produce. 75-year-old Siu Chen works a menu of Indonesian home recipes, making this easily one of greater LA’s most delicious openings of the past year.

 

Bootleg Pizza 

5504 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90019
Bootleg Pizza’s long journey has taken owner Kyle Lambert from the food truck circuit to a new storefront on Pico Boulevard in the Mid-City neighborhood. Order in advance or walk in (safely) for a slice of some of LA’s hottest pizza.


Ospi

2025 Pacific Ave, Venice, CA 90291
Pasta lovers have a new place to dine in Venice, CA. Ospi has some of the best housemade pasta anywhere in LA right now, along with unique pizzas and lots of wine for sale.


Adrift Burger Bar 

1025 Abbot Kinney Blvd Venice, CA 90291
Chef David Myers takeaway casual spot plays to his long love of burgers. Sit back and relax as Adrift Burger Bar takes you on a classic diner-esque ride. Hot Tip: don’t forget to add one of Chef David’s insanely delicious shakes with your burger!

Home Tips: Going Green

Looking to “green” your home? Check out these simple ways to tackle energy usage (and the subsequent power bills) without making room for a single geothermal heat pump.

Repair leaky faucets

It’s the little things that get you. So before you dismiss that drip-drip-drip, consider that the average leaky faucet (about 10 drips per minute) ends up wasting roughly 350 gallons per year. That’s about $20 every month extra on your bill. But multiple cracks in the plumbing can wind up costing several times that. Similarly, a leaking toilet can add about $150 to your monthly water bill. Given this, calling the plumber starts to sound like the cheaper, more appealing option.

Throw some shade

Whether it’s baking your face on the beach or streaming in through your windows, manage your sunlight exposure. When it’s summer, draw the drapes and snap shut the blinds, especially when nobody is home. (The same logic applies in the winter when adding curtains can ensure heat doesn’t escape.) When you have the sunlight situation under control, caulk the windows and survey for drafts. If you feel one, it’s likely that cracks around the frame are to blame.

Pull the plug

All appliances generate heat, so keep them off until needed. For example, don’t run the dryer or dishwasher until after dark, preferably overnight. And if you want to cook, the grill on your patio or in your yard is preferable to the kitchen stove. (Cooling and heating are responsible for about half of a home’s energy use, followed by the water heater, the washer and dryer, and the lights.) Also, consider pulling the plugs on the notorious, so-called “vampire electronics,” which continue to gobble power even when seemingly switched off. These include everything from laptops and routers to gaming consoles and microwaves too, of course, televisions.

Hang them out to dry

No one is suggesting you break out your great-great-grandma’s washboard and start scrubbing away, but how you clean your clothes contributes greatly to how much power and water your home uses. (The washer and dryer combined account for about 13% of a home’s energy consumption.) Whenever possible, wash your clothes in cold water and hang them to dry, avoiding the dryer altogether. That simple choice can both reduce your bills and bolster the environment. Similarly, try to only wash full loads to maximize water usage.

Plant south-facing tree

This is an obvious one: planting trees can help make your property more environmentally friendly. Just make sure to plant them on the south side. The leafy barrier will keep your home cool during the summer by providing a barrier to direct sunlight. And during the winter, it will let your home’s interior retain warmth. Plus, your landscaping will look better for it.