MAXIMIZE YOUR SPACE

Home-decor: How to Maximize Space and Work on a Budget


Published on May 17, 2024


Credit: R ARCHITECTURE

In the field of interior design, there are two essential goals: making the most of your space and staying within your budget. While it may seem like an intimidating task, with careful planning and a touch of imagination, you can turn your home into a cozy retreat that reflects your style without emptying your wallet.

Join us as we share some insider tips and creative solutions to help you achieve your dream home without breaking the bank.

1

Assess and plan

Credit: Med Badr Chemmaoui

Before diving into any decoration project, take stock of your space. Measure the dimensions of each room and take note of architectural features or quirks that may impact your design choices. Consider the layout of your home and how each room flows into the next.

Once you have a clear understanding of your space, it’s time to assess how you currently use it. Assess the layout, consider traffic flow, and identify areas that are underutilized. This initial step will guide your decisions throughout the process.

2

Re-arrange furniture

Credit: Spacejoy

This tip is at the beginning of this list as it is the easiest to follow! You may be tempted to buy new decorations. You may even think the color palette is the problem. But before you start browsing for new furniture or contemplating a color overhaul, take a moment to reassess the layout of your current pieces. Your furniture may be perfectly fine, but its arrangement could be holding back the potential of the space. Of course, their size won’t change, but a different display will probably generate a better flow.

In a well-distributed space, you should be able to reach every corner of the room without much trouble. If you constantly find yourself moving stuff around, try rearranging your furniture before making any other changes.

3

Declutter and organize

Credit: Sarah Brown

After you’ve assessed your space and identified your design goals, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and tackle the clutter. Clutter not only occupies valuable space but can also create visual chaos, making rooms feel smaller and more cramped than they actually are. Begin by systematically going through each room in your home, sorting out items into categories such as keep, donate, and discard.

Remember, the goal is not to live a minimalist lifestyle unless that’s your preference, but rather to create a space that is functional, organized, and free from unnecessary clutter.

4

Multifunctional furniture

Credit: Andrea Davis

In the quest to maximize space, multifunctional furniture emerges as a true game-changer. These are versatile pieces of furniture that are designed to serve dual and sometimes even triple purposes, making them invaluable additions to any space-constrained home.

From sofa beds that seamlessly transition from seating to sleeping to coffee tables with hidden storage compartments, multifunctional furniture offers a myriad of space-saving solutions without sacrificing style or comfort.

When choosing this type of furniture, consider your specific needs and how each piece will enhance your space.

5

Vertical storage

Credit: Pickawood

When trying to take advantage of every corner of your house, don’t overlook vertical storage. This solution not only optimizes space but also adds visual interest and depth to your rooms. You can free valuable floor space and create a more open and airy feel throughout your home.

One of the simplest ways to incorporate vertical storage is, naturally, installing shelves or wall-mounted bookcases. Built-in shelves are a more expensive option, but they are practical and can be aligned with the overall decor plan.

6

Strategic lighting

Credit: Yevhenii Deshko

Lighting is crucial in home design and it is, more often than not, overlooked and considered hard to tackle. Of course, natural light is the best option to make spaces look bigger, but compact rooms or small houses may lack natural lighting.

Maximize natural light by using sheer curtains or blinds that allow sunlight to come in. Position mirrors strategically, like opposite windows or in dark corners, to reflect natural light and visually expand your space.

In addition to that, incorporate a mix of ambient, task, and accent lighting to illuminate your space effectively.

7

Paint and color palette

Credit: Christina Winter

The colors you choose for your walls and decor can have a significant impact on the perceived size and feel of your space. If you are working with a small budget, paint becomes one of your most powerful tools for transforming your home’s aesthetic and maximizing its visual appeal.

Opt for light, neutral colors such as soft whites, creams, or light grays to create a bigger space and airiness in small rooms. Light-colored walls reflect more light, making the space brighter.

Consider incorporating vibrant colors in accessories, artwork, or textiles to add visual focus points. In addition to wall color, choose a cohesive color palette that flows from room to room to create continuity and harmony.

8

DIY Decor

Credit: Jo Szczepanska

These kinds of projects are not only a budget-friendly way to add personality and charm to your home but also an opportunity to unleash your creativity and showcase your unique style.

Start by taking stock of items you already have on hand that can be repurposed or refreshed with a coat of paint or some other creative ornaments. Old furniture pieces can always be given new life with a fresh coat of paint or updated hardware.

DIY artwork is also a great way to add a personal touch to your space. Don’t be afraid of experimenting with different techniques and transforming your belongings and spaces into a reflection of your unique style.

9

Plants and greenery

Credit: Kaufmann Mercantile

Integrating plants into your home decor is a budget-friendly strategy to elevate the aesthetic appeal of your spaces. Not only do they enhance visual allure, but they also contribute to your well-being with their inherent health benefits.

If you are not particularly green-thumbed or you are hesitant about plant care, you can always go for low-maintenance varieties such as succulents, snake plants, or pothos. These resilient choices demand minimal attention and flourish effortlessly in diverse indoor settings. Pair this suggestion with the vertical space utilization tip to fashion a lush wall of greenery, seamlessly merging indoor and outdoor vibes.

10

Functional decor

Credit: Sophia Kunkel

Maximizing space and staying organized isn't just about furniture; decor plays a vital role too! Picture charming accents that elevate aesthetics and offer practical storage solutions, keeping your daily life efficient. While custom built-ins might not fit everyone's budget, kick-starting your journey with a clever ottoman featuring hidden compartments is a savvy move.

And don't underestimate the power of decorative baskets; they effortlessly corral toys, blankets, or living room essentials like cushions. Taming the electronic chaos? A sleek tray or rustic wooden box can be a game-changer. Remember, your unique needs will guide you to the perfect blend of functional decor!


FRUITFUL CHANGES

10 Common Fruits That Used To Be Completely Different


Published on May 17, 2024


Credit: Jacopo Maia

As humanity's agricultural practices evolved, crops changed shape, taste, and even color. And although we like to think of the fruits we know and love as timeless creations of nature, the truth is that they have also transformed over time and a lot!

Here are 10 intriguing examples of fruits that underwent significant changes before becoming the fruits we know today.

1

Bananas

Credit: Anastasia Eremina

Bananas have an interesting (and complex) story. Initially, they weren’t the fleshy, tasty treats we know today, but were almost inedible and had enormous seeds in them. Through selective breeding over dozens of generations, humans transformed bananas into the sweet, seedless fruit we know today. But the changes didn’t stop there: in the first half of the twentieth century, the main banana cultivar in the world was victim to a mysterious disease that almost wiped out bananas completely, and they had to be replaced with a more resistant variety.

2

Apples

Credit: Shelley Pauls

Wild apples were small, sour, and varied greatly in flavorand not necessarily for good. Over many centuries, humans chose to grow and eat the ones that were larger and more palatable, leading to sweeter fruits with a more consistent flavor. Our ancestors brought these "elite" seeds around with them while they traveled the world, giving rise to many of the cultivars we know today.

3

Watermelons

Credit: Sahand Babali

Once, watermelons weren’t bigger than a peach. You might find that hard to believe, but most of what we now love about watermelons was selected for thousands of years. Unfortunately, this came at a cost. In the process, watermelons lost genetic diversity, and became more vulnerable to pests and diseases, making them harder to grow.

4

Grapes

Credit: Maja Petric

One of the earliest domesticated fruit crops, grapes have been a part of human history for millennia. How early grapes exactly looked is kind of a mystery, but we can guess that they were smaller and not all that sweet (starting to see a pattern here?). Fortunately, our ancestors loved the fruit so much that they bred hundreds of varieties, some for winemaking and others to feed their families.

5

Strawberries

Credit: Jacek Dylag

What we call a strawberry is not even a berry. And, to be fair, they are not even a "purebred" fruit, but rather a "hybrid" of two different related species. The hybridization was intentional and was part of the domestication of wild strawberries—that were initially tiny and packed with too many seeds. We can thank this intense selection process for the sweet, juicy treat they are today.

6

Peaches

Credit: Ian Baldwin

Peaches originally appeared in China, and, according to botanical experts, they were way smaller than they are today and, allegedly, "tasted like a lentil." Yeah, we are as surprised as you. However, after nearly six thousand years of artificial selection, domesticated peaches grew to be 16 times larger, sweeter, and juicier than their wild counterparts, while also increasing the amount of nutrients essential to human survival.

7

Oranges

Credit: Max

Not even the timeless orange is safe here. Yeah, you guessed it, they used to be nothing like what we now expect of a standard orange, being generally smaller and bitter than today’s sweet and juicy cultivars. Interestingly, they were also the result of hybridization between two varieties of citrus we are still familiar with: pomelo ( Citrus maxima ) and mandarin ( Citrus reticulata ).

8

Avocados

Credit: Hitoshi Namura

Though avocados were only semi-domesticated, with early humans in the American continent choosing to grow wild varieties rather than keep specialized plantations, their evolutionary history is quite surprising. This fruit evolved at the beginning of the Cenozoic era, when the local megafauna (very large animals like the megatherium) ate it whole, helping its seeds begin their germination process within their stomachs. Relics of a long gone past, they were only saved from extinction by human intervention.

9

Mangoes

Credit: Alexander Schimmeck

Similarly to avocados, the "king of fruits" is today considered an evolutionary anachronism, as its large seeds were once dispersed by now-extinct animals. However, as humans fell in love with the tasty fruit, mango species dispersed far from their original range, giving birth to hundreds of different varieties that resulted in an overall sweeter and less fibrous fruit.

10

Pineapples

Credit: Juno Jo

Though little is known about its domestication, pineapples were already a staple crop of South American societies at least a millennia before Europeans arrived. The wild fruit had various uses, including making alcoholic beverages, medicines, and even crafting poison arrows. After contact, Europeans went bananas over this new exotic and strange-tasting fruit, but they were so expensive that most used them only as decoration and did not start to eat them until they began to rot.

Looking for an extra scoop of literary fun?

Learn more with our Word of the day

infrangible

/ɪnˈfrændʒəbəl/