Posts Tagged ‘ideas’


I have a pretty much permanent decorating itch. But how do you scratch it when the piggy bank is looking a little lean?

Here is my strategy for sprucing up the nest without spending any money:


When you’re feeling blah about your space, it’s easy to blame the decor when often it’s simply that clutter has crept in. Start by clearing visual clutter (anything on floors, shelves, tables or benchtops that shouldn’t be there) for an instant makeover. Then move onto cupboards, drawers and closets – the contents may be hidden but if the’re overflowing the mess will spread into view.


A house that functions well is a much calmer place to live than one where you can never find the keys. Organise and develop systems and routines your newly-decluttered abode, starting with the problem areas. Oh and you don’t need to buy expensive storage containers to get organised! Look around your home: you probably have plenty of boxes, trays, baskets and jars that would make for excellent storage. (I’ll do a full post about affordable organising later on during Budget Month.)


Any time of year is good for a spring clean! Next time you’re doing the cleaning, take a few extra minutes and wipe down those forgotten spots like window sills, skirting boards and tops of cupboards. Not only will you be rid of all those cobwebs, everything will smell fresh and clean.


Little things like scuff marks, broken handles and chips in paint don’t seem like such a big deal but if you leave them to build up I find they can really bring a room down (not to mention cause unnecessary frustration every time you see them!). Most minor repairs such as touching up paint, polishing furniture and fixing leaking taps can be done with items already on hand, but if not you’re short on supplies you should be able to sort it out with a $10 note at the hardware store.


Our compact floorplan does limit our ability to move furniture around on a whim, but I can still rearrange decor and art between different rooms to freshen up the space. I also don’t have everything on display at once. Rather, I have a small stash of spare decor items that I will rotate into use periodically or whenever I feel like shopping but don’t want to shell out any cash.


I have a whole stash of postcards and old greeting cards with beautiful designs that would make awesome free art. Perhaps you also have some fabric scraps that could be made into a cushion (if you’re handier with a sewing machine than I am!) or a piece of furniture that could be given a new lease on life with a coat of paint?

This approach may not sound like it yields big results, but I find it never fails to make me more content with our home. Even if you do end up spending some money on decorating, you’ll at least have laid the foundations and made sure your hard-earned cash has been spent wisely.

What are your favourite no-cost decorating tips? Leave them in the comments!


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gift card wrapping ideas
Gift card wrapping idea by So Shelli

I love choosing gifts for loved ones. But it can be tricky if your recipient:

  • struggles with clutter
  • has expressed desire to unclutter
  • lives far away from you
  • lives in a small space
  • is in a temporary living situation (eg dorm)
  • is moving soon or moves frequently
  • says they don’t need/want presents
  • is a person who ‘has everything’

I’ve had to buy for people in all of these situations (and am in a couple of them myself) so I thought I’d do a roundup of some no-clutter gift ideas to follow up from yesterday’s worst clutter gifts post.


Who wouldn’t want to be gifted a special night out?

  • Concerts
  • Movies
  • Theatre
  • Art exhibitions


Experiences make wonderful and memorable gifts. Great for kids who have more than enough toys!

  • Zoo trip
  • Golf session
  • Travel voucher
  • Wine tasting


A great option but you’ll have to be sure it’s something the recipient is interested in and that they have time for it.


Services can be some of the best uncluttered gifts. Choose from me-time treats or time-saving practical options, depending on what your recipient would appreciate most.

  • Hairdressing
  • Manicure / pedicure
  • Massage
  • House cleaning
  • Car washing


A homemade voucher is an especially good gift for new parents or if you are on a tight budget. I provided some meals to my friend after the birth of her first baby last year and she’s still talking about it as one of the most appreciated gifts.

  • Homemade meal
  • Babysitting
  • House cleaning
  • Car washing
  • Preparing taxes
  • House painting
  • Gardening


An oldie but a goodie. Make sure they’re nicer than your normal plonk or biccies they would buy for themselves.

  • Wine
  • Spirits
  • Chocolates / sweets
  • Chutneys / jams / sauces

Digital media

Books, music and movies used to be some of the worst clutter offenders. Not anymore!

Charitable donation

A particularly good option if your recipient is known for their social conscience, is a bit older and ‘has everything’ or is experiencing a bereavement (as an alternative to flowers). The ones where you can sign up for a particular thing are good – a pair of slippers wouldn’t have meant much to my auntie but she was chuffed knowing that someone had been given the gift of sight in her name. Select a charity that resonates with the interests of your loved one. Here are a few:

Gift cards / cash

Obviously they could end up buying something ‘cluttery’ with it but the choice is theirs.

Tangible gifts

If you’re like me and prefer giving tangible gifts, there are still ways to keep it uncluttered.

  • To replace something else if you think they would appreciate it (eg a new lamp to replace a broken one, bonus points if it’s a versatile item that can replace more than one thing)
  • Something they need and would buy anyway, such as clothes (consider making it better quality than they would buy for themselves so it still feels special)
  • Something that will help get them organised (eg labels, scanner, calendar)
  • Chip in with others to purchase one more substantial or better quality item (give the newlyweds one kick-arse coffee machine instead of 20 platters)
  • Flowers!

So, what do you think? Anything you’d add to the list?

What are your favourite uncluttered gifts to give and receive?

P.S. Happy birthday to The Man!! The last year of our twenties and I’m sure it’ll be a good one. xxoo

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Tips & Tricks - Easter decorations in egg cartons

Back when I showed you my blue and gold handpainted eggs, I mentioned that it was my first attempt at decorating Easter eggs. What I may not have told you is that it was also the first time I have put up any kind of decor for Easter.

Fast forward a few weeks and I realised I needed to work out a way to store my new holiday decorations. A recycled egg carton was perfect! They’re now protected until next year.

P.S. It’s the last day of the month, which means there’s a new Book Nook coming up. If you haven’t already, check out the review of April’s feature book Mom, Inc. and let me know what you thought of it!

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I’m off galivanting around the world for a few weeks so I have lined up some some talented ladies to hold the fort while I’m gone. Hope you enjoy!

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Funky cushions, mid-century ceramics, quirky prints… oh yes! Notes to a Further Excuse has all of my favourite things covered. Blogger Diane also ‘daylights’ as a book editor so she knows what’s hot in publishing. Consider your summer reading list sorted!  – Alicia

Hello lovely Atypical Type A readers! This is Diane here from Notes to a Further Excuse, guest posting while Alicia is off on her travels. Today I’m going to be sharing some of the top new release craft and decorating books with you.

In my day job I work as a freelance book editor, and the end of the year is always a busy time for publishers trying to vie for attention with their big releases before Christmas. It can be a crowded market, so I’ve tried to make things easier by rounding up the best of the bunch. Here are my top ten picks (organised alphabetically) from the latest round of new release craft and decorating books to add to your reading list.

Craft & decorating books 1

The Art of Handmade Living: Crafting a Beautiful Home by Willow Crossley

This is the first book from journalist turned designer Willow Crossley. In The Art of Handmade Living Willow shares her ideas for turning basic objects into beautiful items for the home. Willow has spent time living in the south of France, and as a result many of her projects have a decidedly rustic feel. The book is organised into different sections including To Decorate, To Hang, To Nest, To Wear and To Use, and there are a range of simple projects on offer, from vintage fabric bunting to grain sack cushions and fabric-twisted bracelets.

Bowerbird: Creating Beautiful Interiors with the Things You Collect by Sibella Court

This is the latest release from Australian stylist and author Sibella Court. In Bowerbird (named after Sibella’s obsession with collecting and arranging, just like the bird itself), Sibella reveals her personal approach to collecting and collections, showing how to procure the elements of a collection, how to organise and store them and how to display them in creative and ever-changing ways.

Decorate Workshop: A Creative 8 Step Process for Transforming Your Home by Holly Becker

This is the second book from decor8’s Holly Becker, and comes as a follow up to her successful first release, Decorate. In this book Holly offers a personal approach to home decorating, drawing on inspiration from her own home in Germany as well as from stylish homes from around the world. The book is a guide to finding and filtering design information and offers practical information to readers on refining their style and tackling a decorating project, be it big or small.

Decorate Workshop

Find & Keep: 26 Projects to Spark Your Imagination by Beci Orpin

This is the first book from Melbourne-based designer and illustrator Beci Orpin, and it’s a great first release. Find & Keep is an inspirational craft book, but it also offers a unique insight into Beci’s colourful world and her creative processes. The book is neatly organised into three main sections: Studio, Home and Out & About, and each section begins with an overview of Beci’s life and work around these three themes, followed by relevant crafty projects. There’s certainly plenty to spark the imagination here.

Granny Chic: Crafty Recipes & Inspiration for the Handmade Home by Tif Fussell and Rachelle Blondel

This is a collaborative book from bloggers and crafters Tif Fussell of Dotty Angel and Rachelle Blondel of Ted & Agnes. Granny Chic offers inspiration to crafters wanting to breathe new life into vintage fabrics and second-hand objects. The book includes twenty projects in total, each with a granny chic theme, and also offers advice and tips on living the granny chic lifestyle.

Recycled Home: Transform Your Home Using Salvaged Materials by Rebecca Proctor

Recycled Home features fifty craft projects for the home, each using discarded or repurposed materials. There are step-by-step tutorials and every chapter covers a different room in the house and garden. Because there are so many projects on offer, there’s sure to be something to suit different tastes, budgets and skill levels.

Craft & decorating books 2

Sew Over It: Sew It, Wear It, Love It by Lisa Comfort

This is the first book from British sewing extraordinaire and crafter Lisa Comfort. Here, Lisa shares her passion for sewing and guides readers through the basics of sewing by hand and machine, as well as the skills needed to follow her simple but stylish projects. The book features twenty-five fully illustrated step-by-step sewing projects, as well as advice on customising and altering clothes. Perfect for those who want to start sewing or improve on their skills.

Stitched Gifts: 25 Sweet and Simple Embroidery Projects for Every Occasion by Jessica Marquez

From the founder of the popular Etsy shop Miniature Rhino, Stitched Gifts offers twenty-five embroidery projects for different occasions including weddings, holidays, baby showers, birthdays and anniversaries. Each project is simple enough to complete in a weekend and can be easily customised using the templates and alphabets provided. The book also features an illustrated stitch glossary and twenty-five perforated reusable template pages.

Supermarket Sarah’s Wonder Walls: A Guide to Displaying Your Stuff by Sarah Bagner

If you’re looking for creative ways to display items in your home, then this book is for you. This book comes from the creative lady behind the popular site Supermarket Sarah, and is packed with ideas for displaying your treasures. Sarah visits homes and studios of designers and collectors from around the world, explores the ideas and thoughts behind objects and collections and offers useful advice on how to look at your own collections in a new light.

Things I Love by Megan Morton

This is the second book from Australian interiors stylist Megan Morton (after Home Love, first released in 2010). In it, Megan shares her enthusiasm for homes, people and design via a range of visual examples, but the book also has a practical slant via decorating advice and tips.

So there you have it – plenty of fantastic new books to keep you inspired in the craft and decorating department. Happy reading!

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About the guest poster:

Diane is a Melbourne-based freelance editor, proofreader and project manager working in non-fiction illustrated book publishing. She has a passion for all things design and writes a design blog called Notes to a Further Excuse. She also loves taking photographs, crafting, drinking coffee and obsessing over mid-century homewares.

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I’m off travelling for the summer so I have some lovely guests holding the fort while I’m away. Today’s post comes to you from Nicole Herrick of Kids Style Hub. Take it away, Nicole!

Kids Style Hub gift guide

It’s time to start collecting goodies for Christmas! If you’re a subscriber of this blog, you’re probably not the type of person to go shopping at Big W for your gifts. Instead, you trawl the markets and quirky stores for beautiful, unique pieces. This season, shop locally and buy gifts that are designed by your talented Aussie and NZ neighbours.

1. Tools Tote by Adelie Creations $29.95
2. Kids Stuff Story Starters by Leaf $19.95
3. Moops Heat-Mee Wheat Rabbit by MOOPS and hoops $29.95
4. Handstitched Puzzle Cube by Milk N Honey $35
5. Trilby by Pooki Boo $22
6. Reversible Bucket Hat by Pooki Boo $32.95
7. Milk Cotton Jumpsuit by Escargot $39.95
8. Custom cushion by Squiggle and Stitch $35
9. Bean chairs by Lelbys $99.95
10. DIY Necklace Kit by The Black Sheep $15
All available in the KSH store in Melbourne or online.
Kids Style Hub is a retail platform for emerging Aus and NZ designers, designed to give the little guys a go. They have a bricks and mortar store open 7 days a week as well as over 1500 products available online for kids of all ages. They also offer kids parties, mothers groups, workshops, and event space. And did I mention a DIY photo studio too?

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Clear pouches for on the go

Organise anything that can be handy while out and about into clear zippered pouches. Store them near the door so you can grab the relevant bags as you rush out the door and you’ll always be ready for the day’s activities.

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Akimbo - How Do I Love Thee tags 2

Have you got an anniversary coming up (especially anniversary which is paper), or perhaps even planning to pop the big question to your other half?

You will love these darling little tags that say ‘How do I love thee? Let me count the ways…’ from Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s famous poem.

Akimbo - How Do I Love Thee tags 1

Get the free download and instructions over on Polka Dot Bride today.

Photography by Love Joy Faith
Concept & styling by Alanna Lock for White Room Events

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Pantry with drawers
Shelf Genie via Organizing Made Fun

I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve come home from the shopping with another bottle of soy sauce or packet of cashews because I forgot about the spare one I already had in the depths of the pantry. Sadly I can’t fit this kind of setup in my pantry in an awkward corner base cabinet, but if you have a full-length pantry I reckon you’ll love these retrofitted drawers to solve all your forgotten food woes.

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foiled lined paint tray

Painting’s not so bad, it’s the clean-up that’s annoying, right? Well, not any more if you use this nifty trick of lining your paint roller tray with alfoil.

See this and other clever painting hacks at Martha Stewart.

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Today I have an exciting first for Atypical Type A: we have a guest blogger! Without further ado, please welcome Susi from Arcadian Lighting.

Hi, I’m Susi, a writer from Arcadian Lighting, a website and blog about décor and lighting fixture trends. I’m so lucky to be a guest blogger here at Atypical Type A today. I’m writing about unexpected decorative accessories that can add charm and style to any room. Whether the accessory is unexpected or the location is unexpected, unique decorative objects and accessories make a space feel personal. Enjoy!

Home Decor

Framing a single beautiful object, like a feather, can be an unexpected decorative accessory for the wall.

Home Decor

Love the unexpected mix of rustic and contemporary in this stool. The top converts to a deep tray that could work as an ice bucket as well—now that’s unexpected!

Home Decor

Adding natural elements is a popular design tip. A few driftwood votive candle holders that look like bundles of white asparagus would be unexpected replacement for a lamp on a bookshelf or bedside table.

Home Decor

Animals are another big trend in design accessories right now. Look for animals from unexpected materials like driftwood for something more unique and rustic.

Home Decor

Sometimes the accessory is traditional but the placement is unexpected. A vintage portrait in the kitchen or bathroom is charming but atypical.

Home Decor

Wall art that doubles as coat hooks or coat hooks that double as wall art? These leaves are charming for a mudroom or foyer wall.

Home Decor

An unexpected accessory in the kitchen is a large mirror, but it works well in the room. Mirrors expand whatever space they are in, and in a kitchen they add a nice reflective sparkle. Reflected in that mirror is an unexpected kitchen light, a swing arm lamp, attached to the wall above the sink.

Home Decor

Vintage toys and collectibles are unexpected decorative accessories outside a kid’s room or a playroom. They add a bit of whimsy and make for great conversation starters. And this table lamp looks like it’s one-of-a-kind!

Unexpected accessories are the perfect way to give your home an eclectic, personal touch. Discover more interesting design ideas and unique lighting fixtures to add to your home today at Arcadian Lighting! (Images: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8)

I almost fell off my chair when I saw how beautiful the first shot is. Thanks, Susi, for inspiring us to look outside the conventional decor ideas.

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A collection of pretty meets practical ideas to inspire a happier home

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