BHG Style Spotters

The Hottest Trends for You and Your Home

Posts by Jen Jones

Now that spring is here, what better way to take advantage of the nice weather than to enjoy a cup of coffee (or wine) out on the balcony. Balconies are an extension of the home, and can provide a peaceful place to grab a bite to eat or a quiet location for curling up with your favorite magazine.

I am excited to partner with IKEA to share a variety of exciting ways to stylishly maximize a small balcony area, to ensure you are able to truly enjoy your outdoor living space while the weather, and the wine, is good!

IKEA Balcony

1. Select small scale furniture that is big on comfort. Oversized lounge chairs can quickly eat up limited balcony living area, so select pieces that are compact and can be sweetened by adding a throw cushion or two. Folding chairs that can hang in-between uses are extremely beneficial when space is tight, while outdoor cushions can triple as seating, a footrest or a table when paired with a tray. Another space saving solution is to utilize storage benches, which not only offer seating, but double as a place to stash away seasonal outdoor supplies.

Outdoor IKEA Balcony

2. Pull inspiration from your favorite street-side cafe and look for small bistro tables that are sized perfectly to hold dinner for two.

IKEA Balcony

3. Rolling carts are always a good idea, especially when it comes to outdoor entertaining. Although your table may be on the smaller side, roll out a small cart stocked with beverages and snacks or throw blankets and games for a perfect afternoon outside.

IKEA Balcony Tips

4. Take advantage of the area’s vertical space with the help of slender cabinets and shelving. Adding a cabinet to your balcony can provide you quick access to gardening supplies, grilling tools, outdoor serving pieces and seasonal textiles. The shelves can display greenery and lanterns day-to-day, and then set up as a serving station while hosting a few friends for dinner.

IKEA Balcony

5. Add life in the form of plants and herbs. By adding a few planters or a trellis, you are able to create some natural privacy for your balcony. Even if you live in the middle of a big city, planters and table top green houses make it easy to add some vegetable and herb plants to your balcony, and your home cooked meals.

IKEA Balcony

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For more inspiration, visit the IKEA Spring brochure.

As you work on your spring cleaning sessions, one area you might find you become frequently frustrated with is your bathroom. Not only does it require frequent cleaning due to the germs that it harbors, but it is also a room that is typically low on space and storage. Yet we perform a variety of tasks in the bathroom, and with that, comes the need to have effective and creative solutions to organize the items for those tasks. Things like cleaning supplies, linens, toiletries, paper products and cosmetics, all need to be accounted for and stored in smart ways.

Small Bathroom Storage

My biggest bathroom storage tip, is to find a way to store your bathroom cleaning supplies right inside of the bathroom. A bathroom can quickly become germ nation, and daily disinfecting wipe downs are necessary. Leaving the room each day to grab supplies won’t encourage the habit, therefore, making a bit of room below the bathroom sink should always be considered. Add a small bin to hold a scrub brush, toilet bowl cleaner, disinfecting spray and rags.

Small Bathroom Storage

Since we are already talking about organizing under the sink, there are also a few ways this area of the bathroom can be maximized. Be sure to look at the backs of cabinet doors as prime real estate for storage. Over-the-door organizers make it easy to corral hair tools or baskets of toiletries, while adhesive or magnetic organizers can also add organizational value.

Small Bathroom Storage

Another key under-the-bathroom-sink element is to install pull-out storage solutions. Items can easily become lost in the back of a deeper bathroom cabinet, and pull-out drawers and organizers allow you to quickly access your daily necessities. Tiered options also make the most of the cabinet space.

Small Bathroom Storage


Now that you have made the most of the cabinet area under the sink, how about making the most of the vertical space throughout the bathroom? There are a few ways to do this, and one of the easiest is by adding shelving to open wall space, typically above the loo.

Small Bathroom Storage

Etageres and slim shelving pieces have a similar use of vertical space impact. Although compact, these tall pieces of furniture can pack a lot of storage punch.

Small Bathroom Storage

Bookcases are my personal “go to” solution for bathrooms. They are narrow enough to be tucked into awkward spaces (and they are also very renter friendly). Often times they can even squeeze behind a bathroom door to floor to ceiling linen and toiletry storage.

Small Bathroom Storage

As I mentioned in my previous post, ladders also make a major statement in small bathroom spaces. They are ultra space-saving, maximize vertical space and are versatile enough to customize with hooks, baskets and rails so that you can utilize them in a way that best fits your personal needs.

Small Bathroom Storage

I am a big believer in ditching towel bars for hooks, or adding hooks to the towel bars to maximize their abilities. Hooks are easier for family members to use for hanging towels and daily supplies, and they also allow you to expand the storage options with the ability to hang caddies, baskets and personal care items in a simple way.

Small Bathroom Storage

Benches can be surprisingly helpful in a bathroom, and even more so if they boast secret storage for extra towels and personal care products.

Small Bathroom Storage

Medicine cabinets have been around since the beginning of bathroom time, but seem to have become a lost storage art. Although they technically should not be used for storing medications (heat in the bathroom can impact medication effectiveness), these slim wall cabinets take up very little space. They allow you to keep your daily cosmetics right within reach, yet it also doubles as a functional mirror that conceals the clutter. Anything that performs multiple tasks is always a win while playing the storage game. Bonus tip: Line the inside of your medicine cabinet with decorative paper to bring a smile to your face first thing each morning.

Small Bathroom Storage

Whenever possible, tap into unused nooks and crannies. Behind the shower is typically a gem of a spot to find a little extra space to add narrow cabinets and shelving.

Small Bathroom Storage

Don’t be afraid to get creative with where you look and shop for your bathroom storage supplies. Small dishes and platters from the kitchen department may come in handy as drawer organizers. (Office supplies also generally make really great bathroom organizers.)

Small Bathroom Storage

Another great place to shop is at local antique shops, Craigslist and thrift stores. You will be sure to find some unique furniture pieces that will take your bathroom to the next level in both storage and style.

How do you add style and function to your small bathroom space?

Versatility is the name of the game in the storage and organizing world. Our lives change so frequently, and with that, so does the way we utilize our spaces. As I source products for organizational challenges, one of my top criteria is “versatility”. If we are going to invest in something, or even take the time to DIY it, then I want to be sure it will last and remain functional down the road.

I recently DIY’d myself a decorative ladder for the holidays, and I was surprised at how many ways I have found it to be useful around our home. What makes these unconventional items storage smart, is the fact that they are narrow enough to be used just about anywhere without taking up much of a footprint. Not to mention they also maximize vertical space, and we all know how important that is. Let’s take a look at a few ways these ladders can lend an organizational hand.

Entryway Organization with a Ladder


Let’s begin in the entryway. This is not typically a large area of the home, although it should be! So why not use an old ladder paired with some hooks and baskets to organize your family’s outdoor accessories? It is perfect for storing outerwear and scarves, and even a jacket or two.

Entryway Organization with a Ladder


Another idea for making the most of a small entry is to use a deeper ladder, which can act as a landing zone for shoes, handbags and daily gear.

Living Room Organization with a Ladder


Making our way to the living room, ladders have been trending as darling blanket storage.

Kitchen Organization with a Ladder


A ladders functionality increases the moment you add a few hooks. For example, in the kitchen you can hang cookware. But why stop there? You could also add small gadgets, mugs and utensils as well. Bonus points for suspending the ladder from the ceiling and using it as a statement making pot rack.

Office Organization with a Ladder


This sweet ladder display is speaking my love language. Use it to keep your current reading materials at arm’s reach and even marked right where you left off.

Bedroom Organization with a Ladder


In the bedroom, you could again use the ladder to drape your bedding, linens and throw blankets. Or you could add it to your closet and use it as a way to manage your daily outfits.

Bedroom Organization with a Ladder


Or to organize all of your favorite heeled shoes.

Bathroom Organization with a Ladder

Another example of how the functionality is increased when you hook on a few bins and baskets. This time the ladder is corralling daily toiletries and towels in the bathroom.

Garden Organization with a Ladder

Now that we have seen a variety of indoor solutions, let’s step outside and check out one more idea. Many planter boxes come with hooks to hang over the edge of a railing, and the same could be done with the rungs of a ladder. Or you could just build the boxes right onto each step as shown above. Now you have a vertical plant and herb garden to add some greenery and life to your patio space.

So what do you think? I have convinced you to check out local thrift stores, or to DIY your own storage ladder? How will you use these handy and decorative organizers in your home?

When I think of spring, I think of spring cleaning. I know not everyone loves spring cleaning the way I do, but there is something so wonderful about opening up the windows and getting the abode into tip top shape.

Spring Cleaning Caddy

Better Homes & Gardens has done a really great job putting together some spring cleaning resources for us; I personally refer to the Spring Cleaning Guide, Homemade Cleaners and How to Deep Clean Your House articles on a frequent basis. But before any heavy cleaning can be done, I recommend putting together the ultimate cleaning caddy. The best part is that is can be used all year long and will bring added ease to your daily chore routine.

Cleaning Caddy Organization

1. Cleaning Gloves: Protect your hands from drying out and extra germs by snagging yourself a pair of rubber cleaning gloves. Just be sure to disinfect them on a frequent basis to prevent future germ spreading risk.
2. Glass Cleaner: Glass cleaner isn’t just great for glass surfaces; it will also add shine to stainless appliances, fixtures and drawer pulls.
3. Glass Cleaning Cloth: There are newer rags on the market that will add a little extra polish, shine and a streak-free finish to your glass and nickel surfaces when paired with water and/or glass cleaners.
4. Wood Polish: Keep your wood furniture looking like new with a good smelling polish that restores and protects the wood’s surface with each application.
5. Microfiber Cloth: These are nice and soft to ensure your furniture doesn’t scratch during polishing sessions, however, the true benefit is that they clean more effectively than common rags with micro scrubbing powers. They are environmentally friendly to boot!
6. Lint Brush: Using a lint brush assists in keeping rugs and furniture free of fibers and pet hair.
7. Scrub Brush: This is one of my favorite cleaning tools because it is so useful in any room in the home. In the bathroom and kitchen it tackles grout lines while in the living room it can clean out window tracks and trim crevices.
8. Caddy: Keep all the goodies corralled inside of a portable caddy. Select a container with a handle and a surface that is easy to keep clean, as well as something light-weight enough that it promotes being toted around the entire residence with ease.
9. Dusting Tool: Many of these handy tools have long handles and flexible heads to keep it simple to collect dust in hard-to-reach places.
10. Cotton Swabs: Most wouldn’t think about cotton swabs in their cleaning caddy, but these will be your small superstars for cleaning electronics, window panes and grates. They are also ideal for spot treating stains and cleaning out the small crevices in automobiles.
11. All Purpose Cleaner: These cleaners are ready to tackle an endless variety of quick clean-ups, disinfecting any surface your are ready and willing to wipe down. This time of the year you may also find scents that mimic the spring flowers and gardens.
12. Magic Erasers: Because they are just that, magic! These will save the day from scum, scuffs and even Sharpie marker accidents.
13. Vinegar: Vinegar can be used for countless cleaning tasks, and although the smell isn’t very spring-like, it is inexpensive and works hard to create sparkling surfaces. Add a little essential oil to your cleaning recipes to curb the initial strong odor (vinegar does dry odorless).
14. Shaker: A chef’s kitchen shaker doubles as an effective way to sprinkle baking soda to prep surfaces for scrubbing (it makes a great scouring powder), as well as freshening mattresses on laundry day.
15. Timer: As fun as cleaning is, especially with a caddy stocked with your favorite cleaning essentials, time can quickly slip away. Set a timer to keep you on track as you tackle a few tasks per day, or even better, race the timer and indulge in a small bonus treat if you beat the clock.

I am always looking at areas around our home and pushing myself to get creative with how we maximize our living area. Many houses are built with nooks and crannies that are just begging to be utilized, and with a little smart thinking, these small spots can function as big as an entire room! Here are ten examples of how unused closets and alcoves can turn into stylish and practical spaces.


Organized Entryway Nook


You only need a few feet of space to add shoe storage, a bench, cubbies or hooks and shelving; all of which are the magical equation to a family friendly entryway.

Book Nook:

Organized Book Nook


The space above shows how a small nook was maximized by adding a wall-to-wall cushioned bench with storage above and below for toys and books. This space can easily evolve into a quiet and tranquil space for teens and adults as well.

Beverage Bar:

Organized Kitchen Nook

Heading into the kitchen, nooks have the ability to create a nifty beverage station. Whether you opt to serve coffee or wine, a combination of counter and shelving will set you up for success to entertain an entire crowd or to whip up a morning cup of your favorite brew.

Breakfast Nook:

Organized Breakfast Nook


By installing a wall-to-wall banquette seat, service for two can turn into service for four or more!

Study/Work Zone:

Organized Closet Nook

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If I had my way, I would install mini work zones in almost every room of our home. There are times when the kids like to do their homework near us, and other times when they do it in the privacy of their own bedrooms. Occasionally I like to take a break from our home office to catch up on bills and work during a movie. Small nooks in the kitchen, living room and even bedrooms, are ideal for adding a writing surface and shelving to create floor to ceiling practicality.

Craft Closet:

Organized Craft Nook


Why hide those pretty crafting supplies, when you can display them in a beautiful way? Wall-to-wall counter top creates a work surface, while pegboard and shelving provide an abundance for storage for a variety of supplies. Pull up a stool when the creative mood strikes, which is sure to be often when your craft nook is always open and available.

Laundry Land:

Organized Laundry Nook

An entire room dedicated to laundry is a luxury, but not a necessity. When you make the most of vertical space with the help of hooks, shelves, trays, baskets and canisters, you can easily fall in love with loading the washer and dryer with linens and daily wears.

Bunk Beds:

Organized Bunk Nook


With the help of a ladder and lighting, double your sleeping space by building in darling bunks for the kids and their pals.


Organized Vanity Nook


No need to head off to a five star hotel to feel pampered, a small bedroom or bathroom alcove can offer the same amount of luxury right at home.

Linen Storage:

Organized Bathroom Nook

Bathrooms are generally on the smaller side when it comes to available storage space, but all you really need is a foot or two of wall area to add a plethora of linen and toiletry organization. Whether you go with open shelving or built-in drawers and cabinets, you are sure to appreciate the extra space for your daily bath necessities.

Do I have you convinced to look at those nooks, crannies and alcoves in a whole new light? Isn’t it amazing how much functionality can come from only a few feet of space?

When we built our home 14 years ago, we were young and child-less. Now, we have three very active young boys, and the biggest and only home regret I have is that we didn’t account for a proper entryway. Over the years we have tried a variety of creative ways to effectively manage the small area of wall inside of our front door. Today I thought I would share a few of my favorite tips for creating a functional and family friendly entryway, where there once was none.

Slim Shoe Cabinets

Organized Shoe Cabinet


This shoe cabinet is straight from our home, and it has been a lifesaver for quite a few years now. Found at IKEA, this slim shoe cabinet has the ability to store shoes for our entire family of five, takes up very little floor and wall space, and also offers storage for keys, dog leashes, charging cords and stationery. I can attest that this is one of the hardest working pieces of furniture in our entire home.


Organize with Hooks


Install a rail (or two) or hooks behind your door for slim hanging storage. They will add instant and space saving storage for jackets and handbags as well as umbrellas and outdoor accessories. The other benefit of hooks is that they are super simple for the entire family to utilize.


Entryway Credenza

Not only does a credenza style cabinet offer the ability to conceal boots and shoes and other entryway clutter, it also creates a decorative “wow” element. Credenzas can be found inexpensively on Craigslist and at thrift stores, and with a little paint and some pretty new hardware, they become showstopping storage to welcome you home each day.

Slim Console Tables

DIY Entryway Console Table


Console tables are another smart way to add storage and flair to your entryway. Their slenderness ensures they don’t take up a lot of real estate in an already small space, the area below the table is a prime spot for a tray of boots and a basket of shoes, and the surface of the table creates the perfect landing zone for piles of mail, loose change and keys.

Bookcases and Modular Systems

Entryway Bookcase Storage

Another heroic space saving option, bookcases have the ability to transform into a creative entryway closet. Lower adjustable shelves are ideal for footwear while the upper portion can become hanging storage with the addition of a few hooks. Utilize the shelves and walls of the cabinet to add additional solutions for everyday essentials such as cold weather accessories, paper piles and handbags.

Entryway Bookcase Storage


Modular pieces mix and match to create a combination of vertical storage and entryway seating. Their versatility allows you to customize the design to your given space, while the combination of open and concealed storage keeps visual clutter tucked away and the daily necessities right within reach.

Each one of these examples take up a very small footprint right inside of the front door. They create the feeling of a designated entryway or mudroom, by maximizing a single wall. The goal is to create an organized place to drop your daily gear, while keeping it decorative and cohesive with the remainder of your home.

Do you have a favorite piece of furniture or solution for creating entryway functionality in a nonexistent entryway?

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