Author Archives: Mackenzie Miller

On-Campus Living

Dorm Ideas


There’s no time like college to get acquainted with beginners’ DIY projects. In most on-campus living scenarios, you’re virtually given a blank slate (in the form of a spare or even bare dorm room). People don’t want to feel as if they’re living in borrowed space, least of all during the ‘glory days’ of college, so here are some ideas on how to make yourself at home.

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DIY Deals: Desk Accessories

Whether you’re focused on going back to school or getting back to organizational sanity, the desk is a great place, maybe the best place, to begin. This time of year everyone seems to be scrambling to get their workspace outfitted, but luckily there are deals to be found on products that will help you maximize the storage potential of your study or office area. There’s spring cleaning and then there’s fall organizing; we’ll help you accomplish the latter without straining your budget.

Lighting. Adequate lighting is a must-have, and of course desktop lamps come in all shapes and sizes, but it’s hard to beat the utility of a lamp with an adjustable neck. This weekend Target is offering a basic, attractive model for just $12.00 (reg. $14.99).

Adjustable-lamp desktop task light

PB Teen, $59.00

In the market for something more elaborate? Consider PB Teen’s task light (pictured above). It features iHome technology (for playing digital music) as well as storage crannies for pencils, clips, and other supplies. At only $59.99 (reg. $69.99), this lamp meets the requirement—adequate lighting—and then delivers much more.

Desk Chairs
One of the most obvious ways to upgrade your workspace is with a comfortable chair, and a new one need not cost a small fortune. The model below from the Container Store, sporting Bungee cords for comfort, is on sale for $149.99 (reg. $189.99).

Container Store, $149.00

If you’re looking for something simpler, PB Teen has a contemporary stationary wood chair, ergonomically designed for comfort, which has been marked down to the reasonable sum of $79.00—swoop in and snag it!

Whether on top of your desk or just below it, additional storage is always welcome. For the smaller stuff, desk containers like these from PB Teen, on sale for $9.99 (reg. $25.00), will help keep your pens, paper clips, and USB cords all neatly corralled.

Container Store, $7.99

Another great way of keeping your desk organized is to use standing folders. Those pictured above are from the Container Store and cost only $7.99 apiece; invest in a set and your desk surface will remain clutter-free and actually usable for projects (instead of buried under papers).

For heftier items like portfolios or textbooks, storage at the foot of your desk may be in order. This weekend, stackable bins from the Container Store are available for $12.99.

For more on home offices, consider:

Creating Your Home Office Plan
Bob Vila Radio: Dorm Room Storage
Designing a “Green” Home Office

Weekend Bargains: Get Grilling!

There’s no denying it, grilling is one of the best parts of summer living. It is a great way to get the family outside, eat healthy, and broaden your culinary horizons. And while autumn is still a ways off, you can find some pretty amazing deals even now on grills of every size, shape, and type. Here’s a sampling of the savings you’re likely to find shopping for grills this weekend.


PowerChef Pedestal Deluxe Electric Grill at, $699.99

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DIY Deals: Outdoor Rugs

Outdoor rugs are a great way to add interest, warmth, and character to your patio, porch, or deck. And with the variety of designs, shapes, and sizes available at retail, they are an easy—and inexpensive—style solution for just about any exterior living space. As the end of summer quickly approaches, some of the best outdoor rugs are already available at reduced prices. Here’s a sampling of what we found… just in time for weekend shopping!

Graphic Designs

Pottery Barn, from $35

Geometric rugs like this Farah Diamond indoor/outdoor design from Pottery Barn are now on sale, from $35-$299 (reg. $59-$499). Handwoven with weather-resistant recycled polyester yarns, the colors, pattern and decorative fringe will liven up any drab outdoor space.

For an overall graphic design, consider the Bimini Black/Sand rug from Measuring 10′ x 11′ and made from 100% fine-spun polypropylene with fringeless border, the rug is marked down 30% to $197.69 (reg. $280.99) and certain to make a statement indoors and out.

A variety of outdoor rugs are also available at Wayfair. The Moroccan-inspired Trans Ocean Floor Tile rug is just one example, now starting at $49 (reg. $79). Made from synthetic fibers, it is durable, easy-care, and UV-stabilized for fade resistance—plus it’s got a knockout pattern.


Restoration Hardware, from $45

If you’re not ready to plunge into the geometric trend, solid rug patterns are not your only alternative. Stripes add interest in a classic way, especially when they are as subtly patterned as these Valencia Striped rugs from Restoration Hardware. On sale now from $45-$315 (reg. $65-$395), they are the perfect complement to a variety of outdoor schemes, from casual to traditional.

For a more broad and colorful pattern, consider the 5 Seasons Collection South Padre Rug from Outdoor Rugs Only, reduced to $29-$319 (reg. $36.25-$398.75). An all-weather rug manufactured by Couristan, it is power-loomed of 100% fiber-enhanced Courtron polypropylene and certain to add lasting color and pattern to any outdoor space.

A Solid Choice

Crate & Barrel, from $62.95

Perhaps your outdoor scheme is busy enough, or you’re looking to create a more serene area? Then solid rugs are the way to go. This Biscayne beauty in Pecan coloring from Crate & Barrel will never go out of style. Made in Belgium of 100% polypropylene, you can pick up a 4′ x 6′ rug for just $62.95 (reg.$89.95). Additional sizes—at similar savings—are also available.

Always offering low prices and high quality, Hayneedle features a variety of indoor/outdoor rugs, including the Colonial Mills Janelle Lamp Simply Home Braided rug, now on sale from $48.99 (reg.$58.99). Combining polypropylene braided construction with an earthy, golden hue, the rug is certain to be a timeless addition to your backyard oasis.

For more on outdoor living, consider:

10 Fire Pits We Love
Shopping for a Swing Set
Get Inspired! 12 Sensational Deck Designs

DIY Deals: Bird Baths

If you’re looking to bring charm and variety to your outdoor space, a bird bath is the perfect choice. Not only will it add a decorative accent to your garden, it will provide a welcoming oasis for your yard’s feathered friends. We’ve done the bargain-hunting for you, and as the end of summer approaches, there are some great deals to be had.  Here’s just a sampling of what you are likely to find this weekend.

Hadley Birdbath at RH, from $315

A great source for substantial and classic outdoor pieces, Restoration Hardware is offering special pricing on an assortment of bird baths, including this Hadley design for $315 (reg. $350). From linear to romantic and available in a variety of washes and finishes, you are certain to find something to grace your garden for years to come.

You can find some great options at Plow & Hearth, too, including the Vineyard Solar Bird Bath with Planter.  Made of durable cast aluminum and iron, the all-in-one planter/bird bath comes with a solar-powered light for night bathers and is just $139.99 (reg $199.95).

For the smaller garden, consider something like the Campania International Songbird’s Rest Cast Stone bird bath from Hayneedle.  Combining a compact design with the authentic look of antique stone statuary, it is perfect for small spaces and—at $54.99 (reg. $82.99)—for all budgets., from $169.98

Naturally there’s a large selection of designs to be found at, like the Spanish Scallop Bird Bath for $169.98 (reg. $199.99).  Constructed in weather-resistant marble resin, it features a beautiful scalloped rim with detailed pedestal base and comes with an antiqued finish in choice of colors.

Wayfair is the destination for a full range of outdoor garden accents, including the Orlandi Statuary line of bird baths. Made of a fiber stone composition and finished to look antique, designs like the 17″H Meditating Birdbath with its angelic cherub perched on a sculpted shell basin, is now $63.99 (reg. $121).  A beautiful accent for the romantic garden.

Amazon, from $16.64

Amazon offers an array of affordable bird baths as well, including this Esschert Cast Iron Pedestal design measuring just 9″H and 6″ Diameter.  At just $16.64 (reg. $18.99) it proves how even diminutive bird baths can bring beauty to your yard and still provide some summer relief for the birds.

For more on outdoor decorating, see:
10 Fire Pits We Love 
DIY Deals: Container Gardening
Landscaping Ideas

DIY Deals: Container Gardening

Container Gardening - DIY Deals


Whether you’re a city dweller, rural resident, or citizen of suburbia, container gardening is a convenient way to get the best of the backyard on a small, manageable scale. Rectangular planters are ideal for the patio or a balcony vegetable garden, but circular containers and urns are perfect for the gardeners wishing to plant for purely aesthetic purposes. With the middle of summer upon us, there are some fantastic deals to be taken advantage of. We’ve done the bargain-hunting for you; all you need to do is get to the store and start your DIY project today!

The galvanized metal planter from Privet House for Target is a chic and space-conscious option for the smaller-scale container gardener. At 50% off this weekend, it comes to a smart $17.49.

Restoration Hardware, from $130

Restoration Hardware, purveyor of all things luxurious and substantial, has deals on five lines of planters. If you’re looking for something that makes a statement and lasts forever, take a look at the Estate Zinc Collection, with styles from $130 on sale.

Perfect for a small vegetable garden and designed in traditional cedar, The Home Depot offers Blue Marble Designs’ 40-inch planter at $43.45.

Wayfair, $115

If it’s minimalist appeal you’re looking for—but you don’t want to pay modern art prices—Wayfair offers an affordable 30-inch planter by Gus Modern, fashioned in stainless steel with contemporary styling.

As always, Amazon offers affordable options for the spontaneous DIY container garden project. With 10% savings this weekend, the Adams 36-inch planter is only $29.77., from $129.98

For longer-rooted plants, cedar planters in either 41-inch or 70-inch sizes are available for 35% off from (prices begin at$129.98). Bonus: you’ll get free shipping this weekend.

Landscaping Ideas
Quick Tips: Growing Tomatoes
How To: Plant a Vegetable Garden

How To: Have a Yard Sale

Plan a summer sale by following our simple outline, designed to keep stress low and sales high.

How to Have a Yard Sale


Take advantage of the warm weather by holding a yard sale to clear the clutter and maximize your home’s space potential in an easy and profitable way. Here are four tips to help you plan and execute the most fun and successful sale in your neighborhood this summer!

1. Sort and Organize. It will come as no surprise that the most important part of finding success with a yard sale is making sure you have enough stuff to sell. To be sure of this, start going through your home, room by room, and deciding which items are taking up valuable space and are in good enough condition to sell. Tackle a closet or one room at a time, and designate a spot in the house to collect your sale items. Having them all in one place will help you visualize how they will look in the yard.

How to Have a Yard Sale - Sign


2. The Price is Right. The most profitable yard sales are the ones that are priced right. If you’re not sure what the resale value of a wicker chair is, go on eBay and see what they’re selling for. Understanding the value of your items will help you set a profit goal for your sale.

3. Advertise! Most local papers have affordable spaces to advertise your upcoming sale. Secure this a couple of weeks in advance, once you’ve settled on a date and assembled the majority of your sale items. Be specific: if you’re selling baby furniture, advertise it. Shoppers will base their weekend yard sale circuit off of what they’re looking for, so be clear about what you’re offering. Include time, date, address, and a short description; advertising your sale can only make it more successful.

4. Sign Language. A few weeks in advance, research the ordinances in your city for setting up small signs the weekend of your yard sale. Depending on the flexibility of these guidelines, use neat, eye-catching designs and post them on higher-traffic streets. Highlight time and address, and be sure to include an incentive to stop, e.g., “antiques!” With yard sales becoming increasingly popular, do what you can to set yours apart.

Want more How To? Browse all projects in 30 Days of Easy Summer DIY

5 Outdoor Shed Storage Bargains

Sometimes the garage doesn’t cut it for storing garden tools and lawn supplies. That’s when outdoor storage enters the picture, and right now, there are some fabulous finds on the market.

We’ve compiled a list of some of the best bargains you’ll find this weekend at your local and online retailers. From traditional wooden sheds to metal storage closets and greenhouses, you’re bound to find just the right solution for your storage needs.

Outdoor Storage

Outdoor Living Today Garden Chalet from Wayfair

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5 Natural Outdoor Lighting Bargains

Natural outdoor lighting is the rage in backyard renovation, offering an easy and environmentally friendly way to shed new light on your favorite summer spaces. Whether you’re shopping for luminaries, tiki torches, lanterns, or table lighting, we’ve gathered a list of the best deals you can find this weekend at your local retailers. No matter your budget or taste, you’re bound to find a light source your backyard can’t go without!

RH's Balinese line, from $44.99

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