Author Archives: Marisa Villarreal

About Marisa Villarreal

Read more about Marisa on her Google +!

INFOGRAPHIC: Best Houseplants for Indoor Air Quality

Eager to invite a houseplant into your home? Choose from among our round-up of eight varieties that not only add beauty—according to us—but also eliminate airborne toxins—according to NASA!

Leave it to the good folks at NASA. In 1989, as part of the agency’s landmark Clean Air Study, researchers discovered that some plants do something extraordinary: They eliminate toxins from the air. Besides their decorative appeal and entertainment value—it’s fun to grow things!—these particular houseplants provide the added benefit of fresher air. Because there are so many air-purifying houseplants, we’ve narrowed it down for you. What follows are the details on eight of our favorite varieties. Each one is affordable, easy to find, and hardy enough to survive and thrive in virtually any home or office.

Air Purifying Indoor Plants

Embed Air-Purifying Houseplants on your site: copy and paste the code below…

Enter Now to Win a $5,000 Garage Makeover!

Enter today and every day for your chance to win a Monkey Bars Garage Makeover valued up to $5,000!

Bob Vila's $5,000 Garage Makeover Give-AwayOf all parts of the house, the garage too often gets the least amount of attention. That’s why keeping it clean and well-ogranized can be a daunting proposition for homeowners. That’s why we teamed up with our friends at Monkey Bars Garage Storage Systems for this month’s $5,000 Garage Makeover Give-Away.




Today, and every day in February (from 12:00 p.m. EST January, 31, 2013, until 11:59 a.m. EST February 28, 2014), enter to win a garage makeover from Monkey Bars Storage valued up to $5,000! Prize package is inclusive of products, shipping and handling, and contractor/installation fees. See Official Rules below.

Monkey Bars Storage

Monkey Bars Storage Systems and Solutions

Whether you want to create room for your car (or multiple vehicles) or simply need better solutions for seasonal and sports-related gear, Monkey Bars Storage has you covered. The company offers a wide spectrum of quality products, from wall racks to shelf-rack systems to overhead options and wall-mounted ones. Oh, and if flooring is on your garage makeover wish list, Monkey Bars Storage can provide that, too. The winner of our $5,000 Garage Makeover Give-Away gets to choose the Monkey Bars Storage products most suitable for his needs, and the prize includes not only products, but also shipping and handling or any relevant contractor/installation fees.

So what are you waiting for? ENTER NOW and every day this month for the best chance of winning a garage makeover just in time for spring!

To learn more about the company and their full range of products and services, visit Monkey Bars Storage. For some inspiration, check out this video:


The “Bob Vila $5,000 Garage Makeover” is open only to permanent legal U.S. residents of the 48 contiguous states and the District of Columbia; residents of Alaska and Hawaii are not eligible. Void in all other geographic locations. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. Contest Period runs from 12:00 p.m. (EST) Friday, January 31st, 2014 through 11:59 a.m. (EST) Friday, February 28th, 2014. One entry per household per day on Alternative means of entry for Drawing is available by faxing your name and address to 508-437-8486 during the applicable Entry Period. Odds of winning depend on the number of eligible entries received. See Official Rules.

Enter Bob Vila’s New Year, New Rug Give-Away TODAY!

Enter today and every day in January to be among the ten winners to get the rug of their choice from Loloi!

New Year New Rug Give-Away

Everyone knows that an eye-catching rug can make or break a room, anchoring the space and giving it focus. It can make a color palette coalesce or even establish a dominant hue. Plus—in addition to adding warmth and beauty—the right floor covering can serve up supreme comfort underfoot.

That’s why we teamed up with our friends at Loloi Rugs—well-known manufacturers and distributors of quality, handmade rugs—to bring you this month’s “New Year, New Rug” Give-Away. Enter now and you could be among the ten lucky people to win the rug of their choice!




Today and every day in January (from Thursday, January 2, 2014, at noon EST through Friday, January 31, 2014 11:59 a.m. EST), enter to win one of ten Loloi Rugs. On our entry page, simply click through the showcase of offerings, then choose the one that you want. From contemporary to traditional, discreet to audacious, there is sure to be a rug among these ten that you would love to invite into your home. Note that all rugs are 5′ x 8′ in size, and only the colorations shown can be selected.  (See Official Rules below.)

LOLOI Rugs-Contemporary Circa

Photo: Loloi Rugs

Founded in 2004, Loloi Rugs has become a fashion leader, specializing in medium- to high-end area rugs in every style category. Under the expert direction of area rug veteran Amir Loloi, the company has won ARTS Awards for “Best Rug Manufacturer”, “Best Outdoor Rug Manufacturer”, and “Best Green Manufacturer”. Its six America’s Magnificent Carpets Awards and three Atlanta Visual Display Awards for sophisticated showroom design attest to the company’s commitment to innovation and quality.

So start the year off right with a beautiful new rug from Loloi. ENTER NOW! And for the very best of chance of winning, remember to enter daily

The “Bob Vila’s New Year – New Rug Give-Away” is open only to permanent legal U.S. residents of the 48 contiguous states and the District of Columbia; residents of Alaska and Hawaii are not eligible. Void in all other geographic locations. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. Contest Period runs from 12:00 p.m. (EST) Thursday, January 2nd, 2014 through 11:59 a.m. (EST) Friday, January 31st, 2014. One entry per household per day on Alternative means of entry for Drawing is available by faxing your name and address to 508-437-8486 during the applicable Entry Period. Odds of winning depend on the number of eligible entries received. See Official Rules.

Bob Vila’s Luxury Sofa Bed Give-Away

Enter TODAY and every day in December to with a $4,000+ Luxury Sofa Bed from American Leather!

Luxury Sofa Giveaway

Since no home should be without sleeping accommodations for out-of-town visitors, we’ve teamed up with our friends at American Leather for this month’s Bob Vila Luxury Sofa Bed Give-Away.  Enter today to be eligible to win a Kalyn Comfort Sleeper and turn any room into the ultimate guest room with style and comfort.




Starting today and every day through Thursday, January 2, 2014 (11:59 a.m.), you can enter to win the Kalyn Comfort Sleeper, valued at $4,215, and discover for yourself why American Leather’s comfort sleepers have been voted “Best Value” by Consumer’s Digest.

Luxury Sofa Giveaway - Kalyn Comfort Sleeper

American Leather

If you thought that a sleeper couldn’t be as stylish and eye-catching as it is comfortable, think again. With its easy-going good looks, the Kalyn Comfort Sleeper from American Leather is distinguished by loose seat and back cushions and low half-arches on the arms.  It comes upholstered in a Flint-colored, SuedeLife material—a pet- and kid-friendly 100% polyester micro fiber covering—and winner’s choice of espresso-, walnut- or acorn-finished legs.  With no bars or springs, 5 inches of plush high density foam, and a premier-sized queen mattress, the Tiffany 24/7 platform system delivers amazing comfort both day and night.  Your overnight guests will be looking for an extended stay—guaranteed!

So ENTER DAILY through Thursday, January 2nd (11:59 a.m. EST) to increase your chances of winning this top of the line sleeper during Bob Vila’s Luxury Sofa Bed Give-Away!

The “Bob Vila’s Luxury Sofa Bed Give-Away” is open only to permanent legal U.S. residents of the 48 contiguous states and the District of Columbia; residents of Alaska and Hawaii are not eligible. Void in all other geographic locations. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. Contest Period runs from 12:00 p.m. (EST) Monday, December 2nd, 2013 through 11:59 a.m. (EST) Thursday, January 2nd, 2014. One entry per household per day on Alternative means of entry for Drawing is available by faxing your name and address to 508-437-8486 during the applicable Entry Period. Odds of winning depend on the number of eligible entries received. See Official Rules.

Weekend Projects: DIY Window Treatments

If you've been scared off in the past by the vast selection and high cost of window treatments, try your hand at some of these accessible DIY approaches.

Why do people so often ignore the importance of blinds, drapes, and curtains when they are chief among the elements that make a house a home? For one, window dressings are not essential. You can easily live without them, or with an inherited solution that you don’t love. Also, window treatments can be expensive, particularly for those in homes with many exposures. If you are looking for low-cost, high-style ways to decorate your double-hungs, check out these DIY window treatments culled from around the Web.



DIY Window Treatments - Roman Shade


Pick a fabric, any fabric—shop online for a wide selection—then follow this Remodelaholic tutorial to make your own Roman shade. These DIY window treatments, easily operated by cord, present a smooth panel when closed; when raised, the fabric falls in neat, attractive folds.



DIY Window Treatments - Drapes


These DIY window treatments are well within reach of beginners, thanks to a lucid Apartment Therapy guide. Besides fabric, the only materials needed are common household items. If you can measure the width of your window, you can do this project.



DIY Window Treatments - Painted Drop Cloth


Many store-bought window dressings feature fussy floral prints or funky geometric patterns. If neither option suits your taste, take a cue from Stefanie of Brooklyn Limestone, who used iron-on transfers to decorate a drop cloth–turned–shade in her own style.



DIY Window Treatments - Shutters


Using repurposed wall paneling, Suzanne of Meridian Road built this pair of interior shutters, mounting them via gate hinges. Shutters are perfect for those who dislike cord-operated window treatments and for anyone who wants to cultivate a rustic design scheme.



DIY Window Treatments - Lace Screen


Even though they are technically not window treatments, we couldn’t resist including this creative DIY from designmadde, in which squares of lace are installed behind screens. The former beautifies the latter without at all diminishing their utility.

Weekend Projects: DIY Thanksgiving Decor

With a minimum of time and expense, you can whip up some DIY decorations that are sure to brighten and beautify your Thanksgiving celebration.

There’s a lot to be thankful for: your health, the roof over your head, and the loved ones who surround you at Thanksgiving. This year, celebrate your gratitude by welcoming guests into a festive atmosphere, one that reflects the special qualities of autumn. Down-to-earth and beautiful, these DIY Thanksgiving decor projects are as accessible as they are affordable, and each one promises to help make your holiday memorable.



DIY Thanksgiving Decor - Grapevine Pumpkin


Whether you’re an occasional craft-store visitor or a frequent, preferred-status customer, you’ve no doubt seen grapevine for sale on the shelves. For little more than $3, you can combine grapevine with floral wire to create a decorative pumpkin, the perfect accent for a side table.



DIY Thanksgiving Decor - Banner


Nothing says “give thanks” quite like a banner that actually spells out the phrase. In about 20 minutes—with only scissors, glue, ribbon, and a downloadable template for the letters—you’ll be able to hang your own loud-and-proud declaration over a doorway or across the mantelpiece.



DIY Thanksgiving Decor - Centerpiece


DIY Thanksgiving decor preparations would never be complete without a centerpiece for the dining table. Gather a loose collection of painted pinecones, raw birch wood, and gourds in a clear vase or a patterned bowl, or display fall flowers in a medium-size, hollowed-out pumpkin.



DIY Thanksgiving Decor - Calendar


Count down to turkey day with a Thanksgiving-themed calendar. Arrayed on autumn-appropriate burlap are 30 taped-on felt squares, one for each day in the month. Double the utility by putting December on the reverse side, so you can just flip it over at the end of the month.



DIY Thanksgiving Decor - Corn Husk Wreath


If you’re shucking any corn in the days before Thanksgiving, be sure to set the husks aside. (Alternatively, head to the nearest farmer’s market, where you can likely buy husks by the bagful.) Then use them to make a corn-husk wreath and hang it on the front door. Is there a better invitation to a fall feast?

Weekend Projects: 5 DIY Ways to Build a Bar at Home

Entertaining your guests is so much easier when you have a convenient place to store your liquor and serve up the drinks. Here are five smart DIY solutions for creating a bar at home.

As the holidays loom on the horizon, many families have begun to make plans and gather essentials. For some, that means unpacking string lights and purchasing wrapping paper. For others—in particular, those homeowners bracing for the arrival of their eccentric out-of-town relatives—it’s time to stock up on wine, beer, and liquor! Once you have all those potent potables on hand, wouldn’t it be great to have an attractive, functional place to store and serve them? Why not build one yourself? If you think you don’t have time to build a bar, think again: Any of these designs could be created in one productive weekend.



Build a Bar - Wall Mount


Built of weathered wood and painted in a pastel hue, this drop-down drinks cabinet conserves floor space when not in use. While it would look great as a permanent addition to a sunroom or entertaining space, consider wall-mounting a similar setup either for one night only or for the duration of your guests’ visit.



Build a Bar - Bookshelf


Those who rarely entertain may balk at the idea of building a dedicated bar at home. But if you’re hosting visitors around the holidays, it may prove sociable to serve drinks in whichever room the family congregates. If you have a bookcase—and are up for reorganizing your collection a little—you are just one empty shelf away from an understated, serviceable bar area.



Build a Bar - Cart


In these days of smartphones and tablets, it’s all about going mobile, and especially in small spaces, many now favor furniture that’s easy to move around. Inspired by a retail item out of her price range, The Design Confidential drew up plans for a bar cart on wheels; experienced DIYers can build it for $50 or less.



Build a Bar - Bookcase


Here’s an equally economical (though much easier) way to build a bar: Buy a beat-up bookcase from a thrift store or flea market, then outfit the piece to store wine bottles, glassware, and liters of the hard stuff. Visit Apartment Therapy for step-by-step directions detailing the trash-to-treasure transformation pictured above.



Build a Bar - Repurposed Crates


Island Orchard Cider of Ellison Bay, Wisconsin, combined a cache of apple crates to construct the support structure for a steel-topped bar. (The stools, too, are built from the same type of wooden boxes.) What does it mean to build a bar? If you define the concept broadly, countless creative approaches are likely to arise in your mind.

Enter to Win Bob Vila’s Dream Dishwasher Give-Away

Enter TODAY and every day in November to win a brand new Bosch dishwasher worth $2000!

Bosch Give-AwayWhen the leaves fall and the temperature drops, we know that a table full of relatives eating turkey, mashed potatoes, and cranberry sauce can’t be far away — along with the mountain of dishes that comes with it. Which is why we’ve partnered with Bosch to present this month’s Dream Dishwasher Give-Away and your chance to win the one appliance than can tackle any holiday clean-up.




Starting today and every day through Monday, December 2nd (11:59 a.m., ET) you can enter to win the 800 Plus Dishwasher from Bosch ($1,999 MSRP), the quietest dishwasher brand in North America.

Bosch Giveaway - Dishwasher


And if the idea of the continent’s quietest dishwasher isn’t enough, let the details do the talking:

  • A flexible third rack adds thirty percent more loading area, with alternating folding tines and adjustable wings for even more convenience when loading, while freeing up space in lower racks
  • The redesigned dishwasher line incorporates a full-size stainless steel tub, enabling the use of larger racks for enhanced loading ability while still maintaining flush installation capabilities, achieving a sleek, modern European look
  • TFT Display allows you to check cycle status in high definition color and receive maintenance information
  • The ultra-conscious water softener reduces the chance of lime deposits and improves washing results
  • The 24/7 AquaStop precisely engineered tub and sensor system provides round the clock leak protection
  • At 38 dBA, the quietest dishwasher in North America (in normal operation) incorporates 18 unique sound-reduction technologies
So if you dream of banishing soap scum and making dried hands a thing of the past, don’t delay! ENTER TODAY and every day this month (through 11:59 a.m., ET, Monday, December 2nd) to increase your chances of winning.


The “Bob Vila’s Dream Dishwasher Give-Away from Bosch” is open only to permanent legal U.S. residents of the 48 contiguous states and the District of Columbia; residents of Alaska and Hawaii are not eligible. Void in all other geographic locations. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. Contest Period runs from 12:00 p.m. (EST) Friday, November 1st, 2013 through 11:59 a.m. (EST) Monday, December 2nd, 2013. One entry per household per day on Alternative means of entry for Drawing is available by faxing your name and address to 508-437-8486 during the applicable Entry Period. Odds of winning depend on the number of eligible entries received. See Official Rules.

Weekend Projects: 5 DIY Closet Organizers

Make the most of tight closet space with these storage-smart DIY projects.

Many new homes boast spacious walk-in closets, but apartment renters and old-house dwellers must often contend with closets that are diminutive by comparison. Those who survive with so little storage are all too familiar with the fact that using every inch is essential. So if you are looking for clever ways to pack more into less space, begin your journey toward clutter-free living with these five favorite DIY closet organizer ideas from around the Web.



DIY Closet Organizer - Plywood


With a handful of dowels, a quartet of closet rods, and a single sheet of plywood, Ana White created this DIY closet organizer—and you can, too, using the woodworking plans she provides free. A versatile solution, the setup includes ample room not only for clothing, but also for miscellaneous personal items.



DIY Closet Organizer - Sliding Pants Rack


Do you own more pairs of pants than you know what to do with? Consider a sliding pants rack. Either build your own or, if you prefer, purchase one ready-made. There are two great advantages to storing pants in this way: one, it prevents creases, and two, it gives you more real estate on the closet rod.



DIY Closet Organizer - Double Rod


For those poor in closets, additional closet rods promise rich rewards. Over at the blog 320 Sycamore, Melissa imposed tidiness on an unruly closet in one strategic stroke: By installing more rods, she brought the dead zones in her closet to life.



DIY Closet Organizer - Door Shelf


A closet door can do more than simply open and close—it can provide storage for those sundry items that, if not corralled, create clutter and chaos. Even novice woodworkers can succeed in building this tiered array of shallow shelves specially designed to fit the back of the door panel.



DIY Closet Organizer - Pegboard


Typically, pegboard organizes tools and heavy-duty accessories in our basements and garages. But Missy of Lookie What I Did ingeniously affixed pegboard to the back wall of a closet, disguised it under a veil of neutral-color fabric, and arranged it to serve as a catchall for ties, socks, belts, and other small items.

Weekend Projects: 5 Cool DIY Stools

Ideal for beginners, building a DIY stool offers an enjoyable entree to the rewarding world of furniture making.

Too many places to sit? Never! Almost any room can benefit from one more seat, so long as it’s sized in proportion to the dimensions of the space. Among the panoply of seating options available to bone-weary homeowners, the humble stool is often overlooked, but no other solution offers greater versatility. This weekend, tackle one of these DIY stool projects, and even before Monday morning, the underappreciated stool will prove its usefulness yet again.



DIY Stool - Concrete


Although it looks like an expensive piece of furniture from a cutting-edge designer, this DIY stool from Ben at HomeMade Modern costs little to construct—it requires only concrete, wooden dowels, and copper hardware. Ingeniously, the five-gallon bucket in which the concrete is mixed also serves as the form for the seat.



DIY Stool - Camp Chair


A must-have beside the backyard fire pit, this classic tripod camping stool can be made in a single morning using only wooden dowels and a swath of leather (or heavy canvas), plus a handful of nuts, bolts, and washers. Matt from Wood&Faulk provides a step-by-step tutorial that guides DIYers through the process.



DIY Stool - Spool


This next idea comes from Heather at The Lovely Cupboard, who repurposed a spool for electrical wire into a DIY stool perfect for nurseries and playrooms. Inexpensive to add on, the cushion top is created from a boldly colored fabric that has been stretched and stapled over foam circles cut from a mattress pad.



DIY Stool - Plywood


From Josh and Sarah at A Beautiful Mess, this trendy DIY stool design balances rough-hewn simplicity with a tall and slender, streamlined silhouette. Besides the power tools that make pretty quick work of this project, all you need is a sheet of plywood and some dime-a-dozen wood screws.



DIY Stool - Salvage


Heidi at Honeybear Lane gave a fresh look to a pair of hand-me-down stools. After spray-painting both with an eye-catching shade of bright red, she “dipped” the seats and legs in gold. In completing your own DIY stool makeover, choose two tones that suit your decor, then seal the painted surfaces with either polyurethane or wax. Fun!