Tag Archives: solar powered

Light Up Your Home–The Use of Lights to Brighten Things Up

Solar lights are wonderful too.

If you want to brighten up your home in a cheap, fast, and simple way, but you don’t want to deal with the various dangers of candles, I have two words for you: string lights (or fairy lights, if you prefer).

And, you know, other lights, but I’m a sucker for the ones on strings.

Of course, that’s not to say you can’t mix candles AND lights. Go wild! I treat light in my house the way I treat scent: it has to be just right for me, and if I have multiple lights in a room they must work together and compliment each other. Light creates mood and becomes part of the decor. I’ve always been attentive to lighting and how it makes a room look, not just the decorative sort but lamps and constant light sources as well. Light greatly affects my mood and how I ‘perceive’ a room. I’ve been like this since childhood. It’s one of my weird psychological quirks (and boy do I have a list of those).

The great news is that both decorative and practical lighting can be cheap. String lights are inexpensive and easy to use. Battery operated lights can be just as beautiful as electric ones. There’s lots of lamps out there too, and they don’t have to break the bank. Lighting doesn’t have to be expensive, elaborate, or expertly installed to be enjoyed.

This light takes batteries, a good alternative.

Of course there are electricity costs involved sometimes, but string and rope lights don’t use that much energy. Lamps can be turned off. Lighting can be used only for special occasions, if you prefer. Lower wattage bulbs can be used. Solar lights are a great alternative. The packaging on most lights will let you know their energy consumption. But overall,, even with a house full of lights I don’t have a huge electric bill.

I have all sorts of lights on my balcony, but I’m not going to show them off in this post since I already covered those in my outdoor post. Most of them are battery or solar powered. Outdoor lighting is a great subject in and of itself, but since I don’t have a huge outdoor space I won’t go much into it. You can check out this great blog for outdoor lighting tips and ideas.

My house is never dark, even at night. It saves me having to flip switches if I get up in the middle of the night, or it’s too early in the evening to have all the lights on.

Lighting creates ambiance, which is like finishing a picture by painting a pretty gloss over it. It enhances the beauty that you’ve created in your space and highlights it. And, if you’re decorating cheap, it makes things look a little classier. Don’t tell your secrets. Let the light do the work!

My bedroom is my favorite room.

I will admit I do have some expensive lighting, though that doesn’t vibe with the theme of this blog. I smart homed my apartment, and I use Philips Hue Smart Lights in my living room and bedroom lamps. They’re controlled by Amazon Echo and connect to WiFi. The ones in the living room are multicolored and I can create all sorts of moods and scenes with them, which I really enjoy. These lights are definitely not cheap, but sometimes I like to splurge.

Here’s a cheap tip: if you like string lights, go to the stores right after Christmas when they mark down the leftover decorations, and buy them up on clearance. Stock up, so when a string burns out, you have a backup to replace it.

Make your home shine–it’s easy, it’s inexpensive, and it’s fun!

Items Featured In Pictures

All items are listed, to the best of my memory, where I bought them, and their approximate price at the time of purchase. Relevant links to retailers or specific items are included where possible. Please note: I am not paid by any retailer, organization, or product to promote anything on this blog. This is for informational purposes only.


Pretty Your Outdoor Space For Less–When It Comes To the Outside, Don’t Go Outside Your Budget!

Do you have an outdoor space? A patio, deck, balcony, terrace, porch, veranda, yard, garden, a little patch of dirt, or just any kind of outer space you can call your own (maybe it’s even in outer space)? Since it’s summertime (at least in the northern hemisphere) let’s talk about how to make it nice on the cheap.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a yard or garden, and I haven’t in many years, so I can’t help much in that area. There are some great gardening and yard blogs out there though. They’re much more knowledgeable!

And trust me, you don’t want me telling you how to take care of plants. Most of the plants that have met me have returned to the earth quickly.

Sprucing up your outdoor space is just as important as decorating your indoor space. It’s the first impression your visitors get and clues them in immediately to your tastes and personality. And realistically, it’s also your only personal space that most people will ever see. Why not show off a little?

Gazing into my crystal ball tells me…I will buy more decor in the future! Special tip: secure items with clear weather stripping. The ball never budges in wind or a storm, as I have the ball weather stripped to the base and the base weather stripped to the chair. Easy to remove later on, too!

Strangers passing by will probably never see the inside of your home. That’s no reason to let them just walk on by without getting a little taste of your style. Personally, when I’m out walking I love to see people’s outside decor. I find it charming and even inspirational. Humans like to see pretty stuff!

I live in an apartment complex, and every apartment has a balcony (apart from the below-ground units). My balcony is one of the bigger ones since I live in a two bedroom apartment. The balcony itself is cozy, but big enough to allow for a little couch and my signature need to clutter every space I inhabit with STUFF. It faces a busy, noisy street and elevated train tracks, which I’m sure is not everyone’s ideal living situation, but for me I love it because I crave the bustle of city living and people watching. And boy, are there people to watch. It’s high enough up to maintain my privacy and still peer down on everyone like a nosy gargoyle.

A little birdie told me…that you got that fake ivy for cheap! Special tip: secure items to railings with color camouflaged zip ties. All items attached to my railings are done so with black zip ties.

My neighbors and passers-by routinely tell me how nice my balcony looks. Which is, of course, an ego stroke, but like a child with no filter on my mouth, instead of replying “yes, thank you, I bought this designer patio couch for a million dollars!” I spout self-deprecating stuff like “ha, joke’s on you, most of these plants are fake!” or, “Fool, I got this for two dollars at a yard sale!” I really need to learn to put on airs.

I won’t pay a bunch of money to show off, though. I don’t think anyone should have to, and you can still have a nice, comforting space that reflects your personality. All it takes is a keen sense of your own style and keeping an eye out for bargains when you shop!

It’s a bit funny that on my side of the building, there seems to be a silent competition amongst my neighbors to see who can create the most dramatic balcony. This tells me I’m in good company, but also if we keep adding lights to one-up each other, there will be a tragic accident when the planes on the approach path to the airport over our building get confused and think we’re a runway. Or, we’ll end up with a 737 parked in our lot and we’ll be fighting over which one of us actually signaled them in.

Just big enough for me and the cat. The cushion covers, of course, are waterproof and can be removed and washed.

The most expensive thing on my balcony is an outdoor couch I bought from Amazon. It’s surprisingly comfortable and regrettably teal–not because I dislike teal, but because I wish it had been available in pink. I had to assemble it myself, which was definitely not a good time. However, I’m pleased it hasn’t entirely collapsed into pieces while sitting on it and put me on the floor…yet. I’ll collect my engineering degree next week, thank you.

I also have a festive rainbow umbrella, which is a holdover from when I lived on a different side of the building and got a lot of sun. The sun on this side isn’t direct, but I still enjoy using it for the aesthetic. I can pretend I’m on the beach! You know, a beach with a major street and trains running through it.

Decorative items don’t have to be practical or even useful in order for you to enjoy them. Sometimes pretty things serve only one purpose: to make you happy when you see them. Form and function are important, but just having something around for the sake of seeing it is okay, too!

Fake plants, fake light, real weathering!

The rest of my decor is fake plants (and a few real ones thrown in because I’m trying, I really am), metal garden stakes, a few cute outdoor items, and a lantern that I’ve ‘weathered’ myself simply by leaving it outside and never bringing it in (which is what weathering actually is, right? Funny how fake ‘weathering’ is more the norm). And of course lights. Lots of lights.

Despite my surroundings, my decor has made my balcony surprisingly insular and private. I enjoy spending time on it, and I’m trying to spend as much time as I can, since summer only lasts about 15 seconds here and then it’s freezing rain again. You have to act fast or you won’t even see the sun. It’s a fun game we play every year (it’s not fun)!

Here is a breakdown of the items in the pictures–check out the gallery below for even more! As always, if you see something I didn’t list and want to know more about it, just ask.

Items Featured In Pictures

All items are listed, to the best of my memory, where I bought them, and their approximate price at the time of purchase. Relevant links to retailers or specific items are included where possible. Please note: I am not paid by any retailer, organization, or product to promote anything on this blog. This is for informational purposes only.

The night is bright, thanks to AA batteries.