A Room-by-Room Guide to Making Your Apartment Look Like a Grown-Up Lives There
How many times have you said to yourself, this is the year I’m going to finally decorate my apartment? Each year since my husband David and I moved here five years ago, we’ve vowed to reserve a few weekends to actually put art on the walls, figure out where to store our champagne flutes and unpack those last finicky boxes (yes, we really had boxes that hadn’t been unpacked since NY in 2011). But we’ve never found the time. Until now! :)
Is it even possible to transform your space without just tossing everything you own? If you’re a renter, can you customize your home without saying goodbye to your security deposit? The answers to both are YES. And you can do so in a coordinated, personalized and eclectic way. My apartment is living proof of that fact!
We’ll go ahead and show you an epic before and after to really drive this point home.
AFTER // COLORFUL + COORDINATED
BEFORE // BEIGE + BORING
Scroll on to see how it all came to life.
First things first, we cleaned up the house and took a cold hard look at some of the items we haven’t used in years. We donated about a dozen giant bags of clothes and household items to Goodwill! Then we hit up Lowe’s to stock up on tons of paint, tools and coordinated decor pieces. If you haven’t gotten lost in a paint chip section, you haven’t lived! But for real, I was mesmerized by all the colors and suggested color palettes in this section of the store. I ended up gravitating towards Lowe’s HGTV HOME™ by Sherwin-Williams Paints, mostly because they offer a ton of different pre-curated color palettes that make it easy to coordinate colors room to room.
PREPARE YOURSELF (AND YOUR APARTMENT!)
My husband David and I pored over all the paint samples I collected and came up with a color scheme. We love spending time outdoors so we were naturally drawn to different shades of blues and greens. We kept this consistent throughout the house to make sure the whole space was coordinated. And also so that when we listen to that 1999 dance classic “Blue” by Eiffel 65 we can think of that week when our entire apartment was painted… blue ;)
I also created an Apartment Makeover Pinterest board to gather interior design inspiration, to save favorite products and to see how it might all come together.
Next up, the bathrooms. Even though we live in a one-bedroom, we somehow lucked out and ended up with two full bathrooms. This is crucial because we almost always have houseguests.
I wanted to create a nature-infused space to start the day. I wanted it to feel lush, green and alive — hence, the tropical rainforest theme. We put plants EVERYWHERE. On the window sill, on the wall and on the shelves. We also added on-the-wall jewelry storage to keep everything within arm’s reach. Check out how to make your own handy dandy wooden jewelry organizer here. It’s as simple as sanding, drilling and painting.
Now onto the living room, which is now a straight up art gallery! I’ve been collecting art for well over a decade, and have never really hung it up. So we decided to make the most of this space and create a gallery — I could stare at this wall all day; it really is the highlight of the entire transformation. To add more dimension, we added small shelves, geometric wire accents and a wall clock. As you’ve likely gathered, I’ve got it bad for power clashing, pattern mixing, whatever you want to call it. Patterns and me are tight, and my home is no exception. I made sure to coordinate colors and patterns in a way that still felt comfortable and homey, not busy and cluttered.
THE LIVING ROOM
<i>needs</i>shelves, bins and racks are for. To organize DIY supplies, we spray-painted mason jars to hold pens, pencils, paint brushes and more.
We also got actual office chairs! They match, they have wheels and they look dang good in this bright white work space.
The centerpiece of any apartment is the kitchen. It’s where gatherings happen, where you set up shop when you’ve got a crazy deadline and a ton of work to do — it’s the heart of your home. So naturally, we wanted to create a centerpiece-worthy wall to match. We also mixed a ton of different textures on the table to create a coordinated and unusual look. Polka dots, stripes and pottery all made it onto the table.
This geometric statement wall was a crazy but totally doable undertaking. The key is painting a different color each day so you’ve got ample dry time to create seamless color blocks. Check out the full tutorial here.
Very serious painted walls call for very serious family portraits, don’t you think? ;)
The other side of the den is Turkey’s palace, as it were. A lime green crate, a dresser filled with treats and even some succulents and greenery to liven up the place! We also installed a shelf above the dresser to house books and other knick-knacks.
The key here is lots and lots and LOTS of plants! :) We spray painted these giant planters teal and coral to bring even more color to the porch.
Turkey, everything the light touches…
All in all, our apartment feels totally transformed thanks to teaming up with Lowe’s! It finally feels like us.
Welcome to Selfmade Finance School, our new money series with Block Advisors to help small business owners with their tax, bookkeeping, and payroll needs year-round. This week, we explore the tax implications of bringing family members into your business.
The question for today is this: Does hiring your family members make sense for your business? Let me be clear. This is not a piece about whether hiring your family members makes sense for your relationships with those family members. As someone who is part of a family business, I could fill up a lot more than 600 words on my opinions about that. For today's purposes, we focus on whether it makes sense from an overall "good business and tax implication" perspective. As it turns out, there is a decent amount of tax nuance when it comes to employing your family. Let's break it down based on relationship to the employee:
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Spouses Who Are In Business Together
Personally, if I had to be in business with my husband, it would not go well. However, many couples build viable, strong businesses together and I say, good for them! Depending on how you have your business entity structured, it will make a big difference on the tax treatment of you and your spouse working as partners. Because a business jointly owned and operated by a married couple is generally treated as a partnership for Federal tax purposes, the spouses must comply with filing and record keeping requirements imposed on partnerships and their partners. The election to file two Schedule C (Form 1040) forms, (one for each spouse) permits certain married co-owners to avoid filing partnership returns, provided that each spouse separately reports a share of all the businesses' items of income, gain, loss, deduction, and credit. Under the election, both spouses will be subject to self-employment tax and on net earnings from self-employment and receive credit for Social Security earnings.
One Spouse Employs Another
If you have a dynamic where your spouse is an employee of your business, then your spouse's wages are subject to income tax withholding, Social Security and Medicare taxes. If you are self-employed (not a corporation or a partnership), your spouse's pay does not have to be included in your federal unemployment tax account (FUTA) contributions and payments. However, if your business is a corporation or a partnership you must include that spouse's pay in your unemployment tax contribution calculation.
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You Employ Your Child
First, let's be clear. I work in my family business, but I am an adult, so I am treated just like a normal employee. However, if you, for example, run a family restaurant and want to hire your children under 18 to work for you, there are some tax benefits. But first, you should check with your state for rules on how many hours minors can work (in non-agricultural jobs) and reference the Fair Labor Standards Act for information on limitations on the kinds of work children can perform.
"This is an often overlooked or under-utilized strategy. Paying your children for true services they provide in your business can be a powerful tax-saving tool," says Cathi Reed, Block Advisors Regional Director. "If you are a sole-proprietorship or single member LLC, and the child is less than 18 years of age, the business is not required to withhold FICA or payroll taxes. The child can use his or her standard deduction against income you pay."
You Hire Your Parent
Oh dear. If you are brave enough to do this, know that you will need to pay Social Security and Medicare taxes on your parent's wages and make the appropriate withholdings, but you don't have to pay unemployment taxes. Now all you have to do is convince your parent that you are the boss. Have fun with that!
Is Hiring Family Members Worth It For The Tax Benefits?
"There are some positive tax advantages to hiring family members. It's important to treat a family member like any other employee. Hiring your children can result in substantial savings for businesses. Make sure your child has real, age-appropriate work to do and a reasonable pay rate, comparable to other employees. Consult with a Block Advisors small business certified tax pro to ensure that you are complying with all requirements," advises Reed. "Block Advisors, a team within H&R Block, is dedicated to meeting the tax, bookkeeping and payroll needs of small business owners year-round. To start working with the tax experts at Block Advisors, visit blockadvisors.com."
In my opinion, you should not hire a family member solely because of the tax benefits. You should always hire based on whether that person is right for the job and keep in mind how this hire could materially impact your relationship with that person and others in your family. Finally, as I mentioned, make sure you have a tax professional on your team when making these determinations. As you can see, things can get a little tricky!
*All details were sourced from IRS.gov and blockadvisors.com