Home Makeover Ideas To Upgrade Your Space

Tweaking your property's design is an excellent way to add spice to your life and make sure your house always feels fresh. Especially since the pandemic, many homeowners have realized the importance of having a comfortable and stylish home.



The average home renovation expenditure in 2021 was $10,341-a 25% increase from 2020, according to Angi's 2021 State of Home Spending Report. This figure shows that people are more willing to invest in their homes now than ever. But that doesn't mean you have to spend a fortune to achieve your desired look. Many small, cost-effective ways to modernize your home's design.


If you're considering giving your home a makeover but don't know where to start, below are some home makeover ideas that will help upgrade your space without breaking the bank:


Finish surfaces with high-pressure laminate

High-pressure laminates (HPL) are a type of finish that you can apply to surfaces like countertops, cabinets, and interior walls. HPL is more durable than other finishes, making it ideal for high-traffic areas. It's also scratch-resistant and easy to clean, perfect for busy families with kids or pets. Plus, it comes in various colors and patterns, so you can find a finish that fits your home's aesthetic.


If you're eyeing a modern look, try pairing an HPL solid color with stainless steel fixtures and appliances. These elements create a sleek and contemporary feel. Many modern designs also incorporate geometric shapes and patterns. You can achieve this look by choosing an HPL finish with a geometric pattern for your countertops or cabinets.


Depending on the size of the area you're finishing, HPL can be a relatively inexpensive way to upgrade your home's design. On average, an HPL costs $30 a sheet. But of course, the price will also depend on the brand of HPL you choose and whether you hire a professional to install it. If you're considering using HPL in your home makeover, research to find a product that fits your budget and design aesthetic.


Use area rugs to define spaces

Area rugs are an easy and cost-effective way to add color, pattern, and texture to a room. They can also help define spaces in an open-concept floor plan. If you have a large living or family room, try using an area rug to delineate the seating area from the rest of the space. It will create a cozier feel in the room and make it seem more inviting.


When choosing an area rug, consider the size of the room and the furniture placement. You don't want a rug too small or too big for the space. It should also be proportional to the surrounding furniture. For example, if you have a large sofa, you'll need a bigger rug than a smaller coffee table.


As for the design, there are endless possibilities. But if you're going for a modern look, try choosing a geometric pattern or an abstract design in muted colors. You can also experiment with different textures like shag or jute.


Area rugs typically range from $50 to $500, depending on the size and material. So, it's a relatively affordable way to significantly impact your home's design.

Paint your walls

One of the quickest and most inexpensive ways to change the look of your home is to paint the walls. A fresh coat of paint can brighten up a room and make it feel new. It's also a great way to experiment with different colors and see how they impact the space.


If you want a modern look, try painting your walls in a light or neutral color. It will create a blank canvas that you can accessorize with art, rugs, and furniture. You can also experiment with different finishes like matte, semi-gloss, or high-gloss. A high-gloss finish will give your walls a shiny and polished look, perfect for a modern space.


Painting your walls is a great way to change the look of your home without spending a lot of money. So, this is a great option to consider if you're on a tight budget.


Repurpose furniture

Many people think they need to buy all new furniture when trying to upgrade their home's design. But that's not always the case. Sometimes, you can repurpose your existing furniture to achieve your desired look.


Try painting an old dresser or credenza in a high-gloss finish for a modern look. It will give the piece a new lease on life and make it look more contemporary. You can also reupholster an old chair or sofa in a modern fabric. Or, if you're feeling bold, you can try spray painting your furniture with a metallic finish.


You can save money by repurposing your existing furniture and still achieve the modern look you want.


The above are just some ways to upgrade your home's design without breaking the bank. So, if you're looking for a quick and easy makeover, start with these tips. You'll be surprised at how much of a difference they can make.



Cinderella Didn't Live Happily Ever After Book Review & Book Tour Giveaway

I remember analyzing the effects of Disney Princesses for a college English paper when my oldest daughter was around two years old. Princesses and fairy tales are so popular in so many families that the fairy tale messages (good and bad) are introduced to little ones (especially girls) as babies and toddlers. I recently discovered a book that takes a look at fairy tales and their "impacts".  Check out Cinderella Didn't Live Happily Ever After, learn about the book and author Anne E. Beall, Ph.D, read my thoughts on the book and enter the book tour giveaway at the end of this post.

Book Title:  Cinderella Didn't Live Happily Ever After: The Hidden Messages in Fairy Tales by Anne E. Beall
Category:  Adult Non-Fiction (18+),  126 pages
GenreFeminist, Fairy Tales, Literary Criticism
Publisher:  Independent Publishing
Release date:  November 17, 2018
Content Rating:  PG + M. Some fairy tales are a bit gruesome but there is no bad language or explicit sex. 

Many of our posts contain affiliate links.
Should you purchase an item via our links--we may receive slight compensation from an affiliate partner.  

About the Book

Did Cinderella live happily ever after? You might think so until you look more closely at the hidden messages in beloved fairy tales. In this book, fairy tales are analyzed in terms of the underlying messages about marriage, agency, power, suffering, and good versus evil, with a focus on how male and female characters differ in each of these areas. The analysis is a data-driven approach that provides clear evidence for the hidden messages in these beloved tales. The end conclusion is not whether fairy tales are good or bad but rather what messages they deliver about life, even if unintentionally.


My Review

Cinderella Didn't Live Happily Ever After Offers Interesting Insights into Fairy Tale Messages. The author certainly takes a feminist view as she analyzes fairy tales and their messages. In an academic style, she shares her thoughts on various ideas, like marrying up, beauty, age, good vs. evil, and the ways gender is portrayed relatively across multiple fairy tales. From analyzing engagement, marriage, and long-term happiness to gender-specific qualities and characteristics that fairy tales represent as "good" and "evil,"--the author offers readers a lot to consider.


Fairy Tales are Not "Good or Bad"--But... As parents, we must recognize that the messages and ideas that bombard our little ones have some impact on their perceptions of themselves and their worlds. The author looks at several fairy tale scenarios and discusses the dated ideas and representations that play out in many as well. I was never a fan of the fairy tale girl needing saving by a brave, charming Prince--but the author brings up some hidden messages that I hadn't really considered. Beauty is good. Ugly is evil. Strong, powerful women are often evil-doers in fairy tales. Happily ever after has a meaning different from forever. While fairy tales are not presented as good or bad--they are presented as influential in ways that we may not realize.


Would I Recommend Cinderella Didn't Live Happily Ever After? If you are looking for an interesting look at gender bias and relationships in fairy tales--especially as a parent or caregiver of young girls--this book is interesting and insightful. This book is indeed written to support a feminist view--but it is well written and researched to do so. I enjoyed the book and its ideas and would recommend it to those interested in popular culture and a study of gender-related messaging.



Buy the Book

add to Goodreads


Meet the Author


A leader in the field of market research and one of the few female CEOs in the industry, Anne E. Beall is the author of 10 books in business, gender studies, and mindfulness, including Cinderella Didn’t Live Happily Ever After: The Hidden Messages in Fairy Tales and The Psychology of Gender. Her book Heartfelt Connections was named one of the top 100 Notable Indie books in 2016 by Shelf Unbound, and she has published nearly a dozen business articles in noted journals. Her books have been featured in People Magazine, Toronto Sun, Hers Magazine, and Ms. Career Girl, and she has been interviewed by NBC, NPR, and WGN. Having received her PhD in social psychology from Yale University, Anne resides in Evanston, Illinois and is the founder of the market consultancy company Beall Research.

connect with the author:   website ~ facebook ~ twitter goodreads


Enter the Giveaway





4 ways to reduce spending so you can take control of your finances

Even during times when money isn't tight, most of us could benefit from finding a few ways to save some cash. Whether you are simply trying to get your finances in check or are legitimately trying to make ends meet with rising prices, there are some quick ways to reduce spending so you can take control of your finances. 


Skip the Restaurants and Food Deliveries. I am the first to admit that there are days when grabbing a delivery lunch or taking the family out to dinner are certainly the more convenient options than planning, prepping, preparing, and cleaning up our meals. The reality is that, while grocery prices are rising--restaurant prices are rising too. Delivery and convenience fees really add up over a month. Meal planning can save you money and be as straightforward or as elaborate as you choose with some strategic planning and grocery shopping. Taking the extra step to pack lunch for work and school will cut down on weekly meal expenses--and may make your daily meals just a little healthier too! 


Cut Subscriptions and Memberships. When trying to reduce spending, cutting some subscriptions and little-used memberships free up a lot of monthly cash for many consumers. My family has Netflix, Apple Music, Hulu, Spotify, and Sirius subscriptions. Combining individual subscriptions into family plans--and making some choices for the services with features that you prefer may cut these subscription entertainment fees significantly. It's also a good idea to check your credit card and bank statements for any annual subscriptions or services you may have forgotten about over the past year. If you rarely (or never) use a subscription, cancel it before it renews! You may even get some cash back for the time remaining on the subscription.  


Since some subscriptions are non-refundable once billed, it is also essential to watch for renewal notifications and price increases on services you use. I recently received an email informing me that a subscription would nearly double at renewal. This price increase made me look at the service's cost-benefit and ultimately cancel it entirely.   


Track and Consolidate Expenses. The most important way to reduce spending and take control of your finances is to figure out where your money goes every month! Take some time to log and track expenses. If you are paying fees with multiple cards and accounts, it can be easy to lose sight of the overall total of your payments until you add them all up in one spot! It may be time to consolidate and organize your spending and bills to help you stay on top of charges and even pay down debt faster. Learn more.


Switch to Cash. Honestly, credit cards and bank cards are easy to use. It is also easy to spend more money faster--especially if you keep a mental note of spending and receipts! Try switching to an allowance of cash every week instead of using plastic. Using dollars and cents give you a visual indication of money flowing in and out of your pocket, and you may be less likely to overspend. 


There are certainly loads of other ways to save money--but beginning small with just these four ideas may help get you on the road to better finances.   



Taking Care of Your Mental Health While at Home

Mental health is just as important as physical health, and it's crucial to take care of both while you're at home. One way to take care of your mental health is to make sure you have a good support system. This could mean having close friends and family you can rely on or joining a support group for people with similar experiences. 

Here are several tips for tending to your mental health while cooped up indoors.


Make sure you have a good support system.

Having a solid support system is essential for maintaining mental health. When needed, family and friends can provide crucial emotional support, practical assistance, and a listening ear. It can be helpful to have someone to talk to about your feelings and struggles and to have people who can offer valuable advice or suggestions. Many community-based organizations and online resources can provide support if you don't have a strong support system at home.


Talk to someone about how you're feeling.

Talking is an essential part of taking care of our mental health. When we bottle up our feelings, it can lead to negative consequences like depression, anxiety, and stress. Talking to someone about how we're feeling can help us process those emotions and work through them. It can also allow us to better understand ourselves and our needs.


There are a lot of different ways to talk about our mental health. We can talk to friends, family members, therapists, or counselors. We can also write about our feelings in a journal or blog. It's important to find a method of talking that works for us and that we feel comfortable with.


Stay busy and active.

One of the most important things for staying mentally healthy at home is staying busy and active. When you're stuck at home all day, it can be easy to become bored and lazy, leading to negative thoughts and feelings. But keep yourself busy with activities both inside and outside the home. You'll be less likely to dwell on negative thoughts and more likely to stay positive.


Some ideas for staying busy and active while at home include:

  • Exercising regularly: Taking a brisk walk around the neighborhood, going for a run, or working out at home are great ways to get your body moving and blood flowing.
  • Staying connected with friends and family: Whether you're staying in touch via text, social media, or video chat, it's important to stay connected with the people you care about.
  • Picking up a new hobby: Learning something new or taking up a creative activity can help you feel more engaged and motivated.
  • Getting organized: Taking some time to declutter your space and get organized can help you feel more in control and less stressed.

Connect with nature.

Nature provides an escape from the stresses of daily life and a way to connect with something larger than ourselves. Spending time outside in nature has improved mental health, mood, and vitality. Whether you take a walk in the park, sit by a river, or hike in the mountains, getting outside and connecting with nature is good for your mental health.


You can also work with a company specializing in patios to build one in your home. Spending time outdoors can help enhance mental health. So, setting up furniture in the outdoor living area gives you a place to relax in your backyard.


Make time for yourself.

It's important to make time for yourself, especially when you're feeling mentally or emotionally overwhelmed. Taking a break and focusing on taking care of yourself can help you recharge and feel more capable of tackling whatever challenges come your way. Here are a few tips for making time for yourself:


  • Set aside time each day to do something that you enjoy. This can be anything from reading a book to going for a walk to listening to music. Whatever it is, make sure it's something that makes you feel good.
  • Make sure to schedule some downtime for your week. This can be an evening where you watch a movie or participate in a hobby. Again, the goal is to relax and recharge.
  • If you're feeling stressed, consider taking a day off from work or other obligations. This can be tough if you have a lot going on, but it's important to remember that your mental health should always come first.

Making time for yourself is so important for maintaining your mental health. Taking a little time each day to focus on yourself can help reduce stress and feel more capable of dealing with whatever life throws your way.


Mental health is just as important as physical health, and it's essential to take care of both while you are at home. Fortunately, following the tips in the article can help keep your mental health in check while at home.



Alycat and the Cattywampus Wednesday Book Review & Book Tour Giveaway

Book TitleAlycat and the Cattywampus Wednesday by Alysson Foti Bourque
Category:  Children's Fiction (Ages 3-7),  
Genre:  Children's Picture Book
PublisherPelican Publishing
Release date:  May 9, 2022
Content Rating:  G

Many of our posts contain affiliate links.
Should you purchase an item via our links--we may receive slight compensation from an
affiliate partner.  

About the Book

Alycat wakes up to seafood gumbo for breakfast, and even though her house is the first stop for the school bus, the bus is already full when she boards. Alycat’s whole day is turning topsy-turvy. What is happening? Young readers will tag along on Alycat’s adventures during her very “cattywampus” Wednesday and learn that a little help from some friends and a good attitude can make your day!

​The themes of the books in the Alycat Series all reflect a reliance on friendships, imagination, and creativity towards problem solving. The character traits of Alycat and her friends inspire and encourage young readers to find their own special gifts. After enduring a cattywampus world pursuant to an unexpected pandemic, this book will resonate with readers to persevere through the wackiest and toughest of times.


My Review


Alycat and the Cattywampus Wednesday is Another Fun, Positive Story for Little Ones. The author guides readers along with her Alycat as she experiences a very backward, odd, "cattywampus" day! From switched up breakfasts and dinners to out-of-order classes and activities--Alycat keeps a positive attitude and makes the best of the changes during her mixed-up day! It's a fun story that little ones could easily relate to their own days and schedules--and imagine what they would do if they found their day scrambled about like Alycat's day!


Fun Illustrations Highlight Every Page. Alycat and the cast of characters are fun, colorful, and expressive in this cute little story. Readers will pick up on Alycat's concern and worry at times through her expressions and will also pick up on her relief as her story ends.


Would I Recommend Alycat and the Cattywampus Wednesday? The author gives readers a little positive story as her main character navigates an unforgettable day that doesn't seem quite right! While Alycat's unusual Wednesday is explained away--the author still offers readers and caregivers some tips and advice for dealing with their real-world cattywampus days! I enjoy the positive nature of the stories in this series, and this one is perfect as well. If you want fun characters with positive attitudes and light life lessons--this series and this book should be on your reading list.


Buy the Book

 Alycat website
Amazon ~ B&N

Walmart ~ Bookshop


Meet the Author

Alysson Foti Bourque is the author of the award-winning Alycat series. Alysson earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and a Juris Doctor degree from the Southern University Law Center.

After practicing law for six years, she traded in writing trial briefs for writing children’s books. Alysson enjoys public speaking opportunities at schools, conferences, and festivals nationwide. She hopes to inspire people of all ages to follow their dreams and believe in themselves wholeheartedly.


The Alycat Series has won several prestigious awards including:
Three Mom’s Choice Awards®
Benjamin Franklin Digital Award, Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA)
Best Book Award Finalist
NY Big Book Award
Reviewed by Midwest Book Review
Southern Festival of Books Panelist
Louisiana Book Festival Featured Author

Connect with the author: Website  ~  Twitter  ~  Facebook  ~  InstagramPinterest
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Enter the Giveaway

Alycat and the Cattywampus Wednesday Book Tour Giveaway




Sunny and the Cats Book Review & Book Tour Giveaway

It is no secret that the Mama's Corner of the World family loves our cats and dogs! We currently have four cats and a dog along with our random assortment of other critters! Today, we have a fun children's book to share that helps families talk about differences, friendships and acceptance! Check out Sunny and the Cats, learn about author Victoria Otto, read my thoughts on the book & enter for a chance to win a prize in the book tour giveaway at the end of this post!


Book TitleSunny and the Cats by Victoria Otto
Category:  Children's Fictions (ages 3-7), 32 pages
Genre:  Children's Picture Book
Publisher:  self-published
Release date:   June, 2022
Content Rating:  G - General Audiences. There is no violence, no bad language, no religious expletives, no sex scenes, and no drug use or underage drinking. 

Many of our posts contain affiliate links.
Should you purchase an item via our links--we may receive slight compensation from an
affiliate partner.  

About the Book

Everyone in meow village and woof village lived happily if they followed one very important rule...

​Dogs were not welcomed in meow village and any cat that stepped into woof village would be chased up a tree! But a special puppy named Sunny wants to become friends with the cats, so he breaks that rule to see if the cats might like to play.

What happened when Sunny went to meow village? Pick up this book to find out!
My Review


Sunny and the Cats is a Fun Story for Animal Lovers. This adorable book looks at the stereotypical differences between cats and dogs--and challenges the beliefs that the two cannot and should not be friends. "Dogs and cats cannot be friends," I remember my mom telling me this when we added our first kitten to our house with our 6-year-old Pomeranian. "Bear hates cats--you are just asking for trouble." Well--Bear and Frito the Cat were inseparable until Bear the Dog passed away 11 years later. This book gives families a fun opportunity to look at the differences between dogs and cats and see that kindness, acceptance, and persistence may help bridge some gaps!


Fun Illustrations Highlight Differences and Emotions. The book gives young readers a lot to look at between Meow Village and Woof Village as the differences between the cats and dogs are highlighted. There is also the opportunity to discuss fears and curiosity about those different from us.


Would I Recommend Sunny and the Cats by Victoria Otto? This book is a cute book to introduce children to the concept of differences they may encounter--and the values of kindness and acceptance of others. Animal lovers especially will enjoy Sunny's story as he tries to show the two villages that dogs and cats are not so different that they can't be friends. It is also a fun way to talk about stereotypes and individuality as well. I would recommend it to preschool and young elementary school-aged students and caregivers.


Buy the Book

(release date June 10, 2022)
BAM ~ Walmart

add to goodreads

Meet the Author

Victoria Otto is a children's book author, born and raised in Metro-Detroit. She has a passion for children's literature and strives to create picture books that are engaging, educational, and lots of fun for both children and parents to read. Victoria loves to make author visits at schools and organizations. So far, she has been able to read her books to and visit eight hundred children across the United States.

​If you would like Victoria to make an author visit at your school or organization, please email her.

connect with the author: twitter ~ instagram 
Enter the Giveaway

Sunny and the Cats Book Tour Giveaway