The Game-Changing Paper Towel Holder That Takes Up Zero Space (It’s So Stylish, Too!)

The Game-Changing Paper Towel Holder That Takes Up Zero Space (It’s So Stylish, Too!)

We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.

It’s fair to say I’m partial to under-the-radar organization. Hacks like these under-cabinet mounts for my myriad of stand mixer attachments satisfy my need to have a place for everything. Yamazaki Home tends to come through with functional and minimally beautiful solutions, and this under-shelf paper towel holder is a prime example. It simply hooks over the edge of a shelf, be it exposed or stored away in a cabinet or pantry, and comes with a screw-in anchor to hold it securely in place. And, since the anchors have undetectably thin rubber padding, there’s no damage made to your wood, metal, or other shelf materials (and they don’t look bulky or unattractive either). The holder simply slips vertically over an inch or less of shelf thickness and hangs in a space that would otherwise go unused, so it takes up significantly less room than a stand-up paper towel holder that hangs out on your countertop or one that lays on hooks horizontally.

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Personally, I prefer how much less visible the paper towels are with Yamazaki’s solution — especially if it’s used in a cabinet shelf. For any shelf that’s less than an inch thick, this paper towel holder is a sustainable solution that’s out of the way, easy to empty out, and a cinch to reload as rolls need to be replaced. And, unlike so many other mounted or hung paper towel holders that I’ve used in the past, Yamazaki’s actually fits XL-sized rolls so you don’t need to buy more than you have storage space for, or than you even need to use. Plus, the brand is offering 180-day free returns through Dec. 31 if you aren’t satisfied with your purchase — though we doubt that’ll be the case. I could go on, but I’ve got a basket that’s long overdue for a fill at Yamazaki.

How I Finally Got the Musty Smell Out of My Vintage Rug

How I Finally Got the Musty Smell Out of My Vintage Rug

Buying vintage or antique pieces adds a lot of character to your home. It helps you mix-and-match the old with the new, blending more contemporary pieces with styles from bygone eras. But it’s not easy (or inexpensive) to find throwback furniture in pristine condition. 

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Whether you’re buying rugs, dressers, sideboards, or couches, a lot of this furniture smells funky when you bring it home. That musty smell can come from how it was stored, years of disuse, or dust and grime buildup. But no matter what condition your piece is in, one thing is for sure: Most of us want to eliminate that stale scent.

I first encountered this problem when I bought a Turkish rug from Etsy. The vendor assured me it was clean, but likely due to its age and storage with other woven rugs, it smelled incredibly musty.

This led me to do a deep dive into how to clean vintage pieces. Here are some options to consider.

If it smells a bit dusty, use vinegar, coffee grounds, or baking soda.

If you scored a vintage rug at a flea market or a vanity desk on Marketplace, but it smells just a little bit musty, you can clear that up with some tried-and-true odor-zapping ingredients. Vinegar, coffee grounds, and baking soda are all known to remove odor. The acid in the vinegar helps neutralize alkaline odors, while baking soda helps bring odor molecules to a more neutral state, eliminating their scent. As for coffee grounds, the nitrogen in them helps neutralize any off-putting smells. 

To eliminate smells from furniture with drawers, fill a bowl with either one of these options and put it in each drawer. Depending on the odor’s strength, you can leave the bowls anywhere from one night to two weeks. If the smell isn’t just inside the drawers, but lingering on the outside of the piece, wipe down the wood with a cleaning solution consisting of equal parts water and vinegar. 

For rugs, sprinkle baking soda across the carpet and let it sit anywhere from eight hours to overnight. Vacuum the powder, and your odor should be neutralized. However, this will only work with slightly musty pieces. If you smell more potent odors — like mildew or heavy dust — you’ll have to try a different method.

If the smell is lingering, refinish or deep clean the piece.

If the smell is lingering on your wooden piece, it has permeated the wood. The only way to get rid of it is to strip the stain or finish that is trapping the odor. (The same goes for any lining inside.) Sand off the stain, allow the furniture piece to breathe overnight, and then wash it with wood soap to kill any lingering bacteria that might be causing the odor. Once it’s fully dry, restain the piece.

If you’re dealing with a musty rug, you might need to deep clean it with soap and water to remove the dust and grime embedded in the fibers. First, vacuum the top of your rug. Then, flip it over and vacuum the bottom, if it doesn’t have a thick pad. Next, grab your portable carpet cleaner and deep clean the rug using pH-balanced shampoo.

If it’s a powerful smell, call in the professionals.

If you’ve tried all of these options but the smell is still lingering, then it’s time to call the professionals. That’s what I eventually had to do with my Turkish rug. I didn’t have the skillset — or room! — to deep clean with shampoo and buckets of water (and the simple fix of baking soda didn’t work, either.) Once they got the musty smell out, I’ve been able to maintain it by deep cleaning it twice a year with a carpet cleaner. Thankfully, the smell never returned.

This Closet-Less Brooklyn Rental Apartment Required Creative Storage Solutions

This Closet-Less Brooklyn Rental Apartment Required Creative Storage Solutions

Name: Katherine Guanche and fiancé
Location: Brooklyn, New York
Type of home: Apartment
Size: 1,000 square feet
Years lived in: 1 month, renting

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Tell us a little (or a lot) about your home and the people who live there: Sam is an actor/theater maker and Katherine is a luxury home organizer for The Neat Method NYC.

This apartment is the perfect showcase of our combined personalities, a fun and colorful display of art and memories with every item having its own curated place. It is both functional and pretty, while maximizing the use of the railroad style layout.

I am an organizer by trade but an artist at heart. What attracted me to to New York was its endless possibilities and freedom to express oneself in every capacity and I do my best to reflect that in my home. This Bushwick apartment is both an homage to my colorful Latin roots and the bohemian style that drew me to Brooklyn in the first place. I love positivity and color, and having everything in a place where it can be both used and displayed.

Describe your home’s style in 5 words or less: Eclectic, Colorful, Organized, Cozy, Cheerful

What is your favorite room and why? While I enjoy every room in my home, the dining room has a special place in my heart. First, the painted stencil wall took me nearly 12 hours to complete and ties the room together in a way that really excites me. This room also features our custom handmade cherrywood table from Fabulous Furniture in the Catskills, while also showcasing our love of games and music on all sides. This is a room where we come together to eat, play, party, and gather with friends and family.

What’s the last thing you bought (or found!) for your home? The last thing I bought was a variety of decorative baskets for storage solutions around my home. Since this apartment didn’t come with any closets, I had to be thoughtful about storage and find ways to display items that were previously hidden away. By using variations on the water hyacinth, wicker, and seagrass baskets, I was able to tie all areas of the home together while storing my miscellaneous belongings in an aesthetically pleasing way.

Any advice for creating a home you love? I believe that one’s home should be a sanctuary that you love, from the moment you open your eyes in the morning and a place you long to return back to at the end of the day. Whatever your style is, putting elements together that you truly love will make wherever you live feel like home.

15 of the Most Clever, and Practical Small Space Living Ideas We Saw This Year

15 of the Most Clever, and Practical Small Space Living Ideas We Saw This Year

We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.

Some of my favorite tours on Apartment Therapy are the itty-bitty, how-did-they-do-that, super-low-on-square-footage spaces that manage to evoke a sense of cohesion and coziness, despite their size. It’s endlessly fascinating to see how people make the most of their homes, with intentional paint colors, inventive ways of separating rooms, clever storage solutions, and custom additions. If you’re grappling with a small space and need some fresh inspiration, or if you’re just delighted by small space hacks like I am, enjoy the best small space ideas below.

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1. Bold Black Walls Throughout

Imani Keal’s D.C. studio is a master class in how not to let a small space interfere with bold design choices. She’s pretty much done it all in this space: wallpapered the dining room, installed floating shelves in the kitchen, added trim to a doorway for some character, but possibly her boldest, and most effective, update was to paint a majority of the apartment black. “I think people who live in small spaces should try to make their apartments look/feel interesting rather than larger,” she says, and while this choice “could have gone terribly wrong, I think it paid off.” The effect of a dark, moody color on the walls in a small space is incredibly cozy, cohesive, and makes it clear that no amount of space will hinder a fun design moment. “Oh, I’m also a big fan of painting the ceiling,” she adds, “mostly because I’m a terrible painter and I think it looks cool.”

2. A Closet Turned “Cloffice”

Thanks to the quarantine of 2020, lots of people found themselves needing a dedicated office space in already small homes — Missela and Angga were no different in their Ontario, Canada home. “Our bedroom is the only room that has a door that separates itself from the other part of the apartment,” they wrote. “We knew that it had to be in the bedroom so that he has a quiet space to focus during work. Between our bed and our dresser, there is not much space so we had to put the desk in the closet. This forced us to declutter our closets and organize the space to fit a home office. Here we also use containers and bins to keep it organized, which is crucial for maximizing a small space.”

3. A Bookshelf Accessible from Two Sides

You’ve likely seen an IKEA KALLAX unit separate a small space before (lots of people use them to differentiate a bedroom from a living room in a studio), but Scott Kangas took this idea to a whole new level in his Chicago condo. “When the developer was rehabbing the space,” he explains, “I asked him if he could build my existing IKEA bookcase right into the wall between my kitchen and bedroom, I drew him a diagram on a napkin and he agreed. It’s accessible from both sides and is deep enough for a double row of books, much needed by me. It’s also great for displaying my antique clock that I bought myself for my 21st birthday along with some of my matte white ceramic collection.” Since the bookcase is accessible from two different rooms, it acts as a focal point for both spaces, and since it’s set into the wall, it takes up very little space.

4. Large Furniture for Small Spaces

When Colby Kern downsized into his Springfield, Missouri, apartment, he knew that he’d be up for the task of making the space feel like home with limited square footage. “It may seem backwards,” he advises, “but don’t fill a small space with small furniture. Of course there’s a balance to be met, but large scale furniture can actually make a tiny footprint feel visually larger. Don’t limit yourself to only looking at apartment-sized furniture and always always always confirm your dimensions!” In choosing a sofa, coffee table, and other pieces that are regular-sized, the small living room ends up feeling cozier and bigger than it is, because there’s enough to properly fill it.

5. Striped Wallpaper to Elongate Walls

Walking into Johnny Coleman’s 600-square-foot Chicago apartment, you might think you’ve stepped back into a more refined era, but that’s all thanks to his keen vintage eye and attention to detail. One of the most clever details, though, is the striped wallpaper in every room, which elongates the walls and gives the illusion of height. “My last apartment before this one had 14-foot ceilings, which I miss dearly,” he laments, but “in this apartment, I use striped wallpaper to stretch the perception of how high my current ceilings are. I am very pleased with the effect! If you try this be sure to use thinner stripes, no wider than 1.5 inches each at most.”

6. Outside-the-Box Storage Solutions

A family of five wouldn’t fit in a 600-square-foot NYC apartment without some very thoughtful storage and solutions, but Heather and Michael (plus their three daughters) were up for the challenge. Heather’s best piece of advice? “Utilize the walls and go up when it comes to storage (think hanging wall baskets, shelves, stackable storage crates, etc.), hang a large mirror to make a small space feel bigger, and tidy up often! Also, bring in multipurpose items where you can — we use a big stack of books as a side table in the living room, use the small wicker bench as a footrest and an extra seat, etc.”

Not quite a studio, not yet a one bedroom, the layout of this “studio alcove” apartment on Manhattan’s Roosevelt Island didn’t have clearly defined zones until renter, Sarah Jackson, moved in. “Without clearly defined spaces,” she says, “it can seem to be an overwhelming task of how to make the spaces defined and naturally flow into one another. One of the solutions I used to combat this problem was my squared-off rug lines. The implicit lines that rugs can create on the floor are a great way to define where an area ends and another begins. It is only luck, though, that checkered rugs are trending right now and are able to add that extra bit of softness to what otherwise could be a hard line.”

8. Wheels on Furniture for Added Space

Classified as a “micro studio,” this 520-square-foot apartment in Seattle, Washington is packed to the gills with storage, including a chest for a coffee table that easily wheels out of the way if need be. “My coffee table was a vintage wood mailing trunk that you can still see part of the address on one side,” says Hannah Herman. “It seems so simple, but not only did adding wheels raise it to the right height to make it much more ergonomically comfortable, but it also makes using my tiny, weird-shaped living room SO much easier.”

9. Seating with Hidden Storage

All the items you bring into a small space need to have a dedicated purpose (or two!), and in Bailey Heldmar’s Upper West Side studio, this is certainly the case. “I ended up spending more than I would have liked on the couch,” she admits, but “I needed such a specific size, and supply-chain issues meant that most furniture was taking months to ship. I stumbled upon this one on Pottery Barn Teen that was the exact dimensions I needed and was ready to ship. Plus, the seats have storage! The extra storage space definitely made it worth it even though it’s not exactly the style I would have chosen.”

10. Airy Room Dividers for Separate Spaces

Before moving to this 190-square-foot studio in Philadelphia’s University City neighborhood, Crystal Wyatt actually owned a house for more than 18 years — but she knew she needed a change (and certainly a challenge). And while she’s certainly made clever use of the space, her proudest DIY is installing room dividers to add just a bit of separation between the living and kitchen areas. “Since the space was essentially a box,” she says, “I wanted to create separation between the kitchen and living area without closing off the space. I also didn’t want to look directly at my refrigerator when laying in the bed. I searched high and low and found the perfect room dividers on Etsy. They are lightweight and see through. Hanging them was easy because I didn’t need a ladder. I just stood on a step stool and screwed the hooks into the ceiling.”

11. A Projector and Pull-Down Screen to Free Up Wall Space

Let’s face it — TVs are usually just big black boxes that take up otherwise useful decor space. Maitri Mody, in her NYC studio decided to forgo a TV in favor of a colorful gallery wall, but she’s got a trick up her sleeve: she installed a pull-down screen and a projector on the ceiling. “This way,” she says, “you can keep it rolled up when it’s not in use and you don’t have to sacrifice movie nights.”

12. A Lofted Bed with Wardrobe Space Below

After waiting five years for a government-subsidized flat in Punggol East, Singapore, Redzuan Idris already had ideas for this simple space before moving in. One of the smartest space-saving tricks, though, was to loft the bed in order to create more storage. “I made my flat open concept,” Redzuan says, “and there isn’t any bedroom, only a wardrobe with a bed on top to make it obvious that this side of the room is for sleep/wardrobe area. I intend to make a partition but for now I’m happy with this layout.”

13. Multi-Purpose Furniture

If you watch any small space or studio tour on Apartment Therapy, you’re likely to find that most renters or owners of these spaces never settle for furniture that’s only used for one purpose. In tight quarters, every piece has to pull its own weight, which can be seen here in Courtney Geist’s small NYC studio. “I tried to make every piece of furniture I was purchasing new have two or more purposes,” she says. “For example, my ottoman is also my accessories storage. My kitchen island houses three small appliances. My desk doubles as a WFH desk and an area large enough to cut and sew fabric. If a piece I wanted to buy brand new did not fit that description, I would look for a better alternative.”

14. An Old-School Murphy Bed for the Win

“I feel very strongly that a bed is for sleeping and very little else,” asserts Irene, who lucked into this “too-good-too-be true” apartment in Brooklyn, New York. “The Murphy bed was the perfect solution for me. When I tell people I have a Murphy bed (and that I actually put it up nearly every morning) people are definitely a bit shocked. The uniqueness of it is fun, but mostly I love how it opens up my space during the day and ensures that I don’t feel like I’m living in my bedroom.”

15. Paint and Glass Storage to Divide Spaces

The plight of a studio apartment is of course that everything is in one room, so studio dwellers come up with some pretty smart ways to demarcate room from room. And while you may have seen a KALLAX unit used as a wall, the next level up is a metal and glass shelving unit, like the one Gaby and Chris used in their 450-square-foot NYC studio. They also used different paint colors to indicate different rooms, “the desk/office space is sectioned off with a wall strip of paint that continues onto the ceiling, creating this nook-like feel. I have always had a love/hate relationship with headboards and honestly didn’t want to purchase one, so I created a similar effect using Benjamin Moore’s ‘Polo Blue’ to paint the bottom section of the wall.”

Staub’s Classic Cast Iron Cookware Is More than 60% Off Right Now — Including the Classic Cocotte

Staub’s Classic Cast Iron Cookware Is More than 60% Off Right Now — Including the Classic Cocotte

We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.

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Now through December 31, take up to 70% off at Staub, including select colors of the classic 5-quart tall Dutch oven, a 4-piece baking set, and more. If you’re looking for the very best value and don’t mind a few cosmetic issues, then be sure to check out the deals on cookware with visual imperfections — there’s no effect on the performance and you probably won’t even know the difference. 

There’s a lot of great cookware on sale, so without further ado, here are our favorite picks to shop.

Now through December 31, take up to 70% off at Staub, including select colors of the classic 5-quart tall Dutch oven, a 4-piece baking set, and more. If you’re looking for the very best value and don’t mind a few cosmetic issues, then be sure to check out the deals on cookware with visual imperfections — there’s no effect on the performance and you probably won’t even know the difference. 

There’s a lot of great cookware on sale, so without further ado, here are our favorite picks to shop.