Ask Apartment Apothecary – Instagram photo displays

Today’s AAA is for Lorna, who writes the lovely blog, Lorna Rachel. She wants to find different ways of displaying her Instagram photos. There are lots of DIY and crafty ways of displaying your IG shots, but Lorna wants something a bit smarter and more sophisticated; something with a bit more longevity. Here is what I have found…

1. Huge frame

I really love this idea. I used to make collages of my favourite photographs, which always grabbed lots of attention and encouraged lots of reminiscing. However, they don’t necessarily look particularly sophisticated. Having said that, the option below, with it’s clean lines and simple frame, looks brilliant.

2. Collection of individual frames

You can buy relatively cheap frames and mattes like the ones below. Add your Instagram shots and hang a few together and it very quickly becomes a design statement, with relatively little effort.

Ask Apartment Apothecary | Instagram displays

Image: @ilonajoy Instagram account

3. Enlarge prints

By enlarging your photos, when you get them printed, they become more like pieces of art. This display looks beautiful.

4. Collages

Choose a theme or a colour and frame similar Instagram shots together. You could even choose twelve photos to represent a year in your life.

5. Calendar

I know that photo calendars can be really cheesy but I think this one, which you could make really easily, would be a lovely thing to hang in your home – not tacky at all!

Ask Apartment Apothecary | Instagram displays

Image: Readwrite

Do you ever print out your photos or is it something you never get round to? I hope some of these ideas help, Lorna. I feel inspired to get some photos printed!

Don’t forget, if you have a design dilemma or interiors related question or problem, give me a shout and I will try to help you solve it. Either post the question on my facebook page, email me katy@ or leave a comment below.

Katy x


Ask Apartment Apothecary – DVD and CD storage

Hello everyone! Hope your week is going well. Today’s AAA is for Leanne, whose boyfriend has just moved into her house (exciting times!) but as I remember well, the merging or two people’s belongings can be a bit overwhelming – I still haven’t got over it and have the enormous speakers stored under my bed to prove it! Leanne is struggling with DVD storage, which I know is a common problem and I need to tell you now that I HATE CD’s and DVD’s. My immediate thought would be bag them all up and and drop them off at the charity shop, which is what I want to do with Jules’s collection. However, I realise that not all people think the same way as I do (I’ll do anything for more space and less clutter), nor do they have the same priorities (beauty over function). All that being said, I have tried to come up with some compromises…

1. Remove the boxes

If you are struggling with storage space remove the DVD or CD boxes, buy plastic covers and file them. Brilliant.

But then I hear Jules’s voice saying: “I need to be able to see the titles at a glance otherwise I will forget what I’ve got.” So, we move on to option number two…

CD and DVD storage | Ask Apartment Apothecary

Image from: Hi Sugar Plum

 2. File in boxes

If the aesthetics of DVD and CD boxes bothers you, what about storing them in filing boxes? This looks neat and tidy, they won’t get dusty and is more aesthetically pleasing than shelves full of DVD’s.

CD and DVD storage | Ask Apartment Apothecary

Image from: Buzzfeed

3. Use a sideboard or chest of drawers

In my home, I bought a G-Plan sideboard as our AV unit because real AV units make me feel sick. Literally. I’m sorry if you have one, but I can not pretend for a second to like them. In the sideboard we use the large drawer for CD’s and DVD’s, because I am not allowed to get rid of them.

CD and DVD storage | Ask Apartment Apothecary

My G-Plan sideboard acts as our AV unit.

4. Beautiful shelves

And if none of the options above work for you and you simply must store all of your CD’s and DVD’s on shelves, you need to make sure that they are beautiful shelves to offset the unsightly DVD box. The String Pocket shelves are the perfect size for this, as seen below.

CD and DVD storage | Ask Apartment Apothecary

Image from: Seventy Tree

I’m sorry that I didn’t mince my words. Leanne, I hope this has been helpful!

Katy x


Ask Apartment Apothecary – storage for children’s rooms

Today’s AAA is for Jess, who emailed me to ask for ideas for practical storage for her 10 month old baby’s room, that will be appealing as he grows into a toddler, yet still stylish. These are a few of the ideas that I have found…

1. Chalk board crates on castors

It just so happens that I am in the middle of the DIY project for wellie boot storage for my hallway (lots of muddy dog walks begin again with the coming of Autumn) that will double perfectly for appealing, stylish storage for children’s rooms and will look something like these crates on castors. By painting the crates with chalkboard paint (see a tutorial I did for that here) they are appealing to children as they can scribble all over them, instead of your walls. They are also easy for toddlers to manoeuvre because of the castors and can be stored under a bed or under tables, like in this room. Watch out for the tutorial next week…

Ask Apartment Apothecary - storage for children's rooms

Image from: Flickr

2. Bookcase seat

I’ve always loved this idea of placing a bookshelf on it’s side to make a storage seat. These bookcases are from Ikea and I had them in my classroom when I was a teacher, but never got round to making the seat. However, you could just use a bunch of cushions, if you can’t make the seat yourself. It is just the right height for little bottoms and you can store all sorts in the baskets. Paint it with Annie Sloan chalk paint to make it colourful and appealing, or you could choose beautiful fabric for the cushion and make it really stylish…

Ask Apartment Apothecary - storage for children's rooms

Image from: I Heart Organizing

Ask Apartment Apothecary - storage for children's rooms

Image from: I Heart Organising

3. Toddler friendly book shelves

The Ikea picture ledges that I featured on the blog this week are perfect for storing children’s books as they can easily take them on and off the shelf without pulling a whole shelf of books from a bookcase. Hang them at toddler height so they can be in control. I like this little reading corner…

Ask Apartment Apothecary - storage for children's rooms

Image from: Pinterest

4. Animal hooks

If you are a regular reader, you will know that I love a hook or two (I talk about them a bit too much, I think, and they seem to be my solution to everything!). Well, they are perfect for children’s rooms to keep clothes, costumes, even storage baskets off the floor. To make them appealing to children, so that they want to use them, I love this idea by Liz, over at Say Yes blog. Pop over for  the DIY tutorial…

Ask Apartment Apothecary - storage for children's rooms

Image from: Say Yes

5. DIY toy box

Another way to use a crate is to add a padded seat. These are really easy to make (a good bit of staple gun action) and I think they look great. Surely a child would like to ride around on one of these too? There’s a great tutorial over on This Little Street blog…

Ask Apartment Apothecary - storage for children's rooms

Image from: This Little Street

6 Letter press drawers

To store smaller toys, I love this use of antique letter press drawers. You can buy these really cheaply, I have one that I got for £4 – search for letterpress drawer on eBay. You can either paint it or cover with wrapping paper to make it exciting for children to use…

Ask Apartment Apothecary - storage for children's rooms

Image from: Retro Villa

I really hope you and your baby like some of these ideas, Jess! Thank you for asking 🙂

Katy x


Ask Apartment Apothecary – Hallway shoe storage

Today’s AAA is for Farah, who posted on my Facebook page AGES ago and I never got round to responding, so here you go! Farah wanted to know whether I could think of anything better to store shoes in her hallway than the classic Ikea shoe cabinets that look like this:

Ask Apartment Apothecary - hallway shoe storage

Ikea Stall shoe cabinet £100. Image: Stylizimo Blog.

These cabinets are very practical, accessible, slim and provide a ledge for bits and bobs. However, they may not be as aesthetically pleasing as you’d like (although you could paint them or add different handles to the Hemnes version), they cost a fair amount and they take up quite a lot of wall space so you can’t hang coats above them, which you may need to if you don’t have more wall space.

Ideally, you want shoes to be out of the way, easily accessible, easy to find, and stored reasonably carefully so that they don’t get even more scuffed or pushed out of shape. These are some options that I have found, that would also suit Farah’s style a bit more than the generic Ikea option:

1) Re-purpose a vintage cupboard into a shoe cabinet.

2) Put up a low shelf for small bottoms to perch on and put shoes in baskets below the shelf. You could also store hats, scarves, gloves and bags in the baskets. Hooks can be hung above so there’s room for coats and shoes on the same wall.

Ask Apartment Apothecary - hallway shoe storage

3) Buy a vintage school bench with compartments below for shoes. I saw the one below at the weekend on eBay that sold for £86. I searched vintage school bench with shoe storage.

Ask Apartment Apothecary - hallway shoe storage

4) Buy some vintage pigeon hole shelves that will add a bit of character to your hallway, as well as being very practical. I searched on eBay for vintage pigeon holes.

Ask Apartment Apothecary - hallway shoe storage

Image: Remodelista.

Hope some of these ideas help, Farah.

Katy x


Ask Apartment Apothecary – what colour should I paint my hallway?

Thank you to those of you who sent in questions or dilemmas this week – I promise I will try to get to them all. I had a couple of questions about storage in children’s rooms, a few about ways to keep the house tidy and clutter-free and five Facebook posts or emails about how to hide cables (yes, I said the dreaded word!). I will be tackling the cable issue in a couple of weeks – I need to gee myself up for that one 😉 Now, to this week…

AAA – What colour should I paint my hallway?

I want to go over this problem that Leila sent in a while back because another reader emailed me this week asking about the same thing. Ordinarily, you may not think picking a paint colour for the hallway is a problem but there are two things which set hallways apart from other rooms in the house: 1) Hallways can lack light as often they do not have their own windows 2) Hallways are generally very high traffic areas that get dirtier and more scuffed than other areas of the home due to outdoor shoes, boots, umbrellas, bags etc.

Coincidentally, Leila and Amanda, who both asked the question, have children and dogs. Amanda is desperate to have a bright, white hallway but knows that this is not practical as she has four children with mucky hands, school bags, wellies and a big, muddy dog. Leila, also told me that her hallway is quite dark and lacks light.

The solution? Paint the bottom half of the wall a darker colour and the top half white. This way, the darker colour of the bottom half of the wall, which is always more likely to get scuffed and scraped, can disguise the dirt. The top half of the wall stays light and bright, so not too much of the natural light is absorbed. Also, I just love the look of this design idea.

Half painted wall in hallway | Ask Apartment Apothecary

Image: Ledansla

You could even use chalkboard paint for the bottom half of the wall, if you wanted to make it really child-friendly.

Check back next week for help with shoe storage. If you have an interiors dilemma, post it on my Facebook page or drop me an email at katy@

Katy x