February 28, 2014 at 1:00 am

Interiors

Potpourri of useful ideas for the home

Food coloring in a vase of water 'colors' your cut flowers. (Detroit News photo illustration)

So we’ve all gotten those emails that have interesting solutions to everyday situations. OK, some are great ideas and others are dumb. But here are some ideas that hopefully will be on the good side.

■Do you knit or crochet? Does the yarn get tangled or unruly? Consider putting the yarn in a kitchen colander and stringing the yarn through the little holes. You can have several colors going at the same time because there are so many little holes in those colanders.

■There are a lot of little things in the bathroom like cologne, lipsticks, cotton balls, nail polish ... the list goes on. Get small stacking bins (usually available in the dollar store) and use them to organize your little things in the bathroom. Everything is neat and has a place so you can find what you need right away.

■Getting labels off items you buy might be a sticky job. Use a solution of ½ coconut oil and ½ baking soda to remove that sticky residue.

■Here’s something I learned from a paint store. To get rid of paint fumes, add a tablespoon of vanilla extract to a gallon of paint and mix well. Supposedly the extract won’t affect the paint color and the house won’t stink like paint; instead it will smell like vanilla.

■Since spring is (hopefully) just around the corner, thoughts of outdoor barbecues are dancing in peoples’ heads now. Get bandanas for napkins. Wrap the silverware in the bandanas and you’ll have a colorful, outdoorsy look for your guests to enjoy.

■After using and reusing towels, they seem to get a funky odor to them. That is not because they are dirty but because detergent and fabric softener gets built up on them, making them unable to really absorb as much water. To fix this, wash them once with hot water and 1 cup of vinegar. Wash them a second time with hot water again, only this time add half a cup of baking soda. This will strip the residue from them and the towels will smell fresher again.

■Remember that “science project” you did in school where you added food coloring to the water that flowers were in? Well, that still works. If you have potted flowers and want the color of the flowers to match your decor, add one teaspoon of liquid food coloring to 1 cup of water and add the water to the solid at the base of the plant. After 24 hours, do it again. Your flowers will now match your decor.

■A hair appliance drawer in the bathroom is a great idea if you have an available drawer. Have an electrician put plugs behind the drawer you intend to use for this purpose, then cut the back of that drawer out, or have someone drill holes in the back of the drawer and plug your appliances in. They are out of the way when not in use and immediately available when you need them.

Rosemary Sadez Friedmann, an interior designer in Naples, Fla., is author of “Mystery of Color.” For design inquiries, write to Rosemary at DsgnQuest@aol.com.