Top Drawer

Top Drawer: The best of everything for your home and garden

CorrespondentAugust 23, 2013 


To make a room feel larger, use a round rug on the floor. The circle represents infinity, and a round rug brings that esoteric idea of "no boundaries" into reality as a visual element.


Designer’s best

Designer Barry Dixon offers up a tip on the Traditional Home site for making a room appear more spacious.

“To make a room feel larger, use a round rug on the floor. The circle represents infinity, and a round rug brings that esoteric idea of ‘no boundaries’ into reality as a visual element.”

See a list of 10 top design tips at:

Best for travel

With summer vacations just finished and holiday trips coming up, Katie Nagel of Raleigh likes to always be prepared for travel.

“I find it very helpful to have a plastic container of travel toiletries organized. I keep travel size shampoo, conditioner and lotion bottles in individual Ziploc bags. This helps me in ensuring that I always have travel toiletries before a trip. I always keep the container stationed under my bathroom sink. If I have a family member or friend visiting from out of town, I have items that they may have forgotten to pack.”

Best for paint colors

Have you found a paint color that you love for your living room, but are worried about remembering the shade? The I Dream of Clean blog has a clever way to keep track of the color’s name. “Just paint a color swatch on the back of the light switch plate in each room. If the color is ever needed again, you can remove the light switch and take it to the paint store to get a color match. You can also write the brand, color, and gallons needed for the room on the back of the light switch plate.” Check out the blog at:

Best summer craft

Brighten warm-weather nights with this summer lantern craft idea from You’ll need:

• Water color paint

• Water color paper

• Scissors or craft punches

• Mod Podge adhesive

Foam or paintbrushes

• Mason jars with lids

• Ribbon

• Votive candle or flameless votive

Have your child use watercolor paint to decorate sheets of watercolor paper. For the brightest results, have her work with no more than two colors per page. Dry completely. Cut flower or circle shapes with scissors or craft punches out of the painted paper.

Apply Mod Podge with foam or a paintbrush to the backs of the shapes, making sure to get all the way to the edges. Apply the shapes in desired position around the outside of a 12-ounce mason jar one at a time, holding in place so shapes stick well. Apply Mod Podge evenly all over the jar, stopping at the lid lip, to seal in the paper shapes. Let dry.

Cut 2 feet of ribbon and wrap it just under the lip of the jar where the cap would screw on. Double-knot one end of the ribbon. You should have an excess of a little more than a foot of ribbon. Take the extra ribbon over the top of the jar to create the handle. Thread the end under the ribbon that is wrapped around the jar. Tightly pull it and make another double knot, leaving enough ribbon as the handle. Make sure the ribbon is secured tightly under the rim of the lid so the lantern will be safe to hold or hang.

Drop in a votive candle – or as a safer alternative, a flameless votive – and your lantern is ready to light the way.

Best 5-ingredient or less recipe

Lee Ann Roberts of Raleigh wrote in to share a favorite summertime pasta recipe.

“Pasta with Olive Oil, Garlic, and Parmesan has been a staple in our house for at least 25 years, as all of the ingredients are pantry/refrigerator staples and the dish can be prepped quickly on a busy weeknight. Pair it with a simple salad with vinaigrette and maybe a few slices of prosciutto and you’re good to go!”

You will need:

12 oz. dry pasta (we use thin spaghetti)

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

8 cloves garlic, minced

Salt and pepper to taste (we use 1 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. ground pepper)

6 to 8 oz. grated block Parmesan cheese

Cook pasta until it’s al dente in boiling salted water. Meanwhile, sauté garlic in olive oil in a small saucepan until golden and remove from heat. When pasta is done, drain and put in serving bowl. Toss with olive oil/garlic mixture, salt, pepper and cheese. Serves 4.

Seeking our readers’ best

If you have a favorite cleaning, gardening or organizing tip, we want to hear it. Send them to Be sure to include your name, street address and city. Put “best tips” in the subject line.

If we use your tip, you’ll be entered in our quarterly drawing for a gift certificate of thanks.

Best of the tube


“Love it or List It”: “Growing up and out.” Daniel and Crystal purchased their bungalow thinking it was big enough for their family. But with the family quickly expanding from four to six and a baby due at any moment, they realize the house no longer fits their needs. They need more space. Designer Hilary and her team will renovate the house into a space to suit the family. Realtor David will show the family homes that meet all of their needs. Daniel and Crystal will have to make a decision about their house. Should they love it? Or should they list it? Find out at 7 p.m. Monday.

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