Afforadable Dream Dining Room

Dining rooms are where families meet for dinner, talk about their days, share in laughter, and enjoy one another’s company. When decorating, dining rooms can be put on the back burner to rooms like the kitchen and living room. But why not spend time making your dining room spectacular? We want to help you turn your boring dining room into an elegant escape without breaking the bank.

 

Tips for an Affordable “Dream” Dining Room: 

  • Been there, painted that

Wallpaper can be a great solution for homeowners looking for textured walls. If you are not ready to dive back into this retro wall styling again, try using stencils and paint to create a patterned look.

  • It will be lit

The main focal point of dining rooms is typically the chandelier. Homeowners want to captivate guest’s attention to their exquisite light fixture. If you are looking for inexpensive version, check your local antique shops for rustic chandeliers. You can even spray paint the antique fixture a solid color to make it look brand new. 

  • Mix & match

Seating does not need to be all the same style anymore. Mixing and matching seating is trendy and affordable. Go to your local thrift shop and search for a bench to put under your dining room table. This look gives the room a modern twist. 

  • Make a statement.

Statement walls are a necessity in dining rooms. From a bold color wall to a gallery wall, you can easily transform the space with a simple statement. The best part is that statement walls can be really affordable. You can incorporate some of your favorite pictures and decor to make an affordable gallery wall. 

  • Bring in the outdoors

Add flowers and plants into your dining room to bring life into the room. Nature can give subtle pops of color throughout the room without being obvious. 

  • Don’t forget the floor.

Often, the floor is the last thing on your mind when decorating.  But your entire space can be transformed just by changing the flooring type.  Replace carpet with wood or tile for a more formal dining room.  Add an area rug or simply change it for a rug with a more daring design.  You will be amazed at how quickly your room can take on a new tone!

 


The Ultimate Guest Room Getaway

From parents to friends, hosting guests is a big deal. You want to make sure that they are comfortable and happy during their stay at your house. They chose to stay at your house over staying at a hotel that means a lot. To help make sure your guest room is top notch, we have a list of five tips for the ultimate guest room getaway.

 

The Ultimate Guest Room Getaway

Tip No. One: Cozy on up.

The comfort of your guests is important to you; therefore, when you are shopping for the room you want to buy the best you can. Purchase high-thread-count sheets, a thick blanket, and a beautiful comforter/duvet. Finish the bed off with some plush pillows. 

Tip No. Two: They do not need to ask. 

Meet your guest’s needs before they arrive. Stock the room with towels and extra blankets. Place some good books for them to read on the nightstand. The books can also serve as a stylish decor piece. Inside the nightstand, store travel-sized toiletries for the guests to use like shampoo, toothpaste, and soap. If you have extra room, consider putting a coffee station in the room for them to make coffee, tea, and other drinks. 

Tip No. Three: Stylish staple pieces. 

Think about the items you use every day in your bedroom and make sure to include those pieces in your guest bedroom. Big mirrors and beautiful clocks are essentials for your spare room. 

Tip No. Four: Light up the night.

Be sure to place a bedside lamp next to the bed for your guests to read or do work at night. This way they will not disturb the rest of the house by turning on the main lights at night. 

Tip No. Five: Finish off with flowers. 

Before your guests arrive, run to your local florists or grocery store to pick up some fresh, beautiful flowers. The flowers will add a special touch to the well-planned room. 

 

Nothing says “ultimate getaway” like brand new flooring from (add store’s name). Call us at (phone #) or visit us at (address) for more information and pricing. We look forward to helping you with your next project. 


Go “Green” in the Bathroom

Like many of us today, we are concerned with toxic chemicals and their impact on our health. Often a surprise, our bathrooms can be full of toxins and not one of the cleanest rooms in the home. For starters, we have listed a few tips for going green and where better to start than our bathrooms!

  • Fresh Air – If you are lucky enough to have a window in your bathroom, open it and let the fresh air flood the room. Add one or two houseplants to help filter the air. A few plants that do well in bathrooms are snake plants, ferns, ivy, and orchids. Not only do plants filter the air, they are aesthetically beautiful while adding positive energy to the room.
  • Tubs & Showers – Avoid purchasing shower curtains and tub mats made from plastic that contain PVC, which can release carcinogenic phthalates. Choose items that are organic and natural such as cotton, linen, and bamboo. Tub mats and shower stools made from reclaimed teak wood are a perfect fit for going green. Teak wood is also known for resisting mold and mildew.
  • Towels – When purchasing towels, look for sustainable materials and organic cotton. Also, people that work in the industry of conventionally grown cotton are exposed to pesticides that can lead to health risks.
  • Bath Tissues – Pay special attention to the contents of products you purchase. Regarding tissues and toilet paper, purchase products that are 100 percent recycled and are bleached without chlorine compounds. Many toilet paper cores are now made from 100 percent recycled materials.
  • Toiletries – Stay away from products that contain petroleum-based scents and parabens that can cause allergic reactions in some people. Look for products made from plant-based ingredients. Also, many organic toiletries are packaged in dark colored glass containers (not plastic). Dark glass containers prevent the ingredients from being compromised by exposure to UV sunlight. Recycling glass is less expensive and easier than recycling plastic.

We would love to hear from you about “greening” your home’s bathroom. This project is a wonderful way to include children while educating them about sustaining a green environment!

Outdoor Entertaining

It is officially the season for barbecues, pool parties, and outdoor entertainment. With the weather warming up, homeowners can look forward to having the chance to entertain outdoors. It is no secret that with hosting guests comes a lot of time and planning. Put your mind at ease this summer by following our easy guide to having an outdoor party. 

 

Guide to Entertaining Outdoors:

  1. Invites. With every great party comes a guest list. First, you will need to decide on the size of your party. Who are you inviting to the party: is it family only? After you decide on how many people you are inviting, you can set a theme. Are you planning on having a barbecue, pool party, dinner party, etc.? Are children invited?
  2. Seating. Unless you are planning on having everyone stand the entire time, it is important to make sure you have enough seating options for guests. Things to consider are: if people will outdoors the entire time or if you are having the party be inside and outside. If you are having the party inside and outside, you can get away with providing less seating outdoors. If you are having the party only outdoors, consider a number of people coming and where you want them all to sit. 
  3. Tables. You can set the table similar to how you set your table inside. But instead of using cloth napkins, use paper napkins to make it more casual. If you have enough placemats, incorporate them into the table’s design. Try adding a fun centerpiece from your house to draw guest’s eyes towards the tables. 
  4. The Meal. If you are serving food outdoors, make sure to place it in a shady area. Avoid direct sunlight because it can cause your vegetables to wilt. Your best bet is to serve food that is good at room temperature (grilled kebabs, noodles, beans, etc). 
  5. Lighting. Light up the night with some stringed lighting and candles. You can string the lighting throughout your trees, bushes, and fence. Your candles can serve as a centerpiece during the day and light up your space at night. Try incorporating some insect repelling candles to avoid having your guests get bitten. 
  6. Decor. You can decorate the party with your indoor decorations to save time and money. Take some of your favorite decor pieces from inside and incorporate them into the outdoor’s design.

 

You can have an outdoor party for basically any reason nowadays. From graduations to get-togethers, our outdoor entertainment guide can help you create the ultimate party. 


Your Guide to First-Rate Alternative Flooring – Part Two

Let’s continue to look at great flooring alternatives for your home…

 

Laminate 

This flooring choice is a cost-effective way to achieve a variety of looks without purchasing multiple materials.  Constructed of four layers for durability, laminate can mimic the look of hardwood, stone and ceramic tile.  No matter which style you choose, this flooring will hold up well in high traffic areas.  Be sure to install an underlayment before putting down this product in order to create a moisture barrier to protect from any possible leaking through the seams.  As an extra benefit, the underlayment also provides noise reduction.  This material is also resistant to staining and fading. 

 

Vinyl

Vinyl is another great economical choice for achieving the look of hardwood, stone and ceramic tile.  Available in sheets, planks or tiles depending on your desired look, this material also comes in a variety of glosses so you can choose your level of shine.  Vinyl is moisture-resistant and comfortable underfoot so it’s perfect for places like the kitchen, where you may be standing for longer periods of time.  Ideal for high traffic areas and durable enough to withstand your pet’s nails, this flooring is a great choice for the busiest rooms in your home.  It’s easy to install and is usually made with an antimicrobial layer, making it a healthy choice for your home.  

 

Engineered Wood

This man-made alternative to hardwood flooring has improved a lot since it became available in the 1960s.  It’s easy to install and more cost-effective than the original while maintaining the same timeless look.  This flooring can be installed anywhere you would want hardwood to go as well as a few additional areas that you wouldn’t think possible.  As this type of wood does not expand and contract as much as hardwood when placed in humid areas, it can be installed in basements as well as near heating elements.  While it may perform well in these areas this material is still not a good choice for bathrooms as standing water would be too much for it to withstand on a regular basis. 

Your Guide to First-Rate Alternative Flooring – Part One

Considering what flooring to put in your new home or existing renovation can feel a bit overwhelming.  There are multiple options that would most likely work well in your living space, but what’s the best one for you?  You may be familiar with hardwood, ceramic tile and carpet, but let’s take a moment to check out some alternative choices available in flooring.

 

Concrete

While concrete has a good reputation for outdoor use, it is also a great choice for indoors as well.  Whether you use the existing concrete slab in your home or have it freshly poured, this is an environmentally friendly option as materials are locally sourced.  Floors can be customized using different stains and dyes and can easily be given a textured surface or a sleek and shiny appearance.  It can also be stamped to look like tile or a uniquely shaped design with contrasting but complementary colors.  Once sealed it resists mildew, mold and other stains, making it a safe choice for moist areas. 

 

Cork

Another eco-friendly choice is cork flooring as its manufacturing process is easier on the environment than other flooring materials.  It is also recyclable and biodegradable.  Using stain and paint, you can achieve any look you desire from this material. Cork naturally helps retain heat, making it warm to walk on and reduces indoor noise.  The thicker the cork, the better the insulation.  This flooring requires sealing and is resistant to fire, mildew, and mold, however, it is not best to install it in a moist environment as it is not water-resistant. 

 

Bamboo

Bamboo is an easily sustainable and durable choice for flooring.  If you like the look of hardwood but want something a little more unique, this is the flooring for you.  It is technically a grass but is a very hard surface.  Natural bamboo is light in color, but there are also multiple stain options to suit your needs.  Keep in mind that the darker the bamboo, the softer it becomes because the material has been processed to alter its appearance.  Bamboo can be constructed in multiple ways depending on the look you are going for. Pieces can be layered together horizontally and vertically as well as shredded and woven together.  While this is a great material for most rooms in your home, keep in mind that extreme humidity can cause this flooring to expand or shrink. 

 

For more home flooring options, please see Your Guide to First-Rate Alternative Flooring – Part Two

Maintenance Around Your Home

With owning a home, there comes a lot of responsibility. Keeping up with your home’s maintenance should eventually become a routine. But first, you must know what things need maintaining. 

 

Checklist: 

  1. Siding. Your home’s siding should be inspected annually. It is important to look for any deterioration or separation in your home’s siding. The benefit of checking your siding will help prevent the growth of mildew/rotting. 
  2. Floors. Keeping your floors clean is extremely important to its overall lifespan. You should be regularly vacuuming your carpet, but you will need to get your carpet professional cleaned at least once a year. 
  3. Gutters & Drainage. Especially during the spring and fall, you will need to clean out your gutters and outdoor drain system. There will be leftover leaves and dirt from the previous seasons that you will want to remove. 
  4. Air Conditioning Filters. Inspect your air conditioning filters and look for dirt. Your filters should be checked monthly and should be replaced at the minimum every three months. 
  5. Smoke/Carbon Dioxide Detectors. It is important to check that your detectors are fully functioning. You will be able to check your detectors by pressing “test” and the alarm will sound. 
  6. Clean your kitchen disposal & dishwasher. Both your disposal and dishwasher can contain leftover food and residue. To clean your dishwasher, you will need to clean out its drain, do a vinegar rinse and a baking soda rinse. In order to clean your sink’s disposal, pour your vinegar in ice cube tray then place it in the freezer overnight. In the morning, put the vinegar ice cubes down your disposal while the disposal is running. 
  7. Inspect your roof. This can be done annually, but it is important to check for any leaks. If you do find something wrong, contact a repairman immediately to attend to the problem. 

 

The maintenance of your house will help in the lifespan of your home. Make a checklist and consistently stick to it so that your home is always in great shape. Things will break and need to be fixed, but it is better to know as soon as possible and attend to it.

How to Get a Lot Out of a Little (Space)

Sadly, major cities offer little to no space in homes and apartments. It has become a necessity for people to quickly adjust on how to manage their small space. Over time, we accumulate more and more items which can add to the stress of finding storage in a tiny space. There is no need to fret, here is how to get a lot out a little (space):

 

1. Store high above.

There is so much storage right in front of our eyes that we may not even realize is there. When in doubt, just look up. You can install cabinets, hooks to hang your bike, place extra clothing rods, put in a pot rack, etc. 

 

2. Double the purpose.  

When there is little space available, your items will begin to serve several purposes. In recent years, products on the market have begun to institute this rule. You can buy a shelving system that turns into your dining room table. This comes in handy because during the day your items are tucked away neatly but come dinner time you have a nice dining room table. 

 

3. Sensible seating.

 Seating is extremely important when you are entertaining guests. Think about the layout of your space, it may be wise to get a small sofa and a fabric chair rather than two large sofas to take up space. 

 

4. Fold them up. 

Sellers know buyers have small spaces.  This is the reason why foldable items are available today. Depending on your space’s size, you can invest in a fold-down bed, vanity or desk. These items create an efficient amount of space in rooms while being tucked away. 

 

5. Pegboard Please. 

Pegboards are not just for garages anymore. They can add a stylish storage function for homeowners. Clip on a mail bin or hang portraits from the pegboard. They offer endless possibilities and they are unique to each homeowner. 

 

6. Deck it out. 

Your small space does not have to be boring. Decorate the walls where there is extra space. Do not rely heavily on the areas provided by the floor, walls are your friends. 

 

We hope that you can utilize these tips in any of your small spaces!  Remember, they are not exclusive to small apartments!

Creating a Mediterranean Bathroom

Choosing a new style for a bathroom is important. There are many options from which to choose, and one popular choice is Mediterranean. It originates in the countries located on the northern coast of the Mediterranean Sea such as Spain, Turkey, Italy, and France to name a few. This style is elegant and relaxing. Here are a few key features.

 

Tile is often a trademark of a Mediterranean bathroom. The tile can be the flooring, backsplash or even walls. A traditional Mediterranean tile for flooring is terracotta. Terracotta tile is made naturally, which is a plus. It is also very durable; it lasts a long time. It is important to make sure you are buying quality tile though to get the maximum benefit. Terracotta tile is also very porous which makes it easier on your feet. Since it is porous, it is important that it’s sealed properly so that it will hold up to the moisture, stains, and scratches. Terracotta tile is also not as cold as other tile options, which it makes it more comfortable to walk on barefoot.

 

Mosaics are also a key feature; they are very common to Mediterranean décor. Mosaics can be included through a beautiful backsplash, accessories, wall hangings, wall tile, or flooring. Mosaics can be created using many different colors from simple black and white to other traditionally Mediterranean colors such as blue, olive and lavender.

 

Another key feature of a Mediterranean bathroom is curves or arches in different areas such as mirrors, showers, toilet stalls, entrances, and furniture. Another area you can integrate arches and curves is light fixtures. From wall sconces to accent lights, the possibilities are great.

 

Wrought iron and ceramics are key features in a Mediterranean bathroom. You could have a wrought iron pieces on the wall, or a wrought-iron framed mirror hanging over the vanity. Ceramics can be added as accessories like soap dispensers, soap holders, toothbrush holders, and vases.

 

Finally, color is also a key to achieving a Mediterranean look. There are several options such as bright blue, which is popular in the Greek isles. Pure white is also very popular. Yellow, warm orange, and red are reminiscent of the Italian coast. A few other options are turquoise blues, lavender, and olive.

 

Tabletop Vignettes, Environmentally Friendly

Tabletop vignettes are popular for decorating tabletops and shelves. They add to the ambiance and feel of a room. They are also an excellent way to display your style and values. Here are a few decorating tips for creating a vignette as well as environmentally friendly decorating ideas.

 

There are basic decorating ideas for creating the perfect vignette. Height might not seem important, but pay attention to varying heights in your décor to get a well-balanced display. While varying the height of the objects in the vignette is important, gradually increasing the height can also accomplish this goal. This trick works well with different types of décor such as candlesticks and vases. Also, use similar objects to create a theme for your vignette, and group smaller objects together. Using a tray for the vignette is also popular.

 

 

For the environmentally conscious person, there are many nick knacks and decorating options made from recycled materials. Some examples are wool nesting bowls, woven fiber vases, fabric storage baskets, repurposed cork décor, used wine glasses or bottles, mason jars or other glass bottles or vases, sliced wood centerpieces, and reclaimed wooden picture frames,

To save money and buy used items, shop at resale or thrift stores such as Goodwill or the Salvation Army.

 

Natural objects like flowers or plants are great additions to a tabletop vignette. They are also many plants that add to the air quality of a home. A few examples are the Garden Mum, they are inexpensive and remove ammonia, benzene, and formaldehyde from the air. Another option is the spider plant. They thrive in bright or indirect sunlight and are easy to grow. They remove formaldehyde and xylene from the air. A Dracaena plant is another option. Those are a few options, but there are multiple types of plants that improve the air quality in a home. Some more examples are the Ficus plant, Peace Lily, Boston Fern, Aloe Vera, and Bamboo Palm. You can even use recycled wine bottles or recycled wood as planters.

 

These are a few ideas for creating an environmentally friendly vignette, but there are many more possibilities. Vignettes can match the season, holiday, or they can be designed to match the color scheme or display the trip of a lifetime. The ideas are endless.