Friday, November 30, 2007

Now, what about that kitchen sink?

In any household, a kitchen sink is one of the central fixtures and always sees plenty of action. It is used both for preparing food and for cleaning up after every meal. It can add to or take away from the overall effect of your kitchen’s design. Durability and attractiveness are both important qualities in kitchen sinks.

More than simply functional necessities, sinks now offer more design appeal, softer lines, and a variety of finishes. Every homemaker faces the challenge of choosing the right sink for the kitchen, and the kitchen sink provides the finishing touch to any new kitchen project. Modern sinks are not just made of a simple faucet and bowl. They come in multiple bowls of various sizes and shapes and are designed with integral drainers, cutting boards, soap dispensers, instant hot water dispensers, purified water taps, sprayers and more. Sinks are also made of stainless steel, enameled metal, solid surfacing materials and quartz composites, and of course the traditional porcelain.

There is a great amount to consider when choosing a kitchen sink. Size, in width and depth, is of course the biggest choice you will make when choosing a sink to fit your kitchen. You also have a choice of materials used in making the sink - stainless steel, granite or copper.

Stainless steel sinks are made in many sizes and several thicknesses. Enamel on cast iron or steel sinks are made in an assortment of colors. Quartz composite sinks also come in a variety of colors and patterns.

Many people prefer stainless steel sinks because they are believed to be easier to care for. Some solid-surface countertop materials may be formed to include rimless, seamless sinks that are a perfect match.

Your sink choice is restricted by the size of your cabinet and counter top. All kitchen sinks require a minimum cabinet size. You can find out the size of your cabinet by measuring under the existing sink or where the new sink will go.

The 9-step plan to good home organization

Home organization means being able to find your stuff when you need it, not after an hour or more of searching. But home organization doesn't necessarily mean you're neat or clean. It doesn't even mean you're not a pack rat. Home organization just means everything has a place and you know where that place is in your home.

Of course, when you practice "home organization" and "clearing clutter" together you do inevitably get a neater and more organized home. Why? Because you can find your stuff when you need it AND you're not tripping over your stuff. So instead of allowing yourself, or your family, to consistently put your shoes in the entryway (where you do know their location), you designate another spot such as a shoe rack in the foyer closet. That's blending home organization with clutter clearing techniques. Here are 9 strategies for home organization that also may help you clear clutter in your home:

1) CLUSTER LIKE ITEMS - When you organize an office storage closet at home or work, put the different types of paper beside each other on a shelf. And what goes with paper? Envelopes. Put the different types of envelopes adjacent to the paper. Adjacent to that you might put writing instruments used on paper like pencils and pens. And so forth. Organizing holiday ornaments? Keep bins of Christmas supplies together. Keep bins of Easter decorations together. Then put all of these holiday storage bins in one clustered area in your garage or attic. You can also use the cluster mindset for toys and sports equipment.

2) MAKE THINGS CONVENIENT - This simply means put most frequently used items toward the front of shelves or on shelves within arms reach or at eye level of the user (whether that's you, your spouse or your children). Put infrequently used items in those hard to reach cabinets in corners, cabinets above your refrigerator, in the attic, etc. Put shelving or other organizers in convenient places such as put shoe racks, umbrella stands and hanging baskets for gloves in a closet near the entryway you use most often.

3) LABEL IT - Invest in an inexpensive label maker. You'll have fun labeling items (e.g. home recorded DVD tapes) or labeling places where items should go so they always get returned to the same spot. For example, label specific garage shelf spaces for hand tools or power tools. That way nobody in your family will ever forget where they got an item they're using and they'll know where its exact "home" is.

4) DON'T KEEP AN ITEM IF... - can find it elsewhere. So much research, forms and other paperwork is easily accessed these days through the Internet. Just keep a simple list of Websites and useful phone numbers and then you'll always know where to return to or who to call in order to access that information again.

5) HANDLE IT ONCE - And handle it now. That's how the organizing professionals suggest you handle paperwork, whether it's incoming mail or something on your home office or work desk. If you can't handle it now, then put it in a tickler file labeled with a specific intention (e.g. holiday cards to mail by month, bills to mail by week).

6) MAKE IT YOUR SYSTEM - I once knew a woman who placed labels inside her kitchen food cabinets. So cans of green beans and peas always went on their designated label or row and a can of tuna went on its labeled space. When you could see the label that just meant it was time to buy more tuna or green beans. Was this a bit over the top with detail? Not for her. The system suited her personality. It worked for her. Lesson learned: Own your home organizing system. You can use other people's home organizing tips but only if they suit you, they suit your thought process and they mesh with your daily routine. You're the ultimate user of the home organization system.

7) BE FLEXIBLE - If your entire home organizing system, or just part of it, is not working, change it. Try a different method. Put something in a different spot. Observe other peoples homes and work spaces for ideas. Look at photos in home decorating magazines for ideas. Don't be afraid to admit temporary home organization failure and start again as often as needed. It's okay!

8) BE PATIENT WITH OTHERS - You know the cliché can't change other people. Unfortunately, that cliché is usually true though so many of us choose to learn it the hard way. Don't expect everyone in your family to start immediately singing your home organization tune. They may never do so. But you can try for compromise and understanding. And you can make subtle polite requests like "honey, will you put your shoes in the closet for me so I can vacuum that area" or "will you put the car keys here when you get home so I can find them in the morning without waking you."

9) GET HELP WHEN NEEDED - Not everyone is good at clearing clutter, especially quickly; nor is everyone good at thinking in an organized, almost analytical, way. And that's okay. But if that's you, consider calling in a paid professional home organizer (search online or in the phone book). Even if you just hire an organizer for a few hours or a day, he or she will at least be able to help you brainstorm about organizing your home in a manner that suits you. Then you can take that next step toward home organization on your own. And keep stepping until you get it done eventually. You will!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Are those real? The story of a Christmas tree...

Putting up and decorating your Christmas tree is a holiday tradition which has been in effect for hundreds of years and will probably be in effect until the end of time. Choosing whether you want a real Christmas tree or an artificial Christmas tree is a dilemma which many of us face every year. There are many benefits to both forms of trees but there are many disadvantages as well.

Here are a few things to consider when deciding which form of Christmas tree would be best suited for you and your family:

Artificial Christmas Trees

• Artificial trees eliminate the hassle of having to find time to go and specially choose a Christmas tree from the lot.

• Another great thing about artificial trees is they do not need to be watered and the needles will not fall off and create a mess in your house.

• The money you will save by purchasing an artificial Christmas tree can be spent on more presents for your children or possibly other forms of decorations.

• Artificial Christmas trees can be put up earlier and stay up longer than real Christmas trees.

• This type of tree is less of a fire hazard because the needles are not real.

Real Christmas Trees

• Real Christmas trees look more attractive and have a fragrance like pine needles. Some families live for the smell of their tree at Christmas time.

• It is tradition for a number of families to go cut the tree. It’s a family outing where you go and specifically choose the one you want every year.

• Real Christmas trees pose a fire hazard when the branches become dry and hot from the Christmas lights.

• Real Christmas trees have to be maintained and well-kept. This includes watering and removing the dead needles which have fallen under the tree.

Ultimately the decision is yours and you will choose the kind of tree that best suits your family and your preferences. If you want a tree which requires very little maintenance then maybe an artificial one would be better suited for you.

Your Christmas will be wonderful regardless of the type of tree you choose because this holiday is about loving, giving and being thankful for what you have.

Five popular ornaments to brighten up your home this Christmas

Traditionally Christmas ornaments were bulbs of all the same color which were placed randomly throughout your Christmas tree. Over the past few decades, Christmas ornaments have developed into elaborate pieces of art which are delicately planned out and placed throughout the Christmas tree. Currently there are many types of Christmas ornaments to choose from and the creativity and uniqueness of your Christmas tree will highly depend on the types of ornaments you choose.

Below you will find the 5 most popular styles of ornaments for your Christmas tree:

1. Illuminated - Christmas ornaments which light up are becoming extremely popular. Christmas lights have been popular for a long time, so there's no reason to wonder why illuminated Christmas tree ornaments are becoming so desired. Illuminated Christmas decorations are generally quite high in price. They can range anywhere from $5 to $20 a piece.

2. Mobile - Mobile Christmas tree ornaments are unique and add a whole new element to any Christmas tree. This type of ornament adds an element of movement to your tree, something all Christmas trees lacked before now. Ornaments have the ability to move up and down, side to side and all around. Mobile Christmas tree decorations are said to bring Christmas trees to life. They are also quite expensive and are usually found in the same price range of illuminated Christmas ornaments.

3. Musical - Musical ornaments, along with illuminated and mobile ornaments, are the newest form of Christmas ornament on the market right now. Many ornaments play Christmas songs and carols for everyone to enjoy. Fortunately most also come equipped with on/off buttons which can regulate the sound when you don’t want the music playing. These usually cost in the same vicinity of mobile and illuminated ornaments.

4. Homemade - Homemade Christmas tree ornaments are a sure way to ensure your Christmas tree is one of a kind. This form of ornament is personal, thoughtful and an ornament which is likely to be cherished forever. Homemade ornaments are often made by children for their moms and dads, but there are also a number of moms and dads who make ornaments at home and sell them for low prices. Regardless, homemade Christmas ornaments are one-of-a-kind are cost considerably lower than the other types.

5. Bulbs - Christmas tree bulbs will forever remain in style because they give your tree the traditional look which all trees should have. Christmas bulbs usually come in packs of about 10 and the bulbs tend to be the same colors and shapes. They are distributed as evenly as possible throughout your tree. These ornaments cost slightly higher than homemade ornaments, however they cost considerably less than any other form of Christmas tree ornament. Plus, you can always decorate them yourself.

There is an unlimited selection of Christmas tree ornaments available on the market and the choices you make will highly affect the overall appearance of your Christmas tree. Each individual family will have their own preference and no two Christmas trees will ever look the same. That’s a good thing because, like people, if they all looked the same they would not be as fascinating to look at.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Bed-in-a-bag makes choosing the right bedding desicions simpler

If you feel bedroom-designing challenged like I am, then bed in a bag sets may just be perfect for you! Everything you need comes in one complete set, and is designed to match or coordinate perfectly.

With no guess work, your bedroom will come out looking just like those in the finest home design magazines and at a price you can afford.

If you stick with the better designer brands names like Lawrence, Burlington House, Dan River, and Croscill you'll find the attention to detail, fabrics and quality to be superior.

They'll typically feature higher thread counts of 200 or more, which will provide the best combination of luxury and durability.

Another example would be a simple matter of the elastic that comes on fitted sheets. The better ones will have elastic all the way around the edges, not just on two sides. This insures that your sheet won't pop off the corner of the bed while you're sleeping. I personally hate waking up tangled-up like that!

To be sure what's included in your bed bag, check your descriptive list carefully.
Most of the basics in bed bag sets will include:
Comforter, flat and fitted sheets, bed skirt, pillowcase(s)

Many of the better sets will also offer optional matching drapes, area rugs, accent tables, lamps and other important accessories like accent pillows. You'll be amazed at how much detail and flair a few of these lush little decorative pillows can add to your bedroom!

You'll be able to select a complete ensemble that will deck out your entire bedroom from floor to ceiling with matching accessories.

You'll know these sets will match your taste to a Capital-"T", whether that means Traditional, Tasteful or Trendy!

Bedding in a bag sets are affordable and often cost much less than purchasing the items ala carte. The best part is you know that even the wildest, boldest colors, prints, patterns and fabrics for your bedding and accessories, will be designed to match and coordinate just perfectly. Get that home design magazine look the easy way!

If you're like many and simply insist on 5 or 6 pillow cases, you won't find that many in most bed bags. Don't worry. You can add coordinating solid pillow cases easily enough. Maybe with piping and extra detailing that matches the overall color scheme. Some of the best bed bag sets will actually have optional matching pillow cases available.

Let's look at just two popular, quality bedding sets. There are hundreds of bed bag sets to select from, so let your creative juices flow!

Dan River always designs quality bedding whether you choose separate items or bed in a bag. The Monument Springs set is one example. Using earth tones to create a natural look, this set features a faux suede comforter in tan, brown, beige and chocolate with a large patchwork look.

Nothing's quilt-like about these large patches of near-suede material, they look and feel like the real thing...but without the problems of cowhide which feels so heavy and will become shiny with use. This suede-like fabric will last for years and has a light-weight feel and soft, cuddly texture.

Solid light neutral tone sheets and pillow shams in 210 thread count provide lasting night time comfort. A 100% polyester bed skirt in a solid brown earth tone completes this set to perfection. Of course, you'll want to dry clean the comforter and bed skirt. The sheets and pillow shams are machine washable. Beautiful enough for the most elegant bedroom, this easy to love bag bed set is just unique and easy to live in.

Burlington House Luxury Bed in a Bag Set in their Tuscany design is a fabulous set in shades of greens and ivory. The set includes 220 thread count cotton sheets and pillowcases.

The top sheet is edged in a beautiful, small floral pattern which creates the perfect accent. It's got a center of ivory highlighted with the small floral pattern around the edges which matches the flat sheet perfectly.

The drop section of the comforter is olive green and the color scheme is perfect for blending into a room featuring natural, earth colors. The comforter needs to be dry cleaned along with the bed skirt. The sheets and pillow cases are machine washable.

Complete your look with the matching drapes, area rugs, tables, lamps and various shaped decorative accent pillows, and you'll be proud and amazed at how easy it was to pull your bedroom decor together!

You'll love having fun selecting the different bedroom looks you can create from bedding in a bag sets like this. You could even switch themes from bright, cheery florals for spring and summer, to more traditional tones for fall and winter- why keep the same look all year round..?

No one but you will know that you didn't call in a professional home designer to help you decorate the perfect bedroom. You'll love the selection of fabrics, the textures, colors and patterns- and the coordinated look you'll get when you choose top quality bedding that comes in sets like this. Simply smile when your friends compliment you on your home decorating skills!

Your garage door vs. the elements

Often being the largest opening on most homes, the garage door is usually the most vulnerable to failure under high wind pressure such as hurricanes, tornadoes and storms in general. The pressure of the wind can destroy the garage doors during a storm that allows water and wind to enter the house. This can cause significant damage to furniture, electronic equipment, the contents in general as well as the house’s structure. The garage door is often overlooked when strengthening the structure against high winds.

Massive building failures and strong winds have convinced storm-prone communities that residents must be prepared to employ active or passive reinforcement systems for their garage doors. An active system is that specific type of reinforcement that must be installed before a high-wind event while passive systems are built into the product and don’t need any activation from the owner. For the home owner in hurricane-prone areas there are only two real options: either a new garage door with a built in passive reinforcement system or a garage door reinforcement kit.

The option of totally replacing the garage door is usually an expensive procedure so a garage door reinforcement kit would be a good choice if your budget for remodeling your garage is low. Although is rather expensive, a new garage door offers a more secure and safe option in front of a high wind.

If you’d rather choose the cheapest option, that is to reinforce your garage door you can protect your home in one of the following ways: first of all install pressure or impact resistant devices, such as shutters, panels, accordion fold shutters on the garage doors or install pressure/impact resistant garage doors that do not require shutters. If your existing door is impact resistant but it is not wind pressure rated, install an approved garage door bracing system to increase the wind pressure resistance. A pressure/impact resistant rating ensures that the device meets the wind pressure and debris impact requirements of the Southern Building Code Congress International standards or the July 1988 wind pressure and debris impact requirements of the American Society of Civil Engineers adopted in September 1994.

When adding a garage door bracing first ensure that there is enough and relevant documentation that the product has been tested at a certified testing laboratory. The product should be designed to withstand both positive and negative wind pressure. You should contact a local garage door supplier of approved garage door bracing systems to assistyou in the selection of the necessary system for your needs.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Furniture placement - Getting the right look for your living space

The easiest and most inexpensive way to invigorate the design of your living room is to rearrange the furniture items you already own. Furniture placement can be a daunting task, no matter how big or small the room. If you are someone who always figured furniture placement would be better left to professional interior designers, fret no more. These tips will help you embrace the task of balancing your sofa with your coffee table or armchair, and allow you to create peace and harmony amongst all your furniture.

Location, location, location
A room must be balanced. Specifically, the furniture in every room should be placed in a way that is pleasing to the eye and easy to maneuver around. If all the heavy furniture pieces like sofas, armchairs, entertainment centers and bookshelves are loaded on one side of the room, a room can feel like a sinking ship.

On the other hand, if you spread your furniture around the room haphazardly, a room can feel cluttered even when it is relatively empty. Think about the size of your living room in relation to the amount of furniture you have.

You can anchor the room by situating a large entertainment center against one wall, and then arrange all seating comfortably around that anchor. Or, anchor your sofa against a wall; add a small side table or a coffee table in front for convenience, and viola! Your room is balanced.

Sofa Secrets
Using your sofa as an anchor, or as the focal point for your living room can be an effective furniture placement tool. However, modular sofas, or sofas with many components, can be too heavy an anchor, tipping the balance of the room with its bulkiness. A creative solution to this problem can be found in breaking up the pieces of the sofa.

Place the largest sofa piece against the longest wall of the room, then the smaller sections on the opposite side. If you have the smaller sections of the modular sofa face the long sofa at an angle, you will avoid that boring, boxy look that comes with having all furniture pieces pressed with their backs straight against a wall.

A fresh alternative to placing your sofa against the longest wall is to bring the sofa out, away from the wall. If you prefer this look and feel for your sofa placement, allow at least two and a half to three feet between the sofa and the wall for comfortable walking space. Less space is needed between chairs and a sofa, but always keep in mind walking patterns.

Go with the Flow
Imagine how you and your guests will maneuver in your living room with all the furniture in its proper place. For example, if there are two doors, you may want to place sofas and chairs in a manner that will allow passersby to walk behind or around the seating arrangement instead of through it.

If there is only one door to the room, don’t block the flow with a large coffee table right in the way of the sofa. Make sure you allow easy access directly to the sofa and chairs from the door, allowing for some space around the seating area as well.

Larger living rooms can be designed so that they function effectively as two areas. For example, have one social, entertainment center seating arrangement in one section, and a quieter study arrangement in another. Tall side tables can be placed behind a sofa with decorative vases and pictures on top, as long as there is still walking space behind the couch.

When deciding on how to arrange your living room furniture, listen to your instincts. Wait to decorate the walls for a few days or even a week once you have decided on where you are going to put each piece of furniture, to give yourself a chance to get used to the new placement. Live in the space for a bit, and assess how you feel. If something doesn’t feel right, you can always move it, and use these tips to help you bring your living room back into balance.

Home decoration and design is an art

If you would have your rooms interesting as well as beautiful, make them say something, give them a spinal column by keeping all ornamentation subservient to line.

Before you buy anything, try to imagine how you want each room to look when completed; get the picture well in your mind, as a painter would; think out the main features, for the details all depend upon these and will quickly suggest themselves. This is, in the long run, the quickest and the most economical method of furnishing.

There is a theory that no room can be created all at once, that it must grow gradually. In a sense this is a fact, so far as it refers to the amateur. The professional is always occupied with creating and recreating rooms and can instantly summon to mind complete schemes of decoration. The amateur can also learn to mentally furnish rooms. It is a fascinating pastime when one gets the knack of it.

Beautiful things can be obtained anywhere and for the minimum price, if one has a feeling for line and color, or for either. If the lover of the beautiful was not born with this art instinct, it may be quickly acquired. A decorator creates or rearranges one room; the owner does the next, alone, or with assistance, and in a season or two has spread his or her own wings and worked out legitimate schemes, teeming with individuality. One observes, is pleased with results and asks oneself why. This is the birth of good taste.

Treat your rooms like "still life," see to it that each group, such as a table, sofa, and one or two chairs make a "composition," suggesting comfort as well as beauty. Never have an isolated chair, unless it is placed against the wall, as part of the decorative scheme.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Ideas for remodeling small kitchen spaces

Any remodeling idea for a small kitchen must address the following issues: counter space, storage, built-ins, and pantry.

In order to make better use of your kitchen floor space, you need to put up the maximum amount of counters. Plan your design with deeper counters to cover as much of the area not occupied with appliances with counter space if the difference in floor space is a matter of a few square feet.

Squeeze as many cabinets into your design as possible. Deep cabinets that can hold plates should be located near the dishwasher, and large cabinets with slide-out drawers should be placed near the oven.

Another space-saving device is to include built-in facilities. You can have built-in ovens, microwaves and storage for small appliances. This will make your kitchen appear less cluttered. Built-in storage for foods like potatoes and onions and bread storage cabinets will also give the kitchen a cleaner look. You can also opt for waist-high, sliding shelves that hold mixers and toasters. Your small appliances can remain hidden in these shelves and still be easily accessible.

If there is no room for a pantry in your kitchen, consider converting a closet outside the kitchen area to store your cutlery, pots and infrequently used items. You can also include rollout pantries that can be pulled out to view the items you have, but rolled back into a space.

Choose a large sink. It will be easier for you to clean bigger pots and pans. Moreover, a large sink is a great place to stash your dirty pots. A large sink can also serve as a utility sink, too.

You can increase the efficiency of your small kitchen by putting a wire basket on the inside the cabinet or under the sink to hold trash bags and other frequently used items. You can mount an instant hot water heater on the sink to replace the sprayer or soap.

A tile back splash on all the walls above the counters, stove and sink make the kitchen easier to clean.

A few more bathroom renovation ideas

One of the simplest ways to start planning your bathroom remodeling is to tour other bathrooms to get bathroom remodeling ideas. Pay attention to what you like and don't like. Scoop out friends' bathrooms when you visit, tour houses for sale, check out design magazines, and cruise the Internet for inspiration. Ask yourself questions to generate your own bathroom remodeling ideas.

Do you want a soothing bathroom for relaxation or a practical, functional bathroom for busy mornings? If relaxation is your goal, try separating the space into areas to pamper you. Have soft lighting near your tub, a cozy dressing area with plenty of space to try on outfits, and a bench in between two vanities so you can sit while getting ready. If you want a more utilitarian space, use different types of storage to keep everything in its place and at arm's reach. Use simple, elegant containers to group your supplies. Keep hair care tools in one area, shower supplies in another. Pay attention to how you get ready in the morning and design your bathroom remodeling about how you operate. For a clean look, line the storage containers flush with the wall.

If you share the bathroom in the mornings, add special features to help control the space. If you put your makeup on over the bathroom sink, add a separate sink and mirror for you to put on your make-up while your partner brushes his or her teeth at the other sink with no bumping into each other.

Also avoid recessed lights. These lights may set the right mood, but they will put your mirror in shadows. You want clear, bright light for applying makeup or shaving.

Put the shower and toilet in a separate area so one person can groom while the other bathes. Alternatively, move the prep center into the bathroom. It will free bathroom space and cost a fraction of a bathroom remodel.

If space is at a premium, then storage is your answer. Build up with cabinets -- even kitchen cabinets -- or shelves. Put the things you use all the time at eyelevel, and the extra towels above. Put your things in their place with different, stylish storage containers either on shelves or on the ground. In a small room, make sure to keep only the things you actually need. Useless clutter will make the bathroom seem smaller.

Mount cabinets to the wall so that they open up floor space. Use a sliding pocket door to tuck your bathroom door away. Keeping your color scheme neutral will quiet the space. Use different shades of the same color all over the bathroom, and use brighter colors and accents. Also use different textures like wooden baskets, smooth tile, and soft towels to add interest, and mirrors to stretch the space.

If the bathroom is dark, don't be afraid to add windows or skylights to brighten the space. But don't block the windows with fancy curtains. Keep the windows simple to keep a small bathroom neat and bright.

Don't limit yourself to only fixtures in the bathroom section. Check out cabinets, faucets, and tiles for the kitchen or outdoors. You never know what bathroom remodeling ideas will inspire you.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Getting to the heart and soul of your kitchen - The kitchen cabinets

Kitchen cabinets reflect the heart and soul of the homeowner. The cabinets you have in your kitchen have the greatest impact on a kitchen's look. They come in many shapes and sizes as well as in a rainbow of colors. Only your imagination and your bank account limit the color and design of your cabinets. You can buy cabinets pre-made at your local home supply store or have them custom built.

You can also give your kitchen a fresh, new look with a makeover for your older kitchen cabinets. If you're happy with your existing cabinet layout, and the cabinets are still in good condition, then cabinet re-facing is an alternative to replacing them. Cabinet re-facing can be accomplished in a number of ways.

Kitchen cabinet doors can be sanded and re-painted using any color and texture you choose or stripped using a variety of chemical products available at any home supply store. It is always important to read the label and precautions on any chemical stripper prior to using them. Many of these products can cause serious health problems if the instructions are not followed.

When choosing new kitchen cabinets it is important to pay attention to type of wood used and the quality of the construction. The look of your kitchen cabinets will also be reflected in the hardware you choose from the hinges to the knobs. Once you finish all the choices and have them in place you will enjoy them for years to come.

You light up my life... literally!

A lamp is more than a light. Lamps allow the owner to set mood and too add to the design of a room. They are very functional and sometimes the only source of light in a room. Floor lamps are very popular these days, but table lamps are still bought and used as well. There are many types of lamps, and of course they come in many styles and colors to fit anyone’s home.

A lamp is a statement of taste. Lamps can be soft and inviting or bright and useful. They can have a decorative lamp shade or a glass bowl shaped top. Floor lamps are often tall, thinly shaped lamps that bring light to a large area by cupping the bottom of the bulbs and forcing light up. Table lamps tend to force the light down and out to lighten up a smaller, more intimate space. But, that doesn’t mean that you can’t find a lamp that fits your needs as well as your tastes. In fact, you can even custom order lamps and lamp shade to match your desired look.

But, before you decide to make that decision, check out the lamps in department stores and specialty stores. While most home improvement stores offer a wide variety of floor lamps, hanging lamps, and table lamps, you can find an even larger selection in a lighting store. These stores are few and far between due to the overtaking market of home improvement stores. But, check the yellow pages for your area lighting store and you should find a few. There you will be in awe of all the different options you have. There will be choices in every style imaginable. If you still can’t find what you are looking for, check catalogs and even the Internet. Specialty stores nationwide will ship lamps and accessories to you.

Adding some extra light to your home may have been your initial quest when trying to find a lamp, but you will soon see that there is more to look for in a lamp. The design will fit your home and the color should match your home. The details on the lamp or lamp shade can even be found to match your furniture, tables, or other items in your home. Finding a great lamp is a fun adventure into the world of lighting.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Fashion for the bedroom - Finding new bedding styles

Ladies, we spend a lot of time in the morning getting ready for the day. We take showers, put on makeup, blow dry our hair and put on just the right outfit we feel good in. Then we top it off with the hot colors of accessories from sunglasses to sandals - the details of what we wear matters in how we look and feel. Maybe it shouldn’t be that way, but it is. You can think of your bedding as fashion for the bedroom because you dress your bed just as clothing and accessories dress your body. The little details we put in our bedrooms such as vintage rag rugs, beaded lampshades, hand crocheted pillowcases or satin sheets will make all the difference of how we feel as we spend time in our bedrooms.

A bedroom is a place to feel safe, comfortable and cocooned as we sleep at night. I like the bedroom to be an expression of who I am as well as that of my husband. I don’t want it to be all cabbage rose, salmon pink and lace because that doesn’t make my husband feel too comfortable. He isn’t exactly the cabbage rose type. However, it also doesn’t have to be golfing, fishing and rustic log furniture either. We can compromise on a majestic leaf pattern with just a small floral touch. I use deeper colors of blue and green mixed with a sophisticated plaid and stripe for the bed linen. I love to mix all the patterns together and it turns out great. If you have never done that before you might find it a little tricky, but you will be okay if you stick to the same hue in the same color families. We live in the north woods so our colors are stronger, rustic and outdoors. There is a nice blend and flow throughout the home. Doesn’t it make sense to begin with colors inside that reflect the great outdoors, striking a balance between the two? I am surrounded by pine trees and a beautiful lake. I feel serene and happy when I take those same colors and make a beautiful room to spend my private time.

Take a cue from the great outdoors

If you are confused about where to begin when it comes to decorating the bedroom or other parts of the house, take a cue from the outdoors. Stand at one of the windows from inside a room and look out. What do you see happening in your backyard? Do you have a blue swimming pool or is your garden filled with yellow marigolds? Does your lawn look like green velvet or do you have earthy shades from rocks and stone? Do you love the cold strength of black wrought iron patio furniture or do you prefer bold awning stripes? You can begin to get the idea of how the inside can reflect the outdoors or vise versa.

You want your whole family to feel as comfortable in their bedrooms as you do. If you pay attention to details of bed linens, color, furnishings and small personal touches for your kid’s rooms, they will feel like they are special, and they may even clean the room a little more often. For example, your baby’s bedding could look cute and cuddly, the colors and patterns for kids can be bright, fun and whimsical. It doesn’t matter what size of mattress you or your kids have, the mattresses must all afford comfort. The goal of every bedroom is to have linens that are beautiful, easy to take care of, and mattresses that are comfortable to sleep on. If the room is dressed right, you will feel good while you are in it. You might consider just adding a duvet cover for a quick change over the tired comforter. I have taken old fitted sheets that were worn and placed them on the windows for an instant dramatic valance. Be creative when it comes to your personal style and get the kids involved. You don’t have to be extremely crafty to just get some fabric paint and let them design their own sheets. Isn’t it kind of boring to always buy what is shown to you in catalogs or retail stores? Place a table you had in the living room at your bedside and put a family quilt on it. Use solid velvet throw pillows that you haven’t had out in a while and add a few baubles to them or stitch a lace handkerchief to the top.

Take what you already own and just put it somewhere else in a new way. Divide all of your little collectibles into piles by color. Never prejudge something that you think is strictly for the kitchen, or just for a bathroom. If you look at the small knickknacks with fresh eyes you might be surprised at how warm a room can be just by using the play of color. I love using things in an unexpected way. Don’t limit these ideas to the bedroom. Your whole house can be spruced up with a quick change by just moving around the pieces you already own. Another trick is to keep the small items all together in one spot. Don’t try to spread the small things out to cover space. You will make much more of a statement if you keep them together because there is strength in numbers.

Know your priorities before you buy

Do you prefer your bedding to be 450 thread count Egyptian cotton, or an easy no fuss fiber blend? Do the mattresses need to have a thick 100% cotton mattress pad? Are you looking for the most high tech mattress on the market? Do you want the baby’s bedding to be the softest available or is the cute factor more important? Do you want to be surrounded by fancy luxury or casual chic? Have a good idea of what you are looking for before you start making buying decisions. You are dressing your bedrooms in fashion just as you would your body. Don’t be afraid to experiment a little, and use the things you already own for a fresh look.

Having fun with wall murals

Wall murals are a creative and fun way to liven cold, bare walls. And the best part: anyone can do them—you don’t have to be an artist. You can design your own wall mural using your imagination, artwork, greeting cards, or picture books. You can purchase a wall mural stencil kit to help you, or you can find a local artist to design and paint the perfect wall mural.

Painting a wall mural is not difficult, but it does take some work. Before you begin, tape off your woodwork and cover your furniture and carpet to protect them from accidental spills. Depending on the condition of your wall, you may want to apply a neutral base coat to the area where your mural will go. Interior latex paint is a good bet, but you should talk to a paint specialist at a home improvement store to make sure it will work for you. You can use interior latex paint in large blocks of color inside the mural, but acrylic paints work best for the mural’s small areas. Acrylic paints are thin and will probably take more than one coat to get the right color.

You will need a variety of brushes for your painted wall mural. Large, broad brushes are best for wide areas of color. Small, rounded brushes are best for small areas. Don’t be afraid of getting messy. Mix the colors with your fingers, sponges, or clothes.

Faux finishes can make a painted wall mural unique. Many are easy for beginners. Experiment with some techniques on extra drywall before you start painting your wall mural. Use joint compound and paint to create a fossil rock look or to make a stencil pop from the wall. Get instructions and other ideas from painted wall mural Web sites, or check out the paint center at your home improvement air. Start with simple techniques, be creative, and have fun.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

No compromises when it comes to garage safety

What do you see when you first examine a garage?

The garage door. This is the first and most important “contact” of your garage to the world. If you want full confidence in your garage, this “contact” should be 100% secure and safe. Also the
door says a lot of you and of your taste in design. You can have a beautiful house but if your garage door is a wooden, plain, white one with that makes an awful sound when opened or closed, says a lot of you and your negligence regarding style and safety.

An ageing garage door and opener could be a real threat for your children or pets. Injuries and death are a thing of the past with the new openers and garage doors. If you plan to remodel
your garage, one of the first steps in doing this must be changing your doors and openers.

Old garage doors have been heavy, huge, wooden colossus that rot and crack. Even though wooden doors provide a wide range of styles and textures the problems related to poor insulation are real and even of present times. An alternative is the fiberglass material, inexpensive, easy to lift, resistant to corrosion and the require little maintenance but they also provide little insulation and security.

If you want a maintenance-free, durable and not-wrapping garage door you need steel. They also provide good insulation, being made of two or more sheets of steel alternating with a variety of insulating materials. The also come in various textures, styles, shapes and colors suited to your needs. Moreover, you can add windows including the reflective type that provide an obscure view into the garage.

In 1991, automatic reversal doors for garage door openers have been required by law in the United States and in since 1993 optical sensors became a requirement. The sensor works perfect for your safety: if something gets in the way of the sensor beam while the door is going down, the sensor sends the door back up. Also the new design provides more security and quieter operation. Today, the silence options include a belt-driven trolley made of Kevlar or, the cheaper option, a screw-drive model with a plastic-lined track to lessen the noisy contact of metal-to-metal.

Remote controls have been upgraded so you can find a remote control having enough buttons to control the lightening or appliances in your home and garage. Another option for your remote-control buttons are the child-safe lock-out and the rolling security codes witch automatically change every time the garage door opens to prevent the stealing of your opener’s code.

Even though you have all these changes added to your garage, security and safety are not 100% guaranteed. It is better that the installation of a new garage door and opener be done by a professional team who can make the proper adjustments that will allow the sensitive equipment to provide you with the maximum amount of safety in your garage.

Simple steps for uncluttered homes

The easiest way to keep your home clean and organized is to keep your home clean and organized on a daily basis. There are many small and seemingly insignificant steps you can take each day towards keeping your home guest ready.

In the living room pick up all the newspapers, catalogs and magazines that have collected. You can do this on a daily basis. Keep a bin for paper recycling. Put what you plan to read in a magazine rack next to your chair.

Before bedtime have the kids pick up any miscellaneous objects they might have left downstairs and have them put their toys back in the toy box.

Once a week you'll want to vacuum and dust the living room.

In the kitchen you'll want to make sure that you keep your sink free of dirty dishes on a daily basis. After each meal put the dirty dishes directly in the dishwasher and wash and dry any remaining pots and pans or dishes and put them away.

Wipe the countertops and table off after each meal. Disposable cleaning clothes come in handy for this. Don't let papers or the mail pile up in the kitchen on the counter. As soon as the mail comes in go through it and organize it.

Sweep and scrub your kitchen floor at least once a week.

In your bathroom you'll want to make sure that you rinse out of the sink, the faucet and rinse off the countertop when you're done. Keep Windex close by in case the mirror needs a quick cleaning.

When you're done in your shower make sure that you wipe the walls of the shower down with a cleaning cloth, like one pre treated with bleach. Leave a few inches open on each side of the shower curtain so that air can circulate through your shower and help dry it faster. Run your exhaust fan when you take your shower and then for a full twenty minutes afterwards.

The blue drop-ins for toilets really do a nice job of masking any dirt - but don't use it as an excuse to not clean. You toilet should be thoroughly cleaned at least once a week. When you're done with the pretreated cloth in shower, why not use it on the toilet too? A quick daily wipe can do wonders.

At least once a week you'll want to sweep and wash the bathroom floors. Your bath rug won't need to be washed once a week, but an easy way to freshen it is to put it in the dryer on low with a fabric softener cloth. This gets most of the hairs off of it and fluffs it up.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Calculating the costs before remodeling your kitchen

It is important to prepare a budget for your kitchen remodeling plan before you start implementing it. Without a complete and detailed budget prepared before the kitchen renovation begins, you may get swept into a spending spiral of unbudgeted extras.

Limit spending on the kitchen remodeling to about 15-percent of your home's value.

Be well informed about the cost of each component in your remodeling plan. Surf the Internet, gather product literature, bug friends who've remodeled, read, ask questions and make phone calls. Do everything you can to be informed. The more you know, the better you'll be able to make wise choices.

The cost of appliances, countertops, cabinets, flooring, and so on, will add up to one-half to two-thirds of the total cost of remodeling. Find out the prices for these items and plug those figures into the budget. Similarly, make provisions for the cost of labor, design, contracting services, and permit fees.

The best way to list the items required for remodeling is to write down everything that's installed in your existing kitchen. Visit appliance stores and ask questions to the sales staff. Meet local kitchen design centers, and ask them for samples of work they've done and inquire about the cost. A professional will be able to give out details that you might forget.

For a kitchen measuring about 10x12 feet, a cosmetic kitchen upgrade can cost around $2,750 in products, which include new cabinet doors, laminate countertops, vinyl flooring, a stainless-steel sink and a chrome faucet.

If you want to go for higher-grade hardwood cabinets, ceramic tile countertops and flooring, a coated-steel sink, a faucet with pullout head, new appliances and track lighting, the cost might be in the range of $7,000 to $7,500.

A kitchen with semi-custom cabinets, laminate or ceramic tile flooring, a cast-iron sink, a designer faucet, better appliances, canister lighting and granite or solid-surfacing countertops could cost up to $16,500.

Bedding ideas for the modern bedroom

Modern bedding isn't just beautiful- it can also be very practical, extremely durable and quite affordable. Even luxury bedding for the modern bedroom doesn't have to break your bank account.

Our busy lives today mean there is little time to spend in traditional homemaking. Modern bedding has to fit into our modern lifestyles and provide for easy care as well as comfort. After a long day at the office, no one wants to come home and sleep on scratchy bedding. On those precious days off work, no one wants to spend all their time doing laundry and ironing pillow cases so that they have no wrinkles. With today's modern fabrics, whether it's 100% Egyptian cotton, or blends, it's just not necessary to spend lots of time spend caring for your bedding. Of course, doing laundry does take time, but you shouldn't need to spend any extra time making bedding for the modern bed look nice.

One of the most popular ways to make your bedding modern is to choose Dwell. The Dwell line was created by its designer and founder, Christine Lemieux, in 1999 because she felt there simply were too few modern, colorful, beautiful graphics and other designs in quality bedding for the modern home.

She designs bedding using very bright colors such as lime, butter yellow, chocolate, charcoal and ocean blue to create patterns like trellis, awning stripes featuring broad, bold striping, thin stripe which uses various widths of striping to create outstanding bedding patterns and dot or cube. Along with these bold graphic patterns, solid sheets and border sheets allow mix and match to create a very modern look for the bedroom.

An absolutely fabulous choice in luxury bedding for the modern room comes from Amenity. Using 400 thread count 100% cotton to create the duvet and pillow shams, the Twig design in bright blue peacock or cocoa, uses a solid background to highlight the large graphic of a tree.

Drift is another great design which features a graphic of a dandelion head against the tan or cocoa background. The Amenity Leaf design places large leaves on the solid background colors. The pillow shams for each of these selections are solid in the same color as the background of the duvet. Very modern in appearance, these bedding choices make the modern bedroom's focal point the bed. This gives a clean, uncluttered look to the bedroom by focusing attention on the bedding with these bold, modern looks.

Nygard International Home Bedding has a very modern appearance that is so modern it is almost retro!

The Coco bedding from Nygard uses "urban suede" which is a type of faux suede in large square of cocoa and black to create a great bedding set. The faux suede is created of 97% cotton and 3% spandex resulting in fabric that is soft, plush and the best part is that it is machine washable! The large blocks of color break the bed into quarters and the tailored styling make a bold, modern statement. This top quality bedding is extremely affordable- the prices are much lower than you would expect for material that looks just like suede.

Western Bedding has created an outstanding modern set of bedding that has a very Zen element.

Using black and white in tailored designs, Western Bedding has created a very striking bedding set. The comforter, created from 50% cotton and 50% polyester has solid black jacquard on one side and the reverse is a black and white graphic print. The geometric jacquard weave provides a sense of texture and is repeated in the bed skirt. The pillow shams are crisply tailored and feature cording details. The sheets and pillow cases are 220 thread count 100% cotton percale in bright white with a black twist cord detail.

When decorating with modern style bedding, especially with bold colors and geometrics, it is very important to keep a modern, uncluttered look in the bedroom. Avoid mixing modern linens with antique furnishings- the effect will simply not look attractive. Keep your other items organized and mostly out of site as well to keep with the theme.

Platform beds and waterbeds lend themselves perfectly to modern choices in bedding. If you select a two-color geometric for your bedding, choose modern accessories in those same colors, but also add a few carefully selected accents in another bold, bright color.

For example, if you select Western Bedding's black and white modern ensemble, consider adding a red throw pillow and a red lamp to your modern black and white bedroom. The effect will be absolutely stunning!

The result of having a modern bedroom will be an inviting but crisp, clean bedroom that has you feeling more organized and on top of the world!

Some pointers before you do your bathroom vanity cabinet shopping online

Bathroom vanity cabinets are an essential component of any bathroom and can add drama to your design and decor. Bathroom sink cabinets provide countertop space, a place for the sink and faucets and great storage below. It is amazing how often bathroom cabinets and storage are left out of the planning process. It is important to have a place for everything in your bathroom that is easily accessible to everyone. Bathroom vanity cabinets and storage provide home organization and reduce clutter. You never can have too much bathroom storage!

Here are some considerations before buying bathroom vanities online or in stores:

Bathroom vanity cabinets are available in widths of 18 inches up to 48 inches and in increments of 6 inches. When looking for bathroom vanities online or in stores, shop where you can find a wide variety of styles and sizes. From traditional to contemporary, you should be able to choose from vanity cabinets made of woods such as walnut, oak, maple, cherry and finished with high-gloss lacquer that showcases the natural wood finish.

Here are types of bathroom storage cabinets:

1. Cabinetry - bathroom vanity cabinets, wall cabinets, recessed cabinets and medicine cabinets.

2. Open shelving - recessed shelving, corner shelving and surface mounted shelves.

3. Over the toilet cabinets - cabinets that use the wall space over the toilet for storage cabinets.

4. Linen closets, towers with baskets, built-in closets and cabinets or freestanding bathroom sink cabinets that often extend from the floor to the ceiling and provide excellent bathroom storage for linens and other bathroom items.

You should be able to find bathroom vanity cabinets in these two styles:

1. Face-frame vanity cabinets. These bathroom cabinets will give your bathroom a more traditional and formal look. The frame and panel doors are designed to frame the cabinet box, and hinges can be either hidden from view or visible.

2. Frameless vanity cabinets or European style cabinets. These modern bathroom vanities will give your bathroom a more contemporary look. Frameless vanity cabinets will provide you with heavy-duty cabinet boxes and hinges that are hidden and easily adjustable.

When selecting bathroom sink cabinets and door hardware, make sure you match the period cabinets with period style knobs and pulls. You can sometimes find the antique type of knobs you may be looking for at flea markets. Knobs for your cabinets can be $3 to $5 each, and some can run $20 or more each, perhaps creating a problem for your budget.

For your bathroom vanity cabinets countertops, you have several options. You can choose from laminates, ceramic tile, wood, composite materials or solid surface materials such as stone, stainless steel or concrete. Laminates, composite materials, solid surface materials and stainless steel are more susceptible to scratches. However, composite or solid surface materials can be repaired and replaced very easily. Stone countertops are beautiful and durable, but they can stain easily and are expensive.

Ceramic tile is the most commonly used countertop surface. It is durable and you can select from a wide variety of sizes, colors and textures. However, the grout used between the tiles can stain and the tiles can have irregular surfaces. Wood surfaces are beautiful but can stain or mildew if not maintained well. Concrete is a durable and heat-resistant countertop surface, but it can discolor or crack.

Whether upgrading an existing bathroom or planning a new one, the bathroom is one of the best home improvement investments you can make. You, your family and guests will enjoy the bathrooms in your home every day. And should you ever sell your home, attractive and functional bathrooms add to the desirability and to the selling price of your home. Before you buy, read as much as you can on choosing the bathroom vanities online or in stores that will be the best for you and your bathroom. Learning as much as you can will be time well spent.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Maintaining your prized marble floor

For honed marble used as traffic surfaces, care should be taken to prevent accumulations of liquids or other materials that result in safety hazards and staining. Regular daily mopping should be performed. Floor marble is any honed finish that is used as a traffic surface. These surfaces should be mopped and scrubbed in a manner that will not leave a hazardous slippery film.

Again, wet with hot, clean water and then lightly sprinkle an abrasive cleaner (i.e, chlorine bleaching type household scouring cleanser) over the wet stone, or put 1-2 handfuls into a pail of 2-3 gallons of hot clean water.

Using a scrubbing motion, mop the marble surfaces with this solution (or with hot clean water if you are sprinkling the cleaner directly on the stone). Rinse with clean hot water and dry with mop or cloths. Power scrubbers can also be used for the procedure.

Often it is also desirable to protect special interior areas and to enhance the coloration of
Honed marble in areas where a polished finish is not practical. In such cases sealers may be applied after the marble has been cleaned. This minimizes maintenance and prevents staining - especially around toilets and urinals in restrooms or in food preparation areas and busy building entrances.

Sealers should only be applied to clean interior marble. Always follow the manufacturer's directions for proper application. Terrazzo sealers are excellent for this purpose. So are silicone based stone sealers.

In all cases sealers should be made of a clear, hard finish type suitable for traffic surfaces and definitely non-yellowing. Do not use soft finish waxes, paste wax or resins. These coatings can collect dirt and grit. Some acrylic-base liquid floor waxes can be used in place of permanent sealers, but may give limited life.

About ceiling fans

Ceiling fans come in a wide variety of styles and colors to match any home owner’s interior design wishes. They come with and without lighting, three to five blades. In colors of black, white, brown, made of wood, covered with animal print fabric or styled with carved leaves.

Ceiling fans have come a long way since the industrial revolution where they were dreamed up by sweating factory workers. These workers attached wooden or metal blades to the overhead whirling shafts that were used to drive the machinery they worked on.

Ceiling fans are a great way to keep cool in the summer on those nights when you don't have to run the air conditioner. Ceiling fans are much less noisy and obtrusive than box fans that sit on your floor or in your windows. And, you know that heat rises, right? Well, in the winter months running your fan on low and in reverse speed will bring down the heat that accumulates up in at the ceiling, helping you to feel warmer.

Before you purchase a ceiling fan you'll need to consider the blade sweep. You don't want to overwhelm a smaller room with a ceiling fan that's too big, but, you also want to make sure that the ceiling fan will be able to displace enough air to cool you off in a larger room. Another consideration before purchasing a ceiling fan is the length it will drop from the ceiling. A home with an 8 foot ceiling would probably use a three inch down rod for a ceiling fan, and a room with a fifteen foot high ceiling would need at least a one foot down rod, up to a five foot down rod. It is suggested that you have at least seven feet of clearance from the floor to avoid accidents. Installing a ceiling fan yourself is a fairly easy job for most do-it-yourselfer's.

Setting up your home theater system

Thinking about installing a home theater system? You’re not alone. Home theater is one of the fastest growing areas in home entertainment and the advent of DVD recorders means your set-up can now be entirely digital, without an inch of video tape in site.

Installing a home theater is a big decision and requires careful planning. Luckily there are a number of resources around to help you and you needn’t be a technical expert or a hi-fi buff to get the job done.

One of the first decisions you’ll need to make before you set about installing a home theater is whether you’re going to dedicate a whole room to the theater or whether it will share a space with a lounge, dining room, or office. Having a dedicated room allows you to position seating and speakers in the optimum position and you can seriously consider a projector and screen without it looking as out of place as it might in your living room.

Obviously budget is another consideration and this will dictate which equipment you buy initially and what you save for another day. As a bare minimum you’ll want a DVD player, widescreen television, and a surround sound audio amplifier and speakers. We’d recommend opting for a DVD recorder like this one from Phillips, or this from Panasonic. They’re obviously more expensive than a DVD player, but will give you much greater flexibility. And don’t forget to budget for cabling, it’s a very important part of installing a home theatre and one that’s often overlooked.

You’ll also want to think about the interior design of a dedicated home theater room and of course the seating is all important. You’re going to spend hours and hours watching movies and the last thing you need is uncomfortable seats.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

A basic and minimalist approach can still look good in the home

When it comes to furniture, you have several different types. There is basic, custom handcrafted, and thrift shop types to name a few. The basic type of furniture is found in any retail store and can be an affordable and fashionable way to create just the right atmosphere in any room.

Furniture can be a utilitarian device in your home or it can define your personality. In some cases it can do both. Certainly you have been in the home of a friend or relative and wondered what the heck they were thinking when they decided to put that couch and that table together. Furniture is a personal aspect of the home, and discovering ones personality in their furniture choice and decoration attempts may be frightening at best.

There are times though when financial limitations cause a slight change in what you want in furniture and what you can actually afford. Going into debt over furniture is never a wise decision. Using your imagination and utilizing that which you can afford in an imaginative way is not only fun but also it allows a whole new meaning for your personality to pour through the grand design of your home.

Lets face it we can't all be interior design specialists, nor do we all wish to be. There is nothing wrong with wanting your living space and the furniture in it to reflect a refined element. Decorating your home in the style of say, Early American Flea Market is not really a refined definition of style. However if you possess the innate quality to lean toward eclectic and have the great luck of making that work for you, Early American Flea Market is not such a bad style after all.

Some people have a talent for accurate furniture choice and decorating specific rooms or areas. But mostly the coming together of a room works simply because they are not afraid to let their true colors show. Basic furniture has its place in our society and is part of decorating a home. There should never be any qualms about utilizing all the styles and colors of basic furniture available. And you should always let your spirit flow.

What about Roman shades for your home?

Roman shades are a simple and practical window treatment to accent a room or to provide privacy from bright sun or noisy neighbors. A Roman shade is a piece of fabric that is mounted at the top of a window. The fabric is pleated such that when the Roman shade's string is pulled, the fabric folds up in regular intervals. Not only does it look better than a boring plastic shade, it uses less fabric than other window treatments making it a cheaper alternative to ornate window treatments.

Classic Roman shades have overlapping folds when the shade is lowered, but more different treatments do exist. Flat Roman shades have no folds when the shade is lowered. These shades, when made with sheer or light fabric, can soften bright southern lighting into a subtle, soothing light. A more elaborate sunburst Roman shade has extra fabric at the bottom, which is folded into a half-sunburst. These cheerful shades are perfect for breakfast nooks, in the kitchen, or in a young girl's room.

Roman shades can be made at home or purchased. Making your own Roman shade will be an exercise in mathematical patience. The fabric must be fitted to the window, and the hooks to draw the Roman shade up must be placed at regular intervals. Patterned fabrics are more challenging because the patterns should not clash when the Roman shade is raised. Roman shades for sale only need to be installed and come in varieties an amateur may find to difficult to make. For example, some stores like JC Penney, sell cordless Roman shades perfect for houses with small children. Roman shades for sale come in hundreds of fabrics or even made of wood. The least expensive Roman shades start at around $30. Interior designers can also make Roman shades just for you, but these will be more expensive than store-bought or homemade Roman shades.

Visit home improvement stores or search online for Roman shade ideas, instructions, or even to purchase Roman shades perfect for your home.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Some tips on remodeling your kitchen

If you like to cook, or even if you just do it from necessity, having a homely, organized, and modern kitchen is probably important to you. Although, the traditionally kitchens are still out there, there are so many new, modern elements that can add luxury and class and convenience to any home. Kitchens have changed with the way humans have changed in the last few years. We have become more demanding of our time and having less of it to spend cooking. Many of us are on the move, always busy, looking for time saving methods. Then, there are those of us who are more interested in having a stylish kitchen, rather then workable. Others, prefer the look and feel of a country kitchen. With so many options out there and so much to consider, it is easy to become frustrated.

Consider your options and your needs when remodeling or even building a kitchen. Your options for kitchen equipment will be the first priority. What do you need and want in your kitchen? Do you want state of the art appliances or will ordinary models do? Do you want two ovens as opposed to the standard one? Dishwasher? What type of refrigerator will you want? Side by side, drawers under the counter? Maybe a larger freezer section? Also to consider is the amount of work surface you will need. Maybe a center island would provide extra room for preparations? Would you like a breakfast nook? Do you want all of your dining area to be in the kitchen or do you have a dining room? How many people will you plan to serve on a regular day? If you have children, you will want to ensure their safety in regards to appliances and counters.

Yet another thing to consider is space. How much space you have will depict what you have room for. Cabinets and pantry style storage is important as well. Perhaps you like modern style kitchens. An option for space here is to use more of a mobile kitchen. From the entire work surfaces and cooking surfaces to just appliances, many things within the kitchen can be mobile. Manufactures make products that can literally pick up and go at a moments notice.

Once you have your kitchen needs and appliances set, consider the style you are going to decorate it in. Maybe a country kitchen is the look you like. If so, adding some rustic items to your collection would add charm and a relaxed feel. A big farmers table and chairs would be an added touch. Is the space you are working in outdoors? Outdoor kitchens are also a big hit these days. Just about any type of appliance and cookware can be made to work outdoors. Grilling is the most thought of outdoor cooking style, but it is far from the only.

There are many stores that specialize in kitchens as well. Kitchens Etc and KITCHENS are two. These places offer an immense amount of options for whatever style you are looking for. Some carry large appliances as well. Small utensils, cookware, even decorations can be found in just about every make and model. You can shop these store online if you cannot find one near you. They make a great way of adding to or helping to remodel any kitchen. Definitely a place to start when looking for ideas of what you want your new kitchen to look like.

Doing it your way, the safe way

It is so often that people are not aware with the tools they use when doing their home improvement. Sometimes they use wrong tools just because they want something quick to be done. Well, you must change that attitude. You have to understand that by using the correct tool it can avoid you from hurting and damaging the project you are trying to repair. Well, it sure does. Don't think you know everything about tools before you really search for tools information.

Let's start by some small items which mostly used to repair your broken equipment, for example, screwdriver. Using the right size and head of screwdriver is very important. Do you know why? That抯 because if you are using the correct one, then the screw will be easier to remove, and secondly, because if you use the incorrect one, then you can strip the screw which will make it impossible to remove.

There are other tools which also have to use correctly. They are scraper, putty knife, or spreader. All should have should have different functions, right? But, admitted that you are using the putty knife for all three, haven't you? You have to understand that scrapers have a thin, flat surface to enable it to get under the area that you want scraped off. Putty knives are a little more flexible and they are used for the application of wood and wall putty. Spreaders are used to spread mortar, grout, and other applications.

So, above example is only part of it. There are more other equipments which you must understand how to use it. Use the right tool for your job to make it quicker and easier on yourself! Its better for being safe, then to hurt yourself.

Beside that, being safe is very important in doing home improvement. Take care of your working waste such as wood shavings, sawdust, errant nails, and other debris which might ruin your project. More worst if those waste fly you to the emergency room in hospital. Sure you don't want that to happen, do you?

Another stuffs which also dangerous is the flying object when you sanding, nailing, sawing, and just about anything else. You need safety glasses when working. If there is any chance of debris coming at you, then you need to put on your safety glasses. You only get one set of eyes, so protect them.

Face protection is an important part of safety also. A dust mask will prevent you from breathing in sawdust or paint chips as you are sanding. A respirator mask may be necessary if you are using chemicals in a small, confined space.

Above all, remember that no home improvement project is worth risking your life for. Use the appropriate safety gear at all times, and be safe!

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Color psychology - Picking the right color for your room for the mood you want in it

Color can have an astounding effect on perceptions, feelings, and interactions. Different colors evoke different memories and different ideas. In the bedroom, where one is supposed to be most at ease, it is important that you plan out your color scheme so that it creates the maximum comfort for you.

Psychologists have been studying the effects of color on people for many years. While they have made many discoveries about color effects on people in different societies, they have not found any effects that occur across all societies. For instance in China the color red tends to make people feel calm, while in America red tends to make people more aggressive. This means that the effect of color on a persons mind is individual and perceptual, rather then being physiological and inherent. In order to choose the right color for a setting, you will have to get in touch with your inner self, and see which color you harmonize best with. In the bedroom one tries to achieve maximum relaxation. By choosing the colors that you feel most comfortable with, you will find the greatest contentment with your decor.

Think about the following colors. Think about each one separately. Think about their different shades, how you feel about them, what they invoke in you.

Red. Orange. Yellow. Green. Blue. Violet. Purple. White. Black

Once you have gained insight into how you feel about those colors, you can read about the general effects these colors have on people in American society. Don’t be afraid to disagree, your tastes are different from anyone else’s, but do keep in mind that the average American that enters the room will feel these effects to some extent.

The two extreme colors are white and black. Black is an attention grabber, and can create a bedroom with a dark, sultry look. Unfortunately it will also make the room look smaller and seem more restrictive. Overuse of the color black can be dangerous in a room like the bedroom, as it can darken a person’s mood. It may even produce night mares. Meanwhile its polar opposite, white, can be uninspiring. Most rooms start off with white walls, and it is the generic look for many homes. It can have a positive and soothing effect on ones emotions, but it may also lead to a lack of stimulation which can be a terrible thing in a bedroom. Whatever ones perceptions however, white is a good color for warm climates. White reflects light creating cooler temperatures and a breezy feeling.

The earth tones are gentle and will keep a bedroom feeling close and snuggly, as long as you pay attention to the tones you use. These colors include browns, oranges, and yellows. Browns tend to remind Americans of family, and of emotional bonds to each other and the world. Orange is a color that makes people happy, but is also the color associated with food and could lead to midnight snacking. Yellow creates a very positive effect on people psychologically, but only short term. Long term exposure to this color can lead to irritation.

Blues and greens evoke serenity and peace. They are colors associated with nature and the ocean. Using these colors heavily in your bedroom can help to calm the emotions of its inhabitants, and bring restful nights. Blue will also calm cravings for food after you’ve gone to bed, because there is very little blue food in nature, so our minds tend to repress hunger at its site. Pink is the extreme calming color and many will find it impossible to act aggressively when surrounded by it. Purple is a nice color for a bedroom that will make it look more sophisticated.

Red is an exciting color. If you have trouble falling asleep, don’t use red in the bedroom. However, to get a tired relationship going, red may be just the color you want. Red makes Americans aggressive. It speeds up their metabolism and gives them energy. Red is a good color for sheets or blankets, because if it becomes too distracting it can be put away until desired.

Combining these colors yields further effects, which are numerous beyond the scope of this article. Remember that shade and tone is important, and will alter these effects. Most importantly, you should have the final say; it is the colors effect on your own mind that is important, and only you can truly understand your own impressions.

Layering your garage floor with G-Floor to preserve and protect it

During the last years, the garage has become an important extension of the house. More and more people remodel their garage giving it a new purpose, for example transforming it into a home office, a workshop, a music studio and even adding a new room on top of it. If you are the type that needs to have a workshop in his garage and you also want to park your car inside it you definitely have to install a G-floor.

This type of flooring keeps your garage looking new whatever activities you choose to do inside and also does a great job in hiding cracks and stains while protecting the floor from oil, battery acid, grease, brake fluids, salt, antifreeze, mud or other dirt that finds its way into the garage. If you are living in a colder climate, you definitely know what a mess winter snow and salt make in your garage, this floor is easy to clean , you just have to hose it off.

If you are thinking of remodeling your garage, you must consider the option of installing a G-floor for several reasons: the coin-pattern flooring is easy to install, rather cheap, durable and gives a great look to your workshop-garage.

Is a flat roof for your garage a good idea?

Whether you have an old garage or if you construct a new one you should take into consideration the quality and the type of roof that you choose for your garage. You might encounter problems with a home inspector if you don’t have an adequate roof for your garage. He may cite your garage. And of course you want to make sure you have a stable and reliable roof that can face a massive rainfall.

A flat roof with sagged joists allows rainwater to pool at the center, rather than draining toward the roof edges. This is a common problem and it affects nearly all the so-called flat roofs. Having an insufficient roof slope promotes standing pools of rainwater and this increases the likelihood of leakage as the roof becomes older.

Roof drains should be installed at each low point of the roof. Since the roof joists have sagged it seems that they were not designed to support accumulated water. Therefore if you can add drains at the lower points of the roof it could prolong the life of your roof.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

The right tiles can transform your bathroom!

Tiles can increase the value of any home. Ceramic tiles, mosaic tile, floor tile all add an extra quality to your home. Tile can be found throughout a home from the kitchen, bathrooms, and even the flooring. Tiles are widely available in most home improvement stores and also in specialty stores throughout the company. Finding the right tile for a home with the right color, design, and even pattern can seem overwhelming. But, the results of this project can be beneficial for years to come.

Ceramic tile is one of the strongest that can be purchased. It comes in many colors and textures as well as designs and patterns. Mosaic tiles, or tiles that form a pattern once laid properly are an elegant element that can be added to a home. Mosaic tiles also offer a wide range of selection.

Bathroom tiles add quality as well as extra security. They can protect drywall and paint from water damage if properly installed. Floor tiles provide the same level of protection. These tiles are usually easy to clean and maintain. While normal mopping and washing can be effective, often an extra measure to keep them up to standard is to scrub the grout and edges with a brush; elbow grease being the best cleaning product. While this does not have to be done each time the tile is cleaned, doing it regularly will improve the look of the tile overall.

Proper installation is important when adding tile to a home. If done improperly, the tile can often break or chip away. Consider hiring a professional so that the tile lies smooth and even and looks its best. When choosing the tile, do not forget to choose a grout that will benefit it. Grout, or the substance that is used to fill in the cracks between tiles, comes in many different colors and qualities. Again, this item is widely available at home improvement stores.

Tile, whether mosaic tile or ceramic tile, can enhance the quality of a home. It is an added investment into a home and should be done so with the overall supervision of a professional.

Why not have a music studio in your garage?

Music is your hobby and you want to practice with your band. The only available place that you can think of is your garage but you also have neighbors that must not be disturbed while you are practicing. The only solution to use your garage as a music studio is to soundproof it or build a small studio in one corner of the garage. For this you need to use two existing garage walls and build another two new walls on an angle to improve the acoustics of the studio.

After measuring the angle you will have to anchor sole plates to the garage floor and frame the first new wall. After finishing the framing for the second wall and adding a door to this one you have to insulate the garage walls to help deaden the sounds. Next you will hang drywall on the new walls and patch the seams. The final layer of sound-deadening material will be applied to the walls and to the ceiling. This layer is made of some secondhand carpeting. After applying these carpets you can cover them with some strip boards pinned onto the wall with nails.