5 Ways to Make the Most of Small Spaces

Feb 25, 2016

maximizing small space tipsSmall spaces can be difficult to work with, often leaving you with a feeling as if you had more space to utilize. We’ve all been there and we’ve had to make the most of our space. Those who live in studio apartments know the trials of living in a small space. However, there are plenty of neat, little ways to make these living conditions a lot more bearable.

Tips for Maximizing Space At Home

Hidden Storage Opportunities

1. Elevate your bed so that you can place storage bins underneath.
2. Nestle your couch against a curved window so that you can place items behind it.
3. Utilize cabinets that do not extend all the way to the ceiling, placing items in between this small space.

Purge Unnecessary Items

A lot of people have difficulty parting ways with the items we have received or purchased over the years. However, you have to seriously challenge yourself to rid certain items that you honestly do not need. For example, you have a ton of wine glasses, but you never drink wine. Ditch the glasses. Or you have tons of clothes that haven’t been worn in over a year. Donate them to Goodwill. If you don’t constantly purge items, then items will accumulate quickly.

Buy Furniture Wisely

Looking to purchase an ottoman? Buy one that has a secret storage area. That end table you want in the corner, does it have drawers where items can be stored? Don’t just purchase a piece of furniture because it looks “pretty” – look for multi-functional pieces of furniture that maximize your space.

Less is More

The saying exists for a reason, because it holds some merit. Especially when you’re strapped on space. Be cautious of what you buy. Adjust your mentality to think it terms of “how often will I be using this item I am about to purchase?” This will help facilitate the right choices. You have to be honest with yourself. Impulse purchases are very bad for those with no space at home.

Routine Cleaning

By sticking to a habit of cleaning often, you will be forced to organize items and stay conscious of what items should stay and what items should go. Also, a nice, tidy house gives the impression of more space, even if it’s all inside of your head.

8 Reasons to Choose Engineered Over Solid Hardwood Flooring

Feb 12, 2016

engineered vs solid hardwoodWhen it comes to adding natural warmth and beauty to your rooms, nothing beats the magnificent and timeless appearance of wood flooring. Both solid and engineered hardwood floors are fabricated from 100 percent wood, which means that the floor preserves the unique appearance and textured grain of natural timber.

The two types of hardwoods also come in a wide range of looks and colors, but have quite a few significant distinctions, including:

1. Different construction

Solid hardwood boards are milled from a thick piece of lumber, so its thickness varies from ¾-inch to 7/16-inch. Engineered boards, on the other hand, are constructed by joining multiple high-density fiberboard layers sandwiched inside a solid wood top layer and hardwood backing, making it extremely tough.

2. Expansion and contraction

The distinct construction of engineered wood forms a rigid structure that does not gap, buckle, or respond to fluctuations in temperature and humidity. Solid wood fluctuates a lot, and is mostly used for ground level rooms and above, while engineered wood can be installed on any level, including below ground.

3. Durability

Engineered floors are constructed in such a way that they have enhanced stability and slightly more resistance to daily wear and tear and buckling, though both have an extremely durable coating capable of withstanding harsh treatment.

4. Stability

Engineered wood is dimensionally more stable compared to solid wood floors.

5. Maintenance
The hardwood floors become more appealing as they age, though the surface tends to dull and develop scratches and scuffs over time. Solid wood can be sanded and refinished multiple times depending on its thickness, while engineered boards only need refinishing once or twice over the floor’s life.

6. Cost
Solid hardwood is more expensive than engineered floor with regard to method of installation, labor, and cost of material.

7. Resistance to moisture
Compared to solid hardwood, engineered wood floors have superior resistance to slightly lower and higher moisture levels, which makes them more ideal for use in damp basements or regions with higher or lower than standard humidity levels.

8. Going green
Choosing engineered floors over solid wood helps to conserve expensively priced timber. For every 1 square foot of ¾ inch thick solid wood floor, you can manufacture around 4 times that amount into engineered wood flooring.

Despite the differences, any hardwood flooring is a great option, especially since it does not cause allergies, and it increases the value of your home.

How to Make the Living Room Cozy in 3 Easy Steps

Jan 28, 2016

cozy living room design tips

After a long day of hard work, it feels nice to go back to a cozy home where you can kick back and relax as you bond with the family. And when the cold season comes, you look forward to spending even more time in your comfy living room, warming yourself under a heavy blanket or near the fire.

A cozy living area is not always functional, as it can be decorated simply for show. Regardless, it needs to be inviting to create the right mood for relaxing or entertaining guests.

Fortunately, giving your living room that “cozy” feel does not demand a lot of money or work. In fact, it is amazing how easily you can transform your living room to reflect your lifestyle and personality without risking common home disasters like sticky-kid fingers.

3 Cozy Living Room Design Tips

Step 1: Install hardwood floors.

Hardwood floors can give your house a warm, cozy natural feeling that makes it feel like a home. Installing hardwood floors requires a professional, though you can also do-it-yourself if the right tools and set of skills.

When choosing a hardwood floor, you need to pick a design and color, and find a reliable flooring contractor to help with the work. Take your time to research your home improvement project before starting, so you have a better understanding of the project plan and budget, as well as how to take care of your new floor to make it last longer.

Step 2: Fill the space with sentimental items.

Objects that make you nostalgic or excited, like pictures of your family and friends, artwork, a chair, couch, or even the fireplace, are all things that you should consider highlighting in your home. Including little touches of personal and meaningful décor in your living room will not only drum up pleasant memories, but also increase the visual appeal of the space.

Find ways to draw attention to these features, like by placing them on top of the fireplace mantle or in the center of a table. For sentimental pieces placed on the wall, like pictures or pieces of art, you may consider adding a lighting fixture above to draw attention and bring that natural homey feeling to your living room.

Step 3: Make everything comfortable.

The word cozy can be used interchangeably with comfy, so find ways to make your space comfortable. Start by choosing sofas and chairs that are neither too hard nor too soft, and include some floor cushions so you can kick up your feet. Add some pillows and center everything around your entertainment center, so you are comfortable when watching a movie, reading a magazine or good book, or curling up on a lazy afternoon for a nap.

The idea is to personalize your space while making it as beautiful, attractive, and comfortable as possible.

Bringing the Modern Office Look into Your Own Home

Jan 21, 2016

home office hardwood flooringAn office space typically emphasizes factors like comfort and space, since they have a direct impact on employee productivity. But one other important factor in the design of modern offices is the personalization of the space. Does it reflect your personality? Do you prefer a space that is fun and exciting, or something a little bit more serious?

Whatever your taste, you get a little more freedom when customizing your home working environment than your workplace. You can explore stylish solutions for a productive home office like custom-built shelves or green plants to filter the air and thoughts, or a comfy chair for those extended working hours.

Whether you will be spending your time in a spacious home office, or perhaps a desk nook, the nature of your work remains the same. As an entrepreneur, freelancer, or telecommuter, you will be spending a lot of time, working around the clock, in your home office. So, it is only natural that you would like to indulge a bit in making yourself as comfortable as you can while creating a serene environment that enhances your creativity and helps you concentrate.

Yet, you also need to maintain a professional look that welcomes a professional and productive atmosphere. So, how do you achieve this?

Plan Out Your Workspace

When venturing into any design project, it is good practice to make an elaborate plan that will give the project a sense of direction. Planning your workspace will make it easier for you to identify what is needed to make the business operations flow smoothly. You need to take into consideration the type of business you are running, whether you will be receiving partners or clients, and which room in your home is best suited for your business, with regard to noise and other likely distractions.

Renovations: Get a Professional Office Floor

If your home office will be receiving a lot of foot traffic, you should get a floor that is nearly 100 percent resistant to wear and tear, like hardwood flooring. It is not only durable, but also stunning, comfy, and easy to maintain – even on your busy schedule. The natural beauty, easy finishing, and warm coloring of hardwood flooring make it a favorite choice for home offices.

Furnish the Space

Renovating your space will probably require you to work with a contractor, after which you can furnish it, based on your plans, actual measurements, and cost requirements. Afterwards, equip the workspace with proper furniture, supplies, tools, and necessary technology.

Keep ergonomics in mind, as working from a comfortable space will boost your ability to work and overall performance. Choose the right chair, light fixtures, and furniture to suit whatever your business calls for.

Problem Solved: Removing Cigarette Smell & Odors in House

Jan 15, 2016

remove cigarette smell odor houseCigarette smoke has an odor that tends to get into everything, including furniture, carpets, walls, clothes, sheets, and bathroom fixtures. Fortunately, whether you’re a smoker trying to sell your house or a new owner who has just purchased a home that reeks of tobacco, there are steps you can take to get rid of that smell.

First & Foremost: Do Not Use Air Fresheners

Burning scented candles or spraying room fresheners only masks the smell temporarily. The same applies to opening windows, as letting in fresh air helps to dilute the odor, but does not remove it permanently.

To truly get rid of cigarette smell, you must remove the actual source of the odor. However, this is not easy since smoke particles are extremely tiny, and can penetrate nearly every surface in the house. Tobacco smoke can even circulate through the entire house via the ventilation system. But there is no need to panic, as the smell will dissipate over time.

Two Key Steps to Getting Rid of Cigarette Smell Completely

1. Wipe down all hard surfaces

Start by getting rid of all the smoke in the house, and then start wiping down every hard surface, including your kitchen cabinets, ceilings, walls, and hardwood floors. As mentioned before, cigarette smoke settles on everything, so cleaning the nicotine, tar, and resins is vital to eliminating the odors. Make sure to use the right cleaning products for the different surfaces to avoid any damage.

2. Wipe down all soft surfaces and wash the curtains

After cleaning the hard surfaces, move on to the soft surfaces. A lot of the lingering smoke smell comes from smoke residue that settled in your furniture and carpet.

To aid in the cleaning of hard and soft surfaces, the following tips may prove to be useful:

  • Use an odor eliminator for blitzing furniture to remove the smell entirely rather than covering it up. Keep the affected area well ventilated before and after cleaning for best results.
  • Clean mirrors and glass with vinegar, and then rinse them down with clean water.
  • Consider choosing a professional cleaning service to help with cleaning the carpet. If you do-it-yourself, follow the directions in the owner’s manual strictly.
  • You can use baking soda to clean your furniture and carpets, by sprinkling it on the surface and leaving it to rest for a day. The baking soda will absorb some of the smoke smell and dampness around it, after which you can vacuum it up.
  • You can also use the vinegar or a solution of baking soda to clean curtains, shades, chandeliers, wall hangings, and other fixtures.
  • Install an air purifier to help remove contaminants from the air. These devices provide a great way to mask the smell and shift dust and dirt while keeping you from smelling cigarette smoke.

Before using any cleaning products, like vinegar and baking soda, test them out on a concealed area to ensure that this area or fabric will not get damaged or fade.

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