Small space? Don’t sweat it! You can easily open up a small space and create the illusion of more room by using any of these clever decorating tricks.
1. Mirror mirror on the wall. If your small room has windows on only one wall, you can double the amount of light and make the room appear larger by hanging a mirror on the opposite wall. Using a large mirror will make it a decorative focal point while maximizing the light and space effects at the same time. If your room lacks a window, you can create a similar effect by placing a lamp in front of a mirror. More tips on how to use mirrors to increase space here.
2. Let there be light. When choosing a paint color, remember that dark colors tend to make spaces appear smaller, while lighter colors create an expansive feeling. If you have your heart set on a dark color, consider going a few shades lighter. Or you can paint one wall in a bold accent color which will make it appear recessed, thus opening up your space.
3. Clear up kitchen counter space. Create a tasteful display of cookbooks, small appliances and dishes above your kitchen cupboards. Hang a line of hooks close to the ceiling or a pot rack to display and organize those space-hogging pots and pans. Keep keys, change, and cellphones in a decorative dish.
4. Don’t over do it. One of the main reasons small spaces feel cramped is too much furniture. Take a look at your furnishings and make sure they are in good proportion to the room size. Switching out a large coffee table for a smaller multipurpose ottoman, for example, is a little change that can make a big impact and free up space.
5. Create a room with a view. Choose a wall mural of a mountainous landscape, a field of flowers, or a skyline of your favorite city. Choose an image that appeals to your color and design aesthetic and use it not only as a stunning focal point, but as an effective way to open up your small space.
6. Raise up your bed. You can free up floor space and add more storage space to a small bedroom all at the same time by using plastic bed risers. Easily conceal your under the bed storage space with a stylish bed skirt or dust ruffle.
7. De-clutter. Nothing makes a room feel more cramped and small than too much clutter. Organize and store your dvds, chargers, remotes, magazines and papers. Remember you can only read or watch one thing at a time. Store away and file the rest. Your small space will feel much more livable with less “stuff” lying around.
Use these handy tips to make a big impact on your small space. Remember, just because a space is small, doesn’t mean it can’t be absolutely magnificent!
Find 1000s of wall murals to help open up your small space at http://www.ArtisticHomeowner.com.
Last Updated on January 16, 2012
Some home improvements may seem like a great idea initially, until you find out that they are not all that practical. There are primarily two types of home improvements that can be considered, those that save you money while you continue to live in the home and those that help you sell your home faster.
Home Improvement that Save Money
Windows and doors
When you are searching for cost-effective methods of home improvement, windows and doors are always a good place to start. Whether you plan to stay in your home or you plan to sell your home, windows and doors are always a great option. Not only can you save hundreds of dollars a year in home heating and cooling costs, but upgrading your doors and windows make a great selling feature.
Energy audits help Do it yourself energy audits can help you identify low-cost methods for improving your home. Simple things like upgrading your heating system, changing light bulbs and adding insulation to your home can save hundreds of dollars a year. In addition, taking the time to conduct an energy audit can help identify problem areas that could be improved if you plan to sell your home.
There are several minor kitchen upgrades that will pay for themselves in a relatively short period of time. For example, upgrading counter tops, adding additional storage space or a simple coat of paint are all cost effective kitchen upgrades that make your kitchen more practical and serve as a great selling feature.
Changing the outside of your home can have a great impact on the value of the home. Whether you are planning to stay in your home or planning to sell your home, siding is an option that may be considered. Not only is siding practical from an energy savings standpoint, but if you are planning to sell your home it can help add curb appeal.
When you are considering upgrades to your home, it is best to avoid things like upgrading a home office, over-sizing of master bedrooms and other upgrades that won’t pay for themselves. Home upgrades can be disruptive and they can be costly if they are not well planned. Whether you are searching for effective home improvements to save money when you plan to stay in your home or you are searching for ways to make your home more marketable you’ll need a plan. It is never a good idea to upgrade just for the sake of upgrading, you want improvements that are practical, cost effective and will pay you back over time. Upgrades that are a waste of money do little to help salability or livability.
About the Author: Jon Clark is a blogger, coffee lover and home décor enthusiast. He writes for www.CaliforniaApartmentsBlog.com which provides apartment renting and living tips as well as reviews for apartments such as these Los Angeles apartments and apartments in Sacramento.
Last Updated on January 7, 2020
If you think it is time for a new pet, consider whether your home is up for the challenge. After all, pets cause damage; especially if you don’t prepare beforehand.
Thankfully, making your home pet-friendly doesn’t have to mean sacrificing style for practicality. There are several ways to protect your home from the potential perils of pet ownership while maintaining an impressive aesthetic. Here are a few home improvement projects that will allow you to exercise your creativity and do-it-yourself enthusiasm.
Paws get muddy. Then those paws track mud into your home. Not only do those paws have mud, but they have claws that can create unattractive scratches.
The woes of paws are a fact of life, but there are many measures you can take to prevent damage. Instead of pebbled paving on your sidewalk and patio, consider using slate. This groove-free alternative will help keep mud at bay, so when your pet walks over them mud won’t stick to their paws.
When it comes to interior flooring, opt for tile or urethane-coated hardwood. Pets on carpet present all kinds of problems, not least of which are hair and stains. If you have the space, consider creating a mud room for pets to wipe off dirty paws before they run through the house. A laundry room could work for this or even a section of your garage or basement.
Gates and Pet Doors
Don’t want your dog around while the neighbors are visiting? Have a house guest who is allergic to cats? Interior pet gates are a great way to keep your pets in one place—at least temporarily. It also helps keep them away from where you store hazardous materials, such as cleaners and medications.
You can install and build them yourself according to the dimensions of a given entrance. Alternatively, you could make or purchase several portable pet gates to move around your home. Just make sure that gates at the top of a landing are secure to avoid pets leaning up against them and falling down the stairs.
Pet doors between the outside and mud room are also an option if you need to combat scratching on doors. To make it easier for your pet to get around, consider installing additional pet doors between other rooms, too.
Simple and Streamlined
In addition to being easy to clean, a minimalist look will help you protect furniture and valuables from damage. Keep fewer items in your rooms in general, and place decorations up high so that they are out of reach from curious pets. This helps eliminate climbing and scratching opportunities.
One great way to get rid of pet-related clutter is to create a feeding area beneath a floor cabinet in your kitchen. This will keep food and water bowls off the floor—a solution that not only means less mess, but also fewer opportunities to trip over the food bowl.
Soundproofing certain rooms can be attractive and utilitarian. If you are keeping pets in an adjoining room or just want to keep them quieter while entertaining, something as simple as putting a large piece of furniture—say, a bookcase—against the wall can cut down on the noise.
You might even consider acoustic-weave wall tiles. There are any number of patterns and colors available to match the decor of your room, and installing them is an easy DIY project.
Adria Saracino is a blogger, freelancer, and marketer. She often writes for Embrace pet insurance, which offers everything from insurance for cats to dog insurance.
The perfect wine cellar can make an attractive and functional addition to your home. For long, wine cellars were considered exclusive to only the most ardent collectors but now wine cellars are available to a wide range of homes and lifestyles.
A wine cellar is first and foremost a climate-controlled space in which to store one’s collection of wines. If wine collections are not properly stored, the fragile chemical balance of the wine can deteriorate, causing its value to decline. Thankfully, wine cellars offer a way to organize and enjoy one’s collection while maintaining the value and taste of one’s collection.
Also, with improvements in cooling and insulation installation, wine cellars can now be installed in homes of many shapes and sizes. Whether you are a more casual wine collector or a serious wine connoisseur, there is a wine cellar to fit your home and lifestyle. Wine cellars have been built from preexisting rooms, as additions to homes, and even on yachts! If you are interested in wine collecting, there is a wine storage solution out there for you.
Many often associate wine cellars with older more traditional architecture and decor. However, wine cellars have become increasingly modern in both style and functionality. Traditionally, wine was stored so that only the top of the cork could be viewed. Today, more modern racking displays bottles with labels facing out. The effect is to create an impressive mosaic of wine bottles that cover a wall or section. Additionally, the use of glass doors and windows can create a more open contemporary feel in a wine cellar.
Wine cellars have also become more technologically advanced. The latest software allows wine collectors to electronically catalog and track each bottle of wine in their collection. These systems not only allow you to quickly recall any wine from your collection, but also access to professional ratings and critiques with a intuitive. Many also come with an intuitive touch screen interface. Technological improvements such as these have made wine cellars a far more modern experience.
Furthermore, wine cellars can serve as a social space in which to share and enjoy your collection with friends and family. Many wine cellars include an area in which to sample and entertain. Even if your visitors are not wine collectors themselves, a wine cellar can be a wonderful place to spend time and enjoy a glass of wine. Wine cellars are a great addition to the modern home, offering owners the opportunity to share and enjoy their collection attractively and effectively.
Warren Howe is a wine enthusiast and writer for Vintage Cellars, a custom wine cellar design company. Vintage Cellars is located in San Marcos, California and has designed and constructed wine cellars throughout the country. Vintage Cellars’ work has been featured in Wine Enthusiast and South Coast Style Magazine.
Last Updated on January 12, 2012
It’s January and if you’re like most people you’re kicking yourself for putting off weatherproofing your home for the winter months. Freezing temperatures and snow are here (or on the horizon if you’re one of the lucky ones who haven’t yet received a blast of winter). There is still time to winterize your home and enjoy peace of mind knowing you’re ready for old man winter and whatever he may throw at you.
1. Inspect the Furnace:
Give the furnace a tune up (either by you or a professional) to ensure it’s clean and working efficiently. To keep it running smoothly, change the filters every month when the furnace is being used. Dirty filters cause the furnace to work harder which wastes energy and it also costs you more money to heat your home.
2. Clean those Gutters:
Clean out the leaves and other debris from your gutters. Clogged gutters can cause leaks, ice jams or water back up which can damage the roof, siding, or trim.
Examine the interior and exterior doors and windows and pay close attention to their joints. Look for ice building up on the window, and air leaks or gaps between the windows, door frames and the siding. If the gap is larger than the width of a nickel, the gap will need to be sealed. Seal the exterior side of the windows using Silicone caulk (it’s resistant to the elements). For the inside, you can purchase a window insulator kit from your local hardware store and install it yourself. For doors, add weather stripping as needed.
4. Stop Pipes From Freezing:
Pipes located in your attic, crawl spaces, basement, or near outer walls are vulnerable to freezing in cold temperatures. Insulate the pipes in these areas to prevent the pipes from freezing. You can also keep cabinet doors open to allow the warm air in to keep the pipes warm in the kitchen and bathroom. If your home doesn’t have frost free faucets outside then shut off the water to them prevent the pipes from bursting.
5. Insulate the Attic:
Keep the heat in your home and not outside by ensuring there is enough insulation in the attic. Without enough insulation, the heat will rise and leave your home causing the furnace to work harder to keep your house warm.
6. Close off Vents:
Turn off any vents you have to attic, storage areas or any areas of the home you don’t use during the winter months. You should also regularly vacuum your vents to keep them clear of dust, debris and children’s toys.
7. Make Sure Detectors and Humidifiers Work:
If you don’t already have a carbon monoxide detector then purchase one from your local hardware store. Furnaces and fireplaces give off carbon monoxide, a lethal, colorless and odorless gas. Furnaces and fireplaces that are not properly inspected can leak this gas into your home. If you already have a carbon monoxide detector, install fresh batteries. For the smoke detectors test, inspect and install new batteries. Clean your humidifier at least two to three times during the winter.
The above tips and suggestions which most of it you can do yourself, will help save you money this winter. It will help lower your utility bill, protect your home from unnecessary winter disasters and more importantly, give you peace of mind and allow you to join your favorite winter activities.
Jeremy is excited to spend this winter in his new home. Jeremy wrote this article on behalf of EasyApplianceParts.com, the complete online resource for the DIY repair market and appliance parts retailer.
Last Updated on January 11, 2012
As we enter 2012, many of us will take the time to reflect on 2011 and think about what we want to accomplish as our New Years’ Resolutions. Some resolutions may be personal, some may be professional, some are small and others may be harder to obtain. Although sometimes our resolutions may seem too ambitious or we try to change too many things at once, if you’re serious about turning your resolution into a reality this year, be sure to start early and do your research!
One of the most consistent New Years’ resolutions each year is that many want to improve the look of their home. Some individuals think that a home remodeling project may cost too much money or may require a home equity loan. Not the case with Granite Transformations! For a kitchen remodel, instead of gutting everything and starting over, which could cost more than $35,000, you can change your countertop or cabinets in just days, instead of the weeks it takes most kitchen remodelers. Adding a Trend Stone or Trend Glass countertop can greatly enhance the look of your kitchen. Also, by including a decorative Trend Mosaic backsplash and refacing your cabinets, you can change the look of the room all together, giving your kitchen that updated look it needs.
In addition to changing the kitchen, below is a list of home improvements that will make your home feel brand new and a perfect addition to your list of potential accomplishments in 2012:
1. Install Energy Saving Light Bulbs. It may cost more upfront, but will help you save money by reducing your electricity bill.
2. Fresh Paint. A fresh coat will help give your home a fresh appearance and can also enhance the value of your home if you are looking to sell in the near future.
3. Clean Gutters. Although this is usually a fall activity, if you haven’t already done this chore, check it off your list in January.
4. Install Programmable Digital Thermostats. By replacing your thermostats with programmable models, you can save on heat and improve your homes energy efficiency.
5. Service Your Heating and/or Air Conditioning. Professionally service your home’s HVAC equipment every year to maximize efficiency.
6. Seal Drafty Windows and Doors. Sealing windows and doors can save on heating costs by reinforcing drafty window frames.
7. Landscape the Exterior of your Property. Give your home some added curb appeal.
8. Clean Your Basement and Attic. For most of us, cleaning these areas will be major New Year’s home improvement resolutions. Clean storage spaces mean fewer pests and fewer hazards.
9. Inspect Your Roof. Identify and fix any leaks early by inspecting your roof before and after winter.
10. Winter Cleaning. Take some time and sort through old clothes, papers, and possessions. Clothing can be donated to charity and papers and boxes can be recycled or thrown out. Also, don’t forget the yard! Winter is the perfect time to plant trees and determine your spring landscaping plans since you typically aren’t as busy.
Last Updated on January 11, 2012
According to Benjamin Moore paint color experts, below is a list of the top paint colors for 2012. These paint colors can help freshen your home and change the look of any room.
Big Blues: In addition to Wythe Blue, two other shades stand out to the color experts at Benjamin Moore. The first is Montpelier, which is more on the steely side, continuing the attraction of gray-toned hues. Montpelier, like Wythe, was described as having a “timeless quality.” The second is Amethyst Shadow which, as the name implies pulls in a purple influence. Also bordering on the gray scale, Amethyst Shadow bridges the gap between purple and blue.
Great Grays: Rich and smoky, soft and dreamy, shades of Stardust, Sharkskin, Nimbus Gray, and Revere Pewter and viewed as “hotties” for this category.
Soft Neutrals: The public’s “perennial love affair” with whites and neutrals will be satisfied with whispering shades like Ballet White, White Dove, Refined and Pashmina. These hues are “go tos” that never go out of style.
Color Kick: Urban-dwellers are known to be a bit more daring when it comes to paint choices. Spicy tones like Gypsy Love and Persimmon which offer a burst of robust, ruddy color, are a hit with this crowd.
Mother Earth: The warm safety of earth tones make a big play in the 2012 palette. The troubled economy lends a hand to this trend as consumers are more likely to play it safe in terms of color in times of financial uncertainty. Tones here include Masada, Farm Fresh, Dunmore Cream and Fresh Olive.
Last Updated on February 11, 2020
Each month, Granite Transformations’ newsletter will feature a recipe from its “My Table” cookbook, a collection of delicious recipes from around the world. For those who have the New Years’ resolution of eating healthier, our chilled gazpacho is delicious, healthy and perfect for 2 or for serving a large group.
Want to win your very own copy of the My Table cookbook? After a successful giveaway last month, we wanted to offer this cookbook again for the first 5 people who email firstname.lastname@example.org and provide their name and address. The first five will automatically win a copy of the cookbook, perfect for personal use or as a gift.
Last Updated on January 11, 2012
Q: What color countertop and kind of design for the backsplash will go with medium beige stain cabinets and cream color porcelain tile floor?
A: You have described a natural palate to work with, so there are a number of options to choose from. If you choose to go with a contemporary look, I would suggest warm tones, such as a deep brown countertop, like our Vetro Moretti with Bronzite glass subway tile backsplash. For a more conservative look I would go for a natural tone countertop, such as Bianco Modena with a full 18” backsplash, adding a 6” strip of our Karma 962 ¾” x1 ½” Staggered Glass. This will create a modern twist on a traditional look.
Last Updated on January 11, 2012
The cost of luxurious home furnishings can be expensive, and sometimes, down-right outrageous. The problem is, you really want that couch or those paintings and lamps to accent your current living room. The question is, how do you get them without blowing your budget out of the wallet, or landing yourself in debt? Simply follow these great tips on how to bargain shop for luxurious home furnishings and you will be able to purchase the home furnishings of your dreams, while still staying within your budget.
Many luxurious home furnishing stores offer discounts for purchasing online or special offers that are only available online. However, choosing home furnishings can be difficult just by looking at them. In some cases, you want to feel the fabric, or see the colors with your own eyes. To solve this problem, you can check out the store, if possible, and then purchase the items online to receive the bargains for luxurious home furnishings.
#2 – Sign Up For E-Newsletters
Most companies will offer you a free subscription to their email version of their newsletter. This will give you advanced insight of upcoming specials, promotions and bargains on luxurious home furnishings. In particular, keep your eyes open for after holiday sales, semi-annual sales and early bird sales, all of which will offer great bargains for the luxurious home furnishings you dream of.
#3 – After Holiday Sales
As with most department stores, the sales after the holidays, such as Christmas and Easter, are often better than during the holidays. You can find bargains on luxurious home furnishings by shopping after the holidays at some of the more expensive home stores. In many situations, companies stock up prior to the holidays and now need to get rid of the extra stock in order to make room for items just coming out.
#4 – Attend Semi-Annual Sales
There are several luxurious home furnishing companies that will over special sales throughout the year, known as semi-annual sales, where their prices are lower than the rest of the year. Again, similar to after holiday sales, companies hold semi-annual sales to reduce their stock on last season’s items, which although are still in style, they need room for this season’s items.
#5 – Early Bird Sales
Watch for early bird sales, where you need to be there earlier than normal store hours to receive bargains on luxurious home furnishings. Stores provide these types of sales to have more customers in the store at a particular time. So remember, with early bird sales, the store may be a little more crowded, but you can still find terrific bargains on luxurious home furnishings.
#6 – Last Season’s Furnishings
As with anything else, what was on-trend last year will be different this year. However, you can still find some great pieces of furniture and home décor items from last season that are often sold for reduced prices to make room for this season’s new items. Remember, purchasing a couch from last season does not make it outdated – it is just not the newest item on the market.
Josh Thompson is a popular guest blogger for a handful of frugality, family, and interior design blogs. He also works with the new community purchasing site for luxury furniture, LuxeYard.
Shower and/or bathtub plus a sink and a toilet equal the universal facilities commonly referred to as a bathroom. How varied can designs really be with these standard functional necessities defining its space? Depending upon the amount of square footage available there are many interpretations of this familiar space. Let’s take a look at the sleek, angular and uncluttered designs that are starting to grace the most necessary room in the house.
Bathtubs are a thing of beauty and can be displayed (rather than sunken) with pipe exposure to accent. No need to hide the angular beauty and smooth lines of pipe. The focus is about the materials incorporated to solicit a tactile sensation. Minimalist presence helps clear the mind and create an atmosphere of tranquility. Wood and colorful wallpaper are ways to diversify texture and dimension.
These matching fixtures are offset by the brightly colored, tiled walls contrasted against the charcoal accents and well-placed lighting. Light is used in this bathroom to create density of dimension.
2012 modern design trends are predicted to have a lot of pure white rooms. Though this bathroom provides the designer with a lot of space to work with, modern themes allow and even encourage the use of center stage rather than corner and wall hugging facilities. The opaque use of white space delivers an environment of peace without distractions or darkness.
Built in ledges for artistic space and sharp angles can be a dramatic but functional expression of design in modern bathrooms. Eliminate wall art and shelving in favor of a complete room motif that draws the eye to the floor to ceiling ambiance of the room. Using houseplants will also bring a serenity and healthy cleansing atmosphere to the bathroom.
Ultra modern bathroom vanities incorporated into your new house plans will update your home drastically. A total lack of clutter, angular lines, strong materials and lots of light are the hallmarks of modern bathroom design.
Remember that when you install a granite countertop in a room where you’re planning to have hardwood flooring, always compare and match samples of both materials. Darker red granites go well with blonde woods. Green granites naturally complement browns, and so on.
But before you worry about the more elevated aesthetic concerns, you have to establish what your budget is. You know what they say: you’ve got to spend money to make money! You have to invest in your home’s appearance to increase your equity and standard of living. But you’ve got to have money to spend it! That’s always the kicker, isn’t it? So there’s an art and a science to selecting and installing the ideal materials to decorate your home. The art involves discernment. The science involves budgeting and expertise.
Remodeling a home is a large investment. Not just with funds, but with your time. If you’re trying to save money by remodeling your home yourself, the task is a large one to undertake. Between new cabinets, countertops, expanding the space in your home by knocking down and building new walls, it can take months to complete. One of the biggest tasks is installing a new floor. Whether you’re laying new carpet, tile, laminate or hardwood, careful attention to detail and budget is important when installing a new floor.
But installing a new floor doesn’t have to bust your remodeling budget. One inexpensive option we recommend is laminate floors. It looks just like hardwood, but is more friendly to your wallet than real hardwood flooring and cheap laminate flooring is easy to clean. This flooring can also handle high traffic areas.
Prep Before You Buy
Before buying any new flooring, determine the condition of your current floor. Fix any rotted wood subflooring by placing in new plywood. Although many laminate flooring manufacturers claim the laminate flooring can go over existing carpeting, consider pulling out the old carpet to give the most even and stable surface. If the new floors are going on top of concrete, apply patches of cement in places where the floor dips. You may have to skim a light coat of cement over the entire surface if there are too many dips or humps to the floor.
When you make your purchase, always buy more flooring than you need. Even if you are only adding laminate flooring to one room, you’ll have extra if you make any mistakes in cutting the pieces during the initial install, or if the laminate flooring becomes nicked or gouged in the future.
Do-It-Yourself Flooring Installation
Remove the baseboard in the room, if necessary, and lay down the underlay pad onto the floor.This is a type of vapor barrier that will protect the flooring from moisture and mildew. Set down the strips according to the manufacturer’s instructions, either by laying side-by-side or abutting the pieces. And make sure to check the underside of the laminate wood. Sometimes the manufacture creates flooring with the underlay already attached.
Place the new laminate flooring in the room where it will be installed. Take off the plastic and let it sit for 24 to 72 hours. This allows the floor to acclimate to the temperature and humidity of the room.
While you wait, this is a good time to measure the height of the boards to the doors of the room and decide whether you will cut the door jambs so you can slide the boards underneath. Also, if you have places along the wall where there are gaps where the drywall doesn’t meet the subfloor, this is a good time to install pieces of plywood into those gaps. Simply use the circular saw to cut the 1/4-inch plywood about two-inches to three-inches wide and add it as facing strips.
Time to lay out the flooring.
Start at the longest wall in the room. Place the first row of boards down on the subfloor without interconnecting them just yet. You want to get an idea of your end cuts. Have the boards with the tongue side facing the wall and the groove side facing you. Cut off the tongue with the circular saw (a table saw works great for this also). You will only have to do this with the first row.
Place in the 1/4-inch spacer against the wall and set the floor piece up against it. This gap allows the floor to contract and expand during seasonal temperature changes. Connect the next adjoining piece of laminate floor board based on the manufacturer’s instructions. Use the tapping block and rubber mallet to make sure the seams are joined securely.
Continue to join pieces, with spacers placed every 12-inches, until you get to the side wall. Often, you will have to cut this piece of flooring to fit. Take the measurements and mark the underside of the wood board. Use the circular saw to cut the wood, bottom side up, to the correct measurement. Tap the floor piece into place.
Start with your next row of laminate boards.
Stagger the boards 8-inches to 12-inches offset to the seams of the first row. This gives a unique pattern and strengthens the seams without leaving gaps. Place down the flooring until reaching the far wall, rip cutting the last boards down the width to fit. To attach the tongues into the grooves for the last row, place a pull bar on the board and tap the mallet against it unto the board snaps into place.
Now it’s time to remove the spacers. Reinstall your baseboard to cover the gap, and add a bit of shoe molding by nailing it to the baseboard.
Follow these instructions and voila! Your floor is finished! Now you’ll have a beautiful space to stand on for years to come.