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Category Archives: Home Improvement

Create the Perfect Outdoor Space

In the Summer season, when the days are longer, the sound of a sizzling BBQ is the soundtrack and the warm air is filled with the scent of sunscreen and mosquito repellent, the outdoors are simply begging to be enjoyed. Basking in the great outdoors has taken on a whole new meaning and redefined how homeowners approach the design and decoration of their homes, with outdoor spaces now being reconfigured as an extension of the interior. The key challenge is to design outdoor spaces that are functional, durable, comfortable and align seamlessly with your surrounding environment.

Irrespective of the frequency in which you utilise your outdoor space, a well designed outdoor space that complements and supplements the interior design scheme of your home will not only add value to your home, but also enhance your everyday living. Gone are the days when plastic furniture and wooden deck chairs sufficed as an outdoor setting. Homeowners now seek to enjoy the outdoors with the same level of comfort and style as they would the interior of their home.

In order to harmoniously unify interior and exterior spaces and create a suitable environment for both entertaining and relaxing, there are few important considerations that must be made. To improve the functionality of your outdoor space, consider choosing a suitable overhead cover, such as roofing, sails or awnings in either fixed or retractable styles, to ensure that the space can be enjoyed all year round; rain, hail or shine.

For those of you with a beautiful balcony or verandah, the use of either french, bi-fold, sliding or stacking doors will help to merge the living areas and expand the space available. The inclusion of such wide openings is both functional, particularly when it comes to entertaining, but also visually appealing, allowing natural light and uninterrupted views of the great outdoors to flood the home.

When it comes to outdoor furnishings, don’t just limit yourself to a table and chairs. From day beds and sofas, to lounge chairs and bean bags, there is no limit to what you can do with your outdoor space. Whilst functionality and visual appeal are deemed paramount, the durability and practicality of outdoor furniture are also important considerations. Choose lightweight pieces made with high quality, weatherproof fabrics that are low maintenance and can withstand environmental damage. If space is limited in your outdoor area, then select pieces that are multipurpose such as benches that contain internal storage space.

Similar to that of the interior of your home, strategically arrange your furniture to subdivide your outdoor space and create zones that are designated for dining and relaxation respectively. Decorative pieces such as sculptures, vases, cushions, water features and fireplaces are the crucial elements that will inject a sense of style and personality, and ultimately enhance the visual appeal of your space. Establishing traffic patterns is also important. Creating clearly defined paths, through the use of paved walkways or shrubbery, will ensure that traffic flows effortlessly throughout your outdoor space.

Glazing Techniques

Did you know that it is easy to update the look of your kitchen or bathroom once you learn how to glaze? The cabinets can provide the kitchen with a totally new look as you glaze them.

This process is far from difficult and it is also inexpensive. With just a little direction, a lot of people are able to do the task on their own.

The glazing process offers different finishes, shades and motifs. These can provide the needed makeover for your kitchen or bath. Apart from the refreshing new look, the perfectly applied glaze can also raise your home’s value.

You can now instantly update old cabinets using some glazing techniques. Choose the right kind of stain or paint and you should be able to do this without error. There are many acrylic-based paints in the market these days that you can use for this project.

Oil-based paints and stains, however, are known to last longer and are able to provide a glaze that has a deeper luster.

With the stain in your hand, cover the surrounding floors and countertops with cloth. The cloth will catch the drips from your glazing stain or paint.

The glaze that you are going to use is a mixture of paint and a high degree solvent. This mixture is needed to achieve the tinted, transparent finish. If this is your first time to make the glaze, then make sure to have one part of paint mixed with four parts of water (for acrylic products). Use one part paint for every three parts of solvent if you decide to use oil-based products.

You may want to begin with the simplest glazing method which is the pinstripe glaze. This kind of glaze involves wiping away the glaze from specific areas of the cabinet surface or the door. This is a technique that allows highlighting the stunning aspects of the wood which is its grain.

Pinstripe glazing is all about improving the dull areas before as it accentuates and makes vibrant any wooden surface.

Fully wiping the glazes will not effectively highlight wood grain but would accentuate the cabinets and doors themselves. Fully-wiped glazes are used to create a more uniform appearance on shades and tints.

First, create the base by rolling on two coats of latex paint. Choose from satin, egg shell or pearl finish. Make sure that the base coat dries up for no less than 24 hours before you start glazing.

The next step is to apply the glaze coat. Use the mixture, thin with water where necessary, to coat the walls. Do this on every three-foot-square wall section. Use a large, natural bristle brush. Use horizontal, vertical and diagonal brush strokes in order to cover the base coat.

The last step is to create glazing effects. You can do this once you get the hang of glazing your walls. Texture effects requires several coats, with each coat being allowed to dry before the next application.

Office Space Planning

Mull Over the Design

Every office space needs to have an aesthetically pleasing yet practical space. The fusion of these two can bring about a great mood for the business, increasing productivity in the process.

The overall design will also become the company’s brand or identity, as well as a reflection of the business’ passion. The design is a key element in the success of the business yet it can sometimes be ignored.

The best space plan is one that has effectively allocated zones for separate groups with different working practices. Each team must have an easy access with all other teams and the resources.

The communal breakout area is becoming popular, as this is a place where various departments meet up and work in a comfortable and less structured setting. This is especially popular among the creative professions.

Executive offices are usually situated along the edge. This is a great way to utilize window space. The rest of the workforce is situated right in the middle – at least this is the traditional setting.

More and more designers are now looking into this kind of plan and whether it is really effective for the employees’ well-being. Executives are often away on meetings anyway so it makes more sense if their offices are relocated in the middle while the employees get a dose of sunshine along the edge. This window space utilization provides a potential in the creation of better working moods, thus, increasing worker output.

The open plan concept has been proven to improve the flow of communication in many offices. This means that even when subjected to heavy foot traffic, the work areas must still have ample distance from the traffic.

Certain systems may be optional such as a music system but where it is seen to improve the productivity, then it helps to set up one. Music can be soothing and there are many people who can work better when there is music playing in the background.

Furniture Layout Counts

Quality furniture is also important so it is best that the office pieces are purchased from a reputable company, one that specializes in supplying office furniture. Furniture layout must be designed in a manner that the mind and the body remain flexible.

Teams grow over time so a modular design is one of the concepts that can accommodate the office’s growing needs. Find comfortable seating, set up reliable acoustics, cable management, apply the best color and find durable office furniture. These may be separate factors but they are all important pieces on that big puzzle called the office setting.

About Stylish Pendant Lights

Pendant lighting choices are available online and at lighting showrooms. The best selection of are available by:

– Brand

– Size

– Type

– Color

– Finish

– Shade

– Style

– Material

The newest and best pendant fixtures is a stylish accent. Their eye-catching appeal is artistic design, color and a sleek finishing touch in a modern decor. Decorative pendants come in several varieties and styles.They are affordable and functional modern elegance for your rooms. And they can be used in a kitchen, living room, bathroom or bedroom.

Gorgeous lighting adds luxury to love in your home. The best finishes are bronze, chrome, nickel, brushed steel, glass and wood. Modern colors such as black, blue, brown, gray, natural, silver and multi-color are pleasing options.

Different shade sizes, shapes and materials are decorative details for modern pendants. The latest shades styles are: frosted, Murano glass, lantern and mercury glass. Shade materials include metal, fabric, ceramic, silk and synthetic. These materials are special textures that have a luxury look. A modern selection of pendant lights are available in mini or small (12 inches or less), medium (13-22 inches wide) and large (31 inches) wide or more.

They are available by brand. Their prices range from $25 to $2,000 and up. Art glass, art shade, drum, mini-chandelier, swag and multi-light are pendant types for a contemporary home. The finest features are design elegance in a dining room, entryway or over a kitchen island.

Pendants with a designer shade, that have a caged look and vintage appeal add one-of-a-kind beauty. Those in pairs are unique and creative in a bathroom or bedroom. A fixture hung above a seating area or over a desk helps to define functional zones. An elegant pendant light installed near a chaise or in a dressing room has relaxing ambiance.

Home Decor Accents

Decorating the house is an expensive affair, some sensible buying can save you money and also decorate your house to become a home. Simply selecting the right kind of window treatment can change the look of the room along with matching table runners and contrasting cushion covers that just make your room come alive.

Not everybody has the aesthetic sense to decorate the house, but leading home decor portals display a wide range of home accessories for you to surf and choose from in addition to easy return policies if you do not like what you have purchased.

The look of the window can be changed with prairie curtains. Gone are the day when curtains were used to protect the room from light only. Today curtains add character to the room. Go organic when you choose from a wide range of prairie curtains to decorate your room. Measure the length and width of the window correctly before you place the order online or go to a store to purchase the curtains. Different colors and designs are available. Preferably choose cotton material with lining for a cooler room and a stylish, elegant look plus easy maintenance too.

Tables look nude, dress them up with table runners that match the curtains. This not only makes the room look lively but it protects the surface of the table too. Choose table runners made with 100% cotton as they look good and are easy to maintain as well.

Other home decor accessories include cushion covers and wall organizers with traditional, contemporary and graphic designs that have caught the fancy of most people. Wall organizers made from recycled canvas make a style statement from the wall where they are hung. Cushion covers too are made from recycling tarp which makes them durable, long lasting, water proof and earth friendly.

When you buy products that are recycled, you contribute to the environment. Go organic, go green, look for products that are recycled. Not only are they affordable but stylish too.Shop online from the comfort of your home, look for good deals and free shipping with easy return policy and give your home a new look by decorating it in style at affordable prices.

Flooring Material

The Wear-Resistant Ceramic Tile

Just like vinyl, ceramic tiles offer a huge selection of sizes, styles and colors. This can be easily blended with other kitchen design elements such as the tile backsplash. A slight downside to this material is that you are bound to feel discomfort on your back and legs as you stand long enough on it.

There are different levels of wear resistance for this flooring material. Kitchens and bathrooms need stronger ceramic, one that will not easily chip or crack. Just like vinyl, ascertain that the subfloor is leveled before you install ceramic tiles.

The cost per square foot is at $7 to $25 depending on the style and thickness of the tile that you choose.

The Biodegradable Linoleum

Available in tiles or sheets, you can use linoleum as a casual flooring material. This is the best option for people who are highly allergic to dust and chemical elements used in the production of flooring products.

Linoleum is made of natural resin and flax. It will never trap bacteria or dust, hence, you can greatly improve the air quality in your home as you use this material.

Linoleum is also low maintenance, mildew-resistant and durable. It may not suit the theme that you have chosen for your home so be sure to shop around before you make a final decision.

The cost for every square foot is at $7 to $13.

The Adaptable Laminate Flooring

Laminate floors offer a huge selection of colors and styles. They can be made to look like stone, wood or ceramic. This material can easily resist scratches, stains, dents, even cigarette burns.

If you want a DIY flooring project for your home, then this is the material to choose. With proper care, laminate flooring can easily last for up to 25 years.

The cost per square foot for this kind of flooring material is at $3 to $11.

The Versatile Engineered Wood

This is the best alternative to laminate and hardwood. This is produced by sticking sheets of wood to form a composite surface. It does not contract or expand even during extreme weather changes.

Engineered wood flooring comes in pre-finished forms. They can be clicked or glued upon installation. A word of caution, though, it can never be sanded more than twice or it will lose its original beauty.

Engineered wood costs $12 to $20 every square foot.

Green Interior Design

There are basic guidelines to follow if you want to set up an ecologically-balanced interior. First, steer clear of paints that contain VOCs (volatile organic compounds). Such chemicals can have long-term negative effects on your family’s health.

Go for organic upholstery. The standard upholstered products in the market these days contain polyurethane foams that are wrapped in dacron. These are man-made materials and are even petroleum-based so they are highly flammable. While they are treated with flame-retardants, they can still be catch fire. Also, they have been known to cause some health issues such as lowered IQ and infertility.

Another green design basic is to choose wood furniture. Find pieces that are made of teak, walnut, maple, oak or any solid wood. These pieces are held together by joinery methods that ensure a stronger bond with less adhesive.

Do not purchase furniture that has particleboard or MDF. These are made from compressed sawdust or shavings bonded by glue, synthetic resins and binders. Adhesives often have formaldehyde that causes nausea, wheezing and serious allergic reactions.

If you have to install rugs in your home, then choose natural fibers like jute, cotton or wool over synthetics. Wool, unlike many of its artificial counterparts, is a natural fire retardant. It also absorbs pollen, dust and moisture so it reduces allergens and humidity on the air.

Synthetic type rugs are often made from polyester, nylon or acetate. Such man-made fibers are also flammable and treated with chemicals that can spike the potency of toxins being releases throughout your home.

One other area that green design focuses on is the conservation of water. Install low-flow showerheads as well a faucet aerators in your bathrooms. It may take a bit longer to finish your bath but this change in your lifestyle guarantees that you are not wasting water as a resource.

There is also the issue of resource management. Eco-friendly interior design is all about using materials that do not deplete quickly. Use a lot of jute, bamboo, coconut, hemp, cork and water hyacinth materials in your home. Yet another strategy is to source your furniture. Look for companies that have committed to sustaining resources. These companies are the ones that are concerned about the impact that a product has on the environment in pollutant terms.

Recycling and upcycling are methods that are heavily used on green designs.

Go Green Offices – Why Not?

When talking about modern office design, it is likely that the discussion centers on trends, colors, furniture choice and the most stylish accent pieces. Businesses, after all, need to exude a professional look. But isn’t it also the duty of businesses to make Mother Earth habitable for many more years?

Going green is now a growing trend among offices. More clients seem to be attracted to businesses that care. Instead of merely thinking about profit, offices now put together an environment that poses the least health hazard.

Take Care of Venetian Blinds

Regular Maintenance is Best

Ideally, you want to regularly clean your Venetian blinds so they require only light cleaning. Weekly wiping and dusting of your blinds will prevent stains and dirt from building up making the job of cleaning much easier. Simply put your blinds in the closed position and wipe them clean. Flip the blinds to the opposite position and wipe again. Using a soft cotton glove, dust-attracting cloth, or even a clothes dryer sheet helps to remove dust more easily. You may even want to spray your blinds with a mild cleaning spray or warm soapy water if you’re cleaning metal or plastic blinds. If you have wooden Venetian blinds, wipe them with a dry glove or cloth to avoid streaking.

When you’re wiping your blinds, start from the center and wipe to the edge on both sides and from the top of your blinds to the bottom. This will help ensure that you remove all dust the first time. Also, if your blinds are more heavily soiled, be sure to change your cloth or gloves regularly to prevent spreading dirt across your blinds.

Vacuum Cleaning

Another method for cleaning Venetian blinds is to vacuum them. Again, regular cleaning is ideal to maintain the quality and condition of your blinds, so you probably want to vacuum them at least a few times a year. Most vacuum cleaners come with a soft brush attachment that can be used for cleaning blinds. If you don’t have this attachment, you should purchase one as other attachments may scratch or chip the slats in your blinds. With the blinds closed, vacuum each of the slats from center to edge and from the top of the blinds to the bottom. You’ll also want to steady the blinds with your free hand. Once you have vacuumed one side of the slats, flip them to the opposite direction and repeat this process.

Deep Cleaning

Even the most assiduous cleaner will likely discover that their blinds need a deeper cleaning at least once a year. For plastic or metal blinds, immerse your blinds in warm water and add a cleaning solution such as dishwashing soap or bleach. Allow the blinds to soak for at least half an hour and then gently wash with a soft cleaning brush. Then just rinse your blinds clean and allow them to dry. For wooden blinds, you should never use bleach or detergent, so it is important to maintain a more regular cleaning schedule.

Dollhouse Decorating

Beware of too many patterns in a small space. Your color choices may result in a friendly palette, but if patterned wallpaper, curtains and rug are too close together, a “busy” look may not be the worst problem. A viewer’s eye can get confused and focus on a minor shade, and you may not be able to figure out why the room just doesn’t look right. Try replacing one of the pattern objects with a solid color.

The perceived color of a surface will vary with the light source illuminating that surface. Incandescent or fluorescent bulbs, even if both are balanced for “daylight,” have different reflective properties, as does the surface. A flat paint absorbs more light than a semi-gloss. If you notice an unwanted bounce from one surface to another, use flat paint.

A warning about white walls and ceilings: pay special attention to how surrounding elements will reflect light and alter the color. For example, red furniture or carpeting might make white walls look pink. This is especially true in a room box, as there is mostly reflected light present.

Blue can give the room a cool feeling; it can also make it look cold. A blue wall will give a cool bluish-white cast to the whole room. A reflected light source can give everything in the bathroom, especially a white ceiling, a bluish cast, destroying the desired contrasts.

Contemporary miniatures can have a problem with the a 60-30-10 rule, where a selection of three different colors should be used in that proportion. The idea is the color of the primary surface, usually the walls, will be the dominate color; large objects like furniture, will be a compatible, or an acceptable contrasting secondary color. Trim and accessories are the third-place color. Interior designers often use dark primary and secondary colors, which can be fine in a real room, but deadly in a room box. If a decorators work is your inspiration for the miniature, choose lighter shades of the same colors or break the 60-30-10 rule.

Relaxing Master Bedroom

1. Warmth Under Foot. As a great lover of hardwood floors I’m usually the last to suggest the contemporary idea of wall-to-wall carpet but in a bedroom, particularly a Master Bedroom, it’s where I start the conversation. Regardless of the climate in which you live (and certainly if you are in snow country) the wall-to-wall installation of a plush, warm and perfectly delicious wool carpet makes absolute sense. If you’re fortunate enough to have a walk-in-closet and dressing area, let alone a sitting room, then let the carpet join these areas together in one lovely underfoot experience.

2. Zen on Every Wall. There are those who will differ with me in their opinion of the best colors to use on the walls of a Master Bedroom. Regardless of the differences I strongly advocate, if a calm retreat is what you desire, that you edit out bold blasts of color from your rooms color pallet. Fine that you want a blue room but don’t complain to me about your sleepless nights when you paint the walls a never shattering electric blue. I would have suggested one of many shades of soft, feather-like aqua or quail-egg blue. Either would be a calm departure that enhances the objective of tranquility rather than mocking it.

3. A Tech-free Zone. Don’t cry to me that you can’t sleep when in your bedroom you surround yourself with every type of electronic gadget on the planet. Is it any wonder that you’re longed for slumber is routinely shattered when from every corner of the room some battery operated gizmo is blinking, beeping or humming your favorite rock-n-roll anthem!? Wishing for a tranquil retreat? Banish all forms of electronics. This includes the television. A single mobile phone, with properly adjusted “Do Not Disturb” notifications is all any Master Bedroom needs to achieve rewarding results.

4. Comfort Is King. If there’s not another stick of furniture in your Master Bedroom than the bed in which you sleep then you’re off to a good start. I’m often asked, when people are buying furniture for a bedroom, “What should we start with, if our budget is limited?” Hands down the most important purchase you’ll make for the room, in which you spend more time than any room in the house, is the bed. If you’ve ever spent a night in a luxury hotel you know the seductive, lush power of a beautifully crafted bed. They are designed to provide the best night’s sleep possible and thus are worth every penny. I encourage you to sleep around a bit. Spend a night in a Hilton, a Four Seasons, a Ritz Carlton… etc. and find a mattress set that works for you. Most of these hotels have in house purchasing options that will allow you to buy that very bed. Don’t hesitate. It is the best money you’ll ever spend.