Archive for December, 2010

New Year’s Resolutions – Make Your Home Safer

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Design and Decorating, Holiday

What are your New Year’s resolutions this year? Do you want to lose 20 pounds or commit to walking several miles three times a week? Well, when you’re making your personal resolutions, how about throwing in a couple of resolves to make your home safer for you and your family?

Here are a few areas to get you started.

Lighting: Are your stairs and hallways well lit? Whether you’re talking about inside or outside the house, good lighting can help your family and guests avoid falls. This becomes particularly critical with winter weather. Check all of your home’s entrances after dark, as well as any risk areas inside your home.

Flooring: Are your floor transitions smooth? If your homes moves from tile to carpet or wood, are the thresholds easy to traverse without tripping? Do you have any slippery rugs in the bathrooms or kitchens? Non-slip pads will keep those rugs in place.

Bathroom safety: Choose flooring for bathrooms that will not get slippery when wet. Put bathmats with suction cups in baths or showers to keep them secure. You may want to add safety bars at the entrance to each bath or shower to keep children and older adults secure. Today’s bars can be quite attractive. Just make sure you attach them to a stud to keep them in place safely.

HDTV installation: Wall-mounted televisions must be installed properly or they create a safety hazard. If you select a wall-mounting system that is designed to handle the size and weight of your television, and have that system professionally-installed, along with proper electrical installation, you have what you need to enjoy your system for years.

Read the instructions: Every new product you brought into your home this holiday season has detailed installation, use and safety instructions. Read them and pay attention. Products are constantly changing, and the rules that applied to your last curling iron or laptop may not be right for your new one. Pay attention and help ensure that you have a safe and happy 2011.

Post-holiday Wrap Up

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Design and Decorating

It’s the last week of 2010 and the winter holidays are almost over. If you take a few minutes now to plan ahead, you can make the next year and its holidays more successful. Here are a few ideas for managing your post-holiday activities.

Plan your pack-up: This might be the year to buy those boxes that hold your decorations carefully, so nothing is broken when you take them out next year. Some have individual spaces for particularly fragile ornaments. This week is a good time to find those containers on sale.

Check your lights: How long have those outdoor and indoor lights been part of your holidays? Holiday lights aren’t designed for a long life. If any have frayed cords, broken sockets or more than a few burned-out bulbs, toss them. Once again, after holiday sales can allow you to snag next year’s lights at a good price. While you’re looking, consider the new LED options. They burn cooler, come in amazing colors, and use much less energy.

Get your electronics in gear: Did you receive a laptop, HDTV, or other electronic treat in your stocking? Don’t waste any time setting them up to make sure they meet your needs and work properly. Most stores only give you two weeks before charging a restocking fee for returns. Stores will also only address problems with the equipment for a short time before requiring you to send that gift directly to the manufacturer for repairs. And while you’re at it, make sure to read all the safety and installation directions. This is especially critical with wall-mounted televisions.

End 2010 with a careful wrap-up of the holidays, and start 2011 with a blast!

Look at the Big Picture

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Design and Decorating

In business, you may hear people talking about looking at “the big picture.” This is good advice in decorating too. Maybe if this homeowner had stepped back and taken a real look at the big picture for this space, we wouldn’t be looking at this mismatch between the décor and the space it inhabits.

Really, there are no problems with this room. It is light and bright, with a beautiful wood floor, attractive vaulted ceiling, and glass doors that add to its architectural interest.

The furniture choices are also not a problem. The colors connect well with each other and each piece of furniture is in good proportion to every other element. The problem comes when this furniture arrangement is placed in this room. The space and the furniture have no connection with each other in terms of color, proportion or style. As a result, it looks as if the décor is just visiting, rather than being an integral part of the space.

Can this situation be fixed? There is hope. To start, changing out the cushion color to something cleaner and brighter would be good. The space begs for some bigger art pieces – or maybe a collection of art – to expand the vignette to take advantage of the space. How about a hanging lamp to replace the track lighting, improving proportion and providing an opportunity to make the style of the space connect with the style of the furniture? A rug would also expand the presence of the furniture and anchor it in the room.

As you plan to decorate your home, don’t make these mistakes. Step back and take a look at the big picture and create a space that works from every angle.

Sustainable Hardwoods

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Environmental, Hardwood

Do you think about the environmental impact of your purchasing decisions? Many people today have modified their approach to buying a product by exploring the company’s approach to sustainability.

As consumers pay more attention, suppliers do too. One good example of this is a research project started recently by PE International, a consulting firm specializing in environmental consulting. They are investigating the environmental impact of American hardwoods, from the initial extraction to the final delivery at wood import firms. This analysis will eventually help you make more informed decisions when you purchase wood floors and furniture.

Choosing a hardwood floor involves many choices: style, budget, wood tone, type of wood, manufacturer and installer. Today, many consumers also want to know about a product’s carbon footprint. As a result, many suppliers and distributors are working hard to get that information for you. When you make important purchasing decisions, it’s worth your time to ask about any environmental information available.

Holiday Home Décor

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Design and Decorating, Holiday

The holiday season is filled with different activities that only come around once a year. Decorating for the holidays should be fun, not a chore. Keep the following tips in mind when decorating your home for the festive season!

1. Don’t procrastinate: The longer you wait to get your decorating complete, the less time you have to enjoy your hard work. Don’t spend more time planning and shopping than you actually do decorating. An abundance of planning and shopping makes you tired before the real work even starts. Don’t over think your decorating plan, this type of decorating is temporary. Make your life easy, don’t take it too seriously and have fun! Make putting up and taking down holiday decorations a family affair tradition. Things will get done faster. When families accomplish tasks as a team, it brings them closer.

2. Focus: When decorating, start with a focal point. Rooms naturally have an area that is seen first by viewers due to architectural details and their locations. Larger rooms can have more than one focal point. When you begin, start with decorating the room’s natural focal point (for example: the fire place, windows, and built in bookcases with decorative moldings). Keep in mind that the whole room does not need to be decorated. Focus on what people notice and spend your time on those areas. Don’t create too much work for yourself!

3. Get inspired: Holiday color schemes are not restricted to the typical red, white and green. Use creative color schemes using bright colors in combination with a metallic color such as silver and/or gold (for example: green, purple and silver). Fresh new looks are exciting and notice-worthy. Have some fun and take some risks!

Holiday Home Décor

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Holiday

The holidays should be an enjoyable time for you and your family. Avoid becoming overwhelmed with holiday decorating. Below are hints to keep you excited, inspired and maintain sanity.

Qualify Rooms: There is no need to decorate every inch of your home for the holidays. Only decorate rooms that entertain guests. There is really no need to decorate bathrooms or bedrooms. Save your self some time and money by only decorating rooms where family and guests gather.

Tasteful Not Tacky: It is easy to go overboard with holiday decorations. Avoid looking tacky by using white lights that do not blink. Large decorations (like large blow up lawn ornaments) should be used in moderation. Greenery with contrasting, intertwined ribbon looks very tasteful when combined with white strands of lights.

It’s “HOLIDAY” Season: Don’t get caught up with perfecting your holiday décor; remember it’s only temporary. Spend less time decorating and spend more time on holiday activities with family and friends. Take some time to holiday and relax a bit. You will remember joyous memories with loved ones; not what the house looks like. Keep in mind what is really important and what the holiday season represents.

How To Make The Most Of Your Outdoor Space

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Outdoor

Do you have a fabulous outdoor space that you want to utilize in a most effective manner? Below are some questions to ask yourself, giving you a starting point and a direction to move forward.

Q1. What size space do you have to work with? What is the main function do you want to take place in the space? Be realistic when answering. The following are examples:

a. The space is not as big as I would like. I would like to have a swimming pool; volleyball court and an outdoor kitchen…. You are dreaming wake up and smell reality!

b. It is on the smaller side. I would like to use it as a space to lounge and sunbathe. …Now that sounds do-able!

c. It is a wide-open large space. I would like to have a small pool with a lounge area and a fountain. …There is a realistic answer. When deciding what functions you want make sure they have some similarities that tie one another together!

Model Answer: Be realistic about what type and size of space you have to work with. Depending on your space you may not have enough room to have everything you want. Decide what is a must and what is a want.

Q2. What are some relative characteristics that define the type of space you are working with? Is the yard flat, sloped, hilly or restricted by vegetation?

Make your space work for you not against you. When considering your wants try and take advantage of any features you may have.

Ex. A flat yard is optimal for playing horseshoes.

Q3. What type of climate do you live in? A space that is functional throughout the year or most of the year is optimal.

Ex. If it is cold and snowy during 3 out of the 4 seasons, a pool is not optimal for that type of climate

Q4. How can you utilize the natural features of your yard?

Ex. You need a place for your kids to play. There is a large Oak tree in your yard= Install a swing or several swings to the strong tree.

Wood Floors Are The Best For Resale

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Hardwood, Uncategorized

Have you ever watched an episode of “House Hunter” on Home and Garden TV? If you have, you know that wood floors are the most requested home design feature.

Although you may currently have no plans to sell your home, it’s a good idea to consider resale when renovating your home. Would wood floors be a good investment for you? Consider the following factors.

Neighborhood: If you live in an upscale neighborhood with homes that feature higher-end finishes, choosing wood will make your home more competitive in the market. In an area of starter homes, how about wood in the living/dining area only, or choosing a less expensive wood such as oak? Laminate floors with a look similar to wood at a much lower price are another option to consider.

Region: If you live in the south, wood is almost expected. In the northeast it’s also a common choice.

Home style: A traditional style is well suited to wood. Modern homes have more flooring flexibility, but will also stand out with wood.

Personal preference: You have to choose flooring based on your personal preference first. Many people love wood, but if you don’t, select the flooring that suits you best. However, if you are attracted to wood floors, you can be sure that your choice will make selling your home easier when the time comes.

Ordinary to Extraordinary Powder Room

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Design and Decorating

A Powder Room is a room that nearly every guest in your home will see. This room can easily be enhanced into a welcoming private area for guests. Upgrades you should consider (in order of priority) lead to significant results: 1) Sink/Vanity Cabinet; 2) Lighting; 3) Wall Covering; and 4) Flooring.

Present day vanity cabinets are obtainable in various sizes and styles. Vanity cabinets have evolved into a single unit that looks more like a piece of furniture, rather than a sink cabinet. This type of cabinet is favorable for many reasons. It hides plumbing, satisfies the need for storage and is normally sold with all resources needed for a finished sink cabinet (countertop, sink and faucet). In the past, necessary materials were chosen, bought and installed individually. Improving a sink/vanity cabinet has become incredibly easy.

Lighting can enhance or harm a room. The mirror should flatter your guest’s appearance. Warm, yellowish light is most flattering for all skin tones. Fluorescent bulbs are unflattering to skin because of the awkward, cold light. Most likely only one fixture needs replacing; pick a striking fixture, which spreads a warm glow light. For ceiling mounted fixtures spring for a beautiful down light, which conceals the bulb(s) or a simplistic chandelier. A casual chandelier is dressy without looking “over done”.

Wall coverings engross a small amount of square footage. Go the extra, mile and get a decorative wallpaper, faux finish, or wall treatment, such as linen finish using plaster. Hire a professional; this project only needs a small amount of labor and materials. As far as color is concerned, select a rich, dramatic color such as, plum, silver or gold.

Flooring also only requires minimal material and labor. This is another improvement you should show an added effort towards. Add a natural tumbled stone (or travertine), real bamboo or cork flooring. Using a genuine natural material will add a degree of warmth and comfort to this intimate space.

Upgrading any of the above will dramatically improve your room. Upgrading all of the above will really make a splash!