Thursday, September 12, 2019

How to Make Your House Look Sophisticated on a Budget

A home is a place of sanctuary from the busy day-to-day routine of work. You want your home to feel as comfortable and elegant as possible. However, you may not have the means to spend an extravagant amount on updating your home. Luckily, there are inexpensive ways to make your house stand out. Here are some tips to help make your home look sophisticated on a budget. 

Declutter Your Home

With a busy schedule between career and family, it can be hard to get rid of things you don’t need at home. What you can do is start following a schedule for vacuuming, dusting, recycling, or just donating. The free space not only makes your home feel more sophisticated, it can give you a peace of mind as well. The general decor feels livelier and accessories will start to stand out

The Right Furniture 

Furniture can make or break a room with a lot of space. Luckily, you have different consignment shops, secondhand stores, and even estate sales that can help you keep the costs down. Also, you may be able to shop online to find good deals that can enhance your bedroom. Invest your money in one large statement piece of furniture to create the illusion that each room is larger than it actually is.  A great example of this is to buy a large luxury bed instead of having lots of small pieces of furniture that can make you room seem small and cluttered.

Better Lightning

Lighting can be pricey depending on your look. However, you have a number of cost-effective choices. You can be a bit eco-friendlier, for example, by using lights that use energy more efficiently. Adding lights that detect motion gives your home a modern aesthetic as well and they’ll turn off when someone isn’t in the room. You can even have lights that dim to lessen the amount of energy used, which can help you save money on your electric bill. 

Upgrade Your Hardware

You don’t always have to go out and buy a new refrigerator or washer and dryer. There are smaller things you can do inside the house that will give your home an updated feel. For example, you can add towel rack to your bathroom or perhaps put a new coat of paint on your kitchen cabinets. These small changes really enhance the look and feel of different sections of the house without digging deep into your pockets. 

Putting in Hardwood Floors

While you might be thinking that hardwood floors are expensive, they aren’t as costly as they might initially seem. You can find quality hardwood that’s relatively inexpensive, such as birch and oak. It gives your home a classic and elegant look. Additionally, you won’t have to worry about vacuuming or cleaning stains out of the carpet – it’s much easier to maintain a hardwood floor. 

These are some tips to help you add some elegance to your home without emptying your bank account. That means that you don’t have to sacrifice your savings for some quality aesthetic. Surrounding yourself with décor that you love can help you feel more peace and tranquility in your humble abode, so start looking for reasonable options today!

Monday, March 25, 2019

8 Ways To Cleanse Your Home After A Breakup

By Stephanie James

Calling it quits in a relationship is tough for a number of reasons. You’re not just breaking up with your partner, but saying goodbye to all of the bad energy that filled your house prior to, or during, the breakup. You don’t have to cut your hair, move to another country, or do anything out of left field. The goal is simple; to refresh and renew your life, and your headspace. For a fresh start, it’s important to have a clean space and mind. Below are a few cleansing tips to jump-start your breakup recovery!

  1. Replace Your Pictures
The last thing you want in your home are pictures of your ex, reminding you of the good, the bad, and the ugly, in what’s supposed to be your safe haven. You may be tempted to burn all of your old pictures featuring your ex, but before you do this,  find new ones to replace them with right away. So instead of burning old photos and leaving an empty space in not just your heart, but on your walls, you can instantly replace them with photos that remind you of good times and memories!

  1. Sage the place
You may have heard of sage, or used smudging tactics before. It’s an ancient Native American ritual used to cleanse and purify your space after encountering bad energy. However, the practice is now commonly used for ringing in the New Year, spring cleaning, and just when your space needs a positive boost! What you do is burn a sage stick and visit all rooms in your home, while waving the stick in the air like you’re ringing a bell. After the smoke clears, the energy in your home should be neutralized, giving you the positivity that you, and your home, need for recovery.

  1. Declutter
This might be the time to do a little cleaning. The reasoning behind this is because having a clean house makes you more relaxed, and even sleep better. Additionally, going through a breakup may put your body through more physical and emotional stress, ultimately lowering your immune system. Having a clean space with lower the risk of illness when you’re going through this time. Trust me; you’ll need all your energy to get back out there on the dating field!

  1. Get New Candles
Often times, different smells take you back to a certain time, feeling or memory.  Because of this, you might want to think about replacing the candles in your home! That way you don’t feel drawn to the past and can focus on moving on. Another reason to stock up on candles is that they are great tools for relaxation, and promoting self-care. 

 5. Decorate With Himalayan Salt Lamps
You’ve probably seen the new-agey and trendy Himalayan Salt Lamps around recently — they’re everywhere! These lamps, made from pieces of Himalayan salt crystals, not only add a tasteful and trendy touch to your home decor, but they are great for cleansing your home because they produce negative ions which promote better air quality and may protect you against airborne germs! Try placing a Himalayan Salt Lamp in every room — Bonus:  The warm light is great for relaxation!

6. Replace Your Mattress
While the general rule of thumb is to switch out your mattress every 7- 8 years, you might expedite this after a breakup and consider getting a new mattress. For many couples, the bedroom is a place to connect and feel safe with your partner. If your bedroom isn’t giving you the same vibes as it did before, or even just in the spirit of cleaning and cleansing, try treating yourself to new sheets or a mattress — whatever will help you sleep at night!

  1. Get A New Place
Maybe you’ve tried cleansing, replacing photos, salt lamps, etc., and you can’t escape the memories with your ex in your home, and you’re having a hard time moving on. It’s okay to pack up and move! If you think that having a place to call completely your own will help you heal and (quite literally) move on during this process, then go for it!

  1. Fill Your Home With New Memories
Now that your living space is cleansed, and hopefully your mind is clearer too, start making new memories! Recovery from a tough break up won’t happen overnight, but it’s important to fill your life with positivity and the people you care about most. Maybe host the next girls night, dinner party or football viewing party.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

What is the Difference Between Wicker and Rattan

Ask many interior designers and furniture salespeople what is the difference between wicker and rattan, and you will get puzzled looks. Many think the terms are interchangeable. Not so fast grasshopper.                                  
Wicker is not a material. There is no material on Earth called wicker. Wicker is an ancient technique or process used to manufacture items out of natural materials, such as willow, rush, bamboo, rattan, and synthetic resins. The natural materials are made wet so that they can be easily woven to create wicker design furniture pieces. Some manufacturers may use the phrase cane furniture in place of either rattan or wicker furniture. Loomed wicker is another type of wicker furniture. As the name suggests, loomed wicker is made mechanically. It uses tightly twisted Hemp paper that looks like rope. This rope-like material is then woven by the machine into a wicker fabric. The loomed wicker material is then coated completely on both sides with a flexible latex paint.   
Rattan is a specific natural material. Unlike the bamboo pole which is hollow, rattan boasts a strong core and is thus durable and even hard to break.  In its original form, rattan is a relative of the tropical palm tree. Rattan starts to grow upwards like a tree but then bends back to the ground and snakes through the rainforest like a vine. After a few years of growth, the rattan vines can be as long as 500 feet. When harvested they are cut into 12 to 18-foot sections.
The solid core of rattan along with vertical grains is generally steamed and then bent into the desired shape through the use of specialized shapers. Once the rattan has dried, it will retain its shape forever. The outside skin of the rattan pole, which is the peel, is generally used to bind the furniture joints together.
Rattan vines may also be peeled mechanically to form thin slats for weaving. The curved outer layer is also used as a decorative trim to hide the rough seams created by the wicker process.  The rattan poles can also be put into a machine that cuts the rattan lengthwise into spaghetti-like shapes.
Rattan is considered to be one of the strongest woods available since its grain grows vertically instead of forming the concentric rings of most other hardwoods.  With over 600 different species, Rattan comes in a variety of natural colors, and the color is dependent on the soils where the rattan grows, generally in Southeast Asia. That means that no two pieces of wicker furniture made from rattan are alike. Rattan has been used for furniture because it is lightweight, durable, flexible, and attractive. At Wicker Home & Patio Furniture, we offer 20 different frame finishes that will fit with any décor.

Rattan furniture is best used indoors. Sun and rain are hard on rattan if it spends too much time outside. For the outdoors, we invite you to look at our outdoor wicker furniture.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Luxury Vinyl Tile - The Most Resilient Bathroom Flooring

Luxury Vinyl Tile - the most resilient bathroom flooring material. Since flooring is one of the foundational materials required for renovations or new construction, it should be given significant importance for your bathroom. The flooring in your bathroom should also be equally beautiful and pull together all of the style and colors of your entire home while being a flooring material that is extremely resilient, durable and makes your floor maintenance a cinch.
The first considerations for bathroom flooring are usually focused on a few important areas; the style, the color and of course the associated cost for the product itself, including the often hidden installation expenses. But did you know that there are a few other things that you should include as well?
Design and style frequently drive the choice of flooring; however, bathroom flooring considerations such as shape, length, width, textures, moisture performance, installation requirements and durability are also some of the most important items that can impact your flooring choices.
Now, I realize that's quite a bit to take in when you just want the final outcome to be the perfect bathroom and a pocketbook that isn’t completely drained. So you will be excited to know that there is flooring material that will help overcome all of these considerations but can give you something unexpected as well, long-lasting flooring for your bathroom that can withstand the most extreme moisture conditions.

Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT), or sometimes called (EVP) - engineered vinyl plank or luxury vinyl flooring can be a kid proof, pet proof, waterproof and even scratch proof flooring solution, depending on the brand you choose. LVT can also have the highest noise reduction rating compared to other flooring options out there.
This flooring material is a dead ringer for the look and feel of solid, natural hardwood flooring. The variety of species, colors, textures, and price will appeal to any design aficionado and/or savvy homeowner. The range of style and plank/tile sizes for LVT vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, so we carry multiple hundreds of LVT options to ensure our customers have a wide selection of the best flooring options to choose from.

1.   What’s The Best Bathroom Flooring?
One of the questions we are frequently asked is what is the best bathroom flooring, or the best-looking, best-performing luxury vinyl tile flooring out there and how does it stand up to matching classic hardwood floor when it comes to installation in your bathroom?
There are many LVT brands that truly deliver on durability, design and realistic texture. Some of the top luxury vinyl tile brands are Adamantine, Aurora Hardwoods, Cali Bamboo, Coretec, Engage, Gala Manufacturing, Hallmark Floors, Mannington – Adura Max, Neptune, Oasis, Provenza, Ridgeline, and SLCC, just to name a few. The choices really become endless from a bath design perspective and provide the look that you are after in a gamut of natural designs, from realistic wood grains to natural stones and slates. Furthermore, many of the top luxury vinyl tile manufacturers offer 25 year to lifetime warranties.  

2.               Is LVT Durable For Bathrooms?
Let's take an active household with kids and pets with constant foot traffic and a lifestyle that consists of wear and tear on a daily basis. That kind of flooring stress will show cracks, gouges, scratches and water damage over a period of time. Now throw in that it is a high moisture area that can add significant stress to natural hardwood flooring with the constant expanding and contraction process.
In the past, it would not be advisable to install a wood floor in a bathroom environment, but today we see folks using their LVP and LVT floors in mudrooms, laundry rooms, bathrooms, kitchens and living rooms, primarily because the mirrored look of wood grains and natural stones are so closely matched to the real product that the homeowner can have their cake and eat it too!
With LVT, you get unstoppable resilience in your bathroom floor, combined with a distinguished style. The durability and beauty of a quality luxury vinyl floor product just can't be beat.

3.               Waterproof Benefits of Luxury Vinyl Floors In Bathrooms
The moisture and water that gets distributed on a bathroom floor can often lead to the damage and ultimate replacement of flooring after a certain number of years, depending on the surface that was originally selected. One of the foremost benefits of luxury vinyl plank flooring is its amazing waterproof characteristics. This type of bathroom floor creates an impenetrable and tightly locked floor surface that does not allow liquid to absorb of leak through. LVT flooring keeps all splashes and spills on the surface, allowing you to simply and easily wipe it up! Today, homeowners are looking to waterproof flooring for the bathroom and kitchen so that it can help prevent unnecessary or costly water damage from accidents or consistent daily use.
4.               Luxury Vinyl Tile In The Bathroom
When it comes to bathroom flooring and the many choices of tile, wood, stone and of course luxury vinyl tile, there are factual and realistic superior qualities of LVT. Luxury vinyl tile is easier to install in your bathroom than many other flooring options, which reduces your bathroom flooring costs even more. LVT flooring is lighter than either tile or wood, making treks up to the 2nd and 3rd level floors so much easier for installation.
Another fantastic characteristic of luxury vinyl tile flooring for your bathroom is that it can be a do-it-yourself job if you are on a tight budget. We have guided hundreds of customers through the installation process and best practices for laying LVT in your bathroom correctly, with excellent results.

Luxury vinyl tile flooring is the most resilient bathroom flooring that delivers on style, cost, and durability.

Author Bio:

Tom Michaud is the CEO of Simple Floors Portland, located in Portland, Oregon. Tom’s decades of experience providing homeowners and contractors with quality home building and renovation materials focuses on wood flooring, countertops, tile, laminate floor, and carpeting.

Monday, March 05, 2018

The Difference Between Quartz And Granite Countertops

Selecting the right countertop materials for a home renovation or building project is one of the most challenging decisions a homeowner makes. The color, design, and pattern within the material are only overshadowed by the composition of the countertop product itself. In fact, many homeowners struggle to understand the difference between granite and quartz countertops, often referring to both as granite, stone or rock.

But there are distinct differences between quartz and granite countertops that every homeowner should know.

What’s The Difference Between Quartz and Granite Countertops?

There are some substantial differences between the various countertop materials on the market today.

Quartz and granite are among the two most popular kitchen and bathroom counter options, and they are both completely different materials.

What are granite countertops?

Granite is a completely natural stone material that is quarried from the ground in massive blocks. These blocks are then slowly and meticulously sawn into slabs that vary from 1 ¼ to ¾ inches thick, depending on the intended application of the countertop. The thicker slices of granite are often used for kitchen counters, whereas the slimmer versions are typically reserved for bathrooms. Once cut into slabs, the granite material is atomized and polished to beautiful gleaming finish.

There are no man-made components contained within granite. Granite is found in in the ground naturally and is completely free of human creation. Granite is considered to be one of the hardest natural rock materials, making it extremely durable for counter surfaces.

What are quartz countertops?

 Quartz countertops are usually comprised of around 90% natural quartz material and then combined with approximately 8-10% polymer resins. Quartz countertops are considered to be an engineered stone material which is created by using a ground-up component of the natural hard mineral quartz and then compressed into forms with hardening resins, polymers, and pigments to form a very hard granite-like slab.

The Advantages of Quartz and Granite Countertops

Both types of the most popular countertops have their advantages and disadvantages, but understanding them is imperative. Because many homeowners’ refer to all stone-like counters as granite, it highlights the fact that there are misunderstandings that should be clarified. Below we will break down some of the advantages and disadvantages of both quartz and granite counters.

Advantages of quartz countertops:

  • Quartz is one of the most abundant mineral resources around the world; therefore its harvest has a minimal environmental impact.
  • Quartz countertops result in an extremely durable and hard surface material which is ideal for counters.
  • Quartz counters are a non-porous material that does not require any sealing and limited maintenance.
  •  Quartz countertops are stain and crack resistant.
  •  Countertops made from quartz come in an extremely wide range of colors and patterns due to their man-made process.
Disadvantages of quartz countertops:

  • Quartz countertops are typically around 30-30% more expensive than granite counters.
  • Quartz does not tolerate heat well and as a result, care must be taken to protect them from hot cooking pots and utensils.
  • Quartz counters are extremely heavy and often require seams for larger surface areas.
  • Professional installation of quartz countertops is highly recommended.
  • Some quartz countertop material can discolor over time when exposed to prolonged and direct sunlight.

Advantages of granite countertops:

  • Granite is naturally formed by nature, therefore making each piece totally unique in color and pattern.
  • Granite material for countertops was formed through pressure and heat allowing them to perform perfectly when they come in contact with hot pans and utensils.
  • Granite countertops are often favored, due to the perceived value over quartz by many homebuyers, therefore granite counters can add to the home’s value over the long-term.
  • Granite is extremely hard and can last forever.
  • Granite can be less expensive than quartz countertops.

Disadvantages of granite countertops:

  • Granite is naturally porous; therefore it requires sealing and significantly more maintenance.
  • Granite countertops can be brittle and crack easily when significant force is applied.
  • Granite is a natural material, so creating a completely seamless look can be challenging when installing.

Selecting Quartz or Granite Counters

The main considerations that a homeowner should weigh when selecting the countertops for their home should be both use and preference. How you cook, the way you use your counters and the durability requirements are extremely important. Next, your preference to color, look and patterns should determine your final selection process. This will ensure that the net result of your new kitchen or bathroom depicts what you originally envisioned.

Furthermore, there is always a cost consideration that you will have to weigh. If budget is the dominant concern, we always recommend our customers consider natural granite options. However if budget is not driving the most significant criteria and the priorities are in matching specific colors or patterns, along with finding a low maintenance material, then we suggest they take a good look at quartz.

Finally, be mindful of the tile or wood flooring that you will be using in your kitchen or bathroom space and how that will pair or contrast with your countertop selection. Since kitchens and bathrooms are the most important living spaces within your home, you will want to make sure that everything compliments your counters perfectly.

Author Bio:

Tom Michaud is the CEO of Simple Floors Portland, located in Portland, Oregon. Tom’s decades of experience providing homeowners and contractors with quality home building and renovation materials focuses on wood flooring, countertops, tile, laminate floor, and carpeting.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Home Decorating Tips for the Fashion-Obsessed

Can’t resist a deal on Michael Kors shoes, bags, shirts…or anything? We love to help homeowners celebrate their individual sense of style all throughout their home. If your love of fashion has reached a new level, consider some of these tips for weaving your aesthetic and personality into every room of your home.

Play With Texture and Color

When it comes to creating the perfect outfit, you probably consider every element and how it will all work together. From shine to ruffles, lace, and mesh, textures are essential to consider when creating an aesthetic. Ruffles and lace cue a romantic or blush vibe, while sleek lines may sing classic beauty. The same rules go for decor. Have fun, and make bold choices!

Vary textures when choosing your textiles. Ruffled comforters are great for a cozy, fluffy bedspread, while industrial accents—like concrete, metal, and piping—offer a unique and masculine sense of style. A plush rug balances the soft with something more substantial and grounding, and sheer curtains allow in plenty of natural light for a romantic, airy atmosphere. Work with these textures to create the perfect equilibrium.

Color works the same way. Choose your color palette for each room before you get started— searching through Pinterest or artists’ websites for color combinations is a great way to see your options before you put paint to the wall. Or, swing by the paint sample section of a home improvement store. Use fun pops of color in your textiles and smaller accents like lamps and hardware, and incorporate those various textures. It will all come together to create the perfect ensemble.

Accessorize Like a Fashionista

Longing for a bright and cheerful sunroom, but a romantic, calming bedroom? Use lighting to your advantage to create the perfect ambiance. Vary your lighting solutions to incorporate tabletop lamps, floor lamps, lanterns, track lighting, spotlighting, or anything else that helps you express your room’s story. You can even play with color and texture through your lampshades.

When it comes to accessories, use them sparingly but strategically. Anything that inspires you and coordinates with your color palette is fair game—from knickknacks to baskets, table runners, throw pillows, pictures frames, and more. Make sure not to overcrowd tables and mantels, which can cause a cluttered feeling that may elicit anxiety. Just like fashion, sometimes less can be more!

Decorate with Fashion Icons

You probably have a list of your top-five favorite celebrities of all time. Or maybe it’s fashion designers who have impacted your style and aspirations. Whether you’re inspired by a brand or product, Hollywood icon, or new fashion line, using your inspiration as artwork will weave in your passion throughout your home.

If you simply love Prada, go for some vintage advertising posters to display in your dressing room. Then incorporate some modern or avant-garde art that makes you want to shop ‘til you drop.

You can even use your fashion accessories to decorate. Perhaps you love your designer shoes so much, you want to display them on a shelf by color. Go for it! When you’re a true fashionista, your whole home is your closet, so have fun and stay creative!

Danielle Hegedus is an Atlanta based writer and home windows expert. She is a regular contributor to Modernize windows, as she loves writing about stylish window repair options as well as for a variety of lifestyle and home design websites. Danielle recently finished her first cookbook, in collaboration with Chef, Kamal Grant for Atlanta's beloved, Sublime Doughnuts.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

How to Choose a Home Decor Style that Matches Your Personality

How to Choose a Home Decor Style that Matches Your Personality
Kaitlin Krull

Finding the right design style for your home is an essential part of the decorating process. But with dozens of styles to choose from, choosing one that suits you and your family can feel like an impossible task. Whether you’re laid-back or super organized, trend-conscious or traditional, matching your home decor style to your personality will help you to feel more comfortable with your surroundings. Here are a few top tips to help you choose the right home design style for you—whatever your personality may be.

If you enjoy reading fashion and design magazines regularly and like to keep up to date with the latest trends, a home that is on the cutting edge of design style is one for you. Scour the internet for the newest and most popular decor tips and choose pieces that will make your friends and neighbors know that you understand style. As far as popular decor styles go, industrial homes with raw, unfinished wood pieces and metal accents or ultra-modern and high-tech living spaces are bang on trend.

There’s nothing wrong with knowing what you like and sticking with it time and again. If your personality is less focused on finding new and exciting things and more about keeping with tradition, a classic design style would probably be best for your home. Traditional homes are both comfortable and well organized, which gives them a homey and pleasant atmosphere. Stick with neutral color schemes and timeless fabrics and patterns to make your home’s decor relevant for years to come.

For some people, rules are made to be broken. If organization and tradition just aren’t your thing, choose a bold and unique design style that matches your outlook on life. Go retro with a mid-century modern home, upcycle vintage pieces for an eclectic look, or embrace bohemian style with tie-dyed fabrics and mismatched patterns. The sky’s the limit for a free-spirited homeowner, so choose decorative accents and color schemes that speak to you and bring you joy.

While keeping tabs on the family budget may not be everyone’s favorite pastime, some of us are just better at handling money than others. If you enjoy organizing your life, finances included, you’ll be happy to know that several trendy home design styles will be right up your street. For example, Scandinavian furniture and decor pieces are inexpensive, popular, and functional for virtually every home. It is possible to blend a comfortable Scandi design style with modern minimalism (think clean lines, metal, and glass) without breaking the bank, so why not try something new with classy, minimalist decor?

Budgets and functional pieces are all well and good, but sometimes a splurge or two is all we need to feel at home in our home. If you enjoy the finer things in life, a luxurious Hollywood Glam style home is a perfect choice for you. Although a home with glam decor features may sometimes seem over the top, you know what you like and deserve to be happy in your home. Choose lush, supersoft fabrics and large, shiny decorative accents to finish off your space—and don’t be afraid to embrace a monochromatic color scheme.

The true romantics among us believe that happiness is the only truly important thing in life. If you want your home to be happy and comfortable above all else, a rustic home decor style will tick all the right boxes. Rustic homes are traditionally rural country-style buildings with open fires and large, cozy furniture. However, home design trends over the last few years have made rustic decor current again by injecting the traditional log cabin look with an urban, industrial flair. If you want to be on top of the latest trends, then feel free to mix these two popular styles.

Home design is all about trial and error, so don’t be discouraged if your home doesn’t fit your standards immediately. If, after reading these tips, you still can’t choose the right decor style for your home, don’t despair. Mix and match any of these styles—and more—to suit your own personal tastes, and watch your home evolve in a natural and beautiful way.

About the Author:

Kaitlin Krull is a writer and mom of two girls living the expat life. She enjoys writing for the HVAC installation experts at Modernize with the goal of empowering homeowners with the expert guidance and educational tools they need to take on home remodel projects with confidence.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Are Hardwood Floors Easier to Maintain Than Carpeted Floors?

With today's busy lifestyles, most people are opting for home furnishings and materials that are easy to care for while maintaining their beauty for longer periods of time. This is especially true when choosing flooring options because floors take on so much daily wear from walking to spills to pet stains. If you are looking at choosing hardwood floors or carpeted floors, they require very different types of care to keep them looking their best.

Daily Maintenance

All manners of dirt and grime make it onto your floors every day, and so they need to be cleaned frequently. Hardwood floors and carpeted floors are relatively easy to keep up with on a daily basis. The amount of maintenance your floors require whether you choose hardwood or carpet does depend on your lifestyle, health needs, and habits.

Hardwood floors should be swept often using a broom or a dust mop. A microfiber style dust mop head works especially well at picking up dirt, crumbs, and pet hair is lightweight and is a quick process. Mopping is recommended in high-traffic areas about once or twice a week, and less frequently in lighter traffic rooms. To mop hardwood floors, you can use a quarter of a cup of mild dishwashing soap with a gallon of warm water or a cleaner recommended by the manufacturer. Just make sure the mop is only slightly damp because standing water can cause damage to even sealed hardwood floors.

Maintaining a carpeted floor is not difficult, but it can be labor-intensive. Carpets hold more allergens, dirt, and odor-causing materials, so frequent vacuuming is necessary. If you suffer from allergies, you many need to vacuum carpets in high-traffic areas daily. Also, carpets are susceptible to stains from pets, food, and tracked-in dirt, so spot-cleaning stains using a manufacturer recommended treatment will be necessary at times.

Long-Term Maintenance

To keep your floors looking fantastic for years to come, you will need to do more than the basic daily maintenance and cleaning. Hardwood floors and carpeting will both require more intensive treatments to keep them looking good. Depending on lifestyle and traffic, the frequency of deep cleaning or repairing your floors will vary.

Hardwood floors can last for generations with the proper care. While hardwood can sustain damage such as warping from liquid, scratches, dents, and dings, this damage can be fixed rather than needing to be replaced. Sanding and refinishing the damaged area is fairly inexpensive and can a weekend fix. Entire rooms can also be sanded and refinished, though that is more time consuming and labor intensive. However, this is easier and cheaper than having to replace an entire floor.

Carpet has a much shorter lifespan due to wear from traffic, stains, and odors. If damage such as unraveling, rips, or matting occurs, it generally cannot be repaired, and the carpet will have to be replaced. Having the carpets professionally steam cleaned on an annual basis will help keep your carpets looking newer for longer periods and can remove allergens, smells, and even set-in stains.

Jessica Kane is a writer for GoHardwood, a premier flooring company that sells first-rate, quality hardwood flooring products for less.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Regency Shop Ball Clock

It finally arrived, the Ball Clock I ordered from Regency Shop. I made a mistake having it delivered to my home in Laredo Texas and asking a friend to bring it to our vacation home in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. Their drive down was delayed a week, but everyone arrived safely today including the mid-century clock wrapped in a way that protects the clock in its travels. We were excited to unwrap our purchase.

The modern clock is 13.5 inches by 13.5 inches and has Beechwood balls of different colors on the ends of brass arms. It fits perfectly in the kitchen like a work of art. The literature describing the clock says it has a quartz movement and carries a 100% satisfaction guarantee. The sturdy design means it will last many years in our Mexican kitchen.

It was everything that Regency Shop said it was and right now you can save $100 off the retail price. I would order again from Regency Shop.

Friday, June 03, 2016

Top Green Home Updates of 2016

There’s a sweet spot where doing good for the environment and saving money intersect. In order to find yourself in the sweet spot when it comes to home improvement, it’s important to know which green updates are worth the investment.

But as we at Modernize know well, sometimes this can be tricky. We’re told to replace older appliances with newer, more efficient ones, but throwing out an appliance that still has a few years left and replacing it with a new model is a waste of resources and money. It can be difficult to confirm that a product really is better for the environment in a market where “green” and “energy efficient” are just empty words slapped onto packaging.

But whether you’re sprucing up your home to sell it, to reduce your carbon footprint, to save money on utilities, or all of the above, here are a few green updates that are definitely not bogus:

Go Solar 

2016 is an amazing year to install a residential solar energy system. The solar investment tax credit (ITC) is currently at 30 percent, but that’s only going to last through 2019. After that, it will drop down to 26 percent. Solar prices have declined steadily over the past several years, which makes it tempting to wait for an even better deal to come along. But with utility rates in many areas fluctuating, acting now may save you money in the long run, so it’s wise to learn more about installing solar in your home sooner rather than later.

Rethink Your Roofing Materials

If your asphalt roof is more than a couple decades old, it’s time to think about replacing it. Asphalt is the most common roofing choice due to its affordability, but there are more energy efficient, eco-friendly, durable, and (let’s face it) aesthetically pleasing options out there. When it comes to metal roofs, you can choose anything from aluminum to copper, but steel is one of the most common and cost-effective options. Rubber, slate, and clay tiles are also kinder to the environment than asphalt—while millions of tons of asphalt end up in landfills every year, many other roofing types can be recycled.

Build a Deck out of Responsibly-Sourced Materials

Wooden decking materials may not seem like a major perpetrator when it comes to environmental harm. But it depends on how the logging company treats the earth. Buying a product from a company that uses pesticides, endangers local wildlife, and clears entire forests means supporting that company’s practices. Instead, look for products that meet the certification standards of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), or considering building your deck from recycled materials like wood waste and recycled plastic.

Install Energy Efficient Windows
You probably already know that insulation is a make-or-break factor when it comes to energy-optimizing your home. But many homeowners are unaware of the impact the windows can have on heat transfer, HVAC performance and, of course, energy savings. If the time has come to select new windows, make sure you understand the performance ratings before you shop, and look for the Energy Star rating, which means it meets established efficiency requirements. You can also look into making your current windows more efficient by caulking, weatherstripping, and applying treatments that reduce heat transfer.

Get a Smart Thermostat

A programmable thermostat can both make your home more comfortable and save you money. It allows you to closely manage the performance of your HVAC system, as well as customize your heating and cooling needs to your schedule. Some types even learn your routine over time and automatically adjust so you don’t even have to think about it.

Revolutionize Your Furnishings

As if avoiding harmful chemicals and practices when choosing our food isn’t enough to think about, the same problems also plague our furnishings. Everything from your throw pillows to your bedframe to the paint on your walls may have a darker backstory than you realize. When you shop for new furnishings, look for pieces made out of sustainable wood and recycled materials. Look for the Greenguard certification, which signifies that a product has low chemical emissions.

If you want to add value to your home and help preserve the environment, the best method with which to approach any update is to look beyond the label and be prepared to research in order to understand what’s truly good for your pocket, your home, and the environment.