6 Ways to Save On Energy This Winter

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As the temperature starts to go down outside, it seems that the energy bills start to increase at the same rate. Oftentimes, it doesn’t feel like there’s any way to work around that. After all, you need to keep your family warm.

But what if we told you there were some ways that you could cut down your energy bills this winter?

There are always some things we can do a little better to save energy in our homes, especially in the winter time.

Turn the Thermostat Down

We’re not asking you to turn your thermostat so far down that you have to wear winter coats indoors. But even just turning it down a few degrees can help immensely. If you can set your thermostat to a timer (or even do this manually), a good temperature to keep the house at when everyone is home is 68 degrees Fahrenheit. When everyone is away or sleeping, you can drop the temperature to 58-60 degrees. In fact, the ideal temperature for the best sleep is between 60 and 67 degrees.

If you want the house to be warm before you get back, set the timer on your thermostat to start heating the home again 30 minutes before you get home.

Dress Warmer

Okay, so this one kind of goes in line with the last one, but if everyone in the home dresses warmer, then you can turn the thermostat down a little lower without worrying that your freezing everyone out. Keep comfy blankets and slippers around the house to keep feet and extremities warm when everyone’s out and about.

Clean the Furnace

Furnaces don’t typically get a lot of attention, except when we are messing with the temperature as it starts to get colder. A clean and well-maintained furnace will be a lot more efficient and use less energy. If you live in an apartment complex or rent your home, you can ask the property management team to give the furnace a look and clean it.

Use a Humidifier

Moist air holds heat better than dry air. Having a humidifier can help keep your air more breathable and warmer as you turn your thermostat down a few degrees. Add houseplants to your home can also help increase the humidity in your home.

LED Holiday Lights

Are you a Christmas decorator? Time to ditch the ten-year-old string of lights and upgrade to some more energy efficient options like LEDs for your Christmas decorating this year. Don’t feel like you need to cover every tree and shrub in your yard, though. If you really want to save money on energy this winter, try taking a “less is more” approach and use minimal decorations that still give the feel of Christmas that you want.

Insulate, Insulate, Insulate!

If there are areas of your home that are not insulated, that is just money thrown out the door every year. Properly insulate your home to make sure the heat is retained and your money is well spent. You can find inexpensive insulation from home improvement stores to install yourself. At the very least, you can add weather stripping to your doors and windows to keep the heat from escaping that way.

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4 Ways to Reduce Your Heating Costs this Winter

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Heating costs are always a major concern for most homeowners. Winter time is often when we use up the most energy and many are trying to find ways to reduce costs whichever way they can. Fortunately, there are tons of adjustments and lifestyle changes that you can make to not only reduce your energy bills, but to make your home more energy efficient and reduce your household’s carbon footprint. Here are a few things you could do to help you save on your energy bills this winter.

Switch to UPVC Windows

If you’re trying to conserve heat and save on your overall costs, UPVC windows are a great option. UPVC is one of the most energy efficient materials there is and UPVC windows installed by a UPVC windows Belfast manufacturer will make sure that your home is sealed tight and that no air escapes or gets in.

UPVC as a material is not a great heat conductor, which means that hot air won’t be transferred out. And if your house was built before 1995 and you have never replaced the windows, chances are they do not fit the current standards for energy efficient, insulated houses. So, if you haven’t made the switch already or haven’t changed your windows in a while, UPVC windows could be the perfect choice.

Move the Dial

Did you know that lowering the temperature in your house by one degree could save you up to 3% on your next heating bill? The optimal temperature inside your house should be at about 20 degrees, so if you can, try to lower the temperature by a few degrees if you’re above that. You also have to take things like insulation into consideration and make sure that your house is properly insulated, not only to prevent outside cold air from getting in, but for preventing inside heat from escaping.

Close Unused Radiators

Make sure that you add thermostats to any radiator that you’re using and close the radiators in empty rooms that don’t need to be heated. And when you’ve reached the optimal temperature in the room that you’re in, close off the thermostat and let the residual heat do its work. You should also make sure that your radiators are free of any air pockets by giving them a good bleeding before the winter.

Make Sure Your Door Frames are Properly Sealed

People are often unaware of it, but a lot of heat can escape through your doors’ framing. As a rule of thumb, if you can see any light penetrate around or under the doors, then it means that they are not properly sealed. You can fix this by adjusting the thresholds with a screwdriver, provided you have any installed. If not, installing thresholds is pretty simple and shouldn’t cost you much either.

Cutting your energy bills all boils down to the choices you make and installing the proper upgrades. Make sure that you consider these options if you want to reduce your energy load and minimise your overall costs.

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6 ways to prepare your home for the holidays

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Your home is about to be the center for all of the wonderful holiday festivities, and here are a couple ways to help you prepare for it all.

One of the best parts of the months of November and December is that it is the time when friends and family gather together and celebrate.

It’s a time for counting your blessings and enjoying good food and good company.

But it usually means that your home is also the center of these festivities, and you want to make sure it’s ready for all the company and parties you are about to have.

Here are six ways to make sure your home is holiday ready for entertaining and that everything and every party is merry and bright.  

  • Time for a good scrub-a-dub

Before the guests arrive it's a good idea to go through the house and give everything a good wash down, from the curtain to the carpet.

Steam cleaning your carpet is a great way to get it fresh and clean, and even if you don’t own one you can rent one or hire a service to do it for you.

Another good place to focus on for a good deep cleaning is the fridge, especially considering how much it will probably be in use. You don’t want bad smells from the fridge ruining your fun.

  • Set the table

Setting the table with some beautiful plates and silverware and a really nice centerpiece is a great way to have your home ready for your guests to arrive.

You can be as fancy or simplistic as you want, but it’s a great opportunity to bring out your lavish side and pull out all the stops.

You can even make your guests feel really special with things like name cards at each of the settings so everyone knows they have a place.

  • Bring out all the candles

Nothing is more inviting than a home that smells deliciously good as soon as you walk in the door.

One great way to make that possible is to have a great smelling candle in each room, or multiple if you want to give it an extra kick.

Make sure they are out of reach of little hands and that you make sure to extinguish them before everyone goes to bed. 

  • Make sure there is plenty of linen

Lots of guests mean lots of blankets, pillows, towels, etc., and before they get to your home make sure there is enough for everyone and then some.

It’s a good idea to make sure all the beds are ready with clean sheets and blankets, and that there are also enough blankets to pass around for the guests who aren’t necessarily sleeping over but are wanting to get cozy and warm.

  • An open fire

Speaking of cozy, there is nothing cozier than a roaring fire to go warm up your hands or feet by after a cold winter’s night.

If you have a fireplace make sure you are stocked up on enough wood and have plenty of extra to pop in when you need to.

If you don’t have a fireplace but want the feel of a fire, there are many fake-fire options that can have your guests thinking it’s the real deal.

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5 ways to prepare your lawn for the wintertime

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Although during the winter there isn’t very much that needs to be done to your lawn, there are some things you can do to prepare for the winter so your lawn thrives after the cold is over.

For most of the year, you have to worry about watering, mowing, and all the other things that involve taking care of your lawn to make sure it is healthy and green.

But when it comes to winter, that’s when the lawn usually takes a backseat because, well, it tends to get covered by snow or frost.

But despite the little care that is required during the winter months it's definitely important to prepare your lawn for the snowy season and for the time when the snow melts away.

Here are five ways to prepare your lawn for the wintertime, so you don’t have to worry about it during and after winter passes.

  • Clean it off

Fall is called fall for a reason. It usually means lots of leaves falling off trees. When the colder weather starts to hit in October and November that usually means these leaves have started to gather in big piles on your lawn.

For the health of your lawn, before the snow is also added on to the pile, it's best to make sure that your lawn is cleared of these fallen leaves and other debris.

The reason is that when these fallen leaves start to gather up and create a thick layer and then get wet and muddy they can harm your lawn by suffocating it or even bringing diseases to your lawn.

  • Prepare while the time is right

Once that chill comes in the air the rest of the cold and all it brings is sure to follow, so make sure to have all you need to prepare your lawn before it gets just a little too cold and snowy to do it.

Come up with your winter lawn care plan in place that way you can do it quickly and easily, so you know your lawn can pick up right where it left off at the end of summer.

  • Don’t walk all over it

Because it seems as if the grass underneath your snow and ice is dead, it might be tempting to not pay attention to the foot traffic that goes over it, but that’s not a great idea.

Walking too much over your lawn even in the winter can still damage the lawn and prevent it from growing back properly in the spring.

If you can monitor the number of people and things that go over your lawn that would be best, especially if you want it to be healthy for the rest of the year.

  • Aerate it before the snow

Lawn experts like The Yard Butler recommend aerating your lawn before the cold months really hit your lawn hard.

Aerating the lawn before snow covers it can have many benefits, such as air for the roots of the grass as well as churning up the soil and its minerals.

  • Still, give the lawn a good mow

You are probably not going to have to mow the lawn as much as you do in the warmer months, but it’s still a good idea every once in a while to mow your lawn.

This will keep whatever surviving grass that’s under the snow healthy, as well as kill any weeds that begin to lurk up.

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Learn the Pros and Cons of Using Massage Chairs as a Creative

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Massage Chairs – one could argue that they are man’s best gift to himself!

From a 10-year-old child to an 80-year-old adult, no one won't enjoy using one, making it one of the most sought out products in the 21st century.

And if you’re a person who’s an architect, poet, story-writer, painter, or engaged in any line of work that’s fueled by the creative side of your brain, then a massage chair can possibly boost your craft to the next level!

But there's always a flip side to every major invention, and massage chairs are no exception.

Even if they are one of the best things in your living room, they might also fall short in one way or the other but if you are already decided, Homesthetics has reviewed the best massage chairs out there with all their pros and cons listed, feel free to cast a glance over their review!

Here are a few Pros and Cons of having a massage chair.

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Pros and Cons of Using Massage Chairs as a Creative

Pros

  1. Reduces neural pressure  

Massage chairs by its unique motion aligns the spine and reduce any pressure on nerves. They are a  mechanized substitution of acupressure. If you work for long hours or are approaching a certain age, then massage chairs are perfect relief therapy for you.

  1. Reduces stress on muscles

Stress and pain on muscles are one of the most common issues. Be it corporate lifestyle or getting creative at home, every physical activity can add to the stress. The therapeutic massage chairs relax the muscles and maintain a good body posture. Regular usage increases body's agility and overall balance.

If you had a rough day at work, then you're always one session away from relaxation. Must have for people who play a professional sport, or indulge in heavy lifting.

  1. Reduces stress and relieves many medical issues

If you're going through mental stress, anxiety, depression then you might have a hard time relaxing. Massage chair makes your body loosen up and help you relax. Problems like sleeplessness can also to tackled by getting a massage done.

Massage chairs are also useful in dealing with blood pressure. A perfect stressbuster if you can't find enough time or energy for recreational activities.

  1. Improves blood circulation

Due to prolong work hours it's possible for the body to get numb at certain places, leading to coagulation of blood and poor circulation. That is why getting a massage is so important. It eases the muscles, so that blood flow is at its average pace.

  1. Convenience

Precisely the reason why everyone wants one in their living room. Massage chairs can be used at any point in time with no prior setup. There is no hassle of getting oil, making sure it's at the right temperature, and getting a masseuse. All you need is do is sit and relax.

Additionally, massage chairs give you privacy, which makes sure you can relax without any worries of being judged. People who are shy in front of a stranger or are just insecure about their body will be able to reap the benefit of a message without making it awkward for themselves.

Cons

  1. Less effective when compared to traditional massage

This might seem like a contradiction to the point above, but it isn't. Don't get me wrong. Massage chairs are useful, but they fall short when it comes to the traditional massage means. If you're going through acute pain, then massage chairs won't help much.

  1. Limited functionality

Massage Chairs have come a lot way, but the mainstream ones are still limited to some selected motions. These limitations explain why massage chair falls short when you compare it with a traditional hand massage.

Chairs have a hard time with adjusting to an individual body and their respective level of stress. The less personal and more mechanized approach makes chairs somewhat limited.

  1. Maximum weight limit

Massage chair in all their glory come with a weight restriction. If you are clinically obese, then you might have a hard time trying to use one. Hence making it a dealbreaker for people who can’t afford to go out to exercise.

  1. Expensive

This is a dealbreaker for most people. Massage Chairs are extremely expensive, and it’s a status symbol to own one. Even people who are health-conscious find it hard to get their hands (literally) on one.

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Final thoughts

Despite a few shortcomings and high price, there is little to no reason why you shouldn’t go for one if you can afford it, regardless of the type.

A massage chair has many health benefits and has made massage and stress relief far more accessible.

While traditional massage is still a wonderful experience, the massage chair has been successful in bringing the experience of massage to your living room at your convenience.

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4 easy ways to make your house Pinterest-worthy

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Everyone wants an Insta or Pinterest worthy home, and here are a few simple ways to make it happen.

Your home is where your heart is, but it’s also where your family’s clutter, food, and dirty clothes are.

Many of us love to scroll through Pinterest and Instagram and see beautiful homes that have both beautiful interiors and are also so well organized.

Sometimes, it can feel like no matter what you do your home won’t ever quite look like those beautiful photos and it won’t look and feel quite like you want it to.

The good news is there are a few simple tips and tricks that can actually transform your home into something you would definitely heart or pin, as well as everyone else.

Here are four easy ways to make your house Pinterest worthy and make you beam with pride about it as well as not have to break the bank while doing it.  

  • Create a gallery wall

Nothing says Pinterest more than a gallery wall, and the good news about creating your own is it is relatively simple but looks so sophisticated and cool.

The great thing about gallery walls as well is that they can be completely customizable to any room and space, and you can create the theme and style that you want for it.

Also, there are so many second-hand or thrift stores that you can buy frames from and just sand and paint to the colors you want, meaning that it doesn’t have to cost you a ton of money either.

  • Add style to your shelves

Shelves are often used to store and place things in your home, but they can also be a place to show off your style and taste.

Shelves can be used as an opportunity to show off cute decorations, books, or other objects that you have around the house.

For example, you can have a few cute books stacked or lined up against each other, a cute interchangeable farmhouse truck, and a little plant, and boom! You have your Pinterest-worthy shelf.

This is also a great way to declutter and get rid of the things you don’t need. Just find the things that you want to put on display and make them the focal point.

  • Add some color and contrast

Sometimes all a room needs to pop is a bit of color.

A really great look is to have most things be more of a neutral color and then have some furniture or pillows with a brighter color to really stand out and make a nice contrast.

Once you’ve picked out the colors you love and that go well together, use those colors throughout your house for continuity. They don't have to be the same exact color, but you can use a shade of the colors and if you need inspiration you can look up the color wheel online and see what hues and shades go well together.

  • Plants and flowers 

Adding in some beautiful plants or fresh flowers throughout the house is a great way to make your home look and feel fresh.

The great thing is that nowadays you don’t necessarily need a green thumb to have greenery in the home, and you don’t have to necessarily bring in fresh flowers every day because there are some very real-looking and gorgeous fake options available.

You can also swap out the plants from season to season which can really take it to the next level and have you posting away the great pictures of your home.

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Improving a Home’s Curb Appeal

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First impressions last – this quote has been shared through the ages, and it is proven real. One’s first impression of a person, place, or thing would be their primary basis for judgment. For homeowners, having a good curb appeal is important to provide a positive first impression, not only with the property, but also with the people living inside it. Curb appeal is a slang known to most Americans, and it pertains to the overall look of a property when viewed from the street. There are so many ways on how to improve a property’s curb appeal, and the homeowner should focus on methods on how they can make their property’s exterior presentable.

One of the first things to be considered would be the budget for improving the property’s curb appeal. Homeowners could apply for advance loans for financial help with improvements. Once they receive the money, they could start planning on how they wanted their homes to be presented. Home renovations would require the assistance from professionals, and all of the expenses made would be worth it once the results are shown. There are so many things to consider when trying to improve a property’s curb appeal, but the following features some of the most important locations or parts of the house that would give a greater impact with regards to the curb appeal.

  1. Paint – the first thing to consider would be a property’s paint color. Homeowners need to work with professional artists to determine the best color for a property that matches the personality of the people living inside. The color of the property can also be matched according to the location where it is built. There are so many color combinations that could create the best curb appeal for homes, especially if professional artists have given their expertise when it comes to this specific matter. Another thing to be considered would be the materials that will be used for the home’s exterior. Its color should match the surroundings, making it more natural looking and pleasing to the eyes.
  2. Doors and Windows – these two staples for a home affect its total curb appeal. One should seek help from a professional interior and home designer to determine where the best place to install the doors and the windows are. Old doors and windows could also affect the curb appeal of a property, and it is important to change them or buy a new set that will be installed in a property. If the home has an elegant looking door and the windows are placed perfectly, the property’s curb appeal would greatly increase. Homes with properly decorated doors and windows frequently look comforting for someone driving by, and it can also affect the mood around the neighborhood.
  3. Roof – a roof is as important as the home’s paints, doors, and windows, and it is used as a means of protection. Roof shingles can be used to enhance the exterior look of a property, but other materials can also be considered. Other homeowners consider having a rooftop that has a striking design, which can also act as an outdoor party area. Renovating the roof for the sake of curb appeal can be challenging, so try working it out with professionals to get the proper advice about the property.
  4. Outdoor gardens – a property that has a garden has a higher curb appeal compared to other properties. For homeowners who have a smaller home, they could consider planting flowering plants and shrubs that could act as a fence. It will greatly enhance the exterior look of a property, especially if the flowers used for the outdoor lawn exhibits a color that complements the paint on the home’s exterior. For those who have larger homes and lawns, they could consider building an elegant fountain, or a maze featuring topiaries. Either way, gardens would easily increase a curb appeal, and it would give other people a positive impression about the property.

Improving the curb appeal of a property can be done easily, especially with the assistance coming from the professionals who are expert in the field. Make sure to follow all of their advice, and you will see how the property’s curb appeal would improve.

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Best tricks for repairing your own roof

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Roofs have to be checked every once in a while. Whether we’re talking about minor or bigger damage, it is necessary to react quickly and make sure that your roof is in a solid condition. In the end, you don’t need any leaks, do you?

Although you should never undertake replacement by yourself, it is still possible to do smaller maintenance and repairs. Here are some tips that will help you do just that.

Detecting the issue

Ideally, you should check your roof every year at the end of the summer. Make sure there are no issues whatsoever prior to the rainy season.

Now, keep in mind that the extent of required repairs can vary. Sometimes, you will just have to replace several shingles. In other cases, you might have to deal with some serious problem. It all depends. The best thing you can do is try to check the roof and see if you can deal with the issue at hand. If you think that you can’t manage it, perhaps it’s better to call a professional roofing company to help you out. Here you can find 15 ways to choose the right roofing company without spending huge amounts of money.

While saving money can be a great thing, you also shouldn’t make the issue much bigger than it actually is.

Changing the shingles

Shingle replacement is perhaps one of the simplest, easiest things to deal with. Even if you don’t have any experience with the problem, you will likely be able to do it. However, you will have to be cautious: if we’re talking about a few localized shingles, this is something you can easily handle. But don’t try to patch the whole roof.

First and foremost, you will have to find shingles that match those you previously had. Make sure to find ones with the same color and design. If they’re not, it will be easily noticeable and your roof will start looking shabby.

Besides the shingles that are missing, you will also have to check the surrounding area. If nearby shingles are showing signs of deterioration, if they are loose, you will have to change them as well. Best way to do it is by combining strong adhesives and nails.

Partial replacement of roof

In some cases, you will have to remove the whole section of the roof and get new shingles to cover them. Sometimes, you will be forced to get a new type of shingles all together making the whole process that much tiresome.

Homeowners have to consider several things during this though. First thing is that you can have one layer of shingles. If there are two of them, you will have to remove both before you start working on the section. Once you do it, the new section will be combined with other areas of the roof. This could lead to new problems and it might start looking a bit odd.

Still, although all of this might take some time, it is much better than remove the whole roof. Keep in mind that removing a section of the roof might be a bit harder than removing just a few shingles but it will save you a lot of money.

Fixing your flashing

Besides shingles, flashing is often causing some issues. This section is very important because bad flashing can cause lots of issues. Luckily for you, it is relatively easy to replace flashing. They are placed around chimney and skylights as well as any other area that requires an additional layer of protection. They are used for tricky areas where traditional shingles cannot help.

Damage to flashing is usually very easy to detect. In fact, you don’t have to notice leaks in order to establish that flashing is faulty. Once you do, you can go to your local store and get some new materials for replacement. Unlike shingles, where you have to pay attention to color and design, flashing doesn’t affect esthetics as much so you will have some leeway there.

Author’s bio: Do It Right Roofing is a Vancouver based roofing company. It offers residential and commercial roofing projects in Greater Vancouver and have over a decade of experience in fixing roofs for their customers.

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4 areas you must look at when buying a new house

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It’s probably going to be the most expensive thing that you ever decide to purchase, so it stands to reason that a little due diligence is required when you buy a house.

This is one of the reasons why so much emphasis is placed on the likes of surveys and warranties. After all, if you have armed yourself with the best home warranty, you of course have a high degree of protection for the next few years.

To provide an overview of some of the things that should be looked at as you buy your home, we have compiled today’s guide. We will now take a look at four of the most important areas that should come under scrutiny during the house buying process.

The importance of a sound roof

To the Average Joe, a roof might just seem like something to keep the outside elements out. While this is of course true, let's not forget that this is a crucial structural element of your home and it can get expensive.

Loose tiles are just the tip of the iceberg, long before you buy your home you should be venturing up into the attic to inspect the condition of the wooden joists. In an ideal world, an expert will do this for you, and find if everything is structurally sound. It might also tell you about the feasibility of converting the roof space into a habitable room - which can of course provide you with plenty of opportunity in relation to your home's future value.

The damp-factor

Again, in an ideal world the experts would be brought in to assess this next point. Nevertheless, if you spot any damp patches on the walls of the property in question, it might be time to investigate. In a bathroom it can be common, due to condensation, and this might not be anything to worry about. However, in other areas of the home you shouldn’t be seeing any signs, and you should investigate further if you do notice any mold building on the walls as this can be a costly problem to rectify.

Are there any new developments nearby?

While there is the obvious nuisance-factor to take into account here, there are other things to think about when it comes to new developments.

One of these is how a nearby development is going to impact your property structurally. If it is built close to your foundations, there is a chance that they can be affected by ground movement when the new foundations are formed. As such, perform desktop research, and find out what is in the pipeline for the area.

The heating-factor

 

Depending on where in the world you live, this may or may not be a factor. However, new heating systems can cost a small fortune to install, so ensuring that the one already in place is in good working order should be a priority. In some systems, you might be able to test by seeing if any hot water runs out of the taps. In others, you might have to wait until it boots up and see if the radiators start to work.

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How to Maximize the Use of Your Space

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If you’ve looked around your home and wondered how on earth you’re going to survive another year with all your stuff packed inside of it, you’re not alone. As creatures that tend to settle in one spot for at least a short duration of time, we also tend to collect a lot of things.

They may be necessary like your cooking pots, memorable like your limited edition Taylor Swift jacket, or miscellaneous like the pile of magazines that you don’t need but just aren’t sure if you can get rid of yet. Whatever they are, if you’re not quite ready to purge your hoard of items, it’s definitely time to shape up your space so it’s still livable despite everything you’ve accumulated.

Get Organized

Are you serious about cleaning up the house? Then your first step to turning it around is getting organized. While this may seem like the most tedious step in maximizing the use of your storage space, it’s really the foundation that everything else depends on.

So make lists, sort objects, and map out your ultimate vision. Then enlist the help of your family and friends--especially those who have a knack for organization. They can help this step go more quickly, and they’ll be there to make sure the things you really don’t need go in the bin, get recycled, or get donated to a thrift store rather than bulking up your home.

Use Shelving

You may be excited to go out and buy woven baskets, plastic tubs, and metal bins to keep all your belongings out of sight, but these can end up adding to the restriction on your space rather than consolidating it.

Instead, look into building shelving and other storage directly into your existing home. This can allow you to use more of the vertical space in your home and cut down on the extra space needed for movable or freestanding structures like bins and armoires.

Build Compact Structures

In much the same way that Dome Technology uses dome structures to maximize storage space for soybean crops, you can build compact structures that are easy to access while still containing an impressive amount of items and folding away nicely into a cupboard or corner.

These can be especially useful in a kitchen space with extra appliances like a toaster, grill, or griddle that usually take up counter space.

Invest in Dual Functionality

Another fantastic way to maximize the space in your home is by creating or investing in items that take on one or more jobs. Maybe those window seats you wanted to build could serve as storage for the kids’ toys or the thick blankets you only use during the winter.

When making new purchases, do some research to see whether those items come in a compact form or one with a dual function. Keep in mind that paring down your belongings can take time, so you may find a dual functioning item that means you can retire several old items that handled the job jointly before.

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Home Repairs You Should Definitely Not Do Yourself

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When it comes to home renewal projects that you discover during the course of fall cleaning, there are many that you can do on your own. It’s fairly easy to replace shingles on a roof. It’s fairly easy to clean downspouts. It’s fairly easy to replace filters of various sorts. And it’s fairly simple to inspect your home’s heating system.

Your ability to do these tasks quickly and well might embolden you to think that equipped with a good monkey wrench, a reliable hammer, a few power tools, and enough screws and nails, you can do anything.  

However, there are many things that you should not do on your own, things that are either delicate and can get worse if you mess them up, things that require specialized tools that you can’t rent, things that require years of knowledge and experience, and things that are dangerous to do.

Two of the biggest things that you should not do on your own are plumbing and electrical problems.

Why You Should Not Do Your Own Plumbing  

When you see a leak in the ceiling and you suspect it’s a pipe that you can simply fix with your tools, don’t reach for a monkey wrench, call a professional service like Benjamin Franklin Plumbing.  

While you do have to pay more for hiring an experienced professional than making plumbing modifications on your own, chances are that it will cost you a lot if you make mistakes because you don’t know what you’re doing.  

Sometimes, too, plumbing can be dangerous. For instance, if you are re-routing your sewer pipes, then you’ll need a blowtorch. If you’ve never used one before in your life, you could be at risk for serious injury.

A plumber will make sure that your plumbing systems work and that your pipes will stop leaking and that all the changes made are up to code.  

Natural Gas and Sewer Lines

You will definitely need a plumber if you have natural gas problems and other gas leaks. Messing up can result in an instant explosion that could cause you injury or death, or that could destroy your house. Call a plumber that’s certified in natural gas repairs.

Another thing that you should not do on your own is work on unclogging sewer lines. First of all, they are very difficult to access. But, even if you do find a way to access them, you will need to use highly-specialized, expensive machinery to get the job done properly.  

Why You Should Not Do Your Own Electrical Issues

If you have some electrical problems that baffle you, it might seem that all you have to do is look up the solution on Google and then implement it. Nut it’s better to call an electrician than expose yourself to a fatal electric shock.

While it’s easy enough to replace switches, repair light fittings, replace flexible cords connected to outlets, fit plugs to a flexible cord, and replace fuse wires, you should first turn off all power to the house and make sure that conductors are not live. Other than these types of minor repairs, you should call in a professional.  

The worst electrical mistakes homeowners make fall into two categories:

  1. An immediate injury. Since the electrical system is complicated, you could make a small error and electrocute yourself. 
  2. Setting up a future disaster. You could make the repairs without any shock, but make an electrical mistake that could later result in a house fire.  

In closing, then, while there is much that you can do on your own in your house by simply consulting a manual or looking it up on the internet, there are some things that you should avoid doing even if you think you know how. These two things are usually in the area of plumbing and electrical repairs. If you don’t know what you’re doing because you’ve never done it before, you could make a mistake that will cost you more in the long run. Sometimes, too, you could even endanger yourself or others around you, especially if you’re working with tools you’re unfamiliar with or with electrical systems or power tools.

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How to choose the best Oak Wood Flooring services

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Are you thinking of the best ways to floor your house? If so, you might want to think of the best ways to achieve your goal.

There are many ways one can finish the floors of their houses. As much as it seems basic, choosing the type of floor material to finish a house is one of the most important thinks for home owners.

Even so, it is still not very easy selecting wood type. There are several varieties and styles. This makes it quite a task if you are not sure of what to look for. It is not just about the color that brings light to your home. It is all about quality.

There is the traditional solid hardwood and engineered hardwood. It is important that you understand the best choice for the house you want to live in.

Services like GoHaus European Oak wood flooring offer the best way out for anyone who is not sure about the options they have. It is a service worth considering when looking for Oak wood flooring services.

Using the internet

Internet technology has simply made things easy today in all fields. Getting the best oak wood flooring services has never been easier. Options in color and species for engineered hardwood flooring are easy to find online, you can usually order samples to compare to room decorations and color matching.

This puts you at a better position to order samples from different sources. As you try them out, you will be able to find the best one that matches your needs. And that should be the perfect selection.

Modern world is fully dependant on the internet so it only makes sense that you should only search the internet for any information. The world is shifting from physical shops to online shopping.

What makes online experience most sorted is the ease of selection from wide varieties. You can be able to go through what is offered from the comfort of your house and let your choice be delivered.

Online channels provide quite easy and cheap access to Oak wood flooring services. There is no service provider that does not have a website today. It just makes it so easy to find them.

Recommendations from experts

If you are not very sure you will make the right choice, simply get advice from experts. Even the contractor that is working on your house should know the best finishes. That way you avoid going through the vetting process.

When it comes to marketing, nothing works better than a word of mouth from other customers. However best a company’s ads are made, reviews from customers can either make it worth or destroy everything. Customers trust more in what other customers say than what a company says about themselves.

It is all about getting first hand information from experience. After all consumer are at a better position to give review.

Getting a good service provider is important for a perfect home finish. The ideas shared here should give you a starting point.

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Putting in a Fence

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You’ve had it. You really love your home and how the open yard allows your kids to run back and forth with their friends, but the perks of letting the neighbors have free access to your yard have started to take a toll.

Maybe this is you. Your reasons for wanting a fence might not be the mainstream need for better privacy or keeping dogs from taking care of their business in your yard, but it’s still valid. With the decision to build a fence, it’s important to hit a few key points so all ends well for you and your relationship with the neighborhood.

Plan for your Property

Putting in a fence requires some steps that might feel like red tape, but once you’ve handled them, you can get down to the real work. One of the first things you’ll want to do if you haven’t already is check your property boundaries so your fence isn’t placed inaccurately.

It’s also a good idea to talk to your neighbors and let them know what you’re planning. You want to be sure your fence isn’t blocking their views or something similar. Neighbors can be tricky to work with but do your best to work with them and be transparent.

The next bit of planning is the part you’ll enjoy. Size up your yard and decide the mechanics of your fence. Will it enclose the whole property or just the backyard? Will you use a different material in the front for curb appeal? How high should your fence reach and what regulations are there regarding fences in your community?

Materials

Along with those mechanics, you now get to get into the particulars of building your fence. There are all sorts of paths to take here. You can purchase prefabricated sections or construct your own, and there are plenty of material types to choose from.

You can repurpose Challenger Pallet wood pallets; invest in a pretty pine, cedar, or redwood; or go simple and durable with vinyl panels. Take into account that wood might need to be stained to withstand the weather and a painted fence may need routine touch-ups.

Paneled sections are usually between six and eight feet in length, so consider where to plant posts, especially as you may need to use concrete to place them. You should also have at least two ways to enter the enclosed area, so making sure your fence will remain sturdy with a gate in place is important.

Extra Hands

If you’re planning to do all the manual labor yourself, reach out to your friends and family to help out, especially those with construction experience. The more hands you have to help, the quicker the work will go.

At this point in the process, putting up the fence yourself may seem like more work than you had thought it would be, and in this case, it’s completely okay to hire a professional to take care of it for you.

Upkeep

Hopefully, you thought about the maintenance your fence will need when you were choosing materials, but use this as a reminder that different materials will require different upkeep. You may need to restain seasonally or repaint yearly.

Be aware of the durability of your fence as well and plan for repairs due to weather damage or wear and tear over the years.

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Home Projects During the Fall

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Why do home owners come up with all these projects during the fall? Well, fall is the perfect time to clean summer's mess. Since it comes before winter, it's also the best time to prepare the house for the cold season ahead. Maximize this precious time for renovation and maintenance projects.

Roof Repairs or Replacements

Inspect your roof and see if there are replacements or repairs that need to be done. While this falls under the category of home maintenance, it still makes for an excellent project because it'll increase the resale value of your home. You can start by fixing loose shingles and replacing the missing ones so you're sure that you and your family will stay dry come snowfall. Ice will enter the house through gaps or leaks in the roof.

Keep the Downsprouts and Gutters Clean

It's a bit daunting to do but it has to be done. Inspect and clean the gutters and downsprouts during the fall. This simple task will keep ice dams from happening during the winter. Cleaning it is quite easy, all you have to do is get rid of debris, twigs, and leaves that block the drainage. Get some water to flush everything out, see if there are leakages, check the joints and adjust the tightness of the brackets if need be.

Replace Home Furnace Filters

Filters are rated to be replaced every 90 days and this is something that a lot of home owners are not aware of. Furnace filters get clogged because of the dust in our homes and fur from our pets. Now before you head out to the nearest big box department store, look at the size of the furnace filter so you purchase the right one. A reputable online supplier such as Your Filter Connection carries hundreds of different furnace filter sizes and different efficiencies. A word of caution is to make sure you buy a filter that is rated to work with your HVAC system. Installing a hospital grade air filter could actually cause your furnace and air conditioning unit damage if it does not have a strong enough motor to push through denser filters.

Clean the Fireplace

One way to ensure that the fireplace will operate safely is through proper inspection. If you're using the fireplace during the cold days you need to clean it at least once every 365 days to avoid chimney fires. If you intend to do the cleaning and maintenance by yourself, it's best to have a professional do the initial inspection.

Inspect the Heat System

Speaking of the fireplace, it is also crucial that you inspect your house's heat system in preparation for the winter season. Address issues immediately and ensure that it can perform at its best so you won't be spending thousands of dollars on repairs in the future. Older models of heat systems that use gas are less efficient than newer units.

Albeit known for being the season for applie-picking, fall is also the best time to roll up those sleeves and get your hands dirty with home improvement projects. It's the perfect blend of hot and cold, plus the colors outside make it hard to resist working outdoors.

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5 Reasons to Add a Shed to Your Property

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You’ve got a beautiful home with a beautiful yard, but it’s not always easy to take care of, which means its curb appeal isn’t exactly telling about its true state.

With stressful deadlines and work leaving home projects piling up, your yard is the one that takes the brunt of the neglect; and while that tradeoff can’t be remedied immediately, there may be a solution that your home is ready for: a shed. If you have a decent sized yard and no shed, here are five reasons it’s time for you to finally put one in.

You Can Avoid Clutter

Your yard becomes the catchall for anything that doesn’t belong in the house. You have probably tried to keep everything in one place, organizing it as best you can so you can find each thing when you’re looking for it later, but items in the garage becomes items along the side of your home spilling into both the front and back yards.

In this case, a shed is an ideal solution. It can become a catchall that hides away ongoing projects, leaving your yard looking sharp and welcoming to your family and visitors.

You’ll Have More Storage

Becoming a homeowner means investing in a lot of maintenance tools and equipment that you probably didn’t anticipate purchasing. A shed functions as a great place to organize and store these things so they are easy to find the next time you need them.

It doesn’t have to be restricted to your lawn mower and hedge shears either. Store skis during the summer and during the winter, you can store bikes and tubes for floating the river.

You’ll Have Easy Access to Equipment

If instead of employing yard services like yardmasterservices.com your children are taking care of the yard work or you’re paying the neighbor’s boy to do it, having a shed gives your workers easy access to the tools they need.

They won’t have to pick through projects in the garage, move things so you can’t find them, or be dissuaded from their chores because of any extra work just getting ready to start working.

You Can Make Tools Last Longer

A major selling point for investing in a shed is protecting your tools, equipment, and other belongings that are too big or too dirty to score a place inside the house.

You’ll not only keep them safe from being stolen or taken without your permission, but they’ll be sheltered from the elements, preventing rusting and weathering that could mean replacing them sooner rather than later. It’s also a good idea to keep them out of sight of your children during regular play time so your children don’t get hurt and your tools aren’t damaged either.

You’ll Have a Designated Work Area

With so many projects going on, it can be hard to find a place to work that’s safe and quiet. Kids are always playing in the yard or riding bikes down the driveway, and working in the garage means moving the cars elsewhere.

Building a shed gives you a space where you can work without disrupting normal life activities, and if it’s time to close up shop for the day and you’re not quite finished, you don’t have to clean up everything just to get it out again later.

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How to overcome the biggest lighting mistakes that blight houses

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It’s widely regarded as one of the easiest ways to make a room look larger, yet if one casts their eye around homes around the country it will soon start to become clear that far too many people make mistakes with their lighting.

A well-lit room can be transformational, yet one in the opposite group can be completely devalued. As such, to ensure that you don’t fall into the latter category, let’s now take a look at some of the most common lighting mistakes that are made and help to make sure that you don’t commit them.

Mistake #1 – The fixture isn’t the right size

Fortunately, this first mistake can be easily rectified. In other words, it doesn’t relate to any form of technical knowledge, and it’s simply about appreciating what size light fixture you should be purchasing to match the rest of your room. If you have invested in something like Pagazzi ceiling lights, only to realize later down the line that they just aren’t proportionate to everything else in the room, it’s a complete waste to your space.

For example, if you have a gigantic dining room table and hang a small ceiling light over the top, it stands to reason that it’s going to border on the ridiculous. At the same time, a huge ceiling light over a tiny table will have the same effect. If we were to hone in on chandeliers, a common rule is making sure that they are a foot smaller than the table’s width.

Mistake #2 - Forgetting about the shadow effect

Another common mistake is forgetting about the shadows that lighting creates. For example, in the case of a kitchen, if the lights sit above the edge of the counter, a shadow will be created over the counter when you start to work on there. It’s in cases like this where you need to test exactly how the light reacts, as well as considering alternative means of lighting (such as under cabinet ones).

Mistake #3 – You ignore dimmer switches

Dimmer switches seem to have a bad name in some sources, which is surprising when you consider their power. This is one tool that you really should be looking to tap into the advantages of. They allow you to set the tone for an occasion, or even your mood. For example, having a room full of light for a quiet dinner is hardly appropriate – and is something that a dimmer can rectify pretty quickly.

Mistake #4 – You don’t consider the energy-factor

Finally, you might have installed the perfect lighting system and be completely happy with the end result. However, at the same time, it costs a fortune to run.

Nowadays, there is no excuse for spending a fortune on lighting upkeep. LED bulbs are now readily available and don’t have the prohibitive price tags that they once did. The energy savings here can be fantastic, although it’s worth mentioning that not all types of lighting is going to be suitable for this.

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The Five Cs of Hygge Decor: Clutter-Free, Canvas, Cotton, Candles, and Comfort

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The trend of Hygge (pronounced "hue-geh") is becoming more and more popular these days. More than strictly a home decor trend, Hygge represents the Danish way of life: joyous, carefree, and serene. This cozy way of living life includes a few key decor aspects designed to help you feel truly at home in your home. Each one of the five Cs — clutter-free, canvas, cotton, candles, and comfort — all represent an important aspect of Hygge decor.

Clutter-Free Surroundings

While Hygge decor is far from blank and soulless, it should never feel cluttered. Clutter will add to your stress levels, and the objective of Hygge is to provide a feeling of serenity and comfort.

If your beginning decor feels cluttered, start by clearing it up before you do anything else. Adding Hygge decor on top of clutter will only create more chaos and make you feel overwhelmed. The further down to the “bare bones” of the room you can get, the more successful you will be. Remember, you can always add more items later if the room feels too empty to you.

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Canvas and Visual Textures

The usual color schemes used in Hygge are neutral palettes, with visual interest being provided by textures rather than loud colors. This allows even subtle textures to be noticed and appreciated.

An easy way to add visual texture is by selecting artwork with rich canvas rather than glossy prints. You can add a deeper level of meaning to your Hygge decor by using a custom canvas art service such as Canvas Vows to create your own personalized canvas art, using the words or photos that mean the most to you.

Another way you can incorporate visual textures into your decor is through three-dimensional decorations, such as a vase filled with fresh flowers or delicate tree branches, or a hand-carved wooden bowl of fresh fruit. Natural textures are best for Hygge as they provide a connection to the balance of the natural world.

Cotton and Textures You Can Feel

In order to embrace the carefree and cozy lifestyle of Hygge, you need to feel snug and secure. Surrounding yourself with natural textures not only adds to the aspect of visual interest, but provides you with the important key feeling of comfort.

Decorate your seating and nooks with fluffy pillows and soft blankets, and consider a thick area rug for hard flooring. Choose fabrics that are a solid color rather than printed, and don’t be afraid to mix and match smooth cotton with chunky knits. If it’s something you would love to curl up in on a rainy afternoon, it belongs in your Hygge decor.

Try to stay with textures and materials that you enjoy, and avoid any that are itchy or uncomfortable.

Candles and Warm Glows

One aspect of Danish culture and the Hygge lifestyle includes cuddling with loved ones by the fireplace. As lovely as fireplaces are, unfortunately not all homes have them.

Not to worry, though! You can still embrace the warm radiance by utilizing candles in your decor. The soft, warm glow of candlelight provides a feeling of relaxation and romance that simply cannot be replaced with artificial light. You can light your favorite jar candles, decorate with candle lanterns, or even place candles in a (fire-safe) faux fireplace.

You can embrace Hygge decor a step further by replacing harsh, bright lights with strands of fairy lights. Using these lights provides a twinkling glow and offers a feeling of warmth and joy.

Comfort – The Hygge Atmosphere

The final C represents the atmosphere and overall objective of the Hygge lifestyle: comfort.

The calming neutral color scheme, the taking the time to notice textures, the soothing lighting — it all contributes to the feeling of comfort and ease you experience in your home.

In order to fully appreciate the atmosphere of your Hygge decor, spend some time embracing the lifestyle it represents.

So, enjoy your new surroundings. Throw on a soft robe or some yoga pants and kick off your shoes. Invite a few friends or family members over to catch up and reminisce. Curl up with a good book and a warm cup of tea. Who knows, with any luck, your decor will just be the first part of your life to become carefree and comfortable.

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10 Ideas for Your Kitchen Makeover

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The two questions to ask when thinking about renovating your kitchen are 'why' and 'how.' These questions will prompt you to look for answers, which, in turn, will cause you to reflect on a wide number of things from your opinion about aesthetics to the type of functionality you’re seeking.

By researching remodeling ideas and designs and by looking at plenty of photos online, you’ll get a fairly good idea about how to add the type of style and function you want. Take your time, of course, as it's never a good idea to make quick decisions when planning a kitchen makeover. Give yourself time to get inspired and to change your mind.

Here are 10 ideas to consider:

  1. In your quest for answers, you should read blogs on home improvement and visit websites like Gilmans Kitchen and Bath to get a deeper appreciation for the many design options available.
  2. One theme you’ll come across quite often are suggestions for choosing eco-friendly ideas. Until recent times, there was not much awareness about health hazards like volatile organic compounds, or VOC. These are organic chemicals that create high vapor pressure even at ordinary room temperature and can cause lung irritation. The use of the wrong paints and coats designed to beautify your kitchen may introduce VOC into your cooking space.
  3. You can make your food preparation area more attractive and functional by adding some subway tile backsplash.
  4. Don’t be in a hurry to replace your kitchen cabinets because they look old. If your cabinets are spacious and made of beautiful wood, you may not need to replace them to get a new look. You can save an enormous amount of money by simply adding a coat of fresh paint. Usually, neutral tones work best, as they create a clean look. With the right choice of paint, no one will even know that your cabinets aren’t new unless you tell them.
  5. When you walk into a modern kitchen, one of the things that jump out at you is the kitchen island. It’s warm, welcoming, and attractive, and it also adds utilitarian value. Islands are useful for meal-prep, for storing things, and for seating. Even if you have a small kitchen, there's probably an island that will work for you.
  6. Space is always a good thing in any room and one way to increase kitchen space while also improving storage is by adding shelves. They won’t take up as much room as upper cabinets, will make it convenient to store things, and will create the illusion that your kitchen is larger.
  7. Gorgeous countertops can add flair to your kitchen. Granite countertops, for instance, will give your kitchen a focal point and create a sleek, modern look-and-feel.
  8. If you haven’t bought new appliances for some time, you’ll be surprised at how much kitchen technology has improved. Modern appliances are not only far more attractive than what was available only a few short years ago, but far more energy-efficient, too. Your dishwasher will save more water and your range and microwave will give you perfect heat without the extra cost. All you need are a few black stainless-steel kitchen appliances to give your kitchen a futuristic appearance.
  9. Convert unused areas of your kitchen into usable space. If your kitchen has an empty corner, you can convert it into a nook, a place for quick snacks or enjoying a cup of tea or coffee. Accessorizing nooks can be as simple as adding a bench and a few plump cushions.
  10. It’s worth spending the money to create an eco-friendly floor that does not have toxic materials like formaldehyde. Although organic bamboo is actually a grass, it looks like wood and comes in attractive tiles.

In conclusion, think of these ten ideas as idea starters. It’s easy enough to get carried away and just focus on what looks good, but you’ll find it helpful to also consider the value of research, eco-awareness, and energy-saving appliances, among other things, when it comes to designing your dream kitchen.

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Small Decorations that Can Make a Big Difference in Your Room

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When working on the layout of a room, an interior designer has to take multiple factors into consideration. Whether working on a bathroom or a television room, you need to figure out how you can strike a balance between form and function. While comfort is undoubtedly an important aspect of any room in which you spend time, the aesthetics of the room and how the individual elements work together can be thought of as equally important. Your bedroom is where you sleep and maybe even work, which is why the way you decorate this personal space is crucial.

There is no denying the importance of the furniture in your bedroom. Mattress store shopping to find a mattress that fits your bedroom and is comfortable to lay on is obviously part of the process, but there are a number of other pieces you can incorporate to help bring your bedroom to life.

Furniture plays a big role in how a room looks but, after careful inspection, you may realize that there are plenty of smaller details that help put a room together,too. This article will dive into some of the ways you can decorate your room to make it a more pleasant place to be.

A Soothing Scent

When decorating your bedroom, it can be easy to focus on the big pieces you need to fill the room. A mattress to sleep on, a desk to work at, and an armoire for your clothes are all critical pieces you will need, but there is a lot more you can add to improve the room.

Incorporating more senses can enhance a room, making it more interesting and unique. What your bedroom looks like is important but paying attention to how it smells is also vital. A soothing and light scent that is not too overwhelming can truly tie a room together and make it that much more inviting. While heavier scents work well in larger rooms, like the television room or kitchen, stick to lighter scents, such as pine, mint, or chamomile, for the close quarters of your bedroom. Candles, incense, or oil diffusers with lighter scents add better accents to the room without giving you or your guests a headache.

A Hint of Nature

Another way you can decorate your bedroom is to add nature to it. Simply being in the presence of nature can boost your mood. Studies have shown how effective moving to greener urban areas or taking nature walks are for improving people’s mental health. Studies have shown that green plants can reduce stress, increase vitality, and put people in happier moods, simply by being nearby.

If you wish to add some color to your room and experience these calming effects, look into purchasing some small green plants you can place on your desk, by your nightstand, or anywhere else where you can easily see them. If you are concerned about not having enough direct sunlight in your bedroom, plants like the dracaena and the bromeliad both look great and can survive in the shade. If you do not want to worry about any kind of maintenance, some stores even sell fake plants that look real.

While introducing plants to your room can have soothing mental effects, it is also a very easy and cost-effective way to add a pop of color to your room. Your room will look and feel fresher immediately.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, decorating your room can feel like an overwhelming and stressful task. Since you may spend a good amount of time in your room sleeping or working, you want to make sure the room is comfortable but also reflects your personal style. Thinking about the smaller design decisions, such as what color to paint the walls, which accessories to include, or how to arrange everything can be just as important as the actual furniture pieces you choose to put in the room.

Aiming for a layout that looks and feels nice is important, which is why you cannot ignore the small details that can complete a room. Ultimately, this may require some more creative thinking but finding the right elements to enhance your bedroom will be worth money and effort.

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