(BPT) - As homeowners look for ways to refresh their spaces, Scandinavian style has become ever more prominent and popular among designers and interior décor experts. The clean, modern, minimalist aesthetic shows up in interiors and exteriors — from streamlined furniture to low-maintenance landscaping. Here’s how to achieve a Nordic look in your own home:
“Slow design” and minimalist décor are perhaps the most common association with Scandinavian style. Less is more when it comes to decorating, and the concept of “slow design” focuses on fewer, higher quality pieces collected over time.
Melding indoors and out: Scandinavian style incorporates materials that bring the outdoors in — natural woods, slat walls, leather accents and greenery. “Cottage culture” architecture style draws on these influences and makes interiors feel like cozy cabins in the woods.
Another key aspect of Nordic style is hardworking, functional furnishings. A piece can be beautiful and have utility — like eye-catching shoe racks and shelving, or built-in bed storage that creates a unique frame.
Scandinavian style incorporates cool, natural tones of whites, grays and light browns. Pale wood and whitewashed floors create a clean, spacious look. That look can be achieved with oak and maple styles, as well as wood-look tiles and laminates with wood graining. Retailers like Lumber Liquidators, which regularly publishes seasonal trends reports, have an array of cool-toned flooring options to choose from, such as Dream Home X2O Misty Morning Oak, a water-resistant laminate with a soft seashell tone and realistic oak graining.
If homeowners want to be on trend with Scandinavian style in their home, the key is updating with clean, modern and light-toned accents. Functional furniture will help you organize your space and efficiently use the room. Finish off the room with sunny wood-grain flooring and your Nordic look is complete.
(BPT) - Teenagers are at a point in their life where they are looking to make their own mark and find their own space. You want to give it to them, but as you start considering renovation ideas, how do you create a space your teen will appreciate?
The Boys & Girls Clubs of America knows all about satisfying the needs of teenagers from all walks of life, and since 2009, they have partnered with Lowe's to renovate clubs to ensure they are safe and inspiring places for youth. In 2016, the two organizations expanded their partnership with Renovation Across the Nation, a $2.5 million initiative to renovate one club in each of the 50 states. This year the program will provide $50,000 each to 50 additional clubs — one in each state.
Many clubs that receive this money use it to update their facilities for today’s teens so they have a desirable place to spend time after school. As they plan for the renovations, they get input from teen members and have learned some helpful insights about what teens look for in their own space. You can use these tips as well in your own home renovation project to create a space your teen will love.
* Make it a colorful, distinct area. Teens desire their own space where they can retreat and feel inspired. Paint the room with bright, vibrant colors that add a youthful vibe and select accessories with pops of color you can swap out as their tastes or trends change.
* Incorporate creativity. Giving teens access to items like art supplies, camera equipment and musical instruments encourages them to tap into their passions. Pay attention to what they’re interested in and make sure it has a place in their new space.
* Technology is key. Teens are used to having technology at their fingertips. Flat screens, charging stations and computers are tools that help them explore the future and are key to inspiring innovation. Find ways to infuse new technology, such as mood lighting, into the space to make it feel extra comfortable and cool for your teen.
* Create an environment for studying. Teens need a space that helps them focus on studying. Warm lighting and comfy chairs or bean bags help create a quiet, welcoming space for them to relax and learn. Create a homework station and your teen will have everything they need to stay organized and focused on their studies.
* Design a space they'll want to share with friends. As you're designing your space for your teen, be mindful of them inviting other teens over as well. If the space can easily handle multiple teenagers, it will be a place that can help them build new friendships or strengthen existing ones. At Boys & Girls Clubs, long tables encourage group activities, but in your teen's space it could be as simple as extra seating for their friends.
Creating a great space for your teen is possible by focusing on what makes them unique. Make the space personal and functional with these five tips, and you’ll create a space that your teenager, and their friends, can’t wait to enjoy.
To learn more about the Renovation Across the Nation grants program and in-store donation opportunities to support Boys & Girls Clubs of America at Lowe’s stores, visit BGCA.org. To find products and materials to renovate a room for your teen, visit Lowes.com.
If your favorite room is outdated and dingy, a renovation may be all you need to make the old feel new and to fall in love with your home all over again. Upgrading your home can be a big job, and unless it’s part of a pre-move-in plan, few homeowners find it practical (or even possible, from a budget standpoint) to execute a large-scale project. However, tackling the updates one room at a time and focusing on small changes that bring big returns can put those overdue enhancements well within reach.
Small changes that add up to a big impact
(Family Features) If your favorite room is outdated and dingy, a renovation may be all you need to make the old feel new and to fall in love with your home all over again.
Upgrading your home can be a big job, and unless it’s part of a pre-move-in plan, few homeowners find it practical (or even possible, from a budget standpoint) to execute a large-scale project. However, tackling the updates one room at a time and focusing on small changes that bring big returns can put those overdue enhancements well within reach.
Also consider upgrades that can increase natural light and fresh air without compromising privacy, such as the addition of skylights to your ceiling, or “fifth wall,” which can completely change the lighting dynamic of the room. In addition to balanced, natural light, skylights like those from Velux can open to help refresh your space and keep it odor- and moisture-free.
Which Skylight is Right?
Electric skylights are wired into your home electrical system and open and close via a radio frequency, touch-screen remote control.
Manual skylights open with a hand lever; a control rod is generally available for out-of-reach installations.
For extra style and light control, consider complementing the room’s decor with skylights featuring colored blinds, which are available in more than 100 colors and styles, and also offer remote control operation for convenience in raising and lowering the blinds and opening skylights to let in fresh air. Learn more about making the fifth wall part of your renovation plan at whyskylights.com.SOURCE:
(BPT) - We all know that one person who just adores cleaning. But for the rest of us, it's a necessary evil that gets old very quickly!
Before you tackle that long list of spring cleaning tasks, try some of these cleaning hacks designed to make these chores faster and easier. When cleaning is fun and even effortless, you’ll feel more energized and gain the momentum you need to knock out your list of chores. Afterward, your house will sparkle from top to bottom, which is its own reward!
1. Find smarter tools
Throw out the messy bucket and mop and reach for a smarter floor solution that's efficient and fun to use. For example, the O-Cedar EasyWring Spin Mop & Bucket System has a built-in wringer that offers superior moisture control of the mop, which makes it safe and easy to use on all hard floor surfaces — even hardwood! The hands-free wringer requires a simple press of the foot pedal to easily spin out the water and help finish the job with less mess and faster drying times.
2. Try natural solutions
Commercial cleaning solutions can add extra costs to your deep cleaning session, not to mention the harsh chemicals can leave behind unpleasant odors. Why not experiment with everyday pantry items? These often cost less and are just as effective in their cleaning power.
A simple solution of warm water and vinegar removes built-up grime from your floors, while leaving a clean, rinse-free finish. Just add a half cup of distilled white vinegar to a gallon of warm water and start mopping.
If you dislike the smell of vinegar, add a couple drops of your favorite essential oil — the fresh scent will be like a small reward!
3. Shortcut to shining windows
If you want streak-free mirrors and clean windows without the hassle, Cas Aarssen, author of “Real Life Organizing: Cleaning and Clutter-Free in 15 Minutes a Day” and the YouTube channel ClutterBug, has this expert tip: Add a teaspoon of cornstarch to your favorite glass cleaner and shake until dissolved. Cornstarch improves the cleaning power of the solution and makes streaks a thing of the past, so you’ll get the job done more quickly.
4. Use a cleaning method that also protects
Aarssen has an easy tip that will not only shine up your kitchen appliances, it will repel fingerprints and food splatters often left behind. Just spritz on a little wood furniture polish and rub in with a soft cloth until the surface shines like new.
5. Clean up top
Dust can collect on those high, hard-to-reach places, such as decorative molding and ceiling fans, making cleaning day more difficult. To clean your ceiling fan without showering dust bunnies everywhere, an old pillowcase is your best tool. Spritz the inside of the pillowcase with a vinegar and water solution and slip it over the blades of the fan, pulling it back to trap the dust.
For those tough to reach moldings and corners, use a sturdy rubber band to wrap a microfiber cloth around the end a broom, and give those hard-to-reach areas a clean sweep!
Spring is a time of renewal and revitalization, but it’s hard to appreciate all the invigorating aspects of spring when your home still bears months of winter dust and dirt. Tackle your living space room-by-room for a spring clean that will leave you and your home refreshed and ready for a new season.
Make Spring Cleaning a Cinch
(Family Features) Spring is a time of renewal and revitalization, but it’s hard to appreciate all the invigorating aspects of spring when your home still bears months of winter dust and dirt. Tackle your living space room-by-room for a spring clean that will leave you and your home refreshed and ready for a new season.
Once all your cleaning is complete, take a few extra steps to make your home feel extra fresh and clean. On a warm day, throw open the windows to let the fresh breeze chase away stale winter air and add lightly scented candles throughout the house for a home that smells as inviting as it looks. Find more advice to make spring tasks simple at elivingtoday.com.
Don’t Lose Your Natural Stone’s Luster
It’s important to understand the shine on granite and other natural stone is not from applying a wax, but a natural shine that reflects a rigorous process.
After being quarried from the earth’s surface, these stone blocks are taken to a factory for processing. The next step is a polishing line. It’s this factory finish that enhances the inherent characteristics of natural stone – the veins, swirls and crystals. From there the slabs are bundled and shipped to local stone manufacturers and installers to be cut to a homeowner’s specifications.
Once installed, you can maintain that luxurious factory finish with these tips from the experts at Granite Gold.
Clean often. Even miniscule particles could have a detrimental effect on your natural stone. However, it’s important to avoid common cleaners and abrasives as they can break down the protective seal and dull the natural finish, and result in expensive repairs. Also avoid using an abrasive scrubbing pad, which may leave unsightly scratches. Rely on scrubbing pads designed specifically for natural stone or look for “non-scratch” on the packaging.
Seal frequently. Frequently sealing natural stone surfaces maintains maximum surface protection, penetrating stone surfaces to provide superior, long-lasting resistance to staining, etching and soil buildup. It’s easy to test when to reseal. Pour water (about 3 inches in diameter) on the surface and let it sit for 30 minutes. If the water beads, then the stone remains sealed. However, if a dark mark or ring is created by the water, it is time to reseal. Be sure to repair any etching or stains before the sealant is applied.
Polish regularly. Polishing not only brings out the stone’s natural beauty, it reinforces the protective seal and provides ongoing protection against water spots and fingerprints. One time-saving but effective solution after sealing is Granite Gold Clean & Shine, which provides the cleaning power of the line’s Daily Cleaner and the luster from the Polish in one easy-to-use formula.
You can find the products nationwide at Walmart, Lowe’s, Home Depot, Bed Bath & Beyond and Amazon; check the product locator at GraniteGold.com.
Photos courtesy of Getty ImagesSOURCE:
(BPT) - Open floor plans, mini-mansions, micro homes — some home design styles and elements shift with the currents of consumer tastes. However, others stand the test of time because they’re enduringly useful. Attics or lofts, for example, are a staple of American home design, remaining in demand even as the way we use them has evolved.
In bygone eras, attics served largely as storage space — but those were the days before the growth of the self-storage industry. Modern homeowners can stash their stuff outside their home, opening up a range of other possible uses for their attics, from master suites, extra bedrooms or home office to workout rooms and craft centers.
Homeowners are as eager as ever to convert attics, and the trend isn’t limited to people buying older homes. Many builders are incorporating attics into new construction to please buyers who want the flexibility of finishing the space as they like later on. If you’re considering an attic conversion, here are a few pointers to keep in mind:
Light from above
Some attics are constructed with windows, others have none. Whether your attic has a small window or solid walls, skylights and roof windows are the go-to choice for bringing natural light and fresh air into an attic space. The direct access to the roof means it’s easy to add no-leak skylights like those made by Velux America. Energy Star-qualified, solar-powered, fresh-air skylights provide ample natural light, privacy (an advantage in bedrooms and bathrooms), and ventilation (also great for bathrooms and kitchens). Programmable remote controls make it simple to open and close fresh-air skylights, and to operate solar-powered blinds that allow you to decide just how much or how little light enters the room.
Skylights are a great aesthetic fit for attics too, and can help large or small attic spaces feel brighter and bigger. JoAnne Haynes, project designer for the O’More College of Design Alumni Show House, utilized skylights for the attic conversion on that project and says that it was an amazing transformation. “It went from a dark, black, unusable space to a wonderful, well-lit multi-purpose room.”
Adding skylights to your attic conversion is a cost effective way to upgrade both the appearance and functionality of the space. The latest solar-powered models, which close automatically in case of rain, along with solar-powered blinds, are eligible for a 30 percent federal tax credit on the products and installation costs. To learn more, visit www.whyskylights.com.
Bedrooms and bathrooms are things of beauty
With more families housing multiple generations under the same roof, additional bedrooms and bathrooms are popular objectives of attic conversions. Homeowners with very large attics can convert the space into a dream master suite, complete with a spacious bedroom and full bathroom.
If your home already has a great master, or if your attic space is more modest, you can still convert even a small attic into an extra bedroom or a half bath.
According to Remodeling Magazine’s Cost vs. Value Report, a master suite addition recoups more than 64 percent of its cost when you resell the home. A bathroom addition returns more than 56 percent of your investment.
Homeowners are getting inspired about attics
While extra bedrooms and bathrooms are a great way to use attic space, they’re by no means the only ones! If you have all the bedrooms and baths you need, you can still benefit from an attic conversion to increase your home’s functional living space. Whether you’re adding a family room, workout space, home theater or craft room, that unused space in your attic is the perfect way to create a specialty space without giving up any other room in the house.
Your decorating options are as unlimited as your imagination, too. Some homeowners choose to take advantage of an attic’s naturally rustic look, and leave ceiling beams exposed. Others work within the limitations of a low-ceiling attic to create cozy, right-sized playrooms or bedrooms for kids. Still others put a creative twist on the attic’s original function — storage — to move their wardrobes out of their master suites, allowing them to reclaim walk-in closet space for other uses.
Americans have been finding value in attics for generations. If your attic is currently serving as storage space, it may be time to clean it out — and start envisioning the many ways you can brighten and freshen up the space to work better for your family and lifestyle.
Get a Fresh Look with Easy Furniture Updates
(Family Features) When you grow bored with your furnishings or want to change up the look and feel of a room, you may find yourself trying to put off redecorating until you have a bigger budget. Instead, you can give the furniture you already have a unique, fresh look at a fraction of the cost.
These projects from the crafting experts at Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores show how easy it can be to transform a tired old desk or a basic dining chair into one-of-a-kind pieces that complement your space perfectly.
Chalk Acrylic Paint Desk
Sitting Pretty Painted Chair
Supplies and Tools:
Find more ideas for crafty ways to update your furnishings at joann.com.
(BPT) - While many can only dream of the day they’ll retire, for baby boomers, that dream is quickly becoming a reality. By the year 2030, approximately 20 percent of Americans are expected to be age 65 or older, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. But retirement doesn’t necessarily mean relocating to a senior community. More and more, adults choose to “age in place,” remaining in their current home, even after retirement. Here are a few ways to add extra convenience today — and ensure a safe home in the future.
Change up common areas
When thinking about the long-term, start with the layout. In a perfect world, it’s ideal to have all the key living spaces — bathroom, kitchen and bedroom on the first floor. If your home wasn’t built with a first-floor bedroom or bath, and stairs have to be a part of your plan, install no-slip strips on the edge of each stair to help limit trips and falls.
Next, make sure there’s plenty of room to move. Aim for doorways that are at least 32 inches wide, though 36 inches is ideal. Tight corners and doorways are a challenge for those with walkers or canes. For stress-free opening and closing, change out door handles from traditional knobs to lever handles for an easier grip.
Then, focus on the flooring. Installing carpeting can provide warmth and cushioning for you to enjoy now, and offers an added element of safety when it might be harder for you to maneuver around in the future. Choose a low pile carpet to minimize tripping — too much shag is a safety hazard. Area rugs are a major no-no, as unsecured rugs and loose carpet are one of the main causes for slips and falls. If you can’t bear the thought of losing your area rug, use carpet tape to secure it firmly to the floor.
Boost the bath
If you can only update one place in your home, make it the bathroom. The bathroom typically offers the most opportunities for injury. In fact, roughly 234,000 injuries occur annually in the bathroom alone, as stated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. An easy way to incorporate safety is to install grab bars. Today’s grab bars are stylish, fitting in seamlessly with your space, rather than seeming obtrusive and sterile. Install them near the toilet, (make sure you have a comfort-height commode for easy sitting and standing) as well as in the shower. Some models, like the corner shelf with grab bar from Moen, pull double duty adding an element of additional storage you can take advantage of immediately, providing room to store your shampoo, and will help keep you safe while entering and exiting the bath. Check out retailers like Lowes for a wide array of options that are fashionable as well as functional.
In the shower, a handheld showerhead, like the Magnetix Engage showerhead from Moen, is an ideal option for those who may want to be seated while they bathe. Engage with Magnetix is also handy for cleaning the shower, by eliminating bending and squatting which can be hard on your joints as you age. Finally, at the vanity, choose a faucet with lever handles — they’re easiest to grip and turn — and install sconces near the mirror for additional lighting.
In general, the most important advice for any room in your home is to think efficiently. Locate items that work together near each other to make tasks easier today, tomorrow and in the years to come.
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