Archive for the 'Home Decorating' Category

Dec 15 2009

Profile Image of Curtis Cadenhead

Live Green: 8 Earth-Friendly Ways to Celebrate the Season

Natural Christmas Decoration‘Tis the season to be jolly….and wasteful. A recent report stated Americans will create an extra 25 million tons of waste between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. Think about it. Wrapping paper filling trash cans. Light displays spiking electric bills. Trees jamming up landfills. And the list goes on. But THIS holiday season can be different. The following suggestions will help you change your habits and start a new tradition, celebrating the holidays in amazing earth-friendly fashion.

 

Turn Down the Amps – Leaving your holiday lights on 24 hours a day can significantly raise your energy bill. Use a timer for your light displays ensuring they are not left on all night. Also, when strands of lights wear out, replace them with LED lights which use about 90% less energy than standard mini-lights.

 

Candle Glow – The holidays are the perfect time to light up your home with candles. A decorative arrangement of tall and short candles in a room is usually enough to eliminate some, if not all, overhead lighting. Not only will you save electricity, but the candles will be part of your décor. Furthermore, with the heat from the candles and your own body heat, most rooms will warm up nicely over the course of an evening allowing you to lower the thermostat. The result – you’ll save on your energy bill. Remember to use caution around burning candles.

 

Use Natural Décor – Use locally grown items to decorate your home. Fill a basket with pinecones you collected at the park, and use it as a centerpiece on the dining room table. Snip a few branches from an evergreen bush or tree and create your own wreath for the door. Add pinecones and a bow or tuck citrus fruits into it for a pop of color. Make your own garland for the tree with popcorn, berries and nuts, for example.

 

Cut your Card List – Over 2.6 billing holiday cards are sold each year and most end up in the trash. Trim you card list by just a few recipients and send them an e-card instead. You’ll save on postage and reduce waste. When sending traditional cards, choose cards made of recycled paper. As for the cards you receive, cut them up, they will make great gift tags for next year.

 

Trim Creatively – There is no need to buy all new tree trimmings every year so you can have a new holiday look. Instead, create homemade ornaments. Make popcorn and cranberry garland or pinecone ornaments. Better yet, swap decorations with a friend each year. You’ll always have a fresh look.

 

Consider Alternative Gift Wrap – With so much wrapping paper ending up in the trash each year, use your imagination. Wrap gifts with other items like a colorful blanket, a furry scarf, a T-shirt. Anything that covers your package can work as gift wrap. Or, have your kids decorate used brown paper grocery bags. Put gifts inside the bags and staple them shut. As for the gifts you receive. Open them carefully saving the paper for next year’s wrapping.

 

Reuse Trimmings – Place a container in the middle of the room. Ask everyone to put bows, boxes, gift bags, and ribbons in the box for use next year.

 

Recycle – Face it. Gifts come with lots of wrapping and packaging. As you open gifts, recycle what you can, plastic, paper, cardboard, etc. Don’t stop there. Recycle your tree as well. Check with your local government or municipality. Some places recycle trees into mulch, others use them for animal habitats in parks and lakes. However you choose to recycle your tree, do it responsibly. Make sure all ornaments, hooks, tinsel and light strands are removed. Artificial trees can be recycled too. If you’re tired of your artificial tree, donate it to a church, community center, shelter or another place that decorates for the holidays.

 

The holidays are exciting, fun, and they are major waste makers. Now is the time to do your part and start changing the holidays for the better. These environmentally-friendly holiday tips will get you started.

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Dec 09 2009

Profile Image of Curtis Cadenhead

Tips: Decorating your House with Christmas Lights

Christmas LightsNow is the time for people everywhere to get into the holiday spirit. One of the most common ways is by hanging decorations, more specifically decorating homes and yards with Christmas lights. An exterior display of Christmas lights can range from a simple strand of white lights wrapped around the front porch rail to an elaborate display of multi-color lights decking the home and landscaping. No matter how you plan to decorate the outside of your home with lights, these tips will help you hang your holiday lights with less hassle.

 

1.    You will need a ladder, measuring tapes, hooks/light clips, holiday lights, extension cords, a hammer, and an assistant.

2.    Have a plan. Sketch the outside of your house and determine what you want to decorate – the gables and eaves, the windows, porch rails and columns, bushes, every tree branch. Indicate locations of available outlets on your sketch. Measure and label the width and depth of your house. Have your assistant record the measurements. Measure the height of bushes and trees.

3.    Figure out how many lights you will need. Most come in lengths of 25-200 lights. Professionals recommend figuring about 50 lights per foot of height for bushes. If you are using miniature lights, double the number. Decide on a color scheme for your lights and whether you prefer solid, blinking or chasing lights.

4.    Purchase and test lights. Choose lights rated for outdoor use. They are usually more weather resistant and larger and bolder making them stand out against your house, garage and landscaping. Test every string of lights before you hang them. There is nothing more frustrating than hanging the lights and turning them on only to find some of the bulbs do not work.

5.    Hang the lights. Securely place hooks or light clips at regular intervals under the eaves of your home so your lights will not droop. Hang them one strand at a time making sure the strands are tightly connected. You may want to wrap/seal them with electrical tape to help keep rain and snow out. Your assistant will be key at this time holding the ladder, helping hold the lights, etc.

6.    Light trees and bushes. Wrap tree trunks and branches with lights. Wind or zigzag lights throughout each bush. Wrap lights around trellises and other landscape features.

7.    If you need to run extension cords, tape them down so no one trips on them.

 

 

Additional Safety Tips

 

1.    Hang lights on a dry day. It reduces the chance of electrical shock and slipping on the ladder.

2.    Be sure to use lights rated for exterior use. Interior lights are night designed to withstand the elements such as snow and rain.

3.    Use multiple outlets to reduce the load on a single outlet.

4.    Use plastic light clips or hooks. They are much safer for the wires than nails or a staple gun and easier to remove.

5.    Check wires for damage to insulation. Throw away any that are damaged. It is not worth risking a house fire just because you tried to save a couple bucks on cheaply manufactured lights. 

 

 

Think Green

 

1.    Purchase LED lights. They use 80-90% less energy than traditional incandescent lights and some can last up to 20,000 hours. They are also cool to the touch.

2.    Put your holiday lights on a timer. This way you won’t forget to turn them off before bed, and you will save energy by not keeping them lit all night. Besides, there aren’t many people out looking at holiday lights at 3:00 AM anyway.

 

With these helpful tips, you are on your way to hanging Christmas lights outdoors safely, spreading holiday cheer and doing your part for the environment.

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Oct 15 2009

Profile Image of Curtis Cadenhead

Decorating Tips for Any Room

Filed under Home Decorating

House Plan 025H-0164Decorating all of the rooms in your new house can be a bit overwhelming. Should you start with a color scheme, a piece of artwork that you love or choose the furniture pieces first? With so many different decorating styles, themes and personal tastes, there really is no specific flow when it comes to decorating an entire room from start to finish. However, these decorating tips and ideas will help get you started.

 

·         If the room has a focal point such as a fireplace, flat screen TV or array of windows with a fantastic backyard view, start with the focal point. Determine the key pieces of furniture you will need and how you will arrange them to complement or take advantage of the focal point.

·         If the room does not have a focal point, you should start with the main furniture pieces you’ll need for the room. Consider each piece’s form and how you need it to function.

·         When picking out furniture, keep in mind that it will be a lot easier and less expensive to freshen up or update the room by swapping out accent pieces rather than buying all new furniture so you may want to choose furniture pieces that can mix and match with various styles.

·         Your furniture will set the style and mood of the room. The fabric, wood finishes and chrome/metal/glass accents will help you determine a color scheme.

·         If you have a particular accessory that you want to include in a room, the accessory may help determine what style of furniture you choose. A modern painting might lend itself to a black leather couch while an antique vase might lend itself to a pair of elegant armchairs with wooden legs. Maybe you have a brightly colored ceramic bowl that you’d like to display in the dining room. Look for a dining set that offers seat covers in a color that complements the bowl.

·         There is an endless supply of paint colors available to complement the fabric and wood finishes of your furniture, so think about your furniture style, colors and finishes when selecting paint.

·         There are no rules about what pieces of furniture should match in a room. This is truly personal preference. If you prefer your end tables match the coffee table and sofa table that is your choice. If you like how a skirted couch looks with a club chair put them in the room together. Often mix matched furniture pieces make a room look lively and inviting.

House Plan 035H-0034·         Be aware of the size of your room and the size of the furniture you choose. If you have a big room or an open floor plan with plenty of walking space, an overstuffed sofa might fit in well. However, is you have a small room, stay away from the stuffed couches and chairs. Instead, try to include a smaller loveseat with a streamlined look that shows off your tastes.

·         Give a room character with windows treatments. If you want a rich, lush and elegant look, long heavy drapes will do the trick. For a light and airy feel, white or pastel color sheers will be just the right touch.

·         Incorporate lighting. How many lamps do you need? Do you need a floor lamp or table lamp? Will track lighting work? Consider recessed lighting or a spotlight to highlight the focal point of the room. Will a ceiling fan with lighting be practical and complement your decorating style?

·         Add accent pieces to the room. Incorporate various textures and patterns. Consider a woven rug and a wooden end table, floral print and solid throw pillows, wicker baskets, pillar candles resting on small round or square mirrors, silk or beaded lampshades, etc.

 

These helpful decorating hints will help get you started decorating your new home. But before you make any purchases, you may want to consult an interior designer or browse some decorating magazines and websites for more ideas.

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May 13 2009

Profile Image of Curtis Cadenhead

Not Your Ordinary Home Office

Filed under Home Decorating

Home Office Space

If you plan to work from home in your new home office, perhaps you’ll want it to a have a look that is a little more personal than your cubical or office at the corporate worksite. All it takes is a little creativity and you’ll have an office that inspires and motivates you while reflecting your personality. Consider these tips as you furnish and decorate your new home office.

 

  • Stray from the humdrum of neutral colors you are used to in a typical office like beiges and grays. Incorporate a couple colors that pop like bright reds, blues and oranges or whatever your favorite colors might be. Include these colors in accent pieces such as the fabric of your office chair, an area rug, curtains or even an artistic pot for your favorite plant.
  • Do away with typical plastic organizational items like bins and tubs. Incorporate more texture by using wooden trays and woven baskets.
  • Opt for wicker baskets that slide into wooden cubbies to store files instead of a standard metal filing cabinet.
  • Add texture and pattern to room painted with solid color walls. Back a bookshelf with patterned wallpaper or a favorite piece of fabric. Cover a coffee can with wrapping paper and use it to hold pencils and pens. A cork board is easily transformed into a functional piece of art by covering it with a fabric sample and adding a frame before hanging it on the wall.
  • Replace ordinary drawer pulls and handles with a fun design or something painted in your favorite hue.
  • Choose office furniture with a rich wood grain instead of that old metal office desk. If wood isn’t your thing, consider a steel framed desk with a glass top for a more retro look.
  • Don’t forget lighting. Lamps and fixture come in such a wide range of styles, colors and sizes that it is easy to let your personality shine through with a carefully selected lamp and shade or mounted fixture. Just make sure the lighting you choose is functional too.

 

If your office is going to be part of your new home it should show off who you are and more importantly, it should feel like it is part of your home instead of just another cubicle in an office building. Following these tips will help make your office part of your home and also provide a place in which you are comfortable, inspired and ready to work.

 

For more information about creating a personalized home office, check out Creating the Perfect Home Office Space. 

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