Showing posts with label Home Decor. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Home Decor. Show all posts

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Six Easy Christmas Tree Alternatives

Alternatives to Standard Christmas Trees


There are alternatives to putting up a fully decorated Christmas Tree. When time, health or motivation gets in the way of decorating the way you used to, check out these options:

1. Christmas Tree Art Drapes

You have to check these out; they're gorgeous. These drapes are full floor to ceiling curtains featuring 3D holiday scenes. The entire drapes are an art canvas, except instead of being on canvas, the art is on cloth. If you have a large window or sliding patio door, remove your existing drapes and put these up for the holidays. 

2. A Tabletop Christmas Tree

A tabletop tree is the easiest way to bring a little cheer into your home during the holidays. One of ReviewThisReviews writers, Dawn Rae, provides several creative suggestions here. Of course, tabletop trees can also be used to accessorize a fully decorated home. They also make an excellent hostess gift.

3. Freestanding Cardboard Christmas Trees
When you need a simpler
decorating plan

Of course, this particular choice is better utilized as party decor. However, there are several ways to incorporate cardboard trees into the home. For those who like to feature multiple trees but don't have the energy to go all out, these fun designs are an alternative. Also, you can use them as a way to add a safe festive feel to a child's room or playroom. 

4.  Christmas Tree Wall Decals

If you have a little more energy and enjoy decorating the walls, then you'll love this idea. Wall decal Christmas Trees are a fun way to add festive art to a room. When the holidays are over, simply remove them. Since they have more of an artsy animated look to them, they're ideal in a room where the kids tend to gather, even their bedroom. How nice would it be to read holiday bedtime stories with a fun Christmas Tree decal front and center in the little one's bedroom?

5. Pull Up Christmas Trees

These are an absolute must for people who don't have time for anything elaborate during the holidays! They fold completely flat into a storage bag. You may have to buy the storage bag separately. When the holiday season rolls around, unzip the bag and pull up the pre-lit, even pre-decorated Christmas Tree. That's right, most of them come fully decorated. A couple of these trees will eliminate a ton of work yet still give your home or office that lovely holiday feel.

6. Christmas Trees or Decor Featured on a Rug

If the wall, a tabletop, or draperies are out of the question, how about a bit of the holiday spirit on the floor? These holiday-themed area rugs feature various scenes that you can easily incorporate into your home. The nice thing about a carpet is the ease of taking it out and putting it away. Feature a festive rug in your foyer, one in the kitchen or living area, and add a small table-top tree or Christmas tree ornament, and your decorating is finished. You've decorated without a lot of effort. With a rug, there are no boxes to unpack or carry; store it in a closet or under a bed until the season is upon us.

As we get older, decorating the way we used to can become challenging. Our hearts may want to go all out, but our bodies won't let us. So don't hesitate to seek out something easier that works for you and your life. These days, there's something beautiful about going 'small.' It's like getting back to the basics and focusing on what Christmas is really about; love.



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Sunday, November 10, 2019

10 Reasons to Consider a Combination TV Stand and Fireplace

Electric Fireplace TV Stands

Even though we have a gas fireplace in our family room, we've had a combination electric fireplace tv cabinet for several decades. The photo on this page is the actual unit we purchased. 

Ten Reasons to Consider a TV Electric Fireplace Cabinet:

1. A Secondary Heat Source

Currently, this unit is in my office. The room gets chilly in the winter, so this solves that problem. Of course, it houses a TV as well, which is ideal on those days I prefer to work while watching the tube. 

2. To Save Space

If you'd like both a fireplace and a TV in the room but don't have space for it, you'll want to consider a unit like this. They come in various shapes, sizes, and designs, so you're sure to find one that ties into your existing decor.

3. To Add a Fireplace Where None Exists

If your home or apartment doesn't have a fireplace, it's the ideal solution; you add to
Electric Fireplace TV Stand
in my office
the ambiance, decor, and practicality with one piece of furniture.

4. To Warm Up a Finished Basement/Recreation Room Area

Often times finished basements don't have or can't have a gas fireplace. An electric fireplace solves the problem. It brings additional heat in the room, provides extra storage and of course, is a place for the TV.

5. When You Move, Take it With You

Renters, in particular, benefit from moveable TV Fireplace Stands. Now you don't have to eliminate apartments without fireplaces; just add one of these units, and you'll achieve that cozy feel you're seeking.

6. It's Easily Relocatable

We've had our fireplace tv stand in multiple places in our home over the years. In fact, it was in our master bedroom for over five years before we moved it to my office. Previous to that, it was in the living room. 

7. Add a Gaming System to the Stand

Some tv fireplace stands come with enough room to hook-up a gaming station. In our particular unit, there's a Play Station attached to the TV for kids and grown-ups alike. On the side of the unit are glass doors where we place the controllers and games.

8. Extra Compact Storage Space

Some units come with cupboards and others with convenient storage areas. At the bottom of this article you'll see a link to a page that features various designs and styles; take a look at all the choices.

9. A Fireplace Remote

Ok, pretty much all electric fireplaces come with a remote control. However, it's especially convenient when you're in bed, on the couch or at your desk, and need the heat on! Reach for the remote and start-up your fireplace.

10. It's A Lot More Affordable than Installing a Fixed Fireplace

Although the prices of fireplace tv stands vary from lower to higher ranges, they're less expensive than hiring a contractor to install a gas or electric unit.

Various Designs and Styles

Unfortunately, I can't give you a link to the fireplace unit in our home as it's been there for decades. We've never had a problem with it either. It certainly was worth the money. It cost us approximately $1200.

However, I did put together a collection of various designs and styles from multiple stores. You'll notice there's a broad range in prices, colors, and styles to fit just about any decor theme.


Just a reminder, if you have little kids or pets, don't let them touch the fireplace! Like any fireplace unit, gas, or electric, it gets hot!

Stay Warm



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Monday, November 4, 2019

How to Have Warm Feet at Night

I hate cold feet when I go to bed almost as much as I hate sending a large amount of money to the local utilities company. This creates a dilemma in cold climates. I will review my cost saving solution to going to to bed with warm feet. 


Reviewing how to have warm feet in bed.

The nights have turned cold and I dread turning on the furnace. I don't mind living in a cooler environment but I can't stand crawling into a cold bed. It takes forever for my feet to warm up on cold sheets. The solution is an electric blanket. If you have cold feet in bed, or have a partner that puts their cold feet on your warm feet in bed, this may be a helpful solution for you too.

In my drafty old apartment, it is far less expensive to use an electric blanket than it is to try to heat the entire apartment.  So every evening as I'm preparing for bed, I click on the electric blanket and turn the thermostat way down. By the time I crawl into bed, there is a warm, toasty spot for my feet.

I've tried electric blankets before but I got too hot when I was completely covered with a heating blanket. Perhaps you would prefer that kind of all-over warmth. If so, buy an electric blanket to match your bed size.

I tend to just have a problem with really cold feet at night. The rest of my body remains at a comfortable temperature at night. A throw-sized electric blanket just at my feet worked better for me than a full-sized blanket.

But since I'm a restless sleeper, the problem became a waded up blanket tangled around my feet.

When I began placing the throw-sized, sherpa-lined blanket under the fitted bed sheet, at my feet, all of my problems were solved. The electric throw remained exactly where I placed it. The cord with the control is long enough to reach the outlet and be easily accessed. My feet stayed toasty warm but not too hot (I'm starting to feel like I'm Goldilocks, looking for the bed temperature that's not too cold, not too hot, but just right!)
plush faux fur throw

And best of all, I pay a much lower bill to the utilities company when I'm not trying to heat my drafty apartment and half of the great outdoors. It is a small way to help my finances and to decrease my impact on the environment. And every little bit helps in both of those areas.

Winter is coming in the US. If you don't like to be cold but don't want to give your entire paycheck to the utilities company, consider using an electric blanket and turning that thermostat down.





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Sunday, October 13, 2019

Hurricane Style Lamps - An Outstanding Vintage Heirloom Look

Hurricane Style Lamps - Vintage Heirloom Look
I've stayed a fan of unique lamp designs my entire life. Standard lamps, those we see just about everywhere, are lovely as well. However, there's something incredibly gorgeous about adding a lamp that's not like anything you typically see.

Unique lamps, especially those with a vintage feel, can fit with any decor, even contemporary. If your decor style is to bring amazing pieces into a room, vintage lamps, especially Hurricane Style Lamps, meet that criteria.

Back in the 1980s, when we purchased our second home, lamp selection was a meticulous process for us. I'll never forget the moment I noticed the outstanding, custom hand-blown glass Hurricane Lamp featured on this page. We purchased two, and they're still front and center in our home. No matter how often styles have changed, this design has stood the test of time.

What Are Hurricane Lamps
Hurricane Style Lamp
Custom Hand-Blown Glass

The oil lamp eventually became the Hurricane Oil Lamp invented by Francois-Pierre Aime Argand in 1780. The invention of the glass insert protected the flame from the wind and elements. Over the centuries, Hurricane Lamps progressed in design from oil to electric. 

However, a Hurricane Lamp describes the style of a lamp, and styles can vary. Glass designs and shapes can differ quite a bit. You'll notice when online shopping just how vast the choices are.

The lamps we purchased are similar to Quoizel Lamps. Their style, of course, is vintage Hurricane. They've worked in the main rooms of the home as well as the bedrooms. 

Over the decades they've traveled with us from home to home, and we plan to keep them in the family. They're quite substantial in size, approximately two and a half feet in height.

Where Can You Find Similar Hurricane Lamps

I haven't seen any that match ours. However, I have come across a Quoizel Lamp that is close in design. It's slightly smaller in size, but still lovely. You can view it here on Amazon.

Happy vintage ambient lighting!







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Friday, October 11, 2019

Anti Fatigue Comfort Floor Mat By Sky Mats Reviewed

Anti Fatigue Comfort Floor Mat by Sky Mats Reviewed
I would be the first to say, I am extremely surprised that these anti-fatigue mats actually work! 

When we visited our daughter a few weeks ago, she had several anti-fatigue floor mats in her kitchen.  One in front of her sink and one in front of the counter they use when preparing food. Honestly, I thought they were the latest gimmick to separate us from our money.  I stood on one of her mats and thought, "wow, this really is comfortable".

Back home, I promptly ordered two anti-fatigue mats for my own kitchen.  As soon as they arrived, they were immediately placed on the hardwood floor.  Since then, I have prepared two recipes that require a lot of standing time.  Shockingly, I did not hurt after standing for over an hour either time.


Anti-Fatigue Floor Mats By Sky Mats 


Make sure you buy the right brand!  I tried several in the local store and most of them slid to easily.  The Sky mats have a backing that holds them in place.  Plus, they have sloped edges.  Therefore, I won't slip and fall.  That non-slip backing is a huge difference when comparing anti-fatigue floor mats.

The Sky Mats are not available in a lot of different colors or patterns.  Getting hung up on "looks" is what caused me to consider a different brand.  I am so glad I tried them in the store first!  I knew I would prefer comfort over appearance. After all, the reason I need the mats is because of the extreme back pain I experience after standing on my hardwood floors for long periods of time.


Anti Fatigue Comfort Floor Mats by Sky Mats Reviewed

I purchased two different Sky Mats.  They are the same matching color, but they are different lengths.  As you can see in the photos, I have the standard size (20x32x3/4-inch) in front of my kitchen sink.  However, I opted for a longer (24x70x3/4-inch) that covers the area in front of my counter and stove top.  This is totally awesome!  I never have to leave my "cloud of comfort" when preparing, cooking, or cleaning.  Plus, the smaller mat is easy to lift and move if needed.

I enjoy cooking and always hated the subsequent aches and pains.  I no longer have to worry about hurting simply because I need to stand at the counter or stove-top for several hours. That makes the meal so much more enjoyable for me! 










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House of Sylvestermouse




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Sunday, September 29, 2019

5 Positive Energy Home Decor Ideas - Keep Your Home Calm to Carry On



There are multiple ways to encourage positive energy in your home. The most common technique is to implement Feng Shui principles. 

However, today we'll focus on simple positive energy decorating symbols to incorporate into everyday pieces.

1. Butterflies

Butterflies symbolize renewal, hope, transformation, spirituality, and growth. 

If you or other friends and family members survived challenging times, then to symbolize transformation, feature butterfly decor pieces. If larger items aren't your thing, add small decorative pieces such as butterfly mugs or candles.

For larger impact butterfly decor ideas, you could include a unique butterfly area rug or check out these incredible butterfly sheer drapes. They're gorgeous!

2. The Dragonfly

Like the butterfly, the dragonfly also symbolizes transformation. However, this symbolic transformation is usually in the area of spiritual and mental growth. 

When you want pieces that encourage the advancement of the soul, add dragonfly decor. Here are a few ideas; dragonfly throw blankets, pillows, wall art, and bedding. 

For an especially unique dragonfly piece, check out this colorful and gorgeous Tiffany Dragonfly Lamp!. 

3. The Lotus Flower

The Lotus flower represents sacred creation, divine birth and advancing spiritually. If you're trying to conceive, you may want to consider a gorgeous Lotus Bedding set. In fact, add Lotus items sporadically throughout the home. 

4. The Bluebird of Happiness

Yes, it really is an ancient symbol of cheerfulness, good health, and prosperity. When you'd like to enhance the mood in a room, include the bluebird of happiness in decor pieces. Since people gather in the kitchen and family rooms, that's an excellent place to feature the birdie. Display the bluebird in dishware, mugs, a wall clock, or this magnificent piece of wall art.

5. The Peony Flower

Peonies are the symbol of romance, a happy marriage, compassion, and wealth. To take advantage of these traits, feature Peony home decor items in the bedroom.

You've probably noticed that most of the symbols are intertwined in their meaning. However, there are differences. Use those subtle differences to determine which room each one belongs in.













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Sunday, September 22, 2019

How to Make Smaller Rooms Look Bigger


Whether you're selling your home or not, these essential design tips will help you make a smaller room seem bigger.

1. Put a Large Vertical Framed Mirror on the Wall

If you have the wall space, consider featuring an oversized mirror. With 8-foot ceilings, a mirror that's about 5 feet in height by 4 feet wide will make a powerful impact. Of course, the size will have to vary according to the space you have on the wall. The main point is that the mirror impacts the space by reflecting light, furnishings, and colors in the room. Wall mounting a heavy mirror may not be an option, especially for tenants; if that's the case, you can lean it up against a wall. Keep the area around it clear for maximum effect. Here's a free-standing mirror to give you an idea of the look.

2. Don't Block Windows and Doorways with Furniture

This can be a tricky task in a small room. However, put that thinking cap on and consider how to layout the furniture so that windows are left unobstructed. This is especially true for rooms with floor to ceiling windows, patio doors, and longer lower windows, as shown in the photo below.


Although the room featured in the photo below has high ceilings, it's still a small space. The design layout is ideal for the area as the couch, or other furniture doesn't block the window, helping to create an open feel.


3. Hang Your Drapes Floor to Ceiling

This technique is especially useful if your ceilings are standard height or a bit low. By bringing the drapes up to the ceiling, you help eyes to be drawn upwards, which in turn creates a feeling that the room is larger. Take another look at the above photo to see how the homeowners successfully accomplished this with their drapery position.

4. Don't Be Afraid to Add Larger Furniture Pieces

With a smaller room, the natural instinct is to shy away from larger furniture pieces. However, the opposite approach actually works better. Choose one, or maybe two at the most, large items rather than multiple smaller ones. Too many smaller pieces can make a room feel cluttered and disorganized.

5. Go Easy on Accessories

We all love pillows, throw blankets, decorated coffee tables and dresser tops, however, that's a recipe for creating a crowded feeling in a small room. Choose the items you prefer sparingly. Don't be afraid of putting one larger decorative piece on top of a cabinet or dresser. By limiting your decorative accessory choice to one impressive impact-piece, you keep the smaller items in that smaller room to a minimum.

So there you have five easy ways to help make your small room seem bigger. Let's review: 
  • Keep the windows open and clear
  • Use a large impressive vertical mirror
  • Install floor to ceiling drapes
  • Add one or two larger furniture pieces
  • Limit accessories
How to Make a Smaller Room Look Larger




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Sunday, September 15, 2019

4 Unconventional Ways to Create a Cozy Room for the Winter

Four Unconventional Ways to Make a Room Cozy

During the colder months, we begin to hibernate. With hibernation comes cozy blankets, hot cups of tea, movie nights and fireplaces.

If your home still has that open airy spring and summer feel but you'd like to create a cozy home environment for the winter, here are some easy ways to achieve that goal.

1. Add Drapes in Unexpected Places

Most of the time we think of windows when we think of drapes. However, drapes add depth, texture, and warmth to a room and do not have to be restricted to window dressing.

Do you have french doors or pocket doors that lead to another room? If so consider placing drapes over the doorway entrance. The draperies add another level of depth and coziness to both rooms or areas they cover. Instead of closing the doors, close the drapes, or leave them swagged open for a warming effect. Use a decorative curtain rod and install it close to the ceiling to keep the rooms feeling open and higher in height. Take a look at an elaborate example of this concept here.

Do you have a wall-to-wall bookcase or cabinet? If so, warm up the room by adding draperies in front of it. Swag them, pull them open, or close them. Either way, the effect will be lovely and warm and different. Again, keep the curtain rod at the ceiling level if possible.

One final tip, for the best effect, select heavier drapes with form and structure. Consider your decor. If your room needs more art and pattern, choose art drapes or patterned drapes. If your space is already filled with enough pattern, go with a contrasting or matching solid color.

2.  Layer the Lighting in a Room

Ambient lighting from multiple sources creates a relaxing, inviting, and warm feeling. If you have an overhead fixture or pot lights, put them on a dimmer switch so you can dim down the brightness. Also, don't forget that you can create mood lighting with your lamps by adding three-way bulbs.

Another lovely way to warm up a room is by using an essential oil diffuser that lights up. You'll not only get the benefit of aromatherapy you'll also get a lovely multi-colored low-level ambient light.

A Light-Box is another way to add ambient lighting warmth. This particular Light-Box is lovely and it's the kind of thing that keeps on giving. It features interchangeable quotes, sayings and celebration cards. It's not only soft lighting, but it also displays positive or festive messages.

3.  Add Faux Fur to a Room

There are a number of ways to add faux fur to a room:
  • The first is to strategically position a small faux fur rug on the floor or use a larger faux rug for spacious rooms. Here's a lovely bedroom featuring a sizeable faux fur white area rug.
  • Add one or two faux fur Ottomans. They come in several smaller stand-alone sizes and make a lovely soft warm accent to a room. Check out this contemporary room featuring two upholstered steel Ottomans. 
  • Place a small faux fur rug over the back of a chair, over an ottoman or on the back of a couch. It can also double as an item to use as an extra place to sit on the floor when needed. Check out what one looks like over the back of a chair
4. Create a Cozy Area for Family Game Night

Granted, most of us play board games at either the kitchen table, a coffee table or on the floor. If you're one of the lucky ones who can create a warm and cozy gaming area like this one, then you won't need to implement any of these suggestions:
  • Place multiple thick and lush floor cushions in a decorative spot so you can pull them up to the coffee table for family game night
  • For larger family rooms, add table and chairs to the room. Use chair cushions to soften the look then place your favorite family games in a basket under or near the table
  • If games will be played at the kitchen or dining room table, make it a warm and inviting experience by adding a standing popcorn machine, a basket with blankets in the corner to warm up with while playing, and a scoreboard to track the winners




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Sunday, September 8, 2019

7 Ways You Can Make the Ceiling Look Higher in a Room

7 Ways to Make the Ceilings Look Higher


1. Use Draperies to Create the Illusion of a Higher Ceiling

If you've longed for high ceilings but know the likelihood of that happening is slim to nil, use a visual trick with floor-to-ceiling draperies. Instead of putting the curtain rod directly above the window frame, place the curtain rod at ceiling height level. Install the rod on the wall or the ceiling, however, it's more common to see the rod on the wall. By having the drapes start at the ceiling, your eyes are drawn upwards giving the room the illusion of height.


2. Do You Have a Popcorn Ceiling with a Ridge?

When popcorn ceilings were popular, some were designed with a three or four-inch ridge of smooth drywall. If your home has this, paint that small ridge around the room the same color as the walls. Having this ridge painted draws the eye upward and gives the room the illusion of having a higher ceiling.
Simple Trick to Create the Feeling of a Higher Ceiling

3. Use Striped Wallpaper or Striped Painted Walls

Just like we wear stripes to create height, stripes on the wall do the same thing. If you're a fan of stripes there are several ways to introduce them into a room; on one wall, on all walls (whoa), or above matching or contrasting colored wainscotting.


4.  Furniture Should Be Low Profile and Add a Cabinet or Bookcase to Ceiling Height

Avoid using bulky furniture in a room where your goal is to create a feeling of height. Lower profile furnishings are smaller and provide more space between the ceiling and furniture thus giving the room an added sense of height.

Budget permitting, add an open bookcase or cabinet (not too bulky) that goes from floor to ceiling. Again, the bookcase draws the eye upwards and the low profile furniture provides the illusion of contrasting height.


5. Use High Gloss Paint on the Ceiling

Really? Yep. This one takes guts. First of all, you'll need a clean, smooth, flawless ceiling to work with. High gloss paint will create a beautiful reflection of the room below, which will, in turn, make the ceiling seem higher. However, if your ceiling isn't prepared properly, beware, because high gloss paint will show every flaw!

Do a bit of research before tackling this. The brave decorator will be happy to know, if done right this technique is outstanding and can make a room feel double in height.


6. Use Pot Lights or Flush Mounted Ceiling Lights

Flush mounted lights or pot lights help a room's ceiling feel higher. Lower hanging lights consume part of the space and thus feed the eye information that the room is standard or low height.


7. Yes, We're Finally at the Obvious One, Mirrors

First, let's talk about mirrors on the wall. If you can mirror an entire wall, bonus. In the first home we owned (decades ago), we used floor-to-ceiling wall-to-wall mirrors around the entry of our front door. We wanted the foyer to feel roomier.

During that time, smoked mirrored glass was popular, as was beveled glass. We used the beveled glass mirrors on one wall in the dining room, and smoked mirrors on the entire wall surrounding the front door. It worked beautifully. Although decorating trends have changed, you can still use this mirroring technique. Choose one wall in the room, and mirror the entire wall.

If using floor-to-ceiling wall-to-wall mirrors isn't an option, try clumping together three or more framed mirrors and placing them higher up on the wall. In other words, bring the eye upwards to those mirrors and position them so they'll reflect light and other parts of the room. They don't have to go to the top of the ceiling. Simply start higher up and work your way downwards.

Finally, yes, you can mirror the ceiling. If there's money in the budget, the designs and styles to choose from are practically endless. You may need a professional to tackle this project!







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Sunday, September 1, 2019

Understanding the Yin Yang Theory Relating to Home Decor

A Basic Understanding of the Yin Yang Theory

Opposing forces exist in all things. In ancient Chinese, this is known as the Yin Yang Theory. The whole cannot exist without both sides pushing and pulling towards or against each other. Nothing exists without its opposite. Easy life examples are light and dark, up and down, and hot and cold.

A Review of The Yin Yang Theory in Home Decor

Home decorating choices, like all things in life, will impact the energy flow in a space. The approach to a positive home environment is known as Feng Shui. Learning a few basics about Yin and Yang can help pre-plan a room.


What is Yin?

Yin is feminine energy, sometimes referred to as passive energy. Think of Yin as the calming and relaxing aspects of a room's design. Here are some typical examples of Yin energy as it relates to home decor:
  •  Calming music
  •  Soft color tones
  •  Simple water features
  •  Cozy blankets
  •  Ambient lighting
  •  Flowers
  •  Candles
  •  Eliminate clutter
  •  Peaceful wall art

What is Yang?

Yang is masculine energy, sometimes referred to as active energy. Think of the sleek, fun, movement side of life. Here's a shortlist of suggested items to consider in a room that needs the balance of Yang:
  •  Energetic music
  •  Windchimes
  •  Tall house plants
  •  Industrial decor items
  •  Rod iron pieces
  •  Metal wall art
  •  Angular architecture
  •  Concrete floors
  •  Large windows
  •  Natural light
  •  Bright lighting
  •  Large family table in the kitchen
  •  Cheerful colors
  •  Bold wall art
  •  People gathering in a space
  •  The laughter and fun of kids playing

Yin Yang Doesn't Need to Be 50/50

In other words, some rooms will lean toward Yin energy, like a bedroom, and others toward Yang energy, such as a kitchen or place where the family gathers.  

Even though a room doesn't need a 50/50 balance, in order for it to feel right, it still requires both Yin and Yang energy. 

For example, your bedroom should be a calm relaxing retreat and feature items that enhance those feelings. This means the bedroom will be designed with mostly Yin energy in mind. However, in order for the room to have a sense of balance, you'll still need some Yang energy. You could add a rug with brighter complementary colors, or bold furnishings with a masculine edge. If that's not your thing, try a few pieces of strategically positioned bold wall art.

Kitchens tend to work best with more Yang than Yin. A kitchen is usually the 'active' gathering place. Large windows, natural light, and cheery colors all help to bring a kitchen to life. Again, you'll still want some yin energy items featured. Soften the room with a lovely soft floral centerpiece. Since the scent of coffee or even the thought of it can be calming, create a coffee station in the kitchen, with cakes and cookies nearby. 


The Quick and Easy Way to Create Balance

A simple way to tell if a room isn't balanced is to ask yourself, "does the room's overall decor feel too warm or too cold?" If you sense it leans too much one way, then add some of the opposite to create balance.








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Sunday, August 25, 2019

7 Ways to Keep the Energy in Your Home Positive

7 Ways to Keep the Energy Level Positive in Your Home


We're all familiar with the power of negative and positive energy. They're both something we can sense and feel.

Living in the (dis)information world, it's becoming harder and harder to back away from that which doesn't productively serve us. In fact, it's safe to say there are forces working to draw us into the ugly side of life simply for profit.

Below are seven suggestions you can easily implement or work towards to keep the energy in your home positive. We've personally implemented all of them in our home.

1. Guard the Energy in Your Home - Keep Negative TV to a Minimum

Most TV packages come with a Zen or Scenery Channel. They feature glorious scenes from all over the world as well as soft background music. Although TV can be a vehicle for learning, it's also equally capable of sucking the good energy out of our home.

Of course, we all have our favorite shows, but if most of them consist of violence, crime, and hate, that constant connection to negativity isn't wise. In our home, we try to mix up the entertainment choices so it's not all about the dark side of the world.

As far as News channels go, they're rarely on in our home. We watch, catch-up then turn it off. I'm of the opinion that there are forces out there with one objective - to rent space in our head. Sorry, not going to happen.

In our home, during the day, our TV is mostly on the Zen Channel. It's peaceful. There's such a nice vibe in the house when that channel is on.

2. Keep Music Playing in the Background 

We keep the radio on in the kitchen pretty much all the time. It's tuned to a pleasant station and no matter who is preparing a meal, they cook by music.

There's an added bonus to music constantly playing: you'll find yourself unexpectedly breaking into song and dance. How nice for the kids to hear their parents singing. They may make sarcastic comments, but deep inside you know it makes a child happy to see their parents happy. If you live alone, there's nothing wrong with having your own private singing cooking prep-party. Be silly.

3. Avoid Social Media Battles

Yep, we've all read comments or posts that make us want to pound the keyboard like a maniac. If you feel a discussion of opposing views can be managed in a calm way, then perhaps enter into those sparingly. However, it's highly unlikely minds will be changed in cyberspace. This famous quote says it best:

"You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete."
By Buckminster Fuller - Author/Inventor (1895-1983)

Change the settings on your social media sites so that only certain things are visible. I've done this in spades. On Facebook, go into Settings and list various websites you never want to see posts from. If someone shares an article from one of those websites, it never gets to your timeline.


4. Dive Into a Project or Other Activity You Enjoy

Whether it's writing, cooking, gardening, biking, crafts, decorating or music (pretty much all the topics on ReviewThisReviews), it's worth doing to keep your mind in a productive place.

Nothing can compete with having a passion for an activity or task. It's never too late to learn something new.

For me, biking around the park near our home multiple times a day is absolutely one of my physical forms of meditation. That ten-speed and I are one. On sunny days, with a blue sky, a light breeze and the sounds of summer all around, I see beauty everywhere. So find your thing, and jump into it. Start today.

5. Realize that the Only Thing You Have Absolute Control Over is Yourself

As a mother, that's been hard for me. But at this stage in life, I get it. I'm there for all who need me, but I cannot walk anyone's walk. That's freeing and terrifying when it comes to mothering. Every pain they feel, I feel. It's a connection that never leaves, but at the same time, I remind myself that the kids too will realize that the only thing they truly have power over are themselves.

So when someone says to you, 'you need to let go' (used to annoy me), it's merely a reminder that you can only control yourself, and all the rest is out of your control.

6. Be Diligent About Blocking Negative Energy from Others

Do what you have to do to protect yourself from energy vampires. You don't have to be mean. I simply have a mental exercise where I put an imaginary white light around me with mirrors pointing outwards as a way to block their field from entering mine. I still help and advise, but my shields are up lol. Choose your own visual aid to create that field of protection. You'll find the conscious effort itself is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

7. Feng Shui Your Home

If you're looking for something a bit more tangible to invite good energy into your home, Feng Shui is worth looking at. Unsure what it's all about or where to start? I've put together this one-page summary covering the basics. Essentially Feng Shui teaches you how to tap into your homes good energy using your home's decor and property as the template to work with. Feng Shui can be quite extensive, simply start with something you can handle. Take a look at various ideas, and go with the ones you feel fits with your life.






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Sunday, August 18, 2019

How to Display Artwork Without Hanging it on the Wall

A Review of 5 Ways to Display Artwork Without Hanging it on the Wall


When levels, hooks, hammers, and nails frustrate you, or you're not keen on marking up the walls, below are designer approved alternative methods to feature art:

1. An Art Easel

Art easels provide mobility. Place your favorite piece of art on an easel and move from room to room when you need a change. Easels come in numerous styles. Finding one to match your decor should be a cinch.

2. Frame TV

Frame TV transforms into art. Samsung's Frame TV turns into a beautiful piece of art when you're not watching it. This particular Frame TV should be wall-mounted. However, if you're planning to wall mount your TV anyway, an art tv provides two-for-one use. Display spectacular artwork from a list of established or up-and-coming artists. Oh, and one more thing, put a Frame TV on an easel for a display of rotating or static art.

3. Lean Art Against the Wall

There are two ways to consider doing this:

Leaning a larger piece on the floor

The trick to this is placing the art in a room without it appearing as a shortcut or after-thought. A very large piece of art should be positioned so that it's part of the design of the room. Avoid placing it away from the focus of the space. The decor and furniture in the room should tie into the piece.

Leaning and layering pieces on a cabinet, bench, fireplace or other furniture surfaces

Layering is exactly what it sounds like. You layer a variety of photos so they're slightly touching each other. As an example, on a cabinet,  layer multiple family photos in a collection of matching or non-matching frames against the wall.

4. Place Art in a Decorative or Non-Operational Fireplace

An unused fireplace insert area is ideal to display art. Choose at least one or more pieces to cover the entire back wall, then layer a few smaller pieces in front. The art completes the fireplace by giving it a distinctive purpose.

5. Use a Bookcase or Large Cabinet

If you have a large bookcase or cabinet, lean your art inside one or more of the shelves. It's especially lovely to use larger art pieces on a few shelves. Don't stop at one or two pieces, add several in varying sizes.

If You Decide to Hang Photos on the Wall, what are the Best Hooks?

If ultimately you decide to hang your photos, I HIGHLY recommend these hooks. They're the only ones I use. It's one of those 'As you see on TV' products and they're fantastic. They only leave a pinhole in the wall and you don't need tools (hammers etc) to hang your pictures. I can hang photos on my own now, no need to ask for help.





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Sunday, August 11, 2019

5 Creative Ways to Store or Display Books

Unique Ways to Store or Display Books


We can certainly accumulate a lot of books throughout life. Some end up in a bedroom end table, others buried in closets, and the rest make it to their home-base, a bookcase.

This review lists obscure or odd ways to store or display books in the home. When a bookcase is out of the question, try one of these options.

1. Decorative Storage Trunks

Not all storage trunks are old, dusty and stuffed in an attic or basement. Modern decorative trunks can be featured in main rooms as a functional accessory. This set of 3 accent trunks can be placed in a living room, office or bedroom with your favorite books stored inside. It's a clutter-free way to bring books into a room. They're stored away and the trunks are a piece of furniture that adds to the overall look of the room.

2. Cotton Canvas Storage Bins

This playfully printed cotton canvas bag is normally used in a child's room to store toys. The bag is light and safe, has carrying straps and is easy for kids to lift or move. Instead of using them for toys, put books inside. Complete the look of a room, by designing a reading area that features three or four of these lovely canvas storage bins surrounded by a plush comfy rug. Create an actual reading circle by placing the storage bags in the middle of a large round rug. Gather on the rug for story time.

3. Rolling Storage Cart

There is an endless number of rolling cart designs. However, this cart works for a sunroom or porch. Imagine being cozied up on your porch swing as you reach over to get one of your favorite books. Get a number of carts and position them along on a wall as a long unit filled with books. 

4. Storage Ottoman

Place books inside an ottoman. Ottomans can be positioned anywhere in a room; against a wall, in front of or beside a sofa. You'll find that Ottomans come in multiple sizes, with some being quite large. With an Ottoman, you'll get extra seating or a place to put your feet all while storing books.

5. Book Slings

Book slings are a popular choice for a child's room or reading area. However, this particular one can work in a den, office or family room. Unlike several of the above options, the books in a sling are on open display. You'll often see Slings in professional waiting rooms as a way to hold magazines or books for waiting clients.

To see elaborate ways to display books, you can check out how the other side lives here.





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Sunday, August 4, 2019

Getting Ready to Sell Your Home - 7 Simple and Necessary Improvements that Don't Require Renovations

Getting Ready to Sell Your Home Without Renovating

If you're getting ready to sell your home but can't afford any major renovations, lets review a list of updates you can do that won't cost a fortune.

1. Declutter

When getting ready to sell, the first step is to declutter your entire home. Include the basement, sheds, and garage as well. Go through all cupboards and closets and get rid of or store items you don't/won't need during the selling process. Remove unnecessary knick-knacks. Keep coffee and end tables sparingly decorated with lamps, candles and plants.

About the garage: Empty out the clutter so prospective buyers can easily determine whether their car(s) will fit inside. 

2. Paint Rooms

Painting can be time consuming, but it's an affordable first step to give your home a face lift before selling. Keeping the color scheme neutral will attract a broader range of potential buyers. Think in terms of grey, tan, beige, or white. Keep the baseboards and doors a nice crisp white. Avoid multi-colored baseboards! White baseboards provide a lovely border against the wall, rug/floor. Add pops of color with accessories only. Colorful pillows and throw blankets can bring interest to a space.

3. Create a Feature Wall(s)

A feature wall is an affordable and faster way to give your home something extra.  As an example, in the master bedroom, consider a focal wall behind the bed. Ideas for feature walls include faux brick, real brick, vinyl designs, wainscoting, and murals. Anything 'peel and stick' is the easiest.

4. Remove Personal Photos

Some sellers resist doing this. The general thought by those who aren't keen on removing their personal photos is that they feel displaying photos promote the family aspect of their home. However, that's not the way to think about this. 

When potential buyers walk into a home, they're not thinking about your family, they're thinking about how their own family will fit with the property. 

From the moment a buyer steps onto a prospective property they're analyzing the 'feel' for their own family. Emotion guides that process and a multiple combination of the smallest things move buyers closer to a decision. Looking at photos of your family is a distraction to the natural flow of this thought process. Why add a distraction? Let the buyers achieve an emotional connection to your home without disruption.

Your photos represents 'your' house, no photos allow the buyer to imagine their family in this new home. 

5. Clean, Clean and Clean

Let's go through a quick cleaning list:
  •  Declutter kitchen counters, shine kitchen sinks, wipe the cupboards and clean appliances
  •  Clean the grout on all tiles (floors, backsplash, bathtubs)
  •  Scrub bathrooms spotless!
  •  Steam clean all carpets and wash floors
  •  Vacuum your entire home
  •  Wash all the bedding, fluff pillows, and make a pretty bed (it's the focal point!)
  •  Steam clean couches and chairs
  •  Touch up any wall scuff marks with paint where applicable
  •  Ensure all light bulbs work
  •  Wash all the windows and screens
  •  Double check that all closets and cupboards are organized. Buyers will open them!
  •  Rid your house of unsavory pet and cooking odors - Try essential oils
  •  Give your pet area and/or litterbox a thorough disinfecting - Think good smells
  •  Trim overgrown trees, weed the garden and present a lovely entry way by ensuring there's a clear path to the front door.
6. Do You Have Pets?

If you have pets, and are able to, have your fur babies stay with friends or family during the selling process. If you can't arrange that, ensure your pets are secured or removed from the house before a buyer views your home. 

7.  Staging Your Home

Not everyone can afford a professional stager. However, you may reconsider staging when you read about the return on that investment! On average having your home professionally staged costs between .5 to 1 percent of a homes value. But get this: According to the National Association of Realtors for every $100 invested in staging, the potential return is $400! 

If you can't afford a professional stager, complete these fundamentals:
  •  Minimize furniture in smaller rooms
  •  Position furniture so that people can walk through a room naturally without having to walk around pieces to get to doorways
  •  Use simple window coverings, leave them open for viewings
  •  Bring energy to a room by adding plants where applicable
  •  Display baskets of fresh fruit and/or herbs in the kitchen
  •  Turn on lamps and lights before viewings
  •  Ensure the laundry is completed and your mudroom or front closet is organized
  •  Clear the entry way of coats, shoes and boots
  •  Put a lovely seasonal wreath on the front door






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Sunday, July 28, 2019

Simple DIY Hack to Help Organize Your Kitchen Drawers

DIY Hack for Organizing Kitchen Drawers
Yesterday was the day I tackled the massive kitchen drawer disaster.

It was Instagram's fault. An amazing organized drawer systems stole my attention and that was all it took. However, the Instagram post featured a stunning brand new kitchen with professional pre-installed drawer sorters.

So that got me thinking …. How can I DIY this with things I already own?

DIY organizational hacks are one of my fave things to do. For me, sorting and organizing is relaxing. Yah, I know, to some of you, that's crazy talk. It's the end result that drives me. I'll work my tail off to get to that finished look!

A Flower Vase to Hold the Important Cooking Utensils

First I had to lessen the amount of utensils in the drawers. So I put all the most useful cooking items in a vase, and placed it beside the stove. Very handy indeed. If you hate counter clutter, put it inside a cupboard or pantry.

Use a Flower Vase to Hold Cooking Utensils

Line the Drawers with a Piece of Carpet

No, not shag or thick carpeting. We used a piece of industrial hard twist with shallow grooves. They're actually extra rugs we have on hand. The most important part of this DIY hack is to ensure the carpet has a rubber non-slip backing.

Just measure the drawer and cut the carpet to fit. With a non-slip backing, even if it's not a tight fit, it won't slide around.

Carpet with Rubber Backing Keeps Utensils in Place

We open and close the above drawer multiple times a day and not one utensil slips or slides. Each item has a spot and stays put. When we need an item, it's clearly visible. No more digging!

The Carpet Prevents Slipping and Sliding

We already had an inexpensive silverware divider in the top drawer, however it kept sliding around. The constant opening and closing of the drawer would cause the items placed in front to get caught or slide completely under the sorter.

Take a look at the silverware drawer now. With the rug as a base, the plastic sorter doesn't slide and the few items we keep in the front no longer move.

With the Carpet as the Base
the Sorter and Loose Items Stay in Place

The same thing applies for the third drawer. The plastic sorter no longer slides and the items along the side and edges stay in place.

The nice thing about using a piece of carpet (with rubber backing), is that even if your plastic sorters don't exactly fit, they won't move around on the carpet. So you can put utensils in front, behind or on the sides, and they too will stay in place.

Line the Kitchen Drawer with Carpet

Since renovating our kitchen is on the agenda, I've been avoiding tackling any projects, because, well, I want the reno more! But this DIY hack was fun. Glad we did it. 

If you're planning a kitchen reno, check out these professionally design pantries! There's nothing DIY here, they're all 10s!






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Sunday, July 21, 2019

Three Over the Top Home Decor Additions that Few People Can or Will Do

Will Over the Top Additions Add Value to Your Home?

Let's review how the other side lives. Or rather how those who aren't afraid to take their home above and beyond what's considered standard decorating protocol.

I have to admire people with a free decorating spirit. It takes a lot of faith, trust, pixie dust, and yep, cold hard cash to add the extreme décor ideas featured below.

1. How about A Slide Inside the Home? Huh?

Yes, that's right, it's an actual professionally designed slide. They tend to be added beside staircases. Certainly a practical solution when your knees hurt, or for the kids. Those ankle biters will leap out of bed in the morning just to slide down for breakfast. If you're curious what these look like, check out several spectacular designs here.

2.  You Have the Slide, Now Add the Swings? What?

The choices for adding a swing range from actual swings to swing benches. Swing benches can be open on both sides, or completely closed. And yep, they're not just for porches and patios. The uniqueness comes from adding them to the kitchen, bedroom or living room. They're quite spectacular and you can bet, popular with guests. Curl up with a book and swing inside your home. If you'd like to check out how professional designers tied swings into a décor theme, you can find more information here.

3. Homes with a Secret Passageway, Really?

Really. When the budget isn't an issue, you're only limited by your imagination or better yet, your decorator's imagination. Secret passageways can be staircases that lift and open to a secret room, crawl space cubbies that connect rooms together, or rooms hidden behind walls and bookcases. If you'd like more information on this over-the-top home décor idea, you can read more here.

Does Any of this Add Value to Your Home?

Of course, yes, adding anyone of the above outstanding unique items to your home will add value. But let's examine the word "value".

Value can meaning selling for more, selling quickly or just plain selling. The market dictates which category your sale will fall into.

The value of a home ranges from area to area. A house in the country is generally less expensive on a per square foot basis than a home in the city. City to city prices range substantially as well.

To determine whether it's worth adding an expensive perk to your home (slides, swings, secret rooms), you have to first know the upper limit price range for your area.

If your home is already close to or at that upper price range, making expensive additions may not generate a return. However, if you're making this addition and plan on staying in your home for many years (5, 10 or more), you have a good chance at recouping that investment.

On the bright side, if your home isn't at the higher price range for your neighborhood, making additions like this can help you reach that plateau and/or help you sell your home faster.

Always bear in mind that recessions come in cycles, and selling your home during a recession isn't easy. With anyone of these perks, you'll have an edge, but that doesn't mean during a downturn you'll recoup your decorating investment.

Not to worry if you're selling in an up-market; if your home is staged and filled with perks, you could do well on that selling price! If your home is situated among large estates where each home is unique, making any of the above outlined additions will generally add value.

If you're a real estate stats junkie (like I am), have a ton of fun reading value assessments and projections for the USA here and Canada here at GlobalPropertyGuide.

Although you're reading general stats, you should never apply these generalizations to your area. Even in a declining economy some areas can continue to do well. General stats merely help you secure a global picture. Combine that global information with your local area to help you assess saleability, timing and price.

Here's something I like to do to help assess the long term hold of a piece of property: Look up the population projections for your city or area. What is the ten/twenty year growth analysis by your local state/provincial municipal governments? You can find this information online. If the numbers are through the roof, then there's a high probability your property will increase substantially over time.

So, if your wallet permits any of these wild and funky additions and your home's price is destined to go onwards and upwards for years to come, go for it!

Other unique perks for your home here









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