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Monthly Archives: August 2017

Make your Room Looks Fresh with These Tips

# Fresh Flowers

You don’t need a $50 bouquet to make a room, but a stale look will get an instant boost with a bit of living, breathing, greenery. Consider a $20 tropical, large enough to fill in an empty corner, and spend another $20 on a colorful bunch of fresh cut flowers (if you shop well, you can even get the vase). This will give your room instant punch!

# Bowl of Fruit & Table Cloth

If you’re at the market anyway, don’t overlook the zest and color that a large bowl of fresh fruit lends to the kitchen, dining room, or even the coffee table. Great look that works well in all decors; fill a pottery dish with a variety, or a tall glass vase with a single fruit (ie: lemons or limes) or even line up a row of green apples along the coffee or dining table for a contemporary feel. And since fruit is inexpensive, give yourself a shot of change by selecting a new table linen in the trendiest color of the season to give your room a real lift or invest in a crisp white or cream cloth for a classic look.

# Baskets

You don’t have to be a country girl (or guy) to appreciate the cozy look of baskets. Even the most modern room can benefit from a bit of wood or rattan. But the main purpose here is to hide clutter. You’ll feel so refreshed if you add a few baskets to fill with magazines, toys or hobby material. It’s the easiest way to contain the everyday clutter that you can’t stow away. And clearing space is always a good look!

# Throw Cushions

I’d bet you could find two throw cushions for less than $50, so if you do, add a throw blanket as well. Cheap and shamefully easy, this is the way to go if you’re ready to make more of a statement. Great opportunity to bring some contrast into a dull room, consider light pillows for a dark room, dark pillows for a light one, and absolutely try adding a trendy color to a neutral room. And at this price, you can change it next season!

# Paint

Admittedly for the more ambitious, this is a fantastic way to create a stunning look in little time. However, this is an article on FAST ideas, so let’s not tackle the whole room right now. If company’s coming this weekend, try a new look by painting a feature wall a stunning but complementary color (ie: the fireplace wall, that blank wall behind the couch…you get the idea.) Or even tape off a smaller section (this is called color blocking) to focus attention on a collection of pictures, or behind a mirror, or around the fireplace.

Uses of Baking Soda for Cleaning

I’ve long used baking soda and white vinegar to keep my kitchen and bathroom drains clear and fresh smelling. I just put a teaspoon or less of baking soda into the drain and then pour in about a tablespoon of vinegar. I must admit that I am the kind of cook who rarely measures anything, and the same is true for these proportions, so feel free to experiment to find what works best in your sinks. Start small, though — the combination of baking soda and vinegar causes an active fizzling and bubbling!

In fact, that bubbling process is how you can tell if the box of baking soda you’ve had around forever is still good. Just follow the directions above. Your soda is still good if it bubbles away merrily.

Speaking of drains, if your drain is clogged, you can try using a lot more baking soda. One recipe is to pour a cup of baking soda down the drain, then a cup of vinegar. Wait a few minutes, or longer, and then run the hot water tap and see if you have cleared the drain. It could take overnight.

Another well-known use of baking soda is to keep an open box in the refrigerator to neutralize odors. Because baking soda cuts smells, it can also be put in the bottom tray of an oven-type electric toaster, to reduce burnt smells. Another smell-removing cleaning tip is to put baking soda into bottles or jars that milk has left a smell in.

Baking soda is an abrasive, milder than commercial cleansers. For scrubbing out the sink, bathtub, or shower stall, for getting gunk off the outside of my toaster, and projects of that sort, I find it very useful. Using a rag or sponge, pour some baking soda onto it and then add a little water, just enough to form a paste. Then scrub! You can also mix up the paste in a small cup or bowl and then throw out what you haven’t used by the end of that cleaning session. I keep a small container of baking soda handy by the sink, in a closed jar so that the baking soda doesn’t cake. You can also use a salt shaker, as you will probably go through that much baking soda before it gets caked up.

Pots and pans that have something burned on the bottom call for sterner measures. I admit that sometimes I just reach for my rarely-used commercial cleanser, but the baking soda cleaning method is to shake baking soda all over the burned stuff and then let the pot sit overnight. You can also add a little water and baking soda to the pot, bring it to a boil, and then let it sit.

For stained marble, a paste of baking soda and white vinegar can be effective. For washing windows, put some baking soda on a wet rag or sponge.

Baking soda also has a variety of uses in keeping your body clean too. But enough! This article is about baking soda for cleaning around the house.

Ways to Make Your Home Secure

# Do not leave a ladder outside of your home. A thief could easily, and they do, gain entrance to a second story window.

# Always ask for ID when service men come to your home. Do not let your children answer the door. Don’t be afraid to call the company for verification BEFORE you let them inside your home.

# Do not keep excess cash around your house. Keep it in a safety deposit box at your bank. If you must keep cash at home, hide it NOT in the kitchen or your bedroom, as that is the first place a thief will look.

# Take pictures of your heirlooms and personal items for identification at some later time.

# Mark all electronic equipment with a permanent etching of your name and drivers license number or social security number.
This process makes it hard for the thief to sell your property, and easy for you to identify and get returned to you.

# Never leave notes on your front door announcing your absence. This may seem incredible, but people do this all of the time. You might as well put up a neon sign giving your time of return also.

# Keep an eye out for a strange vehicle on your block. It could be a thief checking out the whereabouts of you or your neighbors. Write down the vehicle description and the license number. Don’t be ashamed to call the Police to report a suspicious vehicle.

# Purchase a timer that will turn on your lights automatically and light up your house when you are away.

# If you are going on vacation, arrange to have your lawn mowed, your paper picked-up, leaves raked and snow shoveled. Make it look like you are home.

# Have the post office hold your mail until you return.

# Leave your furnace or central air on low so that people can hear it start up once in a while. This tells burglars that you won’t begone for long.

# If you ever arrive home, and your door is open, or you see obvious signs of forced entry, DO NOT GO INSIDE, call the Police. Don’t be a hero!

Tips to Pick Color Schemes

Selecting a color scheme when you have no real preference is to start with the colors you already have in the flooring and on other surfaces that aren’t going to be replaced. Ignore any color that you really dislike; in this case, everything doesn’t have to match.

Go to your local paint store and find paint chip cards to match your colors. Then cut out the color samples and secure them into a personal loose-leaf notebook. But remember: paint chips aren’t big enough to give an accurate picture of how a color will feel under specific lighting conditions, so you may need a larger sample before you make your final selection. The artificial lighting in paint stores also affects the appearance of color chips, and colors generally appear darker when seen on big expanses of walls compared to paint chips, so be sure to check your samples in the room and under the lighting conditions where your plan to use that color.

Balance the depth, darkness, and intensity of colors, mix cool and warm colors, and add enough diversity to avoid monotony in your color scheme. Adding variety to your color combinations will support your desired emotional and seasonal needs. You can change color emphasis with the changing seasons by varying a room’s accessories and lighting.

Bringing Exterior Colors Inside

Blending your home’s exterior colors with the interior ones will make the transition from outside to inside feel comfortable and natural. The welcoming color of your front door should be brought into the home through at least two small details or areas, to create balance and harmony. That doesn’t mean the colors should match exactly. In fact, you don’t want your colors to shout out their presence. The transition from outside to inside should be subtle, providing emotional support and creating a welcome feeling of balance.

Whatever colors you ultimately choose, remember that harmonizing those colors throughout the entire home is a combination of science and art. The key to success is in small doses of repetition, and adding touches of Design Psychology to the emotional undercurrents of color will assure a joyful home.