Fall is upon us and as the weather gets cooler and the leaves turn bright colors it's time to start adjusting your interior decorating to help you feel cozy! There is outside prep to do to a home as well, but focusing on the inside is where the decorating can help to make the living space inviting for all.
The first thing that comes to mind for warm and inviting is the fireplace. Candles on and around the mantel are a nice addition, maybe in a leaf holder or create mason jar candles with leaves. Any fall colors like shades of orange, brown, yellow, green or red can make a place feel cozy. A vase with berries, twigs or leaves in it has a nice fall feel. Rustic garland, with some greens, leaves, and burlap for example would be a lovely decoration across the fireplace.
Decorating for holidays this fall is also a fun way to enjoy the season. Halloween is fast approaching and then Thanksgiving will be next. Pumpkins are perfect for both holidays and look nice to add to your decorating theme. Pinecones are another popular decoration for fall and can be used in many different arrangements.
Wreaths can also be hung traditionally on the front door, but also consider where else they might look nice inside your home. This can be done over the fireplace or somewhere else that's a focal point where you'd like to draw attention.
To make your home warmer, moving away from what's just visually appealing change your throws, pillows and other coverings throughout your home. Your throw blanket in the family room can be brown, or another fall themed style. The pillows could be holiday related or just match with your fall theme so you don't have to change them for each holiday.
Consider adding a few more rugs. Often the floor is secondary, and not often thought about but this can help prevent cold feet and add to the cozy feeling of the living space. These can be a mixture of colors, and include gold for an elegant look.
Decorating for the different seasons allows the living space to seem new and inviting which helps to combat depression and a stagnant feeling. It also compliments seasonal cleaning. Enjoy this slideshow for some nice ideas and inspiration for your own home decorating!
The bigger your home, the more overwhelming cleaning it can feel. Don't worry, there's plenty of tried and true cleaning tips to help. Start cleaning from the top and work your way down. Don't try to clean the whole house in one day. You'll be able to tackle it better if you break up the task into parts. Keep reading for a few tips for cleaning the different rooms in your home!
There are a lot of cleaning tips to help the process go easier, and if you know more great ones, please share them!
Painting Helps Sell Your Home: How to Choose a Color
According to home staging expert Tori Toth, author of Feel at Home: Home staging secrets for a quick and easy sell, painting, updating the floors and replacing light fixtures are the few things that make a home sell fastest. She claims that, "Paint can instantly update a tired old space and make it look, feel, and smell like new again – especially if the walls were covered in wallpaper."
If you're stuck on what color to update to, we'll go over some common rooms and suggestions that work regardless of furniture, and layout.
The foyer is an important part of the house because this gives guests the first impression. Sherwin Williams has a great color selection that we'll be choosing from. This first one is a nice greige option, where you can go lighter or darker. I've chosen the lighter shade so as not to make the entry feel confined. You can find this color here.
The next room to paint in your home is the study, or living room, depending on your home floor plan. It's not a very large room and may or may not be separated with french doors. This is perfect for a dark gray color. It is very versatile because it goes with whites, blacks and even darker wood colors. Usually this is a room that doesn't get used too often so the darker color is not overwhelming yet it is sophisticated. You can find this color here.
The next color is a blue gray for the dinning room. It looks great with wood tones, which you often find in dinning rooms. This might be a little unconventional but it looks stunning when you see it done well. The only time you might not want to go this dark is if the room doesn't have a good amount of natural light. If so, you can balance it with lighter hues and whites in the room. You can find this color here.
The kitchen is a very important room, you probably spend a good amount of time there. This color works well in a large space and is neutral. The key is a white with a tan tint to it. This gives you some variety from the gray tones in the other rooms. By having a neutral base, you can decorate the room with bolder colors to liven it up. You don't want to feel confined when cooking which also makes this light neutral color perfect. You can find this color here.
The family room is most likely an extension of the kitchen, while it's always an option to paint these rooms the same color, there might be a good reason to deviate slightly. You don't want anything drastic, so this color blends nicely with the above kitchen color. Again the idea is to enhance the room with bold colored decorating. Maybe a dark colored coffee table, or a bold rug. You can find this color here.
The last important color choice for a room is the powder room. It's ok to go with a bold color in this room because you don't spend a lot of time there and it's used less frequently. Often it is used by guests and that makes it a nice opportunity to have some variety and style in your home. Darker colors makes this space feel warm and comfortable. The blue shade is a nice choice because it looks great with whites. You can find this color here.
These ideas for rooms on the first floor of your home help to make your home appealing and easier to sell should you want to in the future without having to repaint often. If you'd like a color consultation, that's always an option!
Most people produce trash on a daily basis - okay, pretty much everyone. In your home there are certain items that when you are ready to throw them away you need to take into account the proper way to do so. This is one way to care for our environment and some things can be harmful; HHW stands for harmful household waste and should not be thrown in your home trash. In this blog post I'll share with you 5 things that need special attention.
Water-based latex paint-
For large amounts, combine this with absorbent materials like sand or cat litter. once it's dried out you can dispose of at your home. Small amounts will usually dry just by leaving the lid off. The other option is to purchase paint hardener, which you can find at your local home improvement store.
This is considered a HHW and must be trashed at a local facility for this type of item. There will be a free collection for Berks County residents on October 24, 2015 at FirstEnergy Stadium, Rt. 61, Reading, Pa.
This is probably the most complicated one because there are many different types of batteries. Button cell batteries (the ones you put in watches, etc.) need to be recycled and if you get the battery replaced somewhere they will usually recycle it for you. All states except CA allow single-use alkaline batteries to go in the household trash. Most recycling facilities accept them. If they are rechargeable batteries you must recycle them- Best Buy will take any less than 10lbs, and laptop, cellphone and battery backups.
There are "take-back" locations where you can take this medicine to be disposed of safely. There are many in Berks county, so click here and scroll to our county to find them. A lot of them are police departments. This is the easiest and safest option available. Before recycling it black out your personal information or remove the label.
For VHS, cassettes, CD & DVD disposal take them to the dump. Fewer places are accepting old tech for donations so often that option is out. You can call local places to see if they are still taking CDs & DVDs before delivering them. Another option for those might be online sales, like Ebay or Craigslist.
Household cleaning supplies
Ideally using them up or giving them to someone who is willing to would be the best option. Cleaners that are water-soluble gels, liquids or powders can go down the drain with water. Other types may have disposal instructions on the label or you can call your local recycling plant to see if they will accept it.
Keep this in mind, and bookmark this as a reference for future use, because I guarantee you'll have at least one of these things to dispose of in the future!
Bathrooms are usually the smallest rooms in a home, but draw attention when they are run down and not updated. The good news is that since it's a small room it doesn't have to be a lot of work. Here's some suggestions for making the bathroom stand out in the best way!
Shower Door - Say goodbye to your shower curtain. No more dealing with it getting dirty, or the water splashing out of the shower. Not to mention, a glass shower door dresses up a bathroom. Shower curtains often block light, not allowing you to see as well in the shower; another benefit of a glass door. If this is a project you're considering doing yourself, here's some instructions.
Medicine Cabinet - Keep your essentials off the counters for a nicer appearance, and organization. This is a great way to have quick access to your products. This can be in addition to a larger mirror, because sometimes it's nicer to have a big mirror in front of the sink, especially if there's more than one bowl. I've already seen medicine cabinets on one side of the sink. Here's a video of the process to do-it-yourself!
Bathroom Vent - If your bathroom does not yet have a vent, it's time to install one! If you like showering in hot water like most people your bathroom is going to steam up. This can lead to mildew and mold growth, not to mention condensation on the walls and those little brown lines. You can enjoy a fog-free mirror after your shower as well. This is not something to skimp on, so make sure you get a strong enough one that is installed correctly, otherwise what's the point?! Here's a good how-to.
New Faucet - This is a really easy update that will do wonders for your bathroom. There are so many great options that will make you feel better about your sink, it's a no-brainer. Go with something timeless so you don't feel like you have to update it, unless you like updating often. For the step-by-step guide click here.
Paint - It's a small space so the walls will stand out. Darker shades will make the room seem smaller so go with a more neutral color. They even make mildew-resistant paint as well as a bacteria-killing one, coming in 2016! Here's some tips on picking a color and inspiration.
Caulk the Tub - If you're starting to notice brown, cracked or mildewy areas on your tub, it's time to re-seal it. This isn't a tough job and might only take a few hours. It's worth the time to do it. This is a nice guide if it's new to you.
New Toilet - Eventually your toilet is going to need replacing. You might be familiar with this if you bought an older home and the toilet just isn't up to par. This usually isn't something you need to replace until that point -unless you have a pink or green one! You can easily replace toilet seats if need be, as long as the toilet is still going strong.
There are a lot of options when updating your bathroom, how do you know what looks best? For a variety of nice bathroom ideas click here!
It's always tough making decisions when there's a lot of options, and there are PLENTY of colors to choose from when painting your front door. This is a focal point for the front of your house and you might wonder what color is best to make your house look inviting and elegant. The entryway helps with curb appeal.
Keep reading for some tips that will help you figure out what color to paint your front door!
You can look back at our post on psychology of color for more details on that, but we'll go over a few here as well.
To get an idea of the logic behind color pairing, a color wheel is a great way for you to mix colors that go together on their own. Color schemes based on the color wheel include monochromatic (several shades of a single color); analogous (colors found side by side on the color wheel); contrast (three colors spaced evenly apart on the color wheel); and complementary (two hues opposite each other on the color wheel). This can help you determine what you're going for. The only one you probably won't use for your home is monochromatic.
Blue- This is another color that is not so common for the front door. Keep in mind that selecting the right trim and siding colors is key to making the blue door work. Often blue goes well with grays or if you want more contrast try warmer colors like beige or tans. There are also many shades of blue and if you venture into things like pastels and teal it can be tough. This color works so well with the type of door and stands out nicely against the white.
Purple- This is a tricky color, if it's a pastel it might come across as too feminine, but if it's too dark it could seem cave-like. Sometimes purple and another color mix is the best way to go, like a red-purple, or blue-purple. This picture is a nice shade of purple that's not too light or dark and contrasts very well with the gray siding. The purple front door adds very nice character to this home.
Orange- Proceed with caution, but sometimes it's nice to do something different and when it's paired with the right colors it is a really nice front door color. If your door has windows in it this is a nice way to add a pop of color without it being overwhelming. Gray pairs nicely with an orange front door. It can also be a more dull orange, which can go nicely with a stone home or entryway.
Yellow - This is a good way to brighten up dim and gloomy homes. For example, it looks great against dark brown wood siding which can appear dull and lifeless. It is warm and inviting, and gives off a feeling of energy, just like the sun! Yellow can also be paired with neutral hues like white, grays, toned-down blues and tans. This color is great for cooler climates that are often cloudy, so as to cheer things up.
Black- A popular color, this makes a classy statement. Keep in mind that this may get hot, attracting the sun so if you have a porch or shaded front yard this won't be a problem. I also heard that it requires more upkeep- it'll show dust, etc. The great thing is that it works great with all other colors and styles. Have white, or very light trim to accent the door and won't make your entryway seem too dark.
Red - This color is lively and evokes feelings of power and strength. Actually some ancient cultures thought a red door gave the residents luck and protection. White trim looks nice with the red door, but a dark blue siding works for more contrast and drama against lighter blue-gray siding, for example.
With any of these colors, brighter or darker will provide different outcomes, so know what you're going for and what compliments your home. Keep in mind that the sun will fade darker shades faster.
The family room is a very commonly used space in a home. Often owners might take cues from how the previous owners had furniture arranged, or look at sample homes for ideas. I personally have not changed my family room furniture since moving in. There are times when rearranging might be just what the space needs. Read on for some ideas to help maximize the space, or other suggestions for how you plan to use the room.
Focal Point - Gathering your furniture around a focal point will create a nice environment and communal feeling. This could be the TV, or fireplace for example. My living room has no fireplace therefore the TV is the focal point. I've created symmetry by placing the TV on a TV stand and placed two end cabinets on either side. I have this on a power wall, which also helps to draw the attention to this area.
Conversation- If you arrange your furniture in a circular fashion this is ideal for garnering conversation. Try this if you're having a get together, it will make everyone feel included in the conversation. Chairs can be arranged around a table, or rug with a few side tables between the chairs. Be sure to have the walkways around the circle and not going through it as to break up conversation.
Partitions- Divide the room into areas when it needs to accommodate a few different things. Designate a play area if that's where it's located in your home. Use a table, couch or half book shelf to create a partition from this area. Something lower like those options will still allow the room to look larger and more spacious. The shelves would be great to organize toys for the kids and then works twofold. My family room is long so I used the couch to section off the area for watching TV and the area where I have my work desk, and yoga mat, for example.
Balance visually- Have similar styles of furniture and decorations to tie the room together and keep it flowing. Pairs of furniture or matching coffee tables are a few examples. Have a good mix of larger solid pieces and things that appear lighter and airy. You can choose symmetry for a more formal look, or if you're more casual then asymmetrical works best.
Nature- Similar to the above suggestion, balance this room with plants to help keep the air clean and environment relaxed. The natural look and bring green colors look good in every home, and will make you feel better too! Place a small plant on a table or buy a plant stand if you have a spacious room.
Whether you have a baby crawling or a German Shepard running around these will help make your living room more livable! Consider what works best and how you want to use the space.
The art and science of Feng Shui literally translates to wind-water. It is a way to harmonize life with the environment. This is a practice that is thousands of years old and fairly complex. Energy, known as Qi (chi), is in your home and Feng Shui is a way to regulate that energy in a positive way to maximize the quality of life.
There are 5 natural elements associated with Feng Shui to help achieve positive energy in your home. They are, wood, water, earth, metal and fire.
1. Wood is associated with the colors green and brown and having living plants, wood and flowers in your home.
2. Water is associated with the colors blue and black and having water features, fountains and glass in your home.
3. Earth is associated with soft shades of yellow and orange as well as other earth tones. Brick, tile and ceramics in your home are also related to the earth element.
4. Metal is associated with the colors white and gray and having rocks and stones in your home.
5. Fire is associated with colors like red, purple, and bright yellows and oranges and sunlight in your home.
Adding any of these things to your home can contribute to more positive energy in your home.
Aside from things to add to your space, there's also things to consider removing that cause negative energy. Good indoor air quality is vital to positive energy. Discard toxic cleaning products and fresheners that contain Phthalates.
For any painting in the house look for zero-VOC brands. Fabrics on furniture among other things are sometimes treated with toxic flame retardant, so be aware before purchasing and choose a healthy option.
Lighting is also an important component- have bright lights and even full-spectrum lights. Of course natural sunlight is the best option, when possible.
You can even consult a trained practitioner to help you with analyzing how the energy moves through the space for a more elaborate approach.
Right now I'm sitting at my desk situated next to a window in my living room. The sunlight is important to me so I make sure to have as much as possible while working. The rest of my living room is decorated in a way that tells about me with quotes like, "life is a journey not a destination." There's about 10 plants around the room, and a purple (my favorite color) power wall where my TV is.
The point is, our home is our safe haven. Everyone's home is different, and that is cool. Maybe decorating is something that you've put a lot of thought into or maybe your decorating is a little bit of this and that from gifts, or maybe someone else in the house decorates. Whatever the case, your environment impacts your day to day feelings and activities whether you realize it or not. Here's 3 tips to help you be more conscious of what's in your space.
1. What's your sun meter? When the sun shines on your skin do you feel a burst of energy? When the rays of light hit the walls in your home do you glow inside? If so then you might want to put a lot of thought into how you decorate your windows. There's always the option of no curtains, the risk is making things look too bland. A nice option is roman shades. These give you privacy at night, and full sun during the day while adding style. The downside is putting them up and down everyday. Best part- you can make them yourself! Learn how to do it here. Not into sewing? there's no sew options also!
If you like your place lit dimly then curtains are your best friend. The good news is that layering curtains is in style. Check out how it's done here. Often this works best for a large window in your home, but you can do it for any of them. Go for long curtains for a nicer look.
2. What colors make you happy? Forget what everyone else says, this is your home right? Painting is common so don't feel like just because you painted the walls a color it has to stay that way the entire time you live there. Psychology of color is important to consider when deciding what color to put where. Purple sparks creativity so that's why I put it in the room I use during the day, rather than my bedroom where I'm trying to relax my mind to get to sleep. I think it's time to kiss those white walls goodbye!
3. What's there that shouldn't be? Too many things would be the answer for most of us. It's great to have some art and decorations on the walls so choose wisely and don't over do it. Think about how the things you choose impact you emotionally. It should only be positive, let go of anything you're clinging to. The same idea goes for any knick knacks and items sitting on your furniture. Clutter creates stress and anxiety in our lives so get rid of it. Limit the amount of holiday decorations on display. Have an organization system- somewhere to put the papers, shoes, kids items. If you can stick to a system and put everything where it belongs you won't spend hours cleaning the house- thank god! No one has time for that anymore.
Use these tips to bring your sacred space to a better place!
Everyone is running, riding bikes, and enjoying the nice weather! The good news is that it's only going to get better. The months ahead will bring pool time, barbecues, and more hours spent outside than any other time of the year. Why not add a few things to your life that will help make your summer even better!
These projects aren't too difficult or expensive, and usually don't take too much time. One day or less should do it.
1. Firepit Surround- make your evenings even more fun with s'mores and great conversation around a natural heater. This can even last into fall and keep you warm when nights get cooler. It doesn't take up a lot of room, and it's up to you where you want to put it! Lowe's has great instructions to make this. Click here to get them.
2. Tire Swing- If you have kids, they will thank you for this one, and stay out of your hair for some time! If you don't this can be fun for all ages, as long as you have a strong enough tree branch!!! Forget the normal boring chair, swinging can be relaxing, so give this a try! This doesn't take too much effort or supplies. The directions are here.
3. Outdoor Bed / Sofa - You can relax outside this summer with an easy tutorial to create a nice place to take a break after mowing the lawn, running, or playing with the kids! Curl up with a good book, or meditate. Sounds amazing! All you'll need to make this a reality is 12 cinderblocks, 4 pieces of lumber, concrete adhesive and cushions. If you're on a budget you can probably save $ by making your own cushion. Go to the craft store for some fabric, stuffing and weather proofing product for fabric and there you go! Here's the directions.
4. Herb Garden Ideas - My favorite out of these is the flower boxes on the stair risers. So easy to do, and a nice way to plant! Here's the picture of it. There are other options if this one doesn't fit with your home outside. It's such a great resource to have herbs fresh in your backyard! Here's the other ideas.
Whatever you decide to do this summer, have fun with it!
Jessica Walsh is a graduate of Penn State University with a minor in English. While in college she contributed to the literary journal, newspaper and yearbook. She was a journalist for Voices and BCTV.org. She continues to write her own blog as well as stories and articles.
Blog writer Jessica Walsh is a graduate of Penn State University with a minor in English. While in college she contributed to the literary journal, newspaper and yearbook. She was a journalist for Voices and BCTV.org. She continues to write her own blog as well as stories and articles.