Archive for 'Home Improvement'

Aug / 24

Creating the Perfect Home Gym, Part IV: Inspiring Decor

There’s no question working out in pleasant surroundings makes exercise more fun. A well-lit, attractive space with personal touches is simply more motivating than a dark, musty basement or garage. When decorating your space, consider two elements: color and décor.

Color. Vivid colors infuse energy, while muted colors create a peaceful environment. If you desire an invigorating space, add pops of red, orange or yellow to the room. Red is the color of energy and strength; and is thought to enhance metabolism, increase respiration rate and raise blood pressure. Yellow is associated with energy and happiness; and produces a warming effect, stimulates mental activity and generates muscle energy. Orange combines the energy of red and the happiness of yellow; increases oxygen supply to the brain, produces an invigorating effect and stimulates mental activity.

If you prefer a more calming environment or plan to practice yoga, shades of blue or green are excellent choices. Blue is considered beneficial to the mind and body, and produces a calming effect. Green is the color of nature and is the most restful color for the human eye; it also suggests stability, safety and endurance.

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Aug / 21

Creating the Perfect Home Gym, Part III: Equipment

Now that you’ve carved out some space and selected flooring, what’s next in creating the perfect home gym? Equipment!

So what equipment is actually needed? This all depends on your workout preferences. If you consider treadmills or stationary bikes boring and prefer floor exercises, little equipment is needed. A set of hand weights, an exercise ball, a TV and DVD player with exercise videos can meet your needs. Of course, many people prefer machines to videos and floor exercises.

Regardless of your preferences, choosing a variety of types of equipment will give you a healthier, more effective workout.

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Aug / 17

Creating the Perfect Home Gym, Part II: Flooring

Flooring. Although extremely important, flooring is often the least considered element of a home gym. Most homeowners simply make due with what is already installed, but this can be a huge mistake. Exercising on flooring that does not provide adequate cushioning and traction exposes the body to undue stress and possible injury.

High impact workouts naturally require high impact flooring that offers substantial absorption of energy and stability. The use of machines also requires special flooring. Although the machines will be taking more impact than the floor, a protective covering for the flooring such as a rubber or thick foam mat will be needed under the machines.

When selecting the gym’s overall flooring, four factors should be considered: softness, traction, expense and cleanup.

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Aug / 14

Creating the Perfect Home Gym, Part I: Space

From  Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings to Oscar Pistorius, the Olympics have got me inspired! Don’t get me wrong. I have no illusions of obtaining the physique of an Olympic athlete, but there’s no doubt more exercise would help me tackle and better enjoy everyday activities. Carving out time to visit a gym, however, is a problem. That’s why I’m thinking of the perfect home gym!

Home gyms save time, increase convenience and in today’s health-conscious society, can even increase the value of your home. But how do you transform a treadmill that serves as a clothes hanger into a gym? Here’s how!

Today’s blog is the first in a four part series on creating the perfect home gym. And by “perfect,” I mean one that meets your needs, budget and preferences. There are four essential elements to consider: space, equipment, flooring and inspiring décor. First up, is space!

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Feb / 03

New Year, New Home: Window Treatments

Today’s blog concludes my series on quick and easy ways to give your home a fresh start with the new year. I hope you’ve found the ideas inspiring! If you’ve missed any blogs in the series, make sure to look back through my blogstream. I’m sure you’ll find an idea to fit your home and budget. Last, but certainly not least, is window treatments.

Window treatments do more than just provide privacy and block outside light. They can completely change the look and feel of a room by adding texture, color and visual height to the space. Quality treatments can also protect valuable home furnishings from damaging UV rays. And with so many options available, there are treatments to suit every style.

Drapes, or curtains, are usually the best window treatment option if your goal is to soften the right angles of a room, insulate a room from light or outside temperatures, or absorb sound to make a room quieter. They are also one of my favorite ways to dress up a room! Drapes are dramatic and provide maximum impact. They’re also great for covering glass doors, multiple adjoining windows or very large picture windows.

Try luxurious fabrics with ornate valances or trim for an elegant, formal look; or opt for panels in light weight fabrics or sheers for a clean, contemporary look.

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Jan / 25

New Year, New Home: Trim Work

I recently had the honor of doing a segment on the House Talk Today radio show with Chris and Alex to discuss trim work and moldings for your home. The show was a lot of fun and we discussed great tips on selecting trim. It also reminded me, once again, how much trim work and moldings can transform a room – a perfect topic for this series of blogs!

Moldings and trim create architectural interest, add style and definition, and bridge the gap between walls and ceiling. In short, they dramatically alter a room, and with little expense and time. Here’s all the scoop on selecting the right trim for your home.

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Jan / 21

New Year, New Home: Lighting

You agonize over paint colors, look at countless sofas, and shop for hours for the perfect bedding, but have you ever considered how you’re lighting your home?

Lighting sets the mood for the entire room, yet it’s often the most neglected element of interior design. There are four basic types of lighting and layering is the key to a successful space. Here’s how.

Ambient lighting, also called general lighting, illuminates the entire room. It includes chandeliers, ceiling fans with light kits, recessed lighting and other ceiling fixtures. It is the first layer of lighting and can make or break a room. An elegant chandelier or modern pendant light can be a showstopper, while a dated ceiling fan can be, well…a showstopper. Consider the mood and function of the room, and choose accordingly. Also, install a dimmer switch for greater lighting control and ambiance.

Task lighting helps you perform tasks and is an inexpensive, yet often overlooked form of lighting. It’s the light you need to perform tasks, such as reading, cooking or applying makeup. It includes table and floor lamps, under counter lights and vanity lights among others. Table and floor lamps are without a doubt one of the quickest and least expensive ways to transform the look of a room. They add warmth and function to the space, and can be used solely to light a room when a more intimate or calming setting is desired.

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Jan / 18

New Year, New Home: Accessories

In fashion, it’s often the accessories that make an outfit. The same is true in interior design. Accessories can transform a room. They can also be easily changed at little expense. But how do you choose and use accessories?

When selecting accessories, there are two important things to keep in mind. First, choose items that suit the mood you are trying to create. Second, choose items that are in harmony with the colors and scale of the room. Accessories need to be in proportion with the size of the room and the items placed around them. But if you’re like most people and design concepts just give you a headache, here are some practical tips.

Be inspired by the season. Faux fur throws, wood logs in a basket and candlesticks add warmth and luxury to rooms in winter. Colorful vases, pillows and floral arrangements bring the spirit of new life indoors during the spring.

Experiment with pillows and throws. Pillows and throws are two of the easiest ways to experiment with color and pattern. Try an assortment of new pillows on the living room sofa, or drape a beautiful throw across an ottoman or chair.

Display art. A work of art that you love can become the focal point that defines a room. But there’s no need to spend more than you can afford. Artwork abounds at home décor and even discount stores. Or try your own hand at creating a one-of-a-kind masterpiece! Personal artwork is especially fun and charming for children’s rooms and less formal spaces.

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Jan / 16

New Year, New Home: Rugs

They don’t call them magic carpets for nothing! When it comes to transforming a room, rugs pack one powerful punch. Area rugs anchor a room, define a space, add visual interest with color and texture, absorb noise and protect flooring. But how do you choose the right rug for your home?

Consider your existing decor.  When choosing an area rug, try to coordinate with existing paint, furniture, bedding or window treatments. Or, if you are starting from scratch, choose a rug first and build the room’s color scheme and style around the new rug.

Consider your lifestyle and budget. Rugs are made from a variety of materials. If you like to change your decor frequently or have a small budget, synthetic rugs, made from polypropylene or nylon, are a good choice. Synthetic rugs provide water and UV-resistance at low prices and are good at hiding dirt. Nylon is the higher quality of the two because of its greater bulk and ability to hold color well. Cotton rugs are even more affordable, but they can stain and wear out quickly.

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Jan / 13

New Year, New Home: Paint

You’ve wrung in the new year, made resolutions and may even be keeping a few of them. Now what? How about giving your home a fresh start, too? It’s not as difficult or expensive as you may think. There are several quick, easy and inexpensive ways to transform a room.

Today’s blog is the first in a series called “New Year, New Home,” and I hope you find the ideas inspiring. First up is one of the best ways to clean and brighten a space: paint. Painting is easy, relatively inexpensive and a perfect do-it-yourself project. But what color do you choose to transform your space?

Avoid bright colors and neon shades, or colors that are very dark.  The hottest trends in paint colors are soft creams, taupe, and pale buttery yellow tones. Neutrals have universal appeal and are best when trying to sell a home. To jazz up neutral spaces, add pops of color with accessories such as throw pillows, lamps and vases. But if you’re not planning on selling your home anytime soon, feel free to experiment and find the paint color that makes YOU happy.

Consider the mood of the room. If you’d like the room to have a restful, soothing mood, choose soft, cool colors and neutrals. Looking for a little drama? Use stronger colors. Want a social space that stimulates conversation? Warmer, contrasting colors create a social atmosphere. And while you might be drawn to bright colors for a child’s room, avoid intense hues. Some brighter colors can over stimulate and lead to unrest and irritability.

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