Make a Headboard – Part One

Thursday, July 31, 2008

If you need a headboard, but want something personalized, you can make your own fairly easily. You will need a tape measure, paper to make a pattern, plywood, saw, sandpaper, upholstery foam, an iron, batting, muslin, decorative fabric, electric drill, screws, staple gun, and if you want trim you will need cording or braid.
First, measure your bed so you can decide how wide and tall you’ll need to make your headboard. Normally, a headboard is slightly wider than the width of the mattress, and about 8 inches of the headboard is seen above the pillows leaning against it.

Use paper to draw your headboard shape. You can make the headboard a rectangle, an arch, or some other creative shape. Then, cut the shape out of the paper to make a pattern. Buy extra paper if you aren’t sure what shape you want to go with. This way you can cut out several shapes and tape them to the wall behind your bed to see which shape you like the best. If you aren’t sure which fabric to use for your headboard, you may want to try choosing a fabric that matches another fabric in your room or your bedding.

Next, lay the pattern on the plywood and trace the shape with a pencil or pen. Don’t forget to trace legs to raise the headboard the correct distance off of the floor. Now, cut the shape out of the plywood with a power saw.

Check back tomorrow for part two of this blog.

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Make Small Rooms Look Bigger – Part Two

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Well lit rooms will always look bigger than darker rooms. Make sure the curtains in your room aren’t too dark, and choose sheer curtains where you can. Artificial light works too, so make sure you have several lamps or even consider installing new lights in your ceiling.

Use transparent materials where you can to make a room look larger. For instance, if your bathroom is tiny, choose a sheer shower curtain or shower door instead of an opaque one. You can also choose tabletops make of glass to get this effect.

Mirrors are a sure fire way to make a room look bigger. A mirrored wall can make the room look like an exercise room, so you may not want to take the mirroring tip to that extreme. You can also buy large framed mirrors to put on your walls. Framed mirrors are widely available at reasonable prices and in many different styles.
Surprisingly, a larger piece of furniture used where you used to have several small pieces will make a room look bigger. They create a less cluttered, more open space, with large blocks of color. This makes the room look less busy and more comfortable.

Plain colored furniture in neutral colors will look best in small rooms. Steer clear of pattered furniture. If you want to add more interest to the furniture, try choosing different textures.

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Make Small Rooms Look Bigger – Part One

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

There are a few advantages to small spaces, for instance decorating a small space is that you are often able to save money. Also, it is easier to make small spaces look cozy. But, sometimes you may simply want your small apartment to look larger. If this is the case, you may be in luck, because there are decorating tips you can use to make your space look more spacious.

A small room will always look larger the less clutter you have displayed. This means you need to find ways to get that clutter organized. You can put your clutter underneath table skirts, on shelves or behind closet or cabinet doors. You will be more organized this way too.

Light, cool colors will make a space feel larger. These shades will make a room feel open. The best colors you can choose for this effect are soft hues of blue and green.
Using a monochromatic color scheme will help to make your space look bigger. Stick with the colors from the previous tip to maximize the illusion of a bigger space. Try to choose furniture colors that are similar in color to your walls. If you choose contrasting colors it will break up the space and make it seem smaller, so make sure you do not pick colors that are too different. You want to focus on creating a simple, calm looking effect.

Check back soon to read part two of Make Small Rooms Look Bigger!

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Tools Everyone Should Have at Home – Part 3

Monday, July 28, 2008

Even if you only rent an apartment, it is important to have a set of basic tools on hand so that you can make simple home repairs yourself, this is part three of this blog about which tools to keep in your toolkit.

It is beneficial to have a utility blade for opening boxes, or working on craft projects. It is also a good tool because you can remove the razor blades for heavy duty stove cleaning or cleaning tough messes off of floors or counters.
A simple ruler is helpful for many projects for cutting guides, measuring, and marking.

Felt, plastic, and carpet dots aren’t something that you might think to have in your toolbox, but they are great to have around. You can put them on the bottoms of vases, candleholders, boxes, inside cabinet doors, or anything else you could think of. Plastic dots used on the back of a picture frame can help to keep the picture level. Carpet dots are thicker and are used under chairs and table legs to keep from making scrape marks on hardwood floors.

Spackle may be needed for filling nail holes if you move pictures around, or repairing small holes or dents in walls. Most home owners won’t find occasion to use more than just a small container of spackle. Along with your spackle you will need to have a putty knife to apply it with.

A paint can key is easier to use to open paint cans than a screwdriver, and they usually come free at hardware stores. Just remember to save them for future use.

Having several different types of glues available will allow you to accomplish most repairs you’ll need glue for. Also, having solvents on hand may be necessary to remove sticky areas where adhesives or glue used to be.

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Tools Everyone Should Have at Home – Part 2

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Even if you only rent an apartment, it is important to have a set of basic tools on hand so that you can make simple home repairs yourself, this is part two of this blog about which tools to keep in your toolkit.

A hammer is useful for picture hanging or shelving.

A vice grip is a tool you might not think of when you consider buying basic tools, but it will be good to have if you need a slip free hold on a screw or really anything.

It is great to have an assortment of nails and screws on hand. If you’re like me you’ll mostly use them to hang pictures, but occasionally you may need to make small repairs with them.
Blue painter’s tape is essential to have for any painting project to mask off areas that you don’t want to paint. I find that it works best if you pull the blue tape off while your paint it still wet. If you wait until it is completely dry to pull it off, you may have problems with the paint you just painted on the wall peeling off with it. Blue tape can also be used to mark the locations of studs, or even to protect floors from dirt and scratches when you are moving.

A cordless drill is awesome to have so that you can save yourself time inserting screws or removing them, or drilling pilot holes for nails and screws.

Check back tomorrow for part three of this blog!

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Tools Everyone Should Have at Home – Part 1

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Even if you only rent an apartment, it is important to have a set of basic tools on hand so that you can make simple home repairs yourself. It is nice to keep these tools inside somewhere, so that you don’t have to go out into the garage to get them.

Keep a 25 foot measuring tape in your toolkit. It can be used to measure windows for blinds or curtains, or your floor for new flooring. You can also use it to hang pictures and to take with you on shopping trips, or you might prefer to purchase a smaller tape measure for those purposes.
A flat head and Phillips head screw driver are very handy to have around for little fixes around the house. These can be used to tighten screws when kitchen cabinet hardware gets loose. It is also advisable to have a tiny set of screwdrivers to tighten eyeglasses or work on electronic equipment.

Pliers are often necessary for small tasks around the house too. Most often needle-nose pliers will be needed, but it is nice to have a few sizes around. Needle-nose pliers can be used for small craft projects as well as for fixing things around the house.

Having a level on hand will save you a lot of work and extra holes in your walls when you hang pictures. Also, hanging towel bars or shelving you will love having this level on hand if you want to save yourself a headache.

Check back tomorrow for part two of this blog!

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Make your Living Room More Exciting Easily

Monday, July 21, 2008

Sometimes you don't have a lot of money or time to spend decorating, or you are renting and can't change very much of your space. There are a few easy ways to make your living room more exciting and give it more personality without having to spend much time or money.

Simply buying new pillows in a bold color you love or an interesting pattern to displayed on your furniture can help make a room more appealing. They'll also add comfort to your furniture, so you get a bonus. I love the pillows in the picture below, they are the perfect way to make this couch stand out. Too bad you won't get this cute pomeranian with the pillows!
You could paint one wall a contrasting color. You could paint this wall a darker shade of the color it already is, or you could pick a color from a pattern in your couch to paint the wall. Another option is to paint the wall to match the new pillows you just picked up.

Displaying one remarkable lamp will help give personality to your living room. If you can't find a lamp you like you can choose a cool sculpture or pot you like and add the lamp part to it at a lamp shop. Then, you can choose a shade that is funky if you want to make your lamp even more interesting.

A mirror hung on a particularly boring wall will reflect any colors throughout your room to brighten it up. You can also paint the frame of a mirror a bright color to add interest.

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How to Choose a Home Decorating Theme

Friday, July 18, 2008

Most people aren't quite sure where to start when they move into a new place and haven't done much decorating before. It can be tempting to start with paint, because it is cheap and can make such a big difference. But, it is usually best to end with paint and make the other choices first.

It is ideal to start by putting your ideas on paper. A good starting point is to decide whether you want a formal or casual look. From there, add any artistic items you own or want to own that inspire you to your list. Then, look at what furniture you own and really want to keep and add it to your list. Now, look at your list and think about what type of style you can go with that will make sense with all of these items. If you have a couch with a funky pattern that you love you can use the colors in the pattern to decorate, using the darker or brighter colors for accent pieces or an accent wall, and the base color of the design for most of your decorating. If you have a collection of modern art you want to use, think about adding accept pieces that match some of the colors in your paintings.

If you are having trouble deciding which type of design you can use with your existing furniture and favorite accent pieces try looking for inspiration in your favorite art, colors, fabrics, patterns, or rugs. This blog is brought to you by travel nursing jobs.

Picking Paint Colors - Part Three

Thursday, July 17, 2008

It can be tricky to get your ceiling to appear to be the same color as your walls. This is because the ceiling is usually seen in shadow, so it appears to be darker. If you want your ceiling to be the same color as your walls, buy a paint color that is one or two shades lighter than your walls. Alternatively, you can mix 75% white paint 25% of your paint color. Ceilings usually look best painted light colors or often white.

When you believe you have selected a color it is easy to buy a pint of that color to test it out. Paint two coats on a section of your wall, then observe the color for a couple of days. This way you can see how the color looks at different times of the day. You can also get a good idea about how well the color will match the rest of your decor. If you have a few favorite colors you can easily test them all on different parts of your wall to see which looks the best.
When testing paint on your walls look out for factors that will make your test inaccurate. For example, if you are thinking of painting your wall tan, and the room is currently red, the red will reflect on the tan sample area and change its color. Brightly colored curtains can also reflect onto your paint sample and change the color.

Once you have painted your walls the color you selected, don't be alarmed if it takes you a few days to get used to it. Even if you decide you do not like it, repainting is cheap and easy.

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Picking Paint Colors - Part Two

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Most colors can be separated by whether they are warm or cool colors. Warm colors are those with red or yellow tints to them, like pink or orange. Cool colors include blue, violet and green or any colors that are tinted these colors. Even white can usually be classified as warm or cool. If you compare paint samples, you will see that some are slightly blueish, which others are pink tinted or yellow tinted. Sometimes combining warm and cool colors in one room can look good, like in the picture below.
While you are shopping around for paint, make sure to keep your samples grouped by the store you were shopping in. It is frustrating to get your samples out of order and forget where you need to go to get the color you choose. Another way to keep from getting frustrated is to measure the area you want to paint before you buy your paint. That way, you can buy the correct amount and not have to make another trip to the store for more paint, or to return unused paint.

One way to decide whether you really want a certain color in your house is to look at it in several different lights and also you will probably want to take the paint sample into the room you are decorating, to make sure it will truly look good there.

Paint professionals at the store where you are shopping can often help you decide which brand to use. They can explain the differences to you and this will help you make decisions.

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Picking Paint Colors - Part One

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

If you have the freedom to paint your walls, this blog can help you choose colors and finishes. If you are stuck with white walls, see my previous blogs on tips for making your home colorful and stylish by adding color in other ways.

It is best if you decide on a room design and choose any wallpaper, carpet, rugs, and fabrics first, then choose the paint color. When you are choosing your paint color, you can use samples of all of your design elements to help you choose a color that will match the room and make it perfect.
It can help to look at the full sample strip of a color you are considering. That way, you can see the colors that will match your walls and have a better idea of whether this is really the scheme you want.

If you have a patterned couch or other fabric item that will need to match the room, you can match your wall color to one of the colors in the fabric, usually the lightest. You can use the darker or brighter colors in the pattern for accent walls or maybe even trim.

The most common color to paint trim is white or off white. Another option is to paint the walls a light color and use a darker or brighter color for the trim. Even black trim with tan or green walls can look nice, if you are going for an Asian theme.

Matte or flat paint finishes are good for hiding wall and brush stroke imperfections, but glossier finishes reflect more light. Semi gloss is a safe alternative that is often used if you want a little of both.

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How to Make Guests Comfortable in your Home - Part Three

Monday, July 14, 2008

Most guest rooms will not have an extra iron and ironing board, so remember to let guests know where yours are.

Privacy is a big consideration for guests. Make sure that your guest room has window coverings. Curtains can add great character to a guest room, especially if they match the bedding. But, even just blinds are better than nothing.
It is thoughtful to provide your guest with a set of keys to your home for their stay. Also, if your home has a security system, let them know how to arm and disarm it.

It is nice to give your guests some tourist information. This way, if you are working any of the days while they will be in town, they have fun things to do to keep busy. Give them maps and brochures on the places you think they would like to see. You can also give them maps to the closest grocery stores, restaurants and shopping malls. You can put all of this information into a three ring binder and find a place in the guest room to store it, so that it is available for all of your guests.
Everyone gets the urge for a midnight snack on occasion, so leave a few snacks and a bottle of water in the guest room. If you really want your guest room to be five star you can even leave a coffee pot in the room with powdered cream and sugar.

A television in the guest room is nice, if you want to really spoil your guests have a dvd player, cd player, and an Internet connection available.

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How to Make Guests Comfortable in your Home - Part Two

Friday, July 11, 2008

It is nice to provide a cleared out area for guests to store luggage. Closet space is nice to have for guests, but if you aren't able to manage it, try placing a small table or even a chair in one corner of the room so that a suitcase can be place on top. If you can, try to clear out enough closet space for your guests to hang some items up. If this isn't an option, you can always buy an over the door hanger so that guests can hang a couple of items there. Another storage option for guests is a chest of drawers. This can be used as storage for you too, but you can leave the top drawer or two open for guests.

Guests often appreciate an alternative place to sit in the guest room other than the bed. A cozy side chair with a table and a lamp always looks nice and provides a nice place for a guest to sit and relax or read. As an extra bonus you can leave a few of your favorite books on the side table for them to enjoy.
Make sure you provide a lamp next to the bed. This way, if a guest needs to get up in the night they can see where they are going.
Guests will enjoy having a clock next to their bed, preferably an alarm clock in case they forgot to bring one. It is also nice to have items such as paper, pens, scissors, tape, and safety pins in the guest room. If you can, put a phone in the guest room for convenience.

Check back Monday for part three of this blog!

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How to Make Guests Comfortable in your Home - Part One

Thursday, July 10, 2008

If you love to have houseguests, you want to make sure they have a great experience so that they will visit again. An important part of providing that great experience is making sure the guest room is comfortable.

When you plan your guest room design it can help to imagine what you would want to see in a nice hotel room. You might not have a lot of money for guest room decorating, but there are some things that are priority for your money spending, and other things you can add that don't cost too much.

First of all, you want to make sure your guest bed is comfortable. If you can feel the springs or it is too hard, you may be able to get a simple egg crate pad to put on top, or a feather mattress topper if you can spend a little more. If your bed is just too saggy, you could consider an air mattress on top of a box spring instead, or even on the floor. It is also important to supply several different types of pillows, so the guests can choose one like they are used to. Attractive bedding can add a lot of appeal. You can iron the bedding to add a little extra appeal. Providing an extra blanket or two is a nice touch. It is also a good idea to have an extra set of sheets on hand, in case a guest needs to change them for some reason.

Check back tomorrow for part two!

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Decorating with White Walls

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

People often struggle to decorate with plain white walls, but in rentals painting is usually not an option. Fortunately, there are things you can do to make your home look good even if you are stuck with white walls.
One way to make white walls look good is to use colorful rugs and accessories. This route is easy, movable, and cheap. Plus, if you just get colorful accessories, pillows, and rugs, you don't have to commit to a colorful couch. A plain couch in a neutral color will be easy to incorporate in your decorating scheme no matter what color the walls are. You can also buy colorful slip covers for you couch if you really want a bolder look. It is easy to add color with window treatments, and you can always change these easily if you tire of them. Modern art is another easy way to add a splash of color.
In your kitchen you can buy new door hardware, keeping the old to put back when you move out. Even just adding colorful kitchen chairs can jazz up an otherwise plain kitchen.
You might also consider asking your landlord permission to paint one or two accent walls in your rental. This way, you won't have too much painting to do in order to get the place back to white. If you are going to paint just one wall, you might want to think about going with a bold color.
Colorful bedding is a good way to dress up your bedroom. Choose bedding with different colored sheets and pillows for a more varied look. You can even cover your headboard in fabric that matches your theme.

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How to Organize with Style

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Those who live in small apartments need all the space they can get. Here are some tips on attractive ways to organize your home in creative ways.

  • Cover tables with cloth. This way, you can use the space underneath for extra storage. Also, if you choose a pattern that goes along with your theme, you can use the material to add style to your home, especially if you aren't able to paint the walls.
  • If you can't paint your walls, add color with rugs, accessories, and colorful furniture.
  • You can store neat looking boxes underneath a simple table in your entryway. You can alternate the colors of the boxes for a more interesting look. Often, you can find boxes that are the right size for files, and this option is much more appealing to the eye than file cabinets are.
  • Shelving can look very nice when organized and accessorized properly. You can group books and dishes by size and color. If you have mismatched books or stacks of CDs, you can get several matching boxes to put these in and then arrange them on the shelves. Sometimes it comes in handy to label what is in the boxes on the back sides to make it easier to find things in them. Consider what is on the shelves at eye level, since this is what most people will see first. Make sure you don't have you shelves too full, this will look busy. Add personal photos and decorations throughout. You can also add shelving near the ceiling in kitchens to store glass items without looking too busy.
  • If you don't have enough counter space or cabinet space in your kitchen you can always add a cart.

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