Archive for December, 2010

New Year’s Resolutions – Make Your Home Safer

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Hints and Advice, Holidays

As we close 2010 and move to 2011, many people will start the year with some resolutions. If you want to lose 20 pounds or really commit to making it to the gym next year, those plans will contribute to your health and well being. But how about adding a few resolutions related to your home? Here are a number of suggestions for areas that can make your home safer for you and your family next year.

To begin with, consider your home’s lighting. Outdoors, having entrances and walkways well lit at night keeps family and visitors safer. Do you have good lighting to show any steps or other obstacles? What about inside? Are your stairs and hallways lit well at night? What steps can you take to fix any problems?

Next, check your flooring safety. Are all of your thresholds smooth – particularly on the transitions from one type of flooring to another? Do people tend to trip? What about area rugs? Do they tend to slide when people step on them? Do you have bathroom or kitchen floors that get a bit slick when wet? Maybe this is the year to correct any areas of concern before they cause a problem for family or friends.

How about adding safety bars in your bathrooms for assistance as people get in or out of showers and baths. These are particularly helpful for children and older adults. Safety bar options are much more attractive than they were years ago, and they can reduce the risk of falling when getting in our out of a tub or shower stall.

Finally, how much attention do you pay to safety instructions provided with any new products you bring into your home? Take the time to read and follow those recommendations, and you can reduce the risk of accidents for you and your family in 2011.

Post-holiday Wrap Up

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Holidays

Now that the holidays are wrapping up, it’s time to get everything organized and out of the way before the new year. Here are a few suggestions to make your post-holiday organizing more efficient and set yourself up for a great holiday next year.

Packing away the holiday decorations with some thought will make next year’s unpacking easier as well as nicer. To start, if you don’t have those special containers for protecting your ornaments, maybe this is the year to buy some. The after-holiday sales make their price inviting, and many boxes are pretty enough to leave in sight during next year’s holiday. Be sure to pack candles for storage where the heat of summer won’t damage them; and now is the time to discard any decorations that won’t make the cut in next year’s plans.

Holiday lights: Are your holiday lights still around from the last century? It’s time to let them go! The new LED lights come in beautiful colors, some that change color, and use much less energy. If your lights are showing any signs of age such as frayed cords or cracked sockets, don’t take a chance on a fire next holiday. Toss them and get new ones.

Electronic gifts: Did Santa bring you some amazing electronic gizmo of your dreams this year? Well, whether it’s a new HDTV, Blue Ray DVD player, laptop or iPad, get it out and working right away. You generally only have a couple of weeks before retail stores charge a restocking fee for returns and insist that you send any damaged products back to the manufacturer. While you’re at it, read the installation and safety instructions. Electronics change all the time, and yesterday’s safety and use assumptions may not fit today’s products.

It’s the last week of 2010. Have a great ending to this year by wrapping up your holiday well and planning for a great 2011!

Warm Room for Cold Weather

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Design and Decorating

When the weather outside is frightful, inside can be so delightful, with warm dark colors and snuggly, overstuffed furniture.

This room takes full advantage of every design element to create a sense of inviting warmth. Starting with the walls, a mid-tone warm blue provides a traditional feel while adding contrast to the darker, warmer prints in the curtains and wing chair.

This room feels like a wood floor would be appropriate, but instead a cushiony plush carpeted floor adds to the comfort of the space without sacrificing the traditional design. The light brown color is echoed on the ceiling with a medium cream, and the rich crown molding encourages visitors to recognize and appreciate the interesting architecture of the room.

There are some elements that say country, specifically the handcrafted quilt on the wall and the pine coffee table. But the room’s cleaner lines bring it back to traditional. The fireplace and main light fixture seem to be original, giving the room a restored rather than renovated atmosphere.

What can you do in your home to create a sense of warmth to counteract the cold weather? How about adding a quilted element or two? A small quilted throw across a chair or loveseat adds an old-fashioned flavor as well as provide something to cozy under in the evenings. Include a few extra pillows stuffed with down to support the need for a long winter nap.

Holiday Home Décor

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Christmas, Design and Decorating

The holiday season is filled with different activities that only come around once a year. Decorating for the holidays should be fun, not a chore. Keep the following tips in mind when decorating your home for the festive season!

1. Don’t procrastinate: The longer you wait to get your decorating complete, the less time you have to enjoy your hard work. Don’t spend more time planning and shopping than you actually do decorating. An abundance of planning and shopping makes you tired before the real work even starts. Don’t over think your decorating plan, this type of decorating is temporary. Make your life easy, don’t take it too seriously and have fun! Make putting up and taking down holiday decorations a family affair tradition. Things will get done faster. When families accomplish tasks as a team, it brings them closer.

2. Focus: When decorating, start with a focal point. Rooms naturally have an area that is seen first by viewers due to architectural details and their locations. Larger rooms can have more than one focal point. When you begin, start with decorating the room’s natural focal point (for example: the fire place, windows, and built in bookcases with decorative moldings). Keep in mind that the whole room does not need to be decorated. Focus on what people notice and spend your time on those areas. Don’t create too much work for yourself!

3. Get inspired: Holiday color schemes are not restricted to the typical red, white and green. Use creative color schemes using bright colors in combination with a metallic color such as silver and/or gold (for example: green, purple and silver). Fresh new looks are exciting and notice-worthy. Have some fun and take some risks!

Get Your Floors Ready for the Holidays!

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Care and Maintenance, Holidays

afp_E8322_rsShopping, decorating, wrapping presents, baking, you’ve got a million things to do to prepare for the holiday season, don’t forget to add “floor cleaning” to your list. If you’re entertaining over the holidays, you want to make sure your home looks beautiful. Taking care of your floors is one way to do it. Sparkling clean, polished floors will make a great impression on your guests.

For the best results, you should always clean your floors regularly with the proper products. Armstrong floor care products are ideal for regular and heavy duty cleaning for all types of floors. Now, you may be thinking, why should you spend money on Armstrong floor care products? The simple answer is: they work.

In addition –

  • They’ve been tested and proven in the lab and on thousands of residential floors.
  • They’re specially formulated to work on Armstrong floors and other floors.
  • They’re engineered to be environmentally friendly. So you get a great-looking floor without dumping harsh chemicals down your drain.
  • By using the proper cleaning products, you will help protect your flooring investment for years to come.

Let’s get started. Armed with your mop, bucket and cleaning products, follow these tips to get your floors ship-shape for the holidays!

Hardwood & Laminate Floors

Before the entertaining begins in earnest, dry mop or vacuum your floor, then clean your wood floor with Armstrong Hardwood & Laminate Floor Cleaner in the spray bottle. It comes in a ready-to-use, no-rinse formula, and it’s suitable for all gloss level finishes. For highly worn areas of your floor, try Bruce’s Fresh Finish to restore the shine. Finally, before your guests arrive, place runners and area rugs with slip-resistant backings along high traffic areas.

Wood Floor Cleaning Myth #1: Dry mopping is the best way to clean hardwood flooring or laminate flooring. Any type of liquid cleaner could damage the floor.

Truth: Dry mopping is fine for a quick dusting, but if all you do is dry mop, you will eventually grind the dirt into the surface of the floor. Use only cleaning products specifically designed for hardwood or laminate to remove soil. RSCB5277_web

Wood Floor Cleaning Myth #2: Concentrated cleaning products are fine for hardwood floors. Just add water and go.

Truth: Never use any cleaner that requires you to add water on hardwood floors – even sealed floors. Water will get seep into and around the planks and cause serious damage to your floor.

Vinyl Floors

Routine maintenance will keep your floor looking good longer. Regular cleaning also reduces the number of times you’ll need to do heavy duty cleaning. Armstrong’s Once ‘n Done Resilient and Ceramic No-Rinse Floor Cleaner is good for spot cleaning or all-over floor cleaning. It comes in a convenient, ready-to-use spray bottle or a concentrated formula. You can also use Once ‘n Done with ceramic, tile, marble, granite, terrazzo, slate and stone floors.

But with the holidays fast approaching, you probably want to put in a little extra effort to make your floors look like new. Armstrong’s Shinekeeper restores the appearance of high gloss vinyl floors, while Armstrong’s Satinkeeper does the same for low gloss vinyl floors. For seriously faded or dirty floors, try New Beginning® Extra-Strength Floor Stripper. New Beginning solves tough cleaning problems, but use it only once every couple of years, or, depending on traffic, once a season.

Enjoy the holiday season and bright, sparkling floors with help from Armstrong.

Get a $2.00 mail-in rebate on Armstrong floor care products at Armstrong.com.

Sustainable Hardwoods

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Green Flooring, Hardwood and Laminate

If you are concerned about the environment, you are not alone. More and more people are making sustainable purchasing and lifestyle choices. Industries and companies are responding to that by providing more information on their commitment to environmental responsibility.

A recently announced study demonstrates the interest in providing good information on home products. PE International, an environmental consulting firm, has started to investigate American hardwood’s environmental footprint, by type, from the day the lumber is cut through delivery at the importer. At the conclusion of this research, consumers and suppliers will have access to every aspect of the carbon footprint of each type of wood resource in the U.S..

This study and studies like this will enable you to make informed choices for your home. Recycling and watching your resource consumption is important for our planet, but your dollars provide one of your best tools for encouraging businesses to focus on the environment. If companies see that their consumer base takes sustainability seriously, they will too.

Clean your Carpet for the Holidays: Part 2

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Care and Maintenance, Carpet

Now that your carpet is clean, the next step is getting it dry as quickly as possible. If you don’t actively work on drying your carpeting, particularly in the winter or if you live in a high humidity area, you can end up with mold. But with a few temporary moves, you can have a dry carpet by the end of the day.

The best drying tool is your own heating system. Turn the heat up a few degrees and switch the fan on the thermostat from auto to on. This will keep your home venting to the outside whether the heat is running or not. Any other fans that vent to the outside in your baths or kitchen should also be turned on.

If you have ceiling fans, turn them on high. Place any portable fans you have in spots not otherwise covered. If you rented a professional blower, move that around to take best advantage of its strength. It is better not to replace furniture until the carpeting is dry.

Prepare for you and your pet’s wet feet by covering your upholstery with towels and watching any transitions from wet carpet to hard surfaces that can get slippery. With careful attention, within 12-24 hours, your carpet should be completely dry and ready for the holidays.

Clean Your Carpet for the Holidays

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Care and Maintenance, Carpet

A responsible way to keep your carpet looking new is regular vacuuming and cleaning. With the holidays coming up, now is a good time to get your carpeting ready. Take these steps to make the process easy and successful.

Shop for a good carpet cleaner: this means getting recommendations from family and friends. You cannot assume that a well-known name or company is the best choice, as franchises vary. Look for a firm with a good better business record that has been in business for some time. Also check into the type of equipment. A truck-mounted steam cleaner will do the best job. You may want to ask if the company has a professional blower to rent to help dry your carpet faster – these are generally available for a minimal fee.

Prepare for the cleaners: If you take the time to make your home ready for cleaning, you will have a better job and it will take less time. All furniture that you can move easily should be placed on hard surfaces away from the carpeting. Also remove anything with a fabric base. Take any breakables away from the area, to avoid risks of furniture accidentally getting bumped. Finally, place wax paper or plastic wrap under any wooden furniture legs. Some wood stains will bleed with the hot cleaning water, leaving stains on your carpeting.

Check for spots: your cleaner will probably catch them, but make sure so that they can receive a stronger treatment with stain remover before cleaning.

Protect your pets: Move your pets to a room where they and the cleaner don’t have to interact. This saves time and trouble, and keeps your pets safely locked up while the front door is open during cleaning.

When you’re finished, if the cleaning process went well thank the cleaners, and let them know you will call them again next time.

Ordinary to Extraordinary Powder Room

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Design and Decorating

A Powder Room is a room that nearly every guest in your home will see. This room can easily be enhanced into a welcoming private area for guests. Upgrades you should consider (in order of priority) lead to significant results: 1) Sink/Vanity Cabinet; 2) Lighting; 3) Wall Covering; and 4) Flooring.

Present day vanity cabinets are obtainable in various sizes and styles. Vanity cabinets have evolved into a single unit that looks more like a piece of furniture, rather than a sink cabinet. This type of cabinet is favorable for many reasons. It hides plumbing, satisfies the need for storage and is normally sold with all resources needed for a finished sink cabinet (countertop, sink and faucet). In the past, necessary materials were chosen, bought and installed individually. Improving a sink/vanity cabinet has become incredibly easy.

Lighting can enhance or harm a room. The mirror should flatter your guest’s appearance. Warm, yellowish light is most flattering for all skin tones. Fluorescent bulbs are unflattering to skin because of the awkward, cold light. Most likely only one fixture needs replacing; pick a striking fixture, which spreads a warm glow light. For ceiling mounted fixtures spring for a beautiful down light, which conceals the bulb(s) or a simplistic chandelier. A casual chandelier is dressy without looking “over done”.

Wall coverings engross a small amount of square footage. Go the extra, mile and get a decorative wallpaper, faux finish, or wall treatment, such as linen finish using plaster. Hire a professional; this project only needs a small amount of labor and materials. As far as color is concerned, select a rich, dramatic color such as, plum, silver or gold.

Flooring also only requires minimal material and labor. This is another improvement you should show an added effort towards. Add a natural tumbled stone (or travertine), real bamboo or cork flooring. Using a genuine natural material will add a degree of warmth and comfort to this intimate space.

Upgrading any of the above will dramatically improve your room. Upgrading all of the above will really make a splash!