Decorating Your Home for Winter

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

6543918_SDoes the house seem bare now that the tree and yuletide décor is gone? Yes, the holidays are over but that doesn’t mean you can’t decorate for winter.

Rearrange your furniture. If you have a fireplace, pull furniture towards the hearth to create a cozy gathering spot.

Add some bright pops of color to counteract the blue and silver scene outside.

Just like you bundle up to go outdoors during these cold months, use slipcovers on your dining room chairs for a fun layered look. Layer beds with textured throws and pillows. Add dozens of throw pillows to your couch and chairs in your living room.

Throw a sheepskin rug by the fireplace or better yet put one on each side of your bed. Your footsies will thank you when you get up each morning.

Hang thick velvet curtains. Hang these right over the window treatments you already have. Once the warmer months arrive you can simply take them down.

You can still dress up the mantle of your fireplace. The greens and holly may have gone, but why not create a scene using a white, silver and a pale blue palette? Add glittery snowflakes too.

Hang glass icicles from the chandelier over your dining room table. Glittered branches in glass vases make a beautiful centerpiece.

Add snowflake decals to any mirrors in the house. If you have any snowman décor from the holidays, it is perfectly acceptable to leave those out.

Cleaning Out Your Gutters

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Hints and Advice, Tips, Uncategorized

9393881_SIt’s fall, which means there are some unpleasant chores that need to be accomplished – namely raking leaves and cleaning out the gutters. Get your kids to deal with the leaves and handle the gutters yourself as it involves climbing up and down a ladder.

Why do we need to clean out the gutters? Leaves and other debris can build up in the gutters, clogging the downspouts. This can lead to water damage on your roof. Water pouring over the gutters can end up leaking inside your home and into your foundation.

Clean your gutters while standing firmly on a ladder. Use one bucket for gutter debris and one for tools. Use wire hooks to attach each bucket to the ladder. Clean large debris with a trowel first. Using a hose flush the gutter starting at the opposite end of the downspout. If the water doesn’t drain, check the downspout to see if it is clogged and clean as necessary.

If there is still any standing water in the gutter after it has been flushed it may not be sloped correctly. Do not ignore this problem. If the gutter doesn’t slope enough, detach the hangers and adjust the gutter to drain properly and then reattach.  If you don’t feel comfortable doing that, call a professional.

This is also the time to inspect gutter sections for damage and missing parts, repair any gutter leaks and apply gutter touch up paint. You may even want to repaint all of the gutters.

While cleaning out the gutters does take some time and elbow grease, it is necessary for the health of your home.

Glass Shelves in the Bathroom

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Hints and Advice, Kitchen and Bath, Tips

16592717_SGlass shelves are a versatile storage option for the bathroom.  Glass shelves can be hung throughout the bathroom. In smaller spaces, like a bathroom, the glass will take up less visual space than a wood or painted shelf.

Glass shelves virtually disappear into the wall behind them. If you use a floating shelf design like in this bathroom, the shelf will blend in with whatever is behind it. This allows your beautiful backsplash to be uninterrupted by the shelf. This is important when you have an intricate pattern like a mosaic or border.

Tempered glass is always a good idea in a bathroom for a shelf or a shower door. Tempered glass will not shatter into shards, which can be dangerous in a bathroom with its tile or wood floor.  If you have a glass shower surround, glass shelving in the room can unify the design.

Glass shelves can be hung above the toilet as well as above the vanity.  You can vary the depth of the shelf depending on its use and placement in the bathroom. Thicker shelves can be used to store extra toilet paper, jars of Qtips and cotton balls, or even extra washcloths and hand towels in neat rolls. Smaller shelves can hold toothbrushes and toothpaste.

No matter the material you choose for shelves in the bathroom, make sure you secure them to the wall with the proper screws for your wall type. Going into a stud is always a good idea when hanging a shelf that will hold any weight.

Don’t Let the Holidays Sneak Up on You

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Christmas, Events, Family, Hints and Advice, Holidays, Thanksgiving, Tips

16311397_SThere are so many already aired holiday ads, and the stores have had their winter holiday aisles up since just after Labor Day. Retailers certainly won’t let us forget that the holidays are almost upon us. Our email inboxes are already full of coupons for holiday cards and ideas for holiday meals. So, have you made your appointment for your family holiday photo yet? Are YOU ready for the holidays?

Without putting the horse before the cart, here is a checklist of items you can do now so that you are not overwhelmed as the holiday season arrives.

  • Get out your holiday recipes. Check your pantry to make sure you have what you need so you don’t have to run to the store in the midst of holiday food prep.
  • Plan your Thanksgiving meal. Order your turkey, if that’s what’s on the menu. Your butcher will thank you for not waiting until the last minute.
  • Also plan your holiday baking. You can easily make breads and cookies now and freeze them for future use.
  • Buy containers for freezer meals, holiday gifts and baked goods. The stores are full of holiday themed disposable ware.
  • Take stock of your china, holiday tablecloths, serving pieces and stemware. If you need additional items you have plenty of time to look for sales.
  • Review your address book. Update any changes and count how many holiday cards you need to order. It’s also not too early to start writing your holiday letter.
  • Make your gift list and plan your budget. Look through your wrapping supplies and see if you need extra tissue paper, ribbons and bows.
  • Make travel arrangements if you will be visiting family out of town. Service your car so that it is ready for the trek to Grandma’s house.
  • If you are hosting family, check your supply of extra linens, towels and throw blankets. Schedule carpet cleaning, window washing and a professional house cleaning so that your home is sparkling.
  • And finally, don’t forget to plan for a haircut, and a mani/pedi so that you start the holiday season relaxed and looking great.

Best Tools for Dusting

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Care and Maintenance, Hints and Advice, Tips, Uncategorized

17743332_SYou know what dust is made out of, where it comes from and how many times a month you need to dust to keep your home healthy and looking its best. But what are the best tools for getting rid of dust?

Start first with your vacuum. You can use your vacuum to dust your walls, ceilings and baseboards. One downside – if you don’t have a HEPA filter on your vacuum you may end up spewing dust back in the air.

A feather duster is another good tool. Use a feather duster to dust bookshelves without having to move everything off. Just be careful to replace your feather duster if any of the feathers break, as this may cause scratching of surfaces.

A lambs wool duster is also good at getting in small and irregular spaces. This tool tends to stir up less dust than a feather duster, but you do have to make sure to wash it periodically.

Microfiber cloths do a great job of dusting without stirring up dust. The cloths can hold quite a bit of dust and won’t scratch your furniture. They are not great, however, for dusting up high or for dusting irregular surfaces.

Electrostatic cloths are another option. They won’t stir up dust and come in disposable options so that no cleaning in-between dusting is needed. They vary in lengths and sizes and some even come with poles so you can dust up high. The main con to electrostatic dust cloths is that they are more expensive as they are not reusable.

Should you use oils or polishes? Oils and polishes can enhance the look of your wood furniture and they will help with dusting fine surfaces, however, overuse or improper use can cause buildup or cause clouding of your furniture.

Compressed air is the best way to dust electronics. It is also great to use for surfaces where cloths may snag or in small spaces where tools aren’t practical.

What’s Hot in Bathroom Design?

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Design and Decorating, Hints and Advice, Kitchen and Bath, Tile, Tips

20819710_SYou’ve overhauled your kitchen and now it’s time to give your bathrooms some extra love.

Do you have a bathtub? Try replacing it with a claw foot tub. The new ones have been given an update and a modern spin to make this classic look fashionable.

Faucets are going high tech. Install a hands-free action-sensor model.

Think luxury. Leather vanities with stainless steel tops were featured a recent design show. You can even customize the leather color.

Jetted tubs are out. Now you “need” a hydrotherapy tub. VibrAcoustic transducers broadcast sound waves through the water to relax and calm the body. Unlike jets, the transducers don’t interrupt the surface of the water, since they’re found below the bathtub’s shell. Who knew?

If you really want to spoil yourself you can add a shower that allows you to control the precise temperature and water pressure you want. You can even start your shower right from your cozy bed with your shower remote control.

Add the finishing touches to your updated bathroom with a patterned backsplash – think herringbone. Pair that with black Italian marble countertops and flooring and a metallic sink.

When it comes to lighting, combine pretty with practical. Sconces on either side of your mirror are good lighting for your face. Put pot lights in the ceiling and add a statement chandelier.

There you have it, design ideas to turn your bathroom into a relaxing sanctuary, a get-away from the world and a place to pamper yourself. Because after all, don’t we all need that?

It’s Officially Fall

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Family, Hints and Advice, Outdoor Living, Tips

16419295_SIt IS officially fall. You can tell by the brilliant blue sky, the leaves changing colors and the crispness in the air. Soon we will be pulling out the crock-pot and preparing hearty braised dishes for our families. In the meantime, while the kids have settled down to the routine of the school year it is time to prepare the outside of the house for the new season and also to start (gasp) thinking about the holidays.

Here is a quick checklist of chores that should (don’t you just hate that word?), or can be done to make sure that the outside of your home is ready for the coming of winter.

  • Clean and store your patio furniture and summer toys.
  • Wash your windows. This is worth calling someone and having them do it for you.
  • Drain your garden hoses. Store them neatly in the garage. Don’t forget to blow out your sprinkler system to prevent broken pipes during the winter.
  • Clean out your gutters. Again, this is another job that perhaps a high school student would like to take on for you for some extra spending money. After they clean out your gutters have them retouch any peeling paint on your deck, or at least power wash and clean your deck.
  • Check caulk around outside windows and doors. Re-caulk if necessary.
  • Look at your outside doors and your garage door. Do they close and seal properly? If not, get them fixed. You will reap the benefits on your winter heating bills.
  • And finally, clean your chimney.

Although at first it may seem a bit overwhelming, it is really not a long list. Schedule one job a day or a couple of jobs per weekend and before you know it the outside of your home will be holiday and winter ready.

Organizing Your Closet

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

2887766_SYour husband has his man cave and the garage. You have the kitchen and your CLOSET. While some of us have the means to compete with Khloe Khardashian’s huge closet in her beautiful home, some of us don’t. To maximize closet space and find what you need in a hurry, here a few tips for closet organization.

Are you a folder? If so hang ventilated shelves for stacking clothes. This will help prevent mold, mildew and pests.

Group like with like – sweaters with sweaters. Remember that like size items stack more easily and neatly. Put clothes you wear the most in the center of the shelves.

If you have room, add drawers below eye level. Use baskets within the drawers to keep items organized.

As far as hanging goes, divide your clothes into categories and separate by hanging tags. Put all short-sleeved blouses together, then follow those with long sleeve blouses, get the idea? You get bonus points if you organize by color within the category – light to dark hues.

If shoes flood your closet floor, develop a smart strategy for storing them. Keep the shoes you wear all the time accessible on shelves if you have room. Store seasonal and special-occasion shoes in easy-to-see clear plastic boxes on the top shelf of your closet. Or simply reuse the original box and attach a picture of the shoes to the front.

Make sure your closet has good lighting. You can easily install lighting if need be. If you have a window in your closet be sure to add a shade as exposure to sunlight can fade clothes.

If your closet is also your dressing area install a floor length mirror on the back of the door.

To be super efficient you can install an ironing cabinet in your closet so that you can iron your clothes in a jiffy. Yes, this really exists.

Still have a few items that need a place? Pocket shoe holders can be used for more than shoes. Use them for socks, lingerie, leggings or jewelry.

Now, while your husband enjoys his man cave you can enjoy your beautifully organized closet.

Working with an Open Kitchen and Dining Area

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Design and Decorating, Hardwood and Laminate, Hints and Advice, Kitchen and Bath, Uncategorized

6740018_SMany people have open concept living spaces that flow into another, like this kitchen and dining room.  Working with an open kitchen and dining area to create a design that highlights both the kitchen and the dining areas can be a little tricky.  Successfully decorating these areas will leave you with spaces that flow together yet maintain their own identities.

Making a dining room that is open to the kitchen feel like its own room means highlighting the dining space to make it feel special.  Here that is done by an area rug on the floor that outlines and anchors the dining area. Using an area rug or room size rug in the dining area helps the space feel separate. A painted border could also be used.

A pretty chandelier above the table is a lovely way to make the dining area feel more formal. A similar chandelier or pendant in the kitchen, above the sink or island, would tie the spaces together.

Working in the same color palette for both rooms, playing off the cabinet and flooring colors with similar tones of wood for the dining table and chairs also unifies the design of the two joined spaces.

Open kitchens allow the chef to interact with family and guests. Use design to celebrate this great feature of open entertaining.

Labor Day Plans

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

14663731_SFor those of us who are not having Labor Day weekend parties but have instead planned camping trips here are a few tips to make the holiday as enjoyable as possible. Labor Day is such a busy camping time that it’s crucial to make reservations at the campground of your choice in advance. Waiting until the last minute is likely to leave you scrambling to find a spot for the weekend.

Please check the weather. Your local television station will have up-to-date forecasts. Pack clothing and camping gear depending on the weather. If it’s predicted to be cold, pack warm clothing, long-sleeves and pants. If the weather is going to be hot, opt for shorts and tank tops. But, keep in mind that you’ll need to pack at least one warm outfit for each person, because nights can be cool during Labor Day weekend.  It’s also imperative to pack bug spray, wet wipes, toilet paper and a first aid kit.

Plan your menu. Do you have a camping stove or will you be cooking directly over the fire? This is an important difference. If you are cooking over an open fire, pre make many of your meals as possible, wrap them in foil and reheat. Burritos are an especially easy option in this situation. If you have a stove, the world is your oyster. Don’t forget to pack paper towels and dish soap for easy cleanups. A huge container of water for cleaning, drinking and brushing your teeth is also a necessity.

Since you will be “unplugging” from the real world you’ll want to bring a deck of cards, a football or a Frisbee for entertainment.

And most importantly, bring marshmallows, graham crackers and chocolate. It’s never a good camping trip without making smores.