Decorating an Outdoor Area for Summer

Summer weather can be harsh, which means your outdoor area, furnishings and décor need to be able to handle the heat as well as the thunderstorms. This can be a tricky combination as you need to prepare for all weather events, both wet and very, very dry depending on the year. Here are some top tips for decorating your outdoor area this summer.

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Make Room for Guests

One of the most important aspects of an outdoor area is its entertaining capabilities. We just love to entertain, especially outdoors. Barbeques are a way of life so you’ll need a good range to cater for a large crowd and the seating and dining to match. If you only have a small space, put your spend into the barbecue and host informal get-togethers, buffet style.

Weather Proof Everything

You’ll need to consider your specific area when decorating your outdoor living space but it’s almost a guarantee that you’ll experience both wet and dry conditions. Pick fabrics that are weather proof whenever possible. Cushions should be able to handle wet weather while their colour needs to stand up to the harsh sun. Don’t spend a fortune on rain-proof fabrics if the colours are going to fade in the sun after only one season or you’ll be buying again next year.

Likewise, choose sun proof fabrics if you can. If they’re not all weather wear then you’ll need somewhere to keep them when it inevitably rains. If you don’t have the space to store your outdoor

supplies in your indoor linen cupboard or similar, invest in an outdoor chest and storage compartment that doubles as extra seating for your guests.

Lisa Green, Editor in Chief of Australian House & Garden had this to say in an interview with hipages: “Choose furniture that will age gracefully – i.e. aged metal finishes which will patina over time. Or look to the hi-tech weatherproof synthetics that now come in many more sculptural forms, with soft cushioning to match.”

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Durability Over Design

You shouldn’t have to compromise but if your budget doesn’t make room for your favorite design in a durable material, always, always choose durability over design elements. If your chosen design isn’t durable enough to face numerous summers, simply don’t make the purchase. You’ll enjoy one summer only, before you need to buy again. This is especially important when making big purchase decisions, such as your outdoor table and chairs. Certain woods require a lot of maintenance to hold up under the harsh sun, so forego the wooden dining if you’re not up to the task. Instead, opt for metal and glass tabletops that will last many years to come.

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Shading

While certain dining suites require regular maintenance, you can help your aging furnishings by shading your outdoor living area well. You’ll need at least enough shade for you and your guests to enjoy on hot summer days. Whether you choose large table top umbrellas to keep you and your guests cool while you entertain, or invest in canopies to cover your entire outdoor living space, your décor and outdoor furniture will hold up much better in the shade than in constant sunshine.

Biz: Eliminating Stains and Odors

Disclosure: I am a Biz Ambassador, and this is a sponsored post written in partnership with the brand. All opinions are my own.

Biz Eliminating stains and odors

As a wife and mom I find myself doing laundry almost daily!  To make sure our clothes look their best, I like to use high quality products.  One product that I use is BIZ®..  It is a stain remover and laundry booster and the first enzyme based pre-soak and color-safe bleach.

[Read more…]

5 Ideas to Give Your Bathroom an Instant Facelift

As a homemaker, I take pride in my home, and I love doing things to take care of it and make improvements, whether that’s doing a little tidying up or taking on a DIY project.  One area that I’m currently focusing on improving is my bathroom.  I live in an older home, and the entire house has been renovated except for the main bathroom.  Although we’ve updated certain parts of it, one thing about it still screams “older home” and that is the green tile on the walls!  I’m in the process of taking care of that, and I’ll definitely share the results with you.  Until then, today I’m going to talk about some of the improvements I’ve already made and some other ideas to give your bathroom a nice face lift!

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1. Vanities – The vanity is the main focal point in the bathroom.  As such, it should not only be something that’s functional, but it should also look pleasing to the eye and fit your style. (And hopefully it has a lot of storage space too.)  A wall mount vanity or a free standing vanity is easy to install and will immediately brighten up your bathroom and make it look newer.

2.  Shower curtains and doors – When you enter a bathroom, if your eye doesn’t immediately go to the vanity, then it probably does to the tub and/or shower.  Getting a new shower curtain is one of the easiest and most inexpensive ways to change the look and feel of your bathroom.  In fact, many people rely on a shower curtain to add color to what would otherwise be a dull white room.  If you currently have a curtain with a pastel floral pattern, consider something a little more bold and dramatic like a black and white damask shower curtain or red and white chevron stripes.  This will change your bathroom in minutes.  And if you have a shower with a glass door, consider taking it down and adding a curtain, or simply add a sparkling new door.

3. Lighting – Bad lighting can turn even the nicest bathrooms into a dreary and uninviting place.  If you have an old light fixture that is dim or dated, try adding something with a modern styling. Ideally you you should have a light bar with multiple lights over your vanity.  And when it comes to bathroom lighting, you should always consider function over style.  A fancy and expensive light fixture may be pretty, but if it has only three lights, and the lights have globes over them, it isn’t going to give you nearly as much light as a basic light bar with five or six lights.  And when you do consider style, try to make sure that your bathroom hardware (handles, drawer pulls, towel racks, etc.) matches your light fixture.

4. New flooring – If you’re bathroom is covered in old vinyl, especially vinyl that is stained or just dated, consider adding new flooring.  Ceramic tile will immediately modernize and give your bathroom a fresh and clean look.  And if you’re looking to save a little money, laminate flooring is a great option.  You can find styles that look like tile or wood.  It is a low maintenance material, and your bathroom will great.

Bathroom Wall

5. Walls – A new coat of paint is another inexpensive way to update your bathroom.  Even if you like the color of your bathroom, just adding a new coat of the same color, especially a shade slightly darker or lighter can really freshen up the place, and a new color can dramatically change the look and feel of your bathroom.  And if you have old tile like I do, that can be fixed too!  Old tile walls can be covered with new tiles or paneling (if you need a cheaper option).  And if the design of your bathroom won’t allow for you to simply cover the tile, it just takes a hammer and a little muscle to take out that old tile.  The paneling or tile can also be added to an otherwise plainly painted bathroom to add modern flair and definition.

A full bathroom renovation can be a headache, but by breaking it down in to single tasks, such as the ones I’ve listed here, you can really simplify the process.  It’s also amazing how much difference just one or two of these updates can make to your room.  And the great news is, you don’t have to do a full bathroom makeover in a weekend.  You have all the time in the world to work at your own pace, following your own schedule and budget.

Quick Ways to Give your Walls a Fresh Look

If you are anything like me, you sometimes get a bit bored with the way your home looks. Unfortunately, I do not always have the time or cash to be able to redecorate completely.

As a result, over the years, I have come up with some quick and easy ways to give a room a fresh look. These methods allow you to revamp a space in just a few hours, and do so without spending too much money.

Start with the walls

The fastest way to make a difference is to change what is on the walls. Your eye is naturally drawn to the far wall as you enter a room, so it makes sense to focus on that wall, and change that first. Doing so quickly changes the look and feel of a room. It sets the scene.

Wall stickers and artwork

You can easily transform a wall using artwork, or wall stickers. These days you can easily order what you need online. When your parcel arrives, you just need to spend an hour or so hanging your new pictures, or putting your decals up.

Customized wall decor

If you want something truly unique, it is best to go down the custom route. There are more and more firms offering consumers the chance to create their own wall decor items. It is now easy to get your favorite photos turned into a canvas print that looks like an oil painting, but there are also more unusual decorative items available. One such example is custom made signs.

Customised traffic signs do not cost a lot of money and they are a fun and zany way of decorating the walls of a room. Ordering them from www.roadtrafficsigns.com is super easy. All you need to do is to choose a design, and tell them what wording you want. For example, you could order a street sign that includes your family name or a stop sign that says something like – no whining zone.

These signs look great. They last, and are easy to put up or take down and reuse in other areas of the house.

Paint a room fast

Often, this simple approach is enough to give your room a fresh new look. However, if the walls are looking shoddy a better approach is to repaint the room.

If you do it right, painting a room need not take you long. A team of three professional painters can paint a small bedroom in under an hour. If you use the same techniques and equipment, you and your partner could easily re-paint a room in a morning. You can find out exactly how to do it, by watching this video.

Mirrors

Another simple approach is to put up a couple of big mirrors. Doing so brightens up the room, and makes the most of the natural light that is available in the room. If you put them up in the right places there is the added benefit that they make the room look bigger too.

6 Trick Interiors Designers Use to Create a Relaxing Bedroom

In the era of hectic lives that put our brains in overdrive, there’s no substitute for a refreshing night’s sleep. We all intuitively know it, but very few of us actually take the time to reflect on our sleeping habit.

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Making sure you get enough of quality sleep is the single most underappreciated aspect of our health. A breakfast of avocado, egg whites and a green veggie smoothie will not make up for the lack of well-balanced sleep cycles and getting enough of deep sleep -one of the important phases of sleep when the all-important growth hormone is released.

So, healthy sleeping habits go way beyond choosing a good mattress and turning off the lights.

You see all the magazine covers and the pictures of perfect bedrooms and you might think to yourself, “If I only had that bedroom…”

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Well, let’s get a bit naughty and reveal a few tidbits of less known tactics designers use to create that feeling of calming perfection and serenity.

1. The color palette

I know, I know, you expected that to be one of the “tricks”, but read on, you might be surprised by what we reveal here.

You might expect commonplace tips like “use soothing colors” but actually, let’s take it one step further and dig deeper into the psychology of sleep. We’ve definitely been sold on the calming earthly tones and placating grays.

The truth is not that simple.

A hotel chain in the UK conducted research on the room colors and how they relate to the hours of sleep guests were reporting to get.

The results were surprising – it was the guests in the blue rooms – shades of eggshell blue, azure and aqua, to be more precise.

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Reason: The receptors in our eyes that regulate sleep are most sensitive to blue as proven by the Institute of Sleep in Edinburgh.

2. Trying the unconventional

If the concept of full eight hours of restful sleep seems like a fairy-tale, maybe it’s time for an inventory of your sleeping habits.

You might find that the solution to your troubles is not in re-inventing your bedroom and painting it blue. For example, if you have back pains that keep you up, don’t just go with it and wait for the mornings. Try unconventional solutions to your sleep problems (like a good air mattress).

3. Minimal is optimal

When it comes to bedroom design, some of the principles we’re talking about are not intuitive.

You might ask yourself what difference does a color or the stuff I have in my bedroom makes when I’m sleeping eyes closed in total darkness.

All the difference – that’s the answer.

It’s about how you perceive your bedroom. And you should perceive as place free of the clutter of everyday life. If your kid’s toys are all over the bedroom floor, you might not see them but you “feel” them.

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Eliminating the clutter as much as possible will eliminate the feeling of a “busy” room and allow you to smoothly drift off to nourishing sleep.

4. Inviting bed positioning

Another thing we don’t think about because we don’t know how important it is.

If a neatly made bed is the first thing you see when you walk over that doorstep, your brain receives a clear message that it’s time to unwind.

If you are lucky enough to have a bedroom with a view, make sure that your bed faces the view. In this scenario it’s also important to have the right kind of blackout shades – ones that let just enough light in to gently wake you up as the sun rises.

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5. Lighting

When it comes to choosing a bedroom lamp, go with one that allows you to adjust the level of brightness. The dimmer will allow you to have just enough light while getting ready for bed and not enough to stimulate you.

Ideally, you wouldn’t even have a bedside but a sconce lamp, which would further promote the minimal and calming feel of the room.

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 If you still have bright light bulbs in your bedroom, it might be a time for a makeover.

6. Carefully chosen artwork

If you choose it well, select accent piece can work and tie very well into the oasis you’ve created for yourself.

To do that, make sure that the colors are compatible with the one you choose for your bedroom (blue on white or vice versa works really well) and that the pieces don’t seem “engaged” but still and passive.

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Sweet Dreams.

Get Rid of Spiders Naturally with Stay Away Spiders

Disclosure: I received product samples to facilitate this post. Affiliate links are included. The opinions are my own.

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Along came a spider, Who sat down beside her, And frightened Miss Muffet away…

Are you like Miss Muffet and me?  Are spiders your arch nemesis?  Then today’s post is definitely for you!

Here in the South, we never really get a full break from pests like spiders.  And even though we have a professional who does pest control at our home each month, we still get a variety of spiders in our home.  I can squash the little ones with a shoe, but when I see bigger ones, it freaks me out! Today I’m sharing a product that I hope will keep the spiders, large and small, from coming around again! The product is called Stay Away Spiders, and it comes from EarthKind Natural Pest Prevention. [Read more…]

Dry Cleaning at Home with Dryel

Disclosure: I am a brand ambassador for Dryel, and am receiving compensation for this post. The opinions are my own. dry-cleaning-at-home-with-dryel

Earlier this year I’ve talked a couple of times about the challenges of laundry and things that you can do to make this very important chore a lot easier for you.  Today I have another solution for you: Dryel At Home Dry Cleaner.  This product is an easy and affordable way to do dry cleaning at home. [Read more…]

Fall Decorating with Oriental Trading

Disclosure: I’m an ambassador for Oriental Trading and received free products. The opinions are my own.
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This week we’ve had the most perfect weather.  It really feels like fall is here!  Here in the South, we only get a few weeks of what I’d call perfect weather.  (It’s usually hot, hotter, or too cold.)  Needless to say, this is an exciting time.  And it puts me in the mood for all things fall.  A couple of weeks ago I did a little decorating in the house, and included in my decor was a few items from Oriental Trading.  They have some of the cutest decorations and party supplies for all occasions.

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Clog 101: Tips to Prevent and Fix Clogs

Disclosure: Today’s post is written on behalf of Roto-Rooter. The opinions are my own.

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Here on the blog, we’ve discussed a lot of tips and strategies to make housekeeping easier.  Just in the last month, I’ve shared tips and along with printable checklists for cleaning your kitchen and your bathroom. One thing that can quickly throw a kink in having a clean kitchen or bathroom is a clog in your sink, bathtub, or toilet.  Today I will be sharing tips to prevent and fix clogs in these important areas. [Read more…]

Car Cleaning with Mean Green

Disclosure: Today’s post is a sponsored post for Mean Green. The opinions are my own.

car-cleaning-with-mean-green

This year I’ve been discussing the great cleaning products that Mean Green has to offer, and I’ve discussed the various ways you can use their products.  Whether you’re looking to clean and sanitize your kitchen and bath, or you’re looking to clean your garage, grill, or deck furniture, Mean Green has the perfect  product for any job!  Today we’re going to talk a little bit about that heavy duty cleaning outside the house.  For the outdoor jobs previously mentioned, I turn to Mean Green Super Strength Cleaner & Degreaser. (We’ve even used it to wash out our aluminum siding!)  But today I’m going to go a little bit small scale and talk about how we  use Mean Green to clean the inside of our car. [Read more…]