3 Easy Ways to Increase the Light in Your Home

Natural light is always better than artificial light. It helps bathe your room in full, rich hues that light bulbs just can’t duplicate. Natural light increases your body’s “feel-good” serotonin levels and best of all, costs you nothing. Nothing compares to the warm feeling of sunshine on your face, especially in a cold, dull winter. Bringing this warm sunshine and natural light not only lifts your spirits, improves your health and even helps to save on energy. Can’t beat it. download 6 1 300x150 - 3 Easy Ways to Increase the Light in Your Home

Unfortunately, there are a lot of homes that are just not built with natural light in mind. But short of picking up your house and physically moving it, one would think that the only option is major renovations. But, you will be surprised at the many different ways to increase natural light in your home. 

Add Mirrors
You may have heard that adding a mirror to a wall will help make the room not only look bigger but if you put one across from a window, it can help double the amount of sunlight that enters the room. download 5 1 - 3 Easy Ways to Increase the Light in Your HomeAdding other shiny objects help reflect the light back into the room so adding decorative mirrors, furniture with glass, silver picture frames and other reflective surfaces will help bounce sunlight around your room and brighten up the space. download 4 3 - 3 Easy Ways to Increase the Light in Your HomeSince mirrors reflect light, if you strategically place them to face the windows and bounce the brightness around the room. If you have a glass door, furniture with glass paneling, face them in the direction of any natural light to further amplify the effect. 

Lighten Up Your Colors
Painting walls and ceilings white or another light color may seem like a no-brainer for adding more light and you’re right! Interior wall color is the best way to reflect natural light back into your room. Light Reflectance Value (LRV) can range from 100% for pure white down to 0 for black. Nothing is brighter than pure white. If you really don’t like white but want more light, look into other tones in that same family. 

If you’re not ready to repaint walls, then focus on the ceiling. download 3 4 - 3 Easy Ways to Increase the Light in Your HomeThey are usually painted white for a reason, because white reflects light. Since ceilings can often go unnoticed when looking at a rooms decor, there’s no design penalty for going with white. Flat white is the preferred color over glossier sheens because a matte finish reduces glare and ceilings don’t need the washability of glossy finishes because they don’t get touched regularly like walls. download 2 4 - 3 Easy Ways to Increase the Light in Your Home

Light colored hardwood floors like oak or maple can give you another surface to evenly reflect light. Additionally, their reflective properties mean that they can effectively hide dust or dirt. While this can be tough to redo right away, you can refinish your floors and add a lighter stain or if you love your dark floors, just paint your walls a lighter color and add light colored area rugs for additional warmth. 

Don’t block windows
Since the sun is your primary source of natural light, you don’t want to block it from shining into your home. If furniture (tables, chairs, couches) have their backs against a window, move them inwards to the space, even just a few inches will help create a pathway for the light. Light window treatments or curtains with thin fabric will help the sun’s beams come through. download 1 3 - 3 Easy Ways to Increase the Light in Your Home

While making sure nothing is blocking the windows on the inside is important, the same thing goes for the outside of the windows. Landscape and trees outside of the home can enhance the look and create the ever important curb appeal. images 4 - 3 Easy Ways to Increase the Light in Your HomeThe more greenery that you have on the outside of the house, the less light can get inside, especially if you have large trees or bushes in front of windows. Keeping these large tree branches and bushes trimmed will help ensure the light can get inside of your home. You can even consider replacing any plants that are overgrown with perennials that are lower to the ground or flowering annuals that can help keep the widows clear. 

Choosing Carpet For Your Family Room

Your family room often serves as the social gathering place of a home, bringing family members and friends together to relax and socialize. However, because of all the socializing and often more foot traffic than say, the living room, the flooring choice might be more important than you think. Hardwood continues to be a popular choice, but many homeowners still steer towards carpeting to cover family rooms and game rooms where people gather. Therefore, it can be quite important that the floor is soft, comfortable and cozy. 

If it’s been a while since you’ve explored flooring options, you’ll find that modern carpet choices have been upgraded. Not only can you choose from a wider range of colors and textures, you also have upgraded materials (natural materials like jute and wool to environmentally friendly materials like nylon and polyester). Beyond that, durability, ease of cleaning, color and construction can make a big impact on choosing the best carpet for your family room. 

Here are a couple of factors to consider when choosing a carpet for your family room. 

Construction:
The construction of carpet can make a big difference in the look of your room. The construction factors include pile and style (say that six times fast). 

Pile – cut piles are known as plush, while uncut piles are looped. Other options are patterned loop, which has loops of multiple heights and cut and loop, which creates a pattern. 

Style – cut piles styles include smooth, texture, twist (known as frieze) and shag. Smooth styles look the most formal, while twisted and shag are more casual. Loop pile styles include level loop, known as berber – which is ideal for high-traffic areas because of how dense it is.

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Color:
Selecting a color is a very subjective decision. The carpet color that you choose depends not only on your personal taste and decor style but also on considerations like the intended use of the room, the natural light exposure in the room and even the color of your pet (choosing a carpet color that doesnt’ show your dogs hair can be a big advantage). With the right hue, your carpet can disguise the foot traffic from family, guests and pets. There is no need to always choose a dark brown carpet to hide dirt and spills. As it turns out, darker carpet color could even end up showing marks and spills more readily. download 9 - Choosing Carpet For Your Family Room

Bad color choices can be fun but often become outdated quickly. Neutral-colored carpets, including gray and beige, don’t go out of style. If you decide to go with a neutral, don’t be afraid to go with lighter colors, which can make your room appear larger. Many carpet options are now made with stain and soil-resistant technology that makes them easier to clean. Consider carpeting with slightly different colored threads, like Berber, to further disguise soil. Just like you would do with paint colors, bring samples of carpet home with you and see how they look in the different light throughout the day in the room of choice. 

Cleaning:
Because the family room is one of the most used rooms in the house, spills frequently happen in here more than any other room (besides the kitchen). Having flooring that is easy to clean will make your life so much easier. There are many carpet options that come with a lifetime warranty. For the best possible peace of mind, look for a carpet that has a “no exclusions” policy – meaning that any substance commonly excluded from most of the other stain warranties (bleach or pet accidents) are fully covered. 

Durability:
Because of the high-traffic nature of the family room, carpets should be durable. This rooms’ floors typically get the most use and has the highest level of traffic besides the hallways and stairs. To ensure that your carpet will withstand the wear and tear of everyday life, look for high-quality carpet that features a good wear warranty. When shopping for the best carpet for your home, test the quality of the product by bending the sample backwards. If the backing easily shows when you do this, the low-density carpet is of lower quality and will crush faster. A carpets durability is measured in face weight, gift twist and density rating. Look for a 34-40-ounce face weight, a tuft twist of 5 or more and a density rating of 2,000 or higher. 

Padding:
Even if you can’t see it on a day-to-day basis, you will definitely be able to feel the difference of good carpet padding. The right padding is the key to a more comfortable surface and even better yet, noise reduction. It can help provide an extra source of protection against premature wearing of your carpet too. The more traffic expected in the room, the denser the padding should be.

Fiber Softness:images 5 - Choosing Carpet For Your Family Room
If your family ends up spending a lot of time on the floor playing board games or having sleepovers, movie nights, the softness of the carpet can be an important consideration. Most manufacturers today have a line of “soft” carpets, which feature more fibers than traditional carpet fibers. This softness can be achieved with a carpet cushion placed beneath the carpet. Many people believe that it is possible to achieve a balance between softness and durability. Modern “memory foam” carpet padding can offer the best of both worlds – great durability and softness.

Signs It’s Time to Refinish Your Hardwood

Hardwood floors are known for their beauty as well as being able to stand the test of time. But they do require maintenance as well as care to reach their full potential. From time to time the floors need to be sanded and refinished. But how do you know it’s time? Here are the top signs it’s time to restore and refinish your floors. 

Water damage
After being sealed correctly, hardwood floors can be capable of resisting some moisture. As in, if you spill a little water, it should bead up and give you time to clean it up. download 7 1 - Signs It's Time to Refinish Your Hardwooddownload 8 - Signs It's Time to Refinish Your HardwoodBut over time, constant foot traffic and daily wear and tear can wear down the sealant. So when you notice liquids soaking into the flooring right away, they need to be refinished and resealed before any warping and stains occur. 

If your wood flooring has sustained water damage, you can see separation or cupping on some of the boards, and even stained, dark areas. If the boards are just cupping a little, this can usually be fixed with sanding, but if there is major separation then you’re more than likely going to have to replace the boards in full or even sections if boards turn black. 


Lots of Scratches
Having a large number of scratches on your hardwood floors is one of the more obvious signs that your floors are in need of being download 6 300x150 - Signs It's Time to Refinish Your Hardwoodrefinished, especially if those scratches have worn through the stain. A few scratches can be normal and aren’t something to worry about but if your floor is covered in them, especially in areas you can’t easily with a rug, it might be time to refinish them. Sanding and resealing will smooth out the surface of the wood and make it look like it was newly installed. Even paint that has dripped on the floor will be removed. download 5 - Signs It's Time to Refinish Your HardwoodBut every once in a while you may have large gouges and places where wood has been deeply cut or split. These tend to be less common and when they do happen, you can replace just those pieces of wood with new ones. But rest assured that most of the scratches should come out with a simple sand and refinish.

 

Fading
Overtime, ultraviolet (UV) rays cause the hardwood to look dull and faded. This is the most common on the floors closest to the windows. download 2 3 - Signs It's Time to Refinish Your HardwoodIf you have area rugs or large furniture, fading may become unevenly distributed, usually only becoming noticeable when you move furniture around to redecorate or move. download 7 - Signs It's Time to Refinish Your HardwoodRefinishing the floors and applying a new stain will help renew their protection against sunlight and keep the colors of your floors vibrant at the same time.

 

 

Boards Turning Gray
When the boards on your hardwood start to turn gray, it’s definitely time to refinish them. And you should do it sooner than later before you have even more damage.  download 4 2 - Signs It's Time to Refinish Your HardwoodYour floors are begging you for help! When the polyurethane (top coat) wears off, the layer of protection is gone and the wood can now absorb the water. This water can come from rain, snow, pets paws, a spilled drink and even just common cleaning products (during normal maintenance). When the wood absorbs the water, it oxidizes and turns gray. If you don’t repair these boards, the wood will eventually turn darker until it’s black. At this point, you will need to replace them as sanding will not solve this.

Hex Tiles

The hexagon has been called nature’s perfect shape as it appears organically in beehives, snowflakes and flowers. This honeycomb pattern fits perfectly into interior design, adding clean geometric angles to any surface in a space. From little to large stretch size options, hexagons can be used in classic and unexpected designs. Today the geometric trend takes on a modern interpretation of the age-old style by incorporating contemporary colors, patterns and textures. This trend allows us to move away from the traditional square tile format while creating a new eye-catching look. The possibilities are endless but we are going to show you our favorite ways to use these tiles around your home. 

 

Floral inspiration
This retro look utilizes color and placement to create a one-of-a-kind design and can even come in easy-to-install sheets. This is a good way to add a little bit of flair to your home, while keeping it classy. 

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Classic Black and White
Black and white porcelain hexagons have been in homes since the early 20th century because they are classic and stand the test of time. They can be set as a solid color, in different patterns or as a contrast to each other in a border or design feature. Taking it one step further, the grout color can change the look completely too. The options are endless in bathrooms, lobbies and other entryways. 

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The bigger the Better
This is a great motto when it comes to large scale hexagon tiles. The tiles allow you to be bold and emphasize the shape in large sizes like 8” or even 13” and really make a big statement. 

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Cement
Cement brick tiles in the hexagon shape adds a rustic look to any space. Whether its inside in a kitchen or along the path to you backyard, these cement tiles can look contemporary or traditional depending on the colors you choose and the decor you pair it with. 

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Glass
Glass hexagon tiles will add a touch of shine and sophistication to your bathroom, accent wall or kitchen backsplash. You don’t have to stick to just glass as there are many options with combinations of glass and stone. 

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Stretch
Elongated hexagons are a contemporary twist on the classic shape. The long shapes can be placed vertically to make a space feel taller or horizontally to appear wider.images 8 - Hex Tiles

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Pros & Cons of Staining Kitchen Cabinets

Staining your kitchen cabinets is an easy, inexpensive method for turning a worn, outdated kitchen into something beautiful and warm and modern. With the right stain, a sander and a rag, your kitchen cabinets can be transformed in days.

There are quite a few pros and cons to staining your cabinets. Obviously, a major benefit to staining them is the natural beauty that is showcased in the wood grain. Stain holds a good balance between color and texture. This is a big plus for homeowners. Unlike paint, stain won’t steal the spotlight from your wood’s natural character. Since stain is thinner than paint, it seeps into the wood’s surface, which adds to the woods distinctive features and doesn’t take away from it. b0e11a18399b984fddbcbddf056b0cac 1 229x300 - Pros & Cons of Staining Kitchen Cabinets

Depending on the type of wood that your cabinets are made of, the patterns in the wood grain can be amazing. There is not a lot of touch up to stained cabinets as you would with paint. When you do have to touch them up, it is easy to blend in with the older stain. There are touch-up markers for stains that are easy to find and resemble your stain. The touch-ups tend to blend better on stained cabinets, especially the ones with a lot of grain.

Ultimately, the cost hinges on several factors, like kitchen size, cabinet construction, manufacturer and so on. But stains tend to keep costs on the lower side, which is a huge benefit if you are trying to stay within a budget or even flipping the house. Stain generally costs less than paint, although customized options can tend to be more expensive. 

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So what happens if your cabinets are not solid wood but made from medium-density fiberboard (MDF)? The short answer – stain will not look as good as paint. MDF cabinets can offer huge savings but simply doesn’t take stain as well as paint. Imperfections are not hidden when you stain your cabinets like they would be if you painted them. 

Stain also shows any blemishes that your cabinets or wood have. Some may refer to this as the woods character, some don’t want to see the imperfections, like uneven grain distributions and inconsistencies with color. Stains can take a back seat to the wood when applied, which allows every distinct feature to show through – which can be for better or worse.

Painted Kitchen Cabinets

So you’ve decided to paint your kitchen cabinets. This is a great way to get an updated look without a big renovation. kitchen painted cabinets - Painted Kitchen CabinetsThe exact type of paint that you choose for the cabinets will affect not only how they look but how well they can withstand wear and tear and how water resistant they are as well. Before starting this project there are a lot of factors to consider. First, the color of your cabinets, oil vs water based and how the paint will be applied – sprayed or brushed on. beforeafter2 - Painted Kitchen Cabinets

Spraying the paint typically provides the most even, smooth finish – however, if you need to touch it up in the future, it could be a major challenge to get them looking blemish-free. But, on the other hand, brushed-on paint might not have as consistent of a finish that a spray-on version can provide but will be much easier to touch up in the future if nicks and scratches happen down the road.

The type of wood the cabinets are made of makes a difference too. In order to achieve a smooth finish, the wood needs to have a completely flat surface and be void of knots and heavy grains (otherwise, you should consider staining your cabinets). beforeafter - Painted Kitchen Cabinets

Painting your cabinets will instantly add an updated, contemporary look to your kitchen. If you have older wooden cabinets like oak, which isn’t as modern, paint can disguise any grains in the wood that you’re no longer a fan of. But if the cabinets have dramatic grain patterns, they can be impossible to paint if you want to hide the grain detail completely.  If cabinets themselves or the doors are at all warped, chipped or damaged – a fresh coat of paint will look better but flaws may become even more evident and noticeable.