Home Improvement

mommy-ramblings-home-improvement

 

The older you get, the more valuable space and storage become in your home. You accumulate so many things over time, from Christmas decorations to furniture, not to mention seasonal items like skis, paddle boards, kayaks and more.

Skis

Every foot of storage space in your home become precious and needed for all the things you use on a daily or  weekly basis. Many people need to make tough choices and decide what they want to or need to keep and which things need to be donated, sold or discarded.

So what can you do? Get rid of everything and go the minimalist route? Do you just accept that some rooms in your home are going to resemble a hoarder’s house? Fortunately, you don’t have to take things to either of these extremes, there’s an easy solution – self-storage.

Self Storage

According to Livible, a Boston storage company, “keeping your possessions in a secure facility away from your home has become one of the best ways to not have to deal with a crowded house. It gives you the freedom to use your valuable space for the things you use every single day.”

Self storage units are a solution that suit many people, lifestyles, life circumstances and budgets. If you’re thinking of putting things into storage, this list of the best things to store may help you clear out your home and organize your life.

 Baby Gear

If you are not done growing your family , you don’t want to get rid of big-ticket items you will need in the future. However, you don’t need to store all this furniture and gear in your home between children or grandchildren.

Items like strollers, cribs and changing tables can be wrapped up safely and kept in a storage facility. You will be able to easily pick up this furniture and baby gear when you need it.

baby, crib

If you have an heirloom bassinet, high chair or other baby items that are sentimental, it’s natural for you to want to keep them. Thanks to self storage options you can do that without sacrificing space in your home.

Old Gadgets & Appliances

When you get a new TV, washer, dryer or refrigerator, you might not want to keep the old one.  You may have children who are young adults and planning a move to their own place who may need these appliances in a few months.

washer, dryer

Having a storage unit is the perfect way to store these items for them. You can rest assured that your older children or other family members will appreciate being able to pick up these appliances when they need them.

 Seasonal Stuff

Christmas trees, Halloween decorations and seasonal clothing are not used year round, so why not free up precious space and keep them in storage until you need them. You will be amazed when you see how much space you have, when you move these things to a storage unit.

Furniture 

Do you have furniture that you don’t have room for presently in your house, but don’t want to part with.  Instead of letting it gather up dust in your garage or back porch, put that furniture in a storage unit until you need it again.  If furniture is wrapped up properly, it will do very well kept in a cool, dry place. Furniture is one of the best things to store in a self storage unit.

Take advantage of storage facilities in your city and keep things you don’t need or use all the time there. It will free up precious space in your house and give you peace of mind knowing your items are stored safely until you need them.

antique, furniture

Today, most storage units are climate controlled,  making it easy to store items that need to be kept cool and dry.  Another benefit. is that these units are extremely safe and secure. So next time you’re looking at your stuff and wondering what to do with it, consider calling  your nearest storage facility.

storage unit

This is a collaborative guest post. The ideas and views do not necessarily reflect those of Mommy Ramblings.

Hiring a Contractor

Your home is your haven and something you have worked very hard for. It is where you build your family and celebrate the milestones in your life. Owning a home is no doubt you have worked very hard to do and maintaining your home is something that goes hand in hand with being a homeowner.

Beyond ordinary maintenance, enhancing your living space with home improvement projects as your family grows, is something many homeowners do.

House

Home improvement projects are abundant, and they are easily one of the best ways to update your home and make it more functional for your needs.  However, not all of us have the time or the skill to perform these projects ourselves. That is why we choose to hire a professional contactor.

Contractors vary in skill and qualifications. When you end up hiring a bad contractor, you run the risk of shoddy workmanship or worse, you may even end up with an unfinished home improvement project. Both scenarios mean that you’ve just thrown your hard-earned money down the drain.

So, what are the red flags that you be aware of when looking for a contractor for your next home improvement project?

Addition

Poor Reviews

The lack of reviews or worse, the presence of negative reviews should already be an indication that the particular contractor does not perform well. Background checks are also necessary when you want to make sure that your hard-earned money goes somewhere worthwhile.

References also work in the same way in that they provide you with a glimpse of a contractor’s work ethic and whether or not they truly deliver results.

New Roof

No Proposal

A good contractor is going to be able to plan for the entire project, from start to finish. They’re going to be able to determine the time needed as well as the materials required to get the job done.

They should present you with a clear proposal for your to review. If your contractor asks for unlimited time as well as unlimited materials, then you’re just asking to get overcharged for the project. Walk away if this is the case.

new construction

Overpromising

If something sounds too good to be true, it isn’t. That old adage is almost always correct, and this situation is no exception. Before you sign a contract, you need to do a bit of research on how much the project is going to cost to complete.

This site should provide you with a comprehensive idea of the price of materials. Use this as a point of reference for when you want to see if a contractor is offering you a low price that’s too good to be true.

Lack of Construction Permits

When a contractor dismisses building permits as unnecessary expenses, you should already be raising an eyebrow. Permits are standard procedure, as well as the inspections that precede their release. You aren’t only risking your project getting shut down. You’re also risking your safety and that of the people around you.

Luckily, if a faulty construction should result in injury to you or anyone in your house, you do have legal remedies that should help you along the way.

Home Improvement

This is a collaborative guest post, the words and views do not necessarily reflect those of Mommy Ramblings.

The air is getting colder. The leaves have all fallen. Stores are starting to advertise upcoming sales, and all the signs are clear: Christmas will soon be here!

Christmas

Okay, that’s a little dramatic, but it is true that another holly jolly season will soon be upon us, and I bet you’re already planning ahead for what you’ve got to do.

There’s obviously gift lists to assemble, you’re calling your mom to figure out who’s hosting the Christmas dinner (“Oh! I am?”), and, bless you, you’re probably stressing over how you’re going to decorate this year.

Christmas Decor

Every proud homemaker knows that having a theme at Christmas is essential for transforming a house into a home. It’s not that you’re being vain or anything, but you know that having a house that feels warm, welcoming, and, dare I say jolly, are key to helping enhance the joy of being reunited with your friends and family during this special time.

Christmas Stockings

With that being said, it can be a pain. It takes time, and it can be tough to keep things fresh and interesting, trying to come up with a new, engaging theme, year after year. To help you out this season, and take some of that burden off your shoulders, I’ve put together a few ideas that you can use to really spruce up your house for all of your guests, whether you’re hosting or not (“Yes. You are.”).

Classical Style

Classic Christmas themes work extremely well because they’re, well, tradition! These are the common color and design staples that leave your guests with no doubt that you treasure the season, and look forward to it every year. It may not be revolutionary, but it’s effective, and when the goal is to relax with those closest to you, and focus on quality time with each other, sometimes that’s exactly what you need.

Classic Christmas

To capture the perfect classical look, stick with shades of dark greens and bright reds, as well as gold and silver. Common design elements include Christmas trees, reindeer, Santa’s sleigh, and turtle doves. Sticking with naturals decor items, like a real Christmas tree, and a pine need centerpiece, is also a great way to accentuate this style.

Traditional Style

Traditional style during the holidays is all about keeping the same sense of warmth and comfort that you find in classical style, but eschewing a lot of dynamism in favor of a more subtle impression. To that end, the reds, greens, and other colors that make up the classic Christmas palette remain, but are presented in subtler ways.

Traditional Christmas

To start with, you don’t have to go overboard with Santa statues, reindeer napkins, nativity bookends, and all other manner of Christmas staples. Instead, you can do simple things, like swap out the throws or pillows on your couch for some dark greens and reds, or incorporate a subdued, but elegant rug to introduce just a hint of the Christmas spirit into your living space.

Unconventional

If you’re someone who’s never been one to just go along with the crowd, or forced yourself to keep up with the latest trends, good for you! It takes a lot of courage to live your life that way, and you can use that same philosophy to decorate your home for the season, and leave quite the impression with your guests.

Merry Christmas

You can use colors and designs that mean something unique about Christmas to you, and incorporate them into your decorations. Maybe one Christmas your family took a trip to the beach, and you have a seashell that represents that trip; or maybe you the most cherished gift you ever received was a pair of socks your mom knit for you, and you use them as the centerpiece of your table.

The possibilities are endless with this approach, and the more unique to you, the better!

Christmas Fireplace

This is a collaborative guest post. The views and ideas do not necessarily represent those of Mommy Ramblings.

 

Your home is a special place, somewhere to spend time with family and friends, a haven to relax and unwind after a long day. It’s no wonder we want our homes to look inviting and attractive. For most homeowners, this means embarking on a home improvement project. However, even with opting for DIY instead of paying a professional home remodeler to do it, the cost of a home improvement project can be overwhelming.

Unfortunately, high remodeling costs mean that many have to put off their dream of renovating their home until they have saved enough money. Depending on the scope of the project, saving up could take months or years.  Don’t get discouraged, there are other options to create your dream home. Here are six creative ways to pay for your home improvement project.

Declutter 

You would probably be surprised to learn how much money  some of the junk and clutter you have around and in your house is worth.  If you are serious about funding your home improvement project another way, then it’s time to scrap your junk for cash. Find out the scrap price for cars, and get rid of that old clunker taking up space in your garage. Go through your basement and attic and put together all the old items you no longer want or need, then start selling them online or through classified ads. Just because you don’t need it, does not mean it’s not worth something to someone else. Remember one person’s junk is another person’s treasure.

Barter 

Bartering is trading goods or services without using money. Bartering was very popular back in the day, but you may be able to benefit today. Do you have any items or skills you can trade in order to get the materials or services you need for your project? For instance, if you are a CPA, it may be possible to trade your tax services to a local handyman in exchange for their labor. Think outside the box, and reach out to your community to find someone who is interested in your offer.

Reuse and recycle

It’s possible you have all the stuff you need for your project already in your home. For instance, if you want to renovate a bathroom, consider reusing some of the pieces you already have in the renovation. For example, painting an old vanity can transform its look for just a few dollars. Adding new trim around your old mirror can give it new life, while painting light fixtures and hardware can update their look without breaking the bank.  Instead of assuming you have to buy all new materials for your home, think about the ways you can reuse the items you have.

Use store credits, gift cards, and rebates

Most home improvement stores today provide you with all the tools and products you need to complete your project. Instead of buying everything outright, consider asking for gift cards to that specific store for your birthday and holidays. This way, you can save up these gift cards and use them to pay for the stuff you need for your project. In addition, if you have store credits or rebate offers, be sure to cash those in and use them to fund your project. These are great ways to eliminate the overall expense and still get the home you dreamed of.

Get a part-time job

Taking on a part-time job can help you fund your home improvement project. Although the thought of working more may not sound appealing, you’ll be happy when the home improvement project is finished. Think about opting for a job that lets you work on your own schedule, such as driving for Uber or starting a side freelance business. When you can generate some extra income and put that aside for your project, you’ll be knocking down walls before you know it.

Consider guest funding

It may be a long shot, but sites like GoFundMe, allow you to make an online, public request for donations to your “cause.” Starting a GoFundMe account for your home improvement project could entice others to fund the project for you. Requests like this are often best if the home improvement project is needed for health issues or to make your home safe. For instance if a family member is in a wheelchair and you need an entrance ramp or if your roof was damaged from a falling tree and is not covered by insurance.

Keep The Faith

Your home improvement may have a hefty price tag, but that doesn’t mean it’s out of reach. Implementing some of the ways above can help you create the house of your dreams in less time than you think.

This is a collaborative guest post. The views and ideas expressed do not necessarily represent those of Mommy Ramblings.

Home security is an important consideration for anyone, regardless of age, income or where they live. When you welcome a new addition to your family, those natural, protective instincts kick in, making it more important than ever. Of course, growing your family is also one of the most expensive periods of your life, not to mention one of the most chaotic. So, from a pragmatic perspective, it might not be the most sensible time to call in contractors to tear your home apart installing a state of the art home security system. Fortunately, there are measures you can take to improve home security significantly that are cheap, quick and simple.

Send out the right signs

Home Invaders and burglars are opportunists who look for easy targets. Make it clear that you don’t fall into that category, and they will go somewhere else. If you place signs on your gates telling the uninvited to stay out, it makes it clear that your household is aware of the possibility of intruders. Simply putting a sign up sounds almost too easy, but it is a proven and effective way to stop people trespassing on your property – all for the price of a sandwich and a cup of coffee!

Let there be light

Intruders tend to operate either while everyone is off to work or under the cover of darkness. If you are a new mom, chances are you are around most of the day, so it is the nighttime hours that are the highest risk. A security light is a must-have these days. The technology has become so inexpensive and energy-efficient that there is no reason not to. As well as illuminating anyone who approaches the property and shouldn’t be there, lighting also provides additional comfort and security for you, your family and any genuine visitors who approach the front door after dark.

Gravel and shingle

If you are planning on resurfacing the drive any time soon, give serious thought to gravel or shingle as opposed to concrete or paving. As well as being a cost-effective option, it makes a distinctive, loud noise when anyone walks or drives on it. If your parents had this kind of driveway when you were younger and you ever tried to sneak in quietly after a late night, you will remember exactly what it is like!

Trespassers hate trellis

Trellis, the thin wooden framework that you can put above your fence or wall, looks
innocuous enough, and certainly wouldn’t seem like anything to bother a burglar. However, as well
as providing the perfect environment for vines and creepers to grow on, it has another
interesting feature. Trellis is so fragile that if anyone tries to climb over it, it will immediately start
snapping and quickly collapse – and it will do so very noisily.

Trying to climb over trellis is an even noisier challenge than navigating a gravel driveway.
For a few dollars, it is the perfect way to make your garden look better and at the same time,
add a simple but effective intruder alert system!

This is a collaborative guest post. The ideals and views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of Mommy Ramblings.

 

I love learning about different cultures and religions. The most profound thing I have learned, is that when we really take the time to learn about others, we usually discover we are more alike than different. I think our world could benefit greatly if we all took the time to learn about others.

Given my feelings, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to review a new book edited by Lorilee Craker. The book, Homespun: Amish and Mennonite Women in Their Own Words,

 

Is there a better way to connect and get to know someone than over a cup of coffee or tea? That is exactly how it feels reading the stories of the Amish and Plain Mennonite women in this book. Editor Lorilee Craker, bestselling author of Money Secrets of the Amish, collects these personal writings about hospitality, home, grief, joy, and walks with God.

Hear from one woman who struggles with feeling inferior to her sister, from another about her longing for a baby, and from a third who accidentally bought stretchy material to sew her husband’s pants. tEach woman’s story is a testament to the grace of God and the blessings of community.

This book is such a great read, one to savor while laying back and enjoying the end of summer. Homespun is such a comfortable read, it is so hard to put down. As I read the stories of the women on the pages, I found there was much more I had in common with them than not. The stories draw you in and make you laugh, cry and connect. You will love this book.

Learn more in my video below:

Behind Amish romance novels and tourist spots and television shows stand real people, with longings and loves just like the rest of us. Every Amish and Mennonite woman has a story. In Homespun, you get to hear some of them.

About the editor:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lorilee Craker is the author of thirteen books, including Money Secrets of the AmishAnne of Green Gables, My Daughter, and Me; My Journey to Heaven with Marv Besteman; and the New York Times bestseller Through the Story with Lynne Spears. Connect with Lorilee on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

It is important to work on the aesthetics of your home. A well-kept home not only makes a great impression, it can also help make you feel more relaxed and happy. We all want our homes to look good, but not all of us know where to start to achieve that perfect look. Do not be fooled into thinking that  decorating or updating your home is not possible without the help of an interior designer.

If you have the right eye, you can create some small changes on your own to change the look of your house, and make it appear more attractive. To help you with this, check out these five things you can do to improve the look of your house:

Paint your house

You can have a mansion worth millions of dollars, but if the walls are covered in scuffed, stained paint, the whole look would be compromised. If your house has old, dingy paint, consider freshening it up with new paint  as soon as possible. Nothing adds value and transforms your house better than fresh paint. It can make your house look more attractive, and also allows you to fix issues such as cracks in the walls.

Update your kitchen

Your kitchen is truly the heart of your home, so make sure to keep it updated, organized and clean. Some of the ways to update your kitchen game without breaking the bank include:

  • Resurfacing or painting cabinets
  • Updating your lighting fixtures
  • Installing new countertops

These additions can make your kitchens more useful and also increase the worth of your house as they bring a ROI as high as 60%.

Spruce up your Living Room

If you want to make a good impression on guests and make your house look better, than you might want to consider updating your living room. You can make your living room more inviting in the following ways:

  • Installing new curtains and blinds from a company like Select Blinds Canada.
  • Buying new furniture for the living room or updating the old furniture with new paint or upholstery.
  • Getting rid of excess clutter to make the room appear larger and more organized.

Keep It Clean

Now, this is an area where you need to invest your time not your money.  Go through your house, purge excess clutter and clean rooms from top to bottom.  A cluttered, dusty home looks unattractive and can be depressing to yourself and your guests.

Install new lighting

Ditch those ordinary or basic lighting fixtures that add no pizzazz or style. Spice up the lighting in your home and make it look more elegant. Try looking for chandeliers, table lamps and floor lamps that have style and flair. The right use of lighting will not only brighten up your house but also make it look more lavish.

If you follow these tips you can add new life into your home and make it feel welcoming and stylish.

This is a collaborative guest post. The views and ideals expressed are not necessarily those of Mommy Ramblings.

Renovating your home can be a costly and time-consuming process, but the benefits outweigh the money you spend on it. Many homeowners, in spite of draining their pockets, fail at giving their home a lavish look simply because they do not know how to get things done.

Renovating a home enhances the comfort, and the money spent on it serves as an investment. Moreover, the right renovation options also increase the value of your home and help you earn a good profit in case you decide to sell the house.

Here are the top 4 reasons to renovate your home:

1.Reduced Energy Bills

When you hire an experienced contractor, he/she can remodel your home in a way that can maximize natural light so that you don’t need to keep the lights on. This will help reduce energy consumption and help you save money.

Renovating a home also includes upgrading insulation. This will seal any exit points in the roof or anywhere else in the house to control temperature better. Doing so, will save you money on AC and heater bills, which is important a heating and cooling costs make up for about 50% of the total energy consumption.

Last but not the least, switching light fixtures to LEDs can also help you save energy as they are more energy-efficient than other options. They can run 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs.

2. Increases The Home’s Value

If you think that renovating your home is a money wasting process, think again. Renovating your home is a wise investment. Making both minor and major improvements in your home can boost the home’s value.

Renovating a kitchen has a ROI of almost 59% while making bathroom improvements give you 59.8% return on investment. Similarly, making upgrades in the rooms and hall can also increase the overall value of your home.

It’s not just the interior that will boost your home’s value, making upgrades outside can help too. A deck addition gives a ROI of almost 80%. Adding a small garden too can help you a great deal.

3. Increases The Comfort

It’s important that your home provides the comfort that you need. If the rooms look messy, cluttered and congested then it can be a bit difficult to find peace in your home.

Renovating your home helps you reconsider the space and make changes. It’s a great way to exclude unnecessary things. For example. a large coffee table in the hall might be occupying a lot of space. You can install shelves in the kitchen to make more space in the hall. Similarly, you can make adjustments for other areas as well.

We suggest that you visit ResCom Designs to find some inspiration.

4. Improves Aesthetics

No one wants their homes to look dull and unattractive. However, when a renovation is long overdue, the aesthetics are compromised. New upgrades such as fresh paint, new flooring, window replacement etc., can help enhance the look of your home.

This is a sponsored guest post, the views and ideals do not necessarily reflect those of Mommy Ramblings.

 

 

One of the most crucial decisions that homeowners need to make is selecting the paint for their homes. This is because the right paint can turn a dull looking home into a piece of flamboyant beauty and the wrong choice can affect the aesthetics of your entire home.

A lot of homeowners try to paint their homes on their own, because they think that grabbing a brush and stroking it on the walls is all there is to it. However, it’s not true. There are a lot of factors at play that only experts are aware of.

Besides hiring an expert to do the job, here are some tips that can help you pick the right paint for your home:

Do Your Research First

The paint for your home shouldn’t just be there to color the walls, but also to brighten your mood every time you walk into your home. To make this happen, you must choose high quality paint.

The first step towards finding the right paint is to conduct some research.

Find A Reliable Company

The paint you buy should come from a reliable company because quality matters. Buying paints from a trusted paint company will get you high quality paints that are durable and vibrant.

They should be free of hazardous chemicals, because the use of such paints can put you and your family’s health at risk.

Spend some time on the internet looking up several paint companies to see which ones are licensed and have good reviews regarding quality and safety.

Choose The Right Color

The paint for your house needs to blend in with the overall theme of your home, which includes the furniture, wall decor and floors. Bright colors are trending these days, as they literally brighten up the house and your mood as well.

Another thing to consider, is what kind of look you want. If bright colors make you uneasy and make it difficult for you to sleep, then going for dull colors is your best bet.

At the end of the day, we return to our homes to get rest and loosen up, hence, it is better to go for colors that give you a calm feeling, and help you relax when you enter your home.

Hire An Experienced Painter

Last but not the least, hiring an experienced painter is what you need to do next. It does not matter how good the paint is, if it isn’t applied properly, it will not look good on the walls.

The benefit of hiring professionals is that they know how to fix damages and spots. So, it’s wise to spend a few more dollars and have professionals take care of things for you.

If you are not a fan of paint, you may consider wallpapers as they provide the same benefits. A good choice is MuraleDesign, as the company offers a wide range of options. Just pick something that meets your taste.

This is a sponsored guest post, the ideals and views expressed are not necessarily those of Mommy Ramblings.

Do you want to hang your flat screen TV on the wall? If so, you are in good company, because it is a very popular way to showcase your TV and enhance your viewing options.

When you are looking fo the best way to secure your TV, check out Grip-It ultra strong plasterboard fasteners. Grip-It is designed to securely  hang anything that weighs up to 400lbs. This innovative product took the UK by storm , has been seen on TV, and is the winner of the BBC show, Dragon’s den.

Grip-It’s  patented design is masterfully engineered to provide a safe and secure wall fastener that works 100% of the time, so that you can confidently hang your flat screen TVs without the fear of it falling down and breaking.

Grip-It has 3 unique gripping system that creates a vice like hold in plasterboard walls. All you need is just a simple DRILL, TAP and TURN for quick installation. Once drilled, the unique backing wings expand inside the wall to provide a secure anchor, creating a strong tight grip.

 

Giveaway:

Would you like a chance to win your own Grip-It TV Kit? If so, enter our giveaway below.

Win the Gripit TV Kit #10

If you are looking to add some color to your kitchen, you will love the Vremi 10 Piece Colorful Knife Set. You will be on the cutting edge of style with these 5 bright knives and sheath covers. 

Set includes a Chef’s Knife, Carving Knife, Utility Knife, Paring Knife and Serrated Knife. 

For all your prep, cooking and carving needs, you can’t beat the value of this rainbow-colored knife set. Each knife is forged with a heavy-duty real steel blade and perfectly weighted for optimal performance. Knives are odor and stain resistant with never dull edge tip end that will stay rust proof with proper care and sharpening

  • NON STICK with MATCHING BLADE GUARD – Professional Knife kit features food grade non-stick coating and protective cover guards  for drawer storage and kids safety. Magnetic blades also store nicely on any wall mount hanging magnet rack organizer
  • ERGONOMIC NON SLIP HANDLES – Each modern colorful individual knife also features non slip comfort grip on its solid narrow plastic handle that makes big or small fruit vegetable and foods slicing more fun, whether it’s a tomato, onions, or cake.

These knives come in a nice box, perfect for gift giving or for your own kitchen.

From knives to grinding up coffee, we are excited about the Vremi Bump N’ Grind Electric Coffee Grinder. This easy to use coffee bean grinder is equipped with one touch control settings. Grinding is easy as pouring in your beans, placing the top on and pressing the button.

The double stainless steel blades are durable and sharp letting you grind your beans coarse, fine or to a powder consistency to match your needs. Easy to clean with included cleaning brush, no disassembly needed.

Giveaway:

Enter below for your chance to win the Vremi Knife Set and Bump N Grind Coffee Grinder.

 

Let’s be real: vacuums with cords are passé. Yes, they are still used (same as some people still have push-button phones), but it’s far from being a tech trend. The thing is, cords are just not comfortable. What if you need to clean in 3-4 rooms? Then you have to take the cord out, lug the cleaner to another outlet, it all takes time, making cleaning far more time-consuming than it should be.

Cordless vacuum, on the other hand, solves these problems in the blink of an eye. So, the main advantage of cordless vacuums is that they are cordless (well, duh!). The list, obviously, goes on.

10 reasons to choose a battery operated vacuum cleaner

As we said, this type of vacuums has more than one advantage. The absence of the cord opens many possibilities for cleaning – you’ll see it yourself.

Reason #1 – Size

Battery vacuum cleaner, especially the handheld one, is small. Like, really small. When I wanted to motivate my kid do cleaning better, a handheld vacuum was a way to go. For children, it feels like a game (which is why you yet have to oversee the process) because they can easily lift a cleaner and hold it steady while cleaning.

So yeah, size matters, and not only for kids but also for older people. With age, big heavy cleaners become difficult to lift and hold. That is not something you can say about small cordless vacuum since it can be easily held in one hand.

Reason #2 – Kid-friendly

Because of their size, they are not as dangerous if dropped (yeah, cleaner could be dangerous but not these ones). Big vacuums often cause this struggle for parents: it’s impossible to get over the thought ‘what is vacuum will fall, and a kid could get hurt in the process?’ Well, luckily here this is not the case.

Reason #3 – Easy to use

Because wireless vacuum has no cords, it eliminates a whole bunch of complications. You don’t get confused by how to plug in the cleaner so you can reach as much space as possible or how to not accidentally trip over the thing. That’s exactly what makes cordless vacuum suitable for children. Although let’s be real, it’s not like adults don’t struggle with cords.

Reason #4 – Deal with dirt everywhere

Okay, so the main problem with cords and vacuums is that cords limit you from cleaning in a whole bunch of place. This is too far from an outlet, this is too high, the cord is too short, and the list goes on and on. And let’s not forget that dirt lives not as much in open space but exactly in this impossible-to-clean areas. Wireless cleaner, however, deals with them just fine. Although do your homework to buy a best cordless vacuum and make sure it has different sizes of noses to clean both large and small areas.

Reason #5 – Comfortable transportation

I know people don’t usually carry their vacuums around. That is probably the reason why the transportation issues often are forgotten when buying a new vacuum. It’s all fun and games until it’s time to actually take a cleaner to another apartment and houses. That’s where problems start. Most vacuums with cords are big (even huge) so not only they are not comfortable to carry in hands but also they don’t fit into any car. To avoid that, think about transportation before you actually face the problem.

Rechargeable vacuum, as we discussed, are smaller, therefore, they are much easier to transport. Did I mention that you don’t have to worry about whether cord won’t be tangled? Now you might not fully appreciate this advantage, but when it comes to carrying the cleaner, you’ll definitely point it out.

Reason #6 – Pet-friendly

Now, if you have a pet (or a few), you know how they react to cords. Straight up, for them, it’s game time. How about going to the cord and playing with it? ‘Will do’, thinks your cat or dog and runs right to it. Now the entire cleaning process is in jeopardy because instead of thinking about how to reach every messy place, you have to watch your pet and keep cord as far as possible. That is not how productive work is done. Yeah, cordless stick vacuum could be a slight disappointment for your pet, but you’ll feel immediate reveal. Trust me.

Reason #7  – Takes care of the furniture

Because of no cord involved in the process, you can easily reach furniture now. Not just in one room but all of them. Like, everywhere. You can clean a sofa in one room then move one to bed on another right away, without thinking where to put vacuum, so it’s comfortable to reach both.

Reason #8 – Increases efficiency

That’s true. Cordless cleaners are not only time-savers but, what’s more important, they make cleaning process much more enjoyable. When you waste your energy on small but annoying decisions like where to but a cleaner cord, it adds up, and at the end, you swear to stay away from cleaning for as long as possible. Cordless vacuums are much easier that way.

Reason #9 – Prices

I don’t know why people still think cordless vacuums are more expensive than ordinary ones. Truth be told, cordless cleaning is not that innovative anymore, therefore, prices are just ordinary. As with any kind of vacuums, there are all ranges of models and costs: some are budgetary, some are premium, with WiFi support and a whole bunch of other additional functions. If you do a little research or take a look at best cordless vacuum 2018 reviews, you’ll definitely find something affordable.

Reason #10 – Cordless vacuums are fun

But you were supposed to figure it out by now, weren’t you? After long use of vacuums with cords, cordless models feel like music. It’s 2 in 1 – efficient and pleasant. I know, cord or no cord doesn’t seem like a big deal, but the truth is, when you don’t have to take these small annoying decisions like where to plug the vacuum, the cleaning becomes fun. It gets even better now that you can do it with kids and forget about keeping pets away from playing with cords.

Cordless vacuums are not something only for the tech-savvy to embrace. It’s not as much a trend now, rather commonplace, a universal must-have for family cleaning. Switching to a cordless vacuum seems like a small thing really, but you’ll see the difference when you get one.

This is a sponsored guest post. The views and ideas expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Mommy Ramblings.

I cannot believe it is Easter weekend and it is still so awful out, we had freezing rain the other night and we might be getting more snow on Monday. When I ordered my new garden hose sprayer, I did not anticipate we would still be having winter weather.

While I have not been able to try it outside. I am very happy so far with my Gardenite Nozzle Hand Sprayer. It is very well made. It is solid metal with a baked enamel finish and you will never mistake it for a cheap plastic nozzle when you pick it up.

I like that it has 10 different spray patterns so I can accomplish a large amount of tasks. It even has an adjustable water flow control knob so you can adjust from low to high depending on what you are spraying.

The Gardenite Garden Nozzle was designed with an ergonomic soft rubber comfort grip so your hands won’t get tired or sore.

I cannot wait for it to really turn to spring here so I can test this baby out and clean up after all of winter’s mess. I have so much to do and one of the first things is to wash our cars. After that I want to wash off the driveway, wash patio furniture and then wash windows and start raking the flower beds. The adjustable spray and flow will allow me to tackle tough dirt and to put it on a gentle shower to water flowers.

Giveaway:

You can enter the giveaway below for your chance to win your own Gardenite Nozzle Hand Sprayer.  Good luck, let me know what you think of this nozzle.

Gardenite Nozzle Hand Sprayer #7

 

This is a sponsored post, as always my words and views are 100% my own.

Many people look forward to spring because it provides a chance to start cleaning their homes after a long winter, and enjoy more fresh air. Remember, your home has been closed up and dealing with winter for as long as you have, so it probably needs a little TLC  to ensure everything is functioning properly. When the spring weather starts to roll around, here are six things you must do for your home, not just for it, but for you and your family as well.

Invest in your lawn.

Spring lawn care is essential to your home and its curb appeal, so it’s important to know how to care for the grassy areas around your house. After a harsh winter, your lawn needs specific nutrients and maintenance to  help it grow lush and thick for summer. Be sure you are seeding your lawn properly and raking away any dead grass, that could be doing more harm than good. Getting a jump-start on this will allow you to target problem areas and repair them before the heat of summer kicks in.

Touch up the exterior.

The harsh winter weather can wreak havoc on your home,  this means siding, windows, screens, roofs, and more could have experienced significant damage. Once the weather gets warmer, take some time to inspect the outside of your home and look for areas that need repairs. For instance, do you need to replace any windows or screens? How does the exterior of your home look? Does your siding need a new coat of paint or stain? Does your roof need to be repaired or replaced? Taking care of these issues in the spring, lets you take advantage of the mild weather to get your house looking spectacular for the summer season.

Spruce up the landscaping.

Aside from your grass, the rest of your home’s landscaping will need some love too. Spring is the time to clean up any debris or dead leaves that have used your yard to hibernate all winter. You should also purchase some extra mulch or rock to freshen up your landscaping, especially if those areas have been damaged during the winter. In addition, you should plant more flowers and trim bushes around your home. Doing this will get your home ready for outdoor living and make your yard look spectacular..

Give the inside a deep cleaning.

It’s not just the outside of your home that needs some TLC after the long winter. The inside of your home does too. Be sure to give your home a deep cleaning, whether you do it yourself or search for cleaning services near you that can tackle the job.  According to Amazon Cleaning near Atlanta, “A thorough deep cleaning of your home gets rid of harmful debris that lives in your home, which can improve your overall health and well-being.” Thoroughly cleaning your home and opening  the windows, will air out your home and improve the air quality inside.

Get organized.

Beyond  cleaning, you should also use the spring to get your home more organized. Go through all the rooms in your home, and make different piles: things to keep, things to donate/sell, and things to throw away. Doing this will allow you to get rid of the items you don’t use or don’t want. Getting rid of all that stuff will make it easier to organize what you are keeping. You will love the results and appreciate the fact, that you will be able to find the things you need quickly.

Clean the fridge/pantry.

Don’t forget to tackle your fridge and pantry. Sometimes people get so wrapped up in cleaning and organizing rooms, they forget about these things. It may have been some time since you really cleaned them out, so you probably have a lot of food or items that are expired and need to be trashed. In addition, you may find some items you forgot you had. These new-found products may mean you can make some new recipes  without having to go to the grocery store.

Spring is the perfect time to start fresh and tackle things inside and outside of you home. With that behind you, you will find cleaning is easier, your house looks better and you have more time to have fun with your family.

This is a sponsored post and does not necessarily reflect the views or ideals of Mommy Ramblings.

 

If your kitchen is like mine, it is Grand Central Station for your home. I know when my kitchen is organized, it is easier to find what I need, and to work more efficiently. Here are 10 simple ways to organize your kitchen.

Purge Your Cabinets

Take everything out of your cabinets and drawer. Think carefully, do you really need it all?  I am almost sure you will find, there are many things you need to get rid of or donate. Put back only what you need. Place the items that you want to donate in a box and put the box by your door. On your next trip out to your vehicle,  carry the box to your car, so it is ready to be dropped off.

Group Similar Items

With your cabinets empty, start to really think about the best way to group items in them. Look at the things you are keeping and arrange baking things together, serving pieces together and so on.

Think About Your Space

Next, think about the best cabinet or drawers to put those things. Drinking glasses are probably best by the sink and dishwasher. Remember, you want things to run as smooth as possible, so have your coffee maker near your mugs and your pot holders near your oven. Be mindful of this as you decide where everything you are keeping goes.

Use Clear Plastic Bins

Use clear bins and containers to organize things inside your cabinets. Small bins are perfect for containing hot cocoa packets, oatmeal packets and more. Food in tiny boxes like pudding, can be stored in clear containers, so  it does not get lost among larger items.

Another food or pantry storage idea, is to use clear mason jars. You can even vacuum seal them if you have a Food Saver with a jar device.

 

Go Through Your Food Storage Containers

Go through your food storage containers and get rid of anything you don’t have a lid for. Organize what you have left by placing the lids in a clear plastic bin, so they can be stored  vertically. If all you have is just a bunch of tired Chinese food containers with no lids, think about throwing it all out and starting with a set of quality food storage containers.

Utilize Space Effectively,

That cabinet above your refrigerator, microwave or oven can be fitted with vertical rack dividers that allow you to store cookie sheets, trays, platters and more. In my new kitchen, I chose to have these dividers built in. I can tell you, it is much easier to store cutting boards, baking pans, large platters, trays etc. I did this to the cabinet above my oven and the one over my refrigerator.

Organize Your Drawers

Pick up some bamboo drawer dividers to organize your utensils and cutlery. You can find ones that expand to fit a variety of drawer sizes.  Smaller plastic bins can help you contain pens, pencils, tape scissors etc. Allow yourself only one junk drawer if possible.

Tackle Your Refrigerator

Clean out your refrigerator. Wipe down all the surfaces inside and out. Go through all your food and condiments, and get rid of anything that is old, expired, or you don’t use. Grab some plastic bins and use them to organize your food especially smaller items like juice boxes, food pouches and smaller condiments.

Another idea that can save you time is to organize items that you use to pack lunches for yourself or your kids. That way you can quickly grab things like yogurt, cheese sticks, juice boxes, fruit etc.

Finally, if you like to keep a lot of cold drinks on hand for yourself or the kids, you may want to consider getting a dedicated refrigerator for these items. The best beverage refrigerator by Danby can hold up to 120 cans and is quite compact so it won’t take up much space in your kitchen.

Get Under the Sink

Maximize your space under the sink with a 2 Tier Expandable Adjustable Under Sink Storage Shelves. This will maximize your space to store your cleaning products, soaps, sponges and more.

 

Hang It Up

Organize your mop, broom, dustpan and more with a hanging storage rack that you can mount to the inside of a closet or pantry door.

It is easy to organize your kitchen when you have the right tools. Weeding out the excess and organizing what you have will maximum your kitchen’s efficiency. With a streamlined and more organized kitchen you might find you like cooking and entertaining even more.

Do you ever find yourself just going on a coloring spree? I know I do. After a long day, there is nothing quite like taking a hot bath, grabbing a glass of wine and my favorite coloring book and just forgetting about the world for a few hours.

I’ll even let you in on a little secret… If the week hasn’t gone so well, or I just can’t seem to get my fix of colored artwork, I can finish an entire coloring book in a matter of days. Sometimes, I feel guilty because I feel as though I might have wasted the book by speeding through it.

However, when I look back on the beauty I have created, I think: “This ought to be displayed and appreciated, not closed up in some book on a shelf.” So, if you find yourself looking for ways to show off your colored artwork, consider displaying it around your home.

Avoiding Common Mistakes When Displaying Artwork 

Displaying colored artwork is an art within itself. What can you do other than just tape the page on the wall Let’s start with what you shouldn’t do. Here are a few things people commonly do wrong when displaying their colored artwork:

Tear the pages out of the book.

Rather than going all in and ripping the finished colored artwork right out of the book, take a calmer approach.
Use scissors to gently and precisely cut the page out or remove the cover and binding of the book so that the pages naturally come out.

Overusing the same sized pages.

You’ve heard the saying – too much of a good thing is bad.  Well, too many of the same sized colored artwork pages are not the most appealing. Instead, use pages from a few different books that still have a compatible color schemes, but vary in size. This will add some dimension and character to your display.

Lacking regard for a color palette.

While a variety of colors is beautiful, a finished piece of colored artwork with clearly no color palette in mind can be a bit mind boggling, and leave the viewer confused and overwhelmed. Beyond that, it can be incredibly hard to find a place where such a display will fits well.  Instead, pick a color palette that compliments the area you plan to display your colored artwork so that it flows well and accents the space, rather than standing out like a sore thumb.

Over cluttering the wall.

A picture is worth a thousand words, right? So, if you add 10 pictures to one small space, you have essentially placed 10,000 words on one small wall. Instead, leave some white space. Allow each picture to speak for itself and give it room to breathe rather than cluttering one entry wall with every picture you have ever colored.

Incorrectly hanging the art.

Once you have chosen which colored artwork pieces are worthy of display, the last thing you want is to wake up the morning after hanging them to find them on the floor. Instead, invest in quality hanging materials to ensure your artwork stays safely in its place. So, now that you are well versed in the things you shouldn’t be doing, let’s go over the things you should be doing:

Creative Ways to Display Colored Artwork Around Your Home

If you just can’t get enough of your favorite, completed page from your coloring book or your home could just use a little sprucing up in the artwork department, try displaying your artwork around your home like this:

Design your first animal clothing line.

If you are like me and are one of those fur parents who love to dress your animals up just about all year round, this display is for you. When you print your artwork out onto some fabric for your pillows, go ahead and grab a little extra to create the perfect t-shirt for your favorite furry friend. Who knows? Maybe they will even convince their pal at the vet to get one, too. Add some personalized tags and washing instructions to really make it your own!

Create a view.

Typically, a window creates a view – it gives the wall a definite shape by adding a square or rectangle to it, giving the room a focal point that lets you appreciate the beauty outside.

But, what if there is no window?  No worries, just add some of your favorite colored artwork! Use pattern scissors to give the artwork a decorative edge and then place it in an oval, square or rectangle frame and hang it  above your couch or in front of your kitchen sink to define the space.

Bonus: If behind the kitchen sink is your location of choice, it will give you something beautiful to look at while you do the dishes!

Make magnets…to hang more artwork.

Display your artwork with some artwork – sounds a bit like overkill, right?  This is a great way to switch up the normal look of a standard coloring page and also a great way to use your colored artwork for practical purposes.
Use round button magnets and clear glass marbles to create colorful magnets, then use those to display your other colored artwork on your fridge, dishwasher, or even your chalkboard or whiteboard.

Use it as placemats.

I know what you’re thinking: You would never use your artwork as something to eat off of, right?
Good, because neither would I! However, with a little lamination, you can use your artwork as a placemat without damaging it, and it is quick and easy to clean. Plus, most placemats will be the size of at least two pieces of artwork, so you can display more than one at each place setting.

Cover your pillows with it.

One of the easiest ways to decorate your couch is to add an accent pillow. What about showcasing your artwork? Talk about the perfect way to spruce things up and make it your own!  Print your colored artwork onto some fabric then wrap your couch pillows you already have and transform them in a matter of minutes. Your kids will love to nap on them.

Displaying your artwork does not have to be as simple as ripping out the page and hanging it on the wall. You have already worked so hard on it, why not take it to the next level and get creative?

Happy decorating, friends!

This is a sponsored guest post and does not necessarily reflect the views or ideals of Mommy Ramblings.

 

Using wood and other natural materials, is huge in interior decor this fall. It’s with good reason, too. Wood finishes are the perfect way to bring the look of any interior design concept together as well as, adding a personal touch to the family home.

Wood finishes add a sense of warmth, richness and comfort to whatever colors, finishes and materials they’re paired with. The sheer range of woods available makes this material extremely versatile. Pale ash, for example can give a room a fresh yet neutral tone, while a deep mahogany adds warmth and prestige to any living space and oak is perfect for more or less anything.

While many of us love to use wood in our interior design, few are aware of the benefits of reclaimed wood. Just go ahead and look at Plank and Mill’s website and you’ll see the distinctive finish that reclaimed wood has, as well as its enormous variety of applications. Using reclaimed wood is not only good for the environment but is also perfect for a wide range of interior uses, including…

Headboards

The bedroom should be a restful, tranquil place decorated with neutral tones and unimposing natural materials. Thus, a reclaimed wood headboard can be a subtle yet distinctive addition to the bedroom. The type of wood you choose to use will depend on the overall aesthetic of your room and the other tones and types of wood already present in your bedroom furniture.  For example, a headboard made of reclaimed driftwood can strike the difficult balance between making a statement and compromising the soothing neutrality of the room.

 

Feature walls

Every now and then you’ll want to call attention to a particular wall and neither paint nor wallpaper will quite cut it. For an accent or feature wall that’s little more distinctive, reclaimed wood creates a pleasing contrast with paler tones elsewhere in the room. It’s important to remember that wood has a tendency to absorb light, so it’s best utilized in spaces where the furniture and decor is light and airy. Wooden feature walls can be dressed up or down, recreating either a rustic log cabin feel or a more sleek, contemporary look. While versatile, reclaimed wood is, of course, unique meaning that your reclaimed wall will look like no other anywhere in the world.

Dining tables

If you’re looking for something truly unique, a dining table made of reclaimed wood is a wonderfully distinctive piece of furniture that doubles as a fun conversation piece among dinner guests. The great thing is that you’ll never need another dining table as the look of the finish will change subtly with age. While a reclaimed wood dining table is seldom cheap, it may well be the last one you ever buy.

Flooring

If you’re aiming for a rural, country effect, distressed reclaimed wood will look (and feel) fantastic under your feet. However, if your tastes lean towards the classic and elegant, a darker tone will give the room warmth and grandeur while subtly complementing any antique furniture you may have in the room.

This is a sponsored post that may or may not represent the views and ideals of Mommy Ramblings. Photo Credit-Plank and Mill’s website

 

There are many reasons why you might embark on a home improvement project.  Maybe you are the owner of a new house and want to add your personal touch. Perhaps the house you bought was a fixer-upper, and you are ready to start tackling those renovations. Certainly, some homeowners opt for home improvements to increase  the value of their homes. Whatever the reason, here are a few tips to help you with your next home renovation project.

Start With A Detailed Plan

A home improvement project can be complex, and the best way to make it easier is to have a specific plan about what you want to achieve. What is your budget for this renovation project? According to PlumbingFix, whether you want to buy new plumbing fixtures or renovate your kitchen, your plan needs to include a budget.

Are you planning small improvements you can do on your own or will you hire a professional? What is the time line for your home improvement project? When do you want to start? It seems simple enough, but lack of such a plan may back you into a corner. So, think it out and set your thoughts on paper before you begin.

Your Budget

How are you going to fund your home improvement project? While making home improvements are a great way to change the look and feel of your home, you need to be smart when deciding what areas to focus on based on what you can afford. Taking out a loan to cover home improvement expenses is not a wise move in most cases.

If you’re sure you want to move ahead with your home improvement project, set aside some savings in advance to put towards it. This way, you will not end up straining yourself or having to stop the project halfway through because you are over budget. Even if you have adequate funds for your project, being prepared is critical.   

The DIY Option

The trend in home improvement has been leaning heavily towards do-it-yourself projects. One benefit of this is that it will save you on costs. The flip side, however, is that if you are not a professional, you might end up doing more damage than good. If you have set your mind on doing it yourself, then two things will serve you well.

One is to do your research on how to go about it. The second is to make sure you have the proper tools before you start. With the right information in your hands and the professional equipment needed to complete your home improvements, you can do it! However, always start with smaller improvement projects and keep things simple.

Why Hiring A Professional Matters

The type of home improvement contractor you select can either make or break your home improvement project. There are endless cases of people getting scammed by contractors who end up doing a horrible job. To avoid this, spend some time looking for the right contractor. They should be licensed, insured and experienced in doing the type of improvements you want.

Just like you would choose pest control Morristown NJ based experts to eradicate pests, you need a contractor with proven expertise in offering home improvement services to homeowners in your area. A professional ensures a thorough job, offers you great ideas and does the best job based on your budget.

Get Inspiration

Finding inspiration for your home improvement is easy. Look online or go to open houses and see what other homes look like. The bottom line is, with a picture of what you want your home to look like, it’s easier to go ahead with your home improvement project with a little help.

This is a sponsored post, it does not necessarily represent the views and ideals of Mommy Ramblings.

Moving into a new home, or even just wanting to spruce up your current residence, can be a challenge. It takes time to make a house into a home, adding those essentials family touches help to transform it from a dull space into one with soul.

There are many different things you can do to personalise your home and make it your own, from adding a new coat of paint to hanging your family pictures on the walls. You can be as creative as you like and it doesn’t need to cost a small fortune. Here are 25 ideas you can use to add your personal touch to your home.

1. Paint The Front Door

The first thing anyone will see as they approach your home is the front door. It might not seem like the first place you would want to change, but painting your front door immediately adds character to your home. It gives any visitors a small insight into who lives inside.

2. Hanging Baskets

Once your door is looking brand new and shiny, you can decorate your entrance further by adding some plants. If you have the space either side of your front door, placing hanging baskets full of beautiful flowers is the best way to make your home feel inviting and well-looked after.

3. The Front Garden

If you only have a driveway, there’s no need to worry about this. If you take pride in what you home looks like to the outside world, tending to your front garden is an excellent way to make your home feel tidy and bright. Adding hardy plants such as Rhododendrons or Buddleia will make your garden spring to life without having to worry too much about the upkeep.

4. The Back Garden

There isn’t much which is more relaxing than coming home on a summer’s evening and sitting in the garden with your family enjoying a glass of wine. Having an inviting and open garden, no matter how small, is a great way to utilize extra space around your home. You can even include a swing set and trampoline for the kids!

5. Paint The Walls

If you are short on cash and want an easy way to add your own flair to a room: paint the walls. You can mix your own paint color or choose one from the store, either way; you’ll be adding your personality to the room.

6. Add Soft Furnishings

Throws and cushions are the easiest way to feel like an interior designer, adding new dimensions to your home. Picking up some boldly patterned cushions and placing them over a pastel sofa instantly creates an element of style in your living space.

7. Grab A Bargain

Gumtree is the perfect place to find local people who have secondhand furniture they want to sell. You could score a real bargain on a new table or chairs, and even have them delivered to your home. It’s a much cheaper way to spruce up your home than visiting traditional  retailers.

8. Seasonal Touches

Aside from the obvious festive decorations, you could also make your home more seasonal by adding some simple touches. Christmas bedding sets will transform your room into a winter wonderland, cute festive cushions and a new tartan throw will add that element of winter to your home.

9. Lighting

Spotlights, LED lights and fairy lights are excellent additions to your home, making it feel cozier and adding ambience to your home effortlessly.

10. Make It Cozy

On cold winter nights, the most satisfying feeling is to snuggle up on the sofa with your family. You can take this a step further by lighting scented candles around the house, turning on some soft fairy lights and cuddling up under a thick throw.

11. Buy New Mugs

A cute way to put your stamp on the kitchen, is to buy new mugs for you and your family. Let your children each choose their favourite mug, and store them on a shelf in the kitchen. You and your family will automatically have a cute personal item to use every day.

12. Replace Your Faucets

Old, rusty faucets can make even the most beautiful room look dull. You can buy really beautiful chrome or brushed nickel faucets online and instantly make your kitchen and bathroom feel clean and new.

13. A New Mattress

New mattresses will help you sleep, relax your muscles and allow you to wake up in the morning feeling ready to tackle the day ahead. No matter what your budget, you will be able to find the right mattress for you and your family. There are details at mattress-guides.net for how to choose the right one for you.

14. Chalkboard Paint

To stop your children from drawing all over the walls, why not try painting some chalkboard paint on the inside of your cupboard doors? Give your kids some chalk, and they can doodle all they like without it being on display, and without it becoming a permanent feature in your house.

15. Wall Art

If you want to vamp up a blank wall, the easiest thing to do is hang some art. You could hang up your children’s drawings, a pretty watercolour or even an inspiring quote. Whatever you choose, it will liven up the space and give it some life.

16. Family Photos

The ultimate way to put your stamp on the home is the hang personal photographs. You could opt for a professionally taken family portrait, or a collage of candid shots from your family vacation.

17. Add Some Houseplants

Do you ever feel like there’s  a small space which needs to be filled in your home? Well, the perfect solution is to add a few plants. Plants not only add colour and vibrancy to your home but also produce oxygen and are proven to relieve stress.

18. Install An Herb Garden

If you love to cook, then adding a herb garden to your home is an excellent idea. You will have constant access to fresh flavours and never have to repurchase a dried sachet.

19. Make The Most Of Natural Light

Natural light is the most fundamental tool in decorating your home. It can make the smallest space seem huge and adds a beautiful ray of light to every nook and cranny in your home. Open up the windows by ditching the large curtains and opting for blinds instead. You’ll gain space and light instantly.

20. Keep It Simple

Although you may be tempted to go all out and make everything in your home a feature, try and refrain from doing too much. It can be confusing to the eye and doesn’t look as put together as a simple design. All you need is 2-3 colours for a room, one bold, one pastel, and black or white. If you stick to this rule you will see a huge difference in the overall feel of your living space.

21. Disguise Old Furniture

If you would rather avoid having to invest in a brand new sofa, you can disguise it instead. Adding soft furnishings such as cushions and throws will immediately give a dull piece of furniture a new lease of life. Find some great ideas on revamping old furniture, HERE.

22. Get The Kids Involved

If you have children, let them have some input on your decisions. You could let them design their own bedrooms, pick out paints, wallpaper and soft furnishings to make them feel part of the process. Although children might have some crazy ideas, it might be fun to let them have free rein on their own space in the house. It could mean that you end up with a Disney princess palace in your home, but to see the look on your child’s face when it’s ready; it’s all worth the effort.

23. Match Your Appliances

When you decorate the kitchen, you will usually get new cabinets, countertops, backsplash and new tile for the floor. Once you’ve implemented all of these changes, why not finish it all off by matching your small appliances to the theme of the room? Buying a kettle and toaster to match the decor of your kitchen is a simple and effective way to tie the room together.

24. Add Accent Walls

Accent walls can be a great design feature. Painting one wall a bold color, or hanging some wallpaper on one wall of a room can bring it to life and draw the eye to that area, making the room feel and look a little bigger than it really is.

25. A Book Nook

If you or your children love to read, why not transform a small corner of the room into a cute little reading nook? Add lots of cushions, a beanbag and storage for your favourite novels, and you’ve instantly created a personalized space for you and your family to enjoy quiet time.

This is a sponsored guest post that may or may not represent the views or ideals of Mommy Ramblings.

Autumn Is Here!

What’s that you smell in the air, is it a pumpkin-spiced latte? What’s that you feel in your soul as you drop your kids off at school—is it, could it be…pure joy? Well, not pure. You’ll miss them, of course—but what a relief! From eight to three (or 2:30 if you’re not so lucky), your kids are taken care of, they learn, and you get time to do what you need to.

One of those things could be some post-summer remodeling. Autumn and winter can be ideal times to upgrade your home, especially if you live in the south.  It’s not as hot outside, making yard work especially appealing.

Additionally, it’s a traditional “off-season”, so you may find decreased rates available. With school in session,  the kids won’t be tearing around the yard, getting in the way of contractors.

If you don’t live in the south, autumn still is an ideal time to remodel because winter is coming, and as they’re fond of saying in the adults-only HBO show Game of Thrones, “Winter is coming!”. It’ll get cold soon, and if you don’t take care of things like roof repairs, you could end up with much bigger structural problems. 

Some Outdoor Work

You want to get your roofing done before the winter hits. Since it’s already autumn, if you have not started, you might want to check out sites like South Jersey Roofers since they offer high-quality workmanship, a commitment to customer satisfaction, and proven reliability.

If you wait too long and live in a northern state, you may not be able to find any roofers to repair your issues. If that happens, you might have to use an emergency solution to get by until the weather warms up.  

Fall is a great time for last-minute structural remodeling. Additionally, you may not appreciate the features of some remodeling projects until late spring. Pergolas are one of those projects that come to mind.

If you’ve never heard of a pergola, this term refers to an adjustable awning which can be positioned with the touch of a button. It can keep out the snow, wind, and rain, or it can let in the sunshine. Whatever your preference, with the press of a button, you can change the way you enjoy your deck.

When it comes to outdoor pergola builders, you’ll be able to find top-tier solutions that will fit your needs; whether it be opening it up with the touch of a remote, angling it to provide the right amount of shade, or closing it completely.

Additional Considerations

You can actually use a pergola during winter as well.  Even in the coldest climates, there will be mild days, and you may want to read a book on the back deck in the sun. Soak up that winter sun while you can, if the clouds come in and you can feel the snow, just close the pergola slats, grab a blanket and keep reading.

Fall can also be the perfect time to install a security system. Again, it’s not nearly so hot outside as during the summer, and you want to have that system in place by the winter. There seems to be an increase in crime during the winter in southern states. This may not be the case if you live in the north, it will depend on your region. 

All in all, fall is the opportune time to tackle home improvement projects and make property upgrades like additions and completing essential home maintenance to prepare for the coming winter.

This is a sponsored post that does not necessary express the views or ideals of Mommy Ramblings.

This time of year can throw all kinds of weather at us; rain, wind, hailstones and more. So, whether you want to keep your home as safe as possible or your viewing new properties in the hopes of moving, it’s important to know how to spot damage. One of the most overlooked places on a house is the roof. Yet, if the roof has damage it can cause all kinds of problems inside the house. So, what do you need to look out for?

Check Your Shingles

One of the easiest tips, recommended by Elevated Roofing, is to check the roof for ripped shingles. After a storm, a few ripped shingles are often the easiest things to spot, just by looking at your roof from the ground floor. They may not look like they’ll cause a lot of hassle is left as they are, but it’s important to get them repaired as soon as possible, especially during the wetter months. One of the biggest problems to result from loose or damaged shingles is a leak in the house. You may not even notice it until it’s too late.

Hailstone Dents

It can be difficult to spot hailstone dents, but if you’ve recently had a bout of hailstones that you think could have caused damage, it’s worth checking. If you can spot dents on the roof, take a look at the angles of the roof, where the roof meets the wall. You’ll often be able to see dents in guttering too. If they’re present there, they’re likely to be present on the roof. If your roof slants, don’t attempt to climb it and check it yourself. Call a trustworthy professional who can give you a quote for any damage at the same time.

Inspect Your Attic

If you can’t see any visible damage by looking at your roof from the outside, it’s a good idea to get up into your attic and check for any leaks. If you spot a leak, it will easier to pinpoint where on the roof the damage is coming from and it’s often easier to contain and resolve the damp once found in the attic. If you don’t check or ignore the leaks found in the attic, it’s inevitable the leak will eventually spread throughout the rest of the house. Leaks will often present themselves as stains on the wall, rather than actual water puddles.

If you do find a leak in the attic but you have trouble pinpointing it, here’s a quick tip: Ask someone to help you and take a garden hose up onto the roof. Isolate small areas near to where the attic leak is. Let the hose run for several minutes in each area and have your helper in the attic looking out for leak. After a few minutes, the drip should appear in the attic. It can be time-consuming, but it will help you to narrow down where the damage is and find out how it needs to be fixed.

This is a sponsored guest post and does not necessarily represent the views of Mommy Ramblings.

I think I am going batty trying to pick out backsplash tile for my new kitchen. I am closer than ever to making a decision. I am however, a bit confused on some of the components. I had given up on trying to find a cream subway tile. Every time I found something there was no coordinating trim to do what I wanted. I brought home a piece of beveled white subway tile and it didn’t look too bad with my countertops.

You can imagine my surprise when, after giving up on finding cream, and picking everything in white, I found out I could get it all in a royal cream color. Shopping for tile is very confusing. So, now I am going with cream. I mean, I think I am going with the cream, lol.

I like a 3″ by 6″ subway tile that is beveled, and glossy.

I don’t need much bullnose or trim pieces in my kitchen. I only need two small pieces where the tile comes up on the sides of the sink on either side of the window. I plan to top it with this piece of crown trim.

Gloss Cream Crown Molding 2.25″ by 12″

The other area I need a trim piece is on the side near my french sliding doors. I am not sure which trim piece to go with there, but there are a variety of trim pieces available. I will check with the installers, on what they think would look best. Here are some of the choices beyond the piece above. I know the colors don’t all look the same, but that is not accurate, they are all the same brand and same color.

Bead Wall Tile Trim 1″ by 6″

 

Bullnose 2″ by 6″

 

Bullnose Long Side Trim Tile 3″ by 6″

Bullnose Short Side Trim  3″ by 6″

1/2″ by 6″ Tile Trim

Dome Trim 12″ by 3/4″

Okay, at least there is an abundance of trim, the only thing they do not have, is the double bullnose corner piece. It is however available if I go with the white. I am not sure that it is necessary, but if it is, that will be my sign to go with the white, lol.

So now for the special accent behind the cooktop. I was inspired by this photo I found online on Pinterest or Google Images, I cannot even remember, I have looked at so many.

So, this brand also has a 4.5″ by 4.5″ tile that I could use in this design.

4.5″ by 4.5″ Square Tile

I would use the crown trim for the frame.

Crown Molding in Royal Cream 12 in. x 2-1/4 in.

 

The part I am stuck on is what color to use for the mosaics for the border and for the deco between the square tiles. Some that I think would be good are:

 

Natural Seashell Mosaic

 

Honey Polished Onyx Mosaic

White Natural Seashell Mosaic ( I think this may be too light to be an accent.)

 

Mini Tundra Glass and Stone Mosaic

My countertops are Cambria Quartz in Nevern.

My cabinets are Wood Mode in Vintage Bright White.

Ugh, as I am writing this, I am not thinking maybe I should go with the white. The cream is not a beige but really a bone that my kitchen designer said would look good. I am so conflicted. lol Here is the white:

White Beveled 3″ by 6″ Subway Tile

And a close up of it:

Close Up of White Subway Tile

And now the Royal Cream close up:

Royal Cream Close Up

My cabinets are not a bright white they have a glaze that makes them vintage, and more of a creamy white.

So, what are your thoughts on this? I really would love to hear, this has been the hardest decision of the entire kitchen project.

If you have not seen Part 1 of our Kitchen Transformation click HERE.  You can also see our video constructions updates for a more in-depth, up close and personal look at everything, including the lessons we learned along the way.

So, the was the first piece of quartz installed. Sorry for the poor lighting, they still had not installed all the lights at this point. Also, outside the kitchen window is a temporary storage shed that will be moved, once we can move our stuff back in.

There will be a false drawer front that matches the cabinets surrounding the farmhouse sink. It is still being made in the factory, but we will show you what a difference it makes when installed. Again, the shed in the back is just temporary.

That is my plumber checking out the island top. I noticed after they left it was not even so they had to come back and redo that and the sink. Fun times.

The opening for the cooktop is cut on site. They bring in a fan that sucks out the dust and through an attached large tunnel tube it is blown outside. They also have a vacuum running.

Once the sinks had set, the faucets were installed along with the dishwasher and cooktop. We also installed the 3 pendant lights over the island and the one over the sink.  Then, the rest of the cabinets could be installed.

We need to get the crown molding installed on top of the cabinets and most of the interior cabinet lighting as well as the under cabinet and upper cabinet lighting. The cabinets still need to be aligned and the hardware installed. My biggest problem is, I cannot find a backsplash tile I like. Hope to do that this weekend. We have some more work to do but we have come a long way.

So, if you don’t follow us on YouTube you might have missed all the construction updates on our house. If you would like to catch up, you can go to the Construction Update Playlist. In those videos, I share all the goofs, mishaps, mistakes and problems we encountered along the way. Here are some photos to show you where we started and how far we have come.

This was the kitchen before as is, it was a mess when I took these photos because we were in the middle of moving out.

This was during the demo of the kitchen, after the tile floor was removed.

The soffits were coming down, so they had to rip them out. We found a surprise under them.

That pipe near the window was our surprise. At first they thought it was a waste line from the upstairs bathroom that could not be moved, but they found out it was not, and we were able to move it!

Some new electric lines were installed and then they started putting the new insulation in. The recessed lighting also was moved.

Next, the sheet rock was put up and spackled.

Then they had to paint. They installed Hardibacker Board in preparation for the tile.

Next the tile floors needed to go in.

After the tile was in and grouted, our Wood-Mode Cabinets were delivered.

We protected our floors with a Red Rosin paper that is used as an underlayment for wood flooring

There were a lot of cabinets, moldings and trim delivered.

These were the first cabinets installed.

The new ovens were ready to be installed.

 

We had to wait to install the upper cabinets on the other side until the template was done for the quartz countertops because the cabinet in the corner sits on the countertop.

That is the end of this update, be sure to check out Part 2 of our Kitchen Transformation and Picking out our backsplash.  If you want to see more check out our YouTube Construction Update Videos.

We are almost ready for our bathroom renovation reveals. When renovating and remodeling, there are so many decisions that need to be made, we talked about choosing the toilet, WASHLET and vanity for the bathroom, but I did not mention the faucet yet. When choosing a faucet there are several things you need to consider.

Faucet Type

First off, if you are updating and keeping the same vanity top and vanity, you are limited to what you can choose. You cannot install a single handle faucet if you have widespread faucet. Well, you can but it will have to have a plate that covers the other holes so you won’t have the same look. If you are starting from scratch, you have all the options you want. I chose a single handle faucet because I like the sleek look and find them easier to clean.

Sink Type

The type of sink you have is also a factor, if you have a vessel sink, make sure you choose a faucet that will work with it. The type of mount and gallons per minute are other things to keep in mind when choosing your faucet.

 

Finish

The next choice is the finish. Again, if you are not starting from scratch, you need to consider the colors of the other fixtures in the bathroom. We had a clean slate to work with so I went with the brushed nickel.

Style

Next, the hardest part. What style faucet do you want? There are so many styles to choose from! We could not believe all the choices we had in front of us when we were checking out TOTO USA’s website for a bathroom faucet. With so many great styles to choose from, it was hard to decide. In the end, we went with something traditional and elegant. We choose the Guinevere faucet and just had it installed. It is absolutely beautiful.

About Our Faucet

Guinevere as we call her, is more than beautiful, she has a durable brass construction with a ceramic disc cartridge. She has a WaterSense Approved Low-Flow of 1.5 gpm. Guinevere comes in three fabulous finishes: polished chrome, polished nickel and brushed nickel. A metal pop up drain is included.

Our plumber told me that he was very impressed with the faucet. I laughed and told him to handle her carefully and that her name was Guinevere. We both had a good laugh on that, but we still call her by her name. The faucet and pop up drain were easy for him to install without any issues. Guinevere works flawlessly. I will show you how well in a video as soon as we do the reveal.

If you are looking for a new faucet check out TOTO USA. You can also follow them on Social media on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube to see more of their products and here the latest news.

Stay tuned, and subscribe to our newsletter and social media channels so you don’t miss the reveals. Let me know what you think of our choice.

The following is a sponsored guest post that may or may not represent the views of Mommy Ramblings.

As a homeowner, it’s easy to shell out a nice chunk of money keeping your home in good condition. However, that doesn’t mean all your hard earned cash needs to go into home maintenance. Instead, you need to think about ways to save on home maintenance, and then actively work towards doing so. While everyone’s situation is slightly different, the following are a few simple ways you can save on home maintenance and put your money away for something you’ll enjoy.

Opt for DIY

When you want to save money, consider doing some maintenance on your own instead of hiring someone else to do it. There are plenty of small jobs around your house that you can easily do yourself, such as install a sink, replace a light fixture, or even update your front door. Before you get quotes on different jobs, be sure to look at the task at hand and see if it’s something you can spend a few hours tackling. By investing a little bit of time, you can end up saving a fortune.

Know when to hire a professional.

Although you can save money by doing things yourself, it’s also important you realize when you need to hire a professional. After all, putting certain jobs in the hands of trusted professionals can ensure the job gets done right the first time and can save you from spending more money trying to do it again. For instance, if you have an intricate plumbing problem, it’s smarter for you to hire a trusted plumber than to do the job yourself and do it wrong. If not, you’ll end up spending almost twice as much having someone come in to fix your mistakes.

Don’t put it off.

One of the biggest reasons home improvements are so expensive is because homeowners put them off until they’ve become too big to tackle. When this happens, the cost inevitably goes up. Make it a point to inspect your home thoroughly at least once a year, if not more. This way, you can make note of areas that need your attention before they get out of control. If you’re ever unsure, have a professional come in and do a home inspection every now and then. This can make you aware of underlying issues you may not have known existed, and it could save you a ton of money in the end.

Make smart decisions.

Unfortunately, there’s not a product out there that will look good and last forever, but there are products out there that are better than others. For instance, if you are building a home, opting for materials like brick or stone is a good choice. They will hold up better and stay looking newer longer, even when exposed to harsh weather conditions. By making the investment in stone or brick, you are helping your house stay in better condition with a product that doesn’t need as much maintenance. If you make smart decisions like this throughout your home, you can save money on home maintenance in the future.

Maintaining your home may not be the most enjoyable thing you have to do as a homeowner, but it is a necessity. If you make smart decisions and follow these tips, you can end up saving money on your home maintenance, which will make you happier in the long run as well.

This is a sponsored guest post that may or may not reflect the views of Mommy Ramblings.

Most of us have a vision of what we would imagine to be the perfect home. Whether you want it to be modern, have amazing landscaping, or have a spectacular pool, customizing your home is one of the many rewards of home ownership.

If you need help in sparking your creative side, here are 10 amazing ideas to help make your home awesome.

  1. Moat Pool

At first glance, these pools may seem like some kind of home protection strategy, but the fact is they provide a great look and can be quite popular in the right situation. If the idea of a moat pool surrounding your home conjures up images of Medieval castles and drop-down bridges, take a look at modern moat pools and see how far they have come.

  1. Hanging Bed

Here is a trend that has been popping up lately. Suspend your bed from the ceiling and swing yourself to sleep. The bed can be made from wood, concrete, or plastic, but you’ll definitely want strong beams and a professional installation.

  1. Automatic Window Shades

There are few things more convenient than being able to hit a button and have all of your window shades go up or down. Motorized blinds and shades allow you to manage the ambience, privacy, and sun level of each room quickly without the fuss of cords and pulleys.

  1. Interior Cat Transit System

If you are a fan of cats, then you already know that they like to live in a world of their own. The cat transit system allows them to travel the house in the privacy of their own little tunnels.

  1. Glass Floors

How about a glass floor in one of your rooms? It can make some people a bit nervous standing on one, but having a glass floor adds a coolness factor to most homes. Instead of glass you can also have smooth concrete floors with tile or glass features combining the best of both worlds.

  1. Retractable Pool Table

Imagine having a few guests over for dinner and all of a sudden, a full-sized pool table appears from out of the wall. That is high-speed to say the least.

  1. Concrete Crib

There is a company called “Concrete Crib” that can make custom concrete furniture like tables, benches, pools, and counters. Any of their unique creations would be certain to add that special wow factor to any home. Concrete products are popular because not only are they unique, they are easy to clean and durable as well.

Minimalist dining room with table; chair and two closed doors – rendering

  1. Outdoor Movie Screen

Everyone loves going to the drive-in and enjoying a giant movie screen outdoors, but they really don’t compare to having one in your backyard. You can invite friends and family over to see the latest and greatest movies without having to drive anywhere.

  1. Skateboard Room

This might appeal more to the younger generation but how about a room with built-in skateboard ramps? How many times have you seen something like that? If you want to impress your friends, add one of these to your contemporary house.

  1. Spiral Wine Cellar

You don’t have to be a huge fan of wine to appreciate the beauty of a spiral wine cellar. Your guests will be impressed at this amazing feature in your home.

Regardless of which route you take in personalizing your home, it’s always exciting to seek out fun and new things that you can add. Whether it’s a small bowling alley, or a rooftop tennis court, the options are practically limitless.

 

This is a sponsored post through the Mom It Forward Influencer Network. As always my words and views are 100% my own.

We are transitioning into spring in New York and the massive snowfall we were buried under, is finally melting away. As the ground becomes visible, I am filled with excitement about being able to see green grass again.

Grass evokes so many emotions, there are songs about grass, we relish the smell of fresh-cut grass and love the feel of grass beneath our feet. Our yard has a large lawn and it is where we spend a great deal of time. It is a place where our children practice their baseball skills, we gather on a blanket for a picnic, our dogs happily sprawl out for an afternoon nap, we watch the squirrels and birds frolic, entertain our friends and family and sit at night gazing up at the stars.

Lawn games are fun too, our neighbor just gave us a bocce ball set and my kids cannot wait to play. Our lawn adds beauty to our home; it is like a gorgeous carpet that compliments my perennial flower gardens. I am so thankful to live in a community where lush, green lawns are plentiful.

Lawns are beneficial too! Living on a hill at the top of a mountain, our lawn helps prevent erosion from heavy rains and wind. Beyond that, grass is beautiful and naturally calming. The visual appeal of green grass helps our mental health and reduces stress levels.

Having a nice lawn does not mean you need to be a slave to it. Sure, lawn maintenance is important for a healthy-looking lawn, but it does not have to consume your life. Did you know that the best season to revive and repair your lawn is spring? If you follow five simple steps now, you will ensure an amazing, summer ready lawn!

Rake

I like to enlist the whole family for this. We each grab a rake and get to work removing old leaves, dead grass and other debris that accumulated over the winter. Raking allows us to easily see any areas that need attention as well as providing more soil contact when seeding, which helps grass grow more easily.

Aerate

This is very important if your lawn is like ours, and has been buried under snow which causes the soil to compact. My dad used to joke that by walking on the grass wearing his golf shoes, he was doing his part to aerate the lawn. Seriously, there are core aerators you can rent or you can hire a professional lawn service to do this for you. Aerating will pull small plugs of soil out of your lawn which allows increased movement of water, nutrients and oxygen into the soil. It will also help to promote growth of new seeds by providing more soil contact.

Seed

Spring is the ideal time to seed any spots that are bare or thin. If you are planning on expanding your lawn, spring is the best time for that too. When you start in spring, the grass has ample time to grow healthy and strong before summer. Selecting the right seed for your area is imperative, ask a turf specialist at your local garden store or university extension office for guidance. After seeding, water lightly and regularly to ensure the area stays damp until the new grass grows.

Control Weeds

Did you know healthy lawns will squeeze out weeds? They will, but damaged lawns that are overrun with dandelions and crabgrass may need some help.

You can find out how to get rid of dandelions here, but your local garden specialist can help you decide what other weed control options may be right for your lawn and your family.

 

Tune up That Lawn Mower

Get your mower in top shape with an annual service including changing the oil, replacing the spark plug, cleaning or replacing the air filter and sharpening the blade. When the grass is about 3 inches high, it is time to mow. Newly seeded areas should be mowed when they reach 2 inches in height until the new grass is established. Mow with a frequency that allows you to cut less than one-third of the height of the grass. An easy-to-follow rule is to not let grass grow taller than 3 inches and not to cut it shorter than 2 inches.

Following the steps above will leave you with a lush, green lawn to enjoy this summer. I can’t wait to kick off my shoes and feel that grass between my toes! What do you love most about your lawn?


I am back with an update on our new kitchen. I am happy to say, that 2 weeks ago we signed on the dotted line and our cabinets went into manufacturing. Since they are custom cabinets, they will be made to order and take at least 8 weeks.

We ended up going with a brand new Wood-Mode finish called Vintage Bright White. The Vintage finish is a distinctive glaze that is applied over the base color and adds a brushed appearance to the surface while highlighting the details of the door style and architectural elements. It also tones done the bright white and is just beautiful. The cabinets below are in Vintage Bright White. This is not the door I picked but I wanted to share the color with you.

We are also really excited about the integrated Häfele LED lighting matched to custom-fabricated Wood-Mode cabinetry. This lighting is brand new and we are the first kitchen that has it. I cannot wait because, I love light and I was forever saying I needed better lighting in the kitchen. This lighting will be in every cabinet and every drawer.

An industry-first, the Wood-Mode Integrated Lighting Program featuring Häfele LED solutions is a collaboration between two industry leaders to meet and drive the growing demand for integrated lighting design. The program utilizes the very best 12 volt, 3rd generation Loox LED options from Hafele. LED lighting is specified in 80% of kitchen projects overall (according to the NKBA) and offers energy-efficient, controllable, and discrete illumination with unlimited creative possibilities. You can read more about it HERE.

Beyond that, I have all the tile at the house and ready to be installed. I still need to pick the tile for the backsplash and that is where I am conflicted. The kitchen designer I am working with told me that it did not matter if I was having second thoughts on the color/pattern of the quartz now, because we have a lot of time. She said they will not  be coming to do the template until the cabinets are installed. That made me breathe a bit easier because I have been going back and forth with my choice. I selected Cambria Quartz in Nevern. I have a very large sample piece and I love it!

The problem is that Cambria Quartz does not photograph well. At least the Nevern does not. In almost every photo I see of it online, it looks like a dull, flat, ugly laminate countertop. The picture below is the one I hate the most, it does nothing to sell this countertop.

That frightens me beyond belief. I know, I like Cambria Quartz, because I had it in my kitchen for almost 10 years. It is just that they need to do a better job in showing the beauty I see in this sample. I have heard other people complain about the same thing. Most said that they had second thoughts based on photos, but were happy in the end when it was installed. They said that the photos did not do it justice at all.

So I was thinking, I should play it safe and go with something like Ella.

On my way to sign the contracts, I kept thinking about it, but my heart and my head were not sold on it at all. I was so glad that when I told my kitchen designer  I was thinking about Ella, she said, “Oh no, you do not want to go with Ella. You want something to make things pop!” I thanked her so much! It was the advice I needed! So Ella got kicked to the curb but I still am second guessing my choice.

I went on the Cambria Facebook page and asked them about my dilemma, but received as Verizon would say, a “half fast” answer. It was like they did not even read my question because they responded that I should look for a larger sample. I guess they missed what I wrote about having a large sample and the photos not looking at all like what I see in front of me.

I don’t know, I know I have time, but until I decide on the countertop, it halts the selection of the backsplash tile. Speaking of being halted, we have been halted for weeks with the demo crew. They should have completed everything by now. We have been held up for over 3 months, but let’s not even go there. Hopefully, work is going to begin next week. I feel like we are behind the 8-ball in getting everything done before the cabinets are ready.

Anyway, I guess this is not much of an update, but I wanted to let you know that things are still moving along slowly. The bathroom renovation has been halted a bit by this whole situation as well. I will have a post up about the faucet we chose for the bathroom in the next few days.

If you made it this far, thank you. If you would like to add any insight on the countertops, please do so in the comments. I would like to hear your thoughts. I will tell you one thing, if I do go for the Nevern and I love it, I will do everything in my power to get great photos of what it really looks like. I don’t want anyone else to have this uncertainty due to poor photos.

Happy New Year everyone! I hope it is off to a great start for you. You have probably heard people use the adjectives shiny and new to describe the new year. Feeling shiny and new is exactly what I want to share with you today. I bet you don’t know where this is going. We are going to take this into the bathroom. I don’t want to talk about spring cleaning but do want to tell you about another kind of cleaning. Let’s call it personal cleaning.

I am not talking about a bidet. Quite frankly, I think bidets scare a lot of Americans who do not know what they are or how to use them. Not to mention, they take up a good footprint of space in your bathroom. So is there a better way to get that shiny and new feeling that is easier and faster than taking a shower every time you use the bathroom?

There is, it is called a Washlet. The Washlet was introduced in Japan by TOTO back in 1980 and has become one of their signature products. The first Washlet had 3 functions: rear cleansing, dryer and a heated seat. 10 years and numerous innovations later the Washlet came to America. In 2016 a milestone was reached when 40 million Washlets were sold worldwide.

So what is a Washlet and what’s in it for you? A Washlet is a bidet seat and you will be amazed at everything it can do for you. Do you get upset if the male members of your household do not close the lid after using the toilet? That is one of the first ways a Washlet will help you. The Washlet lid opens and closes automatically, so no more unpleasant surprises. If you worry about chilly seats, the Washlet has that covered too with a cozy, heated seat.

I love that it has an eWater+ system, that uses electrolyzed water, a proven, chemical free disinfectant to mist the bowl after every use. No need for harsh chemicals which are already banned in my home.

The wand of the Washlet is automatically cleaned before and after each use.
Eliminating waste effectively is easier when you are not starting with a dry bowl surface, the premist feature uses the incoming water supply to mist the surface which is 80% more efficient.

 

Next, let’s talk about rear cleansing, I know you are chuckling but also intrigued. The rear spray is designed to provide your derriere with a targeted, pleasant yet strong water stream to get you squeaky clean. The front wash feature provides cleaning in the way of large, soft drops for a comfortable wash that leaves you feeling clean as a daisy.

TOTO is not going to make you drip dry, they have thought of everything! The warm air dryer will make sure you are nice and dry before you go on your way.

Finally, there is an effective deodorizer that cleans the air around the toilet using powerful filters. Air is drawn in, passing through a catalytic deodorizer to eliminate unpleasant odors.

If you want a Washlet with all those features, the S350E is the way to go. It is available in round or elongated and comes in cotton white or Sedona beige. If you would like to see videos of all the features, visit TOTO on YouTube.

We are putting one of these awesome Washlets on our Guinevere Toilet. I will show you more on both as we are further along in the renovation of our bathroom. You have to love constructions delays. In the meantime, if you want to see more about the toilet we chose or some things to consider when choosing a toilet, you can check it out on our post HERE.

To learn more about Washlets and all their fabulous features click HERE. Do you have one of these in your home? Have you been thinking about getting one? Is this the first time you have heard of it? Let me know what you think or about your experience.

Special thanks to TOTO for all their help and for providing us with a Washlet S350e for our project. As always all my words and opinions are 100% my own.

 

When you ask people what their least favorite household chore is, at the top of the list of most people is cleaning the toilet. Can you imagine if there was a toilet that would take care of that dreaded task for you? Well, you can stop dreaming about it because American Standard’s ActiClean toilet is real! This toilet cleans and removes stains at the touch of a button.

I will admit, I was very shocked to learn about this toilet a few months ago. We actually have one and cannot wait to install it. Our “little leak” in our kitchen that caused extensive damage to our home, has delayed our bathroom renovation projects just a tad. We will update with all the details as soon as we are ready to resume that project. I thought I would share my joy with you in the meantime about this amazing toilet.

How does the ActiClean System work?

American Standard provided us with an ActiClean Toilet for our project. As always my words and views are 100% my own.

Happy New Year everyone! Hope everyone’s year is off to a great start. I have some updates on our new kitchen. While the demo and everything in the house is going to take another 8 weeks at least, we are making headway with our kitchen decisions.

I believe, I shared our choice of Wood-Mode Custom Cabinetry for our kitchen. We are going with their Brookhaven line and our door style is Winter Haven Raised.

The first time I went into the kitchen design center and started working with Regina, our kitchen designer, I was sure I was going with Antique White. Yesterday, when my husband and I were there together making final decisions, I changed my color choice. I am going with Vintage Lace.

Wood-Mode’s Vintage Opaque is a distinctive glaze applied over the base color which in our case is Lace and adds a brushed appearance to the surface while highlighting the details of the door style and architectural elements.

It is funny because the first time I was there, I was sure I did not want that look and yet, the second time, I was sold on it. I feel that is why it is so important to meet with your kitchen designer multiple times in the planning stages of your project. So far, we have been to the kitchen showroom 2 times and Regina has been out to our house once to take measurements.

Now, that we are getting closer to putting the order in, she will come out again to make sure everything is correct. It is so nice to work with a kitchen designer who has experience and guides you along through the process. Yesterday, I remember clearly  saying to myself, “Wow, I am so glad she thought of that!”

The other thing is, they can give you great advice that can save you money and headaches. For instance, since my cooktop is mounted against an outside wall, she advised me not to go with a pot filler. I was not sold on one either, you may remember my earlier post.

The reason is, living in upstate New York, there is a danger of the pipes freezing which would cause extensive damage to our kitchen. Dealing with the damage from a leak is something we are familiar with and do not wish to deal with again if we can help it.

I know you can mount them on deck but I don’t want that sticking out of the counter top. Truthfully, the more I read about them, the more I am glad to have that reason for not putting one in. You still need to carry the water back to your sink. We decided to add an island prep sink which is behind the stove area. This will allow us to fill pots even if someone is at the kitchen sink.  I am good with that.

I am really excited about how I was able to utilize a lot of what I considered dead space in my old kitchen. My kitchen did have a lot of bells and whistles but there were some things  I wanted to change. We have so many baking trays, cookie sheets, cutting boards, cooling racks etc. In my old kitchen, I did have a tray cabinet but it was not large enough for everything we had.

It is not a matter of getting rid of some of it because we cook and bake all the time and use it all. So we added more slotted storage to our kitchen. The cabinet above the refrigerator is one that we hardly used. It contained some light bulbs and a container of glue. We  added tray storage up there and I think it is going to be great.

We also have a bottom tray cabinet next to the stove as we did before and over the ovens we put more slotted storage. We have an oven drawer under the double ovens as we did before to handle frequently used pans and sheets.

Something else I am super excited about, are the great pull out cabinets we put on the other side of our cooktop. If you think our tray situation was excessive, our collection of spatulas, ladles, cooking spoons and other cooking tools rivals it. Currently, we had two large utensil drawers and 2 large crocks on the counter. I wanted to find a more useful and out-of-sight way to store what we needed.

Browsing Pinterest, I found these great pull out cabinets with crocks built-in. I showed them to my kitchen designer who incorporated them into the design. The insert is made by a company called Rev-a-Shelf, and they have so many creative ways to get the most out of your kitchen.

We have another pull out cabinet like that but with a different insert that can handle our cooking oils, sprays etc. In an upper cabinet to the right of the cooktop we have our spice cabinet.

Being tall, I hate having to stoop down to see all the way to the back of lower cabinets. In my current kitchen, there are only three cabinets I had to do that. The rest all had roll outs or were drawer units. In this kitchen we made sure that there are no cabinets that would cause me to lay on the floor or crawl into to see what is in the back.

I eliminated the desk area and glass door cabinet that was above it from my current kitchen. We did not use the desk and it was a catch-all for everything as were the glass door cabinets. In its place we added some more pull out pantry storage which I am crazy about.

The new refrigerator is being set into cabinets to give it a built-in look. On the side of my fridge in my other kitchen, I had decorative raised panels that matched the cabinets. In our new kitchen design we added some useful storage.  We are putting in a functioning cabinet that will have lower storage for our broom, dust pan etc and upper storage for cleaning supplies, garbage bags etc. Something similar to this design I saw on Pinterest.

In the new kitchen we have extended all our upper cabinets to 42″. This extra cabinet space will give us the room we need to store appliances that we don’t use every day. We are removing the extended sofits to make room for the taller cabinets. On top of the cabinets we will add a very nice crown molding.

We are in the process of picking out our new quartz counters. In my old kitchen I had quartz counters and I love them. However, I want a little more movement in the new ones. I think I have found my countertop but not 100% sure.

Regina had me bring home my door sample and a large sample of the counter to look at it in the kitchen to make it easier for me to decide.

We are putting in a Farmhouse sink from Nantucket sinks and it has a really nice drain that we also chose from their website that never lets your hands touch the mess in the drain. Really cool and that is not all!

The sink has two front sides so you can choose what design you want. The smooth front of the Hyannis or the decorative side of the Chatham. I still have to pick the faucet. Oh, all the decisions!

We love the built-in butcher block we have in our old kitchen and so we went with one in this design also. It will be built into the side of the island to the right of the prep sink. We placed the pull out waste and recycling underneath so you can peel and chop and then just shove scraps right into the trash. To the side of the cutting board we put a large drawer to store our knives, and next to that, we put our utensil storage.

 

Another big change we are making is using two of the large island drawers to hold our dishes with a peg drawer inserts. This will make it easier to set the table and for the kids to get dishes themselves without having to climb up to reach them in upper cabinets. We added about 12 inches to the length of our island and this allowed us to put a 12 inch cabinet on the end with doors to store serving pieces, dishes and glasses.

Over the cooktop we have an English Country Elliptical Range Hood that matches the cabinets. I am not certain we are going with this style but I am leaning toward it.

The microwave will be hung over the counter next to the double ovens.

All of the cabinet doors and drawers are soft close and the doors are the full overlay style. We picked out our hardware too and I really like the way it looks and feels. The drawer pulls are nice and large and can accommodate hands of all sizes.

We have a large storage pantry in the same spot we did before but instead of having those wooden racks that pull and slide out to hold cans, we have added slide out shelf pull outs that our designer tells me I will find much more useful.

We are using commercial style appliances and I will update you on those in another post. For the flooring we are going to do a wood look porcelain tile. It is someone like the one I have but darker which I think will make the cabinets pop!

I think this is a long enough update for now. We have some exciting things to share regarding lighting with you soon. Let me know what you think of what we have picked out so far.

 

If you are designing a new kitchen, you probably know all about pot fillers. You might be wondering how we lived all these years filling our pots at the kitchen sink and carrying them over to the stove. Maybe you are thinking, it makes no sense because you still have to carry that pot of boiling hot water over to the sink to drain or empty at some point. There is also a point to be made that it is  another source of a potential leak, problem and of course expense in what already is a very expensive project. So, let’s take a look at the reasons why they are becoming so popular.

Less Strain on Your Body

Water has a weight of about 8 pounds per gallon. If you are filling up a large stock pot with water at the sink it can put a strain on your back as you carry it. However I don’t sit my pot in my sink and fill it, I usually set it up at counter height and fill it with my extended spray arm. If you are setting a large pot down in a deep sink and then hoisting it up and out, that could strain your back, especially if you have issues. However, most people have been doing this for years and are just fine.

Saves Time

The other point that is made to the advantage of a pot filler is that it saves time. I like to save time and work more efficiently but really, I doubt I am saving that much time to really make a difference. It is true you can turn it on and fill your pot on the stove and then go back to your sink to wash veggies or prep other foods. That could save you a few minutes, as long as you remember to keep watching the pot and run over and turn the water off before it overflows. I can see the advantage that you can easily be sauteing or cooking another part of the meal while you have a pot filling up on the stove. Not sure if this really is enough of a reason to convince people they need a pot filler.

Adds Style

I think this is the biggest reason you see them in more new kitchens today. It adds a touch of style and sophistication to your kitchen. I think many would say it adds a certain status to your project. I was speaking with a woman a couple of weeks ago and she was telling me about her son and how well he was doing. She went on to describe his house and said, “You know he even has one of those pot fillers in his kitchen.”

 

The facts remain that you need to carry that pot of water back to the stove which can strain your back as can hoisting it and pouring over a colander to drain pasta or other foods. That kind of negates the first reason. Sure, it may save a few seconds to minutes but does that truly justify the additional cost and of course potential source of a problem like a leak? I think the reason people put them in is based heavily on the third reason. Pot fillers look nice and they add a wow factor to your kitchen.

Some other cons are that they collect grease from cooking and it is another thing to clean. Cleaning the pot filler is something you would not have to do if you did not have one. Cleaning the pot filler will actually take longer than the time you saved in filling the pots on the stove. For those that like clean lines, having a pot filler extending from the backsplash may be an eyesore. There are deck mounted pot fillers as well but that is another permanent fixture protruding from your counter top.

I am still deciding if I am going to put one in my new kitchen. What do you think? I would love to hear your thoughts.

 

I cannot tell you how long my husband has been suggesting we get a TOTO toilet. Truth be told, he has gone beyond suggesting and was well into the nagging phase when we began talking about the renovation of our powder room.

I have seen TOTO toilets in many of the upscale resorts we stayed in this summer like the Mirror Lake Inn. Seeing them used like this was another indication they must be superior quality. So I decided to look further into them.

Their website is very easy to navigate and you will find so many styles and designs to browse. They have a special tool called My TOTO that allows you to view, save, compare, and share products for multiple design projects. You can learn about a product’s features and specifications, save it to a folder for future reference, compare its features and price and even share your favorites with friends and family through social media.

The first thing you need to figure out is whether you want a one-piece or two-piece toilet. A two-piece toilet is generally lighter than a one piece toilet since the tank is separate.  This can help if you have to carry it up to the second or higher level in your home.

One piece toilets can usually fit in tighter spaces and they are easier to clean than two-piece toilets. They also tend to have less issues than two-piece toilets. One-piece toilets generally have a higher price point than two-piece toilets.

TOTO also has a third choice, wall-hung, which opens up bathroom space but you need to have an in-wall tank system.

Your style will be the next choice you will need to make. For residential use, you can choose from modern, transitional or classic styles. Other choices you will need to make are whether you want an elongated or round bowl shape, flush rate, flushing system and color.

I knew, I wanted was a skirted toilet. If you are not sure what that is, it means that the trapway is covered, is so much easier to clean and has a smoother appearance. I also wanted a classic design, elongated bowl and powerful flushing system.

I was able to find exactly what I wanted in the Eco Guinevere. This is a uniquely sculpted one-piece toilet with a 1.28 GPF and elongated bowl. It also features  TOTO’s highly efficient Tornado flushing system, which uses a powerful combination of gravity and centrifugal force and CeFiONtect, an extraordinarily smooth, ion-barrier surface to help the bowl stay cleaner longer. I also chose the brushed nickel trip lever.

Eco Guinevere® One-Piece Toilet

Let me know what you think of our choice and I will be posting something else we picked for our toilet. Something that is pretty special! However, you will just have to wait to hear all about it. Feel free to take some guesses and leave them in the comments.

Special thanks to TOTO for all their help and for providing us with this exceptional toilet for our project. As always all my words and opinions are 100% my own.

Right now, my home is under construction in a few areas, one is my kitchen. I literally have had to remove everything in my cabinets and kitchen in order to get ready for the demo that is going to begin there. Having all my cabinets empty is so strange. I should take a photo because it is a rare thing. Normally, I think of ways to maximize storage of my plastic containers, pot lids, spices and more.

Are you looking for ways to organize, condense and maximize your storage space? If so, I just discovered some great products from YouCopia.

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I knew I had to have the StoraStack because I really need to organize my food storage containers. I used to spend so much time digging around the drawer looking for the right lid.

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The StoraStack smartly organizes food containers in your kitchen drawer. Two clip dispensers can be positioned as needed to hold two container stacks in place. Individual slots keep matching lids upright so everything stays tidy and easy to find.

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My next issue was pot lids sliding around in my roll outs. That is why I like the StoreMore Lid Holder.

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The StoreMore Lid Holder organizes all of your pot and pan lids in the cabinet or pantry. Strong wire dividers can be adjusted to keep lids upright, separated and easy to retrieve. Save space and reduce clutter by storing lids vertically!

 

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Last issue for me was how to deal with all the spices I have. I have so many spices that the built in spice cabinet is not enough. I ended up using 2 cabinets to store them all. The problem is that smaller spices get lost and so when I saw the spice steps, I knew I had to try them.

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The 24-bottle SpiceSteps™ is the easiest, most affordable way to organize spices in the kitchen cabinet. Maximize space with four tiers instead of the standard three. Label the bottle caps with included stickers to quickly find spices.

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Would you like the chance to win a product of your choice from YouCopia? If so, enter the giveaway below and you could win your choice of product from YouCopia up to a $40 value. Good luck!!! Open to US residents.

YouCopia Product Giveaway on Mommy Ramblings Rules:

Please enter the giveaway using the Rafflecopter widget below.  Good Luck!!!

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We have 2 new renovation projects underway. Our kitchen and the renovation of our powder room with a new vanity, lighted mirror cabinet, new toilet and new paint. We made our decision on the vanity and medicine cabinet and want to share our choice with you.

We are happy to be working with Strasser Woodenworks  and love their selection of bathroom vanities, vanity tops and medicine cabinets. We chose the 34.5″ height vanity in the Montlake Collection. For our door style we chose the miter and for our finish we picked satin white.

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The vanity size is 48″ and we went with a 49″ pearl white quartz top with rectangular sink. We ordered the top to be customized for a one hole faucet.

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For the medicine cabinet we went with the traditional tri-view with the matching miter door style in the satin white finish. We chose the model with the LED light bar.

medicine-cabinet

I think this is going to look great and really update the space nicely and give us a so much more useful storage space. Stay tuned to see the progress of this new project and for the update on the toilet and faucet we chose for this bathroom.

If you are looking for a new vanity, check out Strasser Woodenworks. I have been working with Peter and he has been very helpful through the process. Strasser has over 10,000 combinations of door styles, finishes, knobs, pulls, granite, quartz and vitreous china tops.

Everything is made in the USA to order! It takes about 2 weeks for the vanity and medicine cabinet to be built using hardwoods sourced in the USA and Canada. They build with quality hardware and their soft close hinges are the highest quality and durable. Their cabinets are built with hardware not glued!

Strasser Woodenworks products come with a warranty to be free of defects in workmanship, materials and finish failure for as long as you own the product. That makes me feel really good! You can stay in the loop with Strasser Woodenworks on Facebook, Google +, Pinterest and Houzz.

Let me know what you think of our choice by leaving a comment here. I would love to know what you think.

 

If you love the look of a farmhouse sink and want one in your kitchen, you are not alone. The farmhouse sink with its apron front was designed for the comfort of women who spent long hours in front of them. By eliminating the countertop in front, women did not have to lean forward over sink. So, what is it about these sinks of yesteryear that appeals to us today? I think there are a number of reasons they are so popular. The size is larger since the apron front extends over the bottom cabinet. This makes them ideal to wash even large pots, pans, cookie sheets and more.

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Besides looking beautiful that apron front means that any drips will not be falling on the cabinet but onto the floor eliminating the chance of water damage to your cabinets. Without having to reach over the countertop it is much more comfortable than a conventional sink. I think there is a certain romantic quality to a farmhouse sink that beckons us to simpler times and tugs at our heartstrings.

When you are considering a farmhouse sink there are some factors to consider. Material is a major one. Farmhouse sinks are available in white porcelain, cast iron enamel, Fireclay, stainless steel, copper and more.

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For me the look of the white Fireclay along with the durability make it a strong contender. I do have a more modern stainless steel farmhouse sink in my laundry room but I still find myself longing for the true farmhouse look of the Fireclay. There are sink grills available which will help protect your sink. I love sink grills and would highly recommend them. If a Fireclay sink does chip, it can be repaired with a repair kit.nantucket-sink-grill

 

Fireclay sinks are heavy and some require that the sink cabinet is customized with extra support to handle the weight. You will also need to decide on a double or single bowl. For me it is a no-brainer. I want the full experience of the large sink and don’t want to split it into 2 bowls.

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Since I grew up with a dishwasher and don’t hand wash anything that can go in the dishwasher, I just did not see why I would want 2 bowls. The things we hand wash are large and so I know a double bowl would not be able to handle them with the ease of a large single bowl.

Even after you have decided on a sink material and bowl size there are still other decisions like the design. This is the hardest for me. I have been working with Jake from Nantucket Sinks and he has helped me tremendously. I finally made my decision and I choose the Hyannis 30″ Fireclay Sink.

hyannis-30-website

So that is one decision down for our kitchen and about 1,000,000 more to go! What do you think of my choice? If you have any questions please let me know.

 

I love growing things, I have been growing mango trees from seed all summer. I have germinated 10 or 11 trees now that are doing wonderful! I am growing pineapples too from the pineapple top and it is so much fun and so rewarding. I love to garden and also plant and maintain many perennial gardens on my property. I have a vegetable garden too and one of the things I hate about winter is the drabness that seems to take over. Sure the white snow on evergreens is pretty but the long winters can leave me longing for color.

That is where silk flowers come in. They can give me those pops of colors that really cheer me up and make me smile. I also like to use them in areas where it would be hard to maintain real flowering plants. I recently picked out a gorgeous Dancing Orchid. It is 32″ tall and comes in a beautiful ceramic pot.

 

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purple-flowers-2

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I am really happy with it and plan to put it around my whirlpool tub in my master bathroom. I like to take a lot of warm baths in the winter and having that colorful orchid there will just help me to feel that spring is not too far away.

Do you decorate with silk plants? Would love to hear your thoughts.

I received the dancing orchid to facilitate my review. As always my words and views are 100% my own.

Kitchen renovations are much different today than they ever have been before. It used to be that when someone did a kitchen renovation or a remodel the only real options they had were the design and architectural features of the room such as arches/doorways, walls/ceilings, and flooring or additional space options.

These days, though, you have many other elements you can add such as smart appliances and products for a smartly designed kitchen. If you are curious about the different smart kitchen ideas available, consider reading the article below for some cool and technology driven ideas to make your kitchen more forward friendly, convenient and comfortable.

smart appliances

Smart Appliances For A Smart Kitchen

Most appliances in the kitchen are already pretty darn smart in terms of timers and knowing when to stop cooking a product. But, you also have a lot of other different “smart” options available to you, such as:

– Touchscreen Stove Tops: Not only is this a really cool type of cooking technology, but it can also be used in a kitchen with children as well, since it’s a very safe product to use. Essentially the cook top uses conduction to heat things like pots and pans. But, the other parts of the stove stay cool – to the touch. You can actually use the touch screen to browse the internet, look up recipes to make, check out cookbooks in digital format and more.

– Home Chat: This cool little app is meant for specific things like the fridge. It will essentially keep track of items and ingredients inside the refrigerator and you can ask it questions such as: Do we have butter and it will reply back via text yes two sticks or no we do not. This is really efficient because you can use the app even out of the house.

Smart Fridge

This is a really cool option but in the near future, we will also have an even cooler option (it’s a concept right now) that will actually order food, keep track of what’s in the fridge and alert you when you are running low, and do a plethora of other cool options. For now, though, you have these smart refrigerators. The LCD display allows you to watch TV, listen to the radio, check the news, leave memos for yourself or other family members, check out the calendar and leave notes on specific days and more. It’s quite expensive, at around $3600 but if you want a tech driven kitchen, this might be the addition for you… for now anyway, until that higher tech fridge comes along!

Pair 3D Design Application

Okay, this is a really cool app and unlike any other smart application above. It’s only an Apple App right now, though. Essentially what you do is you bring up the camera on your iPhone and the app will give you different furniture options for that camera viewer. In the camera viewer, you can see how that piece of furniture or an appliance would fit in your space, what it would look in a 3D manner and more. The app can also be used by brands and businesses as well. But it’s also a great design tool for home owners that allow you to set up a room in real-time.

Radiant Flooring

In a lot of cases, you see radiant flooring done in a bathroom. But, since more and more people are also using porcelain in the kitchen as well (its durable, budget friendly and beautiful) some manufactures have started to make radiant flooring options for the kitchen too. This is a perfect option for any flooring in the kitchen, but especially stone or tile like porcelain because even though it does have a lot of benefits, one of the disadvantages are that it can get quite cool to the touch in the winter. In order to fix this, you can use radiant heating underneath the flooring to warm it up before you ever set foot on it.

Radiant flooring can be set on a timer so that it turns on every morning before you wake up to make the floor nice and toasty so when you come down for breakfast or coffee the floor is already heated up. You can also use Wi-Fi with a lot of radiant flooring systems so as soon as you wake up you can turn on your app – and have the floor heated so by the time you make it downstairs it’s warmed. Tile flooring like porcelain is a great conductor of heat. In fact, the two best materials to use a radiant floor on are porcelain and wood. Porcelain is a really good option though because it won’t expand as it warms and cools which means it won’t crack which means your flooring will last for longer!

radiant flooring

There you have it, kitchen renovation ideas that you should know before you start your project.

What do you think of having your garbage or recyclables at your fingertips but also out of sight. Check out these great products from rev a shelf trash. I think it is an awesome idea if you have enough room and are not sacrificing cabinet space you need. I think under the sink would be a great place. There are so many neat options for the bathroom too. I am getting a lot of ideas!

trash under cabin

 

trash under cab

 

 

So happy to be seeing some nice weather, spring really arrived because Sunday I saw my first Robin Red Breast! The trees are budding and the daffodils are coming up. I love watching all the birds that visit our home and feeders throughout the day. I think one of my favorite things to do is to sit on the porch with a cup of coffee and my camera and spend some time with nature.

robin red breast

birds

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We love to be outdoors when the weather is nice. We are planning a lot of outdoor projects and enhancements to make our yard, deck, porch and gardens more of an outdoor oasis for family, friends and entertaining.

We will be re-staining our deck as soon as the weather is consistent enough for that. So once the deck is all revitalized we thought since it is so large, it would be nice to have a shady area since it gets a lot of sun.

That was when I started looking for a shade type gazebo awning. I found one I liked from Abba Patio and it was available right on Amazon. that was nice since I have Amazon Prime and it would be shipped to my house quickly and for free.

gazebo

It is very nice quality and was not hard for my husband and I to put together. We set it up on the lawn since we have to stain the deck but we will update with photos when we have it set on the deck. The nice thing is you can secure it through the feet so you don’t have to worry about severe weather causing it to topple or get thrown around.

It is heavy-duty and the canvas top provides UV protection and is fade resistant. The light color works well to reflect heat and it provides a large enough space for a patio table and chairs or an outdoor seating group underneath. We are really looking forward to having everything set up on the deck and entertaining with our family and friends this spring and summer.

 

Product Features:

  • Beige polyester top-long lasting, fade resistant, easy to clean and 98% UV protection
  • Quick and easy set up with 2 or more people by easy-to-follow, step-by-step instructions
  • Foot pads are installed to the canopy legs for added stability and easy access to secure anchor points
  • 2-1/5 inch diameter powder coated steel leg tube resists chipping, peeling, rust and corrosion and provides increased stability
  • Heavy-duty bungee cord tightly secure the tarp cover to the fram

Check out the video below of how we assembled it and to see more of this great portable, tent gazebo by Abba Patio.

Would love to know what you have planned for your home and garden spring and summer projects. Let me know in the comments. Enjoy the season!

 

Designing a child’s room can be a challenge. It can be tempting just to utilize an adult bedroom set for them, especially if you already have one you can use. Using adult furniture sets can present several issues. Often, the furniture is not suitable for children, it may have sharp corners, lack safety features or just be the wrong size to be safe or functional.  Children’s rooms tend to be smaller than what many adult size sets were made for. This can leave a child’s room overcrowded, cramped and lacking in style, functionality and fun!

You might be scratching your head trying to figure out how you can create a child’s room that will be functional, fun, stylish and grow with them.  I am happy to tell you that it’s not so hard.  You might want to take a look  at modular children’s bedroom furniture as an option. Modular furniture is the perfect choice when trying to maximize storage and function for kids, even in small spaces.

bambini bedroom set

The versatility of having some pieces with wheels that can be moved when needed and rolled back when not. Modular pieces provide storage for what you need most. Create a unique storage solution for your child’s things by combining cubbies, cubes, shelves, drawers, hooks etc to get exactly what you need. Wardrobe units can be added and are a solution for more than clothing storage, they can be customized to fit many purposes.

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Modular pieces also let you work around oddly shaped spaces where more traditional furniture just won’t work. Other advantages are the ability to add  bold punches of color in a drawer or bin that draws the eye and gives the room flair. If your child is old enough, letting him/her plan their room with you and decide on pieces and colors will empower your child and makes them so much more in tune with their room.

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Bunk beds or loft beds with desk space underneath  add function and style in any space.  As your child grows, pieces can be added, colors swapped, pieces rearranged  and more to adapt to their changing needs.  Changing the color of walls and textiles will also give the same pieces a totally different feel as your child grows.

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If you have a budding artist adding a fold down modular wall cabinet that transforms into an art table with smaller cubbies and drawers above for art supplies would inspire and delight any budding Picasso.

Bambini Childre's Room

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If you have a child collector, there are great options for storing and displaying sports memorabilia, dolls, cars and more. What are your greatest challenges in your child’s room? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

 

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Don’t you hate writing with messy, dusty, chalk that gets all over your fingers?  I remember in college one professor hated to write with it, any time he absolutely had to, he would always say that he was risking getting cancer to write on the board.  He was talking about the chalk dust.  Anyway, with most chalk boards you don’t have many options besides using white or colored chalk. If you’re looking for an easier option, one that is colorful, neat, non-toxic, eco-friendly and FUN…I have the answer. Fun Chalk, Liquid Chalk Markers take chalk to a whole new level.

fun chalk 1

 

Here are just some of the benefits of these Chalk Markers:

* 8 Bright, Eye Catching Colors
* Long lasting, quick drying ink
* Clean-up is quick and easy. Simply wipe off with water and a cloth.
* It’s dust free making it a prime choice for those with asthma or allergies
* Non-Toxic, xylene-free, odor-free

Plus, FUN CHALK’s Chalk Markers are environmentally friendly and conform to all the requirements set forth by the American Society for Testing and Materials and the European Standard for Toy Safety Testing.

FUN CHALK has been tested and APPROVED by moms, kids and teachers. It’s time to let your imagination and creativity take flight. BUY our Chalk Markers now and receive FREE SHIPPING! Just click add to cart. Your purchase will be backed by a 100% money-back guarantee.

IMPORTANT: All liquid chalk is meant to be used on non-porous materials. We recommend that you test FUN CHALK on a sample or inconspicuous spot on the material you are going to use.

 

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I recently test drove the 8 piece broad liquid chalk markers. There is a little trick to get them started.  First you push down on the tip to release any pressure, then you shake it vigorously and then depress the tip while holding it on a piece of paper until you see the color filling the tip and it flows.  After that, it is time for fun!

Fun Chalk Box

 

Liquid Chalk

 

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I used them on my black dry erase board and they worked great! The eye-popping, vibrant colors made leaving messages or drawing pictures really fun!  You can use the markers on non-porous blackboards, mirrors, windows and plastic.  Use them at your next business meeting, on  your family message board, to decorate windows or whatever. The easy, wet cloth erase will  make cleanup a snap. There’s also a set of 8 fine tip fluorescent colors available.  You can purchase the high-quality chalk markers on Amazon.

 

Enter The Giveaway!

Fun Chalk is sponsoring a giveaway on Mommy Ramblings!  One lucky blog reader will win a 8 pack of broad Fun Chalk, Liquid  Chalk Markers.. Thank you to Fun Chalk for the review chalk markers and for sponsoring this vibrant giveaway on Mommy Ramblings!!!  Open to US residents.

Fun Chalk, Liquid Chalk Markers Giveaway on Mommy Ramblings Rules:

Please enter the giveaway using the Rafflecopter widget below.  Good Luck!!!

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I would consider myself to have a green thumb, two in fact, but when it comes to orchids, something changes them both to brown. I love the look when I see them in the store but take them home, and soon all I have to show is a planter. Recently, I found a beautiful orchid that will stay that way.

At Silk Flowers Direct, I can shop online from a vast selection of silk flowers, plants, topiaries, palms, trees, containers, custom items and even commercial products. I love you can choose from various  filters that let me find items by the type of flower or plant, color, shape, quantity, material and more. Silk Plants Direct offers the largest selection of lifelike faux plants and trees for your home or office decor. They not only offer a collection of stocked products, but they also manufacture plants and trees to each customers exact specifications for turn-key solution.

Here is the beautiful Orchid I received and it is so pretty.  I put it next to my tub and it is a gorgeous, tranquil piece that is perfect for gazing at when relaxing in the tub.

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Exclusive Discount Code-Save 10%

So take a look at the huge assortment of beautiful flowers, trees and plants at Silk Plants Direct  and if you decide to purchase use the exclusive discount code, BLOGGER10  created for Mommy Ramblings’ Readers to save 10% on your order!  Follow Silk Plants Direct on Facebook and  Twitter to stay in the loop on the newest products and promotions. 

 

 

 

 

I was sent the orchid silk plant to facilitate my review by Silk Plants Direct.  As usual my words and views are 100% my own!

Epson Logo

Are you trying to get more organized?  Do you ever pack things up in boxes and totes and forget what’s inside?  Do you ever want to do something crafty like create professional looking monogrammed or personalized ribbons  for cards, wedding favors, hair bows and more?  If you answered yes to any or all of these things, I want to introduce you to the Epson LabelWorks LW-600P Label Printer.  

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This compact desktop label printer will let you create original labels that you can customize with clip art, your own photos and even your own handwriting or drawings.  You can also take a picture of what is in the boxes you are packing and create a bar code label to stick on the outside of the box.  If you scan the bar code label you will see a picture of what is inside the box!

 

 

 

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Labels are not the only thing it prints.  How about printing on beautiful ribbons.  What a great way to make wedding and party favors, your own cards, custom ornament hanging ribbon, hair bows, and so much more.

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It’s so simple to start printing with the bluetooth capability.  I was able to create and print from my laptop, iPad and iPhone in a flash.  Just download the app and I was ready to roll.  I cannot wait to use this to organize our home which is in the middle of at least 4 major home improvement projects at the same time.  I am so excited to start taking back some order and taming the chaos around here.  I will update with more of my own projects and organization examples very soon.  You can find the Epson LabelWorks LW-600P on Mommy Ramblings’ 2014 Holiday Gift Guide!

More about LabelWorks LW-600P:

Print labels smarter

Now, it’s easier than ever to print customized labels — virtually anywhere — with the LW-600P portable label printer. Print labels from your smartphone, tablet, PC or Mac. Print date labels for food items, QR code labels, or labels to organize cables. Create ribbons for gifts, or even labels with symbols or hand-written messages. Preview labels before printing. Or, use smartphones with voice recognition2 to create labels fast. Download the Epson iLabel app for iOS or Android devices or choose from other compatible apps3 available. With multiple tapes to choose from (up to one-inch wide) and an automatic cutter, you’ve got all you need for customized labels on the go.

Connect smarter

The battery-operated1 LW-600P can print wirelessly from iOS and Android devices, via Bluetooth. Simply download the Epson iLabel app or other compatible apps.3 Use your mobile device to create handwritten labels, iron-on labels, ribbons and more. This compact printer can also print from Windows® and Mac systems via a USB cable.

Enter The Giveaway:

Epson is sponsoring a giveaway on Mommy Ramblings. One lucky blog reader will win an Epson LW-600P Label Printer. Than you Epson for the review product and for sponsoring this fantastic giveaway on Mommy Ramblings!!!  Open to US residents.

Epson LabelWorks  LW-600P Label Printer Giveaway on Mommy Ramblings Rules:

Please enter to win using the Rafflecopter widget below.  Good Luck!!!

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As someone in the middle of several home improvement projects with extensive tile work involved in 2 of them, I am excited to share a new guide to make choosing tile easier.  One of the most daunting parts of picking out tile is trying to find what you like, staying in your  budget and choosing tile that is right for the application you are using it for.  Walking in a tile showroom can be positively overwhelming!  There are so many patterns, colors, materials and finishes that it may cause your eyes to glaze over or make you have a panic attack.

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Last year at this time, I was picking out the tile for our master bath and I remember being so overwhelmed.   I just wanted to be in a room with 3 choices and make a simple decision.  Tile is something you don’t just change on a whim, you know it’s going to be with you for a long time and that’s why picking something that is going to go the long haul for you on style and  durability is paramount.

Tile Backsplash

If you wished an expert could be with you, holding your hand and guiding you, I may have the next best thing.  The Interior Design Tile Style Guide from Drury Design will help you understand everything you need to know when making a tile purchase. From the basics of whether  to choose glass, ceramic, porcelain, natural stone or exotic tile based on where it will be installed, durability, maintenance and your budget to lots of interior design ideas simple and ornate. Armed with the proper knowledge beforehand makes picking out tile a much easier and pleasurable task.

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Tile Steamer_in_kitchen_drury

You can browse great design ideas for bathrooms, kitchens, backsplash trends and more for inspiration.  Check it out today and see what you think.  Let us know your thoughts.

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Have you wondered what part of the master bath ren0 we are up to?   Did you think we were finished and going to do the big reveal?  I wish we were finished.  We have so many home improvement projects occurring simultaneously in our home right now, it feels like we are living in an episode of Hoarders.  What I mean by that is, since we had to empty rooms and closets, we are now storing so much in towers of boxes and bins it feels like our stuff is taking over.

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I cannot wait until the master bath is finished and it almost is but there have been such delays with the tile contractor and things have been done backwards.  He needs to finish the tiling of the stairs around the whirlpool and grout certain areas and then he still has to finish prepping the walls for paint which is going to get dust over everything again and should have been finished but let’s not even go there!

Anyway, you probably remember posts about the medicine cabinets and how we decided to go with Concealed Cabinets. If you missed that, you can read about it HERE and HERE.  We installed 2 of the extra-large concealed cabinets on either side of the vanity.  It was an easy install and they look great.  Concealed Cabinets  look like a picture frame and you can add whatever art work you like to the door front and change it whenever you want too!

For this review and update, I just put some scrapbook paper in the back of some prints I had.  I am changing them to something that fits the entire space and will be using photographs I took of our lake and gardens.  I tried two different papers with the prints but decided to use the print and changed the one that had the solid green-blue metallic paper. Until, the other prints come in, these will do and it’s just as well since we still have a lot of dust and construction to come.

this was a very stiff metallic paper and it looks very weird in the photo because of the way it reflected the light and it looks like two different colors.  That is not how it looks in real life but I did like the look of the print paper better so changed them.

This was a very stiff metallic paper and it looks very weird in the photo because of the way it reflected the light and it looks like two different colors. That is not how it looks in real life but I did like the look of the print paper better so changed them.

 

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I have not put anything inside yet, since as you can see the walls still have to be finished.

 

This is the print background that I decided to put in the other as well until the enlarged photo prints come in.

This is the print background that I decided to put in the other as well until the enlarged photo prints come in.

 

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Concealed Cabinets are made of REAL WOOD, no plastic and come in different sizes and finishes.  We choose the white in the extra-large size. If you are looking for a change from the traditional look of ordinary medicine cabinets, a concealed cabinet could be just what you are looking for.  Right now they are having a SIZZLING SUMMER SALE and you can save 20% at www.concealedcabinet.com.  You can follow Concealed Cabinet on Facebook  and Twitter to see the latest news and updates on their product line.

 

Stay tuned for more updates and hopefully very soon the big reveal of the Master Bath!!!  I am keeping my fingers and toes crossed that it will not be much longer.

Innovators sponsored our project by providing us with the 2 Concealed Cabinets, as always, my views and words are 100% my own.

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Do you ever feel like you have so much on your plate you can never catch up?  I feel like that most days.  I always look around and feel that I just have so much going on.  With a house in chaos because no less than 5 major home improvement projects are happening, a very busy career as a marketing director, busy blogger and writer, brand ambassador, and handling a few businesses that my husband and I have, added to the fact that we have 5 kids and a big house (ever see the movie The Money Pit?), where there is always something to be done, I can feel like things are swirling out of control.  I am blessed to be able to work from home but I still work and work a lot!  I make time to play but probably not as much as I should.

When I was picking out books to review from Chicken Soup for the Soul Publishing, I chose The Multitasking Mom’s Survival Guide.  Do you wonder how I made that decision?  I didn’t think so.  I love this book because it’s filled with stories with moms like me, some who juggle and wonder how to keep all those balls in the air just like I do.  I have found that it’s okay to give yourself permission to say, “I am done for the day” and leave whatever for tomorrow and if it doesn’t get done then so be it.

 

I know that I need to prioritize what really needs to be done, my family needs, my needs, jobs that have deadlines are all first.  Then the things we want to get done can come next, but if I don’t get something done, I’m going to stop beating myself up for it.  The opposite is true to that too.  I read in one story in the book, we are told over and over the importance of playing with our kids, that messy houses are signs of great moms, but our kids need to see that we do have to work. Whether it’s for a job or doing the laundry, we teach them important things by showing them we have responsibilities that need attention too.  That really allows moms to release some of that mommy guilt  we all carry in one or two large suitcases with us.  Let’s unpack some of that today!

Stories that show the importance of a mom taking me time strike a very strong chord with me.  Often times I want to put my needs last but really, when I do the things for me I need to do or just spend some down time doing something I enjoy, it really helps my mood, spirit and productivity.  It’s just recognizing that if we don’t take care of our needs we can’t do a good job taking care of anything else and risk becoming resentful.

Stories about slowing down, learning from our kids, juggling a career and laughing after the fact among others will show you how other moms are surviving their multitasking years.  Read some great tips, funny disaster stories, and fill your mind with great ideas for your own life.  Best of all, you will know you are in good company and not alone.  You can purchase the book on Amazon.com.

CSFTS Mom's-Multitasking-Survival-Guide-Front-Book-Cover

Chicken Soup for the Soul Publishing is sponsoring a giveaway on Mommy Ramblings! 3 lucky blog readers will win their own copy of The Multitasking Mom’s Survival Guide!  Thank you to CSFTS Publishing for the review book and for sponsoring this great giveaway on Mommy Ramblings!!!  Open to US residents.

Chicken Soup for the Soul; The Multitasking Mom’s Survival Guide Giveaway on Mommy Ramblings Rules:

Please enter the giveaway using the Rafflecopter widget below.  Good Luck!!!

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Although you can’t do any major remodeling when renting an apartment, you don’t have to put up with living in a dark, dreary place. There are all kinds of ways to brighten up even the darkest abode, and there’s no need to spend a fortune to make it happen.

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Put These Six Tips to Work to Transform Any Gloomy Apartment

  1. Reflect the Light – If you’re maxed out in the lamp department, have limited amounts of natural light and still want to make things brighter, invest in reflective decor. Mirrors, glass tables and shelves and metal furniture and accent pieces all reflect the light to make it brighter and more dazzling. As an added bonus, mirrors make rooms seem more spacious too.
  2. Ditch Dark Floors and Walls – Light-colored paint works wonders when it comes to brightening up a room. If your lease doesn’t allow you to repaint the walls, invest in light-colored artwork and decals. The same applies to floors. You can’t install new flooring, but adding a few light-colored rugs into the mix should make a major difference.
  3. Get Creative with Pendant Lamps – Again, the terms of your lease may or may not allow it, but installing pendant lamps and hanging them at different heights is a terrific way to add significant amounts of brightness to a room. With bulbs shining at different levels, even the most cramped spaces seem a lot roomier. There are all kinds of beautiful pendant lamps out there too, and brightly colored models pack a major wallop.
  4. Make Windows Look Larger – Installing new windows isn’t an option, of course, but it’s easy to work with what you have. One of the best tricks for making windows look larger is to get creative with curtains. Invest in floor-length curtains, and then hang them so that they precisely flank either end of the window. At a glance, the window will appear much larger than it actually is. While this won’t actually bring more light into your apartment, it will create the illusion of doing so.
  5. Use a Light Touch with Furniture – Large, bulky pieces of furniture increase the darkness of a room. Invest in lightweight chairs, sofas, coffee tables and other types of furniture instead. Seek out items that have sleek, slim profiles, and choose pieces that have lots of open space underneath. Finally, use furniture sparingly in general. The more space there is, the brighter your apartment will seem.
  6. Add Brightness and Visual Interest with Flameless Candles – Regular candles are lovely, but they’re also safety hazards. With flameless candles, you can enjoy the benefits of candlelight without the risk. They come in many shapes, sizes and designs, so finding suitable pieces for your place should be a breeze.

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From mirrors to flameless candles, there are all kinds of ways to bring your apartment out of the darkness and into the light. Try one or all of the preceding tips to revamp your place in a big way.

Natural light flowing into your living room makes the room feel spacious and inviting. Therefore, it is beneficial to your overall decor to allow the maximum amount of natural light into the room. When natural light is limited, you can do make some creative design and decor choices to brighten up the room.
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Window treatments
Using the minimum amount of window coverings will allow the natural light to flow more freely into the room. Light weight window covering fabric is a good design choice. You could choose window treatments such as blinds that can be raised to leave the majority of the window uncovered during the day and lowered for privacy at night.

Mirrors
Hanging a mirror across from a window is a smart design trick that helps brighten a room. Choosing a mirror with a gold or silver frame gives you an additional reflective element in the room. Mirrored tables are an ideal accent piece in any room that you wish to brighten up.

Decorative accessories
The accessories you incorporate into your decor can help brighten up the room. Clear vases such as those found at different online shops are an ideal choice. Shiny gold and silver vases add elegance to a room while providing a surface for light to bounce off of. Clear vases can be used in a variety of ways in a living room decor. If you want to include a unique accessory in your living room that will both reflect light and allow light to flow through it, you should check out the metallic vase as well. Metallic items add casual elegance to a decor. That is often an ideal combination for a living room.

Color
One of the simplest ways to brighten up your living room is through the use of vibrant, energizing colors. You may want to paint an accent wall a brilliant orange, bright yellow, energizing red or shocking green to brighten up the room. A bold colored fabric on an accent chair, pillows made with bright floral print fabric, magnificently colorful wall art, vibrant colored rugs or painted accent furniture are all great ways to use color to enliven your living room. 

Furniture placement
When you place your furniture in the living room, be sure that none of it blocks a window. A room that is overcrowded with furniture is not visually appealing. Using a minimal amount of furniture allows any type of lighting to flow more freely throughout the room. 

Lighting
The lighting you choose play a large role in determining how bright your living room is. You get a bonus when you select lighting such as a chandelier, mini chandelier or lamps with clear shades. The light they emit shines through and sunlight reflects off of them. 

Flowers and plants
Placing a vase of fresh flowers in your living room is a wonderful way to brighten up the room. At various online shops you can find some very attractive vases that would be the perfect container for a bouquet of fresh flowers. As an alternative to fresh flowers, you can include some lush green plants in your decor. A large single leaf, showcased in an attractive glass bowl or vase, looks lovely sitting on an accent table in the living room.

Brighten your room with black accessories
When you are searching for ways to brighten up your living area, you are likely focusing on bright colors. However, you should not overlook the powerful way black can enliven a room. You might consider black slip covers for your furniture. Accent pillows in almost any color would pop against the black fabric. Silver or gold decorative items command attention when placed on a table with a black top. A clear glass bowl with a colorful candle or festive candy in it is a cheerful accessory for a room. Place a small colorful accent rug over a black area rug and the room will immediately brighten up.

By implementing some of the previously mentioned ideas, you can easily brighten up your living room. Work with the flow of natural light as much as possible. Beyond that, let your creative decorating skills have unlimited freedom and enjoy the results.