Information About Natural Remedies For Stain Removal

It can happen to anyone. As careful as you are around upholstered furniture and carpeting, the accidental spill can occur. Some of the most dangerous culprits are red wine, ink and dirt. The list continues if you have kids and pets who leave all sorts of stains behind.

If this sounds like your home, know you’re not alone. But if you do have pets and children in the household, you may have to be more particular about what stain removal treatment you choose. Many commercial products contain harsh chemicals that can harm the health of your family. See a few solutions for stain removal, the natural way.

Could you use an expert to help get out your tough stain? Contact a cleaning pro for up to four quotes from contractors in your area for free.
Upholstery Cleaning Costs
Tough fabric stains come in all shapes and sizes. While you may only see the surface, the stain itself can go deeper, making it harder to remove. You may want to leave it to the pro, who can provide you with safe cleaning options for your furniture to look good as new again. The average cost to clean furniture is $155, with most homeowners spending between $127 and $164.

Before you begin, you should identify what cleaning solutions are best. Most upholstered items have a tag that lets you know how you can clean it. Here’s what the letters mean:

W: Clean with water
S: Solvent-based cleaner only
SW: Water or solvent-cleaner are OK to use
WS: Spot clean only with upholstery shampoo
X: Vacuum clean only

Fabric Protection
If you find that stains happen frequently in your home, you may want to consider investing in professional fabric protection. This isn’t your typical plastic covers, but rather a spray that won’t alter the look and feel of your furniture. New furniture can often be treated in the store for an average cost of $50 to $100. Prices may vary for older pieces that can be done at home.

Coffee & Tea Stains
The worst way you could start the morning is with a coffee spill. But never fear! If this happens to you, use a sponge with cold water to pat the stain. Next, apply a few drops of liquid detergent. Let it sit and then use your sponge with cold water to clean.

Red Wine Stains
Of all the stains, red wine might be the trickiest to remove, especially if it’s on a light-colored fabric. Oddly enough, salt and club soda can work together to combat this stain. If you spill red wine, use a generous amount of salt to cover the area. Next, pour club soda over the spot and let it sit for about an hour. Use a paper towel to remove the excess liquid when time is up.

Dirt Stains
With many family members moving around your home, you’re bound to get dirt stains at some point. Be cautious with just using water, as it can make dirt stains worse. First, try a simple solution of liquid detergent and water, ensuring you’ve removed all the soap when complete. If this still does not work, you can use vinegar on a cloth to slowly remove the dirt marks from the upholstery. Gently blot the area until it begins to disappear.

Ink Stains
Another stubborn stain is ink. They are tricky to remove and spread easily if you use water. The first step when an ink stain appears is to use a baking soda paste, by mixing two parts baking soda and one part water. Spread over the ink stain and let it sit for about five minutes. If you have a spray bottle handy, pour some white vinegar in the bottle and spray over the stain. Gently blot away the mixture with a paper towel, vacuuming the spot once it is dry. You may need to repeat this process depending on how deep the stain is.

Grease Stains
Food on or over upholstery and carpeting can lead to grease stains. Never fear. There are a few ways you can handle these types of stains. For smaller, fresh stains, sprinkle corn starch over the spot. Let it sit overnight to absorb the grease and brush off when completed. For more stubborn stains, use warm water and dish soap to gently blot the stain. To really boost your grease-fighting stain power, try a drop or two of lemon essential oil with your dish soap and water.
Stains On Surfaces

Stains don’t always happen on fabric. In some cases, it can happen on a surface. For example, our dog had an accident in the bathtub recently. Unfortunately, the accident left a stain on the surface of our tub. For the first attempt, we used a rough sponge and baking soda to get it out. While it dulled the mark, it didn’t get it out completely. What worked best was pouring a little hydrogen peroxide on a paper towel and covering the spot; checking it about every 30 minutes to make sure the hydrogen peroxide was not doing any damage to the tub. We covered it with plastic wrap and let it sit overnight. The stain was gone the next morning!

While this worked in our situation, hydrogen peroxide may run the finishes of some solid surfaces. Research your surface first to see how it may react, keeping a close eye on your stain removal as you begin the process.

Inspiration For Designing a Home Office

These days, more and more people are taking the bold step of doing at least part of their job at home. A 30-second commute has a lot of appeal, but increasingly, people are opting to work at home in order to create a more humane schedule that allows for more flexibility to attend to family joys and responsibilities. As anyone who has been down this road can tell you, however, working at home has its down side as well. By planning wisely and upgrading appropriately, you can make your home office an excellent work environment where you will be comfortable as well as motivated.

Home Offices that Fit Your Lifestyle and Work Habits

Many people prefer to locate their offices away from the rest of their living space. Attics, basements, and rooms over detached garages are ideal places to locate your residential office. Parents, however, may be in the unenviable position of needing to work in their office while monitoring the kids. Moreover, not all home offices are for at-home employment. Many people use office spaces for writing, reading, musical composition, etc. Hiring an interior designer with specific experience with residential office spaces—and rates to match this minimalist space—can be invaluable in designing the right space for your needs.

Custom Desks, Chairs and Furniture

You might be able to find “acceptable” office desks and chairs from your local furniture store, but your home office is an investment. Many people use their offices every day, or nearly every day. To maximize productivity and minimize stress, joint pain, and poor posture, you may want to splurge on a custom-built desk and ergonomic office chair. Indeed, a finish carpenter can deliver all sorts of custom amenities that aren’t symptoms of indulgence but smart investments for one of the most productive areas of your home and your work life.

Design a Home Office Environment for Visitors

If there is any chance that you will have visits from colleagues, your boss, vendors, subordinates, partners, clients, or others, you must pay special attention to the kind of statement your work environment makes. Whenever possible, have a separate outside entrance so that visitors don’t have to traipse through private family spaces to get to your office. It is very difficult to project a sense of professionalism when you have to pick up toys or laundry en route to your meeting. In most traditional office environments, you have the use of a conference room for meetings. But if your work area stays neat and has room for another table, you may be able to create your own mini-conference area.

Ideally, the office area should have its own bathroom that is off limits to family members. This makes it easy to keep it especially clean and free of the clutter that inhabits the typical domestic bathroom. If you can’t swing a separate bathroom, consider designating one of the family bathrooms for office use. You might want to add additional storage in the bathroom to minimize clutter and make it easier to keep clean.

Wiring and Communication Needs

It usually makes sense to have at least one separate phone line exclusively for your office. If you use the Internet, faxes, or e-mail extensively, additional lines are a good idea. A separate business line allows you to use a professional voicemail or answering machine message. It also gives you the option of using call-forwarding if you occasionally work from another location. A designated business line also makes it easier to keep youngsters from intercepting your important business calls. And, at the end of the day, you can leave the business line to the answering machine or voicemail without missing calls from friends and family.

Another common issue with home offices is electrical power. Copiers, laser printers, and computers use a lot of juice. Check with an electrician about adding a couple of circuits so that you don’t have to worry about tripping the circuit-breaker every time you make a photocopy. More than convenience, you also need to hire a qualified electrician for safety. Many office spaces weren’t originally designed to handle any sizable load-bearing circuits and advanced electrical devices.

Don’t Forget Home Office Ground Rules!

No matter how well designed your workspace is, you will have to establish basic ground rules for you, your family, and even visitors. If you find yourself making continual raids on the refrigerator, you may need to establish a rule for yourself that limits trips to the kitchen to meal times. A separate business phone line isn’t much use if family members routinely turn to it when the main family line is tied up, and your “conference room” won’t serve its purpose if it becomes a hide-away for empty boxes, half-finished puzzles and spare camping equipment!

4 Easy Steps to Make Garage Home Office

Home Improvement Myrtle Beach

82% of homes have a garage that is at least a two-car garage, yet only 15% of people park their cars in them, according to the National Association of Home Builders. Could there be a better use for yours?

The garage home office is a trend that was becoming popular in the late 90s as computers became a more central way of life. Years later, with so many people working from home and telecommuting, this is not so much a trend as a way of life. Many employers even offer (and encourage) work-from-home or “satellite” days. This is an appealing prospect to most people, until they realize that they don’t have the same level of concentration (or privacy) working from the kitchen table or the coffee table in front of the TV that they do in a typical work environment.

Conversion into Garage Office

Converting the garage into a garage office to make a separate and secluded space for work is not only a good idea in the digital age, it’s nearly a must to get anything done. If you need your garage for storage or your vehicles, consider raising the roof (popping the top) and adding a garage office above your existing garage. This can be a good solution to balancing time at home with earning a paycheck.

Adding a home office or workspace above your garage will also increase the value of a home without changing the floor plan. Plus, construction can take place without interrupting your normal family dynamic since none of your existing home will be under construction.

If you think you garage is the perfect candidate for your home office space, here are some ideas to consider as you move down this path.

Step One: Consult with remodeling experts.

Before you decide on expanding your garage, consult with a building contractor or structural engineer. Some garages may need extra structural support before they are able to accept an addition. Others might be build-ready, but it’s best to let the pros figure out which one yours is.

Use an architect to help with the addition plans. They can add aesthetically pleasing elements without sacrificing the structural integrity of the building.

Step Two: Keep the garage’s design intact.

Rather than building a two-story box, add dormers and sloping roof lines to dress up the exterior of the addition. Have the designer match the addition to your house. The addition should look as though it’s an original element of your home’s design.

Step Three: Explore your interior options.

If the space can also be used as a children’s playroom or sitting room when you’re not in there working, built-in storage shelves or cabinets can help reduce clutter and keep the room organized so that your workspace doesn’t become a warzone while your back is turned.

– Plan for plenty of electrical outlets and additional phone lines. It is less expensive to put extra electrical lines in before the drywall is installed.
– A pricey, but worthwhile option is to install plumbing in the addition. This will increase the value of your home and allow the room to be converted into a mother-in-law apartment or for use as a rental unit.

Step Four: Don’t forget the connection.

If your budget allows, consider having a covered walkway or bridge built to tie the addition to your home. The architect should pay special attention to outside stairs. A mismatched staircase can interfere with a good building design.

Also, look at the existing garage door. If it is a basic metal door, replacing it with a wood garage door will dramatically change the look of the addition and give it the look of a very substantial home addition.

How To Remove Plaster Walls

you may already know, an older home tends to need a bit more TLC than others. They’re great for those who love to DIY and want to truly make their house unique to them. Some homeowners choose to take on remodels themselves. If this sounds familar, you’ll likely need to take down a wall or two to truly transform a room.

Plaster walls were commonly used in homes built before 1950, before drywall was introduced. These walls were made to last, so it’s no surprise that if you’re looking to remove a plaster wall, it can be a tedious and messy process. To help, here are a few tips.

Are you removing walls for your next remodel? Contact a plaster pro today for up to four quotes from local contractors in your area.
1. Prep The Area
Before you begin removing plaster walls, you’ll need to do some prep work so your project can be completed successfully. Removing plaster walls can create a lot of dust and a lot of mess, so you’ll want to tarp off any doorways and flooring you want protected. Seal off any air ducts and vents to protect the rest of the home from the dust. Remove any furniture from the room, as you’ll need plenty of space to work as well. You’ll also need to remove any outlet plates and fixtures on the wall. Put these parts aside.

It’s also helpful to have a garbage can available in the room, so you can quickly dispose of any plaster you want removed.

2. Safety First
As mentioned, removing plaster walls is a messy job. A dusk mask will come in handy for this project to protect you from breathing in anything harmful. Don’t forget protective eyewear and gloves as well. We also recommend this as a DIY project for those who have experience with a few home improvement projects. If you are new to DIY, you may want to contact a pro who can help remove plaster walls.

It’s important to make sure the room is safe to work in. Turn off any electricity and water that’s going to the room. Locate any wiring or plumbing lines to prevent them from getting damaged in the process. You’ll also need to be sure that the wall you’re removing does not hurt the structural integrity of the home.

2. Rent A Dumpster
When removing plaster walls, you’ll need a place to properly dispose of the material. This may be difficult to throw out in your local garbage pick-up. A dumpster can make easy work of disposal as you work through this project. The average cost to rent a dumpster is $395, with most homeowners spending between $316 and $395. These costs can vary depending on how long you’ll be renting and the size of the dumpster.
3. Save The Molding
If you intend on replacing your plaster wall with drywall, it’s a good idea to save the wood moldings. This is a process that must be done very carefully so you do not damage or crack them. If you’re working with a pro, they will know the best ways to save your molding for future use.

4. Slow & Steady
When you’re ready to remove your plaster, it’s important not to start striking the wall aimlessly. Strategically begin tapping a top corner of the wall with a hammer until a hole has formed where you can see the lath. Once you have this hole, use a prybar to carefully pull off the plaster, working downward. Do not expect this to be a quick process. The more careful attention you pay to what you’re working on, the easier the work will be.
5. Remove The Lath Strips

After the plaster is removed, you’ll need to remove the lath strips. A prybar works well here. Be aware that these won’t break off into large chunks, so it can be tedious work. Lath strips will also have nails in them that can pose a safety hazard. Plaster and lath is a technique often found in old homes, so some of the nails you find may be rusty. Wear gloves and proper safety gear when removing nails from your wall.

6. Clean The Room Thoroughly When You’re Done
Removing plaster walls is a big job with a big mess. The dust created from this project will be very fine, giving it more opportunity to get into the air. When throwing the wall debris away, be sure to gently place it in a trash bin, as to not allow more dust to get over the room. You’ll likely need to dust, sweep and mop the room multiple times after the project is completed.

7. Contact A Pro
Removing plaster walls is a big job that if not done correctly, can have serious consequences to your remodeling project. If you’re not confident you have the tools or instructions necessary to complete this project safely and successfully, contact a pro who can help.

Simple Ways To Find Roofing Contractors Near You

Perhaps winter weather has been unkind to your home and has damaged your roof. Perhaps you’re looking for a way to make your home’s curb appeal stand out in your neighborhood. Whatever your reason for needing a new roof or roofing repair, you’ll also need a roofing contractor.

If you’re not sure where to start your search, you’ve found it here. Also, if you’re all set on your project’s details, you can find a local roofing contractor here.
Identifying What Work Needs Done
First things first; you’ll need to determine what work you want your roofing contractor to actually do. It seems simple at first, an install or repair, right? True, but the devil’s in the details for every home improvement project.

If you need a roof repair, you’ll need to know how much to budget based on the extent of damage. Also, check with your home insurance company to determine if said repairs are covered by your policy. Are you looking for a short-term fix or a long-term solution? Patching a hole might get you through a season or two, but there might be hidden damage to your roof that can resurface in the future and cause more problems. Once you determine the fix, discuss project extent and pricing further with your local roofing repair contractor.

Sometimes, a roof replacement is an unfortunate necessity due to damage. Other times, it’s an elective upgrade for your home! Let’s focus on the latter of these two situations.

Replacing a roof is not a trivial task for any handyman, but a major home improvement project that requires an experienced professional home roofing contractor. Your home itself is a variable for the cost and difficulty of a roofing project. A larger home most likely requires a larger roof and therefore a larger budget. Also, the steeper your roof, the more difficult and therefore expensive the project will be. You can find more information on measuring your roof’s area and pitch here. Also, consult Improvenet’s roofing cost calculator once you determine those measurements to get a better idea of what to expect from an estimate.

Like most home improvement ventures, you have an extensive list of options when it comes to roofing types and materials. When you’ve chosen your new roofing material, make sure that your roofing contractor installs that type of material. Also, make sure that roofing material is right for your home, functionally and aesthetically. A good roofing contractor will be able to provide you with feedback for your roofing plans to whether such a plan is a good idea or not.

The easiest way to connect with a local roofing is to start with our roofing project form. All you’ll need to do is enter your ZIP code so we can match you with roof building contractors who serve your area. From there, answer a few questions about your project like the requested service type, your timeframe and your home’s property type. It’s best to provide as much detail as possible to the roofing contractor, so feel free to include a description of the damage (if you’re looking for repairs) or your roof’s measurements and your desired roofing material. The more information the home roofing contractor has, the better. He or she will be able to provide a project estimate faster and more accurately right off the bat.

You can also browse our directory of service providers to find your perfect roofing contractor. First, select your home state, then your city and finally, select what roofing project you’re interested in. From there, you’ll be able to see a list of your local roofing contractors along with their services provided and reviews from other homeowners. You can also see certifications, Better Business Bureau ratings and if the roofing contractor belongs to a trade group like the National Roofing Contractors Association.

Should Know About 7 Signs It’s Time To Repair Your Staircase

Staircases can see a lot of foot traffic. While many are designed to last, that doesn’t mean they will always stay in perfect condition. With so many people moving up and down, you can expect to see some wear and tear over time.

However, some instances can be dangerous to your family. A small crack in the wood can lead to a dangerous situation if not taken care of properly. While you may not realize it, your stairs may be telling you they’re in need of repair. How can you tell? See the signs that it’s time to repair your stairs.

Are you ready to get rid of that squeak in your step? Contact a pro today for up to four quotes from contractors in your area for free.

Stair Repair Costs
If you suspect something may be wrong with your stairs, it’s good to know that stair repair is just a phone call away. Unless you have a background in carpentry, a pro must be called to help identify the problem and provide a solution. The average cost to repair stairs or railings is $597, with most homeowners spending between $361 and $678. This depends on the extent of the damage to your stairs and what needs to be replaced.

1. Repair Creaking Stairs
A squeaky stair is bound to happen to anyone. Most of the time, it’s more annoying than permanently damaging. However, when you’re heading up or downstairs in the middle of the night, you don’t want to wake the whole family up! The good news is that this typically is an easy fix. You first need to locate the squeak. If you have access to the underside of your stairs, this will be easier. Typically, a squeaky, creaky stair is due to a gap in the stair riser and tread. You can use carpenter glue to fill the space if it’s small enough. Otherwise, contact a pro who can help.

2. Cracked Treads Or Risers
Safety is a concern when it comes to cracked treads or risers. Typically, it will be the tread that cracks due to lack of support or a change in humidity. It’s important that your step gets repaired as soon as possible, as not to do further damage to your staircase. This is not a project that can be simply glued together. You must replace the tread. This can be an issue if you have carpeting over your stairs. While you can DIY this project, a pro can help you get the exact repairs you need.

3. Loose Stair Tread
Over time, your staircase can loosen, which can cause additional creaks and stair movement. This can become a serious problem if it’s not fixed. If you have access to the underside of your stairs, this work will be a little easier. While it is often caused by gaps and spaces between the wood, a pro can tell you the cause and how to address it.
4. Detached Handrail
A handrail on a staircase is meant to keep you safe in case of a fall. If the handrail on your staircase isn’t securely attached to the wall, this can be a serious safety issue for you or anyone using the stairs. In fact, it could even be a code violation. Thankfully, this problem has an easy fix. Replace and tighten up the screws that are attaching the handrail to the wall or post.

5. Loose Fitting Post
A loose-fitting post can be just as dangerous as a wobbly handrail. It often takes a new post installation. Unfortunately, this is a project that is best fixed by an experienced carpenter.

6. Water Damage

An unwelcome surprise to any homeowner, water damage can harm your stairs even if you can’t see it. This will often happen in basements where water is more likely to occur. If you’ve had water in your home at some point and it’s affecting your stairs, you’ll start to notice warping or softness of the wood. This section of your stairs will need to be replaced. Be sure to inspect under and around your staircase for additional water damage.

7. Pet Damage
While you may not consider it as often, your furry friends can take a toll on your stairs. Scratches on wood and carpet stairs do not pose any danger, but should be replaced. You can easily do this yourself by either patching the carpet or sanding and restaining the wood. You’ll need to be careful to get an exact match so the new material is not noticeable.

If you have a pet who tends to have frequent accidents on the stairs, be aware that it may have the same impact as water damage. If you see any dark stains or fowl odors where these accidents occur, investigate further. These stains are very difficult to get out, so it’s likely you’d need to replace the step.

More Information About Traditional And Modern Den Decoration

Whatever happened to the den? That secluded, often shut off room where one could go to relax after a hard day, or perhaps utilize when work needed to be done without interruption—where did it go? Many would say that it’s still there only with a different name, like office or living room.

Office doesn’t really seem to cut the mustard, though. An office, while it can be worked in, isn’t a place to relax. Living rooms often have TV, which can be relaxing, but it’s hard to concentrate with everyone else living all over the place. A game room is too distracting, and kitchens and dining rooms are way off. It seems like the closest thing many modern homes have to a den is the bathroom. What an unfortunate situation!

Why Have a Den?

The conventional idea of a den is often somehow related to masculinity. Men in television and film, from Don Corleone to Ward Cleaver, sought refuge in their dens and went there to shut out the rest of the world.

Today, it is well understood that stress is everywhere and felt by everybody. The idea that respite is only a concern for a father is outdated. Moms, dads and kids all need a place to unwind that sometimes a bedroom just doesn’t fulfill. It is good to have a room in the house where anyone who needs to be alone can do so.

Traditional Den Decorating

In the past, den decorating was characterized by dark hardwood floors and heavy wood furniture. It was not only a place to relax and get away but to do business and have important conversations. Company that was invited into the den were to see the home’s finest and were encouraged to partake in the best the hosts had to offer.

The Modern Den

Today’s den is typically turned into a guest room. This leaves den decorating in the modern home open to everything. Basically, you don’t want anything to be too distracting. Leave out items that make a lot of noise, such as a large TV or any battery operated toys.

Things that you and your family find relaxing have a place in here. Den decorating purchases might include a fish tank or installing a fireplace. A few comfortable chairs or a couch are nice, and a desk of some sort is essential. The den should be soothing, yet encourage productivity. A den’s primary purpose is to provide a spot where any household resident can go to think clearly and not be disturbed. If you buy and install lighting fixtures, they should be soft on the eyes, but bright enough to read by.

Take it Back

The den’s time has come again! The twin bed reserved for guests can easily be replaced with a fold out couch. The exercise equipment that’s gathering dust can perform this task just as well in the garage. Pull out the family portraits and wedding pictures and hang them up. Pull out or purchase a good pair of slippers and slip into them and your new den.

Know More About Modern Living Room Decor

Making the most of the space you’ve got is a common goal among homeowners; and no matter what kind of space you inhabit, it will likely have a living room. This room is meant for entertaining, but if it’s not up to your standards, it might be time to teach that old parlor some new tricks.

Living Room Decor

As the place in the home that guests will likely spend the most time in, your living room decor is especially important. Basically, the living room is a place where you can show your style to the world. It should reflect your interests but have enough universal appeal that anyone who visits can feel at ease.

Modern Living Rooms

One way to make a bold statement with your living room decor is to modernize the whole room. This look begins with taking away all the clutter. A modern living room should be as open and spacious as possible. If some things must be stored there (books, DVDs, etc.), try to find storage units that close or serve another function as well. An end table that also stores a movie collection will make the room feel less busy while performing its primary function at the same time.

Modern living room decor is bright and well lit. If the room’s existing lighting is a bit dim, adding some lamps could make a big impact. Also consider the idea of investing in new overhead lighting. Installing track, rail, or cable lighting to your ceiling will give the room a very modern look and make lighting objects around the room and on the walls a simpler and more flexible task.

Modern furniture is characterized by its solid, bold colors and elegant, yet simple, design. The bolder, the better is the rule, especially if you have white walls or white carpet. Do not sacrifice comfort for style though. It is better to feel good than to look good. Your guests will agree, too.

Art

Every modern room should contain some kind of art. Whether you like paintings, sculpture, photographs or so forth, a living room is a great place to display. Keep it simple. One piece per wall might be too much for some rooms. Also, lighting a piece is almost as important as the piece itself. Even if you didn’t opt for the new track lighting (which, in general, really does make this easier), make sure that the work is able to be seen without a lot of shadow or glare so that everyone who visits can enjoy it.

Avoid Getting Too Modern

Whether your style is modern, classic, country, or anything else, don’t let your living room decor get out of hand. Remember, this is the entertaining room, so it’s a good idea to avoid extremes, as not every guest will appreciate it. There is a fine line between uncluttered and empty. Walk it carefully! Also, many people equate modern with electronics. While there is a definite connection, they are not one in the same. Having modern style is about being colorful and bold, and creating a good sense of space. It has nothing to do with the number of remote controls on your coffee table. If you need help designing your living room, you can always hire an interior decorator to keep everything balanced.

Tips For Creative Living Room Design Can Reinvent a Space

In the home, where do you spend most of your time? Which room is really lived in? Just a guess, but it’s probably your living room (it’s called that for a reason). So it’s important this room is designed properly since it sets a tone for the rest of the house. It says a lot of about you as a homeowner and person. Though you could hire a trained interior designer to help achieve a specific look, most of the time these professionals will initially try to get a sense of your style and taste before they come up with a plan. For that reason, it’s a good idea to have some ideas of your own before hiring an expert. The following creative tips for your living room design are sure to help get you started.

Living Room Design Tips

– Define the Room: The best way to plan a room is defining its purpose. Is it supposed to be a playroom? Is it for entertaining? Is it formal? Is it for looks alone? Or do you want it to have multiple functions? The more specific the function, the more appealing the area. In other words: when people know how to visualize a room’s purpose, the more comfortable they feel in that space. This preliminary decision will help determine the room’s overall shape.
– Find the Focal Points: Once the purpose is defined, you now have to find a centerpiece: that one feature that draws the eye. Most of the time, it’s the TV. But why? Entertainment centers take up a lot of space and can often look clunky. Instead, consider being more original with your living room design. Focus on the fireplace, a painting, or something more personal to you. But if it has to be the TV, try to find a way to camouflage. Buy a cabinet that can be closed off. Or invest in a TV that can hang on the wall, thereby blending into the decor when not in use.
– Arrange or Rearrange Furnishings
Once the focal point has been defined, the next step is living room furniture. In order to make things look fresh, you don’t have to buy new stuff. And unless you’re changing the room’s entire color scheme, you shouldn’t even have to reupholster. Instead create a whole new atmosphere with just a little imaginative rearranging. Before you start moving around heavy couches and love seats, it’s a good idea to make large templates of your living room furniture from newspapers or old bed sheets in order to test out different arrangements. Remember, not everything has to be against the wall. Some contemporary designs use “floating” living room furniture in the middle of the room to help divide up the space (this is especially important if the room is taking on two different functions, such as an office and a den). Also, while arranging, don’t forget to supply ample walkways for guests.

Create Space in Your Living Room Design

Many times these spaces can become cluttered. Not because of poor housekeeping but because there’s too much going on. Here are some popular pieces that could use some re-evaluating in order to create more square footage:

– Coffee tables: Why walk around these objects and risk bumping your knees? End tables are more user-friendly and less in the way. But if you still want to put your feet up then get a recliner or an ottoman, which save space and are easier to negotiate.
– Couches: Maybe get a smaller love seat instead. Or if you like big couches, possibly invest in a sectional or a wrap-around, and make it the room’s focal point.
– Bookcases: These are an elegant feature to any room, but to save space you could invest in some simple shelving or have them built directly into the walls. Most of all, remember that they don’t have to be used just for books, but also knick-knacks, picture frames, etc.
– Antiques: It’s cool to have decorative living room furniture but beware of them getting in the way. Antiques set a mood, but they can also clutter an area, especially if they’re never used. Be judicious in your selection, which should also help on your costs.

Professional Living Room Designers

To hire a living room designer for comprehensive design and decorating services, you can expect to pay at least $1,000. Most homeowners, however, don’t require this level of professional service. Many designers offer consultation services and charge per hour, allowing you to customize the professional assistance you receive. Maybe you’re having trouble getting started. Maybe you’ve reached the end but still feel something is missing or not quite coming together as it should. Professional living room designers are expert problem-solvers, and you shouldn’t hesitate to use this underrated home improvement resource.

Some Bedroom TV Advice & Design

Long ago, in what seems like a galaxy far away, it was common for families to have only one TV. I know, it sounds crazy, but it’s true. In fact, it was the centerpiece of most homes. But today, since TVs are getting cheaper by the minute and technological advances have revolutionized the medium itself, it’s no surprise to see a set in every room of the house. This goes for the bedroom as well. Lying in bed and watching some tube before turning in has become common practice for many households, and you’re not alone: in recent surveys, almost 90% of Americans admitted to watching TV in bed.

A Cramp in Your Style

There has been talk about TVs being bad for sleep. But there’s nothing that winds down the day like watching some news before you doze. Plus, it gives you options: if the wife is watching a fashion show in the family room, you can now retreat to the bedroom in order to catch the game. But it’s true: watching TV in bed can be bad for your body. While lying down, you have to bend pillows, wrap yourself into pretzels, or crick your neck in every possible position in order to watch the television. It can be downright uncomfortable, which goes against the whole principle of rest and relaxation. So here are a few design ideas and the latest inventions to help you overcome the cramp.

Angle

Location, location, location. The angle of the TV is essential to comfort. Therefore, never place it on small furniture or in a corner of the room. Instead, put it on a tall dresser at the foot of the bed or mount it to the ceiling with specialized hanging brackets. Even if you have a handheld TV or a laptop, you should still prop them on an angled computer stand: it can be placed directly in front of you so you can work or watch a movie without crouching. If these options don’t work, here are some other things that may help.

– Support Pillow: Different from standard pillows, these stiff yet flexible pads can bend and sustain any position to support your neck and back while lying down.
– Prop Chair: It looks like the top of a recliner without the seat, allowing you to sit up, lean back, and support the upper body. It can even come with armrests and cup holders.
– Angled glasses: These specialty spectacles allow you to lie down and see images right in front of you. Due to mirrored technology, you’ll never have to strain your neck again.
– Adjustable Bed: Maybe buy a new bed that rises and falls with the touch of a remote. Instead of giving in to a flat mattress, force the bed to conform to your position of choice.
– Built-in TV: You’ve probably seen them on shows about the rich and famous, but these devices have become quite popular. A pop-up TV literally rises out of the foot of the bed and can be concealed when not in use. There are also lifts available which automatically fold, slide, and store the TV underneath the bed at the touch of a button. Both provide perfect viewing angles, but they typically require a flat-panel for effective storage.

Sounds

The trouble with TVs in the bedroom is that you’re put at a distance from the screen, which means you have to blast the sound in order to hear it across the room. Not only is it loud, but if you’re sharing a bed, both of you are forced to stay up, which creates conflict in synchronized sleep schedules. Here’s how to get around the sound problem:

– Surround Sound: You may think it’d make things louder, but it actually creates more control. When the speaker is placed near your ear, you’ll no longer have to crank it up. Also, put speakers on each night stand so both partners have complete volume control.
– Cordless Headphones: Or buy wireless headphones to wear in bed. It may look silly, but your partner can sleep or read while you enjoy the news at a comfortable audio level.

Lighting

When watching TV, most people prefer total darkness. This may work in a movie theater, but in the bedroom it can cause eye-strain. Plus, it hurts your sleep. When darkness descends, your body immediately gets ready for sleep, yet by watching TV you’re forcing it to stay alert. Then, when the TV is turned off, you may feel wide awake from the induced stimulus. Therefore, always have a bit of light when you watch.

– So, have a lamp nearby to create a low glow in the room. When turned off, the darkness will feel even darker (once again, install one on each side of the bed so each partner has complete access).
– Plus, clamp a reading lamp on the headboard to provide a little illumination around your eyes in order to avoid strain (it also allows you the option of working or reading in bed).
– Or, install a dimmer in order to control the level of light (this particular installation also creates an opportunity to spark some romantic mood-lighting when necessary).