April 26, 2016

Home renovations, redecorations, or redesigns (whatever word floats your boat) all involve a good amount of planning.  A huge part of this plan, in addition to deciding what it is you are renovating and how you will accomplish it, is to decide what materials you are going to use.  There are several factors to keep in mind when choosing your materials in order to assure you get the best possible outcome for your renovation.

The first factor to consider is cost.  You most likely have a budget put in place (if you are wise) and need to choose materials that are going to fit inside this budget, while still allowing you to accomplish your entire renovation without going over.  Because of this, you need to choose materials that will not break the bank.

The second factor to consider is time.  How long will it take to install the material you choose?  Will you be able to do it yourself, or will you have to hire out?  (This will also add into the cost factor).  How long will the interior of your home be in shambles while these materials are being installed?

FD Stone Accent Wall

The third and final factor to consider is durability.  How long will these materials last?  Are they known to be able to ‘weather the storm’?  Or will they involve lots of upkeep and maintenance?  The last thing you want to do is spend a lot of money on a material because it is supposedly “the best” but end up putting all of your efforts into keeping it clean and looking good.

Now that you have a good idea on the important factors to consider when choosing your materials, you probably want to know what the best material is that fits all of these criteria.  Lucky for you, we have the answer.  And that answer is faux wall paneling.

Faux wall paneling, which comes in faux stone, faux brick, and faux wood is affordable, time efficient, and durable.  It costs a fraction of the price of authentic brick, stone, and wood because it is made from a polyurethane material.  This does not compromise the quality, however, because the end result is uncanny.  The only giveaway is how lightweight the panels are.  However, this brings us to our next factor.  Because the panels are so lightweight, they can be installed on your own.  A typical faux wall paneling project takes roughly several hours, or a single afternoon.  Last but not least, they are extremely durable.  Faux wall paneling is built to last.  It is impervious to moisture, making it resistant to mold, mildew, and rot.  They are UV resistant and weatherproof, if you choose to use them outdoors.  They are also fire rated if you wish to place them around a heat source.  Doesn’t get much better than that!  Faux wall paneling is the ultimate and perfect material for any renovation project.

April 26, 2016

To conclude the Essential Elements series, we bring you man cave design.  You’re welcome men of America.  In order to build the perfect man cave, there are several elements that must be included.  Otherwise, don’t even bother.  Out with the old, slightly smelly, and awkward man caves and in with the new, improved, designed so well man caves that the women of your lives will be jealous.

  1. Comfortable Seating. Because the man cave is where many a sports watching hours will take place, the first essential element is to include comfortable seating.  This is probably the one room of the house where La-z-boys will be allowed.  Choose a comfortable sectional if the space allows with a couple recliners.  This will allow you to host boys’ nights from time to time as well as spread out and relax after a long day’s work.
  2. Wet Bar. Because, duh.  What’s a man cave without a beer refill station?  Go all out on this one without spending tons of money.  Use faux stone or faux brick paneling to accent your wet bar and make it feel unique and authentic.  It is affordable, easy to install, and so durable that it will last for years to come with little to no maintenance.  Make sure you have a fridge, bar sink, and open shelving to house all of your glassware.
  3. man cave

  4. Memorabilia. To showcase your favorite athlete(s), it is not necessary to put a giant Fat Head on the wall.  Nor is it necessary to tack up posters as if you were in the 10th grade.  Instead, choose well-taken photos and have them framed.  Have any autographed baseballs?  Or perhaps you are an avid hunter and your deer head is collecting dust in the garage.  This is the room to show them off in.
  5. Television. Without a television, you might as well host book club in your man cave.  This is the area to splurge dudes; go all out on your TV.  Head to Costco or Sam’s Club to keep yourself from having to donate plasma to afford one.  You can find extremely over the top, large televisions at affordable pricing in those types of discounted warehouse stores.  Also, don’t forget the surround sound.  If you can’t hear Tom Brady coming in hot over your left shoulder, then you’re doing something wrong.

There you have it men, a paradise to call your own.  Fill up that beer and flip on the tube because it’s your time to shine.

April 25, 2016

Having a home bar is a fun way to provide entertainment to your guests.  It also provides a place to store those funky and unique glasses that you cannot seem to find space for in the normal kitchen cabinetry.  Whether or not you drink often, you can probably agree that the addition of a wet or a home bar adds a unique element to your home and will most certainly increase the overall value of your property.

  1. Proper Location. It is important to properly place your home bar, in order to give yourself the most convenient access to it.  For example, if you typically entertain in the kitchen/living area you do not want to put your bar upstairs or down in the basement.  Place it off of the kitchen, within the kitchen, or even as an extension of your living room.
  2. Open Shelving. The point of a home bar is to provide drinks.  Show off those fun glasses by arranging them nicely on open shelving.  You can also arrange your liquor on the shelves and give it a classy appearance.
  3. interior_stone-bar-recroom

  4. Classic Design. Your home bar should be timeless, something that will look amazing for years to come.  Aka, not overly trendy.  Stick to materials like brick, stone, and wood that never go out of style.  Use faux wall paneling to cut down on costs, and even apply it on your own.  Faux stone, faux brick, and faux wood come in a wide variety of options, are easy to install, and extremely durable.  Plus, you won’t spend an arm and a leg achieving your overall gorgeous look.
  5. Blend the Design with the Room. If your home bar is going to be placed within your kitchen or within your living room, you want the design to blend in well with the overall style of the room.  Do not make it so strikingly different that it stands out like a sore thumb.  Keep the elements cohesive.
  6. Bar Sink. Choose specifically a bar sink to be installed in the counter.  They are generally shaped like a square, and a lot smaller than a traditional sink.  Have the sink tie into the kitchen design by choosing the same material: cast iron, stainless steel, composite, and so forth.
  7. Refrigerator. No home bar is complete without one.  Make sure you include a nice refrigerator to house your beverages that should remain cold.  There are two options that are most popular: a beverage fridge or a wine captain.  Choose one based on how you like to entertain.
April 25, 2016

Next up in the Essential Elements series we will discuss kitchen design.  People understand and recognize the value and importance of having an updated kitchen.  Not only is the kitchen a place where much time is spent, it also adds a great deal of value to your home when it is modern, usable, and aesthetically pleasing.  If you are looking to eventually sell, you want to provide the future homeowners with a place they can envision themselves for years to come, celebrating holidays, gathering with family, and sharing meals.

  1. Quality Product. If you are going to take the time to invest in a kitchen remodel, then make sure you do so with quality products that you know will last for years to come.  It doesn’t mean you have to go take out a second mortgage, by any means.  However, there are certain brands that are trusted, such as Kitchen Aid.  You might surprise yourself at how you can find good quality products gently used.  This way you don’t have to deal with sticker shock, but can still enjoy using high quality products.
  2. Durable Materials. It can be easy in kitchen design to go overboard with material selection.  In order to have a gorgeous outcome, it does not mean you have to spend thousands.  Take a kitchen backsplash, for example.  Many people opt for expensive stones and tiles,however, they are missing the durability factor even when shelling out lots of cash.  Instead, opt for use of faux stone paneling, which still provides the same great look and feel, however their durability is unmatched.  There is no hard to clean grout, and the material itself is impervious to moisture.  It is impossible for faux stone paneling to grow any sort of mold, mildew, or rot.  They can easily be wiped off and will last for years to come.
  3. FD Stone Kitchen backsplash

  4. Mismatch. Some folks get so concerned about perfectly matching everything to a tee.  The matchymatchy look is out, and the more eclectic look is in.  You can keep things consistent and cohesive in a tasteful fashion without overly matching.
  5. Natural Light. Closed off, dark kitchens do not facilitate a relaxing cooking environment.  Nor does it provide a place for people to wish to gather.  Keep the area open to natural light by refraining from curtain use or painting the walls dark colors.  Light, neutral colors open up a space and make it feel larger than it is while allowing the most possible natural light to dance along the walls.
April 25, 2016

When it comes to bathroom design, it is typically advised that one pay attention to things that the majority of people like.  If you make your bathroom overly unique and different, it might hinder you in the selling process of your home.  Bathrooms are one of the main selling features of a home, so if you stick to these essential elements of design, you will be sure to increase your home’s value and aid in the selling process.

  1. Choose Soothing Colors. A bathroom, also known as a restroom, is designed to be a place of rest. In order to facilitate the feeling of comfort, choose colors that are serene and soothing.  Typically, whites, grays, and neutrals are the most ideal choices for colors that will soothe the mind.
  2. Statement Sink. Instead of sticking with the same old sink you see anywhere else, consider choosing a sink that will stand out.  They make many that sit above the counter top as well as ones that are uniquely shaped.
  3. fd newsletter stone shower

  4. Glass Doors. In leu of using shower curtains, many people are opting for the use of glass doors.  Glass doors are far easier to keep clean, as shower curtains easily build up mildew and mold. They add a cleaner, sharper element to the overall design concept as well as allow you to see to the interior of the shower, which brings us to our next element.
  5. Stone Shower. Using stone instead of traditional tile is becoming far more popular.  Faux stone paneling, in fact, is the most ideal option because it provides the same great look of authentic stone without the associated costs and upkeep.  You can actually install the panels yourself, and they are resistant to mold, mildew, and rot (unlike traditional tile with grout).  Paired with your glass doors, you will add a stunning element to your bathroom by making it feel like your very own spa.
  6. Vanities. It is essential to have a vanity in your bathroom, as having a standalone sink does not provide you the added value of storage nor the gorgeous look that a vanity brings.  You will provide yourself a place to store toiletries and towels, especially if you do not have a bathroom closet.  Choose a color that contrasts the sink and the counter for a color pop, or you can choose the same color to create a monochromatic tone.
April 25, 2016

If you are looking to redecorate your bedroom, or perhaps you just moved into a new home, you have come to the right place.  Today in the ‘Essential Elements’ series we focus on proper bedroom design.  Incorporate the following techniques and you are sure to have a bedroom that is stylish yet comfortable while maintaining the essential elements needed for excellent bedroom design.

  1. Decide What You Like. The number one thing to do before getting started is deciding what you like.  After all, it is your   Choose what makes you happy, what makes you feel the most comfortable, and where you can picture yourself spending time.  Your bedroom should be a place to retreat after a long day, and if you do not feel comfortable in the environment, your sleep will certainly be affected.
  2. Commit to Color. Most professional interior designers will say to stick to the 3-color rule, which includes one neutral color and two accent colors.  Most people start with the wall color and build off of that for the furniture and linens/pillows.  Lighter colors make the space feel larger and airier, while darker tones make a room feel warmer and smaller.
  3. Remodeling Your Guest Bedroom

  4. Add Texture. The best way to do this is by creating an accent wall behind the bed, using a material different than the wall.  For example, many people like to add wood, brick, or stone.  The texture adds dimension and brings the wall to life.  Save money and time by using faux stone, faux brick, or faux wood wall paneling.  They are easy to install (DIY), extremely durable, and look incredibly real.
  5. Choose Your Furniture. Essential pieces of furniture to a bedroom include the bed (obviously), at least one nightstand (if you have room then two), and a dresser.  Anything else should only be chosen if there is space.  Try not to crowd your bedroom with too much furniture.  Because, let’s be honest, it will only end up as a gathering place for clothes and bags.
  6. Window Embellishments. Decide what style you like the best: pull down shades, blinds, blinds with curtains, etc.  How much light do you want to be able to stream in during the day?  If you’re a light sleeper, consider getting blackout curtains for the nighttime, which also help cut down on energy costs during the day. Not only should your window embellishments be practical, but make them trendy and stylish as well.
April 22, 2016

The most ideal living rooms combine practicality with style.  In order for your living room to be functional, it doesn’t have to be drab and boring.  You can create a gorgeous living room that can still be lived in by following the tips below.  Before you get started, get a good idea on what you like.  You can copy certain elements from other living rooms you have seen in magazines, on TV, or in person and combine them into your own personal style.

  1. Proper Window Coverings. Although curtains are gorgeous, consider leaving them out of the living room.  They tend to be bulky, take up excess space, and block a lot of natural light from coming in the room.  The living room should have plenty of natural light streaming in throughout the day, and this can be facilitated through proper window coverings.  There are many trendy and stylish blinds out there to add a modern style without overdoing it.
  2. Less is More. Do not feel as if you need to cover every wall in some sort of art or photography.  You also do not need to jam as much furniture as possible into the designated space.  Sometimes, less really is more, and allows for more overall space in the room.  Having a simplistic style in your living room will allow for a stress free environment after a long day’s work.  And, less things crowding the room will open up more space for natural light to dance around the room.
  3. faux brick living room 2

  4. Choose a Focal Point. Every room should have a focal point, or a central region of focus.  Many people choose a fireplace in a living room and arrange the furniture accordingly.  You can easily add to your fireplace, or even construct an accent wall if a fireplace isn’t available, out of faux wall paneling.  Choose from faux stone, faux brick, or faux wood and install it yourself.  Faux wall panels are affordable, easy to install, and easy to maintain as they are incredibly durable.
  5. Keep it Neat. Guests will notice things like cords dangling from the walls or running along the baseboards.  Add extra sockets if need be, and try to keep things like that neat and tucked away.  Add a storage basket next to your couch for blankets, and a little basket for magazines and remote controls.  This helps keep down the clutter and keep the overall area looking nice.
April 22, 2016

Part two of the ‘Essential Elements’ series involves landscape design.  This, after all, is a relevant topic considering that Summer is just around the corner.  People will be utilizing their yards more than ever as they host barbecues and pool parties and enjoy all that the weather has to bring.  Make sure you are on top of your landscape design game this year, and create a stunning environment to be enjoyed by all.

  1. Don’t Forget the Front. It is easy to overlook the front yard when doing landscape design, since the backyard is where most time is spent.  However, your front yard is where the curb appeal is at, which is equally as important.  Do not neglect this area in your overall design plan.
  2. Get the Hardscaping Done First. Hardscaping refers to the types of projects that don’t really involve plants, such as fencing projects, porch renovations, concrete pouring, etc.  Basically anything that involves some type of construction.  Plan out what you wish to add to your landscape design this year.  Have you always dreamt of a stone fireplace to host bonfires?  Use faux stone paneling to create a DIY fire pit at an affordable cost.  Or perhaps an outdoor kitchen?  You can also use faux stone or faux brick paneling to create one of those on your own.
  3. Frame Your Home with Your Plants. The plants you install should frame your home, not completely cover it.  Choose low shrubs and flowers for the main walls of the home and place the taller plants around the corner of the house.
  4. faux stone fire pit

  5. Make the Area Enjoyable. The backyard is a place to be comfortably enjoyed since it is where you will spend most of your time.  Make sure there is plenty of seating as well as privacy.  This can be done with shrubs or a fence.
  6. Separate Your Wants From Needs. Make this differentiation from the get go, and plan what will fit into your budget.  Do you have children? If so, a playground may be a need.  Do you like to garden? Leave room for a raised planter bed.  If it doesn’t fit into your budget, and isn’t something you absolutely need, then consider saving it for next year! (i.e. hot tub, outdoor bar, etc).
April 22, 2016

Achieving the perfect office design that will best facilitate the work environment by creating an inviting place to be, the highest productivity, and the most ideal ambiance is no easy feat.  One person may prefer a personal office where another prefers the cubicle environment.  One person would rather work next to a window where another would be come too distracted.

office-design-impressive-decoration-office-design-wollongong-office-designs-wollongong-illawarra

Regardless of varying beliefs, there are several elements that go into creating office design in order to make it a comfortable and dynamic environment for all to benefit from.

  1. Practical Layouts. When designing an office space, one must remember that people are human beings, not robots.  It is not wise to place a desk space right next to the coffee pot where people gather and chit chat, or even next to the restroom where people will be walking past all day.  Distraction will ultimately lower your productivity.
  2. Maintain Space. Another way to lower your productivity is to cram a ton of people into one room.  Do not jam cubicles on top of each other; try to spread them out if possible.  If this is not possible, consider desk clustering, which still allows for plenty of free space.
  3. Air and Light Flow. If there is absolutely no sunlight getting in, people will feel trapped and cramped.  Allowing a fair amount of natural sunlight to flow through the room (not an overbearing amount) will aid in productivity through the natural Vitamin D.  Air flow is also important; if possible open windows for a portion of the day for natural air.  Too much a/c can make people feel too cold as well as dry out their eyes.  You don’t need a bunch of uncomfortable employees working for your company!  It won’t do anyone any good.
  4. Ambiance. A tastefully designed office will increase productivity as well as make it feel like an inviting, warm place to be.  Do not over do it with loud colors, but incorporate color enough so people aren’t staring at plain white walls all day.  Add faux stone or faux brick paneling to the walls to add texture and dimension.  Choose artwork that is neutral, yet serene such as beach or other landscape scenes.  Do not heavily rely on a single theme, or go overboard with a particular style of design.
  5. Comfortable Break Facilities. It is important that your employees have a place to go in order to take a ‘mind break’ from time to time throughout the day.  Overly muddled thoughts will lower productivity, so make sure your break facility is comfortable, relaxed, and provides a change in visual stimulus.
April 22, 2016

We live in a day in age where the popular belief is “more is better”.  More money, more stuff, more more more.  Research shows that as long as you have your basic needs met with a little extra leftover to be able to take your family out to dinner and on a vacation from time to time, you are clinically just as happy, if not happier than those with abundance.  Sometimes, less really is more because having too much stuff can make your life feel cluttered, complex, and overbearing.

Instead of living this way, try to simplify your life.  You will most likely find that you feel weight is lifted off of your shoulders, and you can think a lot more clearly.

  1. Eliminate Clutter. First things first, in order to really simplify your life, you must get rid of the excess.  There are probably mounds of items in your home, stuffed away in closets and under beds or corners of the garage, that you haven’t even laid eyes on in the past five years.  Do you really need it sitting there taking up so much space?  Consider donating gently used items, recycling what you can, and throwing away the rest.  The general rule of thumb is if you haven’t used something or even thought about it in the last 6-9 months, you most likely do not need it.
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  3. Don’t Overspend. One way to get yourself into a life of excess is overspending.  Before you purchase something, truly ask yourself: “Do I need this?”.  Yes, from time to time it is fun to buy things simply because we want them, but do not do so in an extravagant manner.  For example, if you are remodeling or redecorating your home, there are plenty of ways to achieve beautiful end results without spending an arm and a leg. You can choose to use faux stone paneling versus spending thousands on authentic stone, and the end result will look just as amazing.
  4. Slow Down. Life, whether you like it or not, cannot be relived.  If you are too busy with your nose in your phone, on your computer, or in front of the TV, you are missing out on what is going on around you.  Take time to enjoy the weather and acknowledge the beauty of the outdoors.  Make extra time in your week for those you love, and spend quality time with them with meaningful conversation.  In the end, it will be those things that matter, even if the latest season of your favorite Netflix series was just released!  When you cut down on excess noise (that mainly technology brings), you can truly learn to live in the present and live a simpler, happier life.
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