January 29, 2017

It’s that time of year again, winter. It’s the time of year you start to bundle yourself up with coats, gloves, mittens, and hats. It’s the time for holidays and family coming together. And it’s the time for you to receive quite a few out-of-town visitors. But wait, you don’t have a room that’s suited for the guests you are about to receive. Well, have no fear. In this article, we will help show you how to create the perfect winter themed room to keep your guests cozy and warm, while keeping the mystery of winter alive.

The first thing you need to think about is your color scheme. When creating a winter theme you’ll want to use cool colors such as soft grays, blues, soft blacks, and metallic silver finishes. You’ll also want to incorporate feelings of warmth with things such as faux fur, sweater fabrics, warm rugs, and a warm down comforter. Also, you want to try to incorporate feelings of nature within your room. This can include wood accents and other rustic touches like antique trays, nature inspired walls, and other well-placed items.

One of the most important thing’s you can do when creating a winter themed room is layer, layer, layer. We say this because when you add layers, you add feelings of warmth and comfort. And after all, the winter months are for cozying up under warm blankets and keeping the cold to the outside. So, add plenty of blankets throughout the room, especially at the end of the bed. We suggest using off-white cable knit blankets, and Cashmere plaid throws. These give off a feeling of luxury and elegance that will be sure to impress any guests. Finish off this warm look by adding decorative pillows that are made of faux fur and sweater materials.

When you start to add your accents around the room, consider using more reflective types of materials such as mirrors, glass, and other metallic finished items. This not only brings in an icy wintery feel, but it also will make the room feel brighter and bigger. By making the room brighter it will give off the off the illusion of cheeriness and warmth to the otherwise gloomy outdoors. And by making the room feel bigger, it will help keep your guests from feeling claustrophobic.

Let’s talk walls. As we said earlier, you’ll want to bring a bit of nature into the room somewhere. One great way to do this is by adding an accent wall of faux stone, brick, or wood using faux wall panels. Faux Direct has so many different panel surfaces to offer, you’ll be sure to find something to your liking.  A stone or brick accent wall would typically not be a quick undertaking, but thankfully, with faux wall panels, it’s an easy DIY that can be completed in an afternoon with just basic tools. By using faux brick or stone panels, you can add texture to the room, bring in that bit of nature, plus completely change the feel of your room. And the best part is, even though brick and stone help amp the coziness in a room for winter guests, they never go out of style and are good for all seasons. They’re neutral enough to not take away from the rest of the room, yet add texture and a cozy vibe that helps to complete your look.

Finally, it’s time for the personal touches. This means doing the little things like placing a rustic wooden tray in the room that’s filled with cookies or candies and little gifts for your guests. Also, have a few favorite books on a shelf or neatly stacked magazines ready for their enjoyment. If you do calligraphy or are artsy – hand write, for the rest of us, print off the computer a small ‘welcome guests’ sign and frame it in a cute frame to place bedside. In another frame, place your wifi account name and password so guests don’t have to ask and you don’t have to go searching for that 50-letter/number combo written on that piece of paper somewhere. If you feel led, add other little touches like candles or battery operated tea lights that can create a cozy ambience that is sure to make any guest feel right at home. Options are endless here. These little things are fun to do and allow you to let your creative juices flow.

January 27, 2017

Often times we focus mainly on the internal but rarely the external. However, you can have the most gorgeous house inside, but if it isn’t appealing outside, it can really harm the value of your home. So, it’s a good idea to start thinking about renovating the outside of your house if it’s looking old, rundown, or dilapidated. Now, we know what you’re thinking. “I can’t afford to do that. Updating exterior features are expensive.” While this is true, there are ways that you can upgrade the outside of your house without breaking your bank, and creating a wow factor all at the same time. If you don’t believe us, we’ll show you.

One of the best ways you can update your exterior is by redoing the siding of your house. Again, this may seem like an expensive endeavor, but it doesn’t have to be. One way you can save a ton of money while residing your house and making it look great in the process is by using faux wall panels. Faux wall panels mimic different sidings such as brick and stone, without the price tag that comes with real brick and stone. For instance, faux stone panels look exactly like real stone, but are a fraction of the cost. Plus, they are just as durable, if not more so, and are mold, mildew, moisture, and damage resistant. By using a siding like faux stone panels, you can create a stunning exterior that will leave your neighbors jealous, and people knocking down your door to know how you did it.

Another way you can help update the exterior of your home without costing an arm and a leg is by simply updating your light fixtures. Light fixtures can actually make or break the outside appearance of your house. If you have ugly or outdated light fixtures, your home can look shabby at best. By updating your light fixtures, you can add a new look and feel to your house without adding a huge price tag in the process. The best places to find inexpensive light fixtures are your big box stores when they’re having sales, resale light shops, and even places online. Just make sure that when you go to update your light fixtures that they are actually compatible with the wiring that you have already in place.

This may require you to call an electrician to make sure that the light fixtures you’ve chosen will work, or if updates need to be made so they can be installed properly. This can be a little bit more expensive, but it will save you money in the long run by knowing ahead of time what you can and cannot use. Plus, it can expose if there are any issues in your wiring that may need to be addressed so they won’t cause issues down the road.

Updating the exterior of your home doesn’t have to be scary or expensive. It just takes some time, patience, and planning in order to create the exact look and feel that you want. If you are patient enough and willing to go the extra mile to look for deals, you can completely transform the exterior of your house and make it the envy of your neighborhood.

 

 

January 25, 2017

There’s just something so beautiful when you walk into a home with high ceilings. It creates an illusion of openness and freedom within the house. Unfortunately, many homes weren’t blessed with high ceilings. However, there is some good news.

Interior designers have been faking high ceilings for years and in this article, we will give you some tricks to help you make your own ceilings look twice as high and a hundred times more impressive.

Trick #1: Hand Curtains As High As Possible

Since your eye is immediately drawn to the highest point on the wall, hang your curtains as high as possible. So, this does not mean stopping at the top of the window frame, rather taking them all the way up to just maybe a foot from the top of the wall. This little trick alone will help make your ceilings feel taller.

Trick #2: Choose Low Profile Furniture

When picking your furniture, trying to choose pieces that sit closer to the floor, making it more low-profile. When you do this, it helps you avoid making your room feel cramped and closed in which actually makes a lot of sense since it’s physically taking up less space, and makes the distance between the top of your furniture and the ceiling greater.

Trick #3: Put Stripes On Your Wall

One of the biggest keys to making a ceiling seem higher is by using a design that will trick the eye into looking upwards. By painting or using a wallpaper to create vertical stripe patterns on the walls, you will literally be pointing people’s “spectacles” in the right direction.

Trick #4: Hang Mirrors Higher

Mirrors are one of interior designers best friends. That’s because the reflective surfaces make a room feel bigger, especially when you install them higher than usual because it adds an instantaneous expansive look.

Trick #5: Stick With Recessed Lighting

Even though a drum shad fixture or a chandelier can add a luxurious touch to a room, they can also be the main culprits in making a ceiling look lower. So, use flush mount light fixtures or recessed lights in a room to help the ceiling look higher. If you want to add a wow factor to your room, try instead to use something like a faux brick wall that will add color and texture, without visually dropping the look of the ceiling.

Trick #6: Play With Contrast And Scale

While we said earlier that it’s best to keep your furniture low, that doesn’t mean you can’t add in taller pieces of furniture like bookshelves. In fact, the contrast between the two pieces can help create height by playing with the different dimensions.

Trick #7: Invest In Custom Details

When investing in custom details, like plaster moldings, make sure you’re adding it to your ceilings and not to your floors. This will immediately draw attention making your ceilings feel taller than they actually are.

Trick #8: Keep Furniture Light

If you want to keep your room from feeling overwhelming or overly busy, stick with neutral and light shades of furniture. This will help open up the look of your room, which automatically makes it look bigger. However, you can still add pops of color and textures with things like pillows, decorative items, and even faux brick walls.

Trick #9: Utilize Your Fireplace

If your house is blessed with a fireplace, make sure your facing goes all the way up to the ceiling. Not only does is make your room feel bigger, but you also get an amazing focal point out of it. One unique and affordable way to finish your fireplace is by using Faux Direct’s fire-rated panels. With stone, brick and distressed wood, your options are endless.

Trick #10: Give Your Celling A Makeover

Whether you decide to add a pretty coat of paint, or unexpected wallpaper, trick out your ceiling so that it will immediately force your guests eyes upward. Also if you decide to go with paint, use one that is high-gloss. The reflection will make your ceilings seem taller.

Trick #11: De-clutter The Room

When your room is cluttered and disorganized, it makes it look chaotic, cramped, and claustrophobic. By having a clean and organized room, it not only makes your whole space feel bright and airy, but it adds a huge amount of space. If you need extra storage, use built-in shelving, floor-to-ceiling shelving, or nice wicker baskets.

January 23, 2017

Some of the most fun and rewarding fix up jobs are when you get to restore an old house. However, they can also cost a pretty penny, especially if you make mistakes during the restoration process. Unfortunately, making mistakes is fairly easy to do when working with an old home. In this article, we will share with you the 5 most common mistakes homeowners will make when restoring an old house, and how to avoid them.

Hopefully, it will be able to help you with your next restoration project, and keep your extra expenses at a minimum.

Mistake #1: Assembling A Room

One of the most common mistakes you can make while restoring an old house is assembling a room. By this we mean asking a contractor, or even going yourself, to a big box store and cherry picking a bunch of different pieces that are later assembled to form the room. This is a mistake because with an old house, you have to take into consideration its “character”. Most old homes tell a story, and by throwing in random pieces, you’ll fail to truly bring that story to life, but instead mask it with a hodge podge of styles. To avoid this, try to plan ahead of time how to keep the character in a room and purchase materials that go along with the time period of the home.

Mistake #2: Too Period Perfect

While this mistake is not necessarily the worst one you can make, it’s still worth bringing to light. The problem with becoming too period perfect is that it will start to make the house feel more like a museum than a home. After all, even if you had a modern 2017 home, not everything you own is going to be from 2017. So, mix-and-match in order to find the magic combination.

Mistake #3: Modernize the Kitchen & Bathroom

Renovating your bathroom or kitchen with today’s modern conveniences is a very common and understood practice. However, when you have an old home, filling it with modern conveniences can take away from the story and character of the house. So, before you jump to using the newest and best. Consider doing some research to find out how you can upgrade your bathroom or kitchen, while maintaining the look and feel of the age of the house.

Mistake #4: Getting Stuck In Replacement Mode

You know the saying; “Things aren’t built like they used to be?” Well, this rings just as true when it comes to your old home. When your home was constructed, quality and craftsmanship were much different back then than they are today. These days, things are often much  cheaper, more disposable, and not built to last nearly as long as the items in your old home were. In fact, in many cases, parts of your home are likely custom-made to fit inside of it. So with that being said, you should try to restore rather than replace whenever possible. However, there are exceptions to this rule. For instance, let’s say you have an old brick wall in your house that’s dilapidated. Replacing it with something like a faux brick wall can still give you the exact look you’re looking for, but have even more durability than the original brick wall, while saving you money at the same time. That’s because faux brick walls look exactly like the real thing, but are built specifically to keep out mold, mildew, moisture, and aren’t as prone to decay. Check out Faux Direct’s panels for a great quality faux brick.

Mistake #5: Forgetting About The Future

Often times, when one is renovating an old house, they tend to focus so much on the past or present, that they forget to think about the future. For instance, are you asking yourself questions like, ”50 years from now, when someone buys this house, will it look timeless? Will it be functioning as it should? Will I have cared for the attributes that make this house so unique?” If your goal is to catch this house up with today’s current trends, you’re likely setting your house up for failure. After all, you do not know what will be trending 5, 10, 15, or even 50 years from now. So, to try to do your best to maintain the character and integrity of the house while renovating it to last.

January 19, 2017

When you first start your kitchen renovation, you probably do not have much of an idea of what your vision might cost. Of course, several factors will play into this, such as the size of your space, if you need new appliances or not, what you will do with your space, and of course your budget. According to recent studies, the typical average that someone would spend on a kitchen renovation is anywhere between $25,000 and $50,000. This is based on a national average. With that being said, there are actually several common reasons kitchen renovations typically tend to go over the original budget. In this article, we will address those common reasons, in order for you to best avoid surprises while doing your kitchen renovation.

 

The first, and probably biggest reason that a person tends to go over their budgets on a kitchen renovation is the decision to upscale their products or materials. Let’s take cabinets for instance. Costs for cabinets will vary widely depending on where you purchase them. For example, if you were to buy cabinets from a big-box store, you will pay less than if you were to have custom cabinets. Custom cabinetry is one of the biggest culprits in breaking your budget. Case in point, stock cabinets typically will cost you $50 per linear foot, while custom cabinetry can run up to as much as $2000 per linear foot.

Another common cost that will skyrocket your kitchen bill is special features. More specifically, special features you have added on to the innards of your cabinets. Having that nice but pricey cabinetry add on, or add-ons, can add up as much as $10,000 or more to your budget. So, before committing to any special feature such as built in lid racks, sliding pan shelves that pull out, spice racks, and a hide-away trash can drawer, take into serious consideration how much you actually will use it, and if it’s worth the cost to you.

Countertops are another item that people will tend to upgrade, costing them more money than they originally thought. Plastic laminate countertops are very affordable at $8-$20 per square foot. However, if you decide that you like the look of quartz or granite better, these prices typically run much higher, and can cost anywhere from $50-$120 per square foot. So, make sure you have a clear idea in mind what you want before you start so you can anticipate this cost.

Backsplashes can also be a significant cost. For instance, let’s say that you like the look of the stone backsplash against your kitchen stove. Stone back splashes can get pretty costly, depending on type of stone you want to use. However, these days there are plenty of faux stone panels out there that replicate the look of a real stone wall, while saving you from breaking your budget. Plus, faux stone panels are not only inexpensive, but they are also easier to take care of, and won’t put a weight strain on your walls.

Appliances are another way people easily break their budget. There are so many different options to choose from and it’s easy to be talked into making an upgrade of $500 or more, per appliance. In order to avoid this up-charge in price, do your research and know exactly which brand that you want to go with, before starting your renovation or entering the presence of the sales person showing you all the fancy stuff you don’t need. Or, visit the store, get information from the people working there, then go home and process rather than making a decision on the spot.

Another surprise you may encounter during your kitchen renovation is unforeseen structural issues. For instance, you might open a wall and find that termites have eaten half the studs. Or, once you remove the floors you realize there has been a water leak and has rotted the floor. Regardless of the issues that arise, it would be wise to reserve a 20% contingency in your kitchen renovation budget for unexpected surprises.

Finally, one of the biggest reasons a kitchen renovation budget is broken is because the person simply will change their mind. If you change your mind part way through your renovation, this can take more time, add more paperwork, and mess up the schedule, all of which will end up costing you far more money than you had originally anticipated. Again, make sure that before construction starts, you have the exact layout and idea of what you want for your kitchen.

While it may be impossible to anticipate every little cost that will go into the kitchen renovation, you can take certain steps in order to avoid any big surprises along the way. Just have a clear vision of what you want, have your big-ticket items already picked out, and do your best not to change your mind in the middle of the project. If you can do all of these things, it will lower the chance of you having large, unexpected, budget-breaking costs.

January 16, 2017

Whether you want to renovate your entire kitchen, or simply just change up the look, purchasing kitchen countertops could end up being one the most important decisions you make. Aside from maybe cabinetry, kitchen countertops will more than likely end up being the star of your kitchen. So, you may want to do some research into the different types of countertops that are out there, in order to make the best and most informed decision.

In this article we will address several of the different types of kitchen countertops that are on the market today.

Soapstone Kitchen Counters

This type of counter top is actually often used in laboratories because it is highly resistant to stains, chemicals, and bacteria. Also, soapstone is very durable and gives a natural feel to any kitchen. The cost of soapstone is anywhere from about $80 to hundred dollars per square foot installed. While this may seem expensive, it can be a lifetime investment.

Granite Kitchen Counters

Granite is probably one of the most popular kitchen counter options on the market. It is a natural stone that has unique grains and colors that make it easy to customize your kitchen. Plus, when installed properly, it is one of the most durable options available. You can purchase granite countertops as low as $50 per square foot installed

Copper Kitchen Counters

Copper countertops certainly aren’t common, but they are surprisingly easy to keep clean and maintain. However, it’s important to realize it’s a “living” surface and will react to different substances. But for those who love the look, you can get these countertops for about $100 per square foot. Plus, if you’re going for a very rustic feel, these are great when paired with a faux brick panel backsplash.

Engineered Quartz Counters

When wanting to find the perfect color of countertop to complement your kitchen, engineered quartz counters are a great option as they come in about every shade imaginable. These versatile counters are also eco-friendly, which make it great if you’re trying to “go green”. However, you will have to pay about $95 to $105 per square foot to install these in your home.

Tile Kitchen Counters

Tile kitchen counters are probably one of the most affordable choices on the market. They start around $30 per square foot and are incredibly durable. Plus, they are one of the few do-it-yourself countertop options that are available. Maintenance can be more difficult because of the grout, but choosing a durable and dark grout can help ease this burden.

Concrete Kitchen Counters

Concrete counters can actually be an amazing choice. Pigments, stains, and dies can create concrete counters that have an endless assortment of colors and visual texture. And, with the right sealer, it is probably the most durable countertop available. Making the price tag of $100 -$150 per square foot well worth the cost. Plus, like copper kitchen counters, concrete counters pair very well with faux brick panels, depending on the color you choose.

There are dozens of options you can choose from when it comes to kitchen countertops. The key to selecting the right one for you is to have a clear visual understanding of what it is you want for your kitchen. And also, to have an idea of how you want to use the countertop. Both of these play a significant role in helping you make the perfect choice for your kitchen countertop. Happy Renovating!

 

January 9, 2017

Remember the days when you had posters splattered all over your walls? What about those Polaroid pictures of you and your friends that were strewn across your dresser? Or, those stuffed animals you had piled on your bed? Yeah, those were the good old days. And while it’s fun to reminisce and look back about the good times you had in those rooms. You may want to take a look around your house today and see if some of that inner child is still hanging around in your décor.

While being a kid at heart isn’t a bad thing, it may be time to realize that as an adult, you should have an adult’s home. So, what does an adult house look like? Well here are 10 ways that can help make sure you’re on the right path to real adulthood.

 

Framed Mirrors

Let’s be honest. Those ugly, unframed, chipped, taped up mirrors should’ve been left back in your dorm room. By adding a framed mirror, you not only add a chic and classy look to your home, but you add style as well. Framed mirrors are a beautiful addition, and can act as great accent pieces to any room.

Area rugs

Ugh. Nothing is worse than a cold bare floor. That’s for a straight up bachelor who still lives in his glory days of high school. Find a rug that is properly sized for the room that it is going to go in. You should be able to easily set your furniture on it, with at least two of the legs. You can use a neutral rug for a more subtle look, or go patterned and colored for a bold statement piece.

Headboard

Headboards add style to a room, as well as the perfect finishing touch to any bed frame. Once you have one, you’ll never go back.

Matching Towels

This is by far the easiest upgrade you can make. Plus they can add a pop of color to your bathroom, making it fun and playful. One tip here is, don’t feel like you have to spend an arm and a leg. There are plenty of stores that have great, decorative towels that don’t cost you an arm and a leg. After all, they do eventually wear out. So, go with something mid price ranged and you wont’ regret it.

Stylish Knobs

These aren’t necessarily a necessity, but they add a fun element to your different rooms, and really help showcase your style.

Full Pillows

Pillows help add an elegant and grown up look. Especially on a sofa or bed. Find pillows that are full and well stuffed. Let them be a variety of matching colors and patterns to add fun pops of color and style to your bedroom or living room.

A Non Assembled, Assembled Coffee Table

If you have a coffee table that came from a box store that you had to assemble yourself, it may be time to give it the boot. Those are neither quality, nor grown up. Plus, they tend to scratch, chip, and fall apart easily. Which can really put a damper on your living room vibe.

Real Artwork

Now, this doesn’t mean that you have to pop over to the Louvre and throw down millions of dollars on a painting. In fact, you can find inexpensive pieces of artwork that will more than get the job done. You can place bold pieces of artwork in entryways to use as a welcoming statement piece. Or, put a more neutral abstract in your bedroom to help tie in your décor and give it that perfect finishing touch. However you decide to use it, just make it’s not some rock band poster that should have been burned years ago.

A Faux-Fur Blanket

This upgrade may even be easier than the towels. For real, just go out and buy a faux-fur blanket. Drape it across your made bed (yes we said made) or couch, to help give the room a more sophisticated vibe.

Living Plants

Hopefully by now you’re responsible enough to keep things alive. If not, well, then this article isn’t for you, and it’s a miracle you’ve made it this far. But, if you are, then by putting live plants throughout your house you can add pops of color and bring a little life into some of your rooms. Just keep in mind when purchasing a plant, you look and see what type of growing environment it needs to thrive.

Upgrading your home doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive. But, by doing so it can add class, sophistication, and life into your living space. All you have to do is take these ideas, make them your own, and viola! You’re a grown up now.

 

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