5 Home Tips for Decorating with Rugs

Hardwood flooring is not without its shortcomings. For one, hardwood floors can get cold, especially when you’re stepping out of bed on a frosty December morning. The uniformity that makes hardwood great for open-concept floor plans can also make it tough to define different parts of a space. And sometimes, you’d just like a softer touch on your toes.

That’s the beauty of decorating with rugs. Easily swap-able and endlessly varied, rugs are a simple way to add interest and comfort to an otherwise flat area.

Here are some quick tips for decorating your home with a new rug:

1. Be Bold

It’s temping to play it safe when it comes to rugs, in no small part because they tend to be a pricey. But where’s the fun in that? Rugs are an opportunity to introduce striking colours and patterns without overwhelming the space. Pick a colour that complements the furniture and wall colour, and be creative with the shape and design.

2. Be Choosy With Materials

Beyond design sensibilities, it’s important to consider how the material of a rug will play in your home. Soft, plushy materials aren’t well-suited to high traffic areas like entryways, but jute would hold up well. Fur rugs are a no-no where they’re liable to be exposed to spills or other messes. On the other hand, a rough sisal rug isn’t preferable in a cozy space like a bedroom.

3. Size Matters

When it comes to rugs, in most cases, bigger is better. To create a comfortable space, the rug should easily cover all the main pieces of the space. Make sure the front legs of chairs and couches are on the rug, or it will make the space feel cramped.

If you can’t afford a large enough rug to cover the area, consider placing two smaller rugs instead of cramming everything onto too small a piece.

4. Combine Pieces

With an open floor plan, you’ll often need more than one rug to break the space into different ‘zones’. Decorating with multiple rugs in the same room can be tricky, but it’s definitely doable. Choose rugs with complementary styles, and when it doubt, stick with one colour palette.

5. Be Careful When Buying Secondhand

Rugs are expensive, so you can save a lot of money buying secondhand. However, it’s important to look beyond the surface when buying a secondhand rug. Don’t just inspect the top – flip it over and check the back for stains and water spots. Give it a sniff (some smells, like cigarette smoke, will never come out.) You should also consider having the rug treated for bedbugs to avoid bringing these nasty creatures into your home.

Do You Really Need To Replace Your Old Windows?

New windows can boost curb appeal and energy efficiency, but your money is often better spent on repairs.

Windows are a big deal when it comes to home renovation. They’re considered a high-value upgrade, improving both the curb appeal and energy efficiency of your home. Plus, a new set of windows can also help give you peace and quiet, and even cut the time you spend cleaning.

But windows aren’t cheap. According to Consumer Reports, a full replacement can run you anywhere from $8000 to $24,000, depending on the size of your home and the quality of your new windows. And though they might boost energy efficiency, it can take decades for those cost savings to catch up with the amount you spent on the renovation.

In many cases, fixing your windows is a far better investment than replacing them. But how do you know when to repair and when to replace? It depends on the extent of the damage.

Drafts

When the seal around a window wears down, it causes you to lose heat during the winter and let warm air in during the summer. That bumps up your heating and cooling costs.

If drafts are your only issue, you can usually fix the problem without much trouble. Fill in cracks in the caulking using a caulk gun, sealing the gaps between the window molding and exterior of your house, and around the window trim inside. You can also replace worn-out weatherstripping on the exterior.

Moisture

Drafty windows don’t do much damage, but moisture is another story. Moisture can cause the paint around the window to peel, crate streaks on the walls, and rot the wooden window frame over time.

If you can get to the problem before it damages the frame, you may not have to replace the window. But if the wood is rotting or saturated with moisture, you may need to have it re-installed and re-sealed. Try pushing the end of a flat-blade screwdriver into the frame – if you can push it in easily, there’s water damage.

 

5 Quickest Ways to Boost Curb Appeal on a Budget

curb appeal

Planning to sell your home this summer? Here’s how you can do to boost curb appeal on a budget.

Curb Appeal Matters.

The hottest real estate listings don’t happen by accident. They often involve picture-perfect staging, top-notch photography, and a stunning virtual home tour.

But before you get that far, take a step back and focus on first impressions. What’s the first thing people see when they visit your listing?

Answer: the front of your home.

People judge a home by it’s cover, whether you like it or not. That’s why curb appeal matters. Just about any potential buyer will scope out your front yard before they even think of stepping through the front door.

Installing new windows, re-shingling your roof, and changing up your siding are all great ways to boost curb appeal. Unfortunately, those fixes take time – and money. If you want to boost curb appeal on a budget, you have to get creative.

Here are some budget curb appeal tips that can help you catch the attention of browsers and drive-bys.

5. Power Wash

Since we see it every day, we don’t often notice dirt and grime building up on the side of our homes. But trust me – your potential buyers will. Many people go years without scrubbing their siding, which leaves it looking cheap and faded.

That’s why blasting your siding with a power washer can be just as effective as a high-cost replacement. While you’re at it, you can point the nozzle at your walkways and patios to wash away inground moss and dirt.

If you don’t own a power washer, you can easily rent one from a hoem store or garden centre.

4. Plant Flowers

Flowers are one of the easiest and cost-effective ways to win over potential buyers. It doesn’t need to be expensive – a few well-placed gardens and potted plants are effective. Visit your local nursery to find out which plants thrive in your area.

Don’t have a green thumb? No worries! You can make a big impression with premade hanging baskets and urns. All you need to do is trim and water them.

3. Wash Those Windows

Have you ever heard the phrase, “The eyes are the window to the soul?”

Well, it’s through your windows that potential buyers get their first peek at the soul of your home. Make sure they have a squeaky-clean view.

2. Upgrade Front Door

Is it welcoming? Does it look safe and secure? The front door is a factor in the overall feel of your home. But if you can’t afford to replace your it, you can make the best of what you have.

You can spruce up your entrance with a fresh coat of paint, new hardware, and a clean doormat. Choose colours and materials that fit your home’s overall style. It’s a subtle change, but it works.

1. Prepare Front Porch

A cozy front porch can be the final push buyers need to schedule a viewing. And if you’ve already followed the previous tips, it’s already poised to succeed.

Make the most of your front porch by cleaning up the deck (that power washer can come in handy), arranging some comfortable porch furniture, and keeping the porch light on at night.

You Missed a Spot: 10 Kitchen Items Everyone Forgets to Clean

It happens to the best of us.

You have company coming over. It’s go time. And you’re not ready.

Perhaps you caught wind of some last-minute guests. Maybe you made plans weeks ago, but work left you no time to clean during the week. Whatever the reason, your kitchen is a mess, and you need to make it *somewhat* presentable in time.

Of course, that’s when we start to cut corners.

We focus our effort on the big-ticket items – the counter tops, the stove, the stainless steel fridge that holds fingerprints like an old-fashioned fridge holds magnets – and forget the little details.

But that’s alright! You’ll get it next time. Just keep these kitchen cleaning tips in mind when you tidy up and you’ll never miss a problem spot again.

10. Ceilings and Corners

In your kitchen, the walls and ceilings get dirty faster than the rest of your home. All those splashes of oil from the stovetop or bits from the blender can get grimy if you leave them alone.

Take time to clean crease, grime, and spilled food from those nooks and crannies.

9. Wall Art

Just as the walls in your kitchen get dirtier, so do the things that adorn them. Smudged glass and dusty frames take away from the beauty of your carefully-selected pieces. Dust off the tops and sides of your frames, then take them down to give the glass a good clean.

Be sure not to spray water or cleaner directly onto the frame, as liquid can seep behind the glass and damage your precious art. Instead, wipe it with a slightly damp cloth.

8. Drapes, Curtains and Blinds

Of course you remember to Windex your windows, but when was the last time the drapes got some attention? Though they may look clean, curtains and other hanging upholstery can trap everything from pollen to dust mites and bacteria.

The next time you clean your windows, take down the coverings and wash them according to the label. You can save time by vacuuming them regularly.

7. Cutting Boards

Whether you use them a little or a lot, it’s very important to sanitize your cutting boards. Both wood and plastic cutting boards can be a major source of cross-contamination.

It’s best to sanitize them with a chlorine bleach solution after each use, but if you can’t find time for that, use a different cutting board for your meats, fruits and vegetables, and other foods.

6. Sponges

Sponges are a haven for bacteria. Washing them with soap and water isn’t enough.

You can kill most of it by heating a moist sponge in a microwave for one minute, or popping them in the dishwasher with a drying cycle. But you should still replace your kitchen sponge frequently, especially if it starts to smell.

5. Ceiling Fans

Ceiling fans usually sit idle during the winter months. That’s when they accumulate mountains of dust bunnies on the upper side of the blades. If you don’t clean them often, you’ll end up with a shower of dust the next time you turn on the fan.

You can easily remove the dust with a warm, soapy cloth. Just be sure to use a stable stepladder to reach those high places.

4. Cabinet Handles and Doors

Kitchen cabinets tend to get grabbed by dirty hands, becoming a hot spot for – you guessed it – bacteria.

You can thwart these tiny pests by disinfecting knobs and handles every so often. If the cabinet hides something messy, like a garbage bin or dog food, you should wipe down the inside of the doors as well.

3. Garbage Can

Sure, you take out the trash every week. You know not to leave dirty bits and pieces on the bottom of the can. But your kitchen garbage can will still accumulate grime.

If you garbage can smells bad even when empty, it’s time to give it a thorough clean with a disinfectant and odour cleaner.

2. Dishwasher

Who washes the dishwasher? You do – or at least you’re supposed to. The filter gets clogged with food debris and soap scum, and the sides are marred by hard water deposits. Neglect it for too long and you’ll have mold.

Luckily, cleaning the dishwasher is a fairly simple process.

1. Small Appliances

Perhaps the most neglected corners of our kitchens lay with our humble appliances. We love our toaster, blender, and coffee maker, but rarely do we remember to clean them inside-out.

To keep your food tasting fresh (not funky), be sure to clean your little appliances when you clean the oven and stove top.