Furnishing Your Home on a Budget

Are you a first-time homeowner or someone looking to redecorate the place you’ve lived for years? Do you want to do this without breaking the bank? Then you’ve come to the right place!
Buying a house is expensive, but the upkeep is even more expensive. When it comes to turning that house into a home, putting a budget into place is vital. Achieving the cozy, beautiful home of your dreams is attainable – and on a budget, no less. Here’s how:

  • Know what pieces you want to invest in and what pieces you don’t. Typically, sofas, mattresses, and dining room tables are the items you shouldn’t skimp out on. These items will be used frequently, so they need to be able to withstand wear and tear. Accessories, like lighting and picture frames, are items do not need to take up a large chunk of your budget. These are items you can hunt for on a bargain. Check local thrift shops, craft stores, and yard sales for unique deals!
  • Ask around for hand-me-downs. Is anyone in your family getting rid of a gently used couch, chair or end table? Most of the time, you can acquire furniture from your friends and family for a really low price, or even better – free! If you don’t have the money to invest in the larger items, it’s definitely a good idea to see what the people you know have laying around. This frees you up to save more for something new.
  • Hunt for antiques. You probably won’t find a sofa you adore at a garage sale or flea market, but you can definitely find unique items to spruce up your place. From old trunks and chests, to books, trinkets, and artwork, you can find unique items in the most unexpected places. As an added bonus, these items won’t put a major dent in your budget.
  • Shop Craig’s List. It’s a great marketplace for people looking for affordable furniture, but it’s important to proceed with caution. Most of the time people listing their items on there are moving or looking for a quick way to get rid of something they no longer need. This leaves you open to potentially negotiating with the seller.
  • Take on a DIY project. As of early 2017, there were about 150 million active users on Pinterest. This platform is the home for all things DIY. If you are looking for new ways to decorate your home on a budget, this is the place to find all of the best ideas. Search through the billions of pins to find projects that meet your budget requirements and design aesthetic. The only thing you have to lose is the time you spend once your sucked into your favorite boards!

Furnishing your home on a budget can be simple! For more tips on how to decorate your home on a budget, reach out to Sherry Compton, a Sumter interior decorator.

Did you know that 90% of the dust in our homes comes from people and fabric? It makes sense, then, that our homes accumulate a lot of dust during the winter months when we’re couped up inside trying to stay warm. Discover the best ways to keep dust from piling up in your home this winter:

  • Dust, dust, dust! Dust allergens can cause nasal flare ups and general discomfort. To avoid this headache, make a habit of dusting at least once a week during the winter. When you dust, start from the top of the room (high shelving or ceiling fans) and work your way down (table tops and flooring) to ensure you clear away a majority of dust particles. Once you’ve wiped surfaces down, vacuum to remove any dust that may have fallen and settled on the floor.
  • Have a professional handle it. Having your carpeted flooring steam cleaned is a safe and effective way to remove excess dirt that has built up over the winter months. After your cleaning, make sure you vacuum often to keep floors clean, especially in high traffic areas.
  • Keep your home organized. Jennifer Jones, an interior designer in Conroe, TX, says that the best way to combat dust buildup is to maintain a neat and tidy home. Keep spaces in your home dust free by removing clutter from shelving and countertops. Dust is attracted to clutter, so stow things in cabinets, closets, or drawers when you’re not using them. Keep items that are used daily out and easily accessible, and wipe them down as needed to remove dust buildup.
  • Change your bedding at least once a week. Your bed might feel cozy and warm, but dust bunnies can quickly multiply if you don’t keep your bedding clean. Sheets and blankets collect skin flakes and pajama fibers, all major contributors to dust buildup. Wash your sheets and pillowcases weekly to prevent dust accumulation.
  • Swap out your air filter regularly. Bust dust by changing your home’s heating system air filter out once a month. You can find reusable options that require a quick rinse or purchase disposable ones reasonably cheap at your local hardware store. These filters control the levels of dust by filtering the air that is pumped through your heating system. A clean filter means cleaner air!

Dedicate some time once a week to eliminating dust in your home. For more dust-eliminating tips, reach out to the interior protection pros at TuffWrap.

Holiday Home Furnishings


The holiday season gives us a reason to celebrate with loved ones, get stuffed on food, and for some of us, refurbish our home! While the Christmas season does demand festive decorations, we may also want to consider purchasing new furniture to accommodate our guests. Before you start spending, consider these options to make sure you’re catering to your specific gathering needs:

Dining Room

The dining room table is considered the centerpiece of every home during the holiday gatherings. Factor in these elements to make sure your dining room is both stylish and comfortable for your guests to feast:

  • Shape. The key to deciding on the appropriate shape for your table is to know the number of guests you’re expecting. Rounded tables provide a more intimate setting for small gatherings. However, it can have an opposite effect with larger groups – a round table that’s too big may leave your guests struggling to hold a conversation across the table. For a seating of 12, a rectangular table would be most practical. Oval tables fare well with medium-sized groups, while square or rounded tables work best with small groups. If you can, find an expandable table that allows you to remove its leaves to best serve gatherings of various sizes.
  • Style. The style of your table should match the overall style of your dining room. According to the experts of Cape Coral, FL painters, pairing the right furniture with the right wall color is the key. Antique-style furniture creates a more historical setting for your dining room while showcasing beautiful craftsmanship and pairs well with richly toned colors, like burgundy or navy. If your room is more contemporary, we suggest opting for a glass or marble tabletop in a room painted in lighter hues. When choosing materials, mahogany and walnut provide a formal appearance while oak, while cherry and pine give a casual and relaxed feel.

Living Room Furniture

Does your living room look uninspiring and in need of a makeover? Before you head over to the furniture store, make sure you get these things in check:

  • Measure your room. Take note of the length and width of the room.
  • Devise a floor plan. Sketch a few different plans to determine how much space you’ll need for holiday furniture.
  • Check the size of doorways. The last thing you want is to find out your newly bought furniture can’t fit through the doors. Make sure you measure your doorways accurately.
  • Consider how the room is used. If you plan to have your guests gather in this room during a party instead of staying in the dining room, consider increasing the number of furnishings you buy.
  • Determine the space for your Christmas tree. What is Christmas without a classic old Christmas tree? Make sure you set a space for your tree while leaving additional space on the ground for presents.

Once you’ve gone to the store and bought your furniture, it’s time to arrange it!

  • Sense of entry. Make your rooms open and welcoming to your guests by setting an easy path for them to walk through it. There should be a clear path that separates the seating areas and dining areas. This way, separate conversations can take place on each side.
  • Intimacy. If you have a large living room, consider arranging your furniture into small groups. Your guests can sit down in clusters to engage in conversation instead of having to lean over the coffee table to talk.
  • Forget about television. Television can be a means to relax at times, but for holiday parties, it actually serves as a diversion from good conversations. Rearrange your furniture so it faces the opposite direction and fosters conversation between guests.
  • Allow foot traffic. Don’t forget to leave some space between furniture to allow for pathways. By allowing enough space for foot traffic, our guests will be able to circulate your rooms with ease.

This time of year can be stressful if you’re not well-prepared for the heavy traffic of family and friends in your house. However, don’t let that ruin your holiday mood. With the right setting, you and your guests can focus comfortably on what really counts  – each other!

Stain Removal Solutions

Owning a home is guaranteed to come with a fair share of messes. Sometimes, cleaning up can be a breeze. Other times, messes create set-in stains that require more work to remove. While there isn’t one cure-all solution to removing stains, you can treat specific stains with the right information and cleaning supplies.

The following cleaning keywords are mentioned throughout this guide. For reference, here are their definitions and/or instructions on how to make these cleaning solutions:

  • Tepid Water – A mix of two parts cold water to one part boiling water, also known as luke-warm water.
  • Tamp – To press lightly on an area, usually with a soft-bristle brush.
  • Enzyme Detergent – These types of detergent contain enzymes that are a type of protein that enables effective cleaning at lower temperatures. Common enzymes in detergents include Amylase (for starch stains), Lipase (for fat and oil stains), Protease (for protein stains), and Cellulose (for organic matter).
  • Washing Soda – When baking soda is heated to a high temperature, it breaks down to become washing soda. To make your own, simply heat baking soda on a shallow pan in the oven at 400 degrees for 30 minutes. The baking soda will turn from its powdery, crystallized, salt-like state into a grainy, dull powder of individual grains that can be used in a number of cleaning applications.

Removing Stains From Clothing

When it comes to clothing stains, acting as quickly as possible will yield the best results.  Any type of liquid stain on clothing should be treated gently. Regardless of what caused the stain, start removing it by blotting up any excess liquid with a cloth, working from the outside-in so as to avoid spreading the stain. To remove the stain completely, determine what caused the stain first to take the best course of action.

  • Grease (Butter, Oil, Mayo): Use a dry solvent to treat the stained area, then rinse with isopropyl alcohol. Allow time for the garment to dry. Spray the remaining residue with diluted dishwashing soap, then soak the garment in an enzyme detergent before machine washing.
  • Fruit/Vegetable Juice: Remove sugars from the garment by spraying the area with diluted dish soap. To remove any remaining color, use an eyedropper to flush the stain with white vinegar and/or hydrogen peroxide. Finally, soak the garment in an enzyme detergent prior to machine washing.
  • Red Wine: Spray diluted dish soap onto the stain and use a soft-bristle brush to tamp the area. Be sure to brush softly to avoid pilling the material. Then, apply white vinegar and tamp again. After a few minutes, rinse the area with water. If the stain persists, try using hydrogen peroxide or ammonia, then treat with an enzyme detergent and machine wash regularly.
  • White Wine: Unlike red wine, white wine is much easier to remove. Flush the area with cold water, then use a diluted dish soap solution to treat the area. Follow up with a soak in enzyme detergent, then wash the garment normally.
  • Coffee/Tea: Remove the stain by using an eye dropper to flush the area with lemon juice or white vinegar. If there was sugar or milk in the beverage, treat with a diluted dish detergent and then an enzyme detergent prior to washing to help remove any residue.
  • Mustard: Remove excess mustard from the garment, dabbing to prevent spreading the stain. Use vinegar to flush the stain, then hand-wash carefully with a diluted dish soap solution.
  • Sauce (Ketchup, BBQ): Wipe away excess sauce, then spray on a diluted dish detergent. Soak in tepid water, then treat with enzyme detergent, and wash normally.
  • Soy Sauce: Spray the stained area with diluted dish soap, then tamp lightly with a soft-bristle brush. Flush with water and white vinegar and continue to tamp the affected area. If the stain persists, use a drop or two of ammonia, then flush with water. Finish the job by  treating the area with an enzyme detergent and washing normally.
  • Vinaigrette: Treat these types of stains as you would a grease stain, then flush with white vinegar to remove any excess stain. Wash normally using an enzyme detergent.
  • Paint: For latex-based paints, the experts of Humble painters say that it’s important to act quickly. Start by scraping away excess paint with a spoon. Blot the area with dish detergent and water, then rinse away the solution. Repeat this process until the stain is removed. For oil-based paints, do not use water! Instead, use oil-paint solvents, like Distilled Turpentine, to safely remove oil paint stains. Simply spray the area with the solution and rub against the stain to remove it. Once the paint has been removed, soak the garment in warm water and dish detergent to remove excess grease.
  • Ink: Set-in ink stains are almost impossible to remove, so working on an ink stain as soon as possible is always the best course of action. Avoid blotting the area, and never rub the stain, as this can spread the ink. Barring that the ink has not set in, rubbing alcohol will work to remove the stain. Dab a cotton ball soaked with rubbing alcohol onto the stain. To prevent worsening the stain, use a fresh cotton ball once the ink has transferred from the garment to the cotton ball or sponge. Rinse the garment with water and allow it to dry, then wash it normally.
  • Blood (Protein): Spray the blood stain with diluted dish soap and allow time for it to soak. Rinse in tepid water and wash normally with enzyme detergent if necessary. Be sure to use cold water when dealing with blood stains; warm water can cause the blood to coagulate and spread, making the stain worse.
  • Urine: Fill a sink or bucket large enough to fit the garment with 2 parts hot water, 1 part cold water, and 1 part white vinegar. Soak the stained area for up to 45 minutes, then wash normally. Air dry the garment to ensure the stain is gone.

To learn more about removing specific types of stains from your clothing, use this stain removal chart as a reference.

Removing Stains From Flooring          

Spills are bound to happen in your home, whether you’re entertaining guests or have a house full of toddlers. As with all stains, the best way to remove a stain from any type of flooring is to first know what caused the stain. Use this guide to treat the type of flooring you have in your home with the right stain removal method.

  • Carpets: The most common carpet stains include juice, pet stains, coffee, blood, and ink. To remove these stains, a mixture of water, dish detergent, and white vinegar will usually do the trick. The vinegar will work to neutralize any odors, while the soapy water will work to remove the stain from the carpet fibers. Regardless of the cause of the stain, always remember to blot away any excess first, then blot the area with cleanser, and repeat as necessary until the stain is gone.
    • For pet stains specifically, it’s best to use a commercial cleaner designed specifically to work on those types of stains and remove any set-in odors.
    • For blood stains, it’s important to use a mixture of cold water and soap. Cold water will prevent the blood from coagulating and spreading, which can cause the stain to spread and sink deeper into carpet fibers.
    • With ink stains, alcohol works best. Blot the area with a cloth soaked in alcohol to prevent the ink from spreading. Allow the area to dry, then vacuum away any excess.
    • To remove water- and latex-based paints from carpeting, remove excess paint first, then a solution of dish detergent and water and a soft-bristle brush to remove the stain completely. For oil-based paint stains, remove the excess paint first, then use a solvent like Distilled Turpentine cleanse the carpet of the paint.
  • Hardwood: Removing stains from hardwood poses the threat of water soaking into the wood, which can cause it to rot. Conversely, using harsh cleaners can strip the wood of its finish, causing it to dull. The best way to remove stains from hardwood is to use a homemade cleaning solution.
    • Rubbing the area with a damp cloth soaked in warm water will remove most stains from pets, blood, juice, and other sticky substances, like candy. Be sure that the cloth is not dripping wet when you use it to prevent excess water from soaking into the floor. For more stubborn stains, try using a cloth dampened with vinegar or iodine.
    • To remove pet stains from hardwood, create a paste of white vinegar and baking soda. Layer this onto the affected area, and let it stand until it dries completely. Wipe up any excess paste to leave your hardwood floors refreshed.
    • To remove paint stains from hardwood flooring, wipe or scrape away any excess paint first. Then, soak a rag in rubbing alcohol and use this to wipe away paint.
  • Tile: Contrary to popular belief, tile flooring can stain like any other flooring. For most tile floor stains, an all-purpose cleaner or any kind of tub-tile cleanser will work.
    • For stains like blood, coffee, tea, or juices, blot the area with hydrogen peroxide or diluted bleach for easy cleanup.
    • To remove surface stains from gummy or waxy substances, place a bag of ice cubes over the area to harden the material. Scrape the area with a non-abrasive tool to remove the stain.
    • For stains caused by grease or fatty substances, rub the surface with club soda to break down the fat, then wipe away the excess with an all-purpose cleaner.
    • For dried-on nail polish stains in bathrooms or powder rooms, simply use nail polish remover to wipe the stain away.
    • For paint stains on tile, it’s best to use a commercial paint remover and a cloth. Wipe the surface with this solution, and scrub with a soft-bristle brush if necessary.

To learn more about removing specific types of stains from your flooring, use this stain removal chart as a reference.

Removing Stains From Walls

Walls can become stained just like clothing and flooring. Because wall staining is so rare, not many people know how clean these types of messes. It’s important to dust walls prior to using any type of cleaning solution on the surface, as dust can quickly mix with these solutions and cause an even bigger problem. To make wall stain-removal even easier, use two buckets – one for the cleaning solution, and one for clean water to rinse the walls with.

  • Food: Commercial cleansers, like the all-purpose “Magic Erasers” work well, but if used to scrub a wall too harshly, they can strip the paint from the surface. Luckily, it doesn’t take much to make your own stain-removal solution to remove food stains from your walls. Use dish soap and warm water to safely and effectively remove food stains.
  • Beverages: Sticky soda spills can do major damage to your walls. To remove stains caused by carbonated beverages, combine 1 gallon of water, 1/2 cup of ammonia, 1/4 cup of washing soda, and a 1/4 cup of white vinegar in a bucket. Use this mixture to wash the soda residue from the wall, working from the bottom up to prevent further staining. Rinse the solution from the wall with clean water and a clean cloth, then dry the walls with a fan.
  • Dirt & Grime: Mix 1 cup of ammonia with 1/2 cup of white vinegar and 1/4 cup of baking soda in your cleaning solution bucket. Add this mixture to a gallon of warm water, then wipe your walls with a sponge or cloth to remove caked on stains from dirt and grime.
  • Arts & Crafts: When kids get their hands on crayons, markers, pens, and other non-erasable writing tools, you’re bound to find some markings on your walls. For crayon marks, sprinkle baking soda onto a damp sponge, then lightly scrub the wall surface to remove the crayon. For permanent marker stains, use a cotton ball soaked in rubbing alcohol to dab the stain. For ink stains, try using nail polish remover.

To learn more about removing specific types of stains from your walls, use this stain removal chart as a reference.

These stain removal tips brought to you by Sherry Anne Interiors, a Temecula, CA interior decorator.

Redesigning Your Living Room

Your living room is often the first space your friends and family see when they enter your home. It is a space for entertaining, lounging, and enjoying. Discover how you can easily and efficiently turn your living room into the lounge space of your dreams! Ask yourself the following questions to create a plan for your living room redesign.

  • What will you use the area for? The first and most important consideration you need to address – how the room will be used. A family of four will utilize a living room a lot differently than a young newlywed couple. Once the room has a purpose, you’ll be better equipped to determine the types of furnishings and accessories the space needs.
  • What are the measurements of the space? Take measurements of your living room from wall-to-wall. Measure the windows and doorways and any built-in structural elements the room has, like a fireplace, as well. This will allow you to create a workable floor plan.
  • What is your budget? Outline what you have to spend on your living room. Include every aspect, from furniture, to paint color, to any additional services the room might require, like carpet installation or floor staining. From there, you’ll be able to create your wants and needs list.
  • What do you need? More importantly, what do you want? When designing any part of your home, it’s important to think about your needs and wants. Once you have your measurements, you’ll be able to get a more accurate idea of the types of furniture and accessories you can fit into the space. For the living room in particular, you’ll need to include the basics, like a sofa, armchair, and coffee table. If your living room has the space, then you can consider adding extra accent items, whether it’s a decorative side table or an accent chair. Once furnishings have been addressed, you can consider your wants, like an elaborate chandelier or a festive accent plant.
  • Are there room for upgrades? If you have wiggle room in your budget, allocate those funds to upgrades! Whether it’s the more expensive paint option that doesn’t require a primer coat or an electronic furnishing, these minor upgrades can make a major difference in the design and comfort levels of your living room.
  • Have you settled on a theme? When you’re designing your living room, it’s important to choose a style and stick to it. According to the design experts at Colorado Springs painters , knowing your theme will guide you when it comes to choosing furniture, accent pieces, decor, window treatments, and even paint color. For instance, if you want to create an eclectic look, mix and match furniture textures. If you want more of an old-world style, opt for bulky wooden pieces with elaborate carvings. Defining the space with a particular style will help you tie the overall design together.
  • Have you focused enough on the living aspect? When designing any space in your home, it comes down to your personal tastes. As long as you feel comfortable in the space you have created, you’ve done your part. If you’ve filled the room with breakable vases, stiff chairs, and other elements that make the room feel cold and un-inviting to your guests. When you’re done with your redesign, give your living room a comfort test! If you’re happy with the furniture, color scheme, and decorative accents, you’ve done your job.

Decorating your living room should be a fun and exciting experience! When you’re done, you’ll be able to enjoy a space that you personally hand-crafted. Follow this sage advice to create the living room of your dreams!

This post brought to you by Westway Electric Supply, and online retailer of electrical supplies, components, and parts.