Creating A Baby-Safe Playroom

When your baby gets old enough to move around on their own and decide which toys they’re going to entertainment themselves with, it’s time to designate a space in your home for them to play. Doing so will not only protect your baby from injury, but it will help keep your home organized as well. Here’s how you can transform a room in your home into the perfect play space for your baby.

  • Choose the right room. The ideal playroom will be in an area of your home that doesn’t have access to stairs. Designate a room on the ground floor to be the play space. This will serve as a catch-all for your baby’s toys, helping to keep the rest of your home organized, as well as a space you can dedicate time and resources to transforming into a neutral, baby-proof zone.
  • Keep furniture at a minimum. Furnishings should be as low to the ground as possible to avoid tipping issues. Many children can be injured or even killed in furniture tipping accidents. To ensure furniture never tips over, anchor large pieces to the wall with L-brackets. This will give the furniture the strength to withstand the weight of your child should they decide to climb the shelves or hang onto any ledges the furniture has. Find more information on anchoring furniture here. The less there is for your baby to bump, scrape, or bruise themselves against, the better!
  • Cover electrical outlets. You can use traditional plastic coverings or invest in the outlets that come equipped with the automatic coverings. Whichever route you take, these coverings will prevent your baby from sticking their fingers or unwanted objects into the outlets and causing electric shock.
  • Maintain cleanliness. A sanitary play space is a safe play space. Even a thin layer of dust can end up in your curious baby’s mouth. Clean the playroom on a regular basis, using microfiber cloths to wipe surfaces and vacuuming the floor to remove debris. Sanitize toys on the top rack of your dishwasher to remove any surface germs, especially after play dates.
  • Give your baby a soft landing. The flooring of your baby’s playroom should be carpeted. This is the softest surface for your baby to crawl, tumble, and occasionally topple over on. From broadloom to plush, you’ll find carpeting in a variety of styles and colors to match your existing home decor. If you prefer the look of hardwood, use foam mats and a baby gate to designate a safe, soft play area.
  • Always supervise. Whenever your baby is at play, an adult should always be present, whether it’s a parent, a responsible sibling, or babysitter. This will help ensure baby doesn’t get into anything they aren’t supposed to and limit their chances of climbing on furniture or playing with outlets.

With the right planning, designing a neat and stylish playroom that is safe for your baby is easy. For more decorating tips for your baby’s playroom, reach out to Janet Bertin, an Arlington interior decorator.

How To Remove Crayon From Surfaces

Is there a toddler running around your house? If the answer is yes, the chances of having a work of art drawn on your walls, flooring, furniture or clothing is rather high. Children like to express themselves in any way that they can – this includes using their art supplies on your home’s surfaces. In honor of National Crayon Month, we rounded up the best ways to remove crayon from surfaces around your home. just in case your child’s masterpiece ends up somewhere other than their paper.

Here’s how to remove crayon from the following surfaces:

  • Walls: The experts of Englewood, FL painters recommend heating the crayon marks with a blow dryer. Next, use a wet, soapy wash cloth and scrub the surface. If this doesn’t work, make a paste of equal parts baking soda and water and scrub the stain with the paste. Another tried and true method is Mr. Clean Magic Erasers. Though it’s not DIY, it still works wonders and can be used on multiple surfaces and for various stains. Use with caution – scrubbing too hard can remove the paint from your walls.
  • Hardwood Floors: There are a few solutions for removing crayon from hardwood floors. One option is to use mineral spirits. This is a type of solvent used for cleaning grease and grime, but it works well with crayons on hardwood floors, too. You can also use Goo Gone, which cleans up stains and sticky substances. If you don’t have mineral spirits or Goo Gone available, scrub the area with dishwashing detergent and water.
  • Countertops: One of the easiest ways to remove crayon from your countertops is to spray an all-purpose cleaner on the stain and scrub away. Once again, warm water and dish soap or a Magic Eraser will also do the trick.
  • Carpets:  Start by removing crayon from your carpet by scraping off as much of the wax as you can. Follow that with a carpet cleaner. You can also place a paper towel over the stain and heat it with a blow dryer. Any spots that aren’t absorbed into the paper towel can be dabbed with hydrogen peroxide.
  • Clothes: Similar to the carpet, first scrape off as much as you can. Then, throw the clothes in the wash on a high setting. If there’s an entire pile of crayon covered clothes, wash the load with hot water using laundry soap and one cup of baking soda.
  • Furniture: As an interior decorator in Englewood Cliffs, NJ, Laura Maxwell has seen it all when it comes to furniture stains, particularly amongst families with young children. Like other fabric based surfaces, start with a scraping. Then make a mixture of dish soap and warm water. Use a brush to scrub the stain away.

When removing any crayon marking, make sure to test a small hidden space with your desired cleaning method to make sure it’s not going to further damage the surface. A little elbow grease goes a long way when removing crayons from surfaces. Most methods are DIY, saving you a fortune on home cleaning costs! Remember these tips the next time your child’s masterpiece ends up somewhere other than the drawing board.

How You Should Be Choosing Patio Furniture

No matter the season, having a place to sit and relax outside of your home has many benefits. You get to breathe fresh air, up your Vitamin D intake, reduce stress and generally feel happier. The patio is the perfect space to optimize for maximum outdoor comfort and pleasure. When designing your patio, there are few things to consider throughout the process. Furniture is at the top of that list! After all, it’s what transforms your patio into the ultimate place to relax. Here are tips on choosing patio furniture:

  • Think about the elements. When purchasing patio furniture, keep Mother Nature in mind. Rain can cause metals like wrought iron to rust. Dry air can cause wood to splinter, and the wind can cause light items to blow away.  To avoid these problems, consider your geographic area and the bones of the furniture you’re going to invest in, as well as any cushions or pillows. Look for fabrics that can withstand different weather conditions so you don’t always have to run outside and bring them into the house.
  • Make sure it’s comfortable. There’s nothing worse than sitting down to unwind and not actually being able to because of the furniture. With that in mind, a good rule to follow is: make hard things soft. No matter what type of chairs, benches, or chaises you buy, get cushions to accompany them. Whether you’re lounging in the sun or enjoying a meal al fresco, you’ll want comfort to be a priority.
  • Look for more possibilities. If you don’t have a garage, shed or room anywhere inside your house to store the furniture, think about ways the patio furniture itself can act as a storage unit. An easy solution is a bench or ottoman with a removable top. Inside you can store cushions and accessories when it’s raining or during the offseason. Place cushions on top and you have extra seating too!
  • Don’t be afraid of color. While most of your chairs and tables will come in black, white or a neutral color, you can incorporate pops of color in the cushions, pillows, and rugs. Look for bright solids or fun patterns that go with the vibes of the rest of your home. You can also use the colors of the nature surrounding you to compliment the decor. Surrounded by greenery? Throw some red in the furniture. Is your view an ocean or lake? Nautical patterns are perfect!
  • Invest in UV protection. Have you ever stepped outside for a moment only to wind up sitting out there for hours? In times like these, it’s easy to forget sunscreen. Make sure you invest in a sturdy umbrella or awning for those spontaneous moments or particularly sunny days. Even when it’s scorching outside, a little shade will go a long way.

Your patio is your outdoor oasis. When it comes to choosing your patio furniture, weather resistance and comfort are key factors to take into consideration. For more help designing your patio, contact Mimi Wilson, a Northern Virginia interior decorator.

Designing Your Bedroom To Promote Better Sleep

Did you know that how you style our bedroom can actually affect your ability to have a good night’s sleep? Our quality of life is dependent on the quality of our interior spaces. It is important that we take care in designing our spaces thoughtfully, with an emphasis on our bedrooms. These 3 secrets will help you create a bedroom that promotes a better night’s sleep.

Allow Darkness. Lights communicate to your brain that it is time to wake up, so keeping your room dark is one of the main foundations to promoting better sleep. If you live in an area where there is a lot of light pollution or an area where your bedroom windows face the rising sun, invest in light-eliminating curtains to block out lights and activity that would otherwise cause anxiety and distraction. It’s important to eliminate as much light as possible in the bedroom. This includes the glow of our electronic devices. Many of us use our phones as our alarm clocks, but the light from our phones can also be disturbing to our sleep cycles. Try an analog or vintage alarm clock rather than your cell phone. Coming out of a deep sleep to the brightness of your phone can be damaging to your vision.

Similarly, televisions in the bedroom can be a distracting light source for your sleep cycle. Use an armoire to conceal your television while it is not being used. While it can be comforting to fall asleep with the TV on, the light from the monitor can disrupt your sleep pattern. If you absolutely need the television on to fall asleep, set a timer so it turns off automatically, or replace the habit completely with soothing music or a sleep meditation recording. In addition, use soft lighting in your bedroom. Try investing in bedside lamps with low wattage light bulbs to avoid the use of overhead lighting during the night. Bright lights remind the brain of wake time, and it is important to enhance and promote the feeling of sleep time.

Clear Clutter. Too much clutter can disturb your ability to have a good night’s sleep. Always keep your work out of the bedroom to promote relaxation and peace. The more your bedroom promotes a  feeling of leisure, the more it will actually feel like a luxurious place. Keep household items like your laundry basket in a closet or other enclosed area. Leaving clothes around the room can remind one of daily tasks and chores that need to be done. By neatly enclosing these items in a designated place, you’ll eliminate the look and feel of a clustered space. The same goes for all of your personal items. Clothing, jewelry, and accessories should all have a place. Keeping your items organize will promote a feeling of an organized life.

Color palette. Soothing colors can actually promote relaxation and enhance your ability to fall asleep and feel calm. Muted earth tones, such as blues, creams and greens, are ideal colors for bedrooms, according to the experts of Aurora painters. Try to avoid bright and loud colors in your bedroom to create a more restful atmosphere. Pale gray is the perfect color for bedrooms. It creates a sense of balance in any kind of lighting, plus it plays well with accent colors like lavender, pale pink, and cool blue. Use these hues in your bedroom accessories like your comforter and wall art to create the ultimate relaxing space.

Sleep is an important and sacred part of our everyday life that benefits both our physical and mental health. The better sleep we get, the better we feel throughout our day. Simple design concepts, like light, color, and organization, create the foundation for the perfect night’s sleep. By utilizing these tips, you too can promote a better and healthier sleep for yourself. For more relaxing bedroom decorating tips, contact Angie Lowry, a Smithfield, VA interior designer.

Uses For Duct Tape

If you don’t have a roll of duct tape lying around your house, you’re missing out on a major problem solver. Duct tape is one of the cheapest, easiest, DIY-problem solvers for many household troubles. It is one of the most versatile items on the planet with many uses. Think about it – what household item can you use to fix a leak and make a prom dress? Duct tape can save the day on many different levels, multiple times per day. Discover how you can use duct tape to solve your everyday issues around the house:

Fix a leak, any leak. Do you have a leaky faucet, plumbing, or hose? Is there a hole in your tire? Duct tape is a great temporary fix that will keep you up and running until you can have a professional come out and make the repair.

Decorate anything! Instead of repainting a wall or staining a wood surface, use duct tape for a colorful update. You can find duct tape comes in many different colors and patterns aside from its usual silver. It’s also a great replacement for painter’s tape. If you’re completing a paint project and lack painter’s tape, Evanston painters recommend using duct tape to achieve clean lines and stop paint from bleeding.

Create a roof shingle. Did a nasty storm blow through your area and take some of your roof shingles with it? For a quick fix, make a temporary shingle out of duct tape and plywood. Whip out your measuring tape to make sure the shingle will fit in place. You will eventually have to replace the duct tape shingle, but it’s good in a pinch until you can have a professional install a new one.

Patch a tear or crack. From broken windows to rips in furniture and tears in clothes, there isn’t anything duct tape can’t patch up. Whenever you find a hole in your window screen, a crack in your plastic trash can, or a hole in your swimming pool liner, bring duct tape to the rescue.

Secure (or make your own) cords. If you find yourself in need of a rope or cord, you can twist duct tape into a sturdy solution. If you have a bunch of electronic chords scattered haphazardly across a wood surface in your home, tape them down so they aren’t exposed.

Fix your siding. Vinyl siding can easily get punctured and damaged. Thanks to the various colors of duct tape, finding one that matches your home’s siding and temporarily repairing the damage has never been so easy.

Reinforce and repair. Surely you have a few accessories and decorations around the house that tend to fall apart. The binding of old books can come undone, picture frames can break, and lamps can crack. Use duct tape to reinforce and repair these breaks until you can purchase something new.

If you have a problem, duct tape can solve it. Don’t let that roll go to waste in your tool box or junk drawer. Before you go to make a repair or replace an object that is damaged, buy yourself time and let duct tape save the day.

Decorating With Plants

When you think of home design, your mind probably wanders to paint color palettes, patterned drapes, and accent rugs. Our friends at Clark Team Designs, a group of interior decorators in Carmel, say it’s important to think outside of the box when it comes to accessorizing your home.

Plants and flowers are an amazing way to accessorize throughout your home. Whether you’re looking for a solution to that boring bedside lamp you can’t get rid of or simply want to breathe new life into your kitchen, plants are the answer. In celebration of National Decorating Month, here’s a closer look at the best ways to work plants into your home design:

  • Simple Succulents. These small, low-maintenance plants you can work into any room in your home. If you don’t have a green thumb, start with a few well-placed succulents like Mistletoe Cactus, Jade, or Aloe plants in your kitchen window or in your home office. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes, some with small, rounded leaves other with lengthy, pointed ones. Choose the succulents that speak to you!
  • Trouble-free Trees. Incorporating a tree into your home decor can help generate oxygen in your home, deter illness, and even help you be more productive. Weeping Figs, Rubber Figs, and Ficus trees are all excellent indoor tree options. Expert tip – keep the potted tree on a small platform with wheels. When it comes time to clean, you’ll be able to move your greenery around furniture and out of the way. If you’re looking for a smaller option, consider a Bonsai tree to store on your desk.
  • Painless Plants. Choose plants that are going to thrive in the home environment you can provide. If you live in Fargo, you’re not going to be able to keep a palm tree alive in your kitchen! Instead, opt for Phalaenopsis plants, like Orchids. They require a lot of humidity, making them excellent additions to any kind of bathroom decor. No matter where you live, your orchid will absorb all of the moisture in the room whenever you shower.
  • Tiny Topiaries. These artfully-shaped plants are the perfect accessory to any home design style. Topiaries offer that classical feel without all the fuss. They don’t require direct sunlight so they can live anywhere in your home. Use them as a living centerpiece in your dining room or as an eye-catching accessory on the end tables in your living room. Shop your local nursery to find the topiaries that work for your home.

If you’re not comfortable with maintaining live plants in your home or you’re housing small children or pets, you can always find faux plants at your local craft or big-box store. Dress up your home with plants this spring!

Household Items You Always Forget to Clean

 

For most people, regularly scheduled house cleaning varies. Some homeowners choose to tackle everything in one day, while others clean bit by bit throughout the week. No matter what your style of cleaning is, there are definitely items you have never cleaned laying around your home. These items can carry a disturbing amount of germs and dirt, so familiarize yourself with these items and add them to the to-clean list!

  • Remote. These are a breeding ground for germs and bacteria. Think about how many hands have touched your remote, as well as the cracks and crevices dirt and germs can creep into. Remotes are often overlooked when it comes to cleaning, so take a quick second to run a disinfecting wipe across the entire remote.
  • Washing Machine. If you notice that your clothes are no longer getting a fresh clean scent after doing laundry, your machine probably needs to be washed! Many people forget that even these need regular cleaning so that they can continue to clean laundry effectively. You can find disinfectant packets to run through your washer at local big box stores like Target and Walmart. 
  • Coffee Maker. Whether you have a traditional full-pot maker or a single brew machine, it needs to be cleaned regularly. These machines are susceptible to mold growth, particularly in the interior parts that are difficult to see.  Take apart your machine and give it a deep clean. Once this is done, run a few pots/cups of hot water and vinegar to ensure its safe to start brewing again.
  • Throw Pillow. These decorative pillows on either your bed or couch are the main attraction for dust, dirt, food, dead skin etc., especially if you have guests often that come in contact with them.Make sure to give them some attention next time you are cleaning!
  • Dish Rack. Often forgot about, dish racks are prone to mildew growth from all of the excess water and runoff left after cleaning your dishes. If you have a durable dish rack, run it through your dishwasher for a deep clean. If you have a wood or bamboo rack, soak it in a solution of soap and water and allow ample drying time before using it again. 
  • Toothbrush Holder. This is one of the biggest breeding grounds for bacteria that is always overlooked by people. Next time you clean your bathroom, clean inside of your toothbrush holder thoroughly. 
  • Cleaning Supplies. No one ever thinks to clean the things that do the cleaning! There are tons of bacteria built up in your vacuum, mops, sponges and feather dusters. Replace sponges and dust rags regularly. Use throw-away mops, like Swiffer, to prevent the buildup of germs on a traditional mop. As for your vacuum, follow the manufacturer recommendations for cleaning.

Don’t neglect these items when it comes to cleaning your home! 

This post brought to you by Mooney’s Moving, expert Bucks County movers.

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!