Modern Living Room Decorations

Living Room Wall Decorations

The living room usually serves as the central meeting area in the home. This is where your family gathers at the end of a long day and where you entertain guests when they come to visit. The decor of this room should reflect your personal style and tastes, as well as how you want your friends and family to perceive your home. A modern living room should be welcoming and functional, while emphasizing space and color. Modern decor is a great way to give your home a sophisticated feel.

Color

  • Modern decor emphasizes bold splashes of color set against a neutral background. The walls and floors should be white, off-white or gray. You can then continue this neutral theme with white or black furniture. Add color in the form of bright throw pillows, rugs, art and accessories. If you need a little more color in your room, consider a brightly colored couch with black and white throw pillows instead. To get the same effect with colored walls, your furniture and accents should all remain black or white, which can offer fewer options for accessories.

Furniture

  • The hallmark of modern decor and design is sleek, functional furniture with strong, smooth lines. When it comes to seating, however, you should keep comfort in mind as well. Try to avoid sacrificing a comfortable couch for an ultra-modern design. Glass coffee tables and end tables work well with a modern decor. Black or white furniture is better than a wood finish with this style. Rather than hiding your electronics in a cabinet, feel free to leave your big screen TV and other gadgets on display, as long as the cords are well concealed and nothing looks cluttered.

Lighting

  • One of the most important aspects of modern decor is proper lighting. Avoid such quaint features as flickering candlelight and lanterns. Track lighting is ideal for a modern look. This will allow quick and easy adjustment when you want to highlight various aspects of the room. Use several layers of lighting so that you have an ideal setting for any occasion, from movie night to cocktail parties and everything in between. Lighted display cases are another excellent way to make sure that every aspect of the room is properly lit. When the problem is with the natural light entering your home, the addition or manipulation of windows can be a remedy offered by professional groups like Orlando Group Roofing.

Art

  • No modern living room would be complete without a few excellent pieces of modern art. The specific selection should be left entirely to your own taste. Select a piece that you truly enjoy, and that will enhance the overall decor of your living room. Once you have your pieces selected, be sure that they receive proper presentation. Don’t place your artwork in dimly lit areas of the room. Make sure that each piece is well lit, and doesn’t suffer from glare. Depending on the size of the room, you may be able to incorporate two or more large pieces, however, it is important not to clutter the room. Allow each work enough space to be properly appreciated in its own right.

Accessories

  • In any living room, the small touches are what defines the family that lives there. In a modern living room, it is important that the space doesn’t look cluttered. Allow plenty of open table space, and arrange shelves neatly and precisely. With that in mind, there’s no reason that modern decor can’t display your personal interests. Frame family photos in sleek black or white frames, and even consider some artsy black and white photos. To emphasize technology a little more, use digital photo frames. If you have a lot of straight lines in your furniture, use rounded accessories and rugs to soften the space. If you have rounded furniture and tables, incorporate some straighter lines in the artwork and accessories to keep a sense of balance in the room.

How to Sell Home Interior Products

How to Sell Home Interior Products

How to Recover a Dining Room Seat Cushion

Like all household furniture, the upholstery on your dining room chairs will eventually wear out. You may wish to replace the chairs before the fabric wears out, due to changing tastes or fashions. However, purchasing a new set of chairs every time home decorating fashion changes or the fabric gets stained will put a serious dent in your bank account. A much more economical option is to recover the seat cushions yourself. With only a few yards of fabric and a few tools, you will have dining room chairs that look like new.

Recovering dining room seat cushions requires only fabric and a few household tools.

  • Look at the screws holding the seat on the dining room chair to determine the type of screwdriver you will need. Unscrew the screws and put them in a safe place. Remove the seat from the chair.
  • Turn the seat over and use the needle-nose pliers to remove the staples holding the old fabric to the seat. Remove the old fabric and set it aside.
  • Evaluate the condition of the seat padding. If the padding is in good condition, you do not need to replace it. If it is not, cut a piece of foam to the same dimensions as the old cushion. If you like, you can cut the new foam to a different height. Taller foam will result in softer cushions, and shorter foam will result in firmer cushions. Remove the old padding from the seat if you are replacing the foam, and glue the new foam in place with high-strength adhesive.
  • Cut a new piece of fabric to the same dimensions as the old fabric. If you added height to the cushion, add twice the additional height of the cushion to either dimension of the fabric. For example, if the old fabric measured 16 inches by 16 inches, and you added 1 inch to the height of the cushion, you would cut a piece of fabric measuring 18 inches by 18 inches.
  • Lay the fabric face-down on a flat surface. Center the seat, cushion side down, on the fabric.
  • Pull the middle point of one side of the fabric over the cushion and board and staple in place. Staple the fabric 1 inch away from the first staple on the left and on the right. Continue in this manner until you have stapled the whole side, except for 2 inches at each corner. Repeat on the opposite side of fabric, and then on the two remaining sides.
  • Lay a corner of fabric flat, folding the excess fabric underneath the fabric on the sides. Staple in place. Repeat on the remaining corners.
  • Screw the completed seat in place on the dining room chair.

How to Design a Church Kitchen

When designing a church kitchen it is imperative to understand the specific needs of your congregation and building. Once you begin the process you will quickly find that it becomes as much fun as work. Enjoy the fruits of your labor–straight from the kitchen, that is.

  • Work with what you have. Don’t try to overdo it. If you have limited space, create a step-saver kitchen with all the work areas near one another. If plumbing or electrical issues prevent you from moving the sink or stove, leave them where they are and work around them.
  • Stick to your budget. Focus on the practical instead of the newest fads in kitchen gadgets and materials. Important items include an easy-to-maintain counter surface and durable cabinets and flooring. You don’t need expensive granite counters, especially if they stretch the budget. (There is nothing wrong with going high end, but blowing your budget to do so may be perceived as frivolous by your congregation.)
  • Assess your needs. If you run a soup kitchen, a commercial-grade stove and oven are in order. On the flip side, if the church kitchen is used only for the occasional holiday potluck, a regular stove will suffice. If the kitchen is the hub of church life, a breakfast style bar and extra seating are needed. Consider a freezer-free refrigerator that will provide more room for refreshments.
  • Pay attention to detail. The layout of your kitchen is very important. If your kitchen is often used for public gatherings or just a place to congregate, make sure the layout is conducive to movement. An open kitchen with a center island and bar makes it easy for church members to move in and out with ease. A closed kitchen with cooks only in mind should have entrance doors with windows to minimize injuries or spills as people carry hot dishes in and out of the kitchen.
  • Use skilled volunteers and laborers. The kitchen is not the place for Children’s Church kids to hone their newly acquired skills with a hammer. Because of fire codes and permit laws you need a skilled team to help with the design. Use only a licensed electrician to work with wires, hookups and electricity. The same goes for your plumber-a licensed and bonded plumber could save you money and headaches down the road.

How to Keep a Bathroom Warm in Winter

During the chilly winter months, the mere thought of stepping out of the shower and onto the bathroom floor is enough to make you shiver. To make your bathroom warmer, turn off the fan, add some rugs, and do some redecorating. Adding appliances like a fireplace, in-floor heating and a towel warmer are also excellent options — when the budget allows. And, of course, utilize as much free natural sunlight as possible to warm the space.

Check Your Efficiency

Check your windows for drafts and caulk around them if air is getting in. Cover the windows with plastic if the panes are drafty. Consider replacement windows if you have any wiggle room in the household budget. Adding or upgrading insulation makes the space warmer.

Go Fanless

Leave your bathroom exhaust fan turned off in the winter. The fan pulls heat outside right along with humidity, so keep the fan off when you want to warm the bathroom.

Add a Rug

You can make your bathroom warmer by adding an area rug to the space. Rugs make cold tile floors warmer on your toes and add a layer of insulation. Some people dislike carpet in the bathrooms, but others are fans of this warm touch.

Consider Appliances

Heated floors add warmth and a touch of luxury to a bathroom, but you can also install a built-in space heater for added warmth at bath time. Fireplaces and heat-holding acrylic bathtubs also make the room warmer. If you’re working with a small budget, consider adding a heated towel rack or heat lamp for some extra coziness when stepping out of the shower.

Changing your shower head can also be a great boon to your bathroom’s warmth. While old shower heads used 5 to 8 gallons of water a minute, new energy efficient models use as little as 2. These more energy efficient heads allow you to enjoy longer showers and build up more warming steam in your bathroom.

Let the Light Shine in

Make the most of your bathroom windows by opening the blinds and letting in as much warm sunlight as possible during the day. If you have neighbors close enough to see in, add a translucent film to the glass so you can get more light while maintaining your privacy.

Redecorate

Add the feeling of warmth to your bathroom space by adding wooden accents, warm paint colors or a cheery shower curtain. Opt for a yellow, red or orange palette and consider adding rich woods like cherry and mahogany. Reclaimed wood adds a layer of warmth and depth while providing an environmentally friendly option. Natural stone will do the same. Gold, brass and copper antiques also add warmth to your decor. Adding super-plush towels is a luxurious way to add hominess and richness to the space. While redecorating won’t change the physical temperature of the room, it will make the space feel warmer and cozier.

5 Simple Ways To Decorate Your Dorm Room

It’s your first time away from home. College may be a little scary to you. You get your own space to share with a bunch of other people making it feel like a 24-7 sleepover. But wait. You like sports and your roomie likes movies. How in the world will you decorate your room?

Posters

Enter the poster. Posters have been around for hundreds of years. They provide color, themes and cover wall space to perfection. If the poster you choose is especially important to you get it framed so that it lasts longer.

Something Special From Home

So posters are the first way to decorate. Second, did you have something really special in your room at home, say a trophy or ribbon you had won? Just having that in your room will help give you the security and confidence you need to succeed while you are away at college.

Stereo

Third…How about your stereo? Bringing your own stereo to college along with your CD collection can make you one of the popular kids on campus. After dinner and before studying blast those tunes down the hall and get everyone dancing away their energy and having fun. Then everyone can settle in for an evening at the books.

Stuffed Toys

Fourth…Did you have a special stuffed animal or stuffed toy on your bed at home? This is more for the girls than the guys obviously but if it was a stuffed animal that your best friend or little brother had given you it will have a unique place in your heart so give it a special spot in your dorm room.

Hats

Fifth…Hats! For the guys, a collection of baseball hats will tell everyone about you and your favorite teams. Some hats may have pins you collected as you went from event to event. Imagine having a Yankees cap with pins of each of their World Series Championships. You would certainly stand out in a crowd of baseball fans. Maybe you were on a trip and picked up a new cap. That could start a conversation with a new friend. And with baseball caps you can buy an inexpensive hanger to put on the back of your closet door, keeping them in one place and readily accessible.

Decorating your dorm space at college is extremely important. It will make you feel at home (as best you can) and it will be a quiet and familiar place you can return to at the end of a busy school day. Think about what you want to take away with you and make decorating the first thing you do when you arrive. Get that dorm room looking and feeling like your home for the school year.

Stylish Designs for Kitchen Remodeling

When you think about remodeling your kitchen design, you need to consider some important tips. Choose the kitchen remodeling design that matches with the rest of your house’s design. If you can’t do this remodeling alone then, you should use a help of an expert person to get the right design you want. Choosing good materials will cost you more money now but will save you more and more money later, as you won’t need many fixes in the future unlike the cheap materials.

Now let’s start our kitchen remodeling. Starting with the cabinet, there are many options to choose from. If your kitchen cabinet became sleazy, you will need to replace the entire cabinet with a new one with elegant style and higher quality. But if your cabinet is in good condition, you can change the paint only.

When you choose your new countertop, you will find variety of materials like glass, stone, marble and granite. Stone countertop is the most usable kind. Stone countertop fits any kitchen remodeling design; just make sure to make the countertop color matches the cabinet color.
You can add a backsplash to your kitchen when you remodel it. Backsplash will change the entire design look and it will protect your kitchen walls from sticky food stains. Backslash comes with many materials to choose from like, ceramic tiles, mosaic tiles, metal, and wood. Choose the backsplash with the color and the material that fits your needs and your kitchen design.

Changing the cupboard is an important part of kitchen remodeling. You can choose from many designs like plain, opened cupboards or cupboards with glass window. Try to choose simple cupboard content like dishes with simple drawings or classy glasses. Stain steel is the common choice for the kitchen sink and faucet. You can add a garbage disposal to your sink if you don’t have one as an advanced option when you remodel your kitchen.

If you have a kitchen island or a breakfast table chairs and you need to add some changes, try to change the chairs’ materials or cushion. You can use wooden chairs instead of metal and vice versa. You can also change the cushion colors or fabrics according to your kitchen remodeling design.

When you remodel your kitchen you will find many lighting options. You can put a pendant directly above your kitchen island, hang recessed lights in the ceiling and put under cabinet lighting.

Stylish Designs for Kitchen Remodeling

How to Pad Wooden Dining Room Chairs

Wooden dining room chairs come in thousands of different styles that match a wide range of tables. After regular use, you may notice that the chairs feel less comfortable. Most chairs feature some type of padding, but the padding breaks down over time. Whether you have chairs with inadequate padding, no padding or padding that has broken down, you can replace the padding easily yourself. The process is similar to reupholstering, except that you do not replace the fabric.

More padding makes your chairs more comfortable.

  • Turn the chair upside down with the bottom of the chair facing up. Depending on the manufacturer, the chair may feature screws or nails that keep the seat attached to the chair frame. Remove the seat from the wooden chair frame by unscrewing it from the frame using a screwdriver. If the seat had been nailed to the frame instead, remove the nails using a hammer or a pair of pliers, taking extra care not to crack the wood as you pull the nails out.
  • Turn the seat upside down to reveal the staples holding the fabric to the seat. Slide the butter knife under the edge of any staples holding the fabric in place and pop the staples loose.
  • Peel away the fabric from the seat and set it to one side. Slide the edge of the utility knife under the original padding and wiggle it from side to side. Push the knife around, loosening the padding until it comes off the bottom board or backing.
  • Sand the bottom board with medium-grit sandpaper, removing any glue residue left behind. The glue holds the padding to the board. Set the board on top of the foam and trace around the board. Trim the excess foam away, following the line you made.
  • Coat the bottom of the foam with spray adhesive, which makes the foam slightly tacky. Spray more adhesive on the board itself. Set the foam directly on top of the board and press it down gently, letting the glue adhere the pieces together.
  • Arrange the fabric over the top of the foam and board. Drape the fabric over one side of the pieces and turn it around so that you can see the bottom. Staple the fabric to the board and pull the fabric down taut on the opposite side. Add more staples and repeat on the other two sides, pulling the fabric taut and smooth as you staple.
  • Reattach the seat back to the wooden chair frame using the screws or nails you had removed previously.

How to Calculate Yardage to Reupholster a Dining Room Chair

You may not need to discard a dining chair with worn, stained, soiled or ripped fabric if its frame is sound. Instead, a bit of reupholstering often solves the problem. While professional upholsterers are always an option, a proactive, do-it-yourself approach and a little creativity can go a long way in bringing that chair back to its former glory days at a far lower cost.

In most cases, 1.5 yards of fabric will cover a chair cushion.

Measuring the Chair

  • Create a rough diagram of the dining room chair you wish to reupholster using the pencil and paper.
  • Calculate the width and length of the inside back of the chair in inches, using the measuring tape. Always measure the surface at its widest point and, as far as possible, measure into creases and crevices. Note your calculations on the diagram.
  • Measure the width and length of the outside back of the chair. For the length, go from the bottom of the seat to the top of the frame. For width, measure across the widest edges of the frame. Note your calculations on the diagram.
  • Measure the width and length of the outside, inside and front of the arms if they contain fabric. Note your calculations.
  • Measure the width and length of the seat and, if appropriate, the front gusset, again going inside any creases or crevices. The gusset is the rectangular strip of fabric that covers the front of the chair seat frame. Note your calculations.
  • Use the calculator to divide each measurement by 36 to convert it from inches to yards. Round each measurement up to the nearest half yard.

The Cutting Layout

  • Plan your cutting layout by first noting that fabric is typically sold on rolls that are 54 inches, or 1.5 yards, wide and up to 50 yards long. Use a ruler to draw a scale diagram of the fabric roll, with six inches equaling one yard.
  • Diagram each specific piece of fabric needed within the fabric roll diagram by taking the width and length measurements you noted earlier. Arrange each piece so as to make the most economical use of the fabric roll.
  • Label each piece so you know which part of the chair it represents.
  • Use the ruler to measure the length of the finished fabric roll diagram in inches, and then convert the measurement back to yards to determine how long the piece of fabric is that you need for the job.

How to Make a Mexican Style Living Room

Open archways create an authentic Mexican look in any room.

Decorating a Mexican-style living room requires focusing on a relaxed look. The Mexican style has become popular among homeowners and interior decorators. The style centers on earthy tones, bright colors and handcrafted beauty. Revamping your living room to suit a Mexican style is a task that requires a lot of planning. Various techniques exist for transforming your living room into a Mexican atmosphere. Turn your living room into a piece of art by following simple guidelines and tips.

  • Focus on designing and decorating the walls. Wall colors in the living room are bright hues of reds, yellows, oranges and blues. Give walls a washed or faded look to create a sun-faded effect. Place geometric designs as wall borders with stencils to add interest to walls.
  • Add pictures and artwork to your walls. Hang photographs and paintings at eye level to provide a sense of closeness. Frame photographs of the desert and ocean to add to the relaxed look of your home. Use Hispanic artwork around your living room to create an authentic atmosphere. Do not clutter wall-hangings because you will lose the opened, relaxed feeling that this style incorporates.
  • Choose appropriate accessories to help create this Mexican style. Stone water fountains will bring river and ocean water into your living room. Wooden candlesticks placed on end tables, fireplaces and bookshelves will add to the artisan appeal. Use woven baskets for magazines and organizers. Purchase knick-knacks, painted masks, a steer skull or sombreros to unify your theme. Wrought iron is important to this style. Choose wrought-iron light fixtures, candle-holders, plant hangers or wall pieces.
  • Create an earthy environment by adding plants and pottery pieces. Cacti help to bring the desert into your living room by adding greenery. Create a terrarium as a focal point in the living room, or add an aquarium to display bright, colorful fish, such as betas or clown fish. Use pottery pieces or terra-cotta pots for plant holders.
  • Buy or create furniture that looks rough. Mexican-style furniture appears worn and has a quality appeal. Add furniture that incorporates a woven material. Choosing to use furniture built locally will help recreate a Mexican style in your living room. Cover furniture with patterned pillows full of both earth tones and bright colors.
  • Use woven rugs to decorate the living room floor. Replace your floor with decorative tiles with patterns and bold colors, or add these tiles to an existing floor. If this is not an option, use tiles as wall decor by placing them on plate hangers.

How to Arrange Furniture in Small Living & Dining Rooms

Any small room can be difficult to decorate. Standard furniture arrangements can make a small room feel crowded and cramped. Living rooms and dining rooms pose a significant challenge, as they typically have large pieces of furniture, such as overstuffed sofas and big tables. But small living and dining rooms can still be stylish and comfortable, provided that the furniture is chosen and arranged in a way that maximizes the available square footage.

How to Arrange Furniture in Small Living & Dining Rooms

Pare down the furnishings you have in a room. Large furniture ensembles may look impressive in a catalog, but they clutter up a tiny area. Excess pieces can be sold to generate additional income, donated to a charity or stored for future use.

Measure the length and width of each room with a standard tape measure to determine the square footage. Sketch a rough draft of the floor plan on a sheet of graph paper, using the grids to establish the scale of the room. For example, a single square on the graph paper could represent a square foot of floor space.

Tina Cash-Walsh/Demand Media

Measure your furniture. Jot down the length and width of each piece. Use your graph-paper floor plan to try out different arrangements. Place the largest pieces first, and then arrange smaller items around them. Make the most of the given space by building upward, rather than outward. Wall units, shelves, bookcases and cabinets can maximize storage without taking up floor space.

Use smaller, more versatile pieces wherever possible. An ottoman with built-in storage can replace a standard coffee table, while a dining table can double as a desk during the daytime. Choose sleek, armless chairs and a small, circular table for the dining room. In the living room, consider using a loveseat instead of a sofa. The fewer pieces there are in the room, the more open the area becomes.

Make use of light, neutral colors whenever possible, as they will give the room a larger, brighter feel. Dark trims or splashes of contrasting colors make lovely accents and can be used to highlight favorite items or preferred pieces.

Place mirrors on the walls to create the illusion of more space. Keep other accessories to scale to avoid overwhelming the room. It is better to use a few eye-catching accessories than cabinets full of figurines, no matter how prized the collection is.

Southern California Home & Garden Shows List

For DIYers looking for inspiration to renew and renovate their homes and gardens in Southern California, home and garden shows are staged in major Home and garden shows feature hundreds of trade stands.conference centers throughout the year. The shows attract a large number of visitors and feature hundreds of vendors. Visitors can find out about the latest developments and products in home, gardening, remodeling and decor. Special features often include workshops and demonstrations by home and garden experts.

Home and Garden Show Anaheim Convention Center

  • Held in Anaheim’s convention center, this three-day event is the largest home and garden show on the West Coast. Taking place in late August the show features over 650 vendors, demonstrations, seminars and workshops. Promoted as the “one-stop shopping event” for home and garden improvements, attendees can purchase products to fit out their new homes and gardens. Keen decorators can view and find out about cutting-edge furnishings and appliances, designers’ ideas, money-saving devices, and the latest fashions. Visitors can pick up gardening tips and be inspired by a showcase of gardens landscaped by experts. For the environmentally conscious, a section is devoted to sustainable and energy efficient products. The convention has ample parking and about 450,000 square feet of space.

The Home Show

  • Run by the NEC Group, the Home Show in California is part of a chain of shows that run in several locations. In Southern California, the show is staged at the Pasadena Convention Center, located in the heart of Pasadena, a city nine miles northeast of downtown Los Angeles. Kicking off in April, the show runs for two days and promises cooking demos from leading local restaurants, do-it-yourself workshops, home and garden exhibitions and more. Billed as Southern Carlifornia’s longest-running home and garden show–over 34 years–it also claims to be the only home show exclusively validated by the league of California homeowners. Special features include an area of designer kitchens for visiters to browse. Visitors can make savings of up to 40 to 50 percent when purchasing windows, furnishings and appliances, take home samples and enter competitions. Two stages have continuous presentations and workshops by home and garden celebrities.

Long Beach Home Show

  • The Southern California Home Improvement Show is held at the Long Beach Arena in November and typically attracts about 30 to 40,000 visitors over three days. Admission is free and attendees can enter competitions to win free home improvement items. There are over 250 booths and trade stands that include kitchens, lighting, saunas, roofing, fencing, landscaping and more. Visitors can meet experts, discuss their renovation ideas and view garden exhibits.

How to Design Small U-Shaped Kitchens

Counter space can be an issue in small U-shaped kitchens.

Designing small U-shaped kitchens can be a challenge. There is not a lot of space to work with and sitting areas can be limited because of the three-wall element. Although there is not always a lot of space, a U-shaped kitchen is efficient because of the ability to move freely within the space equally. The sink is based in the center of the U-shape, making it a simple focal point, and the stove and refrigerator are all within arms reach. Since the appliances and sink are in a triangle form, an island is important for extra counter space. An effective way to design a small U-shaped kitchen is to use space-saving appliances and simple design elements.

  • Use appliances and cooking supplies made for apartment, condo and city living. These space-saving tools are perfect for U-shaped kitchens because they are compact and able to be tucked away. According to ReadersDigest.com, there are microwave oven/toaster and microwave oven/coffee maker combinations available. This saves money as well as space by combining two appliances into one. These modern space-saving appliances are just as stylish as their full size counterparts with stainless steel designs available along with the traditional black and white.
  • Place bar stools around the island in the middle of the space or around the counter. This is the perfect area to arrange your sitting area using stools. Stools are a great space saver. They come in a range of styles and decors and are stylish yet functional. They also create an eating area that is warm and inviting. The stools need to match the décor of the kitchen. A modern designed kitchen should contain steel or birch wood stools. Stools need to be comfortable, sturdy and preferably cushioned for comfort.
    Dining on bar stools is a cool way to save space in a kitchen.
    Dining on bar stools is a cool way to save space in a kitchen.
  • Cover a large wall with a mirror to make an impact on the room. A mirror can instantly make any room appear larger and more spacious. The mirror should be simple without ornate details. Only cover large wall areas with the mirror or else this kitchen design will turn the room into a tacky disaster. The same rule applies with certain types of art and wall coverings. A big print that’s covering a wall in the kitchen will trick the human eye into thinking the space is bigger than it actually is. Cover any large wall in the kitchen with a dramatic print or cityscape photograph cut to size, with no part of the utilized wall peeking through.
  • Install diamond shaped flooring to achieve a modern, spacious feel. A simple diamond print in black and white or red and white is an easy way to achieve a look of space. The flooring sets the tone of any type of room and when space is an issue, flooring is of utmost importance. A stark-patterned floor will make the room seem as though it never ends with the use of shapes and contrast.
    A checkerboard design floor makes a room appear larger.
    A checkerboard design floor makes a room appear larger.

How to Decorate a Child’s Play Area in a Living Room

Give your child a play area in your living room.

Creating a play area in your living room gives your child a place for her things in the center of the home where you likely spend most of your time. This allows you to keep an eye on her as she plays without having to remain in her room or be separated from her. Including a play area in your living room doesn’t mean the entire room has to look like a play room.

  • Paint one wall as an accent wall where the play area is located. Choose a color that invokes creativity in your child and complements your living room decor. If you’d prefer to stick to neutral paint, introduce color in other ways.
  • Use your living room furniture to block off an area or create a defined space for the play area. Pull your sofa off the wall for a play area that you can easily conceal when you don’t want it to be visible. Or use a corner as the play area. If you have a child’s table and chairs or other play furniture, arrange it in the designated area.
  • Implement a practical storage system for your child’s toys to keep your living room uncluttered and tidy. Lower shelves and drawers can line the walls and contain baskets or containers for your child’s toys. Rolling carts are another option if he enjoys playing in the middle of the room. An open bookcase can also serve as a room divider if you choose to separate the space a bit more.
  • Visually separate the space by adding a play rug or divider if you want to close the play area off when it’s not in use. Room dividers, curtains or retractable panels can work as dividers.
  • Decorate the wall directly above the play area with child-friendly images. Hang pictures, paint murals or apply adhesive vinyl pieces that contain something your child enjoys. Use numbers, letters, spell out your child’s name, cars, butterflies or whatever interests your child.
  • Add functional accessories if you want the space to have more character. Interactive clocks, lamps or larger toys can sit on top of drawers or shelves for easy access and to decorate the play area.

How to Combine Two Small Bathrooms

A beautiful luxury bathroom can be created from two small bathrooms

Many homeowners decide to downsize their home when their children leave. Others renovate the home, making the house more suitable for two people. For many people, this renovation offers an opportunity to make the kinds of changes they always wanted. Bathroom renovations provide one example. While a family needs multiple bathrooms to accommodate everyone’s needs, a couple may combine two small bathrooms to create the one large luxurious bathroom they always dreamed of.

  • Design the new bathroom. Talk to an architect to plan how to combine two small bathrooms into one large bathroom. Review magazines, interior decorating books and websites with design ideas displayed. Plan how to install new bathroom fixtures where the old plumbing lines exist.
  • Tear out the sheetrock wall that divides the two bathrooms. Plumbing lines come from outside the home, but electrical lines often run along the framing the sheetrock attaches to, so start tearing out the sheetrock by punching a small hole in it with a claw hammer and pulling the sheetrock out from that hole, making it possible to see electrical wiring. Disconnect electrical wires that run along the frame and remove the frame that divides the two bathrooms.
  • Tear out the sheetrock wall and wood framing that closes in the two bathrooms. Take care with electrical lines. A wide-open area now exists in place of the former entrances to the two bathrooms. Tear out the old bathroom fixtures, remove them from the bathroom and bring the new fixtures in before rebuilding the new doorway. A bathtub may not fit through a doorway, so move the old bathtub out and the new bathtub in before closing in the entrance with a new doorway.
  • Install the new bathroom fixtures. Using the existing plumbing infrastructure, the new larger bathroom can include larger fixtures along with extras such as a jacuzzi, a sauna stall, a separate shower stall, a spa-type tub with stream jets and a water massage and a whirlpool.
    Include extras in the new bathroom.

    Include extras in the new bathroom.
  • Rewire the new bathroom for electrical appliances and fixtures. A new, larger bathroom may include TV mirrors, heated floors, electronic window blinds and towel-warming drawers.
  • Lay floor and wall tile in the new bathroom. Grout the seams between the tiles and insert silicone along the seams between the tiles and the fixtures.
  • Install cabinetry in the new bathroom. Install a linen cabinet, a cabinet under the sink and a medicine cabinet, as well as any additional desired cabinetry .
  • Install a countertop around the sink that covers the cabinet underneath the sink. A marble or Formica countertop fits in well with bathroom moisture.
  • Frame in the front wall of the new bathroom. The new wall needs only one doorway now to the new bathroom. Lay sheetrock over the frame both on the outside (hallway) and the inside (bathroom side) and hang the door. Tape the sheetrock seams and paint the new walls.
  • Install bathroom accessories such as a soap dish, towel rack, shower curtain holder, mirror and any other desired accessories.

How Much Value Will a Bathroom Add to My House?

A new bathroom can help modernize an older home.
If you are considering adding a new bathroom or remodeling an existing bathroom in your home, cost is probably one of the most relevant factors of your decision. Virtually any type of home improvement project you consider can take a serious chunk out of your budget. When you are considering home improvements like adding or remodeling a bathroom, it may help you to know what kind of resale value you may be adding to your home.

Bathroom Remodeling

  • The return on investment you can expect to see for a basic home remodeling project may depend in part on the condition of your home overall. If the home is old and dilapidated, remodeling the bathroom alone may not add significant value to the home. According to QualitySmith.com, if you are in the process of taking care of necessary repairs throughout the property, and you include a bathroom remodel as part of the home upgrade, you can expect to see as much as an 80 percent return on your investment.

Bathroom Addition

  • If you are building a bathroom where one did not previously exist in the home, you may see an even higher return on investment than a traditional remodel. A bathroom addition or home addition that includes a bathroom and another room can automatically increase the value of your home by adding additional square footage along with the inherent value of an additional bathroom. ServiceMagic.com reports that a bathroom addition can increase the resale value of the home by as much as 96 percent of the initial investment.

Master Bath

  • A master bathroom is a big selling point with most of today’s home buyers, and some older homes are not equipped with a master suite. If your home has the space to add a master bathroom to the master bedroom, you may be more likely to receive interest from home buyers when it comes time to sell. A well-designed master bathroom can earn you more than 100 percent of your investment if the new bathroom sets your home apart from others in the area that lack a master suite.

Remodel Wisely

  • When you build a bathroom addition or remodel an existing bathroom, it’s important to invest carefully and remodel for the area. If the home is located in an upscale housing division and the bathroom is significantly outdated, you can expect to see a noticeable increase in the home’s value by installing quality bathroom materials like granite or marble. If the home is situated in a transitional community, however, you may be better off sticking with standard materials like fiberglass and laminate.

How Much Does it Cost to Add on a Bathroom?

Adding a bathroom to your home adds value.

Adding a bathroom to a home is a very useful home renovation project that adds value to a home. Those concerned with the cost of adding a bathroom to a home should note that such cost varies, and there are typically satisfactory projects for almost any budget.

TypesThere are two main types of bathrooms that can be added to a home: a full bath and a half-bath. A half-bath includes a sink and a toilet. A full bath includes everything that is needed for bathing, including a sink, toilet and shower or tub. Full baths add more value to a home, but a half-bath is typically an inexpensive option for those with a limited budget.

Full bathroom

ConsiderationsConsider the overall flow of your home when adding a bathroom. If your home has only one full bath, adding a second full bath is a lot better investment than adding a half-bath. If you own a luxury home, you will need a luxury bathroom. A luxury bathroom may look out of place in an otherwise plain home.

Those with very tight budgets may only be able to afford to add a half-bath. Materials such as marble tile and designer fixtures are more expensive than standard materials. The size of your addition will also play a role in how much the addition costs.

Small bathroom

BenefitsThe value added to your home by an added bathroom can potentially surpass the cost of the renovation. One way to figure out how much value will be added to your home through a bathroom addition is to visit the National Association of Home Builders’ Web site and enter your home’s information into its “Home Price Estimator.” You need MS Excel installed on your computer to access the calculator. After you know your current home’s value, increase the number of bathrooms to see the value that will be added to your home through a renovation. Try to keep the cost of your project below the added value for optimal results. A link to this calculator is included in the Resources section.

Woman renovating bathroom

CautionPaying a professional to add a bathroom to your home is ideal if you are not familiar with do-it-yourself projects. A professional will make sure your bathroom meets local building codes. The labor costs may add to the overall bathroom addition, but these costs are much lower than the cost to fix certain errors.

Tools for renovation

How to Prevent Dining Room Accidents

How to Prevent Dining Room Accidents. Most dining room accidents are food-related, such as spilled wine and sauce-stained table runners. But just like in any other room of the house, a number of things can lead to personal injury. Health and safety should be a primary concern in all areas of the house, including the dining room. Here are tips on how to make your dining area accident-proof.

  • Tuck away dangling electrical wires. In many dining rooms you’ll find floor and table lamps and small kitchen appliances like coffeemakers, toasters, sandwich makers and hot plates. These electrical items will have dangling cords of varying lengths. Because the dining area gets a sufficient amount of traffic during mealtime, wayward cords can become a tripping hazard. Tuck them away or use a wire or cord strap to keep them organized and out of the way.
  • Wipe up spills promptly. Food spills on the floor can cause slips, trips and falls. Liquid spills on the table can make a mess and trickle onto the floor. Food messes can start a chain reaction of mishaps and accidents.
  • Serve food in appropriate containers. Make sure each serving plate is large enough to hold the dish, and light enough to allow easy passing around the table. Consider dividing a dish into two separate portions to be placed on each end of the table; this minimizes the passing around that could lead to spills and other accidents.
  • Use appropriate chairs for children. Infants and toddlers should be propped in stable and secure high chairs for easy access to the food and to prevent fall-over accidents.
  • Set a children’s table at parties and large gatherings. Setting up a children’s table will give the young ones the chance to enjoy their food and at the same time remain out of harm’s way with non-breakable dishes and child-safe utensils.
  • Always keep the dining room floor clutter-free. Misplaced toys and other floor clutter can cause tripping, which could lead to a major disaster when you’re carrying a serving plate of food to and from the dining table.
  • Design the dining room so that there is sufficient space and elbowroom around the dining table to minimize crowding and bumping of people and furniture.

Home Remedies for Keeping Deer Out of Gardens

Many gardeners suffer from pests. Some treat their plants for beetles, others release ladybugs to eat aphids. However, some would argue that the worst pest of all walks on four legs, not six: deer. Deer walk easily over fences that keep smaller rodents like rabbits and skunks away and can reach fruit high on three branches where it is safe from other mammals. Since it is illegal to trap or kill deer during most parts of the year, and most people would rather do neither most of the time, gardeners must find ways to make deer avoid their gardens. Fortunately, many deer repellents exist, and most of them are even available at home.

Keep deer out of the garden.

Kitchen Repellent

  • Some of the most effective repellents involve smell, especially when it comes to deer with sensitive noses. Many people have hot sauce and garlic cloves right in their kitchen. A frustrated gardener should mix equal parts hot sauce and garlic cloves or crushed garlic in a blender or food processor until they form a thick paste. Water thins the mixture slightly to make it spread further and a strainer ensures no little bits of garlic get mixed up in the solution. Using a spray bottle, the gardener should spray around the perimeter of the garden plots and plants, and even a little on the trunks of all the trees, avoiding the fruit. The smell will disgust the deer and make them stay away.

Soap and Air Fresheners

  • Deer hate chemical smells like those in soaps and car air fresheners. Gardeners should save old car air fresheners and unusable soap slivers leftover from larger bars. He can slip them into tiny bags made of tulle mesh or canvas, making sure to put the soap and the fresheners in different bags. Then hang the bags in trees and stake them around garden plots. The gardener should use only fresheners or soap, not both. After a few weeks, the deer will get used to one smell and start eating again. The gardener should then switch out the fresheners for the soap or vice versa. The new scent will frighten the deer into avoiding the garden once again.

Urine and Food Plots

  • Deer shy away from predator scents like coyote, wolf or fox urine. All of these things are available at hunting stores. All the gardener must do is sprinkle a little around the base of each tree or garden plot. The deer will be able to smell the urine long after human noses can no longer detect it and stay away. Gardeners should reapply the urine about once a month, switching the type each time so the deer perceive a new threat every time. Food plots used in conjunction with urine may help keep deer away indefinitely. Planting clover and alfalfa close to the tree line or at the opposite end of the property from the garden offers the deer a place to eat without the perceived threat of predators.

How to Start a Kitchen Design Business

Start a Kitchen Design Business
Everyone knows that kitchens sell homes; even when home sales drop, people still like to remodel this versatile room in their homes. If you’re an interior designer with a special love for kitchen design, consider starting a kitchen design business.

  • Figure out what you want to do. You can own a kitchen design showroom, do consulting for other interior designers or contractors or act like an interior designer only specializing in kitchens.
  • Research local licensing laws. Many states require that an interior designer have a certain number of years of experience as well as a college degree. Since kitchen design falls under the umbrella of interior design, you’d still need a license. Alternatively, you can call yourself an “interior decorator” to bypass these licensing laws.
  • Set up your office. Even if you only take jobs as a consultant, you’ll need some kind of office from which to work. You can set up a home office if you’d like, but if you plan to have clients come over, your entire house must be presentable. If you want to own a design showroom, you’ll have to buy some inventory to display as well as set up your office.
  • Decide on your rates. This all depends on the type of business you start. Obviously the rate for consulting is different from the rate for a residential kitchen remodel design gig.
  • Make up business cards and give them out to everyone you meet. Choose other marketing techniques that you think will help you get some business. Consider talking to contractors and other interior designers to see if they would be interested in using your services, or at the very least, referring some business to you.
  • Keep up with the trends in kitchen design. As a professional, people will only want to hire you if you know what you’re talking about when it comes to kitchens. Know about every aspect that makes up a kitchen, from cabinets to counter tops and from sinks to floors.

How to Design a Kitchen Layout

The layout is the most important functional element of a kitchen.
The best designs for kitchen layouts take into consideration how a kitchen is used on a daily basis and what arrangement of cabinets, appliances, and work areas will function most efficiently. Whether it’s a new kitchen design or a kitchen remodel, how you design a kitchen layout will establish the foundation for all the other design elements that will go into the room.

  • Determine the basic floor plan. Kitchen layouts typically fall into the following categories:
    • One wall kitchen — appliances and cabinets along one wall
    • Galley kitchen (a.k.a. corridor kitchen) — appliances and cabinets along two walls facing each other
    • L-shaped kitchen — wall cabinets and appliances form an “L”
    • U-shaped kitchen — wall cabinets and appliances form a “U”
    • Island kitchen — an L- or U-shaped kitchen with the addition of an island
    • Peninsula kitchen — one cabinet wall is open to another space
  • Design the work triangle. Based on research in the 1950s, the most-used work areas in the kitchen are at the sink, stove, and refrigerator. The concept of a work triangle optimizes the flow between those work areas for the most efficiency — they shouldn’t be too close together or too far apart.
  • Decide on how many prep areas are needed. If multiple cooks will be using the space, design your kitchen with enough room for a second sink, and make sure you have extra room for chopping and dicing.
  • Decide what other functions will take place in the kitchen. Today’s kitchens are the busiest rooms in the house. In addition to cooking features, will you need a separate pantry, a home office, or a place to watch TV?
  • Lay out the design on graph paper. Use manufacturer’s specifications to make sure you have the correct measurements of all your appliances and cabinets. Also consider using kitchen design software. These programs include templates with basic designs, and you can add your own ideas to create the kitchen of your dreams. These programs also check for clearances and other architectural and building code essentials.

How to Design an 1880s Kitchen

In the 1880s, kitchens were designed to accommodate food preparation and family meals. A large table anchored the room; furniture and appliances occupied the perimeter. Storage space was spare, because cooks from that era kept few packaged foods on hand. When you design an 1880s kitchen, you’ll have to decide how dedicated you are to authenticity. You can embrace the 1880s style completely, or adapt the kitchen’s design to combine historic detail with modern convenience.
The stoves in late 19th-century kitchens used wood, coal or gas.

Floors, Walls and Ceiling

  • An 1880s kitchen was bright and pleasant, but kitchen design in that era focused on cleanliness and efficiency rather than decor. When you re-create an 1880s kitchen, demonstrate those sensibilities in the materials you choose. For the floors, use stone, slate or ceramic tiles that mimic those surfaces. Cork, linoleum — the real thing, made from linseed oil and other natural materials — or vinyl facsimiles also give a kitchen an authentic 1880s feel. Wood floors, though not preferred in the era, are a suitable compromise. Paint the walls white or off-white, and trim them with wide molding and white or light-colored wainscoting. You can paint the ceiling white or cover it with pressed tin tiles.

Furniture and Storage

  • Unlike contemporary kitchens that rely on installed cabinetry for storage, late 19th-century kitchens used only free-standing furniture. To copy an 1880s kitchen floor plan, place a large wooden table in the center of the room to serve as your primary work surface. Look for a table topped with slate, stone or zinc. Arrange antique or reproduction furniture such as a chest of drawers, pie safe and larder — a large cabinet for storing kitchen staples — around the perimeter of the room. The pieces can be stained or painted in light colors; their styles and finishes don’t have to match. Open shelves installed on the walls provide additional storage for cookware and dishes.

Appliances and Fixtures

  • Most 1880s kitchens had plumbing, and a stove fueled with wood, coal or gas. Food was kept cool in an icebox, and dishes were washed by hand. If you are committed to authenticity, use a refurbished antique stove that hooks up to your home’s natural gas or electricity. If you must have a modern range, camouflage it with cabinetry that has turned wood legs. Similarly, you can disguise a refrigerator — a must in a modern kitchen — with wooden panels that complement the room’s other furnishings. Do the same for a dishwasher, if you can’t live without one. A large freestanding sink with separate hot and cold faucets is true to the era’s style. Although an icebox probably isn’t practical in a 21st-century kitchen, you can include one in your 1880s kitchen design to use for storage.

Details and Decor

  • Complete your 1880s kitchen with accessories and decorative elements that are true to the era. Install schoolhouse-style lamps or reproduction antique pendant lights from the ceiling over the table. To bring in more light, leave the windows bare or dress them in plain roller shades. Hang hooks on the walls and ceiling to hold cookware and utensils, and display antique canisters, jars and dishes on open shelves. Stow an assortment of baskets under the table. When you’re not using your modern appliances, such as coffeemakers and mixers, conceal them behind cabinet doors. If you have a collection of period utensils and kitchen gadgets, arrange them on the kitchen furniture so it looks as though an 1880s cook is hard at work.

How to Design a Kitchen With No Wall Cabinets

A kitchen with no wall cabinets will appear larger and more spacious. By planning alternate storage options, you can still use the kitchen space effectively. Base cabinets and open shelving can easily take the place of wall cabinets in the kitchen.This will require using space on the bottom half of the kitchen walls and nearby storage rooms, in most cases. Organizing the kitchen in great detail will help create a good work system for cooking as well. Most families have an overstock of food items or dishes in upper wall cabinets, so trimming back may improve the flow of things. Leaving walls open in upper sections provides opportunities to decorate the kitchen creatively, too.

  • Sketch the kitchen space. Draw counters, windows and door openings. Measure all space on each wall facade carefully. Go over kitchen design books to review ideas for storage alternatives that include shelving and free-standing cabinets.
  • Plan appliances and counter space first. Figure out where the sink, dishwasher, stove and refrigerator will fit. Design a triangle pattern between the sink, stove and refrigerator, so that cooking and cleanup work easily. Add a kitchen island — either stationary or on rollers so it can be moved. Plan to store heavy pots and pans in the bottom of the island cabinet. Create a counter work space of granite tiles or vinyl laminate for mixing and preparing foods.
  • Design unique floor cabinets and storage. Select stainless steel cabinets on rollers to store foods or pans. Buy these cabinets the same height as the counter space, or purchase one large stainless cabinet to fit the corner of a kitchen that reaches from floor to ceiling. Keep in mind that an old antique buffet cabinet from a flea market or mismatched antique cabinets roughly 36 inches high will fit into most kitchens.
  • Create open shelving to store cooking items. Group canisters of flour and other commodities on a series of shelves near the stove. Buy a sleek chrome shelving system at a home improvement store to place large baskets or bins full of cooking utensils and canned goods. Feature unique cooking pots on a shelf about 18 inches from ceiling level near a kitchen eating table. Add a kitchen stool to retrieve these pots for cooking on special occasions.
  • Utilize space for storage near the kitchen. Use a small hallway closet for storing paper items, cereal boxes and kitchen towels, for example. Find space in a laundry room near the kitchen to install a floor-to-ceiling food pantry cabinet. Locate wasted space under a staircase to store large bags of pet food, paper products and dishes used only on holidays. Place casters on wood storage containers to hold these items, so everything is easy to move around.

How to Design a Basic Home Garden PVC Drip Watering System

Drip irrigation allows for conservation of water and ensures that garden plants receive an adequate amount of water–while avoiding issues of evaporation and wasting water on weeds. A good irrigation system can be designed using PVC pipe, which is durable and cost-effective.

How to Design a Basic Home Garden PVC Drip Watering System

  • Take measurements of your garden area where you will install the drip irrigation system. By having the proper measurements, you can lay out your design on graph paper. Also, mark where water connections are, in relation to the garden. These details will help with the calculations on how much pipe and how many fittings will be necessary.

    Basic emitters use 1 gallon of water per hour. Smaller emitters use 1/2 gallon of water per hour. To calculate how big your lines should be, count the number of emitters along the lines. If you have too many emitters for your system to work properly, set up zones that will water at different times to take the pressure off of the system as a whole.

  • Create a scale drawing by laying out your planned crops within the dimensions of the garden. Arrange your crops so anything that can be put on the drip system reside in one area while crops that will benefit from sprinklers are in another area.

    Trees, vines, and other permanent crops are excellent candidates for a PVC pipe drip irrigation system.

    Hill crops such as squash, melons and cucumbers will work best for the first-time drip irrigation system, especially if you’re planning to only install it in part of your garden the first year.

  • Draw in your drip irrigation line. Now that you know where you’ll need the water, you can easily estimate the number of fittings and amount of PVC pipe you’ll need.

    Consider how often you’ll move your drip irrigation system. Some lines may be permanent and can be glued together. Others may need to be moved at some point, so gluing may not be desired. The PVC pipe will fit together tightly enough that normal drip line pressure will not cause any leaks.

Placing Furniture in a Small Living Room

Neutral colors make a small room feel more spacious.

Arranging your furniture in a small living room can present a challenge. How you place the furniture can determine whether the room looks inviting or crowded and cluttered. There are design elements that can give your room a feeling of airiness. Optimizing traffic flow and ridding the room of clutter are important factors. Proper use of lighting can enlarge a room visually. Your color scheme is critical. By taking these elements into consideration, you can have a living room that has style and appears to be more spacious.

  • Determine the focal point of your room. You might choose the entertainment center, a piece of furniture or a fireplace. Place your chosen piece at one end of the room. Arrange the rest of your furniture to complement the focal point.
  • Arrange a conversation area opposite your focal point. It could be a sofa or two smaller chairs with a table between them. Pull the chairs out from the walls at a slight angle facing each other. If you line all your furniture up against the walls, the room takes on a boxy look that emphasizes its small size. Further define your conversation area by putting an area rug under or in front of your sofa or chairs. Keep the colors in the area rug soft so it does not divide the room. Place your other chairs or sofa so they complement this arrangement. Ideally you should be able to seat six people.
  • Lighting is especially important in a small living room because it gives the illusion of space. Have at least three sources of lighting such as table lamps, floor lamps, overhead lighting and windows. Use mirrors to reflect the light and give the illusion of more space. Hang one or two mirrors on a wall opposite a light source to make a room feel larger.
  • Create good traffic flow. It is important that your guests be able to move easily through the room. Get rid of excess clutter, excess furniture or furniture that is too large for the room.
  • Choose a palette of softer neutral colors for the walls, window treatments and major pieces of furniture. This gives the room a feeling of spaciousness and airiness. Add patterns and brighter colors with pillows and smaller accessories.

Placing Furniture in a Small Living Room

Decorate a Small Living Room

The living room is one of the most important rooms of the house, because that is where most of the living is done–hence the name! Most living rooms need to be multifunctional and have enough seating to comfortably fit the entire family plus company. This is easy to do if your living room is large. However, you may not have a large living room, especially if you live in a condo or apartment. Luckily, there are some specific things you can do to decorate a small living room that will make it seem bigger.

  • Choose the correct paint color. Paint colors can transform a room dramatically. Small rooms should be painted with cool tones such as grays, blues and greens. Gray is a great neutral color and looks terrific in living rooms, as it goes with any color scheme. The ceiling should be painted one shade lighter than the walls to make the room feel taller and airier.
  • Hang curtains near the ceiling. Choose curtains that stretch to the floor, and hang them higher than the top of the window. Four to six inches higher is a good height. Curtains that stretch from the ceiling to floor create the illusion of height and space in a small room.
  • Choose the correct seating. Most furniture companies make condo-sized sofas (some call them “apartment couches”). Use a combination of one apartment couch and a chair and a half, or a recliner. Two apartment couches facing each other with a coffee table in-between can also work well. Consider “armless” couches or chairs. They will make the space feel more open. Also, make sure you do not have too many pieces of furniture as this will only clutter up a small living room and make it feel very crowded.
  • Choose double-duty furniture. An ottoman or coffee table with hidden storage is great for hiding a stack of DVDs. An entertainment center with built-in bookshelves will allow you to display a few decorative treasures without having to cram a separate bookshelf into a small space.
  • Create a large focal point. Using a large item seems contrary to decorating a small space, but one large focal point will add style without feeling crowded. One large piece of art is much better than several small pieces, which will only serve to create a feeling of clutter.
  • Use mirrors. Mirrors open up a space and reflect light, making a room seem bigger. Place a large mirror over the sofa, or opposite a window to capture the light. You can also put several small mirrors together to create the feeling of one large mirror.

How to Design Doors in the Living Room

Living room space can have many doors coming into the area.
Placement of doors coming into the living room should work well with traffic flow. Designing the doors correctly will also help you have ample space for living room furnishings. Doors entering a dining room or hallway space may need to fit the living room floor plan. In addition, you may choose to install the home’s entrance door in the living room area. Take time to create several options on how doors will function to see what works best.

  • Plan doors that enter the living room from far corners, if possible. Leave floor space in the middle of the room that is free from opening doors for furnishings and traffic flow. Sketch various ways to place a door, but avoid having any interior door swing outward into the living room. Design, instead, all doors to push inward to the adjacent rooms. Leave large sections of the living room perimeter walls solid without door openings, so that shelving and wall units can be built, if desired.
  • Design each door opening from the living area in the same style. Do include a set of French doors for a dining room as an exception to this rule. Plan to purchase doors that have a solid face, a face with recessed panels, or special designwork that are all exactly alike to fit around the living area perimeter walls. Don’t hang an odd door, since this will stand out in a negative way. Create doors in the living area to blend harmoniously with the baseboards and molding versus standing out.
  • Consult with design books and magazines to see what types of doors are used in home’s with your home’s architectural features. Stay with styles that will look appropriate over time. Use graph paper to measure each door opening and sketch it into the floor plan. Make each door the same width and height, except for the entrance door or French doors, if possible.
  • Review hardware and hinges that will fit all doors in the living room area. Don’t use different metal finishes on different doors. Stay with brass or bronze finishes, for example, to give a coordinated look. Design door hardware for the entrance door that matches all of the others as well. Plan to invest in upscale fittings for the doors and door trim and crown molding, if appropriate. Don’t cut costs by purchasing inexpensive door knobs or wooden trim for door areas, since this will devalue the overall look of the room.
  • Consider installing a double entry door coming into the living room. Allow space for glass panels on the side, if possible. Review designs that fit your type of home, and never skimp on the actual size of the front door entrance. Keep in mind that a front door that is too narrow will hurt the curbside appeal of your house, and a door that is too small will also affect the ambiance of the actual living room.

How to Remodel Your Bathroom for Senior Living

Grab bars provide safety in the shower.

Americans are living longer — the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports the average life expectancy was 78 as of 2009. Many older people want to stay in their homes as long as possible, but adjustments are often are needed to allow them to “age in place.” You can make some key changes in your bathroom to make sure it is safe and easily accessible as the years go on.

  • Remodel the bath/shower area with a walk-in shower or a tub with a seat; some models are accessible for wheelchairs or walkers. Choose a model with a nonskid surface on the floor and the seat. Include a fixed showerhead, plus a handheld shower with an adjustable height, recommends the National Aging in Place Council.
  • Install a senior-friendly toilet. Sometimes called chair-height toilets, these fixtures make it easier to get up and down.
  • Place grab bars in key locations. Install at least one handrail next to the toilet to provide additional leverage when pulling yourself back to a standing position. Include grab bars in the shower/tub area to provide safety while getting in and out.
  • Lower the bathroom sink to provide easier access. Include knee clearance under the sink for wheelchair users.
  • Enlarge all doors into the bathroom so a senior with a walker or wheelchair can pass through easily. Remove thresholds to eliminate tripping hazards.

How to Repad Dining Room Chairs

Revitalize the chairs in your dining room set by replacing worn seat pads and fabric with new fabric and foam. Replacing the seat pads on a set of chairs costs considerably less than getting a new set or taking the chairs to an upholsterer’s for new seats. You can accomplish the task within a day. The chairs will be ready to go for a dinner party that night.

Liven up worn dining room chairs with new seat pads.

  • Turn the chair upside down. Remove the current seat pad from the chair by unscrewing the pad from the frame of the chair. Set the screws aside; you’ll need them to attach the new pad.
  • Remove the staples from the old chair pad to take the fabric off. Use the staple remover or a pair of pliers to pry the staples free. Wear your goggles during this step, as the staples may go flying.
  • Set the old chair base down on the piece of plywood, if you need to cut a new base. You may be able to use the old base if it isn’t cracked or overly worn down. Trace around the old seat on the plywood. Use the jigsaw to cut out the shape of the chair seat.
  • Trace the shape of the plywood seat onto the foam. Use the electric knife to cut out the foam, adding an inch to the seat’s perimeter all around.
  • Spray the adhesive on the back of the foam and attach it to the seat base. Fold the excess foam around the edges of the seat base.
  • Drape the batting over the top of the seat base. Trim the batting so that you have 1/2 inch extra on all sides. Pull the batting tight against the foam and staple in the center on one side. Make sure you put the staple on the underside of the chair. Staple in the center on the other side, then staple all around the underside of the chair base. Space the staples about 2 inches apart.
  • Cover the seat with the fabric. Trim the fabric so that it extends over the underside of the seat by about 1/2 inch. Staple in the center on the sides, underneath the seat. Continue stapling all around the seat base, pulling the fabric as tight as you can. Space the staples about 2 inches apart.
  • Reattach the seat pad to the chair. Place the upside-down chair on top of the base and place the screws back into position, tightening with the screwdriver.

P. Allen Smith Talks About the Garden Home Challenge

P. Allen Smith Talks About the Garden Home Challenge

From his design and garden empire just outside Little Rock, Arkansas, P. Allen Smith advises his audience on thousands of ways to improve their lives and make their homes more beautiful.

In his latest project, the Garden Home Challenge, the television host and author is hosting a web series on the eHow Home YouTube channel that documents his pledge to build a home for his brother, sister-in-law and their two children with only $150,000 for materials and labor … and in only 150 days.

And if that’s not challenging enough, Smith is also building green, to ensure that the 1,650-square-foot home saves energy and is environmentally friendly.

Where did you get the idea for the Garden Home Challenge?

P. Allen Smith: I love to build things, and I love to show people how to build and transform things. Building a house that many people could afford was very appealing to me. I was also really intrigued with the idea of a challenge. There are so many poorly designed and built houses, and I just thought: Can’t we do something that’s green, energy efficient, stylish and uncomplicated, at a price that people can afford? The national average for home prices is in the $200,000 range, and so many people have these speculative houses that just seem hollow and soul-less. I thought, “What if we came up with a plan for $150,000 that had plenty of space, a good floor plan and some real soul to it?” I wanted to use this as almost a canvas to do something very creative by using existing materials in a different kind of way that cuts costs and raises that charm factor. People think that building a home takes a long time, like a year. But it doesn’t have to take that long if you have everything organized.

Can you describe the Garden Home’s look and layout?

PAS: It’s got a “Southern Farmhouse Chic” look. It’s 1,650 square feet, and has three bedrooms and two-and-a-half baths. There’s a large common area for dining and gathering — a sort of living room-dining room combination. There’s a mud room for laundry, a kitchen, a home office, and the master bedroom has a bathroom and a large master closet, and each of the bedrooms has its own closet. There’s also a front and a back porch.

What were the planning process and initial phases like?

PAS: I’ve always been a doodler. I’m doodling right now, actually. For about a month off and on, I created a set of drawings for the home. First it was 2,000 square feet, and then I cut it down to 1,650 square feet. I thought about things like in the bedroom, is there enough room to get into the closet that’s right near the double bed? Some things I design as we go along. Then I sat down with my builder and asked him: Don’t you think we can get this thing done in five months? (Even though we started building in November and had no idea what the winter would be like.) Luckily, it was a mild winter so that didn’t delay the roofing. When we finally got the floor down and I saw the footprint of the house, I thought, “Wow, this will be huge,” and then the walls went up and I thought, “Oh it’s small.” So I tried to make the house feel larger, using 10-foot-tall ceilings and really light colors on the walls and dark colors for the ceilings — that’s a decorator trick to make a room feel larger. When you are building green, you often have to wait for materials because they aren’t always stocked. We tried to use as many stock materials as we could so that everyone watching could say: “I could go to my local lumber yard or home improvement sore and I could do that!” I will say that it does take a lot of personal time to shop and to save money. People need to realize that. I’ve taken weeks to find good deals on lumber and light fixtures and do craft projects. I’m not advocating putting up finished walls and floors yourselves, but a homeowner should be hands-on and engaged on a daily basis in the building, and that takes time. If you do it all yourself, make sure you allow that time.

What did you learn from others on the project?


(photo: Hortus, Ltd)

PAS: I talked a lot to my construction crew. They’re local guys who have done a lot of building. I asked them: “You’ve been building homes your entire lives, show me where people often make mistakes and how I can save money.” They taught me that if you can get a good brick mason who can lay the foundation just right and be really precise, it will look so good you don’t have to veneer it with brick. A member of the crew suggested going to the Habitat for Humanity ReStore that sells new and reused materials. We got our kitchen cabinets there that were brand new, but the wrong size for another house, and we got them for $500. I then showed the cabinets to my carpenter who matched it to wood we found at the salvage yard, using the same trim board. We painted them both white, so it all matched.

What other ways did you use re-purposed materials?

PAS: One of the things we thought would be less expensive and more sustainable was that instead of using drywall for the walls, we would create our own using second-grade lumber. We used pine that is locally produced that wasn’t the top grade lumber, and that cut costs. Second-grade lumber is perfectly safe to build with, it has just little flaws, maybe the board is bowed or there are a lot of knots. To us, more knots mean more character. The price of using second-grade lumber and running the boards horizontally proved to be less expensive than doing drywall. We also created another form of drywall using particle board that we bought for $9 a sheet and covered in burlap for 6 cents a yard, using Elmer’s glue. We painted it over, and that was my drywall. For the ceilings in the master bedroom and kitchen, we used galvanized corrugated barn tin, which is typically used for roofing. We also used scraps to create wainscoting in the entry way and wood blocks that are cut to look like stone for the entry hall. The blocks are beveled so that they look like cut stone, and that was less expensive and stylish. I got the idea from George Washington’s home at Mt. Vernon, the exterior looks like stone, but was actually wood. We spent a lot of time at salvage yards. That’s where I found some the cabinet doors that we used for wall paneling to go around the living/dining room. We used 16 doors that were $5 each.

What are the energy saving aspects of the Garden Home?

PAS: There are ways to isolate the heating and air conditioning in a room that can cut your energy use by 75 percent if you only heat or cool the rooms that you are in. The first step in saving money is to make sure that the house has no energy leaks. We used soybean foam insulation, and the house is very tight. We also used energy-efficient windows and doors that have the highest Energy Star rating. Someone from the energy office out here has come by to make sure we’re getting it right, and at the end of the project we’ll have a final test where they’ll actually put a blower in the house and build up pressure in the house to see if there are any leaks. We decided not to do solar panels in the house because it wasn’t in our budget, but I would love to put solar panels on the garage as maybe the next phase of this project.

What’s been your favorite part of the project so far?

PAS: I’m a junk hound. I loved finding things and figuring out fun ways to use them. It was fun to be constrained by the budget because we had to figure out how to do things stylishly without breaking the bank. There are a lot of flea markets and antique malls in Arkansas, and I found an antebellum plantation desk from 1830 with a mahogany exterior that was in really rough shape. I bought it for $300 and painted it a sassy blue. I also love the fact that we used wood on the walls instead of drywall, and that we built the floors with second grade pine instead of drywall floors. I loved decorating the home, some of the art that we have is coming from programs where people who have disabilities sell their paintings, and I’m glad we’re supporting causes like that.

What are some unanticipated challenges that you’ve faced building the Garden Home?

PAS: They were all little challenges. One was getting the plug sockets in the right place with the cabinet doors that we used as paneled walls. I should have done the math and told the electrician to put the plugs between the panels, so some of them had to go into the panels. Another big surprise was the cost of the interior doors. We went to a junk stores and found a recycled front door for $100 that was 100 years old. We thought, “Piece of cake! Easy to install.” But that was just the price of the door. To complete the door, it needs to be mounted in a door frame and when you added it all up, it turned out to be $450 a door. We decided on a simpler door and had the carpenter apply our own moulding to the door and give it a simple trim. So in the end, it cost us $130 a door for eight doors using our own moulding and trimmings. Rather than spend nearly $4,000, we spent $1,000 for eight doors.

The home is for your brother, Chris, and sister-in-law, Joyce, and their children. Can you talk about what he means to you and how your background has shaped your design aesthetic?

PAS: My brother and his wife manage my farm and live on the property in another house. This will be a nice new home for them. Our father died when we were very young — I was 12 and he was 8, and we’ve remained close our whole lives. I’m very much design oriented and he’s very mechanical; he’s a big equipment kind of guy. In addition to managing the farm, he works with the livestock and barn and paddocks, cutting hay and overseeing the garden. We both grew up on a farm and love rural pursuits, and we grew up with not a lot of money and always had to figure out how to do things in an affordable way. My mother was a great decorator and did everything on a budget. They say that the only thing worse than having lived through the Depression was being raised by someone who went through the Depression, and that was us. She had a great eye for shopping, and I learned a lot from her. Rather than reupholster, she slip-covered everything. I used that in the Garden Home Challenge. We slip-covered a couple of old chairs from the 1930s that we found. My mother was also notorious for painting sub-grade furniture, and we painted a lot of furniture in the Garden Home.

What are some easy ways that homeowners can create a green home? Any clever tricks?

PAS: The first thing people can do is make sure they are using fluorescent light bulbs in their homes. Also, try to plug all the energy leaks in your home. There are lots of things you can do, such as adding weather stripping.

Do you think you’ll meet your goal?

PAS: I think so. We are very nervous though. I’m chewing my nails and getting very creative on some things. I might have gotten a little carried away with the landscaping, but I think we’ll meet our goal, and they’ll be moving in by the middle to end of June 2012.

How to Get Rid of Stink Bugs and kill Stink Bugs in your Home and Garden

Stink bugs are common U.S. garden pests that are originally from Asia and identifiable by their shield-shaped bodies and the stench they produce when disturbed. These true bugs range from 1/4 to 1 inch long. Each one is about twice as long as it is wide and has a distinctive triangle shape on its back. Most insects in the stink bug family, including the brown marmorated stink bug, also known as the Asian stink bug, are brown or gray, but some are brighter colors. For example, the adult harlequin bug is black with bright red, orange or yellow markings. Damage by stink bugs shows up as white or yellow spots on leaves, black pits on nuts and deformed fruits. Repellents and eradicants can be used to control stink bugs.

Stink Bug Repellents

Install insect-repelling plants around and inside the garden to keep stink bugs away. Those plants include marigold (Tagetes patula), which is an annual, chrysanthemum (Dendranthema grandiflorum), which is perennial in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 5 through 9,. and mint (Mentha spp.), which is perennial USDA zones 3 through 8, depending on the species. Plant mint in containers instead of in the ground to prevent it from becoming invasive.

Stink Bug Eradicant

Bifenthrin products are an effective chemical control against stink bugs. Those products, however, are not approved for organic use and require a waiting period between applying them and harvesting vegetable crops. Apply 1/10th pound, or 2 ounces, of a granular bifenthrin-based product per 100 square feet of soil surface in the vegetable garden, sprinkling it uniformly on the soil, and then water the soil thoroughly. Apply the product once in spring or summer, or when stink bug damage is visible. Do not apply this product before rain is expected.

Bifenthrin is harmful to humans and animals. When handling and applying the product, wear clothing that covers all of your skin, and wear eye protection. After handling and applying the product, wash your skin and clothing well with soap and water. Avoid skin and eye contact with the product. Keep animals away from the treated area and the product container. Do not let water runoff containing the product go into ponds, ditches, gutters, streams or other waterways because it kills aquatic wildlife.

Warning

  • Before purchasing a chemical control, make sure the package is labeled for the vegetable crop on which it is being used. Read a product’s label carefully to learn whether or not the product is safe for the crop and for use around children and pets, and always adhere to the required waiting time between the product’s application and harvest.

Integrated Pest Management

Plant a trap crop of mustard (Brassica juncea) away from the rest of the garden to lure stink bugs. Once the stink bugs have converged on the mustard crop, apply 1/10th pound, or 2 ounces, of a granular, bifenthrin-based product per 100 square feet of the mustard’s soil surface, placing it uniformly on the soil and then watering the soil well. Follow the same precautions that you would when handling and applying a bifenthrin product to a vegetable garden.

Use certain plants to attract beneficial insects such as parasitic wasps because they prey on stink bugs. For example, plant small-flowered plants such as yarrow (Achillea spp.), which is perennial in USDA zones 3 through 9. Beneficial insects are attracted to the nectar in yarrow’s blooms and stay to feast on pests such as stink bugs.

Home & Garden Shows in Minnesota

Minnesota offers several home and garden shows throughout the state at different times of the year . Home and garden shows focus on home building, remodeling, landscaping and gardening for both homeowners and professionals. Each show is different in terms of vendors, seminars and geographical location.

 Home building is one topic covered at home and garden shows.

Minneapolis

  • Minneapolis offers two home and garden shows. The first, the Minnesota Home and Landscape Expo, occurs over two weekends in January at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome. This expo showcases home building and remodeling products, plus landscaping, flooring, home security, roofing and decking projects. The second show is the Minneapolis Home and Garden Show, which stretches over five days in early to mid-March at the Minneapolis Convention Center. With more than 1,000 vendors and experts on home building, gardening, remodeling, home décor and landscaping, plus celebrity guests and contests, it is the largest home and garden show in Minnesota.
    Deck projects are a popular theme at home and garden shows.
    Deck projects are a popular theme at home and garden shows.

St. Paul

  • The Home and Patio Show takes place at River Centre in St. Paul, Minnesota’s capitol. This show, which is held over four days in mid-February, gives Minnesotans a chance to get inspired during the cold of winter. The show features how-to seminars for homeowners who want to do projects themselves, plus home improvement, energy conservation, gardening and other types of vendors.
    You can learn new gardening techniques from experts.
    You can learn new gardening techniques from experts.

Rochester

  • Rochester, in the southern portion of the state, is home to the Rochester Area Builders Home Show. The show occurs in mid-February at the Mayo Civic Center and features several hundred exhibitors in the home building, remodeling, cabinetry, roofing and landscaping categories.
    Many roofing companies have booths at home and garden expos.
    Many roofing companies have booths at home and garden expos.

St. Cloud

  • The St. Cloud Home Show is targeted at homeowners in the central part of the state. Held over a three-day weekend in March, the show includes all types of home and garden vendors, plus home seminars for both adults and kids.

Mankato

  • South-central Minnesotans flock to the Verizon Wireless Center over three days in mid-March for the Southern Minnesota Home and Builders Show. Unlike other shows, which charge a nominal entry fee, this expo is free to the public.
    The Mankato Home and Builders Show is free.
    The Mankato Home and Builders Show is free

How to Add Manure to Your Home Vegetable Garden

More and more gardeners are looking for natural alternatives to chemical fertilizers, and farm animal manure is one of the most familiar natural fertilizers. Manure, particularly when composted, is a balanced source of nutrients in a slow-release form easily used by plants. When you put manure on a vegetable garden, take the precautions that are necessary to avoid contaminating food.

Composted manure has little odor and improves soil's texture.

Types of Manure

  • Avoid using manure from meat-eating animals to minimize the risk of transferring diseases. Although most farm animal manure is safe to use on a garden, exercise caution with poultry manure. Manure from chickens and turkeys that were fed roxarsone-amended food contains inorganic arsenic, which is a carcinogen. Use poultry manure only if you know the animals that produced it were not fed arsenic-containing food.

    The exact percentage of nutrients by weight in manure varies widely; they depend on the manure source and whether the manure is fresh or composted. In addition to nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium, manure is an effective source of micronutrients.

    The nutrient content of farm animal manure mixed with bedding is expressed as a percentage:

    Beef cattle: 1.1 nitrogen, 0.9 phosphorous, 1.3 potassium
    Dairy cattle: 0.5 nitrogen, 0.2 phosphorous, 0.5 potassium
    Chicken: 2.8 nitrogen, 2.3 phosphorous, 1.7 potassium
    Horse: 0.7 nitrogen, 0.2 phosphorous, 0.7 potassium
    *Turkey: 1.0 nitrogen, 0.8 phosphorous, 0.7 potassium

Fresh vs. Composted

  • Because of the danger from poultry manure, horse or cattle manure is often the best choice for vegetable gardens. Fresh cattle manure, however, may contain bacteria such as Escherichia coli and Salmonella spp., and horse manure often carries undigested weed seeds that can germinate in a garden. Fresh manure is not safe to apply to a garden right before planting or while vegetables are growing.

    Although spreading fresh manure on the garden might be the simplest way to apply it, there are several reasons to compost or age manure before applying it to a vegetable garden. The composting process generates heat, and when a compost pile is turned to heat-process the entire pile, the high temperatures may kill weed seeds and many pathogens, such as Escherichia coli. Maintaining the temperature at 130 or 140 degrees Fahrenheit for at least five days kills most pathogens. The compost pile temperature must be above 155 degrees Fahrenheit to kill the majority of weed seeds.

    Smaller compost piles may not reach temperatures required to kill bacteria. Aging the manure by letting it sit for at least six months before applying it to the garden, however, reduces the risk of bacteria and prevents the “burning” of roots and foliage that occurs when manure nutrients are released too quickly.

Application Amount

  • Animal manures are high in salts. So be careful not to over-apply them on a vegetable garden. Apply manure by spreading it 1 inch deep across the garden surface once each year. The task requires about 300 pounds of compost for every 100 square feet of soil surface. Work the manure into the soil to a depth of 6 to 8 inches.

    Once composted, manure contains nitrogen in a slow-release form. Therefore, most of its nitrogen isn’t available during the first year after the manure’s application. Composted manure from dairy cattle, for example, releases only 5 to 20 percent of its total nitrogen during the first year. You can apply blood meal at a rate of 1 to 2 pounds per 100 square feet to supply extra nitrogen. This task is necessary only the first year because nitrogen from the composted manure’s first application still will be available when you apply composted manure the second year.

Timing of the Application

  • Spread composted manure on a vegetable garden at least 1 month before planting time. Compost stimulates microbial activity in the soil, which is not bad but may interfere with vegetable seed germination. If you made the compost yourself, then ensure it has two to four months to sit and “cure” after the hot composting phase before you spread it on the garden.

    Never use fresh manure on a vegetable garden in the spring before planting. If you want to use fresh manure, you may apply it in the fall and let it age over winter before working it into the soil in spring. Ensure the manure sits for four to six months on the garden before you till the soil in spring and plant edible crops. It is still, however, safer to compost the manure before its use on the garden

How to Design a Pizzeria Kitchen

Brick ovens are an ideal choice for pizza baking.

Quality pizza is a favorite fast food because of its variety and simplicity. Many people have a favorite pizzeria they frequent. For this reason, pizzerias are some of the best fast food money-makers for their owners. As with any high-volume, fast-serve food operation, efficiency is the central concern when designing these kitchens. Being able to mass produce pizzas quickly, and to the customer’s satisfaction consistently, are earmarks of the successful pizzeria.

  • Visit the local building inspector’s office and get a copy of the building requirements for pizzerias in your area. Go to the local restaurant inspector’s department and obtain the proper food preparation and sanitation standards. Design and build your pizzeria to not only meet but exceed these requirements.
  • Lay out your floor plan so the public can see the actual preparation and cooking of their food. Build in sufficient distance and contamination protection of the food from the public, such as clear shields, as they watch their food being prepared and cooked. Eliminate the mystery and remove any doubt about how the restaurant prepares its food.
    Public confidence in food quality is boosted when patrons can see it being prepared.
    Public confidence in food quality is boosted when patrons can see it being prepared.
  • Organize the food-preparation process. Design the work stations so workers, utensils and kinds of food ingredients are not intermingled . Keep them separate and distinct to eliminate potential cross-contamination. Put down slip-resistant flooring throughout the entire kitchen.
  • Set up the chopping, slicing and grating ingredient stations in one area. Do the same for the dough and bread preparation in another area. Make the assembly and baking stations the central focus of the viewing public and the preparation stations the sideshows, so to speak; but put the entire operation in plain sight. Use bright fluorescent lighting to illuminate the work stations.
    Letting the customer see the freshly made crusts tells them their pizza is fresh.
    Letting the customer see the freshly made crusts tells them their pizza is fresh.
  • Install strong ventilation over the preparation and cooking areas. Locate the venting to eliminate or at least minimize food odors to the public. Air condition the kitchen to maximize air quality in these hotter work areas.
  • Separate with the maximum distance available, and even a wall if possible, the cold storage areas from the hot cooking areas. Reduce to zero, or as close to zero as possible, the potential for premature spoilage by creating clearly delineated hot and cold zones in the kitchen.
    Heat exposure can rob fruits and vegetables of their freshness.
    Heat exposure can rob fruits and vegetables of their freshness.
  • Arrange the check out, food pickup and dining area access in a one-way traffic flow pattern. Limit and locate any self-serve areas on the walls, near the tables, as opposed to the high-traffic areas. Lay out the restaurant with a single but split entry and exit access.

How to Design an Industrial Kitchen

Before you start designing an industrial kitchen, you should assess the type of space you envision for your completed facility. A meat or fish processing plant, for example, will need plenty of refrigeration, while a bakery will require at least one oven. Project the quantity of food the operation will likely handle, get a clear idea of your budget, and then begin drawing plans, contacting permitting agencies, consulting contractors, and shopping for equipment.

How to Design an Industrial Kitchen

  • Begin viewing available locations. If you’re lucky (or if you buy a lease from an existing food service operation), you’ll be able to move into a place that already has some of the amenities you require, such as electricity, ventilation, and a gas line. You may have to choose between a space with higher rent that will cost less to remodel and a location with lower rent where you have to do a more costly build-out yourself.
  • Check with your local health department before you start designing your kitchen. If possible, find an inspector willing to make a site visit to help you spot potential problem areas before you start costly construction. Although you may have to pay for a walk-through, it will be a bargain compared to undoing work that is not compliant with regulations. Some regulatory agencies require a plan review before you start building.
  • Plan your plumbing installation. Every foodservice operation needs to clean equipment, utensils, and work services. This requires hot running water, which will be connected to either a commercial dishwasher or a three-compartment stainless steel sink. You’ll also need a separate sink for cleaning and processing ingredients. State and county regulations may require you to install a hand washing station within your kitchen. Placing the sinks close together saves money on installation, but it may not provide an efficient work space.
  • Plan your ventilation system. If you’re heating any type of food, you’ll probably need to install a hood, vent, and fan over your cooking equipment. This ventilation system needs to be mechanically connected to a source of intake air, to automatically replace the air that is being removed from the space. If you’re doing any kind of cooking with grease, local codes usually require a fire suppression system situated in the hood, as well as larger duct work and a more powerful fan than you’d need simply for baking or boiling water. This can be quite expensive.
  • Assess your refrigeration requirements. Walk-in coolers and freezers come in a wide range of sizes, and the compressors that cool them need to be powerful enough to maintain the available space at the proper temperature. You’ll need a more powerful compressor if you’re cooling hot food than if you’re simply storing ingredients that are already cold. A competent refrigeration technician will be able to help you determine what kind of equipment you need. Reach-in coolers and freezers take up less space and can be ideal for storing smaller items.

Home Remedies for Vegetable Garden Green Worms

Garden green worms, also known as cabbage worms, are easily recognized by their bright green color. Green worms will feast on cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, mustard greens, kale and radish leaves. Home remedies can be used to get rid of garden green worms and are safe to use in organic vegetable gardens. Pick and kill adult green worms found on your vegetables, as well as larvae, which will be on the underside of the plant leaves.

Close-up of a cabbage worm on a leaf.

CoveringPlace gardening floating row covers on plants such as spinach, broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower. The material is light and will float on top of the vegetable crops, allowing room for growth but preventing green worms from penetrating to the leaves. To protect cabbage, place a nylon stocking on each head until harvest time.

Man kneeling in a cabbage patch.

PlantingPlant red cabbage cultivars in your garden, because they are less appealing to green worms. Planting mint, sage, rosemary, thyme or hyssop among your vegetables will help deter the insects.

An assortment of garden herbs.

Homemade InsecticideA homemade insecticide can be mixed together as a green worm remedy. Soak 3 ounces of minced garlic in 2 tablespoons of mineral oil in a glass jar with a lid for 24 hours. Strain out the garlic and add 1 pint of water and 1 teaspoon of liquid dish soap. The soap will act as a sticking agent. Dilute 1 to 2 tablespoons of the garlic-soap mixture with 1 pint of water in a spray bottle. Shake well and spray on the plant leaves, covering both top and bottom.

Test this spray on one or two plants for 24 hours to make sure the plants do not have an adverse reaction. Always spray homemade insecticide in the morning, as full sun exposure can burn your plants.

Garlic cloves on a counter top.

Neem OilA neem oil mixture can be used as a natural insecticide, and is safe to use in organic gardening. Neem oil concentrate can be purchased at local lawn and garden centers or stores specializing in organic gardening products.

Mix 1 ounce of neem oil in 1 gallon of water, and add a drop of liquid dish detergent as a wetting agent. Besides spraying vegetables that green worms infest, it can be used on spices and herbs, small fruits and berries, stone fruits and tropical fruits. This mixture is safe to re-apply once a week if necessary.

An employee working at a garden center.

How to Update a Mobile Home’s Interior

New carpeting and paint can have a major impact on a mobile home's interior appearance.
Updating the interior of a living space can bring new life to drab surroundings and turn a house into a home. Mobile homes are manufactured at a factory and transported to the home site. Typically, the manufacturing process also includes creating a look for the home that is popular at the time of construction. Over time, the mobile home can begin to feel outdated. Taking the time to spruce up the home’s interior will not only make occupants more comfortable, but potentially increase the value of the unit as well.

  • Sort through your belongings and discard or donate any items that are no longer being used. Reducing clutter in the home will help open up space and facilitate an updated look.
  • Paint the mobile home’s interior walls in a light, neutral paint color. Paint each room a shade in the same color family to create a unified look throughout the home without using the same color in every space.
  • Replace old and worn carpeting with neutral-colored, good-quality carpet. Typically, mobile homes are manufactured using relatively inexpensive carpet that is installed quickly before the walls are set in the home. Work with a professional carpet installer to see if you will need to cut carpet away from the walls, or if a tack strip is in place around the edges of the carpet.
  • Replace old draperies and window shades with treatments that coordinate with the mobile home’s new wall and carpeting colors. Choose a treatment that provides privacy and still allows enough light in to help make the home feel open.
  • Install lighting around the home to illuminate dark corners or spaces. Place floor lamps in areas where permanent fixture installation is difficult, or work with an electrician to have recessed lighting installed throughout the mobile home.
  • Replace outdated and worn furniture with a few large, contemporary pieces such as a sofa and love seat set. Avoid using multiple pieces of small furniture, which will cause the space to appear more cluttered and less welcoming. Consider utilizing bookcases and other organizational pieces as room dividers to create new spaces and keep clutter in check.

How to Organize a Small Living Room

Small living room.

A small living room can be a challenge to organize, but the task is not impossible. Utilizing the space you have in your small living room is important to ensuring that you don’t end up overcrowding your living area. So learn the simple steps to making your small living room work for you.

  • Take out anything that doesn’t belong there. This can mean toys, clothing, books, or anything that you would usually keep in another room. De-cluttering is important so that when organizing your living room, you are working with essentials for that room and not trying to store unnecessary things.
  • Remove everything from the living room and put it in another room for the time being. It helps in organizing to start out with a clean slate, so that you can see the space you are working with and have a fresh start.
  • Pay attention to color. Darker colors can enclose a small space and make the room seem much tinier than it is. Try and stick with furniture, walls, and décor pieces that are lighter colored and not overpowering.
  • Avoid furniture that is just for show. For more seating, have a long couch and loveseat, or a sectional. Avoid single seating, such as recliners or chairs. Place furniture against walls and pointed at one area. For instance, if you have your long sofa against one wall, you’ll want your TV on the opposite wall, with your loveseat on an adjacent wall.
  • Purchase a storage ottoman, which can store stuff and be used for seating when needed. If you have a coffee table, place that in the center of your room so that furniture is around it to put drinks and things on.
  • Measure your coffee table and purchase storage bins that will fit under it. This is a great way to utilize space that you otherwise wouldn’t use. You can even make a dust ruffle or table cloth for your coffee table to hide the storage bins.
  • Find an entertainment center that also has storage space. For a small living room, you want to avoid a basic TV stand and use one that offers shelving to hold your TV, as well as DVDs, books, or other things. This way these objects aren’t cluttering your living room space. Again, place your center on the wall opposite your sofa as a focal point.
  • Put lighting on the ceiling. Lamps and floor lights can cause unnecessary clutter. So stick with a ceiling light, such as a fan with light, or track lighting. This way your room can be well lit, without sacrificing space.
  • Keep accessories minimal and don’t overcrowd. For a small living room, you don’t want to add too many large accent pieces. Try adding flair with wall hangings that won’t take up any space, and little pieces like scented candles that can sit in the middle of your coffee table. Avoid statues, large table pieces, or shelving that sticks out of walls too much.

How to Set Up a Small Living Room

Keep a small living room uncluttered.
Making the most of every inch of space in a small living room can be a challenge. Placing furniture, choosing the right colors, window treatments and accessories to make a cozy space live large takes time and planning. When you are working with limited square footage, choose scaled-down furniture and multiuse pieces, make the most of your vertical space and fool the eye into thinking the room is larger than it is.

  • Draw a floor plan of the space. Measure the room and use graph paper so that you can draw it approximately to scale, or simply make a rough drawing. Sketch in your larger pieces of furniture like the couch and chairs. Draw more than one floor plan and consider different furniture configurations.
  • Paint your walls in light colors or neutrals. Keep the ceiling, moldings and trim white. Install crown molding to draw the eye up and make the ceiling look higher than it is. Reflect natural light by installing mirrors on a wall opposite a window.
  • Buy furniture that is in scale with the room, such as a love seat or easy chairs rather than a full-size sofa. Choose pieces that are multifunctional like storage cubes and ottomans that can act as extra seating. Forgo a large coffee table in favor of two ottomans or storage cubes situated in front of the couch. Or choose one with a glass top.
  • Slipcover furniture that is upholstered with large, busy prints. Stick to neutral fabrics with no designs and accessorize with throw pillows. Cover all upholstered furniture with the same fabric.
  • Arrange the furniture to take advantage of a focal point like a fireplace, large window, grouping of pictures or entertainment center. Anchor it with a large area rug. Create a conversation area by placing two loveseats opposite each other or two chairs opposite a love seat.
  • Hang curtains above your windows and make them floor length to make the room seem taller. Choose lightweight fabrics that filter natural light rather than heavy materials that block it.
  • Install your television on the wall rather than housing it in a cabinet that will take up valuable floor space.
  • Organize your living room. Tuck clutter into storage cubes. Hang shelves on the wall to corral books and knickknacks.
  • Accessorize your living room sparingly. Highlight the room with a few well chosen pieces of art. Pare down collections and display only a few pieces.

How to Decorate Your Living Room

Decorate Your Living Room

Decorating a living room so that you will love it does not require years of decorating experience or a degree from a design school. All it takes is paying attention to your own likes and dislikes and when necessary those of your family.There are many decorating styles, from tradition to modern to southwestern, but everyone is far from the same and decorating your living room should be done to create a look that is uniquely you! You may want to add elements from styles you like but don’t feel compelled to stick with one style alone unless you love it.

  • DISCOVER WHAT YOU LOVEBefore you buy a thing, the first thing you want to do is to figure out what you like. One of the very best ways to do this is by gathering a pile of magazines and a pair of scissors. As you look through the magazine, cut out any picture that gives you a good feeling. The magazines do not have to be decorating magazines although it will be helpful to have some.

    Don’t put too much thought into what you select. Do this exercise quickly and impulsively. Cut only pictures that make you feel good. Cut as many pictures as you want until you have a reasonably sized stack.

    Cut & Paste Pictures from Magazines
  • PASTE YOUR PICTURE INTO A LARGE SKETCH BOOKUsing at least an 11 inch artists notebook, begin pasting your pictures onto a 2 page spread. Arrange them in anyway you like. When you are done, close the notebook and walk away. Let it sit for a day or two, or a week.
    Buy a Large Sketch Book
  • LOOK AT YOUR DECORATING NOTEBOOKAfter some time has passed go back to your notebook and look at it. In most cases you will see color trends and the pages will be totally you in both colors and textures. This is where you will begin the decorating process.
    Your Decorating Taste will Emerge
  • TAKE YOUR DECORATING NOTEBOOK WITH YOU WINDOW SHOPPINGTake your notebook and begin to window shop for fabrics, paint and furniture to decorate your living room. Use your notebook only as a guide. Add swatches and samples to another 2 page spread. If you find a piece of furniture you like, ask for a brochure or take a picture of it and include it in your notebook. Pick up samples of wallpaper if you see something you love, even if you don’t plan to use wallpaper. It will give you color combination that work well together.
    Collect Samples of Fabric and Paint
  • TAKE YOUR TIME AND ENJOY THE PLANING PROCESS OF DECORATING YOUR LIVING ROOMUsing this technique set your creativity free and take all the time you need to put together the perfect selection of items. Choose your paint color carefully and unless you want your walls to be a focal point in your decorating scheme choose a color that will create a foil for the rest of your living room decor.
    Use the wall paint as a foil when decorating your living room
  • TAKE YOUR TIME WHEN SHOPPING FOR LIVING ROOM FURNITURE & DECORWe all look forward to having our living room decorating finished, so that we can sit back and enjoy it. But if you can allow your room to be an ongoing creative endeavor, adding items slowly as you find them, you will create a room that is uniquely you and in which you will only have things you love. If you buy something you do not love, replace it as soon as possible. Sell the couch, or lamp, or painting on Craig’s List or Ebay, and find something you do love.

    By all means consider buying used to begin with. You will find great quality furniture on Craig’s List if you take your time to wait until you find what you’re looking for. Until you are absolutely sure of what you want, buying used can save you a ton of money.

    Decorating Your Living Room Doesn't Have to Empty Your Bank Account

How to Decorate Your Living Room in Minimalist Style

A minimalist’s uncrowded living room has an overall look that’s understated, serene and free of clutter. Here are some characteristics to strive for.

  • Choose furnishings that are simple in construction, ornamentation and look. Use only pieces that you really need in the room – footstools, occasional tables, plant stands and spare chairs can be left out.
  • Go with a sofa and easy chairs that are plain – a rectangular transitional style or a simple Chippendale (curved backs with straight legs). Skip the toss pillows or use just a couple of unembellished ones – forget the fringe, lace and flounces.
  • Keep the coffee and end tables understated, too. Consider Parsons styles; simple cubes of wood, laminate and clear acrylic; or glass- and stone-topped metal tables.
  • Be sparing with the floor coverings and wall treatments. A simple area rug such as sisal or a Berber style over a hard-surface floor is fine (but don’t layer over wall-to-wall carpet).
  • Keep the walls one color – a soothing neutral is popular for the minimalist look.
  • Choose lamps and shades that are of simple design (nix the Tiffany styles and faceted crystal). Lamp bases of plain ceramic or wrought iron, and contemporary, spare brass designs tend to work well.
  • Add ambient lighting from recessed fixtures such as cans, and indirect lighting. You won’t see ornate chandeliers and fussy shades over faux-candle lights in minimalism.
  • Hang the windows simply or leave them bare. Tab-top curtains on a simple wrought-iron rod, plantation shutters or 2-inch-wide wood blinds, and Roman shades are all options.

How to Enhance Bathroom Decor With Apothecary Jars

Glass Jars Compliment Bathroom Decor

Organize your cosmetic products in decorative apothecary jars for flair and function. The clear glass adds clean lines to bathroom decor. Select various sizes of jars as your inspiration pieces to launch theme and color. Transform your bathroom into a luxury spa retreat.

  • For a classic spa decorating style, fill assorted apothecary jars with white or natural products like cotton balls, sponges, bath salts, bars of soap, cotton swabs, make up applicators, loofahs and sea shells.
    Bath Salts are one of many ideas for the jars
  • Place the glass jars on the bathroom counter or bathtub ledge staggered by size. Make sure the toiletries are easily accessible. During the holidays, fill jars with ornaments and festive soaps.
    Add Apothecary Jars to bathtub ledge or sink counter
  • Compliment the natural look by filling wicker baskets with rolled up towels and washcloths. Plain pillar candles and a glass aromatic reed diffuser complete the luxury spa theme. While bathing, enjoy a glass of wine or sparkling cider with meditative music playing in the background.

    Apothecary glass jars can be found in stores or online via mass market retailers, catalogs and home decorating establishments.

    Enjoy a Spa Experience with New Bathroom Decor

Ideas for a Small En-Suite Bathroom

An en-suite bathroom gives your bedroom a touch of luxury.

According to the website kitchenandbathideas.com, “An en-suite bathroom is one that is directly connected to the bedroom and is usually featured in the master bedroom in homes with several bedrooms.”It is an investment, which, if executed well, will increase the value of your home, not to mention, allow a greater level of convenience. Your bedroom will be a place of total repose; you can easily take a long bath, and then sink into bed.

Floors and Ceilings

  • If possible, try to install the same flooring from the bedroom in the en-suite bathroom. By having the same flooring throughout, you create a seamless feel that’s more pleasing to the eye.

    Also, if possible, try to lower the ceiling in your en-suite bathroom. Most en-suite bathrooms simply don’t have the luxury of space, and a high ceiling in a cramped bathroom makes the room feel even more cramped and claustrophobic.

Luxuries

  • Installing what luxuries you possibly can into the new bathroom will help not only your investment but enhance your day-to-day life.

    For example, if you can fit a tub into your en-suite bathroom, consider installing a whirlpool tub. If you only have room for a shower, install a top-of-the-line spa-like shower head. Hang a large, elegant mirror with an eye-catching frame that matches your decor. The large mirror will not only reflect light, but will reflect space as well, making the area feel bigger.

Space Savers

  • The worst thing for an en-suite bathroom, or for any small bathroom, is for it to be cluttered and disorganized. Make use of all available space. For example, put shelves above the toilet, place hooks on the back of the bathroom door for towels and bathrobes, and add a shower caddy for shampoo and other products around the shower head. You literally want everything to have its place.

Ammonia Smell in a Bathroom

A luxury bathroom.

An ammonia smell in the bathroom not only offends your nose, but it could indicate a serious problem with the bathroom. Ignoring the odor only will lead to it becoming worse, which may put the health and safety of anyone living in the house or using the bathroom at risk.

Danger Zone

  • While the ammonia smell in your bathroom likely is not solely ammonia, which is dangerous to inhale, the smell still can pose a danger to you or anyone else in the house. The smell may be sewer gases, which are harmful for anyone to inhale for a prolonged period of time. Sewer gases can also be flammable, leading to a possible fire or explosion hazard in the house. Check the sewer vents on the roof to see if they’re frozen or blocked, since this can cause gases to back up in the home.

Dry Trap

  • The trap, or the curved pipe in the bottom of a toilet’s bowl, is designed to keep sewer gases out of the house. The curved trap holds water in the pipe, creating a barrier to sewer gases. When you do not use the toilet for a long time, the trap will dry out. How quickly the trap dries depends on humidity levels in the house. With the water gone, the sewer gases can enter the bathroom. You can prevent this from happening by flushing less-used toilets periodically to keep the trap full.

Broken Seal

  • A broken seal between the base of the toilet and the bathroom floor can lead to sewer gases escaping. The seal is made of a wax ring that compresses between the bottom of the toilet and a flange that anchors into the bathroom’s floor and subfloor. Either part of the seal will break if the toilet is not anchored tightly enough, allowing the toilet to rock or move in any direction. Placing the wax ring so the curved side faces the flange and not the toilet also leads to leaks. You can repair the a broken wax ring by removing the toilet, scraping off the damaged ring and then installing a new ring. To repair a broken flange, you must anchor a repair strap over the flange.

Sewer Organisms

  • Organisms that live in the sewer may find a way through the toilet’s trap, especially if it dries out for a period of time, and take up residence in the bowl. The organisms will live just under the rim, by the portholes where the water from the tank drains into the bowl each time you flush. The rushing water over the organisms can let off some foul smells. A toilet brush and toilet cleaner will not eliminate the organisms. You must pour several cups of bleach down the toilet’s overflow pipe, located in the tank, to eliminate the organisms and the smell.

How to Reupholster Seat Cushions on Dining Room Chairs

The ability to upholster chairs is a useful skill for do-it-yourselfers and any homeowner. While it might initially seem like a daunting task, reupholstering seat cushions is easy to accomplish and requires no previous sewing or upholstery experience. Old dining room chairs can take on a new life by simply adding a new piece of fabric that better coordinates with the design of the room. Before beginning any upholstery work, it is important to repair the chairs if needed.

Reupholstering old dining room chairs can give an old space new life.

  • Remove the seat from the chair. This usually requires simply turning the chair upside down and removing the screws that are holding the cushion in place. Remember to reserve the screws so the cushion can be reattached after the cushion is covered.
  • Pull away any existing fabric from the dining room chair cushion. If the fabric is stapled in place, use a flat-head screwdriver to pry the staples away from the underside of the cushion. If possible, keep the original fabric intact to use as a pattern for the new fabric.
  • Repair the cushion as needed. If the foam is torn, fill the holes with pieces of upholstery foam and glue in place. If you prefer, you can replace the upholstery foam entirely by attaching a new sheet to the base of the cushion with spray adhesive.
  • Create a pattern for your new upholstery fabric. If you were able to reserve the original cushion fabric, simply trace this piece onto your new fabric. You can also create a pattern by draping a piece of muslin cloth over the cushion and tracing out the shape you need. Be sure to leave extra material on all sides for pull.
  • Position your seat cushion over the new fabric, print side down. Pull the fabric over to the underside of the cushion and staple in place. Pull the fabric as tight as possible to avoid bubbling and create a clean, professional look. Cut off excess material or cover with a sheet of interfacing.

How to Separate Living & Dining Room Layouts

An open floor plan is spacious and modern, and provides plenty of opportunities for social gathering. On the other hand, separating the living and dining space becomes a challenge due to the open, undivided floor plan. Separating the area is achieved through organization, furniture arrangement and color.

Separate your living room and dining space with rugs and select furnishings.

  • Decide on a piece of furniture to separate the living room and dining area. For example, a sectional sofa with the back facing the dining area will act as a divider. A pair of armchairs may also be used in this manner.
  • Place the dining table in the area behind the sofa or armchairs. Center it in that part of the space. Section it off by using a rug or shelving units to display porcelain dinnerware or other dining accessories.
  • Center the living space around a large ottoman or coffee table. Place an entertainment center or mount a television to the wall opposite the dining area.
  • Create paths for visitors to walk through so that they are not interfering with the function of the space. For example, if the only pathway through the living area is in front of the television, this will quickly become an annoyance. Also, if the path in the dining room is directly in front of the table, this could prove disturbing during family dinners. Arrange the furniture so that there are two paths in each living space.
  • Separate the areas by choosing a color scheme for each. For example, you could paint the dining area a color different from that of the living area. Alternatively, you could accent a focal point, such as a fireplace in the living room. Use accessories in the living room that complement the accent wall for coordination. Add neutral tones to bring the room together.

How to Use Concrete Blocks in the Home and Garden

Concrete blocks are useful and affordable building tools; however, they have many other uses in the home and garden. You can leave the concrete blocks as they are, or they can be covered with fabric or painted to improve their appearance. With some inexpensive tools and a little creativity, you’ll have your home and garden looking great in a snap.

 
  • Create an inexpensive book shelf for any room of your home with a few boards and concrete blocks. Get creative when building your bookshelf, painting the wood and blocks and building it to fit. Try leaving the holes facing out for convenient cubbies or candle holders. A concrete block shelf is also a great way to organize the garage.
  • Use a concrete block as a non-slip children’s stool. While kids may need a boost to reach a bathroom sink, they are also very curious and like to use their stool for reaching places you may not want them exploring. Apart from aiding them in getting into trouble, small light-weight stools can easily slip under little legs, especially on a wet bathroom floor. Decorate a concrete block with paint or cover it with waterproof fabric for a difficult to move and non-slip children’s stool.
  • Paint the outside of a concrete brick and place it in your garden, along walkways or on your patio for a decorative addition to your home and garden. Plant flowers or other decorative plants inside the holes. Not only is this a quick and easy flower pot, it will also drain well, helping to aerate the roots of your plants.
  • Build a garden bench with concrete blocks and a board. Paint the concrete blocks any color you like and build two squares using four concrete blocks each for your bench support. Be sure the top two blocks face the opposite direction than the bottom two blocks for added stability. Place a wood board over the concrete block ends to finish the garden bench.
  • Liven up your patio or garden with a concrete block flower display. You can use concretes bricks and boards to create a decorative flower display made to fit in any location. Build your display along a fence in your garden, on a terrace or patio or near your front door. Paint your concrete blocks any way you like and place potted plants on the boards or inside of cubbies.

How to Start Your Own Gardening Business

Turn the ability to grow a beautiful garden into a very marketable trade. Many homeowners are willing to pay a lot of money to a gardening service or landscaping business capable of transforming their home’s lawn into a lush, verdant expanse. Small scale gardening businesses, such as homegrown herbs and spices for sale, can also provide some extra spending cash. Develop a business idea that can work locally to build your gardening business.

Successful gardeners have an intimate knolwedge of what can grow where.

  • Develop your business model by researching what local opportunities exist for gardening businesses. Educate yourself on local gardening conditions, including climate, weather, soil conditions and average rainfall to understand what kind of plants can be grown in your area. Talk to local homeowners and businesses to see what needs exist for gardening supplies or landscaping services in your town.
  • Analyze your market competition that exists in your local market for the style of business chosen. If you plan on growing plants and flowers for retail sale, you may want to check out the offerings of local greenhouses. Consider any possible options you can offer that aren’t available at these greenhouses or gardening stores, including gardening equipment. Keep in mind all prices and display designs that competitors use that you might be able to utilize or improve upon.
  • Apply for all proper business licenses and permits required to operate your business legally within your state of residence. Contact your state and local government offices and speak to a representative. Tell the representative about the nature of your business and ask about any necessary business licenses or permits to run your business. Retail businesses will need a seller’s permit and retail license; landscaping businesses will need to apply for contractor business licenses.
  • Purchase the materials and retail space that you will need in order to operate your gardening business. Lease or purchase a storefront if you need space to display your available retail products, or rent out an office space if you need an office outside of the home to run a landscaping business. Retail stores need to purchase seeds and equipment from bulk wholesalers for individual sale. Gardening and landscaping businesses will need multiple hand tools, such as rakes, lawnmowers or brooms, and a truck or large van for transporting plants and equipment. Interior landscaping is cheapest to fund among gardening services, but it becomes more difficult to maintain plants stay indoors.
  • Contact a local nursery, and set up a contract to purchase plants that your gardening business will sell and plant. You may need to contact many nurseries if local ones have too many clients. Ask a store representative about any minimum purchase requirements or advanced notice needed to process larger orders.
  • Find ways to increase your gardening business’ profile in your local community. Hold workshops on gardening techniques with which you have experience or start up a kiosk at a local co-op or farmers market. Contact your local chamber of commerce to find out about any local business events or home and garden shows. You might also design and print a brochure to distribute to customers at your store or other local businesse

How to Design a Kitchen Floor Plan for Free Online

If you are looking to design a kitchen floor plan for free, you need this advice! While some kitchens are more complicated than others, these are the basic steps for remodeling your kitchen or designing a new kitchen.

  • The very first things you are going to need to do to design your kitchen floor plan is a tape measure, pencil and graph paper.
  • Take careful measurements of your kitchen. Be sure when measuring your kitchen that you measure from kitchen wall to kitchen wall, not from the kitchen cabinets.

    Mark all of your wall measurements on your graph paper to make your kitchen floor plan. Be sure that each square on your graph paper represents one foot or 6 inches so that your floor plan is a good representation of what your kitchen looks like. It is important to not only draw the line but to mark the exact measurements above the line.

    Next you will need to take careful measurements of your doors and windows and draw them on your graph paper kitchen layout.

    If there are any other structures in the kitchen that should be noted, be sure to do so. For example, if your chimney runs through your kitchen, be sure to mark that.

    Now it is a good time to measure from floor to ceiling and mark that in your sidelines.

    After you have taken all your measurements of your kitchen it is time to start designing your layout of your kitchen using a floor plan you will build on line.

    Your kitchen design is on its way! On these websites you will be able to insert kitchen appliances and kitchen cabinets into your floor plan that you designed!

    If you haven’t yet started researching your kitchen appliances, now is the time to do so, so that you have all the measurements you need to design your beautiful new kitchen!

How to Design a Culinary Arts Demonstration Kitchen

An effective culinary-arts demonstration kitchen gives students an extensive view of the instructor’s workstation, and provides space for students to learn through hands-on practice. Minimize obstructions that can prevent students from observing the instructor’s work, and choose the quietest equipment you can find so students can hear the instructor. Give safety features special attention in your design, to accommodate inexperienced chefs.

  • Situate the instructor’s workstation in a central, visible location. Students should be able to see and hear the instructor from every part of the room.
  • Plan locations for video cameras and video screens. Place one camera in a location to film the instructor’s prep station, and another camera over the stove, where it can film multiple burners. Situate video screens on either side of the instructor’s workstation, high enough for all students to see.
  • Minimize clutter around the workstation by arranging cabinets for pans and utensils within reach, but away from the island containing the instructor’s stove and prep area.
  • Place a hand-washing sink within easy reach of the workstation, but at enough of a distance to not interfere with instruction activity or for water to splash on prep areas.
  • Plan student workstations where up to four students can work together. Workstations should be islands with stainless-steel prep stations and burners if students are cooking.