How to Make Your Small Bathroom Look Bigger

Small bathrooms can be a homeowner’s biggest design challenge. These baths can feel cramped, often don’t have enough room for all of your stuff, and if you decorate them the wrong way, they can somehow feel even smaller. There are a few tricks that can help you open your small bathroom up, both aesthetically and functionally.

Make Your Floor Seem Bigger

There are several tricks involving just the floor of your bathroom that will make it appear larger. First, opt for a sink or vanity with a pedestal base or hanging from the wall. You can even find toilets designed to hang from the wall. This tactic increases the amount of visible floor space and makes the room seem larger.

Next, select the largest size tile you can comfortably fit in the room and install it on a diagonal. Large tiles have fewer grout lines, so they are less likely to emphasize the size of the floor, while the diagonal layout draws the eye out to the corners of the room, visually widening it.

If you have a shower in the bathroom, lay the same tile on the shower floor as well in a mosaic size, or lay a mosaic everywhere in the bathroom to make the two spaces seem like part of the same floor. Glass shower doors also open up the space more than an opaque option.

Finally, take the wall furthest from the door and run the tile right up it. This creates an optical illusion that makes the room seem much larger than it actually is.

Gain Some Storage

Done right, well-placed storage can help make the room feel larger as well. Start with niches, small cutaways in the wall that will let you place items without actually taking up space in the room.

Next, opt for cabinets on the walls above the toilet and next to the shower to give you the storage you need without eating up precious floor space. Install shelving just below your bathroom mirror, but above the sink to give you an out-of-the-way place to hide toiletries.

Keep It Light and Bright

Finally, keep the palette for the whole room very light and simple, using just one or two cool colors through the whole space. Combine these tricks to make your small bathroom seem larger and appealing.

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Decorating with Chinese and Brazilian Slate Floors

When most people think of slate flooring, they picture the material that typically comes from Vermont. This type of slate is usually honed, gauged, and a uniform gray color that makes it easy to coordinate with other furnishings and décor. Slate flooring that come from other countries such as China and Brazil, however, vary widely in terms of color and texture. This can make some homeowners feel cautious about their use, because while this stone is beautiful and eye catching, the overall look can feel overwhelming when placed in a residential setting.

Looking at the Positives

Thankfully, while these international ungauged slates may be intimidating to plan around,  this is actually far from the case. These beautiful stones actually open up a wide range of decorating possibilities that may not be possible with other flooring types.

Color Palette

With the exception of some types of green-colored slate, most of these international slates have a wide range of colors in each lot of stone. This means that the colors within one floor can vary from deep blue to burgundy, light green to gold, and often a floor may have five or more shades within it. While you may think this will make the floor busy, what it actually does is give you a built in decorating palette; pull every color you intend to use elsewhere in the room from the flooring and it will automatically work as a color scheme and cohesive design choice.

Unique Texture

One of the other decorating positives that come from ungauged slates is their unique texture. Each piece is covered with layers that create little hills and valleys all over the stone. This texture lends itself toward decorating in one of two ways:

  • Used in contemporary settings it adds the one incongruous touch that makes the rest of the furnishings and décor pop
  • Used in Country, rustic, and farmhouse settings, it sets the stage for the use of additional textures and patterns throughout the room

 A Beneficial Choice

In addition to their decorating positives, international slate flooring rarely stains, hides dirt well, and can be maintained with just a little mineral oil. Consider using them in any setting where a lot of character is desired.

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Choosing Wall Colors with White Oak Floors

White oak is one of the more popular hardwood floors on the market today. Unlike red oak, it has a blue/gray cast to its undertones, which makes it a cooler-toned choice than the creamy pink and red of its cousin. It’s a good choice for small rooms, therefore, where the cooler tone helps to open up the room visually. Paired with the right wall colors, it can make a striking addition to many homes.

Complementary Colors

One of the best ways to choose a color that will work with another is to use complementary colors or tones. Complementary colors sit opposite one another on the color wheel, like red and green. Because white oak has a slight blue/gray undertone, a natural wall color choice would be to use a very light, creamy yellow. This provides contrast to the floor, softening it and warming up the room slightly. Accent colors can then be in multiple shades of blue, gray, yellow, tan, and brown as well as white to create a complete palette for the space.

Analogous Colors

Another popular way for choosing colors to pair together is through the use of analogous colors. Analogous colors sit next to one another on the color wheel, and create a more subtle palette that can include many more colors in it. With the blue/gray undertones of white oak, natural color choices would be in the green and purple categories. This can range from deep tones like hunter green and plum to lighter colors like sage and lilac. Because you can keep adding analogous colors, you can keep expanding the palette of the room, moving from sage to gold and lilac to red, creating a plethora of accent colors that blend together into one, cohesive design.

Strengthening the Floor Colors

Depending on the lot of white oak that you get, you may want to find a minor tone within the floor and lift this color for the walls. This can create a very subtle palette that really opens up small rooms. Just choose either complementary or analogous colors for your accents to complete the design.

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What Is The Difference Between Porcelain and Ceramic Tile?

When it comes to choices in floor tile, you have more today than ever before. And with these choices comes some confusion about what these tiles are, how they are made, and what makes them different from one another. Two of the most confusing are ceramic and porcelain. Both are made of clay, and to be even more confusing, in pottery porcelain is a type of ceramic. There are some pretty big differences between the two as tiles though, which can make one or the other a better choice for your specific application.

What Is Ceramic Tile?

Ceramic tiles are made out of wet clay that has been extruded or pressed and cut into shape. They may be fired and then glazed and fired again, or they may be glazed and fired just once, also known as a monocutura tile.

Ceramic tiles always have a glaze on them, so if the tile were to chip, you would see the clay body underneath them. This glaze on the tiles is subject to something known as crazing, which means that tiny cracks can develop in it. If an unsealed crazed tile gets wet, the clay body underneath can absorb water and potentially stain.

Ceramic tiles come both for floor and wall use, and floor tiles may be strong enough and durable enough even for commercial use. Never use a wall tile on the floor; their glaze is not designed to be walked on.

What Is Porcelain Tile?

Porcelain tiles are made out of compressed clay dust that has been fired to extremely high temperatures, rendering the tile dense, non-porous, and extremely durable. The color of a porcelain tile goes right through from top to bottom, so if it were to chip, you would not notice a change in color in the surface.

Porcelain tiles can be glazed, but are often not. The surface of a porcelain tile can be smooth and matte, rough and textured, or polished to a high sheen. They never require sealing, and do not stain, scratch, or require special care, which makes them ideal for any application.

So while both tiles are made of clay, porcelain is much more durable and can be used for more applications than ceramic.  Knowing the type of tile that will fit best with your lifestyle is a key part in decorating your home.  We are happy to help you through the decision!

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What Is The Most Environmentally Friendly Flooring Choice?

Green building is one of the hottest topics in architecture and home remodeling today. With new, recycled products and materials, homeowners have more choices than ever before. With these choices, however, come questions as homeowners begin to educate themselves on the various materials and how using them can have an impact on the environment. Because flooring covers such large sections of the home’s interior, one of the goals of many green-conscious homeowners is to find a sustainable or green flooring product. And while there are many advances in recycled tiles and reclaimed products, one of the most frequently overlooked products that ranks high in both sustainability and low environmental impact in manufacturing is wood flooring.

A Sustainable Choice

There are many natural and recycled products on the market for flooring today. Some, like stone or ceramic, are derived from materials that cannot be recreated or reproduced once gone. Even recycled clay can’t be infinitely sustainable without a lot of other manufacturing concerns and drawbacks. Wood is entirely renewable and a truly sustainable choice. Some companies choose to use fast growing trees and products like bamboo, while others choose to plant additional trees to replace those harvested, ensuring that the product remains sustainable.

Low Impact

Studies carried out by the University of Wisconsin have found that wood floor manufacturing has one of the lowest impacts on the environment of any flooring type. The biggest drawback is the kiln drying of the wood, which is required to create a stable product.

Most of the off-gasses produced during the production of the wood flooring have either a neutral or a negative greenhouse effect, meaning that they either do not contribute to greenhouse gasses, or they help reduce them.

This combined with the fact that while the trees are growing they help to clean the air and reduce CO2 levels makes wood flooring a surprisingly green choice for many homeowners.

Make the Right Decision

When you set out to find an environmentally friendly flooring option for your home, don’t overlook wood floors. While wood may not seem as green a choice as a recycled flooring product, its sustainability and low manufacturing impact make it a far greener choice than any other flooring on the market today.

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Family Fun Activities

Importance of spending quality time with family cannot be denied. As this family time is spent focusing on the thoughts and feelings of the other members of family, so it makes everyone feel special and it strengthens the relationships by strengthening the love bond. If you are looking forward to have some fun with your family but don’t know where to start, make sure to read our post for plenty of ideas.

House Work

If the home has fallen a bit behind in cleaning or maintenance, then housework can be a great family option. These everyday chores can take on a different meaning when the family works together or creates games to enliven the usual work.   Try challenging one another to see who can pick up more toys in one minute or fold laundry neater than the other.  Productive activities don’t have to be boring!

Story Making

Everyone likes to share their story in their own way. Therefore, story-making can be more amusing than story-telling. Select a theme or keywords and start making your own story and ask the person, sitting next to you, to continue where you stop. You will be amazed with the crazy tale you have by the end of the session.

Impersonation and Fun Photography

Make use of funniest things that your family members usually do or the phrase that a friend repeats often, to have fun. You can also use your camera to photograph one another in funny poses or with crazy facial expressions. Fun photography is enjoyable to shoot and hilarious to view afterwards.

Reading Time

You can also arrange a weekly reading session. Sit together and read out loud about a selected theme like mysteries, real-life stories, or adventures.  This gives you an opportunity to expand your knowledge and to share your ideas with your family about the subject.

Movies

Watching an old home movie can be a great family fun activity. Arrange a home theater show to watch the wedding movie, birthday party video of your child, grandparent’s wedding anniversary etc.

The most important thing to remember during family activities is to enjoy your time together.  Anything around you can turn family time into a special memory if make sure everyone is having fun!

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Backsplash Pattern Ideas

Backsplashes add a decorative element to any kitchen design, often completing the look and feel of the kitchen. There are numerous ways you can lay out your backsplash tile to complement the look and style of your kitchen. Depending on the type of design you’re going for; consider trying any one of these backsplash ideas to complete the look.

Contemporary Stacked Pattern

Consider using traditional tiles set in unconventional ways to make a statement in your contemporary kitchen. Choose a rectangular tile, either traditional subway-style 3 x 6, or something different and more modern such as a 2 x 8, and rather than installing them in a running bond or offset pattern, consider stacking them horizontally on top of one another to make rows. This gives a sleek, modern look to any kitchen. Further enhance the look by using glass, honed marble, or stainless steel tiles in place of ceramic.

Traditional Focal Point Pattern

The vast majority of backsplashes are 18-inches in height. This allows you to frame the interior portion of your backsplash with a row of 4-inch tiles at the top and at the bottom. Fill in the center with the same tiles turned on the diagonal for a formal, traditional look that is emphasized by tiles above and below. Continue this pattern behind the cooktop, cutting in decorative tiles on the corners of the field tile to complete the pattern.

Transitional Border Pattern

If your kitchen isn’t contemporary or traditional, but somewhere in the middle between the two, consider using a transitional pattern that uses elements of both. Set a row of tile at the bottom of the backsplash, and run a decorative border of glass mosaic on top. Set the remaining field tile above it to the cabinets. Take the decorative glass mosaic, and use it to fill in the area behind the cooktop, framed with a chair rail tile to give a focal point to the space.

Complete Your Kitchen

Backsplashes help to complete any kitchen design. Consider using one of these three patterns to help you achieve the look you’re after.  Have you ever seen a backsplash pattern that was particularly beautiful or striking?  Feel free to send in a picture if you have!

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Making Your Home Lovely, One Step at a Time – Part 3

In our previous two posts, we dealt with clutter and selecting tools for your efforts.  Here we will talk about scheduling these duties as part of your daily routine rather than viewing cleaning as one large chore.  Your home will soon become a tidier place if you include several daily tasks such as cleaning up the kitchen every night before bed. Those who prefer to clean in large batches might be tempted to put all this off till the weekend, however the idea of starting into a cleaning marathon on Saturday morning can discourage even the most dedicated among us.

 

Rather than taking a “when it needs it” approach, a much more effective schedule includes small tasks every day.  Why not throw in one load of laundry before or after work? Folding clothes can happen during television time. The day before trash day, run through the house with an empty trash bag, add the kitchen trash and you’re finished with this chore for the week.

 

Keep your bathroom-specific cleaning bucket in the bathroom for quick access while getting ready for bed at night.  Quickly wipe down of the surfaces each evening. This will make the weekly cleaning less of a chore. A squeegee can be kept in the shower to clear the water spots after each shower, making water spots less of an issue.

 

A final tip – don’t forget to build in some payback for yourself! Reward yourself for each day you meet your cleaning goals. This could be in the form of a luxurious soak in the tub or that new pair of shoes you’ve been waiting to buy.   Come up with a reasonable reward for your new habits. You’ll find that cleaning is no longer the chore you dread, but rather a part of your everyday life.

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Making Your Home Lovely, One Step at a Time — Part 2

In our previous post, we tackled clutter in the home.  Once the clutter has been tamed, it’s time to look at housecleaning patterns. Are you one to have a regular schedule for the scrubbing or do you instead move in when you notice things are going downhill? Although most people don’t enjoy the tasks enough to spend the time to organize their efforts, it can be worth the investment up front. Here are a few tips that will help make your housecleaning easier, faster and a bit more enjoyable.

 

Tools are there to help! Buckets or plastic containers with a handle are invaluable for cleaning chores.  Buy one dedicated to holding your cleaning products. Designate one container for bathrooms, a second to the kitchen and a third to the rest of the house. Include in the container brushes or cloths for each task. This will save valuable time that would have been wasted finding all of the supplies you need with each cleaning project. This also helps you to notice when you’re running low on something so it can quickly be added it to your shopping list and avoid running out of products.

 

Heavy duty is the way to go. Shop towels are inexpensive and available at many warehouse and hardware stores. These towels are just a bit bigger than a washcloth and are made of white terry fabric. These will take place of paper towels and you can use these for anything you need to clean. Shop towels are also wonderful for wiping up spills and cleaning grime on anything from floors to the car’s tires. These will hold up much better than paper towels and last for years. You should expect to use a lot of them, but when you run low just dump them in the washer, add some soap and bleach and they’re ready for next time.

 

Don’t forget to read our next post — it will help with a schedule and some incentives for cleaning.

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Making your Home Lovely, One Step at a Time – Part 1

Have you ever been to a friend’s home and felt welcomed immediately just by how they have set up their home?  How would you like your home to have the same feeling?  If the thought of neighbors and friends stopping by to a house that always looks fabulous, a few changes to your routine could be a great place to start.  A home free of clutter and dirt is just a few steps away!  To start, let’s address clutter.

 

Everything in its Place: Getting to the place where you want to be is never as easy as it seems.  The key at this point is to make a commitment to clearing away the unnecessary clutter and to create a system that can be followed by the whole family. A helpful mode of thought is to imagine your home as a store rather than a house.  In a retail environment, items are usually grouped together based on use.  Craft supplies and school supplies live well together while books and toys may need their own section in your home.   Organizational tools are a great investment at this time.  Labeling drawers, cupboards and storage containers can go a long way towards encouraging the entire family to put items back where they belong the first time around.   

 

Tools of the Trade: A basket dedicated to the task of gathering and sorting is a wonderful way to gain an upper hand on clutter.  During the bedtime hour, all out-of-place items are placed in the basket.  A second walk-through of the home returns all items to their designated location.  This task is a wonderful way to get the kids involved in the cleanup process and can even be a moneymaker!  A fine of a nickel imposed on the person who forgot to clean up after themselves can quickly encourage family members in the right direction! 

 

Chore time: Assigning chores to each person can help everyone see how they are contributing to the entire family.  Individual chores such as making your own bed, taking care of your own dirty dishes, bringing your own clothes to the laundry room are all easy tasks for most children to follow, along with mom and dad!  As these daily habits become normal activities, everyone will feel like they are helping out each day.

 

No habits are made overnight.  But work on the changes each day and the rewards will be obvious.  Don’t forget: the best time to start is always right now!

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