Wood Look Porcelain Tile Planks

If you love the classic look of hardwood floors but not the maintenance required to keep them beautiful, then consider installing wood look porcelain tile instead. They provide the same versatility in your home, but unlike hardwood they are scratch-resistant and aren’t affected by moisture.

 

Why Use Wood Plank Look Porcelain Tiles

As popular as hardwood floors may be, it’s not be the best choice for every home. If installed below grade or in areas with higher humidity, it can swell. Laminate floors cannot be installed at this level either for the same reasons and in addition to that they are susceptible to scratching and denting over time.  Using engineered hardwood is an option, but it can only be sanded and refinished a few times before needing to be replaced.

 

Wood look porcelain tile planks will give you the appearance of hardwood without all its disadvantages.  Nothing will faze these floors: rambunctious children and pets, heavy furniture, even basement floods. They will continue to look as good as the day they were installed for years to come.  They also require no special maintenance or cleaning products, adding to its list of benefits in design choice.

 

The Look of Wood Porcelain Tile Planks

What gives these tiles their look? Compressed clay dust is packed into a tile mold and fired at high temperatures.  The grain pattern for the particular wood species is then printed on the tile resulting in an accurate wood grain appearance and color.  They are then installed with a 1/16th-inch grout joint matching in color to the chosen tile and meant to be so seamless that most individuals cannot tell the difference from hardwood. 

 

No matter what room of the house they are installed, there is a size and color for any taste. For a more rustic appearance, “painted planks” are available and give the room a weathered look. Since they come in a variety of shapes, there is sure to be a style that will fit in with your home’s design.  So, if you’re looking for a way to get that hardwood look without all the maintenance, consider wood plank look porcelain tiles for your home. 

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Helpful Uses for Cooking Spray

Cooking spray is not just to be used strictly for baking. It can come in handy for all sorts of uses around the house. Find out how to put this simple tool to use!

Squeaky doors no more. Spray a healthy amount of cooking spray to squeaky hinges, on both sides of the door. Wipe away the excess with a clean paper towel. This will rid any door for squeaking for quite some time.

Use cooking spray to grease bicycle chains. This can be done in seconds. Again you will want to wipe away the excess spray, because it will drip for sure.

For tricky key holes, where the key often becomes stuck, spray little cooking spray into the lock itself. This will help lubricate the inside of the lock so that the key and lock can work together. No longer worry about breaking the key off inside a tricky lock.

When making homemade frozen pops, especially the thicker, smoothie type of pops, spray the inside of the Popsicle molds with cooking spray. Once you are ready to remove the popsicles from the molds, they will simply slide right out.

Wind burn and extra dry skin can benefit from the moisturizing ability of cooking spray. Spray the dry areas where skin is becoming irritated or cracked and softly rub the spray oil into the skin. Instant moisture and relief will be provided to the area. It is best to apply the spray after bathing. Cooking spray can also provide relief and faster healing of diaper rash. Again make sure to apply this to baby’s bottom after bathing.

Remove paint from your hands without using paint thinner or acetone. Spray your hands or body where there is paint, rub in and then wash away paint with soap and water.

Dry freshly painted nails in a pinch. If nails are still wet and you can’t wait any longer, apply cooking spray directly onto wet nails and will help them dry much faster. Wipe the excess oil off your hands with a clean dry towel.

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Decorating With Red Oak Floors

Red oak is perhaps one of the most popular flooring choices in American homes. Red oak can have several color variations that can appear dark brown, tan or even a slight pinkish. The distinct coloring can leave homeowners confused as to what kind of decorating scheme they should do that would complement the space.

 

While decorating a room with red oak floors requires some creativity you aren’t limited with options. It’s important to use complementary or analogous color schemes with red oak variant flooring.

 

Complementary Colors

When selecting furniture and wall colors with existing flooring it’s always best to select complementary colors. Complementary colors are the exact opposite of one another on a standard color wheel. If your red oak flooring is infused with shades of brown or red you might consider using shades of green, cream or blue. Using complementary colors in your decorating scheme can create a striking effect. Complementary colors when placed beside each other can make an entire room come alive.

 

Analogous Colors

Analogous colors are located right next to each other the color wheel. For instance, red, yellow and orange are just a few examples of analogous colors. Using such colors in a space red oak flooring would build on the existing palette. Therefore, when decorating you can choose colors that have warm tones such as orange, brown, red and gold. Analogous colors will give a room a subtle effect as opposed to complimentary coloring schemes. They work best in traditional and formally designed homes. If you want a room that’s warm and cozy then analogous colors are the best to use.

 

Be sure to consider the size of the wall before selecting a coloring scheme.  Warm colors contract visually so using analogous colors can make a small room appear smaller. On the other hand, cool colors open up a space. So you might want to utilize complementary colors. 

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How Can I Brighten up a Dark Room in My Home?

Owning a home is always a work in progress. It’s a constant challenge to find ways to highlight the best features in each room while keeping everything up to date. One of the more difficult tasks can be dealing with a dark room. It can give visitors the impression of being cramped and small no matter what the square footage of the room is. Here are some techniques that can be used to lighten things up a bit.

 

Maximize Natural Light

If the room has access to any natural light, either from a window or from an adjacent room, an easy way to amplify it would be to use a decorative mirror piece placed opposite your light source. This makes it possible for light to be reflected back into the room, instantly brightening up the space. Glass features can also provide the same benefit in the form of tiles in the bathroom or in a kitchen backsplash. Glass cabinet inserts can also provide the same effect while adding character to the room.

 

Use Light Cool Colors 

Changing the color on the walls seems like an obvious choice. What is not so obvious is that it is best to use cool colors when you do so. Why? Warm colors give any room a cozy feeling since they contract visually when viewed, which is the opposite of what you are trying to do. Cool colors recede when viewed, giving you the impression that the room is larger.  What cool colors are best? Think bright whites, cool light grays and blues.

 

Add Extra Light

Making sure a room is well-lit is another way to brighten things up.  Remembering to use cool instead of warm light bulbs, here are three types of lighting in particular to try:

 

  • Ambient Lighting: This is lighting that would be installed overhead that projects downward when turned on and covers the whole room. Chandeliers or wall-mount fixtures make a bold statement, while recessed fixtures are a more subtle way to cover as much area as possible without needing to hang anything.

           

  • Spot Lighting: This type of lighting helps bring attention to a focal point in the room while simultaneously brightening it.  Using individual spot lights or sets of multiple spot lights on a track can bring attention to a statement piece in the room such as a large painting or fireplace. Spot lights can also be used to reflect off of a mirror to add to the room’s glow as well.

           

  • Task Lighting:  This is lighting that serves the specific purpose of showcasing a particular area in the room. If you are brightening up a kitchen, install lighting underneath the cabinets to make your food prep area brighter.  In an office area, a desk lamp will exhibit charm as well as add shine to the room. Table lamps are a great idea for a favorite reading area.

 

No matter what room of the house you are dealing with, there is a lighting solution for it. Find the right combination for your living space and you will be guaranteed to bring out its full potential.

 

 

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Make Your Own Kinetic Sand

As we approach September, children are heading to school.  However, the last few weeks of summer can be difficult — you may have used all of your great ideas for activities to keep children busy!  Here’s another idea to keep everyone happy until school begins!

Chances are you have most likely heard of or played with kinetic sand. This is popular with kids as well as adults. Kinetic sand actually sticks together, almost magnetically. It has shown up any many offices around the country, it eases the mind, provides stress relief and helps get the creative juices flowing. Find out how to make your own, without spending nearly as much as you would if you purchased this item from a retailer. When buying this item from the store, you could spend anywhere from $30-$80. This recipe cost under $10, or even less if you don’t have to buy the sand.

What You Will Need:

5 Cups of sand

1 ½ Cup Corn Starch

1 Cup Water

½ Teaspoon Dish Soap

Directions:

In a large container, mix the sand and cornstarch together.

Once these two ingredients are mixed well, grab a separate container to mix the water and dish soap together. It may be helpful to mix the water and dish soap with a whisk.

Mix the sand and corn starch container with the wet mixture container. Make sure all the ingredients are mixed together thoroughly.

*Tip: You may need to add more or less water depending on how wet your sand is. If the sand you are using is completely dry, start with the single cup of water. If the sand is damp, start with one half a cup of water.

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Topiary Planters: Not Just for Gardening

Decorative planters for topiaries are a wonderful item to repurpose and use for other applications, other than planting plants in. Find out how to upcycles these items in a surprising way.

First decide if the planters you have are the finish you prefer. If so leave them as is, if not; simply spray paint them with the desired finish for the space you intend to use them in.

The taller topiary planters are great for housing kitchen supplies, like spatulas, spoons and whisks. The natural stone planters are a fun match for natural stone countertops. Thoroughly wash them out. Place the planter on top of a wooden cutting board or a piece of felt that is an appropriate for the size for the base to sit on. This protects countertops made of granite or marble. This makes it easy to grab utensil while cooking, because they are right on the counter and you can see the tools clearly. Place the planter next to the stove top for ease of cooking.

Tall planters are also a great place to keep hair styling tools. They can be kept right on the bathroom vanity and basically hide hair straighteners, curling irons, brushes and combs. Stone planters are good for this application when placing a hot flat or curling iron in, after use. Make sure to not place any other item inside until the hot tool has completely cooled down.

Shorter topiary planters make wonderful and decorative water bowls for dogs. For this application it is helpful to find an elevated planter that has a wide, rounded bowl for the planter. Simply measure the diameter of the planter and look for a metal dish that can be placed right inside the planter. This is a really good idea for larger dogs. Make sure the dog can reach the height of the bowl easily. These are perfect for outdoor water dishes. The stone planters work best because they cannot be easily tipped over.

At Levis 4 Floors, we are always happy to help with ideas to make your home look its best.  Visit us to find out more!

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Trends to Use in 2016

There are some great new trends for 2016. Find out what they are and figure out a way to incorporate them into your interior!

Black finishes are big this year. The black gives a sophisticated look to faucets, handles and door hardware. Matte is the optimal finish for these items. When using black finishes, select items that are simple with clean lines. This will keep these finishing touches from becoming overwhelming and weighing down the room.

More elaborate window dressing details are making a comeback. Draperies have been an element that people have avoided. Draperies have the ability to add the perfect finishing touch to any space. Some interesting drapery details that are hot right now are Lucite drapery rods. It is also a growing trend to hang drapery hardware from the ceiling, instead of the wall. This can be done easily by hanging regular curtain rods on the ceiling.

Rounded furniture is becoming more and more popular. Steel or shaped metal is a common material for this type of furniture. That is because it is easy to bend while being manufactured. Rounded wood pieces are also popular. Furniture with rounded edges is smoother to the touch. It is a natural preference to rub hands over smooth objects, as opposed to a sharp angles.

Eclectic style is making a comeback. An eclectic mix of furnishings adds interest and excitement to any space. Keep in mind that when using this design style, keep harmony by selecting furniture and decorations with similar proportions. The furniture should have a similar proportion and the room should have furnishings proportionate for it.

One of the largest trends this year has to do with the advances that have been seen in digital printing.  Using this technology, porcelain tile is printed with scans of wood, to create an amazingly detailed wood-look tile.  This allows the look of wood (in many different wood species and stains) with the benefits of tile – scratch-resistant, water-resistant and ease of maintenance. 

If you need any help deciding on the trends that are best for your home, feel free to ask us at Levis 4 Floors! We are always happy to help.

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How to Decorate a Girl’s Nursery

What you want to remember when decorating any nursery is that it should be a calming place for a baby. Find out how to create a peaceful sanctuary for any baby girl.

Use calm and muted colors. Light or baby pink is the perfect choice for this space. It creates a calming effect and is easy to pair accent colors with. Stay away from bright colors. Light lilac purples and light mint colors work great in this space as well. Pair warm greys and creams with the main paint color.

Mix in different textures. This will help add interest to the space. Babies love feeling and exploring different textures. Make that easy for them by choosing a soft textured upholstery for the rocker or lounge chair. A chair that rocks or glides will help get baby off to sleep faster.

Have new carpet installed, preparing for your new baby to explore as part of her first textures.  Make sure that the carpet and padding will be just right and that is comfortable for baby to lay on for daily tummy time.

Install black out curtains or shades. This will keep the room dark during nap time and at night. Baby will sleep better because of this, and your sleep will benefit too!

Be careful not to overwhelm baby with really bold art or wall decals. Select interesting art for the walls with calming colors. There are some really great 3D wall art that can be purchased in muted colors.

The space should feel balanced and in harmony. This will help calm baby and help her to enjoy being away from mom while she naps or when she goes down for the night. It never hurts to have a sound machine that can play sounds from nature and soft lullabies.

Once the child is older you can add more brightly colored items and bolder artwork that they can appreciate. It is important not to overstimulate the baby. They may become restless if there is too much to look at within the space.

We are happy to help at Levis 4 Floors.  As a family company, we strive to make your home as comfortable as possible for your little ones.  Feel free to drop by and ask any questions you may have!

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Starting a Vegetable Garden from Kitchen Scraps

If you haven’t ventured into vegetable gardening yet, a fun way to start is by growing vegetables you’ve already purchased from the store by using their scraps to start new plants. Rather than throwing away or composting scraps from your vegetables, save them and watch the miracle of regrowth right before your eyes! Here are a few vegetables you can get started with, listed in order from easiest to most difficult.

Green Onion, Leeks and Fennel:

These three are the easiest vegetables to have a continuous supply always ready to use in your kitchen. Simply place the root end in a glass of water with the cut end out of the water. New growth will spring forth and can be trimmed off as needed.

Potatoes:

This is the classic grade-school project that can be fun as an adult as well! Cut the potatoes into pieces and keep in water until sprouts develop. They can then be planted in soil in a container.

Cabbage and Bok Choy:

You can either start the new growth by placing the root end in water or very damp soil. Sometimes soil works better with cabbage.

Garlic:

Place a garlic clove, pointed tip side up, in a container and cover with soil. Choose the largest clove from the bulb you have on hand. Place in a sunny spot in your home. As the greens start sprouting, trim them back, so as the new bulb is forming more nutrients will be channeled into the bulb.

Ginger:

Ginger is easy to regrow but takes more time for the new growth to mature—up to several months. Simply place a cut up piece of ginger in soil and keep in a sunny, indirectly lit, spot. After the ginger rhizome is large enough, pull from the soil, use in your recipes and save a piece to replant.

Avocado:

By far the most challenging to regrow, avocados can be a fun long term experiment. The easy part is getting the pit to sprout by suspending it with toothpicks over a cup of water. The challenging part is maintaining its growth and nurturing it until it’s ready to plant into the ground. It can take anywhere from 5 to 13 years for the tree to grow fruit and some trees never do!

We hope you enjoy starting your own indoor experimental garden from the produce of your choice! Growing plants in the home have many positive effects on our well-being and we think growing something you can eat pays off even more!

 

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Protect Your Furniture From Your Pets

Our beloved pets can be one of the greatest sources of joy in our lives. Unfortunately, they can also be some of the most destructive when it comes to our furniture! We all know that even the best behaved pets can have their moments. Luckily there are a few things you can do to try and prevent our furry friends from cutting the life of your furniture short.

 

First things first—try and groom your pet regularly. By brushing your pet regularly you will prevent the inevitable build up of their fur on every surface. You can also avoid unpleasant odors by being sure to give your dog a wash every month to keep their coat clean. Generally, our feline friends do not required a bath. When you groom your pets it is also a good idea to keep up with their claws. By maintaining a properly trimmed nail you can avoid some of the damage that might happen down the line. Be sure that you use the proper equipment for your pet and do not cut them too short. If you are unsure, it is best to consult your vet before trying this yourself.

 

Next, you will want to be sure to provide your pet with the proper outlets for the scratching and chewing. It is in their natures to engage in these activities so the better you prepare for this, the better protected your furniture will be. If you have cats, try to make sure you provide them with scratching posts that they can use to “scratch” their itch. If you have dogs, be sure to provide them with plenty of toys and bones to chew on. By using these items with your pet and showing them they can scratch and chew all they want on these, they will eventually learn where to go to vent their needs.

 

Finally, if you have any valuables or breakables that you are worried about, be sure to display them out of reach of your pets. This can be trickier with cats who love to climb and are typically fearless when it comes to doing so. Use your discretion, and when appropriate it may be that you have to put that item away so your cat doesn’t have a chance at getting to it.

 

Following these rules will generally help aid you in your quest to protect your furniture from your beloved pets. Keep in mind accidents happen, but by following these rules you can at least try to mitigate the worst of it.  

 

Levi’s 4 Floors knows that pets are a large part of our lives.  Above we have given several ideas for protecting a portion of your home so that you and your pets can live together more peacefully.  In addition, check out our Pet Guard Plus installation service package.  Keep your home in the best shape possible! 

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