Cleaning Your Area Carpets – An Uncommon Approach

It goes without saying that to keep your home looking at it’s best you have to stay on top of cleaning. That means vacuuming floors and carpeted surfaces regularly, dusting, and keeping your table surfaces neat and orderly – especially if you have pets with a knack for shedding all over your furniture (or worse!). Over time, your carpets can collect quite a bit of dirt and stains, in spite of regular vacuuming. This can cause their vibrance to become more dull, and ultimately detract the bright energy from the room that they once provided.

I was discussing this with my husband. Recently, one of our favorite oriental rugs had started to look rather drab. Not only does it see a lot of use, which can lead to mud and dirt accumulation in addition to the normal ware and tear, but our pour kitty had experienced an accident which left the beautiful rug with an unfortunate stain. I was so upset and I was ready to to part ways with the rug, but my husband had an idea. He often cleans his outdoor canvases with a pressure washer to remove mold and algae buildups, and he figured since I had resolved to discard the rug anyway he figured it was worth giving it a try with the pressure washer. The worst that could happen is that it would damage the already “ruined” rug.

So, my husband brought the rug outside and got to work. I had rather low expectations, as to be honest I thought that the power from the machine would tear the rug apart (though he tells me now that he did quite a bit of research to find the best electric pressure washer for fabrics, as he’s washing his canvas pieces quite frequently – he recommends checking out So, I made some tea and went about my business, reading through the latest edition of Decor. Before I knew it he was done and came inside to get me. He was quite pleased with how the stain had come out, so I was excited to see the results.

To my surprise, the carpet was way more vibrant than I had remembered it being. It really looked like it had been brought back to life. And better yet, it took my husband very little work to do the cleaning. He said that the dirty water running off was completely dark and brown (yuck!), so I’m glad we did this and made our house clean. I’ve since asked him to clean some of our other area rugs, and of course he was trilled to have more work to do (just kidding!). He’s a good sport though and he did clean three more of our rugs, which now look also absolutely spotless.

Moral of the story – if you think your carpet is ruined don’t give up hope yet! Even if you don’t have a home carpet steamer, which can be quite expensive, there are other options that can help you get the job done. Or, if you think this approach is particularly intriguing, click here to read some reviews. Even if your carpets aren’t ruined the chances are that you can bring out some extra vibrance by giving them a thorough cleaning – remember, bright colors paired properly can really bring your home’s design to a whole new level!

Designing a Comfortable Home Music Studio

Hello everyone. Today we have a very special guest post from my husband.  Ever since I started this site my husband has been wondering about starting one of his own, he really seems to like the idea of it. We figured he should write about something that he knows well but still had some of my work in it – the natural fit was designing and building his home music studio. We hope you enjoy!

Designing a Comfortable Home Music Studio

Written by Mark

Whether you are a musical hobbyist or the next rising star, you may want to create a studio at home. Perhaps you feel more comfortable creating your own personal studio rather than visiting someone else’s. You can pull it off if you have the budget, the equipment and a few tips and tricks of the trade. You don’t have to spend a million dollars to create a home studio. You just have to remember these things:

Choose a Quietly Logical Location

The first step is to find the best room to set up your studio in. You’re going to either choose the garage, an extra room, or more ideally, the basement. The reason that the basement is a good idea is that the noise is minimal. The room that you choose needs to have as little noise coming into it as possible. In other words, don’t choose the room that’s next to the kid’s room, the bathroom or near the street if you live on a busy road. Select the quietest room you can choose in your current situation. You can then try to manufacture some additional soundproofing.

Soundproofing and Acoustics

The soundproofing and acoustics are going to be what gives your sound its quality. You can buy the most expensive microphone in the world, but if your acoustics are poor, your sound is going to be poor, as well.

Soundproofing keeps the external noise from getting into your recording area, so you want to try to do that first. It’s easier to add mass to a room when you’re building from scratch, but an existing room will require you to add something to the walls. You can add sheet block to your walls to get the sound out. You’ll also want to caulk any air gaps and separate things that vibrate when they touch each other.

Improving your acoustics requires you to add bass traps and acoustic panels. That will give you the sound you need when you record your audio, even if you don’t have the superexpensive equipment.

Those are just a few tips and tricks to building a home studio. There’s a lot more to it, but you can get started with these concepts. The most important part of the entire process is making sure that you are happy inside of your studio. If you are happy, then you can produce some amazing music for the world to hear.

Don’t forget about gear

With your soundproofing and acoustics in place, it’s time to think about gear. This is always the most fun part, but also where it starts to get expensive! Keep an eye on your budget and stick to it, or your project will end up on halt.

All disclaimers aside, the most important things to pay attention to are the components in your signal chain prior to the audio-digital converter, such as the cables, microphones etc.). Your guitar’s pickups, for example, can often be lower quality and may hold your recordings back (see Keep in mind that you’re putting all of this effort into the music studio – if you have the ability to use better quality gear more power to you.

Prepare the Flooring

Laminate flooring is the best flooring for a music studio. It’s what professionals use, and you want to get as close as possible to the professionals while you still stay within your budget. You could go with carpeting, however, because it will give you better acoustics. You see, with the right acoustics, you can get a high-quality studio sound because you can manipulate your creations easily once you remove the reverb from them. Too much carpeting can off-balance your acoustics, so an ideal arrangement would e a mix between laminate flooring and carpeting. That would bring your studio almost to perfection when it comes to your acoustics.

Appeal to Yourself Visually

You’ll want your personal studio to inspire you. Therefore, you should make sure that you use color schemes that motivate you to make music. Your design should align with the type of music you make, as well. If you’re a gospel singer, you may want to paint some clouds in your studio. If your style is dark, then you might want to reflect that in dark paint colors or dim lighting. Whatever you do, make it something that you love because you will spend a lot of time in your personal studio.


Choosing the Best Light Fixtures for Your Home

When it comes to lighting your home, you need to ensure that the light fixtures you use give you enough lighting needed for the different rooms and spaces in your house. Good lighting is important for ambiance, tasks, aesthetics and for seeing better in and around your home. Check around your home and see if it has the best lighting qualities. If the answer is NO, then here are some tips on how to choose the best light fixtures to achieve the perfect lighting for your home:

Determine your lighting needs

There are different needs for lighting. Your choice of lighting fixtures should match with the specific need you seek to address. For example, task lighting is usually focused on the work space you are working on while ambiance lighting lights a general and wider space and creates an ambient feel in the space lit. Once you have determined your lighting needs, the next step will be to choose the lighting options aimed at meeting that need. Remember you can light each room in such a way that you create the desired mood for each room in your home.

Provide lighting for security and safety of your home

Ensure that you have sufficient and appropriate lighting on your sidewalks and walkways. You need to choose ambient lighting which is just bright enough to keep your property safe and deter intruders. Your security lighting should not be too bright, which can rise your electric bills unnecessarily or become disturbing to your neighbors. Perhaps you should consider using motion activated flood lights at all the exterior corners of your home to further deter intruders. Another tip would be to check the kind of lighting used by your neighbors and copy them.

Improve your home’s exterior with wall sconces

You can use wall sconces to provide washes of light directed to the exterior walls of your home. This will help create an ambient feel on the exterior walls during evening hours. If you choose to go with directional wall sconces which either point up or down, they can help draw attention to the beautiful exterior of your home.

Choose multiple light sources for your home

Different rooms serve different purposes. You can choose to install different light fixtures in the same room. For example, consider installing counter lights in your kitchen to provide task lighting and a floor lamp in your living room next to your favorite couch for lighting when you wish to read that great novel. In the bathrooms, consider installing lighting at the mirror which is free from any shadows.

Consider recessed lighting for high ceilings

The use of can light fixtures can allow you to vary the brightness of light in a room to create the ambiance that you desire at a particular time. You can connect these fixtures to dimmer switches which can then be used to vary the amount of brightness that comes into your space.

After choosing the lighting fixtures you need to install, you should then look at your budget and ensure that the type of lighting fixtures falls within your budget. You can then head to your best home depot and make your purchases making sure that you settle for best brands. Finally, once you have done your purchases, you can either install the lights yourself or call an expert to install them for you and create the ambience that you desire.

Tight on Space? Try a Luxury Futon

With average home prices on the rise and increasingly competitive housing markets around the country, many people have no choice but to make the best of the lifestyle associated with apartment and condominium living. While this can make you feel tight on space, keep in mind that there are plenty of ways of maximizing your design to satisfy the needs of your household.

Recently, a good friend of mine reached out to get my opinion on adding a futon to her home. She had always thought of futons as cheap pieces of furniture more suited for the younger years of life, but she has encountered the problem of needing more space for guests to sleep in her 900 square foot home. I reassured her that futons can absolutely compliment a luxurious and cozy home, as long as you pay attention to the right things when you choose one. Here are the main things to keep in mind.

Choose a Well-Constructed Hardwood Frame

I can’t stress this point enough. Without a doubt the most important factor in choosing a high quality futon is to start with the frame. Everything else is replaceable, and if you buy something that stands the test of time you can make a pretty safe bet that you’ll be changing that mattress eventually! Cheaper and lower-quality models of futons tend to come with metal frames or metal/wood hybrids. Not only does this look tacky, but in most cases this is done to cut costs rather than to improve the strength of the frame. The best thing to do is to look for a futon with a frame that is made out of solid hardwood – preferably something that matches the rest of your furniture, though this can be hard to come by. The less pieces that need to be assembled the better, as this is indicative of sturdy and quality construction. You can check out for a breakdown of some of today’s top products.

Pay Attention Mattress Colors and Don’t Skimp on Quality

As with all things interior design, choose your colors wisely! These days futons are available in far more options than black and white. If you are looking at the right products you should immediately notice that there are tons of options for colors and even a wide array of printed patterns for some models. Some futons can be bought with microfiber fabric (great for stain prevention and also particularly soft) or even leather. Make sure to choose a mattress cover that compliments your room well – or stands out if that’s what you’re going for.

While we’re on the topic of mattresses I should point out that the mattress quality is worth some thought. You want your guests to be comfortable! Keep an eye out for mattresses that are nice and firm, offering plenty of support. You can even find some options that have built-in springs, much like a bed mattress.

Last (But Not Least), Accessorize!

One last thing to consider before we make a decision – Since we’re working with a confined space, wouldn’t it be nice if you can find a futon that provides some extra drawers for sheets, blankets, pillows, and more? These days you can, and for a little extra money it’s often worth the upgrade. Many of the top brands allow for this modification so keep an eye out.

No need to turn your back on a futon because it reminds you of your college days, just make sure you find a product that fits in well with your current lifestyle. Now you should have everything that you need to make an informed choice!

Happy Housekeeping.

Modern Style & Flare – Try an Electric Fireplace

The technology behind electric fireplaces has come a long way in recent years. What was once a somewhat tacky device has now become sleek, attractive and luxurious upgrade that can bring the comfort of a traditional fireplace to your home – without the need for a chimney, a constant supply of wood, expensive cleaning costs, and of course the fire hazard. Electric fireplaces also have the advantage of being much more customizable than traditional fireplaces. Here are the key things to keep in mind as you are considering products that fit your home.


One of the beauties of electric fireplaces is that they come in all shapes and sizes. There are many different types of frames available to suit your needs. You can find models that mimic the appearance of traditional fireplaces to give you that quaint sense of comfort, or you can choose something that is a little more modern and has a clean-cut and stunning design. You can also choose different media to go in your electric fireplace. The standard is to use faux logs as the base of the hearth, but you can also find nice stones that will serve the purpose or even glass marbles. Another nice feature of electric models is that you have control of the flame color in many cases. In addition to the obvious natural orange flames you can choose to have blue, purple, or even green flames. If the product you are using offers this feature you can usually switch between the colors with the click of a remote, so that you can choose whichever color best suits your mood.


When it comes to design there are quite a few options, and you’ll have to pick one that best suits your home. The simplest and most accommodating is the free-standing option, which essentially needs only a standard wall outlet and a place for it to be put. The more affordable options are similar to flat-screen televisions, and the more advanced options of this style will look like a traditional fireplace and even come with a mantel. You can also find standalone electric fireplaces that serve as entertainment centers, so you can put your television on top and books on the shelves.

The next type of design worth considering would be an electric fireplace insert. These essentially nest inside the hearth of an existing traditional fireplace, and as such they can be the most realistic electric fireplace design. These however are really only the best option if you have a fireplace already, and you simply want to convert it to electric.

The final design is really the most modern, and they come in the form of wall mount and/or wall recessed. This is where you can find sleek designs, such as the products available from Amantii. If you’re looking to bring your home to a new level of luxury, this is probably a good bet. Installation can be a bit involved though, and you may need to consult with a professional.


Of course you can’t forget the primary purpose of a fireplace, which is to stay warm. It is important to buy an electric fireplace that will emit the warmth that you need for your room. You should also keep in mind whether or not you want a model that allows some level of control of the heating levels. Most will allow you to control at the very least from high heat, medium heat, low heat to no heat and just the electric fireplace flames.

How To Arrange Your Living Room Furniture

This question seems to pop up in one form or another more times than I can count – how should I arrange my living room furniture. As always, there is no single correct answer as it depends on the room that you are working on as well as the furniture that you have on hand. Of course, if money is no object you have full control over these two variables but for most people this is generally not the case. First of all, I want to direct you to this video that should help clear up some of the basic questions that I get from people who are first starting out:

As Blanche Garcia states right in the beginning of the video, it doesn’t matter how balanced or elegant your living room looks if you don’t have a comfortable place to sit. See my previous post on the basics of interior design, where I go into more detail about the importance of maximizing functionality.

To expand upon the points that Blanche makes, you want to start with the large items first – for example, your sectional or your sofa. It is important that you arrange this main piece of furniture in a way that promotes conversation with your family or guests. This means that you should make it so that people are facing each other in some way, I generally prefer towards the center of the room, facing as many doors as possible. You also want to keep in mind what someone sitting in the main piece of furniture will be looking at as they sit down to relax. Is there a main focal point, such as a fireplace hearth and mantle, or perhaps a television? These are important things to consider.

Once you have your main piece of furniture in place you want to place your “satellite” pieces to continue promoting the level of intimacy. Satellite pieces could include padded chairs, recliners, rocking chairs, etc. Make sure to leave plenty of space for walkways as people enter the room, feeling cramped is one of the quickest ways to kill the emotion and feel of a living room.

The next piece of the puzzle is to put in a coffee table, or a center table of some type. I tend to recommend something a little higher than the seat of the couch or sectional if possible, this makes it more suitable for placing drinks. As pointed out in the video, make sure to leave ample space between the center table and the main piece of seating furniture. There is a balance however, and you want to make sure that as many of the seating areas can reach the table as possible.

Finally you want to backfill with side tables, and you can make use of lamps and vases to add your final touch of detail. Again, see my previous post for more information on this topic.

One thing I want to stress is that there is no need to go out and buy a lot of expensive furniture. This is the path people usually take when they are first starting out. The cost can add up fast, and when you’re first starting out you’re much more at risk of making mistakes. I would highly recommend practicing with what you have and seeing what kind of improvements you can make before you go out and spend money.

The Basics of Interior Design

When you walk into a room, it is important to be observant and to be present. Take in what is around you – feel the space, notice the lighting, breath in deeply through your nose and immerse yourself in the smells. Take note of the sensations and emotions that come to the surface as you simply exist in the room and become one with it. It is important that you truly understand a room, and feel it’s personality and purpose before you so much as lift a finger. Once you feel you are comfortable with the room in it’s current existence, only then can you begin to plan it’s future.

First and Foremost – Consider the room’s function

For your final design to be fluid, you have to start with purpose in mind. Think – what purpose would expensive and elegant furniture in a kitchen area serve if the family will not be eating there? You’d be better off directing that effort to the dining room. Similarly, if you are working on a living room where the family will spend much of their time, you want to make sure that the layout is open and spacious, while still cozy and inviting. Then you must dig deeper – what paths will people walk as they pass through the room? Where will they focus their attention while they are sitting and enjoying casual conversation. Will they be entertaining in this room, which would necessitate certain placements of side tables for beverages and hors d’oeuvres?

Next – Build the room around it’s function

With a clear image of the room’s function in mind, it’s time to make some decisions to come alive. Does the room have enough light? Make the most of the windows and the daily sunshine if necessary, or make a note of what kind of curtains will best control the light if it is overwhelming. Design the furniture arrangement in a manner that promotes the proper walkways, encourages the eyes to fall on points of attention, and leaves people with an impression of a balanced use of space.

Key Decisions – This is where most people start

Most people skip right ahead to this part of the process in interior design. The problem is that if you have not taken the time to clearly map out the preceding steps you will likely find it challenging to arrive at a cohesive design that really fits the room’s needs. Once you’ve successfully gone through the proceeding steps it’s time to decide on important characteristics, such as colors of the various pieces of the room, the style of the furniture, the use of carpeting and additional light sources – that is, all of the pieces of the room that are usually associated with interior design. Keep your original observations and visions in mind, and it is much harder to go wrong at this stage.

Wrapping Up – The details

Once you’ve made the big decisions, don’t forget to add in a few little details to really capture attention as people enter the room. Adding a soothing aroma can often do a world of wonders in bringing out a room’s hospitality. Placing some pinecones and candles as a centerpiece of a coffee table could give it just that little extra edge. There are really no set rules here, and you will have to use your judgement and experience. Just keep in mind that a little can go a very long way at this point.

These are the basics. Keep in mind that this is a process not to be rushed. Make sure to understand the room you are starting with and the purpose it will serve before diving in and changing everything. For some general tips, I’ve found this page to be quite helpful.