Monthly Archives: November 2017

Touches that Make Every Room Look Finished

The touches that make a room look finished are, well, small—but this is a case where size doesn’t mean everything. From the smallest room to the most expansive, these finishing touches can make every room in your home go from just “okay” to “wow” and your home go from “it just needs something” to “it’s perfect.”

Living Room

living room with blinds

Courtesy: Kathy Ireland Home by Alta

  • Window treatments. Unfinished windows can look naked and the room like a set of individual pieces (flooring, furniture, lighting) that don’t have that one element that pulls it all together. Use these tips to choose the perfect window treatment that checks off all the boxes: function, form, and finish. Or, if you’re feeling overwhelmed by all the options, lean on a designer to help you take that final design step.
  • Crown molding. In a traditional home, crown molding can make all the difference—and there are a lot of options to choose from. Select the right crown molding that works for you, and
  • Area Rug. An area rug can tie all the details of your room together and make your room look coordinated. To find the right area rug that fits your home, order a custom rug that is right for your space (if you need help, contact a designer that can assist you).



  • Backsplash. A backsplash makes a kitchen look finished and synchronized. The right backsplash can bring all the elements together, from the appliances to the cabinets to the floor. For a full kitchen remodel, coordinate the backsplash with the flooring, countertops, appliances, and cabinets. If you are adding a backsplash, try to take samples of other elements with you to the flooring store so you can find the right tile that pulls it all together.


  • bedroom with area rug

    Courtesy: Armstrong Flooring

    Blinds. Adding blinds to a bedroom not only adds an aesthetic element, but it also serves a functional role. Blinds can serve as a light blocker, can block unpleasant views, and increase privacy. The right blinds also make your bedroom look complete, with the flooring, bedspread, and window treatments look well-thought through and complete.

  • Area rug. If you have hard floors in the bedroom, this finishing touch warms your toes and make your room look synchronized. Make sure you put protection under the rug to protect the floor and give your room a polished look.

Tips for a Faster Clean-Up After the Holidays

festive table that needs to be cleaned up after holiday celebrationAfter a wonderful holiday get together, your guests are gone…and so is the wonderful feeling of the holidays. Instead, you’re surrounded by all the dirty dishes, tables, and floors that come with hosting a holiday with your family and friends. To help you out (and make you want to host another family holiday), we’ve compiled these tips to make your holiday clean-up faster and better.

Don’t let food debris dry on your dishes.

Be proactive about your cleaning now so you don’t add to the checklist later. Let your dishes soak so you don’t have to scrub off dried food. For the dishes that can go through the dishwasher, start the loads now so you can get your dishes started and finished (with newer dishes, skip the unnecessary pre-rinse). Clean off the dining room table and do a quick wipe-down to rid your table of the hardened leftovers from your delicious dinner.

Vacuum, vacuum, vacuum.

Once you’ve got your hard surfaces wiped down (and any debris on your floors), do a thorough vacuuming of your entire home. Make sure you use a vacuum that won’t void your warranty (use these tips to choose the right vacuum or contact your local flooring store to get more info on vacuum cleaners).

Call in the pros to get out the stains.

It happens: spilled wine, a dropped plate full of food, an “oops!” with a can of soda. If you have a stain on your carpet, use these tips to clean it up now. The next step is a deeper cleaner: schedule a professional carpet clean to get out the stain permanently—from your carpet and padding.

Carry all the cleaning tools with you.

When you tackle the post-holiday clean-up, gather all your supplies before the cleaning begins. If you do so, you won’t have to stop your cleaning to go after another bottle of cleaner. You can just keep moving from room to room, cleaning as you go—and getting done sooner.

Don’t get distracted.

Stay focused. Divide and conquer if possible: make a list and split up the cleaning tasks so you can get your house back to normal. Be efficient with your time so you can get back that wonderful feel of the holidays and enjoy a nice, clean home.

Ways to Stay Ahead of Your Home’s Indoor Allergens

woman with kleenex dealing with indoor allergiesIndoor allergies. You don’t want people avoiding your home because a simple visit makes them sneeze (and wheeze and deal with a runny nose and…). You certainly don’t want to live in a home that brings out your worst allergy symptoms. The good news is you don’t have to (and you can make sure that your guests don’t experience indoor allergy symptoms in your house either) if you follow these tips that keep you ahead of the allergens that invade your home.

Vacuum, vacuum, vacuum.

Whether you have carpet or hard floor, a regular vacuuming can remove the allergens from your home especially if you have the right vacuum cleaner. Choose a vacuum with a HEPA filter or a double bag to ensure that you can contain the allergens (other tips for choosing the right vacuum here). If you experience any symptoms while vacuuming, try wearing a mask so you can rid your home of allergens without having an allergy attack.

Deep clean your carpets.

To completely remove allergens, take the next step. Schedule a professional carpet cleaning to remove all the allergens that could get trapped deep in the carpet fibers. A professional carpet cleaning not only removes visible stains but also gets the allergens that trigger your allergies.

Have your ducts cleaned.

When the temperatures drop, we spend more and more time indoors. As we sit in our home, indoor allergens like dust mites, pet dander, and mold circulate in the air around us every time the furnace or air conditioner runs. To get the indoor allergies out of your air and your home, schedule a professional duct cleaning that can remove the allergens from your vents.

Get a better furnace filter.

Allergens enter your home on your clothes every day (including pet dander, which has been found even in pet-free homes). Furnace filters are your next line of defense; furnace filters catch allergens that circulate through your HVAC system every day—if you use a furnace filter with a strong Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV). Filters with a high Minimum Efficiency Reporting Values (MERV) do not allow finer particles to pass, effectively removing allergens from the air. Be careful about buying a filter with a high MERV though; filters with high MERVs (the max is 16) can put too much pressure on your furnace fan and possibly damage your furnace. If you are considering a filter with a high MERV, make sure to consult a HVAC technician to make adjustments that can accommodate a high MERV filter.

Monitor your home’s humidity.

An excessive air moisture level in your home can breed mold, mildew, and dust mites. Keep an eye on your home’s humidity level with a monitor. If the moisture level is high, use dehumidifiers to keep the humidity level below 50 percent—and keep indoor allergens at bay.

Thanksgiving Home Cleaning: Where to Start So You’re Ready for Guests

Thanksgiving table place setting after a full Thanksgiving cleanYour guests are coming! Before you know it, it’ll be Thanksgiving and all your friends and family are going to converge on your home. The clock is ticking! Use these tips to get your cleaning started so your home is ready BEFORE your guests walk in the door.

Start at the top.

If you don’t want to keep cleaning and re-cleaning, start your Thanksgiving cleaning by looking up. Dust off fans and the tops of cabinets. Wipe off the top of your appliances and vacuum out any spider webs that are hanging out on your ceiling or in corners. Clear out any bugs from the light fixtures or globes and wash them down so your holiday is bright.

Clean off the counters.

A lit bit of work now can save you a lot of work later. Start by cleaning off your counters—every counter—in your kitchens and bathrooms. Clear away any items you don’t need and wipe down every counter in your kitchen and bathroom now, so you don’t have to later.

Clear out the clutter.

If you have anything you’ve been meaning to get out of your house, now is the time to do it. Donate items you don’t need or haven’t used to local charities. Clean out those items now so you can clean under them, vacuum, and mop as you get ready for Thanksgiving.

Schedule a carpet cleaning.

Don’t try to clean up all your carpet stains at the last minute—as in, when your guests are walking through the door. Instead, schedule a deep carpet clean that removes all the stains well in advance and leaves your carpet looking great.

Make a list and stick to it.

So you don’t have to do a last minute frantic cleaning, take our Thanksgiving checklist and break it into daily checklists. Try to tackle a few tasks every day, such as cleaning out your microwave and oven one day and dusting your cabinets another day. And to make your guests as happy with your Thanksgiving meal as your clean home, prepare as many dishes in advance as you can. As with cleaning, advance work makes for a happy (or at least stress-free) Thanksgiving celebration.