Three Low-Maintenance Countertop Options

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Countertops are one of the things that must withstand the test of time in your home. They need to be stylish yet durable and this doesn’t always happen. Most materials that are typically chosen for countertops are fairly pricey as well as can be a bit high maintenance. Here are three low-maintenance countertop options for you to explore on your design journey:

Laminate: This surface fulfills make check points on a bullet list of countertop essentials. Not only is it one of the most affordable materials to work with, but it also comes in hundreds of colors and patterns allowing you virtually complete freedom to choose whatever type of look you want for your counters. The surface is solid and nonporous which is perfect for cleaning purposes as well as means that it never needs to be resealed or refinished. Since it’s so affordable to begin with, replacing parts are typically inexpensive as well.

Recycled Glass: While this is a fairly new medium to work with, it’s quickly growing in popularity. It’s made from crushed glass that’s been embedded in clear resin which allows it to be completely nonporous and extremely easy to maintain. They also do not require sealing and are highly resistant to stains and heat. This material is also highly affordable and allows you the freedom of investing more in other areas of your design project.

Soapstone: This particular medium is considered a “solid surface” (much like Corian). They are highly resistant to staining and heat as well as offering extremely easy clean ups. Should a part of the counter become damaged (i.e. a light scratch, etc.) you can simply sand it down until the scratch is no longer visible since the coloring of the stone itself runs throughout it and is not just a surface based material.

Where to Use and Avoid Light-Colored Carpet

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Designing the space you live in is never an easy task. With so many big decisions to be made back to back, it’s difficult to be sure you’re always making the right ones and small details can slip through the cracks. One area that is often not as meticulously thought out is carpeting options. Often times people are unsure where to use and avoid light-colored carpet looks. Here’s a comprehensive guide to help you along the way:

Get rid of what you don’t need. If you hate a certain color or shade of color then out rightly eliminate it from your short list. Regardless of whether you go light or dark in a room, if you detest red you will always detest red so there’s no use in even considering shades of it as you’re moving along. Instead, move forward with a healthy pallet of your favorites and work from there.

How large is your space? When you’re working with a smaller living space, it’s wise to opt for lighter carpeting. This helps provide the illusion that the space is bigger and keeps it feeling more open. Whereas a dark carpet works well in already large areas. This will add a sense of modernity to it and update the look a bit more.

Who’s enjoying this room? If you have a living space where a lot of kids will be running around, this might beg you to opt for a darker shade of carpeting (or simply one with enough texture and design). If you go too light, any wear or stains will be extremely obvious. However, if you’re in the process of designing a study for yourself or an area that is unlikely to be worn too much, going with a lighter carpet will instantly brighten up the room.

How to Remove Carpet Stains

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When living in a home that has carpet, it’s a constant residing fear that one day it will be stained. While this is an inevitable fact of life, it still doesn’t stop you from being stunned when it happens. Luckily, most carpet stains can be removed so long as they’re cleaned properly. Here are a few tips and tricks on how to remove carpet stains:

For juice stains: Always remember to blot the stain with a towel and never rub it. This will only drive it deeper into the carpet, potentially spread it around more, as well as make it more difficult to remove later. Instead, mix white vinegar, dish soap, and water in a spray bottle. Proceed to spray the areas affected liberally and let it soak for about 10 minutes before blotting again with a clean towel until the stain is removed.

For pet stains: After the initial clean up should part of the mess have already dried on the carpet, you’ll want to start off by moistening it. After that you’ll apply carpet stain cleaning product that was made specifically for pet stains. Do combat the odor aspect that accompanies this type of stain, try using white vinegar mixed with warm water and spray it on the area. After soaking for about 10 minutes, blot it and let it dry to determine if the odor is gone.

For coffee and tea stains: These can be a huge pain simply because they tend to not only stain the carpet, but add a level of making it look dirty that simply refuses to go away. Start by blotting it dry and then spritz a mixture of vinegar, water, and a non-bleach detergent and continue blotting and spritzing until the stain lifts. Should this not work, try investing in an all-purpose carpet cleaner to get the job done.

Be Careful Using These Cleaning Products on Your Countertops

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When we invest in things such as countertops, we want to be sure we’re taking care of them as well as we can. This often times involves cleaning them regularly when in use. While it’s always good to thoroughly clean and disinfect your countertops to promote longevity, it’s also important to know what disinfecting products could actually be harming your counters. Be careful using these cleaning products on your countertops:

Anything acid based. This includes cleaners based in vinegar, lemon juice, or ammonia. All of those can permanently damage your countertop as well as strip the seal on it. Lemon in particular has calcite in it which is harmful to the sealant so when dealing with lemons themselves, be sure to clean up right away.

All abrasives. Any scouring cleaning product in powder or cream form can be extremely hurtful to your countertop. Outside of this, an S.O.S. pad will also gradually deplete your sealant as well which will end up leaving your counter unprotected.

Too much soapy water. While this is a solid base level of cleaning as well as the most widely used form because of how easy it is, you have to be conscious of how you’re doing it. If you are leaving too much soapy residue behind, over time the soap will begin to eat away at your table or sealant as well.

The generic stuff. As all-purpose as your cleaning product might claim to be, you more than likely want to avoid using it on your countertop surface. Many of them contain bleach, acids, alkalis, or other harsh chemicals that will wear your sealant over time or destroy your counter as well. While it might help, you cut cost in the short-term sense, you’ll have a nightmare on your hands when you have to reseal or replace countertops later on.

Eco-Conscious Hardwood Flooring Options

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Whether you’re remodeling your home, or designing a brand new one, your flooring will be at the center of all of your purchases. The most classic type of flooring to go with will always be hardwood. This medium is easy to work with as well as has a number of options for you to choose from. Among these options are now eco-conscious hardwood flooring options that may peak your interest:

1.Bamboo: This particular type is entirely non-toxic as well as zero VOC, and formaldehyde free. The plant fiber itself is naturally anti-bacterial, strong, and water resistant. Outside of this, it also means that you won’t be contributing to the industry of harvesting forests for the sake of your flooring.

2.Reclaimed wood: Using reclaimed wood allows you to pull from places like old warehouses, military structures, dismantled houses, and so on to use as your flooring instead of investing in newly harvested wood. However, this tends to be a more expensive process simply because of the time and energy it takes to clean the wood and repurpose it so that it’s ready for use.

3.Cork: This is a medium that most people don’t even consider at first simply because it sounds as though it isn’t logistically possible. Cork however comes from the bark of a cork oak tree which can be safely harvested so that it doesn’t actually harm the tree. The bark itself regenerates within three years making it a partially renewable resource. The only down side of this medium is that it needs mild protection from UV light so that it won’t fade quickly in pigmentation.

4.Palm Wood: These are being used in the context of palm trees that no longer produce coconuts. The trees are then used as an alternative flooring option for your home. Be sure that it’s installed with a water based glue and finished with a low or no-VOC finish.

Our Top-Selling Flooring of 2017

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The year of 2017 was a wild one for remodeling projects. With trends soaring in and out of style it’s no wonder people are so inspired to make changes. One of the most difficult things to choose in a remodeling project is what type of flooring to go with. Between tile, wood, or carpet and all the variations in-between, it’s no wonder homeowners have such a tough time committing to one. Our top-selling flooring of 2017 is full of materials that will have you itching to set your inner interior designer free, and hopefully help you make some better-informed decisions when it comes to choosing flooring in your own home. Here are a few of our best options from the past year:

1.Wood alike: While this may come as no surprise to some of you, wood look-alike flooring is still one of the top trends of interior design. With all of the style and class of hardwood floors, but at a fraction of the cost this style was flying off the shelves all year long. Whether it’s wood-like vinyl, laminate, or tile if you’ve recently invested in one of them, you’re right on trend.

2.Gray flooring: This one definitely surprised us all. While this was still fairly knew it’s a sure-fire trend that will roll into the new year as well. The gray offers an industrial chic look and with the right styling around it, will still keep your home feeling warm and inviting all year long.

3.Blond wood flooring: Sticking with the classic look of wood, the look has been upgraded by opting for lighter shades instead of the classic deeper brown tones. This look will not only open up your home and make it seem bigger, but it also is a beautifully neutral way to start off a remodeling plan.

Our Top-Selling Countertops of 2017

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Everybody loves a good remodeling job. Jumping into 2017, homeowners were no different. When it comes to figuring out how to jump start your remodel you typically start with flooring and move right along to countertop material. As these are two of the biggest purchases you’ll be making in a remodeling project this comes as no surprise. What might surprise you though, is our top-selling countertops of 2017:

1.Quartz: This fancy alternative seems to be all anyone in the design world can talk about. Typically, people opt for granite as a classic countertop material, however it’s porous nature caused designers to look elsewhere. Here they found quartz. Quartz is a non-porous material and doesn’t have to regularly be re-sealed. This makes for a countertop that is far more durable and cost efficient.

2.Mock-natural stone slabs: Many people are now seeking the look of a natural slab of stone like marble or granite, but are more drawn to the cost efficiency of quartz. Luckily with modern technology, quartz material can be designed so that it resembles natural slabs of stone and looks more rustic than its typical chic finish. You can create patterns or veins in your quartz now that make it more modern and add a fresh element to your remodeling project.

3.Neutral is back: A few years ago, the bright pops of color were common for countertops, but now we’re back to sticking with neutral tones and adding our pops of color elsewhere. This is great because it allows homeowners to invest in more durable materials for countertops as well as give them a solid and neutral base should they ever choose to do a mini remodeling project down the road. This also makes pairing your counter to your flooring choice far easier as well and allows you more creativity in choosing your accent pieces.

How to Choose Between Granite and Quartz Countertops

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When investing in a new countertop, you want to make sure you’re thinking deeply about the pros and cons of different materials. This becomes especially important when designing a kitchen due to the nature of wear and tear that happens in a kitchen. You want to invest in something that is able to withstand over time so that you don’t find yourself need a new counter in the near future. Two of the most popular materials for countertops are granite and quartz. Here are a few suggestions on how to choose between granite and quartz countertops.

Begin by weighing the pros and cons of either material. While granite gives your home a classic and rustic look, it is also a porous material. This means that things like water and oil can permeate the surface. Should you opt for a granite countertop you’ll want to be sure you also invest in a high-quality finish so that you don’t have to worry about re-sealing the counter too often. Granite comes in many different shades and designs so finding the right one for you shouldn’t be too difficult, making it a very convenient option.

However, quartz too comes in a variety of colors. On top of this, quartz is a non-porous material. You don’t have to finish it and you don’t run into the same issues as you would with granite. Since granite is porous, should your finish wear down it can become a breeding ground for bacteria. Quartz is also a more flexible material making it a bit easier to install than granite. This being said, quartz does have a tendency to fade in color over time when exposed to direct sunlight. This means that should part of your counter be in constant view of the sun and another part not, over time the part in the sun will begin to appear discolored.

How to Build the Perfect Outdoor Bar and Kitchen Area

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When you think of remodeling you don’t always think of your outdoor space first. This spring, bounce right into the summer by creating the perfect outdoor area for your home. With all that goes into a project like this it can seem intimidating at first. To help you along, here’s how to build the perfect outdoor bar and kitchen area.

A great way to begin your project is really creating a vision for what you want the space to feel like. Do you want to use salvaged materials? This can be a great way to be more cost efficient as well as give your space a rustic and lived in look right away. Or are you more of an industrial chic person who appreciates the crisp look of brand new countertops? Regardless of which you choose, it’s important to begin your project with a plan and a budget to keep yourself on schedule and honest about what you’re investing in.

Next, you’ll want to look at your home’s plumbing and figure out where may be the easiest to add onto that. Between appliances and electric, it’s easy to forget about plumbing placement, but this is an area that can make or break your budget. Once you’ve decided on a space, you can move on to choosing durable materials.

Since this is an outdoor bar and kitchen area, you’ll want to consider all of the factors that go into maintaining a good outdoor space. Start by choosing materials that are known for holding up well in the weather of your area, and continue by using proper finishes and sealants on all of your materials and appliances. This will keep you from having to replace things down the line as well as keep your outdoor space looking brand new for years to come.

Coffee Bar Ideas for Your Kitchen

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One of the hottest new trends to add on to your kitchen is the coffee bar. With coffee enthusiasts everywhere, it’s not surprising that the idea of having a specific station for coffee in your home has taken off. There are many ways to build a coffee bar in your home and often times it’s difficult to choose which is for you. Here are a few coffee bar ideas for your kitchen:

Invest in a vintage cart or side table. This is a great staple piece for your kitchen that will work with the décor you already have. This particular technique allows you to keep the bar itself separate from the rest of your organization and allows all of the coffee fixings to live in their own space. Having one of these that’s also on wheels allows you to have the option of moving it around your kitchen as well as act as a mini island on wheels.

Repurpose part of your kitchen counter. While this may not be the ideal way to have a coffee bar, it’s the next best thing. Take a corner of your kitchen that’s cluttered or not used as much and redesign it into the coffee bar of your dreams. Install a few hooks to hang mugs on, get a few small wooden cubby-like crates to organize, and before you know it your perfect coffee bar will manifest. This is a great option if your kitchen space isn’t all that large and you believe adding a cart would simply make it congested.

Organization is key. While the idea of a coffee bar is great, it can quickly become just another area of clutter in your home. Keep things compartmentalized, devote a specific cupboard for all of the fixings, and keep your bar clean. This will keep you feeling like you have a small space for the coffee you love, without making your kitchen feel crowded.