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June 2016

Formal Dining Rooms: 5 Makeover Tips

Have you ever noticed there’s always one room in the house that never gets used? Why is that? Typically it’s because of one of two reasons: 1) nobody knows exactly what to do with the space, or 2) the area feels too stuffy and impersonal. These are usually the main problems with formal dining rooms. Either they seem unfinished and cold, or they look so grand it feels like a “No Trespassing” sign should be hung in the doorway. This is why these rooms are typically reserved for fancy dinner parties or the occasional holiday meal. Except usually these rooms contain the most expensive and elegant items in the house, so why let these go to waste? Here are a few makeover tips that you can use to make this space feel more comfortable.

Give and Take: An easy way to quickly transform a formal dining room into something more casual is to add and subtract some accessories. Invest in mirrors to open up the space a little and add more reflective light. Or install window treatments made from lighter, more colorful material for $250 to $390. Possibly remove a few overbearing objects from the room (a hutch, a bookcase, etc.) to make it feel less cluttered. You still want everything to feel glamorous, but by removing a couple of heavier accessories and adding a couple of lighter focal points, the room may feel more welcoming and less cramped.

Delights of the Round Table: A lot of formal dining room furniture is polished, oversized, and comes with long, sharp edges. Although this certainly makes everything sophisticated, it can also create a harsh and imposing tone to the room. When in the market for a new table, you may want to consider investing in a round tabletop. As opposed to a long rectangular table, a circular design allows everybody to look into each others’ eyes while they eat, making the environment more cozy and intimate. Also, by choosing a less polished wood you can make your furnishings feel less intimidating and more accessible to guests.

Sit Down, Relax: Formal dining room furniture tends to be dark and upholstered, which can make the area look gloomy and old-fashioned. Instead, why not choose a lighter shade of wood, thereby making the room more casual and relaxed? Also, instead of using the standard silk material for your chairs, upholster your furnishing in something less luxurious. Not only will this save you money, it will also let your guests feel less anxious to sit down at the table for fear of “messing up your nice things.”

Informal Fixtures: Many formal dining rooms come with fancy light fixtures, usually in the form of chandeliers. However, these light fixtures tend to be expensive and sometimes are unable to provide adequate lighting for the room. Therefore, skip the chandelier and instead add other light sources to the space. Add a lamp in the corner or install wall fixtures. Possibly use candlelight throughout the room for a more elegant look by installing candle wall sconces. In any case, you don’t have to have an elaborate light fixture to keep the room feeling warm and decorative.

Mix-it-up: Most importantly, if you already have formal dining room furniture or possibly can’t afford to buy an entire new set, the best way to decorate the room is to mix and match. Use a traditional table with modern chairs. Use conventional dinnerware with funky place mats. There lots of creative solutions that won’t cost you an arm and a leg but will help a room feel more welcoming. For instance, why use a china hutch for china. You hardly ever use the fancy stuff anyway, so why not use the hutch for an impromptu bookcase or to store other knick-knacks. Personalizing a formal dining room is the most important step in make the space feel safe, inviting, and whole.

Simple Kitchen Remodels

Simple Kitchen RemodelsAlong with getting a great return on your investment, making the space work for your needs is important when considering a kitchen remodel. The most beautiful kitchen will only create stress for a homeowner if it isn’t designed properly. Consider these tips for a kitchen remodel that will simplify your daily routines.

Probably the busiest room in the house, a kitchen can serve a multitude of functions these days: cooking, eating, entertaining, and family gathering place.

1. Remodel by the work triangle.
Designers have been using the kitchen work triangle to create efficient kitchens for many decades. The work triangle refers to the arrangement of the three basic work areas: the refrigerator, sink, and stove. You don’t want these to be too far apart or you will spend a good deal of time running back and forth. Click this link to read more about work triangles.

2. Consolidate kitchen contents with a pantry.
Walk-in pantries have become very popular as they allow a homeowner to quickly take in the kitchen’s contents without having to search through the cupboards. If you’re tight on space a pull-out pantry can be installed into areas as small as a few inches wide. A kitchen pantry is a great way to keep the kitchen traffic localized to one area, so that you can cook without interruption.

3. Don’t waste space.
Install cabinets that go all the way up to the ceiling add baskets and shelving inside to maximize storage space. Add a hanging rack for pots and pans to free up some cabinet space.

4. Let appliances do some of the dirty work.
A dishwasher with a third rack can cut down on the number of times you have to load that dishwasher. Self-cleaning ovens are everywhere today. If you are in the market for energy efficient appliances, consider a dishwasher or even a refrigerator with the Energy Star rating. Click this link to read more about Energy Star Appliances.

5. Create areas for your kids.
A couple of stools at the kitchen counter create an easy, informal place for kids to eat. Also, consider keeping your kids’ snacks and beverages on lower shelves where they can easily access them.

Easy Kid Loft Bed Ideas

For an adult, a loft bed is a practical way to save floor space. A kid loft bed is, on the other hand, often put up for fun as well as function. Kids just seem to like the idea of having a bed up high and having a ladder that leads them there. A child loft bed is generally easy to install and relatively inexpensive to purchase, and it’s sure to please both parents and kids, alike.

Kid Loft Bed Kits
Other than having a professional come in and build a custom model, buying a kit is the easiest way to erect a kid loft bed. The kit will most likely include everything you need to put the loft and ladder together, though you will probably need to supply a few common tools (and in some cases, the mattress).

Safety is a big issue when kids are involved. Make sure that the child loft bed kit you purchase comes with a railing. Sleeping children are notorious wigglers. The railing will protect them from wiggling their way off the side of the bed.

Child Loft Bed Plans
Moms and Dads, who are capable carpenters, might enjoy taking a more active role in the bed building process. Those with a will to work wood should check out some kid loft bed plans. The plans can be found online for a few bucks or even for free.

Using plans to build your loft bed will require a fair amount of cutting, hammering, and the like. Most designs are fairly simple, and the project might be a good one to share with the kids (who are often thrilled to play a role in building something they will use). For parents who don’t have access to various saws, lots of places that sell lumber will cut the wood to your measurements at a small additional charge.

The price of the whole operation, even if you don’t cut the lumber yourself, will be less than buying a kit. The finished product will be something you and your kid can be proud of putting together, and the quality will often be better than purchasing an inexpensive kit bed.

Custom Kid Loft Beds
The custom built route, for a loft bed and just about anything else, will produce the finest product, but will also be significantly more expensive than other options. The difference is that the parents’ only work will be telling the builder what they want. Since it will be a bed for a child, however, he or she would certainly get a kick out of having some input in the design, too.

A custom built loft can have any option you can imagine, and the builder will most likely have some suggestions you might not have thought of otherwise. Additionally, you will be getting a bed the quality of a fine piece of furniture. Though it will cost more, it will be worth it. A custom builder will also be able to create a bed that is anchored to a wall or ceiling, which will create even more floor space.

One thing to consider before spending the money for a custom job is how fast kids grow. While a smaller bed will be cute and just his or her size, a bed large enough for them to grow into probably won’t be significantly more expensive. Building a new one once they grow a few feet, on the other hand, will be.