This is default featured slide 1 title

How to Spray Fruit Trees in the Home Garden

There are many pests and diseases that can make fruit inedible, so spraying fruit trees is a necessity if you want healthy trees and fruit in most parts of the country, unless you are in a particularly favorable area. Both organic and chemical sprays are available.
Protect your fruit trees from pests and diseases.


  1. Choose one of the many products on the market for fruit tree spraying. Many of the most commonly used ingredients are also organic and include mineral oil — which is usually used to suffocate insect pests — and copper and sulfur — which work well against fungus. No sulfur products should be used on apricot trees. You should also wait for 30 days before using sulfur after any oil spray treatments. Kaolin clay — a white powder usually used as a paper whitener — can also be sprayed to repel many pests.
  2. Choose a calm day to spray. Thoroughly cover the tree from branch tips to the base of the trunk. You can also spray under the tree and around the roots. Most sprays are toxic to fish, so make sure there will be no drifting of chemicals near a pond. When using any spray, even an organic one, it is always wise to wear gloves and glasses.
  3. Schedule fruit tree spraying in accordance with your local climate, pests, and type of tree. In general, you will want to do at least one dormant oil spray in the winter when the trees are leafless, a fungicide spray before the flower buds open, and at least one spray after all the flower petals have dropped. Never spray when any flowering is taking place since you do not want to harm the bees.

How to Decorate My New House

Decorate your new home to reflect your personal style.

After going through the trials and tribulations of purchasing a new house, the idea of decorating it may be a bit intimidating. Before diving in and decorating the entire house at once, take it one room at a time and you’ll feel less stressed. Make a plan for each room and when one room is completed, move on to the next one and before you know it, the entire house will be decorated.


  1. Write down a plan for each room. Decide what look you want to create for each room and write down the elements that you think you’ll need to create each look. If necessary, consult home design books and magazines. Think about color palettes, fabrics, furnishings and accessories.
  2. Assign a rank of importance to each room. There are likely some rooms in your home that you likely want to have decorated as soon as you move in and others that can wait a while. For instance, the kitchen and living room may be of utmost importance to you, or the bathrooms and bedrooms. Tackling the rooms that are most important to you first will give you peace of mind and allow you to enjoy your new home.
  3. Determine the necessities. If you’re moving from one home to another, you will likely be able to use several of the items from your old home in your new home. Go through what you already own and decide what you can use. If this is your first home, you will probably need to go shopping for the materials. Even if it isn’t your first home, you may want to add a few new touches to the home. Come up with a specific, or at least a vague list of things you need to serve as a reference point while you shop.


  1. Jump into decorating after you’ve sorted through and collected all of your goods. Start by painting or wallpapering the walls.
  2. Arrange the furnishings. Start with the largest pieces–a bed and dressers, for example–as they will become the focal pieces of the rooms they are in. Once you’ve established where you want to position the bigger pieces, bringing in the smaller items, such as chairs, bedside tables and bookshelves.
  3. Tie the look of the room together with accessories. Hang the curtains, display pictures, stack books, set out vases and any other accessory that you think will complete the room. Even if you don’t get every accessory that you want in the room, the major decorating will be complete; adding accents and personal touches down the road is easy to do.

P. Allen Smith Talks About the Garden Home Challenge

P. Allen Smith Talks About the Garden Home Challenge

From his design and garden empire just outside Little Rock, Arkansas, P. Allen Smith advises his audience on thousands of ways to improve their lives and make their homes more beautiful.

In his latest project, the Garden Home Challenge, the television host and author is hosting a web series on the eHow Home YouTube channel that documents his pledge to build a home for his brother, sister-in-law and their two children with only $150,000 for materials and labor … and in only 150 days.

And if that’s not challenging enough, Smith is also building green, to ensure that the 1,650-square-foot home saves energy and is environmentally friendly.

Where did you get the idea for the Garden Home Challenge?

P. Allen Smith: I love to build things, and I love to show people how to build and transform things. Building a house that many people could afford was very appealing to me. I was also really intrigued with the idea of a challenge. There are so many poorly designed and built houses, and I just thought: Can’t we do something that’s green, energy efficient, stylish and uncomplicated, at a price that people can afford? The national average for home prices is in the $200,000 range, and so many people have these speculative houses that just seem hollow and soul-less. I thought, “What if we came up with a plan for $150,000 that had plenty of space, a good floor plan and some real soul to it?” I wanted to use this as almost a canvas to do something very creative by using existing materials in a different kind of way that cuts costs and raises that charm factor. People think that building a home takes a long time, like a year. But it doesn’t have to take that long if you have everything organized.

Can you describe the Garden Home’s look and layout?

PAS: It’s got a “Southern Farmhouse Chic” look. It’s 1,650 square feet, and has three bedrooms and two-and-a-half baths. There’s a large common area for dining and gathering — a sort of living room-dining room combination. There’s a mud room for laundry, a kitchen, a home office, and the master bedroom has a bathroom and a large master closet, and each of the bedrooms has its own closet. There’s also a front and a back porch.

What were the planning process and initial phases like?

PAS: I’ve always been a doodler. I’m doodling right now, actually. For about a month off and on, I created a set of drawings for the home. First it was 2,000 square feet, and then I cut it down to 1,650 square feet. I thought about things like in the bedroom, is there enough room to get into the closet that’s right near the double bed? Some things I design as we go along. Then I sat down with my builder and asked him: Don’t you think we can get this thing done in five months? (Even though we started building in November and had no idea what the winter would be like.) Luckily, it was a mild winter so that didn’t delay the roofing. When we finally got the floor down and I saw the footprint of the house, I thought, “Wow, this will be huge,” and then the walls went up and I thought, “Oh it’s small.” So I tried to make the house feel larger, using 10-foot-tall ceilings and really light colors on the walls and dark colors for the ceilings — that’s a decorator trick to make a room feel larger. When you are building green, you often have to wait for materials because they aren’t always stocked. We tried to use as many stock materials as we could so that everyone watching could say: “I could go to my local lumber yard or home improvement sore and I could do that!” I will say that it does take a lot of personal time to shop and to save money. People need to realize that. I’ve taken weeks to find good deals on lumber and light fixtures and do craft projects. I’m not advocating putting up finished walls and floors yourselves, but a homeowner should be hands-on and engaged on a daily basis in the building, and that takes time. If you do it all yourself, make sure you allow that time.

What did you learn from others on the project?


PAS: I talked a lot to my construction crew. They’re local guys who have done a lot of building. I asked them: “You’ve been building homes your entire lives, show me where people often make mistakes and how I can save money.” They taught me that if you can get a good brick mason who can lay the foundation just right and be really precise, it will look so good you don’t have to veneer it with brick. A member of the crew suggested going to the Habitat for Humanity ReStore that sells new and reused materials. We got our kitchen cabinets there that were brand new, but the wrong size for another house, and we got them for $500. I then showed the cabinets to my carpenter who matched it to wood we found at the salvage yard, using the same trim board. We painted them both white, so it all matched.

What other ways did you use re-purposed materials?

PAS: One of the things we thought would be less expensive and more sustainable was that instead of using drywall for the walls, we would create our own using second-grade lumber. We used pine that is locally produced that wasn’t the top grade lumber, and that cut costs. Second-grade lumber is perfectly safe to build with, it has just little flaws, maybe the board is bowed or there are a lot of knots. To us, more knots mean more character. The price of using second-grade lumber and running the boards horizontally proved to be less expensive than doing drywall. We also created another form of drywall using particle board that we bought for $9 a sheet and covered in burlap for 6 cents a yard, using Elmer’s glue. We painted it over, and that was my drywall. For the ceilings in the master bedroom and kitchen, we used galvanized corrugated barn tin, which is typically used for roofing. We also used scraps to create wainscoting in the entry way and wood blocks that are cut to look like stone for the entry hall. The blocks are beveled so that they look like cut stone, and that was less expensive and stylish. I got the idea from George Washington’s home at Mt. Vernon, the exterior looks like stone, but was actually wood. We spent a lot of time at salvage yards. That’s where I found some the cabinet doors that we used for wall paneling to go around the living/dining room. We used 16 doors that were $5 each.

What are the energy saving aspects of the Garden Home?

PAS: There are ways to isolate the heating and air conditioning in a room that can cut your energy use by 75 percent if you only heat or cool the rooms that you are in. The first step in saving money is to make sure that the house has no energy leaks. We used soybean foam insulation, and the house is very tight. We also used energy-efficient windows and doors that have the highest Energy Star rating. Someone from the energy office out here has come by to make sure we’re getting it right, and at the end of the project we’ll have a final test where they’ll actually put a blower in the house and build up pressure in the house to see if there are any leaks. We decided not to do solar panels in the house because it wasn’t in our budget, but I would love to put solar panels on the garage as maybe the next phase of this project.

What’s been your favorite part of the project so far?

PAS: I’m a junk hound. I loved finding things and figuring out fun ways to use them. It was fun to be constrained by the budget because we had to figure out how to do things stylishly without breaking the bank. There are a lot of flea markets and antique malls in Arkansas, and I found an antebellum plantation desk from 1830 with a mahogany exterior that was in really rough shape. I bought it for $300 and painted it a sassy blue. I also love the fact that we used wood on the walls instead of drywall, and that we built the floors with second grade pine instead of drywall floors. I loved decorating the home, some of the art that we have is coming from programs where people who have disabilities sell their paintings, and I’m glad we’re supporting causes like that.

What are some unanticipated challenges that you’ve faced building the Garden Home?

PAS: They were all little challenges. One was getting the plug sockets in the right place with the cabinet doors that we used as paneled walls. I should have done the math and told the electrician to put the plugs between the panels, so some of them had to go into the panels. Another big surprise was the cost of the interior doors. We went to a junk stores and found a recycled front door for $100 that was 100 years old. We thought, “Piece of cake! Easy to install.” But that was just the price of the door. To complete the door, it needs to be mounted in a door frame and when you added it all up, it turned out to be $450 a door. We decided on a simpler door and had the carpenter apply our own moulding to the door and give it a simple trim. So in the end, it cost us $130 a door for eight doors using our own moulding and trimmings. Rather than spend nearly $4,000, we spent $1,000 for eight doors.

The home is for your brother, Chris, and sister-in-law, Joyce, and their children. Can you talk about what he means to you and how your background has shaped your design aesthetic?

PAS: My brother and his wife manage my farm and live on the property in another house. This will be a nice new home for them. Our father died when we were very young — I was 12 and he was 8, and we’ve remained close our whole lives. I’m very much design oriented and he’s very mechanical; he’s a big equipment kind of guy. In addition to managing the farm, he works with the livestock and barn and paddocks, cutting hay and overseeing the garden. We both grew up on a farm and love rural pursuits, and we grew up with not a lot of money and always had to figure out how to do things in an affordable way. My mother was a great decorator and did everything on a budget. They say that the only thing worse than having lived through the Depression was being raised by someone who went through the Depression, and that was us. She had a great eye for shopping, and I learned a lot from her. Rather than reupholster, she slip-covered everything. I used that in the Garden Home Challenge. We slip-covered a couple of old chairs from the 1930s that we found. My mother was also notorious for painting sub-grade furniture, and we painted a lot of furniture in the Garden Home.

What are some easy ways that homeowners can create a green home? Any clever tricks?

PAS: The first thing people can do is make sure they are using fluorescent light bulbs in their homes. Also, try to plug all the energy leaks in your home. There are lots of things you can do, such as adding weather stripping.

Do you think you’ll meet your goal?

PAS: I think so. We are very nervous though. I’m chewing my nails and getting very creative on some things. I might have gotten a little carried away with the landscaping, but I think we’ll meet our goal, and they’ll be moving in by the middle to end of June 2012.


The Best Way to Heat a Family Room

Heating a family room can be challenging depending on its location. Wherever your family room is located, it’s important to be comfortable and warm during all seasons so that your family can enjoy the space it is named for. Select the best way to heat your family room by considering the options available, determining how location effects heating choices, and calculating cost, labor and materials.
Heat this room properly


  1. Measure your family room to determine the size room you’ll need to heat. Forced air or central heating is ideal for large spaces, such as a 400 square foot family room. Radiant heating is ideal for smaller spaces, such as a 170 square foot family room, because no duct work or electrical installation is required and they are cost effective when used in moderation.
  2. Base your heating method on the room’s location. The most cost efficient way to heat a room is to keep the heat from leaving the room through windows, doors, baseboards or open areas. If your family room has a sliding glass door, lots of windows or is in a central location where the heat might disperse into other areas, you may want to consider a heating option ideal for larger spaces. You should also consider taking advantage of passive heating options like insulated skylights and windows. Insulated skylights and windows take advantage of the free heat and light from the sun in order to warm up the inside of your house. To learn more about passive heating and lighting home design concepts, check out some of the articles on
  3. Calculate cost, labor and materials. Gas or oil based heating systems are the cheapest to install and sell for $200 to $1,000 at major home improvement stores. Central systems heat specific rooms or sections of a house at a time and cost around $6,000 installed depending on your location. Space heaters, fireplaces, and propane heaters can be purchased from $20 to $80 and can be easily installed by the homeowner.
  4. Check the house blueprints to discover any features that might prevent you from installing the heating system of your choice. For example, to install a fireplace, the chute and chimney must be built into the original house plans unless you plan to install a stand-alone fireplace. Examining the blueprints will help you ensure there is room for plumbing, electrical duct work and any duct work the heating system of your choice might require.

How to Decorate Waterfront Homes

You more than likely enjoy the beach and water if you live in a waterfront home. Decorate your waterfront home with relaxing, peaceful decor that incorporates the outdoor elements you enjoy most. Keep your decor light and airy so your home feels like an extension of nature. Use the view and immediate surroundings as inspiration, whether you opt for a formal or casual style.


  1. Decide on your color schemes, decorating style and whether each room will have its own color scheme or if you’ll weave the same colors throughout the entire house. Decorate one room at a time to achieve the best results, as you’ll be focused rather than overwhelmed with an entire house to decorate.
  2. Paint the room with a neutral or soft color that flows with the scenic nature seen from the window. Cream, tan or beige walls mirror the sandy beach, while light blue echoes the sky. Sea foam green, coral or other coastal colors are also appropriate. Avoid stark white unless you want a contemporary style that contrasts with the outdoors. Or combine a stark white with a darker blue for a lighthouse or nautical look.
  3. Place throw rugs on wood or tile floors for comfort. Go with a bamboo rug if you want a tropical or natural feel or a thick, plush rug for a luxurious feel. Throw rugs are easier to clean than wall-to-wall carpet when you come in from the water.
  4. Furnish the room with comfortable seating areas and practical furniture in cream, beige, turquoise or light blue to complement a natural look. Light or white-washed wood complements a casual or beach-style room. White, red, dark blue or chocolate brown wood furniture can add to a nautical or formal look. Use just a hint of the darker colors as they’ll contrast with the lighter colors and scenic views from the windows. Wicker furniture goes with a casual beach cottage style.
  5. Hang artwork or pictures on the walls that complement the decor. Ocean, lake or beach scenes are fitting, as are black-and-white matted photos that you’ve taken yourself. Hang candle sconces or leave the walls alone if the room has large picture windows with a perfect view of the water. Shadowboxes full of seashells or other items you’ve collected from your yard can add texture and color to your walls without taking away from the view.
  6. Add linens, such as duvets for the bedroom or throws for the family room, that are soft to your touch. Neutral colors will fade into the room without distracting from the views, while simple patterns, such as stripes or seashells, can add visual interest.
  7. Install simple window treatments that don’t distract from your view. Sheer curtains will work in casual or formal rooms without blocking the view. Simple roman shades or roll-up shades will serve as privacy and light control options without getting in the way of the scenery.
  8. Accessorize the room with specific colors, shapes and textures to pull your color scheme or theme together. For example, lamps with blue and green sea glass embellishments would complement a living room or bedroom with that color scheme. Add throw pillows, candles, seashell arrangements, model ships or items with motifs, such as palm trees, lighthouses or anchors.

Protect Your Health While Working Outdoors

Every homeowner knows that maintenance is an ongoing chore, especially outdoors when the gardening season is upon us. What you might not realize is there’s a good chance of injury if you don’t take the proper precautions and use common sense when you’re busy bringing things up to snuff!

The number one cause of home injury is falling, so when you’re using a ladder to clean gutter or prune a tree you should have a helper to hold the ladder steady and hand you tools as you need them. That way you can easily prevent a trip to the emergency room by following safe habits.

It’s also common to injure yourself because you’re out of shape, so take it easy starting out. If your muscles are on the weak side, consider a few trips to the gym or a yoga class during the months leading up to garden season. It’s much easier to stay in shape than to recover from a back injury!

If you’re using power tools, make sure you’re familiar with the tool and it’s safety features before you begin. Common tools such as lawn mowers can cause an injury in a split second, so make sure others are out of the way, too.

Another outdoor hazard is having a reaction to a plant or an insect sting, so it’s a good idea to always wear gloves when you’re working in the yard. While poison ivy and oak are the usual culprits, you may have an unknown allergy to another plant and won’t realize it until it’s too late. The same goes for insects; while you may think you’re not allergic to bees, an allergy can develop at any stage in life.

Ticks can be dangerous, so use repellent when you’re in areas they may be hiding in. The same goes for mosquitoes, which can carry disease. Make sure there’s no standing water in your yard, because that’s where mosquitoes breed.

Last but not least, watch out for the sun! Sunburn and dehydration are the main culprits for trip to the emergency room in summer, so wear sunscreen and limit your exposure. Better safe than sorry!


How to Dye a Leather Sofa or Chair

For the past couple of weeks, I have been researching methods for dyeing leather furniture. My husband wants a recliner. {Cue record scratching sound effects.} The thing about recliners is that they are fantastically amazing to sit and recline in — which is why they are so popular. (This post is participating in Blogging a to Z. D is for Dye!)

The other thing about recliners? Most of them are, well, ugly. Annnnnnnd they are often so over-scaled they take up the entire room.
This is a typical recliner — gigantic and  man-cavish:

Furniture Outlet World

I’m not saying it’s wrong to have a recliner like that one — they are, after all fantastically comfy, but everyone’s taste and space requirements are different, and what works for one person might not work for another. I would probably LOVE a hot pink Natuzzi recliner, but my husband would hate it (and I think it’s too big for the space — darn)!

Our living room is very small, so we can’t get something super over-stuffed and over-scaled, and our architecture is pretty traditional, so that dictates what will work in our space.

We’ve been everywhere looking at recliners — he hit La-Z-Boy and Recliner World on his own, then I dragged him around to some higher end stores. He sat, I measured, he reclined, I studied specs, he commented, I took notes. It went on and on. He wants comfort. I want that for him, but our city apartment is small, so scale is important — so is quality, and so is appearance.  We finally found this leather recliner from Ethan Allen, that has all the qualities we were looking for. This was the only recliner in their whole store that had a high enough back to support the head of an average height man when reclined.  The scale is actually pretty compact, which is good for urban living, but the chair is expensive, starting around $2000.  {Cue record scratching sound effects again!}

Ethan Allen

We started searching on Craigslist for a more affordable option, and found this beauty. She’s vintage Ethan Allen, blue, worn, and the mechanism is loose.  For thirty bucks, we decided to take a chance and buy it. Of course, the color is wrong. It’s a great color, but it just doesn’t work with our existing finishes and textiles.

I know we can tighten up the mechanism, but am not sure if we can successfully re-dye the chair a different color.  I once stripped a pair of little pink cowgirl boots, and re-dyed them to little brown cowboy boots, so I’m hopeful.

The local leather restoring company says they may be able to do it — for $800.  Ummmmm, no, I am not spending $800 to dye a $30 chair. Now, I am scouring the blogosphere and the YouTube world looking for inspiration (and tutorials).

Here are some bloggers who have successfully dyed their furniture:

This sofa, from The Crandall Family blog, was FREE, and the transformation is jaw dropping! Check out her tutorial here.

Erin, who blogs at Decorallure, ended up with this result, after applying some TLC to a free leather chair.

Alex, at Laughs Ideas Inspiration dyed an entire set of leather furniture. It was white when it started out, and had been scribbled on with markers! You really need to see this transformation to believe it!

At Weeds, The Flower Pot Blog, they give detailed instructions on how they redyed this sofa.

This armchair makeover from Lindsay and Drew is beautiful!

Kaysi, from Keeping it Simple made over this chair!

This Eames style chair was dyed over at Bungalow Ranch.

The next question is what color to try to dye our “new” recliner. The leather dyeing professional suggested that not all colors can successfully by used, as the old blue color can never be fully stripped away.  I suppose I can order some sample dyes and experiment under the cushion…. One concern was that it may be difficult to get a good brown over a dark blue, but maybe this pretty green would work?  Not sure my husband would like it, but I would LOVE it!

There are lots of YouTube videos and tutorials showing how to use specific (usually expensive products), and showing the process professional restorers use.  I don’t have a special paint gun, so I really need a product I can apply with an old sock.

I think if I keep things in the blue color spectrum, I will be successful — maybe a pretty teal?


Leather Couch

Reader Lynda Schnute writes from Richmond, VA: “We purchased a leather couch, loveseat, and two ottomans and paid quite a bit. Within a couple of months, the backs and sides and under the arms became sticky to the touch. You could literally stick to it! We battled with the store for six months before they replaced the pieces. Now, another five months has passed and the replacement pieces are getting sticky — especially on the backs and under the arms. They said it was top quality leather and it is from a good store. We do have a fireplace, but Inever heard that you couldn’t have leather in a room with a fireplace. What do we do?” The Bargain Shopper answers: Tanning processes vary from tradition to tradition, and it truly sounds like the leather used to make your furniture may not have been tanned properly.

Meanwhile — especially if you have the furniture in a room that is heated by a fireplace — I may have some solutions to help alleviate the problem to some degree. But that will also depend on where you live and the availability of “remedies.”First of all, you should go over all sticky areas lightly with a soft cloth that is only DAMPENED with clean, lukewarm water (wring it out well). Wipe the sticky surfaces smoothly and fan-dry, if possible (an electric hair-dryer will work). You may have to do this several times, to remove any sticky residue.

The process involved with tanning leather removes salts from the hide, and adds certain chemicals. The natural pores of the leather may be clogged — or, the may be a waxy residue left over from improper finishing.

Either way, the steps you must take are to (a) clean the surface, to “unclog” the pores, and (b) to treat the surface so it remains supple, yet will not “attract” elements from the air and dust in the room that will contribute to it becoming sticky again. Basically, the fireplace is probably causing some tanning elements to “weep” out of the leather itself, so — although you cannot avoid stickiness in the future — you can certainly prevent it advancing to problem proportions again, but regular “maintenance” of the leather surfaces,.

Once you have sponged it off thoroughly (and I can’t emphasize enough NOT to use an overly wet cloth!), and dried it, you may notice that the surface is not as glossy as it once was. This is good. It shows that you have followed step one correctly. You should also notice that the surface is either not sticky, or far LESS sticky than before.

Next, you will want to clean the surface, to remove any residue of tanning chemicals that may have been drawn out of the leather by heat in the room. Believe it or not, Murphy’s Oil Soap — which depending where you live, you should be able to buy in a hardware store or supermarket (I have found the spray-bottle version at Target), is a very good product for cleaning sticky leather. (Be sure to lightly sponge it off first — don’t skip this step!)

Apply the Murphy’s oil again very lightly, and wipe completely dry. You might even be able to “polish” the leather surface a little as you do this, depending on how tautly the leather is drawn over the furniture.

If you cannot find Murphy’s Oil, a good brand of saddle soap will work well, b ut you have to use it more “wet,” so it does take longer to dry completely.

Lastly — but only when you are certain your furniture is COMPLETE DRY (maybe even let it “rest” overnight), spray all exposed sections of the leather surface with a good quality leather protection spray, such as you would use to waterproof a leather jacket or boots for outdoor wear. A good version is made by Kiwi. All the effective ones contain silicone.

Again, let your furniture dry thoroughly before you sit on it (overnight, at least), and be sure there is adequate ventilation before you spray, as well.

Periodically, you will have to redo this entire three-step treatment to maintain your furniture in non-sticky good health (and beauty).

It doesn’t sound like you will get any joy out of going back to the original store, despite the fact that you paid top dollar and are convinced of the high quality of your furniture, so I would just let it go. Meanwhile, you will probably find that with this regimen of maintenance, your furniture will give you no further problems, and will reward you with many years of happy — non-sticky — service.


How to Get Rid of Stink Bugs and kill Stink Bugs in your Home and Garden

Stink bugs are common U.S. garden pests that are originally from Asia and identifiable by their shield-shaped bodies and the stench they produce when disturbed. These true bugs range from 1/4 to 1 inch long. Each one is about twice as long as it is wide and has a distinctive triangle shape on its back. Most insects in the stink bug family, including the brown marmorated stink bug, also known as the Asian stink bug, are brown or gray, but some are brighter colors. For example, the adult harlequin bug is black with bright red, orange or yellow markings. Damage by stink bugs shows up as white or yellow spots on leaves, black pits on nuts and deformed fruits. Repellents and eradicants can be used to control stink bugs.

Stink Bug Repellents

Install insect-repelling plants around and inside the garden to keep stink bugs away. Those plants include marigold (Tagetes patula), which is an annual, chrysanthemum (Dendranthema grandiflorum), which is perennial in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 5 through 9,. and mint (Mentha spp.), which is perennial USDA zones 3 through 8, depending on the species. Plant mint in containers instead of in the ground to prevent it from becoming invasive.

Stink Bug Eradicant

Bifenthrin products are an effective chemical control against stink bugs. Those products, however, are not approved for organic use and require a waiting period between applying them and harvesting vegetable crops. Apply 1/10th pound, or 2 ounces, of a granular bifenthrin-based product per 100 square feet of soil surface in the vegetable garden, sprinkling it uniformly on the soil, and then water the soil thoroughly. Apply the product once in spring or summer, or when stink bug damage is visible. Do not apply this product before rain is expected.

Bifenthrin is harmful to humans and animals. When handling and applying the product, wear clothing that covers all of your skin, and wear eye protection. After handling and applying the product, wash your skin and clothing well with soap and water. Avoid skin and eye contact with the product. Keep animals away from the treated area and the product container. Do not let water runoff containing the product go into ponds, ditches, gutters, streams or other waterways because it kills aquatic wildlife.

Integrated Pest Management

Plant a trap crop of mustard (Brassica juncea) away from the rest of the garden to lure stink bugs. Once the stink bugs have converged on the mustard crop, apply 1/10th pound, or 2 ounces, of a granular, bifenthrin-based product per 100 square feet of the mustard’s soil surface, placing it uniformly on the soil and then watering the soil well. Follow the same precautions that you would when handling and applying a bifenthrin product to a vegetable garden.

Use certain plants to attract beneficial insects such as parasitic wasps because they prey on stink bugs. For example, plant small-flowered plants such as yarrow (Achillea spp.), which is perennial in USDA zones 3 through 9. Beneficial insects are attracted to the nectar in yarrow’s blooms and stay to feast on pests such as stink bugs.


Flooring Ideas for a Family Room With Pets

Keeping the family room neat and clean can be a real challenge when you have pets. However, there are hard-surface, non-porous flooring options that can make flooring maintenance easier.
For those who yearn for something soft underfoot, top off these flooring choices with an inexpensive area rug. If your pet has an accident, you can easily roll it up, cart it out and find a replacement.

Pets can present a challenge when making flooring choices.


  • Versatile and available for just about any budget, tile is a terrific option for a pet-friendly family room floor.

    Style, color, texture and size options are abundant when shopping for a tile floor. However, if the tile is being used in the pet-friendly environment, the best advice is to pick a tile that has variation in color and texture.

    Smooth and single-color tile will tend to show dirt and animal prints easily. Variable color and textured tile will be much easier to maintain on a day-to-day basis.

Polished Concrete

  • Concrete isn’t just for construction anymore. Polished concrete flooring can be an exquisite choice for a family room where pets are welcome. However, don’t let the materials fool you, polished concrete can be expensive.

    Concrete can be mixed with variations in color for depth and beauty. In addition, many concrete flooring artists embed flecks of metal, crystal or other objects to create visual interest.

    The final step of applying a strong polishing compound creates a unique and pet-friendly room for your family.

Commercial Vinyl

  • You may be pleasantly surprised if you’ve never shopped for commercial vinyl and think it only comes in sterile colors or boring, uninspiring patterns.

    Not only is commercial vinyl durable and pet-friendly, but it also comes in styles that mimic wood planks, tile and slate. Although the surface is not as impervious to liquid as tile or concrete, commercial vinyl is a good choice over carpet or soft linoleum flooring.


  • The natural beauty of slate can bring the color of the outdoors into your family room and give you a place you can share with the family pet in comfort and confidence.

    Slate comes in many different color hues and sizes, and can be sealed and polished to keep constant animal traffic and mishaps from ruining your floors. Periodic re-sealing will keep the flooring pet-safe.


How to Start an Interior Decorating Business

An interior decorating company is a business you can start with no college degree and little investment. People want to beautify their homes and offices. Unfortunately, many don’t have the time, nor the talent. Hence, they hire an interior decorating company to completely transform their bland space. If this sounds like a promising career opportunity, read on to learn how to start an interior decorating business.


  1. Train your eye. To be a successful interior designer, you need an eye for design. Fortunately, you can train yourself. Read books on design or watch home interior design shows. Even if you already have an eye for design, there’s always room for improvement.
  2. Take a few design classes. Although you don’t need a degree to start an interior decorating business, you may consider taking a few design classes. Thus, you’ll learn about different design styles and how to achieve different looks.
  3. Re-design your home. If you’re starting an interior design business with little experience, start at home. In other words, you can become your first client. Completely re-design rooms in your home. Practice with different styles and technique. Take before and after pictures and build your portfolio.
  4. Practice on your friends and relatives. Potential customers want to see a portfolio. Unfortunately, re-designing your home isn’t enough. Ask friends and relatives for help. Offer to re-decorate a room in their home. It’s ideal to include samples of different rooms in your portfolio.
  5. Work for an interior design firm. Before starting your business, look for entry-level employment or an internship with a design firm. In turn, you’ll gain actual work and business experience.
  6. Get a business license. Once you’ve ready to launch your own business, make a trip to city hall and apply for a business license.
  7. Advertise your service. Growing a business takes time. Be patient. Experiment with various advertising mediums such as direct mail, fliers and classified ads. You may want to approach a few businesses (lawyer offices, doctor offices, boutiques, among others) and offer your services. Keep a stack of business cards with you.

How to Decorate a Family Room With Maroon Leather Sofas

Design a living room that shows off the detail and craftsmanship seen on maroon leather sofa sets. Pairing both light and dark colors along with decor accents in the room make the living area more cozy. Add a personal touch by featuring some of your own family photos in the room and look for other pieces of furniture that complement the style of your sofas. The color of the walls, carpeting and rugs can also make the room complete.
Choose decor accents that make your sofas stand out.


  1. Paint the walls a light color that makes your maroon sofas stand out. Light colors that work with maroon include lavender, beige and pastel green. Too many dark colors in the room can make the sofas look like they blend into the wall.
  2. Place pillows on the sofas that match coordinate with the couches and other colors in the room. You can feature pillows with a combination of both light and dark colors such as plum, forest green, soft green and lavender. Pillows with a dark background and light flowers scattered on the front can also work for a living room with maroon couches.
  3. Hang up a large piece of framed art on the wall above your largest leather sofa. Choose a dark maroon frame so it stands out against the light walls and blends in with the sofa below. Feature other small pieces of framed art on each side of the larger picture, so that the largest piece is the main focal point.
  4. Place colored candles that match up with the colors seen on your sofa pillows in crystal bowls. Then place the bowls on end tables, coffee tables and other areas within the room.
  5. Place a rug on the floor with both light and dark colors that match your sofa and other accents. You can put the rug directly in front of the sofa or loveseat or place it on other available floor space.
  6. Place a potted palm tree, fern or other type of large plant in the corner of the room for greenery.
  7. Install dark maroon curtains to match your leather sofas. You can have a few dark accents in the room as long as you have other lighter decor to balance everything out.

How to Obtain an Interior Decorating Certificate at Home

Interior decorating can be a fun and exciting field. If you are artistic and creative, consider earning an interior decorating certificate from home in your spare time. Distance learning allows you to continue to tend to your current responsibilities while you are earning your certificate. Interior decorators may be hired to decorate homes, restaurants and business offices. While you may already have an eye for detail, earning an interior decorating certificate can greatly enhance your resume. As an interior decorator you can work for yourself or for an agency.


  1. Decide if you prefer to earn the interior decorating certificate online or through the mail. Both methods exist. If you have a dependable Internet connection, earning the certificate online might be faster as you can submit assignments and tests immediately. Earning the certificate though the mail would be best for those who do not have Internet access.
  2. Attend a school that will allow you to become a certified interior decorator. Certification will give you more credibility as an interior decorator. To become certified, the program you attend must be either accredited or approved by the Certified Interior Decorators International (CID). You must also become a member of CID. Some accredited programs include Penn Foster Career School and The Decorator Training Institute. Approved programs are available at Limperts Academy of Design and Rhodec International.
  3. Make a list of the schools that appeal to you the most. Compose a list of questions you have about each program. Don’t forget to include tuition and tuition assistance questions on your list. Contact an enrollment adviser at each school and get all your questions answered. Remember that earning an interior decorating certificate is an investment. Make sure you are getting the most of out what you are paying for.
  4. Set aside time each week to complete your studies. Some interior decorating certificate programs are flexible and allow you to submit work on your own schedule. Others provide a specific due date for assignments.
  5. Complete and pass the CID entrance exam to become a certified interior decorator. Now you can begin marketing your services.

How to Convert a Garage Into a Family Room

If your house or apartment doesn’t have a good place for your family to gather, consider converting your garage. Depending on the state of your garage, the project could take only as a few days and relatively few materials. You can even enlist the help of family members to make it a fun bonding activity. Give everyone a separate job to speed through the project, or work together to paint the walls, carpet the floors and add interesting accents to liven up you

Convert a Garage Into a Family Room


  1. Clear out the garage. This is the first, and most difficult, step. You’ll need a different storage area to stow everything temporarily. Consider renting a storage unit or putting things into your attic. Donate or sell anything that you no longer need.
  2. If your garage doesn’t have enough electrical outlets, you’ll need to rewire the garage. It is highly recommend that you hire someone to do this as opposed to doing this yourself, as it can be dangerous.
  3. If you live in a cold area, you will need to insulate your walls. The interior-most wall usually gets heat from the house, but the two walls that are exposed to the elements need to be insulated. This will require framing the walls, which involves affixing wood posts to the walls so that insulation can be stuck in between the posts.
  4. If insulation was applied, cut some drywall and apply it to the framing in order to hide the insulation. Cover the gaps in between drywall pieces with drywall tape, then cover the drywall tape with sheet rock compound. Sand it smooth.
  5. Brighten the walls and ceiling with a few fresh coats of paint. Use a bright color to make the enclosed space seem larger.
  6. Measure floors and buy carpet for the space, or buy a large rug. If you want carpet, have it installed professionally as it is a difficult and tedious job that requires expensive machinery.
  7. Furnish the room with a sofa, television, electric fireplace and bookcases as desired.
  8. Set up space heaters and fans to control temperatures throughout the seasons.

How to Decorate in Old World Style

A console or buffet table decorated in Old World Style.
One of the most popular trends in home decorating is old world style. It is characterized by dark colors, like deep burgundy red, dark brown and dark hunter green. The accessories included are mostly European antiques and tapestries. An old world home includes a combination of natural materials like limestone and tile, dark stained furniture pieces mostly made of wood, luxurious fabrics of brocade and deep color. The walls are often accented with textures and faux finishes. This timeless style works well for a person who leans toward the traditional as opposed to a modern, contemporary style.


  1. Add dark colors and textures on the walls. Use dark earth tones such as browns and greens, or use dark blue and burgundy to color your walls. Use faux painting techniques to add texture on the walls.
  2. Add rugs and window treatments. Add a rug to anchor the room before placing the furniture. Rugs should be rich in texture and have dark colors that match the colors found on the walls, and on the drapes and upholstery. Add window coverings. Use dark colored window blinds and accent with draperies to soften the look of the room. Use a rod and tiebacks made of iron.
  3. Add dark-stained furnishings. Add a sofa with intricate hand carved wood frame. Match it with a center table and side tables of the same material and finish. In the dining room, use dark stained dining table with matching chairs. Pick out upholstery that has textured and a deep color.
  4. Add lighting fixture with iron finish. If you have an existing light fixture with bronze or silver finish, spray paint them in dark brown or black paint. Use lamps with dark colored lamp shades and bases. The style of your lighting should not be too modern. Use of amber glass drop lights for your kitchen island as opposed to contemporary style track lighting.
  5. Add artwork and accessories. Use European antiques and to decorate your home. Use textured vases and create a flower arrangement with dried or silk flowers and with fruits in dark colors. Hang artwork depicting the old Europe, like painting of castles and still life. Add a tapestry with colors picked from the walls, rugs and furnishings.

How to Arrange a Family Room With a Sectional Sofa

Your family room is a place where your family should be able to comfortably play, entertain, talk, and gather. If you have a large family but limited space, a sectional sofa may be the best choice for seating. By using a sectional sofa, you can set up the family room so that all the seats are in one area, then arrange your other pieces of furniture around that central element.


  1. Choose the type of sectional that you want for your family room. Some sectionals contain two couches that sit at a perpendicular angle up against each other, while others have one long sofa with a chaise on one end. The chaise is similar to a bed where you can lay down, or sit with your feet up. Sectionals come in different styles, such as with a curved or straight back. Let’s assume you choose a standard sectional that has a long couch and a chaise. It sits in an “L” shape.
  2. Position the sectional sofa along the wall that is opposite or adjacent to a window in the room. Leave about a foot of space between the wall and the back of the couch.
  3. Purchase a coffee table that is shaped like an “L,” just like your sectional and place it in front of your sofa.
  4. Set a table next to the side of the couch where the chaise sits. Place decorative items such as a vase or framed pictures on this table, or just a lamp and phone. The person relaxing in the chaise can reach over to this table to retrieve a drink instead of from the coffee table. Place a plant on the other side of the sectional (the standard sofa side) if you’d like.
  5. Place the entertainment center up against the wall that is adjacent to the window, preferably parallel with the long sofa part of the sectional.
  6. Set another small table next to the entertainment center to hold more decorative items or pictures in frames.

How to Decorate a Two Story Family Room

Two-story family rooms—rooms with cathedral ceilings that are as high as second floor ceilings—have become quite common in recent years. While the expansive rooms are typically impressive, they do create decorating challenges, such as what to do with 16 foot windows or 20 (-plus) foot walls. Family rooms with high ceilings also echo and create acoustic problems that can be addressed with a few creative decorative items.

Two-story family rooms are grand and impressive if you decorate them right.


  1. Paint the walls, particularly the taller walls, in a warm color to accentuate the space while making it feel more welcome. Tan or brown shades are warm and neutral, so they work with almost any decor. Keep the trim and doors white to add contrast.
  2. Place your furniture in a way that works for the room. For example, create a conversation area by placing two sofas opposite from each other or in an “L” shape so both can see the TV, if there is one in this room.
  3. Hang curtains or drapes that cover expansive windows, which will help minimize the echoes and add warmth to the room. Most two story family rooms include a wall of windows or high windows and low windows. Use drapes that match the color, formality and style of the room’s decor. For example, brown, red and gold floral patterns could accent a more formal family room with the same tones and patterns found on the furniture. Simple hardware won’t detract from the curtains.
  4. Include an area rug that shares colors or designs with the drapes and pulls the whole room together. Adding a rug isn’t necessary if the room has wall-to-wall carpeting, although you can include a decorative rug if you desire. The rug will also help absorb sounds to minimize acoustic problems.
  5. Decorate the walls with mirrors, sconces and artwork. Most two story family rooms have a lot of empty wall space that can be utilized to show off some of your favorite things, or simply display items that make your family room feel more welcoming. If there is empty space above windows, hang a large decorative mirror. Large blank walls can hold a collection or arrangement of pictures or art, or one large piece of artwork.
  6. Accessorize the room with lamps, candles, family photos, plants, floral arrangements or other items that complement the room’s decor.

How to Design a Room Addition

You don’t have to be an architect to design a room addition. Your idea can start as simply as wanting to add a small guest bedroom to developing a nursery and playroom for a newborn baby. However you choose to design the new room, take planning the addition seriously. Check local zoning laws and follow all saftey guidelines for home addtions.
Design a spacious new bedroom or loft space for your home.


  1. Sketch a room design layout. Use graph paper and a pencil. Draw a rough layout of how you want the addition to look, using shapes like squares and rectangles (you can use more detail if you are used to drawing layouts). Start with the door to the room. Include windows, other doors, closets, and room features you want to include, like a fireplace or a wood stove.
  2. Choose the size and placement of the room addition. Check with the local zoning laws in your area to see how much you can build off of your home. According to Bank Rate’s Home Improvement guide, when adding a master bedroom to a home, you can add 500 to 600 square feet to the home’s foundation.
  3. Pick a style. If you are designing a bedroom, look at bedroom styles, such as a loft, cottage or cozy-nook motif. Write a list of features you would like to add to the room, such as interior brick or large skylights.
  4. Design the room around the amount of sunlight you want in the addition. If you are planning to add a sunroom, or sunporch, orient the room addition toward “true south,” typically a few degrees different than “magnetic” south. This allows the sun to fill the room even in winter, when the sun is at its lowest angle.
  5. Plan on windows and ventillation. Choose how many windows you want in the room and the type of ventillation. In a bedroom, living room or kitchen, for example, add a solar window, which cuts down heating, cooling, and lighting needs in a house. Situate a solar window 20 degrees off true south, which reduces solar gain (the increase in temperature caused by sunlight filtering into a space) by 4 to 5 percent.
  6. Develop a color scheme. Choose colors that accentuate the furnishings in the room and promote a sophisticated tone. Taupe, beige, off-whites and cream and light grays are sophisticated colors. Use accent colors in bright greens, blues, red, pinks or orange to enhance the more subdued base colors. An accent wall in a brighter shade heightens the contrast and sets a clean, smart tone
  7. Decide on a uniform flooring option. Select one type of flooring–such as bamboo hardwood flooring or linoleum–to unify the room. For kitchen enclaves or other smaller spaces, consider using alternative flooring materials for that separate space, such as tiles.
  8. Create a design with blanace in mind. Make a list of features you want to include in the room. Note that the room should bring comfort, style and indulgence. Most guests want to stay in a room that is, more than anything else, a comfortable place to sleep with enough light and style that makes them feel welcomed and taken care of in this space.
  9. Plan for furniture. Choose furniture pieces that borrow colors that already exist in the floor or carpeting. Add interesting focal points–like a fireplace or antique armoir–that welcome a person into the room.

How to Use Concrete Blocks in the Home and Garden

Concrete blocks are useful and affordable building tools; however, they have many other uses in the home and garden. You can leave the concrete blocks as they are, or they can be covered with fabric or painted to improve their appearance. With some inexpensive tools and a little creativity, you’ll have your home and garden looking great in a snap.


  1. Create an inexpensive book shelf for any room of your home with a few boards and concrete blocks. Get creative when building your bookshelf, painting the wood and blocks and building it to fit. Try leaving the holes facing out for convenient cubbies or candle holders. A concrete block shelf is also a great way to organize the garage.
  2. Use a concrete block as a non-slip children’s stool. While kids may need a boost to reach a bathroom sink, they are also very curious and like to use their stool for reaching places you may not want them exploring. Apart from aiding them in getting into trouble, small light-weight stools can easily slip under little legs, especially on a wet bathroom floor. Decorate a concrete block with paint or cover it with waterproof fabric for a difficult to move and non-slip children’s stool.
  3. Paint the outside of a concrete brick and place it in your garden, along walkways or on your patio for a decorative addition to your home and garden. Plant flowers or other decorative plants inside the holes. Not only is this a quick and easy flower pot, it will also drain well, helping to aerate the roots of your plants.
  4. Build a garden bench with concrete blocks and a board. Paint the concrete blocks any color you like and build two squares using four concrete blocks each for your bench support. Be sure the top two blocks face the opposite direction than the bottom two blocks for added stability. Place a wood board over the concrete block ends to finish the garden bench.
  5. Liven up your patio or garden with a concrete block flower display. You can use concretes bricks and boards to create a decorative flower display made to fit in any location. Build your display along a fence in your garden, on a terrace or patio or near your front door. Paint your concrete blocks any way you like and place potted plants on the boards or inside of cubbies.

Home & Garden Shows in Minnesota

Minnesota offers several home and garden shows throughout the state at different times of the year . Home and garden shows focus on home building, remodeling, landscaping and gardening for both homeowners and professionals. Each show is different in terms of vendors, seminars and geographical location.

Home building is one topic covered at home and garden shows.


  • Minneapolis offers two home and garden shows. The first, the Minnesota Home and Landscape Expo, occurs over two weekends in January at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome. This expo showcases home building and remodeling products, plus landscaping, flooring, home security, roofing and decking projects. The second show is the Minneapolis Home and Garden Show, which stretches over five days in early to mid-March at the Minneapolis Convention Center. With more than 1,000 vendors and experts on home building, gardening, remodeling, home décor and landscaping, plus celebrity guests and contests, it is the largest home and garden show in Minnesota.

St. Paul

  • The Home and Patio Show takes place at River Centre in St. Paul, Minnesota’s capitol. This show, which is held over four days in mid-February, gives Minnesotans a chance to get inspired during the cold of winter. The show features how-to seminars for homeowners who want to do projects themselves, plus home improvement, energy conservation, gardening and other types of vendors.


  • Rochester, in the southern portion of the state, is home to the Rochester Area Builders Home Show. The show occurs in mid-February at the Mayo Civic Center and features several hundred exhibitors in the home building, remodeling, cabinetry, roofing and landscaping categories.

St. Cloud

  • The St. Cloud Home Show is targeted at homeowners in the central part of the state. Held over a three-day weekend in March, the show includes all types of home and garden vendors, plus home seminars for both adults and kids.


  • South-central Minnesotans flock to the Verizon Wireless Center over three days in mid-March for the Southern Minnesota Home and Builders Show. Unlike other shows, which charge a nominal entry fee, this expo is free to the public.

How to Decorate a Home Music Studio

The decor of a music studio can set the right tone and help artists relax.
With advances in personal computer technology and recording software, home music studios have become popular among many musicians. Home music studios offer a flexible recording environment, as well as a way to save money on recording budgets. Decorating a home music studio can help make the space more inviting, as well as reflect the personality of the owner or type of music produced in the studio. Decorating project costs can vary greatly, depending on the desired results or budget.


  1. Use old vinyl record albums to decorate a home music studio. Hang vinyl 33 1/3, 45 and even 78 rpm albums with or without the record jackets to create colorful and interesting decorations. Frame old or valuable records for a more formal decoration.
  2. Hang unused musical instruments around the music studio. Instruments such as trumpets, guitars, mandolins, banjos, violins and flutes can be easily hung on the wall for unique decorating elements.
  3. Combine personal pictures, old sheet music, cue sheets, production worksheets, guitar picks or broken drum sticks to create a music-themed collage for a home music studio. Take snapshots of artists recording in the studio to add a more personal touch to the collage.
    Have artists add comments to the collage with a marker.
  4. Reuse old or broken musical equipment as furniture in a home music studio. Lay a bass drum on its side and top with a piece of glass or Plexiglas to create a music-themed table. Attach plywood between two unused guitar amplifiers to create a coffee table or desk.
  5. Hang concert posters, artist pictures or magazine pages to accent a home music studio. Choose posters that reflect the feel of the studio or genre of music produced.
  6. Hire a professional painter to decorate the music studio with scenes of concerts, musicians or other music-related themes. For more limited budgets, images of guitar amplifiers or drums are easy subjects for most novice painters.

How to Open a Home Decor Boutique

The popularity of home improvement and home makeover shows has brought the world of home décor into the living rooms of Americans across the nation. Show followers and individuals who are into decorating their homes are always on the hunt for good home décor boutiques that carry the goods they are looking for. Thus, opening a home décor boutique may be a lucrative business venture for you. With some time for planning and a monetary investment, you can open a home décor boutique to service clients in your area.


  1. Apply for and obtain a business license. Contact the county clerk’s office of the county where your boutique is located to see what you need to do to obtain a business license. Since it is a retail location, you may need to obtain a retail license on top of a business license. Application and processing fees vary by location.
  2. Rent a retail space. Choose a location where there are related businesses such as a furniture store, grocery store or home improvement store. This ensures that your boutique is in an area that attracts the types of clients who are interested in your home décor products.
  3. Order inventory. Purchase the various products that fall in line with the type of home décor products you want to sell. You can buy home decor items from wholesale suppliers such as gifts, home furnishing and home decor.
  4. Develop a relationship with referral sources. Get in touch with local interior designers and decorators, real estate agents, professional home stagers, contractors and other types of business involved in home construction and renovations. You can give these referral sources coupons to hand out to their clients or establish a relationship where they buy their supplies from you to decorate their clients’ homes at a discounted rate.
  5. Advertise. You can also promote your store and products directly to consumers in your area. Build a website to showcase the variety of home décor products you offer. Attend home shows at the local convention center, where you can display your store products and speak with consumers who are looking for various products and decorations for their homes. You can also place an ad in local home and real estate magazines your potential clients are reading.

The History of Home Decor

Wallpaper was a luxury item until the 19th century,

Home decoration began when artistically inclined cave dwellers painted pictures on their walls but it only really came into its own in the 18th century, when luxury items started to become affordable for ordinary people. Until then, the beautiful house had been the preserve of the nobility and the very rich, for whom elegant hand-made furniture and ornate draperies were a status symbol.

Ancient Rome

  • The Romans enjoyed displaying their wealth through their homes and lifestyles. Houses and place inhabited by the well-to-do, such as banqueting halls, were decorated lavishly with wall morals and mosaic designs on the floor. Romans often had their furniture custom-built to accommodate their exacting needs. Classic Roman furniture, such as tables and chairs, often had clawed feet. The Romans also liked to relax and put their feet up on high quality soft furnishings made from expensive materials.

Renaissance Design

  • Carpets were a luxury only the richest people could afford in the 16th century. Too expensive to put on the floor, they were often hung on walls or over tables. Other rich people hung tapestries or painted cloths on their walls. People covered the floors with rushes or reeds and sprinkled them with sweet smelling herbs, which they strew with sweet smelling herbs. Four-poster beds were popular with the rich in England because the bed-curtains kept out the cold.


  • The early modern period in the 18th century, with its increase in international trade and new educational opportunities, marked the beginning of consumerism. Wallpaper, rugs and even pianos became more affordable. Rooms were decorated in light colors; floral schemes were a typical wallpaper choice, patterned carpets were popular and the rich owned comfortable upholstered furniture. Books were displayed ostentatiously, as they were still expensive and indicated that their owner was rich and cultured.

Mass Production

  • The 19th century saw the advent of mass production, which meant that more people could aspire to make the house beautiful. Flock and velvet wallpapers were fashionable in the middle decades. These heavily patterned papers were in shades of green and burgundy. Furniture was solid but comfortable, and usually made from oak or mahogany. Furniture was sometimes upholstered in the same pattern as wallpaper, for unity of theme.


  • The post-war years saw another renaissance in interior design but the emphasis was on the modern, rather than traditional. The fashionable American couple hosted cocktail parties and shiny modern appliances such as refrigerators became part of the decoration scheme, along with plastic melamine dinnerware and coffee tables.

Class Distinctions

  • Home decoration was the preserve of the nobility and the very rich, until the emergence of the middle classes in the 18th century. Ordinary people working as laborers or craftsmen lived in shacks with one or two rooms. Furniture consisted of basic stools, benches and tables and they slept on mattresses stuffed with straw or thistledown. Common dwellings focused on function and basic necessities rather than aesthetic considerations.

How to Attach Accessories to a Dremel

The Dremel is a multi-purpose rotary tool. It has a wide variety of accessories to perform just about any small job in the home. Some accessories require special attachments to help guide the bit while working with the Dremel. Attaching accessories to a Dremel is a straight forward process. If you do have a need for an attachment, always attach the bit accessory first. The attachments cover the collet which is necessary to secure bits and other accessories.


  1. Turn off the Dremel and unplug the power cord from the wall outlet. Locate and hold the collet lock button with your thumb. The collet lock button is the button near the operating end of the Dremel.
  2. Turn the collet nut counterclockwise with the supplied wrench or a small wrench that fits the nut. The collet nut acts as a chuck on a drill to secure the shafts of accessories.
  3. Insert the shaft of the accessory into the center of the collet until it seats fully into the Dremel. Twist the collet nut clockwise until it is hand tight. Turn the nut another 1/4-turn with the wrench.
  4. Remove the nose cap on the front of the Dremel if your accessory requires a special attachment such as the grout removal, chainsaw sharpening and multi-purpose cutting guide. Turn the nose cap counterclockwise to remove it from the Dremel. Thread the attachment onto the Dremel clockwise until it is tight.

How to Space Wall Sconces in a Family Room

Sconces are decorative yet functional lights that mount on the wall. Family room lighting is important since this is the room where families spend much of their time together. The wall sconces have to provide adequate lighting for the room while adding a decorative element. Both factors deserve equal consideration, which can make this task a bit tricky. Considering other elements of the room as well as the activities that take place there can help.


  1. Take a broad overview of the family room. Determine where people may be reading, playing games or watching TV. Sconces should not go near the TV because they can take away from the brightness of the set and be distracting. Consider where you need brighter light. Also, take note of major architectural pieces in the family room, like a fireplace or nook.
  2. Consider how much light each sconce will emit. The wattage of the light bulb will play a part in this but so will the shape and opacity of the sconces’ shades. The brighter each sconce is, the farther apart you can space them.
  3. Decide if you would like to hang the sconces level or if you’d rather offset them a bit if you will hang them side by side. This is a design element you can choose, but note how your choice may impact the lighting. Try different configurations out by holding the sconces up to the wall and having a friend step back and tell you what looks best. When hanging sconces, consider the overall size of the wall. Larger and longer spaces can accommodate wider spacing between wall sconces.
  4. Hang low-light sconces on either side of architectural pieces you want to highlight. Light that is too bright will take away from these pieces. Again, spacing will depend upon the size of the wall and the size of the piece you are highlighting. You can hang wall sconces a little further out from the sides of a fireplace with a large mantle; in contrast, a smaller fireplace should have smaller sconces hung a little closer.
  5. Add wall sconces directly next to a table or reading chair. These parts of the family room benefit from bright, direct light, so hanging a pair of level wall sconces next to or above these areas will provide the necessary brightness. Take spacing cues from the size of the table or chair as well as the size of the sconces themselves. You can hang smaller sconces closer together.

How to Make a Hydroponic Home Garden

Hydroponic gardening can be defined as soil less gardening. Plants are rooted in substrate material and fed a liquid nutrient solution. Growing plants in a home hydroponic garden offers many benefits. Because the growth medium is soil less there are no weeds and few disease or pest problems. According to the Virginia Cooperative Extension, gardeners can grow vegetable plants year-round using hydroponic gardening methods. Home hydroponic gardens are also small enough to use in apartments or small spaces in your home.
Try growing hydroponic vegetables.


  1. The first step in making a simple hydroponic home garden is making the container. The container that holds the plants and substrate material is a plastic tote 23 inches long and 16 inches wide. Use the drill with the five-eighths inch bit to drill a hole in the tote. The hole should be about half an inch up from the bottom edge of the tote, in the center.
  2. Place one end of the drain hose through the rubber grommet, so that it sticks out about half an inch past the end of the grommet. The nutrient solution will drain out through this hose.
  3. Insert the grommet into the hole you drilled into the end of the tote. The end of the hose will be just inside the container to let the nutrient liquid drain out easily.
  4. Place the tote on a table or other raised surface and place the bucket to catch the draining nutrient solution on the floor underneath it. Place the end of the hose drain inside the bucket.
  5. Place the brick under the tote, opposite the side with the drain. Fill the tote with vermiculite, leaving about two inches clearance from the top.
  6. Mix the nutrient solution according to the instructions on the bottle. You can use a watering can to pour the solution into your hydroponic garden. According to the Alabama Cooperative Extension Service you will need to feed your plants about three times a day and can reuse the solution that drains into the bucket for 10-14 days.
  7. Plant your garden. DIY Hydroponics recommends that you carefully wash the soil off the roots first, if using nursery plants. Dig a hole in the vermiculite, large enough to support the roots, place the plant inside, and pack the vermiculite gently around the plant up to the same height as if using regular potting soil

Leather Furniture Care: The Whole Truth (and Nothing But)

If you’re like most consumers, when it comes to shopping for new home furnishings, there may be some lingering doubts about what furniture is best for you and your home. And if you are like many furniture buyers, you may be unsure if leather furniture is right for your home, or even how to find the leather that best fits your décor and lifestyle.To help consumers in this buying process, American Leather, a leading Dallas-based manufacturer of premium leather and upholstered furniture, has addressed the most common myths and misperceptions about leather furniture – and the real truths that will have consumers making their next purchase in complete confidence:

Myth: Leather furniture just doesn’t last.

Fact: The truth is, leather furniture is something you buy for a lifetime. Since leather is a natural product, aging brings out its natural patina making it even more beautiful over time. And since leather furniture is something you can enjoy for years to come, this is a purchase that makes a sound investment –– and one that gives you excellent returns, time and time again.

Myth: Leather furniture is too expensive.

Fact: You don’t have to be rich to enjoy leather furniture – just smart. Since leather is a product that lasts four times longer than fabric, leather furniture is a great investment for your home that you can enjoy for many years to come. After all, don’t you deserve beautiful comfort that lasts?

Myth: Leather furniture is too hard to care for.

Fact: This couldn’t be farther from the truth. Just use a conditioner every 6-12 months and wipe up spills as they occur with a clean cloth. You should actually avoid using your normal cleaning supplies—like soaps, detergents, solvents, etc. Can it get any easier than that?

Myth: Leather furniture is easily damaged by kids and animals.

Fact: Unless your dog thinks your new leather couch is a chew toy or your cat thinks it’s a scratching post, your leather furniture is as safe as any other furniture in the house. For more peace of mind, buy furniture with a pigmented finish coat. It helps protect the leather so you can let your pets and your kids sit on the couch with no more than the usual worries.

Myth: Leather furniture is limited in where it can go in the house.

Fact: Even though leather furniture is traditionally seen in living rooms, dens and family rooms, don’t let that hold you back. Surprise your friends with the versatility of leather furniture. Use it in unexpected places like your kitchen or bedroom for a look that is super stylish and trendsetting as well.

Myth: Leather furniture is either too cold in winter and/or too hot in summer.

Fact: You must be thinking about those leather seats in your car. Of course they get hot in summer and cold in winter, especially if you park outside. But if you keep your leather furniture indoors like most folks (trendsetters beware!), you’ll find that in the winter, it warms to your body heat, and in the summer since it’s natural and can breathe, it stays pleasantly cool, and even adapts to the temperature set in your home. Just keep it out of the direct sunlight.

For more information on leather furniture and leather furniture care and cleaning tips, visit American Leather’s web site at


How to Pick a Paint Color for a Family Room

The family room is an informal space that gets lived in a lot — you have a wide latitude for choosing paint colors, and you’ll probably want to consider wear and tear when making your selection. Pristine white walls might not be a great option in a family with young, rambunctious kids. Frilly pastel hues aren’t robust enough for sturdy furnishings, and somber shades lower the energy level. Getting the paint color right means evaluating your family, your furniture and your favorite shades.
Family rooms take a beating.

Go With What You’ve Got

  • Paint color is easy to adjust. Replacing the sectional or the rug may not be that simple. Check the furniture and accessories slated for the family room and pull a color from a pattern or find a complement to keep things harmonious. The red-and-navy plaid sofa and navy upholstered ottoman will be fine in a pale blue room — a relaxing color that coordinates with the dominant sofa. The floor is the single biggest swatch of color besides the walls. If your floor is terra-cotta tile, pick a wall color to deepen the rich clay shade or inject an extra note of tropical sunshine. Lilac, light turquoise, mint or yellow straw paint will show off the floor tile and set the tone for the room.

Find the Flow

  • Your family room isn’t an island; it’s connected to the rest of the house by hallways, arches between rooms or an open-plan layout. So you have to envision the journey from space to space, blending the family room wall color with adjacent shades. The apricot entry that opens to the cream living room with one russet accent wall, separated by a wide arch from the family room, might inspire you to stick to a warm palette. The family room walls could be butterscotch or pumpkin, a lighter color than the living room’s accent wall. Or you could choose the color complement of orange, blue. A rich steel blue or a paler cornflower blue will shift the mood from formal living room to informal family room without jarring. Use orange accents against the blue to link the spaces.

Accentuate the Positive

  • Think of adjectives to describe your ideal family gathering spot: cozy, cheerful, relaxed, fun, peaceful, comfortable. Now imagine colors to go with your descriptions. Does your hard-charging family need a place to chill? A soft green on the walls is refreshing and takes the high voltage down a peg. Muted rose paint isn’t at all girly when accent pieces and upholstery contain grays, navy or medium-range cocoas. One barn-red accent wall picks up the pace in a sand, fawn or buff-colored room — and works with your country antiques and comfy old chintz couch. Soothing gull gray walls tone down the splashy black-and-white checkerboard tile floor and open the door to a surprising yellow sofa or a couple of colorful molded fiberglass rocking chairs.

Ceiling and Trim

  • Eliminate the testing and tweaking and just paint the ceiling and trim white. That decor default works for most spaces and with most wall colors — just be sure the trim is wipe-down eggshell or glossy finish. But a compact cave of a family room will seem larger if the ceiling and trim are the same color as the walls. That saves you the trouble of taping and taking extra care where the walls meet a different color. Mono-color is also a way to go modern; this de-emphasizes dated architectural detail such as baseboards, crown molding and window frames. Once the whole room is chamois, vanilla or citrine, set your modern sectional and chrome and leather chairs on carpet squares or a bare plank floor and settle down in front of the flat screen.

Southern California Home & Garden Shows List

For DIYers looking for inspiration to renew and renovate their homes and gardens in Southern California, home and garden shows are staged in major conference centers throughout the year. The shows attract a large number of visitors and feature hundreds of vendors. Visitors can find out about the latest developments and products in home, gardening, remodeling and decor. Special features often include workshops and demonstrations by home and garden experts.

Home and garden shows feature hundreds of trade stands.

Home and Garden Show Anaheim Convention Center

  • Held in Anaheim’s convention center, this three-day event is the largest home and garden show on the West Coast. Taking place in late August the show features over 650 vendors, demonstrations, seminars and workshops. Promoted as the “one-stop shopping event” for home and garden improvements, attendees can purchase products to fit out their new homes and gardens. Keen decorators can view and find out about cutting-edge furnishings and appliances, designers’ ideas, money-saving devices, and the latest fashions. Visitors can pick up gardening tips and be inspired by a showcase of gardens landscaped by experts. For the environmentally conscious, a section is devoted to sustainable and energy efficient products. The convention has ample parking and about 450,000 square feet of space.

The Home Show

  • Run by the NEC Group, the Home Show in California is part of a chain of shows that run in several locations. In Southern California, the show is staged at the Pasadena Convention Center, located in the heart of Pasadena, a city nine miles northeast of downtown Los Angeles. Kicking off in April, the show runs for two days and promises cooking demos from leading local restaurants, do-it-yourself workshops, home and garden exhibitions and more. Billed as Southern Carlifornia’s longest-running home and garden show–over 34 years–it also claims to be the only home show exclusively validated by the league of California homeowners. Special features include an area of designer kitchens for visiters to browse. Visitors can make savings of up to 40 to 50 percent when purchasing windows, furnishings and appliances, take home samples and enter competitions. Two stages have continuous presentations and workshops by home and garden celebrities.

Long Beach Home Show

  • The Southern California Home Improvement Show is held at the Long Beach Arena in November and typically attracts about 30 to 40,000 visitors over three days. Admission is free and attendees can enter competitions to win free home improvement items. There are over 250 booths and trade stands that include kitchens, lighting, saunas, roofing, fencing, landscaping and more. Visitors can meet experts, discuss their renovation ideas and view garden exhibits.

How to Start Your Own Gardening Business

Turn the ability to grow a beautiful garden into a very marketable trade. Many homeowners are willing to pay a lot of money to a gardening service or landscaping business capable of transforming their home’s lawn into a lush, verdant expanse. Small scale gardening businesses, such as homegrown herbs and spices for sale, can also provide some extra spending cash. Develop a business idea that can work locally to build your gardening business.

Successful gardeners have an intimate knolwedge of what can grow where.


  1. Develop your business model by researching what local opportunities exist for gardening businesses. Educate yourself on local gardening conditions, including climate, weather, soil conditions and average rainfall to understand what kind of plants can be grown in your area. Talk to local homeowners and businesses to see what needs exist for gardening supplies or landscaping services in your town.
  2. Analyze your market competition that exists in your local market for the style of business chosen. If you plan on growing plants and flowers for retail sale, you may want to check out the offerings of local greenhouses. Consider any possible options you can offer that aren’t available at these greenhouses or gardening stores, including gardening equipment. Keep in mind all prices and display designs that competitors use that you might be able to utilize or improve upon.
  3. Apply for all proper business licenses and permits required to operate your business legally within your state of residence. Contact your state and local government offices and speak to a representative. Tell the representative about the nature of your business and ask about any necessary business licenses or permits to run your business. Retail businesses will need a seller’s permit and retail license; landscaping businesses will need to apply for contractor business licenses.
  4. Purchase the materials and retail space that you will need in order to operate your gardening business. Lease or purchase a storefront if you need space to display your available retail products, or rent out an office space if you need an office outside of the home to run a landscaping business. Retail stores need to purchase seeds and equipment from bulk wholesalers for individual sale. Gardening and landscaping businesses will need multiple hand tools, such as rakes, lawnmowers or brooms, and a truck or large van for transporting plants and equipment. Interior landscaping is cheapest to fund among gardening services, but it becomes more difficult to maintain plants stay indoors.
  5. Contact a local nursery, and set up a contract to purchase plants that your gardening business will sell and plant. You may need to contact many nurseries if local ones have too many clients. Ask a store representative about any minimum purchase requirements or advanced notice needed to process larger orders.
  6. Find ways to increase your gardening business’ profile in your local community. Hold workshops on gardening techniques with which you have experience or start up a kiosk at a local co-op or farmers market. Contact your local chamber of commerce to find out about any local business events or home and garden shows. You might also design and print a brochure to distribute to customers at your store or other local businesses.

How to Get Rid of House Flies in a Family Room

When house flies take over the family room, it turns relaxing family time into an unpleasant experience. To keep the room feeling clean and inviting, you want to keep all insects out of the room, including flies that continuously buzz around the room and bother your family members. Instead of using chemical bug sprays and repellents that could harm your family members, use natural repellents.
Use fly paper to get rid of flies.


  1. Hang fly paper in an inconspicuous area of the family room, if possible. While the fly paper is often unattractive, it is effective in catching and getting rid of your fly problem.
  2. Place a few bowls around the family room. Put a few crushed mint leaves in each bowl, or pour about 20 drops of eucalyptus oil into each bowl. All these products work as natural deterrents that keep the flies away from your family room.
  3. Place basil leaves on plates of food or around plates of food. Basil is another natural deterrent.

Family Room Carpet Ideas

In many homes, the family room sees a lot of foot traffic, entertaining, lounging and spills. A family room carpet has to be up to some rough treatment and should be relatively easy to clean and maintain. Fortunately, there are several materials and styles that accommodate the typically lively atmosphere of a family room.


  • Select from several types of carpets suitable for family rooms. Low pile and less plush surfaces function better than shag, although you can use smaller shag rugs to provide decorative accents in a family room. Stain- or moisture-resistant carpets work well in family rooms where people entertain and eat, or in homes with children. Patterned carpets can add texture and dimension to a family room while also hiding stains.


  • Berber-style carpet with its loop construction and flecked finish, has an old-fashioned look. Many modern and contemporary decorators opt instead for cut-pile textures. In these fashion-forward carpets, the dyed yarn has a smoother look. This style of pile means patterns look crisper. Some carpets feature swirls and modulated tones that resemble hard surfaces like marble or granite. These new weaves may contain yarns of different lengths, widths or materials, resulting in a more textured look.


  • The eco-design movement has reinterpreted the classic family room carpet. People concerned about toxic carpet materials or their carbon footprint can opt for floor coverings with the Green Label Plus Certification. Certification means that the carpet and its traditionally hazardous backing passed independent tests for emissions from 13 chemicals. Carpets made of wool and hemp provide more natural alternatives. Sisal rugs and bamboo mats resemble flooring more than plush rugs, but add rich, earth tones to a family room.


  • Family room carpeting can look dirty quickly, but trendy shades run the risk of looking dated. Earth tones are a popular option, disguising dirt and stains and providing a neutral foreground for decor styles such as Asian fusion, mid-century modern, green design and rustic. Dark stone gray adds depth to a room and can impart a natural feeling or a classic elegance.


  • One of the easiest low-impact ways to carpet a family room is with carpet tiles. These tiles work well on most hard surfaces, but not on top of a rug or a distressed-finish floor. They adhere to one another rather than the floor, making them easily removable and replaceable. Carpet tiles come in scores of patterns, colors and coordinated designs which allow decorators to mix and match.

Basement Bar & Family Room Decorating Ideas

The basement is the extra space within a home that can be designed as a space for whatever it is that you need. You can use this space for your work area, or you can design the area as a place for you and your family to entertain and relax. A bar and family room in the basement is one way to designate a space for family night.

The basement bar is an ideal place to spend time with family and entertain.


  • The bar area in your basement can be designed a number of ways depending on the style you are trying to achieve and how much space you have. If you have a lot of space, you can install a full bar with an L-shaped counter for serving. The cabinetry that you choose must match the rest of the basement whether it is light and breezy or dark and elegant. If you do not have much space to work with, you can install a bar that has a sink on one side and a small 3- or 4-foot serving area as the bar. If you do not want to install an actual bar, you can purchase a bar that can be moved in the event that space is needed.

Family Room

  • The family room can be a place where you have a movie theater for movie night and can also be a place where you spend time with your family and play games. Purchase theater seats and a projection television if you would like to have this space as the place to go for movie night or to just watch television. If you want this space to provide a place to play games, purchase a regular couch and sitting furniture, but position all of the furniture so that you have enough room to play games. If you have the space, you can have both a movie theater and a game area in your basement as the family room portion. You can also have a hockey, ping pong or pool table down in this area for family tournaments.

Color Schemes

  • When selecting color schemes to go in your basement bar and family room, choose colors that will brighten up the space. Since the basement is already known as a dark and gloomy part of your home and is now the family room and bar area, ensure that the color scheme makes the space inviting. You can either keep it simple with four colors in your color scheme, or you can go with a more complex and colorful option with five or six different colors. If you have black appliances and furniture, incorporate black as one of your colors and use other colors to brighten it up, which can include pink, white and a light tan color. If you want something that is bright and colorful with more colors incorporated, purchase white appliances and furniture and incorporate accessories with colors that include yellow, orange, red, burgundy and bright blue.

How to Buy Wholesale Home Decor

Buy wholesale home decor.
Wholesale home decor offers a cost-efficient alternative for purchasing home accessories. Whether the decor is for personal use or will be resold to other buyers, the merchandise is priced below retail or department store prices. There are several avenues for purchasing discounted interior design accessories, and some do not require a resale license.


  1. Make a list of home decor needs. Create a list of the desired home décor items to be used in the home or resold. Include all interior design accessories that fit the theme and layout of the home. For example, candles, linens, wall hangings, dishes and furniture can be on the list. Break the list into categories by room and by price to figure an affordable budget.
  2. Browse the selection of furnishings and accessories on the Koehler Home Decor website. Koehler is one of the largest and most reputable online wholesale home decor dealers. Customers who order at least $750 worth of merchandise will receive a coupon code for 5 percent off their order, while orders of at least $1,350 will receive a coupon code for 10 percent off their total order. Koehler Home Decor also offers a free drop-shipping service for businesses. Many wholesale home decor dealers require business ownership to get wholesale prices, but Koehler does not. Anyone can order from Koehler Home Décor.
  3. Call wholesale home decor suppliers. Research suppliers and ask if they offer special hours for the public to shop. Wholesale suppliers’ phone numbers can be found on Internet searches and through the yellow pages. These dealers often charge sales tax and mark up the prices slightly for the public, but their prices are generally better than those of retail store. DirectBuy allows consumers to enter a ZIP code to locate nearby wholesale home decor vendors.
  4. Shop at wholesale home decor clubs. Many businesses buy overstocked or discontinued items and sell them in bulk quantities at wholesale or below-wholesale prices. Sam’s Club, Ollie’s, Costco, Gabriel Brother’s and B.J.s are popular wholesale clubs that offer retail items at a discounted price. Some home decor items at wholesale clubs could have blemishes or deformities, so examine the merchandise carefully before purchasing. Additionally, some wholesale clubs require a membership fee to shop at the store.
  5. Consider applying for a business license from the state. Many wholesale home decor suppliers offer the best prices to dealers who are licensed. For resale purposes, existing hobbies, interests or skills can be considered as business ventures that will help with business license qualifications. A few home decor sales to friends and family will help legitimize the business license application. Research legal requirements carefully and compare business license costs to expected savings.

How to DIY Goth Home Decor

Paint walls a dark color to create a goth interior.

Perhaps you favor the look of faded, formal Victorian interiors, or maybe you want to decorate your home to fit your goth aesthetic. Whatever your motivation, you can achieve this décor style yourself with a little effort and creativity. If you are on a budget, you can look for antique furniture and ornate accessories at estate sales and thrift stores. Dark wall colors and luxurious textiles create a mysterious and elegant environment.


  1. Choose dark wall colors, such as garnet, sapphire, dark brown and gray. Opt for a ceiling paint in light gray or beige; white paint will draw attention to low ceilings. Paint the ceiling before you paint the walls. Use a brush to paint around the edges of the ceiling and walls and roll out the expanse of the walls with a paint roller.
  2. Spray chandeliers and wall sconces with two coats of black spray paint. Install the light fixtures, taking care not to damage the paint job.
  3. Make window treatments by draping long lengths of velvet fabric over curtain rods. Tack lace fabric to the upper inside corners of the window frame for panels. Soak new lace in tea to give it an aged appearance.
  4. Look for dark furniture with carved details and gothic arches. Cover existing furniture that does not fit the goth style with dark fabric and lace textiles.
  5. Select accessories that have a hint of the macabre. Look for medical specimens, animal bones, candelabras and tarnished urns in second-hand stores and flea markets. Paint accessories with black spray paint, if desired. Arrange a bouquet of dried roses as a reminder of the transience of life.

How to Start a Cake Decorating Business From Home

Wedding Rehearsal Cake
You’ve wanted to start a home business, but what? How about cake decorating? Everyone raves about your cakes; how beautiful they are and how delicious they taste. But baking a cake for your friend’s birthday party is different from selling a cake to a client. What do you need to do?

How to Start a Cake Decorating Business From Home

  1. Check with the state to see if there are regulations concerning home businesses. Some states require a separate kitchen for home cooking businesses. If the law requires it, get a tax ID number.
  2. Determine how big you want this business to be. It’s a good idea to start small and build the business as you get more proficient at cake decorating.
  3. Stock up on cake decorating equipment and supplies; at the very least, invest in a heavy duty mixer, cake pans, icing bags, couplers, decorating tips as well as boxes to store finished cakes. Also stock up on non-perishable supplies like cake mixes, non-stick sprays, shortening, flavorings and food colorings. Make a list of other items you need or want and purchase them as you need them or begin to see a profit.
  4. Enlarge pictures of the cakes you have decorated and put them in binder. This could be document protectors in a 3-ring binder or a pretty scrapbook.
  5. Build a website. Include pictures of your cakes, ordering information and contact information. If possible, get comments from people about your cakes and put them on the website. Get business cards, either ordered or ones you make on a computer. Be sure to include your name and contact information.
  6. Set up the paperwork side of the business, which would include a calendar and a bookkeeping method. These can be done by paper, but there are several good calendar and bookkeeping computer programs available that are easy to use and include everything you would need for a business. Keep meticulous records and be sure to file required paperwork with the state for tax purposes.
  7. Spread the word about your new cake decorating business. If you are employed, contact the Human Resources Department and offer to bake cakes for corporate events. Contact local wedding and event planners. Go to wedding fairs. Advertise in the paper. Join the Chamber of Commerce.

How to Paint Sheet Metal for Home Decorating

Painted sheet metal softens the industrial look of unfinished metal. In home decor, painting sheet metal can create a functional yet stylish piece, such as a magnetic board or a back splash or frame. Do-it-yourself decorators can distress and weather the metal for a shabby chic look or keep it gleaming and pristine for a contemporary edge


  1. Study the surface of your sheet metal. If it appears and feels relatively smooth to the touch, you should roughen the surface to create more texture before painting it. Otherwise, the paint will not properly adhere to the sheet metal. You can do sand or bead blasting, or just use very gritty sandpaper or thick steel wool and hand-treat the surface. You can also purchase pre-sanded sheet metal. Clean the sheet metal with white vinegar.
  2. Consider different patinas and treatments you can apply to the sheet metal before painting it. You can use a faux rust patina to age and weather the surface, which proves more archival than painting on actual rusted sheet metal. You can also weld metal embellishments or use weld beads to add dimension or create outlines of images. If you use sheet metal for a construction project, you must treat the metal with an anti-rusting agent, typically a coat of zinc.
  3. Apply a primer coat to the surface of the sheet metal. You can purchase a self-etching commercial primer that contains acids for etching the sheet metal. You can also use another coat of white vinegar, this time diluted with water to about half strength, to prepare the surface for sheet metal finishes.
  4. Paint the sheet metal. You can use a variety of products intended for application to metal. High-quality oil paints can adhere well to a properly primed surface and have brilliant effects. Metallic or glitter paints highlight the underlying material, while bold colors seem to pop off the surface of the sheet metal.
  5. Add a top coat. Some people use an epoxy top coat that is thick enough to seal kitchen counte rtops. If you go this route, mix the epoxy well and use it according to the directions so that it dries and hardens rather than remains tacky. You can also use a clear gesso as the top coat or on any parts of the sheet metal that you wish to remain exposed rather than covered with paint. Note that most top coats, while protecting the paint from peeling, chipping or scratching, also add a touch of gloss to the final finish.

When to buy Leather Furniture

One of the best things to come out of the brown trend is that the average consumer (especially men) have switched from buying black leather furniture to brown.I have seen so much leather in my consultations I have come to the conclusion that the reason why most people buy leather sofas is because there are only about 5 colour choices (okay, there are a million colours in leather as well but most people don’t order custom leather furniture-they buy it off the floor). With fabric, the colour choices are, of course endless and then you have to decide if it’s going to be a solid or a pattern? Smooth or textured? Flat or shiny?


Most people feel it’s less of a commitment to just buy a leather sofa and be done with the shopping already! And I have to confess, in the early 90’s when I was married, before my designer days, my husband and I bought a forest green leather sofa and loveseat. It’s funny, we didn’t even consider a fabric covered sofa, and looking back, I’m sure it was for the exact reason I’ve just mentioned.

Other than the practical reasons to have a leather sofa (if you have kids and pets) I would keep them in the family room, media room or in a library/den.
In the last year I have helped two bachelors decorate their place and both already had existing brown leather furniture:



This client was on a tight budget so we took one day, ‘shopped the city’ and came home with an SUV full of stuff. The only thing in this room in the morning was the sofa. The art above the sofa we found from a consignment store for $75, the area rug from Homesense for $200 as well as the chest of drawers $300.





Love this ‘Creating Abundance’ piece from Pier 1
This was a Yaletown condo that I decorated with a custom leather sofa. If you’re going to buy leather, I think it should be tufted in some way, it has a more luxurious, expensive (because it is!) feel to it:


Maria Killam Colour & Design


This classic, tufted, chesterfield sofa from Williams Sonoma Home is my all time favourite. I would have this in a cozy library in this exact colour. It’s totally timeless!



If you’re still in love with espresso brown, you can have this one from Restoration Hardware;



If you want a hit of drama and colour, this red one from Neiman Marcus is really fun!


You can always just go really high end and buy one from Ralph Lauren Home;



What Is a Family Room in a Hotel?

Staying in an hotel should be a relaxing and enjoyable experience, even if you take your youngsters with you. Going on family trips together will usually require the use of a large suite or family room in a hotel.

Room Facilities

  • Family rooms in hotels usually consist of similar utilities that any hotel room will include. For example, there will be a TV with cable service, full-size bathroom, tea and coffee making facilities and a hairdryer.

Family Room Facilities

  • A family room will also have two queen-size beds and a pull-out cot or sofa bed to accommodate young children. Some hotels offer family suites with a separate bedroom. Baby cots are also available at many hotels. Pets are usually accommodated too if families wish to bring the dog on vacation.

Longer-Stay Facilities

  • Some family-oriented hotel rooms will also have kitchenette and dining areas where meals can be prepared for the family. A microwave oven and a regular cooker may also be provided as well as a refrigerator and sink. Some hotels may offer some games for children, such as jigsaw puzzles or coloring books, but this is not common.

How to Take Care Of Your Leather Sofa?

Once you have decided on the type of leather sofa for your home, you may feel the task is over. That’s not true; the grandeur of your living room totally relies upon the maintenance of the furnishing that occupies it. Leather sofas are an essential element of any living room. Hence, proper care is crucial to retain the charm and decorum of your drawing area.With the right maintenance, owners will find that their couch looks finer and better each year. Leather sofas are known for their durability, but it should still be handled with a lot of care. Wrinkles can cast a unique look on the furniture, but huge scrape or tatter can look ugly. When maintained rightly, leather sofas will age with elegance. Following some simple steps can help you keep up the rich and supple look of your leather sofa.1. It is very important to take proper care of your leather couch, so always follow the instruction pamphlet provided by the manufacturer.

2. Swab it down: After a few weeks of purchasing the sofa, you may see the dust gathering over the sofa, and it might look like an old set of furniture. To give a fresh look to the couch, gently clean it down with a dry cloth. This will remove all the dust gathered and gives a shining look.

3. Refrain from Using Severe Cleaning Solution: You should always refrain from using harsh chemicals to clean leather sofas as they may ruin the surface of the leather greatly.

4. Safeguard Your Sofa from Direct Sunlight: Direct sunlight and too much heat can harm leather and in turn produce cracks on the surface. Thus, make sure that your leather sofa/furniture is miles away from direct sunlight or protect it with curtains.

5. Wipe out Spills Immediately: It is necessary to clean up spills instantly. Leather is highly penetrable in nature and if you don’t wipe out spills quickly, the fluid will pervade leading to ceaseless stains on your leather couch.

6. Different Treatment for Distinctive Stains: There are different methods to get rid of distinct stains. For example, if you want to remove an ink spot, a cotton swab can be useful. Just dip the swab in Isopropyl alcohol and then softly smear the cotton swab on the ink spot. Now, parch the area with the help of a hair dryer, push the button on the lowest heat setting. To eliminate grease stains, refrain using hot water and rather use a dry fabric.

You should take care of your leather sofa properly, and these tricks will help you maintain and elevate the lastingness of your leather sofa.Sofa Bargains aims at giving you the best deal on sofas and furniture at the best prices without compromising on quality along with various tips on buying different sofas.

Distressing New Leather Furniture {DIY}

There’s nothing like a distressed, old, leather, vintage club chair to add warmth and character to a room. No?

I’ve always wanted one, of course, my pockets aren’t deep enough to afford a real vintage leather club chair. Instead, I bought this leather chair and ottoman (below), and it’s great, in a nice, shiny, brand spankin’ new kind of way. It’s actually several years old, but it looks as new as the day I bought it. My hopes for this chair and ottoman were that they would wear and look distressed over time. This wasn’t happening fast enough, so I decided to take matters into my own hands and speed the aging process.

I found this leather club chair at Overstock. It is a little more affordable (but currently out of stock) and I really didn’t want to have to buy a new chair anyway. It did serve as my inspiration for this project though.

I used a combination of these two tutorials on e-how, found here and here, to take my just-off-the-factory-floor-looking leather chair and ottoman from shiny and new to vintage and distressed.

Here’s how I did it.


rubbing alcohol
spray bottle
220 grit fine sandpaper
blow dryer
old rags
I decided to take advantage of our hot desert sun and moved the chair and ottoman onto the back patio.
I sprayed them down with rubbing alcohol that I had put into a spray bottle. (And if you follow my blog and read this post, then you know that I have a ton of rubbing alcohol. I have absolutely no idea why? Aspirations of becoming a school nurse one day?) Sorry, tangents.  I sprayed them about three times, letting them dry completely before spraying it again.

Next, I sanded them down all over with the 220 grit sandpaper. I used the same principles of distressing as I would use when distressing a piece of wood furniture. I sanded more on areas that get worn naturally over time, like the edges of the frame, on the tops of the arms, the top of the seat and on the back of the chair where someone’s head would rub. I did try using a medium grit sandpaper, but it made the leather feel too rough. So, I stuck with the 220 grit and just sanded more in the areas where I wanted more distressing and wear.

I could see a difference pretty quickly and liked how things were going.

After some sanding, I wiped them down with a wet rag to get the grit off so I could see where I needed to sand more.

I brought the chair and ottoman inside, but they weren’t looking as distressed as I wanted them to.

I sprayed them with more of the alcohol.

Then, because I’m impatient, I blow dried them. This lightened up the leather and gave it a more mottled appearance like my inspiration chair.

After more spraying with the alcohol and blow drying, I was finally happy with the outcome.

Now, they look much more interesting to me. They look warm and inviting, like they’ve been around for decades and have stories to tell.

I’m in love with my new old chair.
Here’s what I’ve done in the living room so far:
1.  Added bookcases.
2.  Gave our coffee table a makeover.
3.  Painted the back of the bookcases black and finally accessorized them!
4.  Got a beautiful new new rug.
5. Gave a side table a makeover.
I’m working on a mini-makeover of this little club chair area and I can’t wait to show you the killer floor lamp I scored at Goodwill!
Thanks for stopping by today and taking the time to read my blog.

Home & Garden Shows in Houston, Texas

Houston, Texas, the fourth-largest city in the country, attracts many visitors looking for tips on how to design and take care of their garden, how to renovate a house or how to tile their kitchen. The abundance of annual home and garden shows in the Houston area gives area homeowners lots of access to expert advice.

Houston home and garden shows give practical insight into all things house-related.

Texas Home & Garden Market

  • Each year, the Texas Home & Garden Market hits the Houston Reliant Center. The trade show features a variety of exhibits, seminars and products for purchase during its two-day run. Topics of interest include gardening, home decorating, storm preparation, kitchens and bathrooms, outdoor living, remodeling, pools and eco-friendly living. Attendees also can talk to experts and other consumers and learn valuable information about home and garden topics at seminars.

    Texas Home & Garden Market

    Reliant Center

    1 Reliant Park

    Houston, TX 77054


Fall Home and Garden Show

  • Each year, the Fall Home and Garden Show attracts hundreds of thousands of people to the Waterway Marriott Hotel and Convention Center in The Woodlands, Texas–a short drive north of Houston. The trade show serves as a resource for new products and home and garden projects. The show includes guest speakers on all things related to home and garden projects.

    Fall Home and Garden Show

    1601 Lake Robbins Dr.

    The Woodlands, TX 77380


Cy-Fair Home and Garden Show

  • Cypress, Texas, a Houston suburb, plays host to an annual home and garden show in February at The Berry Center. The show features remodeling tips and home products from more than 200 exhibitors. The trade show also includes interactive presentations and seminars from industry experts, shopping, giveaways and live broadcasts.

    Cy-Fair Home and Garden Show

    8877 Barker Cypress

    Cypress, TX 77433



How to Decorate an Older Single-Wide Mobile Home

A single-wide mobile home is an affordable housing option for many.
When you decorate an older single-wide mobile home, you face a few challenges. Besides an update, you will also want to enhance the natural lighting inside the mobile and expand the visual size of the home both inside and out. Start with a clean slate by ridding the space of dirt and dust, then approach decorating with efforts to lighten and brighten the space throughout. If you are on a tight budget, you can re-purpose items in your home or purchase inexpensive items from garage sales or resale shops to get your project started.


  1. Brighten up siding on your mobile home by using a power washer and soapy detergent to clean off dirt and debris from the exterior of your single-wide. Work your way all the way around the home.”> A clean exterior lets visitors know you care about your home.
  2. Update your underpinning. Repair, paint or replace your existing mobile home skirting and make your single-wide look more substantial and modern.”> Underpinning or "skirts" cover the bottom of a mobile home.
  3. Plant a curved garden in the front of the mobile to make your single-wide look larger. Add a few bushes and flowering plants to both the front and sides of the mobile to visually expand the size.
    Plant colorful flowers of various heights to build your outdoor landscaping.


  1. Brighten up your walls with paint to make your single-wide mobile look larger. Use bright whites in the kitchen and paint wood-colored paneling a white or whitewash to visually expand the area.
    A fresh coat of paint can refresh the look of paneling .
  2. Invest in one large mirror to place in a living room space or bedroom to add a focal point, reflect light and make the room feel larger.
    A large mirror can add depth and style to any room.
  3. Replace louvered windows with more modern two-pane windows to increase the natural light and modernize an older single-wide.
    Updating to two-pane windows may be necessary in an older mobile home.
  4. Use pleated shades in a light oatmeal color over windows to brighten the interior and give the room a clean appearance.
  5. Add color to your single-wide by using a neutral-colored slipcover over older furniture and add some colorful occasional pillows on the seating areas for an updated look.
    Stylish and colorful pillows can brighten your living room.
  6. Define seating areas and add comfort by placing thick area rugs on the floors to create a cozy feel to the space.
    Area rugs are a good alternative to installing new wall-to-wall carpeting.
  7. Add indirect lighting wherever you can. Install under-cabinet lights in the kitchen and place table lights throughout the living areas to soften the look of the home at night and create a warm glow throughout.
    Indirect lighting can soften the look of an older-styled living space.

Where Wallpaper and Furniture Meet

If you are like many of us, after that last day spent with a steamer and scraper, you said, “never again.” But wallpaper is back in big way and the trend shows no signs of waning anytime soon. Whether you want to make a bold statement with large patterns and rich colors or introduce subtle sophistication with tone-on-tone patterns, there are more options available than ever.

Brightly colored pieces like these McCartney chairs in
Elmo Soft Strawberry Fields can provide color cues for wallpaper.

Your American Leather furniture can inspire your wallpaper selection. A brightly hued upholstered or leather piece can provide a color cue for your wall-covering; simply choose a pattern that incorporates the color somewhere in the design or let your furniture take center stage with a solid or slightly textured wallpaper as a backdrop. Neutral leather or fabric can be paired with almost any wallpaper motif and can be accessorized with pillows that pick up color, pattern, or themes of your wallpaper. If your sofa or chair has a bold pattern, that doesn’t mean your wallpaper can’t have a design as well just make sure the patterns ‘play well’ together so they don’t create visual noise in your space.

For those who prefer matching wallpaper exactly to upholstery—another trend making a comeback—American Leather can help you accomplish that unified look in which furniture seemingly becomes part of the background rather than standing out. If your wallpaper has a matching fabric available, we can cover your American Leather chairs or sofa in the material you provide. Simply ask your retailer about the Customer Owned Material (or COM) option.


What Kind of Sofa Is Good for a Long Narrow Family Room?

A long, narrow room can be hard to decorate. You want to use the entire space while at the same time make it look less like a bowling alley. Even with a narrow room, you have several options for sofa styles and placement.
Place your sofa carefully to fit in a long, narrow room.

Place Sofa on the Longest Wall

  • Usually the sofa should go on the longest wall of a room away from the door. This placement allows the most room for the conversation area.

    Add a coffee table in front of the sofa and set two easy chairs facing each other across the coffee table. Set up the TV across the room from the sofa. This U-shaped seating arrangement makes it comfortable for several people to talk to each other, eat or drink using the coffee table, and watch TV.

    Any type of sofa could work in this arrangement, since you don’t have to worry about saving space. Rolled arms are comfortable for resting your head on for naps.

Place Sofa Across the Short End of the Room

  • To counteract the length of a narrow room, you can place a sofa across the short end.

    With this arrangement, you may have to worry about space. Choose a modern style sofa with straight, upright arms, an armless style or a love seat to save inches. You may not, however, be able to stretch out completely on a love seat for a nap. But by counteracting the bowling-alley feel of a long room, these handsome styles may help the room look more balanced.

    A sofa with no arms can save inches in a narrow space.
    A sofa with no arms can save inches in a narrow space.

On the Diagonal

  • You can also place a sofa in the corner and set up the TV across from it towards the middle of the opposite wall. This arrangement has the advantage of making the narrow room seem wider.

    For this arrangement, use an L-shaped sectional. Remember that L-shapes are not conducive for easy conversation, since only the two people near the corner can talk to each other easily; the others have to shout. Remember to add an easy chair on the other side of the L for better conversation.

    A sectional sofa can fit into a corner.
    A sectional sofa can fit into a corner.

Using the Corner

  • If a sectional is too big for your space, you can put a regular sofa on the diagonal in the corner. A curved-back sofa would fit best here. Again, place a coffee table in front of the sofa, put two chairs to the side of it so they face each other across the coffee table, and put the TV across from the sofa on the diagonal in the room.
    A curved sofa can fit into a corner to save space.
    A curved sofa can fit into a corner to save space.

Home Decor Consultant Job Description

Home Decor Consultant Job Description
Home decor consultants help others select furniture, lighting, accessories, and other decorative items for interiors. Decor consultants may specialize in specific styles or price points. Some consultants specialize in organization and storage.

Freelance Home Decor Consultants

  • Freelance home decor consultants can be compared to personal shoppers for home items. Unlike interior designers or decorators who are hired for larger projects, decor consultants help clients source or select individual items such as custom furniture, lighting, or accessories. Carolyn Einstein, a San Francisco-based home decor consultant, guides her clients through the wholesale furniture showrooms in her city. She charges a fee for a two-hour consultation and charges clients an hourly rate after that.

Direct Sales Opportunties

  • Many home decor consultants work in the direct sales area with companies such as Southern Living at Home, Ella Style, or At Home America. These consultants sign up with a company and generally generate business through at-home parties. They may also sell merchandise through catalogs. Most home decor direct sales companies specialize in home accessories, linens, pottery, or similar items.

Income for Freelance Consultants

  • Freelance home decor consultants may work with furniture showrooms. Carolyn Einstein of San Francisco charges clients between the wholesale and retail cost for items purchased, allowing for commission. She also charges clients a consultation fee and hourly fee for research and other tasks.

Income for Direct Sales Consultants

  • Home decor consultants in direct sales pay a setup fee to the company they will represent for an initial inventory and marketing. These consultants are paid either a commission or the difference between cost and retail. Many of these companies pay royalties for additional clients who may sign up to be consultants under the initial consultant’s supervision.

Generating Leads

  • Both freelance and direct sales home decor consultants depend on customers to generate income. Freelance home decor consultants will want to establish professional relationships with various vendors or showrooms for referrals, as well as network with friends and acquaintances. Referrals from existing clients are also a good source. Direct sales home decor consultants should approach friends, families, and acquaintances to host in-home parties. Hosts usually receive an incentive in product for hosting and additional product depending upon amount of sales. Networking and leads are generated when these guests host additional parties.

How to Find Home Decorating Ideas

Time to redecorate your home?
Home Decorating Now! When you are ready a home interior ‘face lift’ you may like some home decorating ideas. You have all of these ideas about color, furniture, window treatments, and flooring in your head but how do you know how all of these will actually look. There are also interior design ideas you do not even know exist. It is time to take your ideas and go see what you can discover about new trends in home decorating. Checking out all the new home decorating ideas and combine them with your own ideas may give birth to a new interior decorating plan for your space.


  1. Find home decorating ideas in print.

    You can pick up a magazine while in any waiting room and look at the ads. These are staged room design settings for the ad but something there may catch your eye. Ask the receptionist if you could take the ad with you and put it into a file of ‘possible interior decorating ideas’. There are numerous home decorating magazines you can look through while waiting in the check out line. If you see something you like add it to your purchase. If you have a catalog from a major retailer such as JC Penny, Sears, or Ikea you will find a wide array of home design ideas. These provide fully decorated room ideas or maybe one accent piece will fit in with what your are trying to design. See what catches your eye and ‘book mark’ that page for future reference.

    Get interior decorating tips in print.
  2. Interior design ideas at furniture stores.

    When you are in the interior decorating mood a trip to your local furniture store or department store is the one stop you want to make. They have mini displays of living room design furniture, bedroom design accent pieces, wall decor along with options of fabrics that compliment each other. Take your time looking at what they are showing together and how that combination may work for your home decorating project. These stores have displays change often to share new and trendy home décor so you can visit often.

    Find home interior furniture and accents.
  3. Big chain home improvement stores are a great resource for decorating ideas.

    It is all in one location. Paint, wallpaper, flooring, ceiling options, lights, and everything you need to get your home interior decorating job done. Sit down at the design computer and see what your kitchen room design would look like with a center island, a pantry you’ve always wanted to add, or changing the floor to hard wood planking. Go to the next department to see all the options for installing that free standing fireplace with the elegant mantel you have been dreaming of for your contemporary home decorating. There are small additions to your home decorating you may not have thought of such as decorative switch plate covers or elegant door trim options that will fit in with the theme home decorating style you are trying to achieve.

  4. Shop for all interior decorating needs at home on the Internet

    The most inclusive resource for your home decorating ideas is the Internet. Use the search tool to find exactly what your are looking for. You will not just find ideas but will also learn how to implement them to create the look you want to achieve. Some sites offer step-by-step instructions, with pictures for those who like to see what it is suppose to look like, for do-it-yourself home decorating and renovating projects. Use these home decorating ideas to create the rooms in your home into something you have only dreamt off.


~Debating Leather Furniture?~

I have a friend who is debating selling her furniture and going with brown leather.
So, this post is for her……..
A few inspiration pics of leather furniture to help you take the leap~if you want too!
I love this first photo.
 I think it’s because the majority of the room is white, the leather really stands out.
And I know this post is not about light fixtures, but WOW! 
 The combination of dark paint here and the leather makes this room very masculine, even though there is a very feminine chandelier in the room.
 I love this room!
Love the chesterfield sofa and I love the choice of pillows used on it.
I also love it when leather is paired with rustic wood like in this coffee table.
{see the first photo for another example of this}
 This room below from the Painted Hive is one of my all time favorites!
The light walls keep it fresh looking and still very cottagey. 
{is cottagey a word?}
 Again, loving the dark sofa with the light walls……..
 The map on the wall along with the trunk make this space more masculine.
 Very dark, yet super cozy.
 You know I love zebra, so I had to add this picture.
I love everything about this look.
 Add light bright pillows to keep the look from becoming too stuffy.
Again, the walls here are a light color~notice a trend?
 Darker walls and plaid make this space more masculine.
 My all time favorite couch is the chesterfield.
All that tufting is fabulous.
I think with kids though I’d worry about crumbs finding their way in.
 If you are not ready to take the plunge and do ALL leather furniture, you can add just one accent piece like I did. We have a slip covered beige sectional, but I still love the look of leather.
So I added this club chair I bought off of Craigslist for a steal.
You can see the full post of our living room makeover here.
 A few more examples of chairs only…..
 Craigslist is a great place to find leather furniture.
In my opinion, the more worn the better!
 Have you visited Copy Cat Chic?
{it’s on my sidebar}
I love this blog.
She shows you expensive furniture, accessories, etc. and then shows you where you can find it cheaper.
Take this Restoration Hardware sofa for example.
It retails for $3,995.00
 And this one, almost exactly the same for only $799!
 Again, this Restoration Hardware chair retails for $2,745.00
 This one, just $319.00!
I hope this helps Kelly!
All photos not credited I found on Pinterest.
Have a great Saturday!

How to Grow Cabbage in the Home Garden

Cabbages are common, easy to grow vegetables in the kitchen garden. There are several types of cabbages. Spring and summer cabbages are smaller, more tender, and are eaten right away. Fall and winter have denser heads and are meant for long-term storage. Cabbages are high in calcium, iron, fiber, and vitamins A, B6, C and K.

Grow Cabbage in the Home Garden


  1. Decide on which variety of cabbage to grow. The variety Orient express is heat tolerant. King Slaw can get up to 20 pounds but Samantha is a small, pretty Savoy (crinkle leafed) variety with a pointed shape. Early Jersey Wakefield is a good all around variety. The average cabbage weighs 3-6 pounds so keep this in mind.
  2. Consider where to plant the cabbages. These leafy vegetables can do well in both full sun and part shade. They need fertile, slightly alkaline soil. It is also important that they have firm soil that will support the plants as they grow because cabbages can get heavy. The soil shouldn’t be too light or sandy so add compost to strengthen it.
  3. It is best to sow cabbage seeds indoors in trays first. Sow them thinly to a depth of about ¾”. Plant cabbage seeds in early spring for summer cabbages and in late spring and summer for fall harvest. Seedlings can also be purchased at garden centers.
  4. Transplant the seedlings when they have at least 4 true leaves (not the 2 that emerge first, which are seed leaves). Water the plants and then gently lift them by their leaves as you dig them up. In their permanent bed, make 6″ deep holes about 12-24 inches apart. Carefully place the seedling roots in the hole and then gently pat the soil around them.
  5. Water the cabbage regularly. Remove the dead outer leaves and if the stems get too long draw the earth up around them so they will be supported.
  6. Cabbage leaves can be harvested for greens as soon as the plant begins to grow large, but if heads are wanted leave them until they are solid. They will feel firm when pressed on. Then, cut the whole head off at the base. Fall and winter varieties are frost tolerant and can be stored in a cool dry place.
  7. Remove the root remains from the soil after the harvest so that disease is not encouraged.

How to Start a Fashion Accessories Retail Business

Selling fashion accessories
A fashion accessories retail business sells a wide selection of items, such as hats, scarves, gloves, head bands, wigs, shoes, handbags and fashion jewelery to complement the buyer’s outfits and complete the fashion style. This type of business enterprise would suit a seller who is young, fashionable, competitive, has a good head for business, appreciates the concepts of high fashion, knows the fashion market with its fast changing trends and is able to keep up with the latest fashion crazes.


  1. Carry out market research to find out what kind of fashion accessories the public expects to find when shopping and listen to suggestions about what kind of accessories they might purchase if given the choice. Do this by preparing questionnaires and target the questions at your target market.
  2. Decide on the name of your business, which should reflect the type of fashion accessories you are intending to sell. Design your logo for your business ready for your business letterheads.
  3. Write a business plan. This is a detailed document that describes the nature and objectives of the business and demonstrates how best to achieve it. Provide a brief overview of your fashion accessories retail business, followed by information on your retail business, listing details about your fashion accessories and services, details on your market based on your market research, staff, premises and financial forecasts.
  4. Arrange a meeting at the bank to open a business account and arrange a business loan. You will need to discuss your business plan in a professional manner to prove to the bank manager that you have a legitimate and viable business proposal. Take a few samples of fashion accessories that you plan to sell. If the business plan is accepted, you will be able to open a business account, and you will be asked if you require a business loan.
  5. Locate a shop front to sell your fashion accessories. You could set up an Internet retail business to save on rental costs but the best option would be to find a retail premises, near to fashion boutiques, which complements your style of accessories. Customers prefer to be able to touch accessories so as to match them up against an outfit they have just purchased. Renovate the premises, reflecting your tastes and present a fashionable shop front to entice customers.
  6. Buy stock for your retail business. Decide on the nature of the stock, whether it is materials to make original designer accessories or buy fashion accessories from wholesale retailers.
  7. Hire staff and put them on the payroll, abiding by minimum wage laws. Apply for a business license and a tax identification number. Talk to an insurance salesman about your insurance needs.
  8. Start marketing your business by window dressing your shop front to display a selective range of your products in an effective and imaginative way to entice your target customers, off the street, into the shop. Have your staff wearing the accessories you sell. Display promotional sale offers in the window, such as ‘buy one, get one free’ offers or a ‘percentage off’ selected items. Create a business website to advertise your business, and additionally, as a second source to sell your fashion accessories on-line. Take advantage of free advertising Internet sites. Distribute promotional fliers offering sale incentives. Advertise your business in newspaper ads and fashion magazines to best target your promotional offers towards a potentially young, female and fashionable market, as well as using word of mouth to help promote your business.

Ideas to Make a Dining Room Into a Family Room

If you live in a small space it might be necessary for you to use every room every day. If you only entertain a few times a year a formal dining room might seem like a waste of space. You may be able to relocate your eating area into the breakfast nook in order to free up a room. Turn the dining room into a family room to create more usable space in your home.
Family Room

Traffic Flow

  • Dining rooms are usually located next to the kitchen. Ensure that the surfaces that you choose for the new family room will be able to withstand any food that you bring out of the kitchen. If your dining room is open to the kitchen, separate the area with ceiling beams, different flooring or built in bookshelves that can act as a half wall.

    Give the new family room a distinct theme to separate it from a visible living room. A family room can include a study area or craft space. If the dining room has a built in buffet, put a flat screen TV over it to turn the area into a family room. The former buffet can serve as a new entertainment center to house DVDs and electronics.

Light Fixtures

  • Dining rooms have distinctive light fixtures. Your space may have a low chandelier that hung over the table. In a family room this can interrupt the flow of foot traffic or your guests may inadvertently bang heads against the light fixture. Replace the lighting for a smaller fixture that is closer to the ceiling and matches the fixtures in the other living areas of your home.


  • Your dining room may have durable flooring in it to easily mop up spills. Family rooms usually have more cozy carpet. Lay down removable floor tiles to add color, patterns and more comfort to the new family room. Large area rugs will help dampen noise.


  • Reuse your dining room furniture in the living room to save money. If you have a drop leaf table, fold it to its smallest size and use it as a desk to do homework on. Dining room chairs can serve as accent chairs or use a spare chair at the desk. Place a buffet under a flat screen TV for a makeshift entertainment center. Buy small scale couches or sectionals if the family room is short on space.

Multi-Purpose Rooms

  • Your dining room can be a family room and still work for formal functions. Look for a dining table that can also be a game table. Some tables can convert into pool or poker table to quickly change your dining room into a family room and back again.