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Best Upcycled Home Decor

This list is a collection of upcycling projects involving some of the most common or most accessible upcycling items available. If you’re a regular DIYer or just someone who wants to add an element of interest to your home, here are some well-liked ideas.


Old ladders, especially when painted or stained, can transform into a few different pieces. One favorite is as a blanket holder in a cozy living room. Another is shelving created by connecting two ladders with matching pieces of wood.

Kitchen Islands from Dressers and Desks

Kitchen islands can be made of many re-purposed pieces of furniture such as a desk or dresser. Shabby chic is a popular finish, but you can stain it to match your cupboards as well. Applying some fixtures to it such as a towel rod on one end, hooks on its back side, and a new top in any material you see fit for your kitchen make the island optimally functional.

Bed Coverlet from Cast Off Tablecloth

Cloth tablecloths have unique patterns you might not find in the usual department store bedding sections. The thin material can offer a nice, thin option for summer time. You can also just use the tablecloth as end-of-bed cover where your shoe would lie if you were to wear them, just like a hotel.

Electrical/Plumbing Pipe Curtain Rods

Old electrical or plumbing pipe can make an unusually modern upgrade to a space. It can fit a variety of decorative styles including contemporary, cottage, and rustic. Aside from curtain rods, you can make an entirely divided space where there wasn’t already in a small space, offer a space privacy, or hide existing eye soar storage.

Bath Shelf

A wooden plank of any kind can be made into a bath shelf used to house a floral arrangement in a vase, reading materials, beverages, bubble bath or other bath accessories. This is one cute way to spruce up a bathroom, especially to add a pop of color to an otherwise plain colored or white bathroom. Having a focal point of a bathroom is one popular design trend. This could highlight a great bathtub if you have one.

Barn Doors

What would this listicle be without barn doors?! Barn doors make especially good options for places with minimal space because they free-up the space that would otherwise be the doorway. They provide a very aesthetically pleasing option for a strong barrier of privacy between the master bedroom and the rest of the house.

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Consider These Trends In Your Outdoor Living Space Design

Put the land around your home to good use by designing an ideal outdoor living space just for you and your family. Know your end goal when starting your design process. The typical dining set and barbecue may not be the relaxing ultra comfort outdoor living you want. Cooking and eating outside may just seem like a lot of work and mess to you. Consider if some of these trends fit your end goal.

The Wet Bar

Nothing new here but as mentioned above, if you think an outdoor kitchen just means a lot of work and mess, consider a wet bar. Cocktails and hors d’oeuvres on the patio are easy and a lot less messy. The word hors d’oeuvre means outside the work, which illustrates this idea perfectly. We have seen beautiful, shiny, and inviting outdoor kitchens in magazines and home shows. Just picture that same space after a dinner party.

A wet bar should include a sink, a refrigerator, and, of course, a bar. Include extra electrical receptors for blenders, ice makers, lighting, and your sound system.

Portable Ice Machine

No more lugging bags of ice. No more running out of ice. Portable ice machines can produce new ice every 10 minutes. No need for plumbing. Just fill the reservoir. Portable means you can move it to your other fabulous living spaces to use.

Cocktail Railing

If you need to incorporate railing into your outdoor living space how about cocktail railing? Just top your railing with material wide enough to be able to set down your drinks or plates. A valuable function for your outdoor parties.

Outdoor TV

Outdoor tvs are made to be outdoors. Models should be weather resistant and withstand extreme temperatures. It must be able to keep moisture and dust out of the interior. They also need to be brighter than indoor tv’s to ensure a vivid picture in outdoor lighting. Consult your outdoor tv dealer for specifics and considerations for installation.

Gas Tiki Torches

Include this feature in your lighting design. Tiki torches create a romantic island feeling. The height and flame adjustment ability keep the heat away from you, unlike a fire pit. A way to have a fire feature on a hot night.

Outdoor Pizza Oven

You sure want your pizza oven outside because these ovens can reach 700 degrees. Gas fueled pizza ovens can be portable. Wood fueled pizza ovens can be a nice fixture in your outdoor kitchen. Imagine having piping hot pizza baked to perfection in as little as five minutes. And you don’t heat up the kitchen.

The outdoor space you design with the right features for you can make you not want to come back indoors.

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Single Bowl Kitchen Sink Vs. Double Bowl Kitchen Sink

You might have a subconscious winner in your mind when considering kitchen sink options, but after pouring over this list you could change your mind about double and single bowl kitchen sinks, especially when considering future owners of your home. Both double bowl and single bowl kitchen sinks have a lot of different benefits to offer. Check them out!

Single Bowl Sinks

Single bowl sinks are best for smaller spaces. They take up the least amount of counter space and can simplify the visual design of the kitchen nicely. Having a single bowl sink is great for a single person in a small space because it encourages them to clean their sitting dishes fast or get them quickly into a small dishwasher. Larger single bowl sinks can also be installed into kitchens and offer the same simplicity, but more space! This is an ideal option for a business or person who enjoys cooking or baking, or makes a living doing it. The pots and pans needed for baking large batches of things will need adequate space in a large single bowl sink for soaking and washing. The only disadvantage of the sink is having to use counter space for a drying rack if you don’t want to use your dishwasher for drying or don’t have one. People who may not want a single bowl sink are people who put off doing their dishes and multi-taskers who really appreciate the space another sink bowl has to offer.

Double Bowl Sinks

Like previously mentioned, double bowl sinks are great for multi-tasking. Double bowl sinks are most often chosen as the standard for apartment building units because its a good choice for most people. Most people use one bowl for preparing, cleaning, and peeling fruits and vegetables and disposing of them in a garbage disposal. The other space is most commonly used for a dish rack. Sink bowls can be used to soak dishes or to hold a cleaning solution for wiping counters, cabinets, and appliance surfaces. Some innovative people have also found use for the dividing wall between the sinks, filling pots!

As far as space is concerned, both options have different sizes and designs available. If you choose to go with a double bowl sink, you can even find a number of different ratios between bowl sizes.

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Where To Begin Home Renovation

Whether you are renovating a home to sell or to live in longer, the best place to begin is by fixing anything broken or inefficient. This adds the most integrity and value to the home with the least amount of resources you have. Aesthetics can wait! The first thing you should do is call a licensed home inspector to evaluate water damage, leaks, the efficiency of your heating and air conditioning units, examine the roof, plumbing, and electrical and give you their expert opinion on upgrades that comparable homes are making. A local licensed home inspection costs 315.00 on average, small homes can cost 200.00 and large home upwards of 400.00.

Repairs and Replacements

Based on your home inspection you can evaluate which things to repair and which to replace. If you find any reason a system might be causing mold in the home, replace it! The health risks are not worth masking this problem. Whole home renovations are down since the mid-2000s when they peaked, and more homeowners are making repairs instead of replacements.

Bathroom Upgrades

Faulty ventilation and inefficient plumbing in bathrooms is the first room renovations to consider because this is where the most water and money are lost. If you don’t address the bathrooms and you are selling a home, the buyer’s inspector will likely make a point of it. Fun fact: bathroom remodeling projects were the most popular home upgrades in the year 2011.

Energy Efficiency

Homeowners are driven by efficiency and keeping monthly bills down far more than they ever were. A buyer is more likely to purchase a home if they see high Energy Star rated appliances in a kitchen, even if the countertops and cabinets are yucky. Many buyers will oversee an outdated kitchen’s aesthetics and welcome the opportunity to make it their own upon moving in. Immediate livability, however, is important to them and they want to see that the “guts” of the home are solid. The next likely important energy efficient piece of the home are windows and doors.

Easy Face Lifts

After you’ve addressed the home’s “guts”, you can reward yourself by giving the home inexpensive face lifts. Improving the landscaping and curb appeal of the front and/or back yard, painting the inside or outside of the home, replacing flooring, light fixtures and kitchen/bathroom hardware are all popular choices.

Hopefully after reading this, you feel better about how to tackle your home’s renovation if it’s a big project. You can start as small as you like, appreciating each accomplishment as you go. Renovating can be fun and easy, if taken in small chunks. As long as you plan well before starting a large renovation, take it in stride, and delegate funds to the proper professionals when you can’t do something yourself, you won’t regret investing in your home.

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8 Popular Countertop Materials

When choosing kitchen countertops it’s important to factor your bathroom countertops and the ability to match countertops throughout the home, your lifestyle and design aesthetic. What is your budget? Are you willing to do any of the work yourself? Do you care about sustainability when choosing your materials? How much maintenance are you willing to keep up? How important is hygiene to you in your kitchen? After you’ve answered these questions for yourself, you can view the following options and consider which ones fall in line.

Polished Granite/Marble

Granite is the most popular choice for a luxurious looking kitchen or bathroom countertop. Its popularity is due to price and its natural beauty. The stone comes in various beautiful colors and patterns, but can be tricky to match pieces together. Granite requires some care; sealing once per year and paying special attention to wiping up any spills before they stain. Other popular granite finished are honed granite which looks more matte than the traditional granite.


Quartz is about 20-40% more expensive than granite and for good reason. It requires the least amount of maintenance of all countertop materials because it is non-porous. The engineered quartz countertop is acid, scratch, stain, and heat resistant and obviously, being non-porous, does not need to be sealed like other materials do. A wide variety of colors and patterns are available. Soapstone is another non-porous material that has high resistance to stains and scratches as well.


Laminate is making a comeback because of its cost effectiveness and the cool patterns manufacturers are coming up with. Popular choices are wood grain and faux granite. Other laminate trends are bright colors and the 50s diner boomerang design. This option is extremely budget friendly but is not ideal for cutting on or placing hot pots and pans and can ruin quite easily if not careful.

Butcher Block Wood

Having countertops that look like cutting board can add to a cottage feeling home and is an ideal work space for a cook. When sealed properly the surface is an ideal one for cutting meat and is a very heat resistant material you can place hot pots and pans on all you want.

Stainless Steel

If homeowners don’t opt for the popular stainless steel appliances, they can go black appliances with stainless steel countertops. It doesn’t get any more modern and futuristic looking than that! It is the most hygienic countertop material on the market, comparable to the stainless steel used in medical atmospheres for its anti-bacterial properties.


Recycled counters can be made of various materials such as resin, glass, concrete, paper, plastic and more. They are available in many designs that mimic the look of previous design choices, so if you are one to look for the most sustainable options for everything you do- this might be an option you want to research.


Concrete is a really interesting option. It is soft and pleasing to the eye because of its usual neutral color palette and natural rock appearance. It’s also an energy efficient option because it absorbs heat when your home temperature rises and releases the heat once it cools down.


Tile is one of the easiest and most affordable options because it can be done yourself over a long weekend and you won’t have to pay a laborer to do it. It can have a really expensive look depending on the tile chosen and you can feel good about the job you’ve done every time you use and entertain in the kitchen.

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Bathroom Remodeling Trends To Consider In 2017

Antiquing and Restoration

This trend is the most work, so if you’re not a D.I.Y.er, let’s get this out of the way quickly! This design style requires a lot of thought, some shopping around, and a little elbow grease. You can pick an era to design from, or find an antique gem you want to restore and design around. This is by far the most time consuming trend, and perhaps one you can’t finish at once. It may be interesting and fun to add to over time though. It’s nothing short of interesting!


Pastels make popular bedroom colors, especially blue, because they invoke the emotion of relaxation. If your bathroom is a place of relaxation or serenity, this choice might be fore you. This may also be a choice for finished basement bathrooms or bathrooms with poor lighting or few windows because it gives the illusion of light and doesn’t contribute further to the problem. Consider frosted lighting to further soften the space. Two colors make the best palette with pastels, the pastel white white accessories. The most popular pastels for bathrooms are Light Green or Melon and Sky Blue. Honey Pot yellow is a close third.

Subway Tile

Subway tile is a popular finish in kitchens, but it is also a versatile and resell valuable choice for bathrooms as well. Whether you are shooting for country home or geometric mod, subway tiles are a forgiving choice. They also go well with the previous trend, pastels. It should be noted that subway tile can come in other colors, but white is the most popular. Grey is a close contender.

I think it’s important when discussing permanent tiling and design elements to take how much space you have into consideration. If you are working with quite a small amount of space you can select tiles and patters that are larger so you don’t have as many grout lines or busy-ness. Glossy and reflective tile, wall paper, paint, fixtures, and decorations can also improve the space’s ability to appear larger.

Chic Hotel

Matching hand towels, fancy soap, tissue and lotion vessels and seating are good places to begin when bringing the hotel home. Dimmable lighting and a small table accessible from a jet bathtub makes this bathroom an experience you’d usually experience away from home. Spa bathroom themes have always been popular, utilizing green bamboo plants, big black stone sculptures, and terry cotton bath robes and slippers are nice and all, but these suggestions take spa to the next level.

Bath Tub or Light Fixture as Central Focus

If this is the trend you want to achieve this year, you should shop for and buy this first so you know how to spend the rest of your budget on the remainder of your project. Stand alone bathtubs, vintage or contemporary feeling, make a great focus near the center of the room more away from the wall than traditionally placed. If the bath tub is not of importance or even an element included in your design, perhaps the light fixtures can be unique and eye catching. Chandeliers have been popular for ages and if the right design is chosen can be timeless.

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Designing Your Wet Bar

There is no shortage of wet bar designs in contemporary homes. This is because the most common piece of advice when designing your wet bar is to make it your own. The common thread among homeowners wanting a wet bar is that they entertain frequently. Aside from that, their needs and styles span a broad spectrum from what types of drinks they will be preparing, where in there home they see a wet bar and where they want to be in conjunction to their seated guests. This article is a good place to open up to all the limitless possibilities and begin to narrow them down according to your personal tastes!

Where In Your Home

Deciding where to put your bar mainly depends on where you entertain most, but in the case of the wet bar, you might also consider where there are already plumbing needs met. Common placement for wet bars is in finished basements, off of kitchens, in the corner of the living room or above or below existing bathrooms on other floors. If expense is no consideration, you can put your bar anywhere you like! If you are considering saving money you will want to discard the sink altogether or choose placement where your contractor can easily make new lines to your bar.

Shape and Measurements

Again, there are limitless options for bar designs. Do you want to be able to “work” behind your bar? Or make it self-serve against a wall? Where you will be in comparison to your guests will largely determine the design of your bar. After you’ve decided this factor, you can choose its shape. Some bars are rectangular, others round and some completely circular. Consider your other design elements when choosing your shape such as the style of chairs your guests will sit on, and refrigerator and sink placement.

It’s a common suggestion to visit actual local bars to get an idea of the measurements you see yourself most comfortable using. A self-serving bar will likely be the height of regular kitchen cabinets, but one where you are the bartender you will find a wide variety of guest to bartender countertop measurements. Visiting at least 3 local bars on days they are least busy and chatting up the owner or manager in a friendly manner, and measuring the height of both sides of the bar if he/she allows, it will give you the best idea of what you will want for your own home with ZERO regret.

Style and Fixtures

A common style is a granite on top of dark wood with modern silver finishings and under cabinet lighting, but again, there are countless combinations to choose from. Googling ‘home bars’ will give you a great gallery to gather ideas from. Important choices include what type of storage you will need (wine racks, bottle shelves, enclosed cabinets or cabinets that display their contents), bar surfaces, lighting, sink, refrigerator, flooring and bar stools or seating.


Accessories include bar signs and decor, flat screen TVs, games such as darts, cards, dice or pool, fireplaces, and more. It may help you to design your bar using graph paper to visualize all the components including the accessories before they are all put together. Have fun with it! Homeowners who have designed their own bar demonstrate it being their pride and joy of the house. It’s an excellent gathering space to enjoy other’s company purely without the distraction of electronic devices, daily stresses or things going on in other parts of the house.

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Maintenance Tasks to Prepare Your Home for Winter 

prepare-home-for-winter-2When the warm season has ended and you’ve already enjoyed your outdoor escapades, it’s now time to stay at home and arrange your home for the impending nippy climate. Winter could turn very hard-hitting so you have to check that the house will be a true refuge when the first snow appears. Protect your abode with these guidelines and live through snug and worry-free moments in this time of the year.

Prepare an entrance shoe storage.

Since there is a lot of snow winter, a place to drop your shoes will be necessary so as to keep your floor clean and water free. You should consider investing in boot trays, cubes or hooks.

Check your smoke detectors and fire extinguishers

Be sure to check if your smoke detector system is still functional. Switch to another battery in preparation for the cold weather. If the fire extinguisher is above 10 years old, change it immediately.

Mount storm windows and doors

Recent models for storm doors and windows appear with a multi-sheet glass that holds an insulating air in between. If these are set up, the warmth that you need will be kept inside your house for as long as you want.

Perform an HVAC evaluation

HVAC signifies “Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning”. An HVAC inspection is performed through examining ducts, heating supply, and ventilation in the home. This assessment will ensure that your residence has fitting air flow structure that can endure the wintry weather. The chimney must also be looked over for blockades that can begin to flames and inadequate air supply.

Shield the water heater and tubes

Water heaters expend more power than any other piece of equipment at home and it becomes worse in the winter time when the climate gets really bitter. The water heater acts harder to maintain the warmth of the water and your electricity costs can increase just for the utilization of this appliance. Shielding a thermal insulating blanket for the water heater would protect it from the freezing temperature in the air. This is also true for the water channels; they will ice up in the winter and could come apart if not appropriately insulated.

Insulate your garage and attic

The scarcely visited areas in the house such as the attic and garage require adequate insulation, especially on the floor parts. To hold the icy air outdoors and the hot air inside, the floors in these areas should be insulated as well.

Inspect the waterways and roof

Don’t forget to look for broken pipes and roofs; take out all fragments so that snow can go without restraint. Close any cracks in the roof and substitute parts that are irreparable. If you cannot do the climbing, you could always request a contractor to do the task.

Fend off pests.

Spiders and bugs are more likely to enter your home during winter due to the cold weather outside. Consider spraying your home with a critter repellant product.

Protect outdoor furniture.

Patio furniture and outdoor heaters should be protected from the elements of winter. If it is not possible to bring them inside, they should be covered. Also, don’t forget to clean the children’s sand table and the grill.

Empty plant pots.

Leave pots filled with clay outside during winter may crack due to a drop in temperatures. They should be taken inside to prevent this but if live in a warmer climate, you can just empty the pots and leave them outside.