Sometimes it feels like the easiest choice to go with is the most affordable option when buying furniture, but not all furniture is created equal. With a lack of durability the cheapest choice doesn’t always hold up. Here are a few things to look for to make sure you purchase long-lasting, quality pieces of furniture:
It is important to test the feel of the couch by sitting on it to first test its comfort. The springs should be hand-tied coil springs that are close together and have even resistance. If the cushions are removable, unzip a seat cover and look inside. You should see a block of foam that’s wrapped with padding and preferably with a protective inner cover. Foam-only cushions are both less durable and less comfortable. The denser the foam the longer it will last.
Dining table and chairs
Check the quality of the dining table by making sure it sits firmly on its feet and does not wobble when you apply pressure. Poor quality tables may just be screwed together or stapled and you want to make sure it has dovetailed or dowelled joints. You also will want to go with solid wood instead of veneer.
Before you buy your chairs check them out to make sure they are structurally sound by moving it around to ensure the legs, arms, and back do not sway or move. If it has a wood seat it should be all one piece, not pieces glued together.
Furniture is a big investment, so be sure you’re making the right decisions!
As we begin a new year and make our lists of resolutions, you may want to include some for your home as well! There are several easy ways to improve your home to make it more beautiful, organized and clean this coming year:
Declutter your space
Add cleaning out the clutter to the list! This is an important step in improving your entire living space. Clutter makes a house look and feel dirty and busy. It is so easy to acquire too much stuff. Start purging room by room. Go through all closets, drawers and shelves. If you don’t wear it or use it anymore, donate the item or throw it out. As you are organizing, make note of the storage needs you have in each room to ensure everything has a proper home moving forward. Pick up some plastic bins and shelves to expand your storage. Remember, decluttering your home takes time, so be patient as you work away at it.
Deep clean the whole house
Next give the whole house a good cleaning from top to bottom. The goal is to keep it clean! A messy house can lead to other more serious issues like mould and having a clean house makes everyone feel happier and more at peace. Make a weekly plan and set realistic goals to help achieve a clean home. Work on one type of cleaning at a time. This is a faster way of doing things and it will feel good as you cross each thing off the list.
Complete simple fix-ups
Another good thing to do is to go through your home and do any simple fix-ups the house may need to keep it in good shape. Improvements such as paint touch-ups or caulking windows and doors are easy ways to fix up your home.
Do you love driving around your neighbourhood during late October and checking out the ghostly and gruesome Halloween decorations? Thinking of upping your game this year? With plenty of time to get crafty before October 31, make this the year to go all out and enter the running for the street’s creepiest house!
Here are 8 spooktacular ideas for creating a spine-chilling Halloween home:
- Remove your doormat and use black duct tape to create a spider web on your front porch.
- Cut eye holes in empty toilet paper rolls, insert a glow stick in each and strategically place in bushes around your yard.
- Think large scale and drape spider webs from your eavestrough down to your front porch. Make or buy some massive spiders (you can find instructions for creating your own on Pinterest) and place the creepy crawlers in the web.
- Use some discarded Barbies or other dolls (you can find them at your local thrift shop) to create an army of zombie dolls. Use grey paint on their faces, mess up their hair and remove a few limbs for the full effect!
- Nothing says Halloween like swirling fog! Make your own fog machine with a few simple ingredients. You’ll need pure gylcerin, distilled water, an empty 2 litre bottle, a small tin foil pie tin and a couple other easy-to-find supplies to create your DIY fog machine. Check online for detailed instructions.
- Instead of a red carpet entry, offer your guests a faux blood-stained pathway! Cut 3-foot strips from an old, white sheet or drop cloth and lay along your front walkway a few hours before trick-or-treaters start arriving. Step in red paint with bare feet and add some bloodied footprints and splatter some more red paint for a little extra gore.
- To create the illusion of desperate folks trying to escape your home, cut out forearm/handprints from black bristol board and affix to windows. Use dim lighting for the desired effect.
- For a weird and whimsical look, shape chicken wire into ghostly figures, spray with glow in the dark paint and place on your front lawn.
You can find plenty of exciting ideas for Halloween decorating at http://www.countryliving.com/diy-crafts/g1370/outdoor-halloween-decorations/.
Nothing beats relaxing on your patio, porch or deck after a long day. With just a few months of warm, sunny weather, Canadians do like to maximize their outdoor space come the summer months. But not every home comes equipped with the perfect spot for enjoying a warm, evening breeze. Here are some tips for making the most of your home’s outdoor space, no matter what the issue!
The blank slate: If you’ve recently moved into a home with a bare backyard and your budget is tight, try making small changes every year rather than tackling the entire space in one summer. There are tons of affordable changes you can make to create a relaxing setting. The first mission to undertake is seating, a key element to any comfy gathering spot. Shop online garage sale sites and Kijiji to find a used patio set in good condition or look for some old, aluminum folding lawn chairs that you can upcycle. Simply remove the canvas or plastic webbing and replace by weaving some colourful craft cord across the frame! You can find step-by-step instructions online. Other options for DIY, budget-friendly furniture include pallets and cement blocks, tires and cable spools. You’d be amazed at what you can create with so little!
The fishbowl: Some homeowners are reluctant to use their backyards because there is little privacy, especially in newer subdivisions lacking mature trees. If you’re feeling a little exposed, there are many ways to make your space feel like a secluded oasis. For an immediate solution, use wood, outdoor fabric or plants to create a wall that will create a partially enclosed seating area. Thinking long term, a privacy hedge is the perfect solution for an exposed backyard. Good options include: arborvitae, boxwood, Golden vicary privet, forsythia and French lilac.
Small and compact: Even tight spaces can be turned into a wonderful place to kick back and relax after a long day. When creating more livable space outdoors and square footage is tight, think first about how you want to utilize the space and plan accordingly. Would you like an entertainment/eating area? A spot for kids to play? A meditating garden with a pond? You likely will only be able to choose one function for a small backyard so take the time to consider how you can get the most bang for your buck!
Need more living space in your home? Look up! If you have an unfinished third floor that you just aren’t sure what to do with, the possibilities are endless.
Before you start the planning process, you will need to make sure that your attic is workable. Grab a tape measure and make sure that your space will conform with the “rule of 7s”. Ideally, at least half of the finished attic should be at least seven feet high, 70 square feet and seven feet wide. Building codes vary from one municipality to the next, so a contractor will be able to tell you if your town or city has more specific guidelines and explain how dormers can be used to remedy low ceiling issues.
Now that you know you CAN transform your attic, the question of what kind of space to create must be answered! Here are a few ideas for making the most of your third floor renovation:
Craft room: Pretty much everyone in the house can take advantage of a space dedicated to creative expression! The key to a functional craft room is organization, so be sure to include built-in storage and work spaces, utilizing every square inch of real estate. You’ll also want to let in plenty of natural light and add good lighting for those rainy day and evening projects.
A home office: If your dining room table or bed is currently doubling as your office, your attic could be transformed into a pleasant, quiet place where you can get some work done. Again, try to use every square inch of space, adding storage and lots of shelving. Include plenty of outlets, potlights and a comfy window seat for brainstorming sessions!
Home gym: Sometimes the idea of heading to a dark basement to sneak in a work out isn’t all that appealing. A bright and sunny attic space might be the perfect solution. Ask your contractor about adding in a skylight to maximize the natural light. Choose the right equipment to suit your space and consider investing in a portable air conditioner if you’re concerned about being too warm during the summer months.
Playroom: A children’s playroom is another excellent way to use your unfinished third floor. Choose fun flooring, paint one wall with chalkboard paint, add lots of storage and comfortable seating and include a table for crafts, board games and snack time.