How to Set Stepping Stones

July 21, 2008 by  
Filed under Home & Garden

how to set stepping stonesStepping stones can make a perfect path through a backyard or garden. They can also take the place of unattractive concrete sidewalks and add a decorative element to a yard. Here’s how to set stepping stones.

Determine Your Stepping Stone Location

Your first task is to determine where the stepping stones should be located. Look for worn areas of your yard or pathways that you’ve already worn into the ground. Also consider stepping stones in boggy areas of the yard.

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Measure

To measure the placement of the stepping stones, walk the pathway normally. Stepping stones should be set at the distance of a natural step, so drop a pebble, spray a bit of paint or use another means of marking the ground when you take a step. Then count up the number of stones you need.

Purchase Your Stepping Stones

Purchase stepping stones that suit your outdoor space and budget. Decorative stepping stones are beautiful and make a fun path, but basic concrete stepping stones may be easier on the budget.

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Place the Stepping Stones

Dig a shallow hole slightly wider than the stone and not quite as deep. Layer the bottom of the hole with sand about ¼ of an inch thick. For tougher soils, such as clay, consider using additional sand. Place the stone into the hole and stand on it to set it in place. Wiggle around a bit and bounce to ensure it is firmly set. When it is completely set, pack the dirt back around the stone to set it in place. Complete the procedure with the remaining stones to create an entire stepping stone path.

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How to Paint a Room

July 17, 2008 by  
Filed under Home & Garden

how to paint a roomThere is no faster, or less expensive, way to change the appearance of a room than to give it a new coat of paint. Painting a room requires a bit of prep work and time, but the more carefully you attend to the details, the better the result.

Buy Paint

The first step to painting a room is to determine what paint color and any texture you will be using. You can obtain samples from a paint or home improvement store to see what colors work best in your room. Then, with a color in mind, head back to the store to buy your paint. Plan on at least two coats, so a small room may need only one can, but two gallons of paint is your best bet. If you are painting over stained walls or dark paint, you should also buy a gallon of primer. Be sure to also buy paint supplies such as rollers, brushes, painter’s tape and paint trays.

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Tape the Edges of the Room

While professionals shun painter’s tape, it can help keep your ceilings and floors paint free. Take time to carefully apply painters tape to the outside of your paint area. This will give you a bit of freedom in case a brush slips or there are drips while you are painting. Tape the ceiling, doorways, floorboards, and any other built-ins that will not be painted.

Remove Wall Art and Spackle

Remove any wall art or other hangings and spackle the holes left behind. Sand down any spackle that dries uneven with the wall texture.

Prime and Paint!

Cover your floors with a drop cloth and carefully pour the primer (if you are using one) into your paint tray. Use a roller to carefully roll the primer onto the walls in a V pattern. Overlap your strokes and refill your roller with paint frequently to get the best coverage. Avoid too much paint on the roller at a time as this can lead to drips and splatters.

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When the walls have been primed, clean the tray, attach a new roller, and pour in your paint color. Ensure the primer is completely dry, and then begin rolling on your paint color using the same V technique. Use a brush to paint the narrow spaces where a roller won’t fit such as corners, the tops and bottoms of walls and the areas around windows and doors. Allow the first coat of paint to dry, then repeat with a second coat. Some dark colors may require three or possibly even four coats of paint for solid coverage.

Clean Up

Allow the paint to dry completely before removing the tape. Pull the tape carefully to reveal crisp corners and straight lines. Throw the tape away, clear away your tools and drop cloth, and enjoy your painted room.


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How to Match Furniture in a Bedroom

July 17, 2008 by  
Filed under Home & Garden

how to match furniture in a bedroomIf your bedroom is an odd assortment of furniture pieces, you may be able to make them match more easily than you think. Here’s how to match furniture in a bedroom.

Decide on a Décor

Your first step is to decide on a pattern of décor for the bedroom. Some styles are easier to use as a basis for making furniture match than others. If you have your heart set on traditional styles, you may have a harder time than casual, eclectic, or even southwestern decor. Find a kind of style your comfortable with.

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Take an Assessment

Your next step is to take an assessment of what furniture is already in the room. Are there various grains of wood or just different styles? Are some pieces of the furniture modern and other pieces classical? Look at other rooms of your home for pieces that you might be able to move into the bedroom to make a more unified look.

Start with a Core

Now, find a core. Do you have two matching pieces and only one or two unusual accents? If you have two coordinating pieces, such as a chair and dresser, make those your core. Then you have only to deal with the other pieces such as night tables, headboard and accents.

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Paint

One way to help match furniture in a bedroom is to paint all of the pieces the same color. You may also choose to paint only some of the pieces. For example, if you’ve selected a casual style, you may opt to paint the uncoordinated pieces a creamy white. These white pieces will offset your chair and dresser you’ve left their natural wood color.

Fabric

Another way to match furniture in a bedroom is to use fabric to simply cover up the unsightly pieces. You can easily create a headboard cover using fabric, a staple gun and some cushioning. You may even choose to create an entirely new headboard using fabric and plywood. Side tables that don’t match can be hidden under fabric tablecloths.

To make them unified, find two circles of MDF or plywood and place the circles on top of the existing tables. Then drape the new table clothes over the circles to make two round bedside tables. You may choose to make only one new round table which can still coordinate with another wooden table on the other side of the bed.

Accessories

At the very least, use pillows, curtains and runners on dressers and side tables to help bring the room together. Use the fabric in a chair, headboard or linens to select patterns and colors, then lavishly cover the room in throw pillows and drapes. Soon, your disjointed bedroom will be a comfortable, matching place of rest – even if nobody sees it but you.

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How to Make Christmas Table Decorations

July 17, 2008 by  
Filed under Home & Garden

how to decorate a table for xmasThe shopping is done, the tree is decorated, the presents are wrapped, but something is still missing. When all your guests gather around the table for the Christmas dinner you have spent hours preparing, what will they see? A bare tabletop? Let’s hope not. With a few simple touches, your dinner table can become a showcase for some beautiful Christmas decorations.

Centerpiece

The centerpiece will be the focal point of your table, at least until Aunt Mary starts telling embarrassing old family stories. While you can purchase a fresh or silk flower arrangement, a sculpture or figurine of some kind, or a potted poinsettia, there are other options that you can assemble yourself on a budget. Try filling a pair of clear glass hurricane lamps with cheap and colorful glass globe Christmas ornaments. You can also use a vase to hold peppermints or small red and green candies. Use the candy to support a classic taper candle or a small group of artificial flowers fitting for the winter season.

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Napkin Rings

A great opportunity to add a personal touch to your table is with your napkin rings. Napkin rings can be a pricy investment, or they can be a creative outlet of your holiday spirit. For a basic approach, cut one inch segments from the cardboard tube inside your wrapping paper. You can cover these with the wrapping paper itself, or paint or color the cardboard. Hot glue a small ornament to the top of the napkin ring. Another option is to string festive beads or buttons on a piece of elastic. Whatever you create, your guests will appreciate the time and creativity you invested in this Christmas decoration.

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Placecards

For large or small crowds, use placecards to not only help guests find their place at the table, but to showcase your holiday spirit. You can adapt gift tags to be placecards, or glue rectangles of wrapping paper on a stiff backing and write guests’ names on your homemade place card. Another option is to cut a Christmassy shape such as a star or bell out of cardboard and cover it with aluminum foil. A permanent marker will have no problem writing on the surface, making a lovely placecard.

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How to Decorate Your Yard for Christmas

July 17, 2008 by  
Filed under Home & Garden

how to decorate a yard for christmasChristmas is a festive time and it’s also a time to pull out your decorations to show your holiday spirit. Decorating your yard for Christmas can be fun, but it doesn’t have to be stressful, too. Some basic decorations can go a long way this holiday season. Here’s how to decorate your yard for Christmas.

Hang Greenery

Your first step to decorate your yard for Christmas is to hang garlands around your door and windows. Greenery around openings is festive and is a good basis for additional decorations such as lights and ribbons. In fact, greenery or a wreath with a large red ribbon may be all the outdoor decoration you need.

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Hang Lights

Lights have a special place at Christmas time. Hang a strand of lights over your holiday greenery to dress it up. Frame your door and windows with lights, and outline the shape of your roof with a strand. You can use standard light bulbs, twinkle lights or dangling icicle lights for this purpose. You may choose to climb onto your roof to hang additional lights, but if you do, be very careful as this is one of the most common holiday accidents waiting to happen.

Put Out Lawn Ornaments

Once your lights and greenery are hung, pull out some lawn ornaments, The latest craze is to place a giant blow up statute on the lawn in the shape of Santa Claus or a snowman. You can purchase one of these light-up statues, or opt for the more traditional reindeer made of sticks and light. Craft shows may have specialty decorations made from painted wood that suit your style.

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You can also use smaller lawn ornaments such as candy canes, mailbox covers, and luminaries to dress up your lawn. The holidays are a time for frivolity and fun, so if you’re worried your decorations have gone overboard, don’t. Everyone loves a festive set of decorations.

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How to Decorate Wall Space

July 17, 2008 by  
Filed under Home & Garden

how to decorate wall spaceThere is nothing more intimidating than a blank wall staring you in the face when you enter a room. A large expanse of wall space cries out for decoration, but a wall can be the hardest place to decorate. There is so much space and so many options; it’s hard to narrow down your choices. Here are a few ideas for how to decorate a wall.

Give it Some Color

The first step to cheerful wall decoration is to give your wall some color. Paint it or put on some wall paper. Even if you only paint the single wall, you will have provided an accent wall which may be enough decoration on its own to brighten up your room.

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Find a Large Piece

The next step for a large wall is to find a large decorative piece to grace it. The large piece may be something as simple as a framed poster, or it may be quirky colorful collection such as your framed montage of outhouse décor. If you’re on a budget, two sconces and a valance can frame smaller pieces of artwork, or find a mirror and repaint the frame to match your current furnishing.

Add Accents

Your next step is to add accents to the wall. These might be smaller pieces of framed artwork, sconces and candles, wall mounted light fixtures or decorative iron work. Plates on a plate rack also make an interesting wall decoration as does a well draped tapestry or rug.

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Window Décor

If your wall includes a window, be sure to spend some time considering window treatments. You might hang a simple curtain or sheers. Plantation shutters might have the right feel for the room or you could add molding around the window as the only source of decoration and leave the window uncovered. Decorate your walls to coordinate with your furniture and existing décor, but be sure to throw in enough of your own personality to make it especially yours.

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How to Decorate a Mantle

July 17, 2008 by  
Filed under Home & Garden

how to decorate a mantleThe fireplace and mantle should be the focus of a room. Therefore decorating a mantle must be done carefully. After all, the rest of your home décor stems from this focus plus all eyes will be drawn to such a large structure upon entering the room. There are as many decorating ideas as there are decorating styles. Here are a few ideas of how to decorate a mantle:

Big and Small

One of the easiest ways to decorate a mantle is to use a large piece of décor combined with several smaller pieces for balance. For example, a large mirror can be hung over the mantle or stood on the mantle and leaned against the chimney for a more casual look. Then a smaller vase or clock can be arranged on one side of the mirror with a small candelabra or votives arranged on the other. Two or three tasteful accent pieces such as coordinating picture frames or collectibles can be places on either side, but always balanced.

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Photo Collection

If you have a smaller mantle, or don’t have the means to buy a large, often expensive, piece, you can create a montage of smaller pieces. Collect your favorite photos or even pictures from a pretty calendar. Buy coordinating or matching frames from a discount store, flea market or garage sale. The color of the frames can match, such as all white on a painted or brick background, or be varied to create a more cottage feel.

The frames should vary in size. Use matching mats (white is universal), and frame your pictures. You may opt to remove the glass from the frames for a more authentic feel.

Arrange the frames on the floor in a pattern you find visually appealing. Mix and match sizes and layouts to make a true collage. Then carefully hang your pictures above the mantle preserving your layout.

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As you now have a great deal of visual interest above the mantle, keep the mantle decorations simple. A simple vase or ornate box combined with low candles or floral arrangement should do the trick. Be sure not to block any of the pictures, and you should probably not use frames on the mantle itself unless they are part of the overall collection and design.

Light It Up

If you’re a fan of candles, the mantle is great place for their special light and beauty. Find a bold collection of thick candles ranging in heights. Arrange three to five candles on either end of the mantle with another, possibly larger collection in the middle. You need an element on the wall behind the mantle, so consider hanging a few coordinating sconces or a tasteful mirror which can reflect the candlelight back into your room.

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How To Decorate a Living Room

July 17, 2008 by  
Filed under Home & Garden

how to decorate a dining roomThe living room is the center of your home. The formal living room often sets the tone for the rest of the household, and the decorating style you select has bearing on every room in the house.

Find a Theme:

When you decorate a living room, you must first consider your preferred style. Are you a fan of country decorating with gingham and lace? Or perhaps you prefer classic styles with display tables and curios. Modern styles with bold lines and bright colors are increasingly common as are comfortable styles that use neutral colors and oversized furniture. Flip through decorating magazines or websites to see examples of what appeals to you.

Find a Focus:

The focus of your living room will be the starting point for decorating. The focus should be a large item that brings your personality to the room such as the fireplace mantle, picture above the fireplace, sofa, rug, or even an ottoman. Use that piece to find your color pattern and inspiration for the rest of the room.

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Living Room Colors:

Once you have your focus, select a wall color and accenting colors for accessories and additional furniture. Don’t be afraid to be creative, but using a focus piece will help keep the room coordinated rather than matching. Paint the walls or use wall paper, then select window treatments, rugs and upholstery that coordinates with the rest of your selections.

Living Room Window Treatments:

Window treatments such as drapes, blinds and shutters give a room a polished look. Shutters can be a more beautiful alternative to basic blinds, and drapes or window hangings bring a room together.

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Living Room Furniture:

The furniture in the living room can be many things, but most often consists of a sofa and additional seating. Chairs, chaise lounges and love seats all find their way into living rooms as do rocking chairs, ottomans and foot stools. Desks and bookcases are common additions as are coffee and side tables. Buy furniture according to the size of your room and your particular decorating style. Minimalist styles will have little furniture while traditional styles will have much more.

Living Room Accessories:

Finally, once the colors, windows, and furniture is selected, you can focus your attention on finding accessories such as pictures, lamps, curios and houseplants to help bring a room to life. Don’t overwhelm your living room with accessories, but tasteful accent pieces scattered throughout the room make the room comfortable and personalized to your unique taste.

Living Room Arrangement:

Arrange your furniture according to the shape and traffic flow of a room. Many believe the arrangement of furniture can affect the tranquility of a home, and at the very least a misplaced table or sofa can be the cause of repeatedly stubbed toes and bashed knees. Leave plenty of room for navigation and ease of motion. Group chairs together for conversations and be sure to play up the focus of your room as it is the piece that brings everything together.

Once you have your focus, select a wall color and accenting colors for accessories and additional furniture. Don’t be afraid to be creative, but using a focus piece will help keep the room coordinated rather than matching. Paint the walls or use wall paper, then select window treatments, rugs and upholstery that coordinates with the rest of your selections.

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How to Decorate a Dorm Room

July 17, 2008 by  
Filed under Home & Garden

how do I decorate my dorm roomA dorm room is a pretty tight space often shared by one or more roommates. It can be particularly challenging to decorate a dorm room as the walls are often an unattractive material, you’re unable to paint them, and there are few places to actually put decorative elements. That shouldn’t stop you from doing what you can to spruce up a dorm room, however, you’ll just have to be creative.

Coordinate with Your Roommate

If you’ll be living with a roommate, your first step is to discuss any decorating plans. You may find your roommate doesn’t care about decorations. She might also be interested in buying matching bedspreads and accessories to be sure the room is coordinated. You might also find that your roommate has her own special plans for the room. If this is the case, you can go along with the plans or you can agree to simply decorate your own space.

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Find Decorations that Fit

The most area you have to decorate in a dorm room are walls, ceilings, and floors. Any shelves will most likely be crammed with books, desks are covered in computers, and of course your bed will have a bedspread. There will be little or no room for furniture and certain accessories, such as candles, may be illegal in the dorm.

Decorate the Floor

Floor coverings such as a carpet remnant or rug offer you some comfort under your feet and a starting place for decorations. Classic beige carpet allows for any type of décor while a colorful woven rug may lend itself best to sometime more exotic such as Moroccan décor which lends itself well to colorful pillows and blankets. Find a floor covering that fits your budget and space allotment.

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Decorate the Beds

Your bedspread might be the largest splotch of color in the room if you choose bland colors for the floor and wall. Find a pattern that appeals to you. Don’t be limited by department stores. Search out markets that sell colorful spreads and blankets as an alternative to the traditional bed in a bag. Your bed may match your roommates or it may not – it’s up to the two of you.

Decorate the Walls

While you’re grabbing fun blankets for your bed, grab a few for your walls, too. Hang a lightweight blanket with an interesting pattern behind your bed to give your walls color since you can’t paint. You can even tack the blanket up over your bed in a kind of drape to give your room a truly unique flair. Twinkle lights, posters, and picture collages are another fun and personal way to add touches to your room. Add what accessories will fit and enjoy your new, if tiny, space!

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How to Decorate a Bathroom

July 17, 2008 by  
Filed under Home & Garden

how to decorate a bath roomBathrooms are usually the last place you might think to decorate. However, your guests will most likely find themselves alone in this room at some point during their visit and will appreciate the special touches you take to make it inviting. By just investing in a few pieces of bathroom décor, you can achieve a look that will dazzle your guests and make them feel right at home.

Make a Plan

The first step is to plan what all you want to do to your bathroom. Consider your bathroom’s needs and your budget. Can you afford to completely renovate your bathroom, or does it just need a few touch-ups here and there? Whatever the case may be, think about a color scheme or a theme that you are interested in incorporating.

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Big Changes

If you need to make big changes and can put the money required into this project, you might consider replacing your bathroom vanity. There are a variety of styles to choose from and this big change will have huge results on the look of your bathroom. A more affordable option to make a big change in your bathroom is to apply wallpaper or to paint the room. Choose a color that will go with the color scheme you picked out, and find a paint specially made to use in bathrooms. Be sure to protect anything you don’t want painted with a tarp and painter’s tape.

Small Touches

Even on a budget, you can add small touches to your bathroom that have a big overall effect. For instance, roll some clean towels and place them in a pretty basket on the floor. Or, perhaps you may choose to fill your basket with plenty of toilet paper for your guests’ convenience. Invest in some matching rugs and a toilet cover.

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You may also choose to buy a matching set of bathroom accessories, including a soap dish, lotion pump, tissue cover, and even a wastebasket. Find a fragrant candle in a color that matches your theme, or fill a unique bowl with potpourri. Be creative! However you choose to decorate, your guests will appreciate your creativity and thoughtfulness.

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