20 Christmas Wreath Ideas to Try

The wreath has been viewed as a symbol of power and pride among Romans. To the Greeks, it signifies success and victory. It later became a representation of Christ’s suffering and triumph over death. 

Throughout the years, these cultures have transformed wreaths into Christmas decorations, which only becomes more grand and elaborate as the seasons pass.

Today, wreaths are often made with fir. But, if you’re looking to give this traditional décor a modern twist, Lugbill Designs, a Chicago-based interior design firm, has sourced the Internet to provide you with 20 Christmas wreath ideas you can try.

20 Christmas Wreath Ideas to Try Infographic

 

20 Must-Try Christmas Wreath Ideas

1. Burlap Wreath

A big roll of burlap, strip of ribbon, a wire wreath frame and some ornaments are all it takes to recreate this Christmas wreath. It has a rustic cabin look that adds a warm feel to your home.

2. Washi Tape Wreath

This Christmas wreath puts your washi tape collection to good use. Whether you hang it above your fireplace or on your front door, it’s sure to greet your guests an artsy Merry Christmas!

3. Christmas Balls Wreath

A load of vintage glass baubles make a beautiful wreath. This is a simple and cheap holiday project that adds a wow factor to your Christmas décor.

4. Chalkboard Christmas Wreath

A piece of chalkboard affixed behind a wreath frame can add charm to an otherwise simple Christmas wreath. Don’t forget the holiday message and a bow for a finishing touch!

5. Hula Hoop Wreath

This elegant wreath is not as expensive as it looks. Your guests will never even guess these are merely a set of cheap hoops disguised as two larger-than-life copper rings (unless you tell them of course).

6. Christmas Tree Wreath

A creative take on the traditional décor, this Christmas tree-shaped wreath is made of small cedar wreaths laid out together to resemble a fir tree. A series of sticks cut to the same length serves as the trunk.

7. Pinecone Wreath

Disguise shapely pinecones as snow-covered holiday décors with a spray of matte white paint! This is a great idea for a winter wonderland Christmas theme.

8. Frosted Twigs Wreath

A coat of matte spray can mimic a thick layer of snow, covering a bunch of twigs, pinecones and acorns. The resulting wreath is worthy to be a Christmas winter theme essential. 

9. Metallic Wreath

This striking wreath is actually a store-bought magnolia leaf coated with metallic spray paint and embellished with white-painted twigs.

10. Coffee Filter Wreath

This bold yet simple wreath is easy to make,not to mention it will cost you as little as $5! It even makes a great post-Christmas décor thanks to its vintage appeal.

11. Natural Elements Wreath

A gorgeous holiday wreath made of nature’s seasonal bounty – pinecones, pods, berries and nuts – has a beautiful texture that will earn second looks from your guests.

12. Ribbon Wreath

This vibrant holiday wreath is made of a set of wired ribbons in different Christmas-themed patterns. It’s a good way to make use of the excess ribbons from last year!

13. Woodland Winter Wreath

The secret to this wreath is to have a lot of felt flowers. It’s easy to DIY, and the result will make a great display for your woodland winter theme!

14. Fruit Wreath

This wreath is an abundant collection of crisp greens and colorful produce. You can make it from either faux fruits or real ones, depending on your preference.

15. Christmas Greetings Wreath

An ordinary treat gets a bold twist with a cutout greeting. Hang this by your door and you’ve got a literal Christmas statement!

16. Driftwood Wreath

This wreath can breathe new life into driftwood collection. Assemble a good number of wood pieces on a wreath form and hang with a red wide ribbon.

17. Laurel Wreath

A laurel wreath entwined with fresh rosemary branches lends a stimulating and refreshing scent to your home. It’s also a simple yet elegant display for Christmas.

18. Cork Wreath

This one’s for the wine lovers! A wreathe made of upcycled old corks adds a pop to your dining room when hanged to your liquor cabinet. Alternate it with red jingle bells to blend with your Christmas décor.   

19. Poinsettia Wreath

The bright red bracts of these poinsettias are crafted out of felt cloth and made to resemble the real deal. Each flower is then attached to a ring form to create an elegant wreath that will last for years.

20. Socks Wreath

If you think socks are only meant to be hung on Christmas bags so Santa Claus can fill it with toys, then this red and gray wreath will prove you wrong. It’s actually made of upcycled work socks and finished off with a wooden cutout Merry Christmas sign.

 

ALSO READ: 25 Easy Christmas Decoration Ideas for Your Home

 

Do you have your Christmas wreath ready? Share your design with us in the comments!  

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6 Thanksgiving Home Prep Tips to Follow

Every year, billions of people around the world anticipate the last week of November where they get to celebrate Thanksgiving. Similar to other holidays, this special occasion allows family and friends to gather and bond over meals. 

Hosting a celebration might give you stress if the day came and your home is still not ready to accommodate the guests. To prevent this from happening, here are 6 Thanksgiving home prep tips that you should remember to keep your living space occasion-ready. 

 

6 Tips to Prepare Your Home for Thanksgiving

 

1. Develop a Schedule and Stick to it

This is one of the most important steps that most people might neglect to do. By plotting a timeline for your Thanksgiving preparations, you get to stay on top of everything and you’d easily monitor your activities. This saves you from the stress of cramming and will make sure that you don’t leave a single item on your to-do list unchecked. 

Activities such as grocery shopping, washing linens, cleaning, decorating, table setting, and cooking should never go missing on your timetable. 

2. Plan the Table Set-up In Advance

Are you going to have a formal dining or a casual meal experience? You should decide early on so you can inform your guests. This way, you’ll also be guided in the menu planning. If you don’t want your table looking like a mess, the linen, dinnerware, chairs, and utensils need to be ready in advance and not on the morning of Thanksgiving. 

To signify the abundance of the harvest season, which is the true essence of Thanksgiving celebrations,  fruits, and floral arrangements usually serve as centerpieces. You’d often see bouquets of warm-toned rose and mums embellish the tables during Thanksgiving. Other table-setting essentials include candles, leaves, and small ropes. You can also go extra creative with crafted ‘thank you’ cards placed on the plates or tiny wreaths wrapping the utensils.  

When it comes to the themes, you can always do a quick search on the Internet to find a myriad of table setting ideas. Depending on your resources, you can always choose to go with: a metallic tablescape, bright and bold arrangement, rustic setting, and the list goes on. 

Note: Plot the seating arrangement when planning the table as well. Things such as the number of seats available and the need for children’s chairs should be considered. 

3. Don’t Cram Your Thanksgiving Menu 

Food is one of the primary reasons why people look forward to Thanksgiving. Who wouldn’t love to indulge in a roasted turkey that blends perfectly with seasoned gravy? And of course, the classic mashed potato casserole that can instantly whet your appetite just by its aroma. Other traditional dishes typically served at Thanksgiving include ham, cranberry sauce, stuffings made of fruits and vegetables, salads, rolls, apple pies, and cooked vegetable sides. 

Planning on your menu several weeks before gives you enough time to shop for groceries. Note that stocks might run out if you fail to buy your food ingredients ahead of time. For instance, the supply of gluten-free cream soups typically becomes sold out nearing the day of Thanksgiving. This also gives you an opportunity for you to watch out for store sales! This way, you’ll not only be doing your wallet some favor but also ensures that you buy everything that you need. And in case you forget an item, you’ll still have enough time to come back to the store. 

Tip: You can opt for a catering service if food preparation seems impossible given your work schedules. 

4. Organize Your Kitchen

You’d normally expect the kitchen to become crowded with added groceries and silverware during the holiday seasons.  Since this section will be the heart of your meal preparations, you certainly need to keep it in order. This way you’ll not only have a smooth flow when cooking but will make the food station easy for the guests to navigate in case they’ll be needing something. 

You can start off with cleaning and arranging the kitchen tools. These essentials will most likely include a roasting pan, carving board, baking sheets, rolling pin, aluminum foil, and more. Maximize your cabinet storage by installing drawer dividers or pull out shelves for your cabinet corners. You might even save yourself from the pain of reaching out for those pans and utensils.  

Another thing you need to prepare is the freezer. Make enough room for the dishes and leftovers. Frozen food items, such as pie crusts and rolls, should be ready ahead of time so you’ll only have the hot meals to think about on the day of Thanksgiving. 

5. Prepare Bathroom Necessities

Your visitors will most likely use the bathroom during their stay. Aside from the mandatory clean-up, you can keep it occasion-ready by having a sufficient supply of hand soaps and toilet paper for guest use. Other bathroom basics such as extra toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo and conditioner, floss, towels, and clothes should also be prepared. Make sure that you make the plunger available near the toilet as well.

Tip: Put some air freshener inside the bathroom to keep it fragrant and well-ventilated.  

6. Make the Living Room Cozy

The guests normally stay in the living room when they arrive so it is only important to make it clean and spacious. Ensure that the furniture, tables, cabinets, and other house items are arranged well. You can place some magazines, books, television or any form of entertainment to save your guests from boredom while waiting for the actual celebration. It would also help if you can add some quick snacks in the living room that your guests can enjoy in between meals. 

Just like Christmas and Halloween, adding decorations to beautify your home is also never a bad idea. Whether it be a centerpiece, mantel displays, wreaths, or place cards, setting up some Thanksgiving-themed props can definitely bring the holiday spirit flowing in your home.

Tip: Play some music to keep the adults entertained. On the other hand, children will certainly enjoy some playroom or coloring activities.  

 

It is not every day that you get to bond with your family and friends so make sure to provide a memorable experience for them on Thanksgiving. That means you need to have some immense home preparations that will make their stay worthwhile. Just remember these Thanksgiving home prep tips to keep you on top of everything and ultimately give you an unforgettable Thanksgiving celebration as well. 

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6 Causes of Poor Ventilation in Your Room

It’s probably safe to say that nobody wants to inhabit a poorly ventilated space. Poor ventilation happens when there is an insufficient amount of fresh air coming in and the polluted air is trapped in the room instead. Not only does it cause discomfort, but it also puts a toll on your health!…

7 Reasons Why Tiny Homes are Worth It

Can your whole life fit in less than 500-square feet of living space? Believe it or not, it definitely can! The benefits you’ll gain in switching to a tiny home lifestyle might even surprise you.

Tiny homes have been making headlines due to people becoming increasingly interested in living small. Gone are the days when the “bigger is better” mentality has been the norm in house planning and construction. Now, the tiny house movement begins to dominate the market, as evident in the growing demands for tiny homes. 

Are you thinking of joining the tiny house movement? Here is an infographic to give you reasons as to why living in a tiny house doesn’t leave room for regret. 

Why Tiny Homes Are Worth It Infographic

Why Tiny Homes are Worth it

You might be well aware of the trend that tiny homes have been making, especially that more and more people are taking an interest in downsizing their living space. From a myriad of benefits ranging from financial to environmental to mental and psychological aspects, living small has so much more to offer. 

What are Tiny Homes?

  • As the name suggests, tiny houses are relatively smaller in size as compared to a regular-sized house, which normally occupies around 2,500 square feet of space. With tiny homes, you’ll only need an area as small as 100 up to 400 square feet! 
  • According to the survey conducted by the National Association of Home Builders, more than half (63%) of the adults in Washington consider the idea of residing in tiny homes. 

Types of Tiny Homes

Depending on their features and location, tiny houses come in different types that will cater to your housing needs and desires.

  • Trailers 

The so-called “tiny houses on wheels” allow you to conveniently relocate your house across places. 

  • Treehouses

Yes, treehouses that every child dreams of can be your dream house as well! Having your house perched on trees brings you closer to nature.  

  • Houseboats and Floating Cottages

With tiny houseboats, living near or on the water is never a problem. 

  • Stationary Houses 

If you’re looking for a permanent residential house, stationary tiny houses are a perfect match for you!

What are the Advantages of Living Small?

 

1. Affordable 

Tiny homes are typically cheaper to build or purchase than traditional houses. Depending on the type and features, most tiny houses are more cost-efficient than regular ones in terms of amount and type of materials used, and the building methods.

2. Transportable

One of the strongest points of having a tiny house is that it can be towed to different places. Especially when you’re living in a trailer, moving has never been this easy! This special feature of a tiny house allows you to relocate closer to your work or school without breaking much sweat.

TIP: If you plan on moving frequently, trailers might be the best choice to meet your needs.

3. More Economic Freedom 

Adapting the “tiny home lifestyle” has come with a lot of financial advantages for tiny homeowners. Below are some of the ways by which you can maximize your savings and cut costs on expenses.

  • Fewer expenses

Downsizing the living space calls for minimizing the expenditures spent on appliances and material possessions. In order to fit everything in a limited area, buying smaller and less expensive appliances and devices, now becomes mandatory. 

  • Reduced Utility Costs

Electric and water consumption becomes minimal when you live in a tinier space. Smaller appliances require a lesser supply of energy. Tiny homes that utilize composting toilets also help to conserve water. 

  • Controlled buying impulses

You can steer away from your impulsive buying behaviors, putting much thought first to the space that the materials will occupy before dragging the items to the counter. 

  • Debt-free

In order to own or rent a house, most people are left with no option but to take out a mortgage and this can financially hurt in the long run. But with tiny homes, 68% of homeowners are reported to have broken free from their mortgage payments. 

  • More funds for other experiences

Did you know that 55% of tiny homeowners have more savings as compared to average Americans? Since a large chunk of your money has gone to your savings, you now have every means to allocate more funds for other experiences of your, such as travel or outings. 

4. Low-maintenance

A smaller space is unarguably easier to take care of than larger ones. With tiny houses, cleaning is way more time-saving and efficient given the small spaces homeowners need to cover. 

5. Eco-friendly

Did you know that tiny homes are considered as green homes due to their minimal impact on the environment? Several tiny homeowners have embraced the idea of a sustainable and eco-friendly lifestyle in a number of ways. 

Positive Environmental Impacts of Tiny Homes

  • Reduce carbon footprint 
  • Reduce the number of natural resources used in house construction
  • Conserve energy with lesser electric consumption
  • Save water with the use of composting toilets
  • Produce less pollution 
  • Construction of house using steel (normally used) contributes to the recycling process

6. Simpler Life 

Being closely associated with minimalism, tiny home living allows you to adopt a much simpler outlook in life. You’ll learn to let go of excess baggage items and trim your possessions down to the essentials. 

7. Active Lifestyle

Engaging in a tiny home lifestyle gives you the opportunity to stay active and be “out there” since living in a tiny house equates to having little things to do and maintain. 

 

Less is more, they say. Living in a tiny house has been proven to make such promising changes in the life of tiny homeowners. Let it work its miracles for you as well. You’ll never know, building a tiny house might open the doors for a bigger future. 

Was this article persuading enough to make you join the tiny house movement? Check out the different types and examples of tiny homes that’ll make you want to move in right away!

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7 Kitchen Design and Remodeling Trends to Inspire You

Whether you just want to refresh your kitchen or you are getting your home ready to rent or sell, investing in some kitchen upgrades is always a good idea. Most people spend a huge amount of time in their kitchens so it makes sense to make this place in your home warm, inviting, and styled to mix aesthetics and functionality. 

Want to know how you can update your kitchen without having to do a full kitchen renovation? Check out the trends below.

1. Switch to Custom Cabinets

There is nothing like custom cabinetry to make your kitchen more functional and more stylish. Custom cabinets are built to fit the space you have in the kitchen. It will completely improve the functionality of your kitchen, as well as the look of the space. 

You can choose gorgeous natural wood or use on-trend reclaimed wood to create one of a kind cabinets that match your kitchen. Colored custom cabinets are also very trendy right now. They are a great way to add personality to an otherwise bland all white kitchen.

2. Update All Hardware and Light Fixtures

The small details in your kitchen really make a difference in the look and style of the space. Upgrade those old drawer pulls and cabinet handles with modern metallics. You can also add bright pops of color for a very easy and affordable way to update the look of your kitchen. 

New light fixtures can take your kitchen from old and sad to bright and modern. Go bold with a unique modern metal light fixture or go for some glam with a light and reflective chandelier if you want your kitchen to have some real personality.

3. Add a Kitchen Island

Kitchen islands can double the amount of functional space in your kitchen. They also are the best way to turn your kitchen into the primary gathering spot in your home. Having a custom island built is the ideal way to make the best use of space you have in your kitchen. 

If you don’t want to invest in a custom island, a pre-built island can have almost the same dramatic impact. Add some comfortable chairs or stools to invite people to sit down and chat or as a space for the kids to sit and do homework while you’re cooking.

4. Choose The Right Flooring

The days of the all linoleum kitchen are long gone. Thanks to the durability and beauty of modern materials, you can have a kitchen flooring that is built to absorb a lot of traffic and is also stain and wear resistant. 

New updated tile floors are easy to clean and will give your kitchen a modern look. Distressed hardwood floors will transform your kitchen into a rustic farmhouse style kitchen that is so trendy right now. Not only is it beautiful, it is also inviting and comfortable.

5. Add a Unique Pantry Door

Prettying up the pantry is another way to add some style to your kitchen without reducing the functionality you need. Glass inset doors are a classic choice. Or you can choose recycled sliding barnwood doors if you prefer the rustic look.

6. Use Under Cabinet Lighting

Under cabinet lighting is an easy upgrade that homeowners love. If you’ve never had under cabinet lighting you will be amazed at how much style and function it gives your kitchen.

It can cut your energy bills because you won’t have to use the main kitchen lights as often. If you have kids or pets or if you have to get up early in the morning, under cabinet lighting makes it safer and easier to get some water at night or make that all important coffee in the morning.

7. Upgrade Your Countertops

The countertops are the largest surface area in the kitchen so upgrading those will have a huge impact on the look of your kitchen. Durable countertops that are easy to maintain are countertops that modern homeowners want. 

Quartz countertops will give you a durable option that’s easy to customize. Quartz and granite offer a huge range of colors available, including ones that mimic the natural veining of marble, so they add style but are also very affordable and durable. Choose from classic white, blacks or gray countertops, or go bold with red or a marbled look.

 

ALSO READ: 12 Zero-Waste Essentials for Your Modern Kitchen

 

Simple updates in your kitchen can turn the kitchen that you have into a trendy gathering spot. Best of all, you can do that without costing a fortune or requiring long renovation. For best results, contact Lugbill Designs for all your interior design and remodeling needs.

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4 Questions to Ask Your Interior Designer

When you first decide that your home is in need of a total makeover, you often have a vision in mind for what you want it to look like. The trick is to find an interior designer that can help make that vision come true. But just like any other project, seeing your makeover through from beginning to end will take a lot of communication. To make sure you and your interior designer are on the same page, consider the following four questions.

 

What Can You Do With My Budget?

Before you get started, it’s important to know what your interior designer can do with your budget. This helps give context to the scope of your project. Of course, if at any point during the process you’d like to raise your budget, you’re more than welcome to do that too. Sometimes, a slow design process works better for clients, as it can help to see what additions you might want to make to a room as the project is unraveling. In the meantime, you can grow your budget by using helpful apps that let you save without thinking. Doing so will give you the flexibility to provide your designer with much more creative freedom.

 

How Long Would a Project Like This Take?

As the question implies, this will depend on what you’re looking to do and how quickly you’re looking to go about it. Do you just want to add a few finishing touches? Then the process shouldn’t take a few months. Do you want to completely overhaul a room (or several)? Then this process will require more time. Asking your designer this question will give you an idea of what timeframe you can expect and help make sure you’re not rushing any design decisions. 

 

What Style Do You Specialize In?

If you’ve decided to contact an interior designer, then chances are you went online and liked what you saw. If you haven’t looked yet, check out a portfolio of past work and see if it aligns with your vision of what you’d like to do. If you have some ideas of your own, or if you saw something online or in a magazine that caught your fancy, let your designer know what your vision is and see how they can help you achieve it.

 

Do You Have Any Testimonials?

Pictures are one thing, but actually hearing from past clients is a great way to learn about their experience with the designer and what you can expect during your own. Lots of good reviews are a good sign, but you might also want to consider the review itself, what type of remodel they had done, and who they worked with. You can typically find testimonials on your interior designer’s website, but you might even find reviews on social media channels to be useful as well!

20 Easy Sustainability Hacks for a Greener Lifestyle

You’d like to switch to a green and sustainable lifestyle, but you’re not ready for huge changes like switching out all your appliances or giving up meat completely. No worries! You can always start with small swaps as a build-up towards bigger leaps. Plus, countless people before you have already come up with little “hacks” to make their lives a bit greener.

Ready to take your first steps towards greener living? Here are 20 easy sustainability hacks for you to try out!

 

20 Sustainability Hacks for Greener Living

 

1. Use Homemade Cleaning Recipes

Lemons, vinegar, and baking soda are just some of the homemade cleaning ingredients you probably have in a pantry somewhere. So if you’d like to save money and avoid certain chemicals, just put together your own sustainable cleaning solution in the comfort of your kitchen! 

 

ALSO READ: 5 Homemade Natural Cleaning Recipes You Can DIY

 

2. Dedicate a Tote Bag to Unused Clothes

You probably have a handful of clothes that you’ve either outgrown or barely ever use. Stuff these into a tote bag, then write a certain date by which you’ll donate all the clothes in that bag. Once the date passes, bring the clothes to a local thrift store or charity. You’ll contribute to sustainable fashion and free up your closet at the same time!

TIP: Resist the urge to open the bag. Otherwise, you might find yourself putting the clothes back into your closet, telling yourself you’ll use them again someday.

3. Charge Your Phone in Airplane Mode

It may be called “airplane mode,” but it’s perfectly fine to use it on the ground. In fact, a phone in airplane mode will charge much faster than usual, saving you time and energy! Just remember that you won’t be able to receive calls or messages in this mode.

4. Reuse, Full Stop

Reducing waste is one important part of sustainability, so you’ll have to find ways to reuse whatever you can. You might just be surprised by all the little things you can reuse for a more sustainable home!

  • Water. The same water you’ve used for cooking or washing your hands can be reused one more time on your houseplants. This also goes for the “warm-up” water from your shower.
  • Cardboard Boxes. Cereal boxes and shoeboxes can easily get a second life as gift boxes! Just turn them inside out and tape them back together.
  • Toilet Paper Rolls. From wall art to cable organizers to closet dividers to ornaments, the humble toilet paper roll can be reused in countless ways. 
  • Bread Clips. Have a broken flip-flop, with one of its holes torn open and unable to hold the thong? Push the thong back through the hole and slip a bread clip around it! You can also use bread clips to label the mess of cables behind your PCs or television sets.

5. Set Up a Backyard Garden

Have an empty patch of land in your backyard? Turn it into a little garden, and you’ll have a sustainable pastime that can help cut down on grocery spending in the long run. Someday, you can even put together a salad made of vegetables picked from your backyard!

Short on space? No worries. You can always squeeze in a window herb garden.

6. Use a Wet Cloth to Chill Drinks Faster

Wrap your drinks in a wet cloth and then stick them into the freezer. Your drinks will quickly become cold, saving you precious time and energy.

7. Bake Cupcakes in Ice Cream Cones

Need to prepare cupcakes? Instead of buying paper liners, bake them in kiddie ice-cream cones. Add ice cream or whipped cream on top to complete the look!

8. Say Goodbye to Bottled Water

Invest in a nice refillable water bottle, and top it off before you leave the house. You’ll never have to buy another piece of environmentally damaging plastic ever again, and you can save money at the same time!

TIP: It helps to know the locations of nearby water fountains where you can refill your bottle for free.

9. Cut Down on Your Meat Consumption

Beef and lamb production gives off huge amounts of the greenhouse gas methane. So, eating less meat can shrink your eco-footprint as well. It’s just that giving up meat completely might not be easy for everyone! You can always take baby steps like committing to Meatless Mondays or trying out tofu, seitan, and other sustainable meat substitutes.

10. Put Together a Small Compost Bin

Wondering what you can do about all the eggshells, tea leaves, coffee grounds, and fruit or vegetable peels that you often toss? Take a plastic container, poke a few holes in its sides, and then fill it with kitchen waste. You’ll eventually have a plastic container filled with compost, which you can use to feed your backyard garden!

NOTE: It’s not advisable to include meat, fat, oil, dairy products, or grease in the compost bin. They will still biodegrade, but they’ll give off an odor that can attract pests.

 

ALSO READ: 12 Steps to Avoid Food Wastage at Home

 

11. Try Your Hand at Preserving Food

Fermenting and drying are easy ways to improve the shelf life (and flavor) of certain food. You can make pickled daikon radish, salted lemons, or even kimchi to spice up your menu while staying sustainable.

12. Air Dry Your Laundry

Leave it to the sun to dry your clothes, and you can give your dryer a break and save hundreds of dollars on electricity. Also, if you line-dry indoors in winter, your laundry can double as a humidifier!

13. Mind Your Water Usage in the Bathroom

You might be accustomed to 20-minute showers, but experts say you really just need 5 to 10 minutes. The faster your showers, the less water you’ll use! Also, make it a point to turn the tap off while brushing. You can save up to 6 liters of water per minute this way.

14. Recycle Old Papers into Gift Wrap

Instead of buying another roll of gift wrap, take a page out of your old newspapers and magazines. The fun thing about this is that you can pick out pages that fit the recipient’s personality (e.g. using Sunday comics to wrap a gift for a witty friend). Plus, there’s no denying the charm of handicrafts!

15. Go Paperless

Save the trees! Ask your providers to send you bills, catalogues, and bank statements through email. As a bonus, you’ll never have to see another stress-inducing pile of envelopes at your front door ever again.

16. Take a Reusable Tote on Shopping Trips

Help cut down on plastic bag usage by taking your own shopping bag with you. This can either be a tote or a sturdy plastic bag from a previous purchase. Who knows, your favorite grocery store might offer rewards for sustainable shoppers like you!

17. Shift to Thrifty Shopping

Want to update your wardrobe or spruce up your living spaces? Head to the thrift shop and go for gently used clothes and decor instead of brand-new purchases. You can save a lot of money and help cut down on landfill waste in one go. 

18. Buy Produce in Season

For one, fruits and vegetables taste better when they’re in season. You can also cut down on grocery costs if you go for whatever nature has placed on the menu. At the same time, you’ll be able to find these crops easily at a farmers’ market near you. Local produce doesn’t use up as much fuel since it’s transported over shorter distances, automatically making it more sustainable overall!

19. Fix Whatever Can Be Fixed

The world’s current throwaway culture might seem convenient, but it’s also incredibly wasteful. If you’ve broken something, take the sustainable route and try to have it fixed first. And if it’s beyond repair, dispose of it responsibly and put some extra thought into how you’ll replace it.

20. Borrow Books Instead of Buying Them

This sustainability hack doubles as a way for bookworms to save a surprising amount of money. Instead of buying new books, check if any nearby libraries have that same title on their shelves. You can also look for train stations, hotels, and cafes that offer book swap services.

 

Feel free to take this list of 20 sustainability hacks and use it as a checklist! With every item you tick off, you can pat yourself on the back for taking one more step towards a greener lifestyle.

Found this article useful? Visit our blog regularly for more tips on sustainable and eco-friendly living.

7 Advantages of Living in a Smart Home

 

You might have watched video tours of smart homes or read about them in magazines, but have you imagined living in a smart home yourself? 

The idea might seem like it’s out of your league at first, since smart lifestyle technology isn’t exactly cheap. However, the benefits can greatly outweigh the upfront costs in the long run! From savings to security to peace of mind, here are 7 advantages that’ll make you want to start the switch to a smarter home.

 

7 Benefits of Living in a Smart Home

 

1. Convenience

Imagine waking up and being able to start the coffee pot all the way from your cozy bedroom. Or programming a bathtub faucet to shut itself off right before the tub overflows. Then at the end of your day, it can be a real treat to relax in a pre-cooled living room thanks to smart technology. This level of convenience alone is one of the biggest reasons that people go for smart homes in the first place. 

2. Accessibility and Programmable Assistance

The functionality of a smart home is especially promising for families who have either young children or aging parents. You can program the cooling systems to achieve the right temperature for Mom and Pop, set the stove to turn off if a forgetful chef wanders off, or remotely lock doors to rooms which are off-limits to the kids. Some smart homes can even notify the hospital should someone take a fall! 

3. Flexibility

Concerned that the smart home you’re about to purchase now could become obsolete tomorrow? No worries! Smart homes are designed for seamless integration with more advanced appliances. This lets you make necessary upgrades or add new devices to expand your smart home’s range of functions.

4. Resource Efficiency

You might be surprised by how much energy, water, and time you can save with a smart home. Control heating and cooling systems with precision, program lights to dim at sundown, or have the shower turn on only when you’re already in the stall. When there are guests around, your oven can cook meals to perfection to prevent wastage, and your home entertainment systems can help you find all the right songs with ease. 

5. Upgraded Security

A smart home can give you fine-tuned control over motion detectors and surveillance cameras throughout the property. You can quietly keep an eye on guests who enter and leave the house, or get instant alerts on suspicious activity to protect your loved ones. It’s even possible for you to lock doors and arm your smart home’s security systems in critical situations. And again, you can do this whether you’re inside the house or on the other side of the world!

DID YOU KNOW? In an incident in New Mexico, a smart home speaker dialed 911 after detecting certain statements during a domestic dispute. The obedient speaker may have prevented a woman and her child from being shot to death.

6. Smart Household Management

Did you know that your smart home can give you an interesting picture of how your family goes about a normal day? Get a peek at your family’s TV viewing habits, the kinds of meals you prepare the most, and the amount of electricity and water you use up on a daily basis. You can then adjust your lifestyle according to this data for a lifestyle that’s both comfortable and eco-conscious.

7. Peace of Mind

You’re probably all too familiar with the stress of doors left unlocked, appliances and faucets left running, meals that wound up overcooked, or children who keep popping in and out of your line of sight. It’s also easy to get a headache from unexplainably high utility bills. But you won’t have to worry about any of that with a smart home! You can breathe a sigh of relief with all the control you need at your fingertips.

 

ALSO READ: 17 Tips to Make Your Home Energy-Efficient

 

Wouldn’t you want your family to enjoy these 7 advantages? It’s a good thing that it’s never too late to transition into a smarter home. You can simply invest in smart home appliances one by one, matching your new purchases with eco-friendly lifestyle changes along the way!

Visit our blog regularly for more articles about stylish interiors and smart, sustainable living

7 Sustainable Textiles to Complete Your Home

You’ve picked out a few favorite green home decor brands and switched out some light fixtures with skylights as part of your move towards sustainable living. You may have even started investing in energy-efficient appliances that bear the EPA’s Energy Star label. However, you might still have non-biodegradable synthetics lying around your house in the form of your sheets, curtains, and upholstery! 

Fortunately, there are now several materials that you can choose from to complete your sustainable home. Check out these 7 sustainable textiles and see which ones you’d like to start using!

 

7 Sustainable Textiles for Your Home

 

1. Linen 

This sustainable textile comes from the stem of the flax plant, which grows on rough terrain that’s unsuitable for food production. Curtains made of linen can allow light into a room. Meanwhile, linen bed sheets tend to become softer and more absorbent after repeated washes. You’ll only really need to clean this low-maintenance textile when it starts to smell dusty.

Look for linen in natural colors ranging from ivory to tan to gray. Pure white linen has gone through intense bleaching–not very sustainable!

2. Cotton

Cotton in general is durable, breathable, highly versatile, and biodegradable. Soft and breathable bed sheets. However, traditionally grown cotton uses up huge amounts of water and pesticides. 

Shop for GOTS cotton, or organic cotton that has been grown with sustainability in mind. You’ll want to check the label for true organic cotton content, too.

3. Wool

If you’d like luxurious upholstery in your living room, you can give wool a try! This sustainable textile is wrinkle-resistant and durable, as well as naturally good at holding dyes in vibrant colors. 

Perhaps the only downside of wool is that it’s an animal product. However, it’s possible to buy ethical wool that adheres to standards for fair treatment of animals. Wool can also replace synthetics and polyester fleeces, which shed microfibers that harm the environment even if the materials themselves are vegan.

4. Hemp

Did you know that humans have been cultivating hemp for over 10,000 years? This time-tested textile comes from the stem of the cannabis plant yet contains negligible amounts of THC (the compound behind marijuana’s psychological effects). As a crop, hemp is naturally resistant to pests and fungus attacks, requires little water, and uses up a relatively small amount of land. It even helps purify soil! Once harvested, pure hemp is similar in texture to linen. 

When shopping for hemp tablecloths or sheets, it pays to research a bit about hemp brands you have in mind. Some companies use chemicals for faster processes and higher yield, greenwashing themselves to seem eco-friendly. Also opt for hemp that has been colored with natural dyes to truly minimize environmental impact.

5. Lyocell and Modal

Both of these textiles come from wood pulp. The production of lyocell and modal does not use harmful solvents. It’s often even closed-loop, with 99% of its chemicals being captured and reused. Just be sure to take a look at where the materials come from! One brand you can try out is Tencel, which gets its lyocell and modal from natural forests and sustainable plantations.

6. Piñatex

Ever heard of leather made from pineapple leaves instead of animal hide? Natural and biodegradable, Piñatex reduces waste from pineapple production and even helps farmers earn more. 

Upholstery made of rich piñatex is currently on the rise. Currently, there are already sofas and car seats covered in piñatex!

7. Silk

This prized textile comes from the cocoon of the silkmoth. Conventional silk is infamous among animal lovers because of how it kills the pupae inside the cocoon during production. However, there is now eco-friendly Ahimsa silk which spares the pupae and only harvests cocoons after the pupa has left.

Sustainable and eco-friendly silk does not use harsh dyes, resulting in a softer texture. Try covering your pillows with cases made of sustainable silk and see how quickly you fall asleep after climbing into bed!

 

Comfort, style, and eco-friendliness can definitely go hand in hand. Remember this list, and you can complete your home with indulgent and sustainable textiles. 

Visit our blog for more tips on living sustainably and with style

Air Plant Care: Help Your Tillandsia Survive

 

Just bought some air plants for your home? Good choice. Also known as tillandsia, these spiky, ball-shaped plants are both charming and incredibly low-maintenance because they can survive without soil! They’re also a lovely addition to any home because of their natural ability to clear air toxins. However, your air plants have to survive in the first place if you want to reap this benefit. For one, air plants actually need more than just air!

Here’s a guide to air plant care, covering everything from lighting to watering to unusual changes in color. Be sure to take note of all the tips for happy air plants in this article!

 

Tillandsia 101: Your Guide to Air Plant Care

 

These quirky plants can sit pretty in open glass balls or seashells. But as hardy as they are, it’s still possible to end up with withered air plants if you don’t know how to care for them. 

How Much Light Does My Air Plant Need?

Air plants basically need to sit in bright, indirect light. Prime locations include windows that face either south or east, the sun shines through most of the day. North-facing windows are also great if they provide unobstructed sunlight. 

On the other hand, western-facing windows can fry your plant because afternoon sunlight can be surprisingly hot.

Lighting Tips for a Happy Air Plant

  • A sunny bathroom is another great place to put an air plant. It naturally takes care of both lighting and watering for you, thanks to sunlight and the humidity from your shower.
  • Generally, a more humid space can help your plant tolerate more light. So if you’re placing your air plant in an especially sunny spot, you’ll need to care for it by misting it more!
  • Want to bring your air plant into your office or basement? Be sure to keep it within 3 feet of a full spectrum (fluorescent) light source so that it can still photosynthesize. Special bulbs like Gro-Lux or Vita-Lite are also suitable here. Also note that your plants will need 12+ hours of light daily.

How Should I Water My Air Plant?

Watering an air plant can admittedly be tricky. Some plant owners even find themselves doing trial-and-error for this aspect of air plant care. But amazingly, your air plant’s leaves can give you hints on the best watering routine!

  • Fuzzy leaves are a sign that your air plant is of the xeric type. These plants can collect and hold a lot of water, as well as tolerate more sun. You’ll only need to water them once or twice a week.
  • Smooth and glossy leaves indicate that your air plant is mesic. That means it’s comfortable with the moisture and shade of a cloud forest. You’ll need to water it a bit more frequently.

After figuring out what kind of air plant you have, you can choose a watering method that works for you and your plants. There are 3 ways to water your air plant, which you can mix and match according to your preferences:

  • Misting – great for plants inside globes or other interesting displays. This method lets you interact a lot with your beloved air plants, too! Depending on the type of air plant you have, you’ll be misting it 3-7 times a week. Try to wet the entire plant.
  • Dunking – ideal for plants that are either freestanding or attached to wood. You can also use this with air plants with dense or curly leaves if you’re having a hard time misting them well. Either briefly dip the whole plant into water or place it under a running faucet. Mesic air plants need to be dunked 2-4 times weekly while xeric plants just need to be dunked once a week.
  • Soaking – best for dry plants that need to be revived after a period of neglect. Submerge the plant in water for 1 to 3 hours. You can do this once a week until the plant is okay again.

Shake out the excess water afterwards and let the plant sit in a well-ventilated place. This ensures that the center of the plant will dry well, preventing rot. 

More Tips for Watering Your Air Plant

  • Water your plants in the morning. This lets your air plants breathe during the evening and dry well in less time.
  • Use room temperature tap water or rainwater on your plants. Do not use softened water, which can hurt your plants with its salt content.
  • Water more frequently if your plant is subject to hot weather, desert climates, air conditioning, or the atmosphere near a heater or fireplace. Water less frequently if you live in cool, cloudy weather.
  • Once a month, you can add a pinch of fertilizer to your water to round out your watering regimen. Use water-soluble fertilizer specified for orchids or tillandsias. Then, either mist or dunk your air plant (soaking it can lead to fertilizer burn). This monthly treat for your air plant can help it blossom and produce pups later on!
  • Thinking of “planting” your tillandsia? Don’t put it in soil or in moss that tends to hold moisture, otherwise it may rot.

Why is My Air Plant Changing Colors?

You may wake up one day and notice that your air plant has begun to take on a different color. It can be worrying at first, because a change of color can easily indicate watering issues. But depending on the color itself, your plant might not be as sick as you thought. Here are a few common colors that air plants can take on:

  • White or Gray. Xeric air plants are naturally whitish or grayish thanks to a coat of trichomes, or little leaf hairs which help your plant retain water. However, if your air plant is supposed to be naturally green, graying can be an early sign of underwatering. This is because its trichomes are becoming more pronounced now that your plant needs water.
  • Yellow. If your air plant’s leaves are yellowing, chances are the plant has been overwatered. Let the air plant dry thoroughly to help it recover. 
  • Brown. This either indicates underwatering or overwatering based on the appearance of the plant’s leaves.
    • Brown and curled: Underwatered
    • Brown and soggy: Overwatered
  • Black. Unfortunately, a black base is a sure indicator of air plant rot.
  • Red, Pink, Violet. If your air plant is taking on these interesting colors, you’ve done a great job! These happy colors indicate a maturing air plant. You may soon see a few vibrant flowers and even little pups or baby plants growing on the sides.

Wait, Air Plants Produce Pups?

That’s right, a mature air plant will produce little pups sooner or later! These baby plants start out tiny but eventually grow into mother plants as well. 

If your air plant is putting out pups, you can safely pull them off the mother plant if they’re ⅓-½ its size. They should come off easily, without too much force. Otherwise it may still be to early for the pups to be removed! It’s also perfectly fine to let the pup mature while still attached to its mother plant, creating an adorable clump.

Keep this guide on hand, and you’ll get the hang of air plant care in no time. You might even end up with a whole bunch of air plants if you’re able to take good care of the pups as well! Enjoy having greener living spaces with the help of these hardy but beautiful plants.

Looking for more indoor plants that you can easily take care of? Take a look at these 18 low maintenance plants and trees for your home.

For more news and trends on interior design, visit our blog regularly.

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