Various tips and best interior design best practices for making your house or apartment look its best.

6 Water-Saving Tips for a Sustainable Bathroom

Did you know that an average home in America consumes over 300 gallons of water every day? Imagine how much water your bathroom usage consumes alone. If you’re not mindful, excessive water consumption can truly burden your pocket. 

Going the extra mile to conserve water in your bathroom might require a few lifestyle adjustments and fixture installments. But doing so will not only save you from excessive water bills. It will also help sustain your bathroom and in effect, the environment as well. 

Are you ready to go green? Here are the water-saving tips to remember in making your bathroom sustainable.

 

6 Tips to Conserve Water in your Bathroom

 

1. Steer Away from Frequent Use of Bathtubs 

If not entirely necessary, try not to use tubs on a daily basis as they are a top culprit for wasting gallons of water. The 70 gallons that you use when bathing can already be used for multiple showers since a single five-minute shower only requires 10-25 gallons. That accounts for around 1,000 gallons of wasted water per month. Turn to baths occasionally, only when you feel like you deserve some treats and pampering.

Tip: To lessen the guilt, plug the bathtub before you run the faucet. You can also adjust the water temperature as the water runs. 

2. Save Water in the Shower

Ideally, five minutes of shower is already enough to fulfill the goal of cleansing the body. Always be conscious of the time you spend in the shower as it could greatly contribute to reducing your water bills. If you’re waiting for the water to heat up, it might be smart to let a bucket to catch the water so you can still use the excess water for other purposes such as flushing, plant watering, and laundry. 

Aside from reducing the shower duration, one way to conserve water is through a low-flow showerhead. This fixture minimizes your water usage to 2.5 gallons or less as compared to the regular showerheads that demands 5 to 8 gallons per minute. Installing this low-flow head will never compromise your shower experience but will rather open opportunities for you to save water and decrease energy used in heating the water. 

3. Shrink Water Usage in Sinks

Old but gold it is, but the popular notion of turning off the sink faucet while shaving or brushing your teeth does the trick. Believe it or not, you can save up to four gallons of water per minute when you live by these words! Just remember that one drip for each second makes five gallons a day, so make sure to make every drop count. Use just enough water to wash your face or brush your teeth and don’t forget to tighten the faucet after every use.  

Just like in the shower heads, you can also install aerators to reduce the flow of water in your sink. Motion-sensored faucets can also be of great help in making sure you only use water when necessary. Moreover, they make the bathroom cleaner by preventing the formation of gunk which causes contamination. 

4. Focus on Toilet Flushes

The toilet is responsible for one-third of your water usage at home. That takes the largest portion of the water that you consume among other household tools and activities. Thus, it is important for you to give attention to the water that goes into your toilet usage. 

The age of your toilet needs to be considered when talking about water conservation. If it dates back to the years before 2001, water-efficient might not be the best term to describe it. Compared to the current toilet models, outdated ones take up three liters more water every time you flush. Standard toilets nowadays are more water-efficient with their low-flow and dual-flush features. 

But don’t worry if you lack the resources to purchase new models, you can still conserve water by cutting down the amount of water filled to the tank to only half a gallon.  

Tip: If you want to know the water volume your toilet uses, open the toilet tank and see gallons per flush (GPF). Newer and relatively water-saving toilets use up to 1.6 gallons per flush. 

5. Look Out for Toilet Leaks 

Never overlook the burden toilet leaks can give, you might find your funds draining directly to water bills that are twice or thrice the amount you should be paying. The indicators of leakage are generally silent, so make sure to check out for signs at least once a year. 

Tip: To detect toilet leaks, pour 4-5 food coloring drops in your toilet tank. Observe if the color disperses into the bowl without flushing for around 30 minutes. If so, it most likely signals a toilet leakage.  

6. Pay Attention to Personal Care Products 

Aside from cutting on water consumption, saving water also means helping minimize contamination in the water system. This involves being conscious of the products you consume. Remember that the chemicals in the cosmetic and bath products go down the water system and eventually flow to the natural waterways. It wouldn’t hurt to check the label and see if the product contains harmful chemicals. 

You can also opt for cosmetics that promote recycling, which you normally can tell by the product packaging. Going for refillable containers is also a smart move as it will help minimize the build-up of trash. And since you’re going for an eco-friendly approach, might as well make it holistic and consider the materials that you use in constructing the bathroom.

 

It might be hard to deny that excessive use of water in your bathroom can burn money without you knowing it. From little steps of tightening the faucet to extending efforts in installing fixtures, saving water will take you a long way in making a sustainable bathroom come to life. Make sure to translate these useful tips into actions and you might be surprised at the benefits you can get not only in your savings but also in the environment. 

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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! 

If you want to face the problem head-on, the best tool stems from knowing its root cause. To help you out, here are the common agents and activities that contribute to the accumulation of poor air quality in your room.  

 

Common Causes of Poor Room Ventilation

 

1. Smoke 

Cigarette smoking has long been established to carry detrimental effects to your life and it leaves no room for an exception to the air quality indoors. Beware if you have smokers at home! A room lacking in proper ventilation puts you at a higher risk of inhaling secondhand smoke. 

2. Cooking and Heating

Does the smell of the food you cooked a few days ago still linger in your room? To tell you why, cooking activities can increase the humidity levels in a room. Notice that those kitchen areas without a proper vent system often suffer from grease splatters, smokes and cooking smell. 

Certain heating appliances and materials, like water heaters and fireplaces, also contribute to the poor air quality indoors by emitting pollutants in the form of particles and gases. 

TIP: Having a range hood or exhaust system is ideal for your kitchen in order to minimize air contamination as a result of cooking. 

3. Housekeeping Supplies and Activities 

Who doesn’t love house cleaning supplies? Disinfectants, pesticides, and other aerosol products solve all your household cleaning problems in just a few sprays, wipes or drops! Admit it, they might even be one of your prized possessions for they free your room from dirt and odor problems. 

But ironic as it sounds, these cleaning materials contain chemicals that contaminate the air in your room. Be careful what you spray around, it might contain harmful substances that’ll get in the air you breathe! 

Moreover, while you’re doing some dusting, sweeping, or vacuuming, ensure that there are no occupants in the room as these household activities can also pollute the air. 

Did you know that just like your house cleaning agents, cosmetic products, such as perfumes and body sprays, also contribute to the build-up of pollutants in your room? Be sure to practice proper usage, storage, and disposal of these supplies to minimize their effects on the air quality of your room.

4. Poor Building Construction and Design

Rooms designed to have proper ventilation normally have exterior vents to allow the exit of air contaminants. They could also include a well-designed air-conditioning system, exhaust fans, and filtrates. Without these, your room can generate thermal discomfort and an imbalance exchange of gases entering and exiting your space.

Why should you give towering attention to construction and design? Well, in putting up room ventilation systems, you need to put into consideration the location, amount of space, adjacent rooms and the intended number of occupants. Leave it to the care of interior designers for they sure know how to supply your needs for excellent room ventilation! Keep in mind that the initial design of your room plays a vital role in how you will enjoy your personal space in the long run.

5. Lack of Maintenance of Airconditioning Systems

The air conditioner in your room demands attention when it comes to regular maintenance. For instance, failure to unclog filters does not only affect the efficiency of the airconditioning unit but also impedes the normal airflow in your room. 

Look out also for the accumulation of stagnant water in drain pans as it results in the growth of microbiological agents, such as fungi, bacteria, and algae, that pollute the air you breathe. 

6. Building Materials and Furnishings

Did you know that most of the materials used in building your room are strong agents for the emission of volatile organic compounds or VOC? Household paints and carpets are on top of the list, followed by asbestos, tiles, and flooring. Other furnishings such as adhesives, varnish, and sealing agents also emit such volatile compounds. 

If you’ve noticed, these materials usually vent out strong odors, especially when newly furnished. Note that these indicate the presence of contaminating agents in the air. 

TIP: Since some of the materials mentioned might be essential for building your room, consult first with the experts (interior designer or engineer) when your room is safe and ready to be inhabited. Better yet, you can also turn to eco-friendly building materials instead! 

 

Whether or not you’re spending most of your time in your room, this personal space of yours deserves the finest attention in keeping the air quality clean all the time. You might find it inevitable to get rid of some of the causes, but knowing the roots of poor air quality in your room already gives you the upper hand in reducing its damaging effects on you and your health. With a commitment to proper usage, storage, disposal of substances, aided by proper room design and construction, you’re on your way to enjoying a well-ventilated space! 

Keep posted on our blogs for more articles about ideal room design and sustainable living.

Finding the Right Wall Sconces: Your Complete Buying Guide

Have you just given your home a makeover with the help of a renowned interior designer? You might be looking for a finishing touch that provides light at the same time. A set of lovely wall sconces may be just what you need!

In essence, a wall sconce consists of a light source affixed to a wall. However, there is a huge variety of wall sconces to match your desired aesthetic. If you want to find the sconces that can complete your home, you’ll need a guide to help you weigh your options.

Here’s an infographic that will surely come in handy. This complete buying guide lists down your options for types, designs, power sources, and lighting configurations for wall sconces. You can have a clearer idea of what kind of wall sconce you’ll be looking for!

 

Finding the Right Wall Sconces

Your Complete Buying Guide for Wall Sconces

From Hard-Wired to Solar: 5 Power Sources for Your Wall Sconces

Where do you plan to place your sconces? Your answer will directly affect your choice of power source. This also works in reverse–the power source can affect the location of your sconces. Read up about the available power sources to prevent any inconvenience down the line!

1. Hard-Wired

These sconces are connected to your home’s internal electrical wiring. They can simply be turned on and off with a light switch. 

Since their wires are hidden inside the wall, hard-wired sconces have a clean look to them. However, this also limits where you can place them.

2. Plug-In

As their name implies, plug-in sconces are powered through outlets instead of being connected directly to internal wiring. This gives them a wider range of possible locations, although you still need to place them near power outlets. They may also look slightly less clean because of their visible wires.

3. Battery Operated

Because they run on batteries, these sconces can be placed virtually anywhere! All you have to do is replace the batteries every now and then. 

Battery operated sconces tend to be cheaper than their hard-wired and plug-in counterparts.

4. Candle

Sconces which use real candles can be placed wherever you want. You just need to switch out the candles whenever they run low. In return, you’ll get a welcoming ambiance for your home.

Some homeowners opt for battery-operated candles, which don’t have to be replaced as much.

5. Solar-Powered

Some outdoor sconces are solar-powered. Aside from adding flexibility to your sconces’ placement, solar power also serves as a renewable source of energy.

 

Up or Down? 3 Essential Lighting Configurations of Wall Sconces

Wall sconces will direct light in a given direction to achieve a certain effect. Because of this, they can be grouped into three different lighting configurations.

    1. Up-Light

  • Directs light upwards
  • Can help make a small room look more spacious
  • Suitable for entryways, living rooms, and hallways

    2. Down-Light

  • Directs light downwards
  • Adds coziness and warmth to expansive spaces
  • Great for bedrooms and large living rooms

    3. All-Around Light

  • Directs light both upwards and downwards
  • Creates a feeling of balance
  • Generally provides more light

 

8 Basic Types of Wall Sconces for Your Home

There are so many ways that home décor brands can interpret “a light affixed to a wall.” This has resulted in different types of sconces, which build off the basic concept for a variety of interesting structures!

1. Armed Sconce

In an armed sconce, the light is attached to an arm which extends from a plate on the wall. Some of these sconces are fixed, while others are foldable and adjustable. Armed sconces are great for offices, bedrooms, and reading nooks.

2. Spotlight Sconce

This specific type of armed sconce directs its light to highlight an object or area. Spotlight sconces often have down-light configurations. There are further subtypes of spotlight sconces, including:

    • Picture Lights. With a long, slender light source, this sconce is specifically used to illuminate artwork on display in your home. 
    • Sign Lights. These armed sconces light up wider areas, like signs or murals. 

3. Flush Mount Sconce

This sconce is directly mounted flush with the wall, seemingly washing it with light. Flush mount sconces have a compact, low-profile look to them. They are ideal for accent lighting.

4. Half-Moon Sconce

This specific kind of flush mount sconce features a light source surrounded by a half-bowl. Look hard enough and you’ll find half-moon sconces that are as minimalist or as ornate as you wish.

5. Wallchiere

A blend of the “wall lamp” and “torchiere,” the wallchiere is tall and slender with unique decorative elements. They direct light upward like torchieres while conserving floor spaces. Wallchieres are a prime choice for opulent displays.

6. Recessed Sconce

These sconces seem to radiate light from within the wall! All recessed sconces are hard-wired, which means homeowners may need to be creative about their placement.

7. Corner Wall Sconces

Corner wall sconces are designed to fit into the corners of a room. Aside from that, they can cross over with any of the previous types.

8. Candle Sconce

These sconces can either be wall-mounted candle holders or electric/battery-powered light sources that look like candle holders. The bulbs of imitation candles may take more time to replace, but they’re still relatively easy to find at hardware stores near you.

Candle sconces have been around for centuries, way before gas lamps and electric lighting were invented. 

TIP: The location of your wall sconces should also influence the type of sconce you choose. For example, a spotlight sconce may cast undesirable shadows if installed beside a vanity mirror. Flush mount or recessed sconces are more suitable in this case.

 

5 Types of Outdoor Wall Sconces to Light Up Your Yard

Think your porch, garden, or backyard could use some decorative lighting as well? It’s a good thing there are wall sconces designed specifically for the outdoors! Here are 5 common types for you to choose from.

1. Lantern-Style Sconce

Welcome your visitors with a pair of these sconces mounted beside your front door! You’ll usually find them in traditional or rustic designs.

2. Barn Light Sconce

These are a bit more casual than lantern-style sconces. You can find green, white, and even bright red barn light sconces for a pop of color.

3. Floodlight-Style Sconce

Thanks to their broad and focused beams, floodlights are great for providing ample outdoor lighting. In addition, many of them use long-lasting, eco-friendly, and energy-efficient LED light bulbs.

4. Bulkhead Sconce

The durable geometric design of bulkhead sconces builds more on function than form. However, these lights can still add some nautical charm to your home!

5. Motion Sensor Sconce

These sconces only light up when they sense someone nearby, which can help you save on energy. They’re often built in floodlight-style designs for ample lighting. Motion sensor sconces can also offer security by alerting you to movement in a particular area of your property. 

 

5 Different Kinds of Wall Sconce Designs for Any Aesthetic

If you look hard enough, you can find wall sconces that perfectly match the look and feel of your home. It still helps to know the general design that you’re looking for, however! Here are the 5 common designs you’ll encounter while browsing or window shopping for wall sconces.

    1. Contemporary

  • Showcases a sleek, contemporary look
  • Mostly flush mounted or armed, though you can definitely find other types of sconces with a contemporary design as well
  • Usually features silver tones and may even be made of stainless steel

    2. Traditional

  • More ornate and formal with more ornamental details
  • Can add a touch of luxury to your home
  • Great for houses that have a traditional or antique feel

    3. Transitional

  • Sits comfortably between contemporary and traditional
  • Combines minimalist details with contemporary shapes
  • Can match almost any other type of décor

    4. Cottage Style

  • Features homey design elements
  • Often come in light neutral or pastel hues
  • Great for homes with a warm country look

    5. Rustic

  • Dark colors and animal motifs
  • Perfect for a log cabin aesthetic
  • Can add character to any home

The right wall sconces are a surefire way to provide perfect lighting and extra flair. Bookmark this buying guide, and you can have an easier time finding the best wall sconces for your home!

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9 Bathroom Swaps for a Zero-Waste Lifestyle

You might have been taking steps towards an eco-friendly and sustainable bathroom, where you can relax and pamper yourself without any guilt. However, one surprising obstacle to this goal can be your current choice of bathroom products! Not everyone is aware of how wasteful commercial toothbrushes, traditional lotion, and even toilet paper can be.

Your sustainable bathroom needs zero-waste products to match. To help you get started, here are 9 zero-waste bathroom swaps definitely worth considering.

 

9 Zero-Waste Bathroom Swaps for a Sustainable Lifestyle

 

1. Bamboo/Aluminum Toothbrush

Substitute For: Commercial toothbrushes with synthetic bristles and plastic handles

An estimated 850,000,000 toothbrushes end up in landfills in the United States every year. Sounds like a lot of plastic, doesn’t it? You can take steps toward a zero-waste lifestyle without sacrificing your oral health by going for bamboo or aluminum toothbrushes.

  • Bamboo toothbrushes biodegrade after disposal. Be sure to determine whether the bristles on your bamboo toothbrush are biodegradable as well, however. Some bamboo toothbrushes have nylon bristles which need to be removed before the handle is disposed of or composted.
  • Meanwhile, aluminum toothbrushes can last you a lifetime. For one, Goodwell’s aluminum toothbrushes have replaceable composite bamboo heads and bristles made of binchotan charcoal.

2. Toothy Tabs

Substitute For: Traditional toothpaste in disposable tubes

Toothy tabs are incredibly easy to use, as well as great for travelling. Just pop one in your mouth, chew, and brush away. The crushed tablet will foams up and serve as the paste.

Understandably, toothy tabs may not be for everyone. Fortunately, there are other zero-waste alternatives, such as tooth powder or natural toothpaste in recyclable containers.

3. Water Flosser

Substitute For: Traditional dental floss made with plastic

A water flosser simply shoots a stream of water to remove food bits and plaque from between the teeth. Some people may find water flossers easier to use than traditional floss!

Still like flossing the old-fashioned way? Don’t worry, you can find natural silk floss in recyclable jars made either of glass or stainless steel.

4. Stainless Steel Safety Razor

Substitute For: Plastic razors

Did you know that around 2 billion disposable razors get thrown away each year? It doesn’t help that these disposable razors are also difficult to recycle. The next time you need a razor, try out a safety razor with replaceable and recyclable(!) blades. Aside from producing zero waste, safety razors yield better, cleaner shaves.

5. Bidet

Substitute For: Commercial toilet paper, which is often made of virgin pulp and wrapped in plastic

It might not be easy for everyone to switch out their toilet paper with a spray of water. However, aside from being a great step towards a zero-waste lifestyle, bidets can make your bathroom trips much more sanitary. No need to wipe here!

Want to keep some toilet paper around for family members or house guests? Aim for toilet paper that is

  • made from recycled material,
  • produced without chlorine or bleach processing, and
  • wrapped in paper or biodegradable material instead of plastic.

6. Organic Cloth Pads

Substitute For: Disposable pads made with plastic, as well as tampons which may contain chemicals

The average woman may use more than 10,000 disposable menstrual products in her lifetime. A single reusable cloth pad can perfectly replace such products, only needing replacement every five years or so.

Another zero-waste substitute for commercial pads and tampons is the silicone menstrual cup.

7. Homemade Deodorant

Substitute For: Traditional deodorant

You may be concerned about what goes into commercial deodorant, or how it usually comes in a disposable plastic container. Why not switch to a homemade alternative without any harmful substances? Check out the deodorant recipe below!

Instructions:

  1. Combine 3 tbsp baking soda with 5 tbsp arrowroot powder or non-GMO cornstarch.
  2. Mix in 6 tbsp shea butter with your fingers or a fork. You should end up with a mixture that resembles crumbly dough.
  3. Optional: Add 30-60 drops of essential oil.
  4. Whip the dough with a hand mixer.
  5. Transfer your fresh new deodorant to a clean glass jar.

Recipe originally posted on Mommypotamus.

8. Homemade Lotion

Substitute For: Traditional lotion

Not only does commercial lotion come in plastic containers, but it often contains chemicals you wouldn’t want on your skin, too. Fortunately, you can easily whip up your own zero-waste homemade lotion made of coconut oil!

Instructions:

  1. Whisk coconut oil with a fork until it becomes frothy.
  2. Add 3-6 drops of your favorite essential oil for every 1 oz of coconut oil.
  3. Stir and place in a glass jar.

Recipe taken from Note to Trash.

9. Soap Bars/Shampoo Bars

Substitute For: Commercial body wash and shampoo, which come in disposable containers and may contain harmful chemicals

These bars come with minimal disposable packaging, last longer than their bottled counterparts, and run no risk of spilling all over your travel kit. Plus, they wash just as well as body wash and shampoo respectively!

Do your best to find brands that either get rid of packaging completely or use eco-friendly packaging material. For example, Lush bars have zero packaging while Bestowed Essentials products use either compostable or recyclable packaging.

ALSO READ: 15 Space Saving Bathroom Design Ideas

Have you tried any of these 9 zero-waste bathroom swaps yet? It may take some time to get used to each swap, but you’ll thank yourself in the long run. Enjoy having a stylish bathroom that is both elegant and environmentally friendly!

Visit our blog for more tips on zero-waste lifestyles and interior design.

17 Tips to Make Your Home Energy-Efficient

This month’s electrical bill is painful for you to look at, just as you’ve expected. You’ve been using up a lot of energy for a while, especially with temperatures rising year after year. It’s lovely to have a well designed home. It’s even more wonderful to have a home that is both beautiful and energy-efficient. You can spend less on heating and cooling bills while remaining comfortable, and you can cut down on your carbon footprint, too. To help you get started, here are 17 steps to help you save energy.

 

17 Tips for a More Energy-Efficient Home

 

1. Change Your Most-Used Light Bulbs to LEDs. They might cost more at first, but they last much longer and use up less electrical power than their incandescent counterparts. You’ll save yourself the effort of having to purchase replacement lights as well. For outdoor lights, use CFLs instead of incandescent lamps.

2. Change Your Least-Used Light Bulbs, Too. Will you need a 100-watt bulb in a room that’s used just once a year? Downgrade such less-used lights to 60-watt or even 40-watt bulbs to save energy.

3. Use Cold Water for Laundry. This eliminates the need for a water heater. If you really need to use hot water, try to find a heater that runs on solar power.

4. Baking? Don’t Peek! The temperature drops 25° F whenever you peek. Your oven will have to work harder to bring the temperature back up.

5. When Possible, Unplug or Power Down. Your mobile phone only takes a few hours to charge, and your computer and printer don’t have to be left on all day, either.

6. Wash Dishes and Clothes at Night. Power grids are most strained during 4PM and 6PM during peak usage hours, from mid-afternoon to early in the evening. Do your washing a bit later, and you can keep the house cooler and avoid emergencies as well.

7. Switch Out Single-Pane Windows. Either replace them with more energy-efficient windows or add solar shades or tinting film to them.

8. Turn Off the Oven Early. Do this a few minutes before reaching the prescribed cooking time. Don’t worry, your food will continue cooking from its own heat.

9. Use Natural Light When Possible. For windowless rooms, you can use skylights. You may no longer need to turn on any lights during daytime.

10. Seal and Insulate Properly. Cracks and gaps can lessen the efficiency of your heating and cooling, raising energy costs by 45 percent. Avoid this by sealing gaps and cracks in rooms and around windows and doors. Also, check how your home insulation levels measure up to local codes.

11. Maintain Clean Filters. Your home systems have to do more work if their filters are dirty. Clean or replace all filters at home once a month (or every three weeks if you have pets or a dusty environment). Use a vacuum with a cleaning extension to suck up dirt, or gently wash the filter with warm water.

12. Spot the Energy Star. This sticker indicates that EPA has confirmed the product’s energy efficiency. You can find the small blue or black sticker on over 40 product categories, from refrigerators and washing machines to LED lightbulbs.

13. Use Your Shades Well. Help your heating and cooling systems out by knowing when to close or open your shades and blinds. Close your shades during warmer months for cooler indoor temperatures; open them during cooler months to let sunlight through.

14. Landscape. Deciduous trees act like shades and blinds if they sit on the south and west sides of your house. Their leaves provide shade in the summer but fall off so that the sun can come through in the winter.

15. Install Ceiling Fans. A single fan uses roughly as much energy as a 100-watt light bulb, but it can help you cut down even more on cooling and heating bills. Set your fan to spin counterclockwise in summer–you’ll find that you can comfortably set the thermostat 4°F higher. Switch the blades to spin clockwise in winter to help circulate warm air.

16. Don’t Overuse the Thermostat. Try to not lower your thermostat so much in the summer or raise it so much in the winter. If your indoor temperature is closer to outdoor temperatures, your systems will have lighter work to do. Also, don’t adjust past the desired temperature–your home will heat or cool at the same speed.

17. Paint! Brighten your room with lighter paint colors, which reflect more light. You can then switch the light bulb for a lower-wattage equivalent.

You might not notice the impact immediately, as some of these changes seem minor. However, just as a leaky faucet leads to a bigger water bill, the result of these actions builds up over time. Make efforts to go by these 17 tips, and you’ll save more energy than you thought you would.

Visit our blog regularly for tips on improving your home.

Green Home Décor Brands You Should Switch To

These days, being eco-friendly is no longer limited to segregating your wastes, going paperless, avoiding plastic, and cutting down on energy consumption. It also means amending your way of shopping so it aligns with your commitment to green living.

The green way to shop, however – particularly for home decor – hasn’t always been black and white. But, until recently, the environmental consciousness of consumers has led interior designers and home décor brands to step up their game to offer an array of sustainable products.

Having placed greater emphasis not only on style but also on the environmental impact of their products, home décor brands have made it easier to be green responsible more than ever. So now, you can shop for sustainable furniture pieces confidently without worrying they’ll compromise your style.

If you’re wondering where to start with your responsible shopping, read on as we list 10 brands to shop for sustainable home décor.

1. Bambeco

Bambeco is a provider of home products crafted from either recycled, reclaimed, natural or raw materials. But, aside from harnessing these resources, the brand aims to further its green efforts by updating its processes to help restore forests, conserve water, provide safe workplaces and ultimately, achieve zero carbon footprint by 2020.

2. BottleCloth

BottleCloth is a sustainable homeware brand that makes graphic tablecloths, placemats and runners made from fabrics sourced from recycled plastic bottles. Using a multi-step process, the plastic bottles are spun into thread and woven into polyester cloth. The end result is a polyester fabric that is highly durable, low maintenance and spill-resistant products.

3. Chairish

Buying second hand is a great form of recycling. It not only avails you vintage finds for half the price but also cuts down on manufacturing demand – and Chairish, an online marketplace, lets you do just that. It has a well-curated list of vintage furniture pieces, art and home accessories, and basically everything that is dedicated to home decorating and design.

4. Cisco Home

You wouldn’t realize it right away, but Cisco Home is a sustainable furniture company that crafts its home goods with natural materials and methods that are friendly to the environment. Each product is made with pride by local artisans in Los Angeles and each of them emanates a distinct style that adds beauty to your home.

5. Colorhouse

Colorhouse is a premium paint brand that is committed to making the world more colorful but without the toxins, chemical solvents and toxic fumes that typically come with commercial paints. It offers 128 zero-VOC (volatile organic compounds), artist-crafted paints in its well-curated palettes to ensure that you have an eco-friendly alternative to your painting needs.

ALSO READ: 18 Low Maintenance Indoor Plants & Trees for Your Home

6. Coyuchi

Coyuchi is a home textile company that offers a range of luxury textiles, beddings and mattress made from organic cotton – and this claim is something more exceptional than you’d think as less than a percent of the world-produced cotton is organic. Further, despite being minimally processed, the fabrics don’t gall shouty on style and grandeur. In fact, they’re some of the softest you’ll ever lay your hands on.

7. Kazi

Kazi is an All Across Africa brand that helps African women support their families by crafting handmade goods. These include baskets and vessels handwoven in Rwanda using sweet grass and sisal sourced in East Africa – and because these plants thrive abundantly in the region, harvesting them has less impact on the environment.

8. One Nine Eight Five

One Nine Eight Five is a London-based homeware brand that focuses on print and interior textiles. It offers contemporary collection of throws, cushions, wall hangings and other accessories using ethically-sourced and eco-friendly materials. Each product celebrates world-recognized British craftsmanship and sustainable UK manufacturing.

9. Re-Found Objects

RE is a homeware brand that started as a mail order service in rural Northumbria. Today, it has grown to become one of the most-sought after home accessories and furniture brands, offering everything unusual, recycled and re-invented such as colander lamp shades, pressed metal decorations, recycled glass soap dishes, weave baskets and so much more.

10. West Elm

Brooklyn-based home design and decor brand West Elm believes in the possibility of manufacturing products through sustainable practices. It is why ever since it launched in 2002, it has committed to using products that are Fair Trade Certified, handcrafted, organic and sustainably sourced. Today, it sources its handcrafted products from more than 35 artisan groups in 15 countries, providing jobs to nearly 5,000 workers.

 

There are a lot of other home décor brands who are committed to sustainability. Whether that means creating something new out of old materials, sourcing products made by independent artisans or using sustainable resources – all their green efforts serve as a catalyst that inspire consumers to be more mindful of their choices.

If you think of any other green home décor brand that should be on this list, let us know by commenting below.

10 Christmas Window Decoration Ideas for 2018

Aiming to envelop your house in the Christmas spirit this year? Aside from putting up the good old tree in the living room and hanging stockings nearby, you need to dress your windows for the season. After all, this is one part of the house that you can see from both the inside and the outside. This means that the right decoration will be able to spread holiday cheer to visitors, neighbors, and carolers all in one go! Understandably, you can’t settle for a half-baked concept for your window decor.

You might think at first that windows will be a bit challenging to decorate. Fortunately, there are countless tried-and-tested ideas to choose from. Here are 10 window decoration ideas for you to try for Christmas 2018!

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ALSO READ: 25 Easy Christmas Decoration Ideas for Your Home

Did you find what you are looking for? Which one do you think will work best as your window display? Let us know in the comments!

Never miss the latest interior design tips and updates by regularly visiting our blog.

Tips to Avoid Interior Design Mistakes

Mistakes are common in just about anything that the human race does. After all, we are indeed human, and we err all the time.

Still, we should always try to avoid mistakes, especially when it comes to projects that are literally closer to home, like interior design.

Many believe that all interior design serves is the homeowners’ ego, that it does nothing more than provide them with a way to pompously express and show off their superior taste in decorating a home.

The truth is, interior design is more than just about getting your décor right. While making the inside of a home aesthetically pleasing is a primary goal, interior design as we know it today also makes the use of any given space better and more efficient.

ALSO READ: Interior Design Ideas for Small Spaces

Look at what interior designers do these days, and you’ll see that most of their work has fully incorporated function with form.

Considering that interior designers now factor in function with their work, it has become imperative for them and their clients to keep the mistakes to a minimum. Check it out the infographic below for tips on the most common interior design mistakes to avoid.

Common Interior Design Mistakes To Avoid

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