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

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!

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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

How to Pull Off a Minimalist Interior Design for Your Home

Dreaming of a minimalist interior design for your home without stripping off its character?

In this article, you will be guided on how to pull off a minimalist interior design that will make your home look calm, refreshing, and absolutely beautiful.

What is a Minimalist Interior Design?

This is a decorating style that practices restraint while allowing space, lighting, and objects to come into play. For a minimalist interior design, you are actually limiting your options to your bare essentials to achieve a bold, sophisticated, and highly remarkable transformation in your space.

8 Tips to Achieve a Minimalist Interior Design

1. Maintain a Restrained Color Palette

Use colors from the same color family while using neutrals such as white, light grey and pastels to create combinations that won’t go out of place.

2. Add Texture

A minimalist home is not just about maintaining a clean color palette. You also have to maintain a smooth and slick look that is far from boring. How to do that? By adding textures that can effectively break a monotonous look.

What You’ll Need?

Find linens, wools, and textiles that you can use to accessorize your space and make your home look more inviting.

3. Use Simple Lines and Shapes

One feature of a minimalist interior design is clean lines and curves. Furniture with ornate detailing is to be avoided. Instead, choose accents with designs that allow the eyes to move with ease.

4. Add Decorations and Accents

Some people may think that you can’t use decorative elements to achieve a minimalist look for your home, but the truth is you can! One thing to keep in mind is to ensure that decorative elements are merely used as accents and not to overwhelm your space.

TIP:

Identify one focal point instead of a group of small ones that will only cause a distraction. If you are designing centerpieces, go for smaller collections from the same family to maintain a solid look.

5. Create Empty Spaces

Empty space is an essential element in a minimalist interior design. Remember, space can define the look as it interacts with the objects in your room. It also plays a role in keeping visual balance and amplifying the existence of the furniture you put in your home.

6. Make Room for Arts and Plants

Adding life to your space can be done through arts and plants. These elements add personality and allow you to make a statement while maintaining a simple and quiet look that is typical of a minimalist interior design.

Interesting Fact:

Plants work well with any color scheme. It blends well with any theme without necessarily competing with other colors.

7. Declutter

Getting rid of the clutter in your home is a step to becoming a minimalist. Stick to your essentials and get rid of the things that you no longer need. Along with that is the need to rearrange. Change your displays and go for well-chosen elements that work well with your theme.

8. Let the Light In

You’ll realize how bare windows work for a minimalist interior design once you see how it adds beauty and character to your decors. It would be best to leave the windows bare to allow the light to enter your space. If you can’t compromise your privacy for added light, you can opt for thin curtains, blinds or laser cut privacy screens that can also provide distinct styling.

 

There are ways to make a minimalist interior design work for your home. With the above-mentioned tips, you’re on your way to achieving a clean, modern and sophisticated space that you’d love coming home to.

 

Need help with interior design? Seek the help of expert our Chicago interior designer, Erica Lugbill.

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18 Low Maintenance Indoor Plants & Trees for Your Home

Are you looking for functional home decorations? Search no further. The best home decoration that can provide you with great benefits could be the plants or trees that are just waiting to find a space inside your home.

Indoor plants not only brighten up and beautify spaces, research already proved the significant role of plants in reducing stress levels, clearing air toxins, enhancing concentration, boosting mood, and lowering the risk for illnesses. With well-placed indoor plants, you can create an aesthetically pleasing interior design, plus a host of benefits!

Want to know what plants can be used for your home? Read on to know your options from the list of low maintenance indoor plants and trees that we have collated for you.

1. Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera

Aloe grows easily in a pot and can thrive on your desk or bedside table with only minimal care. It is popular for its many uses including providing a soothing gel for cuts and burns.

Proper Care: Keep the plant where it can get indirect light. It only requires occasional watering for about every week or two and can live for a long time without water.

2. Grape Ivy

Grape ivy is a vine with tendrils that readily cling to a surface or trellis. Its shiny, deep green leaves resemble those of grapes, only much smaller.

Proper Care: Allow the soil of grape ivy to dry slightly between waterings. It’s best to set up a framework for the plant to climb on before it becomes too large.

3. Hoya

Other Names: Porcelain Flower, Wax Plant

Hoya or wax plant has waxy foliage and beautiful flowers that are often powerfully fragrant. It is a versatile interior accent that can be climbing or trailing to 4 feet or more.

Proper Care: Hoya requires low watering and can thrive under medium to bright light. Allow the surface to dry between waterings.

4. Bromeliad

Bromeliad

Bromeliad easily adapts to regular home conditions and lasts a long time. It is a beautiful foliage plant that adds an exotic touch to your home with its strappy leaves that come in a variety of colors.

Proper Care: Bromeliad prefers shallow pots with non-soil organic items such as orchid mix (usually a blend of bark and sphagnum moss). It requires bright light and occasional watering.

5. Inch Plant

Other Name: Wandering Jew

Inch plant is a flowering houseplant that is also called wandering Jew or purple heart. It has stunning trailing vines with zebra patterned foliage and can grow in a pot or hanging basket.

Proper Care: Inch plant can grow in dim light, however, the beautiful markings on the foliage will fade. Keep it watered but allow the top surface of its soil to dry out between waterings.

6. Jade Plant

Other Names: Friendship Tree, Lucky Tree, Money Tree, Dollar Plant

Jade is a low-maintenance succulent houseplant that has thick, oval leaves with thick stalks and often produces small pink or white flowers.

Proper Care: Jade plant prefers bright light and ordinary room temperatures. It doesn’t require a lot of water so it only needs soil that is somewhat dry.

7. Calathea

Calathea

Other Names: Peacock Plant, Zebra Plant, Rattlesnake Plant

Calathea often called as peacock plant is prized for its attractively mottled leaves. Its foliage that comes in a variety of purple, green pink or red, makes a handsome addition in your home.

Proper Care: For the best foliage, keep calathea moist but not drenched and avoid bright lighting. It can be grown outdoors in warm, frost-free climates.

8. Kalanchoe

Other Names: Flaming Katy, Christmas kalanchoe, Florist kalanchoe, Madagascar Widow’s-thrill

Kalanchoe is a tropical succulent water-retaining plant that grows colorful, bell-shaped flowers. It requires very little care that it even welcomes dry climates and temperature swings.

Proper Care: Water Kalanchoe only when the top inch of the soil is already dry or about once a week.

9. Norfolk Island Pine

Other Name: A. Excelsa

Norfolk Island Pine makes a great houseplant that usually grows to 10 feet indoors. Its soft texture creates a cozy feeling to any room and makes a great Christmas tree for decorating during the holidays.

Proper Care: This pine loves ample light and humidity. In low light, its lower branches may turn brown and fall off. On the other hand, if the air is too dry, it can be infested with spider mites.

10. Dieffenbachia

Dieffenbachia

Other Name: Dumbcane

Dieffenbachia provides a tropical-looking accent to home décor with its leaves that can grow up to a foot long. It grows well in shade, which makes it ideal for a house that doesn’t get direct sunlight.

Proper Care: Keep its soil evenly moist and well drained. It thrives in normal room temperature with medium or low lighting conditions.

11. Peace Lily

Other Name: Spath

Peace lily looks elegant with its graceful curving white blooms and dark leaves. Its ability to grow easily and filter toxins from the air makes it a valuable indoor plant.

Proper Care: Peace lily favors low humidity, low light, and moist soil. It can thrive even in rooms with few windows like the bathroom.

12. Rubber Plant

Other names: Rubber Bush, Rubber Tree

Rubber plant gives a major pop of greenery in a room, with its dark leaves having an attractive shine to them. It can measure over 100 feet tall, but regular pruning can keep it as a shrub.

Proper Care: Rubber plant thrives in medium to bright lighting condition. Allow the surface of its soil to dry out before watering.

13. English Ivy

English Ivy

Other Names: Ivy, European Ivy

English ivy is an evergreen perennial that makes a wonderful trailing plant, climbing plant and indoor topiary. Aside from its elegant long trails, it is also known for removing mold spores from your indoor air.

Proper Care: Like most ivies, English ivy likes moist, fertilized soil and cool room temperature conditions.

Note: Keeping an ivy may be dangerous as all its part are poisonous if eaten or chewed by pets or children.

14. Snake Plant

Other names: Viper’s Bowstring Hemp, Snake Plant, Mother-in-law’s Tongue, Saint George’s Sword

Snake plant also goes by the name mother-in-law’s tongue with leaves that are typically tall, stiff and vertical. It is extremely drought-resistant that it can go for a month without water.

Proper Care: Snake plant grows well in any lighting conditions. It requires little air and watering that it’s better to allow the soil to dry before watering again.

15. Umbrella Tree

Other name: Octopus Tree

Umbrella tree is a tropical tree with long oval-shaped leaves that grow on a delicate stem. It becomes a low-maintenance tree when grown indoors that’s why it is a common sight in both homes and offices.

Proper Care: Keep umbrella tree on a bright spot of your space where it receives indirect sun. Avoid excessive watering.

16. Fiddle Leaf Fig

Fiddle Leaf Fig

Image Source: Flickr by Emily May

Fiddle leaf fig is a classy looking indoor tree with a large leathery foliage and height that creates a statement in a space. It can grow too tall but you can always prune its stems back to the desired height.

Proper Care: Keep the fig tree in bright, indirect light. It only needs water when the top inch of soil is already dry.

17. Weeping Fig

Other name: Benjamin Fig or Ficus Tree

Weeping fig is a popular indoor tree that produces quantities of shiny green leaves on delicate drooping branches. It is often sold in stores braided to form one spectacular trunk and can grow up to 15 feet tall indoors.

Proper Care: Weeping fig, prefers bright indirect light. It has the tendency to drop leaves when moved to a different location but will recover through time.

18. ZZ Plant

Other Name: Eternity Plant

ZZ plant earned the name ‘eternity plant’ because it is nearly indestructible. It has green, shiny foliage with thick fleshy leafstalks that are so durable it can survive drought, low light, and even low humidity.

Proper Care: ZZ plant thrives in almost any lighting condition and doesn’t require much watering that you can allow the soil to dry between waterings.

Warning: This plant is poisonous if eaten or chewed by children or pets.

 

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How to Set up Modular Furniture

In this video, Erica Lugbill, owner Lugbill Designs, a Chicago-based high-end residential remodeling and interior design firm, discusses how you can set up a modular furniture.

Erica said, “When you go to a furniture store to pick out your sectional, it’s helpful to have an actual floor plan or dimension of the space” so you can be sure that the piece you’re choosing fits perfectly within your space.

And when deciding on the actual placement of the furniture it’s good to keep the sectional as open as possible. Some modular furniture comes with sectional connectors. But if you don’t have you can find them at your local hardware store or online.

To use it, just screw the connector onto the bottom of the furniture. Its mechanism is such a way that you can push one section in and it will keep the pieces in place. And when you remove them, just lift one section and then you can move them around again.

Did you find this article helpful? Share us your thoughts by commenting below.

URL:http://www.lugbilldesigns.com/videos/modular-furniture.html

Youtube: https://youtu.be/HvytEMB_roc

White on White: The Chicago Interior Design Trend to Dominate this Year

First came the greenery, the 2017 Pantone color of the year that is a shade of zesty yellow-green. Then came the eccentricity that encompassed the use of different patterns and textures to create a cohesive interior design. All these and more reigned in the past year–and you’d surely want to know what’s in store for 2018.

This year 2018 appears to be completely different with the foreseen reemergence of white-on-white scheme in the Chicago interior design industry. Here’s what to expect from the interior design trend to dominate this year.

White on White is In

As people move toward minimalism, an all-white scheme seems to be an obvious choice. It has always been in the limelight in the past years, only that many have put more emphasis on its limitations: it can appear a little too sterile and dull.

But, Chicago interior designers have given a new perception on a white-on-white scheme by reintroducing the then-flat color in various shades, patterns, and textures. Today, the color is now associated with a clean, simple aesthetic that lends a calming effect for those who dwell in them.

Possibly the most advantageous benefit of an all-white scheme is that it gives the illusion of space while providing an excellent contrasting backdrop for bold accents. You can easily incorporate furniture pieces, French linen beddings, and artworks too without worrying that it might compromise its minimal effect.

 

If you’re looking to jump in on this white on white trend, contact an interior designer in Chicago today!

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How to Arrange Living Room Furniture With a Bay Window

In this video, Erica Lugbill, owner of Lugbill Designs, a Chicago-based residential remodeling and interior designs firm, covers several options in arranging your furniture in the living room bay window.

In the living room arrangement shown in this video, Erica just placed a chaise slightly diagonal to the bay window and added a small side table to make the set up a little more comfortable.

Another option is to have two individual chairs both angled facing in, then a small side table in between the chairs to place your book, cup or glass. Last option and Erica’s favorite is to place a bar cart on the center that’s movable for entertaining and again two small chairs angled in.

Did you find this article helpful? Share us your thoughts by commenting below.

URL:http://www.lugbilldesigns.com/videos/arrange-living-room-furniture.html

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tbb3ejzT21Q

How to Hang & Display Artwork

In this video, Erica Lugbill, owner of Lugbill Designs, a high-end residential remodeling and interior design firm in Chicago, covers how to hang and display an artwork.

When deciding where to hang an artwork, you want to center it both vertically and horizontally in the space. For light artwork, you can hang it on the wall by a nail mounted on the wall. Use carpenter’s level on the top edge to make sure it’s perfect in the space. Then, adjust the piece until you find the perfect level.

You know you frame up the artwork well on the space when the spaces on top and bottom, and both sides are equal. Another simple way to hang your artwork is by using saw-toothed hangers. Just tap them with the hanger onto the back of the painting or the frame.

And last is with the use of c-rings. Mount two of them on your ceiling and two at the back of an artwork. Then, use rope or twine to suspend the piece. For industrial loft-type spaces, use thin wire.

Did you find this article helpful? Share us your thoughts by commenting below.

URL: http://www.lugbilldesigns.com/videos/display-art-work.html

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vH6OSavhsFY

 

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