5 Signs Your Bathroom Is Outdated

It’s a common problem: Your bathroom works just fine, but it just feels blah. When you compare it to the baths that you see in design magazines or in new homes, it’s clear that your bath could use a little freshening up.

While an outdated bath probably won’t be much of an issue on a day-to-day basis, if you want to sell your home, a powder room that seems stuck in the 1980s isn’t going to help you get top dollar. And if the rest of your home is well-designed and up-to-date, a time warp of a bathroom is going to seem out of place.

If you’re not sure whether your bathroom is out-of-date, look for some of these telltale signs. In many cases, bringing your bath into the 21st century only requires a few tweaks and a little elbow grease.

Colorful Fixtures

That navy blue toilet or pink sink might have seemed like a good idea when you wanted everything in the bathroom to match a particular theme or color scheme. These days though, nothing screams out-of-date louder than bathroom fixtures in unfashionable colors. Neutral and spa-like color schemes have topped the trend lists for several years now and show no signs of going away, so consider replacing that hard-to-clean forest green toilet with a white or off-white version. Not only will you bring your bath on trend, you’ll have more flexibility when it comes to paint colors and accessories.

Mirror, Mirror

For generations, the medicine cabinet was a staple of the bathroom. But in the 1990s medicine cabinets gave way to flat-backed mirrors, shifting storage to drawers and cabinets instead. Not only are medicine cabinets coming back in a big way, a flat mirror is a dead giveaway that your bathroom hasn’t been updated in a while. Modern mirrors are framed with furniture-style details, and this relatively small investment can earn big returns on your home’s value.

Flooring Faux Pas

Obviously, a floor in poor condition can age a bathroom well before its time, but there are some flooring styles that also date the room. Linoleum flooring should be ripped up and replaced with tiles or wood laminate. Another outdated trend? Carpet. Not only are carpets an unsanitary magnet for mold and mildew, carpets in the bathroom show a total lack of attention to home design trends.

Minimal Storage

Let’s face it — bathrooms have to store a lot of stuff. From towels and linens to bath products, a modern bath requires plenty of space. If you’re relying on a rickety over-the-toilet cabinet or the small space under the sink, your bath is in need of some TLC. While adding a closet will generally require a substantial renovation, you can add more storage by installing shelves or replacing a builders-grade vanity with one that includes drawers, cabinets and plenty of space. If you have a large bathroom, consider adding an armoire to store necessities beautifully.

Drab and Dull Decor

A plain white toilet. White walls. A lonely little towel rack next to boring shower doors. While a bathroom that’s way over the top isn’t always the right thing, a bathroom that’s totally sterile just looks sad and neglected. Take a cue from the spa trend and turn your bath into a relaxing sanctuary with a calming neutral paint color and some luxurious accessories to make it comfortable and inviting.

While it’s never a good idea to blindly follow all of the trends in home decor, taking the opposite approach and never changing anything isn’t a good idea either. Take a good hard look at your bathroom and decide if you can make it more current and attractive. Even if you’re not planning to sell your home, you’ll be able to enjoy your bath and the satisfaction of knowing it’s a beautiful space.

About the Author: Larissa Comstock is an interior designer and home stager. She relies on Decor Planet to help her stay on top of trends and get the things she needs to make her clients’ homes beautiful and stylish.

Bed Sizes: King, Super-King, Queen – What’s the Difference?

This is the million-dollar question. Different names are given to bed sizes around the world so depending on where you are a King-Sized bed might be the same as a Queen-Sized bed or a Super-King-Sized bed. It’s very confusing.

Stick with this as a guide:

In the UK, a ‘King-Sized’ bed (which is known as a ‘Queen-Sized’ bed in America) measures about 150cm (width) x 200cm (length) whilst a ‘Super-King-Sized’ bed (which is sometimes known as a ‘Queen-Sized’ bed in the UK) measures about 180cm (width) x 200cm (length). Beware that if you buy your mattress in a European shop then they may use European measurements to define their ‘King-Size’/’Queen-Size’ beds that will differ to UK measurements (that’s fine if you’re buying bed and mattress together, but if you buy a mattress there to fit on your bedframe at home it probably won’t fit).

Which one you choose rather depends on your circumstances. If you have children and pets who tend to join you in the night and sleep diagonally or sideways, then buy the biggest bed you can find that will fit in your room (you’ll probably still end up on the outermost 10cm though). If you don’t have the space to fit in a Super-King bed without having to hang part of it out of the window, or if you have wardrobes that you might need to open every now and again, then you may have to opt for a King-Sized bed instead.

If you have room for a King-Sized bed in your spare room then great; your guests will be very comfortable, and it’s even better if you can fit a Super-King in your main bedroom as the largest bed in the house is normally reserved for the master bedroom. Super-Kings are more expensive, and of course once you’ve bought the bed you’ll have to buy mattresses to fit in the future when your existing mattress is ready to retire.

Sleeping in a Super-King-Size bed might not suit people who like to snuggle up to their partners because there can be quite some space that opens up between you in the night. On the other hand, if you’ve been married for a while and your partner’s every move annoys you because it makes you wake up then a Super-King is great because you both have plenty of personal space.

For more information on beds sizes and to find out more about luxury beds and modern beds visit The Sleeproom.

Interior Design Holds Strong as a Career Even in a Sluggish Economy

As a new graduate of one of the many fine interior design schools you have to choose from today, you can elect to go to work for a company or you may wish to go into business for yourself. Both are options that often sound attractive to design-minded students and even if you choose to begin your career by gaining experience working for an established interior design firm, you can choose to later take your knowledge and translate that into starting and running your own business. The good news is that, whichever route you take, the prognosis in terms of career stability and growth for interior designers remains strong, even in this continuingly sluggish and lackluster economy.

Each year the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) tracks a variety of popular professions and ranks them, according to stability and growth prognosis. The BLS states that interior design professionals will enjoy a career percentage growth of 19 percent over the next decade, which keeps pace with the national average. In that time, the Bureau estimates that nearly 11,000 new interior design jobs will be added to the market nationwide. The median hourly wage will be just over $22 per hour, which translates in terms of a full-time salary into just over $46,000 per year. This is simply an estimate, of course, and talented interior design professionals, especially those who are skilled at networking and sales, can expect to earn at an unlimited potential.

Why is This?

There are different factors which can contribute to how any individual interior designer’s career path progresses – or doesn’t. In addition to developing strong sales, business, networking and advertising skills, interior design professionals who live in areas with a higher demand for their services may have an advantage of their counterparts. Conversely, however, in areas where there is a higher demand for the skills of interior designers, there also tends to be a higher grade of competition for available jobs. The good news here is that there are a number of different industries where interior designers can find a career home. Some interior designers will go to work in a corporate setting, working for a larger architecture, engineering, design, construction, contracting, building, retail, craftsperson or other type of firm. There are numerous markets where the skills of a gifted interior designer are warmly welcomed and needed.

Some interior designers also will choose a specialization early on in their careers; some may prefer to specialize in home design or renovation, while others may elect to go the corporate route by contracting their services out to larger hotel or business chains to do all of the interior design for a number of fairly uniform facilities. The route you take will depend on the opportunities in your geographic area, your skill set, your career preferences and aspirations, your existing network, etc.

Be Wary, Though

One drawback to becoming an interior designer based upon the BLS statistics is that there is no way to determine for sure how many hours per week will be required to earn a reasonable median salary for your needs. The BLS notes do indicate that it is often necessary for interior design professionals to work evenings or weekends (or both), as well as to adjust their work hours and schedules to the needs of their clients. Especially for corporate interior designers, but for any interior designer as well, there can be a fair amount of travel time required, since it is nearly impossible to do the job required without being able to see the space in person.

Factoring all of this in, however, the number of students who are entering the field of interior design is stable and strong, as is the overall career prognosis. Interior design is a creative, dynamic, rewarding field where you can expect every day to be different and you have the opportunity to meet (and connect) with people in from all different walks of life during the course of each day. By incorporating both left and right brain skill sets, you can achieve a fulfilling balance in your work life, drawing on both your visual-spatial and analytic skills to problem solve solutions for even the most difficult spaces, creating satisfied customers and unique interior decor you can be proud of.

As a young girl, Beth Mason enjoyed “remodeling” her grandmother’s house every summer when she visited. She currently works as an interior designer.

Bathroom New Look Vanity

If you can only afford to make one upgrade to your bathroom decor, choose a new bathroom vanity. Vanities are the focal point of any bathroom; ever notice that your eyes go right to the mirror? That’s because contemporary bathroom vanities convey the first impression of the room. You have a great opportunity to get an excellent design return on investment, simply by upgrading one piece. However, a too-large vanity choice can cause a bathroom to seem cramped or an overly avant-garde piece can simply be “too much.” A vanity must fit in with the theme of the space, the existing decor of the bathroom, and, of course, your budget.

Let’s start by considering the space you have available. If you have a large bathroom, this is simple, as you won’t have many space limitations. This means lots of freedom; you might like an extra-large mirror or a huge tub. Large mirrors can be particularly effective if your bathroom has a window, because the natural light reflects and opens up the space.

Not everyone has the luxury of a large bathroom and is limited with choices; but this doesn’t mean your bathroom has to suffer. A classic designer’s trick for small bathrooms is to put in a pedestal sink with a simple hanging mirror. The pedestal-style sink works well, because it creates the illusion of more space. Simple white porcelain for the sink and a small beveled mirror are enough to get by. If you need storage space, you can hang decorative fabric around the edge of the sink and store items underneath or install a simple shelf.

Once you’ve got a good idea of what size vanity you can fit into your space, the next task is selecting a theme. The go-to choices are modern or rustic, but explore all of your options before deciding. Modern can include art deco, “elemental” stone, and even black, lacquered wood. Rustic includes Victorian, farmhouse, and shabby chic, among others. Almost any retail store or website will allow you to preview hundreds of different designs. Also, be sure to consider whether your design choice would appeal to a future interested buyer. This may keep you from picking a vanity that’s pleasing to you, but maybe a little too “out there” for the rest of the population.

Most people pick bathroom vanities to complement their home. If you’re leaning towards an upgrade in the future, some find it is helpful to design in phases, rather than all at once. That way, you can mix and match styles and figure out what really makes you comfortable. With a little bit of patience, you’ll have a beautiful new bathroom in no time.

This post was written by Ryan Tupper who has been remodeling bathrooms and kitchens for over ten years. Through this time Ryan has come to understand the key points that bring new life to a home. Ryan utilizes DecorPlanet.com for all of his vanity supply needs.

Turn Bathroom Into Fengshui Spa

Often when you take a vacation, one of the first things you think about doing is to get a massage or visit a spa, for some relaxing down time and rejuvenation. But with today’s fast-paced lifestyles and never-ending options for staying connected, people are having a harder time unplugging and unwinding, and certainly finding the time to take a restful vacation away is harder than ever, as well. One solution that has become more popular is to apply the principles of rest and peace, such as those found in the ancient art of “feng shui” (literally translated as “wind-water”), to their homes. Adding the elements of feng shui to home bathrooms is a great way to enhance a spa-like atmosphere that you can access anytime, no matter how busy you are. Learn about some easy ways to turn your own home bathroom into a peaceful feng shui spa, and add more peace into your life from the comfort of home.

Feng Shui and Water Flow

Feng shui, an ancient Chinese art thought to be able to direct the flow of positive energy into a person’s life and space, has many applications for enhancing a bathroom space. Because feng shui focuses on directing the flow of both positive and negative energy, which tends to be concentrated in areas with great water flow like the bathroom, there are some easy things you can do to create more positive energy in your bathroom space. The two easiest things are ones you can begin doing right away – to keep your toilet lid closed and your bathroom door closed at all times. This both decreases the potential for odors to reach other parts of the house and contains the flow of water out of your home away from other parts of the house. If you need to replace fixtures which have worn out or are leaking, such as vanity sinks or a toilet, shopping online can get you great deals at lower prices than what you might find in a retail store.

Create Your Feng Shui Spa

At this point, you may need to exert more effort and perhaps invest some money into creating a feng shui-based spa feel for your bathroom space. Feng shui energy is attracted to clean, light, bright places with lots of mirrors, good scents and running water. While this last may seem counter-intuitive, given the need to contain the outflow of water, continually circulating water within a space is thought to enhance the flow of money and positive energy through the household. You can purchase a small tabletop water fountain to put on top of your sink and leave it running. You can add mirrors in places that do not reflect the toilet area, and this will enhance the reflection of light in your bathroom and brighten up the whole space. Adding live plants at any height higher than the toilet will also aid in the circulation of fresh air and healthy energy. Candles, incense and air fresheners can also aid in this effort. Be sure to use organic, natural scents, such as soy candles, wherever possible to keep the air fresh and free from toxins. Another way to enhance the feng shui spa feel is to keep your bathroom warm but ventilated. Having a window that you can open when the weather gets cooler and making sure to open the bathroom door to air out after a shower can also aid in air circulation, especially if you don’t have a humidity vent.

Customize Your Feng Shui Spa

As you work to create the flow of positive energy, light, air and warmth in your bathroom space, consider in particular anything that detracts from the peace you want to feel while you are getting ready in the morning or at night. Adding in small luxuries like fluffy towels, a warm fleece bathrobe, photos of moments with friends and family, a small area for your pet to recline and be with you can further transform your own energy while you are in the bathroom. If you enjoy listening to music or watching television while taking a bath or getting ready, consider adding in these fixtures as well, to enhance the positive energy in your bathroom space.

About the Author: Rebecca Marconi first learned about the ancient art of feng shui several years ago. She has since helped her clients, as an interior designer, incorporate the concept into their homes and offices. Often, she finds herself purchasing products off sites such as DecorPlanet.com to help her with her projects.

Convert Garage Into Man Cave

Whilst many men complain that women are slowly taking up every available space in the house with their clothes, shoes, jewellery and other bits and bobs, they have started to resent the fact that they have nowhere to have their own personal ‘man space’. To compensate for this we have come up with the ultimate solution. Convert your garage into your very own Man Cave.

First things first you need to decide what type of look you are going for and what the room will be used for. Do you want a sleek and modern hi-tech room, or more of a basic lounging area with all of your general needs? Once you know kind of what you want, it will be much easier to start putting things together.

Ultra-Modern Entertainment Room

This is the ideal lads pad. Your choice of games console, connected to a wide screen TV with an amazing sound system sounds just about perfect. Combined with a stylish and sleek design and extra comfy sofa, you would be all set. A room like this is all about comfort and style, enabling you to sit back and relax and enjoy all of those gadgets that aren’t really allowed in the house.

The Games Room

If you have limited space in your home, you may only be restricted to one living space, which can make entertaining difficult, especially when you have children or are entertaining a large group. You could have a wide range of games available in your man cave from a pool table, darts board, ping pong, poker or a choice of stand-up arcade games such as Pac man.

The Bar

Whether you are looking to make it modern and sleek or want a more traditional look, the choice is yours. Choose some comfy bar stools, a juke box, a relaxed seating area and stock your bar. You should also start working on your drink mixing skills to ensure you are fully prepared for when your first guests arrive.

The Collectors Retreat

If you have an interest in collecting cars, motorbikes or any other collectables, your garage is the place to proudly display them. This provides a great place for you to restore these items and carry out your hobby in a space that is your own, without any disturbances.

The Music Room

If you have a keen interest in music it is often difficult to practice an instrument without disturbing others in your home. By creating your own music room you can practice to your heart’s content without the worry of disrupting anyone, as well as them not hassling you when you do play. This can also be a place to practice as part of a band if it is something you do as a hobby or side job.

The Gym

If you want some ‘you’ time and want to relive some tension, setting up your own home gym is a great way to do this. Gym equipment is often extremely bulky and takes up a lot of space which is why it is sometimes difficult to keep in the home, as well as being extremely dangerous especially if you have children. By having your own gym you are not restricted to the opening hours of standard gym and means you don’t have to wait for a piece of equipment to become free. This is also a great ideal for those who feel slightly self-conscious exercising in front of others.

Now that you have a few ideas about what you can do to create your ultimate Man Cave you can start putting it all together. Ensuring that you have a garage door that is not only secure, but aesthetically pleasing is extremely important as it will protect the area, as well as ensuring that it complements the rest of your home design. It is important that you enlist the help of a trusted and reliable garage door company such as SDM Garage Doors who provide high quality garage doors at affordable prices. So what are you waiting for, start decorating today!

This post was written by Ekta Mair for SDM Garage Doors who specialise in installing a choice of exemplary garage doors in number of different styles and designs.

How to Add Some European Style to Your American Bath

When it comes to style, the bathroom is often one of the most overlooked rooms in the home. As long as it has the basics, most of us are happy. We might add a coat of paint here, change a leaking faucet there. In general, functional and clean are the only requirements most of us have for a bathroom.

However, more homeowners are committing to creating spa-like bath retreats, and spending more time thinking about how they will design and decorate what was previously a functional room. One of the most popular bathroom trends is European-inspired design, but what exactly does that entail?

Focus on Form and Function

In most American bathrooms, bathroom fixtures are, well, basic. Most of us do not give much thought to the style of necessities like toilets and tubs. European style adds a touch of style and panache to even the most utilitarian of items, making them as much a part of the bathroom’s décor as paint colors, flooring choices and accessories. When trying to incorporate European flair into your bathroom, consider the aesthetics of each piece, and how the lines and style complement each other. Even a slight shift of an angle or a deepening of a curve can make a significant difference in the appearance of an item in the room.

Clean, Minimalist Design

Another hallmark of European bathroom design is a lack of clutter — both in terms of design and in the items placed in the room. A European-style bathroom is not overloaded with knick-knacks and dust collectors. Instead, every piece has a purpose. Look for pieces with clean lines and minimal detailing, and maintain a neutral color palette inspired by nature.

That doesn’t mean the room has to feel austere or harsh, though. Because so many European bathrooms are on the smaller side, the emphasis on simplicity and minimalism is driven by practicality. There simply isn’t room for an abundance of “stuff” in the bath, and designers work hard to maximize the available space. The overall effect then is spaciousness and simplicity, creating a feeling of relaxation. You can bring this feeling into your bathroom by choosing items with clean designs and limiting excess clutter, and by carefully considering how you can best use the space.

Incorporate Natural Elements

One way European bathrooms maintain warmth while also achieving a modern, minimalist aesthetic is by incorporating natural elements. This is reflected in both colors — shades of white, cream, brown and gray are among the most common choices — and in building materials. For example, it’s not uncommon to find wood and stone accents in European baths; glass is another popular choice. Instead of the acrylic features found in so many American bathrooms, Europeans generally opt for glass. This contributes to the open and expansive feeling. Consider installing a teak vanity with a glass vessel sink, for instance, to capture the essence of European style.

Add Functionality

While European bathrooms focus on simplicity, that doesn’t mean they sacrifice comfort and the day-to-day needs of the homeowner. Most European bathrooms incorporate features to enhance the bathing and grooming experience. For example, you’d be hard-pressed to find a European bathroom that lacks a bidet and one-piece toilets without mounting hardware are becoming more popular. And while whirlpool tubs have been popular in American bathrooms for the last decade, more homeowners are forgoing the units in favor of sleek, freestanding European-inspired soaking tubs that take up less space but still offer a relaxing bath and add beauty to the room.

The overall aesthetic of a European style bathroom is clean, uncluttered and relaxing. Thanks to the growing popularity of this style, it’s easier than before to find affordable and stylish elements. And just because the style is clean and uncluttered, it does not have to be devoid of personality. Add your own touches — luxurious towels, a plush rug and unusual sconces — to create a space both reflective of Europe, and your own personal taste and style.

About the Author: Ariel Connors covers home-design trends for a popular style blog. She dreams of someday being having a bathroom big enough to hold a bathtub and a shower.

Some Beautiful Wood Floors to Choose From

Do you want to install wood floors in your new house? Wood floors are beautiful and they enhance the elegance and appeal of the rooms. However, since the wood floors are expensive you have to make sure that you opt for a sustainable floor. Here are some kinds of wood floors that you can choose from.

One of the hardest woods available is Brazilian Cherry. It has a deep cherry hue that evolves with time and age. No finishing product can stall this evolution. It is a very popular choice. Another wood floor type that you can opt for is hickory. It is hard wood and if you have pets or kids at home it should be your first choice. Hickory floors come in a variety of colors and you can opt for a hue in keeping with your home decor.

One of the most durable floors is oak floors. You can take your pick from white oak and red oak. As there is a variation in coloring you can stain it to get the color of your choice. Oak has strong grains and at times they come in knots as well. Since oak wood is extremely hard it can withstand just about anything you put on it. If you prefer a wood floor with light coloring maple might be the right choice for you. It has subtle grains and looks soft. Mahogany is also extremely durable. It has red tone or dark brown tone. The graining on the Mahogany floors is very simple.

Stylish Sofa Alternatives for Your Home

Buying or renting your first property can be a rather expensive business and furnishing your home within the first few months of moving in can be a real challenge, especially when investing in pricier purchases like sofas, dining room sets and electronics. The sofa in particular can be the biggest and most essential purchase for your first home, giving you the furnishings you need to accommodate guests and finish your living room space, however, with the average sofa often commanding a four figure sum, it helps to get thrifty.

Check out these affordable alternatives to the sofa, and stylishly furnish the living room in your new home, after all who says you have to have a sofa!

A Moment of Zen

Taking some inspiration from Japanese homes is our first tip when searching for your own stylish alternative, large floor cushions can offer a great way to unleash your creativity in your new home. Available in a range of colours, materials and patterns, floor cushions provide a cosy space for you to enjoy. These floor cushions are also available in pet proof and washable finishes, making them a stunning yet functional addition to your lounge.

Beanbag Furniture

Beanbags have long been considered the perfect companions for kids and gamers but they also provide a cost effective and interesting addition to any living room. Beanbags come in many shapes and sizes providing an excellent modular seating option for your space. Beanbag chairs, loungers and beds can all be used to furnish your living room. There is even the opportunity to accessorise your beanbag furniture set with a matching footstool or bean bag cube.

As well as being available in a range of standard and bespoke colours, prints and finishes to suit your chosen décor, beanbags can also be packed with foam instead of the usual bead filling providing increased comfort for you and your family.

Lounge Chair Sets

For those looking for a space saving option as well as an alternative that offers optimal affordability, investing in a lounge chair set instead of a sofa can prove a viable option. Whilst couches are great for stretching out, utilising a set of lounge chairs within your living room can really add a twist to the traditional. Lounge chairs can also be easily moved around the room for a furniture set that changes with your décor and layout. Want to combine the comfort of a sofa with the flexibility of a lounge chair? Then the cuddler option (also known as the loveseat) may be a great buy, these chairs are designed to fit two people comfortably creating a cosy, communal furniture option.

This post was written by Rucomfy, a UK-based beanbag designer and manufacturer. Rucomfy has been providing the world’s homes and businesses with the very best alternative furnishings for the past 30 years and provides an extensive range of beanbags, cushions, petbeds and throws.

Benefits of Using Steel Building Materials

Primarily, steel frames were used to construct commercial, military and other sorts of industrial buildings but nowadays it has become popular in constructing homes and apartments as well, especially with the proliferation of DIY metal buildings for sale. More and more developers are now choosing to use steel framings over conventional timber foundation supports for their construction works. Steel offers many advantages in terms of design and reliability. They are flexible, easier to assemble and remarkably stable, lasting for a relatively long period of time.

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In fact, the cost of designing and making the whole steel frame for a new home is very much the same as using timber frames. It is a truly a cost effective option whether if it is used to build a house or a multi-storey building. Moreover, steel is an inorganic material in which they will not bend, crack, split or twist easily over time. Other than that, they also get to escape from being destroyed by pests such as fungi or termites. Hence, there is no doubt that steel is considered as one of the strongest construction materials available.

In addition, all these steel structures are designed for future steel buildings expansion as well. When there are any changes needed, all the contractor requires is to add in extra steel frames and panels in order to extend the wall space. Even if you were to expand it vertically, extra structural support is not necessary. Technically, steel constructions are able to withstand strong winds, earthquake, snowfalls and many other kind of natural disasters. Steel buildings can be easily relocated too, if there is a need of doing so.

Not only do steel buildings benefit homeowners and construction workers themselves, using steel frames can save a lot of trees and the environment as well. Steel is a recyclable material, but timbers are not and they are decreasing fast. A great home design for our days now and the future should be durable, cost effective, environmentally friendly and easy to build. Therefore, if you are interested in building or buying a new home, future steel buildings can be a great choice considering all the great benefits that they provide.

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