Thursday, January 5, 2012

Gear up for Spring
It might be cold and dreary now, but Spring is just around the corner, so let's get geared up now! Share your ideas on how to make your home a brighter, more beautiful place to be for Spring and check back soon for new articles on bringing a breath of fresh air inside your home.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Check back soon for NEW stuff!

It's been way too long since Comfortable Home has been updated, but there are new articles and information coming very, very soon!

In the meantime, we'd love to hear from you. Share your ideas, hints, tips, and let us know what YOU would like to see.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Three Instant (And Easy) Storage Solutions

Finding a place for all your “stuff” can sometimes be a challenge. This is especially true if your living space has limited closet and other storage space. With the strict budgets most are living on today,  remodelling may be out of the question. The answer is to be extremely creative to come up with storage solutions that are quick, easy and cost little or nothing to accomplish. 

If it's going to be there anyway...
Look around for opportunities that already exist. There is something that is taking up space that could provide some storage space if you just take the time to notice it. For example, cover a table with a table cloth or other fabric to create storage space underneath. You can take this idea further by adding some inexpensive plastic storage drawers, baskets or stacking crates underneath such an area to organize your belongings.

Create a closet...
You can quickly and easily turn a corner into an extra “closet” by simply using free-standing folding screens. These are usually three or four panels of wood, bamboo or other light materials hinged together and can often be picked up at second-hand or thrift stores at a bargain price. Another option is to hang pieces of material or inexpensive curtain panels to section off the area. You can even hang a shower rod from the ceiling with a short length of chain from your local hardware store for hanging clothing.

Hide it in plain sight...
If you're limited on storage space, try working with your stuff instead of fighting it. Don't try to hide everything. Some of what you need to store can actually be showcased and add to your d├ęcor if you handle it right. Try adding a few wall shelves for smaller items. The key is to keep things organized so it looks less like clutter and more like it's supposed to be there. In the bathroom, cosmetics and toiletries neatly displayed in inexpensive woven baskets look good and keep the things you use daily in easy reach. That also frees up some space in drawers or cabinets you can use to store things you use less often.

The key to creating storage space without spending a lot of money is to be extremely creative and observant. Take time to look around and spot lost opportunities. Can you slide some of those flat boxes underneath the couch? Could that corner become a closet? How about a couple baskets on top of the coffee table to organize your craft supplies? If you keep your eyes open and let your imagination run wild, you'll find you can create storage space almost anywhere.

Share your ideas! If you've come up with a clever and inexpensive way to add storage space, let everyone know by adding your comments below.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Making Your Home Smell Better

There are numerous ways to control the scent of your home, most of which can be achieved very inexpensively and easily. The basics are identifying and removing sources of odor, introducing new scents, and eliminating odors.

The first thing one should do when trying to control the scent of their home is to identify the source of any bad smells. Most often these have to do with dampness, so it's best to start looking in the bathroom and kitchen. Dirty dishes in the sink will produce a foul smell that be easily removed by keeping dishes washed and put away promptly after use. In the bathroom, keep damp towels off the floor and on racks where they have a chance to dry. It's also a good idea not to put anything wet into the dirty clothes hamper since you'll wind up with a musty smell very quickly with wet things in such a confined space. Empty garbage and trash cans often to eliminate this common source of odors.
Introducing new scents to the home is quick and easy using a variety of methods. The easiest is the use of scented candles. Always exercise caution with candles. Be sure you keep the flame far from any flammable materials and never leave a burning candle unattended. If you have small children or pets, candles might not be a good option. Instead, you could choose scented potpourri, products that plug into electrical outlets and release scent, essential oils and room sprays. Another option, if you have air vents in your home or apartment, is to use your favorite dryer sheets to scent your whole home. Simply put a dryer sheet or two into the air intake (where your heating or cooling unit pulls air in). You'll find that the fresh, clean scent is circulated quickly throughout your entire home.
 
There are a variety of options available to eliminate odors which usually also introduce a new scent into your home at the same time. Look for room sprays that specifically say that they neutralize odors. Some sprays only mask the odors and do nothing to remove them. This might leave you with the smell of mold and roses, which isn't a particularly appealing combination. I am loathe to mention specific products for fear it may seem like an endorsement, but Febreeze is a great odor neutralizer. There are many other products on the market that achieve similar results, so shop around for lower cost options.

Another fantastic option to eliminate odors while introducing scent to your home are effusion lampes. These are usually glass and look like large perfume bottles with ornate metal tops. You pour a special type of oil into the effusion lampe, let it soak into the wick that is attached to a stone, and then you light the stone and let it burn for a couple minutes. You then blow out the flame and place the decorative cap over the stone. The wick pulls the scented oil up into the heated stone and disperses the scent throughout your home. The literature I've seen for effusion lampes claims that they remove bacteria from the air, but I can't swear to that. I do know that they are the most effective means of removing odors from your home that I have ever seen and the scent lasts for days after you burn them.
The only drawbacks to effusion lampes are that they are a little pricey. The lampes themselves can be found online from specialty suppliers or usually at your favorite florist or upscale home decor store. They usually range from thirty to fifty dollars each for a basic one (which serves the purpose just fine) and upwards of a hundred dollars for fancier versions. The oils last quite a while, but they're usually about fifteen dollars or more per bottle. However, if you have serious odor problems or just want the best smelling house on the block, these are definitely the way to go.

Whatever your price range, you can find something to suit your needs. It begins, of course, with removing sources of bad smells. After that, light a candle, spray the room or splurge on an effusion lampe. Whatever option you choose you'll have a fresher, cleaner smelling house and your nose will thank you.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Personal Space

Those who have the luxury of living alone know the comfort and joy of personal space. Those of us who share our homes with roommates, family or significant others know what a struggle it can be to find and maintain personal space. For the sake of sanity and even saving relationships, it is vital that each member of the household have a personal space to call his or her own.

No matter how small the home, each person should be able to have their own piece of it that belongs solely to him or her. Think of tweens and teens with the "keep out" signs posted on their bedroom doors and you have the idea. The space, however, doesn't even have to be an entire room.

If you are fortunate enough to have a home that offers an entire room for each person that can be off limits to everyone else, that's great. If, however, you're like most people these days and have limited space available, you can still make it work.

A person's space can be as small as a corner desk that no one else uses. The key is that it "belongs" only to one person and the other members of the household respect that fact by not using it. Everyone needs a place they can lay a piece of mail or a set of keys and know without a doubt that the item will be right where they left it because nobody else "messes with their stuff" in that particular part of the home. It gives us a sense of control and ownership that we tend to lose when living with others and can keep down tension. 

Most of us have shared work spaces in our professional lives and know that you can't count on the stapler being where you put it last because someone came along behind you and put it somewhere else. We don't need these little frustrations at home and having our own personal space helps make sure we don't. 

The bottom line is that we all need personal space, no matter how big or small. Start looking around your home and scoping out a room or a corner that you can claim so you can live a little happier and get along a lot better with your housemates.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Consider a Pull-Up Christmas Tree

While searching for artwork to add to the post on tips for selecting an artificial Christmas tree, I ran across several pull-up Christmas trees. I have to admit that I had seen these in the past and basically written them off because the old-school versions were usually sparse and rather tacky looking. However, seeing pictures of some of the new ones out today, I have to admit I am impressed.

If you have limited space, you might want to consider one of these pull-up Christmas trees. They would also be great for anyone who can't or just doesn't want to put up with the hassle of putting together a Christmas tree. The ones I have seen have been at least pre-lit and, often, pre-decorated, making them quick and easy. All fold nearly flat for easy storage without taking up a lot of space.

The only concern I would personally have as far as purchasing one of these pull-up Christmas trees is just how "full" it would look. When I zoomed in closely on one picture I could see through the tree to the wire frame beneath. Make sure that you take a close look and get one that isn't going to look too much like, well, a pull-up Christmas tree.

All in all, if you're short on space, time or patience, one of these pull-up Christmas trees might be worth considering. Happy holidays!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

A Buyer's Guide to Artificial Christmas Trees

The variety of artificial Christmas trees available can be overwhelming, but by keeping a few guidelines in mind you can wind up with an artificial xmas tree that is the envy of everyone on the block. With so many different types available, including commercial trees, pre-lit or unlit and many more, finding the right artificial Christmas tree can be much easier than you may think.

  • Fire safety
     
  • Number of tips
     
  • Size, style, color
     
  • Ease of assembly and storage

Most artificial Christmas trees are fire safe, but it's always best to double check. If the tree is pre-lit or fiber optic, be sure it is also Underwriter's Laboratory (UL) approved. Flame retardant does not mean the same thing as fireproof. There are some excellent holiday safety tips for both real and artificial Christmas trees on the National Fire Protection Association's (NFPA) website at http://www.nfpa.org.
The higher the number of tips an artificial Christmas tree has, the fuller and more lush it will look. Avoid trees with a low number of tips unless you want a sparse look.

You want the color and style of your artificial tree to coordinate with the overall Christmas scene. For more traditional decorations, choose a more traditionally styled tree. For a more modern look, opt for a tree that is perhaps less realistic and more stylized such as the metallics. Size is one of the biggest considerations. Artificial Christmas trees range in size from tiny to towering. What you choose will depend mostly on the dimensions of the room in which you are going to display the tree.

Consider how much time you want to spend putting your tree together. There are varieties that have to be put together branch by branch. There are also full size Christmas trees that come in sections and even those that are ready to go right out of the box.

Don't forget that Christmas will be over at some point and you will be faced with storing your artificial Christmas tree. Do you have enough space to store the 12 footer you've had your eye on after the holidays? If not, you may need to opt for a scaled down version.

You've hung your stockings by the chimney with care, put out the Nativity scene and lit your candles. Now all that's left is to finish adding your favorite ornaments and place the star on top. Then enjoy some milk and cookies and bask in the warm holiday glow of your perfect artificial Christmas tree. Just make sure you save some for Santa Clause to snack on while he's leaving gifts under that beautiful tree, and have a very merry Christmas!