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
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!

How Your Home's Decor Reflects You

Your home's decor reflects you in a variety of ways and gives your visitors a great deal of information without a word. A stranger entering your home for the first time can quickly assess the type of person you are by taking note of how your home is decorated, including colors, style of decor and much more.

The colors you choose will be the first thing to give a glimpse into your psyche. Most people decorate using their favorite color or working around that color. Our favorite colors say a great deal about us. Color has it's own psychology and can create and convey strong moods and emotions. People who are bold, daring and passionate often favor red while people who are down-to-earth and basic tend to lean toward browns and other earth tones. Blues are often chosen by those who are calm and serene, or those who are trying to be.

The artwork you choose to display will also say a great deal about who you are and what's important to you. Abstracts? You have a complex mind and probably think a little too much, but are also a creative person. Fine art or oil paintings indicate that you appreciate the finer things in life and have expensive tastes. Family pictures, or the lack thereof can also speak volumes. People without family pictures are often loners and, obviously, don't have a lot of close ties. People who have a virtual scrapbook on theirs walls are more than likely very close to their families and are strong traditionalists.

While there are many tell-tale signs your home's decor gives about you, these are some of the first things visitors will notice. Take a look around and see what story your home is telling. Does it paint an accurate picture of who you are? If not, consider making some changes to make your home's decor a little more you.