Transforming Your Bedroom into a Retreat

These days many people are turning their bedroom into something more than just the place they head to collapse on a pillow and close their eyes for several hours of rest before facing the world again.

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The idea is to transform a mere bedroom into a retreat, a multi-functional room that enables you to spend your downtime doing things like listening to music, exercising, watching television, conversing with your significant other, or yes, even sleeping!

So… where to begin?

Whatever changes you intend to make, your bed remains the essential piece of furniture in the room.  If it’s already providing you with a great night’s sleep, there’s no reason to make any significant change there.  But if it isn’t, consider anything from a small alteration such as rearranging its position in the room, to replacing your mattress, to getting a new bed altogether.

If you are a morning person, having a bed that faces the window is a great way to greet the day.  If you’re more of a night owl, you may find you sleep better if your bed faces a wall with muted tones.

Next, evaluate your lighting options.  If you’ve been getting by with nothing but harsh overhead fixtures, explore more subtle arrangements such as recessed lighting, which lends itself to a more restful atmosphere, side lamps for task lighting, or at least installing a dimmer for those bright overhead bulbs.

Resist the temptation to over-decorate. Too many knickknacks, too many paintings or other wall decorations–even a busy wallpaper pattern—can impede restfulness.  Interior design experts recommend soothing paint and fabric colors.  Moss greens, tans and blues, for example, lend themselves to a more relaxed atmosphere.

Maximize your comfort.  Maybe it’s time to upgrade those sheets and pillowcases to a higher threadcount.  Invest in a luxurious comforter and thick pillows to pamper yourself.

What other things would add to your happiness and your sense of having a restful oasis?  How about a cushioned window seat?  A sitting area with a recliner and a side table where you can enjoy a good book?  How about an alcove with a coffee maker, separate from the one in your kitchen, to save a few steps when you want a hot beverage?

Perhaps your budget allows you to dream big.  If that’s the case, would installing a wet bar or even a fireplace give you added satisfaction?

Experts advise you to be wary when it comes to installing electronics.  Many people like to relax by watching television, but a large screen TV can too easily become the dominate feature of the room.  If you want one, install it in a cabinet so that it can be hidden away when it’s not in use.  Be mindful of the fact that while having your phone, your tablet or your laptop nearby may be convenient, each of these also conspires to stimulate the senses rather than soothing them.  Keep your electronics on hand if you must, but out of sight in a drawer or in the same cabinet that houses the television.  It’s just too tempting to reach for them every few minutes otherwise.

One final element to take into consideration:  our sense of smell is a powerful trigger, easily impacting our moods.  Potpourri, delicate incense or oil or fresh flowers may be the crowning touch to make your bedroom retreat the ideal escape from the rest of the world.

Turning your bedroom into a retreat may be as simple as rearranging a few pieces of furniture, but if it’s a larger scale project you have in mind, your local Handyman Matters office is standing by to make the transformation as quick, easy and painless as possible.

INSOMNIA-PROOFING YOUR BEDROOM

There are any number of reasons why you might experience sleepless nights, and more than a few of them can relate to your sleeping quarters.  Sometimes the cure to your insomnia can be found in examining the layout of your bedroom.  Here are some things to consider:

Sleep experts agree that keeping a room as dark as possible helps to promote a good night’s rest.   Are your furnishings, decorations, window treatments or wall colors preventing you from sleeping as well as you might?  It might be time to consider redecorating in hues of darker blue, purple, or maybe even black.

Are lighter-colored drapes or blinds allowing too much outdoor ambient light into the room?  Consider heavier or double curtains, or shades/blinds that are better light-blockers.

Are you sleeping on a twenty year-old mattress that has outlived its usefulness?  Even just your well-worn pillow can be preventing that restful night’s sleep.   Begin by changing out your pillows for new ones, to see if that simple change can provide the cure you seek.   A heavier, high quality set of pillows may make a huge difference in the type of sleep you get.  Try this before investing the money in a new mattress or bed; then, if the problem persists, consider making the larger purchase.

Pay attention to the temperature.  Try experimenting by adjusting the thermostat up or down a few degrees from night to night.  Perhaps a slightly warmer or cooler room will be more conducive to your rest.

It’s actually possible for the clutter in your bedroom to make a difference, as well.  It could be overt—the “busy-ness” of your knickknacks and decorations can inhibit your sleep.  Or it might be a little more subtle.  Are you falling asleep each night staring at stacks of things you’ve been planning to move, clean or rearrange?    Your brain carries these thoughts into your sleep, impacting it in all kinds of negative ways.

Some people sleep better when things are absolutely still.  Others do better with some sort of ambient noise—perhaps soft music or the sound of a fan.  Do some experimentation, if you aren’t sure which works best for you.  If light seeping under the door or the sounds of other occupants moving around in your home creates distraction, take steps to layer your walls and windows to provide better insulation.  This can be done with additional plaster or “popcorn” texture.  If soft noise provides a more soothing environment for you, look into purchasing a white noise machine or a small fountain that trickles water over stones.

These are but a few of the possibilities that may open up a whole new night’s rest for you.  Some are more easily tackled than others, of course.  In any event, Handyman Matters stands ready to assist with any sort of bedroom renovation, whether it’s to help you track that elusive better night’s sleep, or to do an extensive remodel when you are ready to change things up a bit.  Our expert craftsmen can provide both consultation and expertise for every kind of job, big or small.  Contact them at 1(800)FIX-MY-HOME or by entering your zip code on our website.

Preparing Your Guest Room For The Holidays

Ikea Trundle BedOne guest room with a queen sized bed is great, but depending on the number of you out-of-town guests you may need more of a resort. So how do you make the most out of the typical single guest room? Instead of turning away company, let’s explore some potential solutions!

Beds

More is always better when it comes to beds.  While bunk beds make most of us cringe, these space savers are not just for kids. Most modern furniture stores carry some take on the buck bed, often renamed as the “lofted bed”. For the best results, shoot for a queen on bottom and the twin as the loft.

Another option is trundle beds. These save space, pulling out the extra bed only when necessary.

Or, if there’s space for a lounge area, consider pairing a bed with a pull out couch.

Storage

The nice thing about guest rooms is that the available storage requires far less organization. If you are pressed for space, don’t worry about putting a dresser in this room, as it will likely be unused.

Instead, focus on the hotel basics. Make sure there are nightstands, a closet or wardrobe to hang up nicer items, and a surface to place luggage at waist level.

Amenities

While the furniture in an extra room can be fairly sparse, amenities should not. Store extra blankets, bedding, towels, and water cups in a convenient, noticeable place.

floor length mirror

Make sure you have at least one mirror, and that one of the mirrors is floor length, so guests can get dressed without stress. For those of you looking to go above and beyond, lay out extra tooth brushes, toothpaste and floss, and leave a phone charger in case the guest forgot.

Repairs

Finally, there’s no excuse for cold or drafty guest rooms. Take a nap or read a book in the guest bed. Make sure you’re in there for an extended period of time in the evening so you can inspect the temperature. If you do find that the heat is a little uneven, no need to panic. You can bite the bullet and repair your heating systems or windows, but there are also affordable alternatives. Buy a space heater, hang heavier curtains, or supply extra cozy items (slippers, socks, blankets).

Building new beds, making repairs, or finding solutions can be very time consuming. If you are pressed for time this holiday season, let Handyman Matters take care of your to do list. For a free estimate, give us a call, 866-FIX-MY-HOME!

5 Simple DIY Home Maintenance Tips

Home Repair

Here are a few suggestions that even the most inexperienced DIY-ers can feel comfortable tackling around your home.

  • 1.  Sluggish/Clogged Shower heads – Hard water can be a shower head’s worst enemy, since its mineral content will build up inside and impede water flow.  You can partially fill a sturdy plastic bag with vinegar and wrap it around the bathroom shower head.  Take pains to secure it with duct tape or twine and leave it overnight.  The vinegar will significantly clean out the deposits, and you will have a much better water flow.
  • 2.  Water Stains on the Ceiling – If your ceiling has just one or two minor water stains, you may be able to avoid re-painting the entire thing by trying this simple method.  Fill a spray bottle with a solution containing 10% bleach and 90% water and spray the spots.  Within a couple of days the stain will likely disappear.  This works on both flat and textured surfaces.  Note:  Be sure to wear protective eye gear when trying this!
  • 3.  Sticking Vinyl Windows and Doors – When sliding vinyl windows and doors refuse to open and close easily, it’s likely because debris has become lodged in the channels.  A simple solution is to spray polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) spray lubricant onto the contact points and then wipe them out with a rag.  PTFE is the same substance used in coating non-stick cookware.  This Teflon spray product can be purchased in any home improvement store or even online.  Caution:  Do not use oil lubricants, since they can attract dirt, as well as damaging the vinyl surface.
  • 4.  Filling Old Nail and Screw Holes – An old tip for repairing these holes, courtesy of Popular Mechanics, is to pop a wooden golf tee into the opening.  Then saw the tee flush with the wood’s surface, sand and finish.
  • 5.  Removing Toilet Bowl Stains –Once again, vinegar comes to the rescue.  Create a paste by mixing vinegar with baking soda and apply it to the stains in the toilet.  Allow the solution to set for an hour or longer, then scrub with a brush, and the stain should lift away.  Because it’s biodegradable, the vinegar and baking soda combination is also environmentally friendly.

Not all home repair and restoration projects can be managed as easily or as quickly as these.  For the more extensive and challenging tasks that need to be addressed, remember that you can always count on Handyman Matters.  Call 1(800)FIX-MY-HOME to locate the handyman nearest you.

Ideas For Your Master Bedroom Renovation Or Update

    

The master bedroom, the best room in the house, just for you, and full of amenities – or at least, it should be.  If you haven’t yet taken advantage of the term “master bedroom” now’s your chance.  Even with the simplest update, you can turn your bedroom into the cozy haven it was meant to be. Here are our tips for updating your master bedroom…

    • Ceiling Fan – White noise… A cool breeze… what’s better for sleeping than those two things?  Disguise the fans in your home by installing ceiling fans.
    • Closet Built-ins – Sometimes organizers aren’t worth the fuss.  Don’t lose crates to the back of your closet, or overfill flimsy, stackable shelves.  Whether your closet is on the smaller side or is a walk in, creating a built-in interior will help add structure and visibility to your organization plan.
  • TV Built-ins – While having a TV in the master bedroom is a wonderful amenity, it shouldn’t be the room’s focus.  Tuck your TV out of the way when it’s not in use by having a cabinet to store it in.  Built-ins can not only hide your television, but can also act as secondary storage, providing shelving and drawers for books, seasonal clothing, or your favorite tchotchkes.
  • Bathtub Upgrade – It’s the simple things – like jets in your bathtub – that can improve your mood, your bathroom, and even your day.  Relax after work in a bathtub fitting of a master bedroom.
  • Lighting Installations – Even though it may not seem like it, lighting can drastically effect how a room is perceived.  Harsh, overhead lighting, or yellow-y bulbs can strain your eyes.  In a room made for comfort, make sure your wattage and positioning reflects that.  Have multiple lights at various levels, this will help even out brightness of your room.  Each main surface in a bedroom should have a light, and provide extra watts to the places where you get ready the most or the places where you read at night.

Not feeling that DIY? Let us take care it for you!  Handyman Matters specializes in master bedroom renovations.  Give us a call today to get started on your free estimate – 866-FIX-MY-HOME.

Space Saving Tips in Children’s Bedrooms

Small bedrooms often pose a problem. After all, we all need to have somewhere to sleep and somewhere to store clothes and, in the case of a child, somewhere to play. The most obvious space saving tip would really to install bunk beds – but then the wise parent will start think about the safety aspects of a young child climbing a ladder or even sleeping on the top bunk. Many of the newer bunk bed designs nowadays have done away with the ladder and incorporated cube-shaped climbing blocks which are certainly more stable. The other popular idea is the twin bunk bed, whereby the lower bunk extends beyond the upper side of the top bunk. This is great with older children and for teenagers for whom it has proved particularly popular – especially for the slumber party!

There is a plethora of other space saving beds on the market: one of the best space saving tips for kids in a small bedroom is the folding bed that folds completely flat up against a wall when not in use. When folded, it only protrudes slightly into the room, leaving the whole room as available floor-space. There are some limitations associated with this option, however:  Most of these designs are costly, and the wall to which it must be attached should be particularly solid. However, if all the criteria are right, and you can afford it, this option for kids in a small bedroom is absolutely perfect.

One of the more important aspects of any kids room is storage which, in a small bedroom is even more essential. This is where the concept of the integral stairway to the top bunk comes into its own. The manufacturers recognize the necessity of this and have incorporated drawers specifically designed to fit beneath these stairs. It’s a great place to store small toys.

While there are many variations on adequate storage solutions and space-saving beds, overall space saving tips for kids in a small bedroom tends to boil down to devising a suitable sleeping arrangement that doesn’t take up too much space and provides sufficient storage solutions to prevents the accumulation of clutter. Get those two solutions correct, and you have cracked it!

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Neutral Color Palettes for your Home

 Whites, grays, creams, beige and brown are all timeless neutral colors used extensively as home paints. Over the years, these neutral colors have evolved and their modern avatars include olive green, jade, lilac, cool silver, organic grays, soft yellows and so on. Browns are considered ‘near-neutral’ colors.

Neutral palettes are a good base while giving your home a paint make-over for a classy, soothing, elegant ambience. The correct neutral colors go with everything, giving a beautiful canvas to work upon, making it possible to create extremely chic, versatile rooms. They can be spruced up with colorful accessories and are easy to match with furniture.

Keep in mind the following points when you opt for a neutral color palette:

• There has to be sufficient contrast so that the whole neutral look does not end up looking boring.

• A neutral color combination might look lifeless if the room does not have access to good natural light.

• Curtains, window draperies, slipcovers and pillows should all be in sync with the neutral theme.

• The undertones or second shades associated with neutral colors are gold, peach, tan, yellow etc.

A subtle neutral color palette is both an end in itself or provides an ideal backdrop for bold statements. They never go out of fashion and blend easily with the surroundings.

Subtle, neutral colors provide an excellent backdrop for walls and ceilings. White is the perfect backdrop for bold artwork and contemporary furniture. Colors look great against a background of white. Inject a bit of color by painting the doors and window frames in a contrasting color to enhance the white on the walls. Whites also contrast well with rich, dark furniture colors. Even off-white can convey a feel of richness and depth.

To give your home a warm, comfortable rustic feel, use dark neutral shades of brown, rust and black. While opting for browns and greens, choose a lighter or softer shade of these colors that have a touch of earth tone in them, for instance a more faded or antique olive green.

Gray is a neutral color that will work on the walls in most any decorating scheme. Even the palest shades of gray will shimmer when sunlight enters the room and give off a warm glow when offset with undertones of white or cream. Gray is associated with sophistication, offering opportunities to decorate in black and white.

As a standalone option, beige might look drab and uninspiring but it provides numerous options in terms of furnishings and decorative accents. When using beige, add a tinge of lighter or darker neutrals to make the room look lively.

Neutrals offer a comfortable alternative to jarring bright colors. They create a fabulous background for other colors to dominate. Neutral hues make hallways and other small areas appear more spacious than they really are; they are a good choice for living areas because they go with any color of furnishings. But remember to have small accents of color to break the monotony of a completely neutral pallet.

If you intend to sell your house in the future, then it’s better to opt for neutral colors for better resale value as you will find most prospective buyers prefer a neutral palette.

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Home Decorating on a Budget

As the seasons change, many times your local thrift and consignment stores will have a change in inventory.  These can be great resources for decorating supplies, furnishings, accessories, paint, wallpaper, and fabrics. But before you go shopping, make a plan that incorporates items you already have into your decorating task. The best strategy in budget decorating is to always inventory and use what you have on hand before buying decorating supplies. Be sure to check out the garage, attic, and/or basement for useful materials or furnishings that can be recycled into a new decor.

Shop in your own home first! Consider moving items from one space to another. Sometimes pulling items from one room to another and simply re-organizing, fixing up, or just using an item in a different way can be enough to jazz up a room. Add a fresh coat of paint, different window dressings and rearrangement of furnishings, and you have transformed a room.

Need some paint? If you can be flexible about color, check the mis-mixed table at your local home improvement, hardware, or paint stores. You can find high quality paints for a fraction of the original retail cost when colors don’t turn out exactly as they should have. Sometimes you can find a slight variation of just the color you’ve already picked that will work just as well with your selected color scheme and save you lots of money.

Collecting fabrics for future use is also another great idea. Even unwanted clothing can be used to create small window dressings, pillow covers, and accessories. Many people give away scraps of fabrics or sell them at yard sales. Be sure to check clearance and end piece items at sewing and fabric shops.

Before you make your plans, check out several books at the library on home decorating. You will find no shortage of books on the subject. Glance through them and grab ideas to incorporate into your own decorating task. If you have a specific challenge to overcome, it’s likely that someone else has already encountered it, conquered it, and written a book or web page about it. Use their knowledge! It will save you time and frustration of figuring it out.

Make your own accessories. Learn to make swags and wreaths. Swags and wreaths bring texture and color into a space and can be fairly simple to create. A simple how-to book is all you need to create a few decorative pieces. Wreaths can easily be adapted to suit any theme or color scheme.

Don’t over-accessorize. If you have collections, group them together for the best displays. Your trinkets and treasures will look less like clutter and more like valued collections.

So, before opening your pocketbook to big-purchase items, look a little closer to home for decorating ideas that can give your house an entirely new look and feel!

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How To Boost Your Home’s Resale Value

There are a handful of inexpensive renovation ideas you can utilize to increase your home’s resale value.

Homebuyers are looking for kitchens that immediately appear spacious, in good repair, and have the necessary furnishings.  Add to the room’s cheery appeal by installing lights to make it look brighter, or increase the wattage of the bulbs in the fixtures already in use.  Remove countertop clutter, and especially remove items that sit on windowsills or in any impede the flow of natural light into the room.  Make sure that counter and tabletops are clean and in good repair.  If the budget will allow, a quick and remarkable fix is to replace current flooring with stone or tile.

Likewise, make sure your living room is also airy and embracing.  Re-paint dark surfaces with something lighter.  You may not be able to afford new furnishings or carpeting, but the addition of a lamp or two that brightly illuminates the room will add boundless appeal.

Don’t overlook the yard and garden.  Keep bushes trimmed, sidewalks clear and in good repair, and gardens—even in winter—tidy and free of leaves, needles and other things that could give the exterior an unkempt appearance.

In bedrooms (and other rooms, as well), mirrors are a quick and cheap “fix” to add to a sense of spaciousness.  There’s a reason that five-star hotel rooms always have generous-sized mirrors—it gives the rooms the impression of being larger than they are.

Are there enough electrical outlets in each room?  Consider adding more if all are currently in use, or located in inconvenient spots.

Current studies show that potential home buyers react favorably to natural materials such as stone, marble and quality wood.  These add a feeling of cleanliness, as well as a modern touch.

Use fluorescent rather than incandescent lighting in bathrooms to provide a lighter feel.  Modern towel holders, racks and shower curtains also work wonders for giving bathrooms an up-to-date feel.

You want your home to stand out from any other homes also for sale in the vicinity, yet at the same time, you don’t want your place looking so vastly different as to seem out of place.

The key things to remember for boosting your home’s appeal are these:  Spaciousness, cleanliness and a sense of light.  If these are your watchwords, then you are well on the path to creating an inviting and attractive environment.

Making a Case for Aluminum Blinds

Many homeowners are turning to aluminum blinds when they remodel.  They provide durability and provide a special ambiance to any location.

Increasingly, aluminum blinds are manufactured with an eye towards color coordination and compatibility with all room styles.  They are available as vertical, Venetian and mini-blinds, and fit as well in a formal dining room as they do in the basement rec room.

They fall into the mid-price range, more expensive that vinyl, cheaper than wooden.  Aluminum blinds are energy efficient, resisting heat loss during cold seasons and providing necessary shade when the sun’s rays are at their strongest.  You can also custom order them for high UV absorption, and they provide a great sound barrier, as well.

The aluminum varieties can easily accommodate windows of all types:  Bay and corner windows and even arched or round ones.  They can be opened or closed the “old-fashioned way,” with a standard cord, or fitted with a battery operated tilt feature.  The motor is quiet but powerful, and with a remote, as many as six window shades can be manipulated with the press of a single button.

Color choices include solids, metallic and matte.   Blinds can be installed with or without toppers and valances, which leaves as much or as little of the window exposed as you prefer.  Whatever look you wish to achieve in a room, aluminum blinds will help you do it.

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