Archive for November, 2011


Eco-Friendly Decorating Ideas for Your Bedroom

By Maria Paulia Belgado

In the last few years, people have been concerned about the state of the environment – from global warming, to deforestation and saving endangered species, it seems every has “green” on their mind. So many things have “gone green,” from business practices, to the moving industry to fashion and even home decorating. Our homes are the best place to start if we want to be environmentally-friendly (as well as teaching our kids to be.) Of course, it’s not just about being chic and in-style, but you may find that keeping toxic materials and chemicals out of your home can do a lot more for your health. With these bedroom decorating tips, you’ll find that it can be easy to be green.

Clear the Air, Save Some Cash.
The quality of air in your bedroom is important; after all, you breathe it in and out for at least 8 hours per day. You can install from filters and air purifiers, but you don’t need to spend that much. One great way to clear the air is to install fans in your bedroom. These will not only save on your power bill, but also ensure that your air keeps flowing and doesn’t get stagnant. Also, get some lighter curtains that can allow the sun to stream in – sunshine is the best bacteria killer and will also prevent molds and mildew from accumulating in dark, damp bedrooms.

Green Your Bed.
The mattress is the most important part of your bedroom – make sure it’s not harming you and the environment. Many conventional mattresses contain toxic chemicals and contains polyurethane foam which is bad for the environment. Instead, choose organic mattresses, usually made of wool, cotton or latex which are all farmed organically. These are durable materials and provide the same comfort as regular mattresses, so there’s no need to sacrifice quality for eco-friendliness.

Don’t Forget Your Bedding.
Next, you can get some organic beddings, as well. Organic cloth made from cotton or bamboo are the best, as these are not treated with formaldehyde to make them soft. Cotton plantations use about a third of the world’s pesticides, so buying organic cotton, made without any chemicals will make a big difference. Bamboo, on the other hand, is a fast-growing, renewable resource. Of course, when you decide to go green and replace your old bedding, make sure you recycle them, whether that means turning them into something useful like pillow covers or rags, or donating them to a shelter.


Tips for Saving on Renters Insurance

This post was provided by the Austin Real Estate experts at Realty Austin.

Whether you rent an apartment, home, or condo, renter’s insurance is essential to protecting yourself and your belongings. Though there is uniformity across most insurance policy pricing, you can still find several ways to save money. Here are some easy tips for saving on your renter’s insurance.

The first step is to visit an insurance comparison website. This way, you will know which companies offer the cheapest insurance. There are numerous insurance comparison websites where you can get and compare insurance rates from well-known companies.

Another way to save on your insurance is to buy your renters and auto insurance from the same company. This can save you up to 15% on your yearly premium. Most of these companies offer discounts if you subscribe to their insurance packages.

A third way to save is to pay for insurance a full year in advance. You can usually save about $20 if you pay for your insurance once a year instead of monthly. This also applies to other types of insurance.

If you are a senior citizen, then there’s additional discount benefit in your renter’s insurance. Most companies offer a minimum 10% discount for seniors. Many companies also offer a discount for non-smokers. Smoking is the most common cause of residential fire-related deaths. Quitting smoking will benefit both your insurance premiums and your health.

Your renter’s insurance policy will give you peace of mind in knowing that home is protected. Take the time to estimate the value of everything you own and make sure you are covered for at least that amount. It is essential that you do your homework and research your options before making a decision. Finally, make sure that you review your policy every year. Any significant changes to the value of your home or possessions should be reported to your insurance provider.

Keep in mind that you can save money by simply having insurance. We cannot avoid accidents all the time, but at least we can be covered in the case of an emergency.


Decor Tips: How to Decorate Your Small Space

Follow our tips to brighten up and decorate your small space

With small apartments or homes, decorating your small space can be a challenge. Since your home is a reflection of your personality you want it to be warm and open showcasing your interests in music, art and culture.

Keep it natural. For small spaces, you will need maximum openings to help with natural light. Make sure your blinds and curtains do not block any artificial and natural sources of light; doing so will make your room look dry and cramped. Avoid using heavy and dark window curtain as they reduce the visual area of your room. Make sure you use clear or light colored glasses for your windows. Arrange your furniture such that it doesn’t block light. Sparkling clean windows will add more volume to your room.

Huge and block-like furniture pieces will your small rooms look even smaller. Try placing light and informal furniture pieces that make your small room stylish. Do not place your chairs or sofas in front of your windows. Placing furniture in front of your windows reduce the length of your small spaces.  Low profile furniture pieces are best suited for small spaces. Make sure you add furniture which is comfortable and keeps free space in your room.

Monochromatic color schemes are best suited for small spaces. This means you should use different shades of the same color. This trick works best when you use a neutral color, like white, along with it. Using variations of a single shade make small spaces look larger, open and not cluttered. You may also consider adding exciting textures.

Even of your space is small, it should be converted such that it has enough place for everyone. There is potential in all small spaces to be converted into stylish areas. Even if your space is small, there are corners which can be used effectively. Add reading lamps or slender hall lamps to brighten up those corners. You can easily give volume to your small space by highlighting your dark corners. Setting slim and tall hall lamps will also throw light to your ceiling and make the entire room glow.

Keep your floor area clear. Using up floor space will reduce the area of your room. Adding shelves and wall racks will make your small space attractive and also provide better storage options. There are several kinds of materials which can used to create decorative shelves.

Your space should also be free of clutter. A cluttered space feels not only disorganized, but cramped as well. If you want to project more volume in your small spaces, art and accents should be sparingly used. Adding few favorite accents will do the needful. You may also shuffle your accessories to change the look of your small spaces. While adding paintings, make sure you add the ones which are rectangular and sleek. Don’t cover all your walls with paintings; there must be enough space between two paintings, and it will make it look less cluttered.

Decorating your small space doesn’t have to be difficult. Using a little creativity and imagination can transform your small spaces into livable and wonderful areas.


Decorating Tips for Thanksgiving

Check out some of our Thanksgiving decor ideas to spruce up your home for the big feast!

By Maria Paulia Belgado
Special to

It’s almost that time of the year – Thanksgiving! Everyone’s looking forward to the feast – the turkey with trimmings, stuffing, green beans, sweet potatoes and pumpkin pie. So you’re pulling out all the stops to get the dinner ready and sparing no expense. But, have you thought about your Thanksgiving décor? You want your guests to feel the spirit of the holiday, so you’ll have to get your home worthy of your amazing turkey feast, with these simple Thanksgiving decorating ideas.

Outside the Home:
First off, welcome your guests in style even before they enter your house. Make sure your lawn is clean and neat by raking all of those fallen leaves. If you have a porch, you can decorate your home with some large pumpkins, gourds or Indian corn in strategic corners, or you can use them to line the walkway to your front door. On your front door, hang a nice autumn wreath. You can get a pre-made one or do it yourself. Take some twigs and branches and form it into a circle; use zip ties or twine to hold it together. Decorate with leaves, pinecones, mini-pumpkins and other fall items. This will make a nice addition to your door.

The Living Room:
The living room is where you’ll be entertaining your guests before you sit down to dinner. It’s easy to decorate your living room by just adding splashes of color here and there. You can put some fall color throws on your couch, and some pillow as well. Place some more pumpkins, gourds and corn on your coffee table, arranges artistically to make a nice display. If you have a fireplace, make sure the fire is going when your first guests arrive. Also, serve hot chocolate or warm apple cider while they are waiting. Here’s another great tip – on one corner, put up a poster (you can have the kids help design it) where people can write down what they are thankful for. It will make a nice souvenir to keep, and a great tradition to start each year.

The Dining Room:
Of course, the dining room is where all the action will take place. You’ve worked hard on your feast, so make sure it has a fabulous stage. Take out your best china and silverware since it is a special occasion. Again, the gourds, corn and pumpkins can be placed in the middle, or you can use other fall favorites like apples, maple leaves, and dried flowers. Add a few candles as well, to bring a romantic mood. However, if you want something a little more elaborate, you can have cornucopia, the most traditional of all Thanksgiving decorations, that signifies a bountiful harvest. You can make it out of paper plates or buy pre-made ones, and it makes a beautiful symbolic centerpiece for Thanksgiving.

With a little creativity and some time, you will be able to make your home a beautiful backdrop to accompany your fantastic Thanksgiving feast.


Closet Organizing Tips

Is your closet a mess? Check out these tips to help you get organized!


Storage can be small to almost non-existent in a small apartment. Your closet, whether it is used for clothes or other things, is mean to keep things in place and out of sight in order to keep your room clutter free. However, most people just pile their things into a closet, without thought of what it looks like. It is important to keep the inside of your closet neat as well. You’ll be able to keep your things neat and clean, as well as maximize your space so you can fit more inside. Here are a few tips so you can get started on getting your closet organized.

1) Clear it out.
If your closet is so full you can barely close it, then it’s time to get rid of some things. The easiest way is to start emptying your closet and placing things in piles or boxes – those things you should keep and things you should give away. Be impartial and practical when you decide on what to keep and get rid of. If you haven’t worn it in a year, chances are you’ll never wear it again. If you’re waiting to lose those 10 pounds to fit into your old jeans – don’t! Give it away and buy new, slimmer jeans if (or when) you do lose that extra weight.

2) Use every inch of your closet.
Are you using every available bit of space inside your closet? Shelving is important to make use of vertical space, and if you don’t have any built it, you can easily find stacking shelves that you can place inside so you can fit more items in. Look as every nook and cranny to find ways to add more storage. How about the closet doors? You can attach hooks to your closet door and hang shoes, scarves, belts, ties and bags.

3) Organize visually.
Use your eyes to organize. What does this mean? First, you should keep the things you need often at eye level, so you can easily get to them without disturbing the closet’s organization. Next, organize things by color. That way, if you’re looking for a particular red shirt or yellow dress, your eyes will be drawn to that particular corner of your closet and you can quickly get to it. The same can be said of organizing shoes. Keep them in clear boxes so you know what’s inside, or else, take a photo and place it outside the box so you know which is which.

With these organizational tips, you can easily maximize your closet space and keep your things in order. With a neater and orderly closet, you’ll be able to access the things you need easily and keep you space from being cluttered, which may also make moving that much easier.