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Image courtesy of Design Studio Soma Architekci.

Design Studio Soma Architekci completed the design and development of Koneser Apartment, a contemporary 78 square meter (840 square foot) crib located in Warsaw, Poland. The newly refurbished industrial-style apartment is part of a building that used to house a local vodka factory.

“The factory is an example of European architecture from the turn of the 19th century,” the designers explained. “The red brick, along with narrow windows, lovely cornices, small towers and arched ceilings make for an authentic atmosphere.” Consistency with the characteristics of the industrial building was the main factor to consider when designing this apartment.

Image courtesy of Design Studio Soma Architekci.

The heart of the space is an open plan kitchen, living and dining area, which features modern finishes, as well as industrial-style detailing. The kitchen’s brick wall was restored and currently acts as one of the focal points of the living area. Some of the furniture and lighting units feature black metal structures, which add to the industrial vibe of the Warsaw apartment. The lamp in the kitchen made up of strips of fiberglass was envisioned by French designer Constance Guisset.

Despite its industrial style, the apartment feels warm and welcoming thanks to decorative cushions, soft fabrics and rugs. Natural light fills up the entire space through large windows which pay tribute to the architecture of the historical building. Enjoy the virtual gallery below and let us know your thoughts! All photos and information were provided by Design Studio Soma Architekci.

Image courtesy of Design Studio Soma Architekci.

Image courtesy of Design Studio Soma Architekci.

Image courtesy of Design Studio Soma Architekci.

Image courtesy of Design Studio Soma Architekci.

Image courtesy of Design Studio Soma Architekci.

Image courtesy of Design Studio Soma Architekci.

Image courtesy of Design Studio Soma Architekci.

The post A Gracefully Rejuvenated Industrial-Style Apartment in Warsaw appeared first on Freshome.com.

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Choosing to live in a rental property offers a lot of freedom from repairs and maintenance. Typically, tenants are not responsible for tasks like cutting the grass and fixing plumbing problems. Perhaps that’s why more than 111 million Americans have chosen renting over home ownership, according to the National Multifamily Housing Council.

Renting provides convenience and independence, but there are limits to what you can do in a rental property. While specifics may vary from landlord to landlord, these are some of the general do’s and don’ts of renting a property.

Don’t go paint crazy

Be sure to get permission before taking on any painting projects. Image: CreativeStudio/Getty Images

“Tenants like to say, ‘I’m leaving the place better than I got it,’ and some tenants might think that blood-red accent wall they painted is much better,” says Diana Valin, CPM, owner/broker at The Rental Xperts in San Diego, CA.

However, Valin tells Freshome that this is rarely the case – at least, not from the owner’s perspective – unless the parties collaborated in advance. “The best rule of thumb for tenants wanting to change things up during their time in residence is to ask for permission – and get it in writing.”

However, you can paint your furniture and personal items. In fact, you’d be surprised what you can do with a can of spray paint.

Don’t let your green thumb go wild

Customizing landscaping elements may lead to problems with your landlord. Image: Sebastian Arning/EyeEm/Getty Images

While you may think of vegetable gardens or flower beds as a great use of space outside the property, it might actually cause more issues for your landlord down the road. Kristie Aylett of Ocean Springs, MS reached out to Freshome with a similar situation from her landlord friend. “The renter wanted to be reimbursed – or at least thanked – for building a tree fort in the backyard but didn’t realize the increased liability and insurance costs it presented to the homeowners.”

Valin adds: “We want [renters] to feel they can make the property their home, but if they want to customize anything during their tenancy, communicating what they want to do and getting written authorization to do it ahead of time is the key to staying out of trouble in the end.”

Don’t make major renovations

Consult with your landlord before major changes. Image: Hero Image/Getty Images

Valin says your rental agreement should also stipulate how improvements will be handled at move-out. “The owner that didn’t know you added ceiling fans in all of the bedrooms may be thrilled to find out that you improved his/her property but won’t necessarily want to reimburse you for the installation costs and purchase costs of the fans at move-out,” she warns. If you decide to take your fans with you at move-out, you’ll be responsible for patching/texturizing and re-painting the ceilings.

Cabinet hardware is the most likely avenue of customization and improvement and an easy way to show your creative side in the kitchen and bathroom. However, like anything, be sure to check with your landlord first.

Don’t use a hammer for all of your projects

Consider decorating ideas that won’t damage the walls. Image: chuckcollier/Getty Images

Most landlords will let you hang a few pictures, or curtains on decorative rods. Aside from that, it’s important to carefully consider any decorating idea that involves the use of a hammer. In other words, scratch those thoughts about mounting cabinets in the bathroom.

That’s not to say you can’t decorate in other ways. For example, consider applying stainless steel appliance covers to the dishwasher and refrigerator. These covers come in peel-and-stick or magnetic varieties and can instantly update and transform the space.

Do help to maintain the property

Maintaining the property requires some effort on your part. Image: Westend61/Getty Images

Your landlord is responsible for repairs, but you, as the tenant, are responsible for informing management when there’s something amiss in your unit. Whether it’s a leaky faucet or a broken stove knob, you need to report these problems as soon as possible. If a small problem becomes a large problem and it’s deemed a result of your negligence, you may be responsible for the repairs.

As far as household pests go, your landlord is responsible for pest control; nevertheless, you are accountable for keeping your unit clean so you won’t attract pests.

Do purchase renters insurance

Renter’s insurance protects your valuables. Image: Asbe/Getty Images

Your landlord is ultimately responsible for the property and your unit. However, you are responsible for your personal items, such as your furniture, clothes and electronic equipment. Additionally, if someone is injured in your apartment, you might be liable for medical and legal bills. Renters insurance is a wise investment because it protects you against these unforeseen circumstances over which your landlord has no control – which is why it’s often required by your landlord.

What other do’s and don’ts of renting have you discovered? Please let us know in the comments.

The post What You Should and Should Not Do When Renting appeared first on Freshome.com.

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If you were asked to list all the reasons why your partner is perfect for you, the result would probably be a fairly lengthy tabulation. That doesn’t mean your style preferences are going to align perfectly, though. Even your ideal partner might not have the same ideal living situation as you. But you both deserve to live in a space you love. So what do you do? Whether you’re moving in together for the first time or are finally ready to make some design compromises, we have some tips and tricks.

We polled our Freshome team to identify some different tactics you can both use. Our goal is to make it easier to design a space you both like even when your tastes don’t match. Here are our top four recommendations.

Opting for furniture with clean lines in neutral colors means you’ll choose timeless pieces – and pieces your partner is more likely to like. Image: Maginnis/Twenty20

Choose clean lines.

Look for pieces that come in natural materials, which are generally crowd pleasers, with clean lines. Clean lines don’t have to mean choosing something boring. They just mean you’re picking a piece that can integrate with a variety of different tastes. You’ll be doing yourself a favor, actually. These types of pieces have serious staying power. The Yukon Natural Coffee Table from Crate & Barrel is a prime example.

No matter how you and your partner’s tastes change through the years, furniture with clean lines will always be easy to integrate. Think similarly for your dining table, bookshelves and other furniture. You’ll be more likely to choose pieces both you and your partner will like, not just today but for years to come.

Another way to keep your space looking clean and appealing to people of varying tastes is to opt for mirrors as your artwork. When you and your partner have different tastes, choosing art can be a powderkeg. Mirrors are a great way to add visual interest to your space without having to feud over design. Plus, they’ll brighten up any room, making it feel larger.

A leather couch – like the Hamilton Leather Sofa – can serve as a neutral foundation, anchoring the room and balancing even the most eclectic tastes. Image: West Elm

Go neutral.

What a surprise. When you’re trying to choose pieces that will please people of different tastes, neutrals are best. Now, before you assume we’re telling you to whitewash your space and create something so conventional everyone’s grandma will love it, wait. Yes, neutrals are a great solution when trying to blend different tastes. But they don’t have to be boring. You can choose a neutral duvet, then layer on pillows and throws you like. It’s a whole lot easier to find smaller accent pieces both you and your partner will like. By going neutral for the larger, investment pieces, you set yourselves up with a foundation on which you can build.

If you’re moving in and looking for your first couch, remember that leather is a neutral. And, thanks to the sumptuous texture of this material, it can still be high-impact. A streamlined leather couch like the Hamilton Leather Sofa from West Elm can anchor your living space with a piece both of you like.

When it comes to your textiles, go neutral, too. Upon moving in, you might discover that color is divisive for you and your partner. You still want to give your space some visual interest, though, so look for texture. This Foil Diamonds Rug, also from West Elm, comes in a crowd-pleasing color but the varying depth of pile keeps it from looking too boring or conventional. The Fieldcrest Basketweave Linen Shower Curtain at Target relies on the texture of the weave, not the color, for its visual interest.

Lay your foundation with the classics – like hardwood floors and neutral walls – then add accent pieces to suit you and your partner’s tastes. Image: Oscar Wong/Getty Images

Follow the popular vote.

Whether you’re moving in together or have lived together for decades and are thinking about a reno, choosing fixtures and finishes can be a nightmare if your tastes don’t match. Fortunately, you have what’s popular to guide you. Choosing what most people love it not just a great way to end the debate and settle on something (finally!). It also boosts the mass appeal of your home. Not only does that mean more of your friends are likely to like it, but it also means greater resale value when you list your home.

Go to the stalwarts of good design like hardwood floors and stainless steel appliances. When you and your partner can’t agree on the bulk of your home design, popular taste can guide you. Again, as with neutrals, you can follow this guide for the foundational aspects of your home. Then, add accents that are easy to change out (and easier to agree on) to add your own personal flair.

Moody paint and airy light fixtures can live together in harmony if you give them space to play together. Image: Caiaimage/Robert Daly/Getty Images

Make space.

Compromise. If one of you chooses the coffee table, let the other choose the coffee table decor. And don’t do it begrudgingly, either. You might be surprised what you come to love as pieces gain sentimental value over time.

Speaking of those sentimental pieces, be open to creating room for them in your home. If both of you are the type to treasure items, pick out a few that you really love and want to feature prominently in your home. Put them all in one place and look at them as a grouping.

What do they have in common? Where can they best be used? Creating a cozy reading nook with grandma’s old chair could serve both of you. Making a display area on a bookshelf where you can put together an eclectic collection of things that speak to you – both together and separately – can create a conversation starter in your living area. Before you assume you hate everything your partner would pick for your house, be open. Finding that middle ground can create harmony in your home – and in your home design.

What are your tips and tricks for finding that sweet spot where both partners are happy with the way the house or apartment looks? Did you make any discoveries upon moving in together that you wish you’d known before? Share with us in the comments!

The post Moving In: When You and Your Partner’s Tastes Don’t Match, Start Here appeared first on Freshome.com.

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We hope you like the products we recommend. Just so you are aware, Freshome may collect a share of sales from the links on this page. 

Do you hate your apartment floors? What if we told you there is temporary flooring available that can cover (or completely change) your rental floors easily and without any complaints from your landlord?

We’re not talking area rugs, although they’re not a bad solution. We’re talking full-on floors that look fabulous, are easy to install and are just as easy to remove when you move out. Check out these four fast and fab temporary flooring ideas:

1. Carpet Tiles

Carpet tiles are easy to install and can be customized to any color or pattern combination of your choice. Image: Image: Worldwide/Shutterstock

Carpet tiles are the ultimate instant flooring makeover solution. They’re recyclable, making them eco-friendly, fairly inexpensive and very easy to install. Worried they may not be durable? Carpet tiles are used in hospitals, airports and other high-traffic locations around the world.

Order them in boxes according to how many you may need, cut them easily and stick them together with little adhesive dots for a cool and unique wall-to-wall look. Order extra so you can replace damaged ones in the future. And challenge your creative side by mixing and matching patterns and colors.

Check these out:




2. Vinyl Sheet Flooring

Vinyl sheeting is a great temporary flooring solution in kitchens and bathrooms. Image: appleyayee/Shutterstock

A quick and easy way to hide unsightly apartment floors is by rolling out a big sheet of vinyl flooring. You can use a removable adhesive or double-sided carpet tile to stick the flooring in place. Or simply anchor down the sheet with furniture. The best part of vinyl sheet flooring is that it’s waterproof and easy to wipe clean.

Check these out:




3. Interlocking Floor Tiles

Interlocking floor tiles don’t require adhesives. Image: Jo Ann Snover/Shutterstock

Interlocking tiles have come a long way from the colorful children’s playroom styles. They’re lightweight, quick and easy to snap together and require no adhesives. They also offer some cushioning and soundproofing as a bonus.

Check these out:


4. Laminate Flooring

This grey laminate wood flooring has a contemporary feel but can also work well in more traditional or farmhouse-style spaces. Image: united photo studio/Shutterstock

Laminate flooring is durable, authentic looking and easy to install as a floating floor. Look for click and lock laminate flooring as a temporary solution that doesn’t require nails or adhesives. For extra soundproofing, add a foam underlayment sheet underneath the laminate.

Check these out:


You can add any of these temporary flooring options to update your boring floor in nearly any room of your rental home or apartment. Be sure to measure carefully, order extra (just in case) and save your receipt to return any unused portion of the flooring.

The post 4 Fast, Fab and Temporary Flooring Ideas For Renters appeared first on Freshome.com.

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Decorating a rental can feel like a tedious task. On the one hand, you want to be able to create a space that feels like your own, no matter how long you intend to live there. On the other, you don’t want to get so into personalizing the space that you put your security deposit at risk.

With that in mind, we’ve laid out some temporary decorating ideas to help you along the way. Use these to achieve a homey look that can be taken down as soon as your lease is up.

Use area rugs to bring visual interest to the space. Image: Breadmaker/ Shutterstock

Invest in area rugs

Area rugs are great for livening up any living space, but they’re especially useful when it comes to rental situations. Put simply, they pack a big punch of visual interest but are just as easy to roll up and put away the moment your lease is done.

As far as how to pick out a good rug, in this case, aesthetics come first. If your rental is fairly basic when it comes to decor – we’re talking white walls and neutral flooring – you’re going to want to pick a rug that easily draws the eye.

Your next consideration is size. Unfortunately, rugs come in only a few standard sizes that you’ll need to work around. To help, here are some guidelines for you to keep in mind:

  • If you’re choosing a full room rug, remember to leave room for a border of flooring around all sides. 18 inches is considered the standard border measurement.
  • If your rug will be grounding a seating area, measure the length and width of the seating area in its current layout and buy the next size up.
  • If the rug is meant to highlight a piece of furniture like a dining table, make sure it’s big enough to extend beyond the piece with room on all sides. For a dining table, 24 inches is standard. However, it should be less if you’re working with a smaller piece, like a coffee table.
  • When in doubt, bigger is better. You can always hide excess rug under a piece of furniture, but a too-small rug will stick out like a sore thumb.

Temporary products like removable wallpaper can make a huge difference. Image: Photographee.eu/Shutterstock

Reconsider removable products

While you may be tempted to write off wall decals and the like as products for children, we’re here to urge you to reconsider. These days, removable wallpaper and similar applications are sleeker than ever before and they come in a range of modern patterns and hues.

With removable products, your biggest concern is the quality of the walls themselves. You want to look for smooth walls, without texture or pockmarks. Smoother walls will reduce your chances of getting air pockets under the product during installation and ending up with a bubbly look.

Layer lighting to complete the look of the space. Image: Photographee.eu/Shutterstock

Add your own lighting

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: having the proper lighting in place can totally change a room. Oftentimes, in rental scenarios, you start out with the bare minimum, like harsh overhead lighting that’s flattering to no one. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t round out the space and soften it up by adding lighting of your own.

Remember, dealing with lighting is all about creating layers. There are three different types of lighting that you can use to your advantage:

  • Ambient: Also known as general lighting, ambient light fills the majority of the room and allows you to move around safely. It usually comes from recessed lighting, track lighting or wall-mounted fixtures.
  • Accent: Accent lighting is used to highlight a particular focal point, such as a piece of wall art. Picture lights, wall-mounted-fixtures or track lighting are common, and dimmers are often used on these features to provide mood lighting.
  • Task: As the name suggests, task lights are used to assist you in completing a particular function. This could be anything from desk lamps to pendant lights that hang over a kitchen island.

Mounting ambient lighting to the walls may not be possible in a rental. However, a variety of task lights like floor and table lamps will certainly do the job.

et stylized surfaces round out your design. Image: Image: Photographee.eu/Shutterstock

Stylize your surfaces

Lastly, keep in mind that decor does not need to be hung on the walls in order to play a role in your home. Stylized surfaces like coffee tables, dining tables and shelving units go a long way towards making your rental feel like it allows your personality to shine through.

Effectively stylizing surfaces is all about creating groupings of accessories. They can match, like the place settings on the dining table in the picture above, or they can simply coordinate, like the items on the shelves.

When selecting items to go in your grouping, you want to ensure that they’re different enough to create visual interest while still having a common thread to tie them together.

The post These 4 Temporary Decorating Ideas Will Help You Keep Your Security Deposit Safe appeared first on Freshome.com.

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We hope you like the products we recommend. Just so you are aware, Freshome may collect a share of sales from the links on this page. 

Do you hate your apartment floors? What if we told you there is temporary flooring available that can cover (or completely change) your rental floors easily and without any complaints from your landlord?

We’re not talking area rugs, although they’re not a bad solution. We’re talking full-on floors that look fabulous, are easy to install and are just as easy to remove when you move out. Check out these four fast and fab temporary flooring ideas:

1. Carpet Tiles

The new Hollin Hills mid-century modern inspired carpet tiles by Flor add vintage-chic to any room.

Carpet tiles are the ultimate instant flooring makeover solution. They’re recyclable, making them eco-friendly, fairly inexpensive and very easy to install. Worried they may not be durable? Carpet tiles are used in hospitals, airports and other high-traffic locations around the world.

Order them in boxes according to how many you may need, cut them easily and stick them together with little adhesive dots for a cool and unique wall-to-wall look. Order extra so you can replace damaged ones in the future. And challenge your creative side by mixing and matching patterns and colors.

Check these out:




2. Vinyl Sheet Flooring

Vinyl sheeting is a great temporary flooring solution in kitchens and bathrooms. Filigree vinyl sheet flooring by Mannington.

A quick and easy way to hide unsightly apartment floors is by rolling out a big sheet of vinyl flooring. You can use a removable adhesive or double-sided carpet tile to stick the flooring in place. Or simply anchor down the sheet with furniture. The best part of vinyl sheet flooring is that it’s waterproof and easy to wipe clean.

Check these out:




3. Interlocking Floor Tiles

When a soft, forgiving surface is preferred, foam interlocking tiles are a good choice. Foam Woodgrain Interlocking Floor Mats at Amazon.

Interlocking tiles have come a long way from the colorful children’s playroom styles. They’re lightweight, quick and easy to snap together and require no adhesives. They also offer some cushioning and soundproofing as a bonus.

Check these out:


4. Laminate Flooring

The Augustus Smokey Gray Oak Laminate Flooring at Wayfair has a contemporary feel but can also work well in more traditional or farmhouse-style spaces.

Laminate flooring is durable, authentic looking and easy to install as a floating floor. Look for click and lock laminate flooring as a temporary solution that doesn’t require nails or adhesives. For extra soundproofing, add a foam underlayment sheet underneath the laminate.

Check these out:


You can add any of these temporary flooring options to update your boring floor in nearly any room of your rental home or apartment. Be sure to measure carefully, order extra (just in case) and save your receipt to return any unused portion of the flooring.

The post 4 Fast, Fab and Temporary Flooring Ideas For Renters appeared first on Freshome.com.

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The winter blues are real! They’re actually called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and, according to the Mayo Clinic, “Symptoms start in the fall and continue into the winter months, sapping your energy and making you feel moody.” Luckily, there’s a fix to SAD and it’s easy: light therapy.

Short winter days and bad weather tend to make your home feel much darker than normal. It’s important to adjust your lighting in the winter to replace the lack of natural sunshine. Here are eight winter lighting ideas that will brighten up your space (and your outlook):

1. Maximize Natural Daylight In Your Home

Frosted window panels block out passersby for privacy but allow in natural light. Image: Jeffers Design Group

Keep windows open to let as much light in as you can. Here are some ways you can optimize your home to reflect the most natural light possible:

  • If your view isn’t inspiring or you’re worried about privacy, use sheer window panels or install a DIY frosted window film.
  • Hang or rest a mirror on an empty wall facing the window to reflect light in the room.
  • Place furniture with surfaces that are reflective – like glass, mirror or metals – near windows.
  • If you own your home, add a skylight.
2. Create A Panel Of Light To Replicate A Sunny Window

Backlight sheer curtain panels to create a glow that replicates a sunny day. Image: Kababie Arquitectos

If there’s no chance of daylight filtering in from your window or you don’t have a window in the room, hang a lightly colored sheer curtain. Place an LED floor can (that points lighting straight up) behind the sheer curtain to create a soft, diffused glow, similar to a sunny window.

Use an LED lightbulb for safety. LEDs don’t heat up like a traditional bulb so you don’t have to worry about your sheer curtain catching fire.

3. Watch Your Wall Color Choices

Compare the white wall to the pale yellow wall in this living room. The white looks dingy, while the pale yellow looks bright. Image: Brookfield Residential

One of the most common errors homeowners make to brighten up a room is painting it white. If your room is naturally dark, the white will end up looking dull and lifeless. Choose light colors with some pop to them instead, like pale blue, butter yellow or mint green.

4. Freshen Up Your Lampshades

White light and pendant shades do a better job of diffusing light in a room. Image: Monica Hibbs

Take inventory of your lamps, chandeliers and pendants. If your shades are dingy, yellow or outdated, replace them with fresh white ones. They’ll look crisper and diffuse brighter light better.

5. Use The Right Temperature Bulbs

Warmer temperature bulbs still lighten up a space in winter, but also feel cozier when it’s cold outside. Image: Perfect Integrations

The quality of light is one of the most important things to consider about lighting your room to avoid the winter blues. Fluorescent lighting is unattractive and the flickering of the tubes gives some people headaches.

While bulbs that are sold to replicate daylight colors seem like a good idea, they may feel too cool in the winter months. Remember, winter is about warm and cozy, so go with a warmer temperature bulb.

When shopping for LED bulbs, look for the Kelvin (K) units. The lower the K-value, the warmer the quality of light. 2700K is a nice, warm color option for most homes.

6. Make Dark Corners Work For You

A corner lamp or pendant lights up the corner and surrounding wall and ceiling. Image: Decotick

Take advantage of an awkward corner by lighting it up. If you place a torch floor lamp in a corner, you can reflect the uplight onto the adjacent walls and bounce it off the ceiling.

7. Have A Variety Of Lighting Options In Each Room

This room is layered with different types of lighting to create a bright and airy feel year-round. Image: Facile Ristrutturare

You’ll want to have different lights in every room for different tasks or moods. You probably have an overhead light. Layer your existing lighting by adding:

  • A floor, table or reading lamp
  • A wall sconce or pendant light
  • Strip lighting
  • String lights

Each type of light serves a different function and creates a mood. You may not always want to switch the bright ceiling light on so it’s nice to have a table or floor lamp available. Table and floor lamps are easy to move around so you can change a room’s lighting plan as the season changes.

LED string lights come battery-powered, making them a great option for ambient lighting in areas where there’s no electrical outlet. Here are ideas for decorating with string lights.

8. Automate Your Lighting With Smart Home Timers

With the new smart home automation available, you can program your lights remotely. Image: My Renovation Magazine

Automate your lighting to welcome you home every day by using smart home lighting plugs and timers. You can program them to go off and on according to a schedule – or even operate them remotely from your smartphone.

Coming home to a nicely lit home is uplifting, especially after trudging through the cold, cruel world outside.

Focus on using these winter lighting ideas in the rooms where you spend the most time. Start by upgrading the lighting in your living room, kitchen and bedroom and see how you feel after you make the changes.

The post Beat The Winter Blues With These 8 Winter Lighting Ideas For A Brighter Home appeared first on Freshome.com.

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Cleaning isn’t just to keep up appearances. There are some major health benefits of a clean home. Image: Studio 1 Interiors

You have a sense that you should keep your house clean. Maybe your parents instilled it in you, or maybe societal pressure has you feeling like you need to pull out the mop. But does it really matter if you let your home slip into a mess? Actually, yes. There are some scientifically backed health benefits of a clean home. Conversely, letting your home get dirty and/or disorganized can negatively affect your mental and physical well-being. So what are you waiting for?

Sometimes, you need a little push to help yourself start building good habits. And we’ve got you covered with a handful of compelling reasons to keep things neat and tidy. Here are six of the top health benefits of a clean home.

If you’re looking for a way to manage your stress, pick up a broom. Image: Corr Contemporary Homes

You’ll feel less stressed

Visual clutter leads to mental clutter. You might think you’ve learned to live with your various piles, but they’re most likely affecting you more deeply than you realize. A 2010 study in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin revealed that women with messier homes have higher levels of cortisol than those with tidy houses. What does that mean? Your stress levels are linked to your space. Tackling those outstanding to-dos and getting your house in order can help you manage stress. And couldn’t we all benefit from meaningful ways to reduce stress in our busy lives?

You’ll be more active

It’s simple but it’s true: cleaning gets you moving. Sure, tidying up the house isn’t going to torch as many calories as a full-blown HIIT workout, but it’s a lot more physically involved than sitting on the couch. Keeping your house clean means that you’ll get some sort of movement for your body throughout the week. In fact, Health Magazine rounded up 10 different chores you can do that burn 100 calories each.

Boost your productivity at home by keeping things tidy. Image: Izumi Tanaka

You’ll be more productive

When you have a task you don’t want to start, do you ever find yourself scanning the room for a distraction? Disorganization makes it easy to spot something you can use to procrastinate. When everything is in order, on the other hand, your mind finds it easier to get stuff done. Don’t believe that your space directly impacts your productivity? Check out this 2011 study on the way visual stimuli compete for your attention.

You might eat healthier

Have you ever noticed that when you’re feeling stressed, you crave junk food? That’s your body’s natural response to stressors and – as we’ve already mentioned – clutter and messiness are stressful. There’s good news, though. Cleaning up doesn’t just make you less likely to want food that’s bad for you, it can actually help drive healthy choices. A 2013 study published in Psychology Science presented people with food choices. People who had been working in an organized space were two times more likely to choose an apple over a chocolate bar than those who had been working in a messy area.

Making your bed has a notable impact on the quality of your sleep. Image: Rodríguez Studio Architecture PC

You’ll sleep better

Isn’t it easier to drift off to sleep when you don’t have any leftover to-dos nagging at your brain? When your home is clean, you can look around before you go to bed without spotting any should-dos that could keep your gears turning even when you put your head on your pillow. In fact, the National Sleep Foundation conducted a survey that revealed that just making your bed in the morning boosts your chances of getting a good night’s rest by almost 20 percent.

You’ll get sick less frequently

A clean home leaves fewer places for germs and bacteria to hide. Plus, dust and allergens build up in carpeting, bedding and upholstery over time, contributing to worsened allergies and asthma. In short, the health benefits of a clean home are obvious. If you want to keep yourself and your family healthy, cleaning on a regular basis is a must. Don’t just vacuum and dust, either. Think about decluttering your surfaces. The more items you have, the harder it is to dust and sanitize. A streamlined aesthetic makes it easier to keep everything truly clean, helping your health. If you’re ready to get started, here are the nine germiest areas in your home to tackle ASAP.

Do these health benefits of a clean home put a little pep in your chore-handling step? We can help you get started. Check out these 12 things you can tackle to make your home look less messy and some easy tips to keep your countertops clear. Happy cleaning!

The post 6 Health Benefits of a Clean Home appeared first on Freshome.com.

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Whether you’re building a new home or you’re looking to upgrade your space, you’ll find that little luxuries can add up. What might seem like a few bucks here and an upgrade there can totally blow your budget, especially if you have Versailles taste on a suburban budget. But you shouldn’t have to spend a ton to make your home look higher end. Stretching each dollar and knowing where to spend gives you the most bang for your buck. Try some of these inexpensive tricks to make your home look more luxurious without totally breaking the bank.

1. Install Woodwork

Wood panels warm up basic spaces. Image: Seavey Builders

Custom woodwork usually carries a hefty price tag. Still, if you use it judiciously, just a few accents can have a huge impact on the final product. Installing molding panels on one accent wall, for instance, can change the whole look of a room. By the same token, a well-placed chair rail can completely transform a room from cheap to choice.

2. Consider Built-Ins

Built-in shelves give a custom look. Image: Scheinholtz & Associates

Bookshelves and nooks make a home look more custom, and a custom home looks more expensive. Custom elements are always cheaper to install during a build, so ask your contractor to build in a few bookcases, some shelving or niches. If you’re renovating, you can mimic the look of built-ins by placing bookshelves alongside an entertainment center or beside your bed.

3. Add a Backsplash

Use subway tile in unexpected places. Image: Distinctive Remodeling

Dollar for dollar, backsplashes are one of the cheapest ways to make a big impact in your home. They add color and texture on the cheap for a quick weekend project. The trick to ensuring your backsplash looks expensive is to choose a medium-sized tile in a classic shape, like subway tile.

Think outside the kitchen when it comes to installing backsplashes. They look equally elegant in bathrooms, mudrooms and even as an accent on neutral furniture.

4. Create a Palette

Carry a color theme throughout the home. Image: Cottage Home Company

Your home is a reflection of your personality, so it can be tempting to make your mark using different colors in each room. But while different bright colors and patterns in every room is a fun way to decorate, it doesn’t exactly scream luxury. Creating a consistent color palette throughout your entire home will sustain flow from room to room for a more expensive look. The bright side? You’ll save on buying paint in bulk!

5. Tone it Down

Use accessories to color your home. Image: Fiorella Design

While deciding on a color palette for your entire home, consider going with a neutral theme. It might not be the most exciting choice, but neutrals always look classic and expensive in a home. Don’t worry, you can always add color with textiles and accessories. It’s impossible to get bored with neutrals when you have endless decor possibilities. Just think of your neutral walls and furniture as a backdrop and accessories as your splashes of color and personality.

6. Mix Metallics

Mixed metallics easily add style. Image: Duet Design Group

You may have heard that matching metallics and finishes when decorating is practically the Golden Rule of design. But mixing up your finishes can give your home a custom, elegant look by directing focus. Give your most eye-catching fixtures more attention by choosing them in a different metallic than the other fixtures in your home. An elegant gold faucet will have more of a luxurious design impact if most of your other fixtures are silver.

7. Upgrade Lighting

Upgraded lighting makes a big impact. Image: Jennifer Gilmer

If you have a little room in your budget for upgrades and are wondering where to spend it, go for lighting. It’ll be one of the more inexpensive items on the upgrade list (especially when compared to things like cabinetry and flooring) and can make a huge visual impact. When your light fixtures are luxurious, chances are your guests will assume the rest of your home has high-end finishes, too.

8. Frame Your Mirrors

Disguise builder-grade mirrors with frames. Image: Workroom C

Builder-grade mirrors are notoriously basic. That’s because buyers usually focus their upgrade dollars elsewhere, leaving inexpensive but boring plate mirrors that lack style and substance. Luckily, framing mirrors is an easy project that gives your home plenty of character. You can even have your hardware store cut lumber to size so all you need to do is stain and install.

9. Emphasize Texture

Textured paper adds luxury without looking inexpensive over time. Image: Heather Hilliard

Something you’ll notice in high-end houses is the emphasis on texture over pattern and color. That’s because luxury builders know that while trendy patterns come and go, high-end texture is always in style. If there’s anything that the chevron craze of 2013 taught us, it’s that what was popular one year can be mass-produced and common the next.

Opt for textured wallpaper instead of patterned or decorate with neutral, textured throw pillows to warm up a room. You’ll be co-opting a high-end look without spending more than necessary.

10. Rest Your Eyes

Leave empty space for a clean, elegant look. Image: Wyckoff Heating and Cooling

One of the best-kept secrets in high-end homes is the principle of “resting the eye.” Designing every inch of your space so that it’s bursting with accessories, texture or intricate pattern can make even the most expensive home look cheap. Therefore, make sure your eyes have somewhere to rest. Whether it’s a warm, neutral wall, a simple piece of furniture or an uncluttered shelf, less-decorated spaces give the eye relief (and are inexpensive to create). Overdecorating is a rookie mistake, especially when you want an upscale look. Make sure you’re not adding too much of a good thing.

Choosing a few upgrades and adding in luxurious design elements might require a little more creativity, but it doesn’t have to break the bank, either. They say you can’t buy good taste, and that’s a good thing. It means any budget has room for style.

The post Cheap Tricks: 10 Inexpensive Design Elements to Upgrade Your Home appeared first on Freshome.com.

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Small changes – like a bowl of fruit on the counter to make it easy to eat nutritiously – can help you keep your home healthy this flu season. Image: TLA Studio

‘Tis the season. No, not just for the holidays. The fall marks the start of flu season. Although it’s tricky to predict flu season’s peak (the CDC reports that it could fall anywhere between November and March), it’s no secret that the winter is a time for sickness. You can’t control everything, unfortunately. Your coworkers will come to the office ill. The flu will spread in your kids’ schools. But you can control your own home. Taking some steps to keep your home healthy this flu season can make all the difference.

Before you batten down the hatches and hole up for the winter, consider a more moderate approach. Making some small but meaningful changes to your house or apartment can make it easier to fend off the flu even as you lead your normal life. We’ve rounded up some tips and tricks to help you keep your home – and your family – in good health this flu season.

A pleasant, well-stocked hand washing area encourages everyone to keep their hands germ-free. Image: The Kitchen Studio of Glen Ellyn

Encourage hand washing

It’s not rocket science. From the time we’re small kids, we’re told that washing our hands prevents the spread of germ and sickness. This is definitely not a season to skimp on sudsing up. Even though you can control how much you wash your own hands, you can only force your family members to scrub up so often. Instead of having to constantly remind people of the importance of this action, why not take a more subtle – but equally effective – approach?

In each bathroom, set up a nice hand washing station. Get good smelling soap and soft hand towels. Consider adding a moisturizer (winter is a time for dry skin, too), a scented candle and whatever other touches would amp up the pleasantness of the hand washing area. Essentially, your goal should be to make washing your hands such a nice experience that no one who visits your home would even think of skipping it.

Disinfect everything

The winter is not a time to skimp on cleaning. If you don’t already, make it a habit to disinfect your countertops, door knobs, light switches and cabinet handles or pulls every few days. Also, keep that washing machine busy. If sickness is going around your office or your kids’ school, wash sheets and towels more frequently than normal. And while you’re at it, don’t forget to include your dish towels. Ideally, you should be swapping them out for clean ones every other day or so.

Extend past the standard disinfecting tasks, too. Did you know that toothbrushes can be run through the dishwasher? Did you know you can microwave your sponges to kill bacteria? Look for the porous or soft areas of your home where germs could live and take steps to keep them sanitized. We’ve created a list of the nasty nine – key places you need to be cleaning – to help you keep your home healthy this flu season.

Make it enticing to get the rest your body needs to stay healthy this winter. Image: A+B KASHA Designs

Set up your beds

We already mentioned that you should be washing your bedding on a regular basis, but don’t just throw it back on the bed. Create a cozy space where you’ll want to curl up. Sleep is one of your body’s biggest tools in combating illness. Getting enough shut-eye is absolutely critical if you want to stay healthy this flu season.

Do whatever it takes to get yourself and your family to bed at a time where you’ll all get enough sleep. If your daughter wants to add twinkle lights above her bed, do it. If you want an extra cozy throw to tempt yourself to unplug from your day earlier, get it. Sleep is one of your greatest allies this winter.

Stay supplied

Make it easy to do right by your body this winter and you’re more likely to stay healthy. This means stocking your fridge and pantry with nutritious, whole food. Add a bowl of fruit to your kitchen counter to make it easy for you to grab fresh produce and give your body what it needs to fend off illness. Foods rich in antioxidants are especially important during flu season.

Similarly, make it simple to stay hydrated. Add water carafes or water bottles to everyone’s nightstands. If your family isn’t a big fan of plain water, start infusing it with fruit or herbs (lemon, mint, cucumber and strawberries are great options to start) to entice everyone to get the fluids their bodies need to stay healthy.

Use these tips to keep yourself, your family and your home healthy this flu season. Do you have any other recommendations to combat the flu season? Let us know in the comments.

The post Keep Your Home Healthy During Flu Season appeared first on Freshome.com.

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