Archive for May, 2011

May 31 2011

Tips & Ideas For Decorating a Small Living Area

Decorating a small living area can be a challenge; you want the room to look as spacious as possible.  You also want plenty of walking space for your family and guests.  It is possible to make your living room look twice the size it actually is; the tips and ideas below will help you design an appealing living area that looks open and airy.

Consider your decor theme

Modern or contemporary furnishings and accents offer straight clean lines with minimal ornamentation; this can also make a room look larger, as such furnishings are often built on a smaller scale.

A country or western theme may not be ideal, as these styles of decorating tend to use larger, bulky furnishings and lots of accents.

Choosing a color palette

The colors you use in your living area make a huge difference in its appearance.  Light colors make a room appear larger, because they reflect light.  Darker colors tend to make a room look smaller, as they absorb the light.

You do not have to stick to white or neutral colors to make the room look larger; a palette consisting of pale tones such as light blue and light gray will enhance the spacious appearance as well.  Look for hues of peach, green, blue or beige all of which are on the lighter side.

Less is more

When it comes to your furniture, measure the room before you buy.  You want to make sure your sofa will fit on a certain wall, and that chairs or recliners will not block the walking path.  You may even consider a love seat in lieu of a sofa, since it is much shorter in length.

A coffee table placed in front of the love seat, along with a single side table placed next to a chair is usually all you need to bring the look together.

Brighten up the walls

The accents you choose to hang on your walls can make a room look much larger.  Consider a grouping of odd-shaped mirrors for a single wall; you can even hang silver serving platters of various shapes.  Anything reflective will add more light to the room.

Use light colored curtains or sheers to dress up the windows.  Dark drapes look heavy, and prevent natural light from streaming into the room.  Light colored sheers let plenty of light in, and look airy.

Avoid clutter

Perhaps the most important thing to remember when trying to make a small living area look more spacious is to avoid clutter.  Too many accessories look messy; bring out only a few bright accents that you really love.

A large, brightly colored ceramic vase filled with wildflowers and placed in the corner of the room adds a punch of color.  Avoid cluttering the tops of tables with books, magazines, candles and other items.  A grouping of pillar candles placed in the center of the coffee table is all you need to dress up the room.

Put these tips and ideas to work when decorating your small living area.  Once the project is completed, you will find your living room looks twice the size it did before!

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May 30 2011

Decorating a Den in a Warm Rustic Theme

Published by under Interior Design & Decorating

Is your idea of the perfect way to relax a room that brings to mind a hunting cabin or ski lodge? If you love lots of wood and an old-time appeal that is warm and inviting, a rustic themed den is the perfect solution.  Rough textures, exposed wood and warm colors create a room that is charming and totally welcoming.

Wood – You Can’t Have too much of this element

In the rustic decorating theme, wide plank wood floors, exposed ceiling beams and worn wood furniture are the natural elements that make the look.  Darker colors enhance the look even further; well used pieces, knotty pine boards and mismatched furniture add to the log cabin tucked-away-in-the-woods appeal.

Textures and color

Rich texture is what makes rustic decorating so appealing; the roughness of the wood, woven plaids, durable canvas and leather all mix to create various textures that lend to the look.  Plaid materials and other thick, durable fabrics make great curtains; consider framing out your windows with strips of worn, uneven wood.

Colors most often incorporated in to a rustic themed den are those found in nature; dark brown, rusty red shades, tan and hunter green blend to make a room that is rich in color creating a warm, inviting atmosphere.

Furniture

While you already know that wood and leather are elements in rustic decor, you should focus on using large, bulky pieces.  Chairs can be constructed of solid wood, or they can be made of a heavy rattan.  A dark brown leather couch with wood accents is comfortable and perfect for the rustic themed den.

An old trunk or cedar chest makes a perfect coffee table; toss an old quilt across the back of a rocker to add more old fashioned charm.  Stenciled pictures of moose or deer are the ideal addition to the entertainment cabinet and trunks.

Accessories

When it comes to the accents and accessories you use in a rustic den, the sky is the limit!  If you want your den to take on the feeling of a hunting lodge, incorporate those elements you would find in a real hunting lodge; hang some hunting trophies, a deer’s head and some black and white photos taken on hunting trips.  Frame your pictures in rough-hewn wood for a real cabin effect.

Throw a bear skin rug on the floor, display antique tools on the wall; whatever captures your interest, use it!  Throws depicting wildlife scenes or even a huge wall mural displaying deer in their element add further to the charm and appeal.

Rustic themed table lamps, antlers, tree branches and lots of plaid – these are all elements you may find in the rustic decorating theme.  Add a wood stove for heat, or even an old-school radiator.  Can you picture yourself in this setting?  If you can, put some of the ideas above to work in your den.  When you’re through, sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labor with a hot cup of cocoa!

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May 29 2011

Bathroom Decorating Ideas – Give Your Bathroom a Fresh New Look

Published by under Bathrooms

While you may not think of your bathroom when it comes to decorating your home, it is an important room that should not be overlooked.  After all, it is a room that your family and friends visit often!  It’s also where you may take a long, hot bath after a hard, stressful day, so you want it to be as beautiful and relaxing as possible.  The ideas below will help you design a bathroom that may possibly be the most appealing room in the house!

Choose colors first

Before you do anything, it is essential that you choose your color theme.  This will help you in choosing accessories later on, so that all of the colors complement each other.

It’s best to limit your color selection to 3 colors; this way, the room doesn’t look overwhelming.  If your bathroom is small, choose light shades such as sand, peach and soft pastel green or blue; if you have a fairly large bathroom, you can use bolder, darker colors.

The first accessory you buy – a shower curtain

Why buy your shower curtain first?  This is usually the largest, most colorful accent in the room.  If you choose a shower curtain you love, you have the basis for the colors you will use throughout your decor.

It is fine to use a shower curtain with a solid color, but one designed with several colors adds a splash of vibrancy and brightens up the room.

Paint the walls

While you can use wallpaper in your bathroom, it’s usually best to use paint, as the humidity and dampness in a bathroom can make it difficult to get wallpaper to stay up without peeling back at the edges.

Choose a wall color that closely matches one of those found in your shower curtain; you may want to use some of the techniques popular today to give the wall texture, such as rag rolling or sponging.

Add accents to pull the room together

Bath rugs, towels and other accessories should complement the room.  In order to make your accents stand out, avoid matching your towels and rugs to the color of the walls; instead, match them to another color in the shower curtain.

Add a few accents, but don’t over-do it; adding too many pictures and knick-knacks will make the room look cluttered; something you want to avoid especially if your bathroom is small.

A basket in one corner of the room containing rolled up towels or washcloths adds an additional splash of color.  Add botanical prints or any pictures that blend with your decorating theme on a single wall.  A mirror on the wall opposite a window reflects light and makes the room look larger.

Decorating your bathroom is easy, as you can see from this article.  It doesn’t have to involve a major investment when you want to give your bathroom a whole new look!  Your family and friends will enjoy the refreshing change when they visit this “essential” room – and you will relish in the beautiful surroundings while enjoying a long bubble bath!

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May 28 2011

Decorating a Spanish Style Kitchen – Ideas to Help You Achieve The Look

Published by under Kitchens

A Spanish style kitchen incorporates elements of nature along with bold splashes of color.  The look is warm, inviting and beautiful.  Stone, rustic wood, terracotta, copper and ceramics are just a few of the elements you will find in this welcoming decor.  Whether your home is designed in a Spanish style or you just love the look, this article will help you design a kitchen that is magnificent.

Floors – the foundation of the look

In Spanish decorating, wide-plank wood or stone floors are the perfect basis for the rest of your decorating.  Ceramic tile floors will also work, as long as the color and design offers the look of nature.  Stone, granite and terracotta shades work well and lend to the overall appeal of the room.

To accent the floor, choose Spanish style rugs that are ablaze with the colors of nature; vibrant reds, sunset yellow, ocean blue and golden tones add a warm touch to the room.

Walls

If you have been in an authentic Spanish or Mexican restaurant, you have likely seen stucco walls.  This is what you want in your own kitchen!  If you cannot have the real thing, paint the walls a light stucco color and use a texturing technique to give the walls that old-style appeal.

You may even want to incorporate an area of the wall with a faux stone finish; this would be perfect in the area where the dining room table sits.  Use the stone finish for about 3 feet of wall up from the floor, and then finish the space up to the ceiling with stucco.

Decorate the walls with a touch of the southwest.  Include accents containing wood along with rope, and incorporate turquoise, red and golden yellow which are bright and add a Spanish flavor.  Copper pots and utensils also add interest and warmth to the walls.

Add architectural flair

Even if your home wasn’t built using Spanish architecture, you can create the look yourself.  If you do not have exposed wood beams, hang worn wooden planks on the ceiling to replicate the look!  Instead of a solid wall between the kitchen and dining area, place a few wooden beams from floor to ceiling to further enhance the Hacienda appeal, and add an open, airy look.

Wrought iron, wood, stone, copper – all of these elements bring a Spanish feel to your kitchen.  Top your counters with a few terracotta or ceramic pots filled with dried flowers or a bouquet of wildflowers.

Make plenty of room for the family and guests in the kitchen!  Choose a large wooden table with a rustic or worn finish; flank with chairs (mismatched is fine), and add wooden benches along the long length of the table for a warm, welcoming appeal and plenty of room to sit and enjoy meals.

Creating a Spanish style kitchen is easy with a little imagination.  Follow these tips, look through your favorite home decorating magazines, and soon you will have a kitchen that rivals the most authentic of Haciendas.

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May 27 2011

In Contemporary Decorating, Less is Always More

Published by under Interior Design & Decorating

The contemporary style of decorating is sleek, modern and offers clean lines.  In this decor, accessories are kept to a minimum in order to avoid a congested, cluttered look.  Today, many of the younger generation favor this look because of the innovative and cutting-edge appearance.

Home decorating is a personal choice; you should choose a style or design that makes you feel good, that appeals to your senses.  Contemporary decorating is often chosen by those who like to keep things neat and simple, with a minimum of fuss.

Furnishings

It is essential that you use furnishings that are sleek and simple in style, with a minimum of detail.  If you are planning on purchasing new furniture, measure the room first; you want to know how long and how wide certain areas are so that you won’t be disappointed when the furniture arrives and the sofa is too large for the area in which you intended to use it.

In designing a contemporary home, look for lines that are straight, curved or angular; avoid choosing chairs, sofas or tables that are bulky or built on a large scale.  A modern recliner chair may have metal arms that curve completely from front legs to back; for the dining room, a glass top table with white metal chairs offers a trendy, modern look.

Color and texture

Without a little color here and there, contemporary design can appear flat and boring.  While you probably want to maintain walls in a neutral color such as cream or taupe, liven up furniture with a splash of color.  If you have black furniture, consider vibrant red throw pillows with a striped or abstract pattern.

If you have light colored furniture, choose throw pillows and artwork that are bold.  A sand or white colored couch takes on a whole new life when splashed with vibrant tones of royal blue and purple, or for that matter, any bright color you choose.  Make sure to choose three or four colors, and stick to the theme throughout the room.

Wall decorations

In contemporary decorating, you want to keep things simple even when it comes to the walls.  For one wall, consider a single large print framed in wood or metal.  Another wall may have a grouping of 3 mirrors, all different shapes.  Remember that simplicity is the key, and always take a minimalist approach in this decorating theme.

The remaining accents may consist of an over-sized ceramic vase in a bold color filled with limbs or simple greenery.  A candle grouping placed appropriately along with two or three black and white photos sitting on a table is really all you need to bring the look together.

When you think of lighting, think sleek floor lamps and modern fixtures.  A solid colored area rug adds interest to the floors, and a feeling of warmth.

Keep these ideas in mind when decorating your contemporary home – and always remember that less is more!  Sleek, clean and simple, with an occasional splash of color to liven things up.  Your home will be appealing, and you never have to worry about a cluttered look.

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May 26 2011

Quick Fixes & Easy Ideas for Improving the Look of Your Kitchen

Published by under Kitchens

Does your kitchen need a little pick-me-up, a little something to make it more appealing and interesting?  There are all kinds of things you can do to spice up your kitchen.  For most people the kitchen is the most frequently used room in the house; it’s where meals are shared with the family, the day is evaluated and discussed and where family or friends congregate while enjoying a piece of pie.

If your kitchen lacks personality, the tips and suggestions here will give you some great ideas!  Your kitchen is the “heart” of your home, and you don’t have to live with a kitchen that has become boring or ordinary.

Choose a new theme

Whether or not you have an existing theme, thumb through home decorating magazines for new ideas.  You may lean toward traditional, European, modern and sleek, or old-fashioned country.

Whatever type of decor you decide upon, carry it throughout your entire kitchen; cabinets, accent rugs, your kitchen table, window treatments and other aspects of the decor should continue the central theme.

Budget conscious?  Easy transformations

If you don’t have the money to invest in a new dining room table or kitchen cabinets, do a little revision yourself!  Cover the dining room table with a country-patterned table cloth for a colorful, fresh new look.  Add complementary or contrasting place mats and napkins and the dining room takes on an entirely different look.

If you’re tired of your cabinets but cannot afford the fortune it costs to replace them, give them a coat of paint!  By simply sanding your existing cabinets down, putting a colorful coat of paint on and changing out the hardware, no one will know the cabinets are not new – except you.

Liven up the walls

Decorating the walls is essential in creating a kitchen that is warm and inviting; after all, consider how stark and cold blank walls look!  For the dining room, hang a single large picture on one wall.  This may be a kitchen themed print such as fruit, a botanical garden, or even an English country landscape.  Choose the art that you prefer, and that compliments the rest of the decor.

Another idea for the walls are wood plaques; today, you can find wooden accents designed in the shapes of watermelon, sunflowers, roosters, teapots and many other forms.

Copper is a beautiful addition to many kitchens; hang pots, pans, and utensils on the walls, or display them on top of your cabinets if they are open to the ceiling.

Spruce up the floors

If your kitchen floor has seen better days, maybe it’s time to get a new laminate or ceramic tile floor.  Wood is also a great choice for many decorating themes, and adds welcoming warmth to the room.

If you cannot afford a new floor, don’t worry!  Cover the worst areas with rugs, or give the floor a few coats of paint – yes, you can actually paint a linoleum floor, and the results are fantastic.  Two to three coats of paint, followed by three coats of polyurethane to protect against wear, and your kitchen floor looks brand new.  You can even stencil on your own patterns and designs if you like!

Now you’re getting excited; you never realized there were so many things you could do to freshen up the kitchen.  While these are just a few innovative ideas, go ahead and let your imagination run wild.  Get those creative juices flowing, and make your kitchen the most beautiful, relaxing room in your home – even on a budget.

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May 25 2011

Ideas for Creating a Cozy Country Bedroom

A country bedroom contains elements that are both masculine and feminine, making it the perfect type of decor for a bedroom.  If you love the relaxed, inviting comfort that country decorating offers, a bedroom designed in a country theme will be the perfect place to read, relax, and rest your weary body after a long day.  The look is old-fashioned, charming and oh-so romantic.

Muted colors – essential in the country bedroom

The colors you choose for your bedroom determine whether it is a relaxing, tranquil room that invites sleep.  You want to avoid loud, bright colors that are energetic or stimulating.

In country decorating, choose country blue, taupe, butter yellow and cream for a look that is fresh yet soothing.  Green can be used as well, as long as it is a soft shade.  Colors can be mixed and matched, using checks, florals and solids in accents, throws, and rugs.

The right furniture is a must

When thinking of furnishings for your country bedroom, think solid and sturdy.  Pine and oak are beautiful, and lend to the country appeal.  Your furniture will remain neutral if you leave it in a plain wood finish, or you can opt for a distressed look if you prefer a country and shabby chic mix by using white furniture with a worn appearance.

An old iron bed is also perfect in the country themed bedroom; furniture does not necessarily have to match, so choose those pieces you love – you may even have something perfect hiding away in your attic or basement!  If you have a television in your bedroom that looks a bit too modern for the room, hide it away in an armoire where you can still view the screen, but the entire television won’t be out in the open.

Romantic, rustic country fabrics

Cotton fabrics, along with floral and checked prints, are perfect in the country bedroom.  Light cotton window treatments provide privacy, but let plenty of sunshine in during daytime hours.  Consider a floral covering for the nightstand; this adds a romantic flair, and is perfect when topped with a candle and small old-fashioned table lamp.

Light cotton also makes for an ideal bed canopy. The coverings for the bed may be a thick down comforter in a country design or even an old quilt that has been passed down through the family for years.  Top it with plush quilted throw pillows, and the bed is the focal point of the room.

Consider adding faux or real wood beams to the ceiling for an additional splash of country interest.  Walls may be painted white or country cream and you may want to use a simple damask pattern on an entire wall for an updated look.

Creating a country bedroom is easy, and you can use many of the things you already have, especially those that hold sentimental value.  Family heirlooms, flea market finds and everything “old” looks inviting and comfortable.  Have fun decorating your relaxing country haven.

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May 24 2011

No Flair for Decorating? Tips to Help You Create a Beautiful Home, Even If You Have No Imagination

Published by under Interior Design & Decorating

Decorating a new home (or even an old one) is an intimidating task for many people.  Some people simply cannot come up with fresh new ideas; they feel they lack the creativity and imagination to design an appealing room.  The tips in this article will help you give any room a fresh new look with very little effort – and don’t worry, it’s easy!

The first thing you need to realize when decorating your home is that it is YOUR home, so use those accents, furnishings and other elements that you truly love.  This is where you will spend your life with your family, so it should be comfortable and relaxing to you first and foremost.

Choosing and using color

Color is a basic element of decorating; everything in the room hinges on your chosen colors.  From the walls and flooring to throws, furniture and accents, colors should complement or contrast.

Warm colors offer a relaxed, welcoming appeal.  Burnt orange, soft yellow and blue, brown shades, rich reds, forest green and sienna are warm shades that will give your home a welcoming glow.

Cool shades are a bit more electric or energetic; when thinking of cool colors, think pink, royal blue, purple, and silver.  Of course you don’t have to use bold, loud colors; simply choose pale shades of these colors for a more relaxing atmosphere.

Neutral colors work with nearly any other color, which is why they are so popular.  Cream or wheat colored walls are the perfect backdrop for all of your other colors and accents.

Choosing patterns for texture and interest

Using patterns and textures in rugs, throw pillows and even wall hangings is essential to adding interest to the room.  Decades ago, it was a definite fashion no-no to combine stripes, plaids and florals; today, it’s all the rage!  As long as the colors complement each other, anything goes.

Imagine a sofa covered in a solid material that is gold in color while the throw pillows are floral in shades of burgundy, forest green and blue.  Chairs are striped with shades of gold, burgundy and green – the look is fabulous!  Never be afraid to mix and match patterns, as it adds great depth and appeal.

Choose furniture that suits your style preference

Keep in mind these rules about furniture when designing your home.  If you prefer a modern, sleek decor theme, choose furnishings that are sleek with straight, clean lines.  This type of furniture is usually built on a smaller scale, and never bulky or big.

Like a chic, trendy look?  Country cottage and shabby chic incorporate furnishings that are worn looking; old wood, wicker and floral fabrics are perfect for this decorating theme.  A white-washed wood or wicker with floral patterned cushions creates the look!

Country or western decor is where you often find bulky or over-stuffed furniture.  Leather or wood, these furnishings are built to look rustic or rough, with a country appeal.  Lots of natural wood finishes such as pine or oak appear in this decorating theme.

There you have it; some great tips for decorating your home, even if you don’t know the first thing about decor.  Think of color, patterns and furniture – once you have these things figured out, everything else is a breeze!

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May 23 2011

The Laid Back, Welcoming Appeal of Rustic Western Decor

Published by under Interior Design & Decorating

Rustic, western style decor is anything but pretentious; in fact, it’s probably the most relaxed, comfortable style of decorating you will find for your home.  While this decorating theme is perfect for those who live on a ranch or farm in a rural area, it’s also right at home in the middle of a big city.  Lacking in refinement or sophistication, rustic western decorating is for those who want to lay back, relax and enjoy life.

Whether you want simple rustic touches here and there or want an all-out western appeal, here are a few ideas that will help you get started on your own “home on the range”.

Wood, leather and fabric are the foundation of rustic western decorating

In most homes decorated in this theme, you will find lots of wood; from floors and walls to exposed beams and furnishings, rough wood is the order of the day.

Leather is another essential element in the rustic western theme; furnishings may be made of cowhide or hand-tooled leather.  Some items show nail heads which further enhances the authentic western appeal.

The fabrics you commonly find in this comfortable, old-fashioned style of decorating include flannel or muslin in plaid, checked or calico patterns.

Coordinating color schemes

Warm colors are perfect for the rustic western theme; they accent the brown shades often found in wood and leather appointments.  Orange, blue, red, green and golden yellow can be used together or separately to add a bright splash of color that livens up the room.

In this decorating scheme, you want to avoid too much white or pure black, as these colors do not lend themselves to the western appeal.

If you choose to use plaid patterns, use them sparingly for example in the curtains for the kitchen window and tablecloth; for other fabrics in the kitchen, choose a cream colored cotton fabric so that the look is balanced and not too busy.

Accents

The accents are where individual preferences often vary greatly.  Some people love animal heads hanging on the walls and animal skin rugs, but this certainly isn’t for everyone.

Those with a more modern approach prefer worn leather accents, rusted iron, copper, horse-themed or western paintings, and even horseshoes or stirrups as wall decor.

Terra cotta ceramic pots filled with cacti are the perfect natural touch if you like plants; consider wrought iron for wall sconces, candle holders or even a chandelier.

Add flavor with an old lariat, or hang cowboy hats from a wall mounted hat rack.  If you really want to be creative, use an old cowboy boot as a planter!  Coat the exterior of the boot with a couple of coats of polyurethane so that dampness from watering won’t seep through.

As you can see, rustic western decorating is relaxed and laid back, but also beautiful in its own right.  Those who would rather appreciate and enjoy life instead of worrying if everything is “in place” and perfect will truly enjoy the comfortable, down-home feel that rustic western decorating provides.

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May 22 2011

Need Additional Sleeping Space? Transform Your Garage Into a Bedroom

Your family may have simply outgrown your home, or you may need an extra bedroom for those times when company stays over, no matter what the reason, you can convert your garage into one or more bedrooms fairly easily. If you still need protection for your car, consider a free-standing carport.

Sketch out your plans first

Sketch out how your want your bedroom(s) to be laid out.  Most garages enter into a home through the kitchen or laundry room, so you may want a small hallway leading from the door to the garage bedroom for added privacy.

It doesn’t have to be a professional floor plan; simply sketch where you would like to place the bedroom closet, bathroom, and windows.  Also consider where electrical outlets will be placed, and allow room for wiring or vents.

Start by closing the new bedroom in

The best place to start your project is to enclose the space where the exterior garage door is currently placed.  You might want to keep the door if you plan on building a detached garage later on, or sell end up selling the home.

Knock out the areas where you want to place windows for the bedroom.  Once the entire area is enclosed and sheltered from the weather, start framing interior walls; this is also the point at which you should install any electrical wiring that is needed.  Place plenty of fiberglass insulation between the wall studs; this will keep the room warm in winter months and cool in summer months.

Including a bathroom?

If you are going to include a bathroom in your renovation, it will be necessary to make room for plumbing and pipes.  Break through a concrete floor with a jackhammer.  You also want to consider placing the bathroom near another room in the house that has water, such as an inside bathroom or the kitchen.  This will place your new bathroom close to an existing water source, so you won’t have to run great lengths of pipe and plumbing materials.

Electrical tasks

Next, you will want to install electrical outlets, light switches, light fixtures, etc.  Carefully consider where you will need plug-ins, so that you won’t have to run extension cords in order to plug in the stereo, computer, television, etc.

The next step will be to attach drywall over the framework you built around the walls, as well as to ceiling rafters.  Once that is complete, finish out with joint compound to make surfaces even, then sand and paint.

You have a couple of options when it comes to heating the bedroom(s); you may want to install an electric heater on the exterior wall, or connect to an existing heat source through new vents.

Install the floors and you’re done

Other than installing the bathroom commode, vanity and shower, if you choose to include a bathroom in your remodeling project, all that remains are the floors.  Install wood floors or carpet, whichever you prefer.  With carpet, install a thick pad to help make walking on the carpet a bit more plush.  If you are considering wood floors over the concrete, have a pest control company come out and treat for termites.

Now that your new bedroom is complete, it’s time to start decorating!  This is the fun part, and you can enjoy choosing new furnishings, linens and accessories.  You can do it yourself, and save a bundle of money.  Enjoy your new bedroom!

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