Month: March 2018
To make rooms appear larger and create more space in a home, many designers choose to create combination family rooms and kitchens. Also known as a great room or an open floor plan, this design knocks down the wall traditionally found between the kitchen and family room. This gives the space an open feel that’s perfect for entertaining or simply spending time with family. Design ideas for a combination room of this type give you ways to combine the decors of the two rooms.
Divide the Space
• Removing the wall that separates the family room and kitchen creates one large and open space. The problem is that it doesn’t show you a clear definition between where each room ends and the next room starts. To create two distinct rooms without affecting the open floor plan, you need to find a way to divide the space. Installing a small piece of furniture, such as a kitchen island or bar, in between the two rooms creates a division that leaves the space open. You also have the added advantage of gaining more entertaining and dining space. Add a few bar stools or chairs around the island for dining purposes or to provide additional seating during a party
Use Storage Furniture
• When you open the space between the two rooms, you lose valuable storage space. The wall previously there probably contained space for cabinets in the kitchen and bookshelves or other storage in the family room. Using furniture that doubles as storage allows you to organize things in the great room, as well as provides seating. Look for ottomans and benches that have lift-off tops and can hold miscellaneous items. Likewise, install a kitchen island that has cabinets underneath that are large enough to store pots, pans, dishes, cleaning supplies and other necessary kitchen tools.
Mix Things Up
• Turn the family room and kitchen space into a room that combines the two rooms into one mixed-up space. Instead of separating the rooms, mix and match the components for each one. Add cabinets along one wall to hold kitchen supplies as well as your television and other electronics. Place the dining room table in the center of the room. Use one color scheme that flows through both spaces to tie everything together. Display accessories in a similar color palette, including artwork on the walls and ceramics arranged in small groups. Turn the space into one large room that mixes elements from both spaces.Read More »
Two-story family rooms—rooms with cathedral ceilings that are as high as second floor ceilings—have become quite common in recent years. While the expansive rooms are typically impressive, they do create decorating challenges, such as what to do with 16 foot windows or 20 (-plus) foot walls. Family rooms with high ceilings also echo and create acoustic problems that can be addressed with a few creative decorative items.
1. Paint the walls, particularly the taller walls, in a warm color to accentuate the space while making it feel more welcome. Tan or brown shades are warm and neutral, so they work with almost any decor. Keep the trim and doors white to add contrast.
2. Place your furniture in a way that works for the room. For example, create a conversation area by placing two sofas opposite from each other or in an “L” shape so both can see the TV, if there is one in this room.
3. Hang curtains or drapes that cover expansive windows, which will help minimize the echoes and add warmth to the room. Most two story family rooms include a wall of windows or high windows and low windows. Use drapes that match the color, formality and style of the room’s decor. For example, brown, red and gold floral patterns could accent a more formal family room with the same tones and patterns found on the furniture. Simple hardware won’t detract from the curtains.
4. Include an area rug that shares colors or designs with the drapes and pulls the whole room together. Adding a rug isn’t necessary if the room has wall-to-wall carpeting, although you can include a decorative rug if you desire. The rug will also help absorb sounds to minimize acoustic problems.
5. Decorate the walls with mirrors, sconces and artwork. Most two story family rooms have a lot of empty wall space that can be utilized to show off some of your favorite things, or simply display items that make your family room feel more welcoming. If there is empty space above windows, hang a large decorative mirror. Large blank walls can hold a collection or arrangement of pictures or art, or one large piece of artwork.
6. Accessorize the room with lamps, candles, family photos, plants, floral arrangements or other items that complement the room’s decor.Read More »
Stink bugs are common U.S. garden pests that are originally from Asia and identifiable by their shield-shaped bodies and the stench they produce when disturbed. These true bugs range from 1/4 to 1 inch long. Each one is about twice as long as it is wide and has a distinctive triangle shape on its back. Most insects in the stink bug family, including the brown marmorated stink bug, also known as the Asian stink bug, are brown or gray, but some are brighter colors. For example, the adult harlequin bug is black with bright red, orange or yellow markings. Damage by stink bugs shows up as white or yellow spots on leaves, black pits on nuts and deformed fruits. Repellents and eradicants can be used to control stink bugs.
Stink Bug Repellents
Install insect-repelling plants around and inside the garden to keep stink bugs away. Those plants include marigold (Tagetes patula), which is an annual, chrysanthemum (Dendranthema grandiflorum), which is perennial in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 5 through 9,. and mint (Mentha spp.), which is perennial USDA zones 3 through 8, depending on the species. Plant mint in containers instead of in the ground to prevent it from becoming invasive.
Stink Bug Eradicant
Bifenthrin products are an effective chemical control against stink bugs. Those products, however, are not approved for organic use and require a waiting period between applying them and harvesting vegetable crops. Apply 1/10th pound, or 2 ounces, of a granular bifenthrin-based product per 100 square feet of soil surface in the vegetable garden, sprinkling it uniformly on the soil, and then water the soil thoroughly. Apply the product once in spring or summer, or when stink bug damage is visible. Do not apply this product before rain is expected.
Bifenthrin is harmful to humans and animals. When handling and applying the product, wear clothing that covers all of your skin, and wear eye protection. After handling and applying the product, wash your skin and clothing well with soap and water. Avoid skin and eye contact with the product. Keep animals away from the treated area and the product container. Do not let water runoff containing the product go into ponds, ditches, gutters, streams or other waterways because it kills aquatic wildlife.
Integrated Pest Management
Plant a trap crop of mustard (Brassica juncea) away from the rest of the garden to lure stink bugs. Once the stink bugs have converged on the mustard crop, apply 1/10th pound, or 2 ounces, of a granular, bifenthrin-based product per 100 square feet of the mustard’s soil surface, placing it uniformly on the soil and then watering the soil well. Follow the same precautions that you would when handling and applying a bifenthrin product to a vegetable garden.
Use certain plants to attract beneficial insects such as parasitic wasps because they prey on stink bugs. For example, plant small-flowered plants such as yarrow (Achillea spp.), which is perennial in USDA zones 3 through 9. Beneficial insects are attracted to the nectar in yarrow’s blooms and stay to feast on pests such as stink bugs.Read More »
Houston, Texas, the fourth-largest city in the country, attracts many visitors looking for tips on how to design and take care of their garden, how to renovate a house or how to tile their kitchen. The abundance of annual home and garden shows in the Houston area gives area homeowners lots of access to expert advice.
Texas Home & Garden Market
• Each year, the Texas Home & Garden Market hits the Houston Reliant Center. The trade show features a variety of exhibits, seminars and products for purchase during its two-day run. Topics of interest include gardening, home decorating, storm preparation, kitchens and bathrooms, outdoor living, remodeling, pools and eco-friendly living. Attendees also can talk to experts and other consumers and learn valuable information about home and garden topics at seminars.
Texas Home & Garden Market
1 Reliant Park
Houston, TX 77054
Fall Home and Garden Show
• Each year, the Fall Home and Garden Show attracts hundreds of thousands of people to the Waterway Marriott Hotel and Convention Center in The Woodlands, Texas–a short drive north of Houston. The trade show serves as a resource for new products and home and garden projects. The show includes guest speakers on all things related to home and garden projects.
Fall Home and Garden Show
1601 Lake Robbins Dr.
The Woodlands, TX 77380
Cy-Fair Home and Garden Show
• Cypress, Texas, a Houston suburb, plays host to an annual home and garden show in February at The Berry Center. The show features remodeling tips and home products from more than 200 exhibitors. The trade show also includes interactive presentations and seminars from industry experts, shopping, giveaways and live broadcasts.
Cy-Fair Home and Garden Show
8877 Barker Cypress
Cypress, TX 77433
The family room is an informal space that gets lived in a lot — you have a wide latitude for choosing paint colors, and you’ll probably want to consider wear and tear when making your selection. Pristine white walls might not be a great option in a family with young, rambunctious kids. Frilly pastel hues aren’t robust enough for sturdy furnishings, and somber shades lower the energy level. Getting the paint color right means evaluating your family, your furniture and your favorite shades.
Go With What You’ve Got
• Paint color is easy to adjust. Replacing the sectional or the rug may not be that simple. Check the furniture and accessories slated for the family room and pull a color from a pattern or find a complement to keep things harmonious. The red-and-navy plaid sofa and navy upholstered ottoman will be fine in a pale blue room — a relaxing color that coordinates with the dominant sofa. The floor is the single biggest swatch of color besides the walls. If your floor is terra-cotta tile, pick a wall color to deepen the rich clay shade or inject an extra note of tropical sunshine. Lilac, light turquoise, mint or yellow straw paint will show off the floor tile and set the tone for the room.
Find the Flow
• Your family room isn’t an island; it’s connected to the rest of the house by hallways, arches between rooms or an open-plan layout. So you have to envision the journey from space to space, blending the family room wall color with adjacent shades. The apricot entry that opens to the cream living room with one russet accent wall, separated by a wide arch from the family room, might inspire you to stick to a warm palette. The family room walls could be butterscotch or pumpkin, a lighter color than the living room’s accent wall. Or you could choose the color complement of orange, blue. A rich steel blue or a paler cornflower blue will shift the mood from formal living room to informal family room without jarring. Use orange accents against the blue to link the spaces.
Accentuate the Positive
• Think of adjectives to describe your ideal family gathering spot: cozy, cheerful, relaxed, fun, peaceful, comfortable. Now imagine colors to go with your descriptions. Does your hard-charging family need a place to chill? A soft green on the walls is refreshing and takes the high voltage down a peg. Muted rose paint isn’t at all girly when accent pieces and upholstery contain grays, navy or medium-range cocoas. One barn-red accent wall picks up the pace in a sand, fawn or buff-colored room — and works with your country antiques and comfy old chintz couch. Soothing gull gray walls tone down the splashy black-and-white checkerboard tile floor and open the door to a surprising yellow sofa or a couple of colorful molded fiberglass rocking chairs.
Ceiling and Trim
• Eliminate the testing and tweaking and just paint the ceiling and trim white. That decor default works for most spaces and with most wall colors — just be sure the trim is wipe-down eggshell or glossy finish. But a compact cave of a family room will seem larger if the ceiling and trim are the same color as the walls. That saves you the trouble of taping and taking extra care where the walls meet a different color. Mono-color is also a way to go modern; this de-emphasizes dated architectural detail such as baseboards, crown molding and window frames. Once the whole room is chamois, vanilla or citrine, set your modern sectional and chrome and leather chairs on carpet squares or a bare plank floor and settle down in front of the flat screen.Read More »