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Creative Ways to Streamline Your Home with Hidden Power Outlets

By Rebecca Bradshaw

From kitchen appliances that can cook a gourmet meal with the click of a button, to computers that control everything from recording your favorite TV show to automatically adjusting the thermostat, our homes are more tech savvy than ever before.

Along with all of those gadgets and systems, however, comes a multitude of cords and plugs necessary to keep them all operating. Rather than crowding walls with unsightly sockets, here are some creative ways to streamline your home with hidden power outlets.

Kitchen:

With all the interest in cooking these days, most kitchens are filled with an abundance of small appliances just waiting to be used.  The plethora of necessary power outlets, however, can make even the sleekest kitchen look cluttered. Hiding sockets behind false drawer fronts on kitchen islands, or mounted between the lip of the countertop and lower cabinets are just two design options to streamline the space, as is tucking multiple sockets behind a pull-down backsplash. If a hinged backsplash isn’t possible, keep outlets out of sight by having them installed in molds mounted beneath upper kitchen cupboards.

Home office:

Hiding computer cables and wires has long been a key aspect of achieving a streamlined workspace; interior designers are now finding clever ways to hide electrical outlets. Regardless of your furniture style, desks, credenzas, and filing cabinets are being manufactured with built-in outlets that are either tucked away in drawers or behind false fronts. Sliding baseboards that cover outlets when not in use will keep your office looking sleek, or opt for an innovative, pop-up power strip. Built into desks or other furniture, the retractable towers neatly recede out of sight when not in use. Pop-up towers are a great option for busy kitchens as well.

Bathroom:

Much like kitchens, bathrooms require several power outlets to accommodate all of our electronic gadgets.  Streamline your bathroom’s look by hiding sockets for electric razors and the like behind levered tiles, or inserted into molds under medicine cabinets and mirrors.  For clever, at your fingertip ease, install outlets for your hair dryer or curling iron into the back of the same drawer where you store them. Tucking sockets inside a cupboard or storage closet also works well. For safety’s sake, be sure that power outlets in both bathrooms and kitchens are grounded, and are at least a yard away from faucets or anywhere that water might splash.

Other rooms:

One way to hide power outlets from plain view doesn’t involve secreting them away at all. Paint outlet faces the same color as the walls, or cover with matching wallpaper to make them less obvious to the eye. This can be especially effective on an accent wall, where colors or patterns are typically dark or bold. Some new home builds are installing electrical boxes in a way that allows outlets to sit flush to walls, all but disappearing when painted. Or, for truly clever camouflage, sockets can be incorporated into wall hangings or other pieces of art.

 

Sources: Houzz, This Old House, odee.com, Architectural Digest

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Everything You Need to Know About Finishing Your Basement

By Rachel Cronin

Finishing your basement is a great way to utilize space and add value to your home. No matter how much or little work your basement needs, there are multiple steps that should be taken in order to transform your basement. From formulating a floor plan to making final decoration touches, you will need to plan carefully before diving into this rewarding experience.

Make a Plan

The first step in finishing your basement is to decide what you would like for it to include. Whether creating multiple rooms in the basement or having a simple open area, you will want to have plenty of light. Having a well-lit basement makes the area feel less like a cave and more like a home. If your basement does not have enough natural light coming in, consider adding additional windows. Discuss all of your basement needs with architects in the area to formulate floor plan ideas. Once you have found an architect and floor plan that you would like to move forward with, your architect will reach out to the city to obtain a construction permit. Once you have received a construction permit, you may move forward with the construction process.

Hire Additional Specialists

After your floor plan has been created and approved, you will need to find a carpenter to begin constructing your basement. The carpenter will follow the architectural plan then leave walls open temporarily for any specialized additions, such as electricity, gas, or plumbing. If you are requiring any of these additions to your basement, then it’s time to find licensed specialists in these areas. Hiring licensed specialists is essential to not only ensure that the job is done correctly, but that it is also done legally. These specialists will review the floor plan that your architect has created and will build upon that plan. Once their plans have been created, they too will need to acquire a permit before moving forward. After the tasks have been completed, the specialists will need to have inspectors from the city come and examine the work to ensure that everything is up to code. If all of the inspections pass, the carpenter can then come back and cover the walls with drywall and complete any remaining carpentry work.

Choose Flooring

Implementing floor covering in your basement is a major transitioning factor in the finishing process. While carpeting your basement is a viable option, stretching the carpet over a cement floor is surprisingly difficult, and can frequently lead to the carpet loosening from the foundation. A more sturdy and simple solution to flooring is gluing tile or laminate to the unfinished floor. If you would like to have some carpeted areas but decide against wall-to-wall carpeting, a simple option is to pick area rugs to place strategically throughout the basement.

Paint and Decorate

Choose paint and decorations that are flattering to the plan that you’ve chosen. If you have difficulty making these decisions, you can also hire painters and interior decorators for expert advice. Fortunately, this step in the finishing process does not require licenses or permits to complete. After you have made your final touches, you and your basement are finished!

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The She Shed Wish List

By Sarah Fogle

Do you ever wish there was a retreat where you could enjoy your hobbies without leaving the backyard? Somewhere to get a little “me time” around your home that isn’t covered with laundry, family obligations or toys? Move over, man cave– today’s new home trend is the “she shed,” a well-maintained outdoor oasis for the woman of the house to keep all of her tools or put her feet up. While a shed might not sound like a glamorous place at first, you can create a lot out of a structure that normally houses dusty rakes and rusty paint cans. Not sure where to start? Follow this guide to reimagine your shed into a bright and comfortable space of your own.

1. Write Down Your Goals

The size of your shed will be determined by both the amount of outdoor space you have and what you plan to use it for. If you can never seem to resist a decorative terracotta pot or need elbow room for a tabletop, you might want to go for as big of a shed as your backyard will allow. You can make your shed a true workspace equipped with a full potting bench, a quiet sanctuary with a tidy desk for creative writing or a relaxing hideaway more ideal for a cozy reading chair—anything goes! Write down your favorite tasks to get an idea of your expectations for the space. You’ll want ample room to fit your needs.

2. Choose Your Style

Image courtesy of At Home With the Barkers

Today’s trends include a classic barn roof, mini cottage styles, stable doors and modern angles. Plain, square boxes are certainly a thing of the past. Whether you want your she shed to coordinate with the exterior of your home or take on a fantasy quality, your personalization options are wide open. Pro tip: hang flower boxes and bring greenery inside to soften edges and add a little polish. The extra color looks great, too!

3. Pick Your Paint

Don’t let the exterior outshine the interior by leaving the walls au naturale. Set the mood of your oasis with an inspiring color scheme. Channeling your inner earth goddess? Go for a sage green or sky blue. Want to feel a surge of good vibes each time you open the door? Seek out vibrant shades of citrus or coral. Even just whitewashing the walls will give your space a clean, fresh energy, and you can warm it up with accessories.

4. Stock the Basics

Fill up your she shed with the things you need to do what you love. Gardeners may want a cute matching set of tools, several terracottas or ceramic pots of various sizes, a few packs of seeds, some potting soil, and a watering can. You may want to invest in a few plant anthologies and gardening how-to/coffee table books for reference and inspiration. For writers, a small but sturdy desk will do the trick. A classic metal bistro table can handle the elements with ease. For the lady who just wants a place to relax, a sturdy bench or chair with comfortable pillows makes a great place to kick back.

5. Have Fun with the Details

Image courtesy of Design Dazzle

The difference between a regular old garden shed and a bona fide she shed lies in the decor. Make sure your storage is visually interesting: a wooden mail organizer for your seed packets, decorative hooks to hang tools, glass canisters for birdseed and soil, and industrial metal bins for muddy goulashes and kneeling pads give a small workspace a stylish, clever purpose without overwhelming. For a cozy environment, add a lamp for soft lighting, an outdoor rug for your bare feet and some soft curtains for the windows. Give your walls interest beyond paint with artwork or reclaimed pieces from the thrift store—whatever lets your personality shine!

With just a little elbow grease and some thoughtful decorating, you can have a fully outfitted she shed set up over the span of a weekend. No matter the size of the shed or extent of your green thumb, you can carve out a special space for you to enjoy.

 

Sarah Fogle is a self-professed DIYer who believes that anyone can learn how to update their home.  From bigger projects like creating a “she shed” to smaller projects like organizing a space, she offers some great ideas. To see a large selection of shed organization products, visit The Home Depot.

 

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