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Design Your Bedroom For Better Sleep

better sleep

By Sarah Warwick, Houzz

Getting in a good eight hours of sleep promotes good health and longevity, according to Matthew Walker, founder and director of the Center for Human Sleep Science, at the University of California, Berkeley. And yet many of us are scraping by on a whole lot less. How can we improve the nightly total? Maximizing comfort in our bedrooms and keeping them dark to establish good habits are just two of the following ways life at home can be tweaked to keep sleep loss to a minimum.

better sleep

Maven, original photo on Houzz

Choose hues that soothe.

Use the power of color to create the mood for sound sleep. In this room, tones of gray are layered for a calming design that’s also rich in detail.

Grays can be cool in tone, so look for those with a yellow or pink base for a cozy room, and avoid blue-based versions.

Domus Nova, original photo on Houzz

Supersize the bed.

The bigger your bed is, the better it is when it comes to sleeping with a partner undisturbed. This generously sized design offers plenty of space and looks super comfortable, with tactile blue upholstery and pristine bed linen. Need to test the width of your bed or try a new one for size? Partners should lie down together arms behind heads. For comfortable sleeping, elbows shouldn’t touch.

Ban the TV.

Sorry, but a television in the bedroom won’t help in the quest for good shut-eye, since the light emanating from it delays the release of sleep-inducing melatonin. If a bedroom TV is essential in your household, allow half an hour between viewing and sleep time to start the countdown to a good night’s rest.

Ban the cellphone too.

A charging station well away from the bedroom can get you in the habit of plugging in your cellphone elsewhere overnight. Of course, if it’s a mobile alarm that rouses you, a substitute is required. Go back to the 20th century with a clock radio or add vintage style with an alarm clock with bells on top.

Will Taylor, original photo on Houzz

Let there (not be) light.

The constant orange glow of towns and cities, motion-sensor lighting and passing cars can all hinder a good night’s rest. Bring darkness to the room with a window treatment that blocks light completely, such as this room’s solid shutters.

Prefer fabric at the window? Try blackout blinds, which come in a huge range of colors, or opt for curtains with blackout lining.

Banish the thin, lumpy mattress.

Once a mattress is causing aches and pains, it’s only right to complain about it like the fairy-tale princess who was (royally) sensitive enough to feel a pea below her mattress pile. A new one needs to be compatible with its support, whether that’s a box spring, platform or foundation. It’s worth buying them at the same time or, if not, ensuring that the new mattress is suitable for the existing support.

Mark Jordan Architecture & Design, original photo on Houzz

Take a warm bath.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, a drop in body temperature makes us feel sleepy. Taking a warm bath before heading into a cooler bedroom therefore can make for quicker and better sleep.

A bathroom like this one will foster pre-sleep relaxation too. To turn a bathroom from functional to calming, follow this room’s lead by including decorative accessories, tea lights and artwork for the walls.

Turn down the heat.

Keeping a bedroom too warm can cause restless sleep because the temperature of the space interferes with the natural dip in body temperature that occurs at night.

A thermostatic radiator valve adjusts the heat in an individual room without affecting the water heater. Make sure it isn’t blocked by curtains.

TG-Studio, original photo on Houzz

Keep office hours.

When a bedroom has to double as a home office, the boundary between the two can blur. To help avoid job creep, steal the style of this room and opt for a desk that allows a laptop to be tidied away, leaving it as an attractive piece of furniture without work reminders on display.

Have a desktop computer instead of a laptop? Invest in a cabinet-style desk — built-in or freestanding — with doors that close to hide the office.

Marie Burgos Design, original photo on Houzz

Stick to a schedule.

A regular routine can help sleep. Here, an oversized clock over the television helps ensure that you won’t lose track of time even when you’re binge-watching your favorite show.

Note that an overscale design like this isn’t necessarily a no-no in a small living room. Adding in a large decorative accessory can often help a compact space feel bigger.

Related Links:

Keep a Media Cabinet Separate From the Bedroom
Blackout Blinds for Undisturbed Rest
Bedroom Ideas and Measurements to Design Your Dream Room

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5 New Year’s Resolutions For Your Home That Will Make It More Comfortable and Organized

resolutions for your home

By Yuka Kato

Each January as the calendar page turns over on a new year, most people will take a look at their lives and resolve to make changes for the better in the months ahead. And while most people tend to focus on things like getting healthy, there are many other resolutions that can improve your life as well, including those that can make your home healthier, happier, and better organized.

These five projects will help you make the most of your home this year:

Pare Down Clutter

Many people can take a look around their homes and see countless things that need improving. By taking the time to declutter your home, you also help bring those other projects into greater focus. After all, if you can really see the state of the walls, floors, and layout you can make better decisions about what to do with these areas.

If you have a lot of clutter you need to remove, consider renting a dumpster, for around $530 to help get it out more efficiently.

resolutions for your homeMoney Saving Tip

If you have a lot of items in good condition, consider calling a local thrift shop or community center. Often, you can donate items for a tax deduction and some places will also haul it away for free.

Give Your Kitchen a Mini-Makeover

The kitchen is where many people spend the bulk of their time at home. If your kitchen is looking a little worn or outdated, this can mean that you won’t be comfortable, organized, or happy. A quick mini-makeover can solve a lot of those issues. Consider repainting walls and cabinets to brighten the space, and replace any of the following if they are too worn – appliances, countertops, or flooring. Invest in some new kitchen organizing equipment, and you can have a more functional and better-equipped kitchen for under $2,000.

resolutions fro your homeMoney Saving Tip

Paint the walls and cabinets in your kitchen yourself to save the painter’s fee.

Put Radiant Heat Flooring in Your Bathroom

There’s nothing worse that stepping from a warm shower onto a cold tile floor. So, why not install new radiant heat flooring in your bathroom to make the room more comfortable on cold days?

Radiant heat electric floor mats are fast and easy to install. A mat sized to the average bathroom costs only about $200, plus tile and installation. The flooring you install in the bathroom is also ideally suited to this type of heat, making it a great way to add comfort and style at the same time.

resolutions for your homeMoney Saving Tip

Don’t install the mat all the way to the edges of the room. Shrink it down so it covers only those areas you’ll be standing on to save the difference.

Add Insulation

If there’s one home improvement you take on this year, make it adding insulation to your home. Many homes are underinsulated using more energy than they should. Adding insulation can recoup you as much as 108% at time of resale, and costs only about $400 on average, while lowering your bills and making you more comfortable at the same time, making this a great investment in any home.

Money Saving Tip

Install non-fiberglass roll or batt insulation yourself in the attic to save on fees.

Install a Backup Generator

With the many natural disasters that have hit the country this year, many homeowners are making resolutions to protect themselves in the future. One way you can do so is to install a backup generator for your home.

Generators will help you maintain power in the event of a disaster, bringing much-needed peace of mind. The average generator costs about $12,000, and can recoup about 54% at time of resale.

Money Saving Tip

Talk to your energy provider; many propane and gas companies will provide a discount to existing customers.

Improve Your Home in the New Year

There are countless projects you can take on this year. If you’re wondering where to begin, consider starting with these five projects to get your year off to a good start, making your home more comfortable and better organized.

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How to Optimize Storage in Your Bathroom Vanity

optimize storage

By Yanic Simard, Houzz

When it comes to bathroom organization, the vanity is most often the workhorse storage solution. But there are many options to consider when choosing a new vanity — or organizing the interior of the one you already have. The following are some of my favorite ways to get your vanity looking and working beautifully, from the inside out.


1. Open shelves.

Keeping stacked towels on open shelves is a common design feature for several reasons.

Drummonds Bathrooms, original photo on Houzz

As this open, airy sink stand reveals, the sink itself takes up a lot of space under the counter, and then the piping for the sink takes up a bit more. This limits the area that can be used for drawers.

Usually, a false drawer front or fixed slab covers the sink itself. This is especially an issue when two sinks eat up most or all of the top third to top half of the unit.

Using an open shelf in the middle or lower section then gives you flexibility to tuck towels and baskets around the plumbing to maximize available space.

Plus, open shelves can be a very attractive look, because it gives a vanity a lighter appearance. When using a dark, weighty wood or stone, having a visual break in the middle adds some airiness to the whole room.

Open shelves are not necessarily used only under a sink, though. They can break up a vanity pleasingly in other ways.

In a small bath with a single-sink vanity, positioning the sink off to one side is a practical solution to allow a larger usable area of open counter on the other side.

You can use this trick to take a premade vanity box and extend it to fit your wall by adding floating shelves next to it and then finishing the whole thing with a single top.

Plumbers Supply Co, original photo on Houzz

2. Simple doored cabinets.

Another option to maximize the use of space under and around piping is to use a standard doored cabinet with open shelves inside. And there are little ways you can enhance the usefulness of such cabinets too.

Notice how the one pictured here includes pullouts within the cabinet. These pullouts can then house baskets or loose items, whichever you prefer, to fit in many objects or a few large pieces. The fact that they roll out will make seeing and reaching for pieces stashed in the back easier.

Kelly Brewer Interior Design, original photo on Houzz

3. Shaped, shallow drawers.

A third option for working around the sink is to use every inch of space with a drawer that is sized or shaped to avoid hitting the sink and piping. A drawer like the one shown here with a notch in it will wrap around the pipe so the entire depth can be used beside it.

To make sure you can still reach into the main compartment easily, you’ll want this upper compartment to be fairly slim, but this size works fine for many daily-use products and tools.

In general, each drawer you add to your vanity will increase the cost but also the functionality, with interior drawers usually costing a bit less than full proper drawers because they don’t need their own proper drawer front or handle.

4. Thin drawers.

Thin drawers (around 5 inches) are also helpful for working around a sink. They also have the advantage of holding small items like makeup and razors without any of them sinking to the bottom and getting lost in the mix. Again, using many thin drawers will cost more than a few larger drawers, but the trade-off in added organization can be well worth the investment.

5. Double drawers.

Not all bathroom products can fit in slim little 5-inch drawers. But sometimes a super-deep drawer won’t fit with your look, especially in more traditional styles with many drawers and somewhat ornate drawer fronts. In these situations, consider having a double-depth drawer fitted with two smaller fronts to blend in better, with an extra handle or knob on the second drawer front to complete the illusion.

Studio Marler, original photo on Houzz

6. Vertical pull outs.

It’s quite common in small to average-size baths to have slivers of space on either side of the sink. Rather than breaking this area into many small drawers, consider using a vertical pullout like this one that has a single compartment broken into many interior shelves. This works on the same principle as a kitchen spice rack, presenting all your small products in a way that’s easy to browse.

7. Toe-kick drawers.

Really want to wring every inch of storage space out of your bathroom? A toe kick drawer can turn that usually empty space along the floor into an additional storage space for less commonly used items, or a backup stash of paper rolls. These should be well constructed to avoid scraping your floors or becoming stuck, so be prepared to spend a bit more than a typical drawer.

8. Tip-out drawers.

In places where you can’t really fit a true drawer, consider a small tip-out compartment. It won’t hold much but will give a home to things like a toothbrush and toothpaste.

Drawer Organization

So you’ve got your perfectly designed set of drawers and compartments — or you have the vanity your bathroom came with and you have to make the best of it. There are still many more ways to take your storage up a few notches.

Cabinets & Designs, original photo on Houzz

9. Semi-adjustable compartments.

Either a new or existing drawer can be fitted with a semi-fixed divider system like this one, which will stay rigidly in place during daily use but can be adjusted to hold different products over time as needed. A built-in system like this will create the most elegant look, but you can find similar systems from various companies that use springs or adjustable parts to fit to your drawer interior tightly.

10. Reconfigurable bins.

For a similar result at a lower price, use individual plastic mini-bins to break up your drawer into compartments. Unless you find a set of bins perfectly sized for your drawer, there likely will be slivers of wasted space, but it can be more than worth it to have a specific place for everything. You’ll avoid losing items and know exactly where to find anything you need during a busy morning.

11. Vertical dividers.

Have too many deep drawers and need to store some additional small items? Try dividing a drawer up into slim, vertical compartments and storing items standing up. Make-up compacts, razors, lip balms, and other skinny items can be stored this way to avoid having different items piled on top of each other.

To truly maximize the use of small compartments and dividers, consider taking your small products out of the packaging so you can pack them in much more tightly. Individually wrapped items — Q-tips and the like — will take up much less space unboxed. This may seem like extra work, but the boxes will have to be disposed of at some point anyway, so you might as well go ahead and have the products out where they’re easy to grab and you’ll enjoy the extra space.

Rylex Custom Cabinetry and Closets, original photo on Houzz

12. Tool slots.

This is another option that requires a custom installation but can be a DIY project if you’re handy. By creating a space specifically designed to hold a commonly used tool like a blowdryer, you can keep it upright and ready to grab, adding a little convenience to your daily routine. You can achieve this by adding a fitted box with a hole in the top to fit the nozzle, with or without a removable cup to catch debris.

Completing your tool drawer with a built-in power source will keep cords from cluttering your look. These are most easily added during initial construction and installation of the vanity, but sometimes they can be added retroactively by opening the wall behind the drawer or rerouting power from a nearby outlet, depending on your electrical layout and the accessibility of your vanity interior.

13. Stylish trays.

Lastly, sometimes you can declutter your vanity only so far, and you may need or want to keep a few items on the counter. Gathering these items on a tray can give your vanity a much more organized look, turning an array of loose products into a stylish presentation in a snap.

Related Links:

Pick the Perfect Bathroom Vanity Setup
Stock Up on Drawer Dividers and Organizers
Bathroom Ideas to Bookmark Today

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