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Repurpose Your Old TV Cabinets

Just because it's old, does that make it useless? I think not. In a world where recycling has gained more importance, let's take a look at how we can reuse old furniture, such as a TV cabinet.

  1. Mail Station - Add racks and extra shelf boards and turn it into a work station, mail station or hobby station.
  2. China Hutch - Add lighting to it, shelves and glass doors and use it to display your fine dishes.
  3. Garage Cabinetry - Keep the large open space for storing bulkier items or add hooks and other cubbies to store your tools.
  4. Humidor - Put a hole in the back of the unit for ventilation and add some cedar liners to keep stored items fresh.
  5. Linen Closet - Add a few more shelves and store your sheets, blankets and towels.
  6. Kitchen Pantry - Put in some hooks to hanging pots and pans and shelves to store baking trays. Hang a whiteboard or cork board in the back to post your grocery lists.
  7. Media Archive - Add shelves and special racks to store your compact discs and DVDs.
  8. Locker Room Storage - Remove the doors and add more cubbies, hooks and a mirror to store boots, shoes, coats and jackets.
  9. Outdoor Bar and Kitchen - Refinish the outside with weather resistant paint or varnish. Add a small outdoor refrigerator and ice chest and install a granite countertop.
  10. Toy Chest - Add extra shelves and cubbies and store your kid's toys or use it to keep collectibles out of harm's way.

Kitchen Islands Are More Than for Cooking and Food Preparation

Modern homes make double usage of fixtures and features. Even in the largest homes, storage always seems to be lacking. Today's islands are free standing workspaces that have access from all sides. This allows the cook to engage in a social experience with family and friends. If you're planning to add one to your kitchen, consider the following:

  1. Space Requirements - You need at least a 3-foot clearance on all sides. The minimum size should be 4 feet long by 2 feet wide, but should also be determined to the correct proportion to space available Many larger islands have a higher section to accommodate bar stools, with a shorter section for the food preparation area.
  2. Design Choices - The design should be determined by the major usage it will receive. If you incorporate a cook top, you'll need a downdraft fan installed above it. Your island should also include a built-in microwave and drawers for pots, pans, spices and cooking utensils.
  3. Lighting- Include adequate task lighting above. Choose from recessed or pendant lighting or a show-stopping chandelier. If using hanging lights, make sure they are high enough so as not to obstruct view.
  4. Countertops - Build it to look like a piece of furniture. Countertop options could include butcher-block maple, laminate, solid surface, natural stone, engineered stone or stainless steel..
Dramatize Your Home

Adding a bit of drama to your room or home might be more simple than you would think. Consider some of these ideas:

  • Provide Contrast - Add a bold area rug that serves as a color bridge to your seating area. Choose strong colors or a strong design.
  • Be Daring - Change to an unpredictable accent paint color. Use high contrasting walls against the ceiling and wood trim.
  • Angle Seating - Turn your seating arrangement on an angle for a different take. The unexpected angles will add an element of surprise.
  • Add Focal Point - Cover an entire wall with mirrors. Put backlights behind a room divider or tree. Paint the fireplace a bold, dramatic color. Add a bold new large painting over the fireplace mantel.
  • Install Chandelier - If you have the height, add a new sparkling chandelier in the middle of the room.
  • Cover a Wall - Cover an entire wall with wood wainscot, cork, metallic laminate, leather, suede or felt or a bold wallpaper.
Reduce Suffering from Allergies

Many items we take for granted in a home can actually make life miserable for allergy sufferers. Here are a few decorating and cleaning tips to reduce airborne allergens in and around your house.

  • Toss out the drapes. Drapes are dust-catchers and aren't easy to clean regularly. Replace them with metal or wood blinds, shades and shutters. You'll always have dust, but these materials are easier to keep clean. If you must keep your drapes, vacuum them every other week.
  • Switch out your wall to wall carpeting in favor of hard floor surfaces. Carpets harbor all kinds of irritants, especially when new. Use area rugs that can be tossed in the washing machine on a regular basis. If you must have carpeting, choose the dense low-piled types because dirt will tend to sit on top rather than working its way down to the bottom.
  • Choose paint that is marked "low VOC" or "zero VOC". Improvements in the quality of the paint have helped make them easy to cover adequately.
  • Keep your home clean. Vacuum carpets, rugs, vents and baseboards on a regular basis using a HEPA filter in your vacuum. Install exhaust fans in your bathrooms and kitchen to remove warm, humid air which can lead to mold. Require all members and guests to remove shoes at the entry. This will reduce dust, bacteria and pollen from being tracked throughout the home.
  • Choose wood-framed sofas and chairs with removable covers on the cushions that can be washed or dry cleaned. Cover your mattresses and box springs and pillows with allergen-proof covers. You'll find these at local retailers of bedding supplies.

Your Basic Tool Kit for Any Home

This is a list of the most common, basic tools every homeowner should have.

  • Hammer
  • Screwdrivers (2 Phillips - 2 slotted or flathead)
  • Needle-nose or long-nosed pliers
  • Hacksaw
  • Adjustable crescent wrench or set of wrenches (1"-14")
  • Torpedo level (10"-12")
  • Tape measure
  • 12-volt cordless drill
  • Utility knife
  • Caulking gun
  • Pipe wrench
  • Pair of vice grips
  • Wire cutters
  • Hand saw
  • File
  • Sandpaper
  • Paint brushes (assorted widths)
  • Assorted hooks, nails, screws
  • Emergency firstaid kit
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Barbara Jennings is author of 11 decorating books: Decor Secrets Revealed, Rearrange It, Home Staging for Profit, Home Staging for Yourself, Staging Portfolio Secrets, Staging Luxurious Homes, Arrange Your Stuff, Advanced Redesign, Pro Art Consulting, Wall Groupings: The Art of Arranging Art and Photos, The Secret Art of Hanging Art, Great Parties! Great Homes!

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