Make Your Towels More Luxurious


 

Make Your Towels More Luxurious

The standard bathroom towel can be an afterthought to most. But, doing a bit of research and spending a little more time shopping can help you choose the right ones to end your bath routines on a luxurious note.

 

Whether it’s for drying your hands or for capping off a relaxing bath, follow these recommendations to elevate your bath towels.

 

Weight

Are you on the move and need your towel to dry quickly? Or can you let them hang until your next shower? Consider the density of the towel before you buy and avoid any confusion.

Towel density is measured in grams per square meter and measures between 300 and 900. The lower the density, the lighter the towel and faster the drying time – perfect for the gym. For plusher towels, opt for a density between 600 to 900; denser cotton towels also tend to be more absorbent.

 

Cotton type

Egyptian cotton isn’t just for bed sheets – you can choose towels made of the same premium fiber as well. The cotton is handpicked for quality, and towels made of Egyptian cotton have longer, denser loops of thread for better absorbency. Its heavier weight makes hopping out of the shower a more indulgent experience.

Other options to consider include Pima or Supima cotton, the American equivalent of Egyptian cotton, and organic cotton. For the environmentally friendly, look for towels made from bamboo fibers, which feel looser and are just as soft as cotton.

 

Size

If you want to enrobe yourself completely, try a bath sheet instead of a standard-size towel.

Bath sheets are 35-by-60 inches, while the standard size is 27-by-52 inches.

 

Style and color

For timeless luxury, many interior designers choose white towels. Whether it’s in the master or a guest bath, white towels exude a timelessness that can also work with any décor style. Play with textures to avoid monotony or personalize them with monograms, one designer suggests.

Cleaning white towels is low-maintenance as well. Just wash them with a bleach detergent to keep them a bright white.

If you don’t prefer white, designers say to think of towels as accessories. Use them as an accent to enhance colors or themes in the bath.

How to make art work in your home


 

How to make art work in your home

 

When you’re faced with blank walls in your home, filling them with the right art can be a daunting task – especially if you’re attempting the feat alone.

We’ve consulted with interior designer Bryan Yates, co-owner of Yates Desygn in Oak Lawn, to guide you through the process of incorporating more art into your space.

 

Collect some Pinspiration

When you’re unsure of where to start, Yates recommends collecting images of what you like to jumpstart your search. Start a Pinterest or Houzz account, and pin anything that provokes positive emotions.

“Everyone knows what they don’t like, but not necessarily what they do like. Just pin everything you like, and you start seeing recurring details or elements of design,” Yates says.

 

Stir up emotions

Once you know what you like, hone your tastes further by choosing pieces that incite strong reactions. In doing so, you’ll own pieces that you can love for a lifetime.

“It really needs to captivate you,” Yates says. “There’s no sense in purchasing art if it doesn’t. It needs to be intentional and something you really enjoy.”

 

Take a field trip

When it comes to art, scanning rows upon rows of images on your computer does you a disservice. Yates recommends discovering pieces you want in person, so you get a better feel of the texture, colors and scale.

In Dallas, there are many galleries, and even art fairs, to visit and explore.

“There’s stuff you’re going to see at different price points,” Yates says. “Dallas is so great in the art community. You’re buying from local artists, and it’s always great to support them.”

 

Edit thoughtfully

Try not to buy too many pieces all at once – you’ll acquire your best pieces if you’re patient and choose pieces you really love. Once yours, make sure the art has space to breathe and be the focus of the room.

“You want pieces to stand out for themselves. If you bring too many art pieces, no one knows where to look. It gets overwhelming,” Yates says.

For gallery walls, Yates says to have a clear concept instead of creating a hodgepodge collection. He recommends visiting galleries to get inspiration from the experts.

 

Hang at the right height

Pieces should be centered at the eye level of an average height, Yates says. If you’re slightly shorter or above average height, just make sure the center of your art is between 55 to 66 inches high for the correct proportions.

“You want art to be a little lower or right at eye level, because you want to be able to see the center and move around the piece. When you have to look up at it, you’re not engaged,” Yates says.

 

Go neutral

Of course, you can make your space any color you wish to choose. But if you want your art to stand out, try making the rest of the space more neutral or monochromatic.

“Monochromatic has a really bad connotation, but I like my interiors to be monochromatic,” Yates says. “If it’s paired right, you can design a room around one color. And neutral can be anything now. It doesn’t have to be boring. It’s about texture and layering.”

How to Make Your Bouquet Last Longer


 

How To Make Your Bouquet Last Longer

There doesn’t need to be a special occasion to grace your home with the beauty of fresh flowers. An elegant bouquet is one of the easiest and most convenient ways to bring new life into your home décor.

 

Whether you’re buying from a farmers market or a florist, here are a few recommendations to help your flower arrangements last longer.

 

Clean vases are a must.

Flowers must be placed in clean containers, otherwise bacteria grows in the stems and kills the foliage. Experts suggest scrubbing the vase with a mixture of 1 part bleach to 10 parts water before rinsing.

 

If a whole leaf is submerged underwater, tear it off.

When leaves remain underwater, they decompose and bacteria grows. Bare stems allow flowers to last longer.

 

The colder the water, the better.

When you want to cook vegetables, you steam them with warm water until they wilt and soften. Similarly, room-temperature or warm water will cause flowers to soften.

 

Cut stems at a 45-degree angle.

Cut stems at a 45-degree angle with a sharp knife – Swiss Army for soft stems or a pair of bypass cutters for woody stems. Cutting flower stems with scissors constricts the straw-like tube that allows nutrients to reach the top of the flower.

 

Measure flower food precisely.

Too much flower food poisons flowers and too little does nothing at all.

Use the directions on the packet of flower food to follow the correct food-to-water ratio.

 

Fresh water is a must.

Every two days, or when the water gets cloudy, replace the water in the vase. With each water change, it’s recommended to clean the vase. Use the same recipe as above.

 

Which Light Bulbs Are Right For You?


 

Which Light Bulbs Are Right For You?

With so many types of light bulbs available, it can be overwhelming to select the right ones. Read this guide to determine what you need for your fixture, space, and budget.

Factors to Think About

*Lumens (brightness)
*Wattage (energy used)
*Appearance (warm vs. cool)
*Bulb lifespan
*Estimated yearly cost
*Contains mercury?

When shopping for light bulbs, take a look at the Lighting Facts label on the packaging in order to compare different bulbs. The label looks similar to a Nutrition Facts label:

Which Light Bulbs Are Right For You?

Lumens
Lumens represent the amount of light emitted from a lightbulb. The more lumens, the brighter the light. When purchasing light bulbs, start by comparing how bright of a bulb you want before factoring in other characteristics, as lumens are the same across the board. The number of lumens needed to light a room depends on the size, color of the walls, and how much light you prefer.

Watts
Watts are the amount of energy a light bulb uses. The higher the watts, the higher the electric bill. (CFLs and LEDs have a lower wattage than incandescent.) When purchasing bulbs, follow instructions provided by the lighting fixture about the maximum wattage. A bulb with too high of a wattage can create a fire hazard due to the production of excess heat. It can also damage the light fixture.

Today, light bulb packaging shows the number of lumens. If you’re used to looking at wattage to figure out how much light you need in a room, check out this helpful chart below.

 

Which Light Bulbs Are Right For You?

Types of Light Bulbs

Incandescent
Incandescent bulbs are the traditional bulb type, but today, standard 60- and 40-watt bulbs are no longer produced or sold. This has been the case since 2007, when Congress passed the Energy Independence and Security Act, which requires incandescent light bulbs to be 25 percent more efficient.

Halogen Incandescent
Halogen bulbs are perhaps the closest alternative to incandescent bulbs, but with a longer lifespan. While more energy-efficient than incandescent, they are still not as efficient as CFL or LED bulbs. These inexpensive bulbs produce a crisp, bright light, and do not fade with age. They operate at high temperatures, which can cause burns if touched, but they do not contain any mercury. Halogen bulbs are commonly used as task lighting — think spotlight or flood light bulbs.

CFLs
Compact Fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) emit a similar light output in the same color range as incandescent bulbs, but consume significantly less energy. CFL bulbs can be used anywhere a typical incandescent bulb would go, including both indoors and outdoors. These bulbs may take a few minutes to reach their maximum output.
*CFL bulbs do contain a small amount of mercury, and care should be taken to prevent breakage, as well as to dispose properly.

Fluorescent
Fluorescent lights need a controlling ballast to operate, but new ballasts eliminate the buzz and flickering often associated with fluorescent lights. In addition, fluorescent lights are now available in a wider variety of colors and sizes. Fluorescent lights are energy-efficient, but like CFL bulbs, require a warm-up time and proper disposal. They also produce a small amount of ultraviolet (UV) radiation, which some people may be sensitive to.

LEDs
Light Emitting Diode bulbs (LEDs) are just as energy-efficient as CFLs, but with a longer lifespan. In general, LED bulbs are pricier than other options, but are becoming more affordable as they grow in popularity. LEDs are cool to the touch and do not contribute to indoor heat buildup. They come in a variety of whites and colors, and are also shock-resistant.

Smart LEDs
These “smart bulbs” have all the characteristics of traditional LED bulbs, but connect to your home Wi-Fi to be controlled by a smartphone or other smart home device. These bulbs will set you back a bit more than your average LED bulbs, but allow you to change the color, set an on/off timer, and more.

 

 

How to Make Your Home Smarter


 

How to Make Your Home Smart

 

We live in a digital age, and many new homes now include different forms of home automation. If you’re interested in automating certain aspects of your home, it’s easy to add these smart systems yourself. Simple devices you can find in stores come in the form of thermostats, light switches, vacuums, and speakers and will offer you a new level of comfortable living unlike anything you’ve experienced before.

How to Make Your Home Smart

Amazon Echo Dot – $49.99
You’ve probably heard a lot of conversation about this Amazon device and its narrator, Alexa. The Echo Dot is a smaller version of the Echo, a hands-free, voice-controlled speaker that allows you to play music, control volume and smart home devices, ask questions, set alarms, follow recipes, and more.

 

How to Make Your Home Smart

 

Belkin WeMo® Mini Smart Plug – $34.99
The WeMo Mini Smart Plug is perhaps one of the easiest ways to automate your home. All you need to do is plug the switch into an outlet, download the WeMo app, connect to your home Wi-Fi, and start controlling your devices from anywhere. This plug allows you to schedule your devices on a timer, sync lights with sunrise or sunset, and turn on or off randomly to ward off potential intruders. You can also use it to turn control small appliances like space heaters or coffee makers.

How to Make Your Home Smart

 

iRobot Roomba® 960 – $699.99
The Roomba® 960 is an automatic vacuum on the cutting-edge of smart home technology. The device can navigate an entire level of your home, keeping track of its progress and recharging as needed until the job is done. The 960 allows you to use the iRobot HOME App to clean and schedule on the go.

Ways to Make Your Home Smart

iRobot Braava 380t mopping robot – $299.99
Is mopping where your home cleaning falls short? The makers at iRobot have come up with a solution – the Braava mopping robot. This device has the ability to sweep up to 1,000 square feet or mop up to 350 square feet in a single cleaning cycle. For convenience, it’s even compatible with reusable cleaning cloths such as Swiffer® pads.

How To Make Your Home Smart

Petzila Petzi Treat Cam – $169.95
You never have to wonder again what your pet does when you’re not home. With this device, you can see and speak to your pet, as well as launch a treat to keep your pet’s attention. Simply connect to the app to control the device remotely, and give your pet attention even when you’re not there.

How to Make Your Home Smart

Nest – $249
The Nest smart thermostat is the ultimate smart home device that makes living more comfortable and saves money long-term. Not only does Nest learn the temperatures you like and programs itself to follow suit, but it will also automatically turn itself down to save energy when no one is home. And if you already own Amazon Alexa, you’re in luck. Nest can be voice-controlled with the Echo or Echo Dot.

How To Make Your Home Smart

Amazon Dash (exclusive for Prime members) – $4.99
Amazon Dash buttons are perfect for those who are frequently on the go. If you notice you’re running low on a product, press the button to order a pre-set item to arrive in a few days. Dash buttons are available for a variety of products such as food, health, beauty, and pet items. This small button will save you an emergency trip to the store, and you’ll also get your $4.99 back when you place your first Dash order.

How To Make Your Home Smart

Crock-Pot® 6-Quart Smart Slow Cooker with WeMo® – $129.99
If you’re constantly on-the-go but prefer to eat home-cooked meals, a slow cooker can be a saving grace. Now, they’re becoming more and more high-tech and offer additional features making the process even easier. This slow cooker allows you to control the cook time and temperature from your smartphone. Arriving home later than expected? No problem. If your meal is done cooking, you can change the temperature to the warm setting until you get back.

Does thread count really matter?


Does Thread Count Matter?

 

Comfortable sheets are crucial for a good night of sleep, so why not make the experience more luxurious? When considering new sheets, thread counts are just one factor that affects the quality. Don’t forget to include cotton types, weave, and finish of the cloth when shopping.

 

Still believe that those discounted 1,000-thread count sheets you purchased are the best out there? Read below and we’ll let you decide.

 

Thread Count: Thread count is the number of threads woven into one square inch of fabric. Additional threads can be woven in to increase the thread count. A higher thread count typically creates denser sheets. It’s recommended to get anything over 200, but anything higher than 400 makes minimal difference. The threads used to achieve these higher thread counts are often thinner so they can all fit.

 

Cost: Bargains don’t guarantee quality. More expensive sets of 200-thread-count sheets will generally be higher quality than a cheaper set of 400-thread count.

 

Fiber: Instead of focusing on thread count, evaluate the length of the sheet’s fiber: longer fibers are better than short and lend themselves to longer lifespans. Quality fibers, such as those found in Egyptian cotton, are acclaimed for a reason. Make sure the label says 100 percent or pure Egyptian cotton, though, because sheets can be labeled “Egyptian” even if they only contain a small percentage of actual Egyptian cotton. Alternative options are Pima and Supima, cotton-poplin, cotton-polyester, and even bamboo.

 

Finish: Sheets may contain bleaches, dyes, or finishes to keep them from wrinkling. If you have sensitivities or allergies, steer clear and opt for 100 percent organic sheets.

 

Weave: Weave is the last thing you should pay attention to and is the determining factor in texture and lifespan. Common weaves are percale or sateen — percale features a cool, crisp feel, while sateen is softer and warmer. When it comes to weave, pick what feels best to you.

 

We hope our guide helps the next time you’re in the market for new sheets. Sweet dreams!