We'd never condone cheating on an exam, but we're all about "borrowing" answers to our biggest home-design tests. Here are the Ivy League tips that will earn your house straight As.
Look around and you'll see the word "smart" everywhere: smart phones, smart TVs, smart thermostats, even smart refrigerators! But if the rest of your home design looks, well, dumb... then it's time to call in some brainiac backup. After all, "smart," besides meaning "intelligent," also means, "stylish, elegant in appearance and appealing to sophisticated tastes." Bluetooth and wifi stickers won't make you proud of your home but licensed interior designers and expert craftsmen will.
Rebecca Rollins Interiors 367-4394
Using Reclaimed Barn Wood to make Custom Furniture
Why fake it when you can make it - and keep reclaimed wood out of landfills, too? Boost your room's IQ with US-sourced custom pieces that are made domestically - because keeping jobs in the States is a pretty brilliant bonus.
Bella Venezia Home & Decor 254-2246
Framing a Mirror Instead of Replacing It
Not smart: Letting your contractor-installed plain-Jane mirror remind all who see it that you bought your house in 1995 - and haven't remodeled the bathroom since. Ready for a figurative kick in the head? You can jazz up that mirror without taking it out or spending a fortune. Mirror Mates is an intelligent option that allows you to choose from dozens of framing styles that are then professionally installed, usually in less than an hour.
Harvesting One of Nature's most Renewable Resources for your Floor
CaliBamboo cork flooring by GreenClaimed is the smarty-pants flooring solution for areas that are moisture prone. Thanks to naturally-water resistant qualities and Ceramic Shield Technology, this soft, comfortable floor is temperature insulating, hypoallergenic and mold resistant. Plus, harvesting the cork increases the health of the tree it hails from, as only the outer bark is removed, prompting new, healthy growth.
Dannick Design 775-7430
Surfaces that don't Require Sealing or Polishing
We're suckers for stone, but that whole "maintenance" thing gets in our way. We simply don't have time to baby our kitchen and bath surfaces, which is why we're in constant swoon mode over Cambria quartz countertops. Their diamond-like hardness and superior strength mean that all we need to keep it gorgeous is a soapy cloth and a bit of elbow grease. With over 120 designs and a food-safe rating, we're sold on this clever countertop solution.
Woodward Kitchen & Bath 251.3865
COURTESY OF SHUTTERSTOCK
Choosing Paint Colors Scientifically Shown to Improve Mental Agility
We're pretty big fans of the University of Essex in England; the legendary school regularly churns out research that we can actually apply to our daily lives. Today's case in point: The recent study that demonstrated a marked (Up to 25 percent higher!) improvement in mental agility in participants shown sunny, bright shades when compared to those who were instead exposed to dull shades of grey. Bright colors also improved hand-eye coordination by 20 percent; there was a 9-percent boost in physical strength under the same conditions. The takeaway: Choose bright, bold shades for your walls in spaces like home offices and the areas where your kids do their homework.
Magic Maintenance Inc. Painting 259-3373