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Four tips for a cool, comfortable household
By Payless Decor
6/2/2014 12:46:00 PM  

When was the last time you were able to go an entire summer without turning on your air conditioner? Whether you live in a warm region of the country or you experience brutal hot temperatures for three months a year, it can be downright uncomfortable to live without air conditioning. However, there are ways to keep your home cool without increasing your electricity bill. Here are some tips you can take into account to keep from sweating while saving a few bucks and reducing your overall carbon footprint.

1. Use window treatments to your advantage.
Items such as wood blinds and cellular shades are for more than just decoration - these window treatments can make a big difference when it comes to conserving energy. Your blinds, shades and drapes can keep strong sunlight from increasing temperatures in your home throughout the summer.  In the winter, they can insulate your living spaces - it's a win-win situation!

2. Opt for natural ventilation.
Opening your windows and using ceiling or standing fans can have a positive impact on your electricity bill in the middle of the summer. Crack your windows during the early morning hours and at night to allow fresh cool air to flow into your home when the sun isn't shining brightly. Use ceiling fans and standing units to keep it moving during the day, according to Care2.com. While the slight breeze might not be as chilling as air conditioning, it can still keep you comfortable without spiking your utility bills.

3. Know what creates heat.
Yahoo! reports that knowing what's creating heat in your home can give you an edge when it comes to cooling down your living spaces. For example, your desktop computer might be emitting a large amount of heat. Turning it off when it's not in use can make your surroundings cooler and reduce the need to turn on fans.

4. Invest in a dehumidifer.
Good Housekeeping magazine reports that using a dehumidifier may be able to instantly improve your comfort level in your home. Approximately 50 percent of homes have an unhealthy level of humidity in their living areas. Not only is this uncomfortable, but it might encourage you to turn on your air conditioner prematurely. Invest in a dehumidifier before a large air conditioning unit to help you improve your air quality and sleep with less worries.

Finally, if you don't have central A/C, but the temps are unbearable Lifehacker has a few ideas on projects that can generate some cool air: http://lifehacker.com/no-central-ac-no-problem-six-ways-to-keep-your-home-c-729713655


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Add interest to your home by mixing patterns
By Payless Decor
9/9/2013 10:39:00 AM  

Combining patterns is the perfect way to energize an outfit, but it's an even better way to stimulate a room. It can be a challenge, but when executed correctly it's absolutely worth the risk. Don't be afraid to go big with these tips on how to mix prints. 

Two-tone palette
One of the most failsafe methods of combining patterns is to limit your color scheme to two hues. House Beautiful recommended being extra careful by keeping one of the tones neutral to complement whatever second color you choose. For example, mix lemon zest with an optic white and use natural accents to taper the combo. Bamboo blinds are a great accessory in a room with wooden floors, and keeping the pigment simple gives you the freedom you need to go crazy with stripes and geometric prints. 

Monochrome
If you're decorating with a single color, you should definitely be using more than one pattern. Prints lend visual texture to a room, which creates enough variety to make a monochrome room look chic, not boring. Remember that you can play with different shades of the same color when using patterns. Consider painting wide stripes on the walls using a pretty plum and a slightly lighter hue. Or, keep the walls simple and inject patterns with throw pillows, carpets and custom window treatments. 

Switch up the scales
One trick to mixing patterns successfully is to vary the scale. For instance, if you're thinking of using florals with stripes, look for stripes on the smaller size and bold flowers or vice versa. Prints that are the same size are more likely to clash than ones that are varied. Additionally, a smaller pattern will blend together more and even though it will hold the same level of interest, it will do more of what a solid would in terms of tempering the more bold pattern. 

Use texture as a pattern
You can mix patterns in a more subtle way by substituting some prints with deep textures. Materials such as wicker, seersucker, suede and leather are all a means of combining prints. The girlishness of a lace pattern and the masculinity of leather would contrast nicely in a study or living room, while seersucker would be a great accent to a nature-inspired print in a bedroom or dining room. 


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Channel autumn with your interior design
By Payless Decor
9/5/2013 4:31:00 PM  

Fall is just around the corner, and with it comes a new school year, some of our favorite holidays and a fresh color palette to work with. As fun as summer decor was, it's about time for some crisp colors and autumn-inspired accessories. 

Colors
If you want to completely redo a room, there's no better time to do it than fall. Your kids are out of the house for longer periods of time, and inspiration is everywhere - just look outside! The cool temperatures in autumn are offset by the plethora of oranges, blood reds and mustard yellows - all warm colors - around you. If you're wondering what other hues to use when decorating with these toasty hues, white or cream blinds and shades will keep your space clean and chic. For something a little more mysterious, use slate gray or royal purple. 

Materials
Fall decor is also cheap because you can pretty much bring the outdoors in. Fill a wicker basket with fallen leaves or pine cones for a charming seasonal centerpiece - just make sure they're bug-free first! Natural materials are perfect for this season, from something organic like an unusually twisted tree branch to a clean accessory like wood blinds. Small pumpkins, dried cornhusks and gourds make for perfect motifs with which to adorn your mantlepiece, window boxes and table. If they don't suit your color scheme, just give them a quick coat of white spray paint for a neutral effect.

Lighting
Some of the prettiest natural light occurs in the fall. It is for this reason that you should consider switching your current drapes for a set of custom window treatments to suit your home and give autumn sunshine the frame it deserves. When the sun goes down, consider decorating with candles for a sultry atmosphere, or layer the tiny flames with dim, warm lightbulbs. Chandeliers, in all their elegance, are perfect for autumn. 

Accessories
According to Martha Stewart, wreaths are a must-have for fall decorating. With all the materials you can choose from, it's hard to land on just one. Dried corn, feathers, pine cones, fallen leaves and white roses all make beautiful wreaths. Simply choose the item or items that represent fall most to you and construct a beautiful wreath or garland with which to decorate your home. 


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Put some polka dots in your life
By Payless Decor
9/3/2013 4:58:00 PM  

Polka dots can be girlish, chic, sophisticated or playful. They're one of the most versatile patterns out there, and look great on their own or with other patterns. But how can you get the exact look you want with polka dots?

Girlish
This print makes for an amazing little girls' room. The best part is that polka dots are now available as decals, so you don't need to use wallpaper if you want to surround yourself with them. Consider using white polka dots - not only do they match everything, but the blankness isn't as imposing as a color would be. Just paint the room your child's favorite shade and stick a few large dot decals on the walls! We love this look with billowy custom window treatments. 

Chic
To decorate a chic room with polka dots, you have to think big, and you have to do so in black and white. In this case, it might be best to opt for polka-dotted accessories rather than walls. A black chair with big white polka dots is gorgeous and vintage-looking, as is an alabaster area rug with large onyx dots. The best part? You can decorate the rest of the room within this color scheme or in any other way - it will likely match regardless. For a chic window treatment, opt for neutral-colored blinds and shades.

Sophisticated
Pin-point polka dots fit sophisticated decor like a glove. It makes for gorgeous embellished wallpaper, furnishings or accessories, it doesn't matter which you choose. In terms of hues, we particularly love burgundy over beige, kelly green on top of navy blue, cream over chocolate and slate atop charcoal. But whatever color combination you choose, we're sure your tiny polka dots will look dashing.

Playful
It's simply in polka dots' nature to be playful, so this is the easiest style with which to decorate in a dotted fashion. But, we do have a favorite way to do so. All of the above design methods use only one color of polka dot, but here we recommend that you use multiple. That could be as simple as finding a pattern that slips a green dot in among its blue peers, or as intricate as alternated black dots with white ones on top of a mustard background.


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Unexpected ways to freshen up your bathroom
By Payless Decor
8/22/2013 7:46:00 PM  

Got some free time on your hands for a change? Use it to improve your bathroom with one of these small, clever upgrades. It's amazing how little money and effort it takes to make your commode feel new, and with a few small replacements and an eye for design, you too can improve the space. 

Repurpose other rooms' gear
If you want to make your bathroom trendy again, just repurpose some old items from different rooms. For example, Real Simple suggested painting an unused nightstand and slipping it by your tub or sink to hold various vanity items. Or use a spare wicker basket to stow restroom items in, such as toilet paper or cotton balls, depending on the size. And why not use a charming case or vintage crystal glass to display more bathroom accessories, like brushes and q-tips? 

Add a surprising flourish 
Nothing says brand new bathroom quite like a change in custom window treatments. Just switch out whatever style you had to completely change the way light filters into the space. For instance, if you have used drapes in the past, opt for blinds and shades. You can also layer your window treatments for extra decor - and privacy too. 

Apply some of the staples you have in other rooms to the bathroom to make it feel more luxurious. A flourish of potted plants or a chic flower arrangement will make the space feel homier while also freshening the air. If you want something even more unique, go for a tier of hanging flower pots that cascade from the ceiling. Or stick some potted tendrils on a shelf and let the leaves curl down below it. 


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Design your own rug ottoman to match decor
By Payless Decor
7/25/2013 6:08:00 PM  

Can't find the perfect ottoman design to complement the theme in your room that you are designing? How about creating your own by simply just stapling a rug or fabric on top! This easy project just requires four materials: an ottoman, heavy-duty shears or scissors, a staple gun and a rug.

Pick out the rug 
Make sure that the design of the rug complements the rest of the colors and themes in the room. A busy design can pair well with simple textured or pleated shades and basic draperies.  It is also important to measure the ottoman and find a rug that is larger than the dimensions so that you can cover the fixture completely and fold it under, in order to staple it together. The ottoman can be any color or in any condition, because it will be covered. 

Attaching the rug
Turn the ottoman over and unscrew the legs and completely take them off. Also, remove all nails, staples and tacks that are hanging out. If desired, spray paint the legs once they are disconnected. Lay the rug and ottoman face down on the floor, and place the ottoman on top. Pull the rug over the ottoman and start from one side stapling the rug to the bottom of the fixture. Make your way all around the perimeter, pulling the rug as tight as possible when attaching it. When stapling at a corner, fold in the rug on left and right side of the edge and tuck both sides underneath. When the rug is completely attached, cut off all fabric that is hanging after the staples. 

Final touches 
Cut holes on the bottom of the ottoman where the legs are supposed to attach. Insert the legs into the holes and screw them in. Find pillows that match and accessorize the rest of the room! 


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How to decorate with mint
By Payless Decor
7/10/2013 4:14:00 PM  

Redecorating your home with an invigorating splash of mint is sure to help cool you down this summer. The hue made an inspired comeback on the runways last summer, and has remained popular ever since. The look conjures up the energy of the swinging '60s, is post-modern and entirely fresh. Here are some tips for decorating with mint. 

Minty fresh walls
While mint may seem like a bold color, it goes on walls easily, without being too jarring. Simply pair it with neutrals to tone it down. The pigment looks amazing with black and white, or any variation of. Just picture a romantic mint room with sleek, dark blinds and shades and white windowsills. It's also the perfect color for a bathroom - soothing, and fantastical. Match mint ceramic tiles with onyx-colored ones and white accessories and you've got yourself one retro chic commode!

Rooms with a side of mint
Sometimes, a touch of mint is better than going all-out (think mojito). In this case, the cheeky hue works wonders in a cool, gray room with - you guessed it - black and white accents. A lighter shade of mint fits in seamlessly in rooms that are predominantly white. Look for a few pillow slips that feature the color, and watch how they brighten up a room. You could also combine the mint craze with the faux-chandelier trend, and get an opulent overhead light made out of plastic or resin in the hue. Love the idea of mint, but aren't sure where to fit it in? Look no farther than the front door. A white or gray house with a green lawn and a mint door is so precious and cutting-edge at the same time. 

Throwback Thursday featuring mint
Minty accessories are so incredibly vintage. Think of the kind of cool princess phone you'd see in Grease. Those sorts of accessories are still made, and would look excellent on your bedside table. Or, hang a retro wall-mounted phone in your kitchen. Not a fan of the princess style? No problem, you could get a mint green mixer to display on your kitchen island. In that vein, you could take a giant leap and get a vintage ice box in the funky shade, or take it slow and just get some jadeite flatware. 


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Interior design to keep your bedroom cool
By Payless Decor
7/8/2013 1:34:00 PM  

Post-Fourth of July sunburn keeping you awake? It takes a serious AC unit to completely rid your bedroom of the insufferable heat, and even then there's still that sticky, humid feeling to contend with. Fortunately, your interior design can help. Stow your flannel sheets and red paint in the closet - this is the time of the year for a total cool-down bedroom makeover.

Custom window treatments to suit your needs
Sure, avoiding reds and yellows in your decorating will make you feel cooler, but choosing a set of energy efficient window treatments will actually help to lower the temperature in your home. First of all, it's important to keep your blinds and shades closed tight during the day or when the room is not in use. Otherwise, the sunshine will filter into your room and heat up the air. Natural light is a great decorating tool, but when the air isn't circulating and no one's home, it's best to be kept out.

There are multiple options for the best summertime window treatment. The U.S. Department of Energy noted that highly reflective or wood blinds are best in warmer months, as they allow for a very controlled amount of light, and when fully closed, the sun will bounce off of the surface rather than heating up the room. Drapes are also useful because in the summer, they can keep your room cool, but in the winter they help to prevent heat loss.

Turn down the temperature on your decor
As mentioned earlier, avoiding warm hues and overly cozy fabrics in your decor will make you feel cooler and help you to get out of the summer heat, both mentally and physically. Pigments that will beat the heat include cool colors muted with gray undertones - think of spaces that provide shelter from hot months, such as a body of water. One such palate might include bluish-gray with navy accents. Lighter colors also help to diffuse heat, as opposed to darker colors, which just attract sunlight.

Of course, shaking that hot, sweaty feeling is harder than just looking at some colors (though that doesn't hurt). For some relief to the sunburn, consider using satiny sheets. If the idea is too bachelor pad for you, keep a single satin-like sheet under your duvet so it's not on display during the day.


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Must haves for the dorm
By Payless Decor
7/8/2013 1:34:00 PM  

The fall semester is fast approaching, and whether this is your first year or you're a seasoned student, you may have started hunting for dorm decor between barbecues and trips to the beach. Stores often provide helpful checklists for what you'll need, and while they often are on the right track, they tend to steer you toward low-quality designs. Though these items are inexpensive, and it's important to save money for the impending living expenses you'll have during the next year, chances are you'll end up tossing the cheap stuff after graduation. In the long run, investing in well-made home furnishings will be a wise decision. Here are some things you may want to consider buying to make the post-grad interior design transition a breeze. 

Decor
Custom window treatments will be a welcome departure from the dull shades that come with the dorm, and will better fit in what are frequently uniquely-shaped windows. Not to mention the typical window treatments found at dorm supply stores feature brightly color patterns that you'll soon outgrow. Simple blinds and shades can act as a mature accent to the room, and you can put vibrant patterns elsewhere, such as on a throw blanket or duvet cover - things that are relatively inexpensive to replace. High quality window treatments will impress your friends, and will likely follow you to your first apartment. 

Vintage posters, either for food or your favorite black and white movie, make for quirky wall adornments. If you take care of them, these posters can be framed after graduation and hung in a grown-up pad. How adult is that! Trending now in decor are typographical representations of various cities: With the skyline or geographical map constructed with the names of different boroughs. These can be used to show some hometown pride or embrace your new hometown. You could also do both side by side to represent your past and your future, and they'll translate well into life after college. 

Furniture
Dorms always come with the basics: A desk and desk chair, a bed and some sort of bureau. In some cases, you can have facilities store these items and substitute them for your own. A swiveling chair may be a more comfortable option for you, which you'll be grateful for come finals week. That, or you could put a nice seat cover or cushion on top of the existing chair. Depending on the size of the room, you may want to get a second chair. For this furnishing, opt for a comfy circle chair in a relatively subdued color (hot pink won't look so stylish in a few years), and consider steering away from faux suede, and get a model in corduroy or nylon instead. 

To store books, electronics, photo frames and other items, you'll need some sort of shelving unit. You may be tempted to purchase a wire version, but think about getting one made of wood instead. If you look for one that's made of a lightweight material, it will make moving in and out a breeze. For a lamp, alarm clock and other bedside stuff, get a small nightstand. Again, wood looks sophisticated, and a less heavy model will have the convenience of plastic. 

Kitchen wares
You won't need much in the form of kitchen supplies, as your dorm will likely have a kitchen on every floor. However, for a healthy breakfast, consider getting a small blender. Bargain hunts will reveal that some models, while effective, are very inexpensive. Berry and fruit smoothies for breakfast in the morning will help you to maintain your health during the freshman transition, and are a fast meal for on the go, for those 8 am classes. 


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Decorate your child's room to please everybody
By Payless Decor
6/26/2013 3:59:00 PM  

Your child's room is their sanctuary - but you're likely the one cleaning it. Luckily, you can mix design sensibility with a child-like sense of wonder when decorating your little one's bedroom. Here are some tips for putting together a kid's room that will make everyone happy. 

Organization
You may find that your child has the tendency to spread items across the floor - toys, clothes or school supplies. This habit isn't easily broken, but you can contain the mess and make cleaning up easier by dividing your child's room into sections. For example, if your kid likes crafts, set up a crafting corner for them, and keep all their supplies in that one area. Ideally, that will retain all the art-related mess in that area. Likewise with clothes, books and toys. 

Another necessary method of organizing is storage containers. Cubbies are a great way to implement storage without sacrificing design. You can create a checkerboard pattern within these by putting straw baskets in every other compartment, and by keeping like with like you make things easy to find and put away.

If your child has a bureau, but the clothes tend to end up in drawers haphazardly, consider painting the piece in chalkboard paint. Not only does it provide your loved one with the opportunity to draw on furniture, but you can label each drawer to know what goes where. 

Easy-to-clean
Organization is an important step to making your child's bedroom easy to clean, but perhaps a more complicated undertaking is creating stain-resistant surfaces. Some parts of this are as simple as picking out bamboo window shades that are easy to clean in the case of dust or spills, but others are more difficult. How are you supposed to keep the carpet nice when it's bright white and your child's soccer cleats make their way upstairs? Trick number one - don't use a white rug. If you already have wall-to-wall carpeting in pristine condition, put an area rug down. If you pick out one that's washable and stain resistant, there will be a lot less stress when the grape juice inevitably hits the floor. Hard wood floors with a machine washable area rug on top is the perfect flooring for kids, and the easiest to clean for you. You can make the furniture easy to clean as well by simply finding stain-resistant slips to go over them. 

Decor
Now that you've made plenty of space for your child to keep his or her items and eliminated some of the fear of spills, it's time to make your child's room fun! A trend that can be seen all over Pinterest is the use of bold, graphic prints in kids' bedrooms. Black-and-white rugs, custom window treatments and pillows paired with white walls and splashes of bright color create a unique environment in which your child can grow. By opting for white or muted walls and resisting the urge to paint hot pink, you make it easier to update your kid's room as they age. Chances are they won't be crazy about nursery wallpaper when they're eight, so keep the baby and toddler patterns to things that are more easily changed, like rugs or duvet covers. Wall decals are a great method of getting a wallpaper look that is less expensive and significantly easier to switch out. They come in letters, which can act as a point of reference for a child learning to read, and in more grown-up motifs, like flowers. 


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