3 Must-Have Items for Your Home Office

Working from home is beneficial in a number of different ways. From a flexible schedule to a peaceful atmosphere, there are plenty of reasons why working at home is great. As you begin to set up your home office, you will likely be very excited to decorate and set things up.

You have the creative freedom to design your office however you’d like, so have fun with it! But also keep in mind that certain items can certainly boost your comfort and productivity. Three of those items are featured below; read on to learn more about them.

High-Quality Lighting For Your Work Space

Working in a dim, dark room may make it difficult to focus on your work. It can also cause eye strain, which may lead to vision problems and headaches. Because of this, it is important to keep your office well lit. You certainly do not have to spend tons of money to light up your office, though.

Look for floor lamps that are called “sunlight floor lamps”; they provide bright yet natural-looking light to help you focus. They are designed to reduce eyestrain, so they are ideal for home offices. The necks of these lamps are adjustable, so you can change them to suit your needs. These lamps can cost as little as $40 to $50.

A “Breakroom” Area for Refreshing Your Mind

Taking a break is a very important part of any work routine. A break gives you a chance to rejuvenate so that you can focus on your work better. These two tips discuss two must-have items in your office:

  • Have some form of entertainment for your breaks. It doesn’t matter if you want to read a few chapters of a book or work on a sewing project. Having something fun to do can help you recharge your batteries and avoid work burnout.

  • Invest in a small love seat or similar cozy furniture. Sitting at a desk can be pretty tedious after a few hours. Put a love seat or comfy lounge chair in the corner so that you can fully relax during your breaks.

An Ergonomic Office Chair for Comfort and Support

Last but certainly not least, it is wise to invest in an excellent office chair for your home office. Look for ergonomic chairs; these chairs are designed specifically to provide the ideal balance of comfort and support. They may help you reduce backaches and other problems associated with sitting at a desk for long hours. You may have to pay a bit more for a high-quality office chair, but it’s worth every penny. To look at office chairs, check out sites such as http://www.officefurniturebarnpa.com

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3 Insects That Can Infest And Damage A White Oak Tree

White oak trees are large, beautiful trees that feature light gray knotted bark and leaves that shift from pink to deep green to red depending on the season. Keeping your white oak tree beautiful and healthy involves some maintenance. That maintenance includes monitoring the white oak for signs of insect infestation and calling in a tree care service or pest control company to help deal with the problem with as little damage as possible to your tree.

Here are a few of the insects that can infest and damage a white oak tree – and the symptoms you need to watch out for.

Two-Lined Chestnut Borer

The two-lined borer gets its name from the stripes on the bodies of adults and the boring through done by larvae that feed on the bark material. Symptoms of a two-lined chestnut borer infestation include scattered wilting and dieback of leaves throughout the tree. There can also be dust on the bark around where the larvae are boring tunnels through the tree. Left untreated, the borers can kill off enough of the heartwood that the tree will die.

Call in a tree care service, like A-1 Expert Tree Service, to confront the borer problem early in the infestation. The service can trim away already affected leaves, monitor the tree’s general health and improve where necessary, and possibly apply chemical controls to eliminate the borer problem.

Kermes Scale

Kermes scale infestations can be easy to overlook due to the fact that the adult insects have rounded, bark-colored bodies that make the insects resemble buds on the tree. If the infestation becomes severe, the tips of affected branches will darken, droop, and then fall off of the tree.

While the scale rarely does any serious damage to the tree, the cosmetic damage alone can be bothersome. Call in a tree care service as soon as you suspect a scale infestation or if you simply notice some unusual buds forming. The tree care service can apply chemical controls including crawler sprays, which treat the adults, or dormant oils, which treat the larvae during the off-season.

Oak Leaf Skeletonizers

Oak leaf skeletonizers are a type of moth that gets the name from the fact that larvae feeding on the tree will eat away at the underside of the leaf until only the veins or skeleton of the leaf remains behind. The affected leaf will simultaneously dry out and will eventually fall from the tree prematurely. Eventually, large sections of the tree’s leaves can go missing due to these moths.

If you start to see signs of skeletal leaves, call in a tree care service to apply chemical controls to get rid of the problem before the damage progresses.

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Contrast Counts: How To Make Your Quilt Stand Out By Choosing The Right Contrast Fabrics

When you are in the process of selecting fabrics for a quilting project, one of the most important concepts to consider is contrast. Not having adequate contrast in your quilt fabrics can lead to a quilt that lacks clarity and depth.

Knowing how to contrast fabrics well, before you make your next trip to the fabric store, will make it easier to select the right fabrics. Choosing fabrics that contrast well will result in a quilt that is rich in color and detail.

Why contrast is so important

Contrast is vital for making depth clear and well-defined in a quilt block. Lack of contrast causes the quilt pieces to blend together. Rather than standing out, the design will appear flat and lifeless. When working with intricate quilt patterns, lack of contrast can cause the entire design to be lost or distorted.

Choose light, medium, and dark fabrics

A good tip to remember when choosing quilt fabrics is to think in terms of light, medium, and dark shades of fabric. When you visit the fabric store, place your fabrics in three piles according to their shades. This will ensure you have adequate shades for good contrast.

Don’t be afraid to try color combinations that are not in the same color family. The goal is to achieve the desired depth and clarity necessary to make your design stand out.

Tips for visualizing contrast

You should learn to view the contrast value of a fabric by looking beyond just the color. Once you have your fabrics for your quilt selected, there are several tips to help you see if your fabric group has enough contrast. Before trying the tips below, stack your fabrics together with the dark colors on the bottom, medium colors in the middle, and light colors on the top.

Purchase a reducing glass to view your fabrics. You can also use an old door peephole to get the same result. Looking through a reducing glass will make the colors less obvious and the contrast more apparent when viewing the fabrics in a group.

You can also place a sheet of red cellophane paper over the fabrics. This technique will obliterate the color of the fabrics while allowing you to see the continuum of color values from light to dark.

Another good way to see contrast is to take a picture of your fabrics stacked together. Change the color of the image to black and white. This completely masks the colors but will let you see if you have a good contrast combination of light, dark, and medium fabrics.

It can be time consuming to choose the right contrast for your quilting fabrics. However, the extra time you invest in selecting fabrics that contrast well will pay off in a great finished project. Your quilt will have the proper depth necessary to showcase the design, and the proper balance of color will make your quilt stand out and make a colorful impact. 

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Stylish Ideas For Your Living Room Window Treatment

Window treatments are an excellent way to finish off the living room. No matter the décor style, bare windows are rarely the best treatment. Simple curtains are always an option, but different draperies also complement your décor style. Choose stylish window treatments to complete your living room’s décor.

Bamboo or Wooden Blinds

Bamboo and wooden blinds offer very similar profiles because they’re both made of natural materials. If your décor features a lot of earth tones, consider bamboo blinds or wooden blinds finished with a natural stain. Bamboo blinds offer a more rustic look, but they also pair well with exotic décor, such as a safari-inspired living room. Their narrow profile also make them ideal for sliding glass doors because they don’t impede its movement. While wooden blinds can complement any décor style, the natural-finish option can dress up casual décor or offer a neutral profile in a nature-inspired room.

Roman Shades

Roman shades are an easy way to introduce color and pattern into your living room because they come in such a wide variety of both. You can use the shades as a basis for your room’s color palette or let them serve as a complement to an existing one.

Many living rooms feature banks of windows. If this is true in your home, consider going the opposite direction and choosing Roman shades in white or another neutral color. As Better Homes and Gardens points out, such shades are unobtrusive when in use and downright invisible when rolled up.

Plantation Blinds

Plantation blinds are an upscale method for controlling the light. They affix to your window frames directly. Plantation blinds can be customized to fit your window, or they come in specific dimensions. Like standard wooden blinds, they come in natural finishes as well as painted varieties. White plantation blinds are a chic addition to your living room, and they complement any décor style.

Layered Treatment

Living rooms are often more formal spaces, so layering your window treatments may make more sense. Any of the above blinds and shades can serve as the foundation of the layered treatment as light control. From there, you can add curtain panels, toppers and accessories to complete the look.

For example, start with a foundation of casual bamboo blinds. Keep within your naturalistic color palette, but choose a brighter color, such as robin’s egg blue, for full-length drapes. Complete the look with pretty tie-backs. Alternatively, let classic white plantation blinds cover the bottom half of the window while you accent the top with café curtains or a colorful swag.

Complete your room’s décor with window treatments that both control light and offer stylish accenting. For more information, contact a company like Spotless Shade & Blind CO.

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Clever Ways To Create Something New With Old Shutters

When you get ready to replace your window shutters, either indoor or out, consider re-purposing them throughout the house for a fresh focal point. There are so many things that you can do with any wood or vinyl shutter; it would be a shame to simply stick these versatile fixtures in storage.

Use shutters for the following projects and create a novel conversation piece:

Bring a bed back to life. Mount old shutters on the wall above your bed for a unique and distinctive headboard. Try arranging smaller shutters in a pattern and painting the headboard before securing to the wall.

Put together a pergola. If you happen to find tall, outdoor shutters, consider making an unconventional pergola for your yard or garden. These can be easily secured using hardware and an electric drill, and a bit of epoxy may further ensure your pergola stands up against the weather and elements. Use shutters for the two sides, connecting them at the top with an additional shutter, either vinyl or wood.

Recycle a single shutter into a runner. If you get your hands on a single, cool old shutter, use it as a runner down the middle of your dining room table. This can go on top of any linen that you may use, and place flower arrangements, serving dishes, or candles on top of the shutter, if desired. These have a kind of shabby-chic appeal.

Fix yourself a unique fireplace screen. Small interior shutters are ideal for making fireplace screens to cover up your fireplace and grace your hearth. Use small brass hinges to attach as many shutters as you wish to create the accordion-style screen that will unfold and stand on its own.

Use shutters for storing books. Shutters are the perfect size and shape to make simple bookcases to hold all of your family’s books. Use the shutter as the shelves, with additional shutters secured on the sides for the foundation. Spray paint the entire bookcase a bright, vibrant color to finish.

Wow visitors with a wall treatment. If you are fortunate enough to have quite a few shutters on hand, consider using them to create a funky wall treatment on a single wall in your home. Wood works best as the inherent grain and natural weathering give it a rich and distinctive look. Simply secure each shutter flush against the next to create a “wall” of shutters.

Throw together a quick and easy rack. A random shutter is the perfect foundation for a clever and easy rack, that works in any area of the home. Some ideas for turning a shutter into a rack include:

  • Hang a shutter on the kitchen wall for utensils.
  • Hang a shutter horizontally and secure hooks, knobs, or extra drawer-pulls for a simple clothing or towel rack in the bathroom.
  • Secure your shutter over your desk or workspace, flush against the wall, and use the slats to hold papers, documents, or photos conveniently.

Create a clever conversation piece in your home with indoor or outdoor shutters:

  • Seek some unique wooden shutters from salvage yards or recycled building supply centers in your region.
  • Check out thrift stores for both indoor and outdoor shutters for low-cost projects.
  • Consider updating your current window treatments and shutters, and recycling any shutters into charming conversation pieces throughout your home. 

To learn more about shutters, contact a company like Budget Blinds Of Coachella Valley

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Three Ways To Add A Special Touch To Your Garden

If you have a garden area in your yard that you tend to take serious then you may want to add a bit more to that part of the yard so you can get even more enjoyment of it. When you want to bring your garden area to the next level, the ideas here may be the answer:   

Make personalized stepping stones to put around the garden

You can make your own stepping stones that look exactly how you want them to. They can even display special messages so you can add an extra special touch to your garden. To make the stepping stones, pour some fast drying cement into round cake pans. Tap the pans on the sides to work out any air bubbles.

Decorate the top of the stepping stones any way you want. You can use a sharp instrument to write messages into it. You can also push broken pieces of colored glass, marbles, seashells or other items into the cement to create the designs you want.

Make a sitting area next to the garden

You can place a cozy sitting area right by the garden that you can relax in. You can even add small stools you handmade, for an extra special touch. Small stools can be made by putting cement into a thicker cake pan and putting three or four thick sticks in it that are the same length. The sticks should be put in the cement about three-fourths of the way. Once the cement dries completely, you can take it out of the pan. Place some of your hand crafted stepping stones and a few of these stools near the garden. You can make a table for the area using the same method, but while using a large, rectangular pan to create the table top. 

Place a waterfall nearby

Whether or not you decide to create a nice sitting area near your garden, putting a water fountain and small pond near it will create a very relaxing and comfortable space where you can spend your time enjoying nature. You can buy outdoor water fountains and ponds in all styles and sizes so you can get one that goes with your landscaping. Many ponds can be purchased that go above ground, so you don’t even need to worry about digging up the yard to have everything put in place.

Making these changes to your garden area is going to help you to make a space for yourself that you can spend great lengths of time in.

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