Get off the couch and DECORATE!

I’m as guilty as the rest of you for sitting in front of that darn TV too much to watch and re-watch my favorite decorating shows.  So let’s make an effort to turn off the TV and start creating our own masterpieces in our homes.  It’s great to see how they can do it with the magic of television, a huge budget and expensive staff of talented designers and craftsmen, but what about the rest of us??  We all would love a beautiful home – free of charge, free of our efforts – but that’s just not going to happen.  I’d like to challenge you to set your sights higher and join my happy group of enthusiastic DIY decorators.

1.   Start by getting my free decorating guide – “10 Easy Steps to DIY Decorating like a Pro”.  

2.  Collect all the old photos, decorating videos and samples that you’ve been squirreling away for the past year and sort them into usable and unusable options.

3.  Visit local home improvement  and furniture stores to see what’s new and inspiring.  Sign up for their do it yourself classes to learn a new skill like tiling, wallpaper installing or even an upholstery class.  It’s really simple to recover dining chair seats.

                                                                 

                                              BEFORE with plain fabric       AFTER with NEW fabric

4.  Join or start a local Meet-up Group of decorating enthusiasts to share your triumphs and challenges.  

5.  Save up all your extra change and funds for a decoratiing splurge.

6.  Suscribe to Decorate-ed, the  Online decorating service for ongoing answers to all your decorating questions along the way.  

7.  Most importantly – START, PLAN and FINISH your next decorating project THIS WEEK!   (send me your photos!)

5 Tips to Decorate without Divorce or Bloodshed

Over my many years of doing Interior Design projects, I’ve seen it all – destructive dogs, stubborn husbands, uninvolved wives, and careless kids, but the toughest thing to overcome is impending divorce from partners working closely on decorating projects.  Sometimes it’s easier to reason with a 2 year old than to keep sparring couples from going to blows.  So how do seasoned Designers work their magic?  Here are some of my best tips for getting Families to play nice together while decorating:

 

  1.  Use the 2/1 Rule –

You have 2 ears and 1 mouth – use them accordingly so listen twice as much as you speak.  That way you can actually hear and understand what your partner likes and dislikes. Always ask for more details and get to the heart of the issue.

 

  1.  Tread Lightly –

Let’s not insult anyone’s choices or preferences – it may go way back to their Grand Mother’s influence or a bad day in kindergarten. 

 

  1. Negotiate like a football coach  –

Pick your battles carefully and save your strong arm tactics for things you really care about.  If it’s not important for you to have a giant screen TV in the great room but a deal breaker for one in the master bedroom, trade off the elements that are important to you.  Given 2 choices, have the person that cares the least let the person that cares strongly about it make the decision.  And if you don’t initially get your own way – don’t take your ball and go home!

 

  1.  Throw out the worst of the bunch –

Everyone gets to eliminate one option that they like the least.   Just like when you were a kid – your Mom let you opt out of eating one icky food as long as you tried the rest.  If someone pulls out your favorite, get over it – you’ll get your chance to renegotiate later during the “instant save round”.  Let everyone in the Family select their least favorite element and then work to coordinate around the rest.

 

  1. Play to win-win –

Your goal in the decorating game is to find enough pieces to complete the “well-coordinated room”  puzzle.  Use the best furniture pieces that you already have even if they need to be recovered or refinished.  This recycles and saves money.  Then start building around them with all the best options that the group has not eliminated.  That way everyone has a bit of skin in the game and will be pleased that they got some of their style into the design plan.  You get a beautiful home and a happy household!

 

NOW GO OUT THERE AND GET ‘UM!!!

 

For your FREE 14 page decorating guide – “10 Easy Steps to DIY Decorate like a Pro”,  click here!

                                                                           

 

 

Tips to Design a room with a FREE online CAD program

 

So you have an empty room  – Yippee!  I love starting with a blank slate.  Does the thought of this long time empty room leave you cold and scared?  I have a solution.  It’s fun, easy and fast.  You can watch my 3 part video series on Kick Starting your Decorating Project and THEN…  

Sign in to www.roomstyler.com to start filling the empty space with all kinds of wonderful furnishings.  This program has everything that you can think of to make a truly “designer” room.   Start with selecting a room shape, adjust for proper sizing, then just click and drop all the furniture, rugs, art, accessories and architectural elements that peak your interest.  On the right side of the screen is a 2D rendering box that is continually updating the room as you add or replace each element.  All you need to do is adjust the angle of the little blue camera.  (great tip:  be sure that the camera is facing your room – the small end is the lens, so rotate it to see your handy work.  Otherwise you are getting a photo of the wall!?!)

To change the color of the walls and ceilings, click on the paint brush, scan the color chart, click on your color choice and drag it to the box in the upper center that colors all the wall or ceilings.  You can even do an accent wall by taking the color to a segment of the wall.

 

This is a great way to experiment with different styles, colors and furniture placements without buying a bunch of stuff that doesn’t work out in your space.   If you don’t like an element, drag it off the floor plan, but keep it handy in case you want to reinsert it.  If it really does not work as well as your next choice, X it out for good.  I worked at these drawings for only an hour or so and tried lots of variations.  I’m not a techy wiz, so I’m sure you’ll be able to work with this as well.  In no time, you’ll be designing rooms just like on HGTV. 

Here’s my quick “first try” room on Room Styler.  See if you can do better!

                                                          

Good luck, send me your drawings and email me with your questions. For your FREE decorating guide – “10 Easy Steps to DIY Decorate like a Pro”,  click here now!

 

                                    

Aging in Place

 

Aging in Place

 

My Mother always says that “aging is not for sissies!”  If you plan right and right now – it can be easier.

 Your home is usually your biggest investment so you’ll want to be sure you add value during renovations and plan for Aging in Place.

 When you consider that 10,000 Boomers reach Social security age every day, and that by 2050, 1 in 5 adults Americans will be 65 and over- –  it pays to renovate with Aging in Place in mind.

 Here are some interesting and useful ideas to consider when planning your project:

1.  Start by selecting “livable communities” –age friendly cities that allow for “encore careers”, comfortable connections, safety, independent living and also strive for dignity in aging!

2.  In your timetable – remember that it’s easier to do the renovations sooner than later. It”ll be much easier to do this work in your 50’s – 60’s than in your 70’s and 80’s. If you are already there – be assured that there are many dependable and creative contractors to help you get your projects completed quickly.

3.  Starting on the exterior – watch out for entries with a clear, level path to the house with automatic sensor lighting, 36″ wide doors, non-slip foyer flooring and easy to maintain vinyl siding or brick. A recent survey found that 57% of the respondents said they’d move to get easier maintenance.

4.  Single level living will make life much easier along with low thresholds. (as we age, we need a lot more light to complete a task. In fact, we need 3 times the light when we reach 70 than when we were 20!) By designing color contrasts between levels on the floor and counters – we can avoid accidents and spills. Main floor bedrooms are gaining popularity – with guest bedrooms and flex space on the upper floors.

5.  Include multi use rooms so your home is “visitable” by Family and friends. With flexible spaces, you can accommodate Family or live in help if you need it.

6.  Kitchens have several challenges that can be solved with planning more drawers, multilevel countertops and pull down shelves. Consider moving appliances up to a more comfortable level without bending and fewer upper cabinets with unreachable shelves. Add in self-regulating ventilation and lighting too.

7.  In bathrooms, we now have great options for comfort height toilets that have heated and self-closing features plus showers and tubs without step ins. Look for faucets with levers or even a pedal control. (the kids will love those!) As you reno the shower, add in extra bracing behind the tile for future grab bars. Choose ones that do double duty as towel bars.

8.  In general, flooring that is softer will be more comfortable. Consider luxury vinyl, the ever popular wood or eco friendly cork instead of tile and stone. Pick patterned, stylish low pile carpet too.

9.  Here’s a great idea – add a place to put packages or your purse down when you’re opening the front or garage door. That way you won’t be struggling to hang onto things and get the door wide open.

10.  Remember the little things, like a convenient location for changing HVAC air filters; peephole in the front door for security; bright light bulbs everywhere; easy to operate window hardware (we all love fresh air) ; handrails on ramps; easy to read appliance controls ( I had to get a flash light for my Dad the other day so he could read the stove); front loading washers; shower seats and built –in pet feeding stations to keep it out from under foot.

I have an awesome Aging in Place Remodeling Checklist  from the Nation Assn. of Home Builders – check it out!  http://www.nahb.org/generic.aspx?genericContentID=89801&fromGSA=1&print=true   It’ll get you thinking in the right direction.

There are so many wonderful materials and ideas to make living comfortably in your Family home for a lifetime.  They don’t all have to be really obvious at first but with pre-planning can make the transition so much smoother when they are needed. To help with your upcoming decorating projects – get my “10 Easy Steps to DIY Decorate like a Pro” booklet.   We Boomers not only want a beautiful home, but also now want to build in valuable increased energy efficiency, convenience, resale valuable and comfort plus a few luxuries like state of the art media and appliances.

 

My fondest wish for you is to enjoy your home as you Age in Place!

 

Kick Start your Decorating project

Sometimes too much of a good thing IS bad! (except chocolate, pizza and shoes…oh but I digress!)  When starting your decorating project, you will find so many choices that it’s mind blowing and so confusing.  We Designers could also get overwhelmed, but we have a strategy for dealing with it all.  I break it down into 2 phases – the “inspiration piece” or the “process of elimination phase”.

It’s tempting to fall in love with every new thing that comes out on the Internet, magazines and ads, but you must resist the temptation to select one of each. Just like shopping for a new outfit, you need to coordinate all the pieces or you will have a closet full of wonderful but mismatched clothes. Your goal needs to be to narrow it down to 1-3 good possibilities. Get my FREE guide – “10 Easy Steps to DIY Decorate like a Pro”.

If possible, try to find an inspiration – a piece of art, a fabric sample, a photo, a paint swatch of even a piece of clothing. I’ve seen Candice Olson design a whole room around a fabulously gorgeous silk blouse!  Now if that doesn’t get your juices flowing, then we’ll have to move on the Phase II – the process of elimination.  So many of my Clients know precisely what they don’t like but cannot describe what they do like.  So let’s just go with that … 

Start with a great showroom full of samples. I like to use fabrics, because they are small, readily available and don’t weigh a lot.  Do you know how heavy W/P books and tile samples are?  Too much to schlepp around!  Then eliminate all the patterns and colors that you won’t love to live with.  (that could be florals, paisleys, blues, – whatever you know you aren’t drawn to) At this point – over half the options are gone.  Then it’s like a kid in a candy store – start pulling all the samples that you really love and toss them all in a big pile on the table.  This pile can then be sorted into groups of like colors, mood, texture and patterns.  If you are not good at this, showroom staff can help you too.  You will quickly see a great color schemes emerging.  If one pile has too few pieces, you can probably take this as a hint that you will have trouble coordinating enough elements to pull off a great design. If you still like that one best, then work specifically to develop more pieces to that puzzle.  If not, eliminate it.   Strive for at least 5 compatible patterned fabrics in a space – utilizing solids, textures, stripes, prints  and wovens.

When you get it down to the semi –finals – start living with them for a few days, get the Family involved in the voting and Voila –   You have a winner !!  Use these samples and your free guide to select all the rest of the furnishings in the room.

Now that you have some idea of colors, patterns and fabrics – let’s review some styling tips. I like to start with the actual architectural features of the house.  Is your home traditional, contemporary, Tudor, ultra-modern, colonial, territorial or Craftsman?  Hopefully you like the general styling of the architecture so we can build on that foundation.  It’s important to have that cohesive feeling when your architecture meshes with your décor.  To illustrate this, let me tell you about one of my Design Client’s projects.

I was asked to help a friend redesign her 90’s kitchen. Now this is a very independent, athletic professional woman with 2 big Sons.  This is not a girly-girl house by any means.  When I arrived, I could see the SW influence of the soft terra cotta and turquoise colors and a strong rock waterfall feature in the pool.  My Client had seen a beautiful, all white French Farmhouse kitchen that she really liked and proceeded to ask me to design her kitchen in that style.  This is always a hard thing to tactfully move a Client in another direction.  Knowing that most people are not exposed to all the wonderful options that Designers see and work with regularly, I asked if she would be open to a suggestion.  Long story short, we designed and built a more casual, SW, slightly rustic kitchen/Family room that was so much more practical for this active Family.  The room is filled with warm textures of hammered copper, distressed Alder wood, colorful marble tops and fabrics with slate in golds, plums and greens.  She loves the new look and is carrying the colors up to her new Master bath remodel.  The morale of the story is to use the features that best accent the home.  That makes selecting a style for your décor so much easier. (check out the photos in my Portfolio under “Rustic SW kitchen”)

If your home does not have any obvious architectural style beyond contemporary, then we’ll have to move to Phase 4 – finding a real inspiration from a photo or locale. This locale does not even have to be in the US.  Many of my Clients take their inspiration from their favorite vacation spot.  If you live in Alaska and want to recreate your favorite tropical retreat, this may be a bit unconventional but if you have a simple, vanilla contemporary house, we can fill it with mementos of your favorite destination.   Then the theme is established and you can continue to collect on your trips or visit local shops.  Think about how fun a Moroccan, Tuscan or Asian inspired décor could be!

To combine all your years of different pieces successfully, we’ll work on an “eclectic” design.  Remember that eclectic still has to have cohesive style elements.  You cannot simply fill your room with totally unrelated pieces and expect it to feel well designed.  This is one of the most challenging design styles because every piece that you select has to be fabulous and interesting.  Use the same rules of scale, color and texture mixing as would apply to any successful decorating project.

So to recap – to get you out of first gear and kick start your new decorating project, you will need to find an inspiration. It can be a color, a fabric, a photo an architectural element or an international style.  It just needs to speak to you and make you feel good about coming home!

 

Backsplashes that WOW!

Kitchens have so many utilitarian details to decide on.  The small scale of the backsplashes is the perfect place to add your unique touch. Don’t just settle for a 4″ piece of counter top material when you could go crazy and design a stunning little piece of art for a back splash. Today we have so many wonderful mosaic tiles at such reasonable prices that I say “ban the boring back splash!  I know you all have heard the hype about subway tiles, but that’s just a new twist on plain old 4×4 tile. Branch out and investigate combinations of ceramic tile with stone, glass metallics and slate.  For such a small area, you can afford to splurge on really beautiful materials.

                 

First, consider a different tile layout. Try patterns like diagonal, herringbone, vertical bands, and geometric patterns. Practice on a piece of graph paper until you find the perfect combination of pattern, color and texture.  Remember that a typical backsplash is 18″ high.  You don’t want to cut pieces into very small slivers so plan out the geometry of using tiles of various sizes in combination that equal the 18″space.  Colored tape on the wall can help you to visualize your new pattern even better than a sketch.  Tile manufacturers have great websites with photos of finished projects for you to copy  Check out this link to see many wonderful tile patterns .http://www.daltile.com/information/tile-patterns.

For those of you that think out of the box –  try bricks; reclaimed wood in dryer areas;                                               river pebbles in full round or flat cuts                     ;             tin ceiling panels; larger scale tiles with hand painted inserts; split face travertine for great texture; frosted etched glass for a “cool” watery look; scrub able wallpapers; butcher block; cork; mirror – regular or antiqued; aged hammered copper; broken china mosaics; sea glass pebbles – or even white board or chalk board paint so you can write out recipes to try.  How about a show stopping copper penny backsplash or glass blocks to let more light into the room?

 Now that I have you thinking – send me your wildest ideas and I’ll award someone 2 free hours of one on one consultation time for the best new idea! Send photos too! And for your FREE decorating guide – “10 Easy Steps to DIY Decorate like a Pro”  CLICK HERE!

        

Wallpaper is Back!

News Flash – wallpaper has returned with a vengeance!  After years of faux finishes, we are ready for the return of textured and patterned wall coverings. Check out my FREE decorating guide for more great ideas.  

W/P now comes in many more categories:

Printed paper – flat and pearlized paints

Embossed papers – raised designs that are pre finished or can be custom painted see  www.anaglypta.co.uk/

Metallics – in foils or vinyls in rich copper, nickel or bronze

Fabrics – great texture and sound deadening as well

Sanded – raised textured designs or in small pearly beads

Heavy Duty vinyl – commercial grade in 52” wide rolls – great for laundry rooms and kitchens

Naturals – grass cloth, cork, handmade paper, string

Jeweled – rhinestone enhanced

Wood – thin slivers of wood that installs like W/P with all the exotic species like Anagre, burl, tigerwood.  See www.koroseal.com  Arbor Series.

Wall panels – made of Mother of Pearl, padded fabric, leather.

Check out this collage wall and imagine it in all different textures and colors.  It could be a great do it yourself project.  You can even add shadow boxes or shelves to the graphic design.

http://www.houzz.com/photos/59795/Recessed-Television-modern-living-room-san-francisco.

If you like the traditional florals and patterns, they are still available in traditional colors and now in fresh trendy versions.

 

But the new innovative designers have developed elaborate patterns and colors to enhance every décor style.

Wild and Practical Countertops

Nothing attracts attention like fabulous natural stone counter tops, but choose carefully because these surfaces take a lot of abuse.  For true durability, quartz is king.  You can cut on it (if you don’t mind dulling your knives), and set hot pans on it unlike granite and marble. The old quartz tops were solid and unglamorous.  Today, quartz is coming in from all over the world and contains beautiful veins of crystal formations.

 

We all love granite and with so many options, you can find a full array of colors from neutrals, to reds, golds, blacks, greens and even blues.  The price grades are loosely based on the amount of movement in a slab.  Movement is the wavy patterns of mineral deposits that set higher end slabs apart from the old fashioned speckled versions.  Consider a new waterfall edge or a simple mitered or square edge over an old bullnose or ogee shape.  Remember that the edging is a substantial part of the labor cost along with the sink and faucet cutouts as they need polishing to accommodate under mount sinks.  You can find ready-made slabs that come in from places like China that are available in standard 24” widths and finished with a simple edge.  You only need to cut to length, do the sink and faucet holes and install with your new creative back splash.  For real budget minded projects, 4” matching back splashes are available along with matching island pieces.  A 6’ slab starts at $199.  Don’t get too excited yet – until you figure in the measuring, delivery, labor, installation and proper fitting.

 

If granite is not your thing, consider marble.   Some really beautiful marbles can come in at a lower grade granite price range.  Food acids and chemicals can dull and etch soft marble tops and stain them deep into the stone.  If the pattern is busy enough, staining may not be a concern.  I love the Rainforest marble for its natural color ways of greens, golds and browns and is a gorgeous cost effective material.

 

Similar in softness and beauty is onyx.  Use the same cautions with this or save it for your bathroom and furniture tops.   It can be really cool inserted in a table top or vanity top that can be light from below, showing off its translucence.

 

Moving down the scale of practical materials is limestone.  You can seal these but need to be diligent about keeping up the process.  The soft creams and grays are perfect for today’s modern décor but be very careful even using limestone in the bathroom.

 

For the eco conscious decorators – think solid surface with recycled glass bits.  It’s bright, funky and fun.  You can find some colorful options like red, blues, greens and yellow pieces in a neutral background.

 

Butcher block wood tops are making a big come back, but not just in the original 70’s light oak look.  I love the end cut walnut that crates a checker board design with the growth rings on each block.  For a really practical cutting top, use hardwoods like maple or cherry, but for really interesting options for the island or tables, check out Bocate, Bubinga, Zebrawood or Wenge.  Edge options are very important to the prices as well as shipping costs if you are ordering from out of town.

 

With so much talk about renewable resources, bamboo is a hot material.  Born and raised in a rain forest, this wonderful tree grows fast and often.  In dry climates like Phoenix, I recommend Bamboo with caution to avoid it drying out, splitting and warping.  The warm tones and stripey effect is great looking.

 

Concrete has come on strong in recent years as a modern and flexible counter top.  It can be colored or left natural gray, depending on your desired effect.  Don’t plan on this being a cheap alternative because it’s labor intensive to get an even texture on long runs of countertops.  The other cautions are that concrete is porous and stains easily if you do not maintain the sealer plus precision forms need to be made because concrete doesn’t trim and sand down easily.

 

The synthetic blend stone products like Silestone are a very practical, beautiful and flexible option.  Just don’t pick one that looks like the 90’s “corian” tops.  You want a fresher, newer color and pattern.  My favorites are White Platinum, Zirix, Zirconium and even Green Fun.

 

For bathrooms, cultured marble is back and with a major face lift.  It now resembles granite and natural stone, at a fraction of the cost.  You can even do slabs for the shower walls and avoid all those nasty tile grout lines to clean.   I think you will be impressed with its new, updated look for counter tops and walls.

 

At the lower end of the cost spectrum are mica and tile tops. For more great DIY ideas – get my new decorating guide.   If at all possible, tile grouts lines on counter tops need to be avoided.  Save that fun tile design for the back splash.  The mica tops are a truly affordable option for updating a kitchen.  The new patterns, colors and edging options are interesting and mimic the real stone materials very well.  When deciding on where to splurge, countertops may be a good option.

 

For other Eco friendly counter top options, see my video called “Save the Planet”.  It’s loaded with new and innovative options for all your renovating materials.

 

 

The effects of color on our lives

Whether we think about it or not, color can have a strong effect on our mood, feelings and actions. It can even help explain some strange reactions from our coworkers and loved ones. It all starts out in the very interesting history of color.

This can give us a clue into the sometimes bewildering emotions that color can evoke. Prior to the invention of modern dyes, color was reserved for only the wealthy. The peasants were relegated to natural materials made from leather, cotton, flax and linen. These were all available in dull shades of beige. The good news is that they didn’t show dirt as washing was also a luxury. The rich could afford to use semi-precious minerals like amethyst for purple, lapis for royal blue and exotic berries for reds. White was fairly elusive until bleach and titanium were more available. Denim blue only became available with the use of indigo – hence the endearing color of our modern denim jeans.

Jump ahead to modern days and we now have a complete rainbow of colors from dyes. Yet the most expensive liquid in the World is ink! Now that we have successfully colored our world, we need to understand how to effectively use those colors. To help coordinate the world of color, an international group meets each year as the Color Council. They design and determine the palette of available dyes and inks for the upcoming year. That way you can get an area rug from Target, a bedspread from Walmart, tile from HomeDepot and a Rubbermaid trash can that all match. It may sound like a conspiracy, but it definitely makes it easier for all of us to decorate our homes or match a new fashion outfit.

 

Here are some interesting facts about color to help you use them wisely:

    • Blue is the number one favorite color of Americans

 

    • Pink has a soothing effect for about 90 minutes – it has been used successfully as jail holding cells

 

    • Radiant Orchid is the current reigning color of the year 2014.

Of course, all colors go through their fads, but these are some tested reactions to the color in general.
Color has a very important role in decorating, so a few basic rules should be noted. Get more great tips in my FREE Giude.   When designing a color palette for a room, remember the 60/30/10 rule. If you want a comfortable feeling environment, use these proportions in selecting colors. 60% 0f the space should be your primary color. I like to use it for flooring, walls and major furniture pieces. Then 30% of the color palette is your secondary color for accent furnishings like chairs and rugs. Then the final 10% should be a pop of color in art, accessories, throw pillows and drapery trims.

If you are going for real drama, use 3 colors in more equal proportions to achieve an exciting space. To make a room look more spacious, use all one lighter color on floors, walls, ceilings, trims and doors. If your eye does not have a break to a new color, it interprets the space as larger. Paint chips come in a myriad of colors. Be aware that you need to select one in a more grayed down version for walls in AZ. Our very bright yellow light can intensify their effect so always invest in a sample jar before painting large areas. I like to drive through neighborhoods with my paint deck to see what colors look good on home exteriors even before selecting sample colors. The final tip is to be sure that you select colors that are all cool based or all warm based in a single space. That is not to say that you can never mix a yellow with a blue. Just select a cooler version of the yellow or a warmer version of the blue to achieve a cohesive look.

One final story to share about how influential color can be in our world: A company had to mail out refund checks to its customers. They did not have to be sure that the checks were cashed – just sent out. They went to a color specialist to see what color would be so repulsive that people would throw the envelope away without opening it. An unattractive shade of goldish ochre was selected and a majority of the checks were never cashed. That year the company had a great bottom line thanks to the psychology of color.

Now go out and have fun with color!  and get your FREE decorating guide.

Decorating around your fur babies

We Americans, all love our cats and dogs. And we love them to a tune of $56 billion, that’s with a B ,dollars spent on our favorite pets each year. Humanization of our pets started 20 years ago so it makes sense that we are now not only decorating our pets, but also the house to match! Get our free decorating guide to help with all your projects.  The obvious stuff like doggie doors, feeding stations and play areas are a good start, but we should talk about what materials work best in decorating around our furry friends. Flooring needs to be easy to clean up. My Girls love to do their business on grass. They do not, at times, however understand the subtle difference between grass and carpeting. Mohawk has developed a pet guard carpet to repel stains and keep unwanted liquids from seeping through the carpet into the pad or subfloor.

Yes, even concrete will absorb moisture and smells. Carpet is a really comfy place for them to lie on all day, adds warmth to a room and is less costly than hard surface flooring like wood and tile, but it needs to be the correct fiber and construction. We all have a current love affair with wood flooring. If you have it in pet friendly areas, scratches and moisture damage can become an issue. Laminates fare a bit better for reducing scratching, but will still warp with enough unattended moisture deposits. A great alternative is the wood look plank luxury vinyl or ceramic tile. It even comes in cool reclaimed wood looks.

You can find these in all the exotic wood grain looks and give you the beauty of wood without the wear and tear. Maintenance is so much easier too – no more pushing around a long stick with a big soggy terry covered “mop” and a bottle of expensive spray cleaner. With vinyl and tile – a quick wet mop and you are done – a self-propelled vacuum can even be used. Remember though, that hard surfaces can be slippery for your fury friends and cause hip displaysia and be hard on arthritic joints. Furniture has the same appeal to pets as carpet so choose styles without dangling trims, skirts