Monday, February 22, 2010

Murphy Beds - BTSH Around The House Tip of the Week

What Is A Murphy Bed?
A Murphy bed or wallbed is a bed that is hinged at one end to store vertically against the wall, or inside a closet or cabinet. The term “Murphy Bed” was patented in 1916 by William Lawrence Murphy To achieve this, the mattress is attached to the bed frame, often with elastic straps. Wall beds are a great space saver, and while they have been around for almost 100 years, they have changed significantly over this time, though the basic concept is the same. Unlike sofa beds or futons, the mattress is not folded, and keeps it’s natural shape, and in fact most standard mattresses can be used in a Murphy Bed.
Murphy beds are usually hidden in the wall by faux cabinets or shelving that opens or slides to the side to allow for the bed to come down.

Why Should I Consider A Murphy Bed?
The obvious answer to this one is simple—space. As metropolitans grow, accommodations get smaller, and when finding yourself in a studio apartment every inch counts, and you want to make the most of it. Have a two-bedroom home where your guest room sits empty majority of the time? A Murphy Bed allows you to make daily use of this room as your office, but still accommodate guests. Don’t have a guest room? Add a Murphy Bed in your family room. The cabinetry can be customized to contain your entertainment devices.

Where Do I Find a Murphy Bed?
This is the tricky part. The original Murphy Bed manufacturer is located in San Francisco, now operating under the name “Murphy Bed Co. Inc.”, and has distributors in most major cities in the US. They have also been known to ship to Canada, though this can become costly. If you are in the Kitchener-Waterloo area, you would be looking at getting a bed likely from London or Toronto. To name a few, check out Toronto Wall Beds by Cabinetworks Ltd., Urban Cabinetry (locations in Etobicoke and London), and Roman’s Murphy Beds in London.

How Much Does a Murphy Bed Cost?
Pricing for a Murphy Bed will vary, depending on the size and the cabinetry that you choose. You may be able to save some money if you already have a mattress that can be used in the Murphy Bed. Generally it is recommended that the mattress has a thickness of no more than 12”, but ideally less than 10”. Pricing for the bed frame and cabinetry and hardware generally starts around $1000, and can go up from there. A worthwhile investment, a Murphy Bed can also add to the sell-ability of your home, and add to the overall value on resale. Some companies offer you the option of installing yourself. Unless you are skilled in this area, I recommend spending the extra money to have it installed, to ensure it is sturdy and safe.

Written By Shauna Lynn, Beyond The Stage Homes

Monday, February 8, 2010

Lighting Your Home - BTSH Around The House Tip of the Week

No matter how well you’ve designed your home, if it’s not lit properly, the whole effect can be spoiled. Lighting affects the mood, atmosphere, and overall appearance of a room.

Did You Know??
Cleaning your windows regularly helps to significantly increase the lighting in your home, which not only improves the look of the home, but also helps to save energy. In order to properly showcase your home, keeping your windows clean is just as important as keeping the rest your home clean.

Setting The Mood
Before you start changing up your lighting, you need to determine the use of each room, and the mood that you would like to set.

Task Lighting—For areas such as the kitchen or the office, you’ll want to be sure that you have appropriate task lighting for areas where work is accomplished, for example the sink, stove, desk, etc. In the office, this could be as simple as a table lamp, but in the kitchen you can either place light fixtures over specific areas, or install track lighting.

Ambient Lighting refers to the general lighting of a room. The room should be evenly lit, and at a level at which people’s eyes can feel comfortable. Recessed lighting is a great way to light a whole room evenly, however can be costly if not installed when the home is built. If you are building a house and think that this is something that you would want, be sure to address this before the room is completed. Chandeliers are often used to light rooms, however they shine light up towards the ceiling rather than down towards the room, and may need to be supplemented with appropriate task lighting. Use of a dimmer switch on your task lighting is a great inexpensive way to decrease the amount of the light in the room when it’s not necessary, and help to soften the mood.

Accent Lighting—If you want to highlight certain features of a room, you’ll want to add some accent lighting. Accent lighting is often used to illuminate accessories such as artwork, collections, or cabinets. Install a picture light above or below your favourite piece of art. Or place a light inside your china cabinet. The light will reflect off of the glass and china to showcase your favourite pieces. Wall sconces are another great way to enhance a room. Installing in an archway can help to showcase the unique architectural details, or hang on either side of a large painting. Always be sure to hang in pairs.

As a final consideration, think of the mood that you wish to create in each room. Bright and natural light can create an upbeat, uplifting mood, while soft, warm lighting, yellowish in colour, can be intimate. Cool lighting, the kind with a bluish tinge, helps to promote deep relaxation and sleep.

Written by Shauna Lynn, Beyond The Stage Homes

Monday, February 1, 2010

Valentine's Issue - Love Your Home - BTSH Around The House Tip of the Week

With Valentine’s Day around the corner, why not share a little love with your home? Is there a room in your home that is feeling neglected? A complete home makeover may not be in the budget, but there are lots of cost-effective ways to give your home a special treat. Redesign focuses on working with what you already have, but finding new ways to reconfigure, repurpose, and revive for a fresh new look.

Clear Out The Clutter
Yes, this generally falls under “Spring Cleaning”, but in the springtime I like to be outside, so to me this is a great winter project. Nothing revives a room more than simply re-organizing. As much as I strive for a place for everything, and everything in it’s place, clutter can inevitably build up. Go through your closet and clear out the clothes you don’t wear and donate them to a local charity. Then take a look around the rest of your home with fresh eyes. Are your toiletries taking over your bathroom? Pick up some matching decorative baskets and group like items together. Weed out items that are not used every day and find them a new home. I picked up these baskets at the dollar store for $2 each, but no one really needs to know that!

Re-Arrange Your Space
Sometimes we get so accustomed to our room layout, that it doesn’t occur to us to change it. In Home Staging, I find that the number one problem with most homes is the furniture arrangement. It’s amazing what re-configuring can do to a space. Be sure to measure before doing any heavy lifting. For rooms that are used often for entertaining, determine your focal point. If you have a fireplace, or distinct architectural features, this can be obvious. Otherwise, perhaps it’s a bold painting, or a focal wall, or maybe it’s a vignette that you created after reading last week’s article! Once you have determined this, arrange the furniture to compliment the focal point, and not distract from it or worse yet, hide it.

Small Projects with Big Results
Paint—I speak often of the wonders of paint. It really is the most cost effective way to dramatically change the look of a room. If you’re not interested in a painting a whole room, consider a focal wall. Take a look at your furniture. Have a piece that is dated, but isn’t in the budget to replace? Give it a face-lift with a fresh coat of pain.

Hardware—replace your hardware on cupboards in your home, whether it’s your kitchen cabinets, your bathroom cabinets, or your dresser. Updated pulls and handles can make a world of difference.

Add a colourful area rug to a room that is lacking in colour. This is an especially great tip for decorating in apartments, where it’s not always an option to paint.

Lighting—move your lamps, or add a dimmer switch to your chandelier to change the mood of a room.

Replace Your Bedding—while a decent bedding set can be considered costly, if that’s the only thing you do in your master or guest bedroom to change the overall look, it is money well spent!

Written by Shauna Lynn, Beyond The Stage Homes