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Thursday, December 18, 2014

What Do I Do First?

Ready For A Bathroom Update?
One of every five homeowners surveyed by Zillow plan on updating a bathroom in 2015.  The project could be as easy as a new color scheme:  paint, towels, and shower curtain or as major as a total gut and redesign.  If you are thinking about a bath makeover, the new color scheme is your first and most important design decision.  Here are some tips sure to help:

Trending now.  Selecting your room colors can feel like an overwhelming design choice.  In small bathrooms in particular-our places of retreat, of waking up, of winding down-color plays a key
role, and almost every subsequent decision will build off your choice of color.  These colors are trending for 2015 bathrooms designs:  white (always #1), grey, beige, light blue, brown, black, and green.

Find inspiration.  Look at other rooms-not just bathrooms-to find color combos that appeal to you. Also review fabric, wallpaper, paint chips, and floor samples and create an inspiration board (real or on Pinterest) to find common color themes.  Pick colors using objects as your guide-an old celadon teapot, the burnt sienna in a paisley fabric, a blade of grass, the possibilities are endless.  It's so much more lively than paint chips, and much more creative and fun to start with an object.

Introduce patterns with accessories.  Accessories can be an effective element in a bathroom to supply complementary color or pretty pattern. Everyone thinks of walls when they think of color, but using color in accessories-rugs, towels, art-makes an amazing impression without going crazy on the walls.  When it comes to window treatments in your bathroom, if your bathroom's view isn't great, use contrasting color for focus; if the window should stand out, blend the curtainsor blinds more with the walls.

Play with samples.  Even after you've figured out your favorite colors, it's still important to play around with hues and tones. Test samples on a wall, placingthem at least 3 feet away from each other so you don't blend the colors together. Paint swatches in different parts of the room-by a window, by trim, in a dark corner, in a light corner.  Give yourself permission to use lots of samples and make a mess of your walls until you find the perfect color. 

Choose your mood.  Perhaps you look at your bathroom as a zen-inspired space. Or maybe you welcome an invigorating room that's bright and lively. Different colors and tones create dissimilar sensations and feelings. Case in point: A buttery yellow feels much softer than a sunshine-inspired tone. As you're thinking about what colors will work in your bathroom, make sure to review lights, darks, and a range of choices in the full color spectrum.

Mix up neutrals.  If you're worried about adding too much color in a smallbathroom, you can stick with neutrals-but play with them a  little. 
Mix and match textures or use off-white on a ceiling or on trim, instead.  When you put a warm white next to a color, it will still look bright and crisp.

Play with light value.  If keeping your small space cheery is a primary goal, ask at the paint store about the color's light reflectance value (LRV).  The higher the LRV, the more light will bounce around the room.  The lower the LRV, the more the color will absorb light, which will make the room seem dark and moody.

Look at your closet.  Want to quickly figure out what colors inspire you? Look no further than your closet and what you use to accent your wardrobe.  Also look at your accessories.  Your handbags, belts, and jewelry are bound to contain more colors that excite you. 

Don't be afraid of dark colors.  Just because a space is small doesn't mean that dark colors are out of the question. When contrasted with bright white trim, for example, or a white vanity, a dark color can make a small bathroom feel intimate and cozy.

It's Bound To Happen
Someone is certain to spill something on your carpet during the holidays. It might even be you! Do not panic and start grabbing bleach or other random cleaners. Most stains will come up with soapy water. A few general tips: 

blot, do not scrub the stain; place a dry white towel with something heavy on it on the damp area and let the stain wick into the towel; and repeat the steps until the stain is gone, patience is the key. You will also be thrilled to know that many stains on new carpet will come up with just plain water.

Here are some specific solutions for common holiday foods and beverages:
Red Wine  Red wine is usually considered the most annoying of stains, but they aren't impossible to get up. There are a lot of little tricks that can help you if a red wine stain happens. The first is table salt. Pour table salt on the spill and let the salt soak up the wine. Other treatments include club soda or detergent. Always follow with a clear water rinse to make sure you leave no residue behind.
Candle Wax  Put your iron on the lowest setting, cover the wax with a piece of brown paper, put the iron on top of the paper-the heat will melt the wax, which will then be absorbed by the paper.

Juice  Juice stains are a common problem any time of the year, especially if there are small children in the house.  When there is a spill, be sure to act on it right away by blotting the excess juice.  The best treatment for these types of stains is cold water and a mild detergent or dish soap.  If you need a little extra cleaning power, add a little bit of white vinegar into the mix. 

Chocolate  To successfully remove a chocolate stain, start by using a butter knife or something similar to remove the excess chocolate, being careful not to spread it to a larger stain area.  Then rinse the stained area with cold water.  Never use hot water on a chocolate stain as it will cause the stain to set.  If possible, let the item soak for 5-10 minutes.  Using a small amount of detergent, rub the stain and rinse as many times as needed.

Coffee  Coffee stains are a nuisance, but they can be removed.  Use a clean cloth to blot the stain.  Never rub a coffee stain, as that might cause it to spread deeper into the fabric.  In a small dish or cup, mix powdered laundry detergent, cold water and distilled white vinegar to form a paste. The paste should be the consistency of toothpaste.  Spread the paste onto both sides of the stain and let it sit for 5 minutes, then gently rub the paste into the stain.  Rinse the area with cold water until you have removed all of the paste.

Gravy, Grease and Butter  Dish soap is the first thing you should reach for when you spill butter, turkey grease, gravy, etc. If you get a little soap and water on it straightaway, you'll be far less likely to end up with a nasty stain.  You can also use cornstarch to pull up greasy stains.   Just pile the cornstarch up on the stained area and let it sit there, then sweep or vacuum it up.
Your Wood Floors Worst Enemy
We are seeing commercial after commercial about steam mops, all telling us how wonderful they are and that we should all be using one.   What they are not telling us is that steam mops cannot be used on all floors, and that many manufacturer warranties are void if you use one on your floor.   Do NOT use a steam mop on your hardwood or laminate floors, ever. Think about it---wood and steam---this combination can ruin your floor! These mops are OK to use on vinyl and ceramic tile, but never on wood

Friday, November 21, 2014

Need Help This Holiday Season

With Christmas just around the corner, everybody is starting to think about gift buying.  Making sure your shopping is done on time and without breaking the bank can be extremely stressful.  Here are a some tips from Consumer Reports and Clark Howard, among others, to

help you get through the holidays with your sanity-and bank account-still intact. 

Make a list.  This may seem trivial, but it is a valuable way to keep your shopping on track and within your budget.  A list will keep you organized and will allow you to plan ahead with your shopping.  This is especially helpful if you have a large family and you're responsible for getting many different gifts.  Shopping is much more enjoyable when you have a thought out plan instead of just rushing frantically from store to store.

Make a budget and stick to it
This is one of the most important, and sometimes the hardest, rule to live by during the holiday season.  The last thing you want is to incur debt, so having a budget in place will help you avoid that.  But, a budget is only as good as you enforce it.  It is easy to fall into the store credit card traps to get that awesome gift, but if it is not in your budget, it is best to pass. 

Start early.  Don't wait til the last minute to get your shopping done.  Getting easy and small gifts out of the way in November is a great way to manage your time, as well as not have those come out of the December budget.  The less you have to stress about buying gifts the closer it gets to Christmas, the better.  Getting shopping done early will also give you time for wrapping, shipping, or anything else you will need to do.

Have a plan to pay off your bills.  If you over-spent your budget last year, this year it's time to be more effective with your budgeting plans.  Come up with a realistic goal and hold yourself to it. 

Don't give in to the hype.  Just because it's Black Friday or an item is advertised as 50% off doesn't mean it's a great deal.  Sometimes, you can get the best deal after Black Friday, so don't assume that you MUST buy during a particular sales event. 

Keep receipts.  You might need your receipts for proof of purchase for warranties or to make a return.  Have a designated place where you unload your paper receipts after a day of shopping, such as an envelope in a kitchen drawer.  For online purchases, always print out confirmation e-mails and save them.  Even for gift cards, the receipt should be kept as it will be needed if the card is lost or stolen. 

Manage credit cards.  Credit cards are OK to use for shopping, as long as you are able to stay on top of them, and don't spend money you don't have.  Most credit cards offer cash back or rewards, as well as provide fraud protection.  If you decide to use your credit card, set aside savings in order to pay off the balance after your purchase.  Another good way to keep track of your credit card spending is to immediately subtract what you spent from your checking account after a day of shopping.  And don't get caught up in opening new store cards:  is the 10% off worth the hit to your credit score?   
Don't become a target.  Avoid theft by withdrawing cash only from ATMs in public places or inside your bank.  Also avoid giving your email address or phone number to walk-in stores, unless you really want to receive updates from them.  When shopping online, check out as a guest and never select the option for the online store to retain your credit card for later use. 

Think outside the gift box.  There are plenty of alternatives that are less expensive, and more fun, than buying a gift for every single person in your family.  Instead, why not do a Secret Santa with the family where you draw one person's name?  That way you can put more thought and money into one gift, instead of dividing your resources into multiple gifts.  If you are creative and artsy, think about making things for people.  Sometimes the best gifts cost very little (or no) money.

Support Your Local Small Businesses
Make a promise to spend $100 this holiday season at local small businesses and not the big chain stores.  Think about you neighborhood stores: a pet boutique, specialty toy store, craft and hoppy shop, florist-----we drive past them every day!  These stores are owned and staffed by your neighbors, and your money stays local, helping your economy, not someplace far away.  As you make your shopping list, please take a few minutes to think of locally owned shops to purchase from and don't automatically drive straight to the outlet store or mall.  Think small this year---we need you!

Buy Now, Install Later
No one ever likes to hear about price increases, but we are beginning to receive notifications of first of the year cost increases from some of our product manufacturers.  This is not unusual in our industry; the New Year seems to be a clear date for price changes to be made effective.  The great thing is we can order products and accept delivery and store your order in our warehouse until you are ready for your installation in January.  So if you plan on making a flooring purchase soon, but just can't get it installed til after the holidays, don't worry.  Just get everything finalized by the end of the year and your price is locked in, regardless of any future increases.

Fast 5 Design Tips
~~Tiles laid on the diagonal will visually enlarge a room - making a small space look bigger. Also, closely matching the grout color to the tiles will expand the look of the room.
~~Use the rule of 3 as you decorate:  3 candles, 3 pictures, 3 pillows.  Two can be too formal, and four can be too many.
~~Need a quick room update?  Buy a new rug and cover as much of your current floor covering as possible.  Worn, stained carpet or beat-up hardwood floors disappear under your beautiful new rug.
~~Every room needs a focal point, which is the one thing the eye is immediately drawn toward (it also drives the design of the room). Examples of decorative focal points are a fireplace, a four-poster bed, or an interesting piece of furniture.

~~Dark-stained or ebony hardwood floors are popular, but know that they show dirt and dust bunnies faster than medium- or light-stained floors.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Ideas For A Quick Kitchen Update

Unless you are living in your custom-designed dream home, you almost certainly want to change some things about your kitchen.  And for most of us this is very high on our home improvement to do list since we spend so many hours in our kitchens.   Company always seems to gather in our kitchen, and it is a room that should be functional as well as pretty.

If you would like to update your kitchen before the holidays, it is too late for a major kitchen update.  If a total kitchen remodel (redesign, construction, brand new cabinets) is in your future, right now you should only consider simple cosmetic changes like paint or a new rug so that you are not tearing out something later that you that you just did.  However, if you are happy with the footprint of your kitchen, then there is still plenty of time for new appliances, new countertops, a new floor and a beautiful new backsplash to be installed before the holidays.

Here are some ideas you can do over the next couple of weekends to give your kitchen a new look before the holidays:

Window Treatments
Adding new shades or blinds can dramatically change the look of any room in the house.  Covering the windows with a classic Roman shade brings a finished look to the kitchen.  Go with a color and pattern that goes with your  cabinet and wall colors, or stick with natural linen, which goes with everything.

Pendant Lighting
Swapping out a plain fluorescent ceiling fixture with something with a little more style can be done quickly and easily.  Your new pendant light can become the focal point of the room.  Don't be afraid to go big; even in a small kitchen a sizable pendant can look striking and not overpowering.

A Rich Cabinet Color
Whether you paint your cabinets or stain them a natural wood tone, a rich color is a high impact, low cost way to change the look of your kitchen.  Try a saturated hue, or use a chic grey or slate on just the lower cabinets. 

New Countertops
In one afternoon you can have brand new granite or quartz countertops installed in your kitchen.  Expect to spend a minimum of$3500 for a medium sized kitchen, including a new sink and the necessary plumbing.  Our best-selling granites tend to be lighter colors:  Santa Cecilia, New Venetian Gold, Giallo Ornamental, and Ashen White.  Quartz is another popular choice, especially for those wanting ultimate stain resistance and durability.  And if you want white countertops, in our opinion, a subtle quartz countertop is the best way to go if you actually cook in your kitchen.

Wall Paint
If you don't want to paint or re-stain the cabinets, another way to bring in color is to paint the walls.  With all the appliances and cabinetry your kitchen wall space is fairly limited, therefore making it an easy project to do.  Since not a lot of wall space is visible, the color is also less likely to overwhelm. 

Upscale Counter Stools
There are so many options when it comes to kitchen counter seating that there is no reason to just stick with plain bar stools, unless you want to.  You can try classic bistro stools, sculptural wooden stools or sleek Lucite stools.  Regardless of what you pick, adding a more upscale look to your counter stools can enhance the kitchen as a whole.

Glass Cabinet Fronts
Update old cabinets by having several of the doors replaced with glass fronts.  This costs far less than replacing the whole cabinets and can completely change the look and feel of your kitchen.  Just remember, whatever is in the glass front cabinets will be visible at all times, so pick a few to do and commit to keeping the interiors orderly. 

Use A Rug
If you've shied away from using a rug in the kitchen for fear of spills and stains, why not try a chic indoor-outdoor version?  These rugs come in beautiful patterns and colors, are easy to clean and very resilient.  If you're not afraid of spills, lay down a beautiful oriental rug.  Rugs made from wool or other natural materials can be quite forgiving when it comes to stain removal as long as you act promptly.

Decorative Details
Framed artwork on the wall can add polish to any kitchen.  Instead of doing just kitchen art, get some pieces you could also hang elsewhere in the house.  Also an armful of seasonal branches plunked in a tall vase is an easy way to boost the ambience of your kitchen. 

Mirrors are unexpected in the kitchen and, just like in any other space, can boost light.  Hanging a simple, small mirror in the breakfast area can add just the right touch.  Pair it with a small table lamp or wall sconce and you will create a warm, inviting feel.

New Floors
Totally update your kitchen with new flooring.  We install hardwood flooring in many kitchens.  Wood performs wonderfully in most kitchens, though if you have a very active family with kids and dogs, you may want to consider a more forgiving floor covering.   Worried about spills?  Consider luxury vinyl, available in wood and tile looks, a very moisture resistant option.   Porcelain and ceramic tile is another easy-to-care-for choice, and the new stain resistant grouts make maintenance a breeze.
Love some of these ideas but maybe you aren't handy or are chronically time challenged?  Then hurry and call Enhance Floors & More because many of these projects are services that we proudly offer to our clients.  Relax......we're here to help!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

It's Fall Ya'll

Say goodbye to summer and bring in the rich colors of fall with these quick and easy decorating ideas. 

Etch your pumpkins-why not add a little twist to your pumpkin carving?  Etching pumpkins is an artistic way to display your house number, initials or any other design you like without the mess of carving a pumpkin.  You can display a combination of traditional and heirloom pumpkins on your front steps, and then top with your etched design.

Line your steps-there's a reason you see mums each fall-they work.  Once buds begin to open, you're guaranteed blooms whether your display is in the sun or the shade.  To prolong the show, water when dry and remove spent flowers. 

Pile them on-for a quick and easy approach, group your favorite tiny pumpkins on a side table and let the collection speak for itself.  There is no right or wrong way to create this display.  The arrangement looks unintentional, adding a carefree, casual seasonal touch.

Fancy pumpkin display-it's very simple to decorate pumpkins with just a few supplies from the craft store.  Create some stylish seasonal d├ęcor with gold and black paint.  Paint the pumpkins with different designs, such as stripes or a checkerboard, and place them throughout the house. 

Mix the colors-don't limit yourself to just traditional orange in your display.  Orange and yellow pumpkins really pop when mixed with bright greens.  Try using small green plants as well as gourds and squash with green tones. 

Dried flower and herb-make or purchase a small wreath made from dried flowers and herbs.  To illuminate your table, just add a glass hurricane and candle to the middle of the wreath.  The savory scents of the dried herbs will subtly enhance the aroma of a special meal.  After displaying it flat as a centerpiece, you can later hang it from a pretty ribbon to enjoy it from a different perspective.

Fall colors---change out your pastel rugs, pillows, and throws for richer deeper colors.  Gold, burgundy, and eggplant are all colors that are evocative of the coming season.  Need a new rug for a quick update?  We have some beautiful rugs in stock and ready for you to take home!

Autumn inspired bar-create a simple look by piling small pumpkins and gourds in a champagne bucket and weave branches of berries around the rim.  To avoid pumpkin overload, add a cut flower bouquet arranged in a pitcher.

Colorful fall foliage-rake in the compliments with a vase featuring brilliant autumn leaves.  This works with maple, oak, sweet gum, hickory, dogwood-
 whatever is putting on a show in your yard.  You can also make it with preserved leaves purchased at a crafts store or online.

Add fresh flowers-nothing brightens up your home for the season like vases full of fall flowers.  Sunflowers and alstromeria are great choices because they'll remain beautiful for up to a week.  The key to keeping flowers fresh is to remove the leaves below the water line and change the water every few days.  

Two Years Is A Long Time
Many of us do not just want new floors, we need new floors.  But to save up the money can be tough.  That is what is so great about long-term financing.  And we have a great deal to tell you about----24 month interest free financing on installed purchases of Shaw floors!  Carpet, hardwoods, laminates, and luxury vinyl, exactly what you have been looking for and still plenty of time to get your new floors installed before the holiday entertaining season arrives.  And because this is an equal payment offer, instead of the total cost, you can focus on the monthly payment.  If the payment fits into you budget, you should definitely take advantage of  this interest free financing!  Ask your Enhance Floors & More Design Consultant for details, but hurry---this offer ends Monday, November 10.

Best of Atlanta
We just got a notice that we are a finalist for "Best of Atlanta 2014" Wow! But we need more votes to win. Please, if you have not voted for us yet, please vote now. You can win an iPad. Here's the link and thank you!!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Come Visit Our New Design Center!!!

We are now officially in our new Design Center.  We wanted to give you a quick look at what you will see when you come in and visit us!  We hope you will be as inspired by the showroom as we are.

One of our favorite floors, the variation in Acacia is beautiful.  This is actually a Mohawk laminate.

The new Tuftex display. Lots of fun colors and patterns to choose from!

A view into the tile/kitchen area.  The hood vent adds a nice touch. It is wood just like the cabinets.

 A real Travertine installed in a Versailles pattern. Note the multiple sizes used to create this unique look.

You will see a nice assortment of cabinets in the kitchen area.  Some of the features includes spice pullouts and a lazy susan. Granite countertops will be installed next week. 

Happy Floors is Mallory's favorite tile line. Vivid colors and unique looks make this line stand apart from others.

The vanity in the bathroom Wanda designed. She has such a good eye for little details, like the mosaic continuing behind the sink area.

Robin designed this bathroom. The wood look tile is a hot trend right now, and the linear border is modern and beautiful.

An exciting new line we have brought in is HGTV Home by Shaw. These laminates are gorgeous.

This is an Armstrong laminate.  The white wash look is rustic, stunning and unique.  If you want a light floor, laminate is the way to go.  So easy to clean!

HGTV Home by Shaw is a new line we have. The carpets feature unique patterns with bold colors.

Come sit down with us and tell us all about your flooring dreams! Our Design Consultants can help them all come true.

A beautiful tub surround adds extra beauty to a bathroom. This tub looks like it'd be nice and relaxing to soak in.  Yes, we really do have a tub in the Design Center!

When updating your home, don't leave your windows naked! Hunter Douglas offers a very wide variety of choices for window coverings.

We now carry Masland carpet, a long time interior designer favorite. You will love the beautiful colors, fun patterns and high quality Masland has to offer.

Another brand new display is Mohawk Porcelain and Ceramic.  We love the colors of the new accent pieces; perfect for someone who wants simple but with a modern flair.

Super soft with subtle and traditional tones. Who wouldn't love the Caress line by Shaw? 

One of the best engineered woods on the market today. People who want a rustic look love this line! Plus the wide planks are a hot design trend right now.

A frameless glass shower door is an upgrade that adds a lot of value to your home. The river rocks are also a popular option for the floor.

Where Are We?

Enhance Floors & More is located in Marietta in the Restaurant Depot Shopping Center on Roswell Road near the 120 Loop.  Our brand new 5100 square foot showroom is conveniently located in East Cobb County, with easy access from 75 and 575.  The Design Center is filled with many beautiful installed floor coverings, including hardwood floors, carpet, tile & natural stone, laminates, and luxury vinyl flooring.  The kitchen, bathroom, and staircase vignettes are sure to inspire you.  Come by today and let the Enhance Design Consultants help you create beautiful rooms!