Have you ever felt like your living room looks incomplete but you haven’t been sure what to do about it? Being your own decorator can be difficult — you get used to your own furniture, and it can be challenging to think of new approaches to a space you’ve been living in for some time. If that’s the situation for you, ask yourself these six questions to jump start a new perspective and take your living room from not-quite-right to beautifully decorated.
1. Do you have a focal point? Many features in a room can be its focal point, including a fireplace, built-in shelves or even a grouping like a chest with a lamp and art overhead. If a focal point doesn’t seem to exist in your living room, think about where your eye goes naturally when entering the room and create a point of interest there with furnishings, such as a sofa table and lamp or maybe a curio cabinet with decorative items. To emphasize your focal point, add finishes or decor that will make it stand out: an accent wall can draw the eye, as can bold artwork, contrasting decor or a stunning piece of furniture.
In this photo, a wide doorway frames the focal point beyond: the sofa and art. The white sofa, light walls and rug create a bold contrast against the eye-catching red pillows and dark tables. The large artwork pulls together the different colors in the room.
n this room, the built-in shelving is the obvious focal point, thanks in large part to its fetching blue paint. The large framed art and contrasting shelf decor further draw the eye to this part of the room. It’s just as important that the sofa, end table, coffee table, gray chair and pillows provide a neutral foreground that doesn’t compete with the shelving.
Keep in mind that not every element of your room has to be special or colorful or unique — keeping some pieces simple allows the items you want to showcase to really stand out.
2. Do you have a cozy seating arrangement that enhances your focal point? Of course a wide range of options exist on furniture placement, but by placing your sofa or love seat facing your focal point with chairs laced in to create an intimate grouping, you naturally draw attention toward that focal point, whether a fireplace, artwork or view beyond. If pointing your sofa toward the focal point isn’t an option or doesn’t look quite right, try flanking your focal point with the furniture grouping instead to enhance it like in this photo.
TIPS AND HOME IMPROVEMENT ADVICE
Shopping is the easy part for some — the thrill of the chase, the flutter of excitement at bringing a new treasure home, choosing a new paint color or materials for a remodel. But what happens to those glorious finds and finishes months or years later?
Before you give in to the urge to shop for new stuff, consider some home maintenance to show off what you have in the best possible light. You may find that after giving what you already have a little extra TLC, your craving for new stuff fades. You never know; you may even find yourself falling for your home and decor all over again.
1. Maintain upholstery. Regular maintenance can go a long way toward keeping upholstery looking as good as new for as long as possible. Vacuum the fabric and rotate cushions each time you clean the living room, and clean spills and mend small tears right away. Even if a stain has been there for a long time, it can still often be removed with stain remover or hydrogen peroxide; treat it repeatedly until it fades. Just be sure to test new cleaning products on a less-visible area of fabric first.
2. Remove scuff marks and touch up paint. Small things like scuff marks from shoes and bags, tiny dings and chipped corners can make a space feel worn out. Spend a day scrubbing, patching and touching up paint, and you'll notice a world of difference.
3. Make furniture gleam. If you can't remember the last time you polished your wood furniture, doing so will probably make you wonder why you don't do it all the time — the difference is amazing. The type of finish on your furniture will determine what you use to polish it. Mid-century teak pieces are often finished with oil alone, so simply rubbing in a bit more teak oil from time to time will suffice. Finished wood pieces may respond well to a furniture paste or wax — read the directions thoroughly before trying any new product.
4. Remove stains from marble. This porous surface is prone to staining, so it's important to wipe up spills immediately. Of course, there are times that just doesn't happen. No matter how or when it happened, there still may be hope for restoring the beauty of your marble. Check the chart available from the Marble Institute of America for methods of removing all sorts of stains. If you still can't get it out, call a pro — improving the counters you have is still cheaper than getting new ones.
5. Care for wood counters. Remove scratches and stains on your wood countertops by gently sanding the area; then rub in a food-grade mineral oil with a soft rag. To prevent future damage, always use trivets under hot items, wipe up spills quickly and cut items on cutting boards, not on the counter.
6. Refresh old wood floors. Even if you don't want to have your wood floors refinished, there are still ways to make them look their best. What you use to refresh your floors will depend on the type of finish your wood floors have. Floors with a natural oil-rubbed finish can be shined up with wood oil. Really old, worn floors may do well with a wax. Floors finished with polyurethane can be cleaned with a solution of white vinegar and water. Just avoid getting the floors really wet by applying the solution with a barely damp mop and wiping dry with a towel immediately after. Excess water on wood floors of any type can potentially cause damage.
7. Re-fluff area rugs. Fluffy rugs like flokatis and sheepskins look amazing when you first bring them home, but ... less amazing after several months of wear and tear. Most small natural flokati and sheepskin rugs can be hand washed (or even machine washed on delicate) in mild soap and then air dried. Between washings, simply shake out and then brush your rug with a dog brush. Just be sure to read the cleaning instructions before deciding on a method.
8. Deep clean wall-to-wall carpeting. Regular vacuuming and spot cleaning will get you only so far. Every once in a while, it pays to rent, borrow or buy a steam cleaner to give your carpeting a deep clean. To help the floor dry as quickly and completely as possible, wait for a dry day and set up a dehumidifier in the room afterward.
9. Condition leather. Leather furniture can actually look better with age, provided that it is properly cared for. Use a leather conditioner a few times each year to keep the leather from drying out and cracking. Keep it looking fresh by vacuuming and then buffing with a dry microfiber cloth as needed. Wipe up spills as soon as they happen, using a dry cloth to soak up any liquid.
10. Brighten whites. Slipcovers, pillow covers, curtains, towels and more can all use a good refreshing from time to time. If you don't want to use chlorine bleach on your whites, try an oxygen- or hydrogen peroxide–based non-chlorine bleach instead.
11. Touch up appliances. Years of use can create all sorts of stains and scratches on the once-pristine finish of your washer and dryer. If new appliances are not in the cards, consider painting yours with a product designed for the task, like the Appliance Enamel paint from Rust-Oleum. You can also use appliance paint on worn-out finishes in the kitchen, from the fridge to the dishwasher. Do not use it on surfaces that get hot, like stovetops.
12. Stock up for proper maintenance. Beyond your usual cleaning tools, if there are any special items that would make it easier to care for your home and belongings, go ahead and make the investment. If you have lots of carpeting, for instance, a good steam cleaner could be a worthy addition. Leather conditioner, wood oil, furniture polish — having the little things you need at hand can help you keep your home looking its best.
Tell us: What is your best home maintenance tip?
OBTAINING A MORTGAGE FROM SCOTIA BANK JAMAICA LTD
This is the Mortgage Checklist when applying for a loan from Scotia Bank Jamaica Limited.
DOCUMENTS REQUIRED FOR APPROVAL
- Salaried applicants: A job letter and the last 3 months pay slips (if monthly paid) and at least 6 pay slips if fortnightly paid.
- For self-employed applicants: The last 2 to 3 years Income tax returns, Financial Statements by a chartered accounted which is supported by the last 12 months bank statements.
- Proof of source of funds to complete the transaction.
- Required Down payment - Local residents pay 10% of the purchase price, while Overseas residents pay 25% of the purchase price.
- Identification. Government issued identification is required, (Driver's licence, national id) and proof of age (birth certificate, valid passport).
- Tax Registration Number (TRN) and also if overseas Residence - Social Security Number.
- Copy of Signed Sales Agreement.
- NHT referral and commitment letter (where applicable)
- Recent Credit Report or for Overseas Residents - an Equifax report.
- Proof of home ownership (where applicable)
- Proof of assets (if any)
- Rent receipts (where applicable).
DOCUMENTS REQUIRED UPON ACCEPTANCE OF OFFER
- Valuation Report, which is not more than twelve (12) months old from the Bank's panel of valuators.
- Original Surveyor's Indentification Report, also not more than twelve (12) months old.
- Photocopy of Certificate of Title
- Current property tax certificate
- Peril Insurance for full replacement cost of the building.
- Opening of 2 savings accounts.
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