Category: home and product tips

Lofts or Studios: Everything You Need to Know

loftsWhen you’re apartment searching, you probably see terms like “loft” and “studio” getting thrown around. But do you really know what those words mean?

It’s helpful to have a thorough understanding of the difference between lofts and studios so you can make the most informed choice when deciding what to rent or buy.

Here, we’ll take a detailed look at the difference between the two options, and the pros and cons of each choice.

Lofts or Studio: The Essential Guide

Lofts

Loft apartments are spacious, large apartments, with high ceilings and very open floor plans.

A loft apartment is typically in a converted factory, which is why the layout is so different. If you think “Wow, there are a lot of rental lofts near me,” it probably means you live in a city that once had lots of factories.

During conversion, the features that made the building unique are often left intact as much as possible to preserve the sense of history.

Unique Details

This means that a loft apartment might have interesting details like exposed brick walls, concrete floors, and exposed pipes.

These unique details are a benefit of loft apartments, giving them an added “cool” factor. However, the open floor plan can also have drawbacks, such as being difficult to heat or cool and time-consuming to clean. And if the space is shared with roommates, privacy can be an issue, as these apartments may not have complete walls between the rooms.

Loft apartments can also be more expensive since they tend to have more square footage.

Some loft apartments are called “true” or “hard” lofts, meaning that they are actually created from existing buildings. Other apartments may be called “soft” or even “loft-inspired,” if they are in new buildings that were built to look like a loft.

Studios

A studio can be in any kind of building, but size is the main difference between a loft and a studio.

A studio apartment typically consists of one or two rooms at most and is in a smaller space. Studios usually won’t be found in converted buildings, but in new buildings that were created to hold as many apartments as possible, hence the small size of the studio.

Studios are great choices if you’re looking to save money. With a minimal square footage, the space is often less expensive and easier to heat, air condition, and maintain.

However, studios can also be a challenge because they are so small. When the kitchen, living room, and bedroom are all in one room, you need to be strategic to make everything you need fit comfortably.

Studio apartments are great choices if you live alone, and if you don’t plan on having many people over or keeping a lot of large belongings. If you have equipment that takes up a lot of space, or lots of furniture you’re attached to, a loft will be a better choice.

Making the Decision

As you can see, there is actually a great deal of difference between a loft and a studio.

Deciding what is best is as simple as deciding what you’ll use it for. A loft is ideal for dinner parties or large-scale DIY projects. A studio is great for someone who travels a lot and keeps minimal belongings.

What does your ideal living space look like? Leave a comment and let us know!

5 Home Improvement Services That’ll Save You Money in the Long Run

home improvement servicesSpend money to save money? That’s a tough pill to swallow. But in the long run, going green will keep some of that green in your wallet.

For as little as $1.25, an energy-efficient light bulb can use up to 75% less energy than an incandescent bulb. Seems worth it, right?

Let’s take a look at a couple home improvement services that will bring you one step closer to that ocean front hotel room in Hawaii.

Weatherstrip Your Home

Take a look at this gorgeous dual pane corner window. What a wonderful way to let in that early morning light.

Making sure all your windows and doors are not only stunning, but sealed, is one of the most valuable home improvement services you’ll invest in.

Weatherstripping your windows and doors can save you up to 15% in energy costs. The next time you pay your electric bill, you’ll be glad to know that none of your cool air escaped out into the humidity.

Install a Low Flow Shower Head

Just like the wasted cold air, there’s a way to make sure every bit of hot water in your shower is being used. Did you know that water heating accounts for 18% of your utility bill?

A low flow shower head comes in at $10-$20, saving you upwards of 25% on your utility bill.

Update Your Appliances to High-Energy

You’ve probably seen that little Energy Star sticker on appliances before. Did you know you can receive a tax credit for installing them?

Imagine slicing your utility bill as much as 30% and receiving a tax credit.

Use Energy Efficient Lighting Where Possible

This can be as simple as purchasing LED or CFL light bulbs. LED light bulbs are the most expensive option. But they also pack the biggest punch in energy savings. This makes them a smart investment in the end.

CFLs are a little bit behind the LED technology, but will absolutely save you money in the long run.

Consumer Reports has broken it all down for us, room by room, price tag by price tag.

Consider a Programmable Thermostat

This one requires a licensed HVAC technician. But again, it affords you the luxury of a cool and comfortable house – no matter the time of day or season – without wasting a drop of air.

They also tend to be more accurate than regular thermostats, keeping an extra eye on your savings.

Other Home Improvement Services

This list is just the tip of the iceberg.

Have you thought about ceiling fans? For as little as $50, you’re looking at added savings and cooler rooms.

Bigger ticket items like tankless water heaters go a long way, too. (They also offer a federal tax rebate.) But, if you start with these five home improvement services, you’re well on your way.

We hope you’ll stop by our blog as often as you can. Thrifty Momma is always finding new ways to pinch those pennies, and we love to share. If you ever want to chat about cutting costs without cutting corners, we’re only a click away.

Tips for Home Staging When You Have Kids

cheap homesKids are messy.

Every parent knows the daily struggle of keeping their house clean. It can be an uphill battle trying to keep your hallways clear and your carpets free from uncapped markers.

More often than not, a messy household is nothing to worry about. That is unless you’re selling a house.

Staging a home is an important step for anyone looking to maximize their value on the market. In fact, staged properties spend 73 percent less time on the market than unstaged properties.

Are you looking for advice on staging your home? It can be difficult, especially with kids running around. Read on for some inexpensive, child-proof home staging tips.

Get Creative with Storage

There’s no way to have a perfectly clean house. That’s especially true when you’re a parent.

It might seem like an impossible task to hide all of your kid’s belongings. But you might be surprised at how much you can store away.

Think about a couple of unused spots where you can stash items before a showing. Your kid’s items don’t need to be put away perfectly. Rather, just stash them away in a temporary spot that unlikely to be inspected.

In addition to finding hidden storage areas, you should look to maximize your traditional storage methods.

Try finding bins with lids. No matter how cluttered they are inside, they’ll look organized to a potential buyer.

Declutter as Much as Possible

Clutter is a big factor in making places look disorganized. But decluttering can be difficult if you have kids.

Packing up personal items is a great way to make a home look desirable. By removing clutter, prospective buyers find it easier to envision themselves living in a home.

Temporarily remove your kid’s items during staging. You should aim to minimize pictures, toys, art supplies, and other junk sitting around the house.

Your kid might be upset to see their toys stashed away. Remind your child that it’s only temporary and that they will get their items back soon.

Try to keep your kids occupied during staging if they’re still upset. You can give them just one or two toys to keep them distracted when there are visitors. Then you can unleash their clutter when the time comes.

Make Your House Adult-Friendly

Look: You’re not trying to sell your house to a whole family. But many parents still fall into the trap of trying to make their house look kid-friendly.

The best way to approach staging is to leave as much empty space as possible. That way, buyers can generate their own ideas about how the house fits into their vision.

During the staging process, you should do your best to prevent kid messes that can negatively impact your home’s best selling points.

You should also convert kid playrooms into a staging area during this process. Try to leave these rooms free of toys and kid decorations in lieu of more traditional items, like furniture and art.

You might also get more value out of converting the kid’s bedrooms into something more neutral. Do so by hiding away toys and using calming color schemes.

These tips should help you get an offer that reflects your home’s true value. You want to make sure that when potential buyers use a mortgage calculator, that they are seeing that your home is worth the money.

Home Staging Hacks

Juggling kids and a move can be a difficult task. By using these tips, you can help make sure that you’re prepared to properly stage your house.

Do you have more questions about parenting? We’re here to help. Contact us today to get the advice you want on our site.

 

5 Slip Proofing Tips for an Accident-Free Home

slip and fallMany people don’t realize the potential risks and dangers present in the average home. If you slip and fall, it can affect your mobility, balance, and strength, so it’s important to do everything possible to avoid this.

We’re going to tell you about 5 easy and simple tips for slip proofing your home. While there are many anti-slip solutions, you can’t take care of every possible freak accident. You have to concentrate on what can be controlled, and that’s your home!

1. Make Sure Your Lights Work

Many slips happen simply because you can’t see in the darkness. You may find it useful to walk around your home and examine the potential slip and falls risks as you go.

If the light switches don’t work, your light bulb is dead or if you don’t have the appropriate amount of lighting in a certain room, this could increase the probability of slipping. If you have stairs in your home, it can be especially useful to have light switches at both the bottom and tops of your stairs.

It’s also important that the wiring for the lights doesn’t cross an entrance or walkway. This could cause someone to trip up on the wiring. It may be useful to use furniture to secure wiring against the walls.

2. Slip Proofing Your Bathrooms and Showers

Some flooring is more slippery than others!

Due to the increased probability of wet floors, the bathroom is the most important room to slip proof. Not only is it likely to have a wet floor, but add soap to the equation make it a particularly risky area.

To reduce the risk of slipping, you could install grab bars on the walls to provide support when you are getting in and out of the shower or bath tub. This may not be enough to prevent a fall if your feet slip. That’s why you need to a bath mat and slip resistant flooring and coatings for the shower and bath tub.

3. Wear Shoes Indoors

Many people don’t like to wear shoes indoors. But by wearing shoes or slippers with rubber soles will significantly reduce your chances of slipping on a wet surface.

4. Make Clear Pathways

Sometimes slip proofing is very easy. By removing any items, clutter or small furniture that could cause someone to slip you could help prevent falls in your home.

5. Arrange Things Conveniently

If you have to reach awkwardly for the corner cabinet every morning to get the coffee, then you are unnecessarily risking slipping.

Consider rearranging the items you used the most regularly conveniently and accessible. If you arrange the items that you use every day, such as dishes and glasses, in the most accessible places and items you use less frequently, in the less convenient places, you’ll save time and reduce risk.

Final Thoughts

Now that you know the top 5 Slip Proofing Tips for an Accident-Free Home, you can get started on making your home slip-proof.

If you have any questions about slip proofing or anything else, get in touch!

4 Warning Signs of Poor Quality Air in Your Home

quality airWe know how to check our homes for obvious risks. We install fire alarms, carbon monoxide monitors, security systems, deadbolts, and more to safeguard our home from both external and internal threats that could endanger our family.

Yet, for all our preparation, we may be overlooking one of the most important considerations of all — the condition of the air filling rooms that we sleep, cook, clean, and relax in daily.

While it often goes unnoticed, quality air is one home element that cannot be overlooked. Today, we’re breaking down a few warning signs to look for when deciding if yours needs attention.

Ready to learn more? Take a deep breath and let’s go!

1. Your Allergies are Flaring Up

Do you have itchy eyes, a runny nose, or a sore throat? While many of these symptoms are typically associated with allergies, there’s a chance it’s not the changing climate outside, but rather your air inside, that’s to blame.

As your rooms are more enclosed than the space outside your home, they can more easily trap materials such as pollen and dust. This can lead to high — and sometimes unhealthy — concentration levels.

If your congestion tends to amp up a few minutes after stepping inside your home, your air quality may need improvement.

2. You See Mold

Sometimes, your air quality could be diminished by excess humidity. In super-humid environments, mold can run rampant. When it does, not only is it unsightly, it could also pose a major threat to your health.

Medical professionals associate mold and dampness with a range of health effects, including respiratory illness, lung infections, skin diseases, and more.

As it grows on your walls, furniture, and floor, mold typically displays a telltale design of green or black spots and an unmistakably musky scent.

One way to decrease the humidity level in your home? Find the best furnace humidifier for your space and install it to clean the air and improve its overall quality.

3. You Smell Something Funny

As discussed above, mold has a signature odor. Yet, it’s not the only contaminant that could reduce the amount of quality air in your home.

If your house has poor ventilation, any scent can become trapped within it as it’s unable to properly escape. If this is the case, you may also notice that the smell of strong chemicals, such as cleaners, lingers around longer than usual.

You might think you’d be able to quickly discern if your home has a funky smell. Yet, scientific experts agree that over time, we become “nose-blind” to the scent of our own home. That means we may not always catch when something smells “off.”

One way to check? Leave the house for a little while, then survey the odor when you get back. Better yet, have a friend or family member who doesn’t live in your home come in and do a sniff test for you.

4. It’s Dustier Than Usual

If your air isn’t circulating properly, you may notice that your home’s surfaces are collecting more dust than you’re used to seeing.

A quality air filter can successfully trap and hold many of the particles and contaminants that normally accumulate in the air. Yet, even the best one may not be a strong enough match against air that’s especially polluted.

From pet hair to pollen, there are many sources of dust, and each requires immediate attention. The working condition of your respiratory system, not to mention your air conditioning system, depends on it!

From Quality Air to Green Living: Thrifty Ways to Save

Are you looking to improve the interior of your home to protect it against the dangers of low-quality air? While you’re at it, are you interested in learning more about frugal living, ways you can earn money from home, and some of the hottest online deals around?

If so, you’ve come to the right spot!

I’m dedicated to helping readers live their best, healthiest lives — on a budget. Every day I post practical tips and insights on ways to cut costs without cutting corners.

Contact me to learn more or leave a reply below to join the conversation!

4 Cute Storage Ideas to Help Organize Your Clutter

cute storage ideasEvery now and then, people need to declutter. But even after spending hours and days cleaning and throwing things away, much is still left over.

It’s even harder to organize and hide everything when dealing with small spaces. So, how does someone tidy up and store necessary items when they don’t have much space to work with?

Luckily, there are lots of cute storage ideas that can help organize the clutter and add to a room’s decor.

It doesn’t matter if it’s an attic, a bedroom, or a child’s playroom. You can declutter any type of room and still store everything in discreet – and adorable – ways.

Here are 4 adorable ideas…

1. Side Tables & Dressers

For decades, people have used side tables and dressers to tuck away their excess clutter. But not only that!

Adding a dresser or side table can often be the missing element of a room that ties its decor scheme together. Not to mention, people can decorate the top of them in addition to storing things inside them.

Dressers and side tables are staples to every bedroom. But they also go great in children’s playrooms, living areas, and even indoor porches.

And people don’t even have to buy them brand new! Many are available at second-hand shops, yard sales, or somewhere in a friend’s garage.

2. Wall Shelves

What does someone do if their space is too small to incorporate a side table or dresser?

They go higher!

Wall-mounted shelves have become something of a trend in the DIY community. And there’s a reason why they’re climbing the ranks on the list of cute storage ideas.

They not only take advantage of the walls for storage purposes but style up any room. Plus, they go beyond standard blocks or flat pieces of wood!

Magnetic strips can store kitchen and bathroom items on the walls or sides of drawers. Peg boards and screwdriver racks are also helpful for storing tools in the garage.

3. Bins & Baskets

Every household has items that may be useful in the future, but serve no purpose in the present. And that’s where storage bins and containers come in.

They store and hide clutter away in closets and under beds – in the most organized way possible.

But when there’s no room left, collapsible storage bins allow storage out in the open. They’re made with fabric and come in a variety of colors and patterns.

Baskets are also stylish additions to children’s bedrooms, bathrooms, and living areas. They’re great for storing toys, magazines, blankets, and even cosmetic devices.

4. Glass Jars & Cork Boards

These days, it’s easy to find stylish jars online to implement cute storage ideas. And there’s no shortage of places to use them for compact storage out in the open.

Jars can take advantage of excess counter space by storing things like spices and teas. They also store cotton balls, swabs, and hair accessories in bathrooms and bedrooms.

But what does someone do about their extensive jewelry collection?

Cork boards have become popular for this exact need!

Cork boards are the trendiest way to organize and hang jewelry with tacks for the easiest access. No more digging through boxes and untangling necklaces!

Cork boards also organize important papers that can’t get thrown out. Junk drawers everywhere will breathe a sigh of relief.

Declutter & Organize with Cute Storage Ideas

You don’t have to put up with excess clutter and mess. Especially if it means styling up one’s living quarters in the process.

It doesn’t matter how big or how small someone’s home is. You can organize clutter and create more space in apartments and houses alike.

For more cute storage ideas, stay tuned with Thrifty Momma Ramblings!

Tips on Thinking Thrifty When Shopping for Home Goods

woman shoppingLooking to decorate your home? You’d better have a budget.

Everyone has certain expectations when they set out to decorate their home. That is until they’re faced with a harsh reality – decorating is expensive.

We’ve all seen those shows on HGTV. Young couples build up a lavish dream home with nothing more than a small budget and a few professionals.

But real life isn’t TV. Kitchen remodels alone cost over $20,000 on average. So it’s important to be thrifty when looking for home goods.

Are you in need of some new curtains? Or a new faucet, or even a couch? Here are our tips on how to saving money. Read on to learn more.

Use Decorating Hacks

You can’t afford your favorite item. So what?

There’s no shame in going for something a little bit more cost effective. Try to buy alternative home goods that look good and don’t break the bank.

There are all sorts of decorating hacks that can accommodate your vision. You can buy a succulent instead of a potted plant, purchase a rug, or look into inexpensive rohl faucets to add a touch of class to your bathroom.

Try spending big money on the items that draw the most attention in a room. You can splurge on curtains, drapes, and throw pillows but hang back on trinkets and nonessentials.

You can still stick to your budget and get the look you want. You just have to be a savvy shopper.

Stick to a Cash Budget

We’ve all been there. You get upsold when buying your home goods.

It’s easy to set a budget for yourself. But it’s even harder to stick to it.

One way to ensure you stick to your budget is by taking out cash. That way you don’t have to worry about going over budget.

A common issue with home goods shoppers is they fall in love with an item way out of their price range. By sticking to cash, you’re forced to fixate only on items within your budget.

Save yourself the headache of overspending by leaving your credit card at home.

Consignment Store

Thrifty shoppers know where to shop. That means cutting out big name chain retailers.

Save your money by taking a trip to a consignment store. Consignment shops are a step up from thrift stores in that only sell gently used items. The owner will sell their goods back to the shop in return for a cut of the final sale.

That’s not to say you shouldn’t take a trip to a thrift store too. But finding quality items there can be like finding a diamond in the rough.

If you’re looking for the best bang for your buck, there’s no greater place than a consignment store.

You can further save money by looking at their clearance sections and shopping when you know a valuable sale is underway.

Thrifty Home Goods

Decorating your home doesn’t have to be expensive. You just have to get your hands dirty.

You’ll be well on the way to your dream home as long as you have a firm budget, shop at the right places, and use a few hacks.

Still looking for deals? Contact Thrifty Momma for more tips on finding the right deals for you.