10 Tips For Choosing Paint Colors for Small Living Spaces

As many of you know, living in a small space can make everything in your home seem a bit crowded. The good news is there are several ways to make your small space appear larger than it actually is. In fact, selecting the right furniture for your small space will do wonders for making it appear bigger. But, there’s still a lot more that you could do.

It may take some creative thinking, but another possible solution to “opening up” your home is to choose the right paint colors for your walls. Here are our top ten tips for selecting paint that makes your room appear larger than it really is.

Quick Tips & Tricks for Small Spaces

There are several ways you can enhance your small living area to make it seem larger and inviting. When it comes to the furniture, try to stick with monochromatic colors by choosing different textures and shades of the color you select. You should also limit the number of things you have in a single room. Too much furniture or accessories can make the room feel cluttered.
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8 Places That Would Benefit From a Countertop Dishwasher

A countertop dishwasher is a portable unit that is meant to be kept on the counter for everyday use. They pack just as much cleaning power as their full-size counterparts, yet use far less water and detergent. Some may ask why people would even think about using a portable unit when full-sized dishwashers are standard in many kitchens today.

EdgeStar Compact Dishwasher

Here are eight common scenarios where you would benefit from using a portable or countertop dishwasher.

1. College Apartment/Dorm Room

College apartments and/or dorm rooms are known for many things, from all night study sessions to movie marathons. The last thing that most students worry about is washing dishes and cleaning. Add this to the fact that most dorm rooms are not equipped with appliances, especially a full-size dishwasher, and the benefits of these portable cleaners become instantly appealing.

These compact devices gives students the ability to quickly rinse their own dishes and place them in an area designed to clean them. No messy dishes accumulating around the dorm room. No more piling them up in the sink until you have no clean dishes left.
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Compact Living 101: How to Select Furniture for a Small Living Space

There are many benefits to living in a small home or apartment. There is less to clean, little to maintain, fewer repairs to make, and you don’t have to pay for space you aren’t going to use. One of the challenges, however, is choosing and arranging furniture for that same compact living space.

Furniture in Compact Living Space

It’s important to have enough furniture for you to be comfortable, as well as entertain your friends and family. The challenge lays in selecting and arranging your furniture so that your living area doesn’t appear cluttered or is difficult to move around.

Here are some of our favorite tips and tricks for maximizing the use of your small home or office by selecting the best furniture for your space.

1. Start With Light Colors

It would be best to select light-colored furniture. The lighter the hue, the bigger your home will feel. This is by-far the easiest way to make each room more inviting, without having to do a lot of complicated rearranging of the furniture. This will give your room a more open feeling, even in the smallest of spaces.

If you already have darker furniture, then you can always add light-accents. A light-colored rug or a pair of curtains, for example, can make your home look roomier almost instantly.
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BUYER’S GUIDE: Tankless Water Heaters

What is a Tankless Water Heater?

Tankless Water Heaters, often referred to as Instantaneous or Demand Water Heaters, provide hot water only as it is needed. Traditional storage water heaters produce standby energy losses that cost you money. We do not leave our homes heated while vacationing. We only heat our homes when there is a demand for heat. In the same way, a tankless water heater is used only when there is a demand for hot water.

How do Tankless Water Heaters Work?

Tankless water heaters work by heating the water directly, without the use of a storage tank. Therefore, they avoid the standby heat losses associated with storage water heaters. When a hot water tap is turned on, cold water travels through a pipe into the unit.
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How to Utilize Space in a Small Kitchen

Do you live in a place with a small kitchen? You may have recently moved to a new home or apartment with a smaller kitchen, or perhaps you are considering such a move. Either way, the kitchen is one of the most important rooms in your home. It’s your playground. It’s the heart of your home. It should be well-organized and a place you want to be in.

To help you accomplish this, here’s our tips to help you utilize your small kitchen more effectively in order to make it both convenient and attractive.
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4 Benefits of Baseboard Heaters

For many homeowners, keeping themselves and their family warm during the cold winter months is a priority. Relying on a central heating system will work when it comes to works at keeping your home warm, but it can also be expensive and very inefficient.

We’ve previously discussed the benefits of implementing a supplemental heating strategy, and there are many different types of heaters that can help you do this. Today, however, we’re going to discuss the benefits of baseboard heaters, how they work and why you should consider using one to keep you and your family warm.

What is a Baseboard Heater?

Baseboard Heater in Kids Room

Baseboard heaters are highly efficient heaters that sit directly on the floor or a few inches above the floor. Typically, this type of heater is either convection or hydronic-powered. All floor and baseboard heaters must be used with a thermostat to control the overall temperature and usage. If you don’t feel comfortable installing it yourself, then it would be wise to call a professional electrician to ensure that you get the maximum benefits for your home.

Baseboard heaters are designed to envelop the room in warmth without using up a lot of electricity. This allows you to keep the central heating system turned down low during those colder evenings, and turn on your floor heater for more energy-efficient warmth.
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3 Common Uses for Combo Kitchens

Combo Kitchen

A combo kitchen is single, standalone unit that serves all your basic kitchen needs. A typical combo kitchen consists of a sink, mini refrigerator and stovetop range. Sometimes referred to as compact kitchens, combination kitchens, kitchenettes or all-in-ones, combo kitchens are available in a variety of configurations. Some models include freezers, ovens, electrical outlets, cabinets, built-in cutting boards and storage drawers.

A combo kitchen is a great solution when space is in short supply, such as in small apartments or guest houses. Other models are especially built for outdoor use, making them perfect for backyard barbecues and patio entertaining. Because combination kitchens are considerably more affordable than traditional kitchens, they also make practical substitutes during home renovations, especially when your budget is being stretched thin.

Let’s take a closer look at three common uses for combo kitchens, so you can make an informed decision as to whether one is right for you.
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4 Simple Space-Saving Tips for Organizing a Cluttered Closet

It is a tale as old as time — the older you get, the more clothes you buy, and the harder it is to part with beloved fabrics and well-worn shoes. Eventually, these nostalgic lifestyle habits come back to haunt you when you run out of room in your closet. Without taking proper actions, it’s bound to happen to all of us at some point. To help you prevent this from happening, here are our four favorite space-saving tips for a cluttered closet.

Purge the Unnecessary & Old Clothes

The first space-saving tip for decluttering your closet is to purge all the unnecessary clothes you no longer need. Begin with the two-year rule to purge outdated or garments that no longer fit. If you have not used it or worn it in two years, it is safe to assume that you no longer need to keep it.

Once you’ve gone through and analyzed what you’ve worn in the last two years, going forward a good way to keep track of what you want to keep is to start with your hangers facing one way. Each time you take out an item of clothing and return it, turn the hanger around and face it in the direction of your preference. At the end of one or two years (depending on your available space), get rid of all the clothes that you have not turned around.

Remove Non-Essential Items From the Closet

Now that you’ve gone through all your clothes and decided what should go and what should stay, it’s now time to relocate anything else that does not belong in the closet. If it is not clothes or shoes, try to find it a new place to store it.

Have you been using the closet as a storage area for books, boxes, suitcases and other random household items? You are not alone, but it is time for a new solution. Move these things to another area of the home, such as a linen closet, basement or garage. If you have an extra room or closet elsewhere, consider sorting your clothes by season and moving the off-season clothes into a separate area to be switched out. Relocate items that you use frequently to an easy-to-reach area.

Instead of sending everything to a landfill, consider donating or selling items that you no longer use. There are many options should you find yourself willing and able to part with the clutter. Goodwill, the Salvation Army and other thrift shops willingly take gently worn items, and your donations help others in need. Some stores allow trade-ins for store credit or cash rewards for accepted clothing. If you have taken great care of your clothes, bags and shoes, this is a good way to update your wardrobe and save some space. If your friends are similarly struggling, a clothes swap could get rid of your clutter and score you a few useful things in return. Even a garage sale would be a great option if you find the rest of your home suffering from the same cramped quarters as your closet.

Utilize the Space You Have

Even if you live in the smallest, compact living area, there are still ways to take advantage of the space you do have. For example, the walls and floors and the back of a closet and closet door can be huge space savers. Attach hooks on the backs of doors to hang shoes, belts, bags, jewelry and other accessories that would otherwise take up space where you could store your clothes.

Built-in or add-on shelves can also help save space for stackable items. Take advantage of all vertical space by stacking sweaters, shoes and handbags on shelves. Use compressed bags, boxes or clear containers to stack and store items that you do not frequently use, such as out-of-season clothing. You can also employ stacking drawers or shelves to help prevent items from toppling over. Buying and installing space-saving shelves is somewhat simple, assuming that you have the time, space, and are DIY-savvy.

In addition, space-saving hangers and rods are available for your closet needs. If most of your clothes are short-hanging, add an extra closet rod above or below the first to instantly double the amount of hanging space. Use add-on hangers, which take up as much space as a single hanger and store four times the amount of clothing.

Fix That Shoe Problem

Since shoes are less versatile than clothing, they can be harder to store and take up more space in your already cluttered closet. Luckily, you have some space-saving options if you have nowhere else to store your shoes.

Use a hanging shoe rack for the back of your door to keep shoes organized, easy to reach and out of the way. Another great way to store shoes is on DIY shoe hangers. Cut the bottom rod of a wire hanger in the middle and twist up both ends, creating dual hooks on which to hang your shoes. Hang these next to your clothes, and save the floor space of your closet for stacks of sweaters, linen or other items. While this isn’t the prettiest option, it’s cheap and it saves a ton of space.

If you have the space, opt for a decorative shoe storing solution to de-clutter your closet. Options include a wall-hanging rack or a pretty cabinet that serves dual functions for shoes and accessories. Tubs and baskets keep footwear together and can be stored on shelves or floors. Consider sorting shoes and boots by seasonal use or style, so you always know where to look for the footwear that you need.

Cluttered Closets: More Common Than You Think

Closet clutter is a common issue that affects us all, no matter how big or small our closets are. The shortage of space is especially a problem for those that live in small homes and apartments. By following the space-saving tips above, you’ll be able to fully utilize the amount of space you have in your closet and organize your clothes in a way that works best for you.

Surely, there are more tips out there. What space-saving tips would you recommend?

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5 Back-to-School Appliances You’ll Need For Your Dorm

Back to School Bundle of Savings

It’s that time of year again. The pools are starting to close down. The neighbors are all getting back from their family vacations. The sun doesn’t seem to be as intense as it was a few weeks back. Unfortunately, this all means one thing — summer is coming to an end… and a new school year is about to start.

For the early school years, stocking up for back-to-school was pretty simple. All you had to do was walk down the school aisle at your local grocery store, picking out the most basic supplies. If you were lucky, you might even get a new backpack. But leaving for college is a little bit different, especially that first year. You still need those basic school supplies, but you also need a few basic appliances to help you get by in the dorm.

While you’re busy registering for classes, don’t forget about these essential back-to-school appliances for your dorm room.

1. Compact Refrigerator

Compact Refrigerator

The obvious appliance that every dorm needs is the small, compact refrigerator. Every college student needs one of these. Even if you’re on a meal plan and don’t plan on preparing your own meals in your room, you need a dependable mini fridge just to keep your drinks and snacks cool.

Compact refrigerators usually consist of 1 to 2.5 cubic feet of space. They are small enough to put in a corner or underneath your desk, but large enough to hold your basic foods and drinks. If your school allows it, you should look into getting a midsize refrigerator. These are not only small enough for a dorm atmosphere, but usually have more cubic feet of space and a separate freezer compartment for your frozen foods. For the price and the features, this will be your best value.

The best compact refrigerators for dorms:

2. Microwave

Microwaves

Having a dependable microwave is another must-have dorm appliance. Sure, your dorm will probably have a microwave in the common area, but most likely, it’s going to be an old model that probably doesn’t work as effectively as one you bring yourself. Plus, it’s likely that somebody will be using it when you need it.

Avoid the drama, and bring your own microwave. You’ll have the luxury of heating up your leftovers or making a bag of popcorn, all without having to leave the room or wait in line. It’s almost a guarantee that any microwave your bring with you, will be better than the one that is in your dorm and used every day by countless amounts of students. Just be sure to check if your dorm allows microwaves beforehand. Some do, and some don’t.

The best microwaves for dorms:

Another possible option, is to combine the two most needed dorm appliances into one. A combination refrigerator and microwave may just be the perfect solution for you. This unique combination basically gives you an all-in-one kitchen, without taking up lots of space. Not to mention, if you bundle the two appliances into one, you’re going to save a little bit of money.

3. Humidifiers

Dorm Humidifier

On most college campuses, dormitories usually tend to be hot and dry places to live. Bringing along your own humidifier will not only help keep your room more comfortable to live in. The extra moisture in the air will help you feel a little better by relieving dry, itchy skin, as well as help with any allergy symptoms you may experience. Now that you’re living in close quarters to other students, a humidifier may also dramatically reduce your chances of catching other their viruses. Nobody likes being sick, and that’s especially true when you have to cram for a big test.

Humidifiers are generally pretty quiet, so you won’t disturb your roommate. And they’re also pretty small, so they won’t take up much space. Which is precisely why they rank as one of the best dorm appliances.

The best humidifiers for dorms:

4. Coffee Machine

Dorm Coffeemaker

Whether you have early morning classes or plan on studying late into the night, you’re probably going to need to have access to a readily supply of fresh coffee. This is why a reliable coffee maker is an essential for your dorm. Most dorms won’t have a coffee machine readily available to you, and if they do, you can bet that it’s been there for many years.

To eliminate overall waste, we would recommend a single-cup coffee maker, like a Keurig. These are great at brewing just enough for you to make it through that last chapter of your textbook, without having to brew a whole pot that you’ll just pour out.

The best coffee makers for dorms:
Steam Iron

5. Iron

Having an iron is another important must-have for the dorm, even though a lot of students will think they won’t have a need for one. At some point, you’re going to need put on a nice shirt and nobody wants to look like a wrinkled slob. Steam irons are easy to carry around, and small enough to store out of the way.

The best irons for dorms:

Moving away from home and living in a dorm isn’t going to be easy for most students, at least not at first. Bringing along these appliances is a great way to make the transition into the dorm easier, so you can concentrate more on your studies.

What’s your list of must-have dorm appliances? We’d love to hear them in the comments below.

3 Common Misconceptions About Washer Dryer Combos

There are many misconceptions about laundry units in small places. Many people believe that you have to use the small, compact, stackable units when living in smaller spaces. The truth is, you have a wide variety of options for your laundry needs, even if you live in the smallest of spaces.

Washer Dryer Combo

EdgeStar Washer Dryer Combo

Consider a washer dryer combo. If you think they use too much energy, or take too long to dry, then think again. In many cases, the easiest way to fit a full-size washer and dryer into the smallest living spaces is to combine them into one unit. You do not necessarily have to use apartment or dorm room style washer and dryers when you have a small space to work with. You can use a full-size unit, just combine it into one machine.

There are many benefits of having a washer dryer combo. Not only does it save you a considerable amount of space, but they’re incredibly easy to use and gentle on your clothes. Most combo washer dryers don’t need to be vented, like a standard stand-alone dryer does. This allows you to use your unit anywhere there is electricity and a water connection.

1. Long Drying Times

For example, the EdgeStar FastDry Ventless washer dryer combo allows you to wash and then dry your clothes in one unit. Back in the 1980s when these type of units started to appear, they did take a long time to dry, which made them an unpopular choice for anyone other than a boat or RV owner. Modern units blow those misconceptions out of the water with dry times of as little as 45 minutes for a full load. There are a couple models of washer dryer combos that run on a mere 110 volts, instead of the stand alone units that use 220 volts and may take a little longer, sometimes around 90 minutes.

2. Inefficient Energy Usage

Another misconception is that a combo washer dryer has poor energy usage. Many people assume that they used more energy than the regular units, because they have more features. The truth is, condensing dryers use anywhere from 50-70 percent less energy than vented dryers. They are designed to be very energy efficient and economical for the daily needs of a consumer.

3. Lack of Moisture Control

Other common misconceptions include the worry about moisture being put back into the area surrounding the dryer. But, this is also not true. The condensing dryers use a closed-loop system to prevent any heat, lint or moisture from being released into the air. The units use a dehumidfying process to ensure that there is no release of moisture into the air. While many people believe that the units’ load capacity is tiny, in most cases, the loads are comparable to that of a full-size unit.

Combo washer dryers are UL and ETL approved, making them an ideal solution for anyone. The common misconceptions about these laundry units in small spaces are all just that – misconceptions. The product flaws and features of decades ago have since been corrected, refined and enhanced to meet the needs of the consumer. The fact of the matter, is that if you are pressed for space and don’t want to compromise on the quality of your laundry appliances, then a washer dryer combo may just be the best fit for you.

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