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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Make Your Home a Sanctuary

Summertime invites a plethora of socializing, sports and outdoor activities. Luckily we have more energy in the summer with the warmer, brighter and longer days. Don’t drain yourself with all the get up and go! Take time to pamper yourself so you feel energized and ready for the beautiful days of the season. Read on for ideas to treat yourself like the king or queen of the house you are.

Make your bedroom a relaxation haven. We often take care of every other room in the home and ignore our bedroom. Change that! Your bedroom shouldn’t be a catch-all, but a place of rest and rejuvenation. Clear the clutter and get rid of anything that doesn’t invite a clear mental attitude.

  • Place a nightstand next to your bed and keep a book, journal or pen there. Take the time each night for some reading or gratitude reflection and journal writing.
  • Add some extra throw pillows and soft blankets to snuggle in as you doze off to dreamland.
  • Buy a stereo or music player for soft music when its time to relax.
  • Shop for a new mattress if yours is old and not supporting you the way it should be.

Set up a bathroom spa. Create a basket or box for an on-the-go spa experience. Keep it neat and organized so you can reach for it anytime you need a quick pick me up! Include the following:

  • A nail kit complete with cuticle softener, nail files, smoothers, hand moisturizer and nail polish
  • A pedicure kit with sugar (to make a sugar scrub) and foot bath
  • A shower kit with soaps, gels, loofah and scrubs

Give yourself the comfort and convenience of a reading nook. For ideas on organizing the area, read this post.

Nothing says summer like old fashioned ice cream! Get some sundae glasses, cherries, chocolate, sprinkles and an ice cream maker and spend time unwinding in your kitchen with the kids in the evening. I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!

Create a family gathering space. Find a spot in your home and set up a lounging area for family and friends to unwind. Make the space television-free so it invites good old family interaction. The space can be anywhere room allows. Place movable pieces of furniture including chairs, ottomans, loveseats and storage benches in the area. Add throws and pillows for comfort.

Try some of these tips or run into one of the two Connell’s locations in Mt. Vernon or Newark today and talk to a sales associate about ways to turn your home into your own summertime sanctuary. You’ve got the home, family and ideas – we’ve got the goods to make it perfect for you for any occasion.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Ready, Set, School!

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It’s that time of year again . . . BACK to SCHOOL time for the kids and back to a regular schedule for you. Back-to-school shopping is likely on your to do list, or the kids are already begging to play in their new school shoes. Everyone in the house has been dreaming of either trapper keepers, protractors or peace and quiet. The kids are ready and you can’t wait! But what about your home? As always, Connell’s has you covered! Keep reading for tips to control clutter, create functional space and manage your home during the hectic and exciting back-to-school time.

Start with the entryway. Count the number of times you’ve been in a hurry and couldn’t find the keys, or one of the kids couldn’t find his homework! If this sounds familiar, say it with me: start with the entryway. The foyer or room where you enter and leave your home can and should be the most organized space in your abode. First and foremost, it’s the initial impression of your home altogether. Second, if this space is organized and holds all the essentials ready to go, everyone is golden! Depending on space, install hooks for coats, bags and umbrellas. Set up cubbies for shoes and other small items. Hang shelves for books. Place a cabinet, desk or end table with a drawer or two for keys, pens, pencils, and other items within easy reach.

Organize a specific “homework zone.” Habits normally take three weeks to form and most kids are into school at the beginning of the school year. Setting up a designated homework space will help the kiddos get off to great habits right from the start. Place a desk, comfortable chair, computer (if age appropriate), paper, pens, pencils, shelves and anything else useful in the area and ask that the kids work from this space specifically when reading and completing school work. The space can be in your child’s room or another place in the home as long as it is quiet and relatively free of distractions – NO television!

All work and no play makes for both boring adults and kids! Have you ever thought about a “relaxation station” in your home? Maybe it’s your living room, family room, or some other neutral area. Wherever you decide, the rule is relaxation! Some “must haves” for this room  include a comfy sofa, loveseat or sectional, lots of pillows, low lighting, access to music, and storage for games and other forms of entertainment. Relax with the kids in the evening so they can wind down and get a good night’s sleep!

Make the kitchen accessible and inviting. For the kids to do well in school, a balanced diet is essential. Make snacks healthy and within easy reach after school. Lunchboxes and thermoses should be stored in a place the kids can easily grab them. Teach the kids how to pack their own lunch, including all of the major food groups.

Your home is ready now! These are just a few ideas to get you started. Come up with more ideas of your own and share them with us on Facebook, then stop in to one of the two Connell’s locations in Mt. Vernon or Newark today for beautiful home furnishings and great values every day!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Love Your Kitchen

The last 100 years have brought tremendous change to the kitchen. Dual income families and indoor plumbing have both played a role in the way we now use this central part of our home. A place to cook, eat, share and laugh, the kitchen truly is the heart of the home, and a few simple changes will transform an uninspired kitchen into a room that draws families together.

Create a gathering space. With hectic schedules, the kitchen is always the gathering spot after a long day. Allow it to be functional. Define a space for kids to do homework comfortably while snacking. Make room for a computer or laptop for family use, to pull up favorite recipes, read current events together and research schoolwork.

Clutter control. Most active families are busy with events outside the home. Organize the kitchen. Clear clutter from countertops, making meal prep easier and more efficient. Leave out only functional items and store decorative accessories. Pull pots and pans out and hang them in easy reach, thereby making space for other items to be stored.

Shine on. Find ways to creatively light your kitchen based on use. A bright overhead light is great for preparing meals in the evening, while a soft low light provides a more pleasant dining experience. A crisp white light should be used for homework and natural light cascading through windows is best for all circumstances when it’s available.

Update appliances. If either space or design are issues in your current kitchen, browse all of the kitchen appliance options available today. Older appliances can and should be replaced with more energy efficient models. Most appliances are also available in smaller versions to save space in currently cramped kitchens.

Keep multi-function use in mind. The kitchen serves so many functions. It’s a place to prep and cook food, eat, study, do crafts and family activities, listen to music, even watch television on occasion. Install a smaller flat-screen TV in one of the less traveled corners of the room. Create a lounging area by arranging seating with functional multi-use storage benches and cushions.

Whatever your style, let your Connell’s sales representative show you some kitchen design ideas the next time you stop in one of our two locations, Mt. Vernon and Newark.