Living Rooms are a special space because they are large enough for everyone to get together and spend quality time. A space to do exactly what it is named after— LIVE! This room in your home should have all the key elements to a great time but we think the top priority should be comfort! We made a list of the best ways to cultivate a comfortable and “livable” living room.
1. Seating – Diversify
One sofa is hardly ever enough when it comes to the ultimate hangout area but often most spaces only have room for one. So what would we do in this situation? Add a lounge chair paired with a cozy blanket or some thick soft floor pillows perfect for those who can’t be confined to a seat. It creates dimension within the room and multiple comfort options for visitors.
2. Fireplace– Gather round
Fireplaces have been the gathering place for families for as long as humans have been around. It’s a cozy place to relax and spend quality time together working on projects or chatting. Not every home comes with a traditional fireplace but that doesn’t mean it's not possible to add one without busting the budget. Electric fireplaces are a great alternative. If you do have a traditional fireplace, does it need a bit of an upgrade? Cosmetic fireplace changes are a great project to really change up the vibe of a room.
4. Surfaces Surfaces Surfaces
5. Get The Lighting Right
There are so many different things we do in our living room that require all different types of lighting. Perhaps a task lamp next to the sofa is perfect for reading or working on a project, but a soft lit table lamp in a different area is better for a cozy hangout session with our family or friends. Getting the lighting right is an overlooked step in creating a cozy setting. Some of these subtleties can be a challenge and we’re alway here to help with a lighting plan.
6. Entry Ways
How do you get in and out of your living room? Is it a big open floor plan or a small arch? How open or closed off you are to the rest of the house can have a major impact on the intimacy of the space. Perhaps installing barn doors to shut you in a bit more or tearing down a wall to open it up is exactly what your space needs.
We are passionate about creating your dream home and the only way to help is getting to know you and your family, identifying your needs, and creating a plan to get you there. Would you ever consider any of these suggestions to increase the comfort levels of your living room? Let us know in the comments~
A common question asked while working with clients is – how will this affect my home's resale value? The true answer is, it’s your home and unless you’re trying to immediately flip it on the market, you shouldn’t let resale value dictate your taste. Things always come in and out of trend but that’s not to say there aren’t some great home improvements that you can feel confident in and will probably end up adding value and that’s what we will be talking about here.
1. Custom Cabinetry.
Having something custom built for your home to perfectly fit your space and your needs is something that will always be unique and a future selling point. Storage never goes out of style!
5. Home Office
In the times we currently live, having a home office is nearly a must have. You don’t have to devote an entire room to an office if you don’t have the space, but carving out an area where a desk and maybe some built-in shelves can be is a game changer for many. This is a great area to invest in custom builds tailor made for your home.
At the end of the day, your home is for you and your family to live in and putting your specific needs and taste should be your first priority! Would you ever consider any of these improvements for your home? Let us know in the comments and if you live in the bay area and need assistance, contact us for a consultation today!
Investing in a rental property is a major decision and one that has the potential to generate a lot of income. But before you can start reaping the rewards, you need to check a few boxes first—like making sure your property is appealing to renters. Designing a rental property that appeals to potential tenants doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive. With a bit of planning and intelligent decision-making, you can make your investment property the most luring spot in the area without breaking the bank. Thomas Designs has listed a few tried-and-true tips to get you started:
Choose the Right Location
The location of your rental property is one of the most important factors in determining its success. You’ll want to choose an area that is safe, convenient, and desirable. Proximity to public transportation, schools, and businesses are all crucial to consider. If you’re not sure whether a particular location is worth investing in, consult with a real estate professional who can help you evaluate the area and make an informed decision.
Form an LLC
If you’re serious about renting out your investment property, then it’s time to form an LLC. This will help protect your personal assets in case of any legal issues that may arise. You might want to talk to an attorney or accountant who can help you set up your LLC and answer any questions you may have. Another option is to use an online formation service, which is less expensive and can save you a great deal of stress
Make Common Repairs
Before you start showing your property to potential renters, make sure all common repairs have been made. This includes things like fixing leaks, repairing cracks in the walls or ceiling, replacing broken door knobs or light fixtures, etc. These small repairs can make a big difference in how your property is perceived by potential tenants. Here are some other repairs to handle if
● Clogged toilets
● Broken appliances
● Rodent or insect infestation
● Faulty HVAC
● Broken water heater
Keep It Clean
Once your repairs are complete, it’s time for a deep clean. Go room to room, cleaning every surface from the ceiling to the floor. If necessary, budget for a professional cleaning service—you want your investment property to sparkle! In addition to regular cleanings, keep up with other maintenance tasks like mowing the lawn, trimming bushes and trees, and removing
leaves and debris from gutters. A well-maintained property will be more appealing to potential tenants than one that appears neglected.
Consider Design Trends and Amenities
When designing your rental property, factor in current design trends and amenities that will grab the attention of your target market. For example, many people now prefer open-concept floor plans, so if your property has smaller rooms or an outdated layout, now might be an ideal time for a renovation.
Other features to consider include in-unit laundry facilities, stainless steel appliances, hardwood floors, and granite countertops. You don’t have to implement all of these changes at once—just pick one or two that will make the biggest impact and go from there. And work with an experienced design company like Thomas Designs; we’ll transform your space without harming the environment!
By following these tips, you can make your investment property more attractive to potential renters without draining your bank account. Keep in mind that location is key when choosing where to invest. You’ll also want to set up an LLC for added legal protection, make essential repairs, maintain your property, and choose updates or renovations that align with the current design trends. You might be surprised at the difference a little planning and strategic design choices can make for your investment property and goals!
Would you like to read more helpful content or learn about our eco-friendly design services? Visit EcoThomasDesigns.com today!
Friends of the Library - Every purchase made here directly benefits the Contra Costa library system. They have movies and board games too.
Pleasant Hill, CA | phlibraryfriends.org
Earthen - Bay Area based female founded shop started with ceramics and has expanded to home goods and cozy apothecary treats.
Occidental, CA| earthen-shop.com
Preserved - Shopping for a foodie on your list? This Oakland shop is filled with preserved and fermented goods that would make any foodie gleeful.
Oakland, CA | preservedgoods.com
Bedford Gallery - Located in Walnut Creek, They are dedicated to providing opportunities to learn about visual arts through exhibitions and programs that are varied, accessible, challenging, and educational. For the holidays they are featuring some fun and unique gifts/ crafts for purchase.
Walnut Creek, CA | bedfordgallery.org
1) Local food banks are in need especially this time of the year. Donating money helps them procure fresh ingredients for those in need and can be more helpful than any physical food donation. foodbankccs.org
2) The Trinity Center is one of the most hands on and helpful to help the houseless in the East Bay. They have multiple locations where people can be showered and fed and obtain necessities. trinitycenterwc.org
3) The Bay Area Womens and Childrens center (BAWCC) offers a variety of direct services that address immediate needs as well as long-term stability. They help to create public spaces for women and children as well as walk in clinics and for health and dental needs.bawcc.org
4) The House of Rabbit Society has two primary goals:
5) Contra Costa County Animal Services Department is committed to protecting the health, safety and well-being of all people and animals in our community through enforcement of state and local laws, providing compassionate care for every animal regardless of its temperament or condition, and reducing the number of animals that enter our County shelter.
6) Harvest Home Animal Sanctuary Our mission is to provide life-long care for our rescued animals, and to educate the public about humane animal care and practices. We rehabilitate, both physically and psychologically, mistreated animals and, if possible, we will find appropriate homes for them. In an effort to prevent further cruelty to these animals, we educate the public on caring for companion animals as well as on issues concerning farmed animals.
Having a space away from the responsibilities of taking care of your home, family or career can be life changing. Whether you have the space to dedicate an entire room to yourself or not, we have some beautiful and fun ideas for you to incorporate into your home.
1. Zen Tea Garden
Whether you have a yard or a small balcony, an outdoor space where you can go to get away for some fresh air can seriously increase your happiness. Add soft textures like pillows, and cushions and some auditory experiences like windchimes to help you mindfully relax when you’re within that space.
2. Reading Nook
Maybe a space outside isn’t possible or the weather where you live is too unpredictable. This is where a cozy reading nook would come in handy! Setting up a cozy armchair or bench covered in blankets and pillows by a window is a perfect way to get some natural light while catching up on your reading list.
3. Napping Porch
WHat a choice term! How inviting would a warm nook in your house or covered porch with a daybed where you and your pets can rest easy and catch a few z’s.
4. Cozy Hammock
5. Creative Work Zone
6. Yoga/Meditation Shed
This could be a great solution for those who have outdoor space but don’t want to be subjected to the ever changing weather. Build a shed and make it into a yoga studio or meditation space.
7. Window Seat
Do you have an underutilized window area in your home? What would it take to make it a better and more comfortable space for yourself? Does it need to be altered or extra cushions added? Maybe all it needs is a refresh and a blanket. Either way, a window seat is great place to get cozy.
8. Thinking Chair
Sometimes all you need is a cozy chair. If the hammock sounded interesting to you, maybe trying a hanging chair to get the same feeling of weightlessness would be a great option for you. Those chairs are great for people that are sensory seeking and need a little movement to get the brain going!
Would you try to put any of these in your home? Let us know in the comments below!
Sinks are one of the most important and used appliances in your kitchen. When you want to get the right sink the first time there are 6 things you should consider when choosing one.
1. Sink Material
The material that you choose for your sink not only determines the aesthetic but also the durability. There are many different materials that can be used and some are more durable and easily cleaned than others. Stainless steel and fireclay are by far the most common as well as most durable and easy to clean. Materials like copper, quartz or other natural materials are popular with those who like to make a statement but can come with other traits like needing to be sealed and maintained due to oxidation or refinished due to the porosity.
2. Sink Configuration
When determining how you want your sink to be configured you really have to consider your lifestyle. How many sinks do you need? With your sink, how many different areas would you like to have? Did you know there are sinks available with three separate areas that are made for people who prefer hand washing their dishes? There are many things to consider when figuring out this step.
3. Type Of Installation
Now that you have figured out how you want your sink to be configured, you need to determine how it’s going to be installed into your kitchen. There are undermounts, drop-in, integral, and apron-front sinks (commonly referred to as Farmhouse). The various options have different benefits and different costs. Drop in sinks are the most budget friendly due to having an easy install and working well with budget friendly counter materials. While on the high end of the price range would be the integral sink which is fabricated from the same materials at the surrounding counters and appears seamless. We usually suggest an under-mount or Farmhouse sink depending on the client's aesthetic.
4. Sink Depth
How deep your sink is relates directly to how much under the sink storage room you have. That usable space changes again when adding in a garbage disposal. These are all things to keep in mind so you’re not surprised later down the road.
5. Sink Size
The next thing to consider before you’re finished picking out your sink is how wide you’d like it to be. The typical dimensions range from 24 inches to 36 inches. With this step you should consider the area it’s going in as well as how it works spatially with the rest of your kitchen.
6. Location, Location, Location.
When placing your sink you want to think about how it interacts with your kitchen. You want it to be in a place that is next to the dishwasher if you have one, with ample foot traffic room, and ideally with a nice view of the things happening whether it be into your living room or yard. A good designer can make suggestions based on the way you and your family live.
So now that you have picked out the sink for your new kitchen, what about the rest of the house? Do you need an interior designer? Contact us at Thomas Designs where we create comfortable, Eco-conscience interiors, remodels & additions that inspire you to live your best life!
We often have our clients tell us the various ways our services are beneficial to them so what better way to convince you too!
1. Scale is wrong/ buying without measuring
Sofa too small for the room? Does the area rug have the wrong dimensions? Did the lamp look great at the store but seem out of place and too bulky in your home? Measuring items or even having digital mockups created for your space can be incredibly useful when designing your home. Having spacial awareness and the ability to pick the right items for your home is something interior designers practice all the time and will help guarantee everything fits perfectly.
2. Choosing Paint First
Insider tip– choosing paint should be one of the last things that you do. Once you have found the core fabrics and textures for your decor, then you choose a paint that marries them all together. Interior designers will put together visual presentations of everything together for you so you can see how it all looks before you purchase.
3. Shopping From One Store
As appealing as it sounds to go to one store and buy the full bedroom set, we don’t recommend it if you're wanting an eclectic space. Sourcing things from different manufacturers brings in a more curated feeling to your space. This is something interior designers are incredible at! It is our passion to know about different collections from different designers and brands to help aid in creating the home of your dreams.
4. Playing It Safe
When decorating without an interior designer, it can be intimidating to purchase a big bold expensive piece without having a full picture of how everything will look. When you avoid going bold, you miss opportunities to be creative and truly show your style and run the risk of looking like every other house on the block. Talk with your interior designer about colors or textures that inspire you and they can start the hunt for your perfect pieces.
5. Making Too Many Bold Choices
With that being said, the choice to only make bold selections can create a chaotic energy within your home that might make it a bit hard to unwind. If you’re wanting a bold home, work with an interior designer to guide you in doing it tastefully.
6. Not Letting Go Of the Past
This one is hard for all of us at Thomas Designs because we are very eco conscious. It can be hard to let go of a perfectly good sofa when it doesn’t align with your design beliefs anymore but there are ways to go about it that can help with that. Reupholstering soft items with new fabrics not only breathes new life into your items but also usually employs a small business which is always something we love doing.
Wooden items can be refinished or painted to match new designs. If it’s an item that just doesn’t go with the house anymore because of shape rather than color, donating to places like women's shelters to help them create new homes after escaping bad situations or giving things for free or reduced prices to college kids starting out can make those big changes a bit easier because it will fill your heart!
We love getting to know you and figuring out what is best for your specific needs. Home should be where you feel most comfortable so we commend everyone out there trying to make that happen for themselves! But if you ever need any help, you know there is an interior designer out there waiting for your call.
Also read benefits of hiring an interior designer here.
With everything happening in the last few years, the request for updated alfresco dining areas has skyrocketed. These spaces are being created to be an extension of the home. Bringing the comfort of indoors to the outdoors. We put together a list of 10 beautiful ways you can add to or refresh your outdoor space.
2. Make It Cozy
Adding heaters to your outdoor area makes it more comfortable for more time during the year. Outdoor dining doesn’t have to stop when fall comes around.
3. Outdoor Entertainment
Adding speakers and or a projector can turn your house into THE hangout spot in any season. Watching a fun movie under a starry sky sounds like perfection.
5. Herb Garden
Limited space? Plant a vertical herb garden to bring some green in the area but also a fun summer project. Add the herbs you grow to your summer barbecues for an upgrade on that too.
6. Fire Features
7. Privacy Screens
Want your backyard to feel a bit more private? Privacy screens are an incredible addition that can help you achieve that. With a ton of incredible options to choose from, turn your outdoor space private AND fabulous.
8. Table Decor
Whether you have a full dining table to set up or a smaller one, dress it up. Put beautiful potted plants, unique statues or art pieces to display in order to add some interest to the area.
9. BBQ Bar
A little rug can go a long way. Use outdoor rugs that are water and stain resistant to protect your porch and gussy up the area.
It is part of our mission to promote and use the most efficient home products as possible. Today we’re going to discuss High Efficiency or HE washers and dryers and the pros and cons to upgrading
Keep in mind, these are general statements about the technology and are not brand specific.
The pros to a HE washer and dryer is that they are better for the environment than typical washer and dryers. They use less water, less energy, and less detergent and the reason is because the drum spins slower than a typical washer. All these things add up to cleaner clothing and less dirty water to process.
There aren't really cons to the argument but there are things that must be noted. Due to the spin being slower, it takes a bit longer to wash and dry. Due to the slower spin, you actually need to purchase a specialized laundry detergent but these pods are better for the environment and use less soap. Beyond that, they typically cost a bit more than a run of the mill washer but the long term investment of helping out the planet while washing clothes we think is worth every penny.
After looking at different sites listed below, our opinion is that they are worth the hype. Personally we use HE washers and dryers and love them!
Uses Less Water
Less energy (by spinning slower)
Less suds = better cleanliness
Same cost per load
Takes longer to dry items
Cannot dry certain things like water proof items
Must use special detergent
Initially more money than traditional washers but better investment in the long term