Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Making it Easy to Select the Right Home Office Desk for Your Needs

The right home office desk can make the difference between a busy, productive day and a disorganized, harried one. If you are considering replacing your old desk, or buy a new one, consider these important points in choosing the right work desk for your needs.
Will the desk that you are considering buying suit your working style and meet your job needs? Will its size fit well in the constraints and parameters of your work space? Can the desk’s surface withstand the daily-use demands of your job and work environment? These are just a few of the things you need to consider when choosing a work desk. This is because the right desk can aid in accomplishing your tasks in a comfortable and productive and ergonomic manner.
Determine the Use
  • Mostly computer work: Choose a desk or workstation specifically made for computer use. If you are using a PC, be sure that the desk offers space or a compartment to hold the CPU underneath. Look for built-in wiring holes or channels for electrical connects to ensure safety.
  • Paperwork-generating: Choose a workstation that will have the roomiest surface possible to accommodate bulky books, spreadsheets or piles of papers. You might also want to consider a desk with overhead cabinet space or shelving.
  • Combination of paper work, paperwork and meetings: Consider an L-shaped desk setup to allow for both work and meeting space. If space or finances allow, a U-shaped model will give even more space and make for an impressive presentation for guests or clients.
  • For a home work desk: Get a computer armoire if you want to hide work clutter in your home. L-shaped desks are usually a good solution and fit when your work desk requires to share space in another room like a family room or bedroom.
  • Tight on space: Consider getting a compact computer desk, like the Aurora Computer Desk with Powdercoated Black Accents by Office Star, or mobile computer cart.

Consider Ergonomics and Space
  • Your desk should give clearance for your legs. Standard desk heights of 29 to 30 inches from the floor are sufficient for most users.
  • When you stand behind the desk, there should be at least 3 ½ feet of space. A minimum of 3 feet of space should also be available in between the desk and another piece of office furniture, and in front of the desk if you use a guest chair.
  • For computer-users, keyboards should be placed at a comfortable height. Keyboards placed on traditional desks might be too high and result in significant discomfort or muscle strain on the user. Computer desk should either have a keyboard platform or adjustable legs. Make sure that any keyboard platform is large enough to hold a mouse.
  • Desktop equipment and materials should be within easy and comfortable reach, and should have enough space to not overload the desktop.
  • If the desk has a sharp edge, consider putting a wrist pad along the edge to prevent unnecessary pressure and pinching on the inner surface of your wrists.
Choose the Best Desk Surface
  • Laminate (most popular choice). A plastic finish applied to a wood core, laminate is durable, affordable and withstands more than pure wood or veneer. It also comes in a wide range of colors and wood grain patterns. For quality laminate that can withstand daily use and abuse, look for a desk made with thick, high pressure laminate.
  • Metal or steel (most durable choice). It might not have the most professional appearance, but metal or steel desks are reasonably priced and are great for desks subject to long term heavy use and high traffic areas. Better quality desks of this type can be assessed by feeling and checking the desk’s overall weight.
  • Wood or veneer (most elegant choice). Veneer is a thin surface layer of wood glued to a more inferior base. Generally, wood and veneer desks look more attractive than other types of desks, but they are usually more expensive and considerably more delicate; they nick easily so they are not suited for heavy or rough use.
Look into Quality and Durability
  • The quality of a desk is mostly evident in the construction of its drawers. Metal suspension rollers often show a sturdy suspension. Drawers should open and close easily while bearing weight. You would want the drawers to slide out their full length for easy and full use of space.
  • High quality wood drawer are assembled with an interlocking construction; this is stronger than drawers put together with just glue or staples. With a metal or steel desk, look at the drawers when they are closed. If you see a gap where the drawer meets the desk, the desk is not set right.
  • Examine the edges and corners of a desk. You would not want to see any fraying. Also, it would be best that you opt for one that has rounded corners as an added safety measure, especially if you have children at home.
  • The desk warranty itself will give you an idea of the quality and durability of a particular desk. Warranties often range anywhere from one-year limited to lifetime warranty.
Give Your Back a Break
As you might already know, sitting for hours at a time can be harmful to your back, especially among those already with existing back problems. Consider giving your back a break with a stand-up desk where you literally stand up while working. Many users claim this work method makes them more alert and productive on the job. The Veneer Laptop Table - Cherry by Office Star is one example. Desk tools are also available to be used along with these desks.

Today’s office desk has come far from the simple table with drawers years back. Take advantage of the huge range of choices out there; many of which have reasonable price tags and widely available at office supply stores. Take note of the considerations above when choosing your work desk for an ergonomic, comfortable and productive workspace.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

What You Should Know About Buying Dining Room Chairs

You know you need to buy Dining Room Chairs that are  both comfortable and stylish. They should be comfortable because this is where people gather around to eat, work and conversely. And they should be stylish because you want them  to look good and reflect your style. Now consider that you will choose from a dizzying range of styles, materials, colors and brands.
But when it actually comes to choosing and then buying a dining room chair, it comes down to only a few factors. Once you have determined these, it is relatively easy to pick out the one that is best for you.
Determine the Size
The size often gets neglected because it is the least glamorous part of the furniture buying process. However, this cannot be stressed enough: before you go out looking for dining chairs, determine the size you will need. For this, you have to consider the size of the room, and the clearance  around your table.
You also have to figure out where you will put any extra chairs, if your table is not fully extended all the time. Measure your room and table to see the size and number of chairs you can accommodate in your dining room and around your dining table. Remember to calculate the space between chairs as well as the actual space a dining chair will occupy before you pick a size.
Selecting a Material
Contemporary dining chair designs use not only traditional softwoods and hardwoods, but a wide range of other materials. Various types of plastic, acrylic glass, fabrics, metals and more are used on a regular basis as frame and accenting materials.
  • Wood (locally available hardwoods like oak and birch; softwoods like spruce and pine; exotic hardwoods like teak and ebony)
  • Metal (wrought iron; brushed steel; aluminum; brass and copper accents; ornamentation can be added with gold or silver leaf)
  • Plastics (recyclable polypropylene; technopolymer; polycarbonate; nylon polymer; polymer)
  • Upholstery fabric (canvas; heavy cotton twill; velvet, silk; manmade fiber blends woven into specialized upholstery fabrics.
Other materials used to manufacture modern chairs include wicker, glass, rubber, reclaimed wood, recycled paper, recycled metal and a limitless number of other innovative and resourceful elements.
Choosing a Style
While many contemporary designs are completely new and original, some shapes or production processes are based on other, older chair types. Take a look at the various chair styles and will reveal the particular properties unique to each one.
  • Windsor. Its backrest spindles are planted into thick seat with thin, turned legs. Variations include sack back, bow back, comb back, continuous arm, low back, hoop back and fan back. It often contains two or three species of wood.
  • Queen Anne. This is based on 10th century dining chair style. This horseshoe shaped seat has cabriole style front legs. The center of back support is shaped like a Grecian urn. This delicate, small scale chair usually has inlaid marquetry decoration.
  • Empire or Regency. Otherwise known as Duncan Phyfe chair, it features saber style legs, scroll back, squared top, upholstered seat, sloping arms and harp or lute design in open back. It usually has simple, elegant scrolling.
  • Shaker. Also called ladder back chair, its slat backs give the impression of a ladder. It comes in three-back, four-back and five-back variations, and has a wider backrest at top than at the bottom. It has woven or solid seat with legs splaying outward.
  • Chippendale. Named after Thomas Chippendale, a mid-18th century English furniture maker, this is also known as rococo style. It has a Chinese influence and usually has ball and claw feet with acanthus leaves in featured in its designs.
  • Contemporary. Made from various framing materials, it has three-legged designs, and may use a pedestal design instead of legs like the Tulip Dining Chair by Mobili Modern. It features innovative design that is variable, unpredictable and artistic.

Make sure that the chair you pick is comfortable for you. Because everyone has different comfort priorities, actually sit on the chair and see how it feels. If the seat is upholstered, there should be enough padding so you do not feel the frame through it.
Arms or Armless?
It is completely up to you to determine if your dining chairs have arms or not. It has been customary to have armchairs at the head of the table like the Marco Dining Armchair by Whiteline Modern Living, and armless chairs on the sides. But depending on your space and decorating style, you can choose to have armchairs all around.

Depending on your space and style, you may also want to go armless all around. Armless dining chairs take up less space than armchairs, visually as well as in the actual space you have. Also, armchairs can be more comfortable than armless ones. For older people, or those with knee problems. Arms on a chair help in getting in and out of the seat. Choose according to who usually dines at your dining table.
Judge for Quality
Before you buy your dining chair, make sure that you judge for quality. Of course, you would want to spend money for a chair that will actually last for as long as you like it.
  • Check if it is structurally sound by moving it around and jiggling it gently. The legs, arms or back should not move or sway.
  • Check to see if it is comfortable. A wood seat should be all in one piece, not made of pieces glued together.
  • Run your hand over the surface. It should feel smooth to the touch, and not have any splintering or snags.
  • If you are buying an antique or vintage chair, check to see if it is strong enough to be used. See if it can be tilted on the back legs, or if it can support the weight of an adult.

Dining chairs are one of the most important features of an established home. Aside from adding presence and character to your dining room; they also give you a comfortable seating area for meals.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Fast Growing Beautiful Plants for Your Wooden Garden Trellises

Trellises have so many uses in your landscape. Trellises are mostly less expensive than fences and, once they are filled with plants, they perform many of the same functions. When positioned on both sides of an entryway door, on the side of a building or house, or a sturdy post in the garden creates supports for your climbing plants, decorating a specific area. Trellises positioned in front of garbage cans, storage area, utility area, or in the corner of the garden do double duty as screens and decorations. Here are some examples of this:
  • Western Red Cedar Pagoda Arbor by All Things Cedar. Dedicated craftsmen start with the finest interior grown Western Red Cedar available to hand produce this trellis that can be enjoyed for many years. Western Red Cedar fibers contain oils that act as natural preservatives to help the wood resist rot and decay.

  • Wooden Trellis Box by Jordan Manufacturing Company. The Wooden Trellis Box by Jordan Manufacturing Company is a decorative Trellis Box that can be used to display plants and store items in the box. This Trellis box is made of Eucalyptus with an oil base finish. This trellis box comes with wheels for easy mobility.

  • Cedar Arched Arbor by Creekvine Designs. With its latticed sides and beautifully planked dome of solid red cedar, it makes such a sturdy vehicle, that soon it will be overcrowded with gorgeous blossoms striving toward new horizons. This decay-resistant arbor will also withstand the harsh winters, so it will stand strong for a long time.
  • Cedar 2pc. Planter with Trellis by All Things Cedar. The All Things Cedar 2 pc Planter with Trellis is perfect for your backyard or patio. You can just add dirt and you have the perfect setup to grow vines tomato plants or what have you. This is perfect for outdoor areas that could use some color and shade buy has limited space.
You can also use trellises as private areas, screening out unsightly views and reduce noise. The more vines and plants it has, the better is its ability to block out views and noise There are so many vines that grow well on these wood patio accessories. Check out some of them below. Use them as your guide if you are considering getting one, or just changing up the plants of your current one.

Known as a vigorous vine, Jasmine has pale pink or white flowers that bloom from spring to fall. Its fragrant flowers attract butterflies and hummingbirds. The vines grow up to a height of 30 feet high and 15 feet wide, and requires frequent pruning to keep its size contained. Jasmine require sun or partial shade, and average soil. It grows as a perennial in USDA Hardiness Zones seven to 10, but will not survive during winter in colder areas.
Cypress Vine
Cypress vine has bright red flowers that bloom from summer to fall. This annual vine can grow up to 20 feet high and features fern-like foliage and a twining habit. The showy flowers attract butterflies and hummingbirds. This vine grows in all areas, except where it is cold. The plants require full sun and average soil for it to survive.
Blue Passion Flower
A perennial with unusual purple and white flowers, the fragrant blue passionflower blooms from mid-summer to fall, attractive butterflies. Attractive, edible fruits called maypops might appear during mid-summer. The vines grow to up to 8 feet high and spread up to 6 feet. Blue passionflower grows in USDA Hardiness Zones 5 to 9, but it will not survive a very cold winter in some parts of Zone 5. The plants require full sun or partial shade, along with an average soil.
People grow the perennial vine actinidia mainly for its kiwi fruit and colorful foliage. The male of this plant possess the best foliage color, while the female plant require a male nearby for it to produce fruit. The foliage hides its tiny, insignificant flowers. The vines can grow up to 20 feet tall in USDA Hardiness Zones 4 to 8, and require full sun or part shade, along with an average well-drained oil.
Blue Trumpet Vine

Otherwise known as clock vine, sky vine and sky flower, blue trumpet vine has lavender blue flowers that bloom during the late summer and early fall. These vines grow up to 30 feet tall in frost-free areas and up to 8 feet when grown as annuals in colder areas. Blue trumpet vines require a rich, organic soil and partial shade or full sun. The vines grow in USDA Hardiness Zones 10 and 11, but are grown as annuals in colder regions.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Maintaining and Refurbishing Your Wicker Patio Furniture

Wicker patio furniture does not require much cleaning and maintenance and  it is a user-friendly choice for patios, porches and other outdoor spaces. Because wicker is not a material, but a weaving technique, the kind meant for outdoor use is manufactured to be quite hardy. They can usually be left outdoors for long periods of time without deterioration, unless in a place with a very extreme climates.  
Caring for Your Wicker Furniture
In order for you to enjoy your wicker furniture for a longer period of time, you need to properly care for it. Wicker material might not require as much cleaning as other outdoor furniture materials, but this does not mean that you will not take steps to make sure that it looks its best all the time.
  • Brush it every now and then to keep it dust-free. Keeping it clean extends its life as other organic material can collect in the crevices of the weave and cause mildew, leading to mold and decay.
  • When the weather is too cold, it can become stiff, or a bit more elastic when it is very hot. Also, too much moisture can make it sag and cause mildew.
  • A simple solution for extending the lifespan of your wicker furniture is to cover it up or move it to a more protected spot when the temperature is too hot or cold.
  • It is a good idea to inspect the weave from time to time, and if there is any shifting, just move the weave back into place with your fingers.
  • Wicker furniture is usually painted, and the finish can be damaged over time. Touch-up spray paint can be used to fix it. It can also benefit from repainting every now and then.
Refurbishing Your Wicker Furniture
You may need to prolong the life of your wicker furniture, but the time will come when it will look old, shabby and run down. Fortunately, there are things you can do to make repairs. When this happens, it is now time to restore it by using the following tips.
  1. Gather all the tools needed: rubber gloves, scrub brush, toothbrush, detergent, wood glue, primer, paint and sealer.
  2. Take your furniture out to the lawn and rinse and wash thoroughly  with a hose. You might want to turn on each side to wash off a much dirt and old paint as possible.
  3. Rub the surface of every furniture piece with the scrub brush to remove any remaining paint and stains. Use a toothbrush for those hard to reach areas.
  4. If there are traces of mildew, clean with a solution of detergent and water. After this, rinse the pieces with water and wait for them to completely dry.
  5. If there are broken reeds, stick them back together by using the wood glue and allow the glue to dry up. Follow the instructions on the glue you are using.
  6. Now you can repaint your furniture. It is advisable that you use oil paint, not latex, as it is more resistant to the natural elements. Leave the furniture to completely dry.
Buying New Wicker Furniture
If you think that refurbishing your furniture will not work, or you believe that it is time for you to update your outdoor furniture with new wicker furniture.  Here are some great choices for consideraton
Anchor All Weather Wicker Round Dining Set by Alfresco Home
The All Weather Wicker collections are made from high density polyethylene; they are hand woven onto high grade T-5 powder coated tubular frames. These frames are also treated with color, temperature and UV stabilizers. This makes all of these  collections suitable for four season climates.

Enjoy your patio with elegance all year round with the wonderful Atlantic outdoor collection. It has great quality, stylish designs made of aluminum and synthetic wicker. It works great against the effects of air pollution salt air, and mildew growth.
Kingston 24" Barstool Counter Height by Meadow Decor

With this Meadow Décor Kingston counter height stool, you can create a cozy, fashionable setting in your private outdoor living space. These durable cast aluminum stools with American powder coating were designed for comfort and built to last for years.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Important Considerations When Buying Outdoor Wood Furniture

During summer, our patios become an extra room in our homes.. Outdoor wood furniture can be used to give any outside space a natural look, making it fit into the outdoor  environment. The best quality patio wood furniture is made from center-cut heartwood lumber with a consistent grain. Fastenings should be zinc plated, or crafted from corrosion resistant stainless steel. Go with furniture that has screws instead of bolts so that you can tighten the screws when they come loose. Here are some examples to get you started:
This set includes an oval extension table with 4 teak dining chairs, made from genuine Teak and finished with a light teak oil. It also has a 2 inch umbrella hole with solid brass fittings and conveniently designed lower pole catch eliminating the need for an umbrella base or pole weight.

The Luxe Modular Seating Collection exhibits classic elegance with intricate detailing that provides modern comfort. The modular style provides flexibility to accommodate any décor. Built with extra thick Grade A Teak and Sunbrella cushions to last for generations.

Patio wood furniture is available in numerous types. To choose the best furniture that’s perfect for your patio and pocket, you need to know the main characteristics of these different wood types. Also, you need to look into factors like weather and sun exposure, durability, space available, storage areas, and comfort level. You might want to think about care and maintenance, along with the furniture’s cost and how it aligns with your budget.
Weather Conditions
There are wood and furniture designs that can withstand weather extremes better compared to others. Untreated wood might crack and splinter in hot, dry weather, while constant exposure to moisture can make others buckle and swell. The best way to prevent this is to seal or paint the wood, put the furniture under cover, or condition the wood with oil twice a year.
Different wood types have different levels of durability. Hardwoods like jarrah, shorea and teak can last up to 50 years while roble and redwood can last up to 25. A longer lifespan usually  equals are bigger price tag, you should only buy more expensive and longer lasting furniture if you are sure that it will never go out of fashion. Nuts, bolts and screws should also be made from a non-corrosive material like stainless steel so they last longer.
Space Constraints
The outdoor furniture that you choose should fit into the space available in your outdoors. However, this is not the only space that you should consider when buying outdoor furniture. Many types of wooden patio furniture should be stored indoors come winter time to lengthen the lifespan. You should take into consideration the amount of storage space when shopping.
Comfort Features
Even when it is beautiful and stylish, patio furniture will be of little use if it is uncomfortable. If the chairs do not come with cushions, you can purchase or make them. When making or buying cushions, make sure that they are able to somehow withstand the stresses of the outdoors. And during winter or when they are not in use, take care to pack them away.
Care and Maintenance
There are some types of wood that require more care than others, something that you need to carefully take into consderation. Generally, treated wood requires less care compared to untreated wood. You should be realistic about the amount of time you have available – along with your level of motivation – for cleaning and taking care of your wooden outdoor furniture.
Cost and Budget
Of course, the cost of the furniture and your budget will ultimately shape your purchasing decision. Doing research regarding the value of outdoor furniture and the different types of wood will give you a better idea of when a bargain really is a bargain. Remember that you get what you pay for, although this is not really the case all the time.
These days, you can easily own beautiful wood furniture without damaging the environment, thanks to FSC certification. The FSC or Forest Stewardship Council promotes responsible management of the forests of the world by setting standards, certifying and labeling products. Certification is only given once all steps in the manufacturing of wood products comply with the social and environmental standards and requirements of the FSC.
Wooden patio furniture is a great, natural-looking outdoor furniture option. Patio furniture is crafted from a wide range of wood types, including timber from both softwood and hardwood tree species. You should pick wood with the characteristic that are most desirable and one that best suits your needs.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Important Safety Tips For Installing Outdoor Patio Swings

Summertime is a great time for playing outdoors, and what backyard would not be complete without a tree swing? Outdoor patio swings can give years of fun, but it is important that you install them in a way that ensures both your safety as well as the health of the tree. Below are some tips for the safe installation of a tree swing.
Choosing a Tree and Branch
If you are hanging a tree swing, make sure that you consider the following:
  • Tree type: The branches of a sturdy hardwood tree, preferably oak, are best for a tree swing. Avoid evergreens, fruit trees or trees that easily split.
  • Branch Size: A tree swing requires a horizontal branch with at least 8 inches diameter that is no more than 20 feet off the ground.
  • Branch Condition: The branch for a tree swing should be healthy. Inspect the branch from trunk to tip and avoid branches with signs of splitting, disease or infestation. Never use a dead branch.
  • Clearance: The branch should be big enough so the swing hangs at least 3 feet away from the trunk without the branch bouncing.
Attaching a Swing to a Tree
In general, there are two main approaches in installing a swing to a tree:
  • Eye bolts: Carefully drill a vertical hole all through the center of the branch and insert at least a ½-inch diameter, corrosion resistant eye bold, using nuts and washers to secure it to the tree. Eventually, the tree will grow around the bolts for a permanent installation. This eliminates the friction on the bark, although it causes damage to the tree.
  • Rope: A tree swing can be attached to the branch using rope if you take steps to prevent the rope from cutting into the tree bark. If you opt to tie the rope round the tree branch, using a running bowline that will loosen when the swing is not used, so the tree can grow larger without being girdled by the rope.
Choosing the Tree Swing Rope
Use at least a ½-inch thick rope for your swing, in any of these materials:
  • Polyester rope: Braided polyester rope is perhaps the best choice among synthetic ropes for a tree swing. It holds up well to the elements, gives maximum strength and has little stretch.
  • Nylon rope: This might be the strongest rope, but nylon is susceptible to stretching and can be slippery for little hands to grasp.
  • Polypropylene rope: Lightweight and inexpensive, polypropylene rope makes for a poor choice as it rapidly deteriorates in the sun’s harmful UV rays.
  • Natural fiber rope: These are ropes made from natural plant materials like help, manila, sisal and cotton. They are not as strong as synthetic, so replace it every year or two.
  • Metal chain: It is not as attractive as rope and can pinch small fingers, but corrosion resistant chain is strong and holds up well to the elements.
Essential Swing Safety Tips
Follow these tips to maximize the enjoyment and safety of your tree swing:
  • Inspect the tree branch, along with the ropes and the swing itself, on a regular basis. Look for fraying, splitting or other damage, and repair it immediately. A properly installed swing should not cause grooves or damage to the tree.
  • Plan on replacing the ropes once every couple of years.
  • Move the swing to new eye bolts if the tee grows over the ends.
  • Ensure that the carabineers, rope and hardware are rated for the maximum weight.
  • Make sure the knots are securely tied to prevent unraveling.
Top Tree Swing Style Choices
Here are some stylish and comfortable tree swings from renowned brand Vivere:
Take time to relax with the help of the Parachute Nylon Hammock in Navy/Red Fabric by Vivere Hammocks. Inspired by a memorable vacation, this hammock promote relaxation and healthy lifestyles – in your backyard, camping, or anywhere outdoors.
The Brazilian Style Hammock - Double Deluxe in Natural Fabric by Vivere Hammocks is a hidden gem. This hammock is complimented by an elegant hand crocheted fringe that would make anyone feel like royalty. An excellent addition to any backyard or cottage.

Cotton Rope Hammock - Double in Natural Rope by Vivere Hammocks
The Cotton Rope Hammock - Double in Natural Rope by Vivere Hammocks is made from 100% Cotton and tightly woven for increased body contact. It is made with 3-ply twisted Cotton rope that enhances strength and durability, but at the same time it continues to breathe for dry relaxing.