Tuesday, November 23, 2021

How to Get an Instant Fireplace

The Easiest Update You’ll Ever Do

You can’t beat the soft glow and cheery crackle of a fireplace on a winter night. The warmth and light are more than a physical environment, they are creators of mood and ambiance that you can’t get any other way. 

Recessed electric fireplace.

With winter approaching, if you’re still without a fireplace now’s the time to act. Go for an instant fireplace, aka, electric fireplace. It will be the easiest update you’ll ever do. 

You can achieve the beautiful, festive space of your dreams with the wide selection of electric fireplace types and styles available. Discover what you’ve been missing.

Instant Fireplace Installation

Adding an electric fireplace to any room of your home can be pretty much instantaneous. There are four options when it comes to installing an electric fireplace. 

Inserts, Mantels & Freestanding

This type of electric fireplace doesn't require any installation. You simply plug them in, turn them on, and you’re off to the races. Stand-alone options also include mantel packages, stoves, and consoles that include room for a TV or books.

Wall Mounted

This type of fireplace needs only to be secured to the wall. Use brackets that will support the weight of the unit and secure it directly to the wall studs. Voila! Instant fireplace.

Recessed electric fireplace in living room.


This type of electric fireplace is designed to be inserted into a surround (like a wall or hearth). Once installed they are flush with the wall or surround. The actual installation of the unit isn’t difficult or time consuming. What takes the most time is the building of the surround. 


Recessed fireplaces are part wall mount and part built-in. They are partially inserted into a wall or surround but don’t sit flush with it once they are installed. 

Any way you look at it, installing an electric fireplace is one of the easiest DIY projects you’ll ever do. 

Electric Fireplace Styles

A traditional fireplace’s style comes mostly from the surround, hearth, and mantel. Electric fireplaces offer additional style elements.


Classic styled fireplaces are more square in shape and usually have a log or coal bed. A mantel surround is another way to get the classic look.


Contemporary styling is where electric fireplaces excel. Fewer limitations mean electric fireplaces can offer many more interesting options. Go for a linear rectangle fireplace that spans across the wall. Select a unit that has flame color options. Try a bed of glass, crystals or rocks for a whole new look.

Traditional style electric fireplace.

Rustic & Industrial

Cut from the same cloth, rustic and industrial use raw materials to create a fireplace style to complement the design in your space.


If you need to heat things up a bit right now, an electric fireplace is the quickest way to do it. Though the flames of an electric fireplace don’t produce any heat, these units usually come with a heating option.

Heat a small room (up to 400 square feet) or a larger space (up to 1000 square feet) with an electric fireplace. Most of the time you’ll use your electric fireplace as a heating supplement rather than the primary source. If you find you keep blankets around or have space heaters here and there, you’re a prime candidate for an electric fireplace. 

Add the one element your home is missing. An electric fireplace gives you a way to up the ambiance, the heat, and the style quick. Start your instant fireplace project today. 

Explore Fireplaces

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Guests Coming? You’ll Need This Medicine Cabinet Supply List

Medicine cabinet in white bathroom.

Guests snooping through the contents of the medicine cabinet is the simultaneous joke and fear of every host. 

Beat your guests to the punch and turn the medicine cabinet into a guest’s dream come true. You’ll deprive them of some intrigue, but your guests will be amazed to find everything they could need right at their fingertips. 

Transform your medicine cabinet before your guests arrive with this medicine cabinet supply list.

Medicine Cabinet Supplies

First things first. Take all the stuff out of your medicine cabinet and give it a good cleaning. Don’t put your items back in. That’s exactly what you’re trying to avoid. Instead, opt to supply your cabinet with everything your guests could possibly need during their stay. 

Make your guests feel more at home by communicating to them that they are welcome to peruse and use the medicine cabinet and everything in it. 


Your guests probably only brought their prescription medications with them. But it’s likely that they’ll need additional meds during their stay. Rich, late-night dinners often result in a little indigestion. When family drama erupts, it’s likely somebody will have a headache. 

Stock up with these meds for your guests.

Allergy, antihistamine
Antibacterial ointment
Pain reliever

Some medicines your guests may hesitate to ask for, so think ahead and make sure you have some remedies to common maladies where they can get to them without bothering you.  

Anti-itch cream, hydrocortisone
Eye drops
Burn gel
Cough medicine

First Aid Supplies

From a band-aid to a cotton swab there are a few things guests often need but don’t often pack. These supplies are great to put in the medicine cabinet in small quantities.

Fingernail clippers
Cotton balls (a handful in a small jar)
Cotton swabs (a handful in a small jar)
Rubbing alcohol (travel size container or pre packaged wipes)
Hydrogen peroxide (travel size)

Extra Perks

Besides a well-stocked medicine cabinet, there are a few other things that your guests will appreciate. Whether it’s a personal item they forgot to pack like a toothbrush or an extra towel cause they dropped one in the sink, these items make their stay comfortable. 

Toothbrushes (in the box)
Bathroom cups
Extra soap
Facial tissues
Extra toilet paper
Feminine hygiene products
Extra towels

With this medicine cabinet supply list, your bathroom will be all set to receive guests. They’ll quickly and easily find everything they need and you can rest easy knowing they are comfortable. 

With a tidy and well-stocked medicine cabinet, your guests might be reduced to snooping elsewhere. You might want to give the linen closet a once over before they arrive just in case. 

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Deep Cleaning Green Style

 5 Ideas to Help You Be More Eco-Friendly

Cleaning seems like it would be good for the environment. However, there’s a lot of waste when it comes to cleaning. Here we take a deeper dive into how you can achieve green cleaning.

A selection of plastic containers.

1. Decrease Packaging

Many of the cleaning products you see on the shelf contain a lot of water, which increases the volume of the product. That increases the size of the packaging needed to contain the product. In the end, there is a lot of wasted space and resources because of water content. 

Many brands have turned to concentrated detergents and cleaners so they can decrease the size of their packaging or at least ensure you don’t have to buy it as often. You’ll generally use less of these than the products that contain more water. 

Other brands have turned to ultra-concentrates that you have to add water to before you use them. Still others manufacture powders that you can mix with water or simply use as is. 

2. Cleaning Implements

Did you know that 254 million tons of paper towels are discarded every year? That’s 51,000 trees cut down each year just to supply North America. Clearly there’s room for improvement with our cleaning implements too. 

Just like the cleaning products, there are paper towels designed to be used more than once or made so you don’t have to use as much. There are also alternatives like bamboo paper towels, which are a more sustainable choice than traditional paper towels. 

Reusable cloths and brushes that can be washed and reused are some of the best choices for green cleaning. Recycling old t-shirts and toothbrushes is a great way to go. Microfiber cloths do a good job if you need streak-free and scratch-free cleaning. 

Person adding liquid laundry detergent to a washing machine.

3. Make It Natural 

The natural world is full of potential cleaners. You probably have ingredients in your house right now that you can use to mix up a number of different cleaning products of your own. You know exactly what’s in it and can completely avoid chemicals that are harmful to the environment. 

The minerals and chemicals that you have on hand (or can easily get at the grocery store) can either act as powerful cleaners by themselves or in a mixture. Vinegar, for instance, is a mild acid that’s great as a natural disinfectant and degreaser. It also breaks down mineral build up from hard water. 

Baking soda absorbs odors and is a gentle abrasive for tough cleaning. Borax (like baking soda on steroids) is a mild natural bleach and great for removing stains. Citrus oils or peels add a nice, natural smell and cut grease. Hydrogen peroxide is a great disinfectant. 

Castile soap makes an excellent deep cleaner and is 100% natural. Rubbing alcohol mixed with water can be used to inhibit mold growth. Minerals like limestone, feldspar, and soda ash are also used in natural cleaners. These are generally used to change the pH level. Acids and bases are excellent cleaners for tough jobs like cleaning the oven. 

4. Mixing Up Your Own Cleaners

Instagram, Pinterest, and TikTok are filled with tutorials on how to make your own green cleaning products. It’s easy, cheap, and eco-friendly. 

Be aware that even natural ingredients can react chemically to one another and cause dangerous situations. For instance, never mix vinegar and hydrogen peroxide. It creates a gas (very similar to mixing ammonia and bleach) that is toxic. 

You’ll want to mix most of your homemade cleaners with water. Straight vinegar or hydrogen peroxide should be reserved only for very tough cleaning. These ingredients can pose a threat to some surfaces (like vinegar to a stone countertop) so proceed with caution. Borax alone can irritate skin, eyes, and throat so use carefully.

Mix vinegar, water and cornstarch for a perfect streak-free glass cleaner. Add tea tree oil (or any essential oil to any mixture for a bit of pleasant scent. Baking soda and vinegar will foam when mixed and make a great bathroom deep cleaner.

Person using a squeegee to clean glass.

5. Avoid the Bad Stuff

If you’re not quite ready to start mixing up your own natural cleaners, there are plenty of green cleaners available off the shelf. It can be pricey but it will help you be more eco-friendly and save you time and effort. 

The key to purchasing environmentally-friendly products is to avoid the bad stuff. Harmful chemicals and materials are rampant in cleaning products. Simply avoiding them goes a long way.

Look out for these

  • Phosphates
  • Chlorine
  • Artificial fragrances and colors
  • Non biodegradable packaging
  • Non recyclable packaging
  • Non organic ingredients

Another good rule of thumb is to avoid things you cannot pronounce. Those long chemical names are a tip off that you’re probably dealing with a concoction that’s not friendly to the environment.

Change up your cleaning routine and shift to green cleaning products. You’ll not only do yourself a favor, but you’ll take better care of the environment. That’s an investment that’s always worth it. 

Read our comprehensive bathroom cleaning checklist.

12 Tips for a Clean Bathroom

Tuesday, November 2, 2021

Bathroom Upgrades Under $100

11 Cheap Updates to the Bathroom

Wish you could give the bathroom a remodel but don’t have the budget for it? Don’t let money stop you. There are many cheap updates to the bathroom you can make now with under $100. So what are you waiting for? Get started with some of these.

New hardware and assorted accessories in a large bathroom.

Dress Up What You’ve Already Got

One of the reasons fashion experts say everyone should have a little black dress is because it’s so versatile. Paired with some smart sneakers, it can do some daytime boutique shopping and lunch with the girls. Put it with some bedazzled stilettos and a statement necklace and you’re ready for a night out.

Same goes for your bathroom. Look around at what you’ve already got that could be dressed up for a whole new look:

  • Put a frame around the mirror
  • Swap out shampoo and lotion containers for glass bottles with pumps
  • Paint, wainscot, or wallpaper a feature wall
  • Spray paint your hardware for a new look
  • Get a new shower curtain or towels
  • Update the rugs

Swap the Faucet 

If you’ve been putting up with a leaky faucet, it’s time to change it out. Even simple faucets come in many styles so you can find something that you’ll love even if the budget is small. The simpler the better because you have a greater chance of being able to install it yourself if it’s not too complicated.

For maximum impact, choose a totally different metal color than you had before. It’s the easiest way to make things different without having to spend too much. 


Oval mirrors and wall spout faucets in a white bathroom.

Add Some Life

Live plants are becoming increasingly popular in the bathroom. When you think about it, it’s pretty smart. Depending on how much natural light you have, the bathroom is a veritable greenhouse. In fact the bathroom may be the perfect place for plants that don’t do well in other areas of the house.

  • Orchids (zero work if you take a warm shower daily)
  • Begonias (which love it warm and humid)
  • Philodendron (lover of high-humidity)
  • Bromeliad (pretty low maintenance)

Another benefit of plants in the bathroom is their air purifying capabilities. If you have a musty bathroom, pets, or consistent odors, plants can be a game changer. You’ll wonder if you’re even in the same bathroom.

Update Bathroom Sink 

You’ll be shocked and amazed at the selection of sinks available for under $100 (single sinks). Simple white under counter, self-rimmed, and vessel sinks are quick (and cheap) bathroom updates. 

You might even find something unique like colored glass, or an unusual shape that can give the bathroom a custom designed feel.


Organically shaped mirror over a bathroom backsplash.

Shop Thrift

If you could find a name brand bathroom item you’ve had your eye on  for pennies on the dollar, you’d take it, wouldn’t you? That’s the beauty of thrift shopping. Put your best thrift shopping technique to work to help you update the bathroom for cheap.

Thrift shopping can be time consuming and sometimes you just have to wait for the right items to come along. But if you’re flexible, patient, and know what you’re looking for, thrift shopping can offer you some pretty solid wins. 

Consider sources that give home items a second chance, like ReStore, consignment shops, antique stores, and classified listings.

Install a New Shower Head or Tub Spout

Get the most for your dollars and go for something that not only looks new and fresh but provides an improved experience. 

For under $100 you can install a rain shower head or a new tub faucet spout. What better way to make the bathroom feel new than give yourself a little spa treatment?

Shower Head

Bathroom vanity painted blue in a large bathroom.

Change Up Storage

You don’t have to make any cosmetic changes to your bathroom to change the way you feel in the space. Sometimes all it takes is some organization. If you have too much stuff out, it can easily make the bathroom a stressful place to be. 

Add some storage solutions in the form of drawer organizers, shower caddies, wall-mounted shelves, and free-standing linen closets. If all else fails, evaluate what’s really important to have handy and what you can do without. Move what you don’t need to storage.

Wall-Mounted Shelves

Clean It Up

A deep clean may be all you need to make your bathroom feel new again. You may discover that you don’t hate your sink faucets as much as you think you did. 

A little sparkle gives you a sense of accomplishment and brings new pride. Cleaning is also a good way to assess exactly what your bathroom needs for a reboot. There’s nothing like scrubbing grout to make you realize whether or not it needs to be replaced. 

Freestanding bathtub in a large bathroom with a plant in the corner.

Fix Functionality

Giving some attention to the functionality of your bathroom gives the space an update you can appreciate everyday. 

For instance, if your bathroom is devoid of an exhaust fan, you can install one for cheap. They help out with odors and humidity. If you have a few extra bucks, you can get one with a heating option too.

You probably won’t notice a new shower drain cover for its cosmetic appeal. But you will notice it if your drain is broken or not draining properly. Set aside a bit of the budget for a plumber if you have a drainage problem.

Shower Drain Cover

Boost Convenience

The items in the bathroom that make it more convenient to use, like toilet paper holders, towel bars, robe hooks, etc., are easy and cheap to update and have as much of an impact as replacing fixtures. 

You can add some pretty fancy convenience items and still keep costs under $100. These accessories come in many styles and can help you set the tone of the design. Gold finish makes a statement. Angular shapes add to a modern vibe. 

Towel Bar

Backlit mirror in a modern style bathroom.

Update Cabinets

Replacing cabinets is a huge undertaking. Give them a refresh instead. Painting cabinets gives you endless options for color or stick to clean white. 

Even easier, simply replace the cabinet knobs and pulls. This has the power to make things feel very different without having to modify your cabinets. You can do it yourself in an hour or less. It’s one of the easiest cheap updates to the bathroom there is!

Cheap updates to the bathroom can make it feel like a whole new space for under $100. Give your bathroom a refresh with a few of these ideas. 

For more ideas on cheap bathroom remodeling check out our blog. 

9 Cheap Bathroom Remodel Tips