How to Create a Zen Meditation Room

A little extra zen is something everyone could use. Having a meditation room in your home gives you the luxury and convenience of slipping away to find peace in your everyday life. A dedicated meditation space will signal to your brain that it’s time to relax and focus on your breath. If you’re looking to create a meditation room in your home, read on for tips to create the ultimate space to unwind.

Soundproof the Room
Soundproofing the room will help you tune out outside distractions, so you can focus on breathing, staying zen and clearing your mind. There are several ways to reduce outside noise levels, such as insulating the walls using acoustic foam or panels, and insulating the floors. You can also apply a sealant around the window and door frames and hang soundproofing curtains.

Selecting a Wall Color
The color palette will set the mood for the meditation room. Everyone is drawn to different colors, ranging from crisp and white, dark and moody, or muted and calming. The color palette is a personal choice, so select the color that makes you feel most at peace.

Deciding on Flooring
When you’re meditating, you will likely be sitting on the floor. Wood or bamboo flooring are natural choices, which may add to the overall tranquility of the space. Luxury vinyl plank flooring is an option that has a wood look, but may offer additional softness. However, tile flooring will be too hard and cold. Installing heated floors will also keep you warm during the colder months. Natural fiber carpeting is another flooring alternative. It will provide wall-to-wall softness and soundproofing qualities, as well.

Choose the Seating
Meditation is typically done while seated on the floor; however, if your own meditation space, you can incorporate a variety of seating options to best accommodate your meditation preferences. For example, meditation cushions will help support you during your meditation routine on the floor. Additional cushions, a window seat, a bed and swings are other seating options for you to achieve maximum relaxation.

Add a Water Feature
Water is naturally relaxing, so adding a wall-mounted water feature will bring immediate zen to the space. In addition, the sound of the trickling water will bring a sense of nature and tranquility to the space.

Layer the Lighting
Lighting sets the mood for any space. In a meditation room, you’ll want the lights dimmed with a soft glow. A meditation room is a space where you can skip the recessed lights and add several dimmable lamps, as well as flicker candles.

Set the Scent
Aromatherapy can help you relax and achieve mindfulness. Diffusing the oil for the mood you wish you achieve will help you maximize your meditation session. Whether it’s a citrus oil to re-energize or lavender to relax, aromatherapy will appeal to your sense of smell and overall meditation experience.

Include Greenery
Plants can help purify, add oxygen and bring life to a space. Placing plants throughout the room will help remove toxins and add a breath of fresh air to the space.


5 Fun Ways to Stay Fit, Happy and Healthy

When we think of getting fit, the first thing that often comes to mind is cardio and heavy weight training. While these can be great ways to stay active, they aren’t always the best option. 

There are infinite ways to move your body to build strength and endurance. If the weight room just isn’t for you, try one of these fun alternatives to work towards improving your overall health and happiness. 

This practice provides an abundance of benefits for the entirety of your wellbeing. Yoga is a great way to improve strength, flexibility and mindfulness. If an in-person class seems a little intimidating, there are plenty of online resources that allow you to practice yoga from the comfort of your own home. 

An alternative to running, swimming is a fantastic way to improve your cardiovascular health without damaging your joints. This low-impact option is perfect for those who are recovering from injury. 

Rock Climbing 
This low-impact activity is a fun way to improve coordination, endurance and upper body strength. Find a climbing buddy and check out your nearest gym. 

Trade the weights for gloves. This activity is a fantastic way to improve strength, coordination and agility. This full body workout is the perfect way to reduce stress and boost your confidence. 

What better way to burn those calories than grooving to your favorite tunes? Dancing helps to improve coordination, endurance and cardiovascular health. Dance also offers an abundance of variety. Try different styles, class structures and music selection to find the best fit for you! The best part? You can do it from the comfort of your own home! Look up guided classes and videos online for an easy way to get moving throughout the day. 


6 Nostalgic Home Designs That Are Making a Comeback

Just like fashion, home designs come and go over the years. There are many styles that simply never need to be done again, but there are also some that come back into the home, even when you least expect them. This year, especially with more nostalgic-generations buying and designing homes, many home design trends are drawing inspiration from the past decades. Here are six home design trends that are making a comeback in today’s modern homes. 

Floral Wallpaper 
Wallpaper, in general, has made a massive resurgence when it comes to modern home design. From accent walls and ceilings, to covering every single wall in a room, this nostalgic trend has taken on a modern twist. Floral wallpaper, specifically, is impacting home designs across the country. However, you won’t find the same patterns that your grandmother had in her kitchen, but rather more modern patterns featuring bolder color palettes, unique designs and, of course, a wider range to choose from. Today’s wallpaper options have also grown in utilization, as you can now find both permanent and removable options, which are great for renters or those who like to constantly change up their home decor.

Wood Paneling
A popular and budget-friendly option throughout the 60s, wood paneling definitely had its place in home design. Over the years, it became dated and boring, and more and more people opted to remove it for a plain wall with no character. However, today’s homeowners are revisiting this texture-rich option and bringing new life and character back into their home design. Whether painting over existing wood panels with fresh, trendy colors, or installing them in unique ways, such as a shiplap style, diagonal or even chevron, this seemingly out-of-date wall treatment is here to stay.

Macramé Decor
Fast-forward another decade where you may have seen plenty of macramé decor all around the house. The 70s was a time where home design featured a lot of unique colors and textures, and macramé was a staple in almost every home. Nowadays, this woven decor is being revived, making its way into living rooms, bedrooms and bathrooms all over the world. From plant holders and pillows to wall hanging and window treatments, macramé adds a bohemian flair to any space, full of texture and the feel of nature inside the home. Many people have even started making their own pieces of artwork, tying knots into cording to feature unique, handmade creations throughout their space.

Brass Elements
For many years, decades and centuries, brass has almost always had an impact in home design. Depending on your style, or the outdated style of a room, brass has been known to make a home feel drab and old. However, this exquisite metal has made a big comeback, especially in kitchens where chrome and nickel have been the statement metals for the last 10-15 years. From light fixtures to faucets to hardware, you can mix brass into a room with ease. When mixed with warm wood and simple, classic palettes, such as a black and white kitchen or a gray bathroom, brass finishes can make a dominating impact that brings a whole new level of character into a space. 

Rattan Furniture
Another staple throughout the 60s and 70s was rattan, a lightweight, woven material that brings the outdoors inside. Because of its texture and muted palette, this furniture became quickly outdated as more modern pieces made their way into home design. However, with a resurgence of people wanting to mix their indoor and outdoor spaces, plus adding more plants to the home, rattan furniture has made a major comeback for a more casual and nature-inspired design. From baskets to hold your plants to seating options for the head of the dining room table, these pieces offer a modern twist on eclectic tastes.

Art Deco Motifs
100 years have gone by since the roaring 1920s, but that doesn’t mean that people aren’t still dazzled by the glitz and glam of this era. From unique shapes, like arches and curves to metallic finishes and bold lines, this luxurious design trend has made its way back into the home. From entryways to dining rooms, even bathrooms, this vintage trend introduces a sense of luxury into any space. Though traditionally the color palette for art deco design sticks close to black, white, gold and silver, today’s homeowners are adding in their own style, choosing to highlight these motifs with bold jewel tones for an added flair that showcases their modern personalities. 


Birthday Party Theme Ideas for Your Kiddos

We want the best for our children, and their birthdays are the perfect time to show them how much we care. Most parents want to throw them a fun-filled party that they’ll cherish forever. Try one of these unique themes to make your little one’s special day extra special this year!

Holiday Celebration
Pick the best part of each holiday for the ultimate celebration! Post up decorations from every time of year to transform your house into a holiday haven. 

Start the party with an unconventional Easter egg hunt. Follow it up with sparklers and poppers outside to celebrate like it’s Independence Day. Next, lay out costume pieces for a DIY Halloween costume contest. Feed those hungry little bellies with a delicious Thanksgiving meal, followed by a goofy white elephant gift exchange. Finally, finish the party with a good ol’ New Years style celebration with a countdown to blowing out their candles.

Battle of the Bands
Throw it back to the golden age of rock and roll! Split your guests into two groups and have them form the newest, hottest bands. Provide them with craft supplies to create their own band posters and hang them around your house. Set out costume pieces so they can dress the part of an ultimate rocker. Let them pick songs to jam out to in a fun lip sync battle of the bands at the end of the evening. 

Ultimate Chef
Let your kiddos explore their inner culinary genius. Give them reign of the kitchen with a make-your-own pizza experience. Lay out sauces, cheeses and toppings. Layer them on an English muffin or personal crust, stick them in the oven and enjoy. Finish the night with a cupcake decorating contest complete with frosting, sprinkles and candies.  

And the Oscar Goes To…
Bring out your kiddo’s inner movie star. Start the night with a grand red carpet entrance and you can play the paparazzi! Snap shots and ask for autographs for the full celebrity experience. Next, give your guests freedom to create their own play or movie to be premiered at the end of the night!


What to Consider When Buying a Luxury Lake House

If you envision your future summers filled with sunset happy hours over the glittering water, sun-soaked days on the boat, and an open door for friends and family, creating a plan to purchase a lake house is the first step. There are many factors to consider from the location, size, water quality, and the surrounding town. However, it ultimately comes down to prioritizing the most important factors to you and your ideal lake lifestyle. If you’re planning on purchasing a lake house soon, below are the most essential points to consider before putting in any offers. 

The proximity of your lake house to your primary home is one of the most important factors to assess. While a two-hour drive may not seem that long, if you’re planning on going back and forth every weekend, this may start to take a toll. However, if you plan to stay at the lakehouse for more extended periods and return to your primary home for equally long periods, a two-hour drive may seem like a breeze.

Hire a Local Agent
While you may have a real estate agent you know and trust, hiring a real estate agent who is innately familiar with the areas you want to buy may be more advantageous. They are likely more familiar with inventory that may be hitting the market, the lake’s rules and regulations, and other nuances of the area that an out-of-town agent may not know.

Create a Must-Have List
Everyone has different motivations for purchasing a lakehouse. If you dream of watching the sunset every evening, ensure the backyard faces the west. Visit the house during the sunset, so you can be sure this is the view you want to enjoy for years to come. Or, maybe you envision long days of your family swimming and playing in the water. Inspect the water quality and depth off the pier and assess if the bottom is rocky, muddy or sandy, so you can be confident the water is safe to swim in. Perhaps your ideal lakehouse is a home that is always filled with visitors. In this case, the number of bedrooms may be more important to you than the size of the communal living area square feet. You may also want to build a separate structure to accommodate your guests. Be sure that the property has enough acreage to fit another dwelling

Check Zoning and Lake Regulations
Before you make any offers, check the zoning and building codes for any significant construction you want to do. For example, if you’re set on installing a pool in the backyard, check with the village to confirm that you can install a pool in the backyard. If you wait until after the property is yours and find out you can’t implement your dream project, it can completely alter your vision for the home.

Also, confirm the types of water vessels and sports allowed on the lake, such as boating, sail boating and jet skiing.

Visit the Local Town
If being close to local attractions is important to you, be sure to visit the local downtown to get a better understanding of the dining and shopping scene. Also, consider if there are other sources of entertainment for rainy days. However, the downtown area doesn’t matter for some, as they are perfectly content relaxing at home.


Elements of a Luxury Primary Bedroom

Your bedroom should be a place of refuge and relaxation. It should be a space void of clutter, and just because it’s not a high-traffic space, doesn’t mean it should be an afterthought. A luxuriously restful bedroom can help you recharge and start your day successfully. Read on for inspiration on the elements every luxury primary bedroom needs to create the relaxing oasis you deserve.

Choose One Focal Point
Whether it’s a glamorous four-poster bed, a pair of plush velvet armchairs or a stunning shagreen dresser, choose one piece as your focal point and have the rest of your furniture complement this one piece. This approach will reduce visual clutter and create an understated, serene vibe.

Softness Underfoot
If your home primarily consists of hardwood and tile flooring, low pile, wall-to-wall carpeting in the bedroom will feel like the ultimate luxury. However, if you prefer to not cover the wood floors, a wool rug underfoot will create a similar feeling. Size up on the rug, so you can ensure that the softness extends beyond the bed.

Invest in Art
Going to sleep and waking up surrounded by your favorite art pieces will positively impact the way you end and begin your day. So, instead of saving your best works of art for the high-traffic areas, allow these types of pieces into your bedroom so you can personally enjoy them.

Hang a Statement Light Fixture
Instead of relying solely on recessed lighting and table lamps, install a hanging statement light fixture for elements of romance and glamor. Bedside sconces and art lights also add additional lighting layers that contribute to a bedroom’s overall coziness.

Keep the Surfaces Clear
Nightstands can quickly become catchalls for your odds and ends. Make it a point for your nightstand to be a sacred space. Keep the surface as clear as possible, with a water carafe, small clock and a tray for your book or tablet. Keeping a clear nightstand will create a vibe of luxe simplicity and make your room feel lighter.

The same goes for the dressers. Keeping this space minimal, including only a tray with your necessities, a picture frame or two and a small lamp, results in restrained elegance.

Incorporate Greenery
Fresh greenery or a weekly bouquet of fresh flowers adds freshness and depth to any room. Greenery is often the finishing touch that a space needs, and it will make an average bedroom feel more luxe. As a bonus, it will help purify the air, which is advantageous for sleeping.

Choose Overfilled Pillows
Overly plush pillows will elevate your bed from a basic bed to a cloudlike destination. Overfilled, plush pillows will make you feel like you’re sinking into a bed in a five-star resort and provide the ultimate in relaxation.

Design a Custom Closet
A custom closet allows you to maximize your space and organization and makes getting dressed feel like a luxury. Whether the closet is a full-sized room or a walk-in closet, you’ll find that getting dressed becomes an experience in itself. Designing a bedroom and keeping luxury top-of-mind will result in restful sleep and an overall sense of well-being. 


The Ultimate Kitchen Design Guide

Even if you’re working closely with an interior designer or a kitchen design firm, understanding what goes into a kitchen design is an integral part of the process. Before working with a design professional, it’s helpful for you to understand the different components that go into the planning stages of designing a kitchen to ensure the process is as seamless as possible. If you have a kitchen redesign planned soon, read on to learn more about everything that goes into a kitchen design project.

Make a List of What You Want
Assess your current kitchen, and make a list of all the missing features and functions. For example, if you entertain often, perhaps you need an additional prep sink or a second dishwasher. Or, if you love getting the newest kitchen appliance, you may need extra storage to conceal these larger appliances. If you have a busy household, maybe you need warming drawers built-in to the cabinetry to keep everyone’s meals warm. Or, if your family tends to gather around the island, perhaps you need more creative seating options. Whatever you feel like your kitchen is missing, write it down. It’s easier to scale back than add to your list once the design process begins.

Set the Budget
No matter how high-end your kitchen is, every project has a budget. This will make the project easier to design and implement, giving your designer better insight into selecting materials. Plumbing, electric, appliances, materials and labor all go into the kitchen design budget. To cover any unexpected costs, it’s wise to build in an extra 10-20% into your overall budget.

Visualize the Layout
While your design professional will create the layout for you, it’s your job to thoroughly think through how you use your kitchen. For example, if you and your partner like to cook together, you’ll need ample space for two cooks. If you have younger children who like to be in the kitchen with you, you’ll require plenty of room to move around. The working triangle is a long-standing guide to laying out the kitchen. This means the sink, refrigerator and oven range are in a triangular shape and help create a more seamless cooking experience. 

Factor in Lighting
Don’t let lighting become an afterthought. As you plan the layout and cabinetry design, consider where you want light sources. For example, you’ll likely want recessed lighting in the ceiling in addition to pendants over the island. You may also want to include sconces and picture lights into your design to add a visual element.

Think Through the Creative
Gathering as many inspirational photos as possible is the best first step to take so you can start to shape your kitchen’s design vision. Whether you prefer white, colored or natural wood cabinetry, selecting the cabinet color is the best place to begin to determine your kitchen’s design aesthetic. The cabinet color will help guide your decisions on the wall color, flooring, the countertop material and shade, the backsplash material, the hardware finish and the lighting options. 


Foods That Can Help You to a Better Night's Sleep

Whether from work worries, other stressors or just a too-busy to-do list, everyone has trouble sleeping from time to time. But nutritionists tell us that making the right food choices can help us get a better night’s snooze. Try upping your intake of these common vittles and see if your sleep quality improves.

  • Bananas – Besides its big helping of potassium, the humble banana offers a good amount of vitamin B6. Eating one before bedtime can boost brain-calming levels of serotonin.
  • Salmon – The vitamin D and omega-3s found in salmon is another way to increase the production of soothing serotonin. It’s best eaten no more than twice a week, however, because of concerns about the mercury it may contain.
  • Almonds and Brazil Nuts – Both are packed with magnesium, which can enhance levels of sleep-regulating melatonin. A study reported by the National Library of Medicine reported a 10% drop in the number of students reporting insomnia after eating 10 almonds a day for 14 days.  
  • Crab – Low dietary intake of the mineral selenium has been linked with difficulty nodding off. Eating more crab meat is one way of getting your selenium fix, plus crucial sleep nutrients like calcium and vitamin B6.
  • Soy Foods – Greater intake of isoflavones, found in soy products such as tofu, are linked with higher chances of getting optimal sleep. Just one daily portion of soy, which could be tofu, a glass of soy milk or a serving of edamame, made it more likely people got enough snooze time.
  • Butter Beans – Also known as lima beans, and delicious in soups or salads, these humble beans contain phosphorus, magnesium and vitamin B6, making them a powerhouse when it comes to inducing better sleep.
  • Cottage Cheese – Cottage cheese on crackers or crispbread is an ideal bedtime snack, providing a balance of tryptophan for initiating serotonin and melatonin formation and carbohydrate, needed to transport this amino acid into the brain.
The trademarks REALTOR®, REALTORS®, and the REALTOR® logo are controlled by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify real estate professionals who are member’s of CREA. The trademarks MLS®, Multiple Listing Service® and the associated logos are owned by CREA and identify the quality of services provided by real estate professionals who are members of CREA. Used under license.