What To Do With Castile Soap

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If you've been to a health store, you've probably seen Castile soap, most likely Dr. Bronner's. Castile soap is a soap made with natural oils and chemical reactions. The only chemicals involved in making Castile soap are sodium hydroxide and/or potassium hydroxide (commonly known as lye). Since these chemicals are all used up when they react to the oils, Castile soap is chemical free, non-toxic and eco-friendly. Not only is this soap completely safe and holistic, it has multiple uses outside the shower! 

All-purpose Cleaning

Since Castile soap is safe to use anywhere, it makes the perfect ingredient for all-purpose cleaner, in fact, my favorite DIY recipe for non-toxic cleaner includes Castile soap! Take a peek at the recipe below for making your own eco-friendly all-purpose cleaner. 

All Purpose Cleaner

1/2 cup vinegar
1 cup hot water
1/8 tsp Castile soap
optional (but recommended!) - 9 drops essential oil (Eucalyptus or Tea Tree oil is naturally antibacterial/antimicrobial)

Pour into a spray bottle and shake before each use

If you're not the DIY type, check out the Citrus All-Purpose Cleaner from Celadon Road. I discovered the Celadon Road all-natural cleaning line last year, and I've been using it ever since! I love it!

Mop It Up

Hardwood floor cleaner can be expensive and potentially toxic, depending on the brand, but if you have a little Castile soap and some hot water, say goodbye to spending your hard-earned money on cleaning supplies! For a three gallon bucket of hot water, just add half a cup of Castile soap and a mop for shiny floors (unless they're carpeted) and a clean, holistic space. 

Sop It Up

We mentioned above that using the Castile soap/hot water solution with a mop on carpet might not work, but you CAN make a carpet cleaner using the same ingredients! Instead of renting carpet cleaning gear or paying someone to do it for you, mix a cup of water and 1/4 cup of Castile soap in a blender until you get a foam consistency. Then use that to clean your carpet holistically, without toxins and without making a dent in your wallet.

Castile soap is often sold in the personal care aisle, so we know it's great for use as body wash, shampoo, pet shampoo and even for acne treatment, but its power goes far past that one room. Next time you're on the health aisle, remember all the amazing ways Castile soap can help you create a nurturing space, and pick up a bottle! 

by Anjie Cho


Relax in Your Own Spa Retreat

A chance to slip off the demands of your to-do list and relax is just what your spirit ordered. Yet, if you’re like many of us, your schedule hasn’t got space for a spa day. What if I told you that you could create a spa in your own home? It’s true! A few simple updates will transform your boring bathroom into a peaceful retreat. 

Bathrooms are often given the utilitarian treatment. To create a sanctuary in your home, however, this space needs the same stylish eye you’d want to bring to any other room in the house. Take a good look at the space you’ve got and consider what elements you can introduce to welcome tranquility and rejuvenation. Here are five design elements to consider:

Flooring

Think warm and cozy. Matte finish tiles are a good foundation to begin with, especially when combined with the right rug. Look for textiles that exude comfort but also hold up well to moisture. Cotton and bamboo are great natural materials that handle the damp environment well.

Lighting

Look for a classic hanging chandelier and go for the dimmer switch. Your bathroom has different lighting needs at different times. When you’re dressing or primping, a strong light is necessary. However, when you’re settling in for a spa-like retreat, low lights are the way to go. A dimmer will allow you to select the right glow for the right mood. 

Don’t forget to make space for candles. When you slip into the tub, lighting a bevy of candles transforms your space from bathroom to luxury retreat.

Sound

What is a spa experience without lilting music? You don’t need built-in speakers to create the spa-like mood. Keep a music player or Bluetooth speaker in your bathroom – away from the water, of course. 

Accessories

Remember, we’re talking about pampering and relaxing. Select lush towels for your in-home spa retreat. Use attractive bottles, jars and baskets to display your collection of bath salts and other pampering accoutrements. Be careful not to clutter the space, however. Simple and organized is your goal.

Scents

As you’re inhaling and exhaling in peace, the right calming scents are essential. Look to aromatic essential oils to create your own personal favorites. Coordinate the aroma you’re creating for your space with the candles and bath salts you’re using. If you’re not sure where to start, try the calming scent of lavender.

by Anjie Cho


Selecting Wood Floors: What You Need To Know

Hardwood floors bring character, warmth and comfort to a room. From species to finish, you have a lot of choices to mull over. And there’s more than just the look to consider. In fact, before you start to narrow down your style choices, you’ll want to consider these things:

What type of wood flooring?

When it comes to wood flooring, you have two primary choices: solid hardwood and engineered hardwood. The first is just what it sounds like. The second is a veneer layer sitting on a core of plywood. Before you decide which type of wood floor is best for you, however, you need to consider several of the following factors:

What will be underneath? 

Your sub-flooring is likely one of three things: concrete slab, plywood or particle board. This will help determine whether you use solid hardwood or engineered hardwood. For example, if you have a concrete slab, you’re going to want to focus on engineered hardwood. 

What level of your house are you flooring?

If you’re looking to put a wood floor in a finished basement, go with the engineered wood. It will hold up better with the moisture. Similarly, stick with the engineered wood floor if you’re planning on using it for a bathroom or other area of the house where moisture may be higher than normal. Otherwise, solid hardwood is a viable option. 

How hard are you on your floors?

High-traffic rooms and homes with kids and pets are better suited to harder wood species. Red Oak is considered the ‘hard’ hardwood floor of choice for its durability and cost. Among other popular wood species choices, hickory and maple are harder than oak, while walnut is softer. When selecting your flooring, do your research and understand how well your desired wood type will hold up to the wear and tear of your lifestyle.

What’s your style?

Now’s the time to look at the big picture. Consider the other elements in your room. What color are the trim, cabinets, and wood furniture? Will the room’s natural light be enough to balance dark wood floors? Is your preferred style more modern or traditional? Do you prefer exotic wood varieties? Is your eco-friendly side interested in exploring reclaimed wood or bamboo? Armed with the facts about your subfloor and room use, you’ll be able to pick the right look for your style and budget.

by Anjie Cho


Wool Rug. Chenille Rug. Jute Rug. Oh my! Selecting the Right Material for Your Space

The right area rug can be your decorating lynchpin. Selecting the correct size is certainly an important part of finding a floor covering for your space. There’s more to decide before you dive into colors and patterns, however. Your rug material will also be an important factor in selecting the right rug.

First things first

Selecting the right type of rug isn’t just about esthetics. Before heading out to find your new rug, ask yourself these questions:

- Is this a high traffic area?

- Is this a space prone to spills and stains?

- Is the room casual or formal?

- Is this a place I’d prefer something soft and cozy beneath my feet?

Wool Rug

It’s no wonder wool rugs are popular. These highly durable, easy to clean, elegant rugs are ideal for high traffic areas and can repel stains. However, you don’t want to use a wool rug where humidity is high – like a bathroom or basement, as it will soak up moisture in consistently damp spaces. If you’re looking for a good insulator, on the other hand, this is a good choice. 

Chenille Rug

Chenille is a nice, affordable alternative for those who like the decadent softness of a silk rug without the higher price tag. This type of rug will provide a cozy floor cover for rooms where a little plush is preferred. It’s not the best for high traffic space, however. 

Jute and its cousins

Natural plant fiber rugs like jute, sisal and seagrass bring a breezy, casual feel to a room. There are differences in how each of these natural materials feels beneath your feet. Jute, for example, is more coarse, and seagrass is more pliable. Stains on natural plant fiber rugs are not necessarily easy to clean. They are also not well suited to humid environments.

Synthetics

There are several variants of the synthetic rug including nylon and polyester. These budget-friendly options are generally easy-to-clean, durable pieces that are well suited to high traffic areas or rooms more prone to tough use (like a child’s bedroom or playroom). The lower price point may also give you latitude to swap out rugs for a new seasonal color or to replace a rug that has seen better days. Although a synthetic rug is designed to mimic their natural fiber counterparts, they do not necessarily have the same feel.

by Anjie Cho


Too Little. Too Big. Just Right: The Secret to Sizing a Rug for Your Room

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Adding an area rug is a great way to introduce color and texture to a room. There’s more to the right rug than its style and hue, however. The size you select can impact the overall effect. Going too small can make the room look awkwardly chopped up. On the other hand, choosing a rug that is too large may actually make the room appear smaller and cramped. Try these tips to find a rug that’s just right.

Watch the legs

Defining a seating area? The rug you select should be large enough to fit under the furniture. Whether you opt to place all four legs of each sofa on a rug or just the front legs depends on the space you’re working with, the room layout, and your personal preference. 

Beneath your feet

In a bedroom, the rug should be large enough that you can feel it under your feet when you get out of bed in the morning. Look for a rug that will extend about 12-18 inches minimum around three sides of your bed. To achieve this in most rooms, the rug should be large enough to fit about 2/3 of the way under the bed with at least 12 inches extending beyond the foot and each side. If you’re working with a bed up against a wall, a rug placed along the open side of the bed will work well. 

All in 

Not only should your table fit on a dining room area rug, so should the chairs. The rug in this space should be large enough that all four legs of each dining room chair remain on the rug even when someone is sitting on them. To achieve this, look for a rug that is at least 2 feet larger on each side than your table. For example, if your table is 3’x5’, the smallest rug you should look for is one that is 7’x9’. 

Frame it

Unless you’re installing wall-to-wall carpet, the rug you place down should be small enough to expose some of your wood or tile flooring. Ideally there will be 18-24 inches of space around each edge of your rug if you’re centering it in the room

And yet, rules are made to be broken

The most important rule to finding the right size rug for your space is simply to go with what works. The aforementioned rules are guidelines. Using them – and your budget – as a starting point, select the rug that works best to convey the look and feel you’re going for.

by Anjie Cho