From the soothing flow of a mountain stream to the majestic beauty of thousand-year-old rock formations, few things have the power to relax or inspire like Mother Nature. Now, as more homeowners seek to turn their homes into havens, those enchanting colors and rich textures of Earthy materials are moving indoors to become the inspiration for one of the hottest trends in home design.

With many Americans prepared to spend less on holiday shopping and decorating this year, it’s likely more people will choose to give homemade gifts and create their own holiday decor. Homemade gifts can be a great way to stretch holiday gift-giving dollars.

Do you long for the days when you faced the “most wonderful time of the year” with joyful anticipation rather than stress-filled dread? You’re not alone: nearly half of all Americans report an increase in stress levels as the end-of-year holidays approach.

There are many things that can spark the Christmas spirit inside of us -- the arrival of cold weather, the smell of cookies baking in the oven and the presence of family are all examples. But nothing seems to trigger the magical feelings of the holiday season quite like holiday decorations.

Thanks to modern technology, electric fireplaces have made great strides in styling, convenience and heat-output. Gone are the days of a “fake” fire within a cheap-looking mantle surround – now replaced with electric fireplaces featuring dancing flames and glowing embers, the ability to be installed anywhere in minutes, and a selection of appearance options for an upscale look matching every décor.

In the age of the popular home makeover television shows many homeowners may be intimidated by home “makeovers” or renovations. But they don’t need to be.

The secret to redoing a child’s room successfully and cost effectively is pretty much the same secret designers use to redo adult rooms on the cheap – paint, accessories, smart design touches and an understanding of what the room’s occupants already love. Parents poised to plunge into kids’ room renovations, have an extra advantage that adult room designers don’t have – the love all kids seem to share for certain cartoon characters.

 
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