How to Choose Flooring for Your Home

We have tons of things on our wish list to swap out in our house to make it more us, but we agreed the first thing we needed to do was change out the flooring.  Hopefully, my experience will help you choose flooring for your home.

I went a bit crazy with the pinning and researching of flooring options, check out my Home Decor board to see what I mean!  We considered both  hardwood and laminate options.  I knew I wanted wide plank and a lighter color.  I was leaning toward gray washes and some barn wood options.

We needed something that could withstand some moisture and I wanted something relatively hardy and low care.  With a dog, we needed it to be able to withstand any errant nail scratches and random accidents.

We went to our local big box home improvement centers and brought home all the samples in our color range.  We were able to take our samples and try them next to the kitchen cabinets and in various rooms to see how they looked in different lighting.

This of course weeded out some colors.  I truly felt like Goldilocks.  Nothing was feeling exactly right and I was bummed.  My beloved gray washes were okay, but they just weren’t screaming yes to me.

We had pretty much ruled out hardwoods at this point, so I did some more research on laminates.  We found a Pergo product called Pergo Max Premier and it met all of our needs.

I turned back to my friend the Internet and found a color in Pergo Max Premier that I thought might work.  We went to several stores that said they had it in stock to see what it looked like in person, but unfortunately, all of their web sites were incorrect.  This was just the beginning of my annoyance with big box home improvement stores in this odyssey!

The color I thought was the answer to my flooring needs was Blonde Onyx Oak.  It was a blend of black, brown and a barnwood beige.  We decided to order a box of the shade to see it in person since no one had it in stock. Miraculously, we both loved it.  It looked great in different lighting and we were sold.

Photo from Pergo’s website of Blonde Onyx Oak

We went back to the store and ordered it and it was a nightmare from then on, but it’s over now and we love it!  I truly cannot recommend the store we bought it from, nor the installers, but we do love the product so far and we love the color.

I did have a minute of buyer’s remorse the first day I came home from work and saw it partially installed.  It seemed to have a lot going on and it took my eye a minute to get used to it in our house.  I chalk it up to being half of a room and the pattern not being completely throughout the room.  Now though, I think it looks great. The brown and barnwood beige colors tend to be predominate and the black is more of an accent to me.  I wanted something that worked with wood tones, black and gray and yet had a warmth and I think this flooring does that well.

It has also stood up to some pretty severe spills.  On Christmas, the Christmas ham platter spilled on to the floor and grease went everywhere.  It cleaned up, no problem!  I am anxious to see how it holds up in the coming years, but everyone we’ve spoken to said it is the highest quality Pergo product and should last a long time.

My 10 tips for choosing flooring for your home:

  1. Do research on laminate versus hardwood and choose what fits you and your family best.  There are pluses and minuses for both.
  2.  Grab every sample you think you might like and bring it home.  Some stores charge for samples and some don’t, but it’s a pretty nominal amount.
  3. Put the samples down next to your built ins and furniture and take a photo.
  4. Try them in every room and every time of day to see how the light affects them.  You can see in my photos how different my floor looks in my kitchen versus my hallway.
  5. Look at your photos and see what grabs you!  I was able to narrow down my choices via photos much easier than in person.  Weird, but it worked!
  6. Go back to the drawing board if you have to!
  7. Check the manufacturer’s website for colors not carried by the stores.
  8. Order samples of anything not in stock!
  9. Make sure you LOVE what you choose, flooring is not cheap and you are going to have it for a long time, be sure it’s a firm yes!
  10. Make sure your installers mix up the pattern with laminate.  Since the pattern repeats, you don’t want multiple pieces with the same pattern next to each other.

 

 

 

Christmas Tree Collars

Do you know what a tree collar is?  I didn’t until a few weeks ago and I am now in love with them!  It’s one of those things you didn’t know you needed until you saw it. Ha!

If you haven’t heard of tree collars before either, they are a modern alternative to the tree skirt.  The collar covers the Christmas tree stand with a streamlined look.  If you are like me and have a pet, the traditional tree skirt is a huge pain.  My dog thinks its his and tends to steal it from the tree.  I think a tree collar would take him some time to steal, though who knows with that determined dog!  I also happen to just love the look.

Gold Tree Collar

I think my fave is this gold tree collar.  It comes in silver too.  Since I am basically a magpie, I love anything shiny!  I love that tree collars work with artificial or real trees and hide all the mechanics underneath.

Woven Tree Collar

Woven Tree Collar

Another one I love is this dark woven tree collar.  It’s way more subtle than the gold if you are into more minimal decor for the holidays.  This one is from Pier One, but I’ve seen similar at Home Depot.

Wood Tree Collar

Wood Tree Collar

Another choice for a more minimal decor is this wood and galvanized metal tree collar.  I love how it looks with the tree! And actually would work really well with my living room.

Red Tree Collar

And this beauty is perfect if you go whole hog with your holiday decor or love a traditional red and green Christmas scheme.  This red tree collar is gorgeous!

Do you have a tree collar? I’d love to see a photo of it in the comments!

Buffalo Check Christmas and Home Decor

I absolutely love buffalo check (or plaid) and especially love it for Christmas!  I’m having an phone issue, so I can’t upload a picture of my front porch, but it is currently sporting a buffalo check be-ribboned wreath and welcome mat!

I started seeing it in Christmas decor last year and this year, it is EVERYWHERE!  I rounded up some of my fave buffalo check home and Christmas decor below.

Monogram Buffalo Check Throw

This monogrammable buffalo check throw from Nordstrom would make a great Christmas gift!  I love the subtle gray and white.

Buffalo Check Sherpa Throw

I have a similar sherpa throw and I am totally in love with how soft and warm it is.   I don’t know which of these I would buy, I am torn between gray and black and red!

Deer Ornament

How cute is this deer ornament?  It would make a great gift topper!

 

Buffalo Plaid Stocking

I am in love with this fur trimmed stocking!  It would look amazing with some of my other Christmas decor.

Mousepad

Technically a mousepad isn’t Christmas or home decor but I couldn’t resist! How cute would this be as part of a gift with the deer ornament as a topper?

Buffalo Check Pillow Cover

I have been trying to resist these buffalo check pillow covers since October!  I think having the red and black all year long would make me get tired of it and I can’t justify buying them just for Christmas.  I still love them though!!

 

Buffalo Check Duvet Cover

Same story with this duvet cover.  I have always wanted to have a Christmas bedroom and this would be perfect! but alas, the cost factor!  It would make a really cute boys room too.  Speaking of, I’ve seen some adorable buffalo check nurseries lately!

Do you love buffalo check like I do? What do you have in your home that’s buffalo check? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

 

Keep Tulips From Drooping

I love to have tulips in the house during the winter, because they make me feel like Spring is still a possibility no matter how cold out it currently is!  I found tulips for $3 a bunch at our local grocery store the other day and had to grab some since it was artic here this weekend.

The one thing about tulips that can be a bummer, is their tendency to droop, as soon as you put them in the vase.  I tried a Pinterest trick this time and it worked!  I actually combined two common tricks, so not 100% sure which one was the secret, but both are so easy, I don’t mind repeating them both.

First, I left the tulips in their store binding overnight.  Meaning, I took them out of the plastic envelope/bag thing you carry them in, but I left them attached to each other by the bindings/bands and stuck them in a vase of water.  The reasoning behind this trick, is because tulips are hollow stemmed, keeping them together allows them to absorb the water without drooping.

I also added a penny to the water in the vase.  I’ve read about this trick for a couple years and always forget to do it.  I honestly don’t know the reason for it, but I am sure it changes the alkaline of the water.

It’s been a few days, and so far so good as you can see below.  Aren’t they so pretty?   A few of the leaves have drooped and the tulips aren’t standing straight up and down like a soldier, but I like them a little more natural myself.  This is a huge improvement from the last time I bought tulips, so I am declaring this a Pinterest Success!!

Keep Tulips from Drooping

Have you tried these tricks? I’d love to hear about it or any others in the comments!

 

Modern Mercantile

I’ve been driving by Modern Mercantile for over a year on my way to work and have always loved their window displays, but had never stopped in.  I finally had time last month to check out the store and wasn’t disappointed.

For those who don’t follow my route to work (HA!), it’s located on Main Street in Carnegie, PA, a suburb of Pittsburgh.

The first thing that caught my eye was a display of amazing bags made of repurposed tents.  They are so well made and would make fantastic gifts.  (I kind of want to lose my laptop bag to make an excuse to buy one)  Choices ranged from handbags, totes, smaller electronic bags, laptop bags and keychains.  The owner told me they will be restocking through the holidays.

Modern Mercantile

Modern Mercantile had jewelry, dog and cat toys and treats, and décor items spread throughout the space.  I especially loved the initial key chains made from recycled license plates and the collar attachable bow ties for dogs.  They also have their own private label laundry, bath soaps and candles.  All smelled amazing and are locally made!

Modern Mercantile

 

I saw so many things that would be perfect for gifts, I can’t wait to come back and shop some more! After petting shop dog Rufus, we went next door for some ice cream at the Flying Squirrel.

Have you been to Modern Mercantile? I’d love to hear your thoughts below!

 

 

 

Favorite Apps – Home Goods App

I don’t have a ton of apps on my phone, but the ones I do have, I use a lot.  I’ve talked before about one of my faves, the Stand Up app and I’m back today with another one.  I am late to the party on this one, but it’s pretty awesome and a lot of people I spoke to hadn’t heard of it either, so I figured, why not let everyone in on the secret.

I love Home Goods and it is one of my go to stores when looking for something for the house.  If you are a Home Goods regular, you may have seen the tags on items saying, I’m on the Goods or see me on the Goods, something like that.  I never really paid much attention to them myself and that was a mistake!

I happened to be stuck waiting at an appointment last week and was looking for something to entertain me when I came across The Goods app.  I downloaded it and wowza! I love it!

You can set up an account to get some additional features, but if you aren’t much of a joiner, you can download and start looking at things without one.

Once you are in the app, you add a zip code or you can let them use your location.  From that info, the app chooses the stores in your area and you can choose specific stores to follow.  You can change the location setting if you go to another area.  You can also access the address and hours of the stores near you.

Each day, Home Goods associates hand select new items to feature on The Goods.  While it doesn’t show you everything in store of course, it does show you some interesting items in your local stores.  I am totally obsessed.

If you choose to set up an account, you can like, comment and save items and share them with friends.  Helpful if you have a shopping pal!

And then lastly, you need to get to the store before the item is gone!  The toughest part for sure!

The app is available for apple and android.  Have you downloaded yet? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

 

Affordable Outdoor Rugs

 

We finally had a weekend with nice weather here in Pittsburgh, so I started thinking about what we need to spruce up our deck.  It definitely needs power washed and general cleanup and we have some landscaping issues we need to work on, but I was more interested in decorative spruce ups (shocking, I know!).

We already have some great wrought iron furniture I bought at Lowe’s when we bought the house.  It is one of my best purchases ever and has really stood the test of time.  It’s spent at least six years out in the elements and still looks new.  We do put covers on it during the winter, but it still is out on the deck.

Our rug, however, has finally died.  It lasted about two summers, which isn’t bad for a Target rug, but we definitely couldn’t save it this year.  Since we have sun on the deck until late afternoon, it gets really hot out there.  Without a rug or shoes on, you can’t walk on the deck and the dog wouldn’t be able to either.

I started my search for a rug a couple weeks ago and it proved really hard for me. I had a couple specifics, it had to dry fast because nothing is worse than a sopping wet rug, it had to be pretty large, (8 x 10 was my preference), free shipping and I wanted to stay under $250.  My problem wasn’t finding rugs, it was deciding on one, there were so many to chose from!

Since I already did all the research, I thought you might want to know where I looked and what I found. I didn’t list Walmart, Target, Lowes and Home Depot because I feel like those are a given for most people, you can go in and buy one in stock anytime.  I was looking for a really specific size, so I knew I couldn’t go in and buy one in store. So here are the best places to find large, outdoor rugs!

 

Overstock

Overstock had free shipping over $45, tons of rugs under $250 in the size I wanted and some great reviews to give you some idea of how the rug behaved in the elements.

Best Places to find Outdoor Rugs

Overstock Outdoor Rug

This 8 x 11 rug was on sale for $146.62 the day I was shopping.  Pretty great price for such a large rug.  There were plenty more like this one.

 

Wayfair

Wayfair also had a lot of great options on their website.

Best Places to Find Outdoor RugsWayfair Outdoor Rug

This stripe rug was $169.95 and 7’6″ x 10’9″, free shipping over $49.  There were a lot of really cute rugs on their site.

Ballard Designs

Ballard had probably the best designs, at least for me, but were of course a little more costly.  I found a ton I liked, but many were out of my price range.

Best Places to Find Outdoor Rugs

Ballard Designs Rug

I loved this one!  The 9×12 size is $209! However, shipping was $70.  Bummer.  Ballard is one of the only places I found that pays for the return shipping, so factor that into the initial shipping cost.

Rugs USA

Rugs USA had lots of the same rugs I saw on Overstock.  Sometimes prices were higher on one sight or the other, so be sure to compare.

One Kings Lane

Beautiful rugs on One Kings Lane, but way more than what I was willing to pay.  My best advice would be to stalk the site for a sale if you find a rug you must have.

Best Places to Find Outdoor Rugs

One Kings Lane

This 7′ 10″ x 9′ 10″ rug with a coral design is  $205.  Shipping is $23.95.  Returns only accepted within 2 weeks.