World's Largest Selection of Decorative Switch Plates

How to make spring cleaning a personal spa day

For most people, spring cleaning takes less than a day but can mean so much more than a tidy home. Think about it. Far from being a day of drudgery, spring cleaning is a time to clean up, dust off and clear out - to make a break with the past that's every bit as real as New Year's Eve. Psychology Today magazine published a number of articles under an umbrella theme: Cleaning up junk can help clear your mind, and the results will be healthy for you and your home.Begin with surveillance Look around. Exactly what is all that clutter telling you? Human beings hang onto things for several reasons, and laziness is generally not one of them. For example, it doesn't take a therapist to see that refusing to let go of clothes that haven't fit for years and aren't likely to be in style if they ever do again isn't about frugality - it's about fear. We like to live in our comfort zones, even when it hurts to do so.Psychology Today quoted Ranka Burzan, professional organizer, speaker and author, on the reasons why we avoid cleaning out clutter."We always relate to routine and familiar circumstances even if they work against us. That is one reason that people stay in abusive relationships, low paying jobs and cluttered homes, because it's predictable and we become experts in dealing with unpleasant situations."Hunker down and clean up Real Simple magazine, on the other hand, focused on the joy we experience from cleaning up - and the insights it gathered in a survey of its Facebook fans. One such fan was Michelle Jesperson, and for her, cleaning comes with euphoria."My satisfaction is mostly gleaned from having a clean home with things organized and put away," said Jesperson.Does that satisfaction extend to other areas of life? Of course, Marla Deibler, Psy.D., director of the Center for Emotional Health of Greater Philadelphia, pointed out, and it leads to an ability to take on projects in other areas of our lives."When we set out to accomplish a goal like cleaning the fridge, we gain confidence that we can succeed," she told Real Simple. So here's the plan. After you set aside all the recyclables and clean everything in sight, stop to admire your handiwork. Touch up any little paint chips or imperfections and maybe add some saucy new additions like switch plates or plug covers to signal a final break from the cluttered past.Now that your tasks are complete and your mind is calm, finish with fresh flowers and candles in a relaxing bath - you deserve it.

Make the most out of your basement with these design ideas

While you're going throughout your home installing new outlet covers and switch plates, you may start to feel as though you don't have enough space. If your family has been growing but your home hasn't, you may be worried that everyone isn't getting the space they need to thrive. When this happens, you may consider turning your basement into a living space. This will give your family a whole new room that they can go to when they need to get away and unwind.  When you decide to convert your basement, the first thing you need to do is check your local building codes. You may need to make some changes to your basement in order to turn it into a living space, such as adding a window so that people can easily escape if there happens to be a fire. Once you get all that legal work out of the way, you can get down to the fun part of designing.  Creating the perfect basement HGTV spoke to Divine Design's Candice Olson, who said that the basement can be a multifunctional space. For example, you can place a couch and a media center down there so people can relax and watch television, and you can also invest in some exercise equipment so that your family can work out while catching up on their shows.  Another idea Olson had for a basement is to turn it into a children's playroom. This is a particularly good idea if you have more than one child and want to make sure that they have the space to move about and play without having to worry about disturbing others. You can cover the floor of your basement with a large, plush carpet to help keep children safe, or even go for a foam-like material so they can play without worrying about falling.  If kids are not your main concern right now, you should consider turning your basement into a bar. You can wow your guests by setting up a professional-looking bar in the basement, complete with classic stools and a flat-screen TV for watching sports.  No matter what you decide, you should stop neglecting your basement and utilize this important space. 

Day and night, lighting can alter a mood beautifully

Day and night, lighting can alter a mood beautifullyWhat do candlelight and roses have in common? They set a beautiful mood, perfect for a romantic dinner.While this isn't the only way to create a mood, romantic or otherwise, lighting is an excellent place to start, since it covers everything from dimmer switches, to switch plates, to chandeliers and sconces.Since we've mentioned romantic dinners, let's start with the dining room. Candles can range from high-quality beeswax to man-made and battery-operated, and how you use them is determined by the proportions of the room. An elegant candelabra, for example, might look lovely in a large, elegant dining room but rather silly in a small one.Dimmer products, on the other hand, make a statement regardless of the room or its size."People's biggest mistake with the dining room is getting all their light from overhead sources," New York City-based interior designer Bunny Williams told Real Simple magazine. She recommended softening the mood and adding intimacy by dimming chandeliers. Another mood-brightening idea is to replace standard switch plates with versions that are fun and whimsical, a trick that works in virtually any room of the home.Light at night Now, have you given a thought to your night light? A new study shows that the color of your night light can make a huge difference in your mood. The study used hamsters, and researchers found that blue light had the worst effects on mood, followed by white light. Red light, however, made the hamsters happier, with less evidence of depression. Randy Nelson, Ph.D., is a professor and chair of the Department of Neuroscience at The Ohio State University Medical Center and co-author of the study that appeared in The Journal of Neuroscience, and believes these findings could have important implications for humans, especially those who work night shifts and are prone to mood disorders."Our findings suggest that if we could use red light when appropriate for night-shift workers, it may not have some of the negative effects on their health that white light does," Nelson said. Study co-author Tracy Bedrosian, a former graduate student at Ohio State currently doing postdoctoral research at the Salk Institute, concurred, and has found that research suggests these light-sensitive cells also send messages to parts of the brain that play a role in mood and emotion."Light at night may result in parts of the brain regulating mood receiving signals during times of the day when they shouldn't," she pointed out. "This may be why light at night seems to be linked to depression in some people."

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