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Kick off Your Urban Home Reno by Bringing the Outside In

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Living in a city has an enormous amount of perks. Shopping, dining, culture, and more are always right within your grasp and it’s easy to become accustomed to the trappings of urban life. However, despite the many green spaces that are located within city limits and offer ample opportunities to experience the great outdoors, it’s not always easy to incorporate those elements into an urban home.

However, if you’re planning to renovate your house or apartment or you simply want to update your decor with a more natural feel those things are easily accomplished. Whether you’re contemplating major changes or not, adding a natural feel to your space is much easier than one may think.

If you want a beach theme or you’d like to feel as if you’re deep in the forest when sitting in your living room, these tips can help you make the changes you need in order to bring the outside in.

Play With Color

Gone are the days of white walls as a canvas for your home. More and more designers and decor experts now recommend painting your walls with color to add depth and dimension to a room, and these colors can also dramatically change the atmosphere of your home.

Most of the major paint brands have online tools that help you determine what colors are complementary and will look best in your space. Play with blues and greens if a tropical feel is what you’re after, or try shades of brown and gray to mimic the colors of the earth. No matter what colors your choose the results are going to be much more natural than you expect.

Reconsider Your Flooring Choices

If your home renovation includes a change in flooring, you’re in luck. You’re no longer limited to carpet or tile, and if your home isn’t blessed with natural hardwood flooring there are ways to replicate that beautiful look and feel.

Reclaimed wood is always going to look beautiful on your home’s floor, but the price tag can scare many people away. Consider innovative bamboo laminate flooring for a true outdoorsy feel. Not only is this type of flooring durable and beautiful, but bamboo is also a very sustainable and environmentally friendly material so you can feel good about your choice. Bamboo flooring also comes in a variety of colors and grain styles to perfectly accent your space.

Replace Your Windows

Windows are incredibly important to give your home the more natural look you’re craving, but the wrong windows can directly inhibit that look as well. If your windows are old or improperly sealed you’re also losing money on your heating and cooling costs.

Consult with a contractor about new, energy-saving windows that also fit with your new design theme. Wide windows, especially on south facing walls, let in more light and serve to highlight the rest of your natural decor. Also consider bushes or trees near ground floor windows.

Update Your Furniture

The right furniture can go a long way toward achieving your goal of a more natural looking home interior. Whether your style is modern or rustic, furnishings crafted of natural materials will always serve to highlight your decor and make your space feel more inviting.

Antique furniture is always a good choice, as is furniture crafted from reclaimed wood or rich leather. The true colors of wood also work well with a number of color schemes, so you don’t always have to decorate around your furniture.

Use Natural Decor Elements

One of the easiest ways to bring more nature to your space is with truly natural elements. Bring out your creative side and decorate with twigs, leaves, flowers, and grasses. Not only is this incredibly easy to do, but you can also change your decor theme with the seasons.

Visit your local nursery to investigate houseplants. Someone with experience in gardening can recommend plants that will work well with the amount of light you have in various parts of your home, and there’s nothing better than a bright green plant or beautiful flowers to make your space feel like the outdoors.

Renovating your home to create a more natural environment is easy and doesn’t have to be expensive. Whether you just want simple decor changes or you’re taking on a complete renovation, creating your perfectly natural space in an urban home is a wonderful way to bring the outside in.

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Want to Connect With Nature? Start by Disconnecting From Busyness

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Connect With Nature

Have you ever found yourself staring at one of your (many) devices and feeling slightly disgusted with how much time you waste on technology? If so, you aren’t alone. We all have moments like these and it’s important that we use them as motivation to change – especially if we want to be more connected with nature.

How Busyness Impacts Your Connection With Nature

Whether you realize it or not, you live an ultra connected life. Between smart phones, tablets, computers, and wearable devices, you’re never very far from some sort of technology that can connect you to the internet or put you in touch with other people. That’s just the world we live in.

While it could be argued that this sort of omnipresent connectivity is a positive thing, it’s also pretty clear that being permanently tethered to technology impacts our ability to strip away distractions and connect with nature.

When you’re always within arm’s reach of a device, you feel a sense of busyness.  Whether it’s browsing your social media feed, uploading a picture, reading the news, or responding to an email, there’s always something to do. As someone who wants to spend more time in nature, this is problematic.

4 Practical Ways to Disconnect

If you want to truly connect with nature and live a greener lifestyle, you have to be proactive about finding ways to disconnect. Here are a few practical suggestions:

1. Switch to a New Phone Plan

It’s not always practical to totally unplug from the world. Family and work responsibilities mean you can’t go off the grid and continue to fulfill your responsibilities. Having said that, there are some ways to scale back.

One suggestion is to switch to a prepaid phone plan. When you have a prepaid phone plan, you’re far less likely to spend hours and hours of your time making phone calls, sending texts, and surfing the web. It forces you to be more conscious of what you’re doing.

2. Get Rid of Social Media

Social media is one of the biggest time wasters for most people. Whether you realize it or not, it’s also a huge stressor. You’re constantly being exposed to the best snapshots of everyone else’s lives, which makes you feel like you’re missing out on something (even when you aren’t).

If you want to feel a sense of relief and free yourself up to spend more time in nature, get rid of social media. Don’t just delete the apps off your phone – actually disable your accounts. It’s a bold, yet necessary step.

3. Create Quiet Hours

If you aren’t able to get rid of social media and disable various online accounts, the next best thing you can do is establish quiet hours each day where you totally detach from technology. You should do this for a minimum of three hours per day for best results.

4. Build Community

Do you know why we’re drawn to social media and our devices? Whether consciously or subconsciously, it’s because we all want to be connected to other people. But do you know what’s better than connecting with people online? Connecting with them in person.

As you build real life, person-to-person relationships, you’ll feel less of a need to constantly have your eyes glued to a screen. Connect with other people who have an appreciation for nature and bond over your mutual interests.

Untether Your Life

If you find yourself constantly connected to a device, then this is probably a clear indicator that you aren’t living your best life. You certainly aren’t enjoying any sort of meaningful connection with nature. Now’s as good a time as any to untether your life and explore what a world free from cords, screens, and batteries is really like.

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6 Tips for an Eco-Friendly Move

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Moving can be a stressful and challenging time. No matter how many times you’ve done it in the past, the process of packing up, transporting, and unpacking isn’t very fun. It’s also not very eco-friendly. As you prepare for your next move, there are things you can do to ensure you leave less of a footprint behind.

6 Tips for a Greener Move

Because of the stress and pressure felt when moving, it’s pretty common for people to rush through the process and focus on getting it done. In fact, a lot of people take an “at all costs” approach; they’ll do whatever it takes to make the process as cheap and fast as possible. Don’t be one of those people. It doesn’t take much effort to turn a standard move into an eco-friendly move.

1. Maximize Each Trip

When moving across town, it’s imperative that you make as few trips as possible. Each trip requires more gas, more emissions, and more waste, and more time.

If you’re taking your personal vehicle, consider pulling a trailer behind it. You’d be surprised how much stuff you can fit into a small trailer. Not only will it make your move greener, but it’ll also save you a lot of time.

2. Donate Things You Don’t Want to Keep

The longer you live somewhere, the more junk you accumulate. This isn’t always obvious until you start packing for a big move. Instead of bringing all of these things with you to your next home, get rid of the stuff you don’t need! If the items are useful, donate them. If the items don’t have much value, toss them.

3. Reuse Moving Boxes

Not only are moving boxes expensive, but they’re also wasteful. If you need a bunch of cardboard boxes, consider looking around on Craigslist, asking friends, or checking the dumpsters behind stores. You can usually find a bunch of recycled boxes of all different shapes and sizes. Here are 12 places you can get them for free.

4. Get Creative With Packing

Who says you need moving boxes? You may find that it’s possible to do most of your move without all that cardboard. Things like storage containers, trashcans, filing cabinets, buckets, and dressers can all store items. Blankets and sheets can be used in lieu of bubble wrap to prevent your items from getting damaged.

5. Use Green Cleaning Supplies

Once you arrive at your new place, resist the urge to pull out a bunch of harsh chemicals to clean the place. You can do yourself (and the planet) a favor by using green cleaning supplies instead. Ingredients like vinegar, baking soda, and ammonia are great to start with.

6. Forward Your Mail ASAP

Don’t delay in forwarding your mail from your previous address to your new one. Not only is it wasteful for the Postal Service to route your mail to a place where you don’t live, but the next owner is probably just going to toss your letters in the trash.

Moving Doesn’t Have to be Wasteful

Most people only move once every few years. Some people will go a decade or more without a move. As a result, the process of moving often feels strange and new. The less experience you have with it, the less likely it is that you’ll be as efficient as you should. But instead of just diving into the process blind, take some time to learn about what an eco-friendly move looks like. That way, you can leave behind the smallest footprint possible.

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