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Bring nature into your home

Learn how to bring more nature into your home with these decorating and design ideas.

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Despite the comfort and convenience it affords, modern society is contributing to a vanishing relationship with the natural environment. However, there are plenty of ways to bring nature indoors to reap the benefits of an earthy connection inside your home.

According to a survey commissioned by the Velux Group, a gap is growing between the time people spend outdoors and the time they’d like to spend in nature.

In the US alone, 63% of survey participants said they average one hour or less a week in nature, but 88% agreed they would like to spend more time. In addition, the majority of respondents said they believe nature, daylight and fresh air have a positive impact on stress levels, and most also agreed those factors have a positive impact on mental well-being.

“Exposure to nature such as trees, plants and views of open spaces has been found to improve the cognitive ability to focus and read social cues,” said Arie Greenleaf, associate professor of counseling at Seattle University. “Even ADHD symptoms in children are mitigated by views of and interactions with nature in a host of different ways. Worker productivity, how people feel about the work they do and the level of engagement, improves with a view of nature.”

Despite ample research demonstrating the benefits, the study revealed a common theme, with 85% of participants believing they spent more time in nature as children than children do today. That’s a trend that translates into adult habits, too.

“With work and family responsibilities, we can’t always fit spending time outside into our busy schedules, effectively making us the indoor generation,” said Peter Foldbjerg, head of Daylight, Energy and Indoor Climate for The Velux Group. “One thing we can do is improve how our homes connect to nature: From houseplants and nature-inspired art to skylights and screened porches, there are a wide variety of options for creating nature connections in the place we spend most of our time – our homes.”

Learn how to bring more nature into your home with these decorating and design ideas:

Houseplants
Living plants not only add a touch of the outdoors, but they also help clean the air inside your home. In smaller spaces, even a few pots of herbs can add a refreshing touch of nature.

Sunshine and fresh air
Whether it’s from windows or skylights, bringing natural light and fresh air inside can keep your space fresh and inviting. There are scientifically proven correlations between natural light exposure and mood, as well as your body’s ability to maintain its circadian rhythm. Refreshing the air in your home can help eliminate volatile organic compounds, pet dander and microparticles from cooking and cleaning.

If your home is lacking in natural light, a skylight may be easier to add than a window, and skylights bring in twice as much light as vertical windows; their angle allows more of the sun’s rays to reach farther into the room. Some skylights, including many offered by Velux, also offer venting options that can contribute to cleaner air.

Botanically inspired patterns
Look to pillows, area rugs and wallpaper to incorporate patterns inspired by flowers, foliage or landscapes outside. These decorative elements can boost spirits and create a welcoming environment indoors by reflecting the outdoor world.

Natural materials
Sisal rugs and baskets, wood planking and stone countertops or side tables can add texture and a touch of the natural world to your interiors.

Find more ideas for integrating the outdoors into your home design at whyskylights.com/outside-in.

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Home Care

7 Easy and affordable ways to make your home more eco-friendly

Here are some easy and affordable changes you can make right now to make your home and your lifestyle more environmentally friendly.

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The Philippines is one of the countries that is most vulnerable to climate change. Extreme rainfall and drought will affect availability of water and food; rising sea levels will flood coastal areas and dislocate millions of people.

However, simple acts done every day by millions of people can help reduce climate change. This is the principle behind the SM Green Movement—a collective effort among customers, communities, and partners to make “greener choices” that will protect people and the planet.

Here are some easy and affordable changes you can make right now to make your home and your lifestyle more environmentally friendly.

Unplug unused appliances

Appliances that are on standby or idle power mode can still use electricity. Be mindful of energy waste in your daily routine: for example, leaving a laptop plugged in even when it’s fully charged, or forgetting to turn off the coffee maker.  You can also use a power strip to group appliances—such as TV, gaming console, powered speakers—so you can turn them all off at the same time.

Invest in energy-efficient lightbulbs

Start by replacing five of your most commonly-used light fixtures with LED lights.

LED lights use from 75% to 90% less energy compared to a traditional bulb, and last 50 times longer than incandescent lights and 10 times longer than fluorescent lights. Since lighting typically accounts for 15% of a home’s average electricity use, switching to LED can also save you a lot of money!

Change the way you take a bath

A ten-minute shower can use up to 25 gallons (or almost 114 liters) of water. You can save water just by turning off the water while you soap and shampoo or using a pail and tabo. If you get a low-flow shower head, you lower water consumption by 40% or more. 

Think of greener ways to beat the heat

Air conditioners use a lot of electricity, and fluorocarbons that deplete the ozone layer. Inverter air conditioners use less energy, but it’s still important to minimize use. To keep your home cool, you can:

  • Get blackout curtains. The thick lining can block up to 99% of light and 100% of UV rays.
  • Get air coolers. These are fans that blow hot hair into a wet pad, so the water evaporates and cools the air. You can find some on SM online, and even more choices in the department store.
  • Use your fans creatively. Open the window and point fans towards it so it blows hot air out.

Adjust ceiling fan settings to counter clockwise, so it pulls hot air up and pushes cool air down.

Choose eco-friendly, sustainable products

Obviously it is always ideal to have the right tools to make homes more environmentally-friendly, and – fortunately – it is now easier and more convenient to find eco-friendly products. You have thousands of choices at SM Supermalls. Watsons has over 1,200 sustainable health & beauty products. Body Shop uses ethically-sourced ingredients, and has even switched to 100% recycled hair care bottles. Kultura has handmade products with natural or recycled materials—and you can find even more eco-friendly cooking and cleaning products in SM Home.   No time to compare products? Ask an SM personal shopper to do it for you, then either pick it up or have it delivered to your doorstep. 

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Home Care

Top tips for your remodeling project

Forget moving house! More homeowners are choosing to ‘stay put’ and enhance their homes instead.

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Photo by @rarchitecture_melbourne from Unsplash.com

Forget moving house! More homeowners are choosing to ‘stay put’ and enhance their homes instead, and the team from MAD Design USA, home of heating and furniture/accessories brands EcoSmart Fire, Heatscope Heaters and BLINDE Design, say now’s the perfect time for a revamp.

US Houzz & Home’s 2022 Renovation Trends report revealed that home renovation activity and spend in the US have reached their highest rates reported since 2018 – and this year more than half of homeowners (55%) plan to renovate while nearly half (46%) plan to decorate.

“The home renovation market is being driven by rising home prices and interest rates, global political and economic uncertainty, and a tight supply of homes for sale, so more people are choosing to remodel rather than relocate,” says Stephane Thomas, Director of MAD Design USA. “Contractors are also in short supply, and supply chain delays are causing materials shortages and higher costs, leading to many homeowners choosing DIY projects to remodel or expand, or to customize their indoor and outdoor spaces and make them more functional, comfortable and enjoyable.”

Here are 6 tips for a smoother DIY home renovation:

  1. Know what you want to achieve. “For example, create a multi-season outdoor oasis with  an EcoSmart Fire Pit or Fire Table, or a Heatscope electric radiant heater; or  ‘zhuzh’ up your alfresco or interior rooms with new furniture and accessories such as modular sofas, concrete coffee tables or planters,” says Stephane.
  2. Set a realistic budget for what you want to achieve. “There are ways to remodel that won’t break the bank,” Stephane remarks.
  3. Choose products that don’t require high material or labor costs (e.g., plumbing, electricity, structural work). It could help, of course, if you – yourself – have the right tools to remodel your property.
  4. Select companies that provide expert guidance. “It’s important to work with professionals who give great advice. Our team of experts assist with product selection to material sourcing, project reviews to ideas,” Stephane says.
  5. Know what you can DIY. “Rather than making structural changes to a home, MAD Design offers simple and versatile solutions to transform a home easily and without fuss,” says Stephane.
  6. Choose 0% finance through ‘remodel now, pay later’ programs, such as Affirm or Klarna. “You can get your products quickly and start your renovations sooner,” concludes Stephane. “Sign-up is faster, easier and more transparent than credit cards.”
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Home Care

How to choose the best bamboo cheese board for your kitchen

Are you in the market for a new bamboo cheese board? If so, you’re in luck! In this post, we will show you how to choose the best bamboo cheese board for your kitchen.

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Photo by Mgg Vitchakorn from Unsplash.com

Are you in the market for a new bamboo cheese board? If so, you’re in luck! In this post, we will show you how to choose the best bamboo cheese board for your kitchen. So, whether you’re a beginner or an expert when it comes to cheese boards, this blog post is for you!

Bamboo Cheese Boards’ Benefits

A bamboo cheese board is a popular choice for serving cheese and other appetizers. Bamboo cheese boards are environmentally friendly and sustainable. Bamboo is a grass that grows quickly and does not require pesticides or herbicides to thrive. Bamboo serving platters are also durable and can last for years with proper care.

Additionally, bamboo is a very lightweight material, so it’s easy to move around and doesn’t take up much space. They make a great addition to any kitchen or entertaining space.

So if you’re looking for an eco-friendly option, bamboo is the way to go!

Choosing Tips & Tricks

When choosing a bamboo cheese board for your kitchen, there are a few things to keep in mind.

  • First, consider the size of the board. If you entertain often, you’ll want a larger board that can accommodate a variety of cheeses and other foods. But if you’re just looking for a small board for everyday use, a smaller size will suffice.

Extra Large Charcuterie Board from Royal Craft Wood. It includes 10-pieces cutlery set, 10 card holders, 3 ceramic bowls, 2 serving trays. Its dimensions are: 17.5 x 13 x 2.5 inches.

If you have a small kitchen, please, pay attention to the compact traditional Royal Craft Wood’s Bamboo Cheese Board.

  • Second, think about the shape of the board. Round boards are great for serving multiple people, while rectangular boards are better suited for slicing and serving one or two people.
  • Third, remember about special cheese knives, forks, bowls and other cutlery that will help you to deal with snacks. Some cheese platter boards are sold with everything important. Like this cute Cheese Board With Knives.
  • Lastly, consider the style of the board. If you want something that’s both functional and stylish, look for boards with interesting designs or detailing. For example: Rotating Cheese Board With Knives.

So, what’s the best bamboo cheese board for your kitchen? It really depends on your needs and preferences. If you need a little more functionality and like to entertain guests often, go for one of Royal Craft Wood’s plain boards. Thank you for reading!

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