Darryln Leikauskas - CENTURY 21 Commonwealth

Posted by Darryln Leikauskas on 1/12/2018

Have you ever wondered how rooms in magazines always seem to be pulled together in a way you just can’t seem to replicate? Spoiler alert: the secret sauce is the addition of greenery and fresh cut flowers. But don’t worry you don’t have to run out and buy bouquets of flowers each week to gain the same effect for your home. You can turn your new home into a green paradise all year long with these five easy to care for plants. 

Aloe - A plant that’s easy to care for no matter how green your thumb, the aloe is a hearty plant that can survive a little neglect here and there. Note, though, that the aloe does do best in dry areas and while it can go without frequent watering you want to ensure it is in a pot that drains well to avoid root rot. A large aloe plant can add balance to a minimalist room while a row of smaller plants adds whimsical charm to a child’s room.

English ivy - Here’s a plant for the homeowner who wants a plant to add some decorative interest. As a sprawling plant, the English ivy will look beautiful draped along shelves or windows. The ivy is another easy to grow plant that doesn’t require frequent watering and will thrive with lots of light.

Rubber tree - Looking for something to fill a bare corner? Pick up a rubber tree to add life to the room. Its height allows it to make a statement on its own without a corner table to put it at eye level. This tree prefers indirect light and only requires watering about once or twice a month.

Peace lily - Add some beautiful blooms to a room all year with the peace lily. Not only does it boast beautiful white petals, it is also known to greatly improve air quality. This lily is easy to care for and can be coaxed it to bloom all year in a room with low light conditions.

Spider plant - Draw the eye upward in small rooms by hanging the spider plant from the ceiling. With proper care, this plant will eventually offshoot with “babies” that add more visual interest to its foliage with delicate white flowers. Another plant known for its ability for improving air quality the spider plant is easy to care for.

When choosing plants to add to a room don’t be afraid to get creative as you would with decor and take into consideration how well the color and shape of the plant matches the style of your home. Whether you reach for something to sprawl out over a sparsely filled bookshelf with the English ivy or fill an awkward corner with the rubber tree keep the flow of the room in mind. Happy decorating!

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Posted by Darryln Leikauskas on 11/17/2017

When people hear the term "modular" a few things come to mind. Standardized, easy to assemble, minimalist, and modern. When you hear the words "modular furniture" there's probably only one thing that comes to mind: Ikea. There are, however, a wide selection of stores (online and brick & mortar) that offer furniture to fit your minimalist lifestyle.

Reasons to go modular

Form follows function. This statement should be as true in the world of decorating as it is throughout the sciences. However, many times we buy items that are large and bulky; mistaking quantity for quality. In the world of modular furniture, form is everything. Here are some reasons you may want to start buying minimal furniture:
  • If you move often. Do you relocate for work every few years? Are you a student or young professional who does a lot of jumping around apartments? In a workforce that is increasingly freelance and online in nature, there are fewer bindings holding us back from moving.
  • If you like low-maintenance. Modular furniture is perfect the the person who likes to set something up easily out of the box. You won't have to worry about complicated maintenance or difficulty finding parts because modular furniture tends to be highly standardized.
  • If you're a space-saver. Are you the type to try to take advantage of every inch of free space in your home? Alternatively, do you like to give your home a spacious atmosphere through smart decorating? Modular furniture is intelligently designed to take advantage of space. Modular furniture pieces like sofas are often able to be reconfigured or rearranged in different pieces so you can place them in corners or sparsely around the room to open up space. Similarly, they often contain interior storage space for things like blankets and pillows.
  • If you have a refined taste for space. Modular furniture is at the cutting edge of home technology. Therefore it often boasts visually-appealing, minimalist form and modern color schemes. Like any industry, style varies between makers. But generally modular furniture companies tend to stay current with trends.

The biggest names, the best prices

Since modular furniture is an up-and-coming industry, there are a number of stores to choose from, some even with brick & mortal locations. Here are some of our favorites.
Not much needs to be said about IKEA. They started with one man in Sweden and now have locations in over 40 countries. IKEA is the standard by which all other modern furniture stores are weighed against.
Vitsoe keeps it simple with three basic modular "systems." Chairs, tables, and shelves. One of each system could easily fill a room. Their designs are minimalist and space-saving, which is evident by the "nesting" tables which fit into one another.
way basics
If you're looking for simple, lightweight and affordable storage and shelving, Way Basics is where you should start your search. They specialize in storage cubes and they take the humanitarian and environmentalist approach to doing business.
urban outfitters
They may seem like a strange addition to this list, but Urban Outfitters--the paragon of urban hipsterdom--has a surprisingly great selection of modular furniture items in their online shop. They do an excellent job of fusing vintage style with modern function.  

Posted by Darryln Leikauskas on 1/13/2017

We all have our own version of the ideal work environment. Some of us require a distraction-free bubble to be productive, whereas others prefer to work in a bustling cafe. There are many factors that contribute to workplace productivity and there have been numerous studies on that very topic, focusing on things like the best time of day to work, how often to take breaks, and even the benefits of looking at cute pictures of cats to boost your performance. For our purposes, we're going to focus on environment. Specifically, your home. We live in a time when more and more of us are unable to "punch out" at the end of the day and leave our work at the office. Whether it's checking emails, staying up late grading papers, or studying for a work-related exam, odds are you'll find yourself having to work in your home at some point. Step 1: Choose which room you will dedicate to work Whether it's a bedroom or home office, you'll want to be consistent with which room serves as your productivity zone. Just as you've trained your body to sleep when your head hits the pillow, you'll need to train your brain to work when you sit down at your desk at home. Step 2: Setting up your desk You won't get much work done if your back aches or if your chair is so comfortable that you're likely to fall asleep in it. Pick a chair that is sturdy and ergonomic, and make sure your screen and keyboard are at a good height so you aren't slouched. Step 3: Setting the mood If you need noise to work, determine what kind of noise will help you stay focused. There are sites like Noisli that let you combine different natural sounds. Pandora radio is free and will play a diverse mix of songs based on what you want to hear, and you can pay a small monthly fee to get rid of the ads. Maybe nature sounds and music are too distracting for you but the sound of silence is even worse. If that's the case you might want to invest in a white noise fan. Step 4: Do some decorating As important as the sound in your environment is what you put in it and how you arrange it. Depending on personal preference, you might want to keep your workplace either minimalistic or homey. You should also consider the lighting of the room. Dimming the lights a bit might save your eyes some strain if you're looking at a computer screen for hours at a time. Generally speaking, people work best in natural lighting (so avoid blue LEDs or harsh fluorescent bulbs). The options are endless and the best way to find out what keeps you productive is to experiment with different set ups. What's most important is that you find what works for you. And remember, this isn't the office; you have the opportunity to design a productivity sanctuary of your design. Why settle for anything other than perfect?

Posted by Darryln Leikauskas on 7/1/2016

The variety of candles on the market has never been greater. When it comes to shopping for candles, however, a bigger selection isn't always a good thing. Many of us have, at one time or another, come down with a case of option paralysis looking at a wall full of Yankee Candles. Aside from choosing a fragrance, there are several other options to consider. Which candles burn the longest? Which type of wax works best? And, unfortunately, now we must even find out which candles are safe for us to inhale. Types of Candle Wax There are three main types of wax widely available in stores today: paraffin, soy, and beeswax. Each type has its ups and downs, but we'll break them down so you can choose one that's right for you.

  • Beeswax - This type of wax comes straight from the hive, making it a safe and natural wax to burn in your home. It also burns for the longest duration of the three types of wax, which is good because it can be pricey. It's great for lighting a room and burns as a bright white color. But, if you spill it walking to the fusebox during a power outage good luck getting that sticky beeswax out of your carpet. Also, beeswax candles do not mix well with added fragrances, so the selection will be narrow.
  • Paraffin - If beeswax is the natural, healthy choice for candles then paraffin is the processed, junkfood option.  Paraffin candles can be very affordable, but the cheap price tag comes at the cost of additives and artificial fragrances that you might not want to breathe in. Paraffin also tends to burn quickly, so if your candles aren't just for show you might find yourself spending a lot on them anyway. One benefit of paraffin is that it combines easily with fragrances so there is a great variety of scents available.
  • Soy - Perhaps a good in-between choice for candle lovers is the soy candle. Since they're made from soybeans, soy candles are a sustainable, biodegradable option. Spilled wax cleans up fairly easily, and soy combines well with other fragrances, so there are a great variety of scented candles available on the market. Soy wax is soft, however, which means you won't find many candles that aren't in jars that you could pop into your favorite candle holder.
Types of Wicks Wire, cotton, and wood, oh wow... Who knew there were so many types of wicks out there?  You can find all of these options in stores, but which one is right for you?
  • Wire wicks - These wicks have a metal zinc core that sits straight in a candle and burns evenly. The idea of burning a metal wick doesn't seem safe, but they are harmless and do not emit dangerous gases into the air.
  • Cotton wicks - The most common wicks on the market are made from cotton. They're cheap to produce and are often braided, which looks nice. They can sometimes burn unevenly, though, and require trimming.
  • Wooden wicks - The new wick on the block. These fit in with the rustic look that many homeowners are now going for. To further that point, there are also crackling wood wicks that emit either a pleasing or distracting crackling noise while they burn. You probably won't need to trim these wicks, but they are often used in higher-end candles, so expect to pay more.

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