It’s War on Bed Bugs!

Wow!  We are hearing about Bed Bugs everywhere.  From department stores in NYC to radio talk shows!  Bed bugs have been found inside the Indiana University campus library?  It truly looks like we need to declare War on Bed Bugs!

What Are Bed Bugs?

Bed bugs are small little wingless insects that feed exclusively on the blood of warm-blooded mammals.  Humans are the ideal host.  They can be light tan or burnt orange in color.  Just after molting most of them are plane white.  Bed bugs have evolved over millions of years as nest parasites – inhabiting the nest of birds and bats for instance.  Some of them have learned to adapt to the human environment and live in “our nest”.

They are called bed bugs because they prefer to live in our beds, mattresses, sofas and other soft furniture.

Bed bugs feed for about 5 minutes, then go into hiding for about 5 to 10 days then feed again.  If there is no food readily available (human blood), bed bugs have been known to lie dormant for months waiting to feed again.

Are Bed Bugs Dangerous to Humans?

Not really.  Other than a mosquito bite type look or a small rash, there is not much danger to bed bug bites and they are not known to carry any diseases.  In extreme cases people can have an allergic reaction.  Bed bugs bite by injecting a small amount of their saliva into the human host which results in a painless reaction.  Quite often the bite does not manifest itself for an hour or two, maybe much longer.  Therefore, sometimes it is hard to detect that you have bed bugs right away because you don’t have symptoms.

How do Bed Bugs Get in to Your Home?

Although studies have shown that bed bugs can travel in one’s luggage, the most common way to bring them into your home is via used furniture and mattresses.

How to Eliminate and Prevent Bed Bugs?

Once you detect that you have a bed bug problem you may want to call a pest removal professional first as they can help in the detection and recommend a removal process for your particular situation.

If you decide to do it yourself the first step would be to remove the coverings on any item of furniture or mattress that is infected.  If you are able to wash the fabric in hot water do so, if not, wash normally but set the dryer on hot – at least 120º.  If in the winter, you may take these coverings outside and leave in the freezing weather for 24 hours.

Then vacuum the mattress or sofa all over especially in the folds and cracks.  Then use insecticides to kill the bugs.

Preventing Bed Bugs by Encasing Your Mattress and Box Spring.

You could encase both the mattress and box spring as a proactive measure.  As soon as you put the encasement on your bed any bed bugs trapped inside will eventually die, provided you do not unzip shortly after putting them on.  Some people encase their new beds as it prevents bugs from getting in and makes it easier to clean.

Bed bug covers can be purchased online and from most reputable retailers.  Make sure you are buying “bed bug specific” and that you cover both the mattress and box.

Are you thinking of Purchasing Furniture?

How does one go about purchasing furniture? Well, there are plenty of steps, some of which you might not even be aware of.  First, you decide what kind of furniture you’re looking for.  Then, you select a reputable furniture seller.  After that, you pick out the exact piece of furniture you would like to consider.  Then, you carefully inspect the furniture to insure that it is what you really want.  And, lastly, you buy the furniture.  The thing is, if at any point you are unsatisfied, you have to go back a step or two, sometimes all the way back to the beginning!  So, in short, purchasing furniture sounds like an easy, mundane task, but it can actually be quite involved if you care about what you are purchasing!

What kind of furniture are you looking for?

This step can be more difficult that it sounds.  Do you want high quality furniture, or is medium quality or even low quality enough for your needs?  Higher quality levels are more expensive, but last longer.  Lower quality furniture will be much cheaper, but likely won’t last as long.  What style do you want?  Some styles are much more expensive than others.  How about color?  This one is purely a personal choice, but it probably should match the colors in the area you’re going to put it!  Material?  Again, up to you, but some materials can get very pricey.  How many pieces of that furniture do you want?  1 couch? 2 seats?  4 table chairs?  There’s actually a lot to think about here, but you really must sort it all out before you consider actually purchasing furniture.  Otherwise, you might be talked into buying something you didn’t actually want.

Now pick out a specific piece of furniture!

Look around the store you’ve chosen for the exact furniture pieces you’d like to take a closer look at.  Insist that you look around by yourself at first so you can pull everything available in without a distracting salesperson pointing out the so-called “best deals”.  After you’ve done that, if you still need help picking something out, feel free to ask an employee.  Just be aware that you can’t take everything they say for granted!  You should be able to find a particularly good piece of furniture to take a closer look at this way.  Well, it will at least appear to be a particularly good piece of furniture at first glance, which is why the next step for purchasing furniture is there!

Is it the quality level you need it to be?

Check the piece of furniture thoroughly!  If it’s wooden, ask if the wood is susceptible to moisture damage at all.  Kiln-dried wood is best.  Make sure the wood is nice and thick, and make sure that all the joints look clean.  The larger the area of smooth-feeling wood, the higher quality the piece of furniture is, generally speaking (this includes the under-side as well).  For upholstered furniture, make sure that the seams are clean.  Make sure the patterns match up.  Did you really start considering purchasing furniture just to buy sloppy looking furniture?  I didn’t think so.  For leather furniture, make sure that the leather is top-grain.  Lower levels of leather will often be made of several pieces of leather fused together with compressed non-leather tissue.  It is more prone to damage from heat, and will fade worse over time than top-grain leather will.  While higher quality is always better, keep in mind that higher quality is also much more expensive.  If you don’t need the highest quality to meet your needs, don’t be ashamed to settle for a lower quality to save yourself some money.  However, if you need the furniture to last a very long time and stay in great shape, you might need to get the highest quality available.

Now buy it!

Assuming all the previous steps went smoothly, you’re now ready to buy it!  So, just pull out your credit card and… wait!  Don’t use a credit card!  The interest rates on credit cards will significantly increase the cost of the furniture you’re purchasing.  Unless you actually need to have the furniture right away, save up for it and pay cash.  That is always the cheapest way to get high quality furniture.   If you do have to have it now, ask about special financing from the store.  If you chose a good store, they probably have financing available.  It’s not the best choice, but it’s certainly better than the interest rates on a credit card!  Oh, and don’t forget to thoroughly read the warranty and return policies.  They might be long, but understanding them will keep you from a bad situation later!

Well, hopefully at this point you will be satisfied with your purchasing furniture experience.  If not, perhaps you rushed it too much.  If you are unsatisfied with the furniture, you may want to return it, if you can.  If you are simply dissatisfied with the amount you spent on it, then you should take things more slowly in the future.  Still, the hope is that this all goes off without problems, and if you’re careful, you’ll most likely be enjoying your purchase for years to come!

What is Contemporary Style?

Are you “in style”? Does your home have a look that would be considered cool by today’s standards? If so, then your home probably has been designed and decorated with a contemporary look. But what does “contemporary” really mean?

Many times contemporary style is classified as a distinct style and doesn’t encompass other design styles. Commonly, and un-knowingly, people think furniture considered contemporary is something they are most likely to find in an upscale art gallery in New York city. What they fail to realize is that the word contemporary simply means “of the present time,” and this can encompass a broad range of designs.

If you are looking for a more straight line look and want to stay within the contemporary design, then look for pieces that are of Danish or Scandinavian design. Contemporary Scandinavian designers often use straight lines in their designs and leave their pieces unadorned and crafted of walnut and teak. Sometimes their pieces will have gentle curves, but these will not be at a premium.

The most common label for contemporary furniture is “Artsy” and is likely to be found in urban locations and lofts. This furniture often has flare and is extremely simple. Furniture pieces in this category are not always adorned with straight lines, but typically showcase curved lines to give them a unique look and shape. Leather and microfibers are usually the upholstery of choice in this case.

Finally, minimalist styled furniture takes the contemporary look to the extreme and is known for its use of straight lines. The Minimalist approach was inspired by Bauhaus design and puts emphasis on free space, functionality, and economical design. You won’t find a lot of furniture in a minimalistic room. Instead, you will find one of two pieces accompanied by a lot of space.

Designing for Longevity

It’s inevitable! Your kids are going to change their minds. Whether it’s within seconds, minutes, hours, or days, it’s a guaranteed fact that your child will at one point or another will change their mind about their likes and interests.  Seventeen years of these interest changes can take its toll on any room and most importantly your budget. So how do you prepare for your child’s ever-changing tastes when designing their room?

Stay with the conventional

With the amount of TV and movies your children will watch, it’s hard to say what characters or themes they will like from one day to the next.  So when your child decides it’s time for a new style in their room, simply change the wall hangings or the painting scheme. This is something that can be inexpensive and easy to change. Kids outgrow themes on a daily basis, so if you purchase a new bed with every theme, plan for a lot of spending.

Plan for the long haul

Your focus when planning for longevity needs to be solely on the furniture pieces. Kids are very hard on furniture. That’s a fact. Buying quality, well-built pieces is vital. This doesn’t mean you have to break the bank and buy the absolute best. But look at the manufacturer’s warranty and take it into consideration the quality of the pieces when deciding what to buy. Also, heavier woods are sturdier and will last longer, but can be more expensive. Woods like pine are not as high quality, but will save you money.

The sooner, the better

When designing for a nursery, stay away from gender specific colors like pink for a girl and blue for a boy. Thinking long term means using neutral shades for paints, and then adding bolder colors to the accent pieces. Accent pieces can be changed down the road and are fairly inexpensive. A very easy and inexpensive way to decorate a room are wall stickers. They peel off easily and can be replaced with the next fad.

Finally, multi-stage pieces will also help when planning for the longevity of the room. For instance, cribs that convert into toddler beds will last for years and serve a multi-purpose.  As will a six-drawer dresser with a changer on top instead of just a changing table.

Protecting against Hazards you can’t see

Preparing a nursery for your soon-to-be-newborn is a very special time for parents. You want the room to be completely safe; a beautiful living space for your new special treasure but free from any hazards. But how do you protect them from the hazards you can’t see? Here are some safe and healthy ways to create a living space for your little one.

Avoid hazards you can’t see

Keeping the room safe doesn’t just mean ensuring the edges of furniture pieces are rounded and protectors are in the plugs. You have to protect your little one from things that cannot be seen. This means staying away from synthetic materials that give off formaldehyde gas. Items like press board and plastics are the culprits in this case. Instead, choose furniture made out of natural wood that is not finished. It’s pretty much guaranteed that during your baby’s gumming stage, s/he will come in contact with the crib or other pieces of furniture. Be sure to stay away from painted or stained materials for their safety as well.

Keep it simple and clean

Today’s current fashion is a contemporary style. The modern-and-chic look is one of simplicity, where only a few items are used to bring life to the room. Use colors sparingly is the key here, and stay away from over-using pastels. Go with a calm color for the walls.  This will allow for wall murals or cozy rugs to stand out more, adding style to the room.

Safe walls for little hands

On the theme of non-toxic products, it’s important that the walls of the room are safe from any artificial materials. If you’re choosing wallpaper for the room, look to have it professionally installed with non-toxic wallpaper paste. If you choose to paint, zero-VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) is your best bet here and can be customized to match almost any color you need.

Natural Baby Bedding

Toxins can also be found in bedding. Your baby’s skin will be in contact with nursery bedding for many hours each day. A baby’s skin is very sensitive in the early years, so it’s important to keep their skin safe from substances that cause irritation. Choose natural fabrics like cotton instead of synthetics. This also goes for crib bumpers, pillow inserts, covers and changing pads.

Prevent your Cat from Scratching Furniture

Why does your cute little kitty latch on to your favorite furniture and hang on for dear life, stretching his claws and your patience?

Cats are a great family pet. Their easy maintenance, sweet and loving nature, and great companionship can really add to your family’s home lifestyle. But one of the frustrations that come with having cats is your feline’s need to scratch, stretch, and flex their claws. This can lead to severely damaged furniture and leave you very frustrated.

Follow these steps to prevent your cat from scratching and preserve the look of the furniture you bought through CLS Direct for a lifetime.

  1. Put a scratching post in your cat’s favorite perch. Cats often like to enjoy the sun on their fur, so place a post by a window.
  2. Find a post that best suits your cat. This may take a bit of experimenting on your part, but will be well worth it.
  3. Research your cat’s breed to find what surfaces or textures they may prefer such as rugs, wood or cardboard.  You will also discover if they prefer a vertical or horizontal post.
  4. Reward your kitty with a treat every time they use the post. This will create a desire in them to want to scratch the post instead of your furniture.
  5. Upon waking from a long nap, pick the cat up and place it near the post. Cats stretch and flex their claws after waking up.
  6. Provide alternatives, not punishment, when your cat scratches the furniture. Punishment will only teach them to not do it when you are around.
  7. Do not permit your cat to scratch any furniture, even if you plan on getting rid of an old piece. This will only teach them to scratch any and all furniture.
  8. Finally, consult your local veterinarian about different treatment option before you give up.

Prevent Your Dog from Chewing on your Furniture

Man’s best friend can also be his worst enemy when it comes to the destruction of furniture. It’s a normal thing for puppies to want to chew on any objects they can find. This habit will continue typically from the ages of 1 1/2 to 2. No object or piece of furniture is safe during this growing time. They will chew on shoes, windowsills, moldings, clothes, sports equipment, but most importantly your brand new furniture!

Protect the wonderful piece of furniture you just purchased from CLS Direct from getting chewed on by following these easy steps.

  1. Figure out why they are chewing. Is it because of teething, curiosity, boredom, or a behavioral disorder? Discuss these options with your local veterinarian.
  2. If you puppy is teething, buy them a teething ring or make a frozen washcloth for them to chew on.
  3. Keep a sharp eye on your puppy. Don’t let them wander about. Use a baby gate to corral them and keep them in the same room as you. Crates can also be useful if you fill them with chewable toys.
  4. If you catch your dog chewing, distract them by giving them something appropriate to chew on. Have toys with various textures on them and rotate them around so boredom does not become a factor.
  5. Practice obedience with your puppy. Set aside time to play with them or teach them tricks. Your puppy wants your attention and is very important that you give it to them.
  6. Finally, exercise your puppy. If you tire them out, they won’t have the energy to chew on furniture.

Memorable Mealtimes

With the holidays right around the corner, its important to determine how your dining room should be arranged. Sharing a meal at an abundant table is one of the most memorable times at any holiday gathering.  Save yourself some stress this season by preparing your dining room well in advance of your dinner next party.

Polish your silver, clean your china and crystal – or stock up on pretty paper plates! Press any linens, table runner, placemats or napkins. Determine where each guest will sit, and mark their place with a small gift.

Plan your centerpiece and decorations. Tall candles or hurricane lamps look lovely on a sideboard or buffet, but a lower centerpiece make conversation easier at the table.

Keep a file of all your favorite holiday recipes, then plan your menu well in advance and stock up on non-perishable items. When you set the table, place the serving dish and utensil for each dish on the table.

Protect your dining room table with a table pad or trivet. Do not use silicone pads on wood furnishings, as they can damage the finish!

Caring for your Leather Furniture

Few fabric choices for furniture are more luxurious or supple than leather. From the moment you sink into it, you know that you’re in for an entirely different level of enjoyment, from the buttery soft feel of the furniture to the faint scent of top grain leather.

Properly cared for, leather will last a lifetime. It is resilient, it breathes and it gets better and softer with age.

To keep your furniture looking like new, here are some tips for caring for your leather furniture.

Avoid the heat. Leather is a natural material. If you leave it in the sunlight or near a heat source, it will begin to fade, crack and get stiff.

Clean it regularly. Every couple of weeks, wipe down your leather furniture with a damp cloth. Make sure that you try this on a small spot the first time you do it, just to see how the leather reacts. If it absorbs the water, stick with a dry cloth.

Vacuum monthly. Dirt can build up in the crevasses between the cushions and frame. Be sure to vacuum these areas every month so the dirt doesn’t cause friction and mar the finish.

Clean spills promptly. Leather is a porous material. If someone spills something on your leather furniture, blot it up immediately. Don’t wipe as it may just spread the spill, not absorb it.

Don’t use cleaning products. Leather furniture doesn’t respond well to soap, detergents or cleaning solvents. So don’t use them. The same is true with water. If you use water on a stain, it will cause more damage than the stain did. If a stain won’t go away on its own, you want to bring in a specialist to clean your furniture professionally.

Keep sharp objects away. Leather furniture can get punctured and scratched fairly easily, so you want to make sure that people don’t sit on your leather furniture with keys or pens in their pockets. If your leather furniture does get scratched try some chamois to see if it buffs out.

Watch out for dyes. As you know, leather can be easily dyed into just about any color. That also means that any ink or dye can leave a stain on your leather furniture, so you don’t want to leave any printed material on your leather or it can transfer and stain.

Condition it. Every 6 to 12 months you want to condition the leather to keep it soft and pliable.

Get a protection plan. A protection plan is a good idea when you purchase your leather furniture. Just be sure you read through it to make sure it offers the coverage you expect for the money.

With just a little bit of care and preventative maintenance, you can keep your leather furniture looking like new for years and be able to enjoy its beauty, elegance and style for a very long time.