Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Benefits of Hammocking

Photograph of a hammock in a sun room with large windows over looking the forest.

It’s easier than you might think to swing into a better life. Sleeping in a hammock delivers impressive benefits that could revolutionize the way you think about sleep. Insomnia? A thing of the past for many who use hammocksOpens in a new window. Aches and pains? Diminished considerably. Increased ability to concentrate? You guessed it, just another benefit regular users of hammocks report feeling.

Check out these and other perks to hammocking that you probably never realized:

Fall Asleep Faster

Did you know that hammocks help you fall asleep faster (and let’s be honest, who doesn’t want to fall asleep faster)? A study from Current BiologyOpens in a new window  reveals scientific support that “rocking can soothe our sleep” and provide “accelerated sleep onset.”

Photograph of a woman in her hammock in the wilderness sleeping under the sun and trees.

This is because swinging exerts a synchronizing action in our brains that lulls us into sleep, much like when we were babies. Hammocks make the same motion, which is one of the reasons they’re so calming and relaxing.

Sleep Deeper

Even better than faster sleep onset is the ability to go into deep sleep. How is this possible? According to the same Current Biology study, the hammock’s swinging motion actually changes your brain’s electrical activity. Mentioned in the study as oscillations and spindles, electrical activity is boosted when you are swinging in a hammock. These rhythmic electrical activities are noted as “hallmarks of deep sleep,” according to the study. In other words, boosting these means your body has a better chance to sleep and recover, restoring organs and damaged tissue. This recovery process is integral to optimal health, increasing alertness and your ability to memorize and learn.

Photograph of a person in a hammock relaxing with their legs crossed while overlooking the wilderness.

In that case, let the good times swing.

It May Help Relieve Back Pain

Since a hammockOpens in a new window has a zero pressure-point surface, you’ll be suspended in comfort—which can help relieve pains and aches you may get from lying on a conventional flat surface mattress. It also helps that the position you’re in while resting in a hammock is considered the “ideal sleep posture,” which is lying on your back with your head slightly elevated at about 10-30 degrees.

Stripped hammock on a back patio connected to a hammock stand.

Whether it’s just a 20-30 minute snooze or an overnight affair, you’ll find it might be just the thing to help reset and refresh your body.

You Can Take it Just About Anywhere

White polyester hammock that you can hang up anywhere.

Hammocks aren’t just for setting up between two palm trees on the beach; with an easy-to-transport frame and a carrying case,Opens in a new window there’s practically no limit to where you can swing your cares away. It’s the perfect outlet for feeding your adventurous spirit and reducing stress, whether you’re at the park with friends, on a hiking trail, or even in your own backyard.

 

They’re Long Lasting

Hammocks come in a wide variety of price points, depending on the type of material used and how they’re manufactured. Choosing woven and reinforced hammocks made from cotton or an acrylic blend will last you for years to come. 

A cream colored hammock that is tied up on a tree.

Ready to Rock?

There’s no time like the present to cocoon yourself in a cozy hammockOpens in a new windowand reap all its benefits. For a dreamy afternoon nap, or perhaps a fun expedition with friends in the woods, your hammock will quickly become a seating and sleeping staple you won’t want to do without.

How do you chill out on your hammock? Send us a picture and use the hashtag #MyAshleyHome for a chance to be featured on our Instagram. There’s plenty more ways to to relax outside so make sure to check out all of our outdoor productsOpens in a new window.

The post Benefits of Hammocking appeared first on XO Ashley.

How to Choose the Best Rug Size for Every Room: Tips & Inspiration Guide

With so many rug sizes and styles available, it may be intimidating to choose one for your home. Area rugs have been called a room’s fifth wall, which means choosing the right one is as important and foundational as choosing the right wall color. Here’s a guide to choosing rug sizesOpens in a new window that are a definite “design do” and will make a pleasing visual impact.

Living Room Rug Guide

Size matters when it comes to choosing living room rugs. Most rooms offer some flexibility, so the first thing to decide is your living room layout. If you’re on the fence about furniture placement, check out our living room layout guide.Opens in a new window

A rug graphic showing the right size rug for your living room.

Graphic showing the right size rug for a smaller living room.

  • If your room is large and spacious, like living room #1, you could choose a large area rug, such as 8′ x 10′Opens in a new window or 9’ x 12′. Area rugs this size can usually accommodate all your furniture.
  • If your living room is on the small side, like living room #2, choose a rug that is slightly smaller in scale and place just the front legs of your furniture on the rug. This creates a harmonious look and a cozy space, perfect for conversation. In this layout, the coffee table can play a starring role. To ensure you purchase just the right one, check out this coffee table dimension guide.Opens in a new window
  • This same concept can be used if you have an exceptionally large great room. Use two or more area rugsOpens in a new window to visually break up the space, creating separate seating areas that will make the room more inviting. Just make sure each seating group complements each other in design, color and scale. 

Dining Room Rug Guide

This is the one room where there isn’t a lot of flexibility in rug sizes. When it comes to choosing dining room rugs, the rules are very clear – it’s important that the table and chairs fit comfortably on top of it. The reason is as much for safety as for aesthetics – you don’t want your guests tripping over a too-short rug when they get up from the table. That means you should allow for at least 24 inches of room on all sides of the dining table. Measure your dining room table and add 24 inches (or more) on each side to find the correct measurement that will work for your room.

A graphic demonstrating the right size rug for a dining room area with a large dining room table.

 

On a side note, if you’re wondering what size table you should have in your dining room in the first place, take a look at our dining table size and style guide.Opens in a new window

Bedroom Rug Guide

There’s a lot more flexibility when it comes to choosing a rug for the bedroom, though most homeowners choose a bedroom rug that fits under the bed. You could choose a large rug that accommodates the entire bed and nightstands, or, as you see in bedroom #1, one that fits the bottom half of the bed and leaves the nightstands on the floor. Here are some general guidelines:

This graphic demonstrates the right rug size for a larger bedroom.

This graphic demonstrates the right size rug for a small bedroom.

  • 9’ x 12’ rugs will accommodate a queen or king bed, or two twin beds along with their nightstands and the bench or chest at the foot.
  • 8’ x 10’ area rugs will hold a queen or king and nightstands, or, if positioned lower, will accommodate the bottom two thirds of the bed and leave nightstands on the bare floor.
  • 6′ x 9′Opens in a new windowarea rugs will accommodate a single twin or full along with the nightstand and a bench or chest at the foot of the bed

Of course, there’s no rule that says you must place an area rug under your bed. Take a look at bedroom #2. If you can’t bear the thought of covering gorgeous hard wood or tile floors, consider placing small area rugsOpens in a new window on either side of the bed so your tootsies have something warm to land on when you wake up. And speaking of those tootsies…the bedroom is one place you’re guaranteed to be without shoes, so choosing the right type of rug material is exceptionally important here. Here is some information on rug materials if you’re unsure which rug material will work for you.Opens in a new window

 Hallway Rug Guide

Most standard hallway rugs are 2’ to 3’ wide, and anywhere from 6’ to 14’ long. No matter the size of your hall or entryway, you will ideally have from 4 to 5 inches of flooring visible on all sides of the rug, though more is acceptable, especially if the hall is very long. Just make sure rug placement is right in the middle of the hall for uniformity.

Kitchen Rug Guide

This blog demonstrates the right size rug for a kitchen area considering walking space a kichen island and a eating area.

Things to keep in mind when choosing kitchen rugs:

  • If you just want a pop of color or a little extra cushioning in the prep or sink area, consider a 3’ x 5’ or 4’ x 6’ rug.
  • Narrow kitchens can benefit from a runner Opens in a new window placed in the middle, which will make the room look bigger
  • For maximum impact, choose a large rug that complements the rest of the room. Just make sure there is between 6 and 24 inches between the rug and wall or cabinets and appliances.

Rug Size FAQ  

What are standard rug sizes?

  • 2’ x 3’
  • 4’ x 6”
  • 5’ x 7’
  • 5’ x 8’
  • 6’ x 9’
  • 8’ x 10’
  • 9’ x 12’
  • Runners

What is the size of a runner?                                         

  • 6’ x 4’
  • 6’ x 6,
  • 6’ x 9’

How do you measure for a rug?

  • First, measure the total width and length of your room, then measure all the large items that you plan to place in the room, such as the bed, sofa or dining table.
  • Now, subtract the measurements of the area rug to find the exposed floor space. This will help determine if the space between the wall and the rug is appropriate for your layout.

Rug Size Guide Video

CLICK HEREOpens in a new window TO DOWNLOAD OUR COMPLETE GUIDE

The post How to Choose the Best Rug Size for Every Room: Tips & Inspiration Guide appeared first on XO Ashley.

Thursday, 12 April 2018

How to Create a Boho Boys Room With Amber Shirley

As you can tell by her Instagram username, “PreppyBohemianAtHomeOpens in a new window”, for Amber Shirley, boho is the only way to go – even in her son, Rylan’s bedroom. But she discovered that creating a “fashionable” boy’s room can be a tricky task when it’s video games and sports that take top priority for him. Thankfully her little man’s lack of interest in a stylish room couldn’t stop her from creating a space that’s infused with boho chic, yet still meets his demands for fun.

Where To Begin

Amber is the boho style guru with many ideas up her sleeve. She wanted to make sure that her son’s room retained all the elements he loved, like a place to watch TV and play video games. Her goal? Add style that he can learn to appreciate as he grows older, storage for games and toys, and functional elements that will make his room better than before. 

The Lounge Area

Rylan has quite a large room with plenty of space for fun with friends. The old futon was not cutting it, so Amber upgraded it with the Andora Coil FutonOpens in a new window This boho blue dream adds so much color and life to the space. Add the Jaxith rugOpens in a new window and voila, this dreary space becomes a rad pad.

The Game Area

Little boys (and girls) these days can’t live without their game stations and personal stash of stuff. Facing an ever-expanding inventory of board games and toys, Amber chose to keep them all and store them in style. Who knew a King Kong action figure and tractor toys could look so good! Adding the Horizons area rugOpens in a new window instantly makes the room look even larger.

Bedtime = Best Time

Amber knows that whatever extras a bedroom provides, its main purpose is to ensure her son gets the rest he needs every night. The Trinell nightstand provides just enough space for all his nighttime essentials. Top it off with colorful thows and pillows on the bed, and this bedroom is fit for a king – or, a prince, as the case may be.

Well that you have it, a boho boy’s bedroom done right. As Amber proves, there’s always a way to add a touch of your style into your kids rooms. For more bohemian home inspiration, check out her blog The Preppy Bohemian At HomeOpens in a new window

 

 

 

The post How to Create a Boho Boys Room With Amber Shirley appeared first on XO Ashley.

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

A Guide to Children’s Sleep

If you’re a parent, you know just how important a good night’s sleep is for children.  A lack of quality sleep can bring out problems at school and at home.

We’ve crafted a handy guide that details everything you need to know about children’s sleep. From how to make the nightly bed time routine a breeze, to choosing the mattress that’s best for their growing bodies, it’s all right here.

How Much Sleep is Enough?

The amount of sleep you need depends on your age. Young children need plentiful rest to sustain all the energy their body exerts as they grow. This chart details the suggested amount of sleep your child should get, through each stage of life:

An image of a mom and her baby with a chart underneath detailing the amount of hours a child should get each night based on their age and growth.

How to Choose the Best Mattress for Your Child

Because, children optimally spend a very large portion of their lives sleeping, finding the right mattress is exceptionally important. Here are some key points to consider that will ensure you find the perfect match.

What’s the Best Mattress Size?

A chart of a woman looking at a mattress for child with the chart speaking to mattress sizes.

It’s the first question to tackle: do you go with a twin, or a full? While a kid’s full size mattressOpens in a new windowmight be a bit more costly upfront, it’s an investment that will last for years and even end up saving you money in the long run. A good quality mattress can last up to 10 years, and you can bet your child will do a lot of growing in that time. The extra leg room is a daily luxury, and your kids will be sleeping comfortably from childhood, to teenage years and probably even young adulthood.

While the full size mattress is a practical choice that makes it easier to transition your kid’s rooms as they grow, there are cases where a twin size mattress might be the better option. Space-saving bed frames, like a loft bedOpens in a new window with storage, a trundle bed or bunk bed frame might only be available in twin sizes. Depending on your personal scenario, having the extra storage space, or extra bedding might outweigh the benefits of picking a full size mattress.

What’s Better: Plush or Firm?

An image of a baby asleep on a bed with her eyes shit and underneath there is a small chart saying "firm vs. plush."

After mattress size is decided, comes the question of mattress feel. Mattresses on the firmer side are generally recommended for children. The firmness provides back support – essential for proper spine alignment in young, growing bodies. It’s also an easy transition from a crib mattress and is ideal for children who are stomach-sleepers. If your little one is a side-sleeper, a medium to soft mattress might be a good option.

Types of Mattresses

Graphic of a man and his daughter laying on a mattress looking up at the camera with text next to them saying "mattress types"

Another major factor to consider are the materials used in your child’s mattress. When shopping, you’ll find that there are three main types of mattresses: the traditional innerspring, the memory foam and the hybrid. Each touts its own special benefits that align with unique sleeping habits.

The traditional innerspring mattressOpens in a new window provides long-lasting support you can rely on—it’s the perfect starter mattress, meeting the support and comfort level for many.

On the other hand, if your child has specific sleeping habits, they may benefit from some features of memory foam. For example, if they get hot throughout the night, a mattress with cooling gel memory foamOpens in a new window might just do the trick. Or, if your child suffers from allergies, a hypoallergenic mattressOpens in a new window resistant to dust mites, fungus and bacteria, can truly make all the difference.

The third option, the hybrid mattressOpens in a new window, combines layers of memory foam and individually wrapped coils to help with motion separation throughout the night. If you’re trying to choose between the contouring comfort of memory foam and the tried-and-true support of springs, this might be the perfect fit.

How to Create a Sleep-Friendly Environment

A graphic of a woman and her daughter on a couch reading a book before bed and the text underneath them reads "sleep-friendly environment"

Having the right mattress is a fabulous start, but here comes the even trickier part: actually getting your kids to sleep. Try out our top tips to help little ones get the rest they need:

  • Encourage an active lifestyle:Studies showOpens in a new window that increased physical activity during the day can lead to better sleep, as well as better health. Riding bikes or playing ball are fun after-school activities.
  • Avoid stimulants: Children are sensitive to the energy-boosting effects of caffeine and sugar, so it’s best to limit or completely avoid those treats in the late afternoon and evening.
  • Create a “wind-down” period: It’s hard to fall asleep right away. By reserving an hour before bed to relax, you’re conditioning the mind to prepare for sleep. Since blue lights found in electronic devices are known for disturbing melatonin productionOpens in a new window, the hormone that promotes sleep, it’s best to stay free of them during this wind-down period. Bath time and reading are great calming activities.
  • Try out color psychology: Cooler colorsOpens in a new window have a calming effect on the human psyche, so  hues like ultra-violet and soft green can help create a tranquil vibe in the bedroom while still being fun and playful.
  • Set the ambiance: Make the room comfortable by keeping it cool and dark—if your child prefers a nightlight, opt for a red bulb in lieu of harsh blue light. And while traditionally, silence is golden, some children might benefit from a white noise machine or soothing nature sounds to lull them straight to sleep.
  • Make it comforting: To truly rein in that serene energy, make sure that your kid’s sleep environment is inviting. Top off the bed with irresistibly cozy beddingOpens in a new windowand plush pillowsOpens in a new window.
  • Stay consistent: Most importantly, sticking to a regular routine will keep your children on a natural sleep schedule. Whether following one of our tips, or all of them, it’s consistency that will have the greatest effect.

How to Solve Common Sleep Problems

A little boy on a bed with his hands over his eyes and the text above him reads "sleep problems"

Two of the most common sleep issues children encounter are nightmares and insomnia. It can be difficult watching your child struggle with what should be a peaceful, rejuvenating time, but thankfully there are lots of ways to help alleviate these problems.

Nightmares are very common, especially in young children. By following our sleep-friendly environment tips, you can instill a positive bedtime routine that makes your children happy and receptive to bed time. Sometimes giving your child a soothing object, like a favorite blanket, pillow or stuffed animal, can help them comfort themselves after a nightmare. Above all else, the best thing is to comfort your child while remaining positive.

There are also a few ways to combat insomnia. Most of the time, insomnia is triggered by stress or anxiety. By identifying the stressors in your child’s life (homework, friends, etc.), you may be able to help them work get to the core of the issue. If your child is old enough, rather than spending time on the phone or watching TV before bed, encourage them to journal. It’s a great stress-relieving activity as they wind-down before bed.

So, how did we do? We’d love to hear your own stories and tips about sleep health! Children’s sleep is so important, and one thing’s for sure—every child deserves the time to rest, rejuvenate and dream in the comfort of their own bed. It’s why Ashley has a mission of giving kids the gift of sleep with the program Hope to DreamOpens in a new window. Portions of each mattress purchase go towards the program, and thanks to your help, we’ve donated over 50,000 mattresses to children in need.

The post A Guide to Children’s Sleep appeared first on XO Ashley.

Kids Bedroom Makeovers with Blogger Robin Long

Ashley HomeStore style influencer and artist/blogger, Robin Long (aka, Coastal Crafty MamaOpens in a new window) is short on patience. She’ll be the first to admit that. Robin will update a room and within a few months be ready for something new.

But when it came to sprucing up the bedrooms for her three children (Ella, 6, Wesley, 4, and Grayson, 21 months), Robin was determined to think long term—establishing looks that her kids can appreciate today and tomorrow. Rather than go overboard with “theme-focused” kids rooms, Robin chose to focus on finishing touches to create chic, cozy retreats kids of any age would be proud to call their own.

Before – Little Girls Room

Image of the little girls room before the makeover. There is a white bed with a blank blue wall with a few frames on the wall.

Before – Little Boys Room

Image of the boys room before the makeover, there are only beds with a mattress and the walls are bare.

Transforming a Room Through Accessories—and Some Vision

Robin proves you don’t have to change everything to totally transform a space. The clean-lined, timeless furniture she had stayed in place. (In her daughter’s room: the Bostwick ShoalsOpens in a new window twin panel bed. In her sons’ room: a pair of TrinellOpens in a new windowpanel beds.) Admittedly, Grayson isn’t quite ready for a big boy bed, but he will be before you know it.

For these room makeovers, it was all about the accessories, baby.

A Girl’s Room Dream Makeover

The goal for Ella’s room: a sweet, girly sanctuary. A place where a little lady with two younger brothers can feel free to escape. Something decidedly feminine, effortlessly stylish and just for her. The classic white furniture and soft, muted colors already in place were a great starting point. And the adorable reading nook tent was already a big hit with her daughter. Robin just wanted to make it that much cozier.

Accessorized from Head to Toe

Robin was floored when she discovered how affordable custom wallpaper could be. She didn’t need much of it: just enough for an accent wall. The rose   wallpaper she found was the perfect feminine touch to pull together the room’s pastel color scheme (of mint green, light pink and white).

Knowing that making a dreamy bed is , Robin combined a white ruffled duvet she had in storage with a new pink puckered comforter setOpens in a new window for that much more texture and interest. (Tip: For a lovely layered effect, fold an accent duvet in half and place at the foot of the bed.)

Robin further indulged her obsession with texture by adding a dreamy pouf and pillow in white. Talk about fuzzy and fabulous. What’s a little lady’s room without a touch of shimmer and sheen? Goldtone touches (captured in the artwork and table lamp) brought just enough sass to the scene. And the ta-da piece: a crystal drop chandelierOpens in a new windowthat’s delightfully elegant for girls of any age.

Sporting a soft and subtle shade of beige and an understated lattice pattern, the ultra-neutral wool area rugOpens in a new window marries the pink, green, white and goldtone palette quite nicely. Placed over the existing beige carpeting, it adds a cozy layer of interest.

 Let’s Hear It for the Boys’ Room Makeover

With the boys bunking together, Robin went the distance to make their shared space really cool and unique. She opted for twin beds rather than a bunk bed to provide the boys with a sense of ownership and establish the personal boundaries they’ll need as they get older.

Touches like a shiplap accent wall (which you can also get in the form of ) and a along with rustic-feel furniture have that rough-and-tumble vibe that’s great for a boy’s room.

To accommodate the boys’ maturing tastes, Robin kept the “dark neutral” palette she had established and very much loved. With a few pops of color, some added texture and a few open-and-airy accents, a modern rustic look with retro flair was born.

Finding the right lighting was a big element in this room makeover. The table lamp and floor lamp delight by taking minimalism to the max. And the choice of a spectacular sputnik chandelier? A little out there, but it works.

Commingling cool tones of charcoal, metallic gray, black, navy and aqua blue with a zing of orange, Robin’s palette might be sophisticated, but it’s still kid friendly. Outfitting the beds with matching twin comforter setsOpens in a new window, she played off the fabric colors by adding throw pillows with faux fur and nubby naps. A wool area rug and textural pouf in charcoal not only add coziness but also pick up the gray tones in the driftwood-y furniture.

A strapping accent mirrowOpens in a new window with leather strap hanger and distressed metal wall clockOpens in a new window add to the retro element.

If you’re considering a kids room makeover, think of all you can do with the magic of accessories. Before you buy, like Robin, you might want to give a vision board a try. Check out more inspiration from Robin on her Instagram at @CoastalCraftyMamaOpens in a new window
               

 

The post Kids Bedroom Makeovers with Blogger Robin Long appeared first on XO Ashley.