5 Reasons Why you should Consult with an Interior Designer

Home Improvement

Interior designer. Now say it slower this time. What vibe do you get? More often than not, people distinguish that hiring an interior designer is something attributed to those of affluent taste. They create visually pleasing interiors for galleries, plazas, malls, and large mansions. Not modest homes or condo units where you and your family stay in.

But the good news is, whatever negative assumption many people may have about them is totally untrue. Interior designers can definitely spruce up your home with the right materials like drapes, furniture, acoustic foam, and so on. If you’re at a loss on how to fix up your place, here are 5 reasons why you should consult with an interior designer.

They know what they’re doing

If you have a bug problem, you call pest control services. If your car breaks down, you go to an auto repair shop. Why? Because these experts know how to deal with your current predicament. Exterminators are knowledgeable on which pesticide to use. Auto mechanics are familiar with the ins and outs of a car. The point? Interior designers studied how to perfectly balance a home’s interiors so it looks utterly incredible. It’s their area of expertise.

Interior Designer

It boosts value for money

You might be scratching your head on this one. How can hiring a designer help me minimize costs? I’ll have to pay his/her fee? Do I really end up saving more by hiring one?

The answer is “Yes”. The long and short of it is that having an interior designer’s guidance could save you a couple thousand bucks from buying that couch, sofa, chair, tables, or extra pillows you don’t really need.

They will save you time and give you efficiency

Nothing is more taxing than coming home from work at the end of the day and then having to put on your interior designer hat to fix your house. You might end up with shoddy workmanship, or even an unfinished one at that. That would be a waste of personal time.

Having an interior designer in your corner brings laser-sharp focus into the mix. He/she will definitely have the time and energy to concentrate on your home’s interiors.

Resources, resources, resources

With an interior designer comes his/her industry connections. Why buy furniture in malls when your designer can hook you up with a supplier of good-quality and affordable equipment? You should definitely leverage on that key advantage.

They notice the details

Sometimes all we see is the big picture. We know how our living room or bedroom should look like in the end. But it’s much more than that. Interior designers can be very detail-oriented. And that’s a good thing. They know which small features will also contribute to the overall effect of the area being designed.

To get a better idea on what home improvement experts can do for you, check out the profiles we did on DIY gurus like Amber Brown and Sian Zeng!

DIY Expert Profile: Sian Zeng

Sian Zeng

When looking around your house, do you feel that something is lacking? It’s something with the walls, right? Sure, these slabs of concrete give you a sense of space and security, but it could look more… interesting.

That’s where the use of wallpaper comes in. You can choose from a myriad of designs to add color and design to your home walls, but finding which specific design will compliment your home and reflect your personality can be a tough task.

You want something that will both look appealing and last you a long time. This is where Sian Zeng who is a pro at wallpaper designs as much as Amber Brown is an expert at upholstery and polyurethane foam. Today, we’re going to do a profile on this innovative and accomplished modern artist.

It’s all in the name

Sian Zeng is both the name of a corporate entity and the person who founded the enterprise. She was originally born in China, but moved to Hungary at the tender age of 7. “Being born in the East and then raised in the West, my multicultural upbringing has become the inspiration for my designs.”

She is a graduate of Central Saint Martins. Sian also won the William Atkinson Workshop back in 2008. Elle Decoration also named her “Young Talent of the Year Award” on both 2010 and2011.

Sian Zeng Wallpaper

Her company

In 2009, Sian realized her creative passion by setting up her own design firm aptly named “Sian Zeng”, where she assumes the role of managing director/designer. It is an award-winning, London-based design company that specializes in creating wallpapers, interior designs, and gifts.

By taking one look at her designs, one can notice a sense of playfulness and child-like imagination: dinosaurs, plants, bears, frogs, and pastel colors dominate some of her most dominant creations. This is part of her artistic philosophy. “We inject lightheartedness and creativity in each of our projects. Mixed with a very unique art perspective and the desire to add a capricious tale in our wallpapers, these elements allow our customers to interact with the finished work.

To be even more specific, Sian Zeng brings to life magnetic wallpapers for her clientele. These projects come with magnetic creatures, buildings, and write-on speech bubbles that allow interaction between the art form and the patron. Having collaborated with internationally-acclaimed artists, Zeng also offers various, custom-made home accessories and unique wallpaper designs in assorted colors and patterns. Did you know that Hilary Duff chose Ziang’s magnetic woodlands wallpaper design for her son’s nursery?

If you’re interested to see her designs, click here. And for more information about Zeng’s work, you can visit her official Facebook Page.

Once you understand who she is, where she came from, and why she does what does, “Sian Zeng” is a name to be reckoned with in the design world. It embodies creativity, staying power and the quirkiness she brings to her chosen art form.

If you found this article interesting, or have any ideas you want to share, sound off in the comments section below.

DIY Expert Profile: Amanda Brown

Amanda Brown

Mommies, it sure is a difficult task to manage a household, isn’t it? This rings especially true when you have to balance the budget. You’ve got to be wise about it. You can’t keep buying new stuff all the time, or else you’d end up spending a small fortune. Affordable ways to spend your money are the way to go, especially with your furniture.

Speaking of furniture, have you ever wondered how to you can spruce them up and make them look brand new? We’ve already featured a post that teaches you how to reupholster your sofa on your own, but in extreme cases, you need an expert who’s got the experience and creativity.

Today, we’re doing a profile on D-I-Y expert Amanda Brown, who knows a thing or two about upholstery and the best materials for filling a couch.

Let’s get to know her, shall we?

Amanda Brown has always loved refurbishing old furniture. “Ever since my college days and adult life, I had a knack for repairing old house fixtures and making them usable again.” But this wasn’t the only thing that Amanda had to offer to her customers. She went the extra mile. “I always tell a story with the work I do. In that sense, every stroke of paint and markings on the items I repair tells a story of its past owners.”

While she did have a good job as development coordinator for the Austin Symphony, she needed to do something… more. “Although surrounded by very creative and talented people, I knew my interest really wasn’t in music. It was in upholstery!”

With that burning desire in her heart, she quit her job at the Austin Symphony and enrolled in upholstery classes at the Austin Community College. A year later, she set up her own upholstery company called Spruce.

What is Spruce?

Spruce is Amanda Brown’s creative outlet, where she continues to pursue her interior design dreams. Without question, her primary focus is on upholstery. Since then, she has helped countless people re-imagine their furniture, pieces that were headed directly to the dumps.

The Sprucettes

Of course, Amanda Brown’s brainchild could not have been possible without the help of her very own colleagues called The Sprucettes. Clar Mapes is the client services manager, with a specialization in beddings, slipcovers, drapes, and pillows; Frank Barnhouse and Katherine Baronet are part of the production team, where they do the hands-on upholstery; and Clarisa Ramirez rounds up the team as marketing and social media expert, promoting Spruce wherever she goes.

Brown has a book out called Spruce: A Step-By-Step Guide to Upholstery and Design. Pick up the book when you can! A few pages in and you’ll realize that there is so much more to upholstery that most people give it credit for.

We’ve shared tips on how to improve your bedroom’s look with custom bed frames and we’ve given guides on how to spruce up your home theater’s sound system with acoustic foam. And now, with the help of Amanda brown, it’s time to make the most of your furniture through firs-class upholstering. Here’s to a better home!

DIY: How to Reupholster Your Sofa

Reupholstered Sofa

If you’ve heard of the word “upholstery” or “upholster”, it may seem like a foreign word. It’s not really used in normal every day conversations, but basically, the word means to provide furniture like chairs and sofas covered in fabric and stuffed with polyurethane foam.

In the event that your furniture is already a bit worn out and old, it’s time to have it reupholstered. Doing this can prolong the life of your couch or sofa for a couple more years. But going to an upholstery shop for furniture repair can be a bit heavy on the pocket.

So why not do it yourself? Today, we’ll show you how to reupholster your sofa in 6 easy steps. Keep reading, fellow furniture friends!

Step 1: Prepare the necessary equipment:

  • Hammer
  • Pliers
  • A flat butter knife
  • Staple gun
  • Staples
  • Upholstery fabric (the amount of which we’ll explore in a bit)
  • Upholstery thread
  • Scissors

Step 2: Measure the dimensions

Measure the sizes of the seat and pillow cushions and the entire couch while you’re at it. This is so you can buy right amount of fabric. Get 10% more so there’s leeway for error. To know how much to buy, just simply multiply the length, width, and height of the couch/sofa. Show the dimensions to your fabric provider for easier reference. Also, keep in mind to buy stain-resistant material.

Sofa Reupholstery

Step 3: Carefully take out the old fabric

Cut along the corners and edges of your couch/sofa carefully. The caution is necessary because you still have some use for the old material later on, and also because you have to avoid cutting into the padding/foam underneath. If the padding underneath is still good, you can cover over it. If not, then you need to buy new foam and replace it.

If the old fabric is held in place with staples, use the flat butter knife to loosen them and then take them out with the pliers.

Step 4: Create new cut outs with the old fabric

After you’ve carefully cut out the old material, place it on top of the sheet of new fabric. Trace the outline of the old fabric and then cut them out. Make sure you leave an allowance of around 1 inch for the seams.

Step 5: Staple the new fabric to the frame

Once you have the new cut outs ready, spread the new fabric over the frame of the couch with a staple gun. Be sure the new staples are also located where the old ones were so they aren’t visible outside.

Step 6: Make new covers for the cushions

Finally, create new covers for the couch cushions (seat and pillow) using the same process in Step 2. Placing a zipper outside the cushion will allow you to take the fabric out and wash it. Use cold water, as it won’t fade the material as much.

If you’ve followed these 6 easy steps, then you can now enjoy your newly reupholstered couch/sofa. If you have any comments or suggestions, sound off in the comments section below!

7 Splendid Hotel Restaurants that you should Definitely Try Out

Summer Palace

Aside from the fact that hotels are known for their exemplary service and extremely comfortable hotel mattresses, there are a number of hotels in Manila that are also known for their world-class dining experience. Having a good restaurant is also good for business, since it keeps your customers inside your hotel, thus maximizing potential profit.

Today, we’ll take a look at 7 splendid hotel restaurants that you should definitely try out if (1) you’re planning an stay at a luxurious hotel or (2) looking for a good food trip with you and your buddies.

Spiral (Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila)

Spiral boasts the best buffet line you can imagine in the Philippines. Headed by Chef Eric Costille, Sofitel’s culinary jewel boasts a “lavish dining experience” combined with “French gourmet delights” such as cheese, wine, and chocolate cakes. Their trademark, must-try, to-die-for dish? The roast beef. The word that describes it best? Perfection.

Lola Maria Restaurant (The Legend Villas)

If you’ve never found The Legend Villas, that’s because it’s located at Pioneer St. in Mandaluyong. Their restaurant, Lola Maria, is famous for serving purely Filipino cuisine to hungry customers. They have two specialties: a nutty kare-kare and halo-halo that you can create on your own.

Benjarong, Umu, Tosca, and Basix (Dusit Thani)

The reason Dusit Thani’s Sunday buffet is called Crossover is because it combines the cuisines of its four restaurants: Benjarong (Thai), Umu (Japanese), Tosca (Italian), and Basix (International). The combination of these 4 restaurants under one hotel roof is a culinary treat in and of themselves. The choice of which cuisine you wish to eat is yours to make the next time your friends and/or family are in Dusit Thani.

Paseo Uno (Mandarin Oriental)

Mandarin Oriental’s gastronomic hub prides itself on featuring both Asian and Western cuisines, not just with their menu, but also with the design of their restaurant. Some of the interiors include Japanese paper, Spanish glass, and native seashells. A preview of their cuisine specialties includes crepes, beef salpicao, and Malaysian chicken curry.

Coco Bango Café and Restaurant (White Knight Hotel)

Situated in the heart of Intramuros, once the country’s walled fortress during Spanish colonial times, Coco Bango is filled with generations of Pinoy cooking tradition. Their one-two culinary K.O. punch is composed of their beef kaldereta (stew) and crispy pata.

Old Manila (The Manila Peninsula)

Those looking for a new-world twist of an old-world era will find themselves right at home with Manila Peninsula’s Old Manila. Dine in style (and reminisce) when served with head chef Linder’s ice-cold oysters and grill-hot lobster tails.

Summer Palace (EDSA Shangri-La)

How could this restaurant not be included in the list? A name like Summer Palace will definitely attract food lovers to this restaurant. Prepare to be amazed by Chef Christopher Chai’s mastery of Cantonese cuisine with original creations like fried sea bass with apple lemon sauce and pan fried beef steak with black pepper sauce.

Know more splendid hotel restaurants to eat in? Let us know in the comments section below.

7 Hospital Secrets that Each Patient should Know about


Clean. Neat. Professional. Orderly. These are four words that best describe a hospital when you set foot in one, let alone lie down on one of the hospital beds. There’s a sense of decorum and organization in work ethic as staff attend to the every need of each patient.

Very rarely does it occur to a hospital visitor that even in such an institution like this, there are secrets that the management keep from their clients. Not different from a previous post that talks about how scary hospital stays can be, here are 7 well-kept hospital secrets you, the patient, should know about.

Your doctors don’t communicate with one another

If you’re seeing multiple specialists for a particular condition in the same hospital, chances are they won’t (and don’t) talk to one another regarding your symptoms and prescriptions. That’s because even the best doctors disagree on certain things based on their own opinion. It’s a lot better for you to keep track of what each doctor says about your condition and report them to the specialist you’re seeing.

If all else fails, look for a nurse supervisor

Should you need help finding someone in charge for a particular situation, don’t look for a nurse; ask for a nurse supervisor. He/she can immediately connect you to the person/people vital to the current need.

For the best doctor, ask the nurses

Instead of going to an online forum to check which doctor in a particular hospital is good, get the opinions of the nurses. They do work there and interact with the doctors from time to time. They can give you a lowdown of the best expert to consult with on your particular condition. At the end of the day, a friendly and learned physician beats a snobby, medical board top-notcher. Speaking of…

Not all doctors are board-certified

Your doctor may be good, but did he pass the licensing exam? That oversight means all the difference. While you’re at it with secret #3, ask nurses if this particular doctor they recommend is board-certified.

House Quote

Your bill too expensive? It can be discounted

For uninsured patients, hospitals can give you a 35% to 40% discount on your hospital bills. All you need to do is ask.

Know a bit about your symptoms…

Sure, doctors know the symptoms and causes of an illness, but they can’t read your mind. If you’re experiencing pain or discomfort due to your condition, by all means tell your doctors what they need to know. Does your arm only hurt when you tilt it upwards? Is your chest in pain only when you exhale? These little tidbits help medical experts in their diagnosis.

Double-check your meds

Doctors and nurses hide botched prescriptions to patients 98% of the time. With your current meds list, always ask your doctor what it’s for and if it’s necessary. It’ll go a long way.

Know any more hospital secrets every patient should know about? Let us know in the comments section below.

10 Secrets to Help You Maximize your Hotel Stay

Top Secret

Oftentimes, when we walk in a classy and luxurious hotel, the first thoughts that’ll probably pop in our head are admiration of the amazing architecture and appreciation of the top-notch service.

Hotel stays can indeed be incredibly relaxing, thanks to the delightful food and comfy hotel mattress, but such isn’t always the case.

Not everything that glitters is gold. Even the hotel industry has its secrets. Its higher ups, like managers, are the safeguards. They do this to keep things spic and span in order to drive business up. But today, we’re going to reveal 10 secrets your every day hotel manager won’t tell you.

Don’t call the reservations number to book your stay

You’ll only get fixed prices and figures from the person on the other end. If you’re looking to bargain, call the hotel directly instead.

Be sure to tip housekeeping

Okay, they may be paid to clean all the rooms as part of their daily routine, but their pay isn’t really that high. If you want better service, leave a tip on your table or pillow with a note. And be sure that it isn’t filled with loose change.

Want a bigger room?

Simply ask the concierge if there are available corner or handicapped rooms. You get the same space without having to pay an exorbitant fee. A quick and simple act, yet very few people practice it.

Looking for better theft protection?

Don’t leave your stuff in the room safe. Not all these devices are insured against theft. Plus, housekeeping can have access to them any time. Leave valuables in the hotel safe instead.

Call the concierge any other time, just not between 9am to 1pm

They’ll be busy tending guests during those hours and won’t give you their full attention.

Want cheaper rooms?

Call the hotel after 5 or 6 pm. You have better chances of getting more affordable options than, let’s say, between 9 to 10 pm.

We reward brand loyalty

If you frequent certain hotels when you’re out of town, they will recognize and even reward you with discounts, upgrades at no charge, or even freebies. They rarely forget good customers, so be one.


If you ask nicely, “Yes” will be the most common answer you’ll get as long as the request is legit. A nice tip wouldn’t hurt your chances, either.

Take the soap, shampoo, conditioner, toothpicks, and most of the toiletries

It’s the hotel’s way of free advertising. But if you take pillows, sheets, and blankets? That’s going on your credit card bill.

Request for new blankets and bedspreads when you check-in your hotel room

Hotel staff wash pillowcases and bed sheets every day, but change blankets once a week. Bedspreads? Once a month, most likely.

With these ten secrets in mind, we hope your stay in any hotel is a pleasant one. Do you agree with any of these ideas? Have actually done any of these in one of the hotels you stayed in? Sound off in the comments section below.