Showing posts with label Home Improvement. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Home Improvement. Show all posts

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Five Tips for Your Outdoor Home Improvements

Maintaining your home and making improvements are crucial ways to maintain your investment and the enjoyment you get out of your home. Certain improvements can increase the value of your home, save you money on your homeowner's insurance, or qualify you for tax breaks.

Keep Up On Repairs

No one likes major projects, like residing or roofing your home, but it is important to stay on top of these repairs. Keep track of your warranties, and the expected life of important home features such as your roof, as keeping these items in good repair, can save you thousands of dollars down the road.

Look For Tax Rebates

Some outdoor home improvements, such as solar panels, have government incentive programs. Before you start a major project, especially if it is a project that will conserve or produce energy in your home, look for these incentive programs to see if you qualify for any tax rebates.

Consider Cost Versus Added Value

Many outdoor home improvements will add resale value to your home, such as landscaping, or installing a tile roof rather than a shingle roof. Do your research to compare how much the improvement will cost, against how much value it will add to your home. For example, installing a swimming pool will add value to your home, but you will most likely pay more to install it, than you will gain in resale value. The personal enjoyment of owning your own pool may be well worth the money lost, but it is important to understand all the factors before you start construction.

Improve Your Home Security

Getting a home security system does more than just improve your peace of mind. It can also significantly lower your homeowners insurance. Home automation systems can help you control lights, door locks, and alarms automatically through your computer or smart phone to make it look like someone is home at any time. Some services also offer alarms, cameras, glass break sensors, smart thermostats, and motion detectors. These features protect your home when you're away, and convince your insurance company that you are less of a financial risk to them.

Consider How Long You Intend To Stay

Some improvements, such as adding solar panels, can save you money in the long run, but only if you intend to stay in your home for a long period. Many solar panels will pay for themselves in electric bill savings within ten years, but if you plan to move in two, it may not be worth the investment. If you'll be looking for a new home soon, you may want to hold off on installing that deck in the backyard, so you will have the funds to install one in your new home.

Outdoor improvements are a great way to maintain your investment in your home, and get some new enjoyment out of an old space. Just be sure to do your research to get the best value for your time and money.

“Brooke Chaplan is a writer and freelancer living New Mexico. She enjoys blogging about home, family, and fitness articles. Learn more about improving a home through automation at Kansas City home automation. Contact Brooke via Twitter @BrookeChaplan.”

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Banish the Blues: Bring Warmth to Your Bedroom this Winter

It’s difficult to admit, especially after what turned out to be something of a glorious summer, but the winter is fast approaching. Dark mornings and chillier evenings are signalling the arrival of the colder weather and with it, the temptation to withdraw indoors and while away the winter months sipping tea and piling on the pounds to stave off the icy chills!

With that in mind, it’s important that our little caves are up to the job of harbouring us for a long winter of hibernation. When it’s cold, we all love to hideout in our bedrooms, where we can truly relax in our most comfortable (and often most unattractive) clothing. That’s why I've created these top tips for bringing some much needed warmth to your bedroom this winter.


No one is saying that you have to completely redecorate your bedroom in time for winter. On the contrary, you can enhance the warmth and the inviting feel of your room with a few simple additions.

Naturally, the focal point of any bedroom is the bed - so when you’re looking to alter the design or feel of a room, this is the place to start. Adding cushions and a throw is a simple and relatively inexpensive measure that will increase the sense of opulence and comfort in your bedroom, which is just what you’re looking for on those chilly December nights! When I want to add warmth and decadence, nothing serves me better than gold. That’s why I love this range of gold cushions and throws from


I’m of the firm opinion that televisions should be banished from bedrooms. Your boudoir should be a sanctuary free from harsh noise and mental stimulation, which is why I despair at people who insist on having a flat screen at the bottom of the bed!

That said, I also believe that your bedroom should offer more than a place to rest your head. Armchairs are a great addition to any bedroom, and provide the perfect spot for curling up with a good book and a warm blanket, when the wind and rain are lashing the windows.

This classic leather chair from the range of designer chairs at Cult Furniture, in the iconic Mies van de Rohe style, is perfect for adding style and sophistication to your room, while providing a wonderfully warm place to snuggle up in when you’re in need of some alone time.

(Miesvaan de Rohe Style Vintage Chair, in Brown Leather, £349.00, available at Cult Furniture.)


It’s dark for the majority of theharsh British winter, so we’re left with little alternative but to create our own lighting. It goes without saying that when you’re trying to create a warm atmosphere, lighting is a crucial tool. Opt for yellow, as oppose to harsher white light and use table lamps for a warm and cosy atmosphere.

Jack Collier is an interior design enthusiast, with a passion for creating unique and distinctive room designs, writing on behalf of CultFurniture

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Matching Your Garden Design to Your House Architecture

Gardens are natural embellishments that can make a home so much more charming, relaxing, and homey. There’s no hard and fast rule about the kind of garden that you should maintain to enhance your house. But if you want not just another residence, but a lovely, welcoming home, take time to know which garden style you should have to matching the features of your house.

Is your house design inspired by the Victorian era?

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There are several types of 19th century Victorian architecture, but the most popular is the Queen Anne with its “painted lady” look. It’s also made distinctive by its tall and narrow windows, pitched gable roof, and patterned shingles. Columns, turrets, porches, ornate wooden brackets, and decorative woodwork add more character to buildings of this style.

If your home is inspired by this ornate design, your garden has to have a complementary look.

·         The grass must be immaculately trimmed, the hedges well-groomed, and the flower beds neat and free of dried leaves and petals – almost like a painting.

·         Remember that Victorian homes are meant to grab attention and admired. So make your flower beds bold with an assortment of vividly colored flowers.

Or do you have a prairie-style home?

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Prairie-style houses are generally identified with their low horizontal silhouettes, having broad, low-pitched roofs and one to two-story structures. Everything about these homes is huge – the overhanging eaves and square porch supports. This design also has an inclination to use natural materials like wood and stones. Windows typically provide the accents with geometric or floral designs.

If your home fits this description, follow the features of the prairie gardens popularized by Dutch designer Piet Oudolf, and your own greenery and outdoor area will be perfect.

·     This style makes use of melodramatic swathes of ornamental grasses together with perennials. Prairie gardens are best for large gardens, but with control and creativity, you can use the same concept in your small space.

·      Alongside the Indian grass, grow wildflowers like false blue indigo, meadow blazing star, butterfly weed, and black-eyed Susan, for instance.

What if you've got a very chic contemporary structure?

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Contemporary house architecture is largely inspired by the temple construction scheme called “zenshuyo,” which is actually characterized by orderliness, simplicity, and lightness, except for its decorative curved roof. This is why a modern home usually takes the minimalist approach of having clean, simple lines and open spaces. It’s stripped of all things unnecessary and focuses on the essentials.

Your challenge in creating a garden for your contemporary living style is making everything appear relaxing and effortless.

·         Remember that everything in your garden must be made to calm the mind and relax the body, creating a spiritual ambiance. You can think about your own outdoor area as your homage to nature.

·         Make sure you have the basic elements found in a Zen garden – rocks, water, sand, and bamboo. Limit your plants to evergreen trees or shrubs. This landscape type often doesn’t require a lot of flowering plants, but if you wish to have them, choose from azaleas, hydrangeas, wisterias, and water-lovers like lotuses and water lilies.

Gardens turn a residential structure into a welcoming home. If you’re planning to create or refurbish yours, look at the architectural features of your house, and take your cue from there. Let the style flow from your front lawn to the backyard.

About the Author - Raquel Merc has mainly contributed about travel and lifestyle. But she’s also started writing a variety of articles on home management and parenting since becoming a mother in 2010. Among her recent works, feature ideas and insights on food and home, including articles for Simply Sheds.

Monday, 15 July 2013

Change Your Mood, Change Your Flower

Flowers have been a symbol for happiness for as long as anyone can remember. Flowers represent joy and friendship—but now there is actual proof that this is true.

With technology constantly growing and impacting our everyday lives, it’s essential to try and get away from it all, and regain the peace and calmness you need in your life. What better way to do that than have flowers in your home, or yard? It’s a simple fix, and results in an overall better mood, and a less-stressful state of mind. 

Not to mention, flowers are gorgeous.

Flowers give an immediate impact of happiness, and can be easily shown. Where do people usually place or plant flowers: where other people can see them. Flowers have turned into representation of “sharing”. Having flowers throughout your home also present you as a welcoming and giving person.
When flowers are shared amongst friends, it creates a stronger sense of friendship and intimacy between people. You can see and feel their true love and happiness come out as soon as you share this moment. 

Not only do flowers do all of this for you, but it helps connect you better to your social life. When given flowers, people are more likely to keep in touch with friends, or invite/be invited to social functions. Who knew flowers could also represent another platform for social media? 

By having flowers sporadically placed throughout your home, it can also give you a sense of permanence. Flowers take care and needing over time; because of this, it can make your apartment, rental home, or current state of living, seem more like a “home” for you—enhancing your positive mood. 

Flowers are also shown as helping the elderly retain memory longer! The powers of flowers are real—both in healing, and in overall mental happiness. Even placing them at your work environment can help you become more productive and less anxious—tell that to your employer! 

In all, flowers are the perfect remedy to any depression or lack of excitement in your life. By receiving or giving one simple flower, you are exchanging positive and rewarding moods to help enhance your day! So do the right thing, and pick the flower. 

Staci Thomas is an interior design specialist and gardener. When she’s not busy disrupting her dog’s latest archaeological exploration in her garden, she writes for Gaddy’s Plant Hire, specialists in office plant supplies.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Turning Our Homes into Low Energy Houses

If you were to visit my home at around 7.30 every morning then you would be sure to think that it was one of the most low energy efficient houses that you had ever seen. The children are still trying to sneak out another 5 minutes in bed and my wife is trying to recharge herself in the shower. I’m no better as I am using the morning paper as an excuse to try and doze for a bit on the sofa. Yes our house is incredibly low on energy first thing in the morning. However, unfortunately in reality it is not got to win any low energy houses awards, because the televisions are on in three rooms, the heating is turned high so that the bathroom is cozy and the kids have left their phone chargers plugged into the wall all night. So what can we do to make our homes into future low energy houses (or as the Danes say fremtidens lavenergihuse)?

Well first of all we need to start at the beginning and educate our families into understanding how to lower the amount of energy we use. Leaving an electrical appliance on standby is hardly going to finish off the world, but when we all do it makes a massive difference. Even the longest journey starts with a single step and just getting the kids to turn things off when they are not using them and unplug chargers that are not charging is a step on the right path.

We also need to look at our homes and decide whether we can improve them to make them more energy efficient. Obviously the best low energy houses use green energy to power everything and everything from sunlight to wind is utilized in the process of running a toaster. The problem with green energy is that it generally costs a bit to get started. Solar panels don’t come cheap and, just like wind turbines, they are not easy to place unless you have a large property.

But rather than making the energy we use greener we can make our homes use less energy. To turn our homes into low energy houses we need to make the property more energy efficient and this can be done in many ways.

Roof insulation is a cheap and easy way to reduce the amount of energy that your home uses to stay warm. The more insulation that you have in your loft or roof the less energy your heating will use. So look at improving the insulating quality of your roof and make your home part of the ever growing number of low energy houses.

You can also look at windows and doors in the same way. There are now some wonderfully manufactured energy efficient models that keep the heat in and the cold out and will reduce the amount of energy that is needed to keep you and your family warm in your homes.

So although my family is hard to motivate early in the morning this is exactly what we need to do. Because the sooner we sort out our homes the sooner we make a difference and that is what low energy houses are all about.

This article is written by Mark Neyton. He is a writer curently living in Denmark. He is mostly interested in topics like home improvement, real estate and family. For more of his works you can find him on Twitter.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Necessary Points to Remember in a Window Treatment

Window treatments can create an appealing look in any room. A lot of this look depends on the way we plan a window treatment. Laying stress on a few factors can help in further enhancing the look of your interior decoration. 

Proper Drapery Style

While deciding to have a new look for a window, the most important thing to decide on is the style of décor. Dressing style of the window must complement the appearance of the room.  If your living room has trendy and smart furniture, having a vintage drapery theme will be of little help to the décor. On the contrary it will create an asymmetrical look in the room. Another important thing to consider is the purpose of the drapery. Whether the drapery is going to remain static or it will be opened and closed regularly or will they remain in a semi-opened state? Whether the drapes are needed only for styling or they are to provide privacy? What is the budget available for the treatment? All these aspects are to be taken into consideration before finalizing the style of the drapes.

Ideal Material

Draperies are an integral part of a window dressing. Selecting the correct material for a drapery is vital for any styling. Depending on the room where the decoration is to be hanged and the style of décor to be followed, the fabric for the covering must be chosen. Then again, it must go well with the existing décor of the room. The patterns and style of the covering must be in sync with the furniture present in the room and the color on the walls. The color of the fabric must complement the theme of the décor as well as the setting of the room. Overall, it must justify the theme of decoration present there.

Attach Shades  

Shades are a great way to diffuse incoming light while at the same time offering some level of privacy. Shades can be used in a variety of materials to create distinct look in the décor. Using bamboo shades or a wooden shade adds a sporty and outdoor element to your styling. Moreover, these items being natural elements, they help in keeping the heat under control. Now-a-days shades are available in a variety of styles and materials. These shades can be teamed with the drapes or curtains in an interesting way to play with décor themes, creating an appealing look.

Correct Drapery Hardware

Drapery hardware is another important aspect in a window decoration project that must be given a thorough thought. Selecting the correct mounting hardware and install it in a proper manner requires an amount of detailing. The measurements for the drapes and the hardware must be correct. Whether you opt for a contemporary look or a  custom window treatment, installing the hardware without proper measures will run the risk of having sloppy draperies, which is a very undesirable thing to happen in a window decoration project. This will mar the look totally. So, invest time and patience to take proper measurements for your drapes and installation locations. Only after you are totally satisfied with the location, proceed to install your mounting hardware.

Care For Details

Detailing occupies a major role in any window treatment. It is a nice idea to check the length for the drapes before sewing them for the final look. Make sure that you have decided on the fall of the drapes. Generally the procedure followed is to hang the curtains half an inch above the ground for a floor length drapery. For window-sill length curtains, consider whether you want the fall to touch the sill or end just below it. For puddle look, ensure plenty of fabric is available for the purpose. It is a good idea to have a trim on the border of each drapery panel to as to have a finished look in the dressing.

Author's Bio: Criss Evan, a gaming freak and a blogger. In his spare time he loves to write on various topics. He is a passionate writer.

Friday, 19 April 2013

Tips and Tricks to Consolidate Space in a Small Apartment

Do you somehow always find yourself just a little bit cramped? Is your kitchen just a little too crowded to use properly, your living room dimensioned a bit oddly, and your bathroom too small to hold your stuff? Join the club. Let’s take a look at a few simple, practical ways to help you make the most of the space that you have so that your home will be more aesthetically pleasing, easier to organize, and less stressful to live in.

Expand your Kitchen

Many of us have this irrational idea that kitchen things necessarily belong in the kitchen. What’s actually important is that your stuff is within easy reach when you’re cooking. If you’ve got space near your kitchen it might be time to expand outward. My incredibly tiny kitchen is situated directly next to a small dining area that opens up to the living room. This dining area is about 3 feet wider than it absolutely needs to be, so to take advantage of this I moved my dining table and chairs to one end of the area, and put a hutch in the cleared area to balance it out. That then can play host to my microwave, toaster oven, coffee machine, dishes, cutting boards, and bowls. This clears up enough space in the kitchen to keep the counters entirely clear and ready for use at all times.

Use Your Walls and Ceilings

Don’t forget to make use of all of the surfaces in your apartment, and we’re not just talking about the horizontal ones. Set up shelves, hutches, cabinets, and wardrobes to help you store your stuff vertically. If you can remove all of the clutter from your environment you can turn a previously cramped space into something downright roomy.

Of course, while it’ll look nicer all of that isn’t going to help much if all of your usable space is now covered in nice decorative items instead of the clutter that we just cleared up, so let’s address decor. If you want to indulge your artistic or botanical side but don’t want to fill your floor and counter space (also end tables and coffee tables) with knick knacks, planters, and vases, consider hanging your plants from the ceiling in baskets, setting your small decorative items up on small decorative shelves, or hanging canvas artwork on the walls rather than setting them on end tables.

Partition Your Living Room

Lots of apartments come with unnecessarily long rectangular living rooms that are virtually impossible to set up in a manner that effectively makes use of all of the space. An easy way to solve this problem is to partition off a section of your living room and turn it into a small office workspace. You can use anything from a full blown false wall to a decorative folding panel screen. This will cut your living room down to size so that your furniture, coffee table etc… can fill out the space properly, all while providing a spot for a computer and work related documents.

Edward Stuart is an art and decoration enthusiast as well as an online publisher for Canvas Art. He frequently blogs on the topics of art, art history, design, and home decor.

Friday, 8 March 2013

Five New Home Designs that Are Becoming the Norm

Home designers are studying the way that people are living and incorporating new designs to address people's lifestyles. Since this is the new norm, home buyers should find designers that understand the way they live. These features are some of the most important to consider. 

Home Automation

Home automation helps to make home life easier. One of the most convenient home automation innovations is a thermostat that adjusts to provide a comfortable temperature. The device requires approximately seven days to learn the optimal temperature the inhabitants prefer the home. If the sensors detect that you are in the home, it automatically adjusts. 

Door Bot is also another form of home automation that is a video doorbell. To view people at your door whether you are at home or away, connect the device to the tablet and view who is ringing the bell from any location. Never miss the delivery man again or talk to unwanted solicitors. 

Solar Panels

Solar panels save home owners as much as 70 percent on energy bills. Even some mansions are using solar panels in addition to traditional electrical systems to make a more eco-friendly home. 

Bigger Garages

Home builders are building new homes with larger garages, but the garages are not being used for cars. Instead, the garages are being used for storage of golf carts and children’s toys. 

Homes within Homes

One-third of American adults are living in the household with another family or their parents. Home builders are compensating for this phenomenon by adding dual master suites. Separate apartments with their own bedroom, bathroom, kitchenette, and garage have also grown in popularity. 

Homes Plans That Fit the Way People Live

Home designers are putting laundry rooms where they are used the most—in the master bedroom. Instead of knitting rooms, designers are adding technology rooms. Large pantry rooms are being added to support items bought at bulk stores. These additions make it easier to navigate the home in the way people truly live.

New Home Designs Make Life Easier

People who want home plans for the way they live should consider what they want first. These new home designs elements will help make the lives of home buyers easier, more affordable, and more efficient. Find the best home designer to meet your needs for today and in the future. 

Author Bio: Annette Hazard is a blogger promoting Vivint, and usually writes about the home and family. She is also an avid cyclist and mother of one. 

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Defining Your Home with Antiques in a Modern World

Upon moving in to your new home you might feel like I did when it came to décor, confused and with a little bit of a headache. My wife and I have a mix of eclectic antiques and modern furniture that actually appeared more distracting and chaotic when set up and on the walls than it did dispersed throughout the house in boxes. One day in the mess of redesign, we brought in a newly acquired 17th century dining table. In the rush of moving things around my wife left her iPhone on the table to retrieve her new equestrian-themed dishware from the car. I saw this at first as only more disorganized clutter in our home, but then it struck me; we should be embracing modern design even with our favored antiques. The sleek new cell phone didn’t look terrible in the center of the worn oak surface, in fact, it was refreshing.

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Soon we were off to decorating what would soon be our favorite home thus far. After simply setting up some guidelines, planning, and just few minor purchases from the local antique store, we realized we had designed something truly unique that felt comfortable and even transcendental to our previous interiors.


For us, it was adding modern art strategically to our antique end tables, benches, and walls. Modern classic dining chairs made our rustic dining table feel original and even more functional. Of course, finding the right collections of colors to coordinate the style is important, but first, consider if you are designing with antiques to echo over your modern furniture or using the natural symmetry of modern design and accenting it with vintage art and flavor. Planning will help avoid dead ends and minor headaches.


While focusing on making a multifaceted design one should attempt tounify the space. Keep it simple and minimal. You wouldn’t want your living room looking like one style moving in and the other out. Harmony is central, and often too many ideas at once can spoil the overall impression of a room. Be deliberate and precise with your choices for art; keep the rooms function in mind.

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While it’s usually great to start out in a neutrally colored space, any will do. This is an important factor when considering what kinds of furniture or fine arts you are considering though. Light blues can create a hue that is relieving but maybe too cold, while dark reds can feel warm, but too many reds feel anxious. Because the hue will determine the overall feeling of the room, make sure to pick colors you’ll love in the long run.

Be Spontaneous

Remember there aren’t really any rules, so keep it exciting and the results will pay off. Try mixing Spanish art with English furniture, or French furniture with an English sculpture. If you have furniture you’re considering getting rid of, try reusing by repainting, reupholstering, or even different placement in your newly defined spaces to keep things stirring.

Nicholas Haywood is an eco-friendly home improvement specialist and DIY enthusiast with an eye for interior design. He is slightly prone to OCD behavior as he often gets lost in thought over ways to maximize efficiency in living spaces both at home and the workplace. When his ideas come together, he writes for Vista, provider of premium window film for homes and commercial buildings.

Saturday, 23 February 2013

3 Laundering Techniques for Luxury Linens

Many times luxury linens require special care when it comes time to laundering. You want to preserve the materials that are often more plush or dense and find out which fabrics will shrink if dried. In this article we will discuss 3 laundering techniques for luxury linens and how to leave your laundry smelling fresh and crisp.

1. Dry Cleaning

Most sheets do not have to be dry cleaned. The only time you may consider dry cleaning sheets is when they have specialized stitching such as embroidery or custom designs that you do not want fading in a regular washing machine and dryer. Dry cleaning is the perfect solution for linen items such as a comforter, duvet cover or anything that is filled with down. You will want to make sure that special instructions are given to the dry cleaners when it comes to any heat being applied to your linens. The last thing you need is for your items to come back scorched,changed in color or with a loss of ply due to improper care.

2. Washer and Dryer

Most linen can be washed in the standard washer and dryer but there are specific requirements for each item. Shrinkage is something that happens when items are not washed correctly. While a small amount of shrinkage is normal over time, you can slow or halt the process with small steps when dealing with washing luxury linens.

If you can remember that linens that are washed in hot water and/or dried at a very hot temperature will shrink a great deal, you will be prepared to wash most laundry in warm water only. For most luxury linens though it is best to wash them in cold water and use the delicate or short cycle. If you can hang dry your items that will preserve the fabric. You will also want to avoid using a harsh laundry detergent. Look instead for a mild detergent that is especially made for delicate fabrics. Finally, if you remember to sort your whites and colors and wash them separately, this too will help preserve the life of your luxury linens.

3. Hand Washing

Hand washing your luxury linens is probably the best choice if possible. You should use cold water to extend the life of your fabric and once again, stay clear of the laundry soap that is harsh on this more delicate material. Once you have your items in a clean sink with water, swish the items around in the soapy water to gently clean them through and through without aggravating the fibers. Let the water out and rinse the sink before refilling it will more cool water. Keep rinsing and repeating the process until there is no more soapy water in the tub. When it is time to hang your linens to dry, do not try wringing them out with your hands.

Instead place them inside a towel and roll it up to absorb the moisture. Then place your linen flat on a drying rack. If you do decide to put the linens in the dryer, limit it to only five minutes to help take the wrinkles out and keep it to only a tumble dry with low heat. This may be the best method to use if you would like to preserve your items to be used as Guest House linens for when company stops by.

One other tip to think about when deciding what laundering method would be right for your luxury linens is to protect your pillows. You should get a zipped pillow protector. This is especially useful if you have hair coloring or use gel and other harsh hair products that can get into the fabric and cause damage to the material. If you are unsure of how to properly launder

any of your luxury linens, you should be able to find a manufacturer's tag on the inside of the item with cleaning instructions.

Author Bio:

My name is Lynne, and I love writing about things that can help you live your life better. If you’re ever in need of help with Pillow Protector and Guest House Linen, I recommend

Friday, 1 February 2013

How to Love Your Laundry Room

Which three rooms of the house do you spend the most time in? The kitchen? The bathroom? The bedroom? Whatever your answers, there was probably one room that didn’t make your list: The laundry room. According to Lis Selin Davis of This Old House Magazine, Americans average more time in their laundry rooms each week (approximately eight hours) than in the bathroom. That may be quite a surprise to some people but it’s true. Hmm, so what do you do when your new place has more of a laundry closet or a laundry nook than a laundry room? Well, here are some tips for making a small laundry space both functional and fabulous:

Look Up

Walls are prime real estate when working with a small space. Don’t be afraid to move up. Here are some ideas:

  Install a towel bar and use hanging plant buckets as storage. They’re great for holding clothespins, fabric softener sheets, and bleach pens among other things.

  Install cabinets or shelves. Either cabinets or shelves will give you a space that is out of the way but easily accessible for storing everything from dirty clothes to laundry detergent.

  Install a bar or retractable clothesline. Having a places to hang clothes so they can air dry will help keep the backs of chairs and other surfaces clothes-free. Just make sure to put the bar or retractable clothesline high enough that clothes (whether they be pants or dresses) won’t touch the top of the washer or dryer.

Make Storage Your BFF

When dealing with a small space, it’s important to cozy up to storage and all the resources it has to offer right away. Here are some ideas:

  Purchase pedestals with built in storage for your washer and dryer to sit on. For a couple hundred dollars you can buy pedestals with a built in drawer that lift your washer and dryer up. It’s a win-win. You get additional storage and you no longer have to bend down as far to load the washer or dryer.

  Use a Lazy Susan. If you have cabinets or shelves in your laundry area, use a Lazy Susan so that, with a simply spin, you can see and reach your supplies without having to dig through everything.

  Purchase decorative bins. Use bins to hide laundry supplies out of site or to store dirty clothes until laundry day rolls around. You can find bins in any color, any style, and just about any material on the Internet.

Get Creative

When you don’t have a lot to work with, you have to think outside the box. Here are some ideas:

  Stack machines to save space. A lot of front loading washers and dryers can be stacked on top of one another which is a great way to make a washer and dryer fit in a space where they otherwise wouldn’t work.

  Install a countertop. If your dryer and washing machine are front loading and sit side by side, having a countertop put in over top will give you a flat workspace for prepping laundry or folding clean clothes.

  Get a mobile butchers block or island. If, in addition to a small laundry space, you have a small kitchen or a kitchen with limited work surfaces, then a butchers block or small island may be the answer to your problem. Simply add some casters and make that butchers block or island mobile. That way it can easily be moved out of the way when not in use in the kitchen or rolled to the laundry area to serve as a work surface. Just make sure to wipe the surface down really well between uses.

  Don’t isolate your laundry room. Don’t treat your laundry room like a space you’re ashamed of or like it’s a dirty secret. Add color and other decorative items that reflect the style used throughout the rest of the home. For instance, washers and dryers now come in a variety of colors including gray, red, and blue. You can also get storage bins, shelving, counters, and etc. in just about any color and style desired.

You’re going to be spending around eight hours a week in your laundry room so do what it takes to make that time as easy and enjoyable as possible. Use all the space you have available to you, including the walls. Utilize a variety of storage options. Lastly, be innovative!

Article contributed by Janet Majors on behalf of Caster Specialists - a one stop shop for furniture casters. Janet is a huge fan of HGTV and organization. Her favorite store? The Container Store! 

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

5 Tips to get the Best Sleep Ever!

Choose the right mattress

Because mattresses come in all shapes and sizes, make sure you test out whether you prefer a soft or sturdy bed. Memory foam mattresses react to body heat and mould to your shape which eliminates pressure points and guarantees comfort. Don’t forget to get a neck and head-supporting pillow too.

All mattresses from 1907 Beds are made by expert Northumbrian craftsmen who take pride in what they do. All materials are locally sourced so you can be rest-assured that your bed, mattress or ottoman has started its long life in the UK. 

Memory foam mattresses are especially useful if you suffer from allergies. They are made from synthetic materials and conform to the shape of your body to ensure you are comfortable yet supported. However, whether you choose a natural or memory foam mattress is down to personal preference.

Clear your bedroom

A cluttered bedroom is harder to relax in; “out of sight out of mind”. Try to make sure all clothes are put away, your dressing table is organised and your floor space is as clear as possible so your bedroom becomes a haven for rest and relaxation.

Also, try to set a regular bedtime so your body gets into a habit and knows when to switch off. It’s ok to have a late night every so often but regularity aids your body clock and ensures you get to sleep quicker.

If you’re a little short on space, consider an ottoman bedstead as they make a great storage device. Alternatively, you can get under-bed rolling draws to keep your clothes clear from view and your bedroom tidy.

Have a cuppa

English tea has been globally recognized as a sleep aid for thousands of years. If you suffer from insomnia or restlessness, try having a mug of Chamomile or Valerian tea around an hour before bedtime instead of resorting to medicines.

Drinking any tea makes you take time out from your work and stresses of the day and is a great way to prepare the mind for rest.

Unwind in the bath

When running your next bath, add a few drops of aromatherapy oils to the water for bonus therapeutic benefits. If you have trouble sleeping due to a cold add eucalyptus oils to relieve pressure on your sinuses.

Herbal baths reduce tension and promote circulation; essential for a healthy 8 hours. Various aroma blends are available nationwide so you are sure to find one to your taste.

Keep cool

The most sleep-provoking temperature is known to be 18°C so make sure you purchase a fan for those summer months in the UK.

If a noisy fan is an issue then you can always place the fan further from your head (on a dresser for example). This aids room ventilation which helps you drift off.

If you can’t find a fan or if the one you have is too noisy simply crack open a window. Make sure you roll your blinds down to stop sunlight giving you an early wake-up call.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

How to Maintain Your Fresh Cut Flowers

Everyone loves keeping fresh flowers in their homes. They brighten up the place and are great to look at. The additional bonus is provided by the fragrance released from them, making your house not only nicer to look at, but to smell too. Fresh flowers can be purchased from many different locations, from florists specializing in fresh flowers, department stores and even petrol stations! On the other hand, if you are a gardener, you may even have the opportunity of getting fresh cut flowers straight from your garden. No matter how you get a hold of these fresh cut flowers, you want to ensure that they stay healthy and alive for as long as possible. This requires a little attention, time and care from your side.

This article aims to provide you with hints and tips which are guaranteed to prolong the life of your fresh cut flowers.

In order to get the most from your flowers, you need to ensure that you start off with the freshest flowers possible. If you are planning on purchasing flowers, make sure you buy them straight form a florist or market and try to stay away from the petrol station, since those are least likely to be fresh. The additional exposure to petrol fumes will further jeopardise the health of your flowers.

If you are cutting the flowers yourself from your garden, ensure that you have a pre prepares vase at the ready so that you can instantly transfer them.

Having the right storage container is essential in prolonging the life of your flowers. The appropriate container for flowers is a vase. Do not use a plastic box or a jar. A vase is best. The vase should be all enough to cover the first three to four inches of the stems. A few additional inches are advisable, since they will provide your flowers with more support. Before placing your flowers into the vase, ensure that it is thoroughly cleaned. Any bacteria left in your vase will instantly attack your flowers, decreasing their lifespan.

When preparing your vase, ensure to fill it with warm water. You should not overfill the vase – add enough water to cover four to five inches of them stem. To this, you can add plant food which can be bought or is sometimes provided by florists in addition to your flowers. This will increase the life of your flowers. A cheaper alternative is to use Aspirin. Many of us have Aspirin lying around the house, which makes it more convenient than purchasing plant food.

Next, it is time to prepare your flowers. Fill your sink or a large container such as a washing up bowl with cold water. Hold the stems under the water and then you are ready to trim the stems. Ensure that you use sharp scissors so that you get neat, clean edges. It also means that you avoid crushing your edges, which will affect the water and nutrient uptake and will also make your flowers more susceptible to diseases.

When cutting your flower stems, ensure that you cut them at an angle. This is done to increase the surface area over which your flower stems are exposed to water, allowing them to take up more water.

Overlapping leaves need to be removed. Additionally, any leaves submerged in the water need to be removed since these are the ones that harbor most of the bacteria that cause plant diseases.

Finally, the water should be changed on a daily basis. If you are using plant food or Aspirin, this should also be added to the fresh water on a daily basis.

Friday, 9 November 2012

Tips for Choosing the Right Siding Contractors

While you work with siding contractors, you get a number of options ranging from coloring to material from which you can select. When it comes to completely changing the look of your house, there cannot be anything better than investing in this product. However, it is quite evident that you do not want to go for an inferior product. Everyone wants their home to look great. In order to do it you should always work with those contractors who will help you to take the right decision in selecting the products you require for home repairing.

You might come across siding contractors while you look for them online, phone books or searching for them in the local stores for home improvement. What seems to be difficult is to choose the right siding contractor from the huge list. After all, everyone wants to make sure that he/she has chosen the best contractor for the completion of siding jobs. 

Here are few tips that will help you to choose the right siding contractor:

  • ·      You should interview a set of chosen contractors: The first thing that house owners should do is to choose the best contractors out of the list they have chosen. It is always a better idea to interview them by asking a few questions. One thing you should make sure that the contractors you are interviewing are bonded, licensed and insured to work. The next thing that you should enquire about is their experience. Do they specialize in siding installation or is it just a part of their work? Does their team consist of hired laborers or full time installers? These factors make a huge difference and distinguish the professional contractors from amateurs.

  • ·        Get Bids: The bid one home owner receives decides whom they would hire for siding installations. Besides the proposal price the contractors offer, it is important to personally meet them as to know the nature of their work and how beneficial they can be for you. Ask them a number of questions when they are planning the bid as it will give you an idea how good the contractors are in doing business.

  • ·      Enquire About The Materials That Your Contractor Is Providing: All vinyl siding is not the same. There are available in different quality grades and different warranty periods. You must ensure that the contractor you choose can provide you with specific line of materials preferable for you.

  • ·     Checking work references is necessary: Before choosing siding contractors it is not enough to check their ‘per-selected’ reference list copy, you should also have a check on atleast last ten projects that the contractors have worked for and even contact them. Usually the reference list that contractors provide consists of their best work. So it is advisable to ask for some real cross-samples of customers in order to get a better idea of their work.

It is not always a daunting challenge to choose the right vinyl siding contractor. All you have to do is know about their work and determining their professional level rather than the just the price they are offering.