Category Archives: Home Improvement

How To Save Space In Your House

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With how difficult it is to find the perfect living space, trying to make your home as best as possible is a great task. The common practice when one has a home is to fill up the space with furniture. Nowadays, we don’t have the luxury to spare some space with unnecessary furniture. With the size of our home becoming smaller while our city become modernized, trying to make good use of our living space becomes quite a complicated ordeal as the days go by.

If you’re someone who’s slowly settling into your new living space, trying to personalize your home can be a tricky situation. However, here are some tips on how you can make your home more appealing without having to worry on what to bring inside.

maximize bedroom space

– Many apartments or units have been customized to accommodate smarter furniture. These furniture, dubbed smart, tailor to more than one purpose. These kinds of furniture can range from tables to bookshelves and even beds. If you live is a very limited space such as small condominium units offering only 20 sqm or small apartments, trying to embellish it can be a big hurdle. By combining two outcomes of a furniture, you can save space on your utilities as well as being able to put a little more oomph in decorating.

– If you can alter your window, it’s good to put your window on the same ratio as your window on a higher appeal. This gives your room a more spacious appeal especially with wide windows to let light filter through. If you put your windows on a slightly higher setting, this aids in providing you more leg space for your tables.

– Fewer walls help in maximizing the overall floor space. Walls tend to eat up some precious inches off your space or just diminish the amount of freedom one room can have. If you’d like to make a wider room, you can smash a wall down. You’d be surprised how much space you can get once you’ve combined two rooms when you tore the wall down.

– If you have very limited horizontal space but have a good amount of vertical space in your home, add a loft. A loft can be a small second floor space that can hold your sleeping area or a simple area where you can relax or read a book. In the usual home setting, that could be your bedroom or your living room; a kitchen, bathroom, etc. can still work out. Whichever floats your fancy, having a loft gives you that extra space to stretch your legs.

– Use your stairs. While not everyone wants to stay inside a room under the stairs, you can still make the most out of your staircase. Convert it to a shoe closet or a means to hide your couch if you aren’t using it. You can even convert it to a multi-tiered shelf to store all your needs. The possibilities are limitless.

– If you want to keep your share of warm water but don’t want to invest on a tank, you can purchase a tankless water heater. With how much modernization we have right now, this item is not new on the market. One good thing about these heaters is how they can instantly heat your water for you. That certainly beats the time spent waiting for the water to heat up with the usual heaters. It can be easily installed without having to eat up a lot of space in the bathroom.

– If you want to keep your privacy without having to put up a wall, make use of curtains. Curtains are easily pushed aside or pulled to provide you the share of privacy for any occasion. They may be added weight on your laundry basket but they can surely help in maximizing the space in your small home.

– Shelves are your best friends. This is especially helpful if you have a lot of bare walls to work around. Shelves give you that added space where you can store your books, kitchen equipment and many more. They are easy to install and aren’t too eye-catching if you set it up right.

How to Save Money on Your Electricity

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There are many factors that can lead to an increase of your energy costs. For instance, overworking your HVAC units due to discomfort caused by extreme home temperature can contribute to a high energy bill. Aside from this, the number of people who lives in your home can also add to a higher energy consumption. The more people you have in your home the more power you will use.

Fortunately, there are many ways to save money on your energy bills.

save on your electric bill

Replace Drafty Windows 

Old windows can be drafty and this can cause discomfort in your home. That said, replacing them with new airtight windows is an efficient way of making your home cozier. You should also ensure that the windows you are choosing have the ENERGY STAR® label as they are energy-efficient.

These products come with energy-saving features such as Low-E technology that helps lessen the amount of heat that builds up in your home. They also have frames made of special materials that can help reduce heat transfer in and out of your home.

Install Block Heater Timers 

Plugging your vehicle to a block heater is a smart thing to do especially during cold seasons. It is vital, however, that you only do so for only four hours and a reliable way to ensure this is by installing a timer on your vehicle’s block heater. Make sure to set it four hours before you plan to use your vehicle. By doing so, you can potentially save up to $30 yearly.

Install Metal Roofing

A good roof will protect your home from the elements. Investing in metal roofing, however, will not just keep the rain off your head, but it will also help you save energy. This roof is great in shedding snow and water. Furthermore, it comes with a reflective surface that lessens the amount of heat buildup, which can cause discomfort in your home. This can lead you to overwork your HVAC units, which contributes to your energy costs. Aside from this, it has a long life span, lessening the need for an early roof replacement, making it a good investment.

Invest in Infrared Heaters 

Infrared heaters come in different designs and can be powered by electricity, natural gas, or propane. They instantly work and only warm specific areas and objects, letting you save on energy costs as it does not require you to heat an entire room. In fact, depending on the product, some only require 300 watts of electricity while still providing optimal performance. This means you enjoy its benefits for a low cost. You can determine if a product meets your needs by checking online for the best infrared heater reviews.

Unplug Electronics 

Make sure you unplug appliances, HVAC units, and other devices, when not in use. Doing so goes a long way to reducing your energy costs up to $25 to $75 yearly as stated by Consumer Reports.

Replace Your Air Filters 

Unmaintained air filters restrict airflow, which can cause your HVAC units to work harder, leading to an increase in your energy bills. Replacing them monthly can help increase your energy savings.

Schedule an Energy Audit 

Many companies offer free Energy Audits to customers. An Energy Audit or Home Energy Assessment is a method that lets professionals gauge how much energy your home consumes in a given time period. This also lets them evaluate options that will help make your home more energy-efficient. This process will also help reveal problems that are contributing to a high energy consumption. For instance, this can help you detect drafty areas in your home or faulty equipment that can be sources of energy leaks.

Keep Your Refrigerators Full 

Filling your refrigerator with food will help lower your energy costs. Food serves as insulation and lessens the amount of time your fridge needs to keep itself cool.

Maintain Your HVAC Units Regularly 

Scheduling a yearly HVAC system maintenance will help ensure that it continues to work efficiently. After all, a properly maintained system offers optimal performance, which leads to more energy savings. Aside from this, doing so will also help promote healthy indoor air.

Using your energy-powered devices and systems at home does not have to be costly. By implementing this practices, you can potentially save more money yearly.

Why Invest In Outdoor Furniture Cover?

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Having someplace to call your own, a house worthy of being called home, that is what many people aspire for especially when they start working and start longing for our own place. And when you do get your own house finally, you start being extra careful and meticulous over your furniture and fixtures.

Garden Furniture

For those fortunate to have their own backyard or front lawns, there is no better feeling than laying out on your lawn chairs, or enjoying a meal on your garden table. But let’s face the fact that taking care of these items are a burden especially since they are generally exposed all the time.

Some of the things we have to worry about include:

Pets – dogs, cats, and other pets tend to play around your patio and lawn furniture and would leave scratch marks, run over them, or worse turn it into their own litter box.

Rain – Wooden furniture looks good on your porch or patio but they are more prone to being wet from the rain, which is bad.

Heat – Especially for plastic fixtures and furniture, extreme heat can cause them to warp and bend and compromise their general composition and durability.

Insects / Pests – While very unlikely, some insects do increase the possibility of rot on your lawn furniture.

That is why it is important to invest in the proper protection such as patio furniture covers, sheets, and the like.

What are several advantages of using dedicated patio furniture covers? Why not just use huge sheets of plastic or old blankets and canvass sheets?

Patio Furniture Covers are durable – these covers were made specifically to help cover and protect your patio furniture and are therefore made to specifications suited to handle the task. Better stitching, material, and quality. You can find more of these at patiofurniturecovers.com

They fit! – In order to keep them in place, covers are made to fit specific sized furniture. There are covers for seats, for benches, for tables, for squares, tube-shaped chairs, and any other shape or size. Plus they normally come with zippers or garters to help ensure a snug fit.

You spend your hard-earned cash to make your house nice and pretty, so its not a stretch to spend a little more to make sure everything stays pretty much the way they are for a long time. It’s an investment you have to commit to, kind of like buying insurance, only its for your outdoors furniture.

Easy Decorating Ideas That We All Must Incorporate

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We add some things to our decor to increase beauty or due to differences in preferences while some items are just simply essential such as a soft living room couch or canvas pictures on the walls. There are further changes that we don’t normally thing of but they must definitely be a part of the decor in ever house to enhance it in one way or another.

Living Room Design

Use Trays To Organise

Boxes, cupboards, shelves are used for organising items around the house, nobody wants a cluttered look as it can be distasteful and make a good sized room appear smaller. Trays are decorative storage items that can be placed in bedrooms, on coffee tables in the living room or along the sink in your kitchen to tidy up items. They can be used to add colour or print to your storage and can easily hold a vase, TV remotes and maybe some fresh fruit for the living room while dish cleaning utensils can also be neatly held in the kitchen.

Hang Up Children’s Art

Children’s art is not only suitable for a children’s bedroom but it can be displayed anywhere in the house especially hallways, kitchen or living rooms to liven things up. It’s important to understand that these imperfect pieces of art a full of spirit and meaning. If you are a canvas fan you can always take a picture and get a print on canvas or they can simply be framed up using stylish or colourful frames.

Bring In Plants

The importance of keeping plants indoors cannot be stressed upon, they go along with any colour scheme, they bring a bit of nature along with its freshness indoors and they are increasingly gorgeous. You can plant your own herb garden which will be very useful for cooking or simply go for a stunning plant to fill up any table or corner. Plant pots can even be decorated to add colour and they can be embellished for added texture.

Add Mirrors To Walls

Mirrors are shiny pieces of glass and on their own are gorgeous to dress up any walls, they further can be made to look even more stunning if decorated with stylised frames or given embossed or bevelled borders. There is no room that is not perfect for mirrors and the bigger they are the better. Apart from their beauty they also successfully serve a purpose in altering room orientation and they can reflect and make any small or normal sized room appear bigger, thus they are must haves for any small space. Further your guests will feel special when there is easily a mirror around where they can easily view and adjust their image.

What to Consider When Choosing the Perfect Colour Scheme for a Room

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The type of colour you choose to dress up your room can be responsible for making or breaking your room thus it shouldn’t be chosen randomly, or out of a gorgeous interior magazine because there are aspects of you room that should affect your choice. A colour that looks fantastic on one wall can look completely disastrous on another thus is essential to consider factors in your room to choose the perfect colour.

Bedroom Color Scheme

Room Lighting

The amount of natural sunlight that falls in a room can greatly affect colour choice while electrical lighting at night can always be adjusted to make the colour work at night. You need to figure out the direction of your room as north facing rooms consist of limited and cold light thus they need warmer shades such as yellow. On the other hand south facing rooms have warm light and they require cool colours such as yellow. East rooms have plenty light in the morning while West have more in the evening thus they should be given warm or cold tones according to the times they are mostly used.

Room Orientation

Room orientation greatly affects choice of colour because darker colours can stand out well and look great in large and open rooms with high ceilings while they can make a small room appear even smaller and dull it out. Light colours are essential for tiny rooms to make them appear larger; a good trick is to keep the flooring dark while walls and ceiling light so the eye draws up, add in some best canvas prints to match the floor colour. If you’re ceiling is too high then a darker colour can be used for it while a lighter for the rest of the room and vice versa for a ceiling too low.

Adding A Colour That Doesn’t Suit The Room

If there is a favourite colour that you always wished to be a part of your room or you feel it represents you but it’s not perfect for the room setting due to lighting conditions or room orientation there are still some ways in which it can be incorporated. Before going into depression think of small ways to add the colour, if for instant loud colours such as purple, electric blue or red interest you but your room is too small for them to be incorporated then you can always add pops of them in a neutral coloured room. You can keep your wall and furniture neutral while add lamps, canvas pictures, bed linen, cushions etc. of your favourite colour! Another cool idea is to paint the inside of your closets in colour to add drama, when closed, they won’t affect the room.

Author Bio: Author is an interior artist who is passionate about the use of colour, she writes articles on decor types and on the use of canvas pictures and prints.

5 Indoor Friendly Plants

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Indoor Plants

Houseplants are known as interior decorating tools that jazz up rooms, but did you know they help allergy sufferers or asthmatics? Houseplants remove toxins from the air. Toxins are exuded from aerosol sprays, fabric upholstery, carpets and other things. Houseplants return pure oxygen into the air. This is then inhaled, nullifying the adverse effects on the body from inhaling toxins. Houseplants were first considered by NASA for use in the space program for protecting the astronauts from illness. Now, they are considered more than just a pretty decoration.

Palms

The Areca, Bamboo and Lady Palms are air purifiers that flourish in both dry and humid areas. They trap allergens in their leaves. Dust mites, pet dander and pollens are removed from the air and clean oxygen returned. This has benefits other than allergy removal. Exposure to plants in early childhood acts as an immunization shot to young children. They will grow up with a stronger immune system. Palms also target formaldehyde, benzene and carbon monoxide. Smokers in the house won’t bother anyone when the palms suck up the toxins from the smoke.

Orchids

Famous for being finicky plants, the truth is orchids get along just dandy with as little care as watering them every now and again and putting them out of direct sunlight. These beautiful flowers vacuum the air of xylene, a toxin found in many paints, glues and leathers. Orchids perform their magic at night, which makes it the perfect houseplant for insomniacs. Plants also lower blood pressure, making sleep easier for those that are stressed. Placed beside the bed, orchids will help those troubled by lack of sleep.

Peace Lily

A further boon to allergy sufferers and asthmatics is the Peace Lily. The plant decidedly likes chilly temperatures. It just as decidedly dislikes acetone, ammonia, benzene, ethyl acetate, formaldehyde, methyl alcohol, trichloroethylene and xylene and removes them from the air. This plant would be best placed in bathrooms for its ability to absorb mold spores. Also, some personal grooming products include the toxins listed above and are primarily found in bathrooms. This plant would eliminate toxins and other pollutants that cause headaches and some allergies.

Ferns

There are many types of fern but Boston Ferns are the most popular. These feathery, lacy plants are usually hanging plants. Ferns cleanse the air of toluene and xylene, toxins found in paint, nail polish and glue. Those with dry skin will also benefit from ferns. They trap pollutants in their fronds and release moisture into the air. Indeed, houseplants are natural humidifiers but ferns top the list.

Ivy

Ivies are beautiful plants, often found in hanging baskets or trailing along the top shelf of tall bookcases. These versatile plants absorb the toxin benzene, which attacks the nervous system. Ivy plants are found in many offices, mainly because they look great but are out of the way. Good thing, too, because they facilitate clear thinking and problem solving.

For a range of beautiful pots to place these indoor plants in, check out the latest The Warehouse catalogue. They have a large range at great prices.

– Written by David Teller

How to Apply Venetian Plaster

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Knowing how to apply a layer of Venetian plaster is a useful skill. However, you will probably want to have the work done by a professional, so that it is warranted. When you work with the designer to create the look that you want, you will have full creative control. The plasterer will give ideas, but you get the ultimate say on what goes in your home. Venetian plaster is a very valuable plastering technique. It is used by many interior decorators, and it has a wonderful consistency when it is completely dry. It gives you a new way to spice up your décor, and it is a cheap method of making your home look like a million bucks.

The Venetian Plastering Technique 

Venetian Plaster

Venetian plaster is an application in which layers of paint are applied in very thick layers, usually with a tool such as a trowel or spatula. It gives walls a very aged vintage look, and it can work wonders in a home that lacks texture. The texture of Venetian walls are amazing, because they can reflect light at different angles, unlike other techniques that use faux painting, such as painting with sponges or stippling. Venetian plaster looks great in conservatories, enclosed porches, or anywhere you want to create fantastic visual appearance with your walls. It looks best in rooms that have a lot of sunlight.

The Effect of Venetian Plaster

When using Venetian plaster, there are first a few things you should consider, and preparation is required. You will first need to determine what colour you want your walls. Colour choices are endless, so you can have pretty much anything you want. You will also need to make sure that you have an in-depth consultation with your contractor, so that they know exactly what you want.  Use a reputable firm such as John Anthony Plastering who have detailed case studies and references (http://www.johnanthonyplastering.co.uk/). Once you have everything set, you need to get a contract so that both you and the contractor are protected. Before the contract is signed, you need to ask the contractor how long they anticipate that the job will take. Before your contractor will be able to apply the plaster, they will first have to clean the wall with a damp brush. They will then use sandpaper to sand it down and smooth off any rough edges. Sanding the wall is a crucial step, as the Venetian plaster needs a surface that it can adhere to.  If there are holes or blemishes on the wall, then this will be visible through the plaster.

Image credit: theurbanwall.ca

5 Tips to Minimize Your Home Cooling Costs in Summer

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Home Cooling

Summer is just a few months away, which will mean hotter weather. When the weather is hot, you have to turn on the air conditioning to stay cool and comfortable. However, cooling your house can use up a lot of energy, making your electricity bills very high. If you use your air conditioning a lot, you could end up spending hundreds of dollars a month on utility costs. Luckily, there are several ways you can minimize your cooling costs this summer.

Avoid Using the Oven

When it is really hot outside, you should avoid using the oven. Using the oven can cause your entire house to heat up, which will make the air conditioning work harder. On hot days, it is best to cook something in the microwave or just grill your food outside.

Use a Ceiling Fan

A ceiling fan can give you a cool breeze and does not use up as much energy as air conditioning. If you raise your airconditioner and use the ceiling fan, you can lower cooling costs by quite a bit. When you leave the room, remember to turn the ceiling fan off because it does not keep the room cool.

Set Your Thermostat at a Reasonable Temperature

Unless you want your cooling costs to go through the roof, you should set your air-conditioner at a reasonable temperature. Setting it to a low temperature will feel comfortable but will not make your electricity bill super expensive. Also, be aware that setting your thermostat at a really low temperature at first will not help your house get cooler faster. Setting your thermostat at a really low temperature will actually use up too much energy.

Keep the Shades Closed

A very easy way to cut cooling costs during the summer is to keep the shades closed. If you keep the shades closed, you will prevent the sun from coming in and making your house hotter. You could also consider planting some trees around your home to block out the sun.

Encourage Ventilation

Another method of reducing your cooling costs next Summer is to encourage natural ventilation of your home by opening a door or window on opposite sides of the house. This will promote airflow and cool your home dramatically. If you’re worried about security, there are many companies out there, such as Down Under Screens who specialize in screens which protect your home whilst still allowing air to flow through.

If you utilize these helpful tips, you should be able to keep your cooling costs down this summer. If you do the right things, your cooling costs will not go through the roof. Also, consider having a professional inspect your air conditioning system. He will make sure that it is working properly and not using more energy than normal.

The Top Five Termite Control Tips Every Homeowner Should Know

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Termite-free Home

Termites are a problem for many homeowners. Getting rid of them can also very difficult. The good news is that there are a number of things that you can do to prevent them from occurring in the first place. Below are five tips that will help you prevent termites:

Fix Leaks Around Your Home
Termites need water to survive. If there is water coming from your home, then that will make it lot easier for a termite colony to thrive. That is why you want to make sure that you get all of the leaks in your home fixed. If you can eliminate the termites’ water source, then you will be removing one of
the three things that they need to survive.

Do Not Put Mulch Near Your Home
Mulch not only provides termites with water, but it also provides them with food. Food is another thing that termites need to survive. If you have mulch near the outside of your home, then you can very easily attract termites. You may want to consider trying rubber mulch instead of wood mulch. Rubber mulch looks a lot like wood mulch, but it is much less likely to attract termites.

Seal Cracks
Termites can very easily enter through the cracks in your home. That is why if you have any holes or cracks inside of the foundation of your house, then you want to get them sealed as soon as possible. This will make it a lot harder for those wandering pests to come inside of your home.

Store Firewood Away From Your Home
Wood is the thing that termites consume the most. Therefore, if you have firewood near your home, then you are inviting termites. You should store firewood in a place that is not close to your home. If you do not have a storage place for the firewood, then you should put thick concrete slabs underneath the wood. This will make it harder for the termites to get to the wood. Furthermore, consider building your fencing out of steel rather than wood. This will act as a deterrent and potentially last a lot longer. A quick Google search for steel posts in Brisbane or other termite prone locations is a good place to start.

Get A Yearly Inspection
Even if you think that your home is termite-free, it would not hurt to get a yearly inspection. If termites are detected early, then it will be much easier for a pest control specialist to prevent them from infesting your home.

Termites are unwanted guests who choose to enter many people’s home. You can keep them from infesting your home by fixing leaks and sealing cracks. You also need to make sure that you do not keep firewood or mulch around your home. Furthermore, it is wise to get a yearly inspection.