Category Archives: Home Improvement

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.

Things To Consider When Upgrading Your Bathroom

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Bathroom Suite with Seat

There are a number of things which you should take into account especially if you are planning to establish a bathroom suite.

  • Builder: When employing the services of a bathroom builder, it is important that you are particular about his craftsmanship, dedication, the way he manages his team, how available he is as well as his communication skills. Knowing the quality of his previous works through his previous clients is also good. This should give you a heads up if a particular builder is reliable or not.
  • Paint: Choosing the right paint for your bathroom is also important because not all kinds of paints can bear with various conditions especially moist. Choose paints like semi-gloss or glossy paints which come with mold inhibitor.
  • Doors: One way of creating more space in your bathroom is through the use of sliding doors since they do not take as much as space as compared to conventional doors with hinges. Plus, having a sliding door makes your bathroom suite more sophisticated.
  • Screen: Another way of creating more space inside your bathroom is to use shower screens though there are some people who prefer not to use any shower screen so that they can simulate the wet appearance of hotel’s wet bathroom look.
  • Design: make sure that you properly organize bathroom accessories based on their functions. Group perfumes together as well as toothbrushes or anything which deals with a person’s personal hygiene. However, make sure that skin care products as well as cosmetics are kept inside drawers. You cannot afford to get them wet whenever someone is taking a shower.

These are but a few things that you should consider especially if you are trying to go for cheap bathroom suites. Take time in figuring out what you need to prioritize rather than what you want to put in your bathroom.

Trade Plumbing is an online plumbing and heating retailer for all your home improvement needs. It features a wide variety bathroom suites, heated tower rails, shower enclosures, radiators and more. All of these are in premium quality and also available in cheap prices.

Types of Arborist Equipment

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Aside from the qualifications and experience you have gotten in your chosen profession, working with the right tools is important to your career. This fact also applies to the jobs that arboriculturists (or arborists) perform. In addition to those important skills, knowing the different arborist equipment and the right pieces to use at any time is essential. A large selection of arborist equipment can be found at skylandequipment.com.

It’s always safer to call a professional when the need arises, though this may not be necessary if you also have the qualifications. Arborists study trees, vines and shrubs, and they know how to take care of plants and trees so that they can mature within the shortest possible time. Even at maturity, their knowledge is also important for the harvest.

Since they sometimes work near power cables and are exposed to other forms of risk, they must have the right equipment to ensure their safety as well as their efficiency. Some of the most recommended tools for the arborist include chainsaws, lopping shears, ropes, climbing gear, cables and protective clothing such as gloves and protective shoes. An arborist may also make use of a “cherry picker”, which is a special truck for taking him or her to any height along the tree.

The chainsaw is portable and mechanical. It works with the aid of electricity, compressed air, hydraulic power and a two-stroke engine. Chainsaws are used by the arborist for felling trees, cutting wood, pruning, limbing and bucking. Chainsaws are very important in fighting forest fires, because trees must be cut to prevent the spread of fire. Types of chainsaws include the professional saws, all-round saws, consumer saws and tree care saws. A qualified arborist knows the exact type and size for any kind of job.

Lopping shears are another type of cutting tool. Their handles are long to enable the user perform an excellent job. Lopping shears and pruning shears have identical functions but the lopping shears are preferable when the branches, vines and roots are too hard for pruning shears to remove.

You can know a qualified arborist by the kind of tool he uses. Tree services such as planting, emergency care, removal and pruning are some of the requirements that arborists provide. However, it will be extremely difficult to perform these duties without the right arborist equipment.

7 Quick Ways To Personalise Your Rental Home

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Moving into a rental home can be a wonderful thing. You finally have your own space, some privacy and can invite your friends around when you want. All rental leases come with restrictions, like no picture hangers on the walls or no use of double sided tape. As you place your furniture and knick knacks around the rooms, it would be nice to put your personal stamp on this newly rented home. This is, in fact, easier than you think.

How to Display Photos

There are many ways to display photos without hanging them on walls. For a large quantity of photos, you could buy a large tri-fold room divider which is capable of holding A4 size photos, as well as numerous smaller ones. For single photos, use frames of assorted sizes. Photo flip books or coffee table size books printed with your personal photos are another great idea.

Photos - Desk Calendars

Colour Theme

Choose your favourite colour theme and incorporate it into lounge cushions, tablecloths and placemats, floor rugs and curtains. In fact, your preferred colour can be used anywhere to accessorise and personalise your rental home.

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask The Landlord

If the wall colour scheme is not to your liking or is a little drab, perhaps you could ask the landlord if they would give permission for you to paint it. The landlord would have to approve the colour of course, but most landlords are quite happy for you to do this. Sometimes they are time poor and have just not got around to doing it themselves. Often they will deduct the cost of the paint from your rent.

It’s Too Dark

Rental properties can often be dark because they are filled with older light fittings. The use of free standing floor lamps and table lamps can brighten up the rooms to bring a totally different perspective to a dingy dark area.

Collections

If you are a collector, whether it be Star Wars or Batman memorabilia, tea pots, teddy bears or antiques, display these in a glass fronted cabinet or open style cube display case and you will have a great conversation starter when visitors call around.

Let Your Home Reflect Your Lifestyle

If you are dedicated to reading or watching dvds or if you love house plants, keep these things on display. It is important to reflect your lifestyle in the décor of your home.

Customised photos

With the hundreds of photos that you would have on file, why not turn some of them into personalised wall or desk calendars? You could also have photos printed onto mouse mats or custom mugs to bring an extra personal touch to your rental home.

Bear in mind this is a rental home. You may live in it for a long time or you may only reside in it for a short time, but it should reflect your personal touch and style. If your home doesn’t suit your personality, it could have negative effect on you. Make sure everything you use to add your personal touch to this home can be taken with you.

Home and Garden Gift Ideas

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For any person who usually spends hours keeping their garden thriving, the garden is a source of satisfaction and pleasure. Gardeners take pride mostly in the flowers that they nurture therefore a gift complementing a garden will be received well. In this article we will analyse the best gifts available.

Wind Chimes

They provide a calming sound with breeze inside a garden. Many types are available, and their sounds are noticeably different from each other. Chimes are available in basic designs although there are others that are highly decorative. Hanging in the garden from a tree, chimes provide harmony and music with nature.

Bird Feeders

Bird feeders bring action to the garden. During winter when the garden is resting, observing the wild birds’ antics is entertaining. To compliment the feeder, include a birdseed bag as well as an identification book. It is fascinating to watch hummingbirds darting out and in the flower garden. Purchasing a hummingbird feeder only used during summer will help to attract them. With the feeder, include commercial food mix packages for the hummingbirds as well.

Birdbaths

Birdbaths provide a beautiful feature in a garden as they attract birds which are colourful and are usually decorative when they are surrounded by flowers. They come in various styles and are made from different materials such as cement, glass, metal or resin. The design may be highly decorated having relief details or plain and is a permanent gift providing many years of enjoyment.

TP Trampolines

This is ideal for the home environment and any person will appreciate them as gifts. They come in various designs and sizes and will provide the kids with something to enjoy while at the same time having a good workout as they are able to exercise as often as they like. They also provide the young ones with backyard entertainment as an option to mind-numbing online digital games.

Genius Octagonal 12ft Trampoline

Stepping Stones

These are concrete slabs which are crafted as decorative paths for the garden and may be used in a series or as one step. Often the slabs are highly festooned or they can be imprinted with leaves. Crafting the stone by hand makes a very special gift.

Gardening Tools

A useful set of farming tools can be a good gift for anyone to beautify their yard. Complete sets of tools may include small shovels, pruning shears and trowels. Available are sets with longer handles therefore less bending over. A garden tool kit or canvas bag for holding the new set may be appropriate too.

Tote Bag

Any gardener will surely appreciate a good tote bag for storing and carrying gardening supplies. Specifically look for a bag having sufficient room to hold the required supplies or has nice decorations on its outer surface. Also, you can purchase at crafts stores plain tote bags and then decorate the bags yourself.

In addition to gifts for outside gardens, indoor garden gifts are also available and they are perfect for those who love to keep the inside garden cool during cold weather seasons or those living in condos or apartments which is not close to any outdoor space dedicated for gardening. For indoor gardening, gifts could include new plants, pots or indoor garden seed kits.

The Benefits of Tiling Your Floor

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With so many different types of floor coverings now available to residential consumers, it can be difficult to narrow down your favourites. When deciding on the right floor covering for your home, you should not only consider the aesthetic nature of the design, but also the comfortableness and maintenance required. Your new floor covering should be something that benefits every member of the family and, ultimately, makes your life easier.

Many families are now choosing tiling as their favourite option for floor coverings, as it provides a number of endless benefits. Whether you’re searching for something that is low maintenance or are concerned about the aesthetic styling of your new floor, tiling could just be what you’re looking for. Read on to discover the unbeatable advantages of tiling your floor.

Easy to Clean

One of the most advantageous reasons to tile your floor is simply because it provides an easily cleanable surface. While tiling is commonly chosen as the floor covering of choice throughout high traffic areas of the home, many families are now seeing the benefits of tiling the entire house. Warmth and character can still be added to the home with lush rugs and runners; however, tiling throughout your house will ensure that you’re not spending every minute of your day cleaning! Whether you’re cleaning spills, scuffs or just regular household dirt, there is a notable difference when dealing with a tiled floor covering.

A Hypoallergenic Home

While carpets were once a popular choice of floor covering in many homes, it is now becoming evident just how unhygienic they can be. Carpets provide the perfect conditions for a breeding ground for germs, bacteria and dust mites. Vacuuming often removes the noticeable surface dirt, but leaves other nasties behind. Due to the collection of dust and dirt, many allergy sufferers find it difficult to live in a carpeted home. Choosing to tile your floor can help to create a more liveable environment for you and your loved ones.

Durable Floor Coverings

As aforementioned, tiling is commonly used throughout areas of the home with high volumes of foot traffic. The laundry, kitchen and bathroom, for instance, will regularly display tiles. Tiling is an incredibly durable option, offering a hard-wearing surface that requires little to no maintenance, other than regular cleaning. Scuff marks and spills are easily removed from tiled floors, while the durable surface is very difficult to permanently mark.

Many house and land packages now include great options for various floor coverings. New home owners are not limited to one type of floor covering, with many reputable builders offering a range including tiles and carpeting. If you’re searching for a floor covering option that provides a healthy and clean living environment for your family, consider the undeniable advantages of tiling.