26 December 2016

Small Things That Add Value to Home


Adding value to your home does not mean you have to invest in high-end renovations or expensive things such as artworks, etc. Small and insignificant things can also add value to your home and liven up the ambiance. So if you are looking forward to add some oomph to your home décor without spending too much, here are some tips you can try out:

Clean the Clutter

This is the first step towards switching up the look of your home interiors. A cluttered and untidy room is not only unhealthy it also leads to flow of negative energy within the room. So clean the clutter first. Mop the floor and dust the tables, chairs, racks, shelves and all other elements that stand within the room. While dusting and cleaning should be everyday affairs, make sure to deep clean and vaccum you home at least once in a week. Remember, a clean room is not only more welcoming, but it also creates a clean canvas for decorations.

Add Flowers, Add Colour to Your Life

Add flowers to your home décor to liven up moods instantly. Fresh and fragrant flowers add colour to a space and make the room smell good. So when you enter the room after a long tiring day, it helps you get rid of all the stress and tension (much like the way aroma therapy helps). So place colourful and fragrant flowers in your living room, bedroom, guest room and even the kitchen and bathroom. You can get fresh flowers delivered at your doorstep with the help of a local florist just as Flowers for Everyone offers flower delivery in Perth.

Small Improvements Add Great Value

Small improvements such as polishing the furniture or repairing a dampened wall can add great value to your home. The carpet might have lost its lustre due to continuous use, cleaning it can bring it back to life and make your room look stylish and gorgeous. Similarly, a sunken sofa can be an eyesore; get it fixed to bring back the comfort factor.

Paint the Walls for Quick Makeover

Painting the walls is the easiest way to uplift the mood of a room. If you can’t afford to paint the entire house; consider retouching paint in places where it has been damaged. If that looks odd, create some wall art with the paint that will cover up the damage and make the room look beautiful.

We often do not pay attention to less significant things within our house; but when used properly they can add great value to the home. So start with the above mentioned tips and increase the value of your home.        

23 December 2016

Why You Shouldn't Neglect Regular AC Maintenance



If you have an AC, you would want it be in great shape to cool your house as best as possible. Neglecting to maintain your AC is a mistake as dirty filters and coils will hinder the proper functioning of your AC. Check out some reasons why you shouldn’t ignore your AC maintenance.

Helps to keep your energy bill low
If your AC is not maintained regularly, it will be less efficient. A unit which runs poorly will increase your energy consumption leading to higher bills. Regularly maintaining your AC, repairing parts if required and tune-ups will keep your electricity bills in control.

Warranty protection
Many warranties require that AC is maintained regularly. Without proof of regular maintenance, the company may void the warranty of your AC. Commercial units need to be well-maintained too, and if you’re looking for commercial air conditioning in Brisbane, you could visit the dealers of commercial AC units and get them to set up your unit, and ask their help to maintain the unit, which would help to keep the warranty valid too.

Keeps bigger problems at bay
If you regularly maintain your AC unit, you may be doing yourself a big favor as it prevents bigger problems which cost much more to repair. The life of your AC is extended too by regular maintenance.

Better air quality
Cleaning the coils of your AC unit and replacing air filters on time will help to protect the air quality of your home and the health of you and your family will not be compromised due to poor air quality.

Gas leaks are prevented
Gas leaks are common in poorly functioning AC units. These leakages are quite harmful to the health of you and your family. Carbon monoxide, one of the gases emitted during gas leakage can be quite dangerous and even lead to serious complications and death, if it goes unnoticed.

Broken connections
Operating ACs with broken electrical connections is quite dangerous as this can lead to fires. This can lead to explosions even which are very dangerous. However, you should not try to repair any electrical faults yourself, but get the help of trained professionals to fix this.

The benefits of regularly maintaining an AC are numerous, ranging from protecting your family’s health to avoiding major mishaps which could put your life in risk, and also of course, keeping your electric bill low.


16 December 2016

This is the best knife sharpener I own


Anybody who knows me or who's spent any time around this website will tell you that I am a passionate cook. An early lesson I learned was the importance of using the proper equipment for the job at hand especially when it comes to knives.

Tools, including kitchen knives look and function the way they do for a reason. A paring knife is for peeling and dicing. A chef's knife is for carving. A santoku is for chopping. Well, you get the gist.

None of those knives can do their job if they're dull. Not only can they not do their jobs, dull knives pose a real danger to someone using it. A dull knife makes someone work harder and to hold that knife in a way it wasn't designed to be held. That's how you get cut.

I've been an obsessive knife sharpener for almost as long as I've been cooking and I've tried just about every type there is. I got my first carbide knife sharpener around five years ago and it was a real game changer.

Well there's a new use for carbide sharpening tech and it's available now in the form of the AnySharp.


The AnySharp takes the excellent performance of carbide sharpening and adds a strong suction cup to the base. So now for the the first time, knife sharpening is a one-handed operation.

My knives have never been sharper with less hassle and in a bonus to end all bonuses, the AnySharp sharpens my serrated knives too.


Honestly, these things are affordable, sturdy and a perfect gift for any cook in your life.

15 December 2016

Five Unique Kitchen Design Ideas

Image: http://cdn.decoist.com

The kitchen is the heart of every modern home. In fact, it has evolved to play a versatile role as a place to not only prepare food, but also bond with family, entertain friends, and even tackle homework with your kids.

Therefore, you should ensure that your kitchen provides the most comfortable and welcoming environment for these activities.  In order to achieve this, you need more than just a classy teak dining room table.

Therefore, we present you five unique kitchen design ideas to give your kitchen that magnificent and welcoming look.

1. Lounge-style banquette

Genius architect Ben Awes came up with a design that takes away the traditional dining room and expands the kitchen. It features a lounge like area that would accommodate large family get together’s. There is also the option for a granite slab around the table.

Then, the back of the seating can form a black quartz island work surface, with cabinets underneath.

2. Industrial Lighting

Just like how you expect the merchant services processing your transactions at work to be transparent and ideal for your business needs, your kitchen should be perfectly lit so as to keep up with your culinary adventures, as well as provide the ideal environment for mingling and conversation during family get together’s. You can achieve this by making use of industrial lighting. While this kind of lighting varies, it encompasses the following common features:

  • Black steel
  • Stainless steel
  • Copper or Brass
  • Wire Caging – In place of sconces
  • Clear glass and Antiquated style light-bulbs
  • Press-studs, among other industrial hardware

3. Versatile Kitchen Islands

Kitchen islands are evolving from simply being a preparation or serving station, to also serve as home and décor furnishings.   As such, you can upgrade your kitchen from a simple cooking station to a sophisticated display case by including a unique kitchen island.

Consider fixing glass or mirror doors on your kitchen island storage units. Likewise, you can transform an old barn table into a unique kitchen island. You just need to add some lower shelving units for storage. Any of these styles will certainly transform your kitchen island from the traditional prep or serving station into a unique display of style.

4. Smart Kitchen

Image: https://i.ytimg.com

Smart technology is revolutionizing the way we do things. It is even finding its way into our homes, including the kitchen, through the invention of smart home appliances.

The Bluetooth –enabled Anova Precision Cooker is a perfect example of smart home appliances. This cooker allows you to connect to your smartphone and then search recipes and incorporate the suggested cooking temperatures and durations for your food to come out perfect.

Likewise, you can incorporate charging points into your kitchen design. In fact, there are countless smart organizing options that you can choose from that will not compromise the overall kitchen décor. You just need to be creative when it comes to choosing technologies that can make your kitchen smarter.

5. Multipurpose Table on Wheels

If you don’t like the idea of having a full-time dining table, which takes up the better part of your floor space, designer Pangaea has a simple but perfect solution for you. She suggests that you have a table on wheels.

This table should be designed in a way that it built to make a breakfast bar that easily slide chairs under it.

Conclusion

Kitchen being the heart of every modern home, everyone wants their kitchen to look fabulous. Even if you don’t want a complete kitchen makeover, you can choose one of these unique kitchen design ideas to give your kitchen a trendy and welcoming look.

Author Bio

Carl Aamodt

Title: Super-Connector at OutreachMama

Carl is a super-connector with OutreachMama and Youth Noise NJ who helps businesses find their audience online through outreach, partnerships, and networking.  He is a professional writer who has been in the business for 5 years. He has hands on experience with cars, tech, and relationship advice, among other things. Because of how quickly he can turn articles around, he is able to take on multiple projects at once. His writing experience spans from SEO articles to technical guides and everything in between.

10 December 2016

How to Build a Green Kitchen on a Budget

Image Credit: Catchlight Painting

Green building and remodeling appeals to many of us, but sometimes environmentally-friendly products and practices seem out of reach because of expense. When you want to make the smallest carbon footprint, but you’re forced to choose unsustainable choices because of expense, it can be frustrating.

But while there are many expensive green options for kitchen building and remodeling, the good news is that there are also several inexpensive ways to get the green kitchen you want. In fact, when you want to go green, the kitchen is the best place to start because it’s the room that uses the most energy in your home. Stay within your budget and keep things environmentally friendly when you remodel your kitchen with these tips.

Plan Smart

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and your green kitchen on a budget isn’t going to happen overnight. Before you jump into building or remodeling your kitchen, follow these steps:

  1. Determine what needs to be done, and in what order so you can focus your budget in the right areas.
  2. Why are you building a green kitchen in the first place? Make sure you understand your goals and motivations so you’ll be able to prioritize and justify purchases later on.
  3. What can you do yourself? You’ll help your budget by taking on part of the remodel yourself. Of course, if you’re all thumbs, you may want to keep this list short.
  4. Take the time to find the right products at the right prices. Building with green materials can be less expensive, but it often requires a hunt.
  5. Clearly outline your expectations in a written document -- with as much detail as possible -- and discuss with your contractor. Make sure your contractor understands your definition of “green” so you’re on the same page.

Choose Smart

Fortunately, there are a variety of green building materials available. Many of them are inexpensive as well. Take a look at the best options for each area of your kitchen.

Green Countertops

Laminate countertops made with recycled wood particle boards and non-VOC adhesives give you green certification in the least expensive way possible. And while they’re a few dollars more expensive per square foot than regular laminate countertops, they are often a quarter of the cost of other popular green countertops.

Stainless steel countertops are also a good, inexpensive choice, as they consist of an average of 60% recycled material. Choose a particle board made from recycled material using glue with a non-VOC adhesive.

Flooring

Linoleum is an inexpensive option, and provides an environmentally-friendly choice. It’s made from linseed oil, which is not only hypoallergenic, but is a renewable resource. There are “linoleum-like” flooring options, but these are not made from linseed oil and are not as environmentally friendly.

Cork is sustainable because it doesn’t involve harvesting lumber; rather, the layers of the thick cork oak tree are stripped.

If you go for bamboo, it’s important you choose an experienced manufacturer who uses quality stalks, adhesives, and milling equipment to avoid the poor workmanship that is out there.

Reclaimed wood from barns, warehouses, piers, and other old wooden structures is also a very environmentally-friendly option.

Cabinets

Kitchen cabinets are often the most expensive part of a remodel. If you’re concerned about staying under budget, refacing your cabinets is a worthwhile option. With refacing, you can completely change the look of your kitchen for a fraction of the cost.

Stainless Steel Sink

Stainless steel contains anywhere from 50% to 80% recycled steel. Drop-in stainless steel sinks are inexpensive options, and can be stylish too.

ENERGY STAR Appliances

There’s no way around it -- appliances are expensive. But when you purchase an ENERGY STAR appliance, you will reduce your appliance energy usage anywhere from 10 to 50 percent, saving you money in the long run. ENERGY STAR appliances are better for the environment, and ultimately better for your pocketbook.

Green Is Often Less Expensive in the Long Run

Eco-friendly updates can save you money in the form of less-expensive utilities, and you’ll often find a more quality product in your eco-friendly choices. In addition, green building can increase the value of your home. Make sure you take these things into consideration when judging the immediate cost of an upgrade. While it may be a bit more expensive today, the green upgrade could save you in the long run.

Chuck Winkles is the president of New Life Bath & Kitchen. Chuck was born in Southern California and currently resides in Santa Maria. He's been married to his wife Shelley for thirty-one years and has two sons, Nathan and Noah.

09 December 2016

5 Essential Tips for Choosing the Best Air Mattress for Your Money


The industry of air mattresses has gone a long way in the past few decades – from a floating lilo that you’d see on a beach or on a camper’s backpack, the airbed has moved into our home. The uses range from a temporary bed for guests to a permanent bed for long-term use.


However, if you do decide to get a blow-up bed, you need to know exactly what to look for.  This sentence does sound like a cliché, and it is true for almost any product, but when choosing this particular piece of furniture, it’s twice as important.

The reasons for that will become clearer as we move through this guide.

So, let’s sharpen our proverbial pens and dive right into what we promised – essential tips for choosing right.

Tip 1: Start with the user reviews


It simply makes sense that other people reports are a good way to start.

So, if you are considering a particular model, visit the websites that carry it and have a reliable rating system. Go through the experiences and look for those from people with needs similar to yours.

You’ll discover a wealth of reliable info and first-hand reviews of the best air mattresses out there.

But this part can be tricky and mislead you – here’s what to think about and “red light” to look for if you are relying on user reports.


  1. They can be fake – it’s not uncommon for companies to either have a team that will write praising reviews or simply compensate people to give their products five star ratings.

    The solution to this is making sure that you get your information from websites that have a system in place that makes sure that only “verified purchases” can provide feedback.
  2. The quality of the products has changed – with all the outsourcing and changes in manufacturing protocols, a quality of a once great product can suffer. Yet, it can still hold high ratings because of the long years of positive feedback.

    Solution – don’t just look at the average ratings, sort the reviews and read what the most recent ones are saying. If there is a problem, you’ll see it right away.
  3. Make sure that the sample (number of reviews of the airbed) is large enough. If there are 10 reviews of a product, its ratings are not reliable. The company making the bed could have easily bought ten of their own products or offered them to people for free in exchange for a positive review.

    Solution – go with reputable brands and products that stood the test of years. These brands usually have hundreds, if not thousands of reviews.

    A good example of a reliable product is the SoundAsleep Dream Series, which has thousands of reviews and high-ratings – the margin of error with a product like this is minimal.

    Other trusted brands include Aerobed, Intex, Serta, Insta, Coleman and Fox.

    Take your time with this process. We spend a large chunk of our lives sleeping and the rest of it is affected by how good of a night’s sleep we get.


Tip 2: Go with a coil technology for the inner chambers


This is something you won’t be able to learn from the user reviews – the inner construction makes or breaks an airbed.


Most people will blindly go with the inflatable bed that promises it’s made of thicker and superior PVC (like Fox airbeds usually are). But the “soft spot” of these products is not the thickness of the PVC (what punctures the 0.4 mm PVC will most likely puncture the 0.6 mm, too).

The “soft spot” are the seams – and how the inner part of the bed is constructed makes all the difference on how weight is distributed along the sleeping surface and how much stress the seams suffer.

Beam vs. Coil Design


As opposed to outdated beam design, modern coil design is imagined to mimic a steel spring of classical mattress.

A coil design minimizes the risk of air leaks and does wonders regarding comfort because you don’t sink into the middle – the edges are just as firm as the rest of it.

These are the inflatables that are as comfortable as a regular mattress and are often a choice of people with back problems as an everyday bed. This is mainly due to the fact that you can regulate the firmness and thus, choose one that allows you spine to be aligned and eliminates shoulder and hip pressure points.

Tip 3: Think about a never-flat pump


Most of the better airbed models come with an integrated electric pump.

However, only a handful includes a secondary “never-flat” pump.

What is a never flat pump?


This is a small (secondary) pump that’s equipped with a sensor that registers any changes in pressure (firmness of the bed) and quietly adds a bit of air to get the pressure back to your setting.



This way, you’ll never sink to the middle, which is particularly important if two people are sleeping on it.

The two brands with popular models that include a never flat pump are Insta and Serta.

Tip 4: Think about power and placement


If you are looking for a camping air mattress, you’ll want one with a pump that can be battery operated.

Also, think about the power outlet – if you are traveling and taking the air mattress abroad, you’ll need a voltage adapter or even a power adapter (if the difference in power (Watts) between the voltage adapter and the power listed on the pump is too great, you’ll ruin your pump.

Let’s also mention that, if your primary purpose is camping you should look into sleeping pads as an option, the self-inflation open-cell foam ones are especially popular with campers and hikers.

When to go with a headboard?


If you are a restless sleeper and the bed will be in the middle of the room, you’ll end up chasing your pillow through the night and waking up to a sore neck.

So, unless you can place the blow-up bed in a corner or at least with its top side against a wall, you might want to look into models that come with a headboard. They are about the same price and the headboard makes all the difference.

Tip 5: Think about safety


The main thing that changed and introduced the home airbed to the mainstream were the changes in safety standards and manufacturing procedures a few decades ago.

Until then, the industry was still struggling with the tales of health hazards.

Today, the companies have to adhere to the strictest standards and exclude any potential chemicals from the manufacturing process (the main issue were chemicals known as phthalates).

It is still PVC, and most of the products will spread a plasticky smell in the room when unpacked but a few hours of airing it out resolves the issue.

In fact, research shows that air mattress today carries the lowest health risk from fumes than any other mattress type (see the graph below).



Summing up our tips on choosing the best air mattress



Let’s take a step back and remember that we mentioned at the begging of this guide that knowing how to choose right is especially important with airbeds.

We hope you know understand why.

With a regular mattress, you try it out and if it feels right for you and the company is trustworthy, that’s pretty much it.

With an inflatable, you don’t have to worry about the firmness because you set it yourself, but you have to know what to look for in the pump, internal design, power, and your intended use.
It’s our hope that this guide helped or might help at some point in the future.




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