31 July 2019

How to Decorate Your Bedroom for a Calming Effect


There’s no limit when it comes to decorating your bedroom. However, your bedroom should be a place for sleep and relaxation. Giving your body enough sleep is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. That said, here are some tips to ensure that your bedroom decoration style promotes a calming effect:

Carefully Position and Set Up the Bed

Your bed is the main element of your bedroom and it should set the tone of the whole room’s style. Position it in the room such that it’s one of the first things you see when you walk inside. To set a relaxing tone, the bed should be inviting and comfortable. To make the bed look luxurious, consider layered bedding by doing the following:

  • Layer soft sheets, followed by a light blanket and, finally, a quilt for added warmth.
  • Add a comforter in a duvet cover and place a throw blanket across the bed’s foot.
  • Complete the look with several throw pillows to make bedtime a truly relaxing time.

Ensure Safe Movements

To make moving around the room smooth, ensure that you have enough room around the bed. This way, you won’t stub your toes or bump your shins when getting out of and into the bed. Think about the actual bed dimensions in buying a mattress. Save more when you purchase a mattress on Labor Day or other holidays.

Use Adjustable Lighting

Bedside lighting is an important part of the room. Choose soft, relaxing lighting that can be regulated as needed. Consider using an adjustable sconce lighting to keep your nightstand tidy while giving you the option to reposition it to get enough light for bedside reading.

Choose Opaque Window Covers

The body restores itself while sleeping and for it to do this task effectively, it needs to be in darkness. There are several options for window blackouts that allow enough light so that you can enjoy natural sunlight in the morning while still providing enough privacy during daytime.

Relaxing Color Choices

Color can affect moods, and when it comes to choosing colors for your bedroom, choose cooler hues. Consider the colors lilac, blue, and light shades of gray to encourage rest. On the other hand, warm colors such as red and orange are better used somewhere else in the house as they have an energizing effect.

Clutter-Free is Stress-Free

Although you close your eyes when sleeping, having clutter around the bedroom can make it difficult for you to fall asleep. You’d want to keep only necessary furniture inside the bedroom. Eliminate clutter and distractions inside the bedroom to help you destress at the end of a tiring day.

Choose a Quiet Fan

In planning the bedroom’s design, you may consider adding a ceiling fan to help provide fresh air and enable good air circulation, which can also add to giving you a sound sleep. It’s not a requirement for you to have a fan, but it can be a great addition to a healthy bedroom. Choose a ceiling fan that makes little noise so as not to distract you.


Add a Dash of Green

You don’t have to keep a garden inside your bedroom but adding one or more plants can bring a sense of health, life, and relaxation. You can place one large plant at the corner or have several small plants grouped on your nightstand or dresser. You can water them every week and open the curtains during the day to let in some light, and you’ll have pretty plants to help you relax.

Treat All Your Senses

To help your mind and body relax, try soothing your senses. Relive a peaceful, spa-like environment in your bedroom. Place a bunch of fresh flowers in a vase, try using a reed diffuser to spread the calming fragrance of lavender, rose, or jasmine, and use a sound machine to suppress traffic noise. All these can make your bedroom inviting and calming.

Remove Technology

Of course, you can’t eliminate everything technology-related, but this means not having computers, television, or exercise equipment inside the bedroom. To enjoy a relaxing retreat, you’d have to ensure that you don’t bring work to bed with you. Create a haven that’s devoid of technology to help you better connect to your natural rhythms.

Final Thoughts

When you’re confused, tired, and stressed by all that’s happening around you, you may be tempted to collapse and cry. While escaping from your responsibilities is impossible, there is something you can do to make your bedroom a heavenly refuge. With just a smidgen of work, you’ll transform your bedroom into a place of calm and rest, allowing you to recharge and face the next day with renewed strength.

30 July 2019

How to Improve Air Quality in Your Home

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Home upgrades often focus on improving appearance, and energy efficiency has also gained importance in recent years. However, indoor air quality (IAQ) is fundamental for human health, and the subject tends to receive less attention. The US Environmental Protection Agency has determined that indoor air is 2 to 5 times more polluted than outdoor air on average, and this applies even for urban areas.

Considering that humans spend around 90% of their time indoors in urban settings, controlling air quality is very important. There are three main ways to improve IAQ, and they can be used simultaneously to achieve the best results:

  • Eliminating or minimizing the sources of air pollution.
  • Designing an effective ventilation system, which ensures a constant supply of fresh air.
  • Removing pollutants directly from the air, by using filters or air purifiers.

There are many types of air pollutants, and some are notorious for their ability to remain undetected. Some are easy to identify due to their unpleasant smell, but others are odorless and colorless. There is a specific category of air pollutants called volatile organic compounds (VOC), and some even have pleasant aromas, causing the impression that they are harmless.

Which Substances Are Considered Air Pollutants?

Thousands of substances have been identified as air pollutants, but a few are the most relevant in building interiors. Depending on the reaction they cause, air pollutants can be described as irritants or allergens. To provide air quality for everyone, both types must be kept under control:

  • An irritant causes a negative reaction on anyone exposed to it. For example, ozone in the upper atmosphere blocks harmful radiation from space, but ground-level ozone is a potent lung irritant.
  • An allergen only affects susceptible individuals. Pollen, mold spores and animal dander are common examples of allergens.

Most air pollutants are not dangerous with short-term exposure, and most health conditions only develop when air quality has been ignored for long. However, some air pollutants are very dangerous even with brief exposure. Asthma patients are especially vulnerable, since pollutants can trigger flare-ups.

Carbon monoxide (CO) is extremely dangerous: the gas is released by combustion appliances that have poor ventilation, and it can poison humans at concentrations as low as one percent. The gas is colorless and odorless, which makes it even more dangerous, and CO sensors are normally required by law. Carbon monoxide should not be confused with carbon dioxide, which requires a much higher concentration to become dangerous.

Volatile organic compounds (VOC) and particulate matter (PM) are not as threatening as carbon monoxide with short-term exposure. However, they can lead to serious health issues in the long run.

  • VOCs are normally released by new construction materials, new furniture, cleaning products, artificial fragrances and cosmetics.
  • PM is normally released from combustion, just like carbon monoxide. PM in outdoor air may also form when other pollutants react chemically under sunlight.

Controlling Air Pollution with Smart Ventilation and Filtering

Large amounts of air pollutants are released in areas like kitchens, bathrooms and garages. All these areas should have extractor fans, to remove harmful substances before they spread to  other rooms. Air pollution sensors can be added to ventilation systems, activating the extractors automatically when harmful substances are detected.

Humidity is not considered an air pollutant, but organisms that affect air quality thrive in humid environments.

  • Mold is one of the best-known examples, and it can damage some construction materials in addition to degrading air quality.
  • Dust mites also reproduce faster with moisture, and they cause allergic reactions in many people.
  • Both mold and dust mites die off when relative humidity is reduced below 50%.

Plants are natural air filters, since they absorb many pollutants as part of their metabolic process. Indoor plants can improve air quality, but flowering plants should be avoided to prevent the release of pollen. Air filters and purifiers can also improve air quality, but ozone-based purifiers are not recommended. While they remove other substances, they defeat their own purpose by releasing ozone, a strong respiratory irritant.

Indoor air quality can be improved by minimizing the sources of pollutants, combined with effective ventilation and filtering. HVAC engineers can optimize the ventilation system design for a home, achieving both energy efficiency and air quality.

Michael Tobias is the founder and principal of Chicago Engineers, an Inc 5000 Fastest Growing Company in America. He leads a team of 30+ mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and fire protection engineers from the company headquarters in New York City; and has led over 1,000 projects in Chicago, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Florida, Maryland and California, as well as Singapore and Malaysia.

29 July 2019

Kitchen Cabinet Details that Will Make You Say “Wow”

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People renovating their homes is incredibly common and spending in the area is on the rise. Many people want to make their homes more modern, or just want a change of scenery without buying a new home. However, in addition to changing up their space, many people may renovate their homes to increase its value. If that is your goal, one of the best types of renovations to consider is one in the kitchen.

While a lot can go into a kitchen renovation, one of the most important parts of the reno is your cabinets. Sure, you can look in-store for cabinets, but you can also find quality affordable kitchen cabinets for sale online. You might think your options when it comes to kitchen cabinets will be limited, but that is not the case. There are dozens (and potentially even hundreds) of different design and style options for you to choose from.

With that in mind, this article is going to look at a few different kitchen cabinet details, features and styles that are sure to wow you!
   
Wooden Cabinets

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The most common type of cabinets out there are made of wood. Wood is a study, generally affordable and widely available option for cabinets. However, the price and quality of your wooden cabinet will depend on the type of wood being used. As you could imagine, the costs of different types of wood can vary.

For example, harder woods like cherry, maple, beech or hickory will often be more expensive than oak, walnut and mahogany. This is largely due to the woods ability to resist scratching, denting and other imperfections. So the wood you will choose depends not only on your visual preferences, but also your budget. In addition to different types of wood, cabinets can have a variety of different styles. They can be distressed, flat-panel, louvered or any other type of design.

As you could imagine, there are many pros or benefits to going with wooden cabinets. They are durable, can be easily customized, are available in nearly every style and can easily be stained and painted in the future to provide a whole new look. Of course, there are some cons that go along with wooden cabinets. Chief among them is the fact that the installation process can be longer and more expensive. Also, wooden cabinets can expand and warp over time, and be a headache to clean.

If you want to save some money while still getting the look of wood, you can also go with an option like thermofoil. These cabinets are made of  MDF (medium-density fibreboard) and are then wrapped and treated to look like wood. They are easy to care for, resistant against moisture, and much more affordable. However, they are not heat-resistant, so be careful.

Transparent Cabinets

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While most people like their cabinets to hide the things they have, others want to show off their fine China or kitchenware. For these individuals, it can make sense to go with some kind of glass cabinet doors. These can provide a unique look that not many homes have. However, if going fully transparent is too intense, you could opt for some stained glass. This will provide a bit of transparency, while also being a design style in of itself.

Each of these options will require less solid material (either wood, metal or another material), in exchange for glass, which can lower price. Other pros of this type of cabinet can be a unique aesthetic, simple cleaning and can make it easier for visitors to know just where your cups are! However, there are some cons of transparent/glass cabinets as well. These include the fact the glass could break if you’re not careful, and the fact you need to keep everything organized behind the door, as everyone can see.

Blind Corner Cabinet Solutions

When it comes to kitchen cabinets, most homes have an area that is hated by nearly everyone, the dreaded corner cabinet. This cabinet can be low or high, and is often a place most people will just toss things they never use. First of all, these cabinets can be hard to reach, and can be even tougher to see into. Trying to reach whatever you have at the back of these cabinets can be incredibly difficult and stressful.

If you can optimize your corner cabinet or create a usable solution, you will unlock much more storage than you otherwise had. Thankfully, there are several different ways to do this. You can install pull-out corner drawers, can utilize a lazy susan or can even using things like swing outs or slide-out trays.

Of course, installing these solutions will be more expensive and time consuming than leaving it alone, but can get you a lot of extra space, as well.

Soft Close Hinges or Drawers

There are many different ways that your cabinets can show wear and tear over the years. However, few can be more problematic than the hinges. After constantly being open, closed and slammed thousands of times, kitchen cabinet hinges can begin to show the effects. Damaged or compromised hinges can lead to doors being tough to close, uneven or stiff.

As a result, consider adding soft close hinges and drawers throughout your kitchen. These are hinges that will ensure your cabinets and drawers will always be closed slowly and gently. The small bit of added installation costs and work required will be more than worth it to save your hinges and drawers from unnecessary damage.

Don’t Forget About the Accessories

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While how the cabinets look is important, so is how functional they are. Thankfully, there are several different types of accessories that can be installed within your cabinets. This can include dividers, pull-out trash can or recycling, wine racks, plate displays and more. These can be integrated directly into your cabinets for seamless inclusion.

These will all provide value in different ways to your home. Sure, they will generally cost more than adding standard cabinets, but the benefits are often worth the price. If you are interested in any of them, be sure to mention that to your contractor and see what they can do. While installing these on your own is possible, you want to ensure you know what you are doing before taking a customized job like this.

Hopefully this article has helped you learn a bit more about kitchen cabinets and all the various options at your disposal. Of course, these aren’t all available options, but are some of the best and to consider during your next kitchen renovation.

How To Tell If You're A Minimalist Or A Maximalist

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In life, every person has their own unique personality and no one else has one just like yours. In addition to your personality impacting how you act, behave and dress, it can also have an impact on your home. How we design our home is a reflection of ourselves and our passions and interests. No two homes look exactly the same and we have our own unique styles and personalities to thank for that.

While there are many different styles of decor people use, they each generally fall into one of two categories. They are either maximalist or minimalist. The side you are on will have a huge impact on how your home looks or functions. However, which of these are you and how can you tell? While many people are a mix of both, most of us tend to be more on one side than the other. In an effort to help you out, this article is going to go into detail about how you can tell if you are a minimalist or a maximalist.

Is Your Style Minimalist?

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A minimalist style is one that is very simple, elegant and clean. This goes for furniture, color and the layout of their homes. Minimalists will likely prefer a nice and clean white set of cabinets instead of a funky colored or designed cabinets in their home. For example, a set of ice white shaker cabinets (Ice White Shaker Review : basics) is likely to be perfect for those who like clean and simple lines, along with neutral colors.

In addition to simple and basic colors, minimalists are all about ridding their areas of clutter and only having what they really need. Most things in a minimalists home that are out, are likely being used or have some role or function in the home. Now, that doesn’t mean they don’t have other things, just that their other things are often kept away in storage when not being used.

Basic furniture and relatively empty walls are often common in minimalistic homes, and many rooms are free of distractions so you can focus on what matters. However, despite all of this, a minimalist style doesn’t need to be boring and uninspired. While many think minimalism can be cold and unwelcoming, this isn’t the case. It is simply about shedding the unnecessary materialistic things so many people care about and only focusing on what truly matters in your life. There are plenty of ways to have a beautiful home and life while maintaining minimalistic tendencies.

Is Your Style Maximalist?

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On the other hand, maximalism is all about bright colors, exciting patterns, unique pieces and a whole lot of creativity. A maximalist style can turn any room into a journey full of interesting stories or sights. Furniture, art, colors and decor are often mixed and matched in a number of different (sometimes clashing) styles. Essentially, a minimalistic room or home will be much busier than a minimalistic one, both on the floor and the walls.

However, it is important to remember that being a maximalist isn’t all about mess and clutter. Sure, a lot of space is used, but maximalists find order within the chaos of their rooms and homes. Also, these rooms will be tidy and organized, but full. Most of the things in a room will contribute to the design in some way or tell a story. Also, maximalistic rooms and homes are often incredibly dynamic, and can change from day to day as people find new things to display or utilize in a room. People may change their rooms or homes with the seasons, as interests change or just because they feel like it!

In conclusion, we hope that this article has been able to help you discover if you are more into minimalism or maximalism. Of course, as we mentioned in the introduction, most people fall somewhere in the middle. So if you can’t quite tell which one you are by our descriptions, don’t worry, you likely fall somewhere in between.

26 July 2019

Three Ways to Detect Air Leaks at Home

Leaks in a home can increase heating costs significantly. Here is how to detect and fix gaps in your house.



According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, more than 50% of the energy use in homes is for heating and air conditioning. The figure will increase in your home if there are leaks. You may already know where air leakage occurs in places such as under the door and vents, but there could be less obvious areas.

Heating systems are usually one of the main reasons for calling in an emergency plumber in Orem, especially in colder months. But you don’t have to wait until you can’t take the cold anymore. Start by conducting a thorough assessment of your home to determine how and where air leakage occurs. There are many tests that you can conduct, and the best part is that not all of them require specialized equipment. Here are some ways to find air leaks by yourself:

Conduct a visual inspection

Spaces in or around fireplace dampers, attic hatches, electrical outlets, windows and door frames, baseboards, and cable and TV phone lines could be the main reason your house can’t retain heat. Look for gaps in these places in the interior of the house. If the problem originates from the exterior of the house, some of the most common places you should check are the space between sidings and chimney, corners of the house, and outdoor water faucets. Light passing through a crack in your wall or roof indicates an opening that contributes to heat loss.

Conduct a pressurization test

If you can’t detect leaks visually, you may want to conduct a pressurization test. Start by turning off furnaces, water heaters, and other combustion appliances. This should be followed by shutting all exterior doors, windows, and vents and turning off all appliances that have exhaust fans to blow air outside. Once you’ve closed down all areas that that can leak air, light up an incense stick and pass through areas you suspect to leak air. If smoke wavers or is sucked out of the room, then find the gap and have it sealed the right way.

Use a flashlight



Switch off all the lights inside your house. If it is during the day, shut all windows and doors so that the interior remains dark. Walk everywhere around the house checking for any signs of light streaming in. If you are conducting this test at night, have someone walk around the house with a flashlight. For the best results, you should be in coordination with the person outside.

It can take you more time to identify leaks if your house is big. To save some time, consider creating a list of common places where you can find air leaks in your home. Start with the basement and the attic. These areas usually have big gaps, which when closed can help save your heating costs significantly.

Finding and sealing gaps in the walls and roofs can be a difficult task. If you don’t have the time or skill, why not get in touch with a professional? Experts in this will always come with the best equipment and use their expertise to detect and seal even the tiniest gaps.

25 July 2019

4 Tips for Selling your Home Fast


Placing your home on the market and waiting for it to sell can be a stressful time. You want to find a buyer as soon as possible to help you move on with your life. However, this may not be as easy as you’d hoped. You’ll likely want to work with a real estate agent to speed up this process. This professional can provide you with the following ideas to make a much faster sale.

1. Declutter your space

You’ll want to do a thorough cleaning of your home if you wish to find an interested buyer. Most people will want to put an offer on a property that’s neat and clean.

Taking time to declutter the living space is something you’ll always need to do, and this may mean having a garage sale. Placing an ad in the classified section about this event will allow you to have a better turnout and get rid of things you no longer use.

Additionally, doing a deep cleaning of your property before showing it to potential buyers is vital to getting it sold in less time.

2. Hire a professional photographer

Taking numerous pictures of your property when listing it online can be a great way to reduce the time it sits on the market. You’ll want to rely on a professional photographer that has the right skill set to do a job of this magnitude.

You’ll want to get a shot of each room inside of your home. Another great idea is to take several photos of the exterior of your property and the lot you have it on, as well.

Of course, taking the time to do some minor landscaping is an excellent idea to ensure the outside of your house looks attractive. Simply mowing the lawn and putting some blooming flowers in the garden can be helpful.

Studies indicate that homes that have many photographs may sell as much as 32% faster, and this is reason enough to hire a professional.

3.  Stage your property

Adding a few interior design touches may be the key to finding a buyer in the least amount of time. You can do several things on your own, such as purchasing rugs and pictures to hang for a better look. You'll likely be able to sell house fast in California when you stage your home.

Another good idea that may decrease the selling time is by staging your property. Renting furniture for your living area and other spaces in your home can make it look much more appealing.

The average price for staging a home is about $1800, and this is something you’ll want to budget for beforehand.

4. List it at the right price

Naturally, you want to get the best price possible for your home. However, you’ll want to avoid an asking price that’s too high because this may turn away interested buyers.

Relying on the assistance of a professional agent can enable you to know the right asking price for your property. Keep in mind that it’s much better to lower this amount rather than to increase it over time.

By making the right moves, you can ensure your home isn’t on the market for too long. You’ll need to be proactive and not simply let things happen without being in charge. It’s always in your best interest to work with an agent who will guide you through the home-selling process. Finding the right buyer may happen much sooner rather than later when you do so.

10 July 2019

5 Essential Tips To Help Renovate Your Home



Home renovations are an exciting project to take on. However, while the end product brings us immense amounts of joy and satisfaction, the road towards achieving that final, finished job can be anything but joyful.

Without the right mindset and preparations, the excitement a homeowner feels towards their renovations can quickly deescalate to the point of a total nightmare.

The 5 tips included in this guide are aimed at better guaranteeing that your home renovation project goes smoothly and with fewer bumps in the road that detract from the experience and the end result.

Research, Research, Research, Research… Research



The best thing that you can do to ensure renovating your home is a successful endeavor is to commit ample time towards research. What exactly do you need to research? Almost everything!:

  • Prices: Renovations cost a lot, so make sure that you’re shopping around for the best prices on furniture, building materials, etc.
  • Contractors: You also need to shop around for different contractors and research what they offer, what projects they’ve worked on in the past that are similar to yours, what do past customers have to say, etc.
  • Permits & Paperwork: Do you need to acquire any permits or submit paperwork with the town for your renovations to be legal and up to code?
  • Value: How will your renovations add to the value of the property?
  • Styles & Trends: Consider the styles and trends that potential home buyers are looking for. You may not be ready to sell now, but who knows what will happen in the future!

Have A Budget In Mind



Now that you’ve done some research, you have a much clearer idea of the process and what your project may cost. With this information in hand, sit down and develop a realistic budget for your home renovation. Your budget will largely depend on how much money you have and how much you’re willing to spend on the project.

While you don't want to overspend on a renovation project, especially if your budget is tight, it is essential to remember that there may be unexpected obstacles that arise. That's why a lot of home renovation experts suggest that your budget should have some sort of plan in place to handle these potential surprise costs.

When creating a realistic budget, it is wise to put aside more than what you calculate out on paper as the cost of your home renovation. This will give you some reserve funds that can be used to handle any complications that may arise.

Interview Many Different Contractors



As you begin hiring help for your renovation project, it is crucial that you spend extra time interviewing and talking with many different professionals. You don't want to jump right at the first person you speak to.

Some key questions to ask are:

  • What are the costs of your services, and how does this match up with competitors? How is this price justified in the work you do?
  • What other projects have you worked on that are similar to mine, and what was the end result for those renovations?
  • Do you have any testimonials or customer references that I can see?
  • What sort of timeline do you propose for my project?
  • Who will be working on the project?
  • What are my rights when I hire you? For instance, what if I don’t like one of your workers or want to make changes to the project?

These questions will help you understand what to expect when working with each contractor. Ultimately, it is best to choose the contractors that give you the best feeling. While pricing is always a concern, a cheaper contractor rarely guarantees a better experience!

Prepare Yourself For The Stress And Fast-Paced Decisions

Think you are done making preparations? Not quite. We’ve focused a lot on what you can do to ensure you get the right help and at the right price, but you also need to prepare yourself. During the length of your renovation, your home will be in complete chaos. There will be a stream of contractors and workers in your house at all times, debris everywhere, noise, unexpected issues, and so much more.

If possible, ask friends, family members, or neighbors if you can stay with them for small stints throughout the process. Even taking a night or two away from the mess of your home renovation can be rejuvenating. Also, choose contractors that make cleaning up after themselves a priority. You shouldn't have debris, dust, dirt, and other harmful stuff knocking around at the end of each day. Finally, have backup ideas for all of the fixtures and furniture you're planning to add to the renovation, even down to things as simple as cabinet knobs. A supplier may fall through, or the stock may run out, and you don't want to be left making quick, uncertain choices that you'll have to live with after the renovation is completed.

Invest In A Home Warranty

Your home renovation may require you to buy new appliances and other equipment for your home. You don’t want to be blindsided by unexpected repairs to these machines in a few months or years. A home warranty can help. What is a home warranty? Home warranties cover the cost of replacing and repairing appliances and other home systems that may unexpectedly fail from everyday use. This is different from homeowners insurance, which protects you from severe, structural damage to the building itself.

Conclusions

These 5 steps will help give you better peace of mind throughout your home renovation process. After all, you don’t want to reach that end product so battered and bruised from the nightmarish weeks prior that you can’t enjoy your newly renovated home!

Fab Furniture Pieces: Strategies to Arrange Them Like A Pro in Any Room

Arranging furniture pieces, no matter how much space you have, can be really challenging. Here are some ideas on how you can arrange yours just like a pro.



So, you've browsed through interior design magazines and online furniture shops and have picked the pieces you want for your space. But, are you sure that cabinet will truly complement your bed? Will it even fit in your door?

There's something enjoyable about arranging furniture; after all, interior design will always be a fun home project. However, it can also be challenging, whether it's your first time creating a layout for your home or are simply rearranging a room. Thankfully, there are a few tricks you can incorporate to make your arrangement work without compromising a lot of things. Here are some ideas on how to arrange your furniture at home like a seasoned pro:

Work your Pieces Around a Focal Point

The easiest yet most effective way to create a solid layout for your room is by arranging all your furniture pieces around your chosen focal point. A “focal point” refers to a certain element that draws a person's eyes as soon as they walk into a room. It's better and easier if your chosen focal point is something that already exists in a room, but if you don't have one, say, a window that highlights a stunning view of your backyard, you can work with window companies to make the arrangements. If you have an old fireplace, a huge television, or a built-in shelving for books, it could also work. You can also hang some interesting photos or an artwork with bold patterns on your wall or choose one statement furniture. Once you've decided on a focal point, arrange all your furniture pieces in a way to put the focus on that feature. Create visual clues with your furniture oriented towards the focal point.

Move Away from the Walls



The most common design mistake homeowners commit is lining up all of their seating against the walls. This isn't exactly an illogical choice, as many people think doing so will open up the space and make it look brighter. However, this could actually backfire. When you choose to follow this trick when it comes to arranging furniture, what happens is you create some dead space in the middle of the room. This, in turn, makes the area look incomplete. So, move things away from the walls. Instead of spreading your furniture pieces in every corner of the room, make an intimate grouping to make the area look more professionally staged. This could also encourage more interactions with your guests and family members.

Keep the Traffic Flow in Mind

When arranging your furniture pieces, never forget about the “traffic flow” – the way people move throughout the living space. The ideal scenario is to have all your pieces arranged in such a way that people can move freely and go about their routine without bumping into them. To identify the traffic pattern in a room, make a quick floor plan and draw some arrows to show all the pathways available. Then, place the furniture around them.

When you've finally found the right combination, start rearranging the furniture properly.

09 July 2019

Choosing Concrete Driveways in Orlando vs Other Materials

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Choosing the right material for your driveway is a critical decision all homeowners must make. It has to be durable and have good longevity, but should also look attractive and blend in with the rest of the house. Stain resistance and resistance to tire marks are also a plus for choosing the driveway material that’s right for you. Here are the three most popular driveway materials and their respective pros and cons to help you decide which driveway material is best for you:

Concrete

Concrete is an extremely popular choice for driveways. Made up of cement and aggregate stones and other rough materials, concrete is extremely durable and cost-effective but it does have its drawbacks. It is a classic and popular choice for driveways and will suit almost any home. If you’re considering concrete driveways, here are its pros and cons:

Pros

  • Concrete is extremely durable. When well taken care of and regularly resealed, a concrete driveway can last for at least 50 years. 
  • Concrete driveways hold up well against most extreme weather such as rain and heat, though heat is a bigger problem in Orlando.
  • It is a cost-effective choice that offers a good price for the longevity it offers. And not only is it affordable, but it also has a quick installation time that further cuts down the costs of hired labor.
  • Though it starts its life as grey, it can be customized to look any way you want it to.

Cons

  • Bare concrete does not have the most attractive appearance and can be off-putting. However, this can be remedied by decorative concrete methods like staining and stamping.
  • It usually requires a contractor to install a concrete driveway as the mixture is vulnerable to mistakes and can be a delicate process.
  • If you want your concrete driveway to last well, you will need to have a regular reseal done to ensure its longevity.

Asphalt

People usually talk about asphalt driveways in relation to concrete driveways because they are similarly popular and comparable in cost and durability, but asphalt has its own distinct characteristics. It is a form of petroleum and can be either found in natural deposits or created as a product. Because of its characteristic as a kind of petroleum, it is more flexible than concrete. If you are considering getting an asphalt driveway, here are its pros and cons:

Pros

  • Asphalt driveways can last up to 20 years with regular maintenance.
  • Unlike concrete, asphalt driveways last well in the sun and are less likely to form cracks after exposure to sunlight.
  • Asphalt is generally cheaper than concrete.

Cons

  • Asphalt driveways need regular maintenance and resealing to ensure its longevity.
  • Though cheaper than concrete, asphalt is more expensive than gravel, another popular driveway material.

Gravel

Gravel is any loose quantity of small rock fragments and stones. It comes in a number of classes depending on the size of the particles. It’s a popular choice for a lot of rural homes and can last decades with proper maintenance. While many homes that use gravel driveways only use the one driveway, many homes with a larger area size will use a gravel driveway to lead up to their actual driveway which could be made of concrete or asphalt. If you’re considering gravel driveways, here are the pros and cons:

Pros

  • Gravel driveways are generally cheaper than most other driveway materials.
  • It can last for up 100 years with proper care and maintenance.
  • Gravel driveways can be repaired and renewed very easily unlike driveways made of other materials.
  • You don’t have to worry about cracks or freeze-thaw cycles as neither will affect gravel driveways.

Cons

  • Gravel driveways need near-constant maintenance and replenishment to keep it effective, which can add up in costs.
  • It is hard to clean and plow a gravel driveway as it does not have a flat surface that can be cleared and cleaned.


05 July 2019

Are You a Slave to Trends?

It's one thing to design a stylish house, but it's another to follow trends too religiously. Your wallet might be suffering unnecessarily.


In this day and age, everything is a commodity. You may think social media is just a fun way to interact with your friends and to share the highlights of your day, but even they turn your attention into a commodity. Brands compete for your attention, and most times, they are succeeding.

You may not be aware of it, but you have become a slave to trends.

Replacement Instead of Repair 

We live in a world that takes pride in “instant” products. Everything is available to you with a few clicks of a button. As long as you know the number to call or you have the app on your phone, you’re set to get whatever you fancy. And this has given rise to the trend of replacing everything that doesn’t work according to your specifications. Sure, it’s better to replace old appliances if they have not been updated in the last decade, but if you just bought them last year and already want to replace them, that’s a problem. It’s the same with smartphones; as companies launch new models, you feel like your functional phone is suddenly incompetent. It’s easy to justify why you want the latest model for these things, but when it comes to garage door repair or window replacement, there’s more to consider than just trends in Provo. Consider the cost of replacing a perfectly good garage door that just needs repairs. Insisting on following trends may be losing you more money in the long run.

Endless Renovations 




Going for renovations for no other reason than to get the latest items is just like replacing your older kitchen or bathroom with a newer one. These parts of the house are commonly used, so it’s understandable that they will show signs of wear and tear, but if your tiles and backsplash are perfectly functional and intact, is there really a need to replace them with the latest trendy color you see in magazines? Especially if you’re looking to sell that property in the future, these trendy parts of the house might look outdated once new trends have surfaced. This means you’ll either have to spend more money to replace them again or you’ll have to sell the house for a lower price. This isn’t a concern if you had gone with an evergreen but also stylish design and maintained it properly.

A Digital Life

It does sound cool if you can live in a smart home. You don’t have to worry about setting the thermostat because it’s done for you automatically. Forgot to lock the doors? Do so in an app that you have with you even if you’re out of the house. Convenient, right? However, these are not foolproof and are not exempt from human error. Your life may be automated, but each decision is still controlled by your actions, whether pre-programmed or triggered remotely. There’s also the added vulnerability that comes in the form of hacking. As technology gets smarter, so do hackers. The more reliant you are on online systems to keep the house secure, the more prone you are to hacking attempts.

How much of your life is defined by your personal preferences? How much is defined by trends? If you want to be happy with your life without spending money unnecessarily, don’t be a slave to trends.

01 July 2019

4 Decorating Tips for Home Improvement Projects

When you’re planning to decorate your home to give it a makeover, it helps to be prepared first. This allows you to take proper precautions to protect carpeting and floors during the decorating process. It’s also useful when on a tighter budget to use creativity and time rather than throwing more money at the problem.

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Here are four decorating tips for your next home improvement project.

1. Protect Your Floors During Painting and Plastering

Whether you have hardwood flooring or carpeting in place, don’t expect dust, wall debris or paint to not make its way to the floor. Even the most careful of decorators are going to get paint splashes, flecks of plaster embedded in the carpeting, and other debris flying about. It’s tough to get it out later and makes for extra work, which is completely unnecessary.

What you should invest in is flooring paper like Trimaco’s X-Paper, which is what the professionals use. It is thicker than builder’s paper, breathable to avoid heating the floor if it’s being cured, and prevents wetness from spills too. It’s a step above what you can usually find in a DIY store. Don’t start a new project without it.

2. Get Creative When on a Budget

When you have more time to consider your options and are on a tighter budget, let this spark your creativity. Instead of feeling restricted, allocate the budget where it’s most needed during a decoration or renovation project and find new ways to solve existing problems.

For instance, perhaps you’d like a piece of artwork on the living room wall or a custom paint finish but it’s pushing the boundaries of your finances. In which case, why not focus on emotions by putting up several affordable wall art frames filled with family photos or if you live alone, photo from your travels. This is better than having tiny photos on the mantlepiece that aren’t large enough to enjoy fully and the framed photos will act as a conversation starter too.

3, Use Textures to Create Different Tactile Sensations

Don’t just think about colors and fabrics when changing furnishings or linens.
Try to activate the senses. Choose interesting fabrics with textures that provide new sensations; not just arresting colors. Even small things like cushions on the sofa selected for their rugged textured feel contrast nicely with the sofa’s smooth surface.

Also, a rug on the floor can provide alternative sensations for your feet in the living room or family room too.

4. Look at Minimalism to Reduce Decorating Complexity

If you’re finding that a decorating project looks too time-consuming, consider focusing on reducing the number of pieces of furniture in each room. Using techniques from minimalism, it’s possible to simplify the task of decorating by doing more with less.

When freed up to focus on fewer items, this allows you to invest greater time in each room without getting frustrated by making slow progress. Similarly, keeping a simpler decorating color scheme avoids overcomplication that drags out a project too long.

The important thing with decorating is first, don’t damage anything you own. Protect floors using flooring paper and place cloth dust covers over the furniture too. Then, avoiding overdoing it is key to bring the decorating project to a successful conclusion.


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