Thursday, 8 December 2011

How To Personalise Your Student Room

Stamping your identity on a student bedroom, whether in university halls or in a shared house, can be a tricky prospect. Landlords manage to weave a surprising number of rules into accommodation contracts that make personalising your home-away-from-home a challenge, particularly if there’s the dreaded ‘no blu-tak’ clause. However, there are plenty of tricks to make a room homely besides posters, and several ways to get round the blu-tak issue without forfeiting your deposit

Think Beyond The Walls
From the edges of the mirror to the back of your bedroom door, there will be surfaces available that you can stick posters and photographs on without fear of damage. Think creatively: why not arrange photos in an interesting pattern on the side of the wardrobe, or use a variety of magnets to fix postcards on the radiator? Whenever I move into a new room, I also see if there are any opportunities for hanging ornaments up, a reliable favourite being around the light switch. Another good tactic is to anchor a mobile from a bookshelf with a dictionary or heavy text book.

Perfect Pin Boards
Some rooms come complete with a pin board, which is an excellent opportunity to get inventive. Stretching a bright scarf or patterned wrapping paper across such a board can instantly provide a focal point for your room, besides making an excellent background for tickets, flyers, pictures and anything else you want to put up. If there is no pin board, small cork boards are relatively cheap to buy and can be stood on a shelf or at the back of a desk.

Bright Bedclothes
Choosing a particular duvet cover and pillow cases before moving into your new room will immediately give you a sense of ownership when you make the bed for the first time. Whether it’s a conscious decision to take a bit of home with you, or a fresh start with brand new bedclothes, this is certain to make the room cosier. Rugs, cushions and throws can also add personality with minimum effort. Lay a throw over your bedside table, or tie a light cloth around the back of your desk chair. Go for a colour scheme or mix and match – you can change it easily as the mood takes you!

Look to the Light
A lot of student bedrooms don’t have a lightshade, but even if they do, there’s nothing to stop you removing it during your tenancy and replacing it with something more interesting. I opt for a pirate-themed shade myself, complimenting a couple of cushions I also have, but there are so many options to either make a statement or just add a touch of individuality by hanging something different over the light bulb. Some contracts outlaw them, but fairy lights are a very effective way of creating ambience and failing that, a bedside lamp angled towards the ceiling produces an instant snug feel. Moving on to natural light, window stickers are a great way to brighten dull days and a window sill is the perfect place for those photo frames.

So there you have it, a few ways to personalise your student room without sticking posters on every wall. Of course, if you are allowed to use blu-tak, white-tak or picture hooks, go for it! Just remember to double check your landlord’s preference first. Happy decorating!

Written by Jemma Saunders (@JemSaunders1)
Read more tips for your home on this blog

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Simple Makeover Bathroom Ideas

Your bathroom means a lot to you and has many functions! It’s your wake-up call in the morning, the home of your child’s rubber duck and where you can enjoy a long relaxing soak after a busy day at work, but if your bathroom is crying out for a makeover and you’re on a tight budget then look no further.
In this post, I will divulge into how you can make your bathroom looking new and fresh in no time at all on a budget.

Lighting
Changing the light fittings in your bathroom can make a world of difference! Adding chandeliers to a bathroom may seem a little out of the ordinary but they can add a beautiful element of glamour. You’ll be surprised at the choice of chandeliers available at markets and charity shops. If you find the perfect chandelier but that is not quite the colour you are looking for they can be easily spray painted to the colour of your choice. Add candles to your bathroom to give it a romantic feel – there’s no better way to relax than in the bath in a candle lit bathroom!

Tiles
Tiling a bathroom is a large and messy job and often requires a lot of time and effort. If you’re looking to change the tiles in your bathroom but don’t want the hassle then self adhesive wall tiles are a great alternative to ceramic tiles. The backing peels off to reveal an adhesive tile that is strong enough to stand the test of time; you then just stick it to the surface and move on to the next one. You can even ‘tile’ over tiles.

Shower curtains
Glass is a great alternative to a shower curtain. It will open up your space and make the room feel larger than it is. Shower curtains collect the water and over time mould builds up on them and this often isn’t removed by washing. Save money from buying numerous shower curtains by investing in a glass shower guard. If you shop around you’ll be able to buy one for as little as £30.

Fixture and fittings
Fed up of your dull fixtures and fittings? New fixtures and fittings such as light switches/ cords and taps are an easy way to give your bathroom a whole new look. Your current fixtures and fittings can be spruced up with spray paint or new styles are available at a reasonable price from antique shops or DIY stores.

Accessories
Adding new accessories are a fast and easy alternative to giving your bathroom a new look. Remember to buy accessories that clean easily, often, artificial flower arrangements collect dust, which is hard to remove. Pound stores and large supermarkets have a beautiful collection of bath mats dispensers and soap dishes available for very little cost. Large mirrors are great to add light to a dull bathroom.

By making these few changes your bathroom will feel as good as new – and what’s more you won’t have to spend a fortune.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Mirror Framing Project - How to frame a mirror and the options

This guest blog post was written by MirrorMate Frames®, which offers custom cut mirror kits to attach beautiful frames to boring, builder grade mirrors. This mirror framing system, frequently used on bathroom wall mirrors, can be installed in 20 minutes and come in over 65 different frame styles to complement any type of d├ęcor.

Framing a mirror yourself may seem intimidating, but don’t let the idea of the unknown stand in your way. There are simple and inexpensive steps you can follow to successfully undertake your own mirror framing project and, as a result, spruce up the look of your existing mirror. Remember that purchasing a mirror-framing kit also is an option.

Measurements
Measure the mirror’s width and height before you move on to any other step. This can affect each of the other steps.

Picking out the pieces
Based on your desired design, select molding trim pieces (there are many options) that complement the room or area where the mirror hangs. Take note: the wider the trim pieces, the less mirror surface you will have left. Measure the four molding trim pieces to size based on the mirror measurements. Mark the measurements.

Cut, sand, wipe
Using a miter saw, cut a 45-degree angle on the ends of the trim pieces (a home improvement store can do this for you for a fee). The angled ends should match up together. Next, sand the cut ends with sandpaper until smooth. Wipe the edges with a cloth to remove the sandpaper dust.

Time to paint
With a paintbrush, paint or stain the molding trim. Allow it to dry and, using another paintbrush, apply a coat of polyurethane to the molding trim and allow it to dry. Note: polyurethane is available in different finishes - such as glossy, matte or satin.

Placement

Place several dots of epoxy adhesive onto the back of your first piece of trim, and place and press the molding trim onto the top of the mirror. Do this for the remaining three pieces, aligning the angled pieces together. Allow the pieces to dry.

Finally, the finishing touches

Apply a small amount of like-colored wood putty into the corner angles and smooth the putty into the trim pieces. Smooth the putty well and, to disguise any unwanted adhesive or seams, touch up the trim with paint.

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Bathroom Remodel: DIY or CAP (Call a Professional!)

A DIY makeover can save you a lot of money on your remodeling project. If everything goes smoothly, you’ll get the added confidence boost and satisfaction of a job well done. The trouble with DIY is that sometimes you may get in over your head. Once you’re stuck you may end up investing more time and money into the project than you had originally planned. Keep in mind the following before you start your new project.

Size Doesn’t Matter
…But the scope of the work does. Remodeling every aspect of a small powder room may be a greater challenge than simply replacing the fixtures in a large bathroom. Cosmetic changes are much easier to tackle on your own, however plumbing and tile can be challenging. Space isn’t the biggest obstacle, the work is.

Confidence is Key
If you’ve done a lot of DIY projects and you feel confident in your ability to work with the tools and materials needed there is a good possibility you could tackle the remodel solo. If you’re relatively new to DIY, ask yourself the following questions: Can you wield a power tool? Are you able to follow instructions? Do you have the patience to complete repetitive tasks (painting or tiling) well? The most important thing to asses is your ability to remain calm and flexible should things go awry.

Time is Money
Even if you decide to do a DIY remodel, consider the amount of time you’ll need to dedicate to the project. Although it can be less expensive than calling a pro, it might take you much longer to do the same work. Are you willing to devote evenings and weekends to the project and sacrifice some personal time?

Speaking of Money…
Anywhere from 25-50% of total project costs will go to contractor, labor, and installation costs when you work with professionals. By doing the work yourself, you will definitely be saving some money. The good news is you don’t have to hire a professional for every aspect of the remodel. Get estimates for each task. If you feel uncomfortable DIY-ing the plumbing, hire a contractor for that portion of the job. Keep in mind that if you turn the whole project over to professionals it becomes harder to control the timetable.

Expectations
For some projects like light or hardware installation, the finished appearance will look the same whether you pay a professional or you tackle it DIY-style. But then there are other projects like tiling, that could look noticeably neater if done by a contractor. Before you start your project you’ll have to come to terms with what imperfections you can live with if you DIY.

Where to Start
For DIY novices, consider the following projects: painting, sink/bath faucets, and replacing light fixtures.
For intermediate DIYers: replacing vanities, toilets, or sinks.
For skilled DIYers: relocating toilet, installing new countertops, removing tub.

This article was written by Erie Construction. Follow Erie Construction on Twitter for more tips on home remodeling.

Friday, 2 December 2011

Best Tips to Pack your Stuff When Moving House

There are a lot of things you need to do when moving out of your house and into a new one. The effort and exhaustion can be taxing and through effective organization and planning, you can reduce the stress level. The most important part of the whole process is packing your belongings. When you look through your home, you are going to be surprised at the amount of things you find, some of which you haven’t seen for ages. This makes packing all the more difficult and you need to do it properly. Here are the best tips to pack your stuff when moving house.

Supplies

Before you start packing, you need to get the right supplies to do the job. These will include boxes, cartons, tapes, scissors and ropes along with the tools needed to unscrew or unfasten wall fixtures. Make sure that all the things you need are in place before you start packing.

Appliances

Appliances are sensitive and slight mishandling can cause a lot of damage. Your television, fridge and other electronic goodies are expensive and you need to make sure that they are moved as safely as possible. The best way to pack the appliances is to use their original cartons, boxes or other packaging material. They are going to be safe in those and you probably won’t be able to find other containers to pack the larger appliances properly. Moreover, you have to clean all the appliances and defrost the fridge and freezer. Tape the doors and bind the wires. Consult the users’ manual for proper disconnection.

Furniture
A more complicated job than packing appliances is handling the furniture. Your beds, sofas, chairs, cabinets and tables have to be handled with care or else they will get damaged, scratched and might even break. The best approach is to disassemble the furniture that can be taken apart. This makes the whole job much easier. For the larger furniture, have it loaded into the truck first before anything. Don’t keep the furniture tilted or turned over. Leave it in its original position.

Clothes
Clothes are easy to pack. You can place them in cartons, boxes or bags. However, you do need to make sure that each member of the family has his/her clothes packed separately so that there is no mix up. Also, keep the clothes you’ll need immediately, such as night suits apart so that they can be packed in the boxes you will open first.

Kitchenware/ Breakable Items

The biggest risk when moving is to the kitchenware and other breakable items. They have to be packed very carefully. If you have their original boxes, it becomes easier. If you don’t, then you have to wrap each item in a cloth or newspaper before placing in a carton. Make sure that the boxes containing these items are clearly marked with ‘Kitchen Items’ or ‘Fragile’.

Essentials
There is some stuff you will need when you get to your new home. Clothes, cutlery, toothbrushes and slippers are just some of the items that are needed right away. Have them packed together and mark the box as ‘Open Me First’.
When you know the tips for packing each kind of item in your home, the whole job becomes much easier and stress free for you.

Andrew has been working as a removalist for the last 3 years specialising in interstate removals. In his spare time, he loves to offer advice on how to move house.

Thinking of moving to Italy? http://www.fnworldwide.com/european_removals/moving_to_italy/ will help make your Mediterranean move go smoothly.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

How to Make a Great Patio Area

To make a great patio area create shade with a veranda, have solid decking or paving, make the space pretty with garden and buy a quality barbecue.

Many homes in Australia have some sort of patio area, even kit homes, which are perfect for entertaining, creates a space for children to play during wet weather or if you want them to get out of the sun and is somewhere for you to relax on a warm day. To make a great patio area there are several things you should include.

Veranda or Awning

Your patio area will need shelter and you can either extend your veranda out to cover the patio or have an awning which can be attached to the exterior wall of your home and pulled out when you need it. The benefit of this is you can fold it away and let the sun in through you windows, keeping your home warmer in winter, plus get it out of the way if you want to use the space for something else.

Paving or Decking

You will need a hard surface, which you want it to be even. If you lay pavers yourself make sure you use a spirit level to get them straight and even, otherwise pay a professional to put them down for you. A timber decking always looks nice, although it will require you to re-stain it every few years as the weather gets to it. A decking is best when your home is built on a sloping block or you can have one built up if your garden is flat.

Garden

Put a garden in around your patio which will soften the hard edges of your deck or paving and provide extra shade. You could have plants in pots around your patio and also hanging baskets. Grow climbing plants, such as wisteria or climbing roses up the veranda posts and up over the veranda so that your patio blends in with your garden.

Barbecue

No patio area is complete without a good barbecue. Invest in a good quality one as it is better to get one that will last. You will find that if you have a great patio area you will spend a lot of time out there, particularly in summer, and a barbecue is a quick and easy meal to have through the week as well as an easy way to entertain. You don't need to plan a barbecue like you do a normal party. Just let your friends know on the same day and pull a few steaks and sausages out of the freezer and you are set.

Outdoor Kitchen

If you have the space and the budget and feel that you will use your outdoor space often you could install an outdoor kitchen. This makes entertaining a lot easier as you are then able to prepare all you food outside. Have a decent amount of bench space, a sink and even a fridge and you can run your whole party from out on the patio. The chef need not be stuck indoors away from the guests at all.

Play Area

If you have children think about their needs when you set up your patio area. Allocate an area just for them to play, with a small table and chairs for them to draw, play games and build cubbyholes when it's wet.

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Things to look for when purchasing a memory foam mattress

When buying anything in life, you always have a number of options and choices available with regards to what you want to bye. A memory foam mattress or memory foam mattress topper is no exception.

Although simple in their nature, memory foam mattresses can have many different options available to them, which will make the buying process a little more complex. Besides this, there are still some myths floating around that just confuse even the savviest shopper.


What are the main differences between memory foam, visco-elastic and viso?
In terms of mattresses... there’s no difference whatsoever. All of the above are the same thing! Memory foam is made from a dense form of polyurethane that’s chemically enhanced to make it slightly denser than normal foam. The foam makes a great mattress as it reacts well to body heat, creating a mold around the subject.


Memory foam density, what are the differences?
A very dense mattress will have almost no air in the foam. A measurement figure when looking at memory foam mattress density will suggest how much material is present in a certain amount of foam. Take SleepShaper as an example, their most widely used density is 55 kilos per cubic meter which gives the perfect balance between durability, air flow and feel. A lot of people would say it’s the perfect compromise between being supportive whilst being extremely cosy.

Thickness, does it really matter?
Yes, yes it does. A thicker memory foam mattress will not only be more expensive than its thinner counterparts but it will also lose some effect if it’s too thick. There will be a point with the mattress that it stops molding to your body shape, this could be after the first 7 or 8 centimetres. For example, you wouldn’t get a 30 centimetre thick mattress as it will only be the top 8 centimetres that are doing you any benefits. Likewise a memory foam mattress topper that is only a couple of centimetres thick will not really give you that much of positive memory foam experience. There is a huge difference in comfort and feel when comparing an inch thick mattress to one that’s three inches thick.


Question the base foam
It sounds like a quote from a poor sci-fi or horror movie, but it is important to question the base foam. Poor and low quality base foam can really ruin a good mattress. Poor base foam might even reduce the mattress life span and will cause you to purchase a new one. Base foam of less than 27kg should be questioned as generally, anything under 27kg is considered to be padding or general upholstery foam.

Will I swelter?
There is a big myth about memory foam mattresses and heat. A good memory foam mattress will not make you hot, at least not hotter than being in bed on a normal mattress. If the mattress was severly dense, i.e. 85kgs+ then you might experience some overheating, but the majority won’t leave you feeling like you’re sleeping in the middle of the Sun.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Rejuvenate your windows by painting Your Interior Shutters

Window shutters have a wide range of benefits; not only do they allow you to change the lighting in your room (what you’d expect from a window covering), they also provide an interesting aesthetic appeal and even security benefits. To ensure they match the decor of the room in which they’re installed, wooden shutters can be replaced or painted. The latter option may be more desirable in terms of cost and time.

Depending how concerned you are about the condition of the paint, this should only need to be done every five or six years. The quality of both paint and sealant will have a bearing on this though, so it’s important to consider this at the start.

The first step is to remove the shutters from the window. Trying to reach behind the shutters to paint them while they’re still up is a nightmare, and is not recommended. A standard screwdriver set should suffice in removing the shutters; depending on how tall you are you may need a ladder as well. Recruiting a helper to give you a hand if it’s required can’t hurt either.

Because paint gives off fumes, it’s best to paint in a well-ventilated area. This could be a garage with open doors, a garden, or somewhere similar. It may be beneficial to put the shutters on a tarpaulin or cloth when painting them to prevent paint staining the surface below. It is possible to remove spilled paint with paint thinner and water, but preventative action is certainly easier.

Start with removing the old layer of paint. Soapy water and a paint scraper is usually enough to remove paint beyond a certain age, but if this is not the case you can use sandpaper to help. Once the old paint is removed, primer should be applied to the wood to help it maintain its strength over time. A topcoat should then be added and left to dry before deciding whether a second coat is needed. The amount of coats should not matter too much if the paint is applied well.

Make sure you let the paint dry before reattaching the shutter. You don’t want paint marks all over your windows. Get the ladder (and helper, if you have one) back out when installing the shutters again; they can be tricky to put up.

Keep your home safe with Spiller window security

Brighten Up Your Home In The Winter Months With Cheap Curtains

Following a glorious few days at the end of September, summer now seems as distant memory and the UK has been lashed with rain and buffeted by high winds. The nights are drawing in sooner and it won’t be long before we are all making our way home from work in the dark. At this time of year many people start to suffer from seasonal affective disorder, which can leave them feeling miserable and lethargic.

A great way to keep your spirits up in the winter is to brighten up your home with the use of cheap curtains.

The concept

Due to the fact that it is darker for longer during the winter months; we tend to have our curtains drawn for longer periods. This of course makes the interior of our home darker, which is exacerbated further if your curtains are made from darkly coloured materials.

By changing your curtains to brighter shades you can greatly improve the vibe of the room. As curtains are usually quite large, they not only brighten that particular area, but also increase lighting throughout the rest of the room through reflection.

Considering the cost

Of course, winter is a particularly expensive time of year. Many of us will be faced with the cost of buying Christmas presents, in addition to more expensive heating and lighting costs. This could leave you questioning whether new curtains are a viable option at this time of year. However, if you have a good shop around you can find cheap curtains that shouldn’t cost you more than about £35, with some options costing as little as £20. That isn’t really too much when you consider it could have a big impact on your mood right through the winter period.

Options

You may of the impression that the range of cheap curtains available to you might be quite limited due to the price. However, there are many different styles, colours and designs they should be within your price range.

The simple plain cream curtains above are a great choice in that they will really maximise the amount of light that is reflected back into the room. In addition the light faux silk material is light and breezy, which can help evoke the feeling of warmer months.

If you prefer a busier design then you might want to consider a striped theme as seen above. The contrast of red, beige and cream helps to keep the mood of the room feeling light and fun. Adding matching cushions is a great way of integrating the curtains into the rest of the room’s decor, without spending a fortune.
There are of course many other designs that can be as equally as uplifting from, floral to oriental themes. Whatever decision you decide to go for in your cheap curtains; be sure the fabric is vivid in colour and has a cheerful pattern.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Small Space, Big Impact

Submitted by Elliman Real Estate: Featuring NYC real estate for sale. Written by Julianna Lundblad (@juliannanyc)

It is said that good things come in small packages. That can certainly be true within your living space. With just the right bit of imagination, a once cramped, unusable space can be transformed into your new home office or guest bedroom.

While it would be nice to expand your living space for more square footage, that is not always possible. Say you live in a NYC apartment, the trick is to use design secrets to make the space feel bigger.

Color can play an important role in the feel of a space. While warm colors can create a cozy feeling, they can make small spaces feel cramped. When choosing colors for a small space, choose cooler shades. Blues and greens are cool colors that are calming; when light shades of these colors are chosen, a small space can suddenly feel much more expansive.

Another key to opening up a small space is to keep furniture in the center of the space. This creates the illusion that the space is roomier than it truly is. Mirrors also help to create the illusion of roominess. Add a large mirror to your small space or a grouping of mirrors, and your small space will seem to grow.

Another trick to making a small space seem larger is to declutter. Clutter can make even a large room feel cramped. Be certain not to let clutter undermine your efforts to reclaim a small space as a workable area. Try to have furniture in your room that can double as storage, like a bench with hidden storage inside, so you can keep things that you don't use often out of sight.

Keeping a sense of scale is also important when dealing with a small space. You want your furnishings to be in proper proportion to the space. Don't seek out scaled-down furniture. Instead, choose furnishings that have a low profile. This will serve to make the ceiling in the small space seem higher. Also, seek out designs with a clean line when you are choosing furnishings for your small space.

One more trick to help your transform your small space is to utilize rugs. An area rug of the proper scale can help to define the space as being something specific--a new work space or office. This is important not only so that other people see the space as being "X" but also so that you can see it. This is especially important if you have lived in your home for a while and are used to the space as simply being an extension of another, larger space or as a haphazard storage area.

By taking these steps, you can reclaim your small spaces and put them to proper use. Whatever purpose you decide to choose for it, your small space can be a beautiful and useful part of your home.

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Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Utilising colour schemes in decorating projects

When decorating a home, colour schemes are an essential aspect of putting your personality on the design, and making it feel welcoming. Obviously the general colours chosen are a matter of personal choice, but it’s important to consider colours that go well together, and colours that clash.

Picking colours

The selection of the colour scheme should be the bedrock of the whole design, and in decorating, the uses of the colours again depends on personal taste. In terms of colour’s effects on the mood of a room, blue and green are generally more soothing tones, whilst yellow and orange brighten up an area. Safer colours like beige and tan are good for more neutral themes.

A colour wheel is a must have for any aspiring decorator, and colour combos work best when they are near each other on the colour wheel, with opposite colours contrasting. It can also be easy to forget about how many different shades of certain colours there are, for example, purple includes hues close to black, right through a pale shade that is almost white, not forgetting the gulf of colours in between those two.

The walls

After making a choice about the colour schemes, a good idea is to start any work on the walls. They are essentially the backdrop of the room and any further installations such as furniture, and what the direction of the rest of the room should be based around. Depending on personal preference, wallpaper or paint might be used. Buying wallpaper direct from the internet can save a lot of money.

Furniture designs

When picking furniture to go in a decorated room, there are two ways to go: pick a neutral colour scheme that will go with whatever scheme the walls and ceiling will be hosting, or use the colour wheel to pick matching colours. With the neutral choice, you have the extra option of adding different colours and textures via throw pillows and covers, without overpowering the ensemble, and conversely, with a suite or similar that matches the main colour scheme, tone down any extras with neutral colours.

Fabrics

Other extras like window curtains or blankets on a bed can differ. Curtains may be densely textured with its own design, or use lighter materials with solid colours throughout the item. Mixing one texture on the curtains with another on bed linen is a good technique, as it adds more depth to the room as a whole. Again, use a colour wheel if not sure, and match accordingly.

Details

Things like paintings, statuettes or ornaments are a matter of taste, and what resources you have available. A splash of colour in a detail within a neutral room can draw the eye to certain areas, and again, vice versa for me held back detail pieces and brighter general colour schemes.
On the whole, decorating effectively merely means what makes and individual feel comfortable, and personal taste should be paramount, especially if you intended to spend a lot of time in said room. If you are unsure about what you want to do with the room, or don’t want to create a ghastly nightmare with clashing colours, then a neutral theme is the safe option.

Monday, 7 November 2011

Outdoor Lighting

Lighting is an important consideration when planning your landscape design. You want something that makes your yard look special and unique. Not only does lighting enhance the beauty of your outdoor space, but it sets the tone. There are so many varieties of light fixtures available, that it may seem difficult to choose the correct one for your purposes. There are a few things that you should keep in mind when arranging a unique new light scheme for your home.

Set the Mood

Lighting is a big component of building ambiance. What mood do you want to convey in your space? Are you looking for outdoor lighting because you are a frequent backyard entertainer? Or are you looking for something soft and romantic for quiet evenings in the garden? The correct lighting arrangement can convey a message in an instant.

Safety

One of the major benefits of installing outdoor lighting is eliminating safety risks. Shedding light on uneven ground, or around the pool will keep your family and friends injury-free. Not only does light help with personal safety, but a well-light landscape can help deter vandals and home intruders. A well-lit yard increases their odds of being caught in the act. Many lighting systems also allow for timers that turn on and off at specified times so you don’t have to worry about it.

Enhance the Beauty

If you’ve spent time cultivating a beautiful garden, or you recently installed a pond, show it off even when the sun sets. Outdoor lighting can be used to highlight the beauty of your yard all the time. Create drama in your nighttime landscape with a mix of lighting techniques to highlight your yard’s best features.

Keep it Fresh and Unique

There are a number of interesting lights on the market now that can really jazz up your landscape. LED lights are a new alternative to traditional lighting. They look extra bright and use less power than older lighting systems. Adopting unique shaped and sized lights into your landscape design makes your home stand out. Keep some strand lights high in the trees and some ground lights to cling to the walking path to create an attention-grabbing lightscape for your home.

This article was written by Erie Construction. Follow Erie Construction on Twitter.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Curvaceous Kitchens!

I wanted to do my kitchen up recently but this is one area of my house that I have shamefully neglected, so I wasn’t fully clued-up on what I would like; the kitchen doors I wanted, the surfaces, even the colour! A quick online search led me to an awesome looking design though that I immediately knew I wanted!

It’s all about curves! Curved little kitchen islands, curvaceous kitchen doors and smooth, round edges where ones where harsh little corners. I loved the look of this little bubbly-kitchen idea, so took it upon myself to investigate exactly how to achieve this look. I started my search by typing “curved kitchen” into a search engine and absolutely loved the outcome! Curvy little kitchens can be done in all types of typical kitchen materials – from the ultra-modern high-gloss shiny cabinets and kitchen doors to the gorgeous wood doors. I loved the way that these kitchens seemed to flow and put me in mind of softness, comfort and luxury! Combined with a really soft, floral wallpaper and opulent, poufy cushions for my kitchen chairs, my kitchen now looks like a little, white cloud of a haven!

It’s not just all sweetness, girly and light though. If you fancy a kitchen with curves to rival Nigella Lawson you don’t have to have a girly haven – opt for heavy wood kitchen doors in a slightly darker shade or even black ultra-gloss to give your kitchen a bachelor-pad feel. And of course, forego the flowery wallpaper!

Monday, 10 October 2011

Choose An Oak Console Table To Reinstate Your Living Room

Only a few short years ago most people had telephone tables in their hallway which meant that every time there was a phone call your home had a designated space for taking it. Nowadays with the popularity of mobile phones and landline phones which can be carried around the home, often time taking phone calls seems to encroach on creating a happy and relaxed family environment.

If you’re fed up with teenagers or other family members taking or making calls in your living space there is a quick and simple solution.
If you purchase an oak console table it can easily be placed in a hallway or box room and house your telephone, meaning that phone calls coming in or going out will no longer encroach on your space.

You can say goodbye to disturbances when you’re watching your favourite programme and your teen decides that they must make that all important phone call.
Dinner time can be dinner time again as your dining space won’t be invaded by ringing phones, so you can have better quality time with your family.
There’s a lot to be said for the old tradition of keeping your phone separate from your living space, especially these days when we use technology so much. Particularly when you consider that most of the technology we use only serves to make us more solitary.

Most parents would agree that technology can make it harder to spend quality time with your family. That’s why it’s a good idea to have rules about what happens in different spaces in your home.

When you purchase an oak console table for your hallway then you and your family can all agree that family living spaces are for spending time together, rather than everyone doing their own thing and any telephone conversations can be kept away from the living areas of your home.

If you’re simply looking at ways to save space then an oak console table could be the perfect solution. Console tables are more slimline than conventional tables meaning that they can fit snugly into a small space without encroaching too much on the surroundings. That means they’re ideal for small bedrooms, bathrooms, studies or box rooms. They also work well near front doors as they can be used to store post or other important papers and are an ideal place to pop your keys when you come in.

So reinstate to your living room and encourage your family to spend more time together simply get yourself an oak console table from Cambridge Oak

Friday, 7 October 2011

How To Add Interest To A Neutral Decor

Everyone knows that it’s the finishing touches that make a home feel like a home. That’s why it’s so important to get your home accessories right.

The objects and ornaments that you keep around you say a lot about who you are, so if you truly want to express yourself through your decor then it’s a good idea to put some thought into the things you choose to surround you.
Many people these days choose to decorate their homes as a blank canvas, which is a great move if you plan to sell your property as most people prefer homes that they can imagine their own belongings in.

However, a blank canvas can be a bit boring when you are living in it every day, but it’s easy to put your stamp on your home and keep the decor neutral by choosing clever accessories.

Choose Accent Colours

One way to do it is to decide on two or three accent colours for your home and keep within those colours when buying accessories. This doesn’t mean that if you choose blue as one of your colours all your accessories need to be exactly the same shade of blue. You can keep within the colour palette but choose blues of different shades to add variety.

A great way to add colour is through items such as cushions, curtains and rugs. These can be relatively inexpensive which means you can change them as often as you want to give your home a new feel. Many people who do this choose to change their curtains or cushions with the seasons. This is a great idea as you can use warmer colours during the winter to give your home a cosier feel and choose lighter colours in the summer for a more airy atmosphere.

Express Yourself

If you’re a fan of bold, modern design then let your home reflect it. Choose modernist prints and sharp, primary coloured accessories to really set your rooms off. If you prefer a more romantic style then fill your home with gorgeous antiques, crystal and cut glass. There’s no reason not to surround yourself with the things that you love.

Change The Atmosphere

You can completely change the atmosphere in the rooms of your home just by adjusting the lighting. If you really want to make an impact you could fit coloured lighting strips around the tops or bottoms of your kitchen units, or replace your light fittings with dimmer switches. For a cheaper and quicker effect try scattering tealights in gorgeous tealight holders around a room. When lit they give a truly magical feel and will almost make your room feel like a completely different space.
However you decide to dress up your neutral decor, remember your home is an extension of your personality, so have fun, experiment and give yourself a treat by filling your home with items that you love.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Creating A Relaxing Bedroom Environment With The Right Bedding

Whilst there are those of us that are fortunate enough to enjoy a sound sleep most nights; many often find that their sleeping pattern is interrupted or struggle to drop off. The stresses of modern day life mean that it can be difficult to switch off at the end of the day and we can wake up in the morning feeling more tired than we did the night before. In order to improve your sleeping pattern it is a good idea to try and create a serene environment within your bedroom and your bedding selection can go a long way towards achieving that aim.

An uncomplicated design

In the world of children’s bedding we see many crazy patterns that are designed to draw their attention and spark their imagination. As most children don’t have any worries to keep them awake at night their bed linen can be as busy as it gets without having a detrimental effect. However, adults are much better advised to go for something a little simpler. It is a good idea to go for bedding that is either one colour, or that has two different colours on opposing sides.

If you are keen to add some element of design to the bedding then a wise choice is to try and incorporate some nature, which the human mind instinctively associates with calmness and serenity. Floral bedding remains a firm favourite as do designs involving trees.

For something a little less traditional there is always the option of bed linen that depicts flowing water in the form of rivers or waterfalls. Whichever pattern you do decide on; make sure that it isn’t too busy.

Selecting the colour

Many of the different shades of colour are associated with emotions dependant on the society in which we live. For example; most Western cultures associate the colour red with love, passion and anger.

Research has demonstrated that just seeing the colour red can have a physical impact on the human body and serve to increase your heart rate and blood pressure. Whilst this might make the right bedding colour for some situations; it’s probably not the wisest choice when you are looking for a restful night. Again your best option is to go for tones that are intrinsically linked with nature, such as browns, beiges and greens. Pastel yellows, blues and pinks will also create a soothing vibe.

Quality materials

We all like to make a good saving and it can be tempting to go for cheap bedding options. However, you really do get what you pay for with bedding materials and it is worth paying that little bit extra to get superior products. Whether you are going for cotton, silk or satin bedding sets or Egyptian cotton bed linen; a higher quality material will feel much smoother against your skin and provide a relaxing comfort.

Having the right bedding really can play a huge role in securing a good night’s sleep, which can have a real impact on your energy levels and productivity throughout the day. When you consider that we tend to spend around a third of our lives in bed; paying a few extra pounds to get quality items really isn’t a big deal.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Top Tips for Updating Your Bathroom

When was the last time you spruced up your bathroom? I’m not referring to paint, or tiles, but to the bathroom fixtures themselves. What sort of work did you have done? Getting a bathroom re-fitted can be a lot of hassle. For the duration of the job your plumbing is off, and you don’t have access to your washing and toilet facilities.

If you have more than one bathroom, that’s not too much hassle, but if your home has only one bathroom, it can be a less than appealing proposition. That’s where bath repairs such as bath resurfacing come in. If you pick a company that specialises in bath repairs to do the work for you,
bath resurfacing can offer you a “good as new” bathtub for a fraction of the cost of a high quality replacement.


Save time and hassle

If your existing bath is serviceable, but has scratches, cracks, or pit-marks that make it look scruffy, then why not get it repaired instead of shelling out for an entire replacement. You can breathe new life into all but the most damaged of tubs through bath repairs, and the process is far less intrusive than getting a replacement fitted.
Shower Tray Before
Shower Tray After

DIY or professional?

It’s possible to purchase bath resurfacing kits online, and while these can do the job well enough, they can be difficult to use. The chemicals used in those kits are incredibly strong, and can be dangerous if handled incorrectly. If you aren’t used to working with such chemicals, and have never tried to do your own resurfacing before, then it’s probably not a good idea to make re-doing your bathroom your first DIY experience.

Professional companies that specialise in bath repairs have access to better equipment, and more experience in performing even difficult bath resurfacing jobs. When you get the treatment done by a professional, they will guarantee the work, so you have some recourse if the new surface cracks, flakes, or peels after a few uses.

When is replacement better?

Bath resurfacing is not always a good idea. If your tub is a fairly new and inexpensive one, and you plan on getting a similar replacement, then you may find that replacing it would be less expensive than getting your existing one repaired. Resurfacing is best for high quality and antique tubs which may be irreplaceable.
Most jobs can be done on site, but some companies recommend sending tubs away for more sophisticated treatment. This does have the drawback of taking longer, and being more intrusive to your daily routine – since you’ll be without access to your bathtub for a while – but the treatment can restore even cast iron tubs to their original glory.

Once you’ve got your bath sorted out, don’t forget to pay a little attention to the rest of the room, simple jobs such as replacing taps, or changing the toilet seat, will all go a long way towards making your bathroom look as shiny, new, and inviting as the ones you see in top class hotels.
This post was written by James Harper on behalf of Hometech. James writes on the subject of home improvement and DIY.

Monday, 3 October 2011

Are You Planning a Loft Conversion?

More and more homeowners are choosing to stay in their current homes and invest in a loft conversion, rather than moving home and paying for all the extra expenses that moving entails. This should come as no surprise – there are many benefits to loft conversions. Birmingham, and other major cities, feature competitive housing markets, and persuading buyers to take an interest in your home can be difficult.

Loft conversions are a good compromise for a growing family. They allow you to expand your home without spending a lot of money. The cheapest loft conversions can be a tenth of the cost of even a small flat, and for that price you get the convenience of staying in your own home, the utility of extra space, and the value of an investment that should increase your home’s value, should you decide to sell in the future.

While you’re getting the loft conversion work done, you can also take the opportunity to get other minor improvements carried out, such as upgrades to your heating system, or some extra loft insulation added. There are many great loft insulation offers online.

Things to consider before commencing work

Before you sign off on any loft conversion work, it’s a good idea to make sure that you’re well versed in all of the legal considerations. If you’re a leaseholder, and you want a loft conversion for an upper floor flat, then you will need to get permission from the person who owns the freehold. If you live in a terraced or semi-detached property, then you may need to consult your neighbours before you start work – especially if the work will involve touching any shared walls.

Insurance is another important consideration. You may want to invest in an insurance backed warranty, so that your home is covered not just for the duration of building work itself, but for any loft conversion related problems that you encounter over the next ten years.

When you go looking for a company to perform loft conversions in Staffordshire or your local area, make sure that you ask about their credentials, and also ask to speak to satisfied customers. Don’t just read testimonials on their websites – ask to speak to some customers in person. Any reputable company will be happy to put you in touch with some previous customers, and a face to face conversation (or a telephone conversation if you prefer) will give you a much more realistic view of the company, the builders, and the quality of their work, than some carefully edited text on a website.

Loft conversions require a lot of planning and paperwork, and the building process can be a little stressful, but it’s far less hassle than moving house, and works out less expensive in the long run too. Even something as simple as choosing loft ladders UK or the right sort of timber windows can be a complicated matter if you are unsure of what you are doing. If your family is growing, and you feel like you need more space, then a loft conversion is a great way to give yourself and your family the breathing space that you require, without having to uproot and move away from your much loved family home.

This post was written by James Harper on behalf of Buckley Loft Conversions, for expert loft conversions Staffordshire and loft conversions Birmingham. James writes on subjects relating to home improvements.

Monday, 26 September 2011

Kitchen Design Dilemmas Solved

This guest blog post was written by Tracy Tesmer, founder of Tracy Tesmer Design • Build • Remodel • Repair, a design/build remodeling company specializing in kitchen remodeling. Tracy has over 30 years experience in the construction industry and also hosts a weekly home improvement radio show on WDUN in North Georgia.

The kitchen is where most people spend the majority of their time while at home. It’s no longer just a place to cook meals – it’s evolved into a hangout room where kids do their homework and friends and family congregate. Because we are requiring more out of a kitchen these days, it’s important to have a space that is both comfortable and functional. The following are 3 frequent kitchen complaints and ways to solve them, both with some DIY elbow grease or with the assistance of a home remodeling professional
  1. Insufficient Lighting. This is a common problem, especially in older homes that may just have an overhead florescent light and a light in the vent hood.
    • DIY: Replace your dated florescent lighting that is probably collecting bugs with some more stylish fixtures that give off more light. Since the hookup is already installed, this can be installed relatively easily. Make sure to completely cut the power before beginning to work on it and note you may have to do some paint touchups if the new fixture is a different size. You can also add some under cabinet lighting that either plugs in to your wall socket or is battery powered with no wires to mess with!
    • Professional: Unless you are a super handyman, you will probably need to hire somebody to tackle the installation of new recessed can lights, or new pendant or track lighting where there were no fixtures before. You may want to also consult with a kitchen designer to make suggestions on the look and feel of the space.
  2. Lack of Storage Space. For many people, lack of sufficient storage space in their kitchen is a major complaint. Whether the builder failed to take full advantage of the storage space or the usage of your space has changed over time, it’s important to have a kitchen that is organized and not cluttered.
    • DIY: Before doing anything, take a few hours to sort through your current kitchen items to see if you can get rid of or reorganize some of your clutter. You may have just solved your problem! If you still need more space, consider an overhead pot rack to free up some shelf space, adding some shelving for the inside of your pantry door, or purchasing a rolling kitchen island with storage cabinets.
    • Professional: If the installation of an island sounds like the right thing for you, but you want to go the permanent route, hire a remodeler to build and install one for you. You can also replace your upper cabinets to reach to the ceiling, often adding a shelf or two of storage space. For smaller improvements, adding a Lazy Susan to corner cabinets will help you fully use the awkward space to your advantage.
  3. Impeded Work Flow. It’s important to be able to have a flowing kitchen that works well. Even though today’s kitchen serves as a place to entertain, organize one’s day, and communicate with family and friends, it is above all else still a place to cook. The "kitchen triangle" is the area between the refrigerator, sink and stove.
    • DIY: Although it may be difficult to fix much of the floor plan with DIY skills, you may be able to save on the cost of remodeling by doing some of the demolition, painting, or appliance installation of this remodeling project yourselves.
    • Professional: Most professional remodelers are excellent at figuring out how to maximize the functionality of the “kitchen triangle.” Common renovations include adding a wall unit oven to replace a standard stove, installing a cook top, veggie sink, and/or dishwasher in an island, or moving the location of a refrigerator.
Before you decide whether you want to take matters into your own hands and give your cooking space a makeover yourself, or call a licensed remodeler, it’s important to first identify the source of the problem and then decide which logical solution works best for you. Whether you need a major renovation of your existing kitchen or a simple quick fix, there are many opportunities to make the kitchen more efficient as well as more enjoyable.

Friday, 23 September 2011

Should You Invest In Dining Furniture?

If you take a look around your home the chances are you have a few pieces of really high quality furniture. If you do then you’ll know that paying for quality really counts – especially if you’ve bought cheap furniture from one of the huge stores only to find it’s fallen apart within a few months.
Of course we all love a bargain and although you can dress your dining room up with cheaper items such as cushions, prints and curtains, when you buy cheap furniture it really shows - it’s hard to get a classy look when you’re not willing to pay for it!

Some people view buying good quality dining furniture as a big expense but why not look at it as an investment? If you compare the price of buying a few cheap pieces that will quickly wear out to the price of investing in one high quality dining set that will look great for years to come, it probably works out cheaper to choose the investment piece.

If you’re lucky enough to have a dining room then choosing some amazing dining furniture will really set the space alight. There are so many designs to choose from depending on whether you prefer a traditional or modern look.

If you don’t have a lot of space for dining then you could consider a wooden dining table with acrylic chairs, which will make the space seem much bigger. Or if you’re really brave you can go for an entirely acrylic dining set. Choose a classic look for your chairs such as that made famous by Philippe Starck’s Kong design. The amazing thing about the Kong design is that although the material is ultra modern the chairs look great in a traditional setting and because they’re so unusual they’ll still look great in ten or fifteen years. Starck’s design classic has spawned hundreds of copycat chairs and most are fairly reasonably priced.

If acrylic isn’t for you then you can always chooser high quality wood furniture, but instead of going for the traditional oak you could go for something a bit different such as mango wood.

Mango wood furniture has been steadily growing in popularity over the last decade as a wonderful alternative to more commonly used woods. It has a rich, slightly mottled appearance which gives a warm, homely and slightly ethnic feel to any room.

As well as being truly beautiful and highly durable, most mango wood is responsibly sourced from sustainable forests and usually manufactured overseas by highly skilled craftsmen. That means that most of the mango wood furniture that you can buy online is finished to a very high standard and is in no danger of falling apart. One of the most wonderful things about investing in high quality furniture like this is that you can actually end up with an heirloom that will almost become a part of the family! For that reason alone, investing in high quality dining furniture is always a good idea.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Give Your Home a Weekend Makeover

So, summer is over. The kids are back at school, the nights are getting darker, and let’s face it, it’s getting a little chilly. It’s time to bring in the barbecue, put away the fans, and start planning for autumn.

The changing of the seasons is used by many people as an excuse for a decorating spree, but who has time for those these days? If you can’t afford to take a week off work to strip the wallpaper and lay some new carpets, then why not try this quick and easy home makeover plan.
  1. Start with the kitchen: Clean out the cupboards and declutter the counters. Invest in some attractive bowls, hangars, and boxes to use for storage so that you never have to worry about clutter again. If you have time, you could consider painting the cupboards a different colour – it makes a big difference.
  2. Revitalize the bedroom: Make your bedroom a relaxing place to be. Get rid of those thin summer curtains and replace them with heavy roller blinds that will do a better job of blocking out the winter chill. Move everything that isn’t bed or dressing related out of the bedroom. Less is more in this case – you don’t want any distractions in your bedroom. Replace all the bedding, and treat yourself to some fresh pillows.
  3. Accessorize the living room: Sometimes all that you need to make a room feel different is a change of colour. You can’t feasibly do that with paint, but if you make creative use of throws, roller blinds, rugs, and other accessories, you can re-theme a room in a jiffy. Even better, when spring comes around you can put all the warm and cosy stuff away, and replace it with something refreshing and airy – giving you a second “instant makeover”.
  4. Simple bathroom tweaks: Bathrooms can be high maintenance. Make sure that the tiles are clean, the taps are sparkling, and your bath or shower is freshly rinsed. Often, what drags down the mood in the bathroom is a tatty bath mat or shower curtain. Replace those, and perhaps add matching toothbrush and soap holders, and you should be able to quickly bring some cheer to the room.
  5. Don’t forget the garden: Your garden is the first thing people see when they come to your home. At this time of year, it’s easy to start to let things slide, but don’t. If it’s nice outside, cut the grass and do a little weeding, make sure your paving stones are OK, and then consider planting some hardy plants that will survive until the winter. A neat and trim garden is always a nice sight when you get home from work on a dark night.
    A lot of the above tips may sound like they’re about cleaning up, but in truth it’s amazing what changing a few things, such as roller blinds or shower curtains, can do. A change of colour, and a lack of clutter, is a big deal. Another area where subtle changes make a big difference is smell. If you normally burn incense or candles, consider changing the scent as the seasons change. 
    This post was written by James Harper on behalf of Creatively Different Roller Blinds. James writes on subjects relating to the home and interior design ideas.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Home Project Management – Kitchen Design

Re-modelling a kitchen can be a mammoth project. There are a lot of issues to consider – not just in terms of design and decoration, but also health and safety, plumbing, gas, and electronics.

If you want your remodelling to be a hassle-free process and you want to make sure that you avoid any costly mistakes or delays, then you will need to organize your work so that all of the tradesmen are able to complete their work on schedule, and comply with the regulations relevant to their trade.

Insurance

Before any major building work begins, it’s a good idea to make sure your insurance will cover it. Most standard household insurance will not cover building work while it is being carried out, so you’ll probably need to get cover added to your policy.

Plumbing

If you are making major changes to the layout of your kitchen, you may need to have your plumbing altered to accommodate the new layout. Get everything measured up before work begins.

Gas

All gas work must be carried out by a certified engineer, and you will need a safety certificate to indicate that your installation is safe. Gas leaks and carbon monoxide are no joke, so don’t be tempted to cut corners when it comes to gas.

Electricians

Just as there are regulations governing gas, there are regulations governing electrical work. You will need to make sure that you work with a certified engineer that understands the local Building Regulations (these can vary, country to country and state to sate).

For example, when you hire a professional electrician in Derby, they will assume responsibility for the required paperwork themselves, and provide you with an Electrical Installation Certificate and a Building Regulations Self Certification document when the work is done.

Even minor wiring work such as adding sockets or light fittings is considered to be notifiable when it takes place in the kitchen, so it is important to make sure that all of the required paperwork is completed.

The order in which the work is carried out will depend on how extensive the remodelling plans are. In general, it’s best to bring in skilled tradesmen such as electricians and plumbers early in the process, so that they can do their work with minimal disturbance. Cupboard fitting and decorating can be done once the major installation work has been completed.

The most common jobs – wiring up cookers and adding plugs or light fixtures – are not too intrusive. Your electrician will need to turn off the power while they’re working, but the job should not take too long, and is unlikely to require extensive work in other parts of the house unless they find something unsafe in your wiring while they are working.

If you are using a project management company, they will be able to recommend gas engineers and local electricians that they know are reputable. If you’re managing the work yourself, then ask around for recommendations from friends and family to ensure that you get the best service.

This post was written by James Harper on behalf of Ash Cole your local electrician in Derby. James writes on subjects relating to home improvements and DIY.

Monday, 19 September 2011

Transforming Your Lounge With Outdoor Decking

Due to the instability of property prices and the current economic climate, many homeowners are deciding to make improvements to their home rather than looking to move. With so many people being caught out in recent years by falling property prices and losing their jobs, there is now an increased trend to renovate rather than relocate. Extensions and conservatories are a popular option, as are porches and loft conversions. However, one improvement that many overlook and which can greatly improve the feel and usefulness of your home’s lounge is that of decking.

Aesthetic benefits

The first and perhaps most obvious benefit that decking provides to your lounge is visual. When installed alongside some French Doors your decking project can greatly increase the light in the room; giving it a more spacious and airy feel. This can be especially beneficial in smaller houses that can sometimes feel a little oppressive. In addition, the decking provides a natural introduction into the garden area, whilst allowing you to enjoy the views from the comfort of the settee.

Entertaining

A decking area that can be easily accessed through your French Doors offers a fantastic place to entertain guests – especially in the summer months. The space effectively increases the size of your lounge; meaning your guests won’t be cramped when you have a social gathering.

In addition the extra space means that more than one conversation can take place; allowing guests to better mingle and the party to go with a swing. If you are a keen barbequer then the decking also means that you can do your cooking without having to leave your gusts to entertain themselves.

A safe space for the kids

Anyone who has young children will know how much they love being outside. However, sometimes we don’t have the time to get out in the garden with them as much as we would like as we try to keep up with the housework. By installing child safe decking you are able to let your young children get some fresh air whilst you get on with some jobs, without having to worry about them falling into a rose bush or getting dirty digging in the mud.

Just be sure to fit a gate with a latch that prevents them leaving the decking and also ensure that spindles are no more than 100mm apart, thus avoiding your offspring slipping through the gaps. You may even want to consider glass panels as seen in the photo above, which not only look great, but also improve safety.

Increasing your property value

The final benefit that installing decking can provide is that of significantly increasing the value of your property. A recent study by one of the UK’s leading property websites revealed that 66% of house hunters are most attracted to homes that have a well maintained garden. The findings also show that beautiful garden area can add about £30,000 to the average house; even more for properties of a higher value. So when you do finally decide the time is right to move on you can consider properties in a higher value bracket for a relatively low outlay.

Friday, 16 September 2011

Bedroom Magic: Choosing Colors That Calm

Have you ever had a moment when you describe a shirt as orange, and your shopping companion, whoever they are, looks at you strangely and says, “That’s not orange, that’s a burnt red”? Color is an odd thing, and in a personal space like a bedroom, it can be especially tricky. Bedroom spaces are meant to slow us down. We go to our bedrooms to unwind and forget about the troubles of the day. The design of the bedroom should directly reflect this intent. If it doesn’t, then your bedroom is in dire need of some interior remodeling. The color palette is extremely important in generating an appropriate sense of calm. Though the aforementioned example shows that color is, in many ways, “in the eye of the beholder”, there are a few aesthetic universal truths which can make any bedroom a more restful place.

Opposites Attract

Ask some friends or colleagues to describe your personality in terms related to hot or cold. Do they describe you as fiery and spicy, or as cool and calm? If you are described as “peppery” by more than one person, than look for colors that are in opposition to your personality. This opposition should be a subtle one, or it can end up feeling disturbing. Choosing “minty” or “wintery” tones will calm, or cool, a “spicy” person down. Conversely, a person who is described as “cool” or “chill”, may want to color their bedroom with more heated or earthy tones, which will make their bedroom space a warmer place.



Design by Kenneth Brown. Photo by Mayer Bowden Photography.

Size Matters

If your bedroom is small, the colors you choose can have a large impact on whether the room feels cozy, or just cluttered and claustrophobic. Off-white shades, such as creams, beiges, pearls, or light grey tones, reflect light and make a room seem instantly larger. Avoid using a flat white, as that makes every space feel cold and impersonal. If off-white walls are not your cup of tea, consider painting the ceiling with an off-white color, as it will make the room feel more spacious vertically. Lighter earth tones, like sand, or cool tones like sky blue or pale green, can also serve to make a space feel larger.


Photo by Happy Home Zone

Color Ratios

According to rules of Feng Shui, you should endeavor to use anywhere from 3 to 5 colors in your room. Begin with the bed, since that is the space with which you are going to have the most direct interaction. Once you have the selected the colors for your bed set, then it is time to address the walls and the rest of the bedroom. Choose complementary tones for the rest of the room, and be very careful in your selection of wall color, as almost 75% of the color in your room is on your walls. If you are feeling uncertain, a good rule of thumb is to choose a wall tone that is the same, or akin, to one of the subtle tones in your bedspread. Then more vibrant tones can be used for decoration and trim to create visual accents.


Photo by by Leonid Nyshko

Remember, at the end of the day, it is your bedroom and it should be decorated in whatever way you feel is most comfortable. Your red is different than the red experienced by anybody else. So, no matter what anyone says, make sure to color your bedroom - you.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

How to Fund Fantastic Home Improvement Projects

Home improvement is the aim of almost every homeowner and it is a sensible goal to have. There are numerous benefits to improving the state of your home, such as comfort for instance. Investing in new furniture or adapting your house to make it more practical can add to the overall feeling of comfort and this can only be a good thing.

Another reason for undertaking a home improvement project is to make your home look more attractive. Your house, cottage or apartment should be a place where you absolutely love spending time and the better it looks, the more you should enjoy being there.

Home improvement is also a wise decision as it can significantly increase the value of your property. An extension or conservatory, for example, could add thousands to the value of a home.

This last point leads on to another advantage of making the most of your home, and that is appeal to potential future buyers. If you have enhanced your house with a new bathroom or other improvement, it is likely to be more appealing to a buyer and as mentioned could fetch a higher price when you are ready to sell.

How can you improve your home?


There is a multitude of ways to enhance a home, both inside and out. From the garden to the attic there are home improvement projects that could be undertaken, and with that in mind here are a few ideas to mull over:

  • Install a new bathroom – if your bathroom is a dated and dingy space in which it is impossible to feel truly pampered, perhaps a new installation is just what your property needs.
  • Build an extension onto your home – perhaps you have a growing family or maybe you would just like a bit of extra space to enjoy; either way, an extension could be the answer and a great way to improve your home.
  • Have a conservatory built – a conservatory gives you the benefits of an extension, plus you get to enjoy the great outdoors all year round, whether the rain is pouring or the sun is shining.
  • Build a swimming pool – if you have the space at home then why not use your imagination and install something that you can really enjoy, like a heated swimming pool.

Find funding for your project

Of course not everybody has the cash required for such projects in their bank, but this need not stop you investing in your home. Today it is possible to secure funding for home improvement and other projects, and there are a number of options to ponder. Using your credit card is one option if your limit allows you to take out the funds necessary to pay for a new bathroom or conservatory. It is worth considering the high interest rates imposed on credit card borrowing though, so other options should be considered, such as secured loans. Secured loans, also known as homeowner loans, are secured on your home, and they could allow you to borrow more than a personal loan would. This is a way that you could free up the funds needed to invest in your home, making it a more attractive, comfortable, valuable and saleable property for you to enjoy.

About the author: Sam Butterworth writes for Nemo Personal Finance, who can help you with secured loans. Find out what you could borrow with their secured loans calculator for home improvement and more. 

ABOUT NEMO Nemo Personal Finance http://www.nemo-loans.co.uk is a part of the Principality Building Society Group and provides secured loans for UK homeowners with an existing mortgage. Nemo aims to unravel the complications of personal finance and to provide homeowner loans that fit individual needs and lifestyles. Nemo is a responsible lender and will only make loans available to people who can afford them.

* Consolidating your debt may increase the amount you pay back overall and extend the repayment period of your debts.

THINK CAREFULLY BEFORE SECURING OTHER DEBTS AGAINST YOUR HOME. YOUR HOME MAY BE REPOSSESSED IF YOU DO NOT KEEP UP REPAYMENTS ON A MORTGAGE OR ANY OTHER DEBT SECURED ON IT.