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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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 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.


Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Give a Hoot About Owl Decor

Owls are the latest trend in the fashion world and often will be seen on simple tees and necklaces. With their adorable big eyes and playful appearance, they are becoming hot in the interior design world as well. They come in various forms, from cookie jars to even an umbrella stand! If you are looking for an owl theme in your kitchen, you can also try a white owl pitcher, which will blend in well if you have your kitchen decorated with neutral colors or maybe you just need a splash of white to break up all of your achromatic color.

Spending money on owl décor items can get pricey at times, so save some of your funds by using Home Decorators Collection coupons. On their site you will also discover some additional owl décor items that will make you give a hoot about how your home will feel. Anthropologie also offers owls that will woo you with their winking eyes and delightful colors. Let owls comfort you from every corner as you look into their mischievous eyes and understand why they are so enticing to own for your home interior.

Wise Ol’ Cookie Jar, Orange – Gear up for Halloween time with a cookie jar to hold your kid’s snacks or maybe just your own cookies and candy! Even when it’s not Halloween this cookie jar would still look spunky and cute in your home. With its bright color and darling personality, a jar like this deserves to be on your countertop all year long.

Owl Umbrella Stand – If you are always misplacing your umbrellas an owl umbrella stand is a wise way to keep track of them and at the same time incorporates a décor item that you love. It’s neutral with its white shade so it won’t stand out, but passersby will definitely recognize it simply because it’s so creative.

Winking Wisecracker Jar – How can you not adore this mischievous and wise as an owl jar? The whimsical colors make this owl jar come to life with its turquoise and light pink color tones. It could easily be the focal point in a kitchen depending on its placement and keep you happy by glancing at its winking eye.

Owl Pitcher – With its charming shape and darling style, this pitcher would go perfectly in a shabby chic inspired kitchen. You might even consider placing it in your bathroom for easy to access to filtered water.

Owl décor may come and go, but you should give a hoot about this trend and make it last in your home. Like roosters, owls may become the next best thing and no matter what the styles in a home may be, if you love owls, then decorate with them to your hearts content.

An avid ocean dreamer, Sierra adores everything that has to do with the beach. Writing about fashion and style are one of her many passions, which is why she enjoys being a featured fashion blogger for, a social shopping site dedicated to saving you money through hot deals and more.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

What’s New in Kitchen Design?

The housing market may have slowed down slightly, but the re-modelling market is booming. Rather than moving house, more and more people are improving what they already have – revitalizing their bedrooms and modernizing their kitchens with the latest in plumbing, floor-to-ceiling units, and stainless steel undermount sinks, or ceramic undermount sinks for those that prefer a more classical look.

Islands are in

One of the biggest trends in kitchen design these days is the use of islands. In many homes, the kitchen is "big enough", but the amount of usable space is far from sufficient. While opting for stainless steel undermount sinks instead of traditional overmount sinks will allow you to reclaim a few inches of counter space, an island will reclaim a lot of empty floor space for your use as a work surface, and can act as storage too.

Low Divide Sinks

Another trend that’s gaining popularity is low divide sinks. Many kitchen designers are finding that they’re now more popular than single bowl sinks. There are some charming ceramic undermount sinks that come in a large bowl/small bowl configuration with a low divider, perfect for those who want to retain the flexibility of a single bowl, but want to separate some of their washing.

Discrete filters

Water filters are one of the first additions that many homeowners make to their kitchens, even if they aren’t going to be re-modelling on a grand scale. An under-sink water filter, connected directly to the cold tap, can remove the need for a separate faucet for drinking water. There are filters that can last for one year before they need changed. They’re discreet, hassle free, and great value for money.

Floor to ceiling cabinets

Floor to ceiling cabinets are gaining practicality for several reasons. Firstly, they remove the hassle of having to dust the top of the cabinet (which, let’s face it, is a horrible chore). Secondly, they maximise the amount of useable space, and make the kitchen look much neater.

Kitchen redesigns should not be entered into lightly. While it’s easy enough to move around the furniture in the living room, or even in a bedroom, kitchens are more permanent, with plumbing and wiring to be considered. If you hate your kitchen, every mealtime will turn into a chore. So, before you invest in stainless steel undermount sinks, floor-to-ceiling cabinets, or any other major changes, think about what you use most in your kitchen, and what you’ll need easy access to on a day to day basis.

It may be that you need single bowl ceramic undermount sinks, because a double-bowl sink wouldn’t fit your wok. Or, it could be that you’d rather have an island kitchen than one with floor-to-ceiling cupboards – or, perhaps you spend so much time in there that you need both storage solutions! Don’t let your kitchen designer talk you into something fashionable just because everyone else in the neighbourhood has bought it. It’s your kitchen, and it should be designed to fit your needs.

This post was written by James Harper on behalf of the Kitchen Appliance Centre. James writes on subjects relating to home improvements and interiors.

Monday, 12 September 2011

DIY Shower Video

Interesting DIY shower video I saw. Looks a bit tricky for me though!

Friday, 9 September 2011

Ten Best Uses for Wallpaper (Other than the Obvious)

If you have extra wallpaper left over after you’ve covered you walls, don’t toss it. Instead, try out some of these easy DIY projects. Each is a way to use up the extra paper you’ve had lying around to make ordinary things beautiful. Even if you have never used wallpaper before, these fun projects might inspire you to go out and buy a roll.

  1. Filing cabinets
    Make your boring gray filing cabinet something special by covering it in wallpaper! First, remove the handles, and pull out the drawers. If you’re covering the whole cabinet, you don’t need to paint it; if you’re just partially covering it, pick your favorite color high gloss spray paint and spray away. Measure the cabinet, and cut out the wallpaper accordingly. Use Mod Podge to stick the paper to the cabinet. Smooth out any air bubbles before it dries. Lastly, add a clear top coat and reattach the hardware.
  2. Mat as art
    This is a great use for wallpaper that you love, but might be too overwhelming if you covered a whole wall with it. Instead, mat the wallpaper on foam core or measure and cut it to fit into a frame.
  3. Room divider/folding screen
    If you already have a flat paneled room divider, you can recover it in leftover wallpaper to give it new life. If you don’t have one, just have plywood cut into divider sized panels at the hardware store. All you’ll need to do it cover it in paper (using Mod Podge or spray adhesive) and then attach hinges.
  4. Headboard
    My favorite way to use extra paper is to make a faux headboard. There are a couple ways to do this. The first method is to use wallpaper on a large piece of foam board (see #2). The second is to cut the paper to the desired shape and size and apply to the wall behind the bed. If you want to make it look really special, buy pre-cut molding, paint it, and then install it around the wallpaper to look like a headboard.
  5. Switch plates
    If you’re looking for a small, unexpected pop of color try covering your switch plates or outlets with wallpaper. The first thing you should do is cut the power to the switches you’re working on. Then carefully remove the covers. Clean them off and dry thoroughly. Cut your wallpaper to size, and then apply with Mod Podge. Let these dry completely before reinstalling them. Don’t forget to turn the power back on!
  6. Risers on stairs
    Adding wallpaper to the risers on your stairs is a fun, unexpected way to add color or texture to an otherwise quiet area of the home. It’s very easy to do. Just make sure that you wipe away any dust from the steps first, otherwise the paper won’t stick as well. Measure the dimensions the riser and use spray adhesive to stick on the paper. Once dry, go over it with a clear top coat for durability.
  7. Ceiling
    Using wallpaper on the ceiling is a great way to use paper you love without having to commit to four walls of it. This project is a little trickier than the others. You can see full instructions from the DIY Network here.
  8. Glass coasters
    You can purchase glass or ceramic tiles from the hardware store. Cut the paper to size, and apply. Once dry flip the coasters and apply stick on felt pads to the corners. Voila! Easy coasters.
  9. Line drawers
    This is a surprising way to add a special touch to a piece of furniture. If you don’t have enough of one style of paper, that’s okay. This is a project where you can mix and match different papers in each drawer. You don’t need to worry about it looking too busy because you won’t be looking at all of the wallpaper at the same time. Just measure the bottoms of the drawers, spray adhesive and apply the cut paper.
  10. Bookcase
    Transform a boring bookcase into a work of art with a coat of paint and a beautiful printed wallpaper backing. The neatest way to do this is to pull out the shelves and apply the paper in one sheet. If you can’t, you’ll have to measure the backboard between the shelves individually then cut and apply each one separately.

This article was written by Erie Construction.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Bathroom Decorating Tips

I'm about to start redecrating my bathroom and got a lot of inspiration from this video!

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Home Security Systems: DIY or Hire a Pro?

In today’s do-it-yourself world, if something needs to be done at your home, you can nearly always find a kit or video to help you through it. This is also true when it comes to installing a home security system.

But just how easy is it? Is doing it yourself really going to be cost-effective and better than just hiring a professional to do it? Here are the facts:

Professionally Installed

It’s always important to consider your options. When considering hiring a professional, you should know that there are two types of home security systems that professionals install: leased and purchased. The costs of these two different systems and services differ.

Leased home security systems

Home security costs include a setup fee and a monthly monitoring contract. Other charges depend on what type of package and plan you choose. Here’s the breakdown:
  • Installation: Typically around $100.
  • Contract: Home security system companies usually require a 3-year commitment contract, and their monthly fees range from $30-$40 a month.
  • Cancellation fee: Variable, but calculated as the unused portion of months left in the contract times the highest rate.

Purchased home security systems

Purchased home security systems have more costs up front, but are cheaper over the long term:
  • Equipment and Installation: $100-$1,500.
  • Contract: Most require a 3-year contract, but some do not. The monthly monitoring fee is about $15-$20 a month.
  • Cancellation fee: From 75 percent of the fees due to the full amount.
If you decide to hire a company to professional install the system, make sure you do your homework! Research on the Internet, read consumer ratings, check out security blogs and ask your friends who have systems who they went with. DIY Installation DIY security systems are cheaper than professionally-installed systems, and definitely the better option to not having a security system at all. However, they do come with a few obstacles.

DIY Security System

There are a variety of options in selecting which type of DIY security system you can install. Most alarm systems come with sensors that are monitored wirelessly by a central control panel. When the sensors are triggered, a loud siren will go off – deterring the intruders from your home. In addition, some DIY systems can be set up to automatically call your mobile; however, you are not supposed to set this feature up to call the police.

DIY Security System Costs

The nice thing about DIY kits is that some come with home security monitoring capability. So if you want your home security system monitored without the long-term contracts, this is a good way to go. Also, since most of these systems are wireless, you can take them with you when you move. If you choose this option, here are some of the charges:
  • Set-up fee: FREE-$35
  • Sensors and control panel: $200-$500
  • Monthly fee: $8.95-$19.95
It’s important to note that although DIY systems are cheaper, they are not as effective as professionally installed systems. Professionally systems offer better monitoring support and a well-trained technician who will help you learn the system. However if a DIY security system is your only affordable option, then do it! Regardless of which you choose both will help you feel safe.

Sylvia Rosen is an online writer with a background in newspaper journalism. She connects with industry professionals to write articles on the latest advances in home security, such as wireless home security systems.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

How to Choose the Right Mattress

The decision to buy a new bed is one that should not be taken lightly. A bed is a major purchase, and one that you'll be using for a long time. Even budget beds can be expected to last for many years. The choice of mattress is important too - the array of designs and materials offered by mattress discounters is huge, and each type of mattress has its own benefits and drawbacks.

Most budget beds are offered without mattresses, and you'll have to pick out your own mattress to fit the bed. The style and material of mattress that you choose will depend on a number of factors, including your height and weight, any allergies you have, and whether you sleep alone or with a partner. Some mattress discounters will give you advice on choosing a mattress, but it's a good idea to have an idea of what you want before you start shopping.

There are several different types of mattress that you can buy to use with your budget beds, they include:
  1. Continuous coil mattress: This is the cheapest type of mattress, and a big seller for mattress discounters. This type of mattress is fine for a single bed, but will wear out quickly in a double bed. The springs are linked, and if your partner rolls over, you'll feel their every move.
  2. Open coil mattress: This type of mattress will last longer than a single coil mattress, and is generally considered to be more comfortable, and one of the best mattress types in terms of cost to comfort ratio.
  3. Pocket sprung mattress: This type of mattress is popular among people who sleep on their side. The mattress provides good support for your spine, but is more expensive than an open coil mattress.
  4. Memory foam mattress: Memory foam is heat sensitive, and moulds to your body. These mattresses are great in the winter, but can feel excessively warm in the summer. They're popular for people with joint pain, but can be quite expensive.
  5. Foam or Latex Mattresses: If you have allergies, then this type of mattress might be the best choice for you.
Some people prefer to buy an inexpensive open coil mattress then add a mattress topper to it for a bit more comfort. This can be a good way of turning budget beds into super comfortable ones (especially if you can get a good deal on the mattress topper), but only works if you're adding the memory foam layer to a new mattress. You can't restore an old, saggy mattress by using a new topper, because they're so thin and flexible that they won't mask the problems with the old mattress.

If you're buying a new mattress, shop around and try a few different mattress discounters before you make your choice. Don't be shy about trying out a few different mattresses until you find one that you like. It's your comfort, and your health that is at stake, so it pays to be fussy.

This post was written by James Harper on behalf of the Original Factory Shop. James writes on subjects relating to home improvements and interiors.

Monday, 5 September 2011

A Guide to Kitchen Remodeling

A kitchen can come in all shapes and sizes, making a remodeling project a challenge. Before your remodeling project begins, prepare to be without a kitchen until the final screw is tightened on your project. Although a kitchen remodeling project can often take a good amount of time to complete, the finished project will not only give the homeowner a feeling of satisfaction, but will typically provide an encouraging return on investment should the house ever go on the market. No matter the dimensions or function of your kitchen, a professional remodeling job can transform your space into an area that is unique to your style and practical to your culinary capabilities.

Below are tips that can help transform a boring area into a traditional, trendy or modern kitchen space. No matter the direction being taken, the following will serve as a guide for you as you look to create a total kitchen makeover.

Create a budget

This will determine every other step in the process until completion. Study all of the things you wish to remodel before setting a budget. By doing a little homework early in the process, you can avoid straying away from the original remodeling plan. It is important to decide how the kitchen will be used and why it needs to be remodeled. Is more space being sought? Does the kitchen need more storage or room for guests?

Be accurate

Free remodel calculators are available online to help with how much everything will cost. Consumer reports are available, too. Knowing the rates of floors, cabinets, and other materials ahead of time will be beneficial when remodeling.

Have a vision

If a full remodel is going to occur, the design and plans need to be complete before anything begins. Kitchen design software is available online to help navigate through a look-a-like kitchen to decide where things should go and what they should look like.

Hire a professional

Not all contractors are created equally. A little due diligence will help you quickly decide on the right contractor for your kitchen remodeling project. Review their website, ask for references and make sure they are licensed. A contractor and a homeowner should experience little to no miscommunications during the remodeling process especially if a plan is in place.

Check the products and material

  • Cabinets - If the budget can accommodate, custom cabinets give a unique look with many different styles, materials and hardware available. Resurfacing is also an option for remodeling cabinets. Adding new hardware and color to previous cabinets can help spruce them up as well. This process should take a few days.
  • Lighting - Lighting can change the mood and atmosphere of an entire room. The kitchen is a place where lighting should be executed smartly to avoid kitchen mishaps. You need to be able to see what you are cooking or preparing!
  • Counters - With a wide variety of options available, one is faced with the choice of tile, wood, cement, granite, marble, and many others. Adding new countertops to a kitchen can change the look of a room. Consider price, color and durability of the counters as well as the installation requirements. A contractor will be able assist in providing this information. Hard floors are suggested in a kitchen because of spills.
  • Flooring – There are a number of different options from which to choose when selecting flooring. Tile, Vinyl, Wood and laminate flooring are some of the more popular flooring options during a kitchen remodeling project.
  • Windows - Windows allow natural light into the kitchen and add extra character to a room. Natural light is hard to replicate so take advantage of windows in a kitchen by leaving them open.

Understand payment terms

Every remodeling professional will have their own set of payment terms. However make sure you do not pay for the project in its entirety from the start. The contract will need to layout the payment plan and schedule for the rest of the project. Also, the final payment is not to be paid until everything is complete and to your satisfaction.

Friday, 2 September 2011

Getting the Most from Your Bathroom Remodeling Project

The bathroom is typically a smaller area in a home, thus creating less space to play with when remodeling. This means that each product and material placed in a bathroom should serve a purpose. The layout of the bathroom will ultimately determine how much remodeling can be done. Bathroom remodeling doesn’t have to cost a small fortune, in fact; it can be done on a conservative budget.

Consider what really needs to be changed, what could be changed and what can wait to be changed. A theme and an ambiance should be kept in mind when selecting materials and products. This could be anything from traditional to quirky or modern. A good contractor will be able to help carry out the vision and design for each type of lifestyle being sought. Whether more space or more decoration is desired, remodeling a bathroom not only helps to renew the spirits of the owner but it adds increasing value to the home. These steps will help make the remodeling of a bathroom less chaotic and stressful.
  1. Plan Ahead: Make a list of the things needing changes and a list of the things that absolutely must be in the bathroom. This should include measurements of the different areas in the bathroom including counters, walls, floor space, etc. Also consider who uses the bathroom. Will it need to accommodate children? Guests?
  2. Select a Budget: Knowing how much money can be spent on a bathroom remodel must be determined early. This is helpful to the contractor and the owner because it makes the wish list and process more practical. A bathroom remodel can range in costs and is determined by the owner’s desires and needs. However, homeowners should be prepared for extra costs. These extra costs are typically “unseen” costs. Mold behind the walls or structural compromises are two areas that usually fall into the extra cost category.
  3. Select a contractor: Choose someone local that knows the suppliers, the prices and the area. Referrals and credibility are very important when choosing a contractor. Make sure that the license, credentials and insurance status of the contractor have been reviewed. A contractor who specializes in bathroom remodeling will be able to give input into the project and design being sought, as well. Review the estimates closely before final selection. This includes researching prices and brands of materials and products. Keep in mind a labor fee is included in the final proposal.
  4. Select the product: It is important that products and materials be selected carefully. Having all of the materials and products purchased before hand is advised to minimize delays, extra expenses and a change of ideas. Know ahead of time how much each of the products should cost to avoid being out of the loop when discussing products and materials with contractors.

    • Countertops: Selecting a countertop for the space available and budget can be challenging. Ask the contractor about certain styles and colors that are ideal for a bathroom area.
    • Lighting: This is one of the most important parts of a bathroom. A general rule of thumb is that the light should be bright enough to see water traces on the floor and counters. It may be smart to purchase the lighting after the remodel is being finished so that it can be matched to the colors and style of the room.
    • Sink: A sink can enhance the look of the bathroom. Many options are available such as a traditional bowl, a glass bowl and even warm wood. A budget will help determine what can be used. For example, a single stand sink may not be a good idea for those seeking storage spaces. Try to narrow down the choice of color, size and style before looking to help save time.
    • Flooring: Ceramic tiles and stone are the easiest of the options to keep clean if these can fit within the budget. They also provide a visual appeal to just about any decorating style.
    • Cabinets: Cabinets can be custom built or purchased already made. Often time’s cabinets can be renovated with paint and hardware.
    • Contract: Everything should be in writing including payment plans, work schedules, the total amount due, finish dates and any other terms necessary so that they are binding. Failure to do this can result in miscommunication, worries and frustration.

The insight listed above provides an excellent starting point when thinking about a bathroom remodeling projects. Remember to plan ahead, stay up to date on the latest trends and pricing, and enjoy the process of watching your bathroom being transformed into a space you will be happy with.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Spruce Up Your Living Room Design Today

The living room happens to be one of the most important rooms in any house. After all, this is where the family comes together to watch TV, talk about their days, and relax. Since this room caters to both adults and children, it should have elements in it that the entire family can enjoy. Here are some basic tips on how to spruce up your living room design, so that it appeals to all of your family members.

If you are currently on a budget or simply aren't very interested in buying anything new for your house, you can just scour your home for things that you already have and can use in the living room. Reupholster some old furniture, for example, and clean one of your old throw rugs to bring about a vintage yet fresh effect.

Also, instead of buying expensive pieces of furniture and matching decorations, you can look for pieces with the same style, theme and color for your living room instead. You don't necessarily need to buy cushions that match your couch, for example. You can just get slipcovers made for them and then switch them out every now and then. This will ensure that your living room always exudes an exciting and vibrant vibe.

On the other hand, you can simply change the way your living room furniture is arranged. You might be pleasantly surprised at how a basic change in arrangement can give it a whole new look. Ideally, you should try to change the room's traffic flow, too, so that it gets an entirely different feel from its old one.

If your living room is currently arranged around a certain focal point, you can also change the way that particular feature looks. If your TV set is currently the center of attention, try buying a new TV or adding a few speakers here and there. If it is your fireplace, try replacing the mantle or retiling the entire fireplace.

Now, if you want to focus on keeping your living room's design minimal, try having a single decorative piece of furniture in the room. This would be an especially good idea if you have a big family and value your space. Another thing you can do is look for multi-tasking furniture, which you can open and fold as needed.

Conversely, if you are sick of the monochromatic look of your living room, try incorporating some new colors into it. Add a colorful rug or bean bag to the room to give it some new energy, for example, or get a home theater system built in to give it more life. Whatever you choose to add, though, keep in mind that it has to appeal to the entire family..

Stacy L. is a writer that focuses on green living and home decor. She also enjoys covering topics on an expat community blog that provides international calling cards and an international prepaid calling cards for international travelers. Take an additional 10% off with coupon code "acc10".