6 Ways to Bring Your Dull Kitchen Space Back to Life

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A dull and bland kitchen can suck the life out of cooking and hosting gatherings. The grease-stained cabinets, rusty and old-fashioned knobs, chipping wall paint, and ancient appliances give off a dreary vibe. And that can make even the most enthusiastic home cook feel uninspired.

If your kitchen needs a quick redo, there are many ways to bring it back to life without gutting the whole space and starting from scratch.

Let’s discuss some easy and budget-friendly ways to add life to your boring kitchen space:

  • Repaint or Reinstall Kitchen Cabinets

Your kitchen cabinets draw attention without much effort. They’re one of the first things people (especially guests) notice when they enter your kitchen. If your cabinets look shabby, you can either repaint them or reinstall them.

If you choose to repaint your cabinets, ensure to use paint resistant to grease and water. You don’t want your paint job to start chipping once you use your kitchen again.

As for reinstalling, look for a kitchen remodeling company in your area that can help you out. It is a bigger project than repainting and will require the help of professionals. You can run a quick Google search by typing the required services to locate experts in your city. For instance, typing “kitchen remodeling Walnut Creek CA” will enable you to approach professionals in Walnut Creek, CA.

  • Polish Your Countertops

Kitchen countertops come in many different materials - each material sees the end of its lifespan differently. For instance, if you’ve been using a butcher’s knife on your wooden countertop for the past few years, it may have deeply etched scars.

You can sand these scars and apply a fresh layer of wood finish or paint to make your countertop look new again. Similarly, if your marble countertop has lost its sheen, you can use a polishing agent to make it look shiny and new.

It’s essential to analyze your countertop material before deciding on a reviving method. You don’t want to damage your countertop beyond repair.

  • Paint the Walls

Trends in wall colors come and go, but a fresh coat of paint can do wonders for your kitchen space. It can brighten up the whole room and make it feel new again. If you’re unsure what color to paint your kitchen, try a light and airy color like blue or green.

If you prefer making a bolder statement, you can always go for a dark color like black or deep purple. Just ensure the color you choose complements the rest of your kitchen. You don’t want it to clash with your cabinets or countertops. You can also create a captivating focal point by painting one wall a different color from the rest.

  • Update Your Backsplash

Oil stains and gravy splatters can make your backsplash look gross and dirty. It can be tricky to tackle if you leave it to build up. The best way to avoid this is to clean your backsplash regularly. You can use a degreaser or an all-purpose cleaner to eliminate the grease and grime.

If you feel nothing you do will reclaim the lost glory of your backsplash, you can always replace it. You can choose from backsplash materials like glass, tile, or stainless steel. You can also sprinkle some creativity and use wallpaper or contact paper. And to avoid making a mess of your kitchen, you can always hire a professional to do it for you.

  • Improve the Lighting

Have your children complained about the weird burnt taste in the food lately? If so, you might be burning your food while sautéing it without even knowing. The reason for this could be bad lighting in your kitchen.

If you can’t see what you’re cooking, it’s easy to make mistakes. Not to mention, bad lighting can make your kitchen look dull and dreary. The solution is simple: improve the lighting in your kitchen. You can achieve this by installing new light fixtures or adding more windows.

You can also use mirrors to reflect light and make your kitchen look brighter. Keep it classy and well under budget by visiting your local flea market for some great finds.

  • Bring in the Greens

The way plants boost indoor spaces is incomparable. They improve the air quality, make the space look more inviting, and can even help you focus while cooking. If you have a windowsill, start by placing some potted plants there.

You can also hang plants from the ceiling or place them on shelves. If you’re unsure which plants to get, succulents are always a good choice. They’re low-maintenance and can thrive in most indoor spaces. You can also plant a small herb garden to add freshness to your cooking.

Parsley, basil, oregano, and mint are some of the easiest herbs to grow indoors. Not only will they make your food taste better, but they’ll also make your kitchen smell amazing.

Conclusion

So, instead of giving up and ordering take-out every night, try reviving your kitchen space with one (or all) of these tips. Trust us, your wallet and your taste buds will thank you. And who knows, maybe you’ll even start to enjoy cooking again. 

partnered post • image by Wallace Chuck from Pexels 


True Blue Glass: How Much Do New Windows Cost?

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Windows can make a home more comfortable, light and airy while offering functional purposes such as keeping out the heat and cold. They can only do this when they are in optimal working order. If your windows need replacing, you may be wondering how much they cost. In this post, we'll explain the various factors that can affect the price.

The importance of quality windows

When your windows are not up to par, they cannot effectively stop heat from transferring through the pane, so in summer, the heat will come in, and in the winter, the heat will escape. This will result in higher electricity bills as your heating and cooling system has to work harder to maintain a desired temperature inside the home. Older styles of single-paned glass aren't up to today's glass standards, and you'll likely be paying more than you could if you were to install better quality glass. Another reason why the quality of your windows is so important is that they keep your home safe from intruders. While better quality glass won't stop potential thieves altogether, it can deter them. If your glass or windows are broken or provide an easy point of access into your home, this makes your home more vulnerable to thieves as they are more likely to target your home than others with more secure and stronger fitting glass and windows.

Different types of windows

Windows don’t just come in a one size fits all type. There are many different types of windows. Here are some of the more common ones:

  • Fixed Pane Windows: Fixed pane windows look like traditional windows, featuring glass and a window frame, however, they do not open.
  • Sliding Windows: This is the most common type of window found in Australian homes. They are two panes positioned in horizontal frames next to each other. Usually, one window can slide to the other side to enable the window to open.
  • Single-Hung Windows: Single-hung windows are another common type of window and they have one pane positioned on top of the other. The lower pane can be lifted to let in air.
  • Double-Hung Windows: Double-hung windows are essentially the same as single-hung windows, the only difference is that you can move both windows.
  • Louvre Windows: Louvres consist of several sections of glass panels that can be adjusted individually to let in light and air.
  • Casement Windows: Casement windows open wide which is great if you want to let a lot of light and airflow into the space.

How much can quality windows save you?

By replacing your single-paned windows with high-quality glass, you can save yourself up to $600 a year on your electricity bills. Whilst they do cost more to install, you'll quickly recoup your investment with the long-term savings you will make over the years. This is better for the environment too. If your window frames are in otherwise good condition, you can replace the glass only which can save you some money when upgrading.

Factors that can affect the price of new windows

Many things can affect the price of your new windows, here are some of them:

  • How big the windows are
  • Whether you need a frame and glass replacement or pane alone
  • The type of glazing you choose
  • The style of windows
  • The type of framing material you choose (if required)
  • How many windows you are replacing

How much do new windows cost?

Here is a breakdown of the average costs of having new windows installed:

Every glazier and glass company have different rates however, on average, you can expect to pay anything from $70 to $100 per hour for labour costs. Materials and supplies cost extra and will be determined based on the service you are having carried out. The better quality glass, fixings and frames you choose, the most costly it will be. The glazier may offer a slight discount if you are having a bulk number of windows installed at the one time.

Windows at the cheaper end

An entry point double glazed window starts at around $150 plus installation costs. This is typically for a small fixed window with basic framing.

Windows at the higher end

If you are choosing bigger windows that feature high-quality glass and framing, you can pay up to $1,300 per square metre.

How much does glass alone cost?

If you are happy with your framing and you are only looking to upgrade your glass, this can lower the overall cost.

Here is a general guide to give you a basic idea of what you can expect to pay. Prices typically start from:

  • Float glass: $35-$40 per square metre.
  • Low iron glass: $145- $150 per square metre.
  • Double glazed glass: $200 - $220 per square metre.
  • Low emission glass: $210 - $230 per square metre.
  • Laminated glass: $300 - $330 per square metre.

What to look out for when hiring someone to install your new windows 

When choosing your Brisbane Window Installer, it’s important that they do a good job to ensure maximum efficiency and bang for your buck.

It is always wise to check the credentials of any tradesperson you hire. They should be a qualified, licenced, and insured glazier. This can give you peace of mind that you will end up with a quality finish. All glaziers need to install glass to comply with the relevant Australian Safety Standards (AS1288 and AS2208), for both windows and doors.

Before choosing a glazier, it is a good idea to ring around to ensure you are getting the best price.

Installing new windows is beneficial in more ways than one

New windows can be beneficial in more ways than one! They can help to keep your home more comfortable, reduce your energy bills and make your home more secure from potential theft. You don't only have to wait for your windows to be damaged before replacing them. The initial cost can save you money long-term, making them a worthwhile investment.

If you have been wanting to get new windows for your home, contact the glass professionals here at True Blue Glass. We service all of South East Queensland and are happy to provide friendly advice on your glass replacement options.

partnered post • cc-licensed image by Curtains by Joanne


7 Reasons to Hire Professional Pest Control Services

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Pests can be a real problem if they get out of hand. They can cause damage to your property and create discomfort for the inmates by spreading diseases and contaminating food supplies. 

Some pests are also dangerous to humans. For example, bed bugs can transmit diseases through their bites, and rodents carry some parasites that can be deadly for people with compromised immune systems. That's why it's so important to eliminate pests from your house before they become an infestation.

Here are seven reasons why you should hire a professional pest control company:

  • They’ll Be Better at Identifying Pest Problems

Unless you're an expert, it can be difficult to identify what kind of pest is causing the problem and how best to get rid of it. Some companies specialize in certain types of pests, such as mice or cockroaches. While others can also solve termite and bug problems at home. Either way, they'll be able to create an effective Terminix pest control plan for dealing with pests like termites or any other that may be plaguing your property.

  • They Have Experience Handling Different Types of Pests

Residential pest control companies have extensive experience with all types of pests and know how to deal with them effectively. They’ll be able to identify the type of pest you’re dealing with and use the right treatment method for that particular pest. While some homeowners may be able to locate the type of pest they’re dealing with, most people don’t have the time or resources necessary to properly treat their homes for pests.

  • They Know How to Handle the Treatment Process Properly

Pest control technicians have received extensive training and experience in the field. Their training includes technical skills and knowledge, as well as safety precautions that must be taken when treating facilities, equipment, and materials. They know how to properly handle the treatment process and can spot potential hazards before they become problems. This means you will not be put at risk when living around insecticides or other chemicals used during treatment in your house.

  • They Have Equipment and Supplies for Tough Jobs

Pest control companies typically have access to a wide range of products and equipment they can use on any size job. This includes everything from specialized equipment used to treat large areas quickly, to smaller hand tools for targeted treatments where needed. In addition, most companies offer maintenance plans that include regular visits from their experts so they can catch any issues early before they become serious problems for your household.

  • Save Money

People generally think that hiring professionals is costly. However, if you follow a DIY method to fight the pest problem, eventually, you end up spending a significant amount on the same. Besides, you may end up creating more issues at home. So, it is better to hire professional services. A professional will know how to get rid of pests in your home and keep them away in the future. It will help you save money in the long run. In addition, if you have a large property, you may need them to do the job regularly.

  • Save Time

Pest control can be a hassle, but these companies have the resources and expertise to quickly eliminate pests and prevent them from returning. Pest control technicians are trained to find and exterminate pests in houses of all sizes. They know how to treat an entire building or just a few rooms, depending on your needs. And they know how to kill common pests as well as those that are specific to your property and location. Hence, hiring them can help you save time and get a lasting solution. 

  • Reduces Health Risks

Pests can carry diseases that are harmful to humans. In fact, some pests are so dangerous that they are classified as bio-hazards by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). These biohazards include rats, mice, cockroaches, and bed bugs. If left untreated, these pests can cause serious illnesses such as typhoid fever or dysentery among others. By hiring a professional pest control company to deal with infestations, you can reduce the risk of illness among your family members.

Final Words

Pest control is a necessary thing for every household of all sizes. As you've seen there are many benefits of getting rid of pests by a pest control company. Make sure to educate yourself on what kind of pest is infesting your house so you can give proper details to the pest control company. Pests can be harmful to your health so when it comes to pest control, you should never ignore it.

partnered post • cc-licensed image by Insight Pest


How To Look For A Rug Cleaning Service In Your City

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Carpets are a breeding ground for allergens, dust particles, and bacteria. According to research, one ounce of carpet dust contains over 2,000 dust mites. All that ton of filth is living right under your foot.

There is a wide range of health problems that these contaminants in your carpeting can cause, especially among the elderly and children. Even though vacuuming helps remove dust, it doesn't completely remove germs. Over time, these particles accumulate, increasing the risk of illness. 

However, with professional carpet cleaning, you can eliminate all the allergens, reducing the likelihood of health issues. If you haven't gotten your rugs cleaned in a while, now is the right time. Follow the instructions below to find a good carpet cleaner.

Search online

Searching online is simple. All you have to do is type the correct keywords into your search bar, and you can access tons of cleaning services. It doesn't matter where you live, simply type “best cleaning services” + the name of your area and find all the best options in your locality. For example, if you live in Austin, Texas, search using the keywords: rug cleaning in Austin, TX, and browse the SERPs. Repeat the same for any city you live in.

The tricky thing here is how to select the best one. That’s where website reviews come into play. You can also find customer reviews on social media platforms. Compare the company’s reliability, safety, durability, and other aspects with your shortlisted competitors. You may also want to compare the prices. Did you know you can hire deep cleaning services in Texas for as low as $9 per 2 hours? 

Company’s work experience matters

When comparing companies, find out how experienced they are. You want a company that can work safely on your carpet type. 

Professionals typically use a broom or vacuum cleaner to brush over your carpet during a deep cleaning process. If you have a costly carpet, you can also have it hand-washed at affordable rates.

Remember, every carpet is different, and some stains are more difficult to remove than others. An inexperienced carpet cleaner can still remove debris, but may have trouble identifying and treating certain stains effectively. As a result, the carpet will not be cleaned properly. Au contraire, a company with years of experience is likely to know everything about them. As a result, they will be able to eliminate unsightly stains quickly. Moreover, they’ll do it without harming your carpet or shortening its lifespan.

Trust your friends and family’s recommendations

People you know are the best resource for finding a great carpet cleaning company. There is a good chance someone in your circle of friends, colleagues, and family has recently had their carpets cleaned.

Make a list of the companies they have worked with and ask if there have been any negative experiences. This will help you avoid hiring carpet cleaners who might ruin your carpet’s look after they clean it. If you don’t know someone who recently got their carpets cleaned, searching online for experienced rug cleaners is always a good option.

Get in touch with several companies

It may be tempting to select the first company you see advertised on TV or the first one you find online, but it is important to keep searching. Getting quotes from several providers before scheduling an appointment is always a good idea. By comparing their prices and services, you can make an informed choice. Don't always trust the company with the lowest price.

Consider how helpful they were when you called. Likewise, you can expect quality service from the cleaners if you had a great experience with customer service. It is possible to overpay for services if you do not contact multiple companies. You may end up with an inexperienced cleaner in the worst-case scenario. 

Choose a company that offers the services you need

Carpets aren't the only surface that requires professional cleaning in your home. Your upholstery is exposed to just as much dirt and debris as your rugs and carpets.

When booking an appointment, ensure the company offers the services you require. Find a company that offers indoor allergy treatments if you're concerned about allergens in your home. In addition, ensure the company can clean your delicate oriental rugs.

Learn about the products they use

You might be surprised to learn that chemicals used to clean rugs can harm your health and the environment. If you have children, pets, or anyone in the home who suffers from respiratory problems, you'll want to avoid these chemicals. So look for companies that provide hypoallergenic and natural cleaners. Taking this precaution ensures children and pets are not exposed to harmful substances on the floor.

If possible, choose a dry cleaner that does not use soap. In addition to keeping dirt and debris from settling into the fibers, this helps prevent mold from forming in the padding beneath the carpet. Additionally, it will be easier for you to clean your carpets all year. As a result, the leftover soapy residue won't stick to dust, pet hair, or dander.

Customer reviews matter

You'll likely receive the same level of quality and care if you go off of a recommendation from a friend. However, if you rely on internet recommendations, research each company’s reputation.

See what past customers have said about them in the online reviews. If most reviews are positive, so are likely to have a similar experience. However, proceed with caution in case of negative reviews. You can also check with the Better Business Bureau to see if anyone has complained about the company. Don't settle for a low rating.

Ensure there are guarantees

No one likes to pay again to clean their carpets after the first cleaning didn’t do the job. Look for companies that offer guarantees on their work to ensure your safety. If you’re unsatisfied with the cleaning the first time, they’ll redo it. In addition, you won’t need to pay twice for the same service.

Conclusion

Not cleaning your carpets can invite a lot of health troubles, including allergies and breathing problems. If you are wondering where to start looking for a good carpet cleaner? It’s not that difficult. A good rug cleaning company is just a few steps away if you follow the steps above.

partnered post • image by Cottonbro on Pexels


5 Home Renovation Projects You Should Never DIY

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As any homeowner knows, there are a never-ending number of things that need to be done around the house. From painting the kitchen to fixing a leaky faucet, it can sometimes feel like there’s always something that needs to be fixed. While it can be tempting to try to tackle these projects yourself to save money, some home renovation projects are best left to the professionals. Here are five home renovation projects you should never DIY: 

Plumbing

Major plumbing is onehome renovation project you should never do on your own. Plumbing is a complex system of pipes and fittings that require special tools and training to install correctly, and even a tiny mistake can cause significant problems, such as leaks, flooding, and water damage. Water leaks can cause structural damage, mold growth, and electrical problems. 

In addition, plumbing is often located in difficult-to-reach places, such as behind walls or under floors. As a result, attempting a DIY plumbing project can be dangerous and expensive. If you're considering a significant home renovation, it's always best to leave the plumbing to the professionals. 

Electrical Work

Electrical projects can be complex, and even a tiny mistake can be dangerous. Without the proper knowledge and tools, it can be easy to damage wiring or create an electrical hazard accidentally. Even if a project appears simple, it's important to remember that electricity is highly unpredictable. For these reasons, it's best to leave electrical projects to the professionals. 

Not only will they have the experience and expertise to complete the job safely, but they will also have the proper insurance in case something goes wrong. Additionally, electrical work requires a permit in most jurisdictions, so attempting to do the work yourself will likely result in a fine. It’s simply not worth the risk to try to save a few dollars by doing electrical work yourself. 

Roofing

Roofing involves working on a steep and slippery surface, which can be dangerous for even experienced contractors. In addition, roofing requires special training, tools, and equipment that most homeowners don’t have access to. In addition, roofing projects often require permits and inspections from local authorities. As a result, attempting to roof your own home is likely to end in disaster. 

Finally, many homeowners insurance policies will not cover damage caused by improper roofing techniques, meaning that you could be left financially responsible for any accidents or repairs. Not only will you put yourself at risk of injury, but you’ll also spend more money to repair the damage than if you had hired a roofing contractor in the first place. 

Structural work

Structural work is any type of construction or renovation that alters the load-bearing capacity of a home. This includes projects like adding or removing walls, screened porches, strengthening beams or columns, and raising or lowering ceilings. Although you can safely complete some light structural work on your own, significant changes should always be left to a professional, as even a tiny mistake can have serious consequences. 

For example, if a support beam is not adequately secured, it could lead to a partial or complete ceiling collapse. In addition, structural work often requires heavy machinery and tools, which can be dangerous for someone without experience. In addition, most building codes require that structural work be performed by a licensed contractor. 

HVAC Installation and Repair

Although it may seem simple, HVAC systems are complex and require skilled technicians to install and maintain them properly. Attempting to install or repair an HVAC system yourself can result in severe injuries and damage to your home. 

Furthermore, HVAC systems are subject to strict safety and building codes, which must be followed for the system to operate correctly. Finally, because HVAC systems are expensive, and DIY work may void your warranty, it is crucial to ensure that they are installed and repaired correctly to avoid costly repairs or replacements down the road. 

While some home renovation projects are simple enough to do on your own, others are best left to the professionals. By understanding which projects you should never DIY, you can save time, money, and aggravation. If you’re unsure where to start with your next home renovation project, work with a professional who can help you plan and execute it successfully.

partnered post • image by Roselyn Tirado at Unsplash


Is It Time To Call A Bed Bug Exterminator? Let's Find Out!

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It is almost always the best rule of thumb to call an exterminator when dealing with bed bugs. Even if you only notice a few in your home, chances are that there's more where they came from! DIY pest control is rarely effective, and never is it really the best course of action to take. Bed bugs are aggressive and quickly multiply, which is why time is of the essence and acting quickly is a requirement.

Of course, you may still not feel entirely convinced that you need professional exterminators to remove the problem. Below, we will discuss the most common signs and symptoms that you should pick up the phone and make that appointment as soon as possible!

  • You Start To Notice Bed Bug Bites

Bed bugs do bite, and oftentimes, most people have some type of reaction or sensitivity to these bites. From simple hives to more severe itchy rashes, it is important to take the problem seriously from the start. Though physical symptoms will vary from one individual to the next, it is always important to consider the psychological effects of dealing with a bed bug infestation. Having insects in your home can make it feel unclean or unsafe, regardless of how much you clean, organize, and declutter your space. Working with exterminator services will ensure that the bed bugs are entirely eliminated, and you can feel safe in your bedroom again!

  • You Notice A Concentration Of Bed Bugs

Though bed bugs, by nature, are quite small, it doesn't mean they're completely invisible. In fact, it is possible to see them concentrated in a certain area of your mattress. Though unlike other insects, bed bugs don't live in colonies or form nests, they do visibly multiply. If you see that the concentration of bugs is progressively worsening, it is high time to call in pest control services. Oftentimes, waiting to get help will mean that the bugs have even more time to cause damage or wreak havoc on your household.

  • The Bed Bugs Are On The Move

As a rule of thumb, bed bugs by nature tend to keep out of sight and live on your mattress or hidden in your furniture. However, this by no means is a rule. In fact, bed bugs can actually infest other parts of your home, such as your windowsill, outlets, and even behind pictures on the wall. If you notice that the infestation seems to move to other areas of your home, it is definitely a sign that everything is spiralling out of control. It is not normal for bed bugs to migrate regularly, but when they start spreading, it does show that the problem is worse than what you were initially led to believe.

  • The Bed Bugs Aren’t Going Away

You may have thought you had the infestation under control, but if you start to notice that the problem still persists, it shows that the issue is far from over. Bed bugs can and will keep coming back as long as they aren't adequately exterminated the first time around. No homeowner deserves to have to deal with the persistence of insects, which is why it's always advisable to hire professionals from the get-go!

What Can Bed Bug Pest Control Services Do For You?

The first step after calling bed bug exterminator service is that a knowledgeable technician will perform a thorough inspection of your property. During this time, they will assess the situation and consider the depth of the infestation that you have. Pest control professionals are able to identify precisely where the problem originates and how the bed bugs are able to come into your home. This is useful in helping control the situation from its root cause. Additionally, you will also discover just where the bed bugs are staying in your home, and oftentimes, it's a wake-up call that the problem is worse than you initially believed.

Depending on the situation and the extent of the infestation, a game plan is developed by professionals. Every infestation is different, which is why companies never use a one-size-fits-all approach. Once the solution is discussed with the homeowner, the technician will work to control the situation and remove the insects effectively. Usually, insecticides, as well as a number of other tools, are used. However, it's worth noting that all equipment is used responsibly to ensure the health and safety of everyone in your household.

If your infestation is severe enough, you may need to consider getting follow-up treatments. This is actually more common than you think and is by no means a reflection on you as a homeowner. Having a professional regularly maintain your property will offer you peace of mind while ensuring that the infestation never again occurs. All situations are different, but sometimes, extra visits are necessary to ensure complete elimination.

partnered post • cc-licensed image by the Armed Forces Pest Management Bureau


Everything You Need To Know About Porcelain Tiles Before Installing 

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When you intend to tile your home and outdoor areas, you will have to choose from a selection. In this process, you will find several types of materials, and one significant type would be porcelain. 

Porcelain is durable and strong and is usually used for floor spaces and outdoor environments like patios, kitchens, bathrooms, and other home areas. 

However, before choosing porcelain, you need to understand what it is, where to use it, and how to maintain it. So read on to find all you need to know about porcelain before installing it. 

Let’s begin.

What is Porcelain?

Primarily, porcelain is a type of ceramic. However, the materials it is made from and the heat at which it is fired usually make it more hard-wearing and durable than traditional ceramic.

As a result, outdoor porcelain tiles are a more popular option when creating a patio area in your garden or outdoor areas. They are resistant to water, frost resistant, and very durable. When choosing one for your garden spaces, choose a design with an anti-slip finish. 

You can also choose from the other designs like the stone effect and the stylish wood. A popular trend is to create an indoor to an outdoor space where the floor continues outdoors to get a seamless transition.

Where Porcelain Can Be Used

Porcelain is available in several styles, sizes, colors, and shapes. So you can use them wherever you like in your home and garden. 

However, because of porcelain qualities which include water resistance, frost resistance, and high durability, they can be perfect for outdoor spaces, bathrooms, and gardens. Also, hallways are another good palace where you can use them since they tend to receive frequent foot traffic. 

How To Care For Porcelain

If your porcelain is polished, you shouldn't use bleach, steam cleaners, or other strong alkaline or acidic cleaning solutions since they can cause damage to the seal. Instead, when you want to clean your porcelain tile, either polished or unpolished, warm water and mild detergent can do the job. 

If you intend to use chemicals to remove stubborn stains, you should only use those with low chemical concentrations.

Styles and Designs Of Porcelain 

With the advancement in manufacturing, you can get porcelain in several designs, styles, shapes, sizes, and colors. They can include beautiful mosaics, hexagons, geometric patterns or lifelike stone effects, and realistic wood effects. 

Porcelain can replace wallpaper, paint, hardwood flooring, and even laminate. There are also stylish alternatives for patio slabs and decking in your garden. 

Conclusion

Before purchasing porcelain tiles, you should know everything there is to know about them. Ensure you have a good idea of the style and color of the porcelain you intend to purchase before visiting a showroom. Search for decorating inspirations to see which design or color you gravitate towards. 

Use the tips mentioned above to ensure your choice is right before heading to your local showroom. Also, you can speak with a flooring consultant to confirm your choice suits your needs.

partnered post • cc-licensed image by Dustin Oliver


Nine Super Simple Ways to Make Your House Smell Fresh

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People are usually surrounded by a mix of smells – some pleasant, others not so much. Most homeowners struggle with finding the right balance so their homes can always smell fresh. Here are a few simple tips to help you achieve this.

Make Your Own Potpourri

Potpourri is an old-fashioned, traditional way of using herbs, spices, and flowers to freshen up a room. You can make potpourri at home with just a few ingredients. You can even use the same herbs and spices that you use in cooking to create a sweet smell.

The best part about making your potpourri is that it is almost effortless! You only need two ingredients: dried herbs and flowers. If you don't have any dried herbs or flowers on hand, don't worry, you can subscribe to get your flowers regularly, so you always have a fresh batch to use. You can also invest in sweet-smelling house plants to make your house smell fresh.

Simmer Cinnamon Sticks and Apple Slices

Cinnamon sticks help to keep the air in your house clean and fresh, while apples can be used as a natural deodorizer. You can add them to a pot of water and let it simmer for a few hours or overnight. The cinnamon will stick to the apples as they cook, making them smell wonderful!

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Use Odor-Eliminating Candles

Whether trying to get rid of pet urine odors or keep your home smelling fresh, keeping an odor-eliminating candle on hand is a great place to start. Odor-eliminating candles work by emitting a scent that traps air molecules and keeps them away from furnishings. That means no more lingering odors that make you feel uncomfortable.

Give Your Trash Can a Break

It's easy to take your trash can for granted. It's just there, doing its job, and you don't think about it much. But when you do think about it, you realize that there are some things you can do to make your trash can cleaner. Here are some tips on how to keep it smelling fresh:

  1. Change Your Trash Can Bags Regularly: The average person throws out around two bags of trash per day, so each week, you throw away about 14 bags! That's a lot of waste going into trash cans. If you don't change the bag in the can, leftover trash will begin accumulating and emitting a foul stink.
  2. Clean Out Your Trash Can Often: If you notice any odors coming from your trash can, clean it immediately before those smells build up. The longer you let the stench stay, the worse it'll get.

Fill a Small Dish with Vanilla

You can use a little vanilla bean in a small dish to make your house smell fresh or add a few drops of vanilla extract to a candle or air freshener. This is one fragrance that not only smells great but it makes your home more welcoming.

Set Out Baking Soda

Baking soda is an inexpensive yet easy way to make your home smell fresh, but you need to set it out in discreet places for it to be effective. You can sprinkle baking soda around the bottom of your trash cans or put it in a spray bottle and spritz it all over the floor. The idea is that the baking soda absorbs odors and leaves behind a pleasant scent.

Piled-Up Laundry

Having a clean home is a great way to ensure your kids don't get sick and that you and your partner aren't fighting over who will do the laundry when you're a busy family. But can you imagine what your home would smell like if all of your laundry was left piled up?

Laundry piles are bad for the environment and even worse for your health. They emit toxic chemicals into the air, which can cause respiratory issues for those who live close to them. 

If you want to keep your home odor-free, it's important to inventory all the clothes that need to be washed before putting them away. Also, consider using environmentally-friendly detergents that won't cause damage to your clothes.

Put Out Fresh Linens

When you have freshly-laundered linens in your home, it has a subtle scent that makes it feel like a warm, welcoming place. It's not just about the smell of clean clothes – it's also what other people think when they come over.

If you're looking to add a little extra pep to your home and keep it feeling fresh and clean, consider putting some new linen on your bed. You'll be amazed by how much better it feels when you wake up!

Get Some Fresh Air

If you want to make your house smell good, open the windows and let some fresh air in. This is especially important in the summertime when indoor air is stagnant. There are many ways to freshen up an indoor environment, but none are more effective than opening a window. 

You can also place a fan somewhere close to the seating area in a room so air can circulate throughout the room.

Conclusion

There are many methods to get your house smelling fresh. You don't always need a special diffuser or expensive oils. All you need are smart ideas like the ones we've listed, and you're good to go. Try a few of these ideas and see what works best for you. They will help eliminate unpleasant odors and make your home smell like heaven.

partnered post • photos from Unsplash


Decorating 101: Upgrade Your Home Without Blowing Your Budget

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Every house owner aims to keep their home up to date with all the new housing trends. After all, a home is the largest investment one can make. But the dilemma is how to upgrade your home without blowing your budget? Here’s how. 

Paint Your Interiors

If the interior of your space is still covered with an old, dull coat of paint, it’s time to refresh your walls. Painting all the walls in your home with the same colors or maybe a combination of two could drastically affect its overall aesthetic appeal. Plus, the idea is budget-friendly and doesn’t require much time.

Power Clean Your Doors and Windows 

One of the reasons why your home looks old and dull is because you don’t clean your home surfaces often. Doors, windows, and other surfaces tend to collect dirt and dust more often and quickly, which takes away all their shine and degrades their value. Hence, it’s imperative that all the surfaces of your home go through regular dusting and cleaning. Don’t let your lazy self come in the way and tell you to postpone the cleaning task to the next week.

Look for all the Fixtures

Another brilliant way to upgrade your home is to look for all the possible fixtures and get them repaired or replaced, if needed, at the earliest. Be it replacing your old, noisy air conditioner with a smart window air conditioner, repairing door locks, or getting a new faucet, make sure you take the initiative or ask any other family member to get done with all the fixtures.

Paint Kitchen Cabinets

Your kitchen feels bland and wearisome because all those dark-textured cabinets have sucked all the light out of the room. Now, this does not mean that you need to replace your cabinets with new ones. As long as all the frames and doors are structurally sound, you can just clean them up and refresh them with a new coat of paint that compliments the overall theme of your kitchen. This will give an overall new look to your kitchen. 

Update Cabinet Handles 

While reviving the kitchen cabinets with a new color is an awesome idea, how about if you update the handles too? Wouldn’t it add that finishing touch to your kitchen? Of course, it will. If you think the handles have become hard for frequent use or they’ve lost their shine, replacing them with new and trendy handles would be a smart and affordable option. Plus, if you get similar services from a single company, you might also get a good discount. 

Revive the Outdoor Space

Another interesting idea to upgrade the look of your house is to work on the outdoor setting. Reviving your outdoor living area doesn’t require you to have big or expensive additions, a few small and thoughtful changes can also work wonders to change the aesthetic appeal of your entire house. The idea is to change the old setting with some refreshing and trending ideas to make it look upgraded. 

So, these were a few of the home improvement tips that are quick to follow and budget-friendly. 

partnered post • photo: a 100 year old kitchen gets an affordable facelift with new fixtures & lighting


Window treatment for home; can you mix and match? 

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Real comfort, visual or physical, is vital to every room. - Anonymous. 

When you begin styling the interiors of your house, it generally means matching the elements to create a good look. It is common for novice designers to consider matching curtains, rolls, shades, and other window treatments in the house. However, when you discuss with experienced designers, you will know that interior design's real essence is mixing and matching the window treatments. Read on to explore the different types and styles of window treatments for your home. 

Is it necessary for all the window shades and blinds to match? 

The first rule of using shades and blinds is there is no rule. Every room in a house is different, and so is the aesthetic appeal of each room. Therefore, you only keep matching blinds when they are in the same room. Otherwise, the decor and vibe of the room should help you decide on the color. If your living room has solid wall colors, soft roman shades will contrast them well.

Similarly, the blinds in your kitchen should match the color and decor elements there. In simple terms, the easiest way to decide on the colors and shades is to understand the room's requirements. If you want your room to adopt a darker look, you can choose dark-colored curtains and blinds. On the other hand, you can pick light shades for your drawing room and kitchen to keep them airy and bright. 

Mix and match curtains and Shades 

The best combination of window treatments is layering the rooms with shades and curtains. Now that you have chosen the blinds and shades for your home, the next step is to add drapes. Experts recommend that the shades you choose match the house's permanent elements, such as flooring, furniture, etc. It will help create a long-lasting look and allow you to experiment with other decorative items once the base window treatment is final. Then you can add drapes to them to make them look unique. 

Some people choose dark color drapes over their light shades to create double insulation and light blockage, while others keep the curtains stationary and use the shadows to bring in and stop the light from entering the room. When you choose the colors of the drapes, ensure that there is no major difference in the color palette. Of course, the color should match the room's color scheme, but a major difference in the fabric and color palette for curtains will create a messy or uneven look. So, you can keep subtle differences but not more. 

Keep the curb appeal in check.

As mentioned before, there are no rules to using window treatments. But a common tradition for every look is to maintain symmetry. Some designers use the same treatment all over the house, while others use the same color palette. No matter your decision, you should keep curb appeal in mind. The whole point of mix and match is to create a unique appearance and maintain the home's curb appeal. 

Final Words 

Whether you are starting from scratch or are a pro in decorating your home, you should understand that mix and match are trending for everything. You can use your creativity to mix different window treatments, decor elements, home styles, etc., to create a unique-looking home for yourself. 

partnered post • cc-licensed image by Katy Warner


A Guide to Upgrading & Giving Your House A Facelift 

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Curb appeal is the face your home presents to outsiders. Most homeowners make the mistake of designing their home’s interior, only to forget about the exterior. Sprucing up your curb appeal increases your home’s perceived value and gives visitors an excellent first impression of your home. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to make drastic changes to upgrade your outdoor space. Even the most minor changes can significantly impact your curb appeal. This article will give you a comprehensive guide to boosting your outdoor space and giving your home a facelift.

Upgrade your front door

Your front door is one of the first things guests will notice about your home. You could spice things up by getting a new front door or repainting the one you already have. If you decide to replace your door, consider factors such as budget, style, and safety. You wouldn’t want to get a door that doesn’t provide your home with the much-needed security.

Spruce up your driveway

A clean and neat driveway makes your home look more visually appealing and gives it that much-needed facelift. You could convert that space into a driveway if you have enough room in front of your house for your vehicles. However, it would be wise to notify the local council before undertaking this project.

Repaint your home

The most obvious way to refresh your home is to repaint the entire exterior. It would be best to leave this job to exterior and interior painting professionals in your area instead of trying to do it yourself and ending up with a result that is not up to par. Painting can also help unify the various building materials and cover up years of wear and tear.

Repurpose your garage

Look no further than your garage if you need extra living space and can’t afford an extension project. Repurposing your garage is an easy project that increases the overall value of your home if you end up selling it in the future. You can also turn your garage into anything you want, be it a home office, home cinema, gym, or an extra bedroom to host guests when they sleep over. Ensure you don’t stray too far from the existing theme of your home and hire an architect to help you get the correct proportions of features such as windows.

Change your windows

Your windows have the potential to change the personality of your home. If you don’t want to go through the process of obtaining planning permission, you could alter the shape and size of the window openings before fitting your replacement windows. However, it would be wise to be cautious when replacing windows in a period property as you could easily alter its authentic style. We also suggest you work with a FENSA-registered installer and comply with all building regulations as you undertake this project.

Wrapping up

You don’t have to wait till you are ready to sell your home to upgrade the exterior. A little TLC can go a long way in improving its appearance. After all, who wouldn’t like to return to a beautiful home after a long day at work?

partnered post • cc-licensed image by David Sawyer


4 Landlord-Approved Decorating Hacks That Will Make Your Rental Feel Like Home

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If you’re like most people in New York, you probably don’t want to spend a lot of money on making your rental feel like home. After all, it’s not your permanent home, so why bother?

Well, there are a few reasons you should consider making some changes to your rental. For one, it can make your living space more comfortable and inviting. Additionally, it can help you personalize your space and make it feel more like your own. And finally, it can even help you get your security deposit back at the end of your lease. 

With that said, here are some landlord-approved decorating hacks that will make your rental feel like home:

  1. Get creative with wall art

One easy way to add personality to your rental is to get creative with wall art. If you're not allowed to paint or put up wallpaper, try hanging large art prints or tapestries using removable adhesive hooks. You can also create an accent wall by hanging a gallery of smaller frames or using washi tape to make a geometric design.

Using smart storage solutions is important if you're living in a small rental. This could include using under-bed storage containers to hang a spice rack in your kitchen. You can keep your space organized and clutter-free by getting creative with storing your things.

  1. Install Soundproof windows 

If you're lucky enough to live in New York City, you know that space comes at a premium. Most apartments are small, and many lack any soundproofing whatsoever. This can be a major drag when trying to get some peace or enjoy your favorite tunes without disturbing the neighbors.

Luckily, by installing soundproof windows for your apartment, you’ll be able to keep the peace with your neighbors. Simply search soundproof windows nyc to find reliable service providers who can cater to your needs.  These windows will help reduce noise levels by blocking sound waves.

There are a few different types of soundproof windows on the market, so it's important to research to find the right one for your needs. But in general, soundproof windows are a great way to reduce noise levels in your home and create a more peaceful living environment.

  1. Swap out hardware and fixtures

Another simple way to customize your rental is to swap out the standard hardware and fixtures for those you love. This could include anything from replacing the cabinet knobs in your kitchen to adding a new shower head in your bathroom. Just be sure to get permission from your landlord first, and be prepared to put the originals back when you move out.

  1. Add certain personal elements 

Adding plants to your home is not only a great way to boost your mood, but it can also help to purify the air. If you're worried about your green thumb, start with easy-to-care-for options like succulents or snake plants. Not only will they thrive with minimal effort, but they'll also add a pop of color and life to any room.

Another of the best ways to make a rental feel like home is to incorporate cozy textiles throughout the space. This could include throwing a fuzzy blanket over your sofa or hanging a tapestry on your wall. You can use fabric to make temporary covers for unsightly furniture or walls.

Conclusion 

Making your rental feel like home doesn't have to be expensive or time-consuming. With a little creativity and effort, you can transform your space into a place you love. 

So go ahead and make those changes you've wanted to make. Your home will thank you for it! Soundproof windows are worth the investment if you want to create a more peaceful environment in your rental home. 

partnered post • cc-licensed image by Rena Tom


6 Vital Things to Know Before Starting A Home Improvement Project

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Do you want to improve or renovate your house but don’t know how to do it? Well, you aren’t alone, as many people want to improve their homes for one or another reason. But rushing into a home improvement process without having a clue of what to expect can cause you much more harm than good. 

Because you might meet certain unforeseen circumstances in this process, which brings a lot of disappointments. Your budget can get disrupted if you don’t plan out things earlier. So, to avoid all these twists and turns, take a look at some important points you should know to make your home improvement process smoother.

  • Rent a Storage Unit

When doing a home improvement project, you know that it can be messy and stressful. There's the planning stage, the actual construction work, and then the cleanup afterward. But one way you can make the process a little less hectic is by renting a self-storage unit.

A self-storage unit can be used to store all of the materials and tools you'll need for your project and any extra furniture or belongings you need to clear out of the way. This will free up space in your home so you can focus on the task at hand and also give you a place to keep your belongings safe and sound during the construction process.

So if you're planning a home improvement project, be sure to rent a self-storage unit to make the process a little less stressful. For instance, if you reside in Olympia, you can check out Olympia storage units to keep your belongings organized during the home improvement process.

  • Set Realistic Schedule

Making a schedule is a great way to ensure that all of the necessary tasks are completed promptly and efficiently. By sitting down and mapping out your plan, you can avoid any potential roadblocks and make the most of your time and resources.

First, take a look at the scope of your project and break it down into smaller tasks. This will help you estimate the amount of time each task will take. Next, factor in time for breaks and interruptions. Don't forget to also account for unexpected delays, such as bad weather or unforeseen problems.

Once you have a realistic schedule, be sure to add some flexibility to your timeline. This will help you stay on track even if there are some setbacks along the way. You can save time and money by being realistic and flexible with your schedule.

  • Plan Your Budget

Home improvement projects can quickly get out of hand if you don't plan ahead and set a budget for yourself. That’s why it’s important to have a budget before making home improvements. According to a report, homeowners spent an average of $7,560 on home improvements. But you can spend even less by doing a few simple steps.

First, you'll need to decide what improvements you want to make. This will give you an idea of what to expect. Next, check out the value of your home. If you're making improvements that will increase the value of your home, you'll need to factor that into your budget. Finally, you'll need to set aside some money for unexpected costs. This is especially important if you're planning on doing any major renovations.

  • Choose the Right Contractor

The contractor you hired for your home improvement project can make a big difference. Because making improvements in a home is a big undertaking. So you'll have to do your research to find a contractor who is experienced, reliable, and has a good reputation.

First, you will have to research the contractor's credentials and make sure they are licensed and insured. Then look out for a contractor who is experienced in the type of work you need to be done. Don’t forget to ask around for recommendations and read online reviews before making your final decision.

Once you have narrowed down your list of potential contractors, you will want to get bids from each one. Be sure to ask for a detailed quote that includes the cost of labor and materials and the contractor's fee. Also, make sure you understand the payment schedule and the terms of the contract before you sign anything.

  • Know Your Goals

When embarking on a home improvement project, it is important to have a clear understanding of your goals. What are your goals in completing the project? Do you want to increase the value of your home, make it more energy-efficient, or simply make it more comfortable to live in?

Answering these questions will help you to set realistic expectations for the project. It will also help you determine the best way to achieve your goals. For example, if you're looking to increase the value of your home, you'll want to focus on projects that will make it more desirable to potential buyers.

  • Inspect the Work Regularly

While home improvement projects can be a great way to add value to your home, they can also be a source of frustration if not done properly. So, remember to inspect the work during the project to ensure that everything is up to your standards. This will ensure that the work is up to your standards and that the job is done correctly. There are a few things you should look for when inspecting the work:

  • Check that the workmanship is up to par.
  • Be sure that the job is done according to the plans.
  • Take pictures of the work as it progresses to inspect the work better.

If you see any problems, be sure to address them with the contractor right away. By doing regular inspections, you can be sure that your home improvement project is proceeding smoothly and efficiently.

Before embarking on a home improvement journey, it is critical to be aware of some vital things. Without them, the project could easily become a nightmare. So, make sure to go through the article to get an overview of some of the most important things to know before starting a home improvement project. With this information in hand, you can confidently start your project and enjoy the process.

partnered post • image from Pexels


9 Budget-Friendly Ways to Enhance Your Home’s Curb Appeal

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You could be a homeowner interested in selling your home at the best price. You might even be a homeowner looking to make a few notable changes to increase the long-term value of your home. Whatever you or your reason may be, incorporating a few upgrades to the exterior of your home can dramatically boost its value and overall appearance.

Sadly, having a high-end-looking home can be tricky, especially if your decorating budget is limited. Fortunately, several effective ways exist to achieve the high-end look you desire, even on a tight budget. So, explore some simple solutions, ranging from a fresh coat of paint and a green landscape to hardwood floors and window treatments. Eventually, you’ll have increased your home’s curb appeal without breaking the bank.

Let’s see some of the easiest and least expensive ways to increase your home’s curb appeal:

  1. Do a little clean-up outside

Ensuring your home is as appealing from the outside as it is on the inside is a viable way to entice visitors. Spending time putting away children’s toys, removing junk, and pressure washing porches, sidewalks, and patios will significantly improve the curb appeal. Eliminating clutter, dirt, debris, and personal items you no longer find interest in will reflect well on passersby and those who wish to buy your home.

Pro-Tip: If you reside in a city with vibrant streets filled with beautiful houses (such as Madison, WI), and your home requires a large amount of decluttering, we have news for you. By spending 0.009 seconds on Google, you can find some of the best storage options to store your belongings in safe and reliable facilities. So, look up ‘Madison WI storage units’ and enjoy peace of mind. 

Furthermore, you’ll be surprised at how much an effective outdoor clean-up can do to make your home appear more welcoming at first glance.

  1. Try new paint

Painting the entire house may not be within the budget, but even a gallon of paint can instantly transform your home. Choose a brilliant, captivating color for a splash of color or a neutral tone to make the door, trim, and shudders look fresh as new. 

Also, repaint the porch or patio railing to get a new, well-maintained appearance. Indeed, new paint can incredibly boost the aesthetic appeal of your outdoor area.

  1. Maintain your lawn

While we’re on the subject of house exteriors, it’s worth noting that lawn care is an essential aspect of enhancing curb appeal. Maintain your lawn by mowing it, pulling weeds, and raking leaves regularly. To avoid brown spots, keep it well-watered. 

Lawn care will not become a massive project if you keep up with it. Do you live somewhere dry where grass has a hard time growing? Consider artificial turf or shrub beds as lawn alternatives.

  1. Improve the windows

Not only is the main front door essential, but so are the windows. If you want to improve the look of the space on a budget, you should clean the exterior windows and doors. Aside from the windows, the particles of dust, spider webs, and dirt on window screens are a common sight that can be unappealing. So please ensure that you wipe them. Use a rag to remove the dust and a block of dish soap and warm water solution to clean the screen. 

If you’ve been using the same windows for years, replace them with new ones. Nowadays, windows come in a wide range of styles and sizes, making it easy for you to get some on a budget.

  1. Include a seating area

Rather than using the front porches for stockpiling, try turning them into a seating area. You can move some furniture from the back deck to the front or consider purchasing it from a thrift or vintage store. You can also make seats out of various pieces of wood. 

A seating area improves the outer space and makes it more functional and enticing. There’s no need to splurge on new furniture when old ones can be painted to look completely new.

  1. Give the mailbox a makeover

A mailbox significantly adds to a home’s curb appeal, and it is critical that your mailbox complements your home and reflects your character. So, when selecting a mailbox, ensure it complements the rest of your home’s decor. To improve the appearance, you can surround it with a flowering garden or paint the wooden post.

  1. Flowers, trees, or shrubs are essential

Texture and color can be incorporated into your lawn by adding new shrubs, plants, or flowers. Foliage is an excellent way to impact a small budget significantly. Consult your local garden center to learn about the plants that thrive in your neighborhood, and then work with your established landscaping to bring your space to life. Flowers are also an excellent way to express yourself while improving the house’s curb appeal.

  1. Repair your roof

The roof serves as the first line of defense against water damage. Likewise, a worn-out roof can detract buyers from your home’s overall appearance and selling value. So, examine your roof for cracked, peeling, or missing shingles, and repair any damaged patches. If you notice moss buildup on your roof or it is more than 20 years old, you should probably replace the shingles or invest in a new roof before listing your home.

  1. Improve or replace outdoor lighting

Upgrading your existing driveway or porch lights with new energy-saving dawn-to-dusk LED light fixtures will give your home a fresh look. Likewise, giving old outdoor light fixtures a facelift is a simple and cost-effective way to update them. Remove the fixtures and repaint them or retouch them with a fresh coat of spray paint to match the color. Besides, inexpensive landscape lighting can create an inviting, friendly nighttime charm, and a well-lit home provides a feeling of security.

Conclusion

Your house exterior is just as crucial as the inside appearance of your home. Ignoring the exterior will make your home appear dull, unkempt, and disorganized from the outside, regardless of how lovely the interior decoration is. So, don’t wait around for someone to tell you how untidy or lousy your home looks from a distance; use these tips to your advantage. With the ways mentioned above, you can make your home look elegant and fantastic on a budget. 

partnered post • image from Pexels


6 Tips for Remodeling Your Bathroom

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Bathroom remodeling is one of the few renovations that will significantly increase your home’s value. However, remodeling the bathroom can be daunting because you must balance functionality, practicality, and beauty. A bathroom renovation is also time-consuming and costs money. If you are considering taking on a bathroom redo project, here are six tips for an efficient, cost-effective, and incident-free remodeling process. 

1. Set a budget

Transforming your bathroom into your desired style is expensive, and the expenses can add up quickly without a budget. For this reason, it is crucial to conduct extensive research on the local custom building expenses, create a reasonable budget and stick to it. To develop a realistic budget, be sure to consider:

  • The amount you are willing to invest
  • Whether you will sell your home within a few years
  • The parts of the bathroom that are most crucial to you
  • Whether you intend to change the plumbed-in material location

Consider consulting your contractor during the budget-making process to ensure your budget caters to all expenses, including the labor costs and materials. Visit this website to get skilled and reliable contractors who will give you a transparent and well-crafted estimate that indicates the cost of each stage of your remodeling project.

2. Pick the type of bathroom

Bathrooms come in various shapes, layouts, and sizes, so before starting your remodeling project, you should evaluate your options to invest in a bathroom type tailored to your needs and pick appropriate finishes. Below are the common types of bathrooms: 

  • Standard bathrooms: These bathrooms feature a shower, bath, or both, toilet, and sink, and are designed to cater to the entire family.
  • A powder room or a half bath: This is a bathing space that only contains a sink and a toilet. 
  • Wet baths: A wet bath is a full bathroom in which the shower is not in separate cubicles or behind the curtain.

3. Choose suitable flooring

Most people opt for solid wood floors as they add character to the bathing area. However, wood is not an ideal bathroom flooring due to the steam and water in these spaces. Be sure to prioritize bathroom floor materials like luxury vinyl plank, vinyl tiles, and porcelain and ceramic tiles that can withstand the rigorous daily use of your bathroom. 

4. Do not overlook bathroom ventilation

A bathroom is vulnerable to dampness, so you should ensure sufficient ventilation. This does not only protect your family from health complications. It also prevents mold growth which could stain your bathroom or cause costly damage. You could ventilate your bathroom using windows and window vents. Alternatively, invest in exhaust fans to ensure adequate airflow in your bathing space.

5. Add more storage space

If you have a small bathroom, adding storage space can enable you to maximize your bathing area’s use and comfort. Consider adding towel hooks and racks, mirror cabinets, in-built linen closets, and floating shelves on your walls to create more space. 

6. Prioritize bathroom lighting

Is your bathroom light very dim or concentrated in a single spot? Are the light fittings outdated? Swap the obsolete lighting with new fixtures to increase visibility in vital areas such as the shower and wet areas. Be sure to avoid harsh, blinding lights to minimize accidents. For late-night relaxing baths, consider installing a dimmer switch to incorporate mood.

Endnote

Creating your dream bathroom does not have to be expensive and stressful. Set a reasonable budget, choose the right bathroom type and flooring, add ventilation and storage and invest in new lighting to create a bathroom that puts a smile on your face every time you look at it.

partnered post • image from Pixabay


6 Ways to Prep Your House for Selling

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Upgrade the Exterior

When a prospective buyer looks at pictures of your house online, they might miss the small details like wear and tear on the exterior. To prevent them from being disappointed when they arrive in person, make the necessary changes on the home’s exterior to give it a fresh new look. You may need to install new roofing and siding depending on how aged they look. This could be expensive, so find ways to cut renovation costs. Negotiate with multiple companies to ensure you get the best work for the most affordable price. If you can’t afford to make both upgrades, you could choose to only upgrade one, or pressure wash the siding and roof to remove unwanted stains. Now when you go to take photos of your home, it’ll look clean and stand out from the rest of the homes on the market. 

If a complete exterior makeover is too expensive, the next best step is to repaint it. Having a fresh coat of paint will not only look much better in the pictures, but it’ll make your house look newer than the neighboring houses. Some garage doors have their own designs that shouldn’t be painted over, but if possible, re-painting your garage door could make all the difference in the appearance of your home. Some older garage doors are very loud, so consider installing a new garage door system. If the door itself still looks great, you can find replacement motors that make less noise.

Spruce Up the Landscaping

The exterior of your home will look much better when complemented by a beautiful landscape. Sprucing up the garden with some lively colors will make your home more inviting when people stop for the open house. If there’s not much in your yard currently, you should consider hiring a landscaping company to add some bushes, flowers, and fresh mulch. This could be a project to do on your own if you have the time, but a landscaping company would be able to do it professionally and quickly so you don’t have to worry about having everything ready in time for house showings.

Be Prepared to Move Out

If you’re feeling unsure about all that moving out entails, read our essential guide to the moving process for a few ideas. As far as preparing your current property for sale, you’ll want to move as much as you can out of the house to give it a larger, spacious feel. If you’re still working out the details of moving, be cognizant of the costs. On top of the cost of your new house, you’ll have to pay for a moving truck, moving service, and potential damage to any items during travel. It’s best to pay for moving out of pocket if you have the money, but if you’re tight on cash you could take out a personal loan to cover the expenses. Just make sure you consider these extra costs in addition to your other monthly expenses so you don’t spread yourself too thin. 

Modernize Outdated Looks

You might’ve grown accustomed to a certain style in your home, which might not resonate with buyers. Even if you’ve moved out all of your furniture, there are still some style choices you can modernize. The most noticeable change you could make would be to repaint sections of the house. Typically, garish colors like bright pink or orange walls are a bit extreme for most buyers. Pick more neutral, yet inviting colors like beige, or variations of white to give the space a brighter look. Change up the color of baseboards and other trim sections around the house. If these are looking battered and scratched up from the years, they can be replaced without breaking the bank. You could even install them yourself if you have the tools to measure and cut the wood. 

Another part of the house that could be outdated is the appliances. If the fridge, washing machine, stove, and other essentials are in working order you can get away with leaving them as-is. However, if any of them are older and causing problems, you may need to replace them. At the very least, make sure you have the warranties ready to give to the next owner. 

Hire a Great Photographer

The first impression buyers will have is looking at pictures of your home on their computer screen. Hiring a photographer ensures that you’re getting the best angles and lighting to help your listing stand out from the others. If you have a high quality standalone camera or have a great one built into your phone, you could have a go at it on your own. However, professional photographers have experience with knowing exactly what photos to take in and around the house. The cost of a photographer compared to the overall cost of buying a new house is minimal, so it’s up to you how much you want to spend. 

Get an Inspection

Depending on where you live and the real estate agents involved, getting an inspection is absolutely necessary. Even if it’s legal to forgo an inspection, the buyer’s real estate agent will most likely want to significantly reduce the asking price to account for potential problems with the house. If you want to make moving stress-free, get an inspection to avoid any issues. You want to walk away from your old home satisfied with the selling price so you can feel more financially confident moving into your new home.

partnered post • cc-licensed image by Tony Mariotti


Landscaping Ideas for Your Backyard

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Designing a backyard can seem like a big job, especially working with a large area. Luckily, it's easy to handle if you have a good plan. As a part of your home, the backyard requires the same attention and care as any other part of your house. Treat it as the foundation for all of your future outdoor spaces before you get started on any major renovations. Before working on it, you need to have a clear vision of your ideal outdoor space. Do you want modern or traditional? Do you want a space for entertaining or a place to relax and unwind?

So if you are struggling with what to do with your backyard, here are some easy and inexpensive landscaping ideas to get you started:

Start with a Fresh Canvas

Take a good look at your backyard. What do you like about it? Is it the flowers blooming in the spring? The shady trees that provide relief from the summer sun? The colorful leaves in the fall? That algae-riddled koi pond?

Once you know what to keep and let go of, the possibilities begin to take shape. Now is the time to get rid of what you don't like. Sometimes the best way to get started is with a clean slate. It might be time to start from scratch if your backyard is full of old, faded furniture and overgrown plants. You can find some fantastic deals on patio furniture and plants at your local home improvement store or online. You can transition from a weathered concrete planter to a luxurious marble planter, from a rusted bistro set to a beautiful wicker patio set.

If you're feeling ambitious, you can even replace your old concrete patio with a new stone patio or deck. It will give you a new outdoor space to work with and make your backyard stand out.

Think Multi-Purpose

When landscaping your backyard, it's essential to think about how you want to use the space. Do you want to unwind at home? Do you want a place to entertain your friends and family? Do you want a space for your children to tumble or play? 

Once you know how you want to use your backyard, you can start to design it accordingly. If you want a relaxing place, you might want to add a hammock or an outdoor daybed. Adding a fire pit or a built-in outdoor kitchen is perfect for a friend and family gathering spot.

And if you're landscaping for your kids, add fun elements like a sandbox or a treehouse. Storage benches are also great for hiding away outdoor toys.

Plant a Fruit and Vegetable Garden

Let's get organic! You can skip your endless trips to the grocery store (and save some money) by planting your fruit and vegetable garden. Decide what fruits and vegetables you want to grow. Will it be the crowd-cheering tomatoes or the family-favorite zucchini? Maybe you want to try something new, like goji berries or dragon fruit.

Designing your beds, preparing the soil, and planting seeds or seedlings can be a fun weekend project for the whole family. And there's nothing more satisfying than watching your garden grow and then being able to enjoy the fruits (and vegetables) of your labor.

A Pool is All You Need

When the sun mercilessly bakes your skin, and the only relief is a cold glass of lemonade, all you can think about is taking a refreshing dip in the pool. If you're lucky enough to have a pool, take advantage of it! If not, now might be the time to invest in one.

A pool is a great addition to any backyard. It provides a place to cool off on hot summer days, it can be a beautiful focal point, and it can even increase the value of your home. Adding a few simple landscaping features to your pool area can make it stand out. Add potted plants, a few lounge chairs, and a poolside bar.

The Pergola Magic

Have you admired the classic backyard setting of country villas with their elegantly draped fabrics and inviting shade? You can achieve that same look in your backyard with a pergola. A pergola is a garden structure with an open roof of evenly spaced beams. You can find pergolas made of wood, metal, or even PVC. They're relatively easy to assemble and can be customized to fit your backyard space.

Glam up your pergola by adding some fabric drapes or hanging plants. You can even string some fairy lights across the beams for a magical touch.

Find Room for Colors

There's nothing like adding some color to your backyard with the sweet-smelling, vibrant peonies, the delicate lavender, and the beautiful sunflowers. The natural hues of the trees, grass, and flowers can add some life to your space.

And don't forget about adding some color in other ways, too. Consider painting your fence or garden shed, adding some brightly colored outdoor furniture, or even hanging some colorful lanterns. The idea is to draw the eye and add some interest to your backyard. So have fun with it! If you've the time and green thumb, you could even try growing a colorful flower garden.

The Chic Modern Patio

The modern patio is all about clean lines and minimalism. Think sleek outdoor furniture, a simple color scheme, and a few well-placed plants. Shades of subtle gray, white, and black can make your patio pop, and don't forget about the flooring! A modern patio typically features concrete or stone flooring. But if you want something different, you could try using large format tiles or even outdoor carpet.

You’ll want to revitalize the space by incorporating lamp posts, bollards, and string lights. For plants, try using large pots or raised beds. And don't be afraid to experiment with different materials and textures.

Conclusion

There is no limit to what your genius mind stirs up for your backyard landscape. After all, it is your paradise where you can enjoy quality time with family and friends or spend some quiet time. Moreover, you can teleport your backyard to any destination in the world with a few simple changes. So whether you want a classic English garden, a modern patio, or a tropical oasis, the choice is yours.

partnered post • image by Max Vakhtbovych / Pexels


4 Ways to Prevent Basement Flooding

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Flooding and unexpected water levels are some of the biggest concerns among homeowners, particularly those with basements. These areas are usually susceptible to flooding during a heavy rainstorm, or the spring defrost. If your basement is not adequately covered, you might end up dealing with water damage or even expensive repairs. Fortunately, you can take a few steps to help reduce or prevent the risk of flooding. Here are some ways to prevent your basement from water and avoid flooding.

1. Seal your basement

One of the best ways to flood-proof your home is to seal the basement. Sealing your basement can help keep water away and guard your home against moisture damage, which can foster flood protection. You may seal up your basement using a commercial sealant or waterproofing layer.

Cover any noticeable openings and cracks in your basement walls and floor, and add fresh covering around the basement doors, windows, and hatchways. However, if your basement walls leak in water, you might need to call a basement waterproofing company like Direct Waterproofing.

2. Clean and maintain your gutters and downspouts

If your home has gutters and downspouts systems, ensure they drain water properly away from your home. Clogged or blocked gutters can result in water overflowing and down the wall of your property, eventually getting into the basement. Clean gutters and properly positioned downspouts will allow the free flow of rain or storm water, preventing it from flooding against your home walls.

Your downspouts should pour water at least three feet from the foundation, but you may need to use a downspout extension or trough to attain this distance. Ensure you direct the water towards the graded lawn to prevent it from flowing back to your outside walls.

3. Install a sump pump

You may need to invest some money in prevention to avoid spending a lot on repairs. Installing an automatic sump pump can help keep water from heavy rainfall away and prevent basement flooding. Sump pumps act as a large floor drain, drawing any water out of your basement or the surrounding foundation and diverting it to a safe place.

Automatic sump pumps will start up automatically should the first one goes off, enhancing efficiency. For instance, a battery-powered sump pump kicks on if the power goes out, making the first one futile.  

4. Inspect and repair walls and foundation cracks

Cracks in your home's foundation can make your basement vulnerable to water leaks. To prevent water damage and basement flooding, regularly inspect the exterior of your foundation, floors, and basement walls. If you notice any cracks in the basement walls or foundation, get them fixed immediately since these cracks can become bigger, leading to basement flooding.

You can fix the cracks yourself, but you must ensure you have the right tools to get a permanent solution. However, if the foundation is beyond your skill or leaking persists, call a professional for help.

endnote

Being a proactive homeowner is the best way to protect your home from significant damage, including flooding, fire damage, or mold growth. As with any other room in your house, you should regularly inspect your basement foundation, floor, and walls. This will help you catch minor fixable issues before they cause flooding in your basement. 

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Red flags to look out for when buying furniture

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Buying furniture is as much about comfort as it is about the design. Of course, you want it to fit in with your decor and the rest of the room, but you will also want it to be usable and hard-wearing. 

Furniture can be a good investment if you know what to look for. Here, then, are some of the red flags to keep an eye out for for when you are in the market for furniture. 

The maker of the furniture

When considering buying any furniture, take a look at the maker first and do your research if you are unsure. Companies such as the Modern Furniture Company, a leading Bontempi furniture supplier in the UK, are known for luxury pieces. 

It doesn’t matter if the piece is new or used, you can still get a history of the furniture maker and see if they have a reputation for quality. This may mean a little research on your part, but in the long run, it will be worth it. 

What is the suspension like?

You can tell a lot about the quality of furniture by the suspension used to make it. Some types are of lower quality than others or are unsuitable for the purpose they are being used. 

  • Webbing uses lengths of material that are woven together. While this can be durable, it is also prone to stretching or ripping if there is too much weight. Webbing can be ok for small pieces such as chairs and barstools but will stretch and sag on larger pieces. 
  • Sinuous springs are curved pieces of wire that stretch from one side to the other. They are prone to bending and snapping, so are only useful for chair backs. It is cheap to use and fit so you should consider that it is a poorly built piece of furniture. 
  • 8-way hand-tied uses big springs that are tied together with twine. This is a comfortable suspension that can be used in sofas and armchairs. It is also strong and hard-wearing so will last a long time. 
  • Pocket coil is the ultimate in suspension. It is used in sofas, chairs and mattresses and uses hundreds of small coils that are all in their own pocket and then sewn together to form one piece. The pocket coil is supportive and comfortable across the whole surface. 

Lightweight can be bad

Although some high-quality furniture will use light metals and other materials, this is usually the exception. Lighter furniture generally means that the materials used are less supportive and not so hard-wearing. 

Whether it is chairs, cushions, or any other type of furniture, you need to check the weight first. If it has a weight to it, then the chances are that high-quality materials were used to create it. 

The lighter the furniture is, the more it may deform or deteriorate over time compared to high-quality items made from strong materials. 

When leather isn’t leather

Many companies will claim that their furniture has leather, but it isn’t the same as real leather. What is often called ‘bonded leather’ is actually leather pulp that is flattened and fixed to a polyurethane backing. 

You can often tell if something is real leather or fake because fake leather has a uniformity to its patterning while real leather doesn’t. You can also find a distinctive smell in real leather that cannot be copied with fake leather. Lastly, real leather will have a coarse suede feel to it. If the back has a fabric feel, then it is fake. 

If you are looking for real leather, then look for terms such as full-grain or top-grain to show it’s real. If you see 100% leather everywhere your body touches, this means that the sides and back are likely bonded leather. 

You need a solid frame

Luxury sofas and chairs are built on a sturdy frame that is designed to withstand all the rigours of use. This is done using the best hardwoods along with blocking at the corners and tight-fitting joins using double doweling. 

It can be hard to spot a sofa or chair with a weak frame, but there is one sign that will show you. Apart from the weight (luxury furniture will be heavy), you can also lift one of the front feet. You want the opposite foot to rise slightly after the one you are holding. This shows minimal flexing. If it takes a while or doesn’t lift at all, then it's flexing too much. 

Conclusion

Looking for quality furniture is worth the additional time it will take. You will want to know that you are buying something that will probably last for many years – and these tips can help you ensure exactly that.

partnered post • cc-licensed image by Jordanhill School