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Interior Decorating – Creating Rooms that are Comfortable and Functional

Interior decorating of a home basically begins with simple changes that can result in a large impact.  In fact, simply by changing the paint color of a room can make a dramatic change in the overall design and many times it can change the function within a space.  For instance, an office can be made into a nursery simply by applying a pastel color to the walls.  Other changes can include upgrading the furniture style, window coverings, floor treatments, and decorative accessories within a room.  It is very important to plan out decorative changes prior to visiting a store or shopping online.  For most homeowners, home decorating consists of adding items and making changes that reflect their own personal taste or style.  It is however, crucial to always keep the function of a room in mind when designed or changing the décor of a room.

Practicality of each piece of furniture and each accessory is crucial to getting the most out of your new design.  For example, if you are decorating a family room then you will need to choose furniture pieces that are comfortable and most importantly durable.  Family rooms are intended as a space where people can come and relax without having to worry about damaging fancy furniture or spilling a drink.  On the other hand, a formal living room or dining room can be decorating with fancier furniture such as a glass coffee table and items that are more appropriate for entertaining.  Even though a formal dining or entertaining spaces is only used periodically, the pieces you choose should still be highly functional and comfortable.

Textures within a space can also change the function of a room by making it more comfortable and inviting.  Choose plush rugs and linens to create a cozy environment in a television room where family and guests will want to take their shoes off and stay a while.  Formal rooms can also be made cozier by choosing upholstered furniture and floor coverings that are of soft and plush textures.  Carpet, window coverings, area rugs, pillows, throw blankets, and even lamp shades can all be purchased with a specific texture and color that can enhance the décor of a room while also keeping it functional for its main purpose.

When shopping for items that are going to come together to create a seamless design within a room you should always keep the overall design in focus.  Too much clutter can affect the function of a room.  Begin your shopping trip by choosing the largest and most functional pieces of furniture for the room.  Next add decorative items, textures, and colors that reflect your personal taste as well as the overall look you are trying to achieve.

Window Coverings Decorating with Blinds

Whether you are decorating for the first time or the thirty first time, adding blinds to your home can be one of the best ways to go about covering up those windows. The dilemma is this. You want the light to stream in through your home. You want the cold (or the heat in summer) to stay out. And, you must be able to have some privacy from those peeping neighbors. So, what can you cover your windows up that will give you all the advantages that you need? Blinds! There are hundreds of options to choose from. Fabric, wood, faux wood and even plastics can be used. Designs are really unlimited. In short, there are few products that can top blinds.

How To Choose Blinds For Your Home

How will you choose the right blinds for your home? With so many various types out there, you may be feeling overwhelmed. The fact is that you can limit your selections in several ways. In doing this, you will have found the perfect blinds for your needs. Here, ask yourself a few questions like these.

· Consider your need first. What do you want the blinds to do for you? Do you want them to allow light in? Do you want them to block light out? If this is the case, then you can find blinds that virtually blacken a room, perfect for those who are sleeping mid day or need a very dark space anytime of the day.

· Another thing to consider is your need for privacy. How much privacy do you need and want? There are several things to consider here. For example, some blinds will allow in rays of sunlight but will effectively block out the peeping tom’s in your area! Some will offer a wide selection of levels of privacy. Finding the right amount is necessary for each individual.

· Consider the room now. Many people like to put blinds throughout the home that are the same. The problem with this is, though, that unless all the rooms have the same design elements, it may not work. By making the blinds work with the room, you can create the allure of style, fashion, and taste better. For example, think about texture. You may be thinking of installing faux wood blinds throughout the home but is this going to match in texture to each room? Think about the texture, the color, the materials, and the overall look for the blinds you add to the room.

· Make sure to think about the size of the blinds. Do you want the blinds to extend over the window edge? Do you want the blinds to fit within the window frame? Or, you may even consider blinds that actually fit within the panels of the window itself for even more space savings.

Overall, choosing the blinds for your home should be like choosing the paint, the carpet, or the wallpaper that you put in a room. Consider all elements of the design and finished product so the finished result is what you want it to be.

Kitchen Remodeling Cost Factors and Considerations

Every year, various Realtor groups poll home improvement stores and other Realtors to come up with a list of home improvements that actually add value to your house. Year after year, the top results are the same. Kitchen remodeling is the home improvement job that adds the most value to your house. In fact, you’ll recover 80-90% of your kitchen remodeling costs in the added value to your house – more if you’re handy enough to do the work yourself.

At least as important as the added monetary value of kitchen remodeling is the more subtle benefit – a newly remodeled kitchen is more likely to sell your house than virtually any other home improvement you can make. The kitchen is the heart of the home for most people, and a welcoming, warm and modern kitchen is an overwhelming factor in the decision to buy one house over another.

But kitchen remodeling is an awfully broad term, and some kitchen remodels are more valuable than others in a buyer’s eyes. Which kitchen remodeling jobs should you tackle if your primary intent is to make your home more appealing to prospective buyers? The Realtors have the answer for that question as well.

In general, the recommendations are for cosmetic changes rather than major changes to structure. The top five kitchen remodeling jobs recommended by Realtors are painting, cabinet re-facing, new countertops, new floors and a modern cook-top range.

Painting is the easiest and most affordable kitchen remodeling job on the list – and it’s also the one most likely to be an effective selling tool for your house. Fresh, clean walls in a neutral color are best. Warm neutrals make everyone look and feel their best, and go with just about any décor. Don’t choose an offbeat or unusual color no matter how much you like it. The more distinctive the color, the more likely that prospective buyers will be wondering how hard it will be to paint over.

Re-facing your old cabinets to give them a fresh new look is the second most popular and effective kitchen remodeling project. If there’s plenty of cabinet space in your kitchen and the cabinets are structurally sound, putting a new face on them is a far more affordable option than replacing your kitchen cabinets.

New countertops can spruce up your kitchen and make it more appealing. Opt for ‘natural’ feeling materials like faux stone or one of the new wood composites. Tiled countertops are another option, but many women are going to be looking at all those little grooves and imagining all the time they’ll have to spend cleaning between the tiles.
A new floor can change the entire feel of your old kitchen. There are thousands of options available, but two of your best options are natural wood or a solid color linoleum.

A new cook-top range is one of the few appliance purchases that will actually make a difference in selling your house. It’s an instant update kitchen remodeling job that will make your entire kitchen appear more modern.

More extensive kitchen remodeling jobs like adding windows or a cooking island are iffy propositions if your main intent is to add value to your house. Stick with kitchen remodeling jobs that are most likely to appeal to the broadest range of buyers.

Home Security: Exterior and Interior Lighting

It is a well-known fact, that satisfactory lighting is a very valuable deterrent to crime. Whatever lighting might help reduce your risk of becoming a victim, the right lights, utilized properly will be the effective deterrent to burglars and other intruders and improve your home security.

Exterior: Outside lights are critically important, especially near doorways and at the rear of your residence, where break-ins typically occur. All round security lighting that is set-up high out of reach, and is tamper proof, will greatly improve your home security and help to protect your home. Lighting in carports and garages is critical. An automatic garage opener is the best choice. All the best garage door opener fitted today use a light that operates when the opener is activated, lighting the garage interior. In carports, it’s best to leave a light on permanently, have a light on a timer, or use a motion sensor to activate the light.

It is best to use a motion detector on all exterior lights that are not left switched on. The principal benefit of this for home security, especially in the backyard, is that the light warns you that someone is in your yard. When there can be some problem that dogs, cats, or even birds will trigger off the sensor and cause the lights to come on, if you set the sensitivity of the sensor right this will not be a issue. In the front yard, any type of lighting will be efficient, but make sure that the lighting design covers the entire front and sides of the home. Sensors can be utilized however they will be prone to “false alarms” induced by things like people walking down the sidewalk, or also kids playing.

Inside: Whenever you go out for the evening, I suppose that like most people you leave a light on, the Police call these lights “burglar beacons”. A burglar beacon is a single light that is left on so you do not return to a dark home when you get back.

Regrettably these lights are a sign for the burglar that you are out. When you go out for the evening or away on holiday make certain several lights are left on, in different parts of the home, and furthermore a radio, put them on timers, from the exterior your house should look as if someone is home at all times to improve your home security.

The Best Way to Hire a Reliable Contractor

Obtaining a good quote
Get at least three bids. As with any undertaking, it is sensible to find a number of bids. If you set out to obtain a builder, get three or more bids to guarantee you’ve completed your appropriate homework. Spend some time exploring and do not just select from the initial five companies that appear on an online search. Decide on many different small and big companies, choose recommendations from family members, neighbors and friends and be sure that you acquire no less than 3 references from every contractor.

Call providers to determine material expenses. Section of the builder’s estimate requires the price of materials. But most contractors include a summary of the materials price for a complete accounting of the undertaking. Since a few contractors may get carried away with marking up costs, you may want to call the providers yourself to ascertain how much the materials cost minus the mark-up. This can allow you to discover whether the builder’s mark-up is fair. Be leery of very low rates. Everybody wants a reduction. That may be a fantastic thing, but the cost for materials is not likely to change wildly enough to compensate for a terrible job.

Think about the time required to supply the quote. If a contractor informs you that he or she’ll have the quote by next Tuesday, but does not really get it to you until Friday, this is probably a reflection of her or his work on the work also. If you would like to discover a contractor who adheres to her or his word, think about whether or not they did what they said they want in respect to the quote. Doing this is a fantastic method to value the future of your job and avoid any potential setbacks as a result of poor work ethic.

Questions to ask
There is so much to consider in hiring any contractor, particularly for a significant job. Remember to follow these hints to Discover a builder who matches best with your own thinking:

• Does your builder have a headquarters? Homeowners should desire their contractors to run in the permanent place of business. In case the contractor isn’t permanently established, how will you be certain that they will finish the job or maintain business tomorrow if there be any issues?

• Can this business insured, and is your policy adequate? As soon as you locate a contractor you believe you wish to employ, be certain that company has workers’ compensation and general liability insurance in the event of accidents at work. Request copies of those policies and maintain them on file.

• Is your company in good standing with a trade association?

• How long has the firm been in operation? You may wish to be cognizant of a builder asserting to become an overnight success. An experienced, well-established contractor is very likely to be a safer bet. Thinking about the amount of time that a contractor has been in business is an excellent indicator of the ability nonetheless, there are lots of contractors who maintain years of expertise. Protect yourself by requesting evidence of company span.

• What’s the builder’s listing on criticism? Be certain that you have references, and review previous work.

• Can the firm provide adequate details for the job being done?

• Make sure everything is in writing. The contract is among the most effective methods to stop problems before beginning. The contract protects you and the builder by adding all you’ve both agreed upon. Get all guarantees in writing, and spell out exactly what the contractor will and won’t do. When getting the contract, be sure all issues are addressed to prevent a miscommunication. Don’t accept vague suggestions or costs written back on the back of a business card.

• Do your assignments. Whether you’re in need of a new roof, repairs, upkeep, gutters or skylights, then it’s necessary to do your own research.

Preventing scams
The very best method to protect against a poor experience when you are searching for a builder is to learn the warning signs. Should you take a proactive approach to hiring and studying all prospective candidates, then your odds of a negative encounter ought to be lowered significantly. Use the following tips That Will Help You spot debatable contractors and solve any problems if They Ought to arise:

• Avoid door-to-door solicitors and people who simply accept cash payments, provide discounts for locating clients or compel you to make a fast choice.

• Confirm the company is licensed to run in your town, and check to find out if it’s a local address. Aside from the fact that it makes it simple to accomplish the contractor, in addition, it proves that the business has established itself plus it supplies more validity. You should certainly avoid contractors who just need to provide you with a phone number.

• Request the contractor for many references from previous clients and assess them. Stop by the job websites if possible and talk to the homeowners. A contractor who does not need to offer any references ought to be avoided.

What is a contract?
Customers sign contracts for several services, frequently without even reading them. Each time you register a credit card receipt or check a box agreeing to the conditions of service on a web site, you’re legally binding your title into a contract.

Contracts may be lengthy, particularly when it is a significant remodeling project go with a general contractor, and they are written in legal jargon that’s tough to comprehend. Typically, the contract has been created by a lawyer whose job was to safeguard the business or individual named in the contract, however, most individuals are fast to sign a contract before reading it.

Working with builders
Once you employ a builder and sign a contract, it is important to know what to expect throughout the course of a job. Honest contractors rely on satisfied clients, but occasionally, particularly during complex jobs, contractors and homeowners will need to discover ways to work together to address unexpected issues.

Gas Fireplaces: Adding Warmth To Your Home

No matter where you live, in a townhouse, a lakeside cottage, an urban loft, or a vintage Victorian mansion, there is always a place for a gas fireplace. Convenient and easy to use, gas fireplaces today offer an abundance of design ideas to suit both your lifestyle and the style of your home.

According to the recent statistics, a fireplace is one of the most commonly anticipated features in a modern home. Freestanding gas fireplaces deliver radiant heat to any room in your house, from kitchen to dining room and even bedroom, – or outdoors, warming your patio or a backyard. Classic terracotta finish or modern and minimalist brushed steel can give a whole new look to any of your rooms.

Modern fireplaces offer a variety of choices when in comes to fuelling. They may be wood burning, gas- or propane-fuelled, as well as liquid fuelled. The choice is totally up to you. Do you plan to chop wood, or you opt for a convenience of a gas? The kind of fuel you choose is a crucial factor in deciding what kind of fireplace to buy. Consider availability and cost, heat efficiency and your local air pollution standards. There are special regulations that concern the design, verification and labeling of gas fireplaces or imported into the North America.

Gas fireplaces are very energy efficient and can even be used to heat a whole house. With a prefabricated duct system heat travels from one room to another, however, not many households allow for this unless installed during construction. Gas fireplaces, being very easy to use, can be even turned on with a remote control or by the Internet in the new smart home! Thermostats allow for an easy heat adjustment, and with many programmable features you can also change the flame length and intensity.

Gas fireplaces are fuelled by propane or natural gas. Propane can be stored in a reservoir on your property, however, it can be more expensive in the rural areas compared to the wood. But with this type of fireplaces, you don’t need a lot of logs to chop and store. In general, gas fireplaces require significantly less maintenance.

The firebox of the gas fireplace is lined with a refractory material that looks like bricks or stones. Instead of blue unappealing flame that most of us expect from the gas, the fireplaces emit completely natural-looking flames that spout from invisible holes in prefabricated ceramic logs. Often these logs form a realistic pile on the bottom of the firebox. Some people prefer the inserts that look like a coal in Victorian-styled fireplaces.

Gas fireplaces are becoming a more and more popular alternative to conventional built-in fireplaces. Gas fireplaces can be as individual as you are. They can be framed in wood, finished in stucco, stone, or tile, thus fitting into most landscapes and home design solutions. Gas fireplace can become a focal point of your backyard or patio, and as any room in your home, an outdoor space must bear the same design concept as indoors. That is why when choosing a fireplace you should think about the environment in which it will be placed and how it will fit with the existing decor. But no matter which technology or functionality you choose, it is largely a design and materials that give your new appliance it’s distinctive style and make a design statement.

Modern Outdoor Rugs – What to Lookout for When Shopping

Most people don’t realize that outdoor living spaces should also reflect the unique style and design found inside of their homes.  Modern outdoor rugs are a great way to bring some of your personal taste and creativity to the outdoors.  Most indoor outdoor rugs are specifically manufactured with materials that can stand long-term exposure to the elements.  A good outdoor rug should also be able to last the abuse that most outdoor spaces are exposed to including frequent traffic, dirt, debris, and weather related situations.  When shopping for your outdoor area rug always double check to see if the material washing instructions will fit your abilities because some are too heavy to handle especially once dirt and debris enters the crevices.  Another important factor to look out for is the type of material used for instance, natural fibers are best but many times they are too expensive to purchase so try to find one that is made of synthetic or recycled materials.

When installing outdoor area rugs, make sure you allow for plenty of walking room once the furniture and other decorative items are situated.  If you leave a small amount of space for walking through, the rug will likely reflect more wear in that area and much sooner than if people have a larger space to walk through.  Maintaining the rug is also important with frequent vacuuming to remove any debris that could cause damage if left in the same place for a long period of time.  Steam cleaning can be done to most rugs but you should definitely check the labeling on the indoor outdoor rug prior to purchase to make sure that it will withstand vacuuming and steaming if necessary.

Some rugs will come with a limited warranty for the weaving or material so if you do have that guarantee you can return the rug should it become damaged early on once it is installed.  Keep in mind that expensive wool area rugs are not necessary in outdoor spaces because most of the time it is covered with furniture and other items anyway.  Finally the rug color, shape, size, pattern, and style are entirely up to the overall look you are trying to achieve.

Solar Garden Lights – Free Outdoor Illumination

The day has arrived when all garden lighting can be accomplished with solar garden lights. Many have dreamed of this day but few have embarked on this new and rewarding trend. Solar fixtures are solely powered by the sun’s energy. Why should you purchase solar garden lighting for your home? Solar energy is abundant and absolutely free to use. It would be silly to neglect that fact and to continue using electrical energy when there is a better and less expensive option available. Solar garden light fixtures are identical in appearance to electrical fixtures. You can find recessed, wall, post, hanging, or sconce solar fixtures. Solar powered garden lights come in similar sizes, styles, and materials as electrical fixtures. The major differences have to do with the power source and the initial investment cost. Of course solar technology is going to cost more but the savings add up over time because solar lights cost nothing to operate.

When determining how many solar power garden lights you should purchase, consider putting the project on paper prior to visiting the store. Having the plan on paper allows you to position lighting fixtures to their full benefit. Solar lights for garden are highly recommended for high traffic areas like driveways, walkways, decks, patios, and the perimeter of a pool. Lighting in these areas greatly reduces the amount of accidents that happen at night because of poor visibility. Illuminating your driveway ensures that cars stay on the paved part of your property. Proper lighting in areas of entertainment like deck, patios, and pools is highly recommended for the safety of your family and guests. Position fixtures so they illuminate without blinding people as they maneuver around in the dark.

The internet is a good resource for novice garden and landscape decorators. Use the internet to see what types of solar fixtures are available. Once you have chosen your fixtures you can then look up information about proper installation and positioning of fixtures so that each fixture is used to its full capacity and benefit.