Thursday, December 27, 2012

Top 5 Home Decorating Myths Debunked

Decorating your home should be one activity you should look forward to. Unfortunately, this is not the case for some who are mostly being paralyzed by fear that decorating can be very difficult to do. Instead of being busy with the preparations, they concern themselves with unnecessary worries due to several misconceptions about home decorating.

Here are the top myths that people should be wary so they can overcome their home decorating-related apprehensions:

1. Only Moneyed People Can Afford Decorating
This is the top myth people should recognize. Yes, decorating a home is an additional expense on your end, but it need not be expensive really. How do you do that? You can do this by simply coming up with a budget to jumpstart your project to making your home very comfortable and exceptionally beautiful.
You should plan before buying the décors you need such as draperies, pillows, mats, frames and others. A practical tip is to buy home decor items during off season. Watch out for the clearance sales of department and specialty stores near your area. Before you go on a buying frenzy, set aside specific amounts on how much you want to spend for each item. Bazaars are also great sources of custom home decors that would be just perfect for your place. Keep in mind that you are sure to get a good price for a décor you want as long as you are willing to find the best bargain in town.

2. Requires Help from Interior Decorators

Hiring professional interior decorators is a good step to achieving your dream home design. But this isn’t the case always as you can tap into your inner creativity to transform your home into one of the most amazing places to live at. What’s working for you is that you know which designs you prefer. Once you have decided on this, adding up home decors that support your chosen home design is just going to be a walk in the park. The whole process is similar to working on your own painting and having fun at the same time.

3. Branded Items Are What You Need

To use only branded items like furniture, fabric materials, wall décor, rugs, throws, lamps, bedding, duvet covers etc. is a big mistake. The truth is there are many providers of good quality decorating materials at reasonable prices; you just have to be resourceful in finding them. Also, the secret to decorating is to be simple. Remember the saying that less is more; stick to this advice and in no time you will be proud of what you’ll come up. You would also be surprised that your guests would think you’ve spend a fortune to making your home elegant. Of course, you are the only one who knows that it takes patience and perseverance to find exquisite ornaments that match your budget.

4. Home Decorating Takes a Great Deal of Time

Being organized will help you deal with this myth. This is not saying that you should rush things. The point is you need to work on a schedule to accomplish even the little things that may seem to be too time consuming. Slowly, you will make progress and you won’t notice that you are almost close to achieving your home decorating goals. Just don’t give in to frustrations when you come across several challenges along the way. Adopt a flexible and happy attitude to deal with any potential concerns that you may have in the future.

5. Decorating Is Just Difficult

Make a conscious decision that you are going to finish your home decorating project. By doing this, you are doing away with any negativity in your surroundings. There are just so many excuses that people can embrace if they are not really interested in doing something. And certainly, you don’t want to be like these people. You just need to believe in yourself and take each task you need to complete one day at a time. Soon, you are going to be one contented person and very much satisfied with the end result of fulfilling your home decorating dream!

Maria Samuels is pretty satisfied with her home decorating skills. She is a materials specialist at In Style Modern, a leading provider of elegant modern furniture replicas, including nice noguchi table, egg chairs hanging and philippe starck ghost chairs.

Image Source: flickr/

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

5 Ways to Save Money Through Home Climate Control

-Philip J Reed on behalf of Redstone College

Homes that are too hot or too cold can be very uncomfortable. A lack of heating and cooling regulation is also an indication that the utility bills are likely higher than they should be. Controlling the climate in the house is probably the easiest way to save money on utilities. Below are five simple approaches to increasing the climate control in the house, thereby making family and guests comfortable and saving money.

1. Install a programmable thermostat. This is usually the first and most common suggestion made by experts because it really does save money. A programmable thermostat continuously maintains the heat at the programmed temperature, turning on the furnace or central air unit to adjust the temperature as needed. This saves the homeowner frustration at having to adjust the temperature manually because it is too hot or too cold for comfort. It also eliminates forgetting to change the temperature settings before going to bed or before leaving the house for extended periods of time.

2. Close the vents in unused rooms. It can be difficult to maintain a balanced temperature throughout the house, especially in a house with an upper and lower level. Thermostats are generally placed on the first floor, and hot air rises. This can make the upper level hotter than the lower level. If most of the family time is spent on the lower level, then closing or reducing the air flow from some of the vents upstairs can help balance the climate and save money. If there is a guest room or a storage room that is completely unused, close those vents entirely to allow the heat or air conditioning to flow to the other rooms in the house.

3. Make sure the windows and doors do not have leaks. This sounds like such a simple tip, but most homeowners do not do this regularly. Houses settle, which can sometimes cause gaps around the windows and doors. Even slight gaps can allow cold air into the house and heat to escape. To check windows for leaks, shine a flashlight in areas where there could be leaks and have a partner outside to see if the light shows. To check doors, close a piece of paper in the doorway. If the paper can be removed without tearing, there is too much of a gap. Some leaks can be sealed by simply installing weather stripping.

4. Install shutters on the windows. This may sound like an unusual idea for controlling the indoor climate, but shutters can keep the unwanted weather elements out of the house. In the winter they help to keep the cold wind from coming through the windows, thus lowering the temperature in the house and forcing the furnace to work harder to keep the house warm. In the summer they help keep the blazing sun from overheating the house, requiring the air conditioner or fans to run non-stop during the day to keep the house cool. It is important, though, to hire professional, qualified shutter installers to ensure the shutters fit properly and work correctly.

5. Have yearly inspections of the HVAC system. This is a good practice that saves more money than it costs. If the HVAC system is not working at peak performance, it uses more energy to maintain the climate in the house. A simple routine maintenance visit can ensure that the system is in good working condition. When hiring a company for routine maintenance, make sure the technicians have the proper HVAC training. Certified HVAC technicians can service a variety of heating and cooling systems and know how to identify issues that could become costly if not fixed. Spending $50 on a part for a furnace may save you hundreds of dollars down the road.

Saving money by controlling the climate in the house can be very easy. Set-and-forget ideas such as programmable thermostats and balancing household vents require no further thought than the initial set-up. Checking leaks and maintaining the HVAC system is a once-a-year task. Installing shutters is an attractive and money-saving investment that could add value to the house by dressing up the exterior. These are only five of the many ideas that can help a homeowner adapt their house to an energy- and money-saving dwelling quickly and easily.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Creative Ideas For Your Backyard Paradise

When it comes to designing the backyard of your dreams, the possibilities are endless. In fact, they’re so endless that at times, it can feel overwhelming. But when embarking on the journey of building your oasis, you need to get organized. Michelangelo didn't paint the Sistine Chapel without a plan, and you shouldn't design your backyard without one either. Start out with a list of all your favorite ideas. Organize them in a notebook and then slowly start filtering out everything until you arrive at your favorite elements. To get the creative juices flowing, here are some ideas of things you could include:

Koi Pond
A garden pond can be one of the most influential and beautiful elements when it comes to creating a backyard paradise. It provides another dimension for those with backyards too small for a pool. Plus, who doesn't love the sound of a gentle waterfall! You can either build a concrete-filled pond with the help of a professional, or you can just build one yourself.  To do it yourself, it just requires a high-quality pond liner designed specifically for garden ponds. The higher the quality, the longer it will last. Also, for a koi pond especially, you want to make sure to have a pond pump like this. Otherwise, the water will stagnate which won’t turn out well for those koi.
Photo credit:

English Garden
There are so many different directions you can go with your garden, from an oriental spa to a Tuscan villa. But one of the easiest and most vibrant is an English garden. The English style was built out of a change in the philosophy towards wildlife from fear to a deep appreciate of the natural world. Hence, it is a very lively and uncontrolled environment. Some elements to include would be bridges (over your koi pond!) or benches, natural stone, cobblestone pathways, and English pots. Even something as simple as a sculpture can have a dramatic effect. Whatever you do, focus on allowing the wildlife to take center stage and creating a space that looks almost unkempt in its naturalness.

Outdoor Shower
This is a new and refreshing idea that can add a very unique element to your backyard oasis. It creates the feeling of being in your own private outdoor spa! It is especially great for houses that are close to the beach or have a swimming pool. There are so many ways to get creative with this, depending on what direction you go with your backyard as a whole. If you’re going for the southwestern feel, consider copper and cast-earth walls. If you envision more of a beach ambiance  a fun curtain and bright patio furniture lend a light-hearted summery feel. The possibilities are endless! But whatever you do, this is sure to provide a fun and unique addition that will wow your guests.
Photo credit:

Vegetable Garden
There are so many reasons this is a great idea for your backyard. Aside from the convenience of having vegetables to cook with right out your back door, you are saving money on produce, eating organically and in season, and helping the environment! It is also a great way to have something new to do with your kids and to teach them about gardening. Make sure to pick produce that is in season. Tomatoes, lettuce, and peas are some of the easiest (and the healthiest) to grow. But don’t stop there! Think spices like basil and rosemary and fruit like blueberries and strawberries. Buy a seasonal cookbook to help with recipe ideas and you are on your way.

There are so many fun and unique ideas you can implement in your backyard oasis. Get a good idea of what is out there and then be picky! Stand by your back window and envision what you want to see when you look outside. Whatever it is, make it yours. If you love barbecuing with friends, add an outdoor patio and grill. If you want a cozy haven to curl up with a book, a firepit and hammock could be just the thing. But get creative and have fun!

Bio: Stephanie is a writer on anything that strikes her fancy, from vegan recipes to overseas travel. When she isn't writing for Tsurumi Pump Sales, she can be found in Central Park reading with her dog, Darcy, or exploring vegan restaurants in New York. To learn more about Tsurumi pumps, click here.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Soundproofing Curtains vs. Soundproofing Windows

Individuals who are looking for effective soundproofing have two options to choose from. The first one is soundproof curtains while the second one is residential soundproofing interior windows. Many are probably saying that the first option is better because they are cheaper but in terms of long term benefits, the second one is the runaway winner. Read on and find out why.

Real Costs

From a budgetING point of view soundproof curtains are better since they can be purchased for a low as 10 USD to 25 USD per square meter. In the long run, they may even cost more because the said curtains need to be replaced every once in a while. They may become faded and worn out after many months or years of use. Also, it should be noted that they may not provide the same level of noise control that residential soundproofing interior windows can deliver.

Energy Considerations

In general, most of the residential soundproofing interior windows that are out on the market are manufactured from high-grade double paned glasses that are specifically designed to shun away unwanted noise. Aside from their soundproofing attributes, they also come with tiny air spaces to effectively eliminate heat loss during the winter season and maintain cooler temperatures during summer months.

For this reason, while a couple of dollars can be accumulated with soundproofing curtains, soundproofing window users will definitely save more because of the energy and utility savings that can be mustered all year long.

Home Value

Window treatments, even conventional soundproofing can add value to an old house but curtains are considered as personal choices and do not play essential roles in improving the resale value of a house.
Security Features

Double-paned residential soundproofing residential windows are thicker and tougher than conventional windows. For these reasons, they add better security. They can easily deter thieves and even add protection against strong winds and storms.


While soundproofing curtains may seem the better option because they are cheaper, practical homeowners should bear in mind that they need to look at the long haul and the kind of soundproofing that they want to achieve.

Indeed, there will be additional construction expenses and other fees that need to be settled if the residential soundproofing interior window approach will be chosen. In the end, it is the far better option because of the endless benefits that can be obtained from using sophisticated windows.

Kylie is a writer by day and a blogger at night. She loves to write about home improvement, tips, how-to's etc.  

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Support the Arts

Stanfield Shutter Co. is the leading window covering manufacturer in Utah. It was founded in Salt Lake City over 65 years ago and has continued to create cutting edge window coverings throughout the decades. Stanfield Shutter also recognizes the arts, understanding that it is through art that true emotion is expressed and felt.

As a special recognition of the arts Stanfield Shutter would like to invite the community to participate in a new project called "Théâtre des Rêves" which is a non-profitable organization dedicated to publishing new works of art, including photographs, paintings, drawings, poems and more! The website,, was published online only a few hours ago and has already been visited many times.

The invitation to support the arts and visit this website and submit your own art is extended to all of the community. Although fresh and new, "Théâtre des Rêves" has much more room to grow and help the community grow as well. Visit the website and show your support on Facebook as well through their page

Green Home Benefits

An average 2,500 square foot home in Delaware will cost around $3,000 in electricity for an average year. While retaining the same quality of living, a green home will require a small fraction of that energy. Where do those savings come from?

Retrofits and New Homes

Many homeowners feel attached to their current homes and will want to retrofit rather than building new homes. While retrofitting current homes to be more energy efficient is certainly preferable to leaving them as is, conventional homes have some fundamental defects that will prevent them from reaching complete energy independence.

New home builders have many more options when it comes to building a green home. Because they're not retrofitting an existing property, they have complete control over every aspect of construction from the first day of planning through the project's completion.

Some sustainable home building practices are impractical for a simple remodeling. For example, thermal flooring is more efficient and cheaper to install when windows are planned around that feature. Living roofs are easier to install atop a new building rather than installing them over existing roofs.

Benefits to Homeowners

Government tax credits and other subsidies have made green homes especially attractive over the past few years. For example, the federal renewable energy tax credit covers 30 percent of the cost of a new solar panel system. The Delaware Green Energy Program Incentives can further reduce the cost of solar panels by 90 cents per watt of capacity.

Delaware new home builders will also benefit from historically low prices on solar panels, energy efficient lighting, and other green technologies. Combined with government subsidies, many of these products cost a fraction of what they used to just three years ago.

Green homeowners don't have to make any sacrifices to their lifestyles to save money. With a green home, they can afford to leave the temperature at a comfortable setting while taking hot showers and using the same consumer electronics as everyone else. The only difference is that their monthly utility bills are tiny or completely nonexistent.

Benefits to the Environment

Green building materials minimize any impact on the environment. They typically come from sustainable sources or recycled materials.

Energy efficient products require less electricity. When the power plants burn less coal or oil, they emit less carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.

Green homes recycle everything. Rainwater can be collected for irrigation purposes. Compost bins decompose organic waste for gardening and landscaping. Even the original building materials can be recycled for use in other construction.

Small Changes Add Up

One of the easiest ways to save money is to install energy efficient lighting. Compact fluorescent bulbs use about 25 percent of the energy of incandescent bulbs, but they include mercury, which is highly toxic to both humans and the environment. Better yet are LED bulbs that use even less electricity and contain no environmental toxins. While LED bulbs cost more upfront, a 75 watt equivalent LED will only use about $5.50 of electricity per year compared to $24.63 for an incandescent bulb.

By themselves, new windows, insulation, and exterior doors save some energy. Together, they can easily cut heating and cooling costs in half. Power strips, low-flow shower heads, low-flush toilets, and other energy saving appliances all add up, and the more homeowners invest in energy efficient products, the more they will save over time.

Kent Yuen is a freelance writer specializing in home improvement and green construction topics.  For more information on building energy efficient homes, click here.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Great Family Room Design that Works for Kids & Adults

A place to gather, play and hang out, the family room has something for everyone, so make yours special. You can easily design a family room that appeals to both kids and parents. Here are 6 decorating tips for setting up the perfect family room for you.
1.  A Cozy Sectional
There's plenty of room for relaxing on a comfy sofa sectional. When choosing one for your home, be sure to consider the size of the overall room. More is not better if the sectional takes up most of the space. A sofa plus chaise lounge combination works well and leaves plenty of room for end tables and an extra chair or two. And go for durable fabrics that can be easily zipped off and tossed into the washing machine.
2.  An Eye Catching Mural
Dedicate one wall of your family room for a huge wall mural- one that evokes the spirit of your family. If you love exploring and hiking in the great outdoors, a breathtaking mountain scene will make the perfect focal point. A family of scuba divers will love an underwater image of colorful coral and tropical fish. The sports loving family can choose a Yankee Stadium mural. Whatever your family's interests, there is a wall mural to depict it beautifully.
3. Kid Friendly Zone
A room that looks sophisticated but can stand up to the wear and tear of kids is key. Choose a rug that is not only beautiful, but is comfy to sit on and durable, like Persian wool. Table surfaces that wipe clean are great for snacks and do double duty for working on art projects. Beveled glass and laminate are better choices than say, using your Grandmother's heirloom antique coffee table.
4. Entertainment
Of course you want a great big TV set up and this is the room to do it in. A ceiling mounted projector, 6 by 9 foot screen and surround sound speakers turn your family room into a home theater in an instant. Ceiling mounted projectors start as low as $50 and are readily available at electronics stores. Use light blocking curtains for daytime movie watching and to add a cozy, theater feel.
5. Contain Clutter
Never leave too much "stuff" lying around.  Organize and store dvds, remotes, toys, and art supplies in decorative baskets or in an ottoman with storage. Once a day, take five minutes to pick up clutter and tidy up the room. And resist the urge to overdecorate. This will keep the room plan open and inviting and prevent it from looking and feeling cramped.
6. Let there be light
Use table lamps or standing lamps to provide adequate lighting for reading or a game of Monopoly. Consider recessed lighting over tall furniture such as bookshelves and entertainment centers to warmly brighten the room without a harsh glare
Your family room is the most lived in area of the home. Setting it up just right using these tips makes it practical for growing families and still allows it to be eye catching and sophisticated at the same time.
Choose from 1000s of wall murals for your family room or create custom wall murals from your digital photos at

Monday, December 17, 2012

Tips on Decorating the Dining Room for an Elegant Feel

Our dining room is where we gather to eat, talk, and enjoy one another’s company. It’s where we bond together, commune with guests, as well as talk and laugh our hearts (and tummies!) out. Indeed, our dining room holds a very special place for us—it’s where we share some of the best moments in our lives. So, why not enrich that experience even more by making your living look more elegant! Believe me, it won’t cost you a small fortune, but the impact is way beyond any monetary benefits could give (although, of course, a refurbished dining room could boost your home’s value). If you want your family and friends to cherish every moment they spend dining with you, then, check out some of your best dining room decorating tips and make your dining room even more lo

1.  Look for inspiration

Elegant dining rooms all center in one motif or period theme. Decide what you want. Do you want a trendy, modern and eclectic design? Or you prefer a Victorian, Georgian, or perhaps, Federal theme? Try to check out books, magazines and the Internet for inspiration and make sure to incorporate these period themes on your dining room makeover.

2.  Choose a color theme.

Pick two or three main colors then additional complimentary colors to add more life and excitement to your dining room. For example, brown and green could perfectly work well as the room’s main color themes, while for complimentary colors lighter or darker shades of ivory, beige and light green are excellent additions.  

3.       Mount Elegant Corner Moldings in Dining Room Doorways

Corner moldings add a touch of class to any dining room, whether it’s big or small. You can attach them on corners and make a rather unnoticeable area more pleasing and interesting. To make the best of the design, make sure to splurge your corner molding with a nice paint that complements the color stream of the interior. Corner moldings that look complementary could leave the illusion that they are actually put in place from the start, thus, adding a more touch of elegance to your room.

4.       Change your centerpiece every now and again

Centerpieces serve as the focal point of everyone’s eyes when they step inside the dining room. As they say, first impressions last, everyone’s impression on your kitchen will really depend on what comes first into their sight. Elegant, unique, and eye-catching centerpieces have to grace your table setting, so always be creative enough to make a switch, perhaps, every month, or every season, whichever you prefer. Showcasing holiday centerpieces is also another way of making everyone fill the spirit of the occasion and you will always find them abundant and affordable in department, home improvement, and craft stores. If you have a fresh supply of blooms, fruits, or local produce in your garden, you may also opt to make them as your dining area’s main focal point, which adds a bit of warm and hospitality to your home.

A little bit of creativity could surely lead to a more elegant and chic room, even if you don’t splurge on your bucks on it. Check the internet, read home improvement magazines, or ask your friends to get some of the best, most unique and most eclectic ideas that you can incorporate in transforming your dining area from a mere space where everyone eats to the place where your family and friends want to be.

About the author – Manilyn Moreno writes tips on catering and event planning for Better Cater, a catering software company. For more catering tips, visit their website at

Friday, December 14, 2012

A Guide to Home Security Improvements

Today, the people invest a lot of money on electronics and furniture while they don’t pay little or no attention to the home security. No matter what top class home theatre you have placed in the home, it would be insecure in the absence of a well-designed security system. Therefore, it’s strongly advisable to first secure your home in the best manner and after that you should equip with modern and latest equipments, tools and items. I’m going to shed light on a guide to home security improvements. I’m sure that after following this guide you can get every expensive item for home without concerning about its theft. It’s time to peep into a comprehensive guide which has 5 main steps steps.

Step #1 Lawn Moving is a Good Start

Overgrown lawn gives green signal to the thieves; they think that property is unoccupied so they can easily invade into it. Therefore, it’s better to go for lawn mowing tasks first.I know that daily work routine doesn’t allow us to do this task daily but you can do it on weekly basis. No doubt, shrubs offer good privacy to home owners but you should always keep shrubs near door and windows short. Actually, long shrubs give hiding spaces to the burglars. At the same time, you need to trim the extensive branches of the trees. Don’t give burglar a chance to find some hidden place near your home
Step #2 Video Surveillance Protects Home in your Absence

I always advise my friends to equip their home with the latest video surveillance system. You can get help from an expert locksmith who will come and select the best system of the market and then install it in an accurate manner. He installed security cameras in such a manner that one can get the 360 view of home from his room. In addition, a person can connect this system with his cell phone through home automation application just to keep an eye on home even he isn't at home
Step #3 Know the importance of Well-lit home

Do you know how dangerous a dark house can be? A dark house warmly welcomes thieves as they know that home owners aren't present at home and they can do their work without any kind of interference. So, it’s important that you maintain proper lighting system at home. Yard should be well-lit always and as far as rooms are concerned, you can turn on the lights of those rooms which windows are outside. This little carefulness will surely help you to avoid criminal attacks.

Step #4 Place Security Signs

When you get the security cameras and alarm from a company, they usually offer security sign stickers. You can place them outside the home in a prominent place. Such signs will tell the thieves that home owners have done with security preparations.

Step #5 Security Alarm is a Must

Your task is to check the market which is flooded with many security alarms. You can easily find an alarm which is of high quality and at the same quite affordable. Try to pick a budget friendly alarm and call locksmith for the installation. Your home without an alarm is simply insecure. Invest a little on alarm, this investment will save you from the loss of other precious goods and items.
Follow this guide and feel more secure at home than before.

Author Bio:
John Micheal is a designer and marketer. He knows the best tricks of marketing a site on the web. He also works as a marketing manager of Kirkland WA locksmith blog.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

4 Kitchen Renovation Ideas to Give Your Kitchen a Face-lift

The kitchen is one of the busiest parts of the home. Whether it’s a small kitchen or a large one, there’s no denying the fact that we’re all at our busiest when we’re there. And since we spend quite some time in this well-loved space, we need to make sure that it’s organized, spick-and-span, and most of all, at it’s most immaculate look. If you think the heavy traffic and activities have made your kitchen a little bit worn out and messy, then, it’s time to give it a little make over. Indeed, you can transform your kitchen for the better! Here’s our top kitchen renovation ideas that will help you refurnish, refurbish and renew your kitchen without ever costing you big bucks.
1. Plan Smart

Having a well-drawn plan, especially on how to do the renovation is the main factor that will bring in more savings to your pocket. So, take time to decide what changes should be implemented. For example, you might skip moving your stove or sink to a different location since it’ll cost you quite some cash.  Likewise, you might want to simultaneously upgrade your lighting while getting the electricity installed. To save time and money while shopping for fixtures, don’t forget to bring a kitchen sketch so it’s easier to locate the right item. 

2. Space Enhancing Window Treatments

One of the cheapest and most effective ways to boost your kitchen’s new look and make more expansive is by enhancing your window treatment. This will do so much to give your kitchen a rather new look, even if you don’t touch most of the fixtures. You may consider getting a light-colored, perhaps neutral, roller-blind to let the natural light inside the kitchen, while still securing your privacy. If your window is located near a sink or where grease and food stains could easily reach it, choose a washable fabric that comes in a more versatile color

3. Repaint those drab wall

Another simple and very affordable face-lift that you can do for your kitchen is to repaint worn out walls to make them look brand new. You can apply it on any surface, from the cabinets and drawers to walls and ceilings. If your kitchen seems dark, then, opt for bright colored options. You will see a great difference on how you have transformed your kitchen from a rather drab, dark and boring space into a more exciting and colorful spot where you’d definitely want to spend more time preparing meals for your family. Since kitchen surfaces should be kept fast and easy to clean, choose satin and semi-gloss paints and don’t forget to apply tough-quality sealant if your timber and wooden floors are painted. This will prolong the aesthetic and quality look of your kitchen and, at the same time, prevent food and water from falling between the grooves. 

4. Reface or Replace Cabinets

If you think your old, wooden kitchen cabinets and drawers are putting a toll on your kitchen’s décor, you may either reface it or total replace it with brand new pieces. If you think they’re still worth giving a second chance, you can sand them and coat with polyurethane or applying a whole different color. If you opt to update your kitchen with brand-new cabinets that won’t cost you so much, opt for cabinets with stuffed particles and solid fronts and you’ll save up to $500.

About the author – Manilyn Moreno writes tips on catering and event planning for Better Cater, a catering software company. For more catering tips, visit their website at

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

3 Simple New Home Improvements You Should Make

Too many new home buyers view their new purchase as a burden instead of a blank slate.  What many don’ understand is that a new home should be as homey as any pre-dated, vintage home.  But often new buyers are afraid to tap into their creativity with their new purchase, or think doing so will cost them too much.  Here are three very simple, and very affordable changes you should make to your new home.
Nothing is worse than a new home with plain, bare walls.  Getting some color either through artwork or painting will help ad a unique feel to whatever space you have available in your home.  Consider accenting your furniture color and don’t be afraid to test the possibilities available to you.  Bare walls can become the centerpiece of your home if you take the time to make them unique to you.  We all know new homes can use a splash of color, and it’s never too soon to make changes.
Window Treatments
Windows are so often one of the most overlooked aspects of a home, yet one of the most beneficial to address, regardless of how new your home may be.  Shutters of blinds can provide improved aesthetics to a home as well as increased privacy and efficiency.  With the options available today shutters or blinds can be custom built to meet your visual and financial needs.  Not to mention the money you could be saving keeping the sun out on hot days and letting it in on cooler ones.
Curb Appeal
While many may think that a new home is in need of little improvement for ideal curb appeal, the reality is some easy work could lead to increased curb appeal, resale value and personal enjoyment.  Don’t be afraid to apply new lawn and garden possibilities to your home.  If you have the ability to build a new deck or stone a patio you can reduce your maintenance costs in mowing while increasing the livable and enjoyable space surrounding your home.  While this may be a larger expense than interior window treatments and painting, it can make a huge difference in how you view your new home.
If you’re in the market for a new home or have recently purchased a home don’t let it stay new without being unique to you.  Make the most of your new blank slate and spend some time making some unique improvements you know you’ll be able to enjoy.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Knowledge is Mandatory: The Bad Side of DIY Home Renovations

While working on your home, chemical exposure can be a serious danger. Many homeowners don't realize when getting into a DIY project that safety should the first priority rather than immediately jumping into a renovation. For DIY home renovations in structures built before 1975, the risks are even greater. Many homes during this time used materials made of asbestos. While undisturbed, intact asbestos is not particularly harmful, when these materials degrade or crumble, they release fibers, which are then breathed into the lungs and can lead to mesothelioma. Remaining knowledgeable and taking the necessary precautions helps DIY homeowners protect themselves and family members.

What is Asbestos?

Asbestos is a widely used mineral-based material that resists heat and corrosion. While released into the air can be silken or rough, much of the fibers cannot be scene with the naked eye alone. These are the types of fibers that can cause serious damage to the human body. Exposure to asbestos leads to the scarring of human lung tissue and can result in mesothelioma, a deadly cancer that affects the lining of the lungs and abdomen. It can also cause lung cancer and cancers of the esophagus. When working around older homes which include blow-in insulation, vinyl flooring, certain types of linoleum, HVAC dust insulation, siding materials, plaster and other common asbestos materials, you should always wear safety gear and contact a professional to remove exposed areas.

How to Protect Yourself Against Asbestos
If you're not sure what kind of materials you're working with, the first thing you should do is wear a respirator that covers your mouth and nose. In addition, you may want to wear safety goggles, gloves, heavy-duty clothing and boots. However, if you think that any part of your home may be infected with asbestos, the best thing is to have your home tested and monitored for asbestos. The inspector will give you a list of results, including recommendations on repair or removal. The process of removing asbestos is very controlled and careful, as disturbing asbestos can lead to more harm.

How to Remove Chemically Exposed Materials
With materials like asbestos, you can't simply pick up the issue and move it outside. Asbestos fibers are not harmful if intact but when disturbed, they turn to powder fibers that can't be seen in the air, easily breathed in through the nostrils and affecting the lungs. That's why asbestos must be carefully sealed with the right coating or sealant and removed by professionals. When hiring a contractor for this kind of work, remember to check references and previous experience. Any asbestos materials left behind or not sealed correctly can lead to even greater harm to yourself and your family. 

Brian Turner has been working with the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance as an environmental health and toxic substance safety advocate since June of 2007. Brian brings a tremendous amount of research and awareness experience in environmental health risks, environmental carcinogens, and green building expertise. Brian is very interested in all types of cars; his favorites are classic, muscle, and imports. Brian is commonly found playing and watching various sports with his friends.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Garage Door Windows

Home improvements and additions are exciting because the house is customized to the homeowner's specifications; however, sometimes simply deciding what you want is difficult. When renovating the garage or thinking of ideas to make it a bit more attractive, what are the pros and cons associated with adding garage door windows?

The Pros
First of all, the windows will likely make the garage look more appealing and inviting from the outside. When working in the garage, streams of light come through the windows to make it feel less like a cave. Of course, opening the entire door is a possibility, but who wants to do this on a cold winter's day?

Furthermore, sometimes, individuals coming home late at night or in a bad neighborhood might be a little bit frightened to go inside of their garages alone. Looking through the windows will let that person know if it is safe to go inside. Whether the individual is afraid of a criminal or an animal that may have run into the garage, he or she does not have to open the door to find out.

Lastly, if you are looking to add additional style to the exterior of your home, you can add wood shutters to not only your garage door windows, but also on the other exterior windows on your home.

The Cons
Speaking of people and/or animals getting into the garage, this concern is a major one when it comes to having windows in the garage. If someone accidentally leaves a window open, an animal could come in and start a little nest or a family in there. A more dangerous concern is that potential criminals now have more access to the garage. It's easier to break a window than to knock down a garage door. This concern is a major one if the garage is some distance from your house and the houses of your neighbors'. Someone might not hear the glass breaking if a person were to enter.

In order to prevent such a problem from happening, have an alarm system put on the garage door windows for total piece of mind.

Whether you decide to have windows put on the garage door or not is an entirely personal choice. Consider both sides presented above, and go with the plan that is best for you and your family.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

How to Get the Latest Roller Shutters within Your Budget?

        If you are someone who enjoys the look of roller shutters, you might think that they are expensive and out of your budget. This is far from the truth and with a few simple steps you will be able to get the roller shutters of your dreams without having to fork out a large sum of money to do so. The first step is to start hunting for roller shutters that are within your price range. One trick here is to remember that expensive designs might not be the best. Angle your search from the design you are looking for and start listing which are cheaper.

        You might find yourself saving a large amount of money just by doing this simple step. Since new designs are always coming out, look at models which are considered “Old.” Don’t be turned off by that word as it may be just what you’re looking for! With them being considered as outdated by the company, the prices will drop by a considerable amount.

        If you have ever worked with wood before there is a saying you will be familiar with, “Measure twice, cut once.” In this case you will want to measure all the areas you are thinking of installing your roller shutters, but be sure to avoid any excess or not having enough. This saves you money because you will not be paying for rollers that are not needed and will end up in the trash in the future. Only order enough for the areas you are thinking of installing the roller shutter doors, and list them all down clearly on a piece of paper before ordering.

        When you are searching for companies that are selling roller shutters, location is one consideration. However, if you are able to install a roller shutter door yourself, you will be able to save more money, and you will not be bound to searching for companies that are near your home. Many people think that installing roller shutters is difficult and end up paying more money for other people to install them. If you know how to use a drill and screwdriver, this is something that you can do.

        Most roller shutters come with instructions on how to install them, and since they are clear and easy to follow anyone will be able to install them. One tip, if you have never installed the roller shutters before, is to start with one area that is inconspicuous as a test area. Once you have gotten the hang of installing one roller, the rest of the area where you are installing the rollers will be a piece of cake. 

About the Guest Author: 
My name is Evita.  I am a tech writer from UK.  I am into Finance. At present I am focusing on 
ppi claims . Catch me @financeport

Friday, December 7, 2012

How to Protect Your Home Improvement Efforts from Unwanted Pests

Home improvement projects can open up your house to a variety of unwanted pests. Disturbances to nests, uprooting trees, and leaving doors open for long periods of time all invite creatures into your cozy indoor environment. But construction doesn’t have to be risky. Follow these five suggestions for keeping pests at bay, and you will be free to enjoy your newly renovated home – minus any unwanted house guests.

1. Keep doors closed

If contractors, builders, and workmen are coming in and out of your house all day long, they often leave a door open so they can enter more easily when carrying heavy materials. While this adds a level of convenience for them, it makes you susceptible to inviting rodents and other creatures indoors. Keep an eye on the door. Whenever it’s left open for more than a minute or two, shut it. You can also ask the team to be aware of this issue and only allow the door to stay propped open when it’s absolutely urgent.

2. Seal off old pipes and leftover building materials

For the most part, any debris or leftover equipment should be removed once construction is complete. From time to time however, there will be redundant plumbing pipes or sewer lines that provide the perfect hiding spot for pests, and no longer serve a purpose in your renovated home. Ask the construction crew to seal off any surplus materials to prevent pests from nesting.

3. Inspect the inside of your home regularly for new cracks or gaps that could have occurred during the renovation

While the point of a renovation is to improve the condition of your home, there is generally disarray during the process. During this time, exposure to the elements can create new openings in unexpected places. Check windows and walls frequently to ensure that nothing is amiss. If you do spot a new hole, seal it immediately.

4. Pre-treat vulnerable areas to prevent pests from entering

Digging, planting, and uprooting trees and bushes can displace hundreds of rodents and insects who will look to your home as the closest replacement. Treat doorways, windows, and basement areas with the necessary pest control measures prior to the start of construction to avoid an infestation mid-way through the project.

5. Block off vents and airways with thick cloth

Air vents, chimneys, and other ducts should be temporarily blocked off with thick fabric to prevent insects and vermin from crawling or nibbling their way through. Experts recommend ¼ inch thick hardware cloth to deter the creatures from entering your home during a renovation. This solution should work well short term, and is typically removed once the construction is complete and the environment returns to normal.

If they go undetected, pests that make an appearance during home repairs can lead to infestations and even cause expensive structural damage down the road.

Prevent pests from making themselves at home during the remodeling process by following the above tips. It’s advisable to consult with the main architect or contractor leading the project to discuss any concerns you might have. Professionals can establish an integrated pest management program that limits access to food, water, and shelter that can attract pests and create a problem.

This article was written by Kate Hassel.  Kate works with Moxie Pest Control, a Pest Control Company.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

4 Tips to Enhance the Beauty of Your Home through Flower Arrangement

Flowers beautify your home instantly. With a pair of clippers and a few attractive vases and bowls, even a beginner at flower arranging can enhance every room in the house. Growing your own flowers in the yard gives you an inexpensive supply of flowers and the satisfaction of decorating with your own blooms. Florist flowers offer an option for a year-round supply of color and exotic beauties such as orchids, protea, ginger and heliconia. Whether you prefer casual country-style bouquets or structured floral displays, flower arranging offers a creative way to play with color and shapes for decorating.

Create an Entryway Arrangement
A tall display for the entryway creates an eye-catching greeting for guests and sets the mood for your home. If there isn't an entryway, place a floral arrangement directly across from the front door. Vertical arrangements such as gladioli or birds of paradise in a 12 to 14-inch tall vase make a striking arrangement.

Display a Centerpiece
A floral centerpiece makes every meal special and gives your dining area a sensual quality. Orchids and floating candles in a clear dish, a dome arrangement of roses and Queen Anne's lace or a simple bouquet of mixed flowers beautify the table.

Float Flowers in the Bathroom
Scented flowers such as gardenias floating in a decorative bowl add the lushness of nature to the bathroom. The fragrance gives the room a pleasant freshness. Combining flowers that float well, including camellias, water lilies and orchids creates a dynamic display for those who prefer flowers with little scent.

Brighten the Bedroom with a Bouquet
A simple loose bouquet in a vase makes an appealing focal point for the bedroom. Any flowers in season will work for this and you can add greenery such as fern, magnolia leaves, calla lily leaves or bamboo to add more dimensions to the display. A dozen roses filled out into a larger bouquet with babies breath make a romantic bedroom flower arrangement.

About the Author
Jo Harris is a writer and the Director of Content for the Morgan Law Firm.  Please visit the Morgan Law Firm Blog for additional content.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Fall Cleaning? 3 Things You Shouldn't Just Throw Away

Landfills are filled with millions of items that could be re-purposed or recycled. Recycling helps the environment. When products are recycled, fewer resources are used, green house gas emissions are reduced and less space is used in landfills. The majority of items that end up in landfills should not be thrown away. Here are three items that should never get thrown out.
Empty Ink Cartridges

Empty ink cartridges should not be thrown away. The cartridges put an unnecessary burden on landfills and have a detrimental effect on the environment. Ink cartridges are not biodegradable. It can take hundreds of years for one ink cartridge to break down in a landfill. Also, ink cartridges also have the possibility of leaking ink and polluting the soil. Reusing cartridges decreases the amount of materials used to create them. It takes about three quarts of oil to make one printer cartridge. Many places, like office supply stores, will take used cartridges. Some businesses offer incentives to people that recycle cartridges.
Plastic Shopping Bags

Plastic shopping bags clutter most homes. While they are convenient, the environmental damage they cause far exceeds any benefits from using them. Plastic bags end up in landfills and take hundreds of years to decompose. If the trash is burned, the burning plastic releases toxic fumes into the atmosphere. Plastic bags also harm animals. They bags are often mistaken for foods and result in the death of hundreds of animals each year. The best alternative to plastic bags is switching to reusable totes. Finding different uses for the plastic bags is another way to prevent them from ending up in a landfill.
Disposable Plates and Cups

Again, these products are convenient and harmful. Disposable plates and cups are often used at parties because they can be thrown away afterwards. Unfortunately, these items have an impact on the health of the water, land and air when they are thrown away. It takes less energy to clean and reuse a plate or cup than it does to make one. To reduce the reliance on disposable products, use reusable ones. Reusable cups and plates are available in a variety of easy-to-clean materials like glass and stone. Not only will using these items help the environment, they are a more economical option. 
Landfills contain many items that should not be thrown away. A lot of the garbage in landfills can have a second life by being re-purposed or recycled. The harm that the environment sustains can be greatly reduced by limiting the amount of garbage that ends up in landfills.
Lyndsi Decker is a freelance writer. At the moment she is promoting storage units Santa Maria as well as self storageHYPERLINK "" Troy. She is a mother of two and enjoys blogging about healthy living and the environment.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

5 Simple Steps On How To Decorate Your Home

Thinking about revamping your home anytime soon? A house can lose its appeal as time passes and the value and appearance of the property may suffer. Anything from old windows, to disheveled furniture can make the home seem less welcoming than it once was. There are a number of things you can do to help bring your house back to life. Making small or big changes requires a lot of thought and preparation. Read through these must see tips as a way to make decorating your home a lot less strenuous.
·         Formulate a plan. Before stepping straight into the deep end you should first write up a plan of action. You should either write down or even draw up any ideas you have for improving the appearance of your home. A plan can be adjusted but it will help to have an underling idea of what changes you would like to make.

·         Let some natural light in. The first step into making your home appear more radiant is to let natural light into your home. Whether you choose to open up your conservatory doors or simply open the blinds your home will benefit. By allowing natural light to flood in you will essentially be transforming the entire ambiance of your home. No longer will you have to endure a dull home. Simple changes such as this one can make a substantial difference.

·         Focus on one room at a time. Rather than drive yourself nuts trying to take on such a huge task you should take baby steps. If you plan on a huge renovation than you should begin with the most important rooms, the bathroom and kitchen.  It is fair easier to take on one room rather than three in one go. As long as you have a plan in place, you can’t go wrong.

·         Choose the right sofa. This may seem straightforward but it is in fact quite difficult. You not only need to consider comfort but you also want the sofa to compliment the rest of the room. In order to find the right type of sofa for your living room you should simply test some out. Why not take a trip to your local furniture store and have a look and feel of a few? You will easily be able to find one which suits your requirements.

·         Color Scheme. Choosing the right colors for your rooms can make a huge difference. Rather than stick with one color scheme throughout you should test out different colors to see which will look best. It is ideal to stick with neutral colors if you want to attract light. However, if you prefer more brighter tones than this could be good as well.

Decorating your home may seem like a tricky task but it could also be a fun one. As long as you have the determination, you will be fine. It is advisable to make a plan of what you would like to do beforehand. Before making any huge renovations you should consider which colors and fabrics will be ideal for your property. Make decorating a fun chore by following these basic steps!

Sophie Eagan works for property in Edinburgh and enjoys sharing her knowledge of real estate and home improvement with others.