Month: December 2016

Green Home Improvement Tips

These days, everyone wants to do their part to help the environment and cut down on waste. There are many obvious ways to do this, such as recycling or buying a hybrid car. There are other less obvious ways that can make a big impact. One of the best ways to conserve energy and, as a result, save money in the long run, is by doing a green home renovation. While this may seem like a daunting undertaking, with the right planning, it can be a relatively stress-free project that results in both measurable and non-measurable benefits.

To begin with, it is important to have a plan. Green home improvement differs from basic home repair because you are working toward an ultimate goal of making your home more efficient and environmentally friendly. It is advisable to work with a green contractor who has experience with this specific kind of renovation. The contractor can help you decide if you may need a drastic overhaul to achieve optimal conservation, or if a few small changes will suffice. A simple step towards going green is switching to energy-efficient light bulbs and installing motion detectors and timers that keep lights off when they are not needed.

A more involved way of making a home eco-friendly is by installing a new HVAC system (heating, ventilation and air conditioning). Your contractor can help you install a system that optimizes the space you have, with the most efficient use of energy. When installing a new HVAC system, it is important to keep in mind the climate that you live and the needs of your home.

It is also advisable to think green when selecting the products that you will use in your renovation. Not all materials are created equal, as many contain products that are harmful to the environment. Try to stick to products that are long-lasting, and contain recycled material that is eco-friendly. Also, by selecting products that are durable, you avoid having to replace them, and as such, are able to cut down on waste. Many green products can be found in home improvement stores, so be sure to some research before committing to a brand.

Window replacement is another way to conserve energy and cut down on costs. By installing windows with better insulation, you are reducing the amount of heat or air-conditioning that is wasted and your home is better able to heat or cool itself using natural resources. This is a significant way to reduce energy bills, since your home is more efficient and requires less energy to maintain.

Lastly, it is important to remember that maintaining a green home is an ongoing commitment. Be conscious of using eco-friendly cleaning products and other materials. Make sure to keep water use to a minimum, and always turn off electronics and appliances when not in use. While it is difficult to change old habits, it is vital that we all do our best to conserve resources and help our environment.

Tips on Painting a Room

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Tips on Painting a Room
It breaks down like this: prep day, prime day, paint day and clean up day.

What is prep day?

  • Moving the furniture, lamps, the TV, tables and chairs to the center of the room and cover with tarps or drop cloths
  • Take picture frames, mirrors, and clocks off the walls
  • Remove the door knobs and hinges, cabinet hardware, light switch plates and outlet covers
  • Patch holes or cracks – drywall mud (joint compound) and fiberglass tape will take care of the cracks, use spackle for the small jobs, and for textured walls use a product called Orange Peel Spray Texture by Homax. It is just a fantastic product that is sold in a spray can and has a dial to tune in the texture that you desire.
  • Put blue painter’s tape around doors, windows, and the tops of baseboards. Spend the extra money to get the Scotch Painters Tape for Delicate Surfaces. It is a product I have used many times now and when you peel it off it doesn’t remove the paint.
  • Cover wall and ceiling light fixtures if necessary with plastic bags. Again if necessary, it isn’t too often that the ceiling needs painted.

Prime day, paint day and clean up day are self explanatory.

Choose your colors wisely and keep the following 5 things in mind:

1. Are you going to sell anytime soon?

If you’re selling fairly soon stick with neutral colors. Stay away from dark rich colors like reds, deep blues, purples or yellows and definitely forget about faux painting your walls. Faux painting is just too personalized and most people don’t follow the directions 100% so they are left with a poorly painted wall.

2. Do you have a lot of colorful art, furniture, accessories?

If you have a red or purple couch you probably don’t want to choose bold paint colors because it will compete with the furniture. Boring beige and pale yellows is just fine if your our artwork is colorful.

3. Buy a fan deck on eBay and take your time!

There are just too many colors and so many designers that you could be at the store standing in front of the paint display for hours. Look for a fan deck on eBay and take your time. If you get a Behr fan deck, but you want Valspar paint at Lowe’s they can match that particular color so don’t worry about the brand.

4. Buy the samples!

Either buy the samples and paint an area of the wall or bring home the paint chips (or cards) and tape them to the wall. Live with the colors for a while and check out how different the color can look during the day with sunlight and during night with the lights on. Lighting makes a huge difference in how the color actually looks.

5. Are you planning on painting with a dark color?

If you are I have two words for you: Tinted Primer! Take it from me you will waste gallons of paint and lots of money if you try to skip the tinted primer. Primer has lots of binder in it and that helps the paint adhere to the wall and the tint gives the dark color a nice dark bottom base to work with which means less topcoat. The mistakes really stand out more with darker paints too. Most of us have white baseboards and white ceilings and any blemish shows up even more and will drive you nuts.

Don’t be cheap!

You think you’re going to save more by skipping the primer and you actually end up spending more. Again the primer has lots of binder in it and helps the topcoat adhere to the wall better. When you don’t prime you’re actually trying to paint over a glossy surface (the paint sheen could be eggshell, satin, gloss) and the paint doesn’t always dry correctly. When it doesn’t dry correctly the bottom coat tends to bleed through. This means you’re going to need a second coat. The premium paints on the market, I like the Valspar Signature paint, is so good that you only need one coat. So do the rough math: 1 coat of primer is $15/gallon and 1 coat of premium paint is $30/gallon so that’s $45 or 2 coats of $30/gallon premium paint which would be $60.

Buy good brushes and clean them. A good brush will last if you treat it right and will do a much better job so rinse the brush after every use. Buy the Shur-Line premium paint edger with wheels for the trim work and buy extra refills. Make sure to keep the wheels clean and you will be amazed at how professional your job looks.

For ceilings get the ceiling paint that goes on light blue or pink so you know what you have already painted. Don’t worry it then dries white.

Again the accessories you need are:

  • Good synthetic brushes probably 1.5, 2, and maybe a 3 inch brush
  • 3/8 nap rollers in a smooth, semi smooth, or rough texture depending on your walls
  • Foam roller or foam brushes for doors. The foam products don’t splatter the paint and give you a real nice smooth finish
  • Shur-Line paint edger’s with extra refills
  • Canvas drop cloths and tarps to keep the work area clean and protected
  • Scotch Blue Painters Tape for Delicate Surfaces
  • Aluminum tray and lots of tray liners
  • Orange peel textured spray for textured walls
  • Drywall mud (joint compound), putty knife, fiberglass tape, and spackling

To sum everything up just remember to prime, invest in a fan deck, live with the sample colors, spend a little extra on the accessories, consider your furniture and artwork (when selecting colors) and take your time.

Home Lighting And Home Improvement Tips

Home improvement also concerns room lighting. There are many purposes of home lighting. Most homeowners pay attention to their lightning fixtures while other neglects this certain aspect of the home. Aside from aesthetic purposes, home lighting is also for security, practicality and functionality. The right lighting can enhance the appearance of the room making it usable as well. There are lighting techniques that can make the room appear to be larger. While some would make an area look intimate or inviting. If you shop at the home section of a mall, you can find impressive collection of lighting fixtures. This is perfect if you are trying to achieve a certain look to match your decorating style.

There are different types of home lighting. The general lighting is used to provide brightness to a room. Living rooms usually have light fixtures like chandeliers so illumination of the area can be achieved without a problem. There are basic features that can be attractive and can match the whole theme of a particular room of the house. In case ceiling feature is not available, lamps are perfect alternative. They are perfect if you want to add style and personality. Be sure to go for fixtures that are easy on the eyes and complement the design of the area where it would be situated. If the room is bigger, track lighting is very practical to use.

Task lighting is meant for a specific purpose. Kitchen task lights should aid the preparation of the food. For the living area, it is good to have desk lamp for reading purposes. These kinds of lights should be strategically placed so it will not create shadows that can be distracting. Make sure that it is not bright enough because it could be a cause of eye strain.

Lighting book shelves and kitchen cabinets can be helpful as well. Accent lighting is perfect for painting or if you want to highlight a specific area. There are cabinets that can highlight its content. For those with bar area, there are suspended and pendant lighting which is perfect. It can also add to the appeal of the place.

For most homeowners the question now is the brightness of the light. The answer is dependent on where you it will be situated and its purpose. It is a good idea to have options when it comes to lighting a particular room. Living room or den would require dimmer lighting since it is a place where people can relax. There should also be task lighting since there are activities that could be done in the area like reading or playing board games. You can hire an electrician to install a switch where you can adjust the brightness of the lighting. Kitchen and bathroom would require brighter lights. This is also true for rooms that receive guest. This can surely affect the atmosphere of the area

If you pay attention to the purpose of the room, you will know what kind of lighting is needed. There are thousands of options when it comes to lighting but the most important thing is function and aesthetic. In terms of function, the home lighting should provide sufficient luminosity. It terms of aesthetic, this could create the mood of the area through colour and intensity.

If you will be lighting the living room, you need to situate the lamp at the back of the reader’s shoulder. Use halogen track lighting if you want to highlight framed piece of art. It is also good to accent book shelves. It is a good idea if you can have a dim switch in the particular area of the house. For the kitchen area, it is best if you choose bright general lighting. Make sure that you have individual lighting on the sink and range area. For those with bars and counter, it is a good idea to have pendant lights. Under cabinet lighting is actually good for kitchen.

Chandeliers are perfect lighting for dining area. If you have a long table, you can install pendant light but make sure that it is bright enough so people can see their food well. Perhaps the perfect lighting for bedroom is side lamps. This is a perfect place to have a dim switch. It is a good idea to have reading area in your bedroom. For children’s room, it is a good idea to have night light. In lighting the bathroom, there are shadow free-fluorescent light that are perfect for mirror area. It is a good idea to provide adequate lighting for makeup area.

Tips For Home Painting Design

As a homeowner, you most probably want to get rested from the boring look of your home. You would also go for redecorating your home with a new home painting design. Here are some worthy tips that you may adopt for home painting design and transition from one season to another.

The decorative painting is the term used to refer to the strategy of painting the home with the utilization of the steps such as sponging, stamping, stenciling, and using the ragging patterns for the walls right under the base coat. These strategies permit you to create a new environment for the home and lift up the atmosphere in a once dull and plain room. This thing is also so much easy and pocket-friendly to do.

Sponging is done through the use of a base of the paint mainly because the paint distribution there on the wall surfaces is rough and sporadic so therefore a texture appearance is created. This is a cool concept to adopt especially if you are going to use a dark paint coat for the base because what you need to come up with is the use of the lighter shade of those already present shades on the walls of your home. The effect that you want to produce is actually already of your own choice.

If you prefer to go for patterns and be creative with your home painting design, you may use the technique known as stenciling or stamping. This is one strategy that is mostly adopted by many families. The strategies of stenciling or stamping gives about some regulated design which allows the appearance of the wallpaper design over that of the base coat. One good advantage to this is that the design or pattern that you would create would always match with the decoration that you would have to employ for the season. You don’t need to become a great artist to be able to do wallpapers that are indeed lovely. All you need is to explore the depths of your imagination.

As you think about the transition that is going to be adopted for the seasonal home painting design of your preference, always come up with a vivid, lively, and bright set of colors especially if you want a sudden transition from winter towards summer or spring. The best summer colors include the green, yellow, blue, and other pastel colors. They have the quality to create a natural feeling of freshness straight into your home.

Home Improvement Tips Using Modern Furniture

Remodeling a home is expensive, especially if you want to integrate a new design or style into the interior of the abode. But if you want to cut down on home improvement expenses, then you might want to take advantage of equipping it with modern furniture to get two for the price of one — a new look and a new furniture.

Replace Bulky Items

Your first order of business is to replace bulky ancient furniture with streamlines modern furnishings. We can never deny the fact that furniture items made 10 to 20 years back are quite big. They take up large amount of space that we can use for other important need. To start with your home improvement project using modern furnishings, replace the big bad items with small and comfortable furnishings.

Planning Before Purchase

If you’ve made up your mind to do away with your antique furnishings and replace it with the latest modern furniture in the market then you need to go into a little bit of planning to get the best ones around.

One factor you need to consider in buying furniture items is the measurement. Not matter how streamline modern furniture may be, you still need to compliment it with the size of your home. Get a tape measure and start measuring the dimensions of the room so that you will know what size will best fit in it.

Next factor you need to consider is the design. Modern furniture design varies according to their designer. Even if it is tagged as “modern”, there may be certain features to it that gives off a vintage or a transitional feel. Determine the look you want your new home to have before purchasing a furniture item for it. To put it simply, either the furniture will give your home a new look or you want the furniture to compliment the existing theme of the residence — take your pick.

Windows Shopping, Cost Cutting

It is safe to say that you have a limited budget at your disposal to improve your home using modern furniture. This is one of the reasons why you opted for this strategy in the first place.

Such is the case; you need to do a little window shopping for modern furniture and compare each one out according to its design and price. You can wait for furniture shops and department stores in your area to go on sale or to put huge discounts on their furnishings before you start buying one for your very own.

General Home Improvement Tips to Increase Property Value

Maintaining the appearance of your home can seem costly when embarking on big home improvement projects such as repainting, replacing your windows, or renovating your kitchen. However, it is important to remember that these expenses are investments. By improving the appearance and function of your home, you can significantly increase the value of your property.

Kitchen Remodeling

Kitchen remodeling is one of the best ways to increase the value of your home. By adding modern touches such as the installation of granite or travertine countertops, new stainless steel appliances, and fine wood cabinetry, you can completely transform your cooking space. Additional touches such as new faucets, sinks, islands, and lighting fixtures can dramatically improve the look of your kitchen, while making it easier to prepare meals and entertain.

New Windows

Upgrading the windows in your home offers a number of benefits to property owners. First, windows come in a range of styles. From the shape and design of the windows, to the type of frame you choose, you can easily customize your home’s appearance with prefabricated units. You can choose sliding windows that open up and down or side to side, or you can go with windows that pull out.

In addition to improving the appearance of your home, new windows are also more functional. Because most older window models are not very energy-efficient, purchasing new windows can lower your power bills by reducing outdoor to indoor temperature transfer.

Repaint the Exterior

Giving your house a facelift by repainting the exterior can have a big impact on the sale price of your home. It is one of the best ways to dramatically makeover your home, especially if the paint on your home is peeling or chipping or you are changing the colors of your home. By choosing current colors that are in style, you can instantly add more buying appeal to your home.