Archive for Home Improvement
If you are actively thinking about selling your home in the near future, or simply want to make your home more valuable should you decide to sell it one day down the line, there are several ways you can accomplish this. But, it is important to remember that not all home improvements automatically mean you can get more for your house—they have to be home improvements that are attractive to the potential buyer. If you are thinking about where to start, here are a few worthwhile considerations.
For many, the kitchen is the heart of the home, and its state will be one of the most important considerations for someone looking to buy a new house. When done right, you can recoup anywhere from 60 to 120 percent of the costs. You want to create an attractive space, but be careful not to go overboard. Unless you already live in a super-plush home, pouring money into an ultra-deluxe kitchen may not get you the financial reward you hope for. The kitchen should be in line with the rest of the house and its style. For example, if you have a historic home full of quaint charm, a remodel full of sleek chrome and a design that looks more like a fancy restaurant kitchen is probably a big mistake. Also, most people probably do not want a kitchen of that magnitude so badly they would pay extra money for it. Just focus on making it look good.
Adding a Bathroom
Adding a bathroom to your home, whether half or full, may be right up there with a nice kitchen—it may even surpass it as a top improvement, according to the National Association of Home Builders. A half-bath may increase a home’s value by 10 percent while a full may tack on an additional 20 percent. This can be an expensive investment, but you can recoup a good deal of the costs. If a total remodel is out of the question due to finances, you can still make some significant improvements to existing bathrooms—new flooring and paint can go a long way.
Increasing Energy Efficiency
These days, there is a rapidly growing interest in conserving energy and being a better friend to the environment. This growing importance is also due to the fact that people are starting to have a greater awareness of just how much money can be saved by making energy-efficient changes to the home. Any home that has money-saving features will be attractive to potential buyers, and they will feel better about doing their part to help the environment. The best part about this project is that you will reap benefits while still living there since you will have lower energy bills. You can save up to 2,500 hundred dollars a year through means such as installing energy-efficient insulation, sealing cracks around the house (the US Department of Energy says that the total leaks in an average house add up to the equivalent of a 3×3 wall) and getting an energy-efficient water heater.
Kelli Cooper is a freelance writer who blogs about all things home improvement; if you are in need of Chicago window replacement, she recommends going with Gilkey, the most trusted window replacement company in the country.
Of the many elements of a garden, the flowers are one of the most important. This is where the real beauty will shine through. If you are starting a garden and are at a loss for which flowers to choose, here are some tips to get you started.
Determining Sun Exposure
Flowers differ in the optimal amount of sunlight they need to grow properly. Before deciding on plants, it is a good idea to examine where you will be planting your garden and marking off the different spots based on sun exposure. Observe the space for about a week to make sure you accurately mapped the space. When choosing your plants, make sure you pay close attention to the sunlight requirements listed.
Annuals and Perennials
Flowers basically come in two forms—annuals and perennials. Annuals go through their whole cycle in one growing season and will die, meaning they will need to be replanted every year. Perennials can survive for years, sometimes decades. While the part above the soil may die each winter, the below part is still alive and kicking and will come back in the spring. Typically, they will only bloom for a few weeks or months—when they bloom and for how long will depend on the particular plant. Many gardeners use a mix of both—perennials can provide structure and form, while planting a lot of annuals means you can have a garden full of flowers always. If you want to establish your garden quickly, planting a lot of annuals will help get you up and running; it can take up to a year for perennials to first bloom, depending on the flowers you choose. You can also plant flowers that have already sprouted.
Choosing a Color Scheme
When it comes to choosing a color scheme, the different strategies for combining color are numerous. If you really enjoy one particular color, you can go with a monochromatic scheme, where you focus on all different shades of one color. The color wheel can also help you choose a color scheme. An analogous scheme involves choosing colors within three wedges from each other. You can also choose a complementary scheme where you pair colors that are opposite from each other on the wheel. You can also go with colors that are warm or cool. There are no set rules and you can employ a mix of strategies for choosing the flowers in your garden. These tips can simply help give you some structure.
It is also important to consider the other elements you want to include in your garden when picking your flowers. If your aim is a more formal appearance, the type of flowers you pick would be different than if you were going for an informal look. If you want to add statues, benches, miniature garden pieces, benches and other accessories, you want to make sure everything blends together nicely.
About the Author: Kelli Cooper is a freelance writer who blogs about a variety of home improvement and design topics.
With the push to go green gaining more steam as time goes on, many people have a growing interest in creating a more eco-friendly home. Not only is it good for the planet, but it can be good for our health as many conventional home goods are laden with chemicals and other substances that may cause all sorts of problems from headaches to breathing difficulties. As an expectant parent, you naturally want the best for your baby and the idea of an eco-friendly nursery may appeal to you. Here are some tips for designing a green and healthy space for your most precious possession.
Look for Paint Low in or Free of VOCs
VOCs, or volatile organic compounds, can be manmade or occur naturally in certain solids and liquids; they are emitted as gases and may cause a variety of health issues. Conventional paints have them in a particularly high concentration and they can continue to be emitted into the air long after the initial application. Your first step in designing an eco-friendly nursery is using paint that is either free of these chemicals or contains lower-concentrations. Regardless, to be on the safe side, paint the nursery at least several weeks before the baby is due to be sure that any fumes are completely gone by time the room is occupied.
Standard carpet poses numerous problems from an eco-friendly perspective, namely that is contains loads of chemicals that will seep into the air. It will also hold onto dust and other allergens with a vengeance. Good alternatives include linoleum, responsibly harvested wood (look for the FSC logo, which stands for the Forest Stewardship Council), the quickly growing grass bamboo or cork, which is harvested from the bark and does not require the tree to even be cut down. There are also more eco-friendly forms of carpet that are made from natural materials and also dyed with natural materials.
Your baby’s delicate skin will be coming into contact with the bedding material quite a bit. Look for sheets and other baby bedding products made with made with 100 percent cotton or other natural fibers such as wool. Look for indications that coloring was derived from natural dyes, water-based dyes or vegetable dyes. Look for eco-friendly mattresses and mattress covers that are free of phthalates and other chemicals. In 2009, many types of phthalates were banned from crib mattresses and covers so if you are looking at used bedding, make sure the products were produced after this period.
The crib is the most important thing you will buy for your baby and there are many eco-friendly options. Traditionally produced cribs can be loaded with harmful substances such as formaldehyde and polyurethane; they are also harvested through unsustainable means. Eco-friendly cribs are made with responsibly harvested hardwood and are free of toxic finishes. Of course, like any crib purchase, it is important to check if the crib in question has ever been the target of the recall and that it is approved by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC.)
About the Author: Tori Swaim is the owner of NewArrivalsInc, producer of quality baby bedding and other products for your newborn; you can learn more at http://www.facebook.com/NewArrivalsInc.
Owning a home can be costly. Besides fixed costs such as your mortgage or insurance, there are unexpected expenses that come up such as maintenance and repairs. Necessary repairs can be especially problematic, and having a plan in place to deal with them in the most cost-effective manner possible is a good idea. This is where a home warranty comes in—in a nutshell, it provides coverage for the repair or replacement of appliances and systems in the home that will eventually break down from normal wear and tear. But, like any warranty or insurance product, there are lots of important considerations to take into account when going this route.
Understand Your Role in Maintaining Covered Items
When considering a home warranty, it is important that you understand your role in maintaining your systems and appliances. You are expected to perform the routine maintenance required to keep them running properly. If you find yourself needing a repair or replacement, and it is determined that the problem stemmed from neglected maintenance, the company is not going to honor your claim. So, if you are hoping that a home warranty will protect you from having to spend a lot of money to fix or replace things in your home, you must be prepared to care for them properly along the way.
Have a Thorough Understanding of the Contract
Contracts of any kind can be quite long with lots of fine print. Unfortunately, it’s rare for people to read the entire thing. I cannot count the number of times I have simply signed something or clicked ‘’I agree to the terms and conditions’’ online without more than a cursory glance. For many things, this will probably not cause an issue, but with something like a home warranty, it is probably a good idea to go through it thoroughly. You want to have a clear understanding of what is covered and what is not, whether there are any coverage limits when it comes to replacing certain item and how the claims process is handled to name a few important points.
Once the contract goes into effect, you will have a very hard time arguing against anything in it. The Better Business Bureau of Texas reported that a majority of rejected claims they received complaints about were denied because the customer did not maintain the appliance or system properly—something that was likely explicitly stated in the contract and glossed over.
Make Sure Your New Home Gets a Thorough Inspection
If you are hoping a warranty will save you from excessive costs associated with purchasing your home, make sure you get a thorough inspection of your systems and the rest of the house. You may need to take care of some issues to ensure you get your desired coverage should you need it. For example, if something is currently not up to code, a home warranty is unlikely to cover any repairs necessary to make it so. It is also unlikely to cover any repairs or replacements that result from problems that existed before the warranty went into effect.
About the Author: Kelli Cooper is a freelance writer who covers all things real estate; if you are in need of a Las Vegas home warranty, visit national home warranty USA, which also provides services for the rest of Nevada and Arizona.
Now that the holiday season is here, it’s time to start thinking about how you are going to decorate your home. You are likely going to put up a Christmas tree, hang your stockings on the fire place, and maybe add some greenery to your mantle. While you may know exactly what you want to do for the inside of your home, it may be difficult to decide what to do on the outside of your home. Should you leave it alone or go all out with the decorating? Here are five ways you can be sure your outdoor holiday lighting will look its best.
1. Find The Style That Matches Your Home
Finding the Christmas lights that best match the style of your home will help ensure that the look you are creating isn’t too simple, but not too over the top. Look at your home to see what some of your home’s best features are. If it is the beautifully arched doorways, then consider putting some Christmas lights there to help make that part stand out. In addition to being sure the holiday lighting matches your home’s style, you may also consider making the outside decorations match the indoor decorations. For example, if you have colored lights on your Christmas tree, then consider using colorful lights on the outside of your home as well. If you want to have the best of both worlds, you can use colored lights on the inside of your home and white lights on the outside, or vice versa.
2. Look For Inspiration
Looking through magazines is a great way to find good ideas on how to decorate your home. If you are still looking for ideas, try taking a drive around town to see how other people have decorated their homes. You don’t want to steal their ideas, of course, but they may help give you some inspiration for how you want to decorate your home. Another great option is to look on the internet. There are nearly limitless resources with great ideas on how to decorate your home and make it truly individual and beautiful.
3. Check Quality Of The Lights
Your Christmas lights need to be of good quality in order to be sure that your holiday display will stay looking nice throughout the entire holiday season. If a string of lights goes out in the middle of the season, it can make a Christmas display go from looking attractive to looking tacky. Checking the quality of lights and being sure they all work beforehand will save your home from becoming an eyesore and also save you the time and hassle of replacing the lights midway through the season.
4. Decorate More Than Just The House
There are many different places on your house that you can decorate. You can put Christmas lights on your roof, around your windows and doors, or on your railings. Your house can be a great place for putting up Christmas lighting, but there are several other places you could put lights as well. For example, putting Christmas lights on your trees can be a great way to add a little something special to your holiday lighting. Lighting up your sidewalks or walkway can be not only a nice decorating touch, but also a way to help your guests see where they are going when it’s dark outside. If you want to do something a little more outside of the box, then you may consider putting Christmas lights in your yard.
5. Get A Second Opinion
If you are still stumped for ideas, or want to make sure the ideas you have will really look good on your home, consider asking someone you trust, such as a friend, neighbor, or relative. They can give you their input, and may even be able to come up with ideas you never would have thought of. Not only can they be great for giving you ideas or opinions, it is also helpful to have a second person helping you decorate your home. It can make it a more fun experience, as well.
The options for decorating your home are nearly endless. You can go simple or do an intricate design on your home. There are many different ways to find inspiration, and a lot of different places you can go for ideas. No matter what you decide to do, the most important thing is that you love the way you have decorated your home, and that is original and fits who you are.