Archive for Home Improvement

Should You Remodel Your Kitchen?

Should You Remodel Your Kitchen?

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ranch-style-home-in-salinas-california_lConfused homeowners should keep a few key things in mind before doing a kitchen remodel. Does the investment fit into your current budget? Do you need to accommodate a new addition to your family? Perform an inventory check of kitchen appliances to see if it is time for a revamp. Buying new, energy efficient appliances cuts down on your energy bill and improves the overall safety of your kitchen.

Traffic Flow around Kitchen

Increase room around the workspace if more than one cook operates in your kitchen. Having frequent dinner parties might require you to open up your kitchen space to promote social interaction between people in separate rooms. Walkways in your kitchen should be at least 3 feet wide to allow for ample travel space while work aisles for multiple cooks should be about 4 feet wide. If you are convinced that you need more leg room for an active kitchen scene take the remodeling route today.

Gauge Efficiency

Are you still using a microwave model which was popular 5 years ago? You might be losing precious energy efficiency by using dated products in your kitchen. Remodel your kitchen if you need an appliance overhaul. Energy efficient refrigerators, disposals and dishwashers can save you a small fortune if you invest in a quality product. You can save both water and money by purchasing a low-energy consumption dishwasher with a half-load button, economy cycle and delay timer.

Keep Children in Mind

The number and age of your children might require you to do a full kitchen remodel. The design of your kitchen might pose a threat for young children. Maybe you had not envisioned these hazards during the days where you and your husband or wife were the only people using the kitchen. Old appliances can also pose a threat to children. Consider lowering your cabinets to give kids easy access to food. Extending your kitchen can also help you cook larger meals for a growing family. Be careful not to design countertops with sharp corners; children run the risk of being injured if they collide with a sharp, pointy counter. Carefully position your microwave to design a safe, kid-proof kitchen.

Consider Universal Design

Can people with disabilities access your kitchen space? Consider using a universal design to accommodate any visitor to your kitchen. Designing your kitchen with a broad range of people in mind can help you enjoy your room as you grow older. You will not need to make special adaptations or custom designs at a later date if you go the universal design route.

Location Location Location

If you want to keep an eye on your children playing in the yard consider repositioning your kitchen windows to allow in the optimal amount of light. Those who want to entertain frequently by adding a deck to their home would be wise to add a sliding door leading from the deck into the kitchen. Having quick and easy access between the two can help you work the grill effectively during parties. Make sure to build your door way at least 32 inches wide to promote easy passage.

About the Author: Ryan Biddulph can help you remodel your kitchen. He advises you to click the following link if you need a trusted residential kitchen remodeler in Virginia.

December 20, 2013 |  by  |  Home Improvement  |  Comments Off

Selling Your Home: A Primer on Staging

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ID-10068401The mere fact that many people are looking to buy a house at any given time should mean that selling yours should be a relative cake walk. However, this is not the experience of many sellers. You place your home on the market, only to see it sit there without offers, or have a parade of potential buyers come through, with the same result. Although there is no set formula that guarantees a quick home sale at anideal pricethere are lots of strategies that may facilitate a quicker sale. Unless you have a home that looks like it came out of an interior design magazine, which most of us do not, staging is one such strategy that can up the appeal factor of your abode.

Why Stage?

First, let’s discuss why you should seriously consider staging.  Many surveys by various organizations have found that staged homes often sell more quickly and for more money—a much desired combo for a seller. Much advice has been doled out to house hunters over the years. One of the best is looking past what is to see the potential, to see what could be. However it is a nugget of wisdom hard to put into practice. By and large, potential buyers see what is right now. They will form strong impressions the second they start that walkthrough. Although they know that none of the furniture will remain there and that they can change the carpet or repaint the walls, buyers still long to picture themselves within the home they are viewing. You need to do as much as you can to create a home that they can see themselves in now.

Consider Working with a Professional

Working with a professional stager can be a great idea. Even if you don’t think it is in your budget, an initial consultation on just one room can give you a bunch of great ideas to apply to the rest of the house. If you can afford to go the professional route, you will definitely succeed in creating an appealing home that will garner much more interest. Professional stagers know exactly what to fix and can serve as an objective party to assess the true condition of your home.

Cleaning and De-Cluttering are the Core

Creating a spotless space free of junk is at the heart of any successful staging strategy. Clean like you were expecting your judgmental mother-in-law to come and inspect every room. Hiring a professional cleaning crew may be a worthy investment. Get rid of all the clutter. Not only is it unsightly, it creates the illusion that you lack storage space. Rent a storage unit if need be. This is also a great opportunity to get rid of items which you no longer use. When it comes to clutter, evaluate the furniture in each room. Could you stand to move some stuff out to create a more streamlined, spacious look?

Wall Colors and Flooring are Key

The colors of your walls and the conditions of your floor are two things that will really stand out and set the tone for the overall appeal of the home. You may absolutely adore that bubblegum pink bathroom or black accent wall in your bedroom, but one of the key aspects of staging is to create a space with the broadest appeal possible. Repaint with more neutral tones. If your carpet is a bit worn, or a more eclectic shade, lay down new carpet in a more neutral shade or consider laying down hardwood. At the very least, get a professional cleaning.

Staging does not have to be an expensive endeavor, though you may need to spend a bit to really get your home in a good shape. However if it means getting more money for your home, you will recoup the costs easily.

About the Author:Kelli Cooper is a freelance writer who enjoys blogging about all things home improvement and real estate. If you are looking for carpet installation Phoenix AZ, check out the link for more information.

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December 19, 2013 |  by  |  Home Improvement, Real Estate  |  Comments Off

Tips to Create a Posh Patio

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ID-10015612If you have ever been on vacation at a nice resort, one of the first things that jump out at you is the posh atmosphere of the outdoor areas. Luxurious, yet comfortable and welcoming. Would you love to create that same type of look in your patio? Here are some tips to help you do just that:

Design with the Home’s Architecture in Mind

The ways you can design your patio are limitless, but keep in mind the style of your home when plotting your makeover. Look at the rest of your home to guide your selection of colors, materials and overall design.

Keep it Simple

The first rule in creating a posh patio space is keeping things simple. Opt for timeless patterns and shades rather than ultra-trendy looks you may tire of quickly. Neutral shades are always a good bet. Resist the tendency to mix a lot of colors and patterns—choose a main shade and build your design scheme around that. This is especially important if your patio area is surrounded by a variety of plants in all different textures.

Keep it Comfortable

While you want to create a look of luxury, do not sacrifice comfort as this is ultimately the most important consideration when it comes to creating a space to be enjoyed.  Choose comfortable furniture with plenty of cushioning. If you use the space a lot during the day, retractable window awnings are definitely worth considering to keep out the sun and create a more comfortable temperature. If your patio area is blocked by your roof, install a ceiling fan to ensure nice, cool breezes.


Lighting goes a long way in creating the desired atmosphere. Ideally, you will have a combination of standard and low voltage lighting. The former is important for making sure you can safely see when necessary, while the latter is ideal for entertaining. If you feel you need your standard voltage lighting on, consider installing dimmer switches to reduce its harsh effects. There is a variety of lights you can choose for your patio area, such as path lights, lantern lights, floodlights, brick lights, rope lights and deck lights. Place lights so that they provide illumination but are not shining in people’s eyes. This means placing standard voltage lights at least 7 feet above the ground and low-voltage lights at least two feet.

Plants and Flowers

No beautiful patio would be complete without some plants and flowers. Place them in decorative containers that match your design scheme. If you want to keep things as low maintenance as possible, look for plants that naturally grow in your climate zone. They require less watering, less care and are naturally resistant to local pests. Good choices for hot outdoor areas include angel’s trumpet, agave, angelonia, bamboo, banana, canna, lantana, mandevilla, passionflower, pentas, plumbago, salvia, sky vine, solanum and tropical milkweed.

Don’t Forget the Accents

No matter your patio design, don’t forget some tasteful accents to really pull the look together. This is where you can really let your personal style come through and make the space feel truly your own.

About the Author: Kelli Cooper is a freelance writer who enjoys  blogging about home improvement; if you are interested in learning more about awnings for your outdoor space, you can find more information at Sunesta.

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November 12, 2013 |  by  |  Home Improvement  |  Comments Off

Considerations for Purchasing an Above-Ground Pool

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Pools can be a blast for all ages. Somewhere for the kids to splash around on a hot summer’s day; the perfect relaxation spot after a long week at work. Above ground pools are a great option if you want to test the waters of pool ownership, or if you simply do not have the money to invest in an in-ground. Like most other purchases, you have many options to choose from, and many factors to consider to ensure you get the best pool for your needs. Here are some tips to guide your purchasing decision.

Deciding on the Location

The first step in purchasing an above-ground pool is deciding where you will put it. Clearly, you do not want to place it under trees, or it will constantly be filled with debris. But, placing it near trees and/or shrubs can be a good thing since they serve as natural windbreaks. This will cut down on evaporation and heat loss. Placing the pool where it will receive maximum sunlight will help keep the pool warmer naturally, meaning you need to rely less heavily on a water heater. Even if you are not thinking about it now, you also want to keep in mind that you may want additions, such as decks and walkways.

Shape and Size

You must measure the area where you plan to place the pool to determine the size and shape. Most above ground pools for sale come in oval and round, though there are some rectangular ones. Oval pools will have less swimming space than a round pool, but its shape will allow you to maximize the available space for the pool. Oval pools enable you to swim laps or play volleyball or basketball. Round pools will cost less and be easier to install. Another consideration is oval pools require extra side-wall bracing.

Choosing a Material

Once you have nailed down the shape and size, next comes choosing the material.  Your choices are steel, aluminum or resin. If you are looking for the most durable, a steel pool is your best bet. Aluminum pools weigh much less, but are naturally not as sturdy. Another drawback is that over time, it will oxidize, causing pitting in the pool and holes in the liner. These types of pools are easy to take apart and relocate.  Resin models are the most expensive, but have many benefits, such as requiring less maintenance and not corroding or retaining heat like the other two types. The material allows for the pool builders to sculpt and mold features such as curved seats.

Other Considerations

Check with your local zoning board about requirements for installing an above ground pool. In most areas, there are weight and height restrictions, and you must secure a permit for installation. Typically, there are also safety laws you must comply with post-installation, such as putting up a fence. Proceed with caution when choosing a pool company. Once pool-buying season hits, many shady dealers may try and reel you in. Beware of salesmen who speak badly about the pools that are on sale, and try to lure you into buying a more expensive one. Walk away from those who put pressure on you to sign a contract. Speaking of contracts, each expense should be clearly outlined well as the total cost and any financing arrangements.


About the Author:Kelli Cooper is a freelance writer who enjoys blogging about anything related to the home.

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September 12, 2013 |  by  |  Home Improvement  |  Comments Off

3 Considerations for Purchasing a Hot Tub

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Our home is our sanctuary—a place to unwind, decompress and recharge. A hot tub or spa can be a perfect addition to your haven. What’s better than having a nice, relaxing soak at the end of a hard day? When it comes to purchasing an big ticket item such as this, it is important to carefully consider your options to ensure your money is well-spent. Here are some important considerations to guide your decision.

What Do You Want Out of the Experience?

Hot tubs range from the most basic to deluxe models full of bells and whistles. The first step in choosing the right one for you is familiarizing yourself with the different features and deciding what you want or need and what you can do without. If you are just interested in the benefits of hydrotherapy, such as relieving stress and improving circulation, a more basic model will suit your needs. If you are hoping to turn your hot tub time into more of a romantic or entertaining experience, you might be interested in models with sound systems and mood lighting. Figuring out your needs beforehand will help you focus your search and prevent you from spending more money than you need.

Comfort Considerations

Buying a spa as a source of relaxation, entertainment or other fun stuff will not work out well if you buy one that is uncomfortable. The first thing you need to consider is size. How many people do you think will be using the tub? If you want a larger tub for the family or for entertaining, pay close attention to the size of the footwell—when the tub is at full capacity, you want everyone to have enough room to be comfortable. Sitting in a dry spa can give you some idea of comfort, but you should not purchase one without wet-testing it. Without this, you will have no idea what the spa is like until after you purchase it. If a dealer is not willing to do a wet test, strongly consider moving on.

Therapeutic Considerations

Not many household items can provide such deep health benefits as spas and hot tubs; the hot water and buoyancy can relieve joint pain and muscle aches by improving blood circulation. The massaging action can help relax you. Studies suggest that spending time in hot water before bed may promote a better night’s sleep. If therapeutic benefits are your motivating factor in purchasing a hot tub, there are several things you want to consider. Wet-testing spas will help determine if the jets are hitting the areas of your body you are most concerned with.

The types of jets and where they are placed is very important. In some spas, different seats have jets in different parts that target specific areas and you can switch between them. You should be able to customize the jet pressure as you see fit. If customization is important, you should definitely test a variety of models to ensure you purchase one that provides the desired amount of pressure.

About the Author:Kelli Cooper is a freelance writer who blogs about a variety of topics about purchasing products for the home.

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June 27, 2013 |  by  |  Home Improvement  |  Comments Off