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How to Live in a Fresh, Clean and Comfortable Home

Your home is where you should feel most at rest. It is where you find comfort after a long day of work, or enjoy your time with your family in warmth and laughter. Often, we decorate our homes and do the odd feather dusting, but we’re rarely reminded that things can be ordered another way – or that it’s time to change some things for the better. Sometimes people even forget what details they have in their home. Can you remember what is on the walls of your living room? Changing something about your home can be a step to changing your mood in a positive way. To turn your home to a refreshing arena of your life, start by following these simple steps.

Green is the Color

There is a long-term connection between people and the environment. For hundreds of thousands of years, humans were surrounded by green spaces, being constantly in touch with nature. Regardless of whether you live in a big industrial city or a village, adding some green to your home can have great mental health benefits. Green is a calming color associated with nature and so you may wish to add a few plants into the spaces of your home. This will give it a refreshing and vibrant feel and add to this feeling of bucolic bliss.

Tidying and Cleaning

Keeping your home clean and tidy might feel like a chore – but it’s the key cornerstone to being comfortable and relaxed in your most precious and safe space. Being proactive is key. Gradually, you can teach yourself to clean the dishes right after you finish eating. Once the trash is full, take it out. Making a mess in the living room should lean you to spend a small amount of time to clean it immediately. Keeping yourself organized in that manner will prevent responsibilities from accumulating into a burden on your shoulders. For bigger cleaning projects, you can hire professionals who have tools that help them do things more quickly and efficiently, allowing you to free your time for something else. If you’re a London-dweller, for instance, you can hire West Kensington carpet cleaners to take care of the huge task of cleaning the carpets. Both in big and small house cleaning occasions, keep up with the task right when it emerges in order to maintain a clean refreshing home.

Space to Breath

While decorating your home, keep in mind that how you order things reflects into your mind. Over-stacking things you don’t use or need can make you feel overwhelmed. You may develop a negative mindset, dodging many obstacles to your movement that could be recycled or stored more efficiently. Keeping space in the house and allowing light to pass through it can bring many positive benefits to the psychological situation of yourself and your family. Keep space in your house for yourself – and curate a space to feel truly at home in.

Your home reflects who you are. Giving yourself some time within that space to feel comfortable and relaxed can pay off through other aspects of your life – and this article details ways in which you can achieve a sense of calm belonging when at home.

 

5 Quick Ways to Cut Down on Your Energy Bills All Year-Round

Everyone worries about their bills at some point and household energy bills are often one of the big expenses in any household. That’s why it’s important to keep them affordable as much as possible. Luckily, there are many things you can do to ensure your bills are kept under control, and it usually means just making a few small changes to your lifestyle.

  • Get a smart meter

Around half of households in the USA have a smart meter, so if your home hasn’t had one set up yet, it’s worth considering. A smart meter is a good way of seeing how much you’re spending every time you run the dryer, cook dinner, or take a hot bath so that you can budget appropriately.

  • Turn down your thermostat a couple of notches

You probably wouldn’t notice if someone turned your thermostat down a couple of Fahrenheit, yet you can save about 10% on your bills by having your heating turned down just a little. Many people are used to wandering around their house in t-shirts, even in the middle of winter, so keep yourself bundled up, and you won’t have to spend so much on energy. Wear slippers and have a blanket nearby on the couch, so if you feel cold, try snuggling up first, then turning the heating up second.

  • Get your appliances serviced

As appliances age, they become less energy efficient, but there’s usually no reason to replace them. Get things around your house serviced regularly, and they’ll last for longer, as well as giving you peak performance. For example, find an air conditioning specialist to carry out a service, and your system will work more efficiently and cost less to run. It can help you avoid those costly summer energy bills from running the air con all day.

  • Check your insulation

Poorly installed insulation could mean money is escaping from your roof and walls every day. If you often feel drafts and have to turn up the heating to cover them, or you find certain rooms are warmer than others, then it might be because of poor insulation. Newer homes usually have better insulation than older properties, but you should still check it every year and replace it with thicker insulation if needed.

  • Unplug appliances if not in use

It’s easy to get in the habit of keeping things plugged in all the time, even if you’re not planning on using them any time soon, but unplugging unused items can save energy and save you money. Unplug everything from the TV to the toaster when not in use, and you’ll soon notice the savings on your energy bills. Even a few cents soon add up over the year.

Saving energy doesn’t mean you have to sit in a cold or boiling hot house and not enjoy your life. You can still save money on your bills while living comfortably, and if you follow the above tips, you won’t notice much difference, other than the smaller bills coming through your door.

 

4 Ways to Make Your Property More Inviting

 

If you have been living in your home for the past few years, it can start losing its physical appeal if it lacks maintenance. Old houses can look dull and boring, especially if owners are not making much of an effort in making the place look more appealing to others. If you are planning to sell your home in the future or you want to make a good impression, there are many ways to make your property look beautiful. Here are four things that you can do to boost the appeal of your property quickly.

Beautify your surroundings

If you want people to notice your house instantly, the best thing to do is to plant some colourful flowers and plants all around your garden. You can also install a tiny fence to protect your plants from wild animals. However, before doing that you should check out the services of a party wall surveyor Manchester offers, to ensure that your fence will not go beyond your neighbours’ property.

Accentuating some parts of the house is also a great idea by adding plant boxes near the front windows and some hanging plants by the doorway. Plants can give the house a more refreshing look which most people would love to see.

Keep your lawn well manicured

You do not need to have green fingers to make your yard look like something you see in magazines. You can take care of your lawn by using a lawn mower at least once a week. Install a water sprinkler in the middle of the garden to ensure that the grass and plants get an adequate amount of water every day. Find time to remove weeds and dried leaves from the area. If you find it challenging to maintain real grass, then you have an option to replace it with artificial options.

Make your front door stand out

One of the first things that most people notice when they come by your house is your front door. Many homes have front doors that are less appealing to the eye. Instead of replacing your door, why not paint it with a more vibrant colour for a change? If you are scared to try out new colours, then maybe now is the time to go bolder with your choices. Remember that making a safe choice is good, but it is not always the best.

Do not forget to replace some lighting and fixtures

Make your guests feel welcomed by lighting up the entrance of your home by installing a few lamps right at your front door. You can replace some of your old bulbs with LEDs to make the area brighter, and they last longer. Choosing the best lighting fixtures will give an impression of a bigger space. Avoid using dim lights in your living room, dining area, and the kitchen because it provides the house with a lazy vibe.

There are many ways to make your home more attractive. There is no harm in trying some DIY projects for a change.

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2019 Furniture Trends to Inspire Your Home Décor

 

Furniture trends come and go, and while some styles are considered classic and trendy every year, there are some that are no longer in fashion. Outdated furniture can make a home look boring. But since buying new furniture can be a significant expense, you can get inspiration from current trends and incorporate a few of the elements in your home’s existing interior. If you are looking for ideas, here are the top furniture trends for 2019.

Natural and sustainable materials

Sustainability is a concept that infiltrated the furniture industry with the ultimate goal of ensuring that materials are ethically sourced from local and sustainable sources. Many furniture manufacturers sell sets, like the Ashley furniture Flynnter collection, to give customers the option to buy several pieces at a more affordable price. Furniture sets are not only economical but also help reduce waste by buying from one source with the same quality and consistency in craftsmanship.

There are also many furniture manufacturers that experiment with new materials like bamboo or reclaimed wood to create architectural pieces that are sure to be a conversation piece for any home.

Custom and handmade furniture

Bespoke furniture is once again trendy as more consumers are willing to support small businesses and promote their work. Custom pieces are pricier, but the quality is excellent. You can also collaborate with the furniture maker in designing a piece that reflects your design aesthetic.

Velvet upholstery

Velvet is slowly making a comeback and is popular for creating an interior with a more dramatic effect. Velvet is plush and luxurious but also tricky to maintain. It is not a recommended fabric for individuals with young children and pets.

Metallic accents

Combining soft upholstered pieces with metal frames is a furniture trend that is bound to become more popular in the coming years. This style is both contemporary and classic which is perfect for homes looking for a transitional design.

Floral patterns

Floral patterns are making a huge comeback this year, but with a more modern approach. If you want to incorporate florals in your interior, you can add small accents such as throw pillows or chintz curtains for that rustic, yet modern, take on a traditional design element.

Canopied beds

Wrought iron canopy beds are back in style. Look for simple, clean lines that are not too bulky. An updated take on this trend is to use darker colors and simple designs. A four-poster bed is indeed the epitome of luxury for bedrooms.

Mixed materials

Mixing different types of metals and materials to create furniture is another significant trend for this year. You can attempt to recreate this trend by adding gold light fixtures and chairs with silver legs. To avoid a cluttered appearance, focus on one area of your house to incorporate this design.

High gloss furniture

High-gloss furniture took a backseat during the last couple of years but is making a comeback. High-gloss décor lends a modern appearance to a room, but be careful not to add too many high-gloss pieces. Choose a few pieces strategically placed to catch the light and make the room look brighter and more spacious.

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4 Things to Consider Before Starting Home Improvement Projects

 

Home improvement projects can be fun and exciting endeavors to tackle, and for a good reason: not only does the process of modernizing or overhauling a house provide a good learning experience, but very few things can match the satisfaction of enjoying the desired results produced. But as enjoyable as these projects are to take on, they can just as easily be as stressful. And depending on the scope of the project, expenses can quickly spiral out of control if left unchecked. To this end, here are a few things to consider before starting a home improvement project.

1. Choose the right contractors

No matter how skilled and knowledgeable you may be, it’s not uncommon for the do-it-yourself approach to cause more than just a few problems. As such, it makes sense to seek consultation and the services of professional contractors before you decide to start any home improvement project, especially for large scale undertakings. In this way, not only are you far more likely to get a more accurate estimate of the costs but also an insight into the overall feasibility of the project as well.

2. Always consider all of your options

Whether you’re looking for equipment or a junk removal service, it’s good standard practice to consider all of your options before making a decision carefully. Time invested in doing so can pay dividends not only in the quality of materials and services that you procure but also the level of services that you acquire for the project.

3. Stick to one task at a time

It’s a common mistake for many homeowners to try and tackle as many jobs as possible to finish a home improvement project quickly. While this might sound like a productive approach, dividing our focus can make us more susceptible to mistakes that can lead to potentially costly as well as time-consuming repairs. As such, it makes sense to stick to one task at a time. In this way, you will minimize the risks of mistakes and finish the project much more efficiently as a result.

4. Have a plan and stick to it

Having a plan is a lot more important to home improvement projects than some might give it credit for. After all, a plan not only allows the tasks and jobs that the project entails to have a consistently high level of productivity, it will also allow you to better juggle your day-to-day life alongside it with ease. More importantly, it should also keep your expenditure from spiraling out of control and even help you save more money as a result.

There’s no denying that home improvement projects can be challenging and expensive. But while the tasks often require a great deal of time and effort to achieve, it doesn’t always have to entail budget-breaking costs and difficulty. The key is adopting a methodical approach, and by keeping these top tips in mind, not only are you far less likely to encounter problems that can potentially push the project’s timeframe back, but you will also maximize your chances of getting the desired result without spending more than what you have to as well.

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Cheap DIY Garden Design Ideas

Making your garden beautiful does not have to be expensive. If you don’t have the budget to hire a professional landscaping service, all you need is some elbow grease and a lot of creativity. The first thing you need to do is survey your space. Think about the purpose of the design aspects you want to add to your yard or garden. Are you thinking about putting a small patio in your backyard? Do you want a paved pathway?

Landscape architects and designers often incorporate inexpensive materials for their creations. You can muster a few of these yourself along with the ideas below.

Focus on ground cover and pavement 

One of the simplest ways you can create a visual impact in your yard is to start with the pavement. There are a lot of options available for you to consider. You can use cement, natural stone, resin-bound paving from Sureset for gardens, and many other materials. Some paving materials are more expensive than others. For example, natural quarried stone like marble is more expensive. If you are looking for a cheaper alternative, consider a resin-bound pavement instead.

For a more artistic appeal, lay pavement in geometric patterns and plant creeping plants to cover the ground in between. The contrast between pavement and grass creates a stunning design that will look great in your garden.

Don’t spend too much on plants

One way you can save on the cost of landscaping is to ask your friends to give you small cuttings of plants and flowers they have in their gardens. After a few weeks of care, these cuttings will be ready for transplanting in your garden.

Add pots and planters

The contrast in height adds another visual element to any garden. Instead of putting all foliage on the ground, you can mix and match by using inexpensive pots and planters. That will spark more creativity as you choose different shapes that will match the overall look of your garden.

Have a variety of perennials

Perennials are an excellent investment for any garden because you are guaranteed blooms every year. You can combine perennials that have different coloured flowers like purple allium and yellow coneflowers for a stunning contrast.

Consider adding ornamental grass

Another trend in landscaping is adding ornamental grass, which is low-maintenance and cheap and adds a contemporary feel to any garden. You can use it as borders or in-between flowering plants for additional contrast. Some examples of ornamental grass include flax, blue oat grass, feather reed grass, and fountain grass. Ornamental grass looks better when planted in clusters along with other perennials or annual plants for a garden that looks great year-round.

Incorporate unexpected elements and materials  

To add a unique twist to your garden, you can add unexpected details such as steel or recycled materials. These pieces can add an artistic element to your garden. Your garden should reflect your personality. Even if you don’t spend much on landscaping, a bit of imagination and lots of creativity can help you be proud of the space you create.

Guide To Basic Rendering Techniques

The exterior and interior walls of any building or home need a coat of plaster material for improved strength. Render also adds fireproof and weatherproof properties to the foundation of any structure. For internal surfaces, plastering creates an acoustic sound barrier and prepares the area for decorating with paint or wallpaper.

Rendering and plastering require skill and practice to master. Nevertheless, even small DIY projects involving plasterwork are achievable. Before you consider taking on a plastering project, consider the recommendations below.

Choosing the right render 

There are various rendering materials used today. The most basic exterior render usually contains cement, sand, and some filler. For interior rendering, plasterers often use gypsum-based plaster material. Plasterboard or brickwork is the background surface for gypsum-based plaster. For low suction background surfaces, applying a basecoat precedes plastering. The basecoat acts as a barrier to prevent moisture absorption before the Parex render dries completely.

The right plaster material depends on the surface to which you will apply it. You can find a variety of Parex supplies suitable for different background surfaces and finish. Examples include Parex paraguard, monorex GM, and monorex gf.

Preparing surfaces for rendering

A crucial step to ensuring a quality finish is removing dirt and debris from the surface. Wash off any oil and paint residue before applying the basecoat. Basecoat is necessary when the background surface has low suction. A commonly used basecoat to enhance plaster absorption is a mixture of PVA glue and water.

Mixing plaster material 

The mix ratio of render material determines the resulting finish. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for the correct ratio of render and filler. For convenience, you can buy pre-mixed Parex rendering supplies where you only need to add the right amount of water. Apply water in small quantities to get the desired consistency.

Applying plaster material

Novice plasterers can use wooden battens as a guide to get the right thickness. You can nail these at the edges to create a clean, even plaster finish. Slowly apply the plaster in swift, stable motions. With the aid of a straight edge, you can level and smoothen the resulting plastered surface. The plaster coat should be allowed to dry completely before adding another layer.

Choosing the right plaster finish 

You can apply different finishing techniques on the last coat of plaster for decorative purposes. Below are different types of plaster finish:

  • Trowel finish. The simplest way to finish a layer of plaster is to use a wooden float to skim the surface and create a smooth surface.
  • Sponge finish. To create a sponged effect, use a damp sponge and mop it over the plaster surface. The sponge should not be too wet, or it will wash off the render.
  • Roughcast finish. Instead of applying the render carefully onto the surface, it is flicked and thrown to create a rough finish. This type of finish is suitable for exterior walls.
  • Textured finish. Coarse aggregate such as pebbles or gravel is added to the plaster mixture to create this finish.

Plasterers are also recommended to consider ambient temperature before applying plaster. When the weather is too hot, plastering earlier in the day is ideal so that heat in the background surface will not absorb the water out of the render.

3 Advantages Of Keeping A Great Garden

We all like to keep our homes neat and tidy and to show them off to their very best, but that doesn’t mean you should concentrate solely on what’s between your four walls. A garden can be the crowning glory of any home, and an ideal place to relax as well as a perfect place to entertain guests. They’re not the only benefits of maintaining a great garden, as these three examples show.

An Excellent Way To Keep Fit

However old you are, keeping fit and active is essential if you want to lead a full and healthy life, and garden work and maintenance is a great way to do this. There are lots of jobs involved in the process of keeping a garden looking great, and all of them provide an excellent work out for your arms, legs, and cardiovascular system. From mowing the lawn to collecting leaves and garden waste, planting, weeding and turning over soil and turf, you can really work up a sweat in the garden, and that means that you’re burning off calories. The number of calories burned will depend upon how vigorously you carry out the activities, but weeding can consume around 200 to 400 calories per hour, whilst raking and bagging leaves for an hour can use up to 450 calories.

Relaxation Whenever You Need It

Many people spend considerable sums of money on going on relaxing breaks, but the perfect spot to relax could be just outside their own home. It is very peaceful than sitting in your garden on a sunny day or golden evening, reading a book, listening to music, or simply watching the clouds drift by. Studies have shown that gardening can be one of the best ways to beat stress, and this quality can be even more beneficial when you simply sit and enjoy the fruits of your labor. For the ultimate stress buster, add a Japanese-style water feature, and add a touch of Zen to your property.

Boosting Your Property Value

Whether you’re looking to sell your property in the near future or want a nest egg to leave your children, it makes sense to keep the value of your property as high as possible. Having a good looking and well-maintained house will certainly help with this but having an immaculate garden and exterior landscape can also help to boost the value of your property. Expert websites such as Lovebackyard.Com are full of hints and tips on how to keep your garden in pristine shape all year round, and this could pay dividends for you and your dependents.

Looking after your garden can help you get fit and stay fit, fight the stresses of everyday life, and can even increase the value of your property as a whole, so you should never neglect your gardening duties. Having a great garden is also aesthetically pleasing, of course, and is sure to impress your neighbors and visitors to your home. Keeping your garden pristine can be easier than you think, and once you’ve started, you won’t want to stop.

Ways To Save Costs Around The Home

With budgets getting tighter and paychecks already squeezed to the max, household bills are sometimes a worry for many people. This can be especially true during the winter months when you are trying to get through a cold snap. To make things a little more comfortable, there is a range of things you can do to help reduce overall bills and make your home feel more cozy even when it is chilly outside. Some things you can do whatever your budget and others might require a little investment to make more significant savings down the line. However, if you’re looking to make overall cost savings, check out these handy tips to reduce household bills.

Insulate the roof and walls

The roof and walls of your home are some of the most well-known causes of heat loss, and this can drive up your bills. If you have an older property, insulation will be able to help regulate the temperature, which will, in turn, have positive effects on how consistently the heat stays in your home. This will mean you won’t have to keep turning the thermostat up and down to get the right temperature which helps reduce bills.

Keep the thermostat at a comfortable temperature

If you keep fiddling with the temperature settings on your heating, this will lead to a less efficient way of heating the house. By keeping it at a set temperature that everyone finds comfortable, it will click in and out, as and when it is needed. If you do feel the cold, it might be a good idea to layer up a little as constantly changing the settings not only affects how much more energy you use, it can also affect the boiler as it will be working harder to support the constant changes.

Seek out any draughts

Draughts are one of the most frustrating causes of heat loss and sometimes can be challenging to locate, as they are often quite small. Plugging these draughts will help to keep that cold air out and stop any unnecessary chilly spots around the home. Check areas such as windows, large keyholes, and loft hatches and be sure to prevent the air coming in.

Upgrade your windows

If you don’t have double or triple paned windows, you could benefit from an upgrade. Windows can be one of the biggest contributors to heat loss in a home, and you’ll undoubtedly notice the difference if you decide to invest in new ones. They are designed to keep the heat in, and the cold out, plus will reduce your bills in the long term. This might be a more substantial investment but getting a double glazing quote from a variety of suppliers will help you save costs on both installation and future bills.

There are many ways to save costs around the home. Some might be quick fixes, and others require a little more investment, but making these changes will help your property become more energy-efficient and cost-effective for the future.

The Importance of Sustainable Neighborhoods

If you’re curious about the importance of planning sustainable neighborhoods, Terra Group has some tips to discover 4 reasons why it’s important for cities to build sustainable neighborhoods.

The Importance of Sustainable Neighbourhoods:

1. Neighborhood planners need to ensure that growing neighborhoods will have access to a wide variety of essential facilities and services

As a neighborhood grows and spreads out, it’s important for its local council as well as assigned neighborhood planners and real estate developers to ensure that the residents of the neighborhood in question will have adequate access to a wide range of public facilities and services.

As an example, as a neighborhood grows larger, its public schools may not be able to accommodate growing demand for placements. As another example, if a neighborhood grows by several thousand residents, the neighborhood may require more bus routes and public transportation services, in order to effectively serve its growing population.

Other examples of public services which a growing neighborhood may require access to include doctors offices, public libraries, swimming pools and parks.

2. Neighborhoods need to ensure that green areas are factored into future neighborhood plans

In order for neighborhoods to remain safe, healthy places for individuals to call home, neighborhoods need to offer plenty of green areas such as public parks and trails. As humans are not meant to live in areas which lack life. Neighborhoods should plan to offer enough wide open spaces for future generations to enjoy.

So instead of planners setting aside public land to create parks for their current population, planners need to look ahead to the future, to make sure that there is enough public land set aside for future generations to enjoy in 50 years time.

One idea which neighborhood planners may be interested in considering is setting aside land for communal gardens, which will provide the community with fresh, healthy produce. Which may be a godsend for families who may struggle to afford fresh fruits and vegetables on a weekly basis.

3. Neighborhoods need to prioritize pedestrian walkways, cycleways and public transport

In order to encourage residents to lead healthy active lifestyles, neighborhood planners need to ensure that pedestrian walkways and cycleways are factored into future neighborhood plans. As if there is lack of public access to walkways and cycleways residents will be forced to drive everywhere, which is not a healthy option. However, if well lit, well-paved pedestrian walkways and cycleways are built, they will attract plenty of traffic.

4. Neighborhoods which aren’t planned out well may decline in future decades

If a neighborhood lacks adequate pedestrian walkways, green spaces and public facilities and amenities, there is a high chance that individuals will choose to leave the neighborhood and that the neighborhood may fall into decline as a result. As an example, local shops may shut shop and an area, which may cause public areas to fall prey to vandalism.

In conclusion, it’s crucial for city planners to carefully plan out future neighborhoods in order to ensure that they are sustainable and will offer residents plenty of public services and facilities.

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