Outdoor Living Spaces: Three Things Homeowners Must Know

Outdoor Living Spaces: Three Things Homeowners Must Know

Anyone who has watched cable television’s popular shows on home remodeling or home selling knows that outdoor living spaces are all the rage. Capable of adding extra space and comfort to homes in just about any location, these spaces go beyond the porches, decks, gazebos, and bare patios that were once the only options for outdoor seating and entertaining. In addition to being popular, a beautifully designed, outdoor living space can offer even more benefits. If you are a homeowner who is wavering about whether or not to invest in adding an outdoor living space to your home, the following information can help you see what this type of space has to offer your family.

1. Increased Living Space Offers Comfort for Growing Families

No matter how carefully families choose the home they buy, there will still be many times when it feels too small for comfort. Growing children, visiting relatives, and many other situations can cause a home that was once spacious to feel cramped and small.

Adding an outdoor living space provides another area suitable for use from spring through fall in most areas of the country. If the space provides comfortable seating and cooking facilities, it can even become the chosen location for family dinners, helping to reduce traffic in the house and keep it cleaner and more organized.

2. Entertaining is Easier With an Outdoor Living Space

Many homes today are built without a formal dining room, making it difficult to host large gatherings for meals and snacks. An outdoor living area offers a spacious location that can be furnished to handle gatherings of any size. If the outdoor living space also provides electricity to power small appliances, along with a sink, cooking surface, and a cooler or refrigerator, complete meals can be easily prepared and served outdoors, making cleanup far easier.

Many people also add some type of heat to their outdoor living spaces, such as a fire pit, outdoor fireplace, or specially designed outdoor heating appliance, to make these spaces more usable in cooler weather.

3. Outdoor Living Spaces Add Real Value When Selling a Home

Just like porches and patios, outdoor living spaces are considered as part of the base area of the home. Although the base area is not the same as finished interior space, it will still be able to add value in the eyes of both a real estate appraiser and prospective buyers.

To get the most value from your outdoor living space, sellers will want to:

  • make sure the planned outdoor space fits well with the neighborhood and architectural style of the home
  • make sure the size of the planned outdoor space remains in balance with the size of the yard and does not diminish the usefulness of the backyard space
  • make sure the planned outdoor space is attractive both when in use and during the off season
  • make sure the planned outdoor space offers privacy from prying eyes of neighbors or people passing by

For more information about how an outdoor living space can be a benefit, homeowners should consult their real estate professional.

Through the use of recent listing and sales data for similar homes with and without outdoor living spaces, homeowners will be able to gain a better understanding of the amount of added value their home would have after the space is completed. This information can help homeowners  create a realistic plan for these improvements, as well as a suitable budget.

The Ultimate Houseplant Cheat Sheet

The quality of the air we breathe every day is so important to our overall health. This infographic from Capital Garden Services takes you through the health implications of indoor air pollution and takes you through the best plants for each room. Research has shown that indoor air pollution can increase our risk of stroke by 34% so it really is worth taking the time to read through the infographic and finding the perfect plants for your home.

Sometimes, people buy plants and are a bit unsure of how to take care of them. They might put them in the wrong room or water them too much or too little. For example, many plants, such as the Chinese evergreen and the English ivy, require much less water in winter so it’s important to keep things like this in mind.

Also, some plants need less sun than others. For example, the Snake Plant is a great addition to the bedroom and it needs minimal direct sunlight. Find out more in the infographic.

The-Ultimate-Houseplant-Cheat-Sheet-Infographic

Green Movement: Effective Home Improvements

There are lots of reasons to remodel, renovate, or update your home. You might do so in order to eventually put your residence up for sale or you might do so in order to create a more livable place for you and yours. But one common motivation these days is the desire to be more energy efficient to reduce the end-of-month energy bill. If this strikes a chord with you, getting aboard the green movement bandwagon can bring about tangible results. So read on for effective home improvements that will allow you to live green, save money, and improve home value.

Green Movement: Effective Home Improvements

ATTIC INSULATION

While it’s not exactly the most exciting home improvement measure, adequate attic insulation will help you to keep down your heating costs during the cold weather months. If you live in an older residence, chances are that your attic does not have enough insulation…and it’s possible that it actually has no insulation at all. Have it checked and get enough insulation in your attic. This could potentially save you hundreds of bucks during the cold weather season. While you’re at it, ensure that your walls also have enough insulation.

KITCHEN

When it comes to your kitchen, there are lots of things you can do to make this popular space more energy efficient as well as eco-friendly. Depending on how extensive the remodeling, you can swap your cabinets for options that have the stamp of approval from the Forest Stewardship Council. Wood and wood products with such certification are obtained employing responsible forest management efforts, and they’re made with glues that don’t have formaldehyde. You can also get green countertops that are made from recycled or sustainable products and that are manufactured courtesy of eco-friendly methods. Among other options, you can also upgrade your kitchen with energy efficient equipment like a new fridge, freezer, or dishwasher. And don’t forget to get fluorescent lighting, which employs much less energy versus incandescent lighting.

GARDEN

While a garden might not seem to fit the theme, what better demonstrates that you’re really committed to the green movement than would developing and maintaining a wonderful garden? A garden will give your home more curb appeal in the event that you put it up for sale, make your residence a more inviting place for your family and guests to congregate, and reflect on the outside of your home what you’re hoping to accomplish on the inside of your home. Gardening is, as some put it, a lifestyle. So it’s best to do it right to get the best results.

garden

WINDOWS

According to one source, the average cost to install over 10 windows is $14,504; the average cost to replace between five and 10 windows is $4,917; and the average cost to replace under five windows is $2,219. Of course, there are various factors that come into play to determine how much it will cost. Another source notes that a typical home that opts for windows with the Energy Star rating can save between $126 and $465 annually when changing their single-pane windows. How can you tell if you need new windows? If you live in an older house, you might notice that your windows are drafty. It’s not difficult to determine if this is the case. All you’ll need to do is hold your hand up around the windows to determine if you can feel air. Should you feel air, you can save money by replacing your windows. Over time, the savings on your heating and cooling bills will exceed what you paid to buy and install your windows.

These are just a few effective home improvements you can make if you want to be part of the green movement. So live green, save money, and increase the valuation of your residence.

 

Going for Modern? Top Tips to Bring Your Home Into the 21st Century

A cozy home offers a relaxing setting for your family. However, that home might appear to be a bit outdated in regards to the doors, windows, and decorations. There are a few tips that you can use to bring your home into the 21st century so that it’s modern while still keeping the beautiful look and comforting feeling.

Going for Modern Top Tips to Bring Your Home Into the 21st Century

Update the Electrical

Whether it’s the lighting in the home or the outlets, one of the things that you might want to update for the safety of the home is the electrical system. Consider installing a charging station in a central location of the home. The station could feature everything from car chargers that you might need to get while traveling to cords for the laptop. Everyone in the family can charge their devices without anyone losing cords. The lighting is another aspect that you want to look at changing. Install lights that are brighter to offer a glow that you would get from the sun while ensuring that they don’t use a lot of electricity.

Update the Doors

One of the ways that you can make a significant change without spending a lot of money is to change the doors. A bi-fold door, like those from Nu-Look Glass & Aluminum Windows, is ideal for an entryway to a deck or patio. You could also install this kind of door leading from the kitchen to the living room or another section of the house as a way to keep one room completely different from the other. Another simple way to change the doors is to install ones that have an intricate design, like frosted glass with a flower etching.

Make the Home Open

Most older homes are clearly divided into rooms using either walls or counters. Consider removing some of these barriers in the home to create an open space. This will allow for easier travels from one room to another. You’ll be able to see the people who are in the home instead of walking through a door or being separated by a wall, which can make you feel secluded at times.

Change the Flooring

The flooring of the home can make a statement about the overall appearance of the house. If the floor hasn’t been changed in some time, then now might be your opportunity to upgrade your floors so that they are a bit more modern. One of the things that you want to do is remove as much carpet as possible as this is often an outdated look in many homes, replacing it with laminate that looks like hardwood or tile. These materials can make rooms seem larger and are easier to clean.

Your home is where you likely spend a large amount of time during the day. It’s a safe haven for your family. That doesn’t mean that it should stay shrouded in the commonplace designs of the 20th century. Use a few simple tips to update your home so that you want to live there.

Yard Transformation: 3 Trendy Essentials For The Ultimate Backyard Bash

Yard Transformation 3 Trendy Essentials For The Ultimate Backyard Bash

When you have a party for your family and friends, there are a few things that you want to make sure that you have to offer. These essentials include food that your guests will enjoy, decorations to add a bit of style and color to the event and even a few games that will keep the party rolling along. Before the day of the party, you need to make a list of all of the things that you’re going to need for an ultimate celebration so that you’re prepared when you go shopping and when your guests arrive.

Lighting

Your guests will need to be able to see while they are outside. There are a few options when thinking about the lighting. You could use citronella candles that will provide ambient light and that will keep pests away. Commercial lights are also an idea as they are often brighter than a typical light source. You can hang the lights along the edges of a tent that you put on the back porch or a tent that you put in the center of the yard along with tables and chairs. Solar lights are another option. They can charge during the day, lighting up at night so that you don’t have to worry about using electricity.

Just Keep Swimming

One of the fun things that you can offer to your guests is a place to swim or at least a place to enjoy some kind of water. An above-ground pool is an idea, and it will provide hours of entertainment for the family even after the party. You can also install a hot tub in the backyard for guests to enjoy. Work with professionals, like those at The Hot Tub Store, to ensure you pick out the best hot tub for your needs and home. Add a few candles that float on the water and music to create a relaxing and fun environment for your backyard bash.

Something To Watch

Give guests a way to watch movies with a projector that is set up on a table that displays on the side of the house or a large screen that you set up outside. If you don’t have a screen, then use large pieces of white paper that are secured to a flat surface outside. You can have a movie night with snacks and comfortable seating.

Your backyard bash should be an event that is remembered for the rest of the year. Make sure there is plenty of entertainment and food to enjoy. Try to offer something that you normally don’t see at events in the neighborhood so that your event stands out.