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.

6 Smart Storage Solutions When Living in A Small House

6 Smart Storage Solutions When Living in A Small House

Living in a small house has many advantages. First of all, it costs significantly less and the price of maintenance is not nearly as steep as what people are used to. Nonetheless, it has its drawbacks too, most notable of which is the lack of storage space. Luckily, this is a problem that can easily be solved with some out-of-the-box thinking. Here are six smart storage solutions that can turn out to be quite life-saving when a person is living in a small house.

1.    Slide-Out Counters

The first thing in your home that could undergo some storage-wise improvement is probably your kitchen. Now, once you fit the oven and the sink, you will have a limited room where to prepare your meal. This is what slide-out counters are for. When you need them, you can simply deploy them and then slide them in once you are done. This will give you enough space to create a proper family dinner without obstructing the movement through the kitchen otherwise. Once you reflect further on this idea, you will realize that the condensed space in the kitchen is actually a good thing rather than bad, seeing how you will able to reach every corner without ever having to move about.

2.    Under Bench/Bed Storage

The problem with storage is that although a lot of people look towards the empty space, they seldom go down on the floor level. You see, there is a lot of space underneath your bed and your bench that currently isn’t being used. In order to utilize it to its full potential, you may want to try and fit some boxes there. In this way, they aren’t in a clear line of sight to anyone, yet they remain at your hand’s reach at all times.

3.    Self-Storage Units

So far, we talked about tucking things underneath your bed, but what happens when the entire bed needs to be stored somewhere. Sure, if you know you won’t use it ever again you can just sell it online, donate it or give it away to someone you know. However, what happens while you are making this decision or if you hope to reuse it once more? This is where self storage units come in big-time. This is a great temporary solution to your long-term problem and it ensures that all the items you momentarily don’t need are at your disposal once things change.

4.    Use Your Ceiling Space

Even though small houses usually don’t have quite tall ceilings, in some parts of the room, this vacant area can still be utilized as a storage solution. All one needs to do here is install some ceiling mounted racks at the appropriate height and there you have it. While some may have various safety concerns about this storage method, as long as they are installed properly there is nothing to worry about.

5.    Closet Office

In the 21st century, working from home has become more or less a common thing. In fact, there is a statistic that these days well over 45 percent of US workforce telecommutes, at least as a part-time. This means that you need a proper office inside of you home, but the question is where? Some people solved this issue by installing a desk in their closet and reorganized this area as their office. Sure, some of you may argue that this leaves you with even less storage space, not more, but it also liberates you a large portion of the house you would otherwise have to assign to an office.

6.    Trap Door

Finally, utilizing floor level cavities in your furniture is a great idea, but why not go even lower. Lower than the floor? Exactly! One of the most obscure, yet most intriguing small home storage ideas relies on building a trap door in your floor and storing some of your belongings there. Seeing how this will usually be under some furniture piece, it would be best to use it as a stashing place for valuables or items you don’t use regularly.

In Conclusion

As you can see, the biggest problem of living in a small house can easily be solved with just a bit of imagination and creativity. This is not only unorthodox but also an incredibly fun way of solving your imminent storage space crisis. In other words, where there is a will, there is always a way; or in this scenario at least six ways.

Author bio: Steven Clarke is a business consultant and DIY enthusiast. In his spare time, he likes to write about his ideas and share them with the world. Steven is a regular contributor to several websites.

 

 

3 Bright Color Palettes To Consider For Your Home This Summer

3 Bright Color Palettes To Consider For Your Home This Summer

Paint manufactures and houseware companies offer homeowners new colors and ideas each year, and 2017 is a banner year for their home design ideas. These companies offer a number of new color palettes that provide a bright new look for home interiors that reflect the current needs of consumers. Browse the selection at local establishments such as Koontz Hardware, to find new options like these color palettes that are making a splash in interior design this year.

1 – A Blend of Calming Colors For Your Forest Bath
The idea of the “forest bath” is based on a Japanese practice of spending extended time in a wooded environment to reduce stress and refresh the spirit. Recently, the principle has received scientific support from a study from Stanford University. You can create this same serene environment in your home with the use of a combination of greens and blue-greens, set off with more pronounced tones, such as Grape Kiss or Acid Lime.

2 – Rely On Black & White, With A Pop Of Color
Black-and-white is a classic look that suits many modern and contemporary designs. The stark contrast of the two tones have been a staple of interior design since the 1940s, and more recently, has been combined with bright chrome and other metallic shades. This year, the look is being combined with a pop of bold color. Try one of the new shades of bold color, such as Opaline Green, Orange Popsicle or Prism Pink. The addition of bright color introduces an optimistic and vivid aspect into the traditional black-and-white background.

3 – Celebrate The Novelty Of Unexpected Combinations
Some of the new color palettes invite you to develop an acquired taste for unexpected combinations that challenge old decorating concepts. The juxtaposition of vibrant colors with a background of quieter tones may not be something you’re accustomed to, but it can provide a fresh and updated look for your home. Colors like Mulberry, Orange Chiffon and Brandied Melon can be a surprising match with pale gold or muted pink. The look may inspire you to try a few new combinations of your own.

If you’re in the market for paints and products for re-decorating your home, take some time to research the current trends. You may be surprised at the vast number of color choices that are now available. Some of the new color palettes are so innovative they take some getting used to, to train the eye to accept a whole new look. Other palettes are reminiscent of older trends that consumers know and have loved for decades. Sample these new offerings to your heart’s desire, experimenting with new color combinations and contrasting tones, to update the look of your home.

 

Renovation ROI: 4 Home Additions That Are a Tremendous Bang for Your Buck

Basement converted to a gym_White Plains

Many homeowners set aside money every year to reinvest back into their property. Your home will most likely be one of the biggest purchases you ever make, and you want to be sure that every remodeling project you carry out is going to increase its value. Here is a quick look at four popular home additions that often have an excellent return on investment.

Turn Your Attic into a Bedroom

The National Association of Realtors says that an attic conversion has an average ROI of around 61 percent. Adding an extra bedroom is one of the easiest ways to boost the value of your property without actually changing the structure of your home. When you are converting your attic, you should make sure that it is both accessible and comfortable.

Add an Outdoor Living Space

Those who live in a relatively moderate climate might be able to substantially increase the value of their home by adding an outdoor living space. Unlike many indoor renovations, creating an outdoor living space can often be completed by the homeowner. You will only need to call in a professional contractor if you want to install underground gas, water, or electrical lines.

Install a Utility Carport

A utility carport will maximize your outdoor space without breaking the bank. In addition to the covered area, a utility carport from places like Coast to Coast Carports Inc. also includes a small indoor area for storage. These structures can be installed within just a few days, and they are the perfect option for those who have boats, motorcycles, extra cars, or ATVs. You can even run power to the storage area to turn it into a workshop.

Remodel the Basement

While converting a basement into a bedroom can have an excellent ROI, you might also want to think about turning it into a family room, entertainment room, or bar. Many real estate agents and buyers love to see unique additions that will make a home stand out from all other nearby pieces of property. Updating the lighting, adding some neutral carpet, and painting the walls can be carried out in just a few hours, and those upgrades will drastically increase your home’s living space.

Even if you have quite a bit of experience as a DIY enthusiast, most of these major additions should be left to the professionals. Not only will a reputable contractor be insured, but they will also guarantee that your project adheres to all local and state regulations. If those contractors make a mistake, then you won’t have to worry about stiff fines and fees.

The Five Best Appliances for Your Newly Renovated Kitchen

The Five Best Appliances for Your Newly Renovated Kitchen

For many people, the kitchen is right at the heart of the home. It’s where we not only cook, but often where we share meals together around the table, where we bake sweet treats with the children and where we relax with a cup of coffee after a hard day at work.

It’s no surprise that renovating the kitchen can add value to your home and also add value to your daily lives, as one of your most used rooms is now even better.

What could improve it even more than your renovation? How about some new appliances? These five appliances will look great and they are also practical, so you don’t even need to feel guilty about splurging on them!

1. Steamer

A steamer is a fast and efficient way to cook vegetables, most starches, chicken and fish. Not only does the food taste fantastic when it has been steamed, but it also withholds so many more nutrients than food boiled or roasted does.

It’s so convenient to be able to add your protein, starch and sides to the same cooking appliance and it will save you on the dreaded washing up because you won’t have a lot of pans to wash.

2. Coffee Machine

A coffee machine is a great way to enjoy your favourite barista style coffee at home. The smell of freshly brewing coffee will make your kitchen seem even more homely and comforting, and you will save a lot of money by not having to visit your favourite coffee shop for good coffee. It’s so convenient to just be able to go to the kitchen and pour yourself a cup.

You can choose to grind your own beans for a really authentic experience, or for a simpler way, choose a pod style coffee maker.

3. A George Foreman Grill

A George Foreman Grill is another really quick and convenient way to cook food, especially meat. It gives your meat that lovely smoky, almost barbecued taste.

It also works to draw the fat out of your meat and make it more friendly on your health and waistline. Rather than the fat running out and then being reabsorbed into the meat, with a George Foreman Grill, the fat runs away and is collected in a tray for disposal.

4. A Nutribullet Juicer

A Nutribullet juicer is an essential for any health conscious family. The perfect way to make delicious, nutritious juice, the Nutribullet can break down even the toughest of fruits and vegetables to make you a great tasting and healthy juice.

This is a particularly good appliance for anyone with children who don’t want to eat their five a day – most children will drink the juice because of its sweet taste and appealing colour.

And let’s be honest – it looks pretty snazzy on your counter top too!

5. Electric Spiralizer

No modern kitchen is complete without a spiralizer. A spiralizer is used to cut vegetables into pasta like ribbons that can then be used to replace spaghetti or tagliatelli pasta in your favourite Bolognese and carbonara dishes.

The perfect solution to making a family favourite quicker and healthier. As one of the most recent trends in healthy eating, many modern recipes call for spiralized vegetables so don’t worry that you won’t know what to do with it!

That’s it – our top five recommendations for five appliances that every family needs to have in their newly renovated kitchen. All of the appliances we’ve chosen will save you time. Some will also save you money and effort too. And they will even help to ensure that you and your family are eating and drinking more healthily too!

 

 

 

Decorate Your Home with Double Glazed Sliding Doors

Sliding doors is a concept that was popular since the time when it was introduced in to the market. If the sliding doors are glazed over a single side, then they cannot perform all the necessities that are required for a better insulated home. Using double glazed sliding doors is the solution and is also the option which offers you more than just good insulation. When you have a single glazed door newly installed, and you are skeptical about changing the whole thing again, then you must note the fact that a double-glazed sliding door can be easily upgraded from a single glazed sliding door. Now you can install some large sliding doors between your drawing rooms and the attached garden area. It will improve the overall decoration of your house, and you can also open this door for parties in your garden area.

sliding doors

Advantages of a Double-Glazed Sliding Door

If you are considering changing your doors to double glazed sliding doors but you are not sure about the other benefits of it, then here are the benefits and advantages of a double-glazed sliding door:

  • Improved Insulation– the biggest and the most prominent advantage of double glazed sliding doors is its ability to increase the insulation of the room. Most of the doors that are single glazed allow the outside air to pass in and out of the room making it difficult for your HVAC systems to run efficiently, i.e. during winter days the warm air inside the room goes outside and the cold air comes in and vice versa for summers. When you are using a double-glazed sliding door, then it effectively controls the insulation of the room and does not allow the passing of air in and out of the house. This makes it easier for the HVAC systems to function efficiently.
  • Helps in Saving Energy – if you have an air passage through your doors then even the best HVAC can fail to perform efficiently. But when you are using double glazed sliding doors then the air passage is controlled and helps in the better functioning of your HVAC systems. This in turn will run less and save energy.
  • Noise Proof– if your house is beside a busy road or your house is beside a noisy neighbour, a double-glazed sliding door can keep you away from such noisy disturbances. If you wish to have a calm and quiet environment inside your house, then you can install these sliding doors in your house.
  • They Can be Easily Recycled– one of the best things about these doors is the fact that they can be very easily recycled. Therefore, whether you plan for a remodel or any other thing that requires the removal of the doors, you can easily do it. Each of its part is recyclable and hence you can be sure of using something that will not harm the future generations.

Double-Glazed Sliding Doors

Why Would You Choose Double-Glazed Sliding Doors?

When you renovate your house, you can install some double-glazed sliding doors in your house because these doors can reduce the noise pollution and save your electric consumption bill, protect your home from dust particles, and these doors can also prevent UV rays during the daytime. These doors can also block the sun’s heat and prevent any damage to your furniture. Apart from that, these doors come with a double locking system that will secure your home and these sliding doors can provide you the utmost privacy level.

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