Make Home Improvement on Budget a Reality

Home is the place where the heart is. One of the best ways to improve quality of our life is to spruce up the home we live in. Although home improvements can cost unlimited amounts, it does not always require a fortune to improve the interiors of your home. You can carry out amazing changes in your apartment on budget.

Identify Misses

First of, when you are on budget it is important to identify the areas which require replacement or improvement in your home. For, the prime purpose of home improvement is to ensure no pending repairs post the renovation. This would help you plan the direction of the entire home repair project. Depending on the nature of projects you can decide upon the budget, duration and other factors for home improvement.

Gear up for change

Now you can gear up for the change you need. You should research online and visit home décor shops to get ideas for the purpose. You can save a lot of money by DIY on your previous, used or antique furniture, fittings and cabinets. It is important to check out price differences offered by second-hand shops, antique shops and online lists.

Knowing the expenses helps you get ready for the expenditure too. You can also check out your credit limit available. Home improvements can be one of the smart ways to enhance the valuation of your home. You can also check out if you are eligible for homeowner loans. Leveraging home equity you can draw substantial funding without any hassles.

Some handy home renovation hacks on budget

Kitchen

Kitchen is one place where whole family meets multiple times in a day. A change in the look of kitchen space can transform the feel of your entire home. You can consider changing the colour or cabinet doors for this. Do not forget to visit thrift stores or reuse centers to find the surprisingly cheap deals. Go for contrasting colour and you would revolutionise the appearance of your home. Also pay attention to kitchen lighting. If you need to replace any of the electronic or kitchen gadgets, opt for energy-efficient replacements. It would save you energy bills and keep your home updated.

Living Room

A renovation cannot be complete without bringing change in the living room. For low-cost home improvement, consider redoing the furniture placement. A simple shift of couch from right to left can bring more than expected alteration to your home view. In case you have a centre wall, consider using a bright and unique colour for that wall. Then deck it up with picture art, wall art or an embellished stole gifted by your grandma. The bright walls can steal the attention from other little flaws around.

If you need a new couch, consider using the old frame and get it covered up in a contemporary style. This would bring the modern look with least expense.

Bed Rooms

Changing bed room furniture could be expensive. You can consider changing the bedding, rug, curtains, cushions and every other add-on in your room. If your side tables are old-fashioned, you can consider using attractive wall paper on the front of drawers. It would not only bring a new look but would also cease the boredom owing to old furniture.

Another quick hack could be using darker colour for ceiling. Change in the colour of ceiling would bring a novel look in your personal space. We watch more of the ceilings in the bed rooms after all!

Lavatory

Do not overlook leakages and chipped paint as they are common in the bathroom area. Change faucets if there is any fault. Try to organise if you have too many objects in your bathroom.

Besides, simply changing the mug, bucket and rug can beautify your lavatory. You can introduce an attractive canvas cover for the new feel.

Front and Patio space

For small apartments, an additional sitting space can add enough value to the property. You can consider de-cluttering the backyard and incorporating chair for 2 people at least. You can add a beautiful cushion to an organiser and create a seat. This add-on would not cost more than £20 and enliven the dull space in your home.

Needless to say, do not leave the broken nuts and bolts on window panels or side entries. A new colour for outer walls is a must even if you have decided to keep the inner walls untouched.

In case your room walls are already neat, pick one wall in each section and use your creativity to bring the desired look.

Hope these tips prove handy when you begin your next home improvement project.

Tips and Tricks for Better Indoor Air

Readers wrote me with questions about air purification in their home. Here’s the latest on actions you can take to improve indoor air quality.

“I’ve heard of a HEPA filter for air conditioning. What is this and should I buy one?”

HEPA stands for High-Efficiency Particulate Air. A HEPA filter works with a powerful fan to force air through a thick pleated mesh that traps pollen, pet dander, dust mites, and smoke. It can filter out nearly all toxic microorganisms including bacteria, mold spores and viruses. Hospitals are one of the largest users of HEPA air filters.

Sounds great, right? Let’s run down to the store and buy one. Wait, not so fast. There are a couple of problems you’ll encounter if you try to put a HEPA filter in your air handler or at the air return ducts. The first one is expense – ten dollars for a vacuum cleaner size filter, and over $200 for commercial air handlers. The second problem is that residential air handlers do not have fans with enough power to push air through HEPA type media.

But there is some good news – since the point of using a fancy filter is to clean the air, there are things you can do to improve the air quality inside. One is to use a HEPA filter in your vacuum cleaner if it is a model that is designed to use HEPA filtration. The other thing you can do is purchase a standalone air purifier, which I’ll cover in a future article.

Without moving to a dedicated air purifier, the following things will help you keep indoor air fresh and clean.

A well-maintained vacuum cleaner, with a HEPA filter, used several times a week on floors and carpets will go a very long way in keeping your home air clean. A non-HEPA vacuum with dirty filters, on the other hand, will actually add dirt and contaminants to the air by picking it up off the floor and re-distributing it into the air.

Changing your air conditioning and heating filters on a schedule, and using high-efficiency air filters. The mid to high-efficiency air conditioning filters sold at the grocery store are very good at trapping nasty particles.

Minimize the use of candles and wood fires if you can. These add to the indoor pollutant load.

Limit use of air fresheners and strong cleaning products.

Don’t smoke indoors.

Use exhaust fans if you have them when you’re cooking, but don’t use them if you have a wood fire going in the fireplace. The fan can draw smoke into the living area from the fireplace.

You can also call an air conditioning contractor to come to your home and quote upgrading your air handler fan to one that will handle a HEPA installation. This is not an inexpensive upgrade, so you may want to try the methods above first, and then consider a standalone air purifier.

Opening windows on nice days will go a long way in cleaning your indoor air. With the Environmental Protection Agency claiming that indoor air is two to five times more polluted than outdoor air, letting the breeze sweep out pollutants will reduce your task list.

5 Tips for Choosing the Right Ceiling Medallion for Your Home

A ceiling medallion makes an amazing accent for a diverse range of ceiling lighting types, from ceiling fans to chandeliers. At its basic, a ceiling medallion is an ornamental piece that glams-up and improves the surrounding areas around the roof canopy, where the wiring of a chandelier or other light fixture enters the junction box of the ceiling.

These medallions come in a range of finishes and sizes and can be also painted on to match the present room decor. Opt for a medallion size that perfectly fits the light fixtures along with the style and size of the room where it will be placed.

When choosing a ceiling medallion, keep in mind the 5 following pointers:

1. Size of the Ceiling and Room

Calculate the room’s dimensions to decide what size of a medallion would ideally fir space. With the help of a measuring tape, measure both the width and length of the room then multiply both the figures and divide by 7 to estimate the medallion’s size in inches. Also, take into consideration the ceiling’s height. Higher focal rooms and ceilings can be improved with bigger medallions that would otherwise overwhelm a tiny space.

2. Style and Size of the Ceiling Fan

Choose a medallion that ideally fits the size as well as complements the ceiling fan’s style. Medallions should be either larger or smaller than the light fixture – not the foundation but the fixture itself. Matching the medallion’s size to that of the light fixture’s will visually compress the room’s size. Since ceilings fans have a larger radius, you should choose a medallion with a smaller diameter than the fan.

3. To Paint or Not to Paint?

You can match your trim using a nice glossy paint or you can just go for an accent color. A majority of ceiling medallions are purchased primed and ready for paint. The final answer will, of course, depends on your preferences and the present decor of your room. It is always a good idea to get inspired first and then make a final decision, so make sure to look up ideas on the internet.

4. Unsure About the Position? Center It

If you love the idea of owning a medallion but are unsure of where to put it, go for the center position. Symmetry is aesthetically pleasing, and accenting the center point can help tie the room together, especially when it comes to larger spaces.

In order to determine the center of a rectangular room, calculate the length of one of the shorter walls. Determine the wall’s center point and mark it. Do the same for the adjacent wall. Now use a laser plumb or chalk to draw a line between the two points. Continue the process using the focal points of the longer walls. The point where the two lines meet is the center of the room.

5. Take into Consideration the Ceiling Fixtures

When thinking about where to locate a visual feature on the floor, it can be easy to overlook the ceiling’s features. These will impact how you actually perceive the floor. Swag lamps, ceiling fans, and chandeliers tend to draw the eye up and down from their spot. You may put the ceiling medallion in the heart of a room, but if your chandelier is not perfectly centered as well, that variance will give the impression of a misplaced medallion. To correct this issue, try aligning the medallion with the focal point of the fixture, using a plumb line for accuracy.

On the other hand, if you decide to not place the medallion in the center, make sure that it at least looks deliberate. A ceiling medallion that is just partially off from the visual center of a room will look weird and like a mistake. However, if it is pretty clear that it was never intended to be placed in the heart of the room, the asymmetry won’t be as distracting. The secret is to create visual harmony, meaning that the parts should fit with the entire room in a way that each element appears to be in its right place.

A Clean House is a Lucky House – 8 Tips For Creating a Clean – And Fortunate – Home

A clean house is more than just a luxury – it is a necessity. That’s right, a necessity. We need a clean house (office or desk) because of all it offers us: efficiency and relaxation. Efficiency, because a clean house means you can find what you need when you need it. It also means that you will spend less time worrying and frustrated over the mess in your house.

A clean house offers relaxation, because clean houses look better, smell better, and feel better – and that’s what makes you relax. A mess everywhere makes us tense. Even hidden messes worry us. What does it take to have a truly clean house? In a word, discipline. No one likes to hear that word anymore, but it’s true.

A clean house takes work, plain and simple. Ironically, the less a house is cleaned, the more work it takes. Yep, it’s true. If you don’t stay on top of your house, the house will be on top of you — with papers piling up and junk everywhere — not to mention dirt and grime.

Look around. Is your outer experience mirroring the inner experience? What is your house saying about you and your life? Now, how does your luck improve with a clean house? Think about all the “old” and “unsuccessful” energy that you have in your home.

If you’ve got dust bunnies the size of Great Danes, it’s time to get to work. Dirt and dust equal stagnant and stuck. Remember, a rut is just a grave that’s open at both ends. How to get out of your dirty rut? Good old fashioned elbow grease. Here’s a quick guide to cleaning your space to get you out of your dirty rut.

1. Go to the bathroom.

Why? Bathrooms that are dirty are germfests waiting to make you sick. Clean it up and you might just feel better or get through cold and flu season unscathed!

2. Take on the kitchen.

This is where you eat so it should be clean. Nothing attracts bugs faster than a filthy kitchen. Make it a goal to give your kitchen a two-hour once over. Spend two hours in there and really clean — the coils on the fridge, the oven, the floors, ceilings, windows – everything.

3. Head into the bedroom.

When you sleep, you are breathing in everything that’s in the room, i.e., pet dander, dust, mites from the bed, you name it. Make it a point to clean under the bed, vacuum the blinds and wash the curtains and bedspreads and blankets. Then vacuum, yes, vacuum, the mattress and flip. Ahhh….clean. It feels so nice.

4. Create a paper trail.

To the recycling center that is. Haven’t read that magazine? Then you’re not going to, so get rid of it. Conduct your own “paperectomy” and get rid of all that paper that’s just taking up space.

5. Concentrate in the corners.

This is where everything drifts to… the corner of the bedroom, the corners of the ceilings. Corners are a magnet for stacks of papers. On the ceiling, corners attract spider webs. Clear out every corner you have, including closet corners.

6. Go outside.

Rent a pressure washer and wash the house, sidewalks, patios, and driveways. Pressure washers are a house’s best friend. Think of it as an exfoliating scrub for your home. You will love your sparkling house.

7. Head to the top.

Clean off the tops of everything. This includes dressers, tables, counters, refrigerators — anything with a top. It also means dusting the tops of windows,door trim, and tops of baseboards. Dust just loves to hide on the tops of things.

8. Get steamed.

Once a year get your carpets and upholstery STEAM cleaned. Why steam? It’s hot and it’s water so it will clean REALLY well without hurting anything or leaving behind any kind of soapy residue. That’s right, soapy residue.

Many people get their carpets cleaned or use grocery-store carpet cleaner products only to find they need to do it again and again and again because the carpets get dirtier faster and faster and faster.

Hmmmm…. a conspiracy? No. Just soap that stays behind. And soap is sticky, right? Well, then, that’s where all the dirt is coming from: it’s getting stuck in all that soap that is left behind from those cleaners. And while you’re at it, throw away all your soap-based carpet cleaners.

Spring Home Exterior Clean-Up Tips

Over the winter, our homes face some extreme conditions. Making small repairs now can prevent larger, more expensive, repairs in the future. Here are some spring time exterior maintenance suggestions:

1] Roofing: With all the snowfall over this past season, there is a possibility that your roof may have been victim to ice damming. Ice damming occurs when a large accumulation of snow melts and turns to ice, usually around your eavestroughs or roof valleys. This ice forms a barrier that prevents melting snow from draining. Water can then back up and re-freeze damaging your shingles. Look for water stains around interior windows and walls where seepage may have occurred.

It is also good practice when the snow melts to check around your yard for any shingle debris. Shingles can be replaced separately if need be. You may want to call on a roofing expert to inspect if you have concerns.

2] Eavestrough & Downspouts: Most leaks occur from build-up of leaves, twigs, pinecones, etc., that cause drain water to overflow. Another cause can be cracking in the eavestrough sealant. This can be fixed by using exterior silicone at corners and joints wherever there are leaks. It is good practice to ensure that your downspouts are positioned properly. Be sure to position your downspouts so that the ground allows the drain water to flow away from your house.

3] Windows & Caulking: Check for missing or cracked caulking joining the siding to your window. If it appears to be falling off or missing, you can fill in the blanks with exterior grade silicone or polyurethane. Also, check for moisture in windows, as seals may become separated and will be in need of repair. There are contractors who can make this repair versus a window replacement.

Wood framed windows should be re-painted every couple of years. A good sign that your windows need repainting are visible cracks. Use an exterior grade paint.

Vinyl windows require less maintenance than wood. They don’t need to be painted but ensure that there is a good caulking seal to the house siding. Be sure to check for cracks in the frame.

4] Siding & Stucco: Siding and stucco finishes are your house’s primary defense against the elements. If you have vinyl siding be sure that all the pieces are snapped into place. Sometimes the lap of the siding can come unhooked in the event of high winds.

Wood siding should be maintained the way you would a wood framed window. Check the quality of the paint or stain of the wood. If it looks cracked and brittle, then be sure to scrape, sand, and paint.

5] Foundations: Foundations are the most important part of your home. They support the entire wellbeing of your home, from your floor all the way to your roof. Small cracks in a foundation are typically nothing to be concerned about, though big cracks can be a costly endeavor and can cause more problems if improperly fixed. Foundation issues can be serious and you should contact a foundation repair specialist if in any doubt.

6] Decks & Patios: Winters don’t hold back when it comes to decks and patios. Snow can wear down and peel away deck finishes. The best maintenance you can do is to protect your deck boards by staining or painting every couple of years. Also, check deck posts where they contact the ground for signs of rotting.

7] Air Conditioners: Chances are that if you missed a spring check-up on your air conditioner, it may not work as well as it could. Over the winter months, dirt and debris may clog the cooling fins. A low coolant level, a dirty blower fan filter and a number of other simple problems can significantly reduce the efficiency of your AC condenser and wear it out faster. You can’t do everything – only a pro can check the coolant level.

8] Concrete surfaces: Again, over the winter months with the ground movements, cracks and unevenness in concrete surfaces can occur. Smaller cracks can be repaired using the right silicone with proper preparation. The bigger they get, it becomes a harder chore to repair and professionals might have to be called in.

In the case of selling the property, the cracks on the concrete can be an eyesore to prospective buyers. This can be the first thing potential buyers see and that can set a negative tone to them viewing your home.

9] Painting: Quality painting not only contributes to home curb appeal but also forms a protective barrier against the year-round elements. Check all exposed areas around the home and yard including window sills, decks, fences and other exterior surfaces.

10] Survey the Landscaping: Check in the yard for low-lying areas and add additional soil to prevent water from pooling. Look at all the bushes and trees and trim as necessary. Sometimes there is winter kill in lawns so hitting those areas early makes for great looking lawn as well. If you have a sprinkler system – you will want to check it for leaks, damaged sprinkler heads and leaky valves.

Now is the time for spring clean-up and then enjoy the work you have completed! We hope you found this article helpful.