Color Schemes for Interior Decorations

interior-paintingRedecorating your home can be both fun and intimidating, particularly when you face all the options available to you. And when it comes to wall color schemes, things can also seem risky, indeed. But you don’t need to feel overwhelmed by the ordeal; just take things one step at a time.

Assess each room individually. Make notes as to the amount of natural light each receives, the kind of lighting you are using, and the colors that will best complement the natural architectural features of your home.

Take a close look at the carpeting, flooring and woodwork to help guide you in your choices. A particularly useful tool would be a color wheel, something you can pick up at any paint, interior design, or home improvement store. Color wheels are used to determine complementary colors for selecting the best combination of hues for a room.

When you have decided on the color palette that best suits the space, start with the lighter shades for walls, medium for furniture and windows (or contrasts).

Lighter shades like cream, whites, lemon and ivory can make a space look larger. Use lighter shades as the base or neutral color and play with contrast and bolder shades for the rest of the décor.

You should also have an “eye resting point,” where all of the colors break even. This shouldn’t be anything too big or too loud. A vase, bowl or painting that highlights the room’s accents and harmonizes the interiors will serve the purpose nicely.

People tend to prefer the boldest use of colors on fabrics like cushions, curtains and mats. Try to repeat colors in an equal proportion throughout the room, and in 3 or 4 places. As a general rule, a good color ratio is to go with 60% in lighter tones, 30% in mid-range, and just 10% in the brightest accent colors.

Play within the rules, but when it comes to creativity, don’t overlook your own power. Create a space that reflects your taste and individuality.

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How to Bring Some Daylight Into Your Basement

basement-windowEven if your house sits quite a bit lower in the ground with barely any basement wall exposed, it is still possible to install a light-bringing window by re-grading the soil along the basement wall on the side of the house. If that is impractical or too expensive to do on a large scale, then you can dig a window well. It is important to remember, however, that the grade at the bottom of each window is at least 4 to 6 inches below the window frame, so that rain water and melting snow can drain away from, rather than leak in, the sill. The same rule applies to your yard around the basement wall — allow sufficient space below the window frame for drainage.

An experience do-it-yourselfer can complete the job him—or her—self using the following steps. Depending on your available time and personal skill set, it may be easier and less frustrating to hire a professional to take it from here. With that caution in mind, here are the steps to follow:

You should wait until you have the actual window in hand before making the opening. If building your own custom bay window, it should be completed in advance so you can make the frame and opening to match. A stock window does not need to be double hung, but a casement window will be easier to open. Pre-assembled, ready-to-install bay and bow windows are also available in standard sizes. You may want to consider these before making the rough opening, or before building your own.

After your window location has been scouted out and the yard graded and lowered, create the opening for your window. All windows fit within a rough opening in the wall framing, so you will need to measure and mark where this opening will be. This rough opening is slightly larger than the overall dimensions of the window, measured at the outside edge of the jambs, and the extra space allows the window to be plumbed and leveled as needed. With a purchased standard window, there will be instructions for the size of the rough opening you will need to make. In this basement example, the measurement should be the dimensions of the window plus 2 additional inches. These extra 2 inches are for the wooden frame you will be building into the opening to attach the actual window to.

Always be sure to have the following safety items available for your protection: safety glasses, gloves, and a proper dust mask or respirator.
If your basement wall is made from cement block, you can break through it with a cold chisel and hammer. If your foundation wall is made from poured concrete, then a power chisel or a rented jackhammer should do the trick.

After the opening has been made, smooth the edges of the hole and butter those edges with a stiff mortar mix. Next, set in a 3-sided wooden frame of at least 2-inch-thick lumber that is as wide as the cement block or concrete is thick. The existing horizontal house plate that contacts the concrete basement wall from the floor above can serve as the top of the frame and the fourth side if your window is high up on the basement wall. Otherwise, make a 4-sided frame.

Plumb and level this frame while the mortar is still wet. This is the rough opening itself.
After the mortar has dried, set the window into the frame, line it up flush with the outside edges of the frame and carefully nail it into the 2 inch rough frame on all sides. Depending on how the window was built, you may be able to drive the nails into the rough frame parallel to the wall if it is a wood frame window, or, if it is in a metal casing, there will be a flange or edge you can use to nail perpendicular to the wall into the edges of the rough frame. Other possibilities exist; use your window as a guide if no instructions came with it or if it is custom built.

After it has been nailed into place, use narrow wooden trim on both the inside and the outside to surround the window and hide the attachment framing. You may want to put a small bit of insulation around the framed window before applying the trim, to lessen heat loss through the frame.

Note: If you live in an area that gets snow, check the snow level around the basement wall and window. Snow that has melted near the wall or window indicates heat loss. If this occurs, you may need to remove the trim, re-install your insulation and seal it a bit better.

10 Ways to Lower Your Carbon Footprint

What Is A Carbon Footprint?

carbon footprint is a measure of how much carbon gas is emitted into the environment. Studies show that these types of carbon emissions have a potentially negative impact on the environment, contributing to global warming and climate change.

Most of us would like to do the right thing for the environment.

Here are 10 ways you can lower your carbon footprint:

  1. For starters, use the Energy Star Home Energy Yardstick to compare your home’s energy efficiency and get recommendations for energy-saving home improvements.home energy yardstick
  2. Add insulation. Additional insulation is one of the top ways to make a home more energy efficient, as it protects against air loss and saves money on utility bills.
  3. Replace your windows with double-pain, low-E glass. This is an expensive upgrade, but over time saves a considerable amount in energy costs.
  4. Use energy-efficient appliances. Newer, more modern appliances are designed with efficiency to lessen harmful effects on the environment. If your appliances are more than ten years old, consider upgrading to Energy Star rated models.
  5. Change your driving habits. Cars are one of the biggest contributors to carbon emissions. Carpool, bicycle, walk, and learn to consolidate your errands so that you are behind the wheel less often.
  6. Eat less beef. Raising cattle is a costly venture and cattle produce a lot of methane gas. Land is cleared of trees to create grazing land for cattle, and trees are important in reducing greenhouse gas.
  7. Look for ways to conserve water. Install a low-flow showerhead. In your yard or garden, incorporate landscape designs that minimize water consumption. Be more mindful of every time you turn on a tap, and don’t allow it to run longer than necessary.
  8. Buy and shop locally. Purchase products that have minimal packaging.
  9. Unplug unused appliances that could be drawing a current even when not in use. Replace standard light bulbs and use compact fluorescent (CFL) light bulbs instead.
  10. Recycle and re-use, everything from shopping bags to scrap lumber.

It really isn’t difficult to make a few choices to have a more energy efficient, eco-friendly lifestyle. By living green, you will feel better, live more comfortably, and be doing the right thing for the environment.

Increasing the Value of Your Home With a Remodel

home-remodelingGone are the days when potential buyers would fight over every listing that comes on the market, driving up prices in the process. With our present economic situation, homes for sale may linger on the market for months, fetching far lower prices.

So how do we counter this drop in our real estate investments or these precious pieces of land that we also call our home? Consider home remodeling!

Home remodeling can not only make your home a more comfortable place to live in, but also make your home an investment that would increase the selling or market value of your home.

Whether the project involves making simple home improvements, updating or upgrading several equipments, home remodeling can actually offer us many benefits and here are some to name a few:

  1. They make your home a more comfortable place to live in
  2. They reduce maintenance and utility cost as old products are replaced with newer and more energy efficient ones.
  3. They increase the security within your home
  4. And moreover, such improvements can also be a prudent investment by making a home more livable.

So how do you get started with home remodeling?

Before setting out to remodel your home, it is important to list down or to note your reasons and main objectives as to why youre going to remodel your home.

There are many reasons as to why you would want to opt for this move to remodel your home. It could be solely to make you home a more comfortable place to live in. Or even to reduce maintenance and utility costs, which are often caused by the not so energy efficient old houses.

The Initial Steps in Home Remodeling

First things first, it is important for homeowners to understand that the choices and decisions involved in a home remodeling project can be somewhat time consuming and overwhelming.

Therefore, it is important that you carefully choose your professional home remodeling contactor to help you from the early planning stages of your home improvement to the last detail. Nothing only should hiring one make your home remodeling project enjoyable, it can also make the move as stress free as possible.

So as you go through the process of home remodeling, remember that you are improving the lay out of your home to make it more usable, and more so enjoyable. A home is important to anybodys life and come to think of it, purchasing one is the largest investment that people actually make. So do not fret. There is no reason to be uncomfortable in your home when remodeling can increase your enjoyment of the home.

Upping the Value of Your Home a Notch

Renovating or remodeling your home is a sure way to increase the value of your home and property. If you plan on investing in your home for the future, a remodeling project is a good way to increase the value.

So if these home remodeling tactics can do wonders for you, your family and home, why not give it a go and make your home exactly the way you want it to be? Because, not only are you saving a good amount of money by reducing long term maintenance and utility costs, you are also making a good investment by increasing the value of your home.

If you are really serious in your home buying, it is recommended that you make a study of the real estate values of the area that you are interested in. It will help you decide if the house you really want to purchase is worth the price when you know its fair market value and comparing it with the same kind in the area.

Negotiating and Playing Fair

With the process of home buying also comes negotiation. Having this skill will come in handy to steer the deal to your advantage. However, do not make impossible and unpractical demands that will make the seller feel that he is being ripped off. Having too much unusual requests can lead to the failure of the negotiation. Keep in mind that the seller also has his own reasons for selling the home so be fair when negotiating with him the terms of the sale.

Examining the Goods

Just like any other purchase, you should invest time and money to examine a house that you are planning to buy. Do not be awed by the superficial enhancements like carpeting, draperies and other enhancements placed by the seller. Although these things are nice additions, you should concentrate on what is important such as the structure and present condition of the home. Getting the services of a professional to help you out inspect the home might cost you but this will give you the peace of mind that the house that you are purchasing will not give you any problems in the future.

By doing these things, home buying will be a more fun and enjoyable experience for you. This will save you from having headaches with the problems that you might encounter in the future.

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Get a Multi Fuel Stove for Flexible, Economical & Eco-Friendly Home Heating

 multi-fuel-stoveWhen it comes to heating your home, it may be time to look into getting a multi fuel stove. It can provide all the energy you need to heat your home in an economical and eco friendly way.

Multi fuel stoves are extremely versatile, being able to handle a variety of eco friendly fuels. They are also cheaper to run than those using gas, oil or electricity. In many cases, using wood as a fuel can be up to three times cheaper than using fossil fuels.

Remember that installing a multi fuel stove will add to the value of your home. Consider your purchase to be an investment that will pay dividends both in terms of heating your home as well as adding to its desirability.

Wood is carbon neutral, so it’s an eco friendly fuel. Carbon neutrality means it only gives off as much carbon as it took in while growing as a tree. Fossil fuels, in contrast, only emit CO2 into the eco system and are neither renewable nor sustainable. Another factor to bear in mind is continual new legislation restricting the types of heating that people can install. By installing a multi fuel stove, you stay within compliancy regulations.

Your multi fuel stove can heat your whole home by linking up to your central heating system. You can also install it in your living room as a focus point or in kitchen in the form of a wood burning stove with a back boiler for hot water.

When it comes to choosing wood for your stove, you have a variety of options.
Seasoned hardwood is the best choice, as it has a long burn time and low ash residue. It should have a moisture content of below 20% as the higher the moisture, the less heat and the more smoke it gives off. Seasoning wood can take several years depending on the type of wood. Hardwoods take the longest while trees such as ash can be used immediately.

You should remember that though wood burns fine in a multi fuel stove, it will burn better in a dedicated wood burning stove. Wood burning stoves operate with 75% efficiency – only 25% of the heat is lost up the chimney. A multi-fuel stove is considerably more efficient than an open fire when it comes to burning wood, however.

A multi fuel stove is not restricted to wood. You can also burn peat, coke, coal along with biomass fuels such as shelled corn and wheat hulls. It’s a truly flexible appliance that you can adjust to fit your lifestyle or changing circumstances as needed.

Ease of installation depends on whether or not your home has a chimney. If you have one, fitting your stove is straightforward. If not, you can install a prefabricated chimney quickly and with minimal expense.

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What Are The Elements Of An Energy-Efficient Bathroom?

bathroom-lighting

As a rule of thumb, general lighting takes care of 90% of the bathroom lighting needs; that includes ceiling lights, soffits, and wall sconces. Task lighting is needed for the remaining 10% and is required to perform the personal grooming activities. Most importantly, bathroom lighting should provide plenty of even, shadow-free lighting for shaving, grooming, and applying makeup. To ‘face the day’, you need the same image in the mirror as you would see in the natural daylight.

In the past, bath designers overwhelmingly chose incandescent bathroom lights over more efficient fluorescent fixtures because they buzzed, flickered, glared, and lacked dimmeroptions. Responses to energy regulations have led to fluorescent fixtures with dimmable ballasts, accurate color representation, and cool white and full spectrum colors, along with higher quality materials and innovative design styles. This all translates to delivering beautifully lighted rooms while keeping your utility bills lower.

When looking to upgrade your lighting, you should take note of some contemporary and beautifully illuminated bathroom cabinets. In essence, manufacturers have combined bathroom mirrors with lights offering cutting edge and sophisticated designs. Again, when space is limited, an option like this is a great functional solution.

If you still cannot find fluorescent lighting to fit your needs, consider efficient halogen lighting options. No matter what, natural lighting is the best and cheapest form of illumination. If you are planning a major bathroom renovation, you can always consider installation of a window or skylight to lessen your dependence on electricity.

When it comes to energy efficiency in your bathroom, you are not limited to just lighting and water conservation. Other strategies for energy efficiency in your bathroom could include replacement of the following:

• Cabinets and Vanity Tops made from wheat-board or other low volatile organic compounds (VOCs) materials. Standard cabinets can off-gas potentially harmful VOCs for up to 15 years.

• Ventilation or a vent fan to remove odors, airborne irritants, and moisture needs to be left on for at least 20 minutes after a shower. Consider a timer to ensure for that vent fan or if space and design permits, include a operable window for natural ventilation and daylight.

• Tubs and Showers – Shower surrounds should be made from recycled glass, ceramic or porcelain tile. Recycle an old tub with a professional refinishing, although they are typically more comfortable, as older tubs are wider and deeper, they will also require more water to fill.

• Flooring – Tile and natural linoleum are the best choices to hold up in a bathroom environment. Cork and bamboo flooring may be an option, so long as you ensure it can weather water exposure.

Energy efficiency in your bathroom might just be as simple as changing the color of your bath towels; hopefully we have given you many more ideas for energy efficiency and lighting.

Courtesy of ArticleCity.com

Resurfacing Concrete As An Alternative To Replacing Or Removing It

resurface concrete, don't replace it.Although concrete is durable, over time, it shows erosion and degeneration. However, it does not necessarily need to be removed and replaced. It can be resurfaced.

Thin resurfacing can make old damaged concrete look almost new without having to tear the surface out and re-pour. This is a real savings in labor and materials.  Recent developments in resurfacing materials now offer a durable, stain-resistant, crack filling resurfacing mix of epoxies and aggregate.  This dries quickly and is ready to use in a fraction of the time it takes traditional mix to harden.  This is a big asset in high-traffic areas.

Resurfacing concrete can offer the opportunity to enhance the existing floor with an exciting new decorative concrete finish. It can be stamped, colored or stained and polished to look like marble, terra cotta stone, and even stenciled.

The basic re-surfacing process is simple enough to be tackled by a do-it-yourselfer with just a little bit of experience in concrete.  Required basic tools include a container for mixing the material, a mortar towel, a float, and a stiff broom to rough the surface enough to make it non-slip.  Renting a power washer is recommended, as are protective clothing and goggles.

Measure the area to be resurfaced to determine how many bags of concrete mix you will need.  Use duct tape to mask areas that need to be kept clean, including the control joints.  Cleaning the surface before beginning is critical; here’s where that power washer will come in handy.

Mix the concrete, following directions on the bag, adding water in increments until you’ve achieved the appropriate consistency to spread well.  Wet the surface before applying, but not enough to leave standing water.  If the resurfacing has to be smooth, run a concrete float over the surface while the mix is still wet.  This is practical only when working in one small area at a time, before the concrete hardens.

Mask areas that need to be kept clean, including the control joints. This can be done with duct tape.

Running a broom over the surface while it is still wet will make it more slip-resistant.

Keep all foot traffic off the fresh concrete for at least 6 hours. Check your product for the expected drying times. More time is needed if the temperature is cool. Covering the surface with plastic can help it to cure without cracks.

And of course, if you don’t feel you have the time or expertise to successfully manage the job, contact your local Handyman Matters location and engage the services of a professional who can complete the task efficiently and quickly, saving you lots of time and stress.

Home Remodeling: Making the Best Interior Color Choices

interiorOne of the easiest and speediest ways to give the rooms in your home a fresh, remodeled look is with a new paint job. And knowing the best—as well as the worst—colors to use can help you make a more informed choice.

Naturally, you’ll want to select hues and tones that you like the best; after all, you’ll be looking at these walls and ceilings every day! But design and renovation experts always advise caution and restraint when making your choices. A certain color may appeal to you on a small swatch, but translating that same tone onto a larger area, like an entire wall—or walls—may present an entirely different picture. It can overwhelm the room, or seem like an entirely different hue, depending on the flow of light and the layout. Proceed with caution, painting just a small section to begin with and then living with it for a day or so before committing an entire room to that color.

Considerable studies have been conducted to analyze the effects various colors have on moods; it’s interesting to note that people react to color without even knowing quite why. You may find yourself avoiding a room, or spending less time there, simply because its palette “speaks” to you in a negative way, or in a way that is in conflict with the function of that particular area of your house.

Colors intrinsically evoke emotions from people and set the mood for an interior space. They can energize, depress, elate or motivate. Before undertaking a remodeling task, first identify what kinds of activities typically take place in the room facing renovation.
Shades of blues and greens are excellent choices for bedrooms as they evoke feelings of sleepiness and relaxation, while bright and primary colors would be more attractive for both children and the elderly. Choose lighter and pastel shades to present that relaxed atmosphere in your bedrooms. For bathrooms however, you would be better off choosing a brighter shade of these same colors. You want to relax in the bathroom, but perhaps not so much that you find yourself nodding off!

Reds are great shades to choose for kitchens, as they evoke the appetite and keep people more sociable, lively and wide awake. However, you should consider people in your household who may find their blood pressures rising whenever they are inside an area with a great deal of red. To avoid such scenarios, choose other shades of red like a darker wine or burgundy color. Blue is a less desirable selection for the dining room or kitchen, as it has been shown to suppress the appetite.

The living area may do well with various shades of orange to induce warm and friendly feelings. However, avoid using bright shades as these can be overwhelming and counteractive to the effect you are striving to achieve. Browns and earth colors are great for exterior finishes, but not so in living rooms, where they can give people a sensation of being enclosed or trapped.

You have as many choices to select from as there are available shades of paint available on the market. Let your instincts guide you; ultimately, it’s a sense of comfort you are seeking. If you can stand in the middle of a room and feel relaxed and at peace, you’ve probably achieved precisely the correct result!

Increasing Your Home’s Market Value through Home Improvements

maintained-propertyOwning a home is one of the most stable and lucrative investments available. Whether you plan to stay in a particular house for the long run or move somewhere else, getting the most from this particular investment involves careful planning and making occasional improvements and renovations to maintain or improve the value. The more attractive your property in the eyes of prospective buyers, the more chances you have of getting a good deal from the sale.

Focus on how your house looks from the outside

People have the inherent tendency to judge a book by its cover and this certainly applies to homes. With this in mind, make your first focus on the external beauty and look of your house. Avoid unnecessary clutter, furniture and other extra ornaments from your patio or yard. Flowers and plants are great additions, but they should be arranged artistically and not just strewn across the place. Have your façade newly painted or adorned with great-looking tiles or slabs of rock to give it a more elegant and extraordinary look. If you have a lawn, it absolutely must be well-tended and lush, free of brown patches and bare areas.

Make your home feel larger by highlighting space

Strive for a spacious appearance. Maintain just essential furniture and avoid clutter that has no practical use. Keep your walls clean and free from smudges or stains; if possible, paint them a neutral tone. Lighter shades can create a feeling of more space when applied to walls, and height when painted on ceilings.

Improve the quality and quantity of your lighting fixtures

Outdated table lamps and lighting designs give a room a dowdy appearance. Update your lighting fixtures with modern, energy-saving designs. These consume less electricity yet they will give off a brighter light. The more light you have in your home, the greater its appeal and value.

Use more wood finishes

Hardwood surfaces and trimming provide an elegant finish. Wood is much more appealing to potential buyers than carpeting and is much easier to maintain.

Renovate your kitchen and bathrooms

Kitchen and bathroom remodels are obviously considerably more costly and more involved, but there is no denying that they also greatly increase the value and attractiveness of a home to potential new owners. If your budget does not permit an entire remodel, you should at least take into consideration upgrades in lighting, fixtures and flooring and fresh paint wherever applicable. Not only will these touches increase value, but the upgraded appearance and the new look will be much more compelling to buyers.
A home is a wise investment to make, and it’s only natural for people who are ready to sell to want a maximum return for their efforts. The most effective way to achieve this is to undergo home improvement projects that will not only change the way the home looks, but also the value it delivers.

Choosing Which Roofing Material to Use for Your Home

Roofing-Materials Shingles are currently the most popular choice of roofing material in the U.S. And composite shingles are a good bet for durability and for protecting your home.

Composite Shingles

Composite shingle are made of asphalt. With their adhesive backing, they are easy to install. They stand up well in extreme weather (think rainstorms and hurricanes!) and can last from 30 to 50 years with occasional reinforcement. Composite shingles are also resistant to mold and algae growth. Additionally, they can be paired with almost any type of gutter, from galvanized to wood.

Metal Roofing

No roofing material has as much variety in price and type as metal roofing. It is available in galvanized iron or lead, as well as in elegant copper. It can be installed as sheets or shingles, both of which are suitable for steep roofs. Mechanically seamed metal, on the other hand, is ideal for gentle slopes. Contrary to popular thought, metal roofing does not absorb too much heat, making it ideal for tropical areas of the country.
Those who live in places which attract a lot of thunderstorms can feel safe with metal sheet roofing, because of its ability to disperse lightning. It is non-flammable, too. Metal roofing also appeals to home owners because of its low cost maintenance, though the more attractive materials are also more expensive. Roofing companies will generally guarantee 50 years of a secure roof for your home if you choose this material.

Tile and Slate Roofing

Roof tiles are usually made of slate, glazed ceramic and baked clay, and they top all the other roofing materials in terms of age and weight. Two factors discourage people from using tiles and slates—weight and price. Due to the heaviness of these materials, roofers must first ensure that your house has the necessary support structure to bear this weight. They are also considerably more expensive than most other materials. However, if your aim is for the classic look, then this is your choice. Tile and slate are fire resistant and sturdy and will typically last for generations.

Seamless metal gutters should pair off with slates very well, though keep in mind: You will need highly skilled roofers or roofing contractors to properly install this material.

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