You’re expecting an addition to the family or you just feel like you want to take the next step and move into a new home. Before you do that, you need to build up the value of your current property so that you can make a profit or at least get enough money for your next deposit.
Renovate your Kitchen
The best place to start to increase your property value is by updating and modernising your kitchen area. People enjoy big kitchens with enough room for storage when they want to cook a meal. Also replace old counters with new ones and replace old appliances with modernised versions.
Possible buyers don’t want to pay more than they have to already so if you’re giving them an up to date kitchen room they’ll feel more inclined to buy your property.
People enjoy bathrooms that give them ample space to roam in and it’s turned into a place where most families spend a lot of time in lately. Include a spa bath or a whirlpool tub as well as showers with different settings for steam and multiple jets streams. A double sink is also a good addition as well as a new geyser for warm water, they’ll definitely be testing water pressure and how fast the water turns warm.
Walk in closets and lounging areas in the bedroom are big these days and you’ll be filling buyers’ needs by creating spaces for these two crucial elements.
With electricity prices increasing every year people are turning to natural lighting. This is why you should be expanding your current windows or putting in more windows to allow for natural light.
Cleaning your home outside will make a big difference in property value. Give your house a good lick of paint (try to use modern, neutral colours), fix up the fence or pavement that you’ve been meaning to for years and also give the garden a good clean. It’s a cheap and effective way to raise your property’s value. If you have some extra money left have a good look at your roof and irrigation system.
As people move out of their old homes they need storage space. Others need the extra space for their tools or hobbies.
Some of these fixes might be more expensive than others but you’ll reap the benefits when an agent comes to re-evaluate your home.
Len just sold one of his properties for a profit just by making a few changes to his property, the estate agents in Johannesburg couldn’t believe the change in value on his house. They did sell it quickly though.
Doors that are used on the inside of a house are usually quite light. In fact, many of them are hollow on the inside. The purpose of these doors is more to provide visual privacy than anything else. As you might imagine, they don’t often do a terribly good job at keeping sound isolated. Hollow doors are full of air, so they will transmit sound fairly well due to all of the air.
The thin materials used in internal doors such as plywood or other thin wooden materials are also hardly maximized for keeping sound isolated. This means that if you want to keep sound out of or in a certain room, you really need to apply additional soundproofing procedures to the door. There are a variety of different ways to do this.
A lot of homeowners are now considering using eco-friendly products and design ideas when it comes to their homes. Green interior design is not only about conserving natural resources and saving the environment, it is also about protecting your health. Using environmentally friendly products and design ideas is the best way to create a healthy and clean home environment for you and your family.
If you are thinking of turning your home into an eco-friendly environment, you can start with your kitchen. When going green, the kitchen area is typically the first place that many homeowners focus on when choosing green products and equipments. Here are some simple ideas that can turn your kitchen into a safe and eco-friendly space which can help you save money and resources without sacrificing functionality and style.
Size And Layout
Among the most important factors you need to consider are the size and layout of your kitchen. If you are thinking of simply renovating your kitchen space, you don’t have to breakdown the walls of the current area just so you can increase its size. This will only lead to bigger projects, more expensive costs, and using more resources. The best tip to increase its size is to start de-cluttering. Most people fill their kitchen with different kinds of unimportant things; thus making it look crowded and small.
If you have a small kitchen, you can make the small space work for you by using clever interior design. For instance, you can buy built-in appliances which can save a lot of space. You can also use tall cupboards to use the wall space and use deep drawers to provide you with more storage. You must also use simple wall paint colors to avoid making the room look small and crowded.
Cabinet And Countertops
When choosing your cabinets, you can consider eco-friendly options, such as cherry, oak, alder, and maple. Cabinets made using these materials are formaldehyde-free. Other options include bamboo and wheatboard. In addition, when choosing the materials, make sure that the woods used are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.
For your countertops, you can consider using bamboo countertop since bamboo is a sustainable wood. If you want to have a solid surface, you might want to look for countertops with a Greenguard seal. You can also use recycled glass tile instead of a ceramic tile, paper composite countertops instead of laminate, or recycled aluminum counters instead of stainless steel.
When it comes to your kitchen flooring, you might be thinking about using wood and tile floors; however, there are renewable materials, such as bamboo and cork which are excellent options. Another option is linoleum which is gaining popularity among many homeowners and interior designers because it is available in a wide range of colors and designs. If you have decided to use hardwood, make sure to use wood that came from sustainable forests and those that have a certification from the Forest Stewardship Council.
Make Use Of Natural Light In The Kitchen
You can make use of natural light through the kitchen windows. Double-hung or gliding windows are excellent options. Installing one over the sink is also a practical choice. This allows a lot of natural light inside the kitchen; thus, you don’t have to use any lighting during the day. It also provides an open atmosphere which makes the space look bigger and brighter. These design tips will help you cut down on energy costs in the long run.
When it comes to choosing your kitchen lighting, you have to choose light fixtures that are energy efficient. You can use dimmer, or motion sensors and timers. Another tip is to use fluorescent light bulbs because they last longer than ordinary bulbs. Additionally, they also only use 30% electricity.
- License: Creative Commons image source
The author, Kris Lim, is an interior design student who offers simple tips and advice on how to turn ordinary kitchen spaces into an eco-friendly and stylish area. She regularly contributes her thoughts and opinions to lifestyle and interior design websites, such as http://www.susan-hopkins.com/ .
Sustainable homes have become a topic of great interest among homeowners curious about the idea of renewable energy and grid-free power opportunities. Devices such as solar panels, plantation shutters, and renewable water filters are a great way to help create an energy-recycling home. Here’s a couple ideas about sustainable home living to help you live off the grid and in a “greener” way.
Refitting Your Home for the Future
Creating a self-sustaining home is a huge project that requires lots of patience, commitment, and plenty of funds. However, the payoff will leave you feeling more independent and energy-efficient than ever. With the right amount of refitting and home improvement, you can virtually live “off the grid” in an energy-independent world of your own.
Effecting these techniques is as simple as gaining the supplies and means to do so. While some energy conservation and sustainable living techniques require a technician or an electrician to accomplish, some (like plantation shades) are extremely easy to install. Making sure all these mechanisms work properly is the homeowner’s imperative, however: maximum energy conservation can only be accomplished via consistent maintenance and checkups on solar panels, water filters, and other devices.
In addition, make sure you have the proper zoning permissions for any excessive accessories you attach to your home. While an array of solar panels or a personal wind turbine may cut your energy consumption immensely, your area may not permit certain construction and you should always check with your town before beginning large projects. Finally, make sure your neighbors will not object to the new additions to your home. The glare off of solar panels or the “sealed” appearance of plantation shutters may bother some neighbors, and it’s always good to keep strong community ties, so communicate before you build!
Solar Panel Technology and Applications
Solar panels have increasingly become a staple in sustainable homes, generating electricity and powering water heaters, lights and electronic devices. Installing solar panels can be problematic without a proper understanding of the circuitry involved, so be sure to have a competent electrician on hand to assist or consult during installation.
In addition to standard solar panel models, smaller and more efficient units are now being produced for the home. These models are cheaper, easier to install, and often produce a more appropriate level of energy for the home. Look into other residential energy options such as miniaturized wind turbines to properly outfit your home with natural energy.
Plantation Shutters and their Benefits
Plantation shutters are specially configured to conserve energy of all kinds, both heat energy and electricity. Using plantation shutters can contain the heat within your home so that you have to spend much less money on heating. This is especially important when you’re attempting to become energy efficient and effect sustainable home living. Plantation shutters can also help you conserve electricity by letting plentiful sunlight in during the daylight hours; with the right plantation shutters you can save on electric lights.
- License: Royalty Free or iStock source: http://stockfresh.com/image/1437135/green-city-silhouette-with-environmental-icons
Statistically speaking, you could lose 25-50 percent of your home’s heat energy through cracks in windows and doors. Prevent this using strategically placed shutters that retain heat, seal the energy osmosis between window and exterior, and help to shade your home. When you’re building a home with a property developer, make sure you consider plantation shutters. When you want, you can effectively open the airflow between inside and outside by adjusting the shutters. This gives you another opportunity to control the temperature, humidity, and lighting in your home.
Mirrors are a wonderful apparatus to use when decorating your home. They create the illusion of space and add light to any room. Try the tips below to incorporate mirrors into your home decor:
Arrange multiple mirrors side-by-side:
Use several mirrors in various grouping patterns to create a unique look. Use mirrors encased in decorative wood or ornate wrought iron in lovely patterns. These make excellent pieces to enhance any room in your home. The only rule to remember when grouping mirrors is to match the mirrors proportionately to each other and to the wall. In other words, do not group three tiny mirrors on a huge wall. In addition, keep the mirror shapes the same. For example, do not group an oval mirror with a square one.
Are you thinking of remodeling your bland bedroom but your budget is tight? Do not despair because the most affordable yet the most effective option is right before your eyes – bed sheets, of course! Add in comforter sheets, pillows and quilts to the mix and your bland bedroom can be transformed into an exciting place.
Besides, one spend as much as 8 hours each day on their bed, so it makes perfect sense to have and lie on the most luxurious bed linens from the sheets, quilts and comforters to the pillows. One always deserves it!
Of course, one’s choice of bedding should be a balance between form and function. Utility and beauty come hand in hand with these items just as it does with most of their home appliances, furniture and furnishings. Here, are tips in choosing your bedding for a style statement with practical values.
Choose Your Material
Bed sheets, among other beddings, come in a wide variety of materials with a few more luxurious than the others. Your choice in terms of materials will depend on your budget, your preference in texture, and your environment.
For example, one may prefer cotton sheets over silk or satin sheets because of the former’s soft texture coupled with ease of maintenance. One may also like silk sheets complete with silk quilt covers and pillowcases because of the smooth texture, rich fabric and posh feel.
So that, one can make their choice in the wide variety of materials available for beddings including comforter sets:
- Damask is a rich silk fabric.
- Matelassé has a quilted texture with raised patterns on the fabric.
- Cotton is the most popular fabric because of its comfortable feel on the skin.
- Silk and satin are considered romantic fabrics, but may not be suitable for certain weather conditions
Keep in mind that all of these materials for bed sheets and other beddings can be luxurious. The trick is in choosing the right style, pattern and color.
With gas and electric prices on the rise, which is the more efficient and less costly way to heat your house? I have spent a long time comparing the differences between gas heating and electric heating but which one is actually cheaper in the long run? Let’s take a look.
The Basic Facts
On average electric costs about 3 times more than gas per KWH (calculated on standard rates) with an efficient modern condensing boiler, meaning that in its natural form, gas is cheapest. There is however a but. Unless you have a gas supply into your home already, installing a boiler and radiators along with bringing a gas pipe into your home (if possible) could cost you several thousands of pounds (on average £2,000 to £2,500). This means that to purchase and install electric storage heaters the cost is lower than gas, not forgetting that they don’t need to be serviced as often because electric heaters store heat overnight.
If you use storage heaters however, the older the heater, the more heat it loses during the day – this can end up costing you a lot in electric especially as you will need to be using it during peak times when peak rates are in place. The main advantage without a doubt to having gas central heating is control – in particular being able to control how much heat comes in and out of your house – as the heat doesn’t have to be stored so you can have heating whenever you want. So the main difference in running costs is that electric prices go up for using the storage heaters during the day whereas gas prices stay the same no matter whether it is day or night.
So what are the main advantage and disadvantages to gas and electric heating? Here are your answers:
Advantages of gas central heating;
- Gas is a very resourceful fuel so you can bet that you will get a lot for your money
- There is no need to store anything where gas is concerned as it enters your home directly through pipes
- Replacing boilers is straight forward and an easy job (for a trained person in gas)
Disadvantages of gas central heating;
- Gas prices are high at the moment and they do seem to be continuing to increase
- Gas boilers etc. are expensive to install, meaning the initial cost could burn a massive hole in your pocket
- Gas boilers need to be serviced yearly
- Carbon dioxide is not good for the environment so gas isn’t the cleanest source of energy that you could use.
Advantages of electric central heating;
- Initial costs are low as it is cheap to install
- As electric heating doesn’t have many components it means little maintenance
- This option is available everywhere no matter where you are in the world
Disadvantages of electric central heating;
- The prices of electricity are constantly on the increase
- It costs a lot more to run during the day than a gas heater
- Whilst new storage heaters are good enough to keep the house warm, older storage heaters aren’t so good and often require good insulation to do their job properly.
So after reading all advantages and disadvantages electric heaters are cheaper initially but overall gas is proven to be cheaper to run in the long term.
- Ceative Commons image source
Looking to read more about how you can save on your heating bills this year? Still not convinced that there are still ways to save? Or still a little confused over these rising bills? Go on over to uSwitch.com and read about heating allowance – you are in for a surprise!
Keeping safe whilst performing Do-it-yourself jobs, is a serious concern and should not be taken lightly. The general tendency is to get carried away and plunge into the crucial work without adequate precaution. This is not such a bright idea. Engaging a trained person ensures that jobs get completed on time and also saves one from unnecessary harm. No doubt outsourcing work does cost, but it can also save one a lot of money in the long run. Sometimes, people start work, but find it difficult to complete it or incur injury and need to spend more money, not only for the injury, but also to get the job redone by a skilled technician. It is extremely easy to get physically injured doing any home repair or construction; be it carpentry, electric fitting or plumbing. Any home job requires the use of sharp and dangerous tools, which require expert handling and care while use, this does not deter many, who prefer do-it-yourself jobs.
It is best to opt for proper safeguards and take a little time to prepare, before starting on such a task. There are many websites that have a wealth of information on the use of various tools and relevant knowledge to keep safe during any DIY job. Following are a few tips to keep in mind prior to embarking on any DIY at home:
Protection: it is vital to cover up and prevent flying splinters or sparks from flying into the eyes or skin. Safety goggles, helmets, thick gloves are some highly effective implements and secure one from unforeseen accidents. Tiling or wall construction can cause sudden chips to fly while installation or breaking. Similarly, loose wires or no “earthing” can be mighty dangerous.
Nothing gives us more pleasure than doing up and redecorating our homes. Many of us are carried away with the idea, that they need to build their dream house with their own hands.
Many home owners pursue this line of thought with action and throw themselves with their entire energies by doing everything themselves. At the start, there is a potent enthusiasm, but soon they realize, they are in a big mess.
The rule is clear; DIY is not everyone’s cup of tea, and not everyone is a trained professional to complete the job. It is best to leave professional jobs with the safe hands. These experts have studied their craft, be it Plumbing, Electrical work or Painting. By taking on these jobs, without any experience, its sure there would be lots of jolts. Following are 5 DIY-jobs that most newcomers try themselves at the time of renovating their homes.
- Plumbing – Bathroom construction and installation is a highly essential feature of any residence, and requires expert knowledge and experience. If one tends to get carried away, thinking that he could fit out bathrooms and drains, think twice. Plumbing does not just involve choosing fancy bathroom accessories and fixing them with cement, but detailed knowledge of drainage systems, and advanced technology, which is used by most modern plumbers. One wrong move can end up with a choked toilet drain and sewage seeping back in the house. A professional plumber knows about the right plumbing codes and has all the equipment’s and certificates to carry out the plumbing job.
- Electrical Fittings – Playing with electrical fittings is never a good idea. Again this work involves technical knowledge of currents, wiring, earthing etc. If anything left unfinished or without proper insulation, can welcome a host of problems. This not only can be potentially dangerous to the lives of the inhabitants of the house, but can raise electrical bills considerably and even wreck electrical appliances. It’s best to hand over these jobs to an experienced and trained Electrician, who can save yourself from a lot of problems and shocks.
- Flooring – Another area that is best left to professionals. Many home enthusiasts feel that laying tiles is can be quite easy, and they dive their selves. This is a big mistake, as laying floor tiles is a mason’s job and requires proper knowledge of balance and layout planning. By trying to fit tiles, one might lose the equilibrium of the flooring and end up with an uneven floor, which not only would be terrible to look, but would cost a fortune of money to rectify. Laying a floor requires precision and technical knowledge of cutting tiles to the perfect fit. It needs special tools and experience in handling them. It’s better to hand these types of jobs to a Mason.
- Carpentry – One might remark, “This can be real easy, why anyone can not do it!”
“I wish if this could be so easy of banging a nail in the wall or sawing a plank.” But, the exhaustive carpentry that makes a home complete requires more than just the ability to use a hammer and saw. Large furniture requires distinctive wood and knowledge of how to shape it. More important it’s an art, and one needs to install in such a way that not only does it look highly aesthetic, but is strong enough to last for many years. Even a small job such as hammering a nail in the wall to hang up a mirror requires precise expertise. If not done in the right way, one might find themself looking at broken pieces of glass. It is best to leave this work to Carpenters who have studied this art, and carry all the necessary tools for it.
And last but not the least,
- Doing up Walls – As an amateur this could turn out to be a white elephant, if one have no experience, and proper knowledge of building technology. Just papering or painting is not sufficient. Many homes have leakage problems and uneven walls. These need expert study and appropriate application of materials to give home, not just a smooth finish, but insulation from ugly splotches. It is, therefore, advisable to hand over these jobs to professional contractors who can guide in the right direction, and give a perfect interior finish.
Without doubt, it is advisable to let professional with the requisite expertise, handle the most valuable aspects of the DIY Job. This is crucial, if one has little or no experience in these areas. If you feel disappointed with not being able to put your hand to these jobs; don’t take it too hard, because at the end of the day, it will be your design, colours and choices, which will form your dream home. Such professionals will only be the executors of your ideas. So go right ahead, and start visualizing your home and its look, to your heart’s content.
Gas fires are the modern fire-places. In the houses constructed in the olden days, there used to be an enclosure connected to a chimney on the roof top. The enclosure was used for burning pieces of wood and charcoal. The fumes produced on combustion escaped through the chimney, while the heat liberated from the combustion was used up for warming the room. This was the situation in the good olden days. These days, the fire places have almost vanished. Due to scarcity of wood and charcoal and environmental hazards, fire-places are no longer preferred. Even though some amount of wood is available in the forest, there are many restrictions imposed by the government for cutting the wood. The available sources of energy these days are the petroleum and the gas.
A gas fire is a modified fire place that uses gas instead of wood and charcoal. The entire setup of the gas fire is similar to the fireplace. There are many designs available in the market. Some resemble the fire places of the olden days with long chimneys, while some do not have any chimneys. There are different mechanisms for draining the smoke produced in these gas fires. The things which should be done and should not be done while purchasing a gas fire are:
1. Purchase a fuel efficient gas fire. The gas fire should be able to generate more heat with lesser gas consumption.
2. Purchase a gas fire in which the facilities to load or supply the gas and remove the smoke produced is easy.
3. Safety is of prime importance. The success of the gas fires manufactured by a particular firm must once be thoroughly reviewed. Information may be gathered from the people who are already using the gas fire of a particular firm.
4. Purchase a gas fire that looks stylish and fits into the space available in the house.
5. The gas fire must have a good design which is easy to clean.
6. A good quality gas fire should be purchased. The gas fire should be thoroughly checked for any flaws which may waste the gas by leakage. The gas fire should also be durable and last longer.
7. Bespoke gas fires may be useful in getting a gas fire of a design and measurement of our choice within our budget. It is better to find out whether any such facilities are available in the area.
8. Purchase a gas fire from a company only if the company has been approved and given permission by the government.
9. Finally we should go for a gas fire that meets all our requirements and is also available at a low price.
1. Do not purchase a gas fire of iron or steel, as the heat produced may get wasted because of absorption by the material of the gas fire. Gas fires made of stone are also available which are safer.
2. Do not purchase a gas fire that may consume more gas but produce less heat.
3. Do not purchase a gas fire made of a material which may melt on prolonged usage.
4. Do not produce a gas fire of a particular company if there have been many fire accidents from the products of that company though it has permission from the government.
These are the important do’s and dont’s for gas fires. Make sure to keep these in mind when shopping for your next gas fire.