Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Get Green: How To Make Your Home Eco Friendly

Being more green is something that we all aspire to - although we all want to be less Elphaba from Wicked and more eco friendly. Saving the planet needs to become one of our top priorities - and here are some ways that you can do it at home.

Use Different Materials

When you’re buying new furniture for your home, make sure that you carefully consider the materials that it’s made from, and try to go for wood, glass and metal as opposed to plastic. They tend to stay in good condition for longer, which means that you can keep them for a longer time or that you’ll be able to easily pass them on when they no longer suit your home or when you buy new pieces. You should also remember that materials like wood are much less toxic, meaning that they’re good choices to have in your home if you have kids.

Switch Your Light Bulbs

Secondly, it’s time to get rid of your old light bulbs when they burn out and replace them with new eco friendly bulbs. Not only will they last much longer but they’ll also use less energy while they’re there - which is good for both your bank balance and for the environment! You should also make sure that you switch off the lights every time you leave a room.

Use A New Energy Source

We all know that the whole world is buzzing about finding different sources of energy instead of fossil fuels, which are rapidly being used up and which are definitely not at all good for the environment. If you want to improve your eco friendly credentials then why not go for solar panels instead? After all, the sun is the ultimate renewable energy source. If you’re wondering how solar panels work, there’s plenty of information online - but in short, they take solar energy from the sun and convert it into electricity which can power your home.

Get A Water Filter

Let’s face it: if you’re at all environmentally conscious then you’ll know that bottled water isn’t a good thing. Not only does it use huge amounts of energy when it’s being bottled and when the plastic bottles are being made, but it’s also expensive to transport - along with using up a lot of energy on the roads. It’s time that you start to drink tap water. If you don’t like the taste of it, you could invest in a water filter which will remove impurities from your water - you could also flavour it with fruit like berries, apples and kiwis.

Unplug Your Electronics

When you leave the room, you need to make sure that you unplug your electronics - the truth is that they use almost as much energy when you leave them on standby as when you’re actually watching TV or listening to music. Not only does that mean that you have to pay out more money than you need to for electricity and power, but it’s also not great for the environment. Unplug your TV before you go to bed.


Friday, May 26, 2017

Essential Guide To Cleaning Your Bathroom

The bathroom is one of the most important rooms in the house, but it can also be one of the more difficult to clean. There is nothing worse than being sat in the bath surrounded by those dirty black rings around the edge. Then there are the moment's first thing in the morning when everybody in your house is in a rush to get to the bathroom first. When you get in there, the place looks like a crime scene, with wet towels scattered across the floor and toothpaste streaked up the mirror.
Like it or not, you need to get around to cleaning the bathroom at some point, and the more you stay on top of the room, the easier it will be. Let's focus on the three main areas of use and make your room sparkle again.

Cleaning the sink

Every day the sink comes under fire from dribbles of toothpaste to clogged up hairs from a shaver. It needs to be cleaned regularly and unclogged with a sink unblocker.

Use an all-purpose bathroom cleaner to remove the dirt on the surface of the sink and around the taps. For built up areas of scum use an abrasive cloth to eliminate the hardest patches of grime. For hygiene, use cleaning fluid formulated with bleach.

Homemade mixtures such as vinegar and water or baking soda and water make your sink sparkle and are cheaper than branded products.

Working on the bathtub and shower

The bath area is prone to damage from all the oils and hair products you use, and the taps and rims of the bath are liable to gather moisture and mould. It may be worth spraying the bath and your sink with whatever cleaning product you prefer at the beginning of your cleaning regime. Then leave it to stand for a while, dissolving all the scum as you get to work on the rest of the bathroom.

If your shower has a detachable head, this will make it easier to rinse clean your bathtub of any chemicals you have used. Your shower doors will need extra care taken with them as abrasive cleaning pads can scratch the finish. These all-in-one shower screen cleaning products are a handy way of eliminating the need to buy several different products as they clean all areas of the bathroom, not just the shower.

Toilet time

Undoubtedly the one place in the bathroom that gets the most use. Failure to clean this sufficiently will result in a buildup of germs and unpleasant smells.

Place the toilet bowl cleaner of your choice and let it go to work dissolving any hidden grime and killing the germs. The cleaner needs time to work so don’t flush it away too quickly. Then use your toilet brush to get to work on the hard to reach places, such as under the toilet rim and scrub away any hidden deposits. A pumice stone is also very effective in removing toilet ring stains if other products fail to do the work.


Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Cutting The Costs When Moving Home

When moving into a new home, there are a number of costs you will encounter, and your bank balance will take a serious dip.The cost of living is rising all the time, yet our salaries rarely seem to reflect this. In the moving process there are things you may not have budgeted for.This includes renovation work to your current home to raise the value and attract potential buyers. Then there are the removal costs as well as any extra work that needs to be done in the new house, and budgeting for the cost of living in those first few months.

Moving can be very stressful but here are a few small yet significant ways you can save money in the months ahead.

Use cheaper services

In moving into your new home, use price comparison sites to find the best deals on energy, water, telephone and insurance providers. You don’t need to stick with the companies you have used in the past, so shop around and look for the best offers available to you. They don’t care about you personally and are only interested in your business, so don’t have a sense of misguided loyalty, no matter how lovely their customer service. You can often find a better deal elsewhere, saving you extra money in the process and giving you extra cash to pay for anything necessary for the new house.

In the moving process, you will be requiring services such as hiring a removal van and possible repair work. Always look for the better deals and hire professionals such as who are competing with similar companies by offering competitive price deals. When you have found somebody you trust, you can use them again in the future.

Look after your money

You are likely adding to your current debts by adding a new mortgage for the property. Consider all the debts you owe and speak to your bank.  Consolidate all your debts at lower interest rates and pay them off as soon as you can to cut down on interest payments.

Budget each month for all of the utility services you intend to use, and if you are not happy with any of them, contact them and switch if you need to. If you discover you are struggling to pay a bill, don’t ignore the problem and hope it goes away. Tell the company involved, and they will probably help you with a budget plan for the months ahead. This will alleviate your stress and help you to budget  effectively.

You will need to eat, despite all the excitement involved. Whatever the state of your kitchen on arrival, you are going to need to eat something. Bring the food along from your previous home, and have a plan for the first few days. Avoid the expense of takeaways whenever possible as you may be running to a tight budget. After the initial outlay, your finances should get back on track with sufficient planning. So be sensible and enjoy your new home.


Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Go Retro in the Kitchen


If you’re looking to create a kitchen that is beautiful, quirky and different from the rest, you can’t go wrong with a retro redesign. Retro simply refers to styles that were popular in times gone by, which means that you can choose any time period you like to create your perfect retro kitchen. However, opting for a 1950s look is probably the best way to make your kitchen look really impressive. Here’s how:

Look at Pictures

First and foremost, you should start by looking at pictures of the 1950s era. You’ll need to decide whether you want to go for a 1950 American diner look or something more traditional and close to home, but most people find the 50s Americana look best. Do as much research as you can to work out which features you want to recreate and which you’d rather leave out.

Choose a Color Scheme

Next, you’ll want to start thinking about a color scheme for your kitchen, so that you can get Cameron Davidson painters and decorators in to do the work and start transforming our kitchen, as soon as possible. The 50s style has a lot of colors to choose from, but mint greens, pale pinks, teals, taupes, and reds are all good options. Choose which suit your style best and leave the rest behind.

Think About Pattern and Shapes

The shapes and patterns that were popular in the 1950s aren’t exactly the same as the shapes and patterns that are most common today. For example, geometric prints were big news, as were round and egg and ball shaped chairs, so choose as many authentic patterns and shapes as you can to make your kitchen look more authentically retro.

Chrome and Metal

Chrome and metal were both extremely popular in the 50s. Installing chrome worktops and appliances, including kettles and toasters, is a great way of bringing retro style to your kitchen, as is hanging metal signs, which were all the rage in 50s diners.

Checkerboard Flooring

If you’ve ever watched 50s TV shows or movies, set in an American kitchen or diner, you will have noticed that, more often than not, they feature black and white checkerboard flooring. Not only does this kind of flooring add a retro touch, but it creates a nice contrast between the other colors used in your scheme, making them pop.

Make it Tactile

In the past, minimalism wasn’t really a think and kitchens were filled with warm, tactile touches like geometric wallpaper, thick floral fabrics, and cushions. Adding texture will really help your retro kitchen to feel more authentic.

Add Retro Images

Retro posters, and as I mentioned above, signs, as well as photographs,  will help to bring the theme together, and add those extra little touches that make a room feel cosier and lived in. 50s film posters, Marilyn Monroe Cushions or classic diner signs are all good options.

Add Retro Accessories

Finally, to really transform or kitchen into a retro room, you’ll need to pack it with retro accessories like food mixers, old-style telephones, Formica tables and anything else you can think of to get the look?

Do you have a retro kitchen? What are your top tips for getting the look?


Friday, May 12, 2017

Are You Financially Prepared for Your First Home?

If you’re a tenant in a rented home, then chances are you’ve probably dreamed of breaking free from the shackles of your landlord and buying your own house. But there are many challenges, especially financial ones, that are probably preventing you from doing so. If you’re considering the option of investing in a home, then here are a couple of ways to help you prepare for the financial side of things.

Credit History

To afford a home, you’ll have to take out a loan in the future. If you want to be financially prepared for it, then you need to maintain a good credit rating as well. This should come as no surprise considering how much money you’ll potentially have to borrow. In order to get a good credit score, you need to make sure you’re not late for any payments, be they for utility bills or your rent. If you plan to buy a home together with someone, such as your partner, then both your credit ratings will be considered so you both need to have a great score. Improving your credit score can take a long time, so avoid decreasing it as much as possible if you want to have a better chance of securing a loan.

Home Loans

Not all of us make six or seven-figure salaries and are capable of affording homes with the money in our bank. Luckily, that’s why we have home loans to rely on. It’s almost impossible for the average person to have the hundreds and thousands required to purchase a home in a single lump payment which is why there are countless home loan services available. You can take a look at home loan comparison websites in order to get a better understanding of how much money you’ll need to borrow, and they’ll even give you advice on what type of home to look for to suit your budget. Keep in mind there are varying interest rates, but this is an inevitable additional expense unless you’re capable of buying a home in a single payment.
Stable Income

Lastly, you have to consider your current situation before you buy a home. If you’re getting an average wage, then you shouldn’t expect to be able to afford a luxury home. You need to stay within your budget and have realistic expectations before you go shop around for both a mortgage and a home. However, this is all pointless to consider if you don’t have a stable income. If the job you’re working at feels unstable and you’re fearing for your job security, then now is definitely not the time to look for a home. What you realistically need is a well-paying job in a company that’s doing well to even be considered for a mortgage. Alternatively, it helps if you’re working multiple jobs to ensure that even if you lose one, you still have some income. You could also run a business from home on the side to secure multiple streams of income in order to afford your first home.


Quick & Easy Budget Bathroom Upgrades

When it comes to renovating your bathroom, two major factors are likely to stop you - the sheer cost is an obvious starting point, of course. But you have the pain, misery, and timescale to deal with, too. Along with the kitchen, there is no other place in the home that can create quite so much mess and cost so much money as a bathroom renovation - but there are alternative solutions.

Today, we’re going to take a look at how upgrading your bathroom needn’t be the pricey, painful experience you expect - and some simple solutions can refresh your water closet space and make an instant improvement. Let’s take a closer look at some of your options.

First steps

Before you lift a finger, you need to ensure that all of your bathroom issues are not being caused by something like a plumbing problem. There is no point in redecorating a bathroom that has a leak, as the problems will return almost straight away. So, the first step is to track down the sources of mildew, damp patches, and anything else that is wrong in your bathroom and fix it.

Vinyl flooring

It wasn’t so long ago that vinyl flooring was a complete no go for anyone wanting a beautiful bathroom. These days, however, things are very different. There are luxury vinyl floor solutions that won’t cost you an arm or a leg, and look tasteful, trendy, and beautiful. And the great thing about vinyl is that you can lay it over almost anything, meaning you won’t have to take up your current flooring.

Tile Regrouting

If the tiles in your bathroom look like they have seen better days, there is no need to replace them. You can save a considerable sum of money by regrouting tiles instead. It’s often the grout that suffers in the bathroom. Black spots and mould will often appear after a while, and taking out the old grout and refreshing your room with a new application will give your bathroom an instant lift.

Bathtub refinishing

Bath tubs are subject to all kinds of abuse, and often get chipped, stained, and cracked as a result. And the temptation to buy an entirely new tub can be a strong one - but there is no need. You can get your tub refinished for a fraction of the cost of a brand new bath. If the issues are beyond repair, speak to your local scrap yard - they often have old baths arriving on site in excellent condition, and you can pick them up for next to nothing.

Little additions

The simplest of additions can make all the difference to a dull and boring bathroom. Look at your local thrift stores and flea markets for stylish old mirrors. Collect driftwood from beaches and create an interesting picture or mirror frame. And don’t forget to dot some hydrogenic plants about the place to add that all-important natural touch.

The cost of installing an entirely new bathroom can sometimes run into five figure sums. But these tips will give your bathroom an instant lift for just a few hundred - and a little elbow grease, of course!


Thursday, May 4, 2017

Let Your Home Provide You with the Standard of Life You Deserve

Everybody deserves the best standard of life that can possibly be afforded to them. Nobody deserves to have their standard of life worsened by the place in which they live. If your home is causing you any problems then you owe it to yourself to have these problems fixed.

First and foremost, nobody deserves to have to live in a place that is surrounded by dirt and filth. It is never a good standard of life if you are competing with the unsightly views, bad smells, and pests induced by garbage. If your premises is inundated with junk and rubbish then you should seek to have it all removed before it not only decreases your standard of life but poses a serious risk to your health. To go through with this process you should seek to have your home cleaned of all junk on a regular basis. You should make sure you always have bags on hand to put rubbish in. You should then take these bags outside into your bigger garbage bin when they become too full. And you should ensure that these big garbage bins are emptied by professional garbage and rubbish removal companies frequently. If this is not the case then you should get onto your local council immediately.

Similarly, you should always ensure that your home protects you from the bad standard of life that is a pest or bug infestation. This type of circumstance is annoying, unhygienic and can even be bad for your health. To stop it from happening in your home and disturbing your standard of life you should do a number of things. You should seal your doors to an extent where even the smallest of mites can’t enter through them. You have to make sure there are no holes in any screens you have put up, even screens that you have put up to in fact fight pests. You must maintain your garden and get rid of anything in it that attracts pests; for instance, water attracts mosquitoes, so if this type of pest is a specific problem for you then get rid of any water in your garden. And you should seal around pipe areas.

Another aspect within homes that generally contributes to a poor standard of life is temperature control. Nobody deserves to live in a place that is too cold. Nobody deserves to live in a place that’s too warm, either. If your home is too cold then banish the bad weather by having underfloor heating fitted. If  your home is too warm then why not have your AC fixed by seeking professional air conditioner repair? Nobody deserves to be too cold or too warm in their own home. Don’t stand for it any longer and make your home suitable for any climate.


As you can see, even though your home should provide you with the standard of life you deserve, sometimes it’s down to you to make sure this is the case. Don’t let anything in your home stand in the way of you and the standard of life you deserve.


Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Little Changes That Make A House A Much Better Deal

Whether you’re looking to sell your house or to rent it out, there’s one thing that any viewer will want to see more than anything. They want to see value, first and foremost. You might not be intent on investing in a full renovation or extension, so if you have a smaller budget, what is available to you? Here, we’ll look at little steps that can add big value to a home and help you ask for a higher price or set a more profitable rent.

Give some value to the backyard

We’ve all heard that it’s the kitchen and the bathroom that can add the most value to the home. But when you want to create an emotional hook to get tenants and buyers interested, the garden can be just as powerful a choice and might not be as expensive as renovating the interior. The garden gives them a glimpse of more than utility, it gives them an idea of the lifestyle they can enjoy there. For instance, laying some decking or a patio to create an outdoor dining space for the summer. If you have a lot more space in your yard, you might even consider a big addition like a tennis court.
Reduce their costs

Speak to your viewers in the language that everyone understands: money. By making changes to the home that can cut their costs, you could give yourself some ground to bump up the price a little. For instance, if the house catches a lot of sun, then having residential tinting on the windows can do a great deal to cut the costs of managing the temperature in the home. If it’s a home that’s built to accommodate many people, then a water meter could be another long-term cost saving tool that you can use to increase your short-term profit. As with all changes, however, you have to make sure that the value it adds to the house justifies the cost of getting these changes installed. As a landlord, this is easier because that profit will keep coming long after you’ve broken even.
Open some space

Space is easily one of the biggest sources of extra revenue when you’re trying to sell or rent a home. Extensions might be the most effective way to get some, but they’re not the only one. If a conversion in the garage, loft, or basement wouldn’t cost you too much, you should consider it. If you’re willing to invest some more, then you could even think about knocking out a wall to create a more open-plan arrangement for the home. Then there are little storage space changes you can make such as fitting storage in below the stairs or investing in a floating sink to add some beneath it.

Beyond making the changes, you have to emphasize them when the viewers come around. They’re not going to immediately recognize the value of some of the improvements you’ve made to the home. Give them some prominence in your listings and make sure they get a highlight when viewers come around.


On the House: 13 Ways to Add Value to Your Home

When you invest in a house, it is pretty much always a work in progress. Whether you are planning on selling it in the near future or are just wanting to live in a nicer environment, adding value to your home is an ongoing task that you will want to keep doing as often as possible. While some value-adding tasks require a great deal of effort and work, others can be done in a relatively short amount of time for less of an investment.

If you are planning to move up the property ladder at some point, you need to make sure that you are proactive in ticking off your list of home improvement tasks. Here are a few of the most common ones to get you started.

Have a Loft Conversion

Using the space that you have at the top of your house to create an extra bedroom or bathroom is an effective way to add value to your property. However, a loft conversion is also one of the most costly approaches so it is worth doing the sums to make sure it is worthwhile. In general, the amount spent on the conversion is more than made up for with the extra value that you will add to your home. Accessibility is one of the key issues so the conversion fits in well with the rest of the house rather than looking ‘tacked-on’.

Make the Most of the Garage Space

Many people have garage space that is way bigger than a single car. You could undertake some work in the garage to utilise the extra space to create a workshop or simply an additional storage area. As well as this, you could make sure everything is modern with automatic garage doors. One of the main tricks when it comes to adding value to your home is making the most of the space that you have.

Pave Over the Front Garden

This advice is particularly relevant if you live in a busy city centre or anywhere that parking is scarce. If you don’t really use your front garden area for anything and it is not particularly attractive, it makes sense to utilise it for valuable parking space. The added value is likely to be significant in a city centre. However, if you live in the countryside and the garden is important to the overall image of your home, you may want to consider keeping it or at least think about preserving the flower beds so you have a bit of colour on the outside.   

Paint the House

If you are planning to sell your home anytime soon, you will want to take steps to get buyers through the door in the first place. Painting the outside of your home is one of the most affordable and effective ways of making it look like an inviting place to live. You may need to get the professionals in to do the majority of the job, but you can at least do the front door yourself. You would be surprised what a big difference a couple of coats of paint and a new house number can make. While you are out there, you can also do a few other simple tasks like cleaning dirty windows, clearing the driveway and unblocking the gutters.

Build a Conservatory

Another more costly job but one that can also add significant value to your property is building a conservatory. Extending your living space is usually a good idea, but you want to make sure that it doesn’t look like something that has been hastily added to the back of your house. One of your top considerations should be making sure that the conservatory matches the overall style of your home. Rather than making it feel separate, you can install it with an entrance that joins up with the rest of the house.

Change the Windows

If the windows are old-fashioned or need to be made more energy efficient, this is a job worth doing as people’s eyes are naturally drawn to this part of the house. Remember to try to make them match with the overall age and style of the property. So, if it was built with wooden windows, then these are what you should put in. The same goes if they are metal. Changing the style is a bold move that you should only attempt if you are confident that it will make a big improvement.

Hang Up Mirrors in the Hall

Now it is time to move on to the inside of the property. In most properties, the hall is the first thing that guests will see so you want to make a good first impression. If you have a narrow hall, putting up a large mirror on either side can make the space look significantly bigger and more inviting. Another thing you can do is to put some green plants in the entryway to give your house a natural feel from the moment you step inside.

Refurbish the Kitchen

When it comes to refurbishing the different rooms in your house, top of the list should be the kitchen. This is the place that becomes the epicentre of the home; an area to cook, socialise and spend quality time. Design trends are always changing, and having a kitchen that is modern and fresh-looking can really make all the difference when it comes to selling your property on. Making the area look spacious and installing energy efficient appliances should be two of your top priorities. You should also use the price bracket of your house as a good measure of how much you should spend on your kitchen renovation.

Move on to the Bathroom

If you have already tackled the kitchen, the next room to move onto is the bathroom. If you are doing a complete bathroom renovation, then this can also be a fairly costly process, but you don’t have to spend a fortune. Putting in some new taps, towel rail, shower head and glass screen, to name a few things can spruce up the room without you breaking the bank. Simply making sure the room is well maintained can really make all the difference on its own.

Knock Down Unnecessary Walls

Modern design trends of late are all about open space, so you should consider knocking down any walls that are not load-bearing. Rather than dividing up rooms as clearly as they once were, this ensures that the house has a more open-plan feel and potential buyers have a lot more options when it comes to deciding what to do with the space. Even if you are planning to stay in the house, you would be surprised what a big difference it makes and how much room you can create.

Make the Garden More Accessible from the House

If you have a good garden space, you will want as much of it as possible to be visible from your house. Consider putting in some glass doors which will help to blur the line between indoors and outdoors. They will also encourage a lot more natural light to enter your home. Outdoor lighting can also help so you can enjoy the garden area at nighttime. The garden can be treated as another room of the home by adding decking, which provides the perfect platform to create an entertainment area.

Add an Extension (or Just Get Planning Permission)

Rather than utilising the space you already have, this one is all about creating entirely new space. Even if you don’t decide to have the extension done yourself, just the knowledge that it is an option can add value to your property. Apply for planning permission and you can show potential buyers that there won’t be any obstacles in their way when it comes to planning for an extension.

Work on Some Basic DIY Jobs

You don’t need to be an expert to undertake some basic DIY jobs that will add value to your property. We have already talked about a lick of paint on the outside, but doing the same on the inside should be high up on your list of priorities. Another easy job that you can take a look at is sorting out any creaky doors and windows. Moving into the kitchen and bathroom, you will probably be able to tackle any mouldy sealants and fix any dripping taps. Remember not to tackle anything that looks too complicated if you think that you are going to make things worse, but look at all the advice that is available online and give some basic jobs a go.

These are just a few of the top jobs that you can undertake if you are looking to add value to your home. Like we talked about at the start, a house is very much a work-in-progress, but making sure that you always have some sort of job to complete is a good way to ensure that you are always moving in the right direction.