Saturday, February 21, 2009

Create a New Living Room with These Exciting Design Tips

Everyone is looking to add a little value and excitement to their home. The list of reasons why is almost as large as the different ways it can be accomplished. One of the best places to begin transforming the look of your home is by redesigning the living room. So maybe you have your own reasons why you want a new look for your living room, like say you love the look of soapstone. Just remember, it only takes a few small changes to create a whole new look.

Now that you decided to update your living room, one of the first things to understand is that this is not an easy task and will require some work on your part, especially if you plan on doing the work on your own. Draw up some basic plans which are not only unique and creative but also practical and economical. Take soapstone masonry heaters or a soapstone fireplace, for example; not only do they look great but it also emits a soft heat in the room even after the fire has gone out. Here are a few more tips to think about before you begin decorating your living room.

Figure out exactly what you want out of your living room. Are you looking for minor alterations or are you looking to change the entire outlook of the room? If your furniture is sagging or tearing, try some putting on some slip covers or even a board under the pillows. Extra padding for the much needed areas causes it to appear not as worn out. Update your old fireplace with something more new like a soapstone fireplace. Soapstone fireplaces look fantastic and are reasonably priced as well. Any pieces of which are broken should try to be fixed and if they can't try to replace them with something for a low cost. Painting the flat surfaces of older furniture is a great way to make them appear newer than they really are.

Another way to liven up your living room is set a mood or certain atmosphere with lighting to instantly change the entire feel. Try using softening light features or maybe installing light dimmers. I've also found that pieces of art or paintings are a wonderful to focus attention on a particular area of a room. Also try candles above soapstone fireplaces as a delicate way of changing not only the smell but also the feel of any room.

You always don't need major changes to create a new look for your living room. All it really takes is a little color and some creative thinking to have a living room a little cozier or maybe a touch more modern. It all depends on what suits you. Choose a style which fits both your personality and lifestyle.

Friday, February 20, 2009

How to reduce your electricity bill

If you have been bogged by the enormous electricity bills you have been getting, it is time to take some concrete steps. You can reduce your electricity bills by following very simple steps.

This article will list some simple, easy-to-do things to reduce your electricity bill.

Limited use: Start with the room you are sitting in. If you were to take a call in another room or join your family at the dining table, would you just step out of your room without any concern for the electrical appliances in the room? If you would, stop right there, and look around. Switch off all the appliances even if you would be back in five minutes. Yes, even that will help. Every drop of water constitutes to the ocean.

Another thing to take care of here is what you perceive as an electronic appliance. Would you switch off the television set, turn off the fan, but not the light bulb? Yes, you need light, but not now when you are leaving the room. Taking care of these small things will go a long way in reducing the dreaded huge electricity bills.

Smart investments: Make some smart power investments by replacing your incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs. These bulbs are a great power-saving investment.

Buy the Power Save gadget. The gadget helps monitor the power supply to your house and uses the minimum that is needed.

Home appliance usage: Most of us complain that the electricity bill touches the sky because of the number of electrical appliances they have at home. However, the electricity bill is not directly proportional to the number of gadgets you use but the way you use them. Let’s see how you can avoid the typical power-wasters.

• Use the washing machine only when there is a full load of clothes.
• Keep the geyser on for the minimal amount of time.
• Keep the air-conditioner at the minimum low or high temperature, just enough to keep you off the heat or the cold outside.
• Switch off the computer monitor even when you take a one-minute break. It takes just a second to switch on the monitor again!

Yeah, you have to stick to this way of life for saving power at home and for the world.

Remember, reducing your electricity bill is equivalent to saving power, thus helping the world save power for its future generations.

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Tuesday, February 3, 2009

A Few Decorating Budget Tips to Get You Started

The first thing you should remember when decorating is that there are no rules except those that you set for yourself. However, having a plan is always a good idea and will help you to keep on budget.

Below are a provided a number of tips that will help you get started.

1. Trust yourself

Remember, you will know more about what looks good for your home than you think.

2. Focal Points

Select the most important element in a room, say a fireplace, and make this the focal point. Then place furnishings and objects around it to draw a person’s eye towards it. You could, if you want, direct the person’s eye towards, say, a window, which then directs them to look outside into the garden.

3. Themes

Provide each room with a theme. You may just decide on a color, or it may be a particular style, say French Country or Italian Tuscany, for say the kitchen. Doing this will give you a starting point, and will help to guide you through the decorating stages.

4. Planning

When planning your design, work from the largest area of the room to the smallest. For instance, start with walls, windows, floors, furnishings and then finish with accessories. It is important to remember the larger the decorating surface, the more impact it will have on the finished design.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Is it Time to Refinish Your Hardwood Floor?

How do you know when the time is right to refinish your hardwood floors? Hardwood floors tend to be quite durable and the stains long lasting. There are, of course, places in high traffic areas that will begin to show signs of wear long before the floors have worn out their beauty of usefulness. With that in mind, how do you know when the time is right for refinishing?

Refinishing hardwood floors doesn’t have to be the stuff that nightmares are made of. In fact, if at all possible this is the kind of chore you should really entrust to professionals (this way someone else is responsible if something gets messed up). Another reason to entrust this to professionals is that they have access to the best of power tools for this specific job. And using the right tools is sometimes all the difference in the world. While it wouldn’t be cost effective for the average home owner to purchase these tools for a one time project, a professional floor person would often have cause to use these tools.

So what is the difference between a floor that simply needs to be cleaned and one that needs to be completely refinished? One way to do this is to go to one of the high traffic run down areas of your floor and spill a few drops of liquid onto the floor. If the liquid beads up there is still some life left in your original finish and you are not quite ready for a major overhaul. If on the other hand, the wood soaks the water right up, it is time to refinish.

One of the great things about refinishing is that you can choose to go lighter or darker than before or even to use the exact same finish. If you’re looking for a way to change the look of a room, changing the finish of your floors is definitely a way to make a large impact on a room. Keep in mind that stain samples will look different when they are on the entire floor and that different stains react differently to different hardwoods, you definitely want to choose a stain that is compatible to the hardwoods of your floors. The age of your floor also has a tremendous impact on how the stain will look when the floor is finished. A good place to try stain samples is the floorboard of a closet.

Hardwood flooring comes in many different stains and colors, the more popular stain options include stains that appear natural, light stains that don’t significantly altar the look of the wood, medium stains, which bring out a darker tint in the grain of the wood, and dark stains, which provide a rich, velvety feel to the floor.

If you haven’t something that reaches out and grabs you, you can also go to a local hardware store and have a stain custom blended for your floors. You can get really creative for these stains and have a lot of fun in the process, but remember this is your home and you have to live with the floors once they are finished.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

How To Add Interest To Your Home With Oriental Home Decor

The decor that is used to decorate an oriental style home is very ornate and colorful. Traditions from the Orient are displayed throughout these pieces. The pieces themselves can be found on walls in the form of artwork, displayed as statues or other “show” pieces, or the designs could be shown through the very furniture that is placed throughout the home.

Panel pieces in threes are very popular for displaying artwork in the oriental tradition. The artwork itself varies by what is displayed on the panels, but it is typically very traditional and colorful. There is a lot of gold, red, and black used as colors in this artwork. Large, wall-sized fans are also popular for decorating in the oriental tradition. Again, the artwork displayed will vary, but the colors will be similar to those used in panel paintings. The displays may include traditional oriental women complete with hair pulled back and wearing traditional clothing, likewise for Oriental males. They may also display the mythological creature so often seen in oriental design, the dragon, often breathing fire from its mouth.

Colors of walls in an oriental decorated home are most typically white. The red, gold, and black are most often reserved for the complimentary pieces. Clean lines are important to the Oriental home, so the walls will enhance those clean lines by having been painted either white or very light beige. Those walls will be lined on the bottom by wood grained shoe moulding and trim around doorways in the home. This further adds to those clean lines displayed throughout the home.

Knickknacks will be sparse. They will be well chosen after much contemplation. Not all Oriental pieces are red, black, and gold. Some use blues, blacks, and yellows too, but the first are the most typical. These traditional colors will be found in a lot of the knickknacks that will be displayed throughout the home. There will be only a few chosen and they will compliment one another. Plants will also be sparse. An orchid is a popular choice for Oriental decorating, but many green leafy plants will be appropriate too. Orchids can be hard to care for, so some may choose a simply ivy instead.

Artwork, other than fans and panels, will compliment the color choices of the knickknacks displayed. They will compliment the gold in a statue or the red sprinkled throughout the serving dish. There will never be too much color in the artwork, it should be simple, just like everything else discussed here.

Furnishings will be lower than typical to enhance the Zen tradition originated in the Orient. Some furnishing may not have legs at all, they may be nothing much more than cushions on the floor. Coffee tables and end tables will also be placed lower than their American counterparts. Again, this is to compliment the furnishings that are set lower. Often the legs of the furniture and coffee and end tables turn in. This shape goes along with the Oriental tradition.

An Oriental home is a clean one that displays its cleanliness through the undisturbed lines in the home. There will never be clutter in this style home. All pieces will have been chosen with much effort. The homes become pieces of artwork themselves and bring peace and serenity to those that are living among them.

Casual Living Room Design Tips

When creating a design for your living room, keep in mind how the living room will be used. A living room with surround sound, for example, will require a particular design in order to get the full effect of that sound. Whether there is surround sound or no sound, a living room should be a room that creates a relaxing atmosphere in which one can read quietly, visit with friends, or any number of things in a comfortable manner.

Consideration of furniture is important. A casual living room will not have stiff furniture that provides no comfort when sitting. That type of furniture should be reserved for waiting rooms at a doctor's office or school rooms. A comfortable living room's couches and chairs will be made out of soft, perhaps plush fabrics that invite a person to relax on them. Their comfort will be further enhanced by soft, plush pillows of the same fabric. Some will even add pillows that contrast with the colors of the couches or chairs. This furniture is something that can be relaxed and socialized on in complete comfort.

Flooring is another important consideration for this room. Hardwood floors are very popular right now, yet they do not have to be the only choice. Hardwood is pretty and easy to clean, yet it's cold. If your home is often cold and you're looking for economical ways to keep it warmer, carpeting is one way to do that. Carpeting will hold the heat in the room better than hardwood flooring which will make the room warmer longer. This will in turn use your furnace less and your money will be saved. However, if you have allergies to dust or other airborne particles, carpeting may not be a good choice. No matter how often you vacuum, it can be very difficult to get those allergens out of the air. For this type of person, a hardwood floor would probably be the better choice because there will be less fibers in the room to hold in those allergens.

Television and sound system would also be a consideration into your design. If your television is large, it will take a large portion of area in the living room. Alternately, if it is small it won't take up as much room. Either way, the seating and sound should be surrounding the viewing area at a reasonable distance for both sight and sound. If you have surround sound, you have the advantage of bringing the sound to the seating area. Otherwise, the seating should surround the television at a distance that makes listening happen easily.

Living rooms should be places of comfort. They should be conducive to visiting and mingling with guests as well as watching television. With the listed tips above, your living room will bring comfort and joy to all of its inhabitants.

How To Decorate Your New Home

You are really excited because you are moving into a new home and although it is structurally sound the interior decorating is not quite to your taste. Sometimes when people sell their homes they do a good job of presentation but when they have moved out and the furniture is gone then the cracks begin to show. The lighting may have obscured the fact that the ceiling is dingy and the curtains may have hidden the peeling paint on the window frames. Whatever the situation it is usually the case that most people get involved to some extent in new home decorating.

You bought the house because you liked the general scheme of things but now you have decided that the avocado bathroom suite really isn’t to your taste. You have a couple of options here, you can get hold of a couple of cans of special bathroom paint and cover it up so that all you need to replace is the toilet. On the other hand you might decide that white bathroom suites are a must for you and a complete change is called for. If this is the case then it is a good idea to go to a specialist bathroom outlet or one of the discount do it yourself outlets. If you do some rudimentary research and look around you may find that you can get a new bathroom suite quite cheaply – then you are left with the problem of installing it.

Unless you are used to a mix of plumbing and electric and unless you have a kind relative or friend who is in the trade then you will probably have to have a professional in to install it. New showers are a particular problem for beginning do-it-yourself enthusiasts and really require professional expertise.

If the bathroom suite is ok then perhaps the smallest room in the house would benefit from a coat of paint or maybe some new tiles. Even a new blind would brighten a tired bathroom.

If the kitchen is the bug bear in your new home then try updating the cabinets, either with new doors or just a coat of paint. Paint the walls if they really need it but don’t go for bright colors – they soon look tired. Neutral is best, then add color with blinds and accessories

Before you make any decisions take a good look around your new home. Decorating may not be the answer. Unless there are things that you feel you feel you really can’t live with then try using different furniture arrangements and swapping curtains i.e. living room to bedroom etc. Get some potted plants if you don’t have them because they brighten any room.