Home Improvement

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Hallway

Designing a powerful and impressive front entrance and hallway sets the tone for the remainder of the house. The hallway needs to not only be both functional to greet guests and store belongings but also aesthetically pleasing. Traditionally, a hallway is a small and narrow space that requires a discerning eye to design both functionally and pleasing. Luckily, a boring and impractical hallway can be redesigned with simple and inexpensive home improvement projects.

To turn a poorly designed hallway into a practical and livable space thought must first be given to storage. Partitioning an area of the hallway for storing coats and jackets is a necessity by either constructing a small closet or using an armoire. For cramped or small spaces, a full-length mirror can be hung to increase the visual appeal of the room and its perceived size. Additionally, a small desk or chest can be used to store car keys, umbrellas, scarves and hats.

To create a warm and inviting atmosphere, choose artificial lighting to illuminate the hallway. Choose diffused lights that cast a softer glare and less of a shadow on pieces of furniture.

Living Room

In many homes, the living room is the most important space of the house as it is where families relax, dine and entertain. To make the room comfortable it is best imperative to divide the room into functional spaces. For example, the window is the ideal location for a relaxing sitting area. This zone can be further defined with a comfortable sofa, relaxing chairs, a coffee table and a television.

The dining area of the living room can be created closet to the door that leads to the kitchen. The space can be defined with an elegant dining table, chairs and a chandelier. When choosing furniture one must consider the size and d├ęcor of the room. Traditionally, the smaller the home the smaller the furniture should be and vice versa for a larger house.
After embarking on a home improvement project ensure that the quality of work is up to par by checking for any safety hazards. Furniture should not be blocking any exits and shelves, pictures and posters need to be properly applied to the wall with studs and nails to prevent injury.

Bedroom

The bedroom is the most important room of the house and needs to be placed in the quietest and most isolated part of the home. A bedroom represents a location for healthy sleep and a place for relaxation. Consequently, the room should be designed with the homeowner’s personal preferences and desires in mind. The larger the bedroom the larger the bed should be; however, for smaller rooms the bed might need to be adjusted to fit properly.

For many homeowners, the closet may be the most important part of the bedroom and can be either freestanding or walk-in. A walk-in closet can be one of the best home improvement projects as it is a great way to build equity in the home. Today, many homebuyers want houses with large walk-in closets and having one can make the difference between a quick sale and a house sitting on the market for several months.

Nursey

Most importantly, a nursery needs to be designed with safety as the first priority. Ensure that electrical outlets are baby proof and that nothing in the room could cause a safety hazard to the child. The specific design of the room will depend on the age and sex of the child; however, common themes can include sports, princesses, dancing, vehicles and more.

The furniture chosen for the room is also age dependent with younger babies require a crib. The crib should have high enough rails that the baby cannot climb out of and hurt themselves while still providing a great night of sleep. Older children can opt for slightly larger beds that have movable mesh that makes changing the sheets an easy process.

Tables and/or desks for school-age children or for playtime make a great addition to any kid’s bedroom. Additionally shelves can be installed to store books, toys and other items.

Finding The Best Home Improvement

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So you finally decided to take on that home remodeling project. Good for you.

While I admit there is something about doing your own home remodeling, the first thing you need to ask yourself is whether you are truly up to the task. If, after doing some research and inner searching you decide that you need to have a true professional home improvement company do the job, there are a few things to do to get the job off the ground.

Figure Out Your Budget

Home improvement projects aren’t cheap. Even the smallest of laundry room could cost over one or two thousand dollars.

If you know anyone that has had a similar renovation recently completed, you can ask them how much the project costed if you feel comfortable doing so. Otherwise, the best idea is to search online.

There are many forums and other websites that people talk about their home improvement projects. However, you need to know that prices are relative to the area which you live. It is best to do a local search so you have a better idea what it will cost in your area.

My rule of thumb is to double whatever figure I first thought of. I recently had a local home improvement company completely renovate my laundry room. I was estimating it would be around $1,000. Well, the final price was $2,000 after a $300 addition to the project after the original estimate was completed.

Find Local Contractors

This isn’t the hardest task really. You can easily find a list of 30 to 50 contractor by using websites like Manta.com or the Yellowpages.com.

The problem is that much of the details on those sites are incorrect. After painstakingly building a database of contractors over an hours or two, there is nothing worse than finding out the information is incorrect. What a waste of time.

Of course you can do a simple search on Google for home improvement companies in your area, and that should get you a fine list. But the problem is that some of the best and most affordable company’s websites aren’t optimized for Google Searches. By using this method, you are finding the most internet marketing savvy companies, which usually means they charge the highest prices because they get the most calls.

Another option you have is to use a local website that partners in the with the top local home improvement companies. A site like this is PittsburghHomeImprovements.com. All you have to do is enter your information and they will provide it to their incredible database of the top home improvement companies in the area. All you have to do is sit back and let the companies call you.

Accepting A Bid

However you find your contractors and receive your bids, the next step is to accept a bid. While you might want to simply go with the lowest estimate, there are a few things that you might want review prior to accepting that bid.

First, how soon can each contractor start your project. If you are in a hurry, and the cheapest bid can’t start for a month or two, you might be forced to go with another bid. Also, how fast will the project be completed. Some companies will over promise and say a job can be completed quicker than they can actually do it.

Home Improvement Ideas for an Energy Efficient

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Many people think about whirlpool tubs and designer kitchens when they consider a home improvement plan, but there’s increasing interest in energy efficiency as an attractive feature in a home. With gas and electricity prices on the rise and green issues now high on many people’s agenda, energy efficiency can increase the selling price of a home.

Improving a home’s energy efficiency doesn’t necessarily mean investing in an expensive solar power system. A few simple changes and improvements can result in more effective use of gas and electricity, and lower monthly bills. Unlike some home improvement projects, making better use of energy is something you can develop over time. The following home improvements can bring substantial savings over a year.

Plug leaks and improve insulation.

Most homes are poor at retaining heat, and this can get worse as a home shows signs of age. Small leaks and gaps around windows and doors are often the cause of valuable heat loss. Cracks in external walls and loose roof tiles are another common source of warm air escaping.

A range of products is available from any DIY store to tackle the problem of losing heat from leaks and cracks around your home. Expandable sealant and weather stripping are cheap to buy and easy to apply. This is a home improvement project you can complete in a weekend. If window frames are beyond basic repair, consider replacing them. Fitting new windows to your home isn’t cheap, but it’s a home improvement project which will deliver returns on the investment.

Look at energy efficient lighting.

Incandescent light bulbs are being phased out in some countries as they use so much energy. Modern compact fluorescent bulbs and light emitting diode bulbs are just as bright, and use around seventy percent less energy. Switching to energy efficient bulbs throughout your home can be expensive, but the savings on electricity bills will soon cover the initial costs.

Lighting is one of the main uses of energy in most homes, and it’s worth looking at how you light each room and what the room is actually used for. It’s possible to make better use of natural daylight in some rooms, and there may be very little need for light bulbs. Painting rooms in pale colours and clever use of mirrors can make a room appear might lighter.

Introduce some alternative energy.

Solar panels have fallen in price in recent years, and installing a basic solar energy system is cheaper than many people believe. There’s a misconception that a home has to be a in a warm climate to make use of solar energy, but daylight rather than bright sunshine is all that’s needed. If you have a south facing roof and live in an area with good daylight hours, you have the potential to generate some electricity from the sun. You can start with just a few solar panels and build up a system over time.

Green and renewable energy technology is developing at a rapid pace, and geothermal energy is becoming a practical option for home heating. A geothermal heat pump can be used to heat or cool your home and supply hot water. A small wind turbine is another option for creating some green energy for your home. Anything you can do to reduce your home’s reliance on traditional energy sources will save you money and make your home more attractive to most potential buyers.

Make use of technology.

Intelligent thermostats and smart meters are now commonly available, and they can deliver significant savings on your home energy bills. Most families waste around twenty to thirty percent of the energy used at home, and modern technology can help you to understand this and make better use of the gas and electricity you are paying for.