Easy Ways to Spice Up a Dull Apartment

Whenever anyone has a stressful day at work, one of the easiest ways to let the stress melt away would be to come home to a place that feels warm and inviting. However, for most people living in an apartment, it can often feel like coming home to a confined space. With all of the corners, it can feel like things are boxing you in, which will only end up aggravating the stress and anxiety.

Fortunately, you do not have to resign yourself to the stress of coming home to a dull apartment. It might feel like a hopeless case – especially with a busy schedule – but there are ways to make a difference without too much effort, such as making use of vintage furniture. Here are just a few ways you can spice up your apartment!

If your home is looking a little dark during the day, invest in mirrors

It is typical for apartments to feel dark – even during the day – due to the lack of natural light sources. While there might be windows, there is likely nothing that is helping to bounce natural light around. You can invest in a mirror or two to help alleviate the problem without too much effort. Depending on where you place the mirrors, it could end up brightening your apartment significantly.

Painting your dining chairs can be surprisingly effective

It might seem a bit odd to paint your dining chairs in vivid colors, especially if the rest of your apartment is painted a dull or boring shade. However, you would be surprised at how much of a difference a few colorful chairs can make. It can breathe some new life into your home, and make things feel less depressing when you come home from a hard day at work. If you are not satisfied with just the chairs, why stop there? Pace yourself and dedicate a bit of time during the weekend to painting either the ceiling or the walls!

Why not add a bit of mother nature to your apartment?

Another easy way to spice up a dull apartment would be to introduce nature to your home by purchasing houseplants. There are plenty of different plants available, allowing you to diversify and breathe life into your apartment. You do not have to invest in too many plants to make a difference; sometimes, even just a single plant by the window can make enough of a difference.

Utilizing fruits as home decor

Last but certainly not least, you can add a bit of flair to your dining area by utilizing fruits as decor. If you are worried about the fruits eventually rotting, you can purchase fake fruits instead! Anything that adds vivid colors to a depressingly designed apartment can be a big help.

Even if you might have a busy schedule, the tips above will ensure that you can get the job done without having to put in much effort. Why not give it a try?

Image: https://pixabay.com/photos/book-read-tee-literature-2020460/

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Spend the Money on Repairs! Don’t Let the Value of Your Property Sink

Wouldn’t it be great if everything you owned retained its value? If you purchased something for thousand dollars, you’d be able to sell it for thousand dollars 10 years later, right? If you bought a home for a hundred thousand dollars, not only would it retain its value, but its price would go up because of land values over time, right? 

Unfortunately, this is not always the case. The value of your property can sink if you don’t go through all of the proper maintenance procedures.

Think of a few ways that you can make sure your property values stay up. You can regularly work on curb appeal. You can get your foundation inspected and maintained regularly. And, you can search for statistical positives when it comes to home improvement projects. Thinking about those three ideas, you should have a pretty good understanding of cost and benefit when it comes to investing.

Curb Appeal

Improving curb appeal has several benefits. First of all, you can be more proud of how your property looks from the outside. It can be a slippery slope when things start to appear as though they are in disrepair. Also, if you plan on selling your property soon, one of the most significant differences in initial interest will be the visual appeal from the outside. Doing a few things to improve curb appeal concepts makes a huge difference.

Foundation Work

A fast way to sink the value of your property is if some aspect of your home literally sinks. To avoid this, contact a foundation contractor every once in a while and find out what kind of shape your foundation is in. You may have to have them do some foundation repair to maintain the value of your property over time. 

It is a significant investment, but one that will pay off when it comes time to sell a particular property. You will have a clean bill of health when it comes to the state of your structural integrity.

Statistical Positives

Then there’s the matter of looking at statistical positives. If you want to maintain or even increase the value of your property, what kinds of renovations can you do? In other words, what remodeling projects improve the value of your home? You need to work on structural integrity first, but there is not necessarily more money in your home because of those projects. 

Instead, something like remodeling a kitchen or living room might be the way to go if you want to be able to sell your house for more money than you put into it. Every home is a little different, but there are known styles of projects that you know increase potential resale value.

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3 Tips For Finding The Right Interior Designer To Work With

If you’re ready to take the decor and design of your home to the next level, bringing in a professional is arguably the best thing you can do for yourself. But because the appearance and feel of a home can be something so personal, it can often be challenging for a homeowner to find the right interior designer to work with that will bring all of their design dreams into reality.

So to help ensure that you’re able to find the right partner to work with on your decor and design project, here are three tips for finding the right interior designer to work with in your home. 

Know Your Own Preferences

Before you start meeting with potential designers that you’ll work with, you first want to have some solid footing regarding your own preferences for the design of your home. 

According to Stefan of Homedit.com, you can’t really be sure that you’re hiring the right person for your interior design job until you know what you like and what you don’t like. Otherwise, you might just end up with a home designed just the way the designer envisioned it rather than how you’ve envisioned it. 

Even if you don’t feel like you can pinpoint your design aesthetic exactly, at least having an idea of what you like or prefer can help ensure that you’re able to find a designer how can deliver for you. 

Find Open Minds On Both Sides

Once you know what direction you’d like the design of your home to go in, you should then start meeting with potential designers to see if you can find someone who’s a good fit for you.

When thinking about personal fit, Lisa Frederick, a contributor to Houzz.com, recommends that you try to find someone who has an open mind to you and your ideas but who also allows you to work with an open mind as well. Only when there’s real give and take or collaboration between you and an interior designer will you be able to get a final product that you love but that also pushes you a little in your own design aesthetic. 

Get Billed By The Hour

Because using an interior designer can often become expensive, it’s important that you find the right person or firm to invest your time and money into. However, even with all your research and planning, you might find during the design process that you’ve picked the wrong designer. 

To safeguard against this, TodaysHomeowner.com advises that you work with an interior designer that charges by the hour. By going this route rather than using someone who will bill you for the entire project, you can easily stop working together without financial backlash if you realize that this wasn’t the right partnership afterall. 

If you’re wanting to hire an interior designer to help with the design and decor in your home, consider using the tips mentioned above to help you find the right person or design firm.

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Investar USA – Adding Value to Your Home

Prior to moving up here to Alberta, Canada my family and I used to live down in Tennessee where I worked for the brilliant Investar, USA. This is a company which specializes in renovating communities and real estate and they act as a lender, an advice center and a community-driven company who seek to revolutionize areas throughout the southern states of the USA. I enjoyed my time there immensely and something which I learned about were homes and their value. 

I used the knowledge which I learned in my position to maximize the value of my property in Tennessee and through some smart renovation we were able to get far more for the property than I ever believed. If you would like to increase the value of your home and make it more salable then the best thing which you can do is to invest money into it. The best time to do this is of course some years before selling it, so that you can enjoy the renovation and ensure that you can have many areas of the home completed by the time you come to sell the place. Here are some of the best places to spend your cash if you also want to get the most money which you can for your property. 

Garden 

People love beautiful gardens and in many studies which have been completed the research finds that house-hunters want to move into a property which already has a nice outdoor space. There are a couple of reasons for this but the main reason is that people just don’t like doing work on the garden, they don’t enjoy doing it themselves nor do they enjoy spending money on the outdoor space when they would prefer to spend it indoors. Beyond all of this, people want an outdoor space to enjoy. 

Kitchen 

The Kitchen is very much the heartbeat of the home and it is normally where the family congregates day-to-day. If you invest in a new kitchen then you can not only enjoy this area of your home with your family, but you will be able to get a large chunk of the investment back when you come to sell the home. 

Garages

There has been a trend in the last decade of people renovating their garages in order to create a larger space or to create additional rooms such as a bedroom. House hunters however are more interested in having a garage and they do not view this as dead space. Almost everyone has a car that they would like to keep secure and many like the idea of using a garage for storage. If you have already renovated the garage then don’t reverse it, if you haven’t however then why not look to spend some cash on making this a secure and comfortable space for storage, if you do then that money will come back to you through increased value on the property. 

Invest now and enjoy the benefits later.

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Integrity Heating and Cooling – Why March is The Perfect Time To Check Your Cooling System

As someone who lives here in Mokena, Il I know just how severe the weather can be throughout the state of Illinois and it is something which we residents have had to get used to. Beyond the wind which we experience we can have a climate which plummets to minus 40 as it did last month, and then in a matter of weeks that temperature can climb back up again to around the mid 20s. As you can imagine then, every home here in Mokena, Il and across the state has both heating and cooling systems inside them. It is still not hot here in Illinois but it is the month where my mind starts thinking about the warm weather, and the need to have my cooling system checked out. I usually call the team at Integrity heating and cooling in March time, and here is why I do it so early.

Financial

Eleven years ago it was the first hot day which we’d had in the year, it was mid-May and the sun was beaming down and the humidity was rising. I woke up in the middle of the night and went to switch the cooling on, and it wasn’t working. The team came out to check on the cooling system and they condemned it there and then, I needed a new air conditioning unit. Unfortunately at that time I had just paid out a huge amount for a tax bill and I simply couldn’t afford to buy a new unit. I was lucky enough to borrow a portable air con unit from a friend until I could afford to have it replaced. Shelling out for a new unit isn’t cheap and if you get the machine checked in March or April, it will give you enough time to save if needed.

Better Early

Until I was able to borrow a cooling system from a friend we had to suffer for 3 days in the burning heat and it was most uncomfortable. Most days I would go out just to keep cool and the nighttimes were definitely the worst. Air conditioning units will usually break down after a long period of inactivity which means that the first day of summer is often the most likely time for this to happen, when you need it the most. Get it checked out early and avoid the pain of a house which you cannot cool.

Ease

If you need a cooling repair and it is the height of summer you can expect to be waiting around a while to have someone come out to look at it, and then to get the parts which you need. As you can imagine the summertime is the best season for cooling repair experts so it makes a lot of sense to get ahead of the curve on this, and deal with things easily in April.

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DIY Projects – Reality Vs. Fantasy

Those of you who’ve ever embarked on a DIY project know from first-hand experience that they almost never turn out the way you planned. You’ve probably created an in-depth, intricate blueprint of exactly what you want your new conservatory to look like, or how you want your new entertainment complex to look. In the end, though, that’s never how it happens; short-sightedness in the planning stage, unexpected twists during construction and other confounding factors mean you’re almost always sidetracked.

There’s an unavoidable amount of change and alteration in almost any DIY project; those that go completely smoothly are rare, although they do happen. In order to help you at least try to prepare for as much deviation from the model as possible, we’ve put together a list of things people think about DIY projects and the reality of those thoughts. By reading this list, we hope you’ll be able to sidestep some of the more common errors. Let’s get started!

Fantasy – it won’t cost much

“I’ll be able to source the materials cheaply,” say you. “I can easily find places which sell cheap furniture, and there’s bound to be something there that fits my specifications.” We’ve heard this countless times before, and although it’s an admirable way to think – being smart with money is always a great way to conduct DIY business – it’s almost never how things actually turn out.

Reality – you’ll need a decent amount of money

You’ll need to cover costs for tools, materials and other considerations, not to mention potentially paying electricians or plumbers if this isn’t something you can do yourself. You’ll need a decent amount of money saved up in order to start your DIY project. We’d strongly recommend looking into reputable, trustworthy loan companies to get a quick injection of cash for your project; these companies are flexible and safe, and you can worry about repayments after you’ve chased your dreams down.

Fantasy – it won’t take much time

When planning a DIY project, the temptation is always to severely underestimate the amount of time it will take. If you’ve got a full-time job, you don’t want to fritter away valuable spare time on DIY projects, so you tell yourself you’ll get everything done within the space of a couple of weekends.

Reality – this is a long-term project

Unfortunately, for all but the most minor DIY outings, the time frame you’ll actually need is likely to be much bigger than you plan for. Even if the actual scope of the work is small, you’ll need to factor in time for errors or breaks as well as simply becoming tired and needing to stop; spending your entire weekend doing DIY won’t feel good if you’ve only got two days before the daily grind starts again. Don’t expect the project to be done overnight and you’ll be fine.

Fantasy – I won’t need help

Since this project is yours, you need to embark on it alone. “It doesn’t make sense to get others involved; they’ll slow me down if they don’t know what they’re doing, or they’ll try to add to the design and I want to retain my original vision for how it’s going to look.” More charitably, “I don’t want to involve others because that’s work and time they don’t need to put into something that I decided I wanted to do.”

Reality – there’s no shame in asking for help

Your family might actually really want to be involved in the project with you. Carrying out DIY together can be a surprisingly effective family bonding exercise; allocating tasks and watching as they’re completed can show you a lot about your family’s individual personalities, as well as making you feel loved and wanted as they help you make your dream project a reality.

Fantasy – I need to buy every tool

In order to be prepared for the upcoming project, you may think you need to get everything and be fully ready for any eventuality. You might be browsing the shelves at a hardware store and get carried away, or you might want a toolbox which contains everything you could possibly need; either way, you’re thinking that you’ll never be able to carry out the project unless you’re perfectly prepared.

Reality – you probably don’t need that many tools

Unless your project is a massive, elaborate undertaking, you’re likely to be OK with buying a small range of tools. Speak to the staff at the hardware store and explain what you’re planning to do (be wary of sales spiel, as usual), and they’ll help you choose exactly what you need. Better yet, ask around your nearest and dearest to see if anyone can lend you the tools you need; it’s always better to borrow things than to buy them, especially if you’ll only ever need them once!

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Top Flooring Options for Your Home

The idea to renovate and upgrade your home is one that many homeowners have taken to heart today. They want a new kitchen or bathroom, or to make their family room larger, or even add an additional bedroom. These are all great upgrades that can add to the beauty and comfort-ability of your home.

One of the best home upgrades to make is to add new high quality flooring to some or all of the rooms in your home.

Flooring has become a top renovation statement and is sometimes overlooked as a way to upgrade the look in rooms, hallways and other areas of your home. That is until the homeowner actually does the upgrade and then the reaction is that they regret waiting so long. There are many options for new flooring. Here are some of the most popular options for you to consider.

Hardwood

In terms of the most beautiful and elegant type of flooring hardwood has virtually every other type of flooring beat. Hardwood flooring covers a variety of hard woods that range in color, style and have unique patterns. The wood planks come in a range of widths and are always finished with coatings that make the wood look beautiful and last for years. They can bring out the look of furniture, drapes and wall coverings improving the stylishness of each.

In terms of upkeep, hardwood floors are easy to maintain with only a dry mop needed for cleaning. Dust and food will not stick to the floors. You will however every year or so depending on traffic have to get the floors polished. And must be careful however because the floors can scratch easily and deep scratches will require a professional to remove. Also you cannot let the floors get excessively wet or the wood will warp. If you are a bit careful, and do not put them in high traffic areas, your hardwood floors will last for decades and give you great service.

Engineered Wood

Engineered wood is manufactured by binding or fixing the strands, particles, fibres, or veneers or boards of wood, together with adhesives, or other methods. Engineered wood flooring is made from the same hardwoods and softwoods used to manufacture lumber. They contain a thin layer of hardwood on top and a plywood base beneath. Since engineered wood has a thinner layer of hardwood on top, it is not as durable as hardwood flooring. It can also chip of break more easily.

However engineered flooring does offer some advantages over hard wood. First, it can be purchased for less than expensive hardwood flooring. Also, is an excellent choice for areas where solid hardwood cannot be installed, like in basements, over concrete floors or over radiant heating systems. Engineered wood like Kahrs engineered wood flooring can be purchased in the most elegant styles and many that cannot be found in traditional wood flooring. It also is has advantages over carpet because it does not hold dirt or dust that can trigger allergies.

Carpet

Carpet has been a go to floor covering for forever because of its many positive attributes. It can be purchased in all price ranges. It is very durable and suitable for high traffic areas. Carpet comes in a huge range of styles and looks to match any room or furniture. And it feels great on bare feet.

Carpet can be challenging because it can be difficult to clean especially if spills get into the padding. If it collects too many spills, carpet can begin to smell. It also collects dust and even with frequent vacuuming it can be difficult to fully clean. There are however some great carpet cleaning services that can deep clean carpet and make it seem like new. In the end carpet remains so popular because of its versatility and look.

Although each flooring choice has great benefits, it may come down to the look and feel of the flooring you want in your home. Experiment with samples of each and you will discover the perfect choice.

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Underfloor Heating – A Hidden Convenience


Heating in the home is one of the most critical features for any family home.

Whether it be a simple electric heater to lavish wood burners, generating heat in the home helps enhance the relaxed and secure atmosphere that you should feel in your own home.

However recently there has been a rise in under floor heating, but what is this and what benefits does it offer.

Underfloor heating is a novel and extremely convenient alternative to radiators and heaters, utilising heated mats laid underneath your choice of flooring to generate heat that rises up from the ground. This system can use either electric wires or mats and water pipe system to generate heat.

The big advantage of underfloor heating is the added convince it provides, no longer requiring radiators and heaters to be placed on the floor where you can stumble over them by accident.

This convenience goes further as using heated mats for instance, you can easily install it along with some new wood laminate flooring – making it ideal for home renovations and rebuild projects.

Another benefit to underfloor heating is how is allows you more flexibility for generating heat within the home. A study carried out by which found that 55% of their survey responses stated that, they installed underfloor heating in the bathroom.

This is understandable as electric heaters cannot be placed in the bathroom, with the only other option available being central heating. However, with underfloor heating you can have sufficient heating in your bathroom, perfect for cold nights where you want to keep warm after getting out of the bath.

This is also offers a fantastic design opportunity as you could replace your old vinyl tiles with stylish white laminate flooring, creating a unique bathroom design.

However there are some factors to look out for with underfloor heating.

The first is the heating range available. Depending on the size of your system the heat generated may not be capable of sustaining adequate room temperature by itself. Therefore, you will still need further heating options available in the room.

Another drawback to consider about underfloor heating is how long it takes to generate heat. Unlike electric heaters and radiators which offer near instantaneous heat, underfloor heating takes longer to begin generating heat. This is especially the case with water-based systems, with the water needing to be heated and then travel through the pipes.
Finally, there is the instillation of underfloor heating itself.

For those renovating their home, underfloor heating is a great option to go for. This is because the floor will be in the process of being replaced, and most home flooring options such as oak laminate flooring accommodate such systems.

However for those who are retrofitting, installing the new heating system may not be worth the hassle. This is because the original floor will need to be uprooted which could lead to complications and potential damage to your original floor. This could lead to further expense, more so if your floor is incompatible with underfloor heating systems.

However the convince and luxurious feeling of underfloor heating could outweigh there potential pitfalls and improve the atmosphere in your home.

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Home Décor: How to Decorate Like a Pro

You want to decorate or redecorate your home, but you know you cannot afford a professional. That’s okay, because many people have found ways to get it done themselves. And you don’t have to spend a great deal of money, either.

Here in this article, we’ll show you five ways you can decorate like a pro. Hopefully, you’ll find something you can put to use.

  1. What Do You Like?

The very first thing you should do before setting out to become your own decorator, is to figure out what you like. Whether it’s furniture, lighting, accessories, get a feel for how you would decorate your home.

We’re also assuming here that you have already determined the budget for your decorating adventure. If you haven’t done so, now is a good time to start.

With the budget figured out, now you can get out and invest in the items that you like.

  1. Use Area Rugs Where You Can

If you’re planning to arrange furniture with a focus on an area of the room, consider arranging your items over an area rug. This will help the arrangement appear more unified.

Area rug sizes vary by room, so choose carefully. You don’t want the rug to be too small or too big for the room.

Another rug idea is to use a long runner, a couple feet wide and several feet long. These can be great for traffic, especially near your front door, and can add a little punch of color.

  1. “This House Will Be In Order!”

Order is always “in order” in a household. Keeping your home organized really enhances the decorative things you do. Some of your decorative choices could actually double as storage items as well.

If you have clutter, get rid of it. Anything you don’t need or haven’t used in a year or more, get rid of it, or store it out of the way.

If you have something you don’t want to throw away, but someone else can use, give it to them. You want the focus to be on your décor, not the items taking up the extra space.

  1. “Plant” Your Décor

Plants can do a lot for a room. They can add some color, especially in the case of flowers, but anything green will do – just don’t overdo it. Plants will also put oxygen into the room as well.

In your kitchen, you can do something a bit different, although it makes sense. You might have fresh herbs in the kitchen anyway, so arrange them in some decorative fashion.

  1. See the Light

Lighting is a very important part of your décor as well. Lighting can highlight certain areas of your home. Using a dimmer switch with your lighting choice can help you adjust to any “mood” like you might do in your dining room.

Lighting is not limited to electric light, however. Bringing in natural light is always a good idea if it can be done. The most common way to do this is to add a skylight – sometimes more than one.

Summary

So figure what you like, adopt decorator ways through the use of area rugs, organization, plants and lighting. You will soon be decorating your home like a real pro!

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Top Tips for Adding Luxury to Your Home on a Budget

One of the few things that we tend to work for and invest a significant amount of time and money in is our homes. Whether it’s to improve the comfort of our humble abodes through functional upgrades or adding fixtures and furnishing to make it much more aesthetically pleasing for guests, changes and enhancements are commonplace in the lives of homeowners who have the resources for it.

While it certainly helps to have a lot of funds, you’ll be surprised that adding luxury to your home can be achieved with even the most modest of budgets. Here are a few top tips to keep in mind that are sure to minimise expenditure but maximise the results.

Give the bathroom areas reasonable upgrades

Bathrooms are arguably the most important areas in the house. In fact, most real estate agencies will tell you that the state of these rooms can oftentimes make or break the value of a property. To this end, there’s no better place to begin adding luxury to your home than by giving these areas some reasonable upgrades. For starters, the addition of walkin shower enclosures not only enhances the look and feel of a bathroom but also serves the functional purpose of keeping things nice and dry.

Illuminated mirrors and electric shower units can also make all the difference when it comes to use, with the former preventing clumsily fumbling for the light switch at night and the latter making the act of bathing far more convenient. Best of all, these additions won’t break the bank and should leave more room in the budget for other additions and improvements.

Use wallpaper instead of paint

Everything deteriorates with time, and this can make any interior look shabby and unloved. While you would rather have the walls replaced or repainted, the materials and labour costs can easily put a dent in if not break the budget completely. A cost-effective way of overcoming this obstacle is to use wallpaper instead. Not only is it relatively inexpensive, but its installation should take no more than a morning’s work and a few household items.

Refurbish and refinish old furniture

Despite all of the things that the modern world has brought us, many people still prefer the antiquated look of old items such as furniture. With prices on the rise with newer variants, an economical approach would be to have the old furniture refurbished or refinished instead of replacing it completely. The patina can oftentimes be much more eye-pleasing than more sleek and modern counterparts, and it can be good for the environment too.

There’s a common misconception that luxury is determined by high expenditure. However, it doesn’t necessarily require a huge budget to attain it. With no more than a small investment of time in research and labour, there’s no doubt that it can be attained by anyone determined to add luxury to their home.

Image: Pixabay.com

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