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How to Turn Your Home Into an Eco-Friendly Haven

The home you live in should be safe for both you and the environment. Unfortunately, a lot of the homes built today are the exact opposite. They emit harmful toxins into the air that damage the ozone and the health of its occupants. Over time, it can lead to all sorts of health problems, including infertility and respiratory problems. If you’re on the market for a house or want to make improvements to your home, then you should have eco-friendliness in mind. The following are some of the different ways you can enhance your home into a green one.

Eco Friendly Home

Build with Natural Materials

The materials your home is built with can be made with impure materials that are filled with contaminants like formaldehyde and lead. You need to make conscious buying decisions when renovating the walls and floors in your home. Everything from the plywood to the paint should be eco-friendly and safe for humans and pets. There are a variety of companies that have products that are designed for this very purpose.

Choose Hardwood Over Carpet

Many of the carpets used in homes today are contaminated with chemicals like formaldehyde and artificial dyes. These toxins are released into the air of your home, making it toxic to breathe. Natural hardwood floors like oak, bamboo and cedar can be used for the floors instead. These should be finished with natural products, otherwise your efforts are pointless. Wooden floors can be placed throughout the home, including the living areas, kitchen, bathrooms and bedrooms.

Have Plants Throughout the Home

Air purifiers are great, but there’s nothing like having natural air purifiers in your home. Plants act as filters for airborne particles and toxins in the air. Unlike with mechanical air purifiers, also improve the air, providing more oxygen and other benefits. Certain plants can help keep bugs away, improve sleep and help with asthma. Some of the plants you want to consider include parlor palm, spider plant, snake plant and peace lily, to name a few. Place your plants throughout your home, in the bathrooms, kitchen, bedrooms and living areas. Make sure they get plenty of light and water.

Choose Non-Lead Paint

If you’re going to redo the paint inside and outside of your home, then make sure it doesn’t contain lead. This is especially important if you have young children. Chipped paint can be consumed by little crawlers, which puts them at risk of poisoning. Lead is known to cause all sorts of adverse affects, so it should be avoided at all costs. You can opt for green paints made by eco-friendly companies. There are more and more color varieties becoming available, so your options aren’t limited.

Add More Windows to Your Home

The winter months can get very cold, depending on where you live in the nation. You can offset your power bill in the cooler months by installing more windows, so that more sunlight can get in and warm up your home. This also adds plenty of natural lighting, which means less lights that need to be operated during the daytime. If you have a smart thermostat, you can use your Microsoft computer or smartphone to create settings so that it doesn’t turn on until right before you come home.

Different Ways to Protect Your Furniture

Your furniture is as much an investment as your own house is. It is an extension of your home, and is used every single day and therefore prone to wear and tear. So it is only proper that you give them the proper care they deserve.

Garden Furniture

But what can one do to help prolong your furniture’s durability and overall condition to help keep your furniture looking good as new and last for a long time?

Use Wraps and / or Pads when moving furniture in or out

One easy way of dinging and ruining your furniture is when you move them in our out of your home. It can get caught on walls, doors, and other obstructions and can cause marks and scratches on the wood or leather. For small furniture, use industrial wraps (much like the cling wrap you have in your kitchen). For bigger furniture use pads similar to those you see in the gym to wrap your furniture or the surfaces where you’ll be passing furniture through.

Clean your furniture frequently 

No need to use cleansers or cleaning sprays. Just wipe with a dry rag or dust off your furniture once or twice a week, or more frequently if you can. Once in a while when scuff marks appear or when there’s accidental spillage, you can use a mild cleanser or just a plain wet rag or towel to wipe off, then dry off with a dry towel.

Use furniture covers 

Especially outdoors, it is wise to invest in special patio furniture covers to keep your lawn furniture protected from the heat, rain, and pets. Most patio furniture covers come with garters that ensure a perfect and snug fit to avoid getting blown off by the wind. Think of them as insurance for your outdoors furniture.

How to Use Natural Elements to Enhance your Store

Natural elements will help create a store that offers an eco-friendly look and feel. Eco-friendly values are becoming increasingly important to customers and consideration of these is important in the design of your store. Many consumers are seeking a greener shopping experience and will be positively influenced by natural elements in your store’s décor.

  • Discerning Clients

Green design will attract today’s discerning consumers. Research shows clearly that consumers making green choices are on the increase. If your design contains lots of natural elements it will subtly appeal to this growing trend for all things natural. Mainstream retailers are now responding to the trend by integrating green elements into their store design.

  • Natural Design

Store - Natural Design
Store owners are choosing natural design principles over more traditional store designs. For great examples of energy efficient construction, click here and be inspired. Natural sustainable design features offer long term savings and improve your bottom line as well as looking good. Using skylights, for example, will reduce your electricity bill and will appeal to clients by offering lots of natural light. Natural light makes people feel good whereas bright fluorescent lights are unappealing and harsh.

  • Natural Elements

The beauty of natural objects far surpasses anything man can make, which is why the introduction of natural elements into store design is becoming such a strong trend. Plants, shells, rocks, sand, water, trees and flowers can add a stunning addition to your store, although placement is an important consideration.

The addition of single striking natural object can become a visual highlight in your store. Look for interesting shapes and textures. A twisted piece of driftwood can become something beautiful to hang necklaces from. Use your imagination. To compliment natural objects you can add cushions, pillows, rugs and fabrics that feature natural motifs.

  • Go Rustic

Good old fashioned rustic simplicity will also create a natural look in your store. Weathered timber tables, old wooden milk crates, aging cabinets, wicker and sun-bleached finishes will help to enhance the natural feel of your store and create a country vibe.

  • Mixing and Matching

When it comes to natural elements it is great to mix things up. You can place shells with river rocks and palm fronds for example. Natural elements combine beautifully and an eclectic collection will look fabulous and create an attractive natural style.

  • It Looks Amazing

Over recent years natural materials and designs have been the focus of much attention by both architects and designers. And the results are amazing. Modern cardboards, recycled wood and glass look more like artworks than sustainable materials. Eco-friendly designs are anything but boring.

  • Creating a Natural, Green In-Store Experience

Using lots of natural elements in your store design will help to create a ‘green’ in-store shopping experience. If they see natural fibres and materials, if they see your tags are printed on recycled paper, if in-store signage is on recycled cardboard, your customers will feel part of the green mission. By spending time in your store and buying your products they will feel like they are doing their bit for the enviroment.

5 Questions To Ask Yourself Before You Take On A DIY Renovation Project

A lot of people are excited about the prospect of DIY projects, but are they really worth the extra effort? Can you afford the costly materials from the local hardware store? And are you sure that online tutorial really taught you everything you need to know? If you’re adamant about completing the DIY renovation project yourself, here are five questions to think about before going ahead from click here .

DIY Project at Home

Is It Safe?
The most important factor in DIY projects is safety. Is there a chance you or someone in your family can get hurt? If so, then it’s probably worth calling in the professionals like Allstate Roofing. If you’re not comfortable climbing ladders or safely operating a chainsaw, call in a contractor who has the skills to safely do the project for you.

Are You Prepared For Unexpected Costs?
Many projects don’t go according to plan the first time round. Because of this, it’s important you are prepared for unexpected costs in case something goes wrong and you need to pay for urgent repairs. Hidden costs can drastically increase your projects budget, and may even cause a stop to it altogether. If you don’t have an adequate fund in place, you should consider hiring a contractors who will be able to take care of unexpected costs should they arise.

Do You Really Have Enough Time?
You might think that DIY projects are only good for saving money, but do you realise how long it is going to take to complete? It is often the case where ‘real life’ gets in the way – such as family outings, football practice, and long afternoons at work. Your time is valuable to you, so it is important to spend it wisely. If you believe your project will interfere with your work or social life, then perhaps it’s necessary to call in an outside contractor to do the
job for you.

Do You Need Any Licenses Or Permits?
A lot of DIY renovation projects require specific permits and licenses, especially those that involve wiring and digging. Before you start your project, you need to make sure you call a professional who can do these jobs for you, as getting permits can often be a hassle, and re-wiring can be dangerous if you don’t have the proper education and experience.

Do You Have The Right Tools?
Most people believe they can complete their DIY renovation projects with the tools in their shed, but most of the time extra machinery is required for specific tasks. A lot of the time these will incur extra costs that will quickly add up and may go over budget. It may be cheaper to pay a flat fee to a contractor who already has the necessary equipment and skills to do the job for you.

Remember – if you’re venturing out into the DIY world, it is important to remember to use the right equipment and stay safe at all times!

Reasons to Install a Pool in your Backyard

Many properties in Australia have pools for a variety of reasons. They can provide cool relief in the summer, provide a great looking outdoor setting and offer a location for regular exercise. In addition to this, a pool can dramatically increase the value of your property both in terms of the monetary resale value and the value gained by the occupant.

Health and Fitness

Swimming Pool for FitnessPools are extremely convenient ways to cool off and exercise at the same time. You can use the pool without having to leave your home or pay to go the beach, gym or a public swimming pool. Swimming is a great form of cardiovascular excessive, and the addition of a pool can change your lifestyle to a more health and active one. So if you plan on using the pool for exercise ensure you build a swimming pool that large enough to swim lengths. Pools can help you create a more regular exercising routine in the comfort of your own home.

Aesthetic Value
A pool can be a great design feature to a home. With the addition of tropical vegetation, artistic rock arrangements and tiles, gravel or pavers to surround the pool, the pool area can become an aesthetically pleasing outdoor area. With an outdoor dining set, a barbeque, and or a gazebo, the pool can become a social gathering point, where you can entertain family and friends. It’s easy to create an outdoor pool area that is both beautiful to look at, and relaxing to spend time in.

Family Fun
In the midst of the summer heat, there are few things that are as nice as taking a dip in the pool. If you have children, pools are great way of getting your kids outside to exercise, socialise and have fun. Pools are great spaces to hold water balloon or water pistols fights or to play a variety of pool games. Adults too can enjoy relaxing in the pool, sunbathing around the pool or having friends over to entertain around the pool. The addition of a pool can be great fun for the whole family or a place to hold parties and social gatherings.

Property Value
In Australia’s hot climate, homebuyers tend to gravitate towards properties with pools. Many people see the addition of a pool to a property as a sign of luxury. Buyers see pools as a great lifestyle amenity, which is both aesthetically appealing and practical. The addition of a pool to your property will boost its property value and give your house an added selling point. The extra money you make on the sale of a house with a pool has the potential to be significantly more than the initial cost of the pool.

If you are considering installing a pool in your backyard you will need earth moving and construction machinery. With the right equipment for the job, you can have a pool installed in no time and enjoy all the benefits a pool has to offer.

The New Spring Florals And How To Introduce Them Into Your Living Space

Now that spring has sprung, everyone will be looking for ways and means of introducing cheerful colours and the refreshing spirit of the outdoors into their homes. The most basic and supremely effective way to achieve this is to decorate the main spaces as well as all the nooks and crannies with an array of gorgeously coloured flowers, either straight from the garden or else from a local supplier. Interior design is all about maximising possibilities and exploring new and exciting concepts to heighten one’s sense of well-being, harmonising functionality and ambience, and essentially liberating an interior space’s soul, its life force. At this time of the year, flowers are the ideal medium for doing precisely this.

Home Interior

Wildflower groupings

Although it’s true that large floral arrangements and designs can create amazing focal points in any room, the quickest, simplest and easiest way of enlivening a living space through the use of colour is to use smaller blooms arranged in tasteful groupings. As a typical example, take a small bouquet of anemones with bold hues of orange, red and yellow, and set it on a plain wooden table to instantly transform the room with a rustic simplicity and striking contrast that would please Vincent van Gogh.

Alternatively, create groupings of wildflowers and heavenly scented lilac in small glass jars and place them along the windowsills for a touch of countryside cheerfulness and picture-postcard charm. Use a selection of vases of different sizes and designs, but make sure you use the same colour to maximise the impact of the varied blooms. Carefully selected vintage vases can also often bring out the full beauty of flowers.

Containers

A bouquet of tulips at this time of year is always guaranteed to transform a room and brighten it up, and daffodils placed in a glass jar on a windowsill that receives direct sunlight is enough to thrill the Romantic poet in any of us, with the natural light thoroughly bringing out the full brilliance of the flowers. Mason jars and glasses are also useful for keeping small branches in, or for single flowers. This is probably the easiest way of introducing vibrant accent colours to a living space, either positioning them along windowsills or on shelving in the kitchen or study.

Colour combinations

For a sophisticated colour palette that doesn’t hit you straight in the face but rather heightens the spring mood through the use of carefully selected garden elements, try combining purple, white and pastel pink blooms for a more subdued but intimate and subtle effect. Orchids are very good for this, although they tend to require extra care in terms of watering, placement and feeding. For a more soothing effect, concentrate on flowers that have predominantly softer colours such as white and lilac, as even when used in relatively small doses these can transform and soften the ambience of a room.

You could also consider taking a course in flower arrangement, which the ultra-aesthetic Japanese masters of the art recognised long ago as an effective means of bringing out the living spirit of a place in a way that purely inanimate accessories usually fail to accomplish.

Author Bio:

David Bell is a freelance writer and blogs about travel, interior design, online marketing, telecoms and small business solutions. Follow him on Twitter @DavidBellWriter

5 Tips for Building an Eco-Friendly House

Nowadays our society as a whole is becoming more and more conscious of the importance of sustainability and environmental responsibility. While there are many steps we can take in our daily lives to help reduce our carbon footprint, building an eco-friendly home is one of the major approaches we can use to reduce our demand on global resources throughout our daily lives.

Here are a few basic tips for building a more eco-friendly home.

Use Recycled and Renewable Materials

During planning and construction, give some thought to the materials you’re going to use for the build and consider their impact on the earth’s resources. In order to make your build as environmentally friendly as possible you should aim to use materials that are either recycled or come from a renewable source. Using salvaged bricks, steel or timber is a cheaper and more eco-friendly approach to sourcing construction materials.

Bamboo and cork are great examples of renewable construction materials and are highly cost-effective. Bamboo is resistant to rot, fire, insects and water and can be harvested every 5-7 years, compared with wood from trees that take anywhere from 15-100 years to grow. Cork is a great material for flooring, it’s comfortable, durable, non toxic, resistant to fire and insects, insulates your home and the cork tree actually needs to have its bark harvested regularly or the tree will perish.

Building an Eco-Friendly House

Source Materials Locally

To reduce the carbon footprint of your build, try to source your building resources as locally as possible. This goes for both construction material and labour, of course. This will help boost the local economy and reduce the resources required to transport the materials to the build site. Reducing transportation distances, costs and man hours will also help you to keep costs down.

Solar Power

Solar power is an ideal approach to creating an eco-friendly home and reducing both the carbon footprint of your household and the cost of keeping your home running throughout the year. Solar power helps create an energy efficient house, keeping your electricity bills lower and your demand on energy resources minimal.

An increasing number of houses are installing solar power for heating and electricity, including hot water systems.

Cooling and Heating

Keeping the home cool in summer and warm in winter contributes to a large part of any household’s energy usage. By taking measures to reduce the dependency to electricity for temperature regulation in the home, you can reduce your carbon footprint as well as your electricity bills.

Insulation in the ceiling and walls should be present in every household and helps to regulate the inside temperature of the house. For two storey house plans you should also insulate between levels. Double glazed windows and doors are also highly effective in doing this. Even if you do choose to use air conditioning, insulation and double glazing will both help to greatly reduce the power needed to maintain the desired temperature inside the home.

Planting shade trees around the home is a simple and natural way to shade your home and windows from the sun, keeping the summer heat at a more manageable level.

You might even like to investigate alternative low-energy methods of heating during winter. For example, some homes are equipped with under-floor or in-wall heating that uses hot water, heated and circulated by systems that run off the heat of the home’s fire place.

Lighting

Most Australian building codes now require the use of fluorescent or LED lighting to reduce household energy consumption. When building your home, try to take advantage of the energy efficiency and cost effectiveness of LED lighting. You should only need to change an LED bulb every 25 years or so, and they consume a fraction of the energy required to power a halogen light.

If you’ve ticked all these boxes then you’re already well on your way to an eco-friendly household. There are plenty more ways to reduce your impact on the earth so keep researching and take any steps you can to save energy

Tips on How To Organize Your Home Better

Organizing Your Home

Time is such a luxury these days that a lot of people tend to neglect a lot of things in their lives such as keeping their homes and lifestyles organized. They are too preoccupied with their busy lives that they have forgotten to keep things at home in order. The truth is that you do not need to be a genius so you can organize the things in your home.

  • Tip 1: Organize your morning. You can do this by preparing the things that you will be bringing to work the next morning. Place them in one designated space. Have the children keep their books in their bags so they will not end up forgetting them. This will give you more time the morning after to make lunch for the whole family. This also includes filling the gas tank the night before so in case you find yourself running late the morning after, then you would not have to worry about re-filling it.
  • Tip 2: Make sure that you have a “to-do” list that you refer to everyday. This will help you prioritize your responsibilities.
  • Tip 3: When it comes to organizing the things in the bathroom, it is important that you purchase a plastic tub along with a handle. Then place all bathroom accessories in it such as hair sprays, lotions and the like. Then put it under the counter. Just take the tub out when you are about to use it and return it once you are done using it.
  • Tip 4: Make sure you arrange your clothes based on their purpose. Make sure that the clothes you wear in the office are all together, the same as with the clothes you use when you go out for some casual walk.
  • Tip 5: Put hooks on the closet wall so you can hang your jackets, hats and other bags on it.
  • Tip 6: When it comes to the kitchen, you can arrange your cabinets to contain a specific item. A cabinet which only contains plates, glasses or anything for that matter. Put those packets in one basket such as gravy, sauce, and the like.

These are but a few tips that you can follow to keep your home properly organized. However, it is important that you dedicate ample time for such tasks if you really intend to keep things in your house in order.

Important Things You Should Do Before You Move

Moving to a new housePeople have been moving from one place to another since ages past and whatever the reason, moving to a different place can be quite stressful. Imagine, you have to pack everything that you need to bring to your new home. Furthermore, if your new home is quite far away, then it can be an exhausting experience. However, you can make the experience less stressful by following the advises below:
  • Write A List Of What To Bring: This is like similar to doing the grocery. It is important that you take note of the various items that you will be bringing along with you as well as their numbers and where you will be putting them. Think of it as a checklist. This will at least help you find the items you are looking for especially when it is time to unpack them from the boxes.
  • Have Lots Of Stocks: Moving requires plenty of boxes. You will sometimes be surprised that having just ten boxes is not even enough to carry your things. One of the best ways to handle this is to purchase boxes from a moving company because some of them may offer you a refund for unused boxes. Perhaps, that moving company NYC is a good place to start since they are offering a lot of box and discount for bulk orders.
  • Take Advantage Of Wardrobe Boxes: The good thing about these tall boxes is that they can accommodate light-weight items which consume too much space like blankets, pillows, comforters and even clothing. Makes sure that you have an idea of how big your stuff are before you get in touch with a moving company to buy some big boxes.
  • Make Sure Everything Is Organized Before You Move: One of the worst things you could do is by being disorganized. Not only will the experience of moving become more stressful but rather, it will make it more difficult for you to track down where items are and where to put them. As much as possible, keep things in order. You could, for example, put your shoes, belts and or your sweaters inside some sturdy shopping bags. You can also pack hanging items tightly so that they will not move as much when you are moving.
There is no doubt that moving is not a walk in the park but the good news is that you can make the experience less difficult by following the above tips.

Image source: sheknows.com

Metal Roofing Replacement: The Importance of Hiring Professionals for the Job

Metal Roofing ReplacementAlthough metal roofs do pose many advantages as a roofing material, there are also certain drawbacks to be aware of. Namely, over time the metal can become rusted and unsightly. The rust can result in damage, such as denting and leaks, so proper repair and routine maintenance is required. If your roof has a leak, or other problem, you should not try taking on the task of fixing it yourself. It is in your best interest to seek out a professional company such as www.roofingcontractsbuilding.co.uk and hire them to do the job for you. There are several key reasons as to why it is worth it to let the professionals handle this.

For one, a professional company has the materials and tools to get a metal roofing replacement job done right. Roofing jobs in general can be quite risky and dangerous, especially if you lack the proper training and safety equipment. This is not something you want to take on yourself, just thinking of saving yourself money or avoiding having to take the time to find the right company, because you could be putting your health in serious jeopardy. A fall from even a reasonably low roof can result in serious injury, even more so if this is not something you have ever done before.

There is also the fact that you have other obligations to take care of, such as your job or kids. You barely have the time to sit down and take a break from that, so you will likely find it very difficult to fit in time to repair the roof. When you hire a professional company, the stress and weight on your shoulders is instantly lifted. They will take care of everything for you, from start to finish, so you simply have to pay them when the job is done and your roof is repaired.

Always do background research on any roofing company before hiring them, to find out more about them and what they have to offer. Read reviews, get referrals, but above all else remember that hiring professional roofers in this situation is more than worth it.

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