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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.

Water Heater Installation: Approximate Cost of Water Heater Installation and Repair

In our modernized world, it’s easy to take for granted all of the wonderful things that make our lifestyles what they are.  That is of course, until those wonderful things such as plumbing, electricity, air conditioning and the various other utilities we use stops working.  Categorizing which circumstances are worse is up to subjective opinion.  And although nothing ever lasts forever, this is especially true for your hot water heater, which is one of the most common utilities that breaks down in America homes.  Hot water heaters are pretty general, and pricing is pretty competitive and affordable for homeowners.  However, how much should you pay to have it installed?  There are many variables to determine the price of your installation and chances are it may be considerably more or less than it costs your buddy who just had a new water heater installed.

Just like any large utility installation, a reasonable estimate will not be reliable without first examining the installation site of the water heater.  There are several variables that arise as the installation site is examined including; the physical setting i.e.: closet, garage, utility room, etc…the model of the new water heater they wish to install; the plumbing connections the home offers, plus updating the plumbing and setting the water heater to the updated county code.

If you are pretty handy and comfortable at performing many trades, then installing a water heater yourself should be a pretty fun and slightly time consuming task.  However, if you are not comfortable with plumbing, electricity, gas, and in some instances carpentry and drywall, then it is highly recommended to hire a licensed and insured contractor to install your new water heater.  A professional contractor will make sure that any modifications to the home’s plumbing, electricity, or gas lines are done safely and correctly.  If a lack of hot water is your dilemma, I guarantee an incorrectly installed hot water heater will bring on much greater issues to you and your family including flooding fire, or gas poisoning.  An electric hot water heater is one of 3 utilities in a home that requires 240 volts of electricity making it fire prone.  And gas water heater is capable of producing poisonous carbon monoxide gas due to combusted fuel.  If not professionally ventilated, you run the risk of gassing you and your family.

As for how much you should expect to pay for installing a new water heater?  The only real way to know is to get estimates and get lots of them.  As for a dollar figure, the range is generally between a couple hundred bucks, however in some instances it can range as high as $2,000-$3,000 dollars.

Live in the Arizona metro area and need water heater repair?  Service Star is one of the top water heater repair specialists in Mesa AZ. Contact them for a quote on this installation if you are not comfortable doing it yourself.

Useful Tips When You Have Domestic Water Problems

Having domestic water problems can be such a headache and the best way to handle such a situation is by employing the services of a professional plumber. However, it does not mean that there is nothing that you could do to alleviate the situation while waiting for professional assistance. If you find yourself in such a troublesome situation, you can do the following:

  • Turn The Main Water System Off: The first thing that you should in cases of water leaking in random places of the house or from pipes, is to shut down the water system. If you own a house, the valve of the main water system is often located somewhere near the street on the ground. If you are living in an apartment or a condominium, it is best that you get in touch with the land lord since they are often the ones who know the exact location of the main water valve and you will need to ask for their permission to turn the water system for the time being to keep water from leaking. Doing so will keep your water bill from increasing as well.
  • Remove The Water: Removing water is perhaps one of the best things that you could do after you are done turning of the main water valve. Plus, doing so can lessen the damage that this excess water is causing you. However, if you do not have any idea where the water is coming from, it is best that you wait for the plumber to arrive. Using towels, or used cloth are good ways to lessen the water. Using a broom can also help you remove the water.
  • Always Call A Professional: If you had not called a professional plumber yet, then call one right away unless you are an expert when it comes to repairing such water problems in your home. This will save you the trouble of having to deal with the problem as well as the chance of it getting more complicated. Doing so will also spare you from spending more than you should if the damage grows bigger.

Having domestic water problems can be very frustrating but you do not have to sit back idly. Having a bit of knowledge in handling such a situation can be helpful at times.

Choosing Between Natural and Synthetic Flooring

Building your dream house not only takes a lot of money and effort. The time devoted into the planning through the construction and completion usually takes months and some even years. The same can be said for renovations which are done when improvement wants to be seen or damaged in some parts of the house needs to be repaired. It is not a mystery as to why people spend so much time thinking through matters about their house as one’s house serves as a representation of its owner; from its outside view to its interior design, to the arrangement of the furniture and even up to its flooring, everything is carefully considered.

Interior Design - Flooring

 As innovations in house building and renovation continue to appear, more and more options on materials are being available in the market. Manufacturers have provided consumers with a variety of products which they claim to be durable, sophisticated, and unique. One area that has significantly shown development is in the floor/tile covering industry. Nowadays, tiles of different shapes, sizes, colors and designs are available. Some of these even try to imitate the natural materials which have been used for floor covering for the past years such as granite, stone, timber and slate. Even so, such products remain what they are—imitations. Though the appearance might appear to be almost similar at first, striking difference could actually be pointed out between natural and synthetic floor coverings in the long run.

First and foremost, natural materials are unique to each other even if, for example, both are granite. These materials have different color, texture and qualities. Even though there are products replicating these, it is clearly impossible to replicate the different hues and textures and sizes. Another good thing in choosing natural materials for floor covering is that it will achieve the purpose of expressing a house’s individuality.

Though it may be tricky to create a harmonious-looking interior through these, when done by an expert, it will definitely upgrade the house to a new level of class and sophistication. Moreover, these materials boast durability and strength and more resistance to damage even for a long time especially if properly maintained, as oppose to synthetic ones which not only has a very limited lifespan but raise environmental concerns as well due to the chemicals used in making it. Lastly, natural materials also exude the charm of imperfection.

Due to its varying shapes, sizes, texture and hues, it gives a home a more natural feel and style. Though there may be some drawbacks in the usage of natural materials such as it is more expensive and harder to maintain, it will definitely set apart the house from the others who use synthetic ones that would definitely not much different from other houses in a neighborhood. It would not even be surprising if more than half in ten houses has the same synthetic floor coverings installed in their houses so choosing stone, granite, slate, bamboo or timber would set apart one’s house from the usual.  When looking for the best bamboo flooring, consider the price and quality.

As such, in building one’s house, every detail is important in order to achieve the look that would not only look good but would also give it the homey feel it should possess. Achieving the style, design and output a person likes take a considerable amount of time, money and decision-making but it is all worth it when the warmth a house should possess exists.

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

The Basics of Beautifying Your Barren Lawn

A dull and barren lawn could somehow influence your mood for the day. Just imagine waking up every morning and you’d be welcomed by such an unpleasing sight. Surely, you would feel lifeless as well and you might bring it at work. Seeing greens along with your newly installed driveway gravel is a great idea.

If you’re worried about not having the magical green thumb, then you can make use the majority of your humongous space into a permeable paving and just place some full grown flower beds on the sides or perhaps bushes.

Lawn Beautification

See to it that you already know the things that you want to see in your front and back yard. Each home owner has their own preferences when it comes to garden landscaping and paving. Others would want to walk along fresh and well trimmed grasses while some would want the hard and solid ones placing all the plants on the sides.

You should also familiarize the wind patterns in your place as well as the angle of the rays of the sun. You might want to transform your lawn into a grilling space wherein you host barbeque parties or similar events. If the wind blows hard in that area, then it isn’t a perfect place to grill anything. The rays of the sun would also matter. Make sure that your fully transformed mini-nature-park lawn won’t be receiving the longest sun exposure until it sets because it won’t be suited in the afternoon wherein people would most likely relax and sit outside. Nobody would want to face the sun the entire and get sun burned.

If you don’t how to start the beautification of your yard, start looking at home magazines or perhaps search the internet on unique garden landscapes and from there you will get an idea on how you would like your yard to look like. You consult a professional landscaper or watch do-it-yourself videos if you really want to do it on your own.

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