How To Make Your Home Look More Luxurious On A Budget

How To Make Your Home Look More Luxurious On A BudgetHave you been looking through home décor magazines and gazing with wonder at the gorgeous homes inside? Do you want to add a touch of elegance and luxury to your home, but you are on a tight budget?

No need to worry, there are many ways that you can make your home look like a million bucks, without actually having to spend a fortune.  

Luxury Home Decor Ideas

Here are a few great ideas that don’t have to cost a lot, they just require a little bit of planning and some elbow grease and they will take your home from ordinary to luxury.

  • Mount your curtains at ceiling level rather than the top of the windows. This draws the eye upwards and gives the illusion of high ceilings.
  • Paint your interior doors a sleek and shiny shade of black. This looks very modern and sophisticated and is much cheaper than buying expensive doors.
  • If your home doesn’t have crown moulding, paint a white band around the ceiling to fake the look.
  • The little details can make a big difference when it comes to making a home look elegant and luxurious. Add in finishing touches such as a beautiful glass vase, a stack of coffee table books, fresh flowers or a piece of artwork.
  • Remember, less is more and a cluttered house will not create the impression of luxury. Eliminate as much clutter as possible, making your home seem more spacious and sophisticated.
  • Lighting can also have a big impact on how luxurious your home appears. Invest in a few beautiful and stylish lamps, or a chandelier, and you will transform the entire space.
  • When choosing fabrics for accessories and upholstery, go for fabrics that have a luxurious texture such as velvet, satin or fur. They can be faux to make them cheaper, but they will still add to the luxurious look.
  • You can take simple and cheap accessories such as a candle holder or a vase from the dollar store and then paint them with gold paint. They will have a luxurious look, for much less than the real thing!

These are just a few ideas that you can incorporate into your home décor of your home in order to make it look and feel more luxurious. For more helpful information, contact your trusted real estate professional.

Where To Squeeze A Home Office In Your Home

Where To Squeeze In A Home Office In Your HomeIf you have started working from home, whether you are a freelancer or running a business, having a home office in your home is very important.

It is a place where you can separate your home life and work, so that you can get “in the zone” and concentrate on the important work tasks that you need to complete. But where should you place your home office?

If you have a spare bedroom in your home, the answer is easy – but what if you don’t have this extra space? Is it possible to squeeze a home office into an already full home? Of course it is, you just have to think outside of the box. Here are some ideas:

Convert Your Attic

If you have an attic in your home, why not use that space for a quiet and private home office? It will be separate from your home and free from any distractions. If your attic is unfinished, converting it into living space can be a good investment that will improve the value of your home.

Work At Your Breakfast Nook

Perhaps your kitchen has a breakfast nook, but your family always ends up eating at the dining table and doesn’t really use it much? If this is the case, you could create a small and compact office space where you can work – while being close to the coffee maker in the kitchen!

Find An Unused Corner

Perhaps there is a corner of your bedroom or living room that you aren’t really using for much? Why not turn it into a home office? All you need is a small desk and a chair to create a workspace. If you want to separate it from the rest of the room, you can use stylish room dividers.

Go Underground

Have you ever thought of using your basement for your home office? There is probably a corner down there that you could use for office space. To combat the lack of natural light, you can use a SAD lamp that offers the same wavelengths as sunlight.

These are just a few ideas of where you could place your home office, even if all of the rooms in your home are in use. As long as you can find a quiet corner somewhere, you can create your ultimate working space.

For more tips and information, contact your trusted real estate professional today.

How To Maintain Your Gutters

How To Maintain Your GuttersAn entire gutter system around the home might seem expensive to many homeowners.

However, not having one could mean water pooling around your home creating a moat and costing you thousands of dollars in damage to your foundation.

So it’s a good idea to install gutters and take care of them.

Below are tips for gutter maintenance to help keep water away from your home.

Unclog The Gutters

Annual gutter maintenance includes cleaning them of debris, such as leaves, sticks or animal nests. Remove downspout cages and clean them.

Determine if they’re still in good shape or need to be replaced.

If a downspout is clogged, try to use a plumbing snake to dislodge the debris. Then use a hose to force water down the spout and hopefully remove the rest of the clog.

Check The Pitch

Gutters should be set on an incline of 1/4 inch for every 10 feet. For example, if your gutter is 20 feet long, then it should have a drop of 1/2 inch. If your gutter doesn’t have enough of an incline, then you might have water overflow because it can’t drain quick enough.

Most gutters also come to a point in the middle so the water runs both ways to downspouts on each end. 

Seal Leaky Gutters

Right after a rainstorm, inspect your gutters for leaks. Look for water-saturated areas along your home underneath the gutter.

Constant leaks can cause water damage to vinyl, brick or stone siding. Use a sealant to repair small leaks or purchase a gutter maintenance patch kit for larger holes.

Replace Damaged Areas

If part of your gutter falls off or is damaged beyond repair, then you’ll need to replace it. You’ll need two ladders, a helper, new gutter cut to fit, joint connectors and sealant.

Remove old joint connectors and clean the area. Fit the new joint connectors with sealant and then install the new piece of gutter.

Install A New Downspout

You’ll need roughly the same tools for replacing the gutter, except you’ll also require downspout sections and self-tapping gutter screws.

Make sure the drop outlet at the end of the gutter fits securely into the downspout to prevent leaking.

Then fasten the joint with gutter screws and add sections as needed.

Finish with an elbowed section that extends five feet into the yard.

How To Make Your Old Furniture Look Like New

How To Make Your Old Furniture Look Like New Out with the old, in with the new. The beginning of 2014 can have you wanting to reinvent yourself — and your home. It’s time to start fresh.

Paint the walls, change the curtains and get new furniture. It’s important to have your home be a reflection of you; however, all that remodeling can get expensive.

Take a cue from Auld Lang Syne by buying a few new pieces, but keeping some of your older furniture.

If they have sturdy bones, then you can update their look by reupholstering them to fit your new home vibe. Below are DIY steps to help you modernize your furniture and save money in the process! 

Take Photographs

It’s important to take photographs of your piece of furniture before and throughout the reupholstering process. You’ll want a visual reference in case you have one too many pieces or can’t seem to figure out what order the cushions were attached. 

Plus, you’ll have a before and after picture as proof of your handiness and to inspire more DIY projects.

Disassemble The Upholstered Sections

Carefully take apart your piece of furniture. You only need to disassemble the upholstered sections, so don’t strip down an entire dining chair when only the cushion needs to be redone. If there are a lot of pieces then you might want to do some labeling with Post-It notes or painters’ tape.

Sew And Staple

Remove the old fabric and examine how it’s put together. You might have to sew corner seams for cushions. You’ll probably need to rent or borrow a sewing machine, if you don’t have one.

Or, for many pieces, you’ll just need a heavy-duty staple gun to pull the fabric tautly against the back frame and staple it in place. Try to recreate the way the initial fabric was secured.

Reassemble

Using your photographs and possibly your Post-It note organizational system, reassemble your pieces of furniture. In just a few hours, you can have updated radiant orchid chairs that match your bedspread or a sand-colored sofa for your beach-themed room.

Save your money to splurge on something you can’t create! With a little time and ingenuity, you can make your old furniture feel fresh and new by reupholstering it in an updated fabric.

Conducting Your Own Home Energy Audit

Conducting Your Own Home Energy AuditIf your monthly energy bill has started to make you cringe, then it might be time to conduct an energy audit on your home. Hiring a professional can cost you a pretty penny. So save the dough and examine your home yourself.

With a few tools and the tips below, you can identify problem areas that could be costing you every month.

 Energy Bills

Analyze last year’s energy bills. Each statement should itemize the energy you use each month in kilowatts. Note any spikes that could indicate problems with one of your appliances or the structure of your home.

Call your energy provider and ask what the average cost is for a home of your size in your area. Then determine how extensively you need to conduct your energy audit.

 Air Leakage

Warm or cool air escaping from your home can cost you more money and overstress your appliances. To search for cracks that air might be seeping through, light an incense stick and walk into each room of your home on a windy day. The smoke from the incense stick will highlight problem areas and you can mark them with painters’ tape.

Heating And Cooling System

Thoroughly inspect your heating and cooling equipment. Most homeowners neglect to follow appliance manufacturers’ recommendations of doing this once a year. Make sure your system is working properly.

Change filters and examine ductwork. If your appliances are older than 15 years, consider replacing it with a newer, more energy-efficient model.

 Insulation

Go up into your attic and check for insulation. If the insulation covers the joists, then there is probably enough to protect your home. Remove light sockets and use a flashlight to see if your walls have been insulated.

If not, you might want to have insulation blown in. Look for any stained or damaged insulation. This could be a sign of exterior leaks that need to be fixed.

 Lighting

According to Energy.gov, lighting accounts for around 10% of energy usage. As part of your energy audit, reduce your use by replacing inefficient bulbs with incandescent or light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs.

Consider using lower-wattage bulbs in rooms that get a lot of sunlight and only turning on table lamps instead of overhead lighting at night.

 

3 Tips To Get The Most Out Of Your Plumbing

Get The Most Out Of Your PlumbingEveryone wants their pipes to last as long as possible, but there are a couple of simple problems that might be sucking the life out of your plumbing. Long-term stress is the enemy when it comes to your water system.

The three most common enemies are high water pressure, mineral-laden hard water, and grease. Avoid these three mistakes, and your water system will last years longer.

Take The Pressure Off Your Pipes

You might enjoy high water pressure when you’re taking a shower, but your pipes aren’t enjoying it at all. Over time, this high pressure stresses your plumbing system and can lead to leaks.

Is your high-pressure shower worth an expensive plumbing leak? To test your water pressure, you’ll have to hire a professional. Proper pressure should be somewhere between forty and eighty pounds per square inch.

To have a plumber reduce your water pressure should cost no more than about three or four hundred dollars. That sounds expensive, but it’s a lot cheaper than a leak.

Soft Water Is Good Water

If your water has a lot of minerals dissolved it, then it’s known as hard water. If you don’t already have a water softener you should consider it, because over time, those minerals will build up in your plumbing.

Eventually this will lead to a leak, so nip the problem in the bud, and look into getting a water softener. A good water softener should cost around five hundred dollars.

Hard water also makes soaps and detergents less effective. Soft water will get your clothes, your dishes, and even your hair cleaner.

Cease The Grease

Don’t ever pour cooking grease down the drain. It might be liquid when you pour it, but after a while, it will cool and solidify in your pipes. This won’t break the plumbing and cause a leak, but it will clog it all up.

The water that goes down afterward won’t do anything to wash away the sticky grease. You don’t want your pipes backing up, trust me. That is one messy problem.

Instead pour your grease into containers and throw it away in the garbage. Even better, go ahead and save it in the pantry and cook with it later.

Indoor plumbing is one of the most convenient technologies we have. So don’t take it for granted. Take care of your plumbing, and get the most out of it.

Avoid excessive water pressure, get a water softener, and don’t pour any grease down the drain. A little care now will go a long way. No one wants to deal with a plumbing leak. They’re expensive and a huge hassle.

Inspect And Maintain Your Garage

Inspect And Maintain Your GarageIn most parts of the country, garages are especially appreciated at this time of year. Even if you don’t live in a colder climate, it’s important to do an annual inspection and routine maintenance to keep everything in working order.

Make sure yours is doing its job well by following the care tips below.

Check The Tracks

You’ll want to make sure the garage door can go up and down smoothly. Get your leaf blower and blow any cobwebs, bugs or leaves from the track.

With older doors, you’ll also need to oil the metal rollers, hinges and tracks in order to keep everything moving easily.

Inspect For Pests

This time of year, pests are searching for a warm place to take shelter and find food. Look along the walls where they meet the foundation and double-check any spots where you’ve had moisture problems.

If you see chewed wood or trails of sawdust, call an exterminator because they could be signs of termites or carpenter ants.

Insulate Your Garage

If you have a workshop or gym located out in the garage, then insulating this space is a must for colder climates. Not only will it make your home warmer, but also it will reduce your electricity bills. You can buy DIY kits for under $100.

However, be careful if your door is over nine feet wide, because the extra weight can be too much for some opening mechanisms.

Spend Time On The Floor

Don’t actually get down on the floor, but definitely give it some care. Move everything out and hose down the entire surface. Patch any gaps to prevent tripping. Then give the foundation a good inspection.

If you notice mold or major cracks, call a contractor to come take a look and see if you have settling or water drainage issues.

Consider Replacing The Doors

You’ll know it’s time to replace your door when the panels are rusted and scratched or there are wooden ones that are warped. There are many decent replacement options, including wood, steel or aluminum.

The prices can range from high to reasonable depending on the quality of the material. If you decide to do a replacement, talk to an expert and take your climate into account.

Top 10 Indoor Houseplants For Your Air Quality

Top 10 Indoor Houseplants For Your Air QualityHouseplants are great for decorating. They can brighten up any room. Plus, houseplants can increase the air quality in a room. That makes you happier, healthier and reduces stress.

Speaking of stress, these plants won’t create any at all. All of the plants on this list are great at producing oxygen and require very little care.

10. Heartleaf Philodendron

A tough plant that’s a good filter for toxins like formaldehyde, Heartleaf Philodendron makes a great houseplant. The only downside is that it’s toxic to eat, so it may not be the best choice for those with kids or pets. But if you can control your appetite, the Heartleaf Philodendron is an excellent indoor houseplant for air quality.

9. Snake Plant

Also called Mother-in-Law’s Tongue, the Snake plant thrives in the bathroom. It loves the steamy conditions and can do without much light. It’s a great air filter as well.

8. Bamboo Palm

It thrives indoors and requires little maintenance. The Bamboo Palm even produces flowers and berries.

7. Red-edged Dracaena

Another great air filter, the Red-edged Dracaena is interesting because of its size. It can grow all the way to the ceiling. This beast of an oxygen-producing plant makes a great addition to the living room.

6. Chinese Evergreen

This is one of the prettier options. With interesting leaf colorings as well as berries and blooms, the Chinese Evergreen will contribute to your décor as well as your air quality.

5. Peace Lily

The Peace Lily only needs water about once a week. This is a great houseplant for air quality, and it’s easy to care for.

4. Devil’s Ivy

This air purifier looks great in a basket. Try hanging it in the garage.

3. English Ivy

English Ivy is an excellent filter plant. It’s been shown to filter out formaldehyde, which can be found in some cleaning products, and it even filters fecal matter particles (I bet you didn’t even know there were any of those in your house). English Ivy is an invasive species though. It’s fine to keep inside as a houseplant, just make sure it doesn’t end up in the yard.

2. Weeping fig

A type of Ficus, this is a great houseplant for air quality. It’s a bit bigger than the others though. It would fit best in the living room.

1. Spider Plant

The Spider plant is nearly impossible to kill. Even if you’ve been a plant murderer in the past, try this one. It will do wonders for your air quality, and I promise you won’t kill it.

Houseplants have been shown to reduce stress in the home. Combine that with higher air quality and your quality of life can be greatly improved with the help of a new green friend.

Even if you don’t have a green thumb, you can take care of these. These are great houseplants for air quality.

Stay Organized Under The Kitchen Sink

Stay Organized Under The Kitchen SinkKitchen space is a valuable commodity. If you feel stretched for storage space, you could throw away all the flatware your mother-in-law gave you, or you could keep the flatware and learn to use the space you have – more efficiently.

The number one most likely spot to find extra storage space is right under your kitchen sink. Organize your under sink area and it will free up space all over your kitchen.

Clean It Up

The cabinet below the sink has a nasty reputation. It’s home to rusty pipes, water stains, and dead ladybugs. First thing is first – clean it up. If it still looks a little dingy, give it a fresh coat of white paint. That will lighten things up. You can also get a simple cloth mat to lie down. You can find one for less than five bucks.

Rollin’ Rollin’ Rollin’

You can find a home for just about anything under the kitchen sink. It’s a good spot for pots and pans, cleaning supplies, a trash can, or dog food. (Maybe not all of those things together – yuck.)

No matter what you decide to store in this wonderful space, it will be easier to access with the help of a rolling organization shelf.

With one of these bad boys, you won’t have to stick your head in the cabinet to find the right tool. You can find some that are made specifically for this space. Be careful though. They can get a bit pricy.

Get Hooked

The key to saving space is to build vertically. Buy some plastic hooks, and hang things under the kitchen sink. It’s a great way to store things like dishwashing gloves or dishrags. One clever trick is to secure a narrow dowel rod across the opening of the cabinet. Then you can hang any cleaning sprays across the rod. They come with a built in hook – the spray trigger.

Top Shelf Storage

You can buy amazing under-sink shelving at home store. Many of them snap easily together like Legos, and you can build them around your sink’s pipes. If you fill the cabinet with shelving, then you’re more likely to keep things organized.

If you’re like me, then after a couple of weeks, you’ll let your organized cabinet go to pot. With shelves, hopefully you won’t end up just throwing everything underneath the sink.

If you’re feeling short on kitchen space, try reorganizing. It’s a lot cheaper than getting new cabinets, and you’ll be amazed by how much space you already have. The space under the sink is a whole world of storage possibilities. If you have wasted space under the kitchen sink, then use it!

Why You Should Think About A Wood Burning Stove

Why You Should Think About A Wood Burning StoveNow that it’s cold again, you may want to consider a traditional wood-burning stove before you reach for the thermostat. You can install one in the center of a room, and the heat will radiate through the whole house.

It’s an elegant solution to the winter cold, and makes for a much cozier warmth than the furnace. Here’s why you should consider getting one.

Energy Bills

Save money. Stop paying each month to keep your house warm. You can do it yourself, with a wood-burning stove and a pile of wood.

One well-placed stove can heat a whole house, and pay for itself in a few months. It produces a better heat than a furnace anyway. Picture yourself with a cup of tea with your feet up next to the fire.

Be Ready For Anything

Do you want to be independent? By switching to this more traditional heat source, you’re also moving off the grid. That means if the power goes out, you won’t be stuck in the cold.

Plus, you can heat your house, and even cook on the stove. Even if the power doesn’t go out, it’s nice to have the peace of mind.

Go Green

Cranking up the furnace costs money, and burns fossil fuels. We all know we’re running out of fossil fuels, but we often don’t do our part. A wood-burning stove can you help you contribute to the environment and keep your carbon footprint small.

Burning wood releases carbon dioxide just like burning coal does, but the difference is that it only takes a few years to grow a tree. It takes so long for the Earth to make coal, that we consider it a non-renewable resource.

We’re not getting any more of it. Trees also release carbon dioxide when they rot, so burning it isn’t any worse.

But I Don’t Have A Chimney

No chimney? No problem. You can easily have a chimney installed. You’ll need a metal chimney to handle this heat, but if it doesn’t suit your tastes, you can have them covered with stone. Try to build the chimney straight up through the roof.

The less twists and bends, the better. There are no ways around getting a chimney, because you definitely don’t want that smoke to stay inside.

If you want to cut down on energy bills, reduce your carbon footprint, and heat your home no matter what the weather is like, consider a wood-burning stove.

They’re an elegant solution to the winter cold, and can make the biggest, draftiest rooms feel cozy. Keep the thermostat low, and start stocking the wood pile.