Category Archives: Home Improvement

Artificial Christmas Trees: Naughty or Nice?

christmas tree

christmas treechristmas treeTo enjoy Christmas festivities without spending a lot of money and getting troubled by health and safety hazards, why not go for artificial Christmas trees? Apart from the convenience, affordability and environmental impact, artificial trees are considered especially appealing for their investment value when compared with the recurrent, annual expense of a real Christmas tree.

Since the invention of these alternatives in the early 1930s, well-made artificial Christmas trees from longacres.co.uk have continued to gain widespread popularity. Here are some of the reasons these trees have become a common choice for many homeowners:

Man-made Materials – Durable decorations made of plastic and resins are an ideal option because of their durability. Artificial Christmas trees are in no way inferior to the natural version, both in appearance and style. High quality materials used in these items provide a wide range of choices in terms of size, shade and foliage to match the taste of every customer. Also, they retain their original look even after several years. They’re less prone to wear and tear.

Ease of Use – Artificial Christmas trees are convenient. Packed in quality boxes, these trees retain their original shape and texture, even after unpacking them. Reassembling the branches and sections is also easy, making these trees the perfect choice for busy homeowners.

Minimum Maintenance – Unlike natural trees, artificial trees do not demand frequent vacuum cleaning. There is no need for any special care, messy watering and other complex maintenance tasks. You can display them a few months prior to the festivities and remove them easily at the end of the season.

Money Friendly Option – Buying real pine trees every year is costly, so homeowners can save more with artificial trees, as they are a one-time investment.

Free from Safety and Health Concerns – Real trees may pose serious threats to health and safety, but artificial trees reduce the risks of fire due to their fire resistant materials.

Real trees also tend to attract more dust —one of the major causes of allergies. So, for commercial and residential Christmas displays, man-made trees are the best choice. Don’t forget to fill them up with homemade decorations and other ornaments.

Different Garden Designs To Suit Your Lifestyle

gardengardenWith the great amount of outdoor space and rich flora and fauna in Essex, property owners in the area are sure to want a well-kept garden. This is something that the landscape gardeners of Essex are very much well-aware of.

Through the years they have become very familiar not only with the earth, the flowers and plants that suit the county’s season, but also not surprising the varied requests from their clients. One thing for sure though, the talent and capabilities of landscape gardeners are without any doubt, top-notch.

Many of these companies, cites experts from Oakleighmanor.com, are very much acquainted with the various styles of gardens and gardening.  Landscape gardeners are very capable of working in every design and, through the years, have worked on every possible landscape design available. Here are some of the typical garden designs that they are very much familiar with.

Japanese Gardens

Japanese gardens may look simple, but take a lot of work. They typically work on simple elements: nicely arranged rocks, well-brushed sand, and manicured lawns or bushes. The effect should be very relaxing and if there is a pool available, typically, there will be a fish or two swimming in it. The purpose of the Japanese garden, with its obsessive detail and symmetry, is to provide a place of relaxation and contemplation.

Spanish Gardens

Spanish gardens on the other hand are usually a mixture of Moorish architecture and fragrant flowers. Long water channels are optional, but a few lush trees are typically found dotting the garden to provide shade. This type of garden is usually perfect for warm climates and gives off a romantic feel.

English Gardens

English gardens are all about being ideal: the lawns, though not as perfectly manicured as the French aristocratic gardens are still well-kept, the lake, and the gazebo. Gothic architecture also figures very much into the design with influences coming from the 18th century. The effect that the English gardens usually go for is to appear painterly, even poetically, as if it is fit for a postcard or for a painter to paint.

If you are ever to visit Essex, you will not want for beautiful gardens to visit. You can take delight in the colours and lovely designs; they may even inspire you to grow your own garden.

3 Smart Ways to Reduce Your Electricity Usage at Home

Light BulbLight BulbEnergy costs across Australia have steadily been on the rise over the last decade. One reason for the increase is simply due to higher demand as consumers connect more electrical devices and appliances. Estimates indicate that a typical household will spend between $1,500 to $2,500 a year on electricity costs.

Reducing energy usage can easily save homeowners hundreds of dollars.

Electricity costs can be reduced by a considerable amount by implementing simple measures around the home. Some of these measures are relatively straightforward but others will require licensed electricians in Perth or one in your area. The result is a far more energy efficient home that runs on less energy.

The following are 3 proven ways to reduce electricity costs for your home.

1. Use Alternate Heating and Cooling Methods Nearly half of energy usage in homes is for heating and cooling. Costs tend to fluctuate throughout the year but are generally highest during the summer and winter months. Make the following adjustments to reduce these costs:

Install ceiling fans: These use significantly less energy than air conditioners and are easy to operate. Installing a fan can be done yourself with basic DIY skills.

  • Change air filters regularly: Air filters are designed to capture dust and other airborne particles but can reduce the efficiency of HVAC systems. The filters should be replaced at least once every few months.
  • Install a programmable thermostat: These devices are designed to automatically control home temperatures based on personalised settings. A programmable thermostat will provide the most savings.
  • Install a wood stove: Wood stoves provide cost effective heating but come with additional responsibility. There are also safety considerations to evaluate before getting one installed.

Reducing heating and cooling usage with these methods can drastically lower your electricity bill.

2. Replace Incandescent Light Bulbs New measures have been passed to phase out incandescent bulbs in favour of more efficient alternatives. Bulbs that do not meet minimum energy performance standards (MEPS) established by the Australian Federal Government are now banned. New energy efficient lighting technologies include:

  • Light-emitting diodes (LEDs)
  • Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs)

These bulbs have been shown to significantly reduce energy usage and do not need to be replaced as often as traditional incandescent bulbs. Incandescent lighting is likely contributing to a higher energy bill for your home. Replace these bulbs with more efficient alternatives such as LED lighting.

3. Be Responsible With Appliances and Electronics Consumers have higher demand for energy. Part of the reason is the unprecedented increase of electrical devices from kitchen appliances to televisions and cooling systems. The following will help to reduce energy usage:

  • Replace appliances with energy efficient alternatives
  • Turn off electronics that are not being used
  • Use major appliances during off peak hours
  • Unplug electronics and chargers when not in use
  • Seal and insulate windows to prevent leakage
  • Consider air drying clothing

The savings from implementing these energy saving tips can add up to a considerable amount each year. Another solution is to contact an electrical company in your area for recommendations on making your home more energy efficient and what steps to take.

Black Leather Sofas: Revamp Your Living Room

living room

Black leather sofas add an appealing look to your living room. These are comfortable to sit on without making you feel uncomfortably hot either. Industry experts noted that to add to the aesthetic appeal of your living room, you need to have a décor that highlights the black leather sofa as well. You can create a great living room ambience when you coordinate your theme and colours to match your leather couch.

living roomliving roomLeather sofas come in many different shades. Most people prefer having black collared sofas, because these look elegant and welcoming. Being a universal colour, black goes well with a number of other colours, including white, red, yellow, and other such colours.

Here are some tips that you can keep in mind from simplystylishsofas.co.uk regarding black leather sofas for sale:

– When redesigning your living room, attempt to form a strong and striking contrast against your black leather sofa. Vibrant accessories like throws, cushions, and rugs can make your couch look attractive.

– Pay close attention to the backdrop. You can paint the wall behind your black leather couching a colour that presents an attractive contrast against the couch. This will draw more attention to your sofa. You could also simply put up a wallpaper to bring out the best appearance of your couch as well. Attractive, contrasting curtains will add to the appeal of the room.

– The right amount of light can make your black leather sofa appear more welcoming. Strategically placed lamps on either sides of your couch will automatically make people want to sit on the couch more often than not. Warm overhead lights will add to the appeal of the black leathered sofa.

– Place attractive accent furniture in the room, as well. Additional pieces of furniture, like armoires and bookshelves can help make your living room more appealing. Lamps, vases, and pictures frames are good items to place in your living room.

The Window to Your World: The Minimalist Guide to Choosing the Right Window Style

Different Window StylesDifferent Window StylesThere are no ugly homes, only ugly windows. Imagine yourself relaxing in your living room and enjoying the wonderful view outdoors. But, when you caught a glimpse of your windows, the view became shocking. There’s probably nothing worse than seeing your windows rotting, dirty, and full of cobwebs.

Since they are important, many homeowners struggle when it comes to buying the perfect one for their home.  From color to style and shape, there are many to choose from. Whether you’re planning to renovate your home or simply replace some windows, let this article help you choose the best.

Decide What Purpose It Will Serve

Do you prefer windows that also serve as a doorway, like a sliding glass? Or you want one just for aesthetics? It is important to decide what purpose your windows will serve before you get in touch with contractors.

Know Your Home’s Architectural Style

Every home is unique and so are your window needs. If you find it difficult to choose between garden windows or awning windows, let your home’s architecture guide you. Doing this helps make your choice easier and allows you to get the right one.

Today’s building styles differ in appearance and design. According to industry expert HomeStar, vinyl windows are perfect for Mediterranean homes. For modern homes, it’s best to have floor-to-ceiling windows.

Concentrate on One Color

This is an important thing to consider when shopping for windows. Choose those that will match or highlight the color of your living room, bedroom or bathroom. If you have a light pink wall, for instance, opt for dark purple frames. All types of windows have the power to complement or contrast your home’s interior. Whenever you decide to give your home a makeover, though, it’s best to seek the services of professionals.

These tips will surely help you choose a window that boosts your privacy, make you calm, and enhance the beauty of your home.

Is Regular Plumbing Maintenance Even Necessary?

plumbing maintenance

You do not even have to think twice–the answer is yes; regular plumbing maintenance is necessary. Bad plumbing could cause your family to fall sick often because of contaminated water, and could also lead to all sorts of problems.

plumbing maintenanceplumbing maintenanceConsidering how a plumber fixes any problems in your plumbing system, it is important to have one you can trust. Contaminants like lead, (especially if your home has lead plumbing pipes), could cause serious and lasting health issues.

Some health hazards caused due to bad plumbing include, but are not limited to the following:

– Typhoid

– Dysentery/ Diarrhoea

– Cholera

– Mould allergies

– Headaches/ migraines

– Rashes

Long-term effects of using contaminated water could include kidney/ liver damage and damage to the nervous system or the immune system.

Considering these serious health implications, you should hire a reputed plumber Perth residents trust when you are laying the groundwork for your home. It is also wise to have an expert take a look at the pipe network before you move in. Sometimes, when one pipe begins to leak, it could affect the others in the system as well. A leaky sewage pipe could pollute the water that flows in pipes in the same network. Having a professional look at the plumbing in your home will help protect water lines, ensuring that whatever comes out of your showers and faucets are clean.

By hiring a plumber to look at the existing pipe network in your home, you can get assurance that whatever water you use at home is clean. A plumber can replace older pipes, replace waste disposal equipment, identify and seal any leaks, install water heaters, showers, and do all other relevant work. They can unclog toilets and remove blockages in pipes as well. Many plumbers offer twenty-four seven service, while also offering clients regular maintenance services.

If you live in Perth, make sure that your home has a safe plumbing network by having it regularly checked and maintained. If you are new to the area, check the local directories and ask your neighbours for references to find a good service provider.

Investing in a Display Home: A Guide for Potential Buyers

property investmentproperty investmentNowadays, a growing number of property buyers begin to acknowledge the advantages offered by display homes — fixed rent for a set period, high yields of around 7% pa and reliable tenants highly interested in keeping your property in its best condition. Before you jump on the bandwagon, however, make sure you research well and do some pencil pushing. This would help you get the better end of any bargain.

Advantages of a Display Home

Although some people argue that even well-made display homes should be considered used and without much benefit to offer, leading home construction companies believe otherwise. Here’s why:

  • There is an assured tenant, which is the builder, throughout the existence of the display village. Generally, this “existence” could mean at least five years.
  • The rental yield is high enough, as your tenant would pay you rent for the display home property at a commercial rate.
  • Although you would still need to pay the taxes, careful bargaining of the price of the property can considerably lower the amount you need to pay.
  • As it is compulsory for the builder to make sure the display home is in good condition, you are of having a good-as-new property by the time you move in.
  • You get savings on property management fees because you no longer need a property manager for your home.
  • As with anything else, however, there is also a downside to owning a display home.
  • There is no fixed end date for the rental. Depending on the builder’s decision, the rent could last far longer than what you have originally agreed upon. If you need to move in immediately, a display home might not be the right one for you.
  • No laws have been implemented yet on rental of a residential property as a display home. Thus, there is no assurance your tenant would consistently be able to meet his financial obligation.
  • Display home investments are oftentimes assessed by banks according to market rental conditions, instead of the value the tenant is willing to pay. Depending on where the home is located, you might get approved for a lower amount than what the tenant could pay.

Considering all these factors, display homes truly offer an interesting investment opportunity. Despite a few disadvantages, they still allow investors and homebuyers to purchase a home at today’s value, along with a range of luxurious upgrades and top-notch landscaping.

Home Exterior Painting Made Easy

A little repainting can instantly brighten up and do wonders for a home’s exterior finish. According to industry experts, repainting is one of the quickest and most affordable ways of renovating a house. This has encouraged many households to undertake their own home repainting projects.

exterior paintingexterior paintingIndustry veteran Outside Image offered a few handy tips on making your DIY home repainting project easier:

Wash – You will first need to prepare surfaces by giving them a thorough power wash. Doing so ensures a smooth, dirt free surface for you to paint on.

Scrape – Sometimes, old paint can bubble up or peel off in time. Cases such as these call for repainting jobs. Make certain, though, to scrape off any old paint before you start.

Sand – You have to make every surface ready for painting work. Sanding can turn otherwise bumpy finishes into smooth surfaces easily.

Patch – You may see minor cracks or dents that need proper filling up after the sanding process. Keep in mind that quick patching and filling ensures smooth surfaces.

Prime – Most novice DIY painters tend to skip this part. Priming surfaces is an essential part of painting because it readies surfaces to any penetration and sealing by the paint.

After going through all these steps, you are now ready to paint. It’s time to get your brushes, rollers, and airbrushes ready. With a little systematic approach to painting surface areas, you can make sure you save more time.

A quick painting job is the perfect home makeover for homeowners looking for some variety. It has the power to transform your house from a dull old structure to a new looking one in only a small amount of time at a fraction of the cost of other home remodeling ventures. Be sure to keep these tips in mind to make things easier.

Getting The Best Houses For Sale Deals: The Need to Know Facts

houses

houseshousesYou can buy pristine houses at bargain prices provided you know how to go about it. Caroline Springs houses come in different sizes and prices to suit every need and budget.

According to noted community Modeina, you can get better prices if you consider the following:

Widen Your Search

Always check the prices of other homes for sale in the area where you intend to buy a house. You may even conduct a search on numerous house listing services in that particular area to save time. You can even check house listing websites.

Bank Mortgage Calculators

It is advisable to make use of bank rate mortgage calculators to get a fair estimate of mortgage payments payable monthly whenever you buy a house.

Consider Extra Expenses

You also need to work out the total housing expenses per month. This includes taxes well as the homeowner’s insurance. Be aware that tax and insurance payments can be twice the mortgage payment amount in certain cases.

Stick to Your Budget

The budget is of utmost importance—especially for first-time buyers. Make sure you do not allow your heart to rule your head and go overboard on the price even if you have fallen in love with the house. The thumb rule is not to spend in excess of 28% of your salary on buying costs. Going beyond it could make you run up heavy debts, which could become difficult to repay.

Seek Help From a Real Estate Agent

Taking the advice of competent real estate agents operating in the area could give you a clear idea of the right prices for the type of house you are looking for. This can help you get the best house at the best price.

Know When to Buy

When prices go down, that is the best time to close a deal. In markets where the seller rules, you need to be keen and observe before you make a bid for a house. You need to investigate fluctuating house prices and know the actual reason for such fluctuations. In addition, do a background check on the general security of the area.

Re-Roofing: A Home Improvement Project Owners Should Never Neglect

roofing

If you own a home that’s at least 20 years old or more, then it may be the perfect time for a re-roofing project. This is a more efficient approach to make sure your home remains sturdy rather than relying on simple leak repairs. The process of reroofing calls for the entire removal of the old roof and the installation of an entirely brand new one in its place. Here are some of the things you need to consider with regard to reroofing.

roofingroofing

Why Consider Re-roofing

According to companies that specialise in re-roofing, you really can’t be sure what’s present under those old shingles until you decide to have a professional take them off and have a look. It’s a known fact that roof decking can sustain plenty of weather damage over the years. So, you may be making the problem even worse if you don’t choose to replace the entire roof. Moreover, if the current roof is in a home that you recently bought, then you won’t have enough information about it. You can prevent a number of potential problems if you allow a professional to look into it.

One of the most common problems associated with an old roof are substandard decking materials. Low-quality plywood or random wood thickness used at different spots, damaged felt layer or no felt layer at all are just some of the things you should be aware of. If you live in an area where it snows heavily, you could be looking at a damaged ice shield. All of these need to be addressed promptly as they can cause a serious decline in your home value if left unfixed.

What Materials to Choose From

When you’re thinking about a re-roofing project, consider changing the look of your roof or even do a facelift of your home. Some of the choices available include asphalt shingles, which come in a variety of colours. If you want a new look, go for wood shingles or even clay tiles. For a look that’s totally fresh and innovative, choose a metal sheet or rubber roof. The wide availability and selection of materials provide a wealth of options. Consult your roofer to get the best recommendations that will complement your home.