Tips to make a small bathroom unique

Tips to make a small bathroom unique

Many people are often heard saying that bathroom is a place where they can work out strategies to plan out the entire day, this is the place where one can relax and offer some solace to their tired feet and soul. And if your bathroom has the right ambience with fragrances like lavender, it is sure to work out. In order to have the correct ambience in the bathroom, it is not always necessary to have a spacious one or install expensive fittings that will give you a feel-good factor. Bathroom set up tips In this article, we will find out how cheap bathroom suites can you give you the same feel-good factor. Design according to size – The most important aspect that you ought to keep in mind is the size of the bathroom. The accessories have to be selected in accordance to the same. The secret is to make the best use of the available space. Restrict shelves and cabinets to the corners. Cheap also means cheaper maintenance cost – When the concept of cheap bathrooms arise, cheap does not only mean that you have to shell out less when you revamp your bathroom but it also means that the maintenance is cheap. Experts are of the opinion that in newer bathrooms less water is used. Bathtub – Opt for curved tubs that have same shaped rods that can complement the accessories. Ideally, the bathtub ought to have curved basin. It is best to sit inside a bathtub prior to settling for it. In this way, you will be able to assess whether it is comfortable or not. Color scheme – The color scheme should be such that it gives a spacious appearance. Lighter shades and tones work well. Shower – If there is limited space, the shower door has to be sliding. In order to save space further, you can always have a mirror on the shower sliding door. Alternatively, the main door to the bathroom suite can also have an in-built mirror. Fixtures – A budget bathroom does not mean that you will not install expensive or luxurious fixtures. Thanks to virtual shopping, promo, and coupon codes that have made luxurious living affordable. While planning to revamp your bathroom suite, you can check out deals online and avail discount and freebies by browsing through different websites. But don’t compromise on quality even if that means shelling out few extra dollars. Lighting – The manner in which you set up lighting fixtures in the bathroom can enhance the look in a remarkable manner. Opt for subtle lighting. In other words, dimmers work best. You can also incorporate halogen pot lights for a dimmer effect. Type of flooring – The flooring you choose has to be essentially durable and water resistant. Most importantly, it should also be skid proof. This is especially required for your kids. The best options for flooring include marble, stone, and ceramic tiles. Also check whether these types of flooring are compatible with the subflooring heating systems. Regardless of how you are revamping the bathroom, always make sure that the concept of cheap bathroom suites does not mean that there will be no longevity of your bathroom fixtures and fittings. As mentioned above, quality is always a...

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Maintenance Tips for New Construction Homes

Maintenance Tips for New Construction Homes

New construction homes require less maintenance than older properties, but that doesn’t mean you can sit back and ignore the home. You are going to need to do a few maintenance tasks to ensure your home’s value is protected, as well as its attractiveness. Keep the Windows Clean Dust and dirt detract from the look of your windows, and windows that are not maintained can start to leak, even in newer homes. Spend some time each spring cleaning the windows, and check for signs of leaking around them. Don’t forget the window wells around your basement! Clean the Chimney If you use your fireplace, the chimney will need to be cleaned. Even if you don’t use the fireplace, your chimney needs to be protected from pests with a chimney cap. A bird who makes a nest in the chimney can cause costly and stinky damage. Clean the Gutters In the fall and spring, clean out your gutters to ensure water can drain properly from the roof. This will extend the life of your roof and prevent problems with water damming and ice buildup. If you don’t want to tackle this task, invest in a gutter screen of some sort. Still, you may have to move large accumulation off of the gutter screen to encourage proper water flow. Keep HVAC Systems Serviced Even if the HVAC system is brand new, it needs an annual tune up to run as efficiently as possible and to avoid potential problems. Schedule these, preferably one in the spring and one in the winter, every year to keep your air conditioning and heating system running efficiently all year long. Don’t forget to drain the water heater once per year to remove sediment and extend its life as well. Avoid Frozen Pipes, Hoses and Sprinklers In the winter, make sure your outdoor faucets and hoses are not going to freeze. Flush drain lines, turn off outdoor sprinklers and faucets and put away hoses to avoid a problem. Insulate any exposed pipes that you cannot turn off during the winter.   Proper maintenance is the key to ensuring that your newly built home retains its value well and does not create costly maintenance needs. Take these steps every year from the first year you move in, and you will ensure years of enjoyment out of your...

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Kitchen remodeling ideas – Decorate the heart and soul of your home

Kitchen remodeling ideas – Decorate the heart and soul of your home

There’s no doubt about the fact that kitchen is the heart and soul of your house and it’s not just the place to cook food but also a place to gather and socialise. Are you someone who has been planning for renovating your kitchen? Well, kitchen renovation is a long term investment and therefore whenever you plan to do it, there are a number of vital things that you need to keep in mind. Women are closely related to the kitchen as a major part of their daily life is spent there. Hence, if you think the design of your kitchen has become outdated and that you need to upgrade it, you need to watch out for some kitchen remodeling tips. If you’re not aware of them, here are some that you may consider. Countertops made of quartz: If you install quartz surfaced countertops, you can now skip the scrubbing and dealing as they need less maintenance than the granite countertops. Quartz countertops also provide you with a timeless appeal that won’t look old even after they actually get old. Moreover, the shining surface is less dominant than all the other materials and hence it is more likely that you won’t ever grow tired of looking at it. Layouts should be open and free: If you know anything about the recent trends, you will know that open layouts are here to stay for long. You can tear down your walls and eliminate kitchen isolation. As per the recent trend, an informal dining room and a very comfortable cooking drive the modern people. With open kitchens, there’s more attraction and interaction and if they can be blended well with living spaces, nothing can be better than that. Opt for induction cooking: Induction cooking is aesthetically pleasing, fast and safe and there are many other reasons for which you might love induction cooking. Induction burners need very little heat and even small kitchens stay cool when you cook on induction. Since these cooktops don’t require large range hood, it opens a door of possibilities for the person staying in the kitchen. Tech that works for you: Nowadays there are smart kitchen devices which can help you in various different ways. You can go to a store and check out some high-tech gadgets and smart home appliances which you think you might need according to the things that you usually do in kitchen. This will make cooking easier and more convenient. Treat your kitchen ceiling: How about taking care of the untapped potential of the ceiling of your kitchen? Most often it is seen that kitchen ceilings have a lot of potential and hence you can try building false ceilings that will complement the loo of the kitchen and make it look better than before. So, when it comes to kitchen warehouse and all the remodeling ideas associated with it, you can definitely consider the tips mentioned above. The more decorated your kitchen is, the better a woman feels while spending time there....

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How to Bring a Yard to Life

How to Bring a Yard to Life

For hundreds of years, we have been creating beautiful outdoor spaces around our homes. We have focused on beauty, food, or both, and they have given us enjoyment and entertainment. Taking a look at old stately homes, and you will be able to see some truly stunning landscape gardens, for instance. To this day, we continue to use whatever outdoor space we have available to create something beautiful. Some Style Examples Some of the world’s most beautiful examples of landscaped gardens are 18th century English gardens. These are still often the inspiration for gardens today, and those with limited spaces such as yards can incorporate many of its ideas. Often, these gardens revolved around a pond (or a water feature in a small garden) and there would then be pavilions and bridges to catch the eye. This can all be done in miniature in small gardens. Then, there are the stunning gardens of China and Japan, which are still popular today. These are really easy to create in small yards, because they focus mainly on stone features, rather than plants in the ground. Like with the 18th century English gardens, they should also incorporate a water feature. Landscape gardening is not about having a huge space to work with. Rather, it is about incorporating texture, scale, line and color as much as possible. If you only have a small space available, you can opt for bright colors such as greens, blues and yellows to create an illusion of space. If you want your space to look cozy, you should choose more earthy, darker tones, like reds and oranges. These are also great for relaxation. Line is very important, particularly in smaller gardens. The eye will automatically follow the line in your garden. That does not mean it has to be super straight, however. A smooth line that flows often creates an air of calmness. Straight lines, by contrast, are very modern and minimalistic. You do have to make sure that your line follows in your form and texture. Using straight lines and shapeless planters, or smooth lines and rectangular boxes, won’t make a small space look good. Shape is also important. If, for instance, you have a triangular conifer, then you should try to add other triangular shapes in your garden. This creates a uniform feel to the entire space. If your yard is very small, you can get away with having just two or three standout pieces, all in the same shape, to create a really stunning look. If your space is very small, you need to start with it as a blank canvas. Remove everything you can and look at it from a distance. Then place your focal point, which should not be right in the center. Rather, place it somewhat to the side and back, for instance, so that the eye looks at the entire space, and not just at the center. A few well-placed mirrors can also add to a sense of...

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Lush Lawns and Gardens: The Costs Vs. the Benefits of Irrigation Systems

Lush Lawns and Gardens: The Costs Vs. the Benefits of Irrigation Systems

For many homeowners, aesthetic and functional landscaping is essential; however, ensuring that the lawn and garden can be properly sustained begins with ensuring that the ability to keep both properly irrigated. There are a number of different options for installing a functional an effective irrigation system. Irrigation systems benefit lawn care efforts by providing an artificial source of water that will ensure that lawns can be maintained. Irrigation systems are immensely valuable during the warmer months and during a drought. Automated Irrigation Systems While a homeowner has the option to install a manual sprinkler system, meaning that they would have to manually turn the sprinkler on from a switch or at the hydrant, it is much more practical to install an automated system. Although the automated irrigation system is costlier than a manual system, the benefits of an automated system provide the value that justifies the additional costs. Automated systems can be preset to perform a number of different watering patterns at specified times, so even when the person is away from the home, their lawn will still be systematically irrigated at specified times to maximize the benefit of irrigation. Increases the Value of the Home Another way that installing an irrigation system provides a benefit is in the fact that an existing irrigation system can increase the value of the home. According to a number of real estate agents who were polled in a survey, a well-manicured lawn can positively impact the selling price for a home. Additionally, having an irrigation system will also serve to increase the functionality of the home. Installing an automated irrigation system is one of the most cost-effective methods for increasing the value of a home. A properly installed automated irrigation system has the potential to save money, time and conserve energy, freeing the homeowner up for other domestic endeavors. When compared to manual irrigation methods, automated sprinkler systems stand out in several ways. The most obvious difference is in time efficiency. Honestly, a manual irrigation system can be more energy efficient; however, the time and energy that is required to properly utilize a manual irrigation process will require far too much time. Automated systems can actually be programmed to perform irrigation tasks using a number of different program settings. Those looking to get a more detailed understanding of just how beneficial an automated sprinkler system is should browse ProIrrigation.com. How Proper Irrigation Benefits Landscaping When a homeowner invests in the professional installation of a quality automated irrigation system that has been designed to consider their specific preferences, as well as address the challenges that are associated with their specific climate, some of the benefits they will experience includes: Increased sequestration of carbon, which will result in a healthier lawn Dust control A reduction in heat in response to the benefit of water retention by design Noise reduction The term “carbon sequestration” refers to a process that can be natural or artificially created in which free-floating carbon is captured by the system — offering a number of environmental benefits. In addition to the carbon sequestration benefits associated with a quality automated irrigation system, the system can also be designed to intentionally retain a certain amount of water, which can assist the homeowner in their efforts to conserve energy. Additional Benefits When the aesthetic...

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7 Mistakes Hydroponic Growers Commonly Make

7 Mistakes Hydroponic Growers Commonly Make

Growing your plants hydroponically can be incredibly rewarding as well as efficient and convenient. Bearing in mind the lack of need for extensive land and labour, and no soil-related problems – hydroponics offers an ideal solution for many growers. However, there are still some common mistakes that growers can make which will affect the quality and yield of their crops. Here are some of them and some tips on how to avoid them. 1. Lack of knowledge It’s essential to develop a thorough understanding of the basic principles of hydroponic growing to be successful. While the overview of a hydroponic growing system may seem quite simple – it’s often the finer details which trip up novice growers and result in less than desired outcomes. Learn everything you can about the best hydroponic systems and HYDROPONIC SUPPLIES such as nutrient solution, growing medium and lighting for the particular crop you are considering growing, as it’s not simply a case of one system does all. 2. Harvesting too soon This is an extremely common problem, especially for beginner growers. While certain plants can fruit or bloom within weeks, others can take much longer – it’s essential to leave harvesting until the optimal time and resist temptation to harvest too early. 3. Inadequate lighting Providing sufficient and correct lighting for your plants is critical to enabling the full photosynthesis process to occur, and allowing the plants to develop to their full potential. Avoid using simple fluorescent lights based on cost, and invest in proper HPS lighting, or LED bulbs which operate at lower temperatures and consume less electricity. The correct lighting will make a big difference in the early developmental stages of growth. 4. Excessive watering Another common mistake is to water your plants too often. Although water is essential for growing, if plants receive too much water it can lead to problems such as wilting leaves, root rot, and slower growth. 5. Incorrect pH levels It is critical to maintain the pH level of the nutrient solution within the specific optimal range for the type of plants you are growing. Incorrect pH levels can actually cause plants to wither and die. Hydroponic systems are more susceptible to pH level changes than conventional growing techniques involving soil. Regular testing, normally weekly, of pH levels should be maintained, and levels adjusted as necessary. 6. Inadequate air circulation Optimal growing occurs when there is adequate ventilation. It is essential to maintain a healthy level of air circulation within the growing environment. You can use a simple fan to achieve this; choose one that will be appropriate for the size of the growing area. 7. Lack of attention It can be tempting to think that once your growing system is set up and running – you can basically leave it alone. However, while it may not need daily attention it is important to regularly check on all components to avoid any nasty (or disastrous) surprises. All equipment such as reservoirs, pumps, timers, grow trays (channels) lighting and any other equipment should be checked to make sure it is free from problems and operating as it should. Image: tiverylucky at...

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Air Conditioner Troubleshooting Tips for your Home

Air Conditioner Troubleshooting Tips for your Home

Calling a professional to repair your air conditioner can be very costly. Therefore, it’s never a bad thing to see if you can identify the problem on your own. There are times when you need to summon an ac repair specialist, but it is possible to perform a few simple checks to see if the problem is serious. If your air conditioner is blowing warm air or isn’t working, fixing one of these problems might do the trick. Here are some things you can do to determine if you can fix the problem yourself. Check the Circuit Breaker If the unit will not turn on, it’s possible that the breaker has been tripped. If you have other electrical loads and appliances on the same circuit, it might have become overloaded. This quick check will save you from the embarrassment and cost of an unnecessary service call. At some point, it might make sense to hire an electrician to put the air conditioning system on a separate breaker so you can avoid this problem in the future! Inspect the Thermostat The air conditioner might not be working because the thermostat needs fresh batteries. If this is not the case, set the temperature below the room temperature so the unit will start. Make sure the thermostat hasn’t been turned off or set to blow the fan. Sometimes another household member has inadvertently flipped a switch. Replace the Filter If your air filter is dirty and clogged, air flow becomes impeded, which could cause ice to form in the unit. To avoid this problem, inspect and change your filter on a regular basis. They are very inexpensive, and can be found at a local hardware or home improvement store. Melt Any Ice If ice has formed on your ac unit, it won’t cool properly. Melting the ice is a simple process. Turn the system off and let the fan run. This will cause the frozen water to melt in a short period of time. Alternately, you can turn the air conditioner off and let the ice melt naturally. Clean the Unit Over time, the system will become dirty, so this might be why your unit isn’t functioning properly. On the exterior of the unit, carefully clean the fan blades. Remove any leaves, sticks, and debris from the inside of the unit. If you clean the condenser fins, do so carefully, since they bend easily and can break. Inspect the Ducts If it isn’t too hot, go into the attic and check the ducts to see if air is flowing through them. They might be too dirty to allow anything to come through. In some cases, one of the registers might have been closed, so make sure everything is clear. Still Stumped? When it’s hot out, you need to get your air conditioner up and running. If you have run through these troubleshooting tips to no avail, it is time to call the professionals. At least you know that paying for a service call will be for a worthwhile reason.  ...

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Affordable Changes to Your Home That Will Keep You Cooler in Summer

Affordable Changes to Your Home That Will Keep You Cooler in Summer

Summer may feel like it is still a long way off, but like every year, it will be upon us before we know it. While you may still have the heating on and be leaving the house bundled up in coats and sweaters, the warmer months are just around the corner and soon worrying about heating will be a distant memory. This is a nice thing to think about at this chilly time in early spring, however we all know that summer brings with it a whole different temperature problem. Those days and nights when it is roasting hot and you just can’t get cool enough to sleep can be really uncomfortable, and it is a lot harder to cool a home down than warm it up. Obviously the dream solution is air conditioning, but that is a very expensive thing to install and quite a big project – one which most of us in the UK tend to deem isn’t worth it for our summers. How then, can you make your home more comfortable to live in in the high temperatures of July and August without air conditioning? Ceiling Fans Ceiling fans offer an easy way to cool your entire room and won’t give you that annoying ‘fan full in the face’ feeling standing or desk fans do. They can also look really nice and stylish, and while you are putting them up, you can also get new lights with energy saving LED bulbs that will help save money on your electric bills. Another great thing about ceiling fans is that many of them can be used in a reverse mode that pushes warm air down, and will help keep your home warm in winter while moving air and preventing stuffiness! Electric Skylight and Window Operators Being able to easily open skylights and other windows makes it easier to let in fresh air and ventilate your home when the weather is hot, which can make things feel a lot fresher. Installing electric, remote controlled window and skylight openers can be an affordable addition to your home and can allow you to control your windows, even when the handles are hard to reach or you are simply feeling too hot and bothered to want to go around the house opening everything up! Teal Products do a great selection of electric window openers which can be used on most normal types of windows and skylights, and this can be well worth looking into before the weather heats up! Swamp Coolers Swamp coolers, or evaporative coolers as they are also known, can be much cheaper than portable air conditioning units and can offer some effective cooling for the room they are placed in. They work by evaporating water using fans and can lower temperatures in a room significantly. You can actually build your own improvised swamp cooler if you really want to save, but units can also be purchased quite cheaply. Now is a great time to start preparing for summer with simple home changes like...

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4 Things to Control With Your Home Automation System

4 Things to Control With Your Home Automation System

From added safety to increased convenience, there is no doubt home automation has many benefits, which is probably why it is ever increasing in popularity. If you’ve been thinking about automation part of all of your home, it helps to know what it is you want to automate. Locks and Security Systems One of the most popular reasons people decide to automate their homes is due to increased security options. Maybe you were in a rush and forgot to lock the garage or perhaps you realized your teenager forgot his or her key and won’t have a way in. Many home automation systems allow you to change the status of your locks from wherever you are. If you have home security cameras, you can also monitor them from your smartphone, laptop or tablet for increased peace of mind. Home Appliances How many times have you been about to pull out of the driveway only to decide you need to double-check the stove, coffee pot, curling iron or some other small yet dangerous appliance? The right home automation system lets you do this right from your phone with the help of smart outlets and wireless technology. It’s not just about convenience, either. Maybe you need to preheat the oven for dinner, but you’re still folding laundry or giving the kids a bath. Instead of stopping what you’re doing, simply use your smartphone app to change the oven to the right temperature. Temperature and Lights Another popular reason for home automation is to adjust the temperatures or lights remotely. With the touch of a button, you’ll be able to turn on the kitchen light before you even start carrying in groceries or ensure the house is warm enough before you bring the kids in from the cold. In this case, home automation might save you money, too. When you can turn off lights from across town or turn the thermostat down when the afternoon is warmer than you expected, you’ll save on energy costs. Even if it’s just by a few cents, pennies add up! Entertainment Systems Of course, the best home automation system will focus on fun as much as safety and savings. With the right system, you can control your home’s TVs, DVRs, and music. Maybe you didn’t set your DVR to record your favorite show. Instead of trying to avoid spoilers all night, simply use your phone or tablet to set the DVR from wherever you are and watch when you get home. Many systems will let you use your phone to change television channels, control the volume of your music or movie, or change the radio station — the possibilities are practically endless. The best home automation system is subjective and based entirely on what you want to use it for. Some systems are purely for safety reasons, others only control the fun aspects of your home, and still others aim to offer the full package. Determine your budget and research a variety of systems before purchasing one to ensure you purchase the best system to meet your family’s...

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How to Update Your Rental Property

How to Update Your Rental Property

Landlords are required to keep their properties in good condition. It’s no longer acceptable to rent dilapidated homes out to vulnerable tenants and if you try to save money by doing this, you are likely to be prosecuted at some point. But aside from safety issues, it is advisable to keep rental properties updated regularly, as this helps to ensure you attract better quality tenants who are more likely to treat the place as their own. So if you are planning to give your rental property a makeover, here are a few improvements you should consider making. Replacement Windows and Doors Replacing old windows and doors is always a sensible improvement, as it will add value to your property and make it more energy efficient for your tenants. Home window replacement does not have to cost a fortune. There are plenty of companies like www.thompsoncreek.com who provide a good quality product for a reasonable price. Do make sure you choose a style in keeping with the property, however, especially if it is a period property. A New Kitchen Kitchens are the focal point of any home. They tend to get a lot of use, so are more likely to wear out fast, especially in a rental property. Kitchens in rental homes usually need to be replaced every ten years or less. Choose a kitchen that fits the house and don’t be tempted to go overboard on expensive cupboards and counter tops unless you are hoping to attract high-end tenants. A New Bathroom Nothing spoils a nice rental property than an old-fashioned bathroom. Nice, modern fixtures and fittings are easier to keep clean and more appealing to tenants. Ideally replace like with like, but if you have enough room, consider adding a separate shower to make the property more appealing to prospective tenants. Paint and Decorate A lick of paint will make a huge difference to a property. Scuffed walls and woodwork look like new with a fresh coat of paint, so it is worth spending some time painting every room from top to bottom. It is best to stick to neutral colors, but if you have tenants already living there, ask them if they have any particular preferences. The more it feels like home, the more likely they are to take care of the place. New Flooring Carpets soon wear out in rental properties, but they are relatively inexpensive to replace, so rip out the old ones and put down some new ones. Go for neutral brown colors, as these hide a multitude of sins. Or, if you want to spend a bit more money, go for wooden flooring instead. This is extremely popular right now and if you are good at DIY, you can even fit it yourself. Remember to keep track of all your expenditure, including receipts and supplier invoices, as you should be able to offset the cost of any upgrades and property improvements back against your tax bill at year...

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Bring Country Charm to Your Home

Bring Country Charm to Your Home

“Country Charm” is a motif that never goes out of style. There are a bunch of reasons for this. There are many different variations of the style, more than enough for each person to create an entirely different looking home but still give off the same charm. It is easy to find and make your own pieces. It is even possible to find or make your own pieces when your budget is tiny. If you’ve been thinking of adding some country charm to your home, here are a few tips to help you do that: Real Wood is Better There are plenty of country looking pieces out there that have been slapped together with particle board and paint, but if you want your home to feel authentic, you need to choose pieces made from real wood. If you look through, for example, the country charm catalogue of furniture online at LuxeDecor, you’ll notice that real wood is one of the most common materials used. If your budget is smaller, look around for used pieces at thrift and even junk shops. You can find lots of great real wooden pieces out there for extremely low prices. The trick is to not let scratches or damage deter you. Many of these pieces can be repaired for far less (especially if you do it yourself!) than it would cost to buy something brand new or custom made. Antiques are Key For many, “country charm” is synonymous with “old fashioned.” This is why you want to look for pieces that are either genuine antiques or built to look like them. The classic simple wooden table, the four poster bed frame, claw foot bathtubs, chairs, and couches, the use of trunks for storage, etc. Spend some time looking through paintings and photos of rural life from the turn of the 20th century for ideas. Most of what we automatically associate with country charm is associated with the late 1800s and early 1900s. Mind Your Walls Choosing art for your walls is always a little bit stressful. You want the pieces you choose to reflect who you are while simultaneously adding to the overall vibe you are trying to create within your home. There are many budget-friendly techniques that you can use to add art to your walls and other parts of your home. For those who want to focus on country or rustic charm, there are a few themes you should focus on.  The most popular of course is paintings (or prints of paintings) of nature and/or animals. Landscapes and animal portraits are a popular choice. Still-lifes and photographs of vases of flowers or bowls of fruit also help lend some rustic charm to a space. Frame your artwork in wooden frames (or frames that have been painted to look like natural wood if you’re on a budget). One very popular choice among people who want to add the country aesthetic to their home is to hang quilts up on the walls, particularly in the bedrooms. Choose Fabrics Wisely When it comes to your bedding, towels, throws, pillows, and upholstery, the fabric you choose is important. There is more to country charm than gingham and plaid. Use natural and neutral colors for your large pieces. Wheat colored couches and chairs, etc. Then, for the decorative...

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Best US Real Estate Market to Invest in Rental Property

Best US Real Estate Market to Invest in Rental Property

Investing in rental properties can be a profitable endeavor. Ideally, the renter will end up covering the monthly mortgage payment (maybe even with some profit here), and you end up owning a property that someone else paid for. However, if it was exactly that simple, everyone would be doing it. In order to make a sound investment on a rental property, there are several factors that must be taken into consideration. First, you need to find the right property to purchase. To really maximize your profit potential, it is essential to look for a good deal on a home. This is precisely why many investors decide to go with short-sale and foreclosure properties. Additionally, you will need to research the area. Is the property located in a family-friendly area? Will the house be appealing to parents because it is in a good school district? Is the house conveniently located near areas where plenty of people work? Does it have the perk of offering a short commute time? How much are other homes in the area renting for? Second, you need to actually get the property rented. If you did your due diligence in the beginning, this part should be easy. The question then becomes… how do you get started? If you are looking to invest in rental properties in the United States, it can be overwhelming when it comes time to decide where you want to purchase. With a decreasing unemployment rate and increasing rate of appreciation, Charlotte should be at the top of your list. Charlotte, NC is one of the fastest growing cities in the south, and its real estate market continues to remain strong. This was especially demonstrated by the data that was released at the end of 2014. The numbers revealed that homes purchased in the Charlotte area one year ago had appreciated by an average of $26,545, while the national average was $12,731. Even more impressive, homes purchased in the Charlotte area five years ago had appreciated by an average of $69,589, while the national average was at $48,225. With its growing popularity and stable real estate market, Charlotte is the place to be when it comes to investing in rental...

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Buying a home in Spain – Guide for expats who’ve recently moved into Spain

Buying a home in Spain – Guide for expats who’ve recently moved into Spain

Spain has a wide array of landscapes, from lakes and mountains to sandy beaches to vineyards and olive groves in the south. For more than a decade, the south-east Mediterranean coast has become one of the most popular holiday destinations in Europe and is also the place where Brits buy their second homes. Spain has a charming variety of religious festivals, carnivals, pilgrimages and fairs which attract people from all countries. Once you move to Spain, you will find yourself an integral part of these occasions due to the enthusiasm and warmth of the cheering crowds of this place. Only one thing to note that after Spain was included into the EU (European Union), things began to modernise and move ahead of time. Overall, there are lots of reasons for Spain being counted as the best destination for people who are planning to buy homes abroad. Due to location, Spain is close to some of the most important historical sites and some are to be in the Ancient Wonders of the Ancient worlds. So if you are into history, you will have a great advantage seeing such places. Spanish properties and the rise and fall in prices Since the year 2007, prices of properties in Spain have kept dropping radically and there was a 35-50% decrease, thereby making values of properties to get back to their 2004 levels. Although this is terrible news for the Spanish property sellers, it is undoubtedly a lucrative opportunity for people who are planning to buy a holiday home or who are thinking of buying a permanent home in Spain. So, as a buyer in Spain, you have an abundance of bargain homes to choose from in the real estate sector, ranging from town houses to luxury villas. Sellers are desperate and hence you can negotiate hard to reach the best rate. Golden tips to purchasing a property in Spain So, now that you’ve decided to buy a home in Spain and you’re searching the internet and every other source that you can lay your hands on. In order to make the experience stress free, here are some tips to take into account. The vital role of a real estate agent: The main role of a real estate agent is to introduce the potential homebuyer to a worthy seller who can most probably give him the best deal. Once you have already visited the property and you decide that you like it, the next step should be to talk to the lawyer about the purchase and this should be done even before you agree on the price. Know when to seek help of a lawyer: The real estate agent might tell you that you don’t need to seek help of a lawyer while buying a property in Spain. But you should turn your deaf ears to this advice especially if you’re not Spanish. As a non-Spanish, you’re most likely going to face certain problems while communicating with the seller and moreover you are not well-versed about the business practices which are different from that of UK. Therefore, it is better to seek help of a lawyer. Speak over the transaction costs: When you speak to the lawyer, you should clarify about the total transaction costs. Make sure the costs include purchase tax, notary’s fees,...

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Boost the Lifespan of Your Outdoor Furniture

Boost the Lifespan of Your Outdoor Furniture

Outdoor furniture can be a big investment, and it also tends to take a beating from Mother Nature. If you want to get multiple seasons of enjoyment out of your new patio set or convenient benches, you will want to carve out a little time for some annual maintenance. The work doesn’t have to be complicated, and you’ll be able to reap the reward next summer when your friends come over to visit. Here are some guidelines for taking good care of your outdoor furnishings. Be an Educated Buyer If you haven’t purchased your furniture yet, you should start by researching the different eco-friendly and cost-effective options at your disposal. Seek out materials such as high-density polyethylene that resist sun damage, and if you are selecting pillows or seat cushions, get those covered in water-repellant fabrics. Metal furniture has longevity on its side, but look for lightweight options such as aluminum that also resist rust. Bamboo, plastic “wickers,” and natural wood products each have their selling points, but be sure to keep maintenance requirements in the back of your mind before making a purchase. Seal It Up Now that you’ve got your new outdoor furniture home – or you want to do some work on your current set – you’ll want to treat it with the appropriate type of protectant. Choose the product that is designed specifically for the materials you have, such as metal, wood, plastic, or wicker. Take the time to clean older furniture first so that the protectant can fully coat all the nooks and crannies. Your goal is to protect the furniture against rust, water, and mold. Don’t forget the fabrics, if cushions or pillows are part of the furniture. It can take a nice coating of waterproofing solution as well. A Word on Cleaning If you will be updating older furniture pieces, the cleaning step is very important. If you fail to provide a good, clean surface, the protectant won’t be able to adhere properly. Look for flaking metalwork, stains on fabrics, and dirt on any material. If you have the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning, follow those in order to prevent voiding the warranty. If you no longer have the written instructions, spot clean dirty areas with a mild cleaner and a soft brush. Rinse the cleaned area well and allow it to dry in the sun. Prepping for Weather Although outdoor furniture is designed to stand up to harsh weather, you can still take some precautions to prevent damage. If you know a major bout of severe weather is coming, take the time to cover your furnishings. Also, if you will be away from the house for an extended time or you like to put the furniture away between seasons, make sure to store it out of the sun’s rays or even inside if possible. The items will last much longer if you can keep them hidden inside the garage over the winter. An Ounce of Prevention Even during the months that you use your outdoor furnishings on a daily basis, you should periodically check their condition. If you see mildew sprouting, eliminate it immediately. Metal furniture with rusty spots also should be treated right away. Plan to start each season by applying a fresh coat of protectant on each type of furniture...

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How to Make Sure You Have Found a Moving Company You Can Trust

How to Make Sure You Have Found a Moving Company You Can Trust

There is no way to make a move go by without any incidents or stress. It doesn’t matter whether it is your very first time or your twentieth time, transitions are difficult and against our human nature. There are many people involved in moving. However, out of all the players involved, you, as the mover, will have the most critical role to play. You must plan, pack, clean and do a myriad of other things. And you also have to make sure that you protect yourself and your belongings by finding the best movers Arlington VA has to offer. So how do you find a good moving company? Finding Movers The online world is the perfect place to start to find a moving company. You should be able to simply navigate to a company’s website and find out what services they offer. This will help you a lot in terms of saving time and effort, because of the sheer speed and accessibility of the internet. However, you can’t guarantee reliability and quality by going online. This does mean you have to be very cautious at all times. Make sure the website is safe and authentic and do also speak to a company in person first. Don’t trust any company that wants to charge you a fee just for coming out, or for anything at all before providing you with a quotation. Next, you need to look into the licenses, insurances, registrations and professional memberships that the moving company has. If they can’t supply you with the paperwork to prove this, find a different company. You don’t want to risk your belongings getting damaged, after all. Make sure you also have a ‘rights and responsibilities’ booklet provided to you. No matter how often you move, you will find each of your experiences completely unique. This means that you can’t guess how much something will cost either. A lot of factors are involved in calculating price, including how many items you want to move and how heavy they are. However, if you manage to find between five and ten quotations, you should be able to end up with about three options that are truly suitable to you. This will give you a real idea of what you can expect to pay for the service as a whole. Make sure that you look at the quotations in great detail, so that you know they include everything that you actually need. You don’t want to end up having to pay anything else after your move, after all. This is why you also need to be very clear about the services you actually want – do you want them just to move your items, or do you want them to pack and unpack for you as well? What about packaging materials and insurance? Do you want that to be included, or are you sorting it out yourself? These are all important questions that you have to take into...

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Colors, Fabrics and Styles for Your Window Coverings

Colors, Fabrics and Styles for Your Window Coverings

Do you ever walk into someone else’s house and become envious because it is so perfect? They will have put a lot of time and effort into creating such an amazing space. However, there is simple secret that you need to know if you want to achieve similar result: it is all about blending. You didn’t just stop the furniture and decorations, you also spotted the colors and fabrics. And one key feature in this is the blinds. All about Blinds Getting the right blinds is often the be all and end all of creating an amazing room. You have to know which blind to choose in order to get that look right. Hence, think about the following things: The color you choose will say a lot about the entire room. You can choose to go for a single block color, or a pattern. It has to match with the rest of your colors and furnishings in order to complete the look. Obviously, the blinds have to be the right size for where they are positioned. It looks awful if they are down all the way, but a little piece of window remains. Blinds can come in a myriad of materials, with soft fabrics being very popular. This is because they create more sumptuous and luxurious looks, if done properly. You can’t really have a heavy, patterned, carpeted material in a modern home, for instance. While blinds are important for decoration, they are ultimately functional items. They should be able to let in just the right amount of light during the day, and keep the light out during the night. In fact, you can even get blackout blinds that don’t allow any light in at all, which tend to be popular in bedrooms. Type of blind. Finally, you need to consider the type of blind. There are Venetians, rollers, Bali, bamboo, faux wood, real wood, aluminum, shades, pleats and shutters to name but a few. Finding the Right Blinds As you can see, choosing the blind is more than just picking something and being done with it. The blinds you choose will, ultimately, complete the look of your room both during the day and at night. This is why you have to spend some time thinking about which one you want, just as you will have spent time thinking about the colors of your walls and the materials of your floor, as well as your furniture and decoration items. Luckily for you, blinds are now available online through a variety of stores. This means you can compare the market from the comfort of your own home, without having to leave your house. This gives you an opportunity to compare not just types of blinds, but also materials, prices, installation services and more. Remember that, in order to create the perfect room, you have to put a lot of thought into it. This also means that you shouldn’t rush this...

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Top Tips for Beginners Buying a Property at Auction

Top Tips for Beginners Buying a Property at Auction

There is more than one method available when it comes to buying a new property, yet a large majority of buyers still favor making a trip to the estate agents or searching for sale listings online in order to find their next new home. For years, savvy investors and buyers have been scouring auction houses for bargains, where a vast range of buildings can be snapped up at low prices by the highest bidder. Whilst you can never be sure exactly what’s going to happen on the day, attending a property auction can be a great alternative way of finding a new home. It definitely pays to be prepared, which is why we’ve put together these expert tips to help you get the most from your auction visit. Get Some Experience If you’ve never attended a property auction before, diving straight in and bidding on properties can be a rather overwhelming experience and it’s easy to get carried away. Many people don’t realize that unlike a conventional purchase through an estate agent, there is no opportunity to go back and negotiate the price if you happen to overbid. For this reason, it’s a good idea to simply attend a property auction as a spectator before you get down to business in order to get a good idea of how the bidding process works and ensure that you feel comfortable with the environment. View Before Bidding Most properties that are listed in luxury home auctions will have open days prior to the bidding for potential buyers to look around and decide which properties they are interested in. It’s important to make sure that you see any properties that you could potentially bid on before the day, as pictures can often be deceiving and you could find yourself purchasing a property that in hindsight you wouldn’t have bid on if you’d viewed it beforehand. Taking a property inspector or surveyor along with you to house viewings before the auction is also a good idea as they’ll be able to spot problems and help point you in the right direction when it comes to choosing the best properties to bid on. Get Finances in Order Financing purchases made through an auction is normally done with much tighter deadlines than estate agents and other more conventional ways of property buying. Typically, you will be required to complete the purchase within twenty working days of making the highest bid – a time length that most conventional high street lenders are unable to work to when it comes to mortgage or loan applications. In order to ensure that you can finance your purchase, it’s a good idea to apply for credit prior to the auction or find a specialist lender who can deal with short deadlines for funding auction property purchases. Either way, it’s important to make sure that you have the money in the bank or are able to get the funds quickly otherwise bidding can be a total waste of time. A property auction can be a great place to find bargains if you’re well...

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5 Ways to Make Your Home Healthier

5 Ways to Make Your Home Healthier

Your home is your haven, and the last thing you want is for your home to inhibit your health. There are plenty of ways that you can make your home healthier for you and your family, and doing this can have a variety of benefits for your well-being. If you’re interested in having a healthier home, be sure to use the following tips. Clean it. Cleaning your home regularly can help remove harmful bacteria from your home. Make sure you vacuum, dust, and sanitize areas of your home on a regular basis. Be sure to clean those areas that are regularly touched but often forgotten, such as doorknobs, salt and pepper shakes, cabinet handles, and soap dispensers. To improve the health of your home, you should also consider using green cleaning products to keep harmful chemicals out of the air. Clean your ducts. Most people don’t think about their air ducts, but it’s important to not only think about them, but also have them cleaned regularly. Cleaning your air ducts is a great way to remove dust, dander, and other irritants that are regularly flowing through the air in your home. These items can get trapped in the ducts, and when you use the air conditioning or the heat, these items can start flowing around and come back out of the vents, causing you to be irritated or causing your home to become dirty. There are plenty of air duct cleaning companies out there, so find one in your area that can thoroughly clean your ducts to improve your home’s health. Opt for healthy water. Whether you’re on city water or well water, there’s always a way to improve the cleanliness of it. Opting for water purification systems like Clean Water 4 Less is a great way to improve your home’s health. Not only is the water better for you to drink, but it also has other benefits. For example, the water you use for cleaning your home or washing your clothes is now cleaner. Also, bacteria can come out of water, and if the water in your home is always clean, you can remove these harmful bacteria from your home. Get an air purifier. Air purifiers are a great investment to improve the air in your home. You can buy smaller ones to place in individual rooms, or you can buy entire home purifiers that will improve the air in your entire home. Air purifiers will remove toxins and other irritants from the air in your home, which makes the air better to breathe. Having good clean air in your home is a great way to improve the health of you and your family. Fix noticeable issues. As your home gets older, issues will arise. It’s important to fix these issues before they become larger problems. For example, if you notice a leak in a faucet, have it fixed. If you don’t, this leak could become larger or it could create mold, and this can be a major health problem. By fixing anything that needs fixing, you can improve the health of your home. There are plenty of ways to improve your home’s health, so make sure you use these tips in order to have the cleanest...

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Beyond the Workplace: Industrial Tools That Have Worked Their Way Into the Modern Home

Beyond the Workplace: Industrial Tools That Have Worked Their Way Into the Modern Home

Tackling do-it-yourself projects is a lot easier when you have the right equipment on hand. Sure, you can handle most projects around the house with hand tools, but the real saver with power tools is time. Power tools can turn a job that would take hours into something you finish in just a few minutes. The best power tools are the most versatile. Power Drills Possibly the most common power tool, drills find a place in virtually any tool collection. A power drill lets you leave most screwdrivers in the toolbox. Boring holes without a drill takes hours, and screws are not the only fastener installed with a power drill. With a power drill, you can put holes in place to run electrical wiring, install hinges, bore out concrete or make other changes. A drill is one of the most versatile and valuable tools in any home handyman’s kit. Power Saws Saws make carpentry, plumbing and demolition something you can handle. Without a power saw, you might spend hours taking a hacksaw to a length of pipe, or wind up jury rigging pieces of wood that aren’t cut precisely to size. Circular saws make cutting lengths quick and easy, while a Sawzall (named by Milwaukee Tool) or reciprocating saw makes demolition a breeze. A jigsaw lets you cut out complex shapes or add finishes to decorative wood pieces. You don’t need to own every variety of power saw, but you should have one or two available. Oscillating Multi-Tool This formerly pricey piece of equipment was only available from Fein until the patent recently expired. Now, with many brands manufacturing their versions, home users can afford to invest in this small power tool that wears a lot of hats. The range of attachments available makes a multi-tool ideal for sanding, grinding, grout removal, scraping, and detail-oriented jobs. Swap out the attachment and tackle a new task. Stud Finder The first – and hopefully only – time you put a nail in a water pipe or snag an electrical cord, you’ll remember to reach for the stud finder, first. New stud finders can do a lot more than just find a wooden support beam. It can also help find electrical wiring and pipes behind walls. There are depth limitations, though, so be sure to read the device specifications before you start any home improvement project. Air Compressor An air compressor is one of those tools that is almost a jack-of-all-trades. Not only can it extend the range of certain tools and act as an alternative power source, but it can also tackle jobs like painting. The machine you hook up to an air compressor can be lighter than one with an onboard motor. When using tools that use an air compressor, the compressor has the motor, so the tool is a lot lighter. Find oil free air compressors here that can handle virtually any task. Compressors that use oil can interfere with the finish on certain paints and some tools need an oil-free environment. Laser Level Installing things properly often requires a perfectly level surface or horizontal angle. A traditional level only works along the length of the unit, but a laser level can extend over a much larger area. Using a laser level allows you to install cabinets or countertops,...

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Weekend Jobs to Boost Your Home’s Curb Appeal

Weekend Jobs to Boost Your Home’s Curb Appeal

The exterior of your dwelling is an outsider’s first impression of your home. If your house is on the market and you want it to make it extra special, going for major curb appeal is your first step. Even if you have no plans to sell your home, you want to ensure that it’s in prime condition. The following weekend projects can help your home stand out from the rest without you having to spend a significant amount of time tackling the jobs. They also won’t require large amounts of cash in order to enhance your dwellings curb appeal. Neat and Orderly Being house poor can prove problematic for a homeowner. While you don’t have to spend money on the highest upgrades, you still need the right amount of cash to handle its general upkeep. Simple tasks such as mowing the lawn, reseeding, aerating and edging can make your home look neat and orderly. If you have children or pets, invest in a storage container where you can house toys and other essentials. Look for something that is both weatherproof and meshes with your deck or siding. You can also house gardening utensils and other outdoor necessities in the container. Other items to keep your home looking tidy is to corral your garden hose with a holder, add a grill cover to your barbecue and install gutter guards to improve the look of your roof. Adding flowers, shrubs, garden containers and trimmed trees can all be easily accomplished during the weekend. Cover Up the Annoyances To help you achieve your goals of repairing and fixing up your home, you may want to take the time to secure a renovation loan. This is especially important for larger tasks such as repainting the outside of your siding, adding new appliances and refinishing a basement. You can also cover up annoyances that leave your dwelling lacking in aesthetics. For an air conditioning unit that seems to stand out, a cover when not in use in a neutral color can help lessen the focus. You can also plant fast growing trees or shrubs around a generator or other large obstruction that you want to become less noticeable. If you’re lacking a green thumb, and you feel your yard is bare, a decorative privacy fence can add some much needed character to your home. To make the item blend in better with your dwelling, you can paint it a similar color to the exterior of your home. You also want to ensure that the fence or greenery is far away from the annoyance to ensure the safety of your home. Create a Blooming Masterpiece An excellent weekend project that is sure to please is to create an outdoor blooming masterpiece. In addition to weeding and replacing the flowers as they fade, you want to pick a selection of annuals and perennials that bloom each season. You can spruce up your home’s curb appeal by adding mulch, stone or rocks. If you don’t have a substantial amount of room, you can add window flower boxes to your porch or patio. Outdoor Upgrade Your home’s porch is another focal point that can ruin a first impression of your dwelling. It’s also one of the easiest tasks to accomplish during the weekend. Using a fresh coat of...

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Waterlogged: Preventing and Handling a Homeowner’s Worst Nightmare

Waterlogged: Preventing and Handling a Homeowner’s Worst Nightmare

A burst pipe or broken appliance can leave your home a wet, moldy disaster. Fortunately, there are simple steps you can take to prevent such a disaster from ever happening. In this article are tips for preventing expensive water damage. You’ll also learn how to minimize water damage that has already occurred. Preventing Water Damage Perform the following basic maintenance steps to prevent leaks and water damage. Fix leaks right away Moisture damage can lead to the growth of mildew, mold, or dry rot, which can cause structural damage to your home. Most homeowner’s insurance companies will refuse to cover damage caused by negligence or failure to properly maintain the home. Fix any leaks you find immediately. Invest in a water detector – a small electronic device that alerts you when it detects moisture. water detection devices can be placed near water heaters, toilets, dishwashers, and washing machines to monitor moisture levels and prevent mold growth Check your water bill If your water consumption has suddenly gone up without explanation, you probably have a leak in the home. Investigate the house thoroughly for leaks. Check your water pressure Setting water pressure too high can cause pipes and hoses to burst. Keep water pressure between 40 to 70 psi to prevent damage to pipes and hoses. Clean gutters and downspouts Cleaning your gutters prevents blockages and ice dams from forming. Downspouts should be cleared of blockages regularly, and pointed away from the home. Maintain trees and shrubs A beautifully landscaped property adds to your home’s curb appeal, but if trees and shrubs are planted too close to utility pipes, the roots can wrap around the pipes and damage them. Avoid landscaping around utility pipes, and remove any trees or shrubs that have grown too big. Disconnect garden hoses Still water in a hose can freeze and expand into the pipe, creating an ice block. If this happens, your water will stop flowing. If too much unreleased water pressure builds up, your pipes could burst and damage your home’s foundation, floors, and walls. According to the Insurance Information Institute, one in 55 homeowners makes a property damage claim due to water freezing each year. Maintain your appliances Check your appliances occasionally for leaks. Replace your washing machine hose regularly. An old washing machine hose can become brittle and start to leak. If a washer with a faulty hose causes a flood, your homeowner’s insurance policy is unlikely to cover the resulting damage to your property. I Already Have Water Damage. Now What? If your home has flooded, here are a few things you can do to minimize the damage. Turn off the water. This may seem obvious, but in your rush to clean up overflowed water, you might forget to perform this step. If a toilet, appliance, or water supply line is leaking, shut off the water to the appliance. If you can’t find a shutoff valve on the fixture or appliance, you’ll need to turn off the main water valve to the home. Protect the home. After shutting off the water, place buckets in places with active leaks. Move valuable items and light pieces of furniture to a dry place. You may also want to put a tarp over the floor of the affected area. Contact your insurance provider. Report...

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5 Ways to Make Your Kitchen Stand Out

5 Ways to Make Your Kitchen Stand Out

The kitchen is the one room in the house that sees a lot of action. You use it on a daily basis to get the food or drink you need for nourishment. It’s also a popular spot for families to convene on a daily basis, whether for catching up or for eating meals together. It’s also a hot spot during parties. Many homeowners are always looking for ways to upgrade their home and make the most of their kitchen. After all, kitchens offer a great return on investment, so having an updated kitchen can help you increase your home’s equity. If you truly want to make a statement, then you should find ways to increase the appearance and functionality of your kitchen. Check out the following five ways to make your kitchen truly stand out. Big Farmhouse Sinks Having a standard kitchen sink is no longer the right thing to do. Instead, create a statement in your kitchen with big farmhouse sinks. These sinks create a great conversation starter for any kitchen. They come in a variety of colors, so you can choose one that complements your cabinets or countertops, or you can get one that stands out among it all. Because of their size, they’re also extremely useful, whether you’re washing dishes or looking for a place to fill that big pot. Multi-Colored Cabinets Gone are the days of having the same color on all your cabinets. Instead, spruce things up a bit by opting for different colors. You can do this in a variety of ways. You can have one color cabinet on the top and a different color for the cabinets on the bottom. Or you can have your cabinets the same color and then opt for a different color on the island. This is a great way to make your kitchen stand out. Pot Fillers Whether you’re an avid cook or a novice chef, a pot filler can make your kitchen more functional. These come in many sizes and colors, and they can be placed in a wall or on a counter. They’re a great way to ensure that you can quickly and easily fill those large pots with water when you need it instead of trying to fit it in a small sink. Chandeliers You need lighting in your kitchen, so why not make a grand statement with a chandelier. You can use these in the kitchen to make it seem more elegant or to dress up a common place in your home. Like everything else, chandeliers come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and colors, so you have plenty of choices. Concrete The rustic and industrial look is in right now, so you should consider bringing some natural elements into your home. Concrete is a great choice for countertops. It’s extremely durable and is easy to clean. Plus, it costs much less than traditional granite or marble, and it will last you for a very long time. You can do concrete countertops throughout your entire kitchen, or you can place them in a special spot, such as at a coffee bar or on an island. There are many ways you can spruce up your home’s kitchen. Scour the internet for DIY and home articles and tips, or visit your local home improvement stores...

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