Cleaning Hardwood Floors Tips

Hardwood Floors Hardwood floors add property value to your home and are known to help sell them faster than carpeted homes. However, caring for them is important as they can be easily damaged. They are prone to scratches caused by shoes (especially some high heels) and furniture, and it can be ruined if not cleaned properly. Some floors need to be sealed and waxed and you can ask the manufacturer for proper instructions to manage that. Water damage is a very important consideration, too. Ensure that you pay heed to the following instructions to maintain the flooring in a good condition.

Daily cleaning
When cleaning hardwood floors, it is important to keep water off the surface as it can warp or even buckle the wood. In addition, it is important to sweep the floor every day (twice a day for kitchen floors) with a very soft bristle broom. This prevents scratching by microscopic dust particles. If food spills on the floor, then it is important to wipe it up with a dry cloth and then use one of the many hardwood floor cleaners. It is best to never use water on the floor.

High traffic areas, such as entryways, front of the kitchen sink, etc., need extra care and maintenance. Soft, cotton-backed rugs are fine for this job, as they will not ruin the floor as plastic-backed rugs might. In addition, they prevent dents and scratches. These rugs need to be vacuumed often so as not to scratch the floor through the carpet itself with any debris in the carpet. Floor mats can be installed at entrances to prevent tracking mud onto the wood floors.

Prevent scratched floors
Animal (such as dogs) claws should be clipped, trimmed, and kept short and blunt at all times to prevent scratches, and neither should children’s toys be dragged across the floor. Refrain from placing potted plants on these floors as a water buildup can ruin them. There are also some countries, especially in the orient, where shoes are not allowed in the house. This is also very good for the floors as shoes, whether women’s spike heels or men’s work shoes, can prove harmful for the surface.

Furniture can also damage the floors if precautions are not taken. When moving furniture, use heavy socks over the legs or lift the whole furniture. In addition, wide casters are better than narrow ones that can dig into the floors and leave dents. Furniture pads are also available for use under table and dresser legs.

Appropriate humidity levels are especially needed to prevent warping and buckling of the wood. This can easily be taken care of by using a humidifier in the winter, especially in dryer areas. In the summer, a dehumidifier can be used, if needed.

Sealing and Waxing
There are methods that you should know about. There are some woods that need to be sealed and waxed, but you should check with the manufacturer to make sure it is done correctly. Also, if the wood floor gets old and damaged, it can be sanded down and refinished, sealed and waxed, too, if needed. This restores the old wood to an “almost new” condition.

Hardwood floors add value and style to homes and buyers are willing to pay more for homes without carpeting. However, thorough care is important in order to restore the floor in high quality condition. Knowing how to clean them is not difficult to learn, might require some professional advice on particular cleaners to use, and is well worth the cost in terms of both, time and money.

A beautiful hardwood floor can last for generations if properly cared for. In addition to cleaning it, it is essential to prevent scratches which may occur due to animals, furniture, and children’s toys. Rugs and runners are a nice way to both beautify your hardwood floor and prevent scratching by shoes and animal claws.


The latest outdoor lighting ideas for your home

outdoor lighting ideasOutdoor lighting can enhance your streetscape, help you find your way in the dark and make night time garden magic. If your home is shrouded in darkness after the sun goes down, here are the latest outdoor lighting ideas for your home.

DIY Outdoor Lighting Solutions

While some outdoor lighting jobs will require the services of an electrician, there are easy DIY ways to make outdoor lighting magic. One of the easiest is with LED lighting. As LED lighting technology has advanced, so has the creative inspiration of lighting designers. Because LED lighting uses so little energy, outdoor LED lighting can be battery or solar powered. These cocktail table cubes, for example, can do wonders for your patio at night.

A good lighting supplier will have dozens of freestanding LED lighting designs for you to choose from, including tabletop lighting and other outdoor lighting fixtures.
Professionally Installed Outdoor Lighting

Once neglected, outdoor lighting is now included in many new home designs. You will need to hire an electrician to install a full outdoor lighting system, but once you have it, you won’t regret it. If you think your landscape would benefit from outdoor lighting, look for an outdoor lighting designer and installer to help you choose the right types of lights and the perfect locations for them.

In the past, a solitary porchlight was all that gave guests and passersby an inkling that someone occupied a house. Today, well designed outdoor lighting enhances the appearance of your home and lights the way to your home.

Steps can be treacherous at night. If they are lighted, they can be easily negotiated and from a distance turn a dark stairway into a beautiful nighttime feature of your home.

If you have large windows or bifold doors that look out on to your backyard, you can have an enchanting view of your yard at night with outdoor lighting. How much you install depends on your budget and needs, but even one or two outdoor lights can highlight features of your garden.

If you have a larger backyard, you can add more lighting. Whether you’re viewing your garden from indoors or outdoors, you can enjoy the soothing vista during the day or night. There’s something about tasteful lighting that can make your backyard even more magical at night than it is during the day.

If you want to use your patio at night, you’ll definitely want to install patio lighting. You can install a combination of task lighting and mood lighting and use each of them as needed. If you’re having a party or dining with your family outdoors, turn on the task lighting. If you’re indoors and want to enjoy a nighttime view of your garden, turn on your mood lighting.

If you’re in doubt about the difference outdoor lighting can make, browse our Outdoor Lighting Ideas pages and imagine what the homes would look like without outdoor lighting or with a bare minimum of lighting. You’ll agree that you can make magic with outdoor lighting.


Increase Your Home Value on Any Budget

increase home valueTip 1: Spend an hour with a pro.

Invite a Realtor or interior designer over to check out your home. Many Realtors will do this as a courtesy, but you will probably have to pay a consultation fee to a designer. Check with several designers in your area — a standard hourly fee is normally less than $100.

In an hour, a professional can give you lots of ideas for needed improvements. Even small suggestions, such as paint colors or furniture placement, can go a long way toward improving the look and feel of your home.

Tip 2: Find inspiration.

Want an even cheaper alternative to a professional consultation? Search for remodeling and decorating inspiration in design-oriented magazines, books, TV shows and Web sites. Simply tear out or print off the ideas you want to try and start your to-do list. Keep it simple: when remodeling on a tight budget, do-it-yourself type projects are best.

Tip 3: Inspect it!

Not every home improvement is cosmetic. Hidden problems like deteriorating roofs, termite infestation or outdated electrical systems can negatively impact your home’s value. Hire an inspector to check out the areas of your home that you don’t normally see. Small problems, like a hidden water leak, can become expensive headaches if you put off repairs. A little investment now can save you loads of cash later.

Tip 4: Paint, paint, paint.

One of the simplest, most cost-effective improvements of all is a fresh coat of paint. Newly painted rooms look clean and updated — and that spells value. Neutral paint colors appeal to the greatest number of people, therefore making your home more desirable. On average, a gallon of paint costs around $25, leaving you plenty of money to buy rollers, tape, drop cloths and brushes. So, buy a few gallons and get busy!

Tip 5: Cut energy costs.

If you think your utility bill is a fixed amount, call your local utility company to find out. Many energy providers offer free energy audits of their customers’ homes. They can show you how to maximize the energy efficiency of your home. A power- and water-saving home will conserve your money now, and is more valuable in the long run. Plus, you can use the money you save for more updates!

Home Improvements: $100-$200

Tip 1: Plant a tree.

Plan for the future with a landscaping improvement that will mature over time: a shade tree. Not only will a mature tree make your home more desirable, it will also provide a habitat for wildlife and add curb appeal. Plus, a properly placed tree can cut your cooling costs by as much as 40 percent. So why not grab a shovel already?

Tip 2: Low-maintenance landscaping saves you money now, adds value when you sell.

Shrubs and colorful plants will add curb appeal to your home, but make sure you “think green” while you’re shopping at the local garden center. Purchase plants that are native to your region, or water-conserving drought-tolerant vegetation. These require less water and maintenance, which means you’ll save time and have a little more green in your yard and your wallet.

Tip 3: Add a money-saving luxury.

Here’s another way to tap into extra savings: install a water filtration system in your kitchen. Not only do these systems purify your water, you’ll also save the money you were spending on bottled water. A water filtration system is an inexpensive addition, but it’s the sort of small luxury that home buyers love.

Tip 4: Improve the air quality inside your home.

Air quality isn’t just about outdoor conditions –older carpets can hide contaminates and allergens. Hire a professional company to test your indoor air quality to determine if your rugs need to be replaced. When choosing new flooring, update your home with environmentally-friendly natural products like tile or laminate floors. Hard surface floors are easier to keep clean, and are usually more appealing to buyers.

Tip 5: Save the popcorn for the movies.

Few structural elements date a house more than popcorn ceilings. So dedicate a weekend to ditching the dated look and adding dollar signs to the value of your home. First, visit your local hardware store for a solution to soften the texture. Then, simply scrape the popcorn away. It’ll bring your house into the new millennium with minimal cost and effort.

Home Improvements: $200 to $400

Tip 1: A messy lawn creates a bad first impression.

Overgrown or patchy lawns and oversized bushes will cause your home to stand out — in a bad way. The good news? Taming your jungle is an easy fix. For a few hundred dollars, you can hire a lawn service company to trim your lawn and shape your hedges. Your home’s curb yard will go from cluttered to clean-cut — without blowing your budget.

Tip 2: Cleanliness counts.

You only get one shot at a first impression, so make the interior of your home shine from the entrance to the exit. For less than $400, you can hire a cleaning service for a thorough top-to-bottom scrubbing. Even if you clean your home regularly, you likely miss or overlook some nooks and crannies. Let a cleaning service do the dirty work to really make your home sparkle.

Tip 3: Visually increase your home’s square footage.

The size of your home dramatically affects its value, but square footage isn’t the only thing that counts. Make sure your home feels as large as possible by visually increasing the space in every room.

Sunny rooms feel larger and more open, so replace heavy drapes with blinds or shutters that let light in. Also, adding a large mirror in each room can visually double the space in a room. Finally, clear the clutter. For less than $400, add an attractive shelving unit to an underused space and store your clutter out of sight.

Tip 4: Add new energy-efficient fixtures.

A functional, decorative ceiling fan is a beautiful thing. But an outdated, wobbly, loud or broken fan is a useless eyesore. Replace old fixtures with new to make your home more enjoyable now — and increase the bottom line should you decide to sell.

Tip 5: Small bathroom updates equal a big return.

Bathroom updates are always a smart move. Even if you can’t afford a full remodel, small changes can update the room without bruising your bottom line. For a quick, inexpensive face lift, replace dated wallpaper or light fixtures with updated paint and lighting.

Home Improvements: $400 to $750

Tip 1: Update your bathroom and add lots of value.

The two rooms that gain the most value from small renovation are the kitchen and bathroom. You can do a minor bathroom remodel for less than $750, and even one cost-effective change will guarantee a lot of bang for your buck. Replacing an outdated vanity, old plumping or lighting fixtures or adding a new tile floor will give your bath an updated, modern look — without breaking the bank.

Tip 2: Any kitchen update equals added value.

The same rule applies in the kitchen. You don’t have to start the room’s design from scratch to maximize your home’s value. Start by swapping out just one item, such as a stained sink or ancient microwave for shiny new stainless models. Even small kitchen updates will add big value to your home.

Tip 3: Replace any worn carpets or area rugs.

Take a look at your home’s soft flooring. Are your carpets and area rugs stained or worn? Nothing turns buyers off more than the thought that they will immediately need to replace all of the flooring in a home. If a limited budget keeps you from replacing all the flooring, start by replacing the carpet in the room that shows the most wear and tear. You can replace the others as your finances allow.

Tip 4: Keep up with regular maintenance and repairs.

Walk around your home and make a list of all the small things that need to be repaired. Small repairs may not seem important by themselves, but little things can add up to create the impression that your home has been neglected. Don’t feel comfortable tackling repairs yourself? Hire a handyman for a day and watch your “to-do” list disappear. Staying on top of maintenance today eliminates problems down the road should you decide to sell.

Tip 5: Get help with getting organized.

Hire a lifestyle coach for a day. How does that help your home? The coach will help you organize your life, which includes organizing your home. A clutter-free house is part of a more organized life, and an orderly home is more valuable.

Home Improvements: $750 to $1,000

Tip 1: Go tankless.

Trade your standard water heater for a tankless model. Most old-fashioned water heaters keep 50 gallons of water hot at all times — whether you use the water or not. Tankless water heaters heat only the water you need, as you need it. The eco-friendly water heater will save energy and money, and will help set you home apart if you sell.

Tip 2: Upgrade your appliances.

Eighty-six the old school appliances for sleek new energy-efficient ones. An appliance with an energy star label has been certified by the government to use 10 to 50 percent less energy and water than conventional appliances. Matching stainless appliances will not only look great now but will make your home shine brighter than the competition if it’s on the market.

Tip 3: Go for the green.

Everyone loves a yard with thick, green grass. With less than $1,000 and a weekend’s time, you can replace your existing patchy mix of weeds and grass with fresh new sod. You’ll be amazed at the difference this one change will make in your home’s curb appeal and value.

Home Improvements: $1,000 to $1,500

Tip 1: Spruce up your ceilings.

The ceiling makes up one-sixth of a room’s total area, yet is often the room’s most neglected space. Updating your home’s ceiling will add architectural interest, and net a lot of bang for your buck. If you still have popcorn ceilings, hire a contractor to scrape them smooth or do it yourself. To add a sophisticated custom look to a smooth ceiling, install crown moldings or box beams for a coffered look. Small touches like this will help your home stand out from the pack.

Tip 2: Update your home’s entrance.

Your front door and entrance are among the first thing people see when they enter your home, so they should complement your home’s overall design. If your existing door isn’t up to par, pick up a more energy-efficient and attractive replacement. Whether you choose a solid wood door or a decorative entry with stained glass panels, a welcoming front door is sure to increase your home’s bottom line.

Tip 3: Consult a design pro.

If you’re unsure of which design style or paint color to use, hire a designer. They’ll bring discriminating taste and a trained eye to help with making the big decisions. Even if you don’t have the funds to do a full remodel now, they’ll help you put together a cohesive plan to ensure a pulled-together finished look. When you get the right mix of time and money, you’ll know exactly which project to tackle next.

Home Improvements: $1,500 to $2,000

Tip 1: Save on air conditioning costs.

Tired of expensive energy bills? A whole house fan is a great alternative to air conditioning and uses one-tenth the electricity of AC. “Green” home improvements like the energy-saving fan are popular with today’s home buyers. As the cost of electricity continues to rise, green energy alternatives will only gain popularity.

Tip 2: Brighten up.

A bright way to increase the value of your home is to add lighting. A well-lit room feels more cheerful, and makes spaces feel larger and cleaner. Bright rooms also show you have nothing to hide, so prospective buyers will feel at ease when touring your home.

Hire an electrician to add recessed lights to a dim kitchen or family room or elegant sconces to a formal dining or living room. You’ll enjoy the lighting now, and your home will feel more welcoming to home buyers later.

Tip 3: Add the right landscaping and watch your home’s value grow.

Landscaping makes a huge difference in the curb appeal of your home. For less than $2,000, hire a landscape designer to create a plan that will make your home’s exterior really shine. For maximum impact, plant mature trees or fast growing varieties. Though these can be pricy, they will instantly make your home feel more established.
Home Improvements: $2,000 to $3,000

Tip 1: Kitchen or bath remodels are always a safe bet.

Improving your home is a solid investment at any level — but if you have two to three thousand dollars, a great place to start is by upgrading either the kitchen or bath. You don’t have to do a complete floor-to-ceiling remodel in either room to reap financial benefits. In fact, modest kitchen or bath updates can be your best bet for a big return, netting an 80 to 85 percent return on average.

Tip 2: Protect your investment.

A home is the largest investment most people make, so treat it that way! Hire a financial planner to analyze all of the financing options that are available. A financial whiz can tell you if you should refinance to lower your monthly payments or pull out some equity to pay for value-adding improvements.

Tip 3: Bring the outdoors in.

Consider turning two standard windows into an opening for beautiful French or sliding glass doors. Full-view glass doors really brighten up the space and a light and airy room is always more attractive. Also, with a view of the outdoors, the room will feel much larger. Another bonus: modern doors are energy-efficient, cutting down on heating and cooling costs. That means more cash in your pocket now and a financial bonus should you decide to sell.

Home Improvements: $3,000 to $5,000

Tip 1: Add closet or garage storage.

Realtors agree that ample storage space tops most home buyers’ list of wants. For less than $5,000, consider upgrading your home’s storage by adding custom shelving to a closet or garage. Then, get organized. Start by sorting your belongings, then stash them away in your new closet. You’ll end up with a clutter-free space that maximizes your home’s value.

Tip 2: Green flooring choices equal more green in your wallet.

Worn, tired carpet will not only turn off homebuyers, but it can make you feel worn and tired too. Replace it with the hottest trend in flooring: renewable, environmentally-friendly bamboo. Solid surface floors are easy to keep clean and give your home an upscale look and feel. “Green” flooring choices, like bamboo, minimally impact the environment and are a big selling point to today’s environmentally-conscious home buyers.

Tip 3: Resurface concrete.

Replacing the cracked concrete surfaces around your home can cost a small fortune. But for a fraction of that cost, concrete can be resurfaced in a multitude of colors and finishes. Consider adding a cobblestone finish to your driveway, a brick look to an old walkway or a slate finish around the pool or patio. Whichever texture you choose, it will be a huge improvement over standard concrete — and potential home buyers will take note.

Home Improvements: $5,000 and Up

Tip 1: Refresh the exterior paint.

The condition of your home’s exterior is critical to the overall curb appeal. If you put your house on the market and the exterior paint looks bad, a buyer may assume the interior has been neglected as well.

Refreshing your facade with a coat of paint will preserve and protect your home’s exterior siding, and the right paint color can transform a home from dull to dazzling. But remember to choose your color wisely — a house painted with an overly bright or bland color will make a house less appealing and hurt the value.

Tip 2: Go solar to save some green.

Save energy bill greenbacks by going “green” with a solar water heater. The installed price is anywhere between two to five thousand dollars, but these systems can slash your hot water bills by as much as 80 percent. You’ll also attract energy-conscious home buyers should you decide to sell. Install a solar water heater where there’s unobstructed southern exposure and you’ll have savings made in the shade.

Tip 3: Kitchen remodels are king.

Most experts agree that if you plan on updating only one room in your house, it should be the kitchen. Large, open kitchens have become the social hub of the modern home. High-end touches like granite countertops, custom cabinets and energy-efficient stainless steel appliances are the gold standard in modern kitchens. Experts agree that kitchen remodels return an average of 80 to 85 percent of every dollar spent. You can expect an even higher return if you are remodeling an extremely outdated kitchen.


Tips for Moving Your Office Location

Our world is a constantly changing place, to which we need to be accommodated continuously. When we look at the business side of things, we can determine how much things have developed through the years. More people have desk jobs, they use computers, which demand them to have a good sitting setting and so forth. This requires employers have to consider and appeal to a lot of individuals, which can end up being quite a complicated endeavor, if you account fully for every single detail that is used in the process. And when it comes to moving, things tend to get even more intricate.

Sadly, office areas get smaller and smaller, which means that quite often you may find it tricky to fit all the employees of your growing business in one place. There are many instances where offices are separated and the work setting is rocked a lot. What can you do when you have to relocate to two different offices? First, think about which teams are going to be working collectively and which don’t rely on one another. Of course, in a cohesive workplace, everyone accounts to everyone, but there are still more significant connections, which you need to reinforce.

You will also want to start coordinating things as fast as possible and should definitely notify your personnel at least 6 months up front. The larger your team the larger the effort you need to put, to be able to make everything work all at one time. That is why it is also important to find a trusted moving company, which can deal with your belongings. While the choices are truly many, there are some outstanding ones. For the location of Chicago you can check with H2H Movers and be sure they are free and have the time to attend to your project. This is another reason to start dealing with things at some point.

Furthermore, when you have already found a place, don’t forget to check all the requirements. There may be new building charges you have to spend money on, or you may have to cover some part of the upkeep fees. No matter what the case is, you have to acquaint yourself with the new circumstances of your soon-to-be workplace. Also make sure to take your personnel there, or encourage them to go by themselves, so that they can know their way around that new location, so there is less hassle and headaches when the time comes to move. A smart thing to do is to give out a list of popular places, which will be useful to your workers. These may include local restaurants, diners, cafes, fitness gyms, and so on – all the things that will help your workers feel relaxed when they enter the new working environment.

And a final piece of advice that is not so plain – if you have an IT division, move them there first. By doing this, you will abstain from dealing with all the work around cabling and your office can get back to work as fast as possible, without being forced to deal with addition alterations. We hope that these tips will make your next office move a piece of cake, so you won’t have to lose time, energy and worries.


5 Ideas For Decorating Outdoors Space In Sydney

wungplusAfter finishing an interior works, it is the time for outdoors. Even you are apartment renters or homeowners, you can create a corner for entertaining and relaxation. Balcony, deck or backyard is can be the best place to gather your family together and enjoy summer sun.

What you are having now? Balcony? Deck? Courtyard? Patio? Or you want to construct an area by using cheap pavers in Sydney. Define a purpose of the area. What you can do with it? Some may want to have a space for barbeque party, some want to enjoy morning coffee, some want to have a dinner outdoor or some want it to be relaxing corner. So you will know what you need to fulfil in your area. If you want ideas, here we have 5 things that you can add to your space.

Dress Up Table and Chair

Primary things that most of you have in your space are table and chair. Decorating table and chair is the easiest way to do especially for people with limited space. Mix and match patterns of tablecloth and cushions to add more fun. You can mix zebra pattern with stripes and plain colour. If you do not like pattern, you can go with bold colour.

Plant Fragrant Flower

Turn your backyard into a flower garden by planting fragrant flowers like jasmine, freesia, lavender, scented geraniums or rose. The smelly flowers can make you feel relax and refreshing every time when the wind blow. Even you are living in limited space, plant the flowers in pot and put in on the table.


Add Lighting

Lighting can make your space more beautiful in the evening, when you cannot see other decorations. You can enjoy dinner or the breeze under the light. Add chandelier or string lights to create more romance. For apartment balcony, you can also have wall lighting. If you have a backyard or garden, add lighting along the pathway.

Swinging in The Yard

Summer is the best moment to enjoy. Add a hammock under the tree to enjoy reading and have an afternoon nap. You can also add lantern, if you want to use the space in the evening. For deck, you can have a swing bench to enjoy your lazy day. Kids are in love with something fun like swing. They will spend more time outside swinging hammock with you.

Cover Up

Summer sun can be too strong for you to stay outside. Do not worry, you can cover it up! Add shady by grow a big tree in your yard. For those who have a limited space, white fabric canopy and umbrella are good choices. You can bring it out and roll them up easily.



Design your outdoor space on a budget

We get it; budgeting can be tough. But who says you can’t have a great outdoor space and stick to a budget? Follow these tips and advice to get that look and feel you have always wanted, for less!

If you have $10:

Ten dollars may not seem like a ton of money, but you can definitely spruce up your outdoor space a bit if you just get a little creative!

If outdoor decorations are what you are looking for, begin your search at a local flea market. Your $10 can stretch very far at a place like this. Look for things that will mix with your existing lawn decorations, but add a new and exciting element. Items like a comfortable outdoor chair, a variety of pottery or even a garden gnome can bring some fun into the space.

If outdoor decorations aren’t what you are looking for, try adding some color by planting a few flowers. Plant them in the ground or put them in a pot or planter. If you don’t have any extra pots lying around, there are a variety of alternatives you can use that won’t break the bank. A few simple near-free ideas are to use a small trashcan, an old basket or even an old bowl. Spray paint can work wonders in sprucing up these pottery alternatives. Planting flowers can be a fun activity for your whole family, can be very cheap and provide a nice fragrance to your home’s exterior! Makes scents, right?

If you have $100:

With $100, you can start to make more major changes to the look of your outdoor space. A great way to improve the space would be to plant trees or bushes. Planting greenery can be relatively inexpensive if you do it yourself. Trees make great additions to a yard because they provide oxygen to the planet and shade for you to enjoy. Make sure you fully research the steps of planting a tree, otherwise you could really hurt yourself. Don’t be afraid to go out on a limb with this one. 

If you already have a tall and strong tree in your yard, why not get some use from it? Install a swing for some fun! There are a variety of ways to do this. You can use a tire, an actual swing or even just a piece of wood. Make sure that the rope that you use is very sturdy… you don’t want to skimp out on this part of the project. Feel free to add some flair to the project and spray paint the swing seat in a fun color or with a cool design. Hanging out has never been so fun. 

If you have $500: 

With $500, you are going to have a ton of options, which is great. You have the flexibility to buy a ton of plants, stones and décor to spruce up your yard. The key is to have a plan before you go shopping so you know exactly what to buy. Draw up a yard design that will help you settle on the look of the space. Decide where you want to put plants, if you want any trees or if you want to use the space for entertainment. Perhaps consider putting in a patio to add some extra living space to your home. If you already have a patio, think about redesigning it by purchasing a gazebo that you put up yourself or get new furniture to bring a fresh vibe to the space. 

If you have an unlimited budget: 

If the sky is the limit when it comes to cost, hiring a professional landscaper is the way to go! A professional landscaper can help you get the outdoor space that you have always wanted. Before meeting with a professional landscaper, make sure that you have some solid ideas about what you want. Do you want a tropical oasis or a cozy living space? Do you want a pond or a pool? Do you want tall trees with bright leaves or do you want an apple tree? These types of questions are what you need to be asking yourself to figure out exactly what you want! Visit for more home improvement tips.




Taking care of your sink

We often rinse things down our kitchen sinks without thinking about it. For many people, everything that goes down the drain is out of sight and out of mind. Everything that is too big to go down the drain of a sink goes either in the garbage, through the garbage disposal, or it might get flushed down the toilet. Most people would say that this seems to work out just fine, but the truth is that you could be doing a lot of damage to your plumbing by not taking care of your sinks. The leftover scraps of food and cooking grease that you are washing down your sink could cause clogged drains, foul smells and a host of other problems that could require the services of a plumber if you don’t break these bad habits.

Taking care of your sinks and other drains is a small but important part of being a responsible homeowner or tenant, yet it’s not one that people tend to think about. Here are just a few things you can do to take care of your kitchen and bathroom sinks and avoid troublesome clogs.

Know What Can and Cannot Safely Go Down the Drain

The first step in taking care of your sink is knowing what can and cannot be washed down it. Starchy vegetables and tea leaves can get stuck in your drain, and foods like pasta, rice, flour and pastry scraps all absorb water. Anything that absorbs water can expand and create a clog in your drain.

You should also be careful about what goes into your garbage disposal. Coffee grounds can get stuck in the trap of your disposal, the thin membrane on the inside of egg shells can wrap around disposal blades and things like peach pits and animal bones can damage the blades. It’s best to either throw this stuff in the trash or compost it.

Never Pour Grease Down the Drain

Technically, this could go in the previous section, but it really deserves special attention. Cooking grease should never be poured down a kitchen sink. It may look like it goes down easily, but as it cools it will solidify and get stuck in your plumbing. Over time, this grease can build up and give you a really difficult clog. It can also create a bad smell and act as a breeding ground for harmful bacteria.

Obviously, you will have to deal with some cooking grease in your kitchen. When that time comes, pour it in its own container and either throw it in the trash or bring it to a recycling center. There are plenty of places that will gladly recycle cooking grease, some of which may be within your community.

Disinfect Your Sink

This is more about taking care of your kitchen sink itself as opposed to just the drain, but it’s still important. Simply wiping down the sink isn’t always enough; you should take the time to disinfect your sink at least once a week. You can do this by either wiping down every surface of your sink with a diluted bleach or let the inside of your sink soak for a short time in a solution of 50 percent bleach and 50 percent water. Just make sure that you rinse your sink out thoroughly with pure water when you’re done. Visit for more home improvement ideas and tips.



What to look for when buying a compact vacuum cleaner

When you are ready to buy a compact vacuum cleaner, please research all the important elements you will require in a space-saving appliance. Good compact cleaners will have most of the following attributes. 

Multi Tools 

Crevice tools, dusting brushes etc are usually standard with the best cleaners. You should also check that your new compact vacuum cleaner comes with a two- or three-in-one multi tool included. To save space, these cleaners combine the attachments instead of each tool having an individual attachment.

Tool storage

It is advisable to choose a compact vacuum cleaner with storage for tools on the appliance. This enables the tools to be always readily available, attached to the body of the machine and also saves storage space.

Hose length

If you intend to buy a cylinder compact vacuum cleaner, look for one which provides a short hose. Storage of the hose is difficult with these compact appliances, so the smaller the hose the easier it is to put away in homes with limited storage area.

Storing the hose

It is beneficial to look for a model of compact vacuum cleaner which has a system which stores the hose tidily.

Extension tubes

To help minimise the amount of space required to store your compact vacuum cleaner, there are now adjustable telescopic extension tubes available which reduce the overall length of the tube for storage.

Removable handle

The Hoover Freedom and Slalom bagless upright vacuum cleaner models provide the benefit of a handle park system. The handle can be detached which decreases the total height by 30cm, useful if your storage area is shallow.


If you have minimum storage space, it is worth looking for a streamlined model for your new compact vacuum cleaner. Handles and wheels should be incorporated neatly into the chassis so nothing protrudes from the appliance which may affect where you can keep your vacuum cleaner.

Size of the compact vacuum cleaner

When researching elements such as easy storage, it is vital to check the measurements of the compact vacuum cleaners which you are considering. For example, the Hoover Freespace Evo cylinder vacuum cleaner requires only 30cm of space, useful if you intend keeping the appliance in a cupboard with limited proportions.

Hand held vacuum cleaner

If a hand held vacuum cleaner is something you would also like to have, there are now vacuum cleaners with a small inbuilt, detachable hand held cleaner included which does not require any additional space. This could be a superb alternative for consumers in small houses, apartments and caravans with limited storage areas.

Air watts and wattage

If you are environmentally conscious or worried about energy use, you will wish to buy a compact vacuum cleaner with maximum power and minimum energy consumption. You should search for a model with around 1200 watts and 200 air watts. You will then be rewarded with excellent suction but consume less energy when operating the appliance. Also on the market now are models of compact vacuum cleaners claiming to be energy efficient, for example the Hoover GreenRay. Visit for more tips.



Do I Need To Pay For My Storage Locker?

Renting out a storage locker is a handy way to keep your belongings safe when you can’t keep them at home. Maybe you’re moving house or office space, or maybe you are simply trying to get organised. This is currently an extremely popular way to protect your things, with 9.5 percent of US households renting out a unit for themselves, according to Spare Foot.

The month by month payment plan that is offered by companies, such as Access Self Storage, is a great way to keep your things in one place on a short term basis, while you sort yourself out.

If you want to take a look at storage facility fees, then you can check out the price comparison sites, like the one offered by Compare All Storage.

When signing up to rent a storage locker, you will be given a contract outlining not only the company’s responsibilities, but also yours. And that includes payment.

Other items on this contract will include:

  • Other fees – read this carefully, as you don’t want to get stung on something you didn’t expect.
  • What you can store – there will likely be restrictions on certain items, such as illegal things, flammables, livestock, and hazardous items.
  • Cleanliness rules – often you will need to keep the unit at a certain standard.
  • Notice of change of circumstance, such as a new address.
  • The move out rules – they will have a system in place for ending your contract.
  • What the landlord is allowed to do (especially if you don’t pay).
  • Liability and security measures – how your items will be looked after whilst in the facility.
  • The insurance you’ll need – some storage lockers have strict rules about this, to protect themselves and you.

If you don’t pay the monthly fees outlined in your contract, then the self storage owners will take action against you, which will all be outlined in this document. However, despite popular belief, they will give you ample opportunities to pay – a time period which is governed by the varying state to state laws.

However, if you refuse to pay during these opportunities, including the debt repayment plans that will likely be offered, they may:

  • Refuse you access to your belongings
  • Auction off the contents of your locker to the highest bidder
  • Trash your items.

If you’re struggling to pay for your facility, then you should ensure that you’re in regular contact with the manager so they know you’re making an effort. It won’t always be enough, but it’s worth a try. If they don’t hear from you at all, the items inside your locker are considered abandoned, and no longer your property.

The self storage companies are a business, and they need to make money, so by leaving belongings that aren’t being paid for in a space that could be making them cash is a terrible business plan for them, so when booking your storage space, be sure that it’s an affordable option for you.


What Can The Right Industrial Shelving Do For You?

The right shelving can unlock hidden spaces in you warehouse that you didn’t know you had. With the right planning, you can open up floor space and storage capacity. By optimizing the cubic space in your warehouse, you’ll have a positive effect on the bottom line, and with advice from shelving professionals, you can increase productivity as well.

Pallet Storage

If your organization handles bulk goods on pallets, you may require a large number of pallets per unit. Another consideration is accessibility. Are you storing the pallets long-term, or does your warehouse demand high throughput? Once you’re clear about your requirements, you’ll be able to identify the right shelving system for your needs.

Long Span Shelving

Long span shelving is ideal for any application that requires high visibility of goods, like in supermarkets. Since it’s a hand loaded system, it also makes order picking easier. This type of shelving is generally heavy duty, easy to install and includes adjustable shelving.

Archive Storage

Shelving for archive storage needs to provide both space optimization and accessibility. Are you storing documents for historical purposes, or providing off site storage to business that may require access?

Art and Artifact Storage

If you’re in charge of storing works of art, like paintings, drawings, art collections, or artifacts that require special care, you’ll find yourself looking at very specific types of shelving. Art racks should be flexible, efficient and durable and they need to function well in a controlled atmosphere, as is often the case with delicate items.

Mobile Shelving

Mobile shelving systems are intended for light to medium loads. Whether it’s documents, small parts, clothing or small tools, mobile shelving can optimize your current storage space and even create additional space. There are different systems, but they all have the same basic principle in common. Racks and cabinets are mounted on mobile bases, and with a crank, they can be moved together, allowing just one service aisle for easy access to everything. There are rail-bound systems and track free systems, and you can find them with either a crank drive or electric drive. This shelving solution will reduce the mount of floor space required for storage.

Long Product Storage

If you’re storing awkwardly shaped or unusually long items, like timer, carpet, piping, or extrusions, you need to look at cantilever racking systems that are specially suited to your needs.

Cold Storage

Cold storage presents its own particular problems that require storage density and maximum utilization. With the high cost for build and on-going temperature control per sq meter, the storage system needs to maximize the space and allow for efficiency.

Custom Made Shelving

If none of the above types of industrial shelving fit your exact requirements, many companies offer custom solutions to the problems of non-standard spaces. Whether you need shelving designed to hold the heaviest loads, or you’re storing office supplies, there’s shelving to fit your needs. visit here more tips.


Housing the masses: how will London provide for another 1.5M?

In an already dense and overcrowded London, it’s no wonder that talks of how to accommodate a further 1.5 million people leave some residents cold. With rents soaring sky-high and new tower blocks not far behind, there simply doesn’t seem to be a solution.


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Planning On Regardless

Just because there doesn’t appear to be an answer at hand, doesn’t mean councils can escape their obligations. High rises offering both social and private housing are planned and executed with rapid efficiency. This is because avoiding conflict and opposition along the way is vital to keeping cost down, with public protests causing delays and costing money. This, however, leaves communities feeling cheated and disenfranchised when it comes to the shaping of their neighbourhoods. This, in turn, leads to more conflicts.

New Vision For London

The previous Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, famously pushed through several high profile projects to try to meet the 1.5 million new homes goal. His activities were met with derision, but reaction group reports such as Growing London have provided alternative ideas.

Looking at solutions which are more human centric, such as rethinking the policy for tall buildings and measuring the qualitative impact of the built environments, has opened up new conversations. Examining how relatively cheap tensile fabric structures can be used to create space is one such possibility which could be considered.

All too often, in an effort by developers to meet all the specified criteria of a bid, the end result becomes a hostile and unattractive form. Alternative building products such as tensile fabric structures allow residents to occupy spaces away from the glare of the latest high rise monstrosity, and without being under a solid roof.

More Public Involvement, Sooner

The Growing London report further stresses that communities must be involved in all planning proposals much sooner. Currently, most residents only find out that a new block of apartments are planned once the bulldozers move in. This is bound to lead to frustrations and knee-jerk reactions.

Year on year, London’s population grows by around 100,000 people. It’s a credit to the city that so many individuals see it as the location of their future success, but a massive strain on housing. The first step in tackling the housing crises has to be communication. Without this, all is lost.


Top 5 landscaping trends for 2016

Landscaping has been a trend in Australia as more Australians embrace the indoor-outdoor lifestyle. On the other hand, environmentally conscious Australians are avoiding lavish landscapes that require high maintenance and large amounts of water for irrigation. In general, the landscaping trend for 2016 leans towards lower maintenance, environmentally friendly gardens. These are five of the top landscaping trends for 2016.

One: Australian Native Plants

Landscaping and gardening professionals are choosing Australian native plants over many species of exotic plants. The reason is simple: we have many beautiful native plants. Natives have the additional benefit of needing less water or maintenance than species that do not naturally grow in the Australian climate.



The best places to get advice about native plants for your garden are from your local nursery or a local garden designer. The emphasis here is on “local,” because only local experts will know the best native plants for your area.

Two: Water Features

At first glance, including a water feature in your garden may seem like a waste of water. However, water features are designed to recycle water, so little water is wasted. A water feature is a refreshing addition to any garden. It can be of any size, from a small bird bath or waterfall to a large inground water feature.


Three: Feature Walls

Feature walls are springing up in gardens across Australia. A feature wall is ideal for an environmentally friendly garden because it only takes a few plants surrounding the wall to make a stunning garden statement.


Four: Creek Beds

There is a distinct trend towards creating natural looking gardens. One way garden designers are achieving this is by installing creek beds in gardens. A creek bed can be dry, wet or dry or wet depending on the season. Creek beds are a great way to divide a garden into zones or be the focal point of your garden. In some cases, a creek bed may fall into a garden pool and the water recycled to the top of the creek bed, but dry, stone lined creek beds are also popular.


Five: Succulents

Succulents have many advantages. They require little water or maintenance and can be combined to create a beautiful garden with understated colours. Succulents are perfect for hot, sunny areas, pots or even arranged in a vertical garden. Dozens of varieties are available, making it possible to combine colours, shapes and textures into a stunning garden feature.



When you’re designing your garden, think of ways you can combine elements to create a pleasing whole. For example, you can combine a feature wall with a waterfall and make it the focal point of your garden. The combination of water, native plants and a feature wall can make the smallest garden a tranquil oasis you will enjoy every day. Add some outdoor lighting and you’ll enjoy it at night, too.


A year in review what were the biggest home living trends of 2015

Interior designers like to look forward, projecting the hottest trends for the year head. But sometimes it’s good to reflect. So with that in mind, we look back at 2015 to see which interior design trends made waves.

Metallic magic

They picked it, and it was spot on – metallic was massive in 2015. From copper lights and sinks to brass taps, this trend is likely to stay well into 2016. It’s easy to understand why. Metallics set a romantic, regal, rustic mood, adding elegance and age-old raw beauty with a contemporary edge. From bathroom tiles to dining chairs, metallic certainly set the design world on fire in 2015.

Natural nook

In recent years, designers have loved merging indoors with out, blending barriers and taking relaxed living to every space – even the outdoor room. And in 2015, the natural style was bigger and bolder. We saw a plethora of plants being brought indoors, livening living rooms and adding tranquility and calm. The darker the leaves, the better, with rich foliage complementing all décor styles, from neutrals to brights.

Patterned perfection

Geometric patterns were another top trend in 2015. We saw all sorts of weird and wonderful tiled surfaces, some with a nod to the exotic and others with an art-deco appeal. As technology improves, printed patterned surfaces are sure to prove even more popular in seasons to come.

Pastel pigments

Pantone has named a soft baby blue and pale pink as its top colour picks for 2016 (the first time two tones have been crowned). And that comes off the back of a gentle, pastel, watercolour-esque trend in 2015. We saw gray-blue tones making an appearance – in wall paint, linens, throw rugs, and accessories. Soft greens were also incorporated into the 2015 interior design space, against a white canvas, in a range of textures and materials.

Image courtesy of Interior Design Perth.