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Home Improvement

Window coverings come in a wide variety but most important of them are Roman blinds, which are put in place to block the sun’s rays. Unlike other shades, they turn to build up evenly when open. With this type of blinds, users have the ability of controlling the height of the covered area when opening them using the cord mechanism. This type of blind can be made from materials such as wood and fabric as they are capable of meeting the needs of everyone. There is a wide variety of styles to consider when deciding on a choice of roman blinds to use in your home.
roman blinds

Types of Roman Blinds

#1. Flat Romans Blinds: These blinds are made out of a single piece of fabric hanging flat in front of the window when fully extended. They present your house with a clean and delightful look and they often extend horizontally 8-10 inches apart. This particular kind of blind always compliments your décor regardless of the kind of home you posses.

#2. Hobbled Roman Blinds: They are also called waterfall sheds due to the overlapping folds, it retains when extended. The particular nature of this type of blind makes it a good choice for the living rooms and bedrooms.

#3. Relaxed Romans: These types of blinds are mostly suited for windows below 54 inches, which gently bow down when raised by the homeowner.

#4. Balloon Romans: These are blinds are more ideal for traditional home settings.
roman blinds

Other Types of Roman Blinds, Which Users Could Look into Includes the Following,

  • Butterfly Romans
  • Pleated Roman Blinds
  • Austrian Roman Blinds
  • Faux Romans

Colors

Roman blinds are often available in a variety of colors and textures all aimed at meeting the needs of the user. So, whatever your needs maybe, it is with certainty, you will find best roman blinds that suit your home decor. Often, these colors are made to blend with the house furniture, which gives it a more refined and attractive look.

Are you Thinking of buying Roman blinds?

When you eventually make up your mind to acquire these blinds, take into consideration the following,

  • Consult a house decorator
  • Make sure you save enough money
  • Your needs and expectations should be clearly explained to the house decorator
  • You should seek referrals from friends and family members as regards to a house decorator choice
  • Research the internet on the wide variety of roman blinds available in the market

What are the Benefits of using Roman Blinds?

#1. Temperature control: These blinds unlike other blinds posses a lot of flexibility when it comes to temperature control, as they can easily be controlled to meet the room temperature needs of the homeowner.

#2. Customizable nature: They can be customized easily to meet the needs of the homeowner. As such, he or she is capable of giving the house a desired unique look whenever he or she deems it necessary.

#3. Ease of creation: These blinds can easily be created at home by anyone by simply going to the internet, researching the steps involved and then follow them to the later.

#4. Timeless appeal:  Roman blinds simply never go out of style, because they can fit any traditional or modern design. As long as the fabric is carefully chosen, they can last for a long period of time.

#5. Cost savings: These blinds are one of the most effective in terms of saving cost. This is because once installed in your home, they can last for a long period of time often requiring little or no maintenance cost at all unlike the other types of blinds, which might require constant washing and with time, eventually lose their bright appearances.
Thus, install roman blinds to get the timeless appeal.

Improving your backyard is one of the best ways to give your property a significant boost in resale value and at the same time, create your own personal oasis. While this is not necessarily an expensive project, it can definitely be a great addition to the overall appeal of your home and give it a much greater resale price. Still, it requires a lot of work, effort and maintenance and here are some tips on this topic

Lawn maintenance

Everyone wants a magnificent garden for themselves and they always seek for beautiful gardening ideas to spruce up their yards. However, the very basis for any good-looking yard is a well-maintained lawn. Unfortunately, a lot of people have no idea what exactly a well-maintained lawn entails. For starters, you need to get proper mowing gear and mow the lawn as often as necessary. This depends on the season, seeing how in summer you should do this at least three times a week, while in the autumn even once or twice per week may suffice. Aside from this, you also need to water the lawn on a regular basis and even feed it with some fertilizer if you deem necessary but keep it organic. All of this isn’t a lot of work, but it does require you to be diligent.
lawn maintenance

Construct a shed

In the introduction, we mentioned that you will have to purchase a lawn mower for your lawn, but you will also need a few more basic tools like a rake, a hoe and a hose. Still, in order to keep all of these tools in good shape, you need to have a place where you can safely store them, which is why it might be a good idea to construct a shed. Seeing how this means adding an additional structure to your property, such a project would also add to the resale value of your property. Furthermore, it should also add to the overall visual appeal of your backyard instead of simply serving its function.
garden shed

Take care of your plants

One of the most important things you need to know about the maintenance of your plants is that this process starts long before you actually start planting. The right selection of companion plants and knowing which plants don’t go together well can make your job a lot easier. For instance, while onions go with beets and carrots, they should never be planted alongside beans and peas. There are similar combinations for flowers as well, should you decide to make a flower-garden. Furthermore, by learning how to prepare a great homemade compost, you can make your garden a lot more lavish, while at the same time getting rid of most of your food leftovers.

Caring for your patio furniture

Finally, one of the most difficult issues in every yard is caring about the outdoor furniture. Sure, during the colder part of the year, it would be best to store all the fabrics and cushions inside while you can cover the rest of your outdoor furniture in order to protect it from the elements. So, say you have a beautiful bench with iron details, it needs special maintenance and a good protection from the rain and harsh sun
patio furniture

When it comes to washing the cushions, what you need is a mild soap solution which you will apply as gently as possible. Keep in mind, however, that there are some cushion types that are mildew-resistant, which can make your life significantly easier. Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean that they are 100 percent mildew-proof. One last thing, when it comes to the rest of your furniture, the maintenance mostly depends on the material, seeing how plastic, metal and wood all require different approaches.

As you can see, with these several simple tips, you can keep your backyard in top shape. Still, remember that there is always a price to be paid for beauty. This being said, if you want to add a pool or plant several shrubs, you will add more work to your weekly maintenance schedule. The best thing about this is the fact that most people find gardening to be quite relaxing and therefore observe it more as a hobby than an actual chore.

Having rodents in your home can be a traumatizing experience, as you lay awake at night listening to them scurrying between the walls or getting into your kitchen and contaminating your food. 

They leave droppings in your cupboards or on the floor, which can carry viruses and make humans very ill. Rodents aren’t the only pests that can ruin your summer in Toronto, especially as so many of them multiply in the warm weather. Cockroaches thrive in the heat, bed bugs are a year-round threat, carpenter and pavement ants reach their peak activity, fruit flies plague your kitchen, centipedes and millipedes abound, and, especially in the late summer, wasps and hornets become dangerously annoying. One thing to keep in mind is that DIY methods are often dangerous, and it’s much better to find professional pest removal in Toronto.

Rodents can be preventable, though. 

The Fantastic mice control specialists share with you pro tips to try if you’re worried about rats or mice creeping into your home.

wasps

Clean Regularly

Bear in mind that high hygiene at home can highly reduce the chances of any pest infestation. Pests such as rodents are attracted to your property foremost because it is a food temple. 

So, our advice is whatever methods you try, never neglect the cleanliness of your home. 

  • Make sure, crumbs, food leftovers (especially pet’s food) to be swept, carefully packed and put every meal away. 
  • Use a vacuum cleaner minimum twice per week. 
  • Wipe the worktops, kitchen tables and inside the cabinets. 

Basically, casual housekeeping sometimes might save you from the unwelcome vermins

Eliminate Food Sources 

As part of the above-mentioned tip, one of the most effective deterrents against pests of all kinds is eliminating their food source. This is impossible when you’re dealing with pests like bed bugs, which feed off of you, but putting away pet food overnight can restrict their options. 

Keep in mind that modern cat culture is far from pets being exterminators, unlike their feline predecessors. Cat food is only going to attract more rodents! 

If you live in a house and have bird feeders this most certainly will attract rodents as the grains will fall on the ground eventually. Even if this is a delightful and generous act, you have to get rid of the bird feeders or keep them as far as possible from the property. 

rat-in-home

Keep Garbage Bins Sealed 

So, you keep clean, keep the food well packed but this is not enough if your garbage is exposed and easily reachable. You know rodents love burrowing in the garbage for food. For that reason, keep all garbage bins closed, throw the containers regularly (every day, if possible). If you can put the bins outside during the night as rodents are nocturnal and will be “hunting” during this time of the day.

Eliminate Entry Points

After you ensure your home is as clean as possible, you have to block all entry points. This preventative measure is the most effective one as rodents have to have an entrance in the first place. Repair all holes, small or big cracks and seal them well.

Exclusion is an important part of Integrated Pest Management and helps reduce over-reliance on chemical methods.

Also, wide-open doors and windows can invite rodents, especially in the cold weather when they are heading to a warmer shelter. Always check your garage’s door, basement’s window and door or your conservatory’s door if closed. 

Buy Rat Traps 

Traps can be effective for eliminating rats or proving that you have them if you understand how they move around your home and you know they haven’t begun to multiply. 

Whereas mice tend to be curious about their environment, rats are cautious and avoid new things. Rat traps are effective in cases where a rodent infestation has not already arisen. 

When trying to catch one or two rats, a rat trap can ensure that the rodent has been completely eradicated from the property.

mouse

Rats usually stand close-by walls 

So, traps will be most effective if positioned around a wall and where it’s dull. For example, your closet, kitchen cabinets, behind the sofa or under your bed are the perfect locations where you can trap the rat. You may need to place unset rat traps in their path to convince them that the traps are safe before you set the real deal. 

Install Gutter Guards

Rodents are fantastic climbers. This means they can reach your roof through the gutters. Install gutter guards that will block access and keep them out. A bonus is that your gutter won’t be clogged with leaves. 

Call A Pest Control Company

Not all pest control companies are the same, and there are a few industry standards that only reputable pest control companies follow on a daily basis. 

For starters, any pest control company worth its salt will offer a free, no-obligation quote over the phone. Additionally, the best and most trustworthy pest control companies stand behind their service and generally offer a one-year warranty. Make sure to ask these questions before you decide to hire a pest control company. However, choosing a professional rodent control is the most effective way to prove your home. Experts know how the rodents act, where they possibly hide and can find the rodents’ nest. They are well equipped with high-quality traps, baits, and other approaches. The specialists are certified and are properly educated. The success of the experts is close to 100% due to the fact that they do it.

After you have decided to hire a pest control company, it’s important to note that the top companies only hire exterminators who are licensed must provide an official extermination card upon request. Make sure you ask the exterminator for identification before he begins work. 

One of the big concerns with pest control is the toxicity of the chemicals used. When a responsible pest control professional eliminates pests from residential areas, they use chemicals that are non-toxic and perfectly safe for children, pets, pregnant women and elderly people. Know who to call when you need a Toronto pest exterminator and get great, safe service.

To sum up

In conclusion, keep your eyes wide open. Always maintain a clean and disinfected properly. Regularly check for new entry points and close them as soon as possible. Pay attention to your doors, windows, and gutters. Buy rodent traps just in case but remember that professional pest control is always way more effective when dealing with the nasty vermins

These days you can spend a fortune renovating your home to make it greener and more energy efficient, however not everyone has the time or money to upgrade their home. Don’t be disheartened there is still lots that you can do to make your home more energy efficient without breaking the bank.

pink piggy bank

Creating good energy habits is the first step to making your home more energy efficient, simple steps like turning lights and electrical appliances off when you leave a room. If no one’s in there you’re wasting energy to entertain an empty room. Standby energy consumption can account for up to $120 on your annual energy bill. By simply turning everything off at the wall can save you over $100. Easy, right?

Operating your appliances efficiently is another important step. You can buy the most energy efficient appliance however if you don’t operate it efficiently and smartly it can be counterproductive. For dishwashers and washing machines ensure that you always operate these with full loads, washing your dishes and clothes in half loads is a waste of energy and water, unless the appliance you are using has a specific half load function. Operate the machines using the eco function.

dishwash machine full of dishes

Washing your clothes in cold water can save you up to $100 on your washing energy bills a year, you can increase this saving by drying your clothes using your solar dryer (the clothes line!), hang your clothes on the line or on a drying rack inside and you can almost double this saving.

Other simple steps you can take with your fridge and freezers is to ensure that the door seals are clean and free from grim, ensuring they close properly and don’t let air out. Make sure that your fridge freezer is full, empty space means that your fridge or freezer has to work harder to keep that area cool, fill up those spaces with Tupperware to help combat this issue.

Hot water accounts for a large part of your annual energy bill and while it might be tempting to stay in the shower to heat up on those cold mornings this is going to drive your hot water heating bills through the roof. Have a timer in the shower and get everyone in the house to actually stick to it.

girl taking a shower

Did you know that if you turn on the faucet when it’s in the hot position even if the water coming out the tap is not hot it’s still costing you on your energy bill? Always ensure you have the faucet on the cold position to ensure you are not drawing hot water unnecessarily.

We hope these tips will help you save energy and money on your next electricity bills!

Created by Julie Moore director of Save Energy Save Money

Our homes are our refuges. They’re providers of respite from external stress and chaos. Home is where we retreat after a long day, to sit back and watch our favorite series or cook a healthy dinner. In an age when we’re constantly plugged in, it’s crucial to have a physical space in which to breathe and mentally unwind.

Attaining peace of mind is difficult, though, when our would-be havens are actually anything but. This is also an era of accumulation, after all, where impulse buys are available at the tap of a button.

As a result, clutter has an unfortunate tendency to conquer our homes and transform our surroundings. Dwellings morph from sources of relief to causes of anxiety. It’s difficult to cook a nourishing meal when the fridge is crammed with wilting veggies. And you can’t exactly recline on the sofa when it’s covered with last week’s laundry.

Sounds familiar?

Maybe it’s a fear of letting go that’s preventing you from donating unworn items in your closet. Or perhaps you’ve accrued a morning blindness to a collection of chipped mugs in the cabinet. Either way, piles of stuff can quickly convert to clutter, preventing you from attaining total tranquility.
Not convinced that stack of tissues is standing between you and mental clarity?

Have a look at this intriguing infographic from full-service storage company MakeSpace (here’s their website). It details the hazards of over-accumulation, which range from safety threats to relationship stressors.

Australians love the great outdoors, but it’s all too easy to neglect our outdoor spaces when we think about rejuvenating the design of our home. We tell ourselves, it’s too big a job, no one sees the backyard anyway, and besides, it’s too expensive.

But an outdoor renovation can breathe new life into your home like nothing else, so we talked to Steve Jovcevski, property expert at financial comparison site Mozo.com.au, to get some top tips on refreshing your outdoor spaces – without sending you broke. Here’s what he had to say:

Assign the space a purpose

If you’re working to a budget, the first thing to do is sit down and think through what you want to achieve with your outdoor space. Will you be hosting big groups of people? Relaxing on your own? There’s no point spending a bundle on beautiful lawn furniture that you have to pack away every time family comes over because the kids want to play backyard cricket.

Choosing a centre piece for your outdoor area – say a classic BBQ – and then working out from that is a good way to create a cohesive, useful space. Decide what you want to use the space for, then make sure all your effort – and money – is going toward that purpose.

barbecue grill

Keep up with maintenance

Another easy thing that will give your outdoor areas an immediate boost is making sure you keep everything – from lawn, to garden beds, through to outdoor furniture or decks – well maintained. A nice neat lawn that’s mowed and watered regularly looks a thousand times better than one that’s been neglected, and old patio furniture can often be rejuvenated with a good scrub down and a bit of elbow grease.

Make an escape from the weather

One key way to make your outdoor space more useful and versatile is by putting up some kind of cover to keep it safe from the weather. This doesn’t have to be a full-blown pergola – a fabric sail can work just as well to keep the hot Aussie sun off and transform your backyard into an oasis.

It’s important to make sure your design elements all compliment each other and unify the space, and getting this major element right can help you with the design and tone of the rest of your outdoor entertaining area.

man mowing grass

Light up your life

When it comes to fairy lights, I find people either love them or hate them, but there’s a reason they’ve been a hot trend lately – if you often entertain at night, stringing fairy lights above an outdoor seating area is a quick, relatively cheap way to add a touch of magic to your backyard.

It’s a good idea to plan out where you’ll place the lights before you start, and as you do, keep in mind that the more lights you have, the more expensive it will be to buy and then run them. And remember – if you’re leaving them up permanently, make sure they’re not too exposed to the elements. Stringing them up under a pergola is a good way to keep lights dry.

Get creative with outdoor furniture

Outdoor furniture is one aspect of home design that I think you can really afford to get creative with. So instead of heading out to IKEA with a shopping list, think about DIY options, like repurposing old cinder blocks, tree stumps, or barrels as seating and tables.

The beauty of using these objects – aside from giving new life to what might have otherwise ended up as rubbish – is that you really get the chance to put your own style into it. It can be as rustic or luxurious, colourful or elegant, eclectic or streamlined as you want to make it.

old garden chairs

Opt for remnant stone

Hardscaping – putting in features like retaining walls, walkways and edging – can be one of the most expensive parts of sprucing up your outdoor areas. If you like the quaint, cottage-y look, one way to refresh your hardscaping while keeping a handle on your budget is to use stone leftovers that you can get cheap at building supply auctions.

This look isn’t for everyone though – so before you go ahead, make sure remnant stone will suit the overall look of the space. If the rest of your exterior design is ultra-sleek and modern, it’s going to look pretty out of place. A nice, modern alternative that might suit your look better is a green wall.

Look underfoot

The design of a great outdoor space often starts at the bottom. Choosing the right paving material can make a big difference to both the look of your space and your budget. Generally, crushed rock or gravel is a less expensive option than traditional pavers, and with the right styling, can look just as good – just don’t forget to lay weed mat first. Polished concrete is another good, low-cost and low-maintenance option that I personally favour.

If you prefer traditional pavers, think about interspersing them with grassy areas to cut back on the amount of expensive material you’ll need.

Steve is Mozo’s property investment and lending expert. With an extensive knowledge of home loan products and property trends, Steve is full of practical tips to help first homebuyers, refinancers or investors build and get the most out of their property portfolio.

Remodeling a kitchen is one of the most challenging home improvement tasks. Being one of the focal points of your home, the kitchen deserves your full attention and maximum effort. Moreover, kitchens are usually packed with tons of things and include more appliances and utensils than other rooms, so you must make sure your newly redecorated kitchen has enough space for all these items. The best way to conduct a successful remodeling job is by making a detailed list of all the things that need to be taken care of – from the choice of materials and colors to the overall look you’re trying to achieve. Here are a few things you need to keep in mind.

kitchen

Define the purpose

Not all families use their kitchens the same way – some just cook there, others use it for a quick snack as well, while there are also those who organize a complete meal right next to their fridge! Because of this, not all kitchens can look the same. So, before you start remodeling, define what you’ll be using your kitchen for.

For instance, kitchens used only for cooking and not serving food are much easier to remodel – they only need some maneuvering space between the sink and the stove and can therefore accommodate more appliances and cupboards. However, with big kitchens that include an island as well, you need to think about circulation paths and how you’ll get from the stove to the island or the dining table.

kitchen remodeling

Keep the heat up

Even though kitchens are usually small spaces packed with appliances that warm up the space, that’s not enough; therefore, choose and design your heating first. Whether you prefer radiators or underfloor heating, ensure you know how to incorporate them into the final design. Think about the position of your fridge, freezer, stove, cupboards or cabinets, and decide which areas of the kitchen need heating and which don’t.

If you choose underfloor heating, you’ll need to come up with a detailed layout as soon as possible because this part of the remodeling job is done before everything else. Remember that you don’t need to install underfloor heating beneath the fridge or the dishwasher since this might negatively affect their efficiency.

kitchen remodel

A harmonious design

Once you take care of bigger issues, you can move onto the smaller and more interesting ones – which materials to choose, which colors to pick, how to find the perfect pattern, etc. It’s also quite important to match the kitchen with the rest of your home. For example, modern apartments can’t have an old-school kitchen from the 1930s and adding a high-tech kitchen to a mid-twentieth century house is a big no-no. Just consider the whole picture and don’t go overboard.

If you decide to remodel on your own, you’ll be the one making all of these choices, which gives you full control over the design. Even if you make a mistake or two, don’t worry – as long as you’re handy and equipped with a set of trustworthy woodworking tools, you’ll be able to fix any problem. If you have any problems or just need some advice, you can always contact an interior designer for help.

kitchen renovation

Choose colors and materials

Picking the color of your walls and cabinets might be the hardest part of kitchen remodeling, but it’s also quite vital. Pick the wall color according to the type of your kitchen, the amount of direct sunlight and the color of the cabinets. Combining earthy tones with darker wood will produce a nice contrast and make your kitchen more exciting.

When it comes to the materials you can use, it’s essential to find a perfect countertop – this will definitely be the most noticeable part of your new kitchen. More importantly, you’ll be using it day after day, so it has to be up to the highest standards.Some of the materials you can use are quartz, polished granite, marble, wood and laminate, but check their prices and quality before deciding which one to purchase.

Other considerations

Other things you have to keep in mind are lighting, appliances, space for all your utensils and, of course, your budget – spending a small fortune on a kitchen is easy, but it’s also completely unnecessary.

Home staging is the art and science of preparing a home so that it looks as attractive as possible to prospective buyers. Interior design has a huge and often unexpected impact on how desirable a property is to a viewer. Ultimately, the goal is to have a prospective buyer walk into the house and immediately want to own it.

Staging a home can have a dramatic difference on its entire character. Home staging isn’t just about cleaning and removing clutter, it’s about creating an entire feel and ambiance that makes someone who walks through each room think “This house looks and feels great! I’d love to live here!” A staged home looks not only more attractive but also more spacious, more vibrant and more alive.

Staging a Home Yourself

You don’t need to spend a lot of money hiring a professional home stager who will charge between $500 and $5,000, depending on the size of your home and other factors. If you have a good eye for interior design, you can save yourself money by staging your own home and you may find it to be a fun and rewarding way to see your living space transformed before your eyes.

With a little inspiration and creativity, you can stage any house yourself to make it a true work of art. In spite of the benefits of home staging, many home sellers are reluctant to change the interior of their house to make it more desirable to buyers, and this gives anyone who does decide to stage their house a huge advantage over other sellers.

You can effectively stage a home no matter its size or what style of furniture and home accessories it currently has. The key to creating beautiful interior spaces is to arrange the large items of furniture is such a way so they are effortless to look at (i.e. everything looks completely natural in its place) and then to arrange small items and accessories around the furniture to create the desired effect. One of the best ways to get ideas is to look online for photos and design blogs and then make some notes on what you think you could apply to your home. There are too many good websites to name here but even just a Google image search can give you plenty of ideas.

Using Small Details to Transform a Home

Naturally, there’s no point in spending a lot of money staging a house just to sell it. Home staging is about making high-impact but low-cost changes to the small details in each room. For example, changing sofa cushions and adding an attractive table lamp and two accent chairs next to a side table can completely change the character and feel of a living room. In a bedroom, changing the bed covers to a subtle shade such as vanilla or teal and adding matching side tables can make a huge difference to how the room feels. A table runner and candles can add elegance and sophistication to even the humblest of dining rooms. It’s these details that can truly transform a house. None of these changes are hugely expensive and can be the difference between a property selling in 6 weeks and 6 months.

Very often, you can make more out of less. Small details such as changing old curtains for some luxuriant satin designs, adding patterned rugs or even some fresh flowers to a table can make a huge difference. You may find you don’t need to purchase many additional items at all. By just rethinking the way your home is currently arranged you can come up with many new ideas.

It’s also worth bearing in mind that home buyers are more likely to buy a property that has been staged than one that’s empty. Most buyers like to see houses that are loved and well cared for. Vacant houses can feel lifeless and cold, despite appearing larger by being empty.

Home Staging Doesn’t Hide Problems

Unfortunately, many homeowners are under the impression that staging will effectively hide problems a property has (especially older neglected properties). Trying to make buyers unaware that problems exist usually backfires. Buyers may be unaware of problems for a short while, but a property inspection will make that short-lived.

If a building has structural problems or even serious health hazards such as lead pipes or asbestos ceiling tiles, staging is not going to be a solution to those problems. Homeowners may even need to get rid of any pests or bugs that may have infested the home by hiring a professional pest control company. Once any major issues with the property have been resolved and cleaning has been completed, you can get to work on staging rooms to bring out the best in each. Staging a house is only going to effectively speed up its sale when any serious issues have been resolved first.

When in Doubt, Go for Simplicity

Simplicity and minimalism are always attractive qualities, and this is even truer if you are working with limited space. A cluttered room is hardly ever attractive, and the more items in a room, the less attractive it appears to someone who’s never seen it before. If you have small rooms to decorate, less is definitely more. Simple, neutral colors and designs are usually the most effective. This doesn’t mean that you have to decorate every room with dull gray; light shades and subtle patterns can often speak louder than bold colors and strong designs.

Vibrant color can be used in moderation to bring some spice and uniqueness to rooms. Bright curtains and rugs can be used to make drab rooms come to life, but just make sure any strong colors you use don’t contrast. The last thing you want is room to look like an explosion in a Sherwin-Williams warehouse! Simplicity can be harder to achieve in interior design, but it almost always makes a room look more attractive.

All in all, you can stage just about any home beautifully without spending much money at all. The old saying “creativity over capital” is as applicable to interior design as much as anything else. By making some simple changes to how furniture is arranged, replacing some accessories and adding some new details, any room can be given a powerful “wow factor”. You only have one chance to make a good first impression, and that first impression can often be the most important.

Renewable energy is energy that can be gathered from naturally replenished resources. Renewable resources include sunlight, waves, tides, rain and wind, and energy harvested from these resources is important in many areas, including electricity generation, transportation and air and water heating or cooling.

Nowadays, many companies have switched to using renewable energy, mostly solar, to power their businesses. This change has proven to be successful and green building has spread all the way to our homes. Many homeowners are finding new ways of using the same renewable energy in their homes for many reasons. One of the biggest reasons is to save some money on bills, but going green and using mainly solar power to run your home has many other benefits as well.

 

Rooftop solar panels

If you are looking for ways to incorporate solar power into your home, solar panels are probably the most obvious method. They are typically installed on your roof, but you can also set them up in your yard. They harvest the sunlight and its energy and further transfer it in the form of electricity throughout your home, satisfying all of your daily needs. Generated watts per square foot will vary, depending on the orientation of the panels and your latitude, but they can generate 10 or more watts per square foot, which is more than enough. Another way to harvest the sunlight through your roof is by installing solar shingles. You can set them up if your current roof needs replacing. Solar shingles are actually solar panels that are mounted on your roof and serve as your roof tiles.

Unfortunately, solar power has a weakness–it works only when the sun is up. However, in order to power your home when the sun is down, you can pay for grid electricity or invest in another type of renewable energy. Nevertheless, solar panels will greatly contribute to decreasing your utility bills and saving energy.

 

Solar water heating

Besides generating electricity, solar power can also heat your home. Many homeowners opt for solar water heaters, which use the sun’s energy to heat the reserve of water. Water heated in such a way is then pumped through your radiators and pipes all the way to your faucets or showerheads. This system is easy to install and it can save you plenty of money and energy since it is cheaper to heat your water this way than with electricity or gas. However, there are many types of solar water heaters and each of them has their advantages and disadvantages, so make sure to conduct a thorough research before you make a decision.

Solar AC

It might sound odd that you can use the sun to cool your home, but it is possible. Solar air conditioning works similarly to solar water heating, but it uses the hot water in AC systems. If summers in your area are too hot to bear, you are bound to spend plenty of energy and money on air conditioning, which only increases the utility bills. However, if you switch to solar AC, you can cut down those bills significantly. By using hot water to actually cool down your home, you will both save money and help the environment. What is more, the hot water that is produced in AC systems can also be used for other purposes. For example, you can harvest that hot water and use it for solar water heating as well, depending on the setup you have.

Climate is drastically changing and that can cause plenty of troubles for the environment and residential building. Due to environmental awareness and higher utility bills, more and more people are choosing to go green and use the renewable energy. Solar power is one of those sources and it can drastically change the functioning of your home as well as bring many benefits to you and to our environment.

 

 

If you are planning to renovate the apartment where you live or you’re willing to buy one, for sure you need to have your mind clear about the style you want to adopt.

A Swedish couple wanted to renew their love nest in London so they relied on Pillar, the first crowd sourcing platform of interior design in the world with a community of more than 50 thousand designers and architects. Their request was to remove the cold English style and use the Nordic style of their country.

The apartment had a single flaw on a structural level: it was exposed only on two sides. So the designers needed to project, having to enter the living area, kitchen and dining area and even a small double bed in a space with only two windows.

The couple received 12 projects from different parts of the world, 12 proposals to choose among the winning idea, as always all designers have met the expectations of customers. Anja Nina won the competition. The main color of the Nordic style is white.

Nordic style

This colour is predominant in the entire project, we can see it in the kitchen doors associated with a soft sea water colour, in the furniture that act as a filter between the entrance. Also, all the furniture of the living room and the bedroom are white. She put white in contrast with black in all its shades: in the pattern of the pillows and in the bed linen of the room, in the carpet that covers the floor near the sofa and in the bookstore.

Another key element of the Scandinavian style is wood: this material gives warm feeling and it has the feature to illuminate all the space that surrounds it, an essential condition for this apartment.

entire area

Other designers used wood in their projects. Annie Yakimova decided to use the oak, which is a almost yellowish that releases even more warmth to the entire apartment. The strategy was to use it as a cover material. Indeed, the living area seems to be covered by an oak line that goes from the side of the kitchen and it continues as a work surface and as shelves. This line turns into a small bar table with two stools.

Stylistic tone

Aleksandar Stosic used the same strategy. He decided to add a stylistic tone to wood. All the elements as shelves, panels, frames or supports are in oak as well as the legs of tables and chairs, the interior of the library and the TV stand.

In short, the designer has made a choice of expression. One of the main characteristics of the Scandinavian style is to use geometric shapes. The bathroom is indeed full of colours and shapes that recall famous paintings of MC Escher. Also, the rugs and frames are with geometric shapes.

View projects here:

http://gopillar.com/contests/open-plan-living-area-with-kitchen-hall-bedroom-and-toilette/submissions/signuparchitects

http://gopillar.com/contests/open-plan-living-area-with-kitchen-hall-bedroom-and-toilette/submissions/annie-yakimova

http://gopillar.com/contests/open-plan-living-area-with-kitchen-hall-bedroom-and-toilette/submissions/aleksandar-stosic