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Home Improvement

After some time, your shiny new home is not so fresh and exciting any more. Living room is a place where you spend most of your time at home, where you entertain your guests, so it is important to enjoy the time while you’re there. If you are tired of the way your living room looks like, you can renovate and buy whole new furniture. But, if you don’t want to spend that much money, the easiest way would be to simply refresh your living space, without any major investments. Here are a few suggestions how to do that, I hope you will have some fun doing it.

Start with your walls
The fastest and the easiest way to refresh the whole look of your living room (or any other space for that matter) is to repaint your walls. You can change the color of the walls every few years, and enjoy in a new living room whenever you feel like it. Different colors are very powerful tools you can use to highlight good sides of your space, and hide the imperfections. Note that dark colors can make your room seem smaller and more intimate, and light colors will optically enlarge the place, so use that in your advantage. A great way to make some change is to repaint your door too, that will give your place a whole new look right from the entrance.

Look at the floors
If you still have that old wall-to-wall carpet in your living room, let that be the first thing you will throw out. Keep your carpet under the coffee table, and if your living room is big enough, you can put footcloths in a few carefully chosen places. If the carpet you already have in your living room is tedious, you don’t have to buy a new one right away. You can simply move the carpet from the living room into the bedroom, for example, and the one from the bedroom into the living room and voila – your floor looks fresh and new.

Let there be light
Illumination is very important in every living space, especially in your living room. Choose the right one and it will give your room a refined look and luminous satisfaction when you’re in that place. Keep in mind that you can accomplish much more with a few strategically placed floor and table lamps, than with one big chandelier in the middle of the ceiling.

Move around
Your place will be different and fresh if you change your furniture, but you don’t have to go all the way and replace it with new pieces. It will be enough if you just move around your existing furniture and change the setting. There is one rule – don’t block your path through the room, nor the doors and windows. Everything else is allowed and welcome. You can also redo one or two of your pieces of furniture with new upholstery or with new and interesting covers.

Decorations
It’s safe to say that new decorative pieces play a major role in your refreshing job. Living room decoration ideas such as replacing the painting on your wall with a few smaller ones or making a decorative piece yourself will make a drastic change. Also, plants and flowers can be a fresh wave in your living space. Place them in different positions throughout the room, and all the variety of colors of the flowers and green from the plants will breathe a new life into your old living room.

For those who are willing, there are many ways to save the planet and at the same time improve your budget. Although at first, some of these changes might seem radical or even abstract, you need not go far to start this “green” revolution, you can start in your very bathroom. There are many ways in which you can significantly improve your bathroom in three important fields- economically, ecologically and even improve the influence of your bathroom on the general health of your family. The choice is all yours, but here are some simple advice and examples which will best show you all your options and their effects.

Water of life

First you may start by trying to reduce the usage of water in your bathroom. There are several simple and extremely efficient ways to do this. You may start off by installing low flow faucets and shower heads, since it is proven that they spend almost up to 60% less than regular ones, with pretty much the same effectiveness. Next thing is do pretty much the same with your toilet. Low-flush, high-efficiency toilets use almost half of the amount of water that regular toilet does while achieving almost the same effect. Just by taking these two simple steps you will affect both your budget and your impact on the eco-state of your planet significantly on a daily basis.

When speaking of some serious savings, it is of crucial significance to check your plumbing. Leaking pipes may result in a water loss that can annul all your water savings combined. A single leaking pipe if not discovered in time, can cause major problems in your home, which requires additional investment in walls or floors renovation.
The eco-effects on a local scale are almost as devastating. This is definitely not something you can do yourself so make sure to contact a plumbing company and let the professionals deal with that. While at it, make sure to check if your pipes are made of lead, especially in the older houses or apartments. If so be sure to change them since they can represent a serious hazard on your health.

Saving the energy

As for saving the energy, it is one of the most effective ways in which you can improve the eco-friendly conditions in your bathroom. This is also one of the rear situations in life where without some great initial investments, you can save substantial amounts of money. You can start as simple as trying to cover your water-heater and its pipes with some old cloth, blankets or some other isolating material.

In a long run this can save both a lot of energy and affect your budget significantly, in a positive way. If you have wider budget for bathroom remodeling, you could get tank-less water heater, as they provide hot water on demand but they don’t produce standby energy losses as regular types. You should also replace all your regular light bulbs with a LED or CFL (compact fluorescent light) ones.

lights
Photo credit: Flickr

You may also want to try to replace the source of energy that you use for the needs of your bathroom, if not entire home as well. You can always try to change your current energy source for one of the alternative ones, the one with a renewal source. Solar energy is the most obvious and most adequate solutions since just a couple of solar panels may supply your bathroom with hot water, light and even heating for an entire season, as they are efficient even during wintertime. What better way to help both your home budget and global energetic and ecological situation at the same time.

You are the key

But before any other changes take place, there is one thing that is most important of all for this to work. The greatest change must happen inside in you. By changing your everyday habits you can significantly affect your environment in a way you never before believed possible. By taking a shorter showers, not rushing but just being realistic about time needed, or by doing something as simple as turning of water while brushing teeth you can make all the difference necessary. Being a bit more practical and economical about the use of toilet paper or by purchasing only towels made out of organic cotton or linen is really not that hard and do not require any physical changes, but only in the raised level of your general awareness.

“Be the change you want to see in the world”; this change must first happen in you and then and only then can you transfer it to the world around you. With just a bit of will, determination and awareness of the global and local ecological situation, you can be the key of both your own salvation and at the same time leave the Earth a better place than it was before you gave your best shot in preserving it.

If you take a look at the cleaning products shelf in your home, you will probably find something that looks like this: five to ten cleaning products which you have recently saw in a TV programme and you decided to try it out yourself, to see if it really works. Okay, these products do kill germs, but the problem with them is that they are usually not eco-friendly. That is, they have been made using different chemicals that are not so environmentally friendly. What is more, gases which go into the atmosphere during their manufacturing are probably on a good way of destroying the Ozone.

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Image source Keith Williamson

You are probably asking yourself: So, what am I supposed to use for cleaning? I cannot simply leave the dirt like that, I need them. In fact, you do not need them and you can try to make green cleaning products from the things you already have at home, and what is best – that will not cost as much as those from a store. Here is how.

Basic ingredients

Basic ingredients that you probably have at home, that can be used in most cleaning products, are the following: fantastic baking soda, water, white vinegar, olive oil or essential oils (such as tea tree oil, lavender oil, lemongrass oil and the like), hydrogen peroxide, salt.

Bathroom cleaners

If you want to clean your tub and tiles, you can make one using a cup of baking soda with ½ cup of vegetable-oil-based liquid soap, two tablespoons of vinegar and ½ cup of water. Mix them all up in a bottle, shake before applying with a cloth or sponge. After the cleaning, rinse the tiles with water.

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Image source Pixabay.com

If you want to make toilet bowl cleaner, you can use baking soda and vinegar in it. Let it work for fifteen minutes, then scrub and flush.

In order to clean glass, you can combine ¼ cup of vinegar with four cups of warm water. Mix it in a spray bottle, use dry cloth or newspapers on glass or mirror and there you have it.

You can also clean bathroom drains with ½ cup of baking soda and with a cup of vinegar. After having waited for it to sit and fizz for fifteen minutes, you should rinse it with preferably hot water.

Kitchen cleaners

Kitchen is, naturally, a place which needs to be cleaned on a daily basis. You can make all-purpose cleaner using a teaspoon of baking soda, ½ teaspoon of dish soap, and two tablespoons of vinegar. Pour them into a spray bottle, shake it good and let it sit for a minute or two before you fill the bottle with warm water. Shake it up a bit, wait for it to calm down and add a few drops of your favourite essential oil for a fresh scent.

If you want to clean your sink or stovetop, put a 1/3 cup of baking soda into a bowl, mix it with some water (not much!), in order to make moist paste. Put the paste on a sponge or scrubbing brush and scrub the sink. And every time you need it, you can make it again, because it can quickly dry off.
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Image source Hintons Home

Other

If you need cleaning in, say, your living room couch, the cleaner will depend on the type of the stain. For example, red wine spills will simply go away with hydrogen peroxide. Mix a teaspoon of dish soap with a cup of hydrogen peroxide, apply it on the stain, use a dry towel to soak it up and there you have it.

Coffee stains will go away using a mixture of egg yolk and luke-warm water, whereas other stains will go away easily with whipped detergent and some water.

The bathroom can be one of the dirtiest rooms in the house. Regardless of the fact that you clean the bathroom on a daily basis it is mandatory that every few months you clean it thoroughly. Biggest issues of the bathroom cleanliness are mould, bathroom scale, rust and bacteria.

Mould

The bathroom is a hotbed for mould, because it is humid and usually ventilation in the bathrooms can be poor. In order to prevent the formation of the mould, you have to change those conditions. Leave the window open at least while in the shower.

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Image source: https://www.bathroomedit.com

Keep the surfaces in your bathroom clean, especially from the shampoo, oil and cream remains. Dry your wet towels outside of the bathroom and buy shower curtains made of synthetic materials that not absorb so much liquid.

The way to fight against mould depends on how much mould there is and how long it has been present. If there were a big job ahead of you, you’d better choose the cleaner that contains less hazardous chemicals to avoid inhaling them. Experts point out that the most effective weapon against the mould is water and a microfiber cleaning cloth that has great absorbency. To reach all angles in your bathroom, use an old toothbrush.

If this does not help then the best solution is bleaching. Mix the water and the liquid bleach in scale 3 to 1 and try with that. If this method is not effective, make a stronger concentrate.

If you have cracked all the aces, and hardened mould is still coming back, maybe it is time to change the silicone on the edges of the tub (replace it with sanitary silicon containing fungicide). If you find that the fungus ducked under tiles or that mould breaks all over the walls, maybe then the best solution is a complete adaptation of the bathroom. Use the materials that are resistant to mould.

Scale and rust

Not only do scale and rust look ugly, but they can cause big problems and failures. For thorough cleaning, you do not have to buy expensive set of cleaning agents. All you need is white alcohol vinegar, lemon, water, some eucalyptus oil, sponge, and microfiber cloth. Mix the vinegar, water and 20 – 30 drops of eucalyptus oil to remove the scale from the sink, toilet and the tub, and to give them a new glow.

bathroom cleaning
Image source: http://www.popsugar.com/

Remove scale and rust from the taps with the pure vinegar. Soak the cloth in vinegar and leave it on the faucets for an hour. This will make the scale and rust easy to remove with the sponge and cloth.

Bacteria

The biggest source of the bacteria in the bathroom are clogged drains and scaled faucets. Unclog the drains and clean them regularly with the water and vinegar mixture.

Next in line of the risky bacteria sources are towels and sponges. Towels stay damp for a long time and we know that humidity is a heaven for bacteria. You should change the towels, at least, every three days and wash them. Cloths and sponges you use to wash the bathroom too often must be washed and disinfected. In addition, another thing: it is best to use them only in the bathroom.

Cleaning the bathroom for many represents the most hated job in the house. Regularly cleaning of the bathroom is mandatory. If you organize well, you will realize that this obligation will not take much time. Hopefully some of these advices will help you. Put your gloves on and let your bathroom shine.

Getting things done with my two hands and some tools was always a source of great joy for me. Yes, I am definitely one of those DIY maniacs that will try to fix things a hundred times on their own before calling a professional to do it.

Naturally, I know that the type of table like the one that I made can be found for a lot less money then I paid for the material just to make it, but the hours and hours of fun and satisfaction when you are able to say “I made this!” are priceless.

On the other hand, I think that there is nothing more frustrating than having the urge and an idea to finish a project, only to find out that you don’t have the tools to get it done.

Therefore, here is the list of tools that I cannot live without. This time, I’ll just skip the basic hammer and screwdriver things as they go without saying.

Oscillating Multi-Tool

If I had to choose and save only one tool from my collection from a raging fire, I’d probably go for this thing. My reason would be the fact that it covers such a vast array of things that you can do with it and it is easy to use.

It cuts down on the time that you waste on doing boring things and gives you more time to do the stuff that you like about your project. It is basically a motor that has a lot of extensions and accessories.

Depending on the power of the motor, you can use it for cutting, grinding, scraping, grout removal, you name it!

Cordless Power Drill

When I started making things and fixing things, I couldn’t believe that making a hole in something can be so demanding. But a power drill solves a lot of problems in that area. Since it is that fast, the hole rarely damage the surrounding area which is pretty neat.

Another things that I hated is tripping over the cords, finding the power socket to plug in the drill and reach the place where I want to drill. Needless to say, a cordless drill has been a dream come true for me.

Compact Saw

I love woodworking. Naturally, if you are into woodwork, you need to cut some wood and you need to cut it frequently. So, what you really need is a good tool to make that happen.

A compact saw will make this job perfectly easy to do. It may not be as strong and as useful as the big circular saw, but it has its advantages.

It is small and easy to handle and it can reach places that a big saw cannot. You can easily handle it and easily transport it which is important for me as I mess around friend’s homes as well. Also, the maneuverability is amazing.

Angle Grinder

I am no stranger to metalwork as well. I’m not as much into it as I am into woodworking, but from time to time, some metal pieces just need to be fixed.

Angle grinder is that tool that you use for removing excess material from the metal. As the name suggests itself, it is used to grind metal, to sand it and anything else that comes into your mind.

It is all about choosing the proper disc for the job you need done and taking the power of the motor into consideration.

Quick Painter

Putting a fresh coat of paint is my annual spring routine. It feels like a new home to me when I do it. However, it would be a much harder job without a quick painter.

The painting itself is not that hard, but the mess that happens is what kills the joy of the whole thing.

My quick painter has a container in which you put the paint and then just press the pad against the wall and the paint comes out. It also has the attachment for the angles which is truly a life saver.

Spray Gun

There are many types of spray guns depending on the way they work. Mine is a regular air spray gun. The whole point is that it is under pressure and you fill it with paint or whatnot and it will disperse that liquid on the surface of your choice. I use it to paint my woodwork mostly as I want to avoid the brush strokes.

My friends used it to paint their car. When you think about it, the uses are very diverse, you just need to figure out how to operate it.

I don’t know a DIY lover who isn’t crazy about tools.

This is just a shortlist of the stuff that I have in my tool shed, but if I had to organize a new place for my projects, these would be the things that I’d buy first.

Remodeling a house before selling it is one of the smartest moves you can make. In the last few years, resale values were extremely low, as well as the construction costs, but this year, they are constantly climbing, making this topic even more attractive to everyone.

This is why, if you are planning to put your house on the market, you should remodel it first. Therefore, that is certainly one of the wisest advices, since the remodeling is supposed to have an immense return on investment.

It includes some quite simple and low-cost renovations and reconstructions that would undoubtedly mean a lot to you when it comes to the estimating the value of your home. Your only task is to make a house attractive to a potential buyer.

Safety Above Everything

There are several things you should certainly do if you want to increase the value of your house. One of the best ways to do it is replacing the front door. This has always been considered as a highly effective tactic, which returns more than 90% of the initial cost.

The potential buyer will always look for a home that would be safe for both him and his family. For instance, a steel entry door will always perfectly serve the purpose, both aesthetically and functionally.

Another way of providing the safety to your home is replacing the garage door, which is again, really cheap and cost-effective.

A Place For Relaxation

If you don’t have a wooden deck area, it would be useful to add it onto your house. This part of the house associates the buyers with many positive things like relaxation, peace or hosting the people they love.

Thus, apart from being undoubtedly practical and offering the sense of simplicity to the house, the wooden deck will help you sell a house in a short period of time.

This relatively cheap improvement returns on above 85% of the cost, which is indeed fascinating.

Give Every Room a Purpose

Finally, you could renovate a certain room in your house. It is very important to keep in mind that every room in the house should have a specific purpose, which would intrigue a potential buyer for sure. The best way to realize this idea is to reorganize your attic or the basement.

You could possibly turn your attic into the office or the bedroom, and the basement into the playroom for children. These changes result in numerous positive effects, including the fact that the house automatically expands and becomes even more comfortable for a family.

Another thing you can change is the floor. In the past, carpeting was very popular, but today it is considered aesthetically plain and extremely difficult to maintain.

Therefore, you could replace it with a simple hardwood, which would certainly contribute a lot to the interior of the house, giving it a sense of a simple beauty.

As you have probably noticed, this venture can have numerous immense outcomes. Also, it might help you to sell your home for even a better price than you thought.

More importantly, you can renovate the house and make the abovementioned changes on a tight budget.