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home improvement

2016 might just be the year you decide to redecorate your home. If you do so, you should make sure you follow some of the latest trends. Take a look at the following projects which might serve you as inspiration and help you choose designs, strategies and materials for redecorating.

Home Design Trends for Your Garage

Good news if you are not using your garage just to store your car – You can now have screen doors which do not interfere with the system of the garage doors. So, there is no need to open the whole garage doors when you just want to grab a couple of things. There are some systems that even have a door within the screen for easy access. The price of such garage doors depends a lot on the features you decide to go with, but on average, they will cost you around $1,400.

Garage Screen Door Source: lifestylescreens.wordpress.com

Hardwood Kitchen Flooring

Hardwood is going to be the ultimate flooring choice for many kitchens in 2016. Hardwood flooring brings warmth to your kitchen and gives it natural looks. Hardwood stands up to any stains but you should also cover the area you will be using the most with a small mat or rug. If you want to keep the traditional look you can go with mahogany or dark walnut stains. Even though flooring like this lasts for years you can refresh the kitchen by refinishing or staining them every couple of years.

Hardwood Kitchen Flooring Source: studiofuller.com

Solar Water Heater

More and more homeowners are deciding to use one of these. If installed carefully, a solar heater can provide a major percentage of a home’s hot water for a long period of time. Even though you will have to pay for the heater and the installation, the price of your utility bills will be reduced and after a couple of years, you will recover the expenses you had at first. Experts say that getting a solar water heater is one of the best ways to invest in renewable energy in 2016.

Deep Kitchen Drawers

You might want to organize your kitchen cabinets better in 2016. And installing deep drawers might just be a way to do so. It is one of the best ways to store your cooking equipment and still reach it easily. Most of the cooking pots and appliances like a toaster cannot fit a standard drawer and that is when a deep drawer might come in handy. You can also add dividers and inserts so you could separate your dishes and pots according to the set or size.

Deep Kitchen Drawers Source: www.hymer.com

Heated Entryway Floors

Heated floors are definitely a great choice for bathrooms, but in case you live in a cold area, you might want to install these in your entryway as well. First of all, this will keep your entryway warm during the whole winter and give you that pleasant feeling once you step out of your shoes. Also, we might have a wetter summer than usual, and this means we will be using umbrellas and raincoats. But having heated floors will keep your entryway from getting slippery and messy.

If you decide to redecorate this year, these are the things you should go for. Still, make sure you are always in search for some home improvements you can make.

Do you sometimes feel like you are drowning in garbage? Or that you cannot simply rid your home from all the unnecessary things? I, for once, had an issue with hoarding all kinds of things that were only piling up and making a huge mess in my home. After I have decided that it is truly time to make some changes in my life, I realized that the first step towards a clean mind is a clean house. If you too have an issue with a cluttered and messy house, I recommend taking a peak at these miraculous rules for a clutter free life:

Declitter 1

Do Not Put Off Until Tomorrow…

…what you can do today, right? Train yourself to be a responsible adult and do not procrastinate when it comes to cleaning and putting things away. No matter how tired you are, make sure not to hold off your duties until the next day, as this can quite simply turn in a regular routine.

The Best Memories Are Kept…

…inside your head and not inside your home. I had quite a trouble with grasping this idea, until I realized I cannot hoard every little object someone has given me. As hard as it was, I decided to make a photo shoot of all my precious belongings and memories and I keep those photographs in one photo album, that takes just a small amount of space in my bedroom.

Declutter 2

Categorization Is The Key

If there is one rule you should follow thoroughly then it is this one. The key to a successful organization is categorizing everything. Group things according to relevance, priority, similarities or whatever suits you and do not forget to mark them. See-through containers and labellers saved my life!

Keep It Functional

This rule is based on one simple question: “Do I need this?” Sometimes it becomes quite hard to part with certain items, but in order to live a clutter free life, it is important to think in a practical and functional way. So before you decide whether you should keep it or not, ask yourself does it really serve any purpose to you.

Declutter 2

Use Your Storage Wisely

There should always be a specific space in your house reserved for storage. Of course, make sure to make the most of this space. There is no point of having a storage facility that will not be functional. So keep in mind that even your storage space needs to be organized and tidy.

Minimalism Is In

One thing that helped me a lot when I started organizing my life was all the modern and contemporary designs that were becoming quite popular in the world. So I decided to try this new minimalistic trend, so I asked the local rubbish removal experts for some advice of ridding my house from all the unnecessary trash. And you know what? It works like a charm!

Declutter 4

Go Digital

Another great thing about this internet era is that it can help you a lot when it comes to storing files, documents and all other important paperwork. Before, there were papers scattered all over the place. And now, I simply rely on the good old digital storage to keep my files organized for me.

Be Charitable

In the end, it is important to ask yourself if perhaps there is someone out there who needs those things more than you. Be charitable; do not hesitate to do a good deed and help someone who needs it.

So these are my magical rules of leading a clutter free life. They worked for me, so I surely hope they will help you organize your life as well.

You could argue that a home’s street view is like the first page of a passport – many important details can be read from there and there’s certainly a lot of us who don’t look too pretty on our passport photos. Fortunately, there are many ways to improve a home’s curb appeal, unlike our passport photos. If you think your home could use a simple ‘facelift’ then read on. These simple, effective tricks will get you started with your project in no time. Once applied, they can truly make a difference.

New Mailbox

Give your mailbox a new suit

Even from afar, someone driving down the road will instinctively look at the mailbox first and the house second. This mailbox makeover project is simple because it requires little material, and can be done in a single afternoon. To begin, wrap your 4×4 wooden post with scraps of differently colored natural stone pavers. Once you have an attractive stone pillar, attach a shiny black metal mailbox to one side and complete the magazine look with a vertical house number plaque.

Arboreal spotlights
Give your trees and shrubs a brand new night attire by putting them into spotlight. During the day, solar spotlights are virtually unseen in the undergrowth, while they charge up. But as the night falls they start to shine beautifully at the tree canopies from bellow. You can also point them on a few decorative boulders or a small pond. They won’t amount to your electricity bill and some of them come with solar panels that are attached with long wires, so they can be charged on a sunnier spot.

Front door

Front door makeover

If you are on a tight budget and you want to give your front door a facelift, there is no need to go for a full replacement. A bit of paint and molding can do wonders to your dull entrance. A rich dinner party or wenge color scheme will upgrade your home a class or two, while the polystyrene molding above the doorway will make every entry grand.

Hide slab foundation

The exposed slab foundation is a straight out eyesore. Extending the facade all the way to the ground level so it covers the foundation is manageable, but it will make a hole in your budget the size of an open coal mining pit. Instead, you can choose a solution that will look attractive and still leave you with some cash for further upgrades. Faux panels come in a number of colors and styles, mimicking natural stone, brick or wood. When you finally choose, you will probably want to apply some of it inside, too. Maybe for an accent wall or fireplace sides.

Repainted House

Repainting

Perhaps a bit more costly upgrade, but surely a worthy one. When looking at the ‘big picture’ from the outside, if a house has deteriorating paint on many spots it will make a bigger and more negative impact than almost all other nice things put together. Consider a complete repainting job if your budget allows. Check out a few great examples of color schemes from the CraftPro blog.

House number on planters

If your house number can barely be seen from the road, you could take a few planters with nice flowers and write the house number on them. Aside from being practical, this project is simple and inexpensive. Buy as many planters as there are digits in your house number, find a suitable spot and prop them on a crude, unprocessed plank that rests on old bricks to get that vintage look. You could also use a stump. Paint the house number with white paint on a dark
background and plant some annuals in each planter.

Nice house

Camouflage the eyesores

Every home has eyesores like utility boxes, wires, lines and vents that mar the aesthetics of the house. There are several ways to deal with them. The simplest one is to paint them in the same color as the rest of the house and no one will ever notice them. However, if you want to conceal the trash bins or the air conditioner unit, you can either plant a hedge around it, or camouflage it with a couple of lattice panels painted the same color as the facade.

So there you go, several easy DIY projects which will enhance your curb appeal in no time. With improvements like these, not only will your new neighbors want to take a closer look at what is inside, but they will impress anybody who passes by, including potential homebuyers.

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.