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renovation

Many homeowners do a home renovation when they’re trying to boost the value of their home before selling it, but there’s no need to wait for an opportunity like that. Instead, find some projects that will boost the quality of your life in your living space and try to make it as functional as you can. Whether you want to do a complete renovation or simply add something new to the design, there are many projects that can help you do a great job. The biggest decision you’ll have to make is when to actually start the renovation process and, after that, you’ll only have to make decisions based on your style and budget. With a little help from this checklist, that shouldn’t be hard at all.

Determine a budget

The first thing you need to do is to determine the budget for your renovation, including the unpredictable things and repairs you didn’t count on. The major part of the budget needs to be set for everything you plan on doing and always make sure you’ve left something aside for some additional repairs. 

You can search online for some of the most unpredictable costs and try to predict what you might have to deal with. This step will be crucial if you plan on including contractors and architects because sometimes homeowners have some additional demands in the middle of the project, and these will require some modifications when it comes to the budget. Try to get a precise estimate of every project you plan on doing just to get the idea of the budget breakdown.

 

Create a list of priorities

You need to be realistic with your renovation list and your budget because sometimes homeowners don’t have a realistic idea of how much a certain renovation costs. That’s why you need to create a list of priorities and see what you will and won’t be able to do, as well as what’s going to require only a few minor changes.

Talk to your contractor and see where you stand on the amount of work, and try to find some compromises. That will allow you to do more projects and still be able to finance all of them. Prioritize everything that needs to be fixed or replaced, because if you don’t do that now, it could create a much bigger problem in the future. Once that’s done, you can move onto other projects that will help you with some interior and design changes.

Be careful when purchasing things

The tendency of impulsive shopping and buying too many unnecessary items is probably the most common mistake every homeowner makes. Before you start buying new things for your home, try to create a room-by-room plan: see what you really need and what you want simply because it’s trending at the moment. 

If you start planning on time, you can search for furniture online, which will allow you to find the best deals and keep creating different layouts until you find the perfect one. Even if you’re dealing with a small budget, you can do a lot by buying just a few items for every room. If you plan everything carefully, you can make your home feel brand new by a few simple tweaks and increase your home’s aesthetics appeal. Explore different trends and see how to incorporate them into your home, trying to find a balance between design and practicality.

Find the right contractor

If you search for a contractor online, you’ll get many results but you need to be sure the one you’ve hired is reliable and knows what to do. Don’t sign any contracts before you interview a few contractors in order to see who has the best ideas and can help you achieve everything from your list. 

Ask your contractors to find solutions for your home, give them your list of priorities and ask them to walk you through the process. You need to be able to understand everything they’re planning on doing because you want to avoid some unpleasant surprises during the renovation process. An experienced contractor will be able to assess your home and tell you whether you have realistic ideas of a final outcome, or you need to make some changes in your new design. 

 

No matter how big or small your renovation project is, it will require time and patience, so you need to do everything in your power to make it as smooth as it can be. Make sure you’re on track with everything going on in order to prevent something from going in the wrong way. 

People are always trying to make ends meet, and when it comes to home remodeling, it can become so expensive (the average price is $39.957) that you need to do your best to save every dollar you can. The majority does that by opting for low-end materials or taking matters into their own hands instead of leaving them to professionals. And sure, there are some projects you can take on yourself, or use a more affordable material, but sometimes these decisions come back to haunt you when you least expect, and you end up spending more money than you would initially have to. If you are planning on remodeling, we’ll help you out by telling you where you shouldn’t cheap out.

Electrical panel repair

Leaving the electrical repairs to professionals is common sense, but there is no harm in saying it yet again. Besides the risk of getting yourself electrocuted, there is also the chance it would be more difficult to sell your property one day. Modifying the electrical panel requires getting a permit. If you don’t do that, you won’t be able to get an ESA (Electrical Safety Association) Certificate, which is a common thing for agents and buyers to ask.

Major plumbing works

Sure, you can unplug your toilet, but any major plumbing work should be left to the plumbers. It is vital to avoid complicated jobs that include the main supply line or the main stack.

Skylight installation

Skylights are great solutions for dark rooms where there is no place for a window. With all the fuss about the natural light being a sought-after feature among the home buyers, they are also a pretty good investment. However, the roof is a tricky place to install a window, and if you don’t do it properly, it can deteriorate over time and allow water into your home.

Window replacement

Similar goes for window replacement. For this task, you need specialized tools and skills. You can’t just improvise when it comes to removing and installing windows. Also, the windows are very pricey and important for energy-efficiency, so saving money on this could actually cost you more than you thought it would in the first place.

Appliances repair

Regardless whether we are talking about gas or electrical appliances, this is the area you should definitely avoid. Both of these power sources can be dangerous to tackle, and even if everything seems fine when you’re done with the fixing, there can be leaks or small malfunctions which can cause serious backfire. In some cases, it is better to buy the new ones. Nevertheless, with good quality units, paying a handyman and getting spare parts is a good investment, too.

Basement renovation

A finished basement not only adds space to your property but also value. Many homeowners decide to take on this project because they don’t consider it to be the main part of the house, and they think the flaws won’t be that obvious. However, some basement projects can result in major structural issues, so it is better to take your enthusiasm elsewhere.

Asbestos removal

Asbestos is the plague of many houses built before the 1980s, and during a renovation, the particles of this toxin can get into the air and cause health problems. If you suspect your house could host this dangerous guest, turn to the professionals.

Roof repairs or replacements

There are many cases when people get injured by falling from the roof. Even if you do know what you are doing, it is not worth the risk.

Demolition

If hitting the walls with a sledgehammer sounds fun to you, think again. What if you hit the load bearing the wall? Or damage the pipes and wiring? Not so fun, after all. For such massive projects, you need to know exactly where to hit, so it is better to call the pros.

Faux finishes

And for the finish line? Don’t do your own faux finishes. The effects of stone or wood on the walls can be beautiful, but if done clumsily, they can look like a hot mess. These projects that rely on aesthetics should be done by people with trained eyes and hands.

There is nothing wrong with saving money where you can, but usually you get exactly what you’ve paid for, and in these cases, that could be – a disaster. These were the tasks that should always be left to the professionals with the right skills and tools.

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.

For homeowners planning to install hardwood flooring, the high price tag involved can be quite off-putting. The total cost for the average home can easily reach $5,000 or even more. But did you know that you can enjoy the look and style of hardwood flooring without paying the high cost of one? Faux wood tile is a type of tile that is designed to resemble real wood in almost every way.

Put the wood-looking tile and actual hardwood side by side and you cannot tell the difference. The tile has been engineered to resemble hardwood flooring in color, patterns and even texture. If you really wanted hardwood flooring but the cost puts you off, wood looking tile is a great alternative.

Durable

flooring

The biggest advantage of choosing faux wood tile over actual wood flooring during your home remodel is the added durability. Tile flooring is hard and can resist most types of damage, whether from moisture, pets or traffic. This means that it lasts longer without requiring frequent maintenance. Essentially, you enjoy the warmth of hardwood flooring and the durability of tile.

This type of tile can be especially beneficial for high-moisture areas like the bathroom and kitchen and high-traffic areas such as the entryway and hallways.

Cost Effective

While the cost difference between faux wood tile and real hardwood is not that big (some high-end tiles are even more expensive than hardwood), tile proves to be far more cost effective. It does not require expensive or frequent maintenance, making it a lesser financial burden on the homeowner.

Variety

floor

There is no shortage of variety when it comes to choosing wood looking tile. Whether you are going for a chic urban look, a more formal contemporary style or a cozy countryside décor, you will find the perfect tile for your needs. The process used to manufacture faux wood tiles allows the makers to create virtually any pattern they want.

What About Real Hardwood

hardwood flooring

Real hardwood of course has its advantages. Before you make a decision on which one to go with, we recommend that you compare the pros and cons of each. For example, real hardwood has a certain warmth that just cannot be matched by tile. There is also the fact that wood is not has hard as tile. If you stand too long on tile, your feet and ankles will complain. Wood is much friendlier towards your legs, especially for people with feet problems.

On the downside, hardwood requires a little more work in maintenance. After sometime, you need to polish it to get rid of any wear and tear. Over several years, the maintenance costs can add up.

Making a Decision

wood looking tile VS hardwood

None of the options is the best and none is the worst. The best choice depends on your needs, preferences and budget. Talk to your contractor for advice on the best choice for your home. For example, you may find that tile is better if you have pets that tend to scratch a lot.

For a more comprehensive comparison, take a look at this article from Sebring Services, “Tile That Looks Like Wood vs Hardwood Flooring.

This article was written by Bryan Sebring, the owner of Sebring Services, which is located in Chicago’s western suburbs.  Bryan is very passionate about educating homeowner’s.  From design ideas to hiring contractors, his goal is to help homeowner’s in the process of remodelling their homes.

Given the market price on homes a lot of first time buyers look for fixer uppers to save on the purchase price or do up and flip. No matter what your reason for doing up your home, this is a great way to take stock and see what improvements you can do to make your home more energy efficient.

Follow the list

  • Ensuring the shell of your home is prepared for whatever the season will throw at you would be the first step. Check and see if your walls and roof are insulated, this is the first step to trapping in that warm or cool air.
  • Next check your windows and doors, if you can feel air coming through the gap your warm/cool air is leaking out. Air leakage can account for up to 10% of your heating and cooling bills. You don’t always have to replace the windows and doors in your home, simply sealing up these gaps and cracks will prevent the air escaping. It can be as simple as getting the right sealant from your local DIY store and applying it yourself. Ensure you do your research and use the correct sealant for the material you are working with. If your applying it outside ensure that the sealant you are using is water proof.
  • Once your walls and windows are taken care of look through your home and ensure any loft hatches or fireplaces are correctly sealed up. Fire places are great in winter but can end up costing you during the warmer moths when all the cool air is being sucked out.
  • If you don’t have them already, install celling fans and ensure they have a reverse function so you can use them to circulate cool air in summer and push warm air down in winter. While you’re on the renovating journey get all or your appliances serviced annually to ensure they are working efficiently.
  • Any appliances you find haven’t aged well should be replaced for a more energy efficient model. Save Energy, Save Money (SESM) allows you to not only compare prices on thousands of electrical appliances, you can also compare the energy consumption at the same time. If you’re in doubt you can use the SESM website to compare the annual running cost of your old appliance and the new appliance you wish to buy.

Seek help from experts

If you’re luck enough to be building your own home you should consult a sustainable builder who can talk you through your options for passive cooling and other great design attributes you can incorporate into your new build.

Good Luck renovating and reducing those energy bills!

Julie Moore director of Save Energy Save Money

Who would have thought that some of the brightest stars of the celebrity heaven sometimes need an additional income? It is not like they need a side hustle to pay the bills. As it turns out, these celebrities are quite handy businessmen, earning money not just for need but for having some side savings. Some of the successful celebrity flippers can make more money for one house sale than for a leading role in a major blockbuster, for instance. So, let us see who those wise money makers are and how that second career is working for them.

Courteney Cox

Courteney Cox

Image source

Turns out that Monica from “Friends” is very proficient in making her earnings from buying and then reselling houses. We can even call her one of the most successful celebrity real estate flippers. Cox is not only buying plane houses and then selling to the best bitter. She is purchasing serious pieces of architecture and investing in their renovation without destroying the present historic qualities. For instance, back in 2004 she purchased a house in the Trousdale Estates for $5.45 million, added a few features and sold it for almost five times larger sum.

Jeremy Renner

Jeremy Renner

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When he is not busy saving the world as Hawkeye, Jeremy Renner is flipping houses. Joining forces with his friend Kristoffer Winters, he is flipping everything from a Nichols Canyon home to a Hollywood located house formerly owned by legendary filmmaker Preston Sturges. Renner himself claims that he has actually earned more money from flipping real estate than from acting.

Jennifer Aniston

Jennifer Aniston

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Another member of the “Friends” team finds her extra income in flipping real estate. One could say that as always she is following the footsteps of her more responsible friend, Monica (Courtney Cox). In fact, the actress’s house flipping career is equally as bright as her on-screen one – if we might add. Back in 2011, Jen sold her Beverly Hills mansion for $38 million and a year after she purchased a $21 million Bel Air mansion.

Diane Keaton

Diane Keaton

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The Oscar winner and Hollywood royalty has a very lucrative side gig purchasing, fixing up and selling properties. She has undertaken several renovations of historic houses in California and flipped some of them with great gains. Her latest project is listed for listed for $6.995 million was purchased in 2012 for $5.6 million. Therefore, the actress stands to profit $1.395 million. Not bad at all, right?

Meryl Streep
Meryl Streep

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“Here, hold my Oscar, let me sell this house” – Meryl Streep. No, the famous lady did not actually pronounced these words, but we wonder how does she find time to buy, renovate and sell houses, when she is constantly being busy getting herself showered in Oscars. To be honest, her flipping career is not as bright as her acting, but it works. She and her husband might have hoped for larger profit when they listed their house for $6.75 million, but they did still earned $300, 000. Better luck next time Meryl.

Michael C. Hall

Michael Hall

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The star is surely not as cold hearted as his alter ego Dexter, but he does know how to think straight and use his head to earn some money on the side. And it seems that just as with his movies and TV career, Michael has a killer career on the horizon – no pun intended. The “Dexter” and “Six Feet Under” star has sold a Los Angeles house in 2013 after owning it for just one month. True, the profit was not large, but it is a start. Now, he has listed his California home for $4.85 million, and it is expected to profit almost $700, 000.

These celebrities are a clear proof that everyone needs a side gig sometimes and an extra cash influx has never been a bad thing.

Feature image source: Hauteresidence.com

Your older home may be full of charm with its original woodwork, stunning light fixtures, leaded glass windows, and built-in seating in the dining area, but what your beloved home doesn’t have is space. For many modern homeowners, who love the look of classic early to mid-century 1900’s architecture, the obvious lack of storage space and the small bathroom or kitchens leaves many homeowners considering a big home improvement project. As with any remodeling project, it’s important to know what (or if any) dangers lurk behind the walls or beneath the floorboards. One of these dangers is asbestos.

If you live in a home that was constructed between the 1930’s and 1970’s, there’s a good chance that some of the materials contain asbestos and can be found throughout your home. While the mineral fiber, used for its heat and fire resistant properties, is no longer widely used in home construction materials, it can pose a threat to your health if it is in poor condition. Before you begin tearing out a wall or ripping up some flooring, make sure you’re not disturbing materials that contain it.

Asbestos fibres
Asbestos fibres

Where is Asbestos in Your Home?

Asbestos can be on your roof, in your attic, in your ceilings, on the walls, in the kitchen, and even in the basement. Before you panic, halt your home improvement project, and put the house on the market, it’s important to know where to look for asbestos and how to identify if it’s hazardous or not.

While asbestos exposure has been known to lead to deadly lung diseases like mesothelioma, The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states that asbestos is typically harmless if it is in good condition and left undisturbed. Here are some of the places where asbestos may be located in your home:

  • Blown-in attic insulation, such as vermiculite
  • Vinyl or linoleum floor tiles
  • Window caulking
  • Roofing material, such as tar paper
  • Heating and Cooling duct insulation
  • Siding materials
  • Acoustic ceiling tiles
  • Textured paints
  • Artificial embers in gas fireplaces
  • Door gaskets in wood stoves or furnaces

The best way to determine whether or not the materials are damaged is to look for tears, abrasions, or water damage. If you suspect damaged asbestos materials in your home, don’t disturb them or try to remove the material on your own.

The beginning of a renovation project
Renovation

Call Professionals Before You Start the Renovation Project

Even if you are certain that asbestos is located in your home, but is in good condition, it’s always a good idea to hire a professional asbestos inspector before making any changes to your home. Failure to seek professional advice can increase your chances of unintentional and potentially dangerous exposure to asbestos. Upon inspection, he or she will determine the condition of any asbestos in your home and will advise you if you can go ahead with the home improvement or hold the project until you have the asbestos removed.

Before you go ahead and try to make the most of your attic space or rip up the old linoleum in your kitchen, make sure you’re given the “go ahead” by a professional for the safety and health of yourself and your family.

 

About the author: Landon Biehl is an avid writer, and enjoys spreading awareness for health issues on a global level. He enjoys informing others on potential health hazards that are not always speculated. In his free time, Landon enjoys kayaking, running, and being outdoors. Landon also enjoys spending time at his local beach when time permits.

Feature image credit: Flickr

Remodeling your home can be tricky and it might take up a lot of time and resources, but if you have a checklist you can follow, it will become easier. Unless you put down everything you need to do, and make sure that you have it all covered, you might lose track of what you have finished so far. Furthermore, it will be helpful in tracking the budget and making sure to have enough money for your remodeling project.

First Things First

The absolute top priority on your checklist should be to decide on a budget and how you can better distribute the money you need to spend. Though, remember to segment your project so that you will have time to buy all the necessary materials and maybe even run into a good sale along the way. On the other hand, try to calculate in any possible extra expenses so that you are not left without money after you finish your remodeling.

Try To Go Green with Your Materials

In order to make your remodeling project really matter, you should invest in sustainable materials as they can make a difference, and they will not cost much. Furthermore, you will be able to usually cover things at once, as these materials were meant to be sturdy and to offer insulating effects as well. In the long run, you will feel the noticeable difference, not only in your wallet, but otherwise too.

Get the Necessary Tools

If you are remodeling on your own, be sure to prepare some tools in advance, otherwise you will have to stop mid-work and waste time on looking around for what you might need. Keep everything at an arm’s length so that you do not waste your valuable time. Moreover, buying tool kits can save you time, and you will have more than you bargained for, which will be a great deal no matter how you look at it. Try to avoid buying cheap power tools, as they will rarely last long.

Do You Need Help?

There is no shame admitting that you might need help finishing a project, and, you have to understand your weaknesses. However, hiring a professional crew to help you out can be a good decision, but, you have to make sure that you have the money for it. After all, you cannot be a Jack-of-all-trades and some things are just better left for professionals to handle as they have more experience in the matter, and if you hire good ones, you might even get discounts as well.

Prepare For Bumps in the Road

A remodeling project can go smoothly, but, you should always be ready for things going bad and that there will be problems along the way. Not so that you should be skeptical, but because chances are that most things will go awry, even if you are well prepared. Be sure to make backup plans so that if anything does go wrong, you will have a way out of it without having to thin out your resources too much.

Making a checklist will be necessary if you want to keep a close eye what is going on with your project and where you can make improvements. Moreover, you will be able to track budget changes and find replacements with good deals, which is why you need to go about your remodeling project in steps. Bear in mind to ask for help when the project is too complicated or when you see that you cannot finish it all up on your own.

Owning a house offers numerous joys, but, once its prime time is over, piled up problems can cause some serious headaches, too. That’s the time when lesser men would consider selling the possessions and moving into some smaller and newer apartment, but you are not one of them. Your old house is worth fighting for, even if you don’t have too vast resources on your disposal. We will try to give our small contribution to this noble cause by giving you few tips for frugal renovation that will add value to your beloved home.

Solve the Insulation Problem

No matter how resourceful you are, house renovation will cost you some money. Installing the insulation is a great way both to give your old house a new look and ensure that your investments will return in the long run. Start by finding fiberglass batts, or loose fill cellulose, which are both very affordable and easy to install. As for the windows, you can always opt for the double-glazed variety, or try out your DIY skills by plugging air leaks. Window and doorway velvet drapes are always recommended. Finally, you can go one step further with dropped ceiling, which will make your house even more energy efficient.

Image source: Flickr
Image source: Flickr

The Question of Floor

Once again, we will put the long-term sustainability as our top priority. In the end, you won’t renovate the house every year, so make sure that you get the job done now. Therefore, you should opt for the solutions which will last you the longest and are easiest to maintain, and those are floor tiles, concrete, and stone, which is the most durable and scratch resistant option out of three. If you, however, want something that will be more affordable and retain temperature better, you can always give your floor a laminate coating.

Painting the House

Now, when more demanding tasks are over, it is time the polish the look of the house by giving it a paintjob. Here, you can save a great amount of money if you decide to tackle this task on your own, with some cheaper tools. The paint itself is very inexpensive, so this step shouldn’t pose too much of a problem. It is however recommended to apply some scratch-resistant wall coating after the painting is over, to make you efforts more long lasting. Choose soft colors for the walls, and some lighter ones for the ceiling to create an illusion of more space and compensate for the dropped ceiling.

Bathroom Renovations

Plumbing layout will be your greatest limiting factor while tackling bathroom renovations, so there is no way to make some drastic changes without spending some larger sums of money. Still, you can achieve some very pleasing results even with some simpler moves, such as refreshing the tiles, and updating the fixtures. Wooden cabinets are the most vulnerable to moisture, so they should be first on the way out. You can replace them with affordable used alternatives, or you can try your luck in carpentry, and make them by yourself. Replace the lighting as well, and you will have completely new bathroom.

Image source: Flickr
Image source: Flickr

Devil in the Details

Small details are the final touch your house will need, but don’t underestimate them. They can make or break the whole look you tried so hard to achieve. Easiest way out of this problem is to set up one color scheme (vibrant if possible) and follow it with rugs, cushions, etc. We already mentioned drapes, so keep them in line, too. As for the furniture, even the older pieces can make very charming “vintage” look, if you accompany them with other, rugged items you can easily find on the flea markets. If you are, however, stuck with the variety of styles and different pieces, “eclectic” look is the great equalizer, if only you follow its basic principles.

All you have to do now is to use all the things we mentioned above, and turn your beloved home in the prettiest old house around. Give it the love it deserves and prolong the pleasant time together for many years to come.