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Home Additions That Can Improve Your Privacy

kitchen-interior-design-new-jersey-3-1024x768Today’s homeowner has a greater need than ever before to seek out ways in which to increase privacy and security. With so many homes being built side by side in suburbs as well as within major cities, it is becoming increasingly difficult to keep would-be snoopers out. If you’ve been having trouble with nosey neighbors or passers-by peering in windows, especially after dark when it is easy to see inside a well-lit home, here are some suggestions on home additions that can improve your privacy. You might as well consider security while you are at it, giving your privacy added depth and function.

Privacy Fences | Most privacy fences are constructed with tall wooden boards that can range from .60m in height to 1.80m in height and sometimes a bit higher if bespoke heights are required. These prevent anyone on the outside from viewing your property and privacy fences are the most common ways in which to keep anyone from looking in when you least expect it. These can be professionally installed or you could construct a privacy fence with a DIY project that is neither too difficult nor too time-consuming. Most can be built in a single weekend and there are videos on YouTube that show you just how easy it is to do.

Security Bars For Windows | While you don’t often think of security in the same sense as you do privacy, they really do go hand in hand. You are entitled to live your life in privacy and sometimes that means seeing to security so that no one can cross the bounds unless you, personally, allow them. Security bars for windows is one home addition that can help maintain your privacy whilst adding that extra level of security. These are often welded on so if you are on a DIY mission, check out fosterindustrial.co.uk for the tools and safety gear you’ll need when it comes time to weld those frames into position.

Frosted Windows | Frosted windows or two-way glass are also great home additions that can add an extra layer of privacy. Frosted windows, however, are just as difficult to see out of as they are to see into so this may not be your first choice. Two-way glass enables you to see out but no one on the outside can see in under normal conditions. Bear in mind that the better the glass you choose, the lesser chance anyone has to see in if you’re looking for privacy.

Some homeowners also add trees and shrubbery to their property, especially either close to the home or around the perimeter of your property. Whilst not a ‘home addition’ in the truest sense of the word, trees and shrubs, if well planned, can really offer the kind of privacy you are looking for. Not only will these improve privacy they are also great additions that will add value to your home in the event that you ever want to list it for sale. You are not alone as today’s homebuyer is seeking privacy just as much as you are. A few basic home additions and you are on your way to that quiet enjoyment you’ve been missing until now.

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The Perfect Guest Room – How to Create a Space Visitors Will Love

saddle-river-showhouse-bedroom-interior-design-5-1024x768Maybe you just moved to a new place and have a spare room. Perhaps your kids recently moved out and you’d like to convert their old bedrooms. Maybe you finally cleaned out your craft room and you’re ready for something new. Maybe you just want more house guests. No matter what your motivation might be for creating a guest room, it’s important to create a place your visitors will feel comfortable with. Whether you’re working with a large or small space it’s possible to create a guest bedroom your visitors will want to stay in again and again.


Color | The first thing you should choose is your color scheme. Most guest rooms feature neutral tones for a reason: they’re calming. When your guests visit, they’ll retreat to their room for relaxation and rest. Some people find it difficult to unwind in a room that has bright, bold colors. While bright red or lime green might be fine for your teen’s bedroom, consider choosing something more neutral for your guest room. For example, you could paint the walls a cream color or even opt for light blue.

It’s important to choose your guest room bedroom paint colors before you choose anything else in the room. This is because the walls will essentially be the base of the room. This means that you’ll choose your paint color, then make other decisions for decor based on that color. For example, if you choose to have light green walls, you can incorporate a springtime theme in the room. You can place a colorful quilt on the bed, choose paintings that feature nature and even have green throw rugs on the floor.

Clutter | No matter what room you choose to use for guests, it’s important that you declutter the space before you let your guests stay in the room. While you might not mind clutter yourself, it can be stressful for guests to be around. Many guests are quite sensitive when it comes to having too much “stuff” in their space and may feel uncomfortable with large amounts of clutter. Clearing the junk and unecessary items from your guest room will also give you a larger space to work with.

Consider moving any boxes or excess furniture to your garage. You may also want to minimize the amount of souvenirs and trinkets you have in the room. Remember that while teacups, teddy bears and glass figurines might hold special memories, they also take up a lot of space. Aim to keep these items in your own bedroom instead of your guest room.

Furniture | Consider using furniture you already have to furnish the guest room. Many items you already own can easily be modified or spruced up for your guest room space. Something as simple as painting an old dresser or adding a new coat of varnish can give a tired piece of furniture a whole new look.

If you need a few new pieces for your guest room, check local estate sales, garage sales and thrift stores. Many people will try to get rid of old furniture at low prices, which means you can furnish your guest room inexpensively quite easily. While used furniture might need a bit of work to be guest-room ready, a bit of creativity can go a long way. Something as simple as replacing the knobs on an old dresser can give the piece a brand new look.

No matter how big or small your guest room might be, remember that the goal is to make your guests happy. Even if there are a few elements of the room you don’t completely love, it’s fine as long as your visitors enjoy the room. Don’t be afraid to ask your friends, family members or neighbors their opinions on your guest room. They may be able to offer some valuable ideas you might not have otherwise thought of.

 

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Essential Tips for Measuring and Hanging Curtains

curtainTo get the right window treatments and design in place, you need to know how to correctly measure and hang curtains. Thankfully, it isn’t as hard as it might seem at first. Continue reading for a few essential tips for measuring and hanging curtains so you can get it right every time.

Measure the Length | To determine the length of your curtains and drapes, you will have to choose where you prefer the curtains to end. You can have them land onto the floor, or you have them be level with your flooring. Other options include having them hang underneath your windowsill or at the height of the windowsill. Once you know where you want the curtains to land, measure the length and then add 1-2 inches of clearance for flooring or carpets.

Measure the Width | When it comes to figuring out how wide your curtains need to be, you should not be measuring the window itself. Instead, you should be measuring the pole or the track. If you have a track, measure the entire width of it. If you have poles, you should measure them up to the decorative end. And if you are dealing with a single track that has an overlapping track or bracket, you should measure both widths and simply add them together.

Hanging the Curtains | Choose your decorative rod before you hang your curtains, and figure out where it will need to be installed so that you can accurately determine the length of your curtains. Keep in mind that a decorative rod, as well as ties, holdbacks, and finials, will finalize the look of your curtains and add an extra element of detail and texture that otherwise would not be there. There are a wide range of options to choose from, so you can match it to the rest of your design and the curtains themselves. Once you choose the rod that you want, install it according to the directions on the product label. Then either pull the curtains through the rod or use rings to hang the curtains from the rods and more easily open and close the curtains each day.

A Few Mistakes to Avoid | When it comes to measuring and hanging curtains, there are a few mistakes that you should avoid, in addition to ensuring that you do not get an incorrect measurement. For example, you should hang the curtains close to the ceiling to make the room appear larger. Avoid purchasing curtains that are too short, iron the curtains before hanging them, and remember to think about the fullness of the curtains too. So if you have a window that is 4 feet wide, for example, you should have panels that are 8-10 feet wide because you want to get curtains that are at least double the width of your window to create fullness once they are up.

Remember that, when it comes to window treatments, it’s about more than just looks. With the tips above, you can rest assured that you will be measuring and hanging your curtains with ease and accuracy.

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10 Easy Tips to Instantly Declutter Your Home

roundtop-2-1024x768Turning your house upside down once or twice a year for a thorough cleaning is an exhausting process that often leaves you wishing you could be more organized throughout the year. Decluttering does not have to be a big ordeal that saps your energy. Each of these easy decluttering tips can be done in ten minutes or less and will leave your house looking neat and uncluttered.


1. Plastic Cups | Open your kitchen cabinet and look inside. Ideally you will be treated to the sight of a cupboard full of lovely glassware. If you see a cabinet full of plastic cups, it may be time to pare down your drink ware collection. Restaurants, movie theaters and local businesses often give away drinking vessels with branding and promotional information brightly printed on the side. It is all too easy to wash these and put them in the cupboard with the rest of your glasses. Soon, you have an army of plastic cups advertising at you every time you reach in the cabinet. Save one to wash the dog and donate the rest.

2. Shabby Linens | It’s no secret that we all have sheets and towels that have seen better days. Many people hang on to these well-worn items longer than they should, creating chaos in the linen closet. Look through your linens and toss anything with holes or tears. A good rule of thumb is to keep what you would feel comfortable with a guest using and get rid of the rest.

3. Writing Utensils | Everyone has a junk drawer bursting with odds and ends that do not belong anywhere else. At least half of every junk drawer seems to be filled with accumulated pens and pencils. In a digital age, no one needs that many writing implements. Keep a few of the ones you like best and donate the rest to your local school.

4. Condiments | Every time you order take out it seems they put double handfuls of condiment packets into the bag. Instead of tossing the unused packets, many people shove the extra condiments into a drawer where they languish for years. Don’t fall into the condiment trap. Look for all those stray packets and toss them in the garbage. If you don’t feel comfortable trashing them, see if your local food bank would like them.

5. Old Cosmetics and Beauty Products | Tossing food past its expiration date is a no-brainer, but it seems to be uncommon knowledge that cosmetics and beauty products have a shelf life as well. As a rule, anything older than two years needs to go. Old cosmetics are a favorite hangout for germs and any beauty product past date just won’t be as effective. Check the expiration dates for your favorite products and be merciless.

6. Magazines | That large stack of old publications that resides on your side table or in your bookshelf is taking up a lot of space. Perhaps you told yourself that you would use them in a future DIY decoupage project, or there is a specific article you just knew you would want to reference one day. Realistically, you are very likely to never get around to those projects. Digitize the articles you want to keep and recycle the rest. You just crossed something off your to do list.

7. CDs | With external hard drives and cloud storage, there is just no reason to keep your CDs. They will soon be as unfamiliar to kids as eight tracks. If you just can’t bear the thought of parting with your most treasured CDs, put them all on one spindle and toss their jewel cases. This will free up most of the space they were occupying while allowing you to hold on.

8. Extra Cords and Cables | Long after electronics and appliances have made their way to the charity shop, the cords and cables that came with them remain in the junk drawer. Be brave, and pull out that tangled mess to determine which cords you still need. Recycle the extras or send them to the charity shop to reunite with their lost electronic partners.

9. Fridge Magnets | It seems that every take out restaurant, gym and mechanic bombards you with a free magnet to stick on your refrigerator. Eventually, your fridge becomes so weighed down with these that you may not even remember the original color of the appliance. You do not need those magnets. Any phone number you need is programmed into your device or just a click away online. Keep one or two and get rid of the rest. You will be amazed at how much better your kitchen looks.

10. Outdated Documents | If you are like most people, you file your important papers and forget about them. There are few documents you need to keep for more than seven years. Go through your papers and shred the ones that you have been hanging onto for no reason. Sign up for online statements for everything you can to keep the paper from piling up again.

After you go through your home and declutter using these ten tips, every room will feel more spacious and usable. Getting rid of the items on this list has the added benefit of automatically updating the look of your home. With all those plastic dishes gone and a visible refrigerator, your home will be a much more aesthetically pleasing space to entertain.

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Pergola Plans and Designs: Choose the right one for Outdoors

You have the option to make your outdoors beautiful and extremely comfortable by installing pergola. However, you need to have proper plans and designs for it in order to get everything right from the first go. But there are so many plans and designs available in the market that anyone would get confused. So here is a brief guide to help you choose the right pergola plans and designs for your property. Since you will be spending a lot of money and time on this project, you need to make sure that you get the perfect plans set before you start the project.
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Follow the steps mentioned below to succeed in this regard:

  • The pergola plans and designs should perfectly match the architecture that you have in place.
  • When you start the search for pergolas you will come across a wide range of them in the market, and you will realize that some of them are more famous and accepted than the others. However, it depends on the type of design and the comfort that you are looking for in your property. For example, if you opt for a standalone pergola then this will simply act as a wonderful destination in your backyard or a garden. This will also work as a patio, and as a partition. You have the option of furnishing the pergolas and make it look gorgeous.

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  • There are two major types of pergolas that you can look at. One of the walkway pergola and the other is the entryway pergolas. There is a difference between both of them and these are used for different reasons. So you can think about how that will enhance your property and use it accordingly.
  • You need to also consider the size of the pergolas that you are planning to go for your property. Here you need to first sit down and carefully decide the area that you plan on dedicating on the pergola installation. If you are planning for a cheaper project, then you need to know that the size of the pergola is something that is proportionate to the price of the pergola. So you need to consider the budget of the pergola project and the kind of size that you will get in that.

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  • Shade is another important aspect that needs your consideration. So based on your preference you need to go with either minimal or a lot of shade. This factor largely depends upon the kind of area that you live in. Here you also have the option of choosing the plants to provide you with natural shade. The benefit is that you will naturally get more shade in the summers and less shade in the winters.
  • You need to also consider the kind of material that you will use for the construction. The material that you chose will have a major impact on the price factor. There are wide ranges of material available in the market. However, cedar wood is something that is durable and provides a top quality service and looks for your pergola designs.

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There are a lot of companies that will offer you pergola plans and designs and so it is important to choose the right one wisely. If you want to go for DIY, then make sure that you are creative and ready to get your hands dirty in the work. The DIY approach is fun and you can also be creative in getting your own design plans installed. So make sure that you follow all the above mentioned points and get the best service.

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5 Reasons to Fall in Love with Home Carpets

living-room-fine-area-rug-interior-designEven though hardwood flooring has been all the rage over the last few years in the world of interior design, there are quite a few great reasons why you should fall in love with home carpets again. Keep reading to learn about five of these reasons and to decide if carpeting would be the right addition to your home.

1. Warm, Soft, and Comfortable | One of the best things about a plush carpet is how it feels under your feet and how warm it can make the floor in the winter. Carpeting is a great option for bedrooms and living rooms, where kids tend to play on the floor or where your family may want to sit or lie down on the floor while watching a movie, talking on the phone, or simply relaxing after a day at school or work. With so many different types of carpets and carpet piles, you can choose the one that you like best and feels the best under your feet.

2. Easy to Maintain and Keep Clean | Carpeting can be really easy to maintain and keep clean because all you have to do is vacuum the flooring a few days a week. You can also purchase a steam mop and use that to disinfect and deodorise your carpets quickly and easily. And when it comes to stains, if you use the right carpet cleaning products and treat the carpets as soon as possible, you can avoid stains altogether and keep your carpets looking like new.

3. Carpeting Won’t Crack or Dent | If you were to accidentally drop a heavy object onto your hardwood flooring or your tiled floors, you would likely end up with an obvious dent or gouge in the floor. Unless you are able to replace the board or the tile, there really is no way to fix the imperfection. But with carpeting, you can drop a heavy object and not worry about the carpeting being damaged as a result.

4. It Helps Reduce Noise | Whether you live in a one-family house with kids or you live in a townhouse or condo, if you want to reduce the amount of noise in your home, consider having carpeting installed. This is because carpets can muffle sounds and create a quiet and calm environment. Hardwood, on the other hand, will often amplify everyday noises.

5. It May Help You Breathe Easier | Even though a lot of people think that carpeting is actually bad for people who have trouble breathing because of allergies, there have been studies conducted that have concluded that carpet fibres could actually trap particulates that could potentially cause allergies. By immobilising these allergens, they will not become airborne, and your entire family can breathe easier as a result, especially if you vacuum the carpeting at least several days a week.

As you can see, there are several great reasons why carpeting is becoming increasingly popular in homes today. There are so many different styles of carpeting and colours to choose from, so you can find the perfect one to match the rest of your interior décor.

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Cosmetic Improvements that Can Help You Sell Your Home Quickly

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Whether you are trying to sell your home quickly or want to be able to increase its value, there are a few cosmetic improvements that can help you accomplish both. It goes without saying that any functional or structural damage should be repaired prior to listing your home or it may not sell at all, however, if you want to get top dollar and get it quickly, there are certain things you can do to make your home more attractive to potential buyers.

Landscaping for Curb Appeal | One of the first thing that professionals like this Paradise Valley AZ realtor would tell you is that the first thing you should focus on is the exterior of your home. Once you list your home for sale it will be on the MLS and anyone who has an interest can simply drive by to get a feel for what they will be looking at. There are some times that a home is in such a state of disrepair on the outside that a prospective buyer never contacts a realtor to see the inside. There have been times when the interior of a home could be a showpiece in Better Homes and Gardens but the outside leaves a lot to be desired. If you want buyers to actually do a walkthrough of your home, make sure it has curb appeal.

Recovering or Painting Walls | After living in a home for a number of years your walls begin to become somewhat dull and discolored. There is really no getting around it. Sunlight filters in during the day, bleaching the color and greasy smoke from cooking can literally coat every area of every wall in all rooms. Here is where you need to make a choice as to whether you want to repaint your walls or cover them with designer wall coverings. Some homeowners use a combination of the two in some rooms with chair rail dividing paper on the bottom from painted areas on top. This is a trend that goes in and out of style but will never really end. The only thing that changes is the pattern on the wall covering and the colors trending in paint at the moment. In any case, refreshed walls give the home a whole new look.

New Flooring in Common Areas | Although you may be tempted to recover the floor of your entire home, most often it is only the common areas that need to be re-floored. The reason for this is because bedrooms simply don’t get the amount of wear and tear that common areas do and few people actually eat or drink in any but the common rooms. You can choose any type of flooring you’d like but it should be understood that hardwood will add the most value, second to that would probably be carpet or ceramic tiles and low on the list would be vinyl flooring.

These are the most visible cosmetic improvements that can quickly add salability and value but if you get really creative you can add little touches that will add that extra appeal that attracts buyers. If everything is in working order and you add some cosmetic touches, your realtor will be able to move your house much quicker. Looking for a quick sale? This is how to do it.

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Ideas for Including a Fireplace in a Room with a High Ceiling

Image Credit | Europecinefestival

Image Credit | Europecinefestival

Often designed as the focal point of a room, the fireplace has been a popular structural feature chosen by homeowners and interior designers alike. The modern fireplace offers a dual purpose as both a design element and as a heating component for the home. The opportunity to infuse a higher level of decorative impact for the fireplace develops when the room in which it is to be placed features a high ceiling. Here are a few ideas to optimize the visual affect presented by a fireplace built in a room offering a high ceiling.

Murals & Mosaics | Since the room features tall ceilings, a lot of open wall will exist above the fireplace mantel, giving you ample space to include a large mural or mosaic display that can perform as the focal point of the room. With the mural positioned at eye level, it delivers the perfect opportunity to infuse a sense of your own style and personality into the room’s décor.

Faux Chimney | Rather than hiding the flue pipes in the wall of the room, you can build a faux chimney from the top of the fireplace to the ceiling. This strategy creates an excellent opportunity to take advantage of decorative choices in natural stone to enhance the overall appearance of this living space. You might also want to consider faux stone since the weight of natural stone could limit how far up the wall you can reasonably go without risking problems in which the heaviness of the stone weakens the overall structure.

Traditional Mantel | For homeowners who prefer the traditional appearance of a fireplace that features a mantel, the tall ceiling doesn’t need to be a hindrance. You can still design a mantel that is set at shoulder height and styled to hold decorative accents. A large painting can be placed in the center of the open space above the mantel to fill in the open area that remains.

Summing Up | The placement of a fireplace within a tall-ceilinged room should blend both functionality and design in order to achieve a pleasant result. Murals, mosaics, faux chimneys, mantels, and oversized paintings can all be used to enhance the overall effect.

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Tips on Choosing Your Kitchen Countertop

beach-house-kitche-design-1024x768The selection of kitchen countertops is important for two reasons. First, your choice influences the overall appearance of the room. Secondly, it determines how quickly your countertops will need replacement. Some countertop materials are easier to clean, more resistant to damage, and easier to blend with surroundings than other types. Your selection of a countertop should be based upon what you intend to use it for and not just for its appearance. Here is a look at some of the most popular choices in kitchen countertops along with some of the benefits attached to choosing them.

Polished Granite | Perhaps the most popular choice in kitchen countertops, polished granite have the following qualities:
.   Durable
.   Attractive
.   Natural
.   High-end appearance

Honed Granite | Although not as popular as engineered granite, honed granite has these qualities:
.   Matte finish
.   Heat resistant
.   Scratch resistant
.   Chip and crack resistant

Engineered Quartz | Offering a non-porous surface, engineered quartz countertops are:
.   Heat resistant
.   Stain resistant
.   Impact resistant
.   Acid resistant
.   Scratch resistant
.   Easily maintained

Marble | Offering enduring popularity, marble countertops have lots of merit, including the fact that they are:
.   Capable of hiding minor damage and stains
.   Aesthetically pleasing
.   Smooth

Wood | Offering a natural look, wood countertops provide:
.   Hard surfaces
.   Heat resistance
.   Earth tones

Laminate | An affordable option, laminate is experiencing fresh popularity because it offers:
.   Patterned designs
.   Bright colors
. Trendy Styling

Stainless Steel | Featured in industrial kitchens, stainless steel countertops have a lot to offer, including:
.   Easy maintenance
.   Durability
.   Hygienic surface
.   Coordinates well with other materials

Glass | A pricier, out-of-the-box option, glass countertops offer:
.   Modern styling
.   Streamlined appearance
.   Stain resistance
.   Easy maintenance
.   Durability

The above options are just some of the most commonly chosen materials for kitchen countertops, and you might also want to look at recycled, concrete, travertine, or soapstone materials. If you intend to use your countertops for food preparation and entertaining, you might want to select a style that delivers durability and resistance to damage. If you don’t intend to spend much time cooking in your kitchen, then your options are more varied. Talk to your interior designer for suggestions to help you make the best choice.

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What’s in Your Furniture?

W11thstreet-1-1024x768If you are buying new furniture for your home, it is more than likely that you’ll want it to last ten or more years. The best way to ensure that it will last is to purchase items from one of the top furniture brands, such as Restoration Hardware, Edra, Poliform, Henredon, Fendi Casa, Boca do Lobo, Kartell, or Christopher Guy. If you are looking for a specific style, such as contemporary or traditional, you might want to speak with your interior designer to see what your options are. In addition to buying from a top brand, you can use the following strategies to help you determine how good the quality of a particular piece of furniture is.

Furniture Joints | Quality furniture features joints that have been screwed into place rather than nailed. If you see staples, you probably don’t want to purchase that particular piece of furniture.

Upholstery & Springs | If you are looking at an upholstered piece of furniture, check to make sure that the springs on it, if any, have been tied by hand. If you can’t tell on your own, you should ask whoever is showing you the furniture.

Finish on Wooden Pieces | When you consider wooden furniture for your home, be sure to look at the finish carefully. A quality piece of furniture features a smooth finish with an even appearance. It doesn’t have any stickiness or cloudiness to it.

Furniture Weight | Solid pieces of furniture that are crafted with a hardwood frame should feel heavy. It shouldn’t be easy for you attempt to lift the piece from one corner. If the piece has been constructed well, you won’t hear squeaking or feel shifting of any kind when you move the furniture. The best test is to actually sit on the furniture.

Fabric | If you are purchasing an upholstered piece of furniture, run your hand along the fabric in search of imperfections. You shouldn’t be able to feel any if the piece has been made well. Moreover, the fabric should remain in place while you are running your hand along it. Look for interruptions in the pattern as well.

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