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Modern kitchen

5 Tips for Renovating your Kitchen

While kitchen renovations can be a great way to update the look of your home, they can also be costly, time consuming and sometimes very challenging. Knowing where to start and adopting a plan of action can help to make this a more enjoyable experience, rather than a stressful one. There are many things to consider when renovating your kitchen, so research your choices carefully and find the options that are right for you and your family. If you are finding it difficult, knowing where to begin, try these tips for a stress-free kitchen renovation.

Start with a Budget

As with any home renovations, it is easy to get carried away once you really get into the swing of things. Before you begin renovating, create a realistic budget to help you to achieve your desired results – without breaking the bank. Having a budget can help you to prioritise between necessities and luxuries, and can also encourage you to shop around for the best possible prices.

Try Resurfacing rather than Replacing

Instead of having the burden of replacing your kitchen bench tops, resurface them instead, for a great finish at only a fraction of the price. If the structure of your kitchen cupboards is sound, you may be able to resurface your bench tops to create a more modern look and get rid of those nasty out-dated colours – without having to replace your entire kitchen.

Think about your Height

While the average bench top stands at 900mm, it is important to adjust this to be comfortable for your height. Renovating your kitchen is the perfect time to make changes, which will make life a little easier for you. Whether you are taller or shorter, adjust your bench height accordingly and you will notice the differences immediately.

Hire an Electrician

DIY renovations can dramatically cut the prices of revamping your kitchen; however, there are some things that are best left for the professionals. Handling the installation of electrical products or any electrical wires can prove to be very dangerous, if you are not professional trained and qualified in the industry. Professional home builders and electricians will be able to provide you with peace of mind of knowing that your family is safe.

Environmental Considerations

When renovating your kitchen, or any other area of your home, it’s important to consider your impact on the environment. Creating an environmentally sustainable home is not only a great way to become more eco-friendly, but it is also a smart way to save money. Including items in your kitchen renovation, such as water saving tap fittings, solar water systems, LED lighting and energy efficient appliances, is a great way to decrease your energy consumption and dramatically reduce the cost of your next electricity bill.

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Granite Transformations Cabin Kitchen Island

Pairing Rustic Kitchen Cabinets With Granite Countertops For Simple Elegance

Today’s decorating trends are quite eclectic. There is no specific formula or any proper method to “put things together”. The only rule is that there are no rules except one: Follow your instincts.

If you are comfortable with your ideas, go for it.

An example that comes to mind is the use of log furniture in a modern decorating scheme. Depending on the approach you take, you can take on a rustic log cabin theme and pull it all together with accessories and appointments that add color as well as unique touches of style while taking away the heavy impression that log furniture can leave with you.

A good balance of styles can make your home comfy and truly enjoyable. Picture a kitchen/dining space with a beautiful natural pine log table and chairs set in a space decorated with contemporary rustic cabinetry and an attractive granite countertop.

 

Granite Transformations Cabin Kitchen Counter

 

The natural look of log furniture can be dramatic when set against the right background. This rustic feel can be carried out throughout the home and mixed and matched throughout. Rustic tables with legs that have been whitewashed can make a visual impression when the tabletops are topped with a style of granite similar to that used for the kitchen cabinets.

Because granite is a natural material, it will work well when used in combination with any number of materials. Rustic cabinets are an ideal base from which a theme can be fully developed. The great thing about granite is the many colors that nature has endowed it with. Most often, you will find a highlight color within the granite that can be used as the basis for color schemes throughout the home.

About the company:
JHE’s Log Furniture Place is a leading manufacturer and retailer of rustic log furniture. This company has a huge online store offering indoor and outdoor log furniture, as well as rustic décor and accessories. Its furniture is proudly made in the USA and the company has excellent customer service.

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Contemporary Furnishings

How to Revitalize Your Home with Modern Design

In designing any interior space, the key is to make sure the people using it will be comfortable, both physically and emotionally. Homeowners who prefer clean lines and uncluttered surfaces may find a contemporary modern style appealing. Most interiors lend themselves well to a modern treatment. The secret is simplicity: simple treatments of floors, walls and windows, simply styled modern furniture and spartan simplicity in decorative elements. A clean, minimalist, modern look can easily transform a dated room into an exciting living environment.

Contemporary Furnishings

Updating a room in a modern style requires a light hand with furniture. The overall look of a contemporary interior is clean and spare, with plenty of open space. Modern furniture should not be so large as to crowd the space, nor should it be so small as to generate clutter. The lines of the piece should be simple, and devoid of complex details that would detract from the overall effect. Colors should be predominately neutral with a strong emphasis on white, although dark or bright contrast pieces can also be effective. Surfaces ought to have textural interest, whether flat expanses of hard gloss like an enameled coffee table or areas of soft plush like suede upholstery.

Modern interiors often incorporate nature, either as a view through a window or as interior detail. Plants, preferably living ones (not plastic), can provide both a natural touch, a bright swath of green color and a textural contrast either bold or feathery. Best of all, they help keep interior air fresh and clean. The one thing to watch when selecting plants, however, is their size; plants in contemporary interiors must be large enough to make an impression and avoid a cluttered appearance, but small enough not to crowd the room. Bold plants like cacti, succulents or ficus species are particularly appropriate. Aquariums may also work in some rooms, either with a single showy fish in a tank just large enough to keep it healthy or a large tank with its own interior decorated in a contemporary minimalist style.

The arrangement of furniture in a modern interior can be as important as its selection. The overall impression should always be open. Even the large platform beds so dear to modern designers must be used with care to preserve a roomy look. In living areas, furniture can be arranged around the perimeter, leaving an open central area for an inviting atmosphere and a practical path for traffic. Dining areas in the modern style might feature a minimalist approach with only the most necessary furnishings in simple geometric shapes in a space flooded with natural light.

Surface Treatments

One important facet of any interior design scheme is the floor/surface itself. In a modern room, floor color is normally white; white walls, white ceilings and white floors (where practical) make a fine canvas for the best modern looks. Variations in texture can keep the feel of the room from becoming too stark. Plush fabric, sheepskin rugs and filmy curtains contrast with the flat expanse of white walls to create a fresh, uncluttered look that is welcoming as well as clean and open. If the homeowner is uncomfortable with white, another light neutral color can be used to good effect, such as milder cream tones.

Another background element in the most characteristically modern rooms is natural light. If the structure itself is modern in style, it should have huge expanses of glass windows to let light pour in, including skylights. Where privacy considerations permit, these can be left totally unadorned to admit both light and a view, whether intimate or expansive. Large mirrored surfaces will help the light to flow through the space. Those windows that must be covered present a choice between a glowing effect created by light-penetrating translucent draperies, or an interesting textural addition to the overall effect.

Floors present practical problems in a modern interior, as white floors can be quite difficult to keep clean, being that even a hint of grime can spoil the effect. So, many designers use polished wood floors in a relatively light color. Others go for dark colors of wood or tile for contrast. If the area is lightly used, like a guest room, or frequently cleaned, like a bathroom or kitchen, a white floor may be quite practical. Floors present another opportunity for textural contrast: a luxuriously deep rug or an area of carpeting can provide a visual separation between two areas of a room, or they can be used strictly for visual and tactile interest.

Details

The bane of contemporary design is clutter. Decorative accessories should be few in number, and items like afghans, books, and magazines – and even remote controls – should be kept out of sight in drawers, cabinets, trunks and ottomans that harmonize with the modern style of the room. A large television may remain in view if its presence suits the homeowner’s lifestyle, but DVD players and game systems and the discs that feed them are best concealed in a discreet cabinet when not in use. Televisions require wiring, and a unit that does not sit on a stand able to conceal them should have some other way of hiding the obvious. One option is to run the wires through the walls, but the possibility of a fire hazard means an electrician should be employed to install them. Another idea is a cord cover, which is a small rectangular channel that runs along the surface of the wall to conceal the wiring. When painted to match the wall, the cover is so unobtrusive as to be almost invisible.

Even a minimalist room will have some decoration, but it is important to keep it in harmony with the overall style of the room. Artwork should be evenly distributed enough to avoid a cluttered look, and possibly big enough to be the focal point of the room. Colors may be neutral or bright, and the subject matter and style should be as modern as the room itself; timeless Picasso pieces would do as well in a modern interior design scheme as newer paintings from the 21st century would. Architectural drawings or black and white photographs work as well, and in some rooms the bright colors of pop art can fit quite nicely. Ultimately, which artistic accents you add to your home will depend entirely upon your own personal tastes!

Room Decoration Feng Shu

Quick and Easy Guide to Feng Shui

Feng Shui is the ancient Chinese art of creating a harmonious, balanced environment. It is believed that with Feng Shui, you can maximize the positive energy in your home, and promote prosperity and good health. It’s not just some trendy Hollywood craze; it’s a very practical and compelling way to design your home. If you are interested in Feng Shui, there are some simple and easy ways to start. You don’t have to overhaul your entire house, just start by focusing on the design of one room at a time.

De-Clutter

One of the most important aspects of Feng Shui is that you don’t have too much stuff. Eliminating clutter is an easy way to achieve positive energy in your home. Too much stuff can create stress, but an environment with a minimal amount of stuff is more peaceful. Start by getting rid of the things you don’t need, including seldom-used furniture.

Fresh Air

Stale air can be bad for your health and your Feng Shui. Open your windows whenever possible to allow fresh air to flow freely through you home.

Live Plants

Keeping a few live plants in your home adds to the life force of your environment. Plants can be calming and beautiful, and they help purify the air.

Water

Japanese Garden

Water is one of the most important things in life. It keeps living things alive, and it is an ancient symbol of prosperity. Consider buying a small fountain for your home. The continuously moving water will bring peace and calm to a room.

Mirrors

It is well-known that adding a mirror to a room will help open it up and appear larger. It will also bring in light from other areas of your house. A mirror will instantly brighten up your space and increase the positive energy in it.

Colors

Color is very important in Feng Shui, and you can consider the meanings of different shades when choosing colors for the interior of your home. Green is a color for improving health and family life. Blue is for prosperity and good career growth. Yellow signifies happiness and joy and is often used in the kitchen. White is a good color for inspiring creativity, especially good in an artist’s studio, for example. In your bedroom, choose a color that is a skin tone, such as a shade of white or brown, to promote healthy sleep and rest.

Artwork

When you are selecting artwork or photographs for your home, be mindful of what you choose. You’ll want to select images that reflect the type of environment you want your home to be. Don’t post paintings of people who are sad, for example, or images of destruction. Hang only happy and comforting artwork that reflects the hope you have for your home and family.

If you are interested in Feng Shui, you can delve deeper. Many elements of good Feng Shui, for example, are based on the directions of the compass or the time you were born. But for anyone who just wants to promote the positive energy in their home, the guidelines listed above are easy ways to incorporate Feng Shui into your design elements.

Terry Ford delivers superior content across the web with a focus in topical and grammatical excellence. She leads the writing team at Grammarly, the most powerful grammarchecker on the Web.

Patio Décor

Turn Your Patio into a Personal Haven

Turn your indoor or outdoor patio into an entire additional room with creative decorating ideas. By adding an outdoor fireplace or patio heater you can create a spot to spend time in during the colder fall and winter months instead of only being able to use your patio in the summer. The most usable patios are enclosed – if yours is open, you may want to install an awning or at least put up a large patio umbrella for cover. Before furnishing and decorating your patio, make sure to clean it so that it will look its best.

Choose a theme and design the patio around that style of decor. For example, for a tropical theme, opt for bright aquas, oranges and yellows along with images of palm trees, colorful birds and the ocean. For a Mediterranean theme, find tapestries, pillows and pottery in deep purples, greens and golds. You’ll also want to design the patio around its main function – if you’re going to be entertaining, you’ll need lots of seating space and surfaces for drinks and plates, plus a miniature bar. If you want a quiet reading nook, you’ll need plenty of light and quite, serene surroundings. If your patio is large enough, you can section off areas for different things – one section can be used for sipping morning coffee and flipping through a newspaper and another section can be just for the kids.

Lay area rugs on the floor and add seating to create an inviting lounge area. Adirondack chairs, a bistro set, rocking chairs, a porch swing, hammocks or even a couch will add charm and functionality. Keep oversized pillows nearby so guests can plop down on the floor to talk or read when there’s a crowd. Illuminate the area with hanging overhead lamps, candles, tiki torches or string lights. Anything that provides soft light, like Chinese lanterns, is perfect for patio lighting. Remember, you don’t have to run to the store to buy brand new furniture – use what you’ve got and update it with a new coat of paint. You’ll be surprised at the facelift you can give your old furnishings.

Mix color, scents and natural foliage by adding potted plants, herbs and flowers to your patio. Create more floor space by hanging plants or placing them on tall, thin stands. When choosing plants, make sure that they’ll survive and thrive on the patio – check out how much sun and shade they need. Plants can also be used to section off your patio if there isn’t an outline of the area. For a spin on basic plants, purchase a topiary in the shape of your choice (they’re like bigger, better Chia Pets). Place bird feeders, bird baths or fountains around to add to the natural vibe.

Add the element of sound to your patio. Wind chimes can sound beautiful – just make sure that they don’t get in the way of relaxation. If you’d rather use your patio to get some shut eye, install a sound system and play CDs with natural sounds, like soothing running water. A stereo can also be used to play music when you have guests over.

About the Author: Samantha Reynolds writes for Patioshoppers.com, the leading e-tailer of outdoor rugs, Christmas holiday decor and other unique patio goods.

Front Doors

Make Your Entry Door the Focal Point of Your Home

The exterior door of your home is the perfect focal point for the front of your house, particularly if you pay close attention to the design, materials of the door and the accessories you place near it. By creating a beautiful front door, you’re not only making your house aesthetically appealing, but you are also giving passers-by and guests an introduction to your taste and style.

Materials

Exterior doors come, on average, in two choices of material: steel and wood. Steel doors are perhaps the most readily available and cost effective. Wood doors can lend a traditional, classic look to your home if stained in a rich color.

Whether or not you choose an entry door with glass panes or windows is simply a matter of personal taste. Windows in your front door can add visual appeal as well as allowing light to enter your home, a great choice if you have few windows in your front room or foyer.

Color

If you like bold color, the front door offers you a great opportunity to add a splash of color to your home. You obviously don’t want to paint your house bright violet but why not use it for your front door? If you live in the city or in a section of row houses, painting your front door a vivid color is a great way to make your house stand out from the rest.

If subtlety is more your style, paint your front door in a pretty pastel. Light greens and yellows look lovely on an entry door and are nicely understated. Consider colored stain for a wood door and give it a coat of polyurethane to protect it from the elements.

Accessories

You can decorate your door with beautiful wreaths and greenery, doorknockers, and even mail slots. Wreaths are a great accessory as they can be changed with the approaching season. Hang a grapevine wreath to welcome fall, a poinsettia wreath for winter and change to a dried flower wreath in the spring.

Installing planters, benches and/or wall hangings alongside your front door will make it eye-catching. Planters are as easy to change with the seasons as wreaths and offer a plethora of decorating opportunities.

Another look that we love: bold house numbers installed on the entry door. If you have a front door with a flat panel, use it for big, bold house numbers. Paint them in a contrasting color to make them stand out and add ‘No.’ before them for a touch of creativity.

If you have steps leading to your front door or porch, use them to your advantage. Planters going up the steps or situated at the base of the steps welcome guests to your home in an inviting way. Pumpkins and corn stalks in the fall look gorgeous when lined up on your porch steps.

No matter your style, get creative with your front door. It’s often the first place that people are drawn to when looking at your home. Whether it’s a bright splash of color, a more subtle tone, great accessories or a combination of decorating ideas, giving attention to your entry door will make your home stand out from the others on the block.

Jonathan Freedman is a security consultant who also writes for Qualified Hardware, one of the oldest Commercial door hardware companies in the country. Check out http://www.qualifiedhardware.com/ for a complete selection of commercial door accessories, from door hinges and closers to locks and alarmed exit devices.

Check out this article for a look at some creative doors!

Kitchen

Renovations That Move Homes

With a down market, recouping the money spent on a home can be difficult; however, knowing where to spend on renovations can give you the ability to not only move your home faster, but recoup any money spent on the home. For instance spending on a new roof won’t up the value of your home, since most buyers expect the roof to be in good shape. The key is focus on the things that are important to buyers without running up the price tag.

So what areas do you focus on?

Curb Appeal

Start with the outside; if most potential buyers don’t like how your home looks on the outside, it is highly unlikely they will take the time to venture indoors. According to BankRate.com, a good first impression can add anywhere from five to ten percent to the value of your home.

Prominent improvements can be:

  • Painting a faded home is a great start, but remember to match the colors with the home. Pea green may have been popular in the 1970s, but may have a negative effect on today’s homebuyers.
  • Cracked walkways and driveways should be repaired since they lead directly to your home and are seen by anyone walking up to it.
  • Landscaping can be a fun way of adding value. It gives you a chance to get out in your yard and create a beautiful arrangement of flowers, shrubbery, as well as outdoor furniture that can be taken to your new home.

Open Your Floor Plan

In the past decade, the trend has been large open spaces, as opposed to dark and cramped. Opening your floor plan is a huge value booster. Open floor plans usually are composed of combining your kitchen, living, and dining areas all in one. Removing a wall to provide an open area can causes even smaller houses to feel larger and open.

While this is a more costly renovation, it adds value to your home and entices younger families.

Bathrooms

The national average of recouped cost is more than 100 percent for bathrooms, which means new floors, fixtures, and lights really pay off. When it comes to flooring, buyers still prefer ceramic tiles since they handle water better than wood and linoleum. Ceramics can be expensive, so if your current tiles are in good shape, a solid cleaning or hiring a floor refinisher to recolor your tiles is a great option.

Kitchen Renovation

Perhaps the most important area when preparing your home to be sold is the kitchen. The kitchen is the heart of the home and is the number one way to add value to your home. Updating your kitchen can be a fun process as well. Many buyers are drawn toward granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, and plenty of cabinet space. A shiny new sink and faucets can be a plus as well.

While updating the kitchen can be expensive, the Reliable Remodeler says the average home remodel returns 80 to 100 percent of renovations.

Updating your home can be a chore, but sitting on your home waiting for it to be sold is even worse. Many home upgrades can be done through buying a few DIY books, while larger renovations can be done through hiring subcontractors. When it’s all said and done, an updated home not only sells faster, but can fetch a higher price than a competing home.

Matt Polsky is the Senior Content Manager for VA Mortgage Center.com, the nation’s leading provider of VA home loans. Connect with Matt on Twitter @mattpolsky

Photo thanks to Dru Bloomfield – At Home in Scottsdale under a creative commons license from Flickr.