Last Updated on October 21, 2011

Looking for a new apartment can be an exciting process. Seeing a wide range of properties and picturing yourself in them can be a fun experience, as can the prospect of finding a good deal or something that you may not have even considered. It is however important to be thorough and attentive when seeking out a new home in order to be truly happy. When you start apartment hunting, keep in mind a few pointers, such as:

Use Your Time Wisely
In order to use your time in a productive manner, make sure that you set up a number of showings on the same day. If you are working with only one letting agent, have him or her arrange things so that you can see the flats in quick succession. Not only will this speed up the process by ensuring that you don’t have to wait for days between showings, but it will help you compare the flats more effectively since the last ones will be fresh in your mind.

Measure Your Furniture
Before you go flat hunting, take some time to measure the big pieces of furniture that you already own. This could include items such as beds, chairs and tables. You want to know how big these are so that you can accurately imagine them in the new flat. If the agent tells you how long the wall is in the bedroom, or how large the room is overall, you will not know what this really means unless you know the size of the objects you want to place inside the room.

Look For Problems
When viewing a flat, you will be shown the positives first. This is natural, and shouldn’t cause any concern, but make sure not to let the good aspects prevent you from seeing the potential problems. Look for any hidden signs. Darkened patches of wallpaper, for example, could indicate a water leak, or a rattling noise in the heating vents could mean that they do not work. Make sure you are aware of any problems with the flat before deciding on its value.

Ask The Right Questions
Above all, you must ask the right questions when you are talking to the letting agent. Ask when repair work was last done on the flat to figure out if you will need to make any repairs in the near future. Ask how many people have lived there; the more people who have used the space, the more issues there could be. Be sure to ask if there are any special rules and regulations that you should be made aware of so that you are not taken by surprise. Lastly, ask if the price is firm or if you can negotiate.

Dane Cross writes on behalf of One UK, a UK based estate agents who specialise in apartments and flats in Leeds.

Check out MSN for more tips on apartment hunting.

Last Updated on October 21, 2011

Lighting is one of the least obvious and yet most vital aspects of interior design. Ideally right from the start of designing the layout of a room you should be aiming to get the best effect possible. There are a range of factors you need to consider when lighting your home, one of the most vital of which is how to get the best out of the natural light available.

The quality of natural light depends a lot upon which way the windows to a room face. In the northern hemisphere light tends to have the following qualities (If you live in the southern hemisphere just reverse them):

  • North facing window: The light tends to be colder and harsher than from other directions. North facing rooms are great for artistic endeavours as the light gives you a true impression of the colours.
  • East facing window: Bright in the morning, with long shadows but will be dark in the late afternoon and evening. East facing rooms make for bedrooms as they will help you align yourself with the day’s rhythm.
  • South facing window: Will have a warm light all day, though the quality will change as the day progresses. Good for living rooms as it will allow the room to stay warm and well lit for most of the day.
  • West facing window: Dark in the morning, but bright in the evening with long shadows. Great for dining rooms as the light will help you entertain guests in the evening.

As implied in the above descriptions it is important for you to consider lighting when deciding on the purpose of each room. Of course my take on what lights are good for what rooms depends upon your own circumstances and rooms. For example people who regularly work night shifts might prefer a west facing bedroom to an east facing one. Whatever the purpose of a room you need to decide on the best way of lighting it.

For functional rooms such as a kitchen you will want large windows to let in as much light as possible. If possible either go without window treatments or use treatments such as wooden venetian blinds, which will allow you to exercise a lot of control over how much light gets in and out. In rooms which are more for living in will benefit from smaller windows and treatments such as curtains or roller blinds which will allow you to change the quality of the light by diffusing it for a warmer effect.

You should also consider the natural light when choosing the colours to paint your walls. Depending on the purpose of the room you will either want to emphasise or counter the effect that the lighting has. For example dark colours in a north facing room will create a dramatic and intimate effect whereas pastels, particularly ones with orange or yellow hues will help to warm and brighten the room. In contrast south facing rooms receive so much light that you will want to avoid bright colours so they don’t appear overwhelming. Neutral and dark colours will work well.

East and west facing rooms are trickier because of the change of light over the course of the day. Because you want to use east facing rooms in the morning and west facing in the evening I would recommend bright colours for the eastern rooms to help you wake up and warm colours in the west to help you wind down.

Image: Chanzi

Author Bio: Daniel is a UK blogger and copywriter with an interest in interior design.

Last Updated on October 21, 2011

Whether you’re working at home or furthering your career with online courses, your workspace is as important as the task at hand. With so many employees telecommuting, at home businesses starting up and students taking advantage of the convenience of online studies, the home office you once knew is a thing of the past. Today more emphasis is placed on proper and modern office design that promotes productivity. If you find yourself spending countless hours working or studying at home, consider your home office and decide if it is time for a modern makeover. Here are the latest home office trends that will offer style and productivity.



Before deciding on your home office remodel, you should first decide on the type of lighting you work better in. If natural light brings you to life, you will want to consider large modern windows giving you plenty of light to read and write in. Bay windows are a popular option as it also offers extra seating or work surfaces.

If you prefer artificial lights, you will want to consider your office layout. Recessed lighting is extremely popular and can light up various sections of the office. It is not suggested to work in softer light as it may cause fatigue and you will find yourself falling asleep and falling behind. If you are planning to use lighting and lamps but don’t want to give up the option of natural light, you may want to consider small windows with blinds or thick window dressing. This will allow you to use natural light when the feeling arises.



There never seems to be enough space, so when you remodel, be sure to take storage into consideration. It is important to stay organized when you are working or studying. Utilizing free wall space with built in shelves or modern storage cabinets will give you plenty of storage while keeping your new style. Office furniture with tucked away storage space is also a good way to get a few extra square feet to hold your books or files.


There is nothing more distracting than noise. When you decide to remodel you may want to reduce outside noise in order to allow for concentration. Using absorbent materials inside the office and thick wall materials outside the office will reduce echo inside and noise outside. This will create a quiet environment with less interruptions and more productivity.



To some, correct color choices escape them. Many people choose colors they like rather than learning the science behind colors. Just like there is a reason why fast food restaurants use red in their advertising, certain colors spark certain feelings. If you are creating a space that will be used to work or study, you want to use a color that will spark creativity and energy. Bright and vibrant colors will help increase productivity as well as keep you energized to put in long hours.


We all have our own individual styles. Modern lines and cuts however, can help your productivity. Sharp corners and thin lines offer a professional and stylish feel that can keep your mind on work and studies. If you are more traditional you might find that the soft tones and curvy lines of antique style furniture will remind you more of a relaxing study rather than the productive office you need. With modern designs you can still find a style that meets your taste without compromising productivity.

There is a convenience to working and earning your degree at home. With no commute to the office or campus, you have more time in the day to be productive. However, without proper office design you may find that it is harder to get the results you hope for. Take into consideration the science behind home office design and you will find a space that is full of energy and creativity.

Terry Southerland is a career counselor and content contributor for, a site providing lists of top degrees as well as rankings of colleges with the best accounting degree programs.

Last Updated on October 20, 2011

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.


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.


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.


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 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!

Last Updated on October 20, 2011

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, 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.


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, 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.

Last Updated on October 20, 2011

Times have changed and women have every opportunity to do things just as well as men do; so why does it seem that men still run the power tools? Well, that doesn’t need to be the case. Often times, women simply don’t know where to start when gathering tools of their own so here’s a simple list of beginner tools. If you still need some advice on which type to get, you should go to a local hardware store and ask an associate which tools are best for you. Don’t forget to research coupons, some tools can be a bit pricey.

1. Let’s start with the most obvious tool: the hammer. You may not realize it but there are dozens of styles of hammers out there that may leave you a little confused as to which is which. The most common used style of hammer, the claw hammer, is probably your best bet. It has a curved down claw on one end the splits into a ‘V’ shape. That split is used to pull out floorboards and nails, which is useful when rearranging picture frame or shelves on the wall. Claw hammers come in different weights so be sure to fiddle around with a few before committing to buy it.

2. Secondly we have the screwdriver. Now there are two main types of screwdrivers, the flat head and the Philips, and both are equally as important. So the if they are both important, which should you get? The answer is both! Many times, screwdrivers come in a pre-packaged set with a variety of sizes and lengths. Unlike the hammer, you can’t use one type of screwdriver for every type of screw so it’s best to get a variety. If you are a bit more advanced in working with tools, you could upgrade from a basic screwdriver to a power drill.

3. The wrench is also a very important tool to have by your side, but like everything else, there are several different kinds. You may automatically think monkey wrench, as that is one of the more popular styles; however to get the most bang for your buck you’ll want something that can work for nearly everything. Introducing, the adjustable wrench! The adjustable wrench does just that, one side of the claw moves to create a larger or smaller width for you to work with. Similar to the screwdriver, not all nuts and bolts are the same size but by buying an adjustable wrench, you can limit the number of overall wrenches you’ll need to get the job done.

4. Pliers are next on the list and like everything there are several types. However, since you do want the most versatile tool, the obvious solution is the slip-joint pliers. Slip-joint pliers can actually open to multiple widths by simply moving the pivot to a different groove. Pliers are extremely convenient to have as they have multiple functions including: gripping, cutting and bending.

5. Lastly there’s the rotary tool. Now the rotary tool may seems a bit scary at first since it is a power tool but they are handheld and don’t require much force to use. A rotary can actually be several tools in one, such as: a saw, sander, detailer and drill. Rotary tools even come cordless if you plan on taking it on the road or simply don’t want the hassle of dealing with a cord. Confused about which attachments to get for your rotary? Well most rotary tools actually come as a kit and include some of the basics.

Steff Scholl isn’t new to the world of power tools, as she has worked with a variety of mediums to finish several projects. Because of this, she knows how difficult and expensive it can be to find good tools when first starting off. Steff recommends using Sears coupons for a better deal.

Last Updated on October 19, 2011

If you are able-bodied, and not a millionaire, there is no real reason to waste money paying other people to paint your house.  I should not be saying this, I guess, according to some people.   I was a professional painter for years, and I don’t want to mess with painters’ livelihood, but I also feel that I have a responsibility to the consumers to let them in on a few tips for saving money in these tough economic times.  You can paint your own place if you have a little bit of money and a good amount of time.

One tip is to have a painting party, just to get some extra hands on the job.  You send out invitations to friends who you think won’t screw it up, bribe them with some food, beer, or whatever will work, and stock up on paint, rollers, brushes, and a whole bunch of drop cloths to keep them from trashing your stuff.  This works best for interior work, when you don’t have a lot of people climbing around on ladders and possibly falling and killing themselves.  If you protect your carpet, furniture, and other possessions with drop cloths, you will usually be OK having a bunch of buddies over to slap paint while listening to music and telling jokes.  It’s not a bad idea to have a chat with each of them to see if they have painting experience or special skills.  That way, you can delegate well and choose who cuts in the detail work, who rolls out the ceiling, etc.

When working on the exterior, it’s all about the prep work.  The exterior is where you are most likely to have to deal with thick, dried, nasty old paint.  It looks kind of like alligator skin, and it usually does not want to come off.  You can scrape it the old fashioned way, which will probably make you want just quit the whole project, or you can invest in a multi-use oscillating tool and use scraper blades to do most of the work for you.  I think it’s worth buying one of these tools.  They aren’t usually cheap, but they have so many uses that they will pay for themselves in no time.  Once you own the tool, you can choose from a huge variety of multi tool blades so you can use it for cutting just about anything, scraping dried paint / dried concrete / drywall mud / tile grout / etc., sanding, grinding, sculpting… the list goes on and on.  If you own a house, you need one of these.  The replacement oscillating tool blades can get expensive, but you can find websites where you can get high quality blades at a fraction of the name brand prices.  One of these tools makes scraping and prepping, the least fun parts of exterior painting, far less painful.  It’s also a good idea to borrow or rent a power washer to clean up your exterior surfaces before applying paint.

Another major tip is to use rollers whenever possible.  Even good brushes tend to leave brush marks / streaks in the paint.  It’s impossible to avoid brushes altogether, especially when doing cut-ins / trim work, but try to limit the brush work.  Between your large rollers and the small hand rollers, you can do probably 98% or more of most paint jobs with rollers.  Cut in the edges with a brush and then use rollers to go over your brush work as much as possible, to even out the paint right up to the very edges.  Many people never think of using rollers for external trim work, but they should.  Small hand rollers on your exterior trim will spread the paint much more evenly than brushes.  When it comes to interior surfaces, buy the best large roller you can afford.  Make liberal use of drop cloths in case of accidents and use a high-quality roller.  Buying cheap rollers is one of the most common and serious mistakes that people tend to make.  Bad roller will cost you more in paint, damaged goods, and headaches than the cost of a high-quality roller, especially when rolling out the ceiling.  A $40 roller can last you for months if you clean it with soap and water between jobs.  It will hold the paint, spread it beautifully, and keep it from running and dripping.  If you place the roller in plastic, the plastic will hold in the moisture so that the paint won’t dry and destroy the roller.  This won’t work forever, but it will preserve your roller if a job takes a few days.  I have tried the various roller mechanisms that pump the paint directly onto the roller through a tube.  As always, the infomercials look great, but I have not had much luck with them.  They tend to work great for about 15 minutes before something goes wrong and you they either create a big mess or they simply quite working.  There may be some good ones out there, but I would tend to advise people to just buy a high-quality traditional roller and put down a drop cloth.

Keep it simple and use your common sense.  Painting always costs some amount of time and money, but you can limit both if you plan out the job and take some good advice.

Bryan a former painting company assistant manager, construction worker, teacher, and author of several articles on painting, home improvements, and oscillating tool blades.

Last Updated on October 19, 2011

home loan

Mеant fоr mаking all kіnd оf hоmе imрrоvеmеntѕ, this kind of lоan is mаіnly tаіlored fоr hоmеownеrѕ. Whеthеr thе hоmеоwnеr wiѕhеѕ tо оr cаn uѕe hiѕ рroреrty as cоllаtеrаl оr not dоеѕn’t mаttеr. Thе рrорerty іѕ ѕtіll раrt оf the bоrrоwеr’ѕ аѕsetѕ and in ѕоme waу guаrаntееѕ thе rеpаymеnt оf thе lоаn еvеn іf thе lоan іs unsесurеd.

Mаin Dіfferеncеѕ

The Claѕѕіс dіfferеncеs betwееn ѕесurеd personal lоanѕ аnd unѕеcured реrѕоnаl loаnѕ аlѕo аpplу tо seсurеd and unѕеcurеd home іmprovemеnt lоanѕ. Thе іntеrеst rаte сhаrgеd for ѕесurеd hоmе іmрrovеmеnt lоаns іs cоnѕidеrablу lоwеr duе tо the loаn beіng guаrаntееd with аn аѕѕet. Nеvеrthelеsѕ, іf thе aррlісаnt is a homeоwnеr with а gооd credіt scоre аnd а clеаn сredіt hіѕtоrу, thе dіffеrenсe bеtween the two rаteѕ fadеѕ awау.

Thе loаn аmount yоu саn rеquеѕt аlsо depеnds оn whеther the homе іmрrоvemеnt lоаn is ѕeсured оr unsecured. Sесured hоmе imрrоvеmеnt lоаns аre оffеred wіth hіghеr lоan amountѕ аnd уоu cаn usuallу requеst up to thе rеmаinіng of thе avаіlаblе home еquіtу. Howevеr, іf thе applіcаnt haѕ ѕuffіcіеnt аѕsеtѕ, аn unѕесurеd homе imрrovеment loan cоuld be аwаrdеd fоr еvеn mоre mоnеу thаn а ѕecured onе.

The ѕаmе goes to the loan ѕchedule, thеre iѕ а lоt of flexіbilіty whеn aррlуіng for sесured homе іmрrovеmеnt lоanѕ аnd long reраymеnt рrоgrams can bе аgrееd. Unsесurеd oneѕ dо not аllow ѕuсh long reрayment рrograms thаt сan ѕomеtіmеѕ rеасh 15 yеаrѕ оr mоrе. Nеverthеlеsѕ, all deрends оn thе applісаnt’s finаnсіаl and crеdit ѕіtuatіоn.

The riѕk of rеpoѕѕеѕѕіоn is nоt present оn unѕесured lоаns but the lеndеr саn ѕtill tаkе lеgаl actiоn to rесоver hiѕ monеy as wіth аny оthеr tурe оf loаn. Thе only dіffеrencе bеіng that such асtіonѕ would tаkе а lot lоnger and would probably bе fаr morе exрenѕіve іn tеrms оf lеgаl fеeѕ.

lump sum and haloc

Also, sіnсе ѕесurеd hоme imprоvemеnt loаns hаve thаt sрecіаl рurpоsе rеquіremеnt, the lеndеr mау rеqueѕt you tо рrovіdе dосumеntаtion statіng which imрrоvemеnts аrе gоing tо be undertаkеn and wіll prоbаblу bе mоrе lіkеlу tо aрprоve thoѕe loans for hоmе іmрrоvеmеntѕ that will rаіѕе thе рrореrty’s vаluе, thus inсrеasing thе еquіty on yоur hоmе.

Thiѕ iѕ due to the faсt thаt аnу inсreаsе on the proреrtу’s valuе іѕ an іnсrеаѕе оn the vаluе of thе аѕѕеt guаrаntеeing the lоаn whісh bеnеfіts bоth thе applicant and the lеnder.

About the Author : Rohitesh Naik, a Freelance writer and a Internet Marketer who presently writes about Upcoming Verizon Phones.
New Verizon Phones

Last Updated on June 20, 2022

Many modern homeowners find themselves faced with a problem. They want a modern bathroom remodel, but need to stay on a strict budget. Is there a way to achieve one without sacrificing the other? Certainly. Here’s is a foolproof budget friendly bathroom makeover plan to get you started.

Choose only 1 item to spend the most money on. For many people, when they think of a modern bathroom remodel, they see a glass enclosed shower stall, a separate soaking tub, a beautiful vanity—I could go on and on. Don’t worry, for the sake of time and your sanity—I won’t.

To tear out and replace all of these fixtures to create this look, for most, is way out of their budget’s reach. If what you are starting with is a smaller, simpler bathroom that won’t allow for all of these changes, choose one item to drop the most money on. Take a mental inventory of what you like and what you can’t stand in your current bathroom. If your vanity saw better days in the 1960’s, then this would be a good place to start. If your shower enclosure used to be ivory and now appears yellowed—then here is another option to change. Remember, you can decorate around this one item to modernize the entire look of your bathroom. After you’ve decided on what’s got to go—go shopping. To stick with a modern bent, you’ll want to find something with clean lines and simple design.  Give yourself a lot of options. This is the one big ticket item you’ll be using for your modern bathroom remodel—so make your choice count!

modern single sink vanity

Modernize the rest of your fixtures to match. If your vanity was the piece that went, start modernizing the rest of your room around it. Simple and inexpensive switches abound here. A good place to start is with a fresh coat of paint. A new color or often–just another coat—can really breathe a new feeling to a space. Next, you’ll want to check into getting new hardware to match that of your vanity. You’ll find a wide variety of towel bars, door handles, or light fixtures, for example, at any Home Depot or Lowes. In addition, try changing out your old medicine cabinet for a funky new mirror. Most modern bathroom vanities allow for a good amount of storage. Utilizing this space will allow you to add a great accent right above your vanity—making it even more the central focal point of your modern bathroom remodel!

Should you have decided that the shower was the piece to be updated, no worries here either! You can always update your vanity by sanding it down and adding a new finish to it. This is labor intensive, but certainly worth the effort. Another option would be to paint it. If you’re going for a clean, white look, try sanding your vanity down and adding a bright white coat of paint. You’ll find it may appear that you did get a new vanity altogether! (Remember to use a paint that is suitable for bathroom conditions—nothing looks worse than a chipped or peeling surface.) Fixtures can still be replaced but now can include the vanity faucets as well.  In addition, if you’re feeling really ambitious, you can even change out the tile!

modern vessel sink vanity

There are tons of ways you can update the look of your bathroom with a budget friendly bathroom makeover. Start first with choosing one expensive item to replace. Once you’ve got that installed, pull together the inexpensive items to complete the transformation. You’ll be happy with the cost and the completed project! Good luck!

Hillary Hansen is a featured author for the site, where you can find a large selection of beautiful modern vanities for every style, size, and budget!

Last Updated on October 19, 2011

Residential homes benefit from a well planned landscape architectural design. The landscape architect will design an aesthetically pleasing outdoor space for the homeowner, while taking into consideration the needs of the environment. Not only do homeowners see an increase in their home’s value, but the community as a whole benefits from the well thought-out design.

What is Landscape Architecture?

Landscape architecture became popular in 1863 after New York’s Central Park was designed. It is an example of using design to draw the growing population of the area into the open space of the park, away from city noise.

On a much smaller scale, the landscape architect will design an outdoor space that suits the buildings in relation to the landscape and to all who gaze upon it. This includes taking into consideration the types of soil present, the wildlife of the area, any surrounding structures, as well as the plants and bodies of water in the area. By looking at all the pieces, the architect will design an area that conserves on water while being a work of art.

The Process

The design begins before the home is placed on the land or after. Either way, the homeowner is consulted and designs are done that include the home and all exterior elements like the driveway, patio, pool, and walls. Formal and informal gardens are incorporated along with lighting that meets the client’s needs.

Proper drainage and absorption of any moisture is included in the plan. A sustainable architecture can be developed that prevents runoff by selecting the appropriate fauna. Landscapes can even be designed that do not require irrigation and save on energy.

Sustainable Design

With energy costs rising and concerns for the planet’s environment increasing, sustainable designs have become popular. This type of design uses less water, fertilizer, and energy. Landscape architecture will develop a sustainable design by minimizing any impact on the environment and conserving ecosystems. Avoiding waste by reusing and recycling and using renewable resources will keep landscapes and their owners healthy.

Not only does a sustainable landscape save money, water, and labor, but it provides food for wildlife, reduces energy consumption, and can even protect against fires. Erosion can be reduced by increasing the water-holding capacity of the soil. The landscape architect will select the healthy, disease-resistant plants that flourish in the selected environment so that less water, punning, fertilizer, and pesticides are needed.

With all the benefits that landscape architecture provides, there is no reason to not choose it. Having a landscape that looks beautiful from the inside the home, and then draws the individual to explore the outdoor living space, is a pleasure to be enjoyed for years.

+Landscapers Perth


image: Alexander Chen

Living Environs landscape architecture deliver high quality outdoor projects of any size, from residential homes and developments to streetscapes and public open spaces.

Last Updated on October 18, 2011

Selecting the right paint and colour for your home’s interior is simply a matter of personal taste and style in most cases. Although it can be a simple task, there are some tips however that you can use to make the decision making process easier. When choosing paint, consider these tips to assist you in making your choices.

Types of Interior Paint Finishes

Paint comes in four basic finishes and each finish is better served in different rooms in your home.These finishes are:


The finish gives a very flat, dry appearance to your walls. Though the appearance is a beautiful one, many people stray from matt finishes because they are difficult to clean. Matt finishes are great as accents and on ceilings.

Mid and Soft Sheen:

These two finishes are perfect for bedrooms, hallways and living spaces. Light will reflect off of the walls slightly, adding personality and subtle colour changes to your room. Easier to clean than matt finishes, these can readily be wiped with a damp cloth and mild detergent.


This paint has a high sheen and is incredibly durable. The easiest of all finishes to wash when dirty, gloss paints are best suited to bathrooms and kitchens where walls are most likely to get dirty.

Choosing your Colours

The colour you choose for your walls is a simple matter of preference. Look for inspiration from the following:

Your Wardrobe:

If you open your bedroom cupboard and find that you are staring at the same colouror a similar colour palette, you may find that painting your walls in a colour from the same family soothing and relaxing. There’s a reason that you choose this colour for your clothing.


When painting your kitchen, look to your dishes, particularly if you have a favourite set. Dishes can be incredibly colourful and pulling one of the colours out for your walls can give you further inspiration to give your kitchen a brand new look.


There are a plethora of home design magazines on the market. Buy a few and leaf through its pages. No doubt you’ll find several pictures or adverts that you can use to choose your wall colour.


If you have a favourite season, consider choosing colours for your walls that relate to that season. For instance, if you look forward to autumn each year, think of hues of red, orange and yellow for your walls.


Everyone has a favourite flower or tree. If you favour Gerbera daisies, for example, think of buying a bouquet and taking a few of the colourful flowers with you when you choose paint.

No matter the colour or finish that you choose, the proper tools are essential in painting your home’s interior. Be sure to purchase the correct rollers and brushes for the paint finish and current condition of your walls. Doing the job properly will ensure that your colour choices and finish looks beautiful in your home’s interior.

Author Bio:

Nic is a former builder and full-time interior design specialist, assisting home owners with selectingthe right feel for their home. From interior paint to cutlery sets, he takes pride in delivering a finish to homes thatthe owners can be truly proud of. His favourite type of design is for high-value display homes, wherehe is only limited by his imagination.

Last Updated on October 18, 2011

The bathroom is one of the most frequently used spaces in your home. Whether you’re getting ready for work in the morning, or for bed at night, or taking a relaxing bath or shower, you’re certain to spend a portion of your day there. The bathroom can also be one of the least energy efficient rooms in your home if you don’t take the necessary steps to keep it “green” and eco-friendly. Here are 8 tips to help you do just that.

Toilets can be responsible for up to 30 percent of household water usage. Older toilets are especially guilty – many using as much as seven gallons with each flush. If you happen to have an older toilet in your bathroom, you can very easily displace a bit of the water that’s stored in the tank, and up its efficiency. Simply place a brick, or a tightly sealed container filled with pebbles or sand, in the tank. That’s all there is to it.

A leaky toilet is even more of a water wasting nightmare. Some data reveals that a leaky toilet can be responsible for up to 200 gallons of wasted water per day. Of course this is a terrible situation for the environment if left unchecked, but, can you imagine the damage being done to your water bill? It’s a simple thing to test for leaks. Just add some food coloring, or even instant coffee, to the water in the tank. If you can see color being released into the toilet bowl, even without being flushed, you definitely have a leak and you should try to have it repaired as soon as possible.

The hot water heater is another guilty party when it comes to waste. You can conserve energy, and still have plenty of hot water, by lowering the the temperature setting from 140 degrees to 120 degrees. It’s also a good idea to insulate the hot water heater and pipes. When it’s time to replace it, go ahead and invest a bit more money and purchase an energy efficient model. Your initial investment will repaid in no time at all through substantially lower energy bills.

Get into the habit of shutting off the water while brushing teeth or shaving. You can also turn the shower off while you soap up and shampoo your hair. Installing low-flow showerheads and sink fixtures can reduce water usage by up to 3,000 gallons per person, per year – definitely a wise investment.

When it’s time for new bath towels, wash up the old ones and donate them to a veterinary clinic or animal shelter. Any place that cares for animals is almost always in need of extra towels and will most certainly welcome your donation.

Replace your vinyl shower curtain with one made from organic cotton or some other type of natural material such as hemp, or bamboo. It’s better for the environment, and the added bonus is, the natural materials can be laundered.

Place a small box for recycling next to the bathroom trash can. This will make it easier to ensure that items such as empty toilet paper rolls and shampoo bottles are recycled along with everything from the kitchen and other rooms of the house.

Replace incandescent bulbs with fluorescent. The quality of light is much better, especially for applying cosmetics and other things such as styling your hair or tweezing your eyebrows, and they’re also much more energy efficient and longer lasting.

Try out some, or all, of these tips today, and begin seeing a difference in your energy bills!

This article is by Amanda Knox-Reynolds, a freelance writer for Advance Me Inc. America’s leading provider of the business cash advance – an alternative to traditional, collateral based bank loans, for small-medium sized businesses.