Last Updated on January 30, 2012

Have you ever considered how many areas around your home might be dangerous to your children?  As a parent, child safety is likely one of your top concerns.  Check around your home for the following safety points, so you can make sure that your child is safe and secure:

1.  Sharp corners on furniture

Coffee tables, chair corners and even the arm rests on your sofa can all have sharp points that could cause serious injury in the event of a fall.  If you only have one or two pieces of furniture like this, you could simply replace these with more child-friendly pieces.  Otherwise, you can child-proof them with “bumpers” that are available at most stores that sell child-proofing equipment.

2.  Toilets

Children are endlessly curious about the toilet, especially those who are beginning to toilet train.  Where does that water go, anyway?  You can protect your child — and help keep the bathroom more sanitary — by installing a toilet lock.

3.  Electrical outlets

Electrical outlets are full of possibilities, as far as children are concerned.  So many small items can fit in there.  Protect your child from shocks or worse by using plastic plugs to cover up outlets that aren’t currently in use.

4.  Pools and hot tubs

An outdoor pool or hot tub can go from summertime fun to tragedy in just the blink of an eye.  One of the most important child safety measures you can take is to install a barrier around the pool, like a mesh pool fence.  Never leave your child unsupervised around water.

5.  Burners on the stove

When you are cooking, keep children out of the kitchen.  If they want to help with meal prep, set them up with small jobs at the kitchen table so the stove is out of reach.  Always be careful to turn off the stove when you aren’t using it, and turn pot handles in so you can’t accidentally bump them and knock them over.

6. Flat screen TVs

These tend to be top heavy, and it’s easy for a child to pull one down.  This could potentially kill a small child, and reports of these types of incidents are increasing.  Install child safety straps on your TV to keep it attached to the TV stand, or, better yet, install it on the wall where it is safely out of reach.

Last Updated on January 27, 2012

Decorating with contemporary window design can make a huge difference in the overall look of a room. If you don’t think you can afford to completely modernize your house or room right away, starting with the window treatments can be a great first step. Not only does it change the overall energy and look of the room, but it can inspire you to take other small steps towards finalizing your home design plans. Here are some suggestions for contemporary blinds design options that can really update the look of your home.

Soft Roman Shades

Soft Roman Shades are a great option when it comes to attaining a more contemporary look for your home décor. Usually available in regular or teardrop styles, these shades offer a solid modern look to any room with their minimalist design and simply lined fabrics, which offer a uniform appearance.  You can also increase the modernity of the look by adjusting the texture of the blind.  For example the suede fabric soft roman shade is super sleek and can quickly modernize the feel of any living room or bedroom.

Roller Shades


Roller Shades

Roller Shades are a unique alternative to more traditional types of blinds and can really spice up a room. Their low profile modern design is also modern in design with durable materials and some great light filtering and darkening options. They come in a variety of fabrics and textures so you can really customize the fabric to the kind of modern style you are looking to achieve. Not only do roller blinds come in a variety of colors & textures, they are also available in different capacities to maximize your control over natural light. Try the solar or industria sheers to get a sleek modern touch.

Aluminum Mini Blinds

Aluminum Mini Blinds

Aluminum blinds not only look great, with a chic and clean modern feel, but they also happen to be very easy to install. These blinds are generally available in a large variety of premium baked-on finishes, for lasting beauty. The mini basics are a smaller slated version that offer contemporary blinds on a budget.

Panel Track Blinds

Panel Track Blinds

For blinds that are modern and loaded with character, try Panel Tracks. Perfect for covering wide windows like sliding glass doors, Panel Track blinds always look great and have some beautiful modern options to choose from. These sliding panels of textured fabrics and multiple design options can modernize any home. Use panel track blinds for patios, sliding glass doors, or any other area you see fit.


Last Updated on January 27, 2012

Thinking of remodeling your kitchen or bathroom? Consider renovating in an art deco style. Art deco’s clean, neat, yet highly decorative style is perfectly suited for the kitchen or bath. Remodeling your kitchen in the art deco style now will put you ahead of the trend. Next year a remake of The Great Gatsby is being released and like Mad Men fueled the revival of mid-century modern, Gatsby is predicted to do the same for deco.

Art deco style has roots in Paris in the 1920. The style flourished through the 30’s, spreading internationally and making a big impact in America. The style influenced all manner of design including architecture, fashion and jewelry, film, and interiors. Art deco represented modern glamour and elegance. It drew influence from Egyptian and Aztec forms and placed an emphasis on symmetry, geometrical shapes and is very linear. This was a refreshing, modern departure from its predecessor, art nouveau. Unlike other design movements in the 20th century, art deco came about without political or philosophical beginnings.

This style was truly decorative, though not indulgent. Many of the materials that were once considered “luxury” were starting to be mass produced and so they became available to more people. Common materials for art deco include: chrome, stainless steel, lacquer, and Bakelite.

Art Deco Bathroom Design

Deco is perfect for the kitchen and bath because it embraces the spirit of luxury while keeping things sleek. Characteristic of this style are all things that sparkle and shine. The sheen of polished black granite countertops in the kitchen or bathroom is well suited for this style. Add in a few extras like stainless steel appliances and chrome details and the kitchen is well on the way to being decked out in deco. It’s easy to keep things shining in the bathroom with glossy porcelain, chrome hardware, and mirrors.

For the kitchen, consider graphic, geometric details. When selecting cabinets, look for something with embellishments like thick borders, or other linear accents. Lighting is another important consideration in the kitchen, especially if you entertain. Finding genuine art deco era fixtures is not difficult and will lend an air of authenticity to the space. Be sure to install proper lighting over the work areas and opt for something with a little more drama for the seating area.

Chandeliers and other crystal accents make a bathroom feel much more glamorous, and resonates with the feeling of the art deco era. But as much as this style represents glitz and glam, it is also very functional so keep other decorative accents to a minimum.

As for color in either room, keep things mostly neutral and let the materials and accents shine. Pick one accent color and make it unique. Consider using a metallic like a rich gold or a dramatic eggplant tone.

Don’t forget to plan for some period art work or accessories. Hang a poster print in a simple frame to jazz up the walls a bit. If you want to add a rug to make the room feel cozier, opt for something with a bold geometric print or something a little more luxurious, like zebra stripes!

Last Updated on January 27, 2012

A major complaint that many people voice when it comes to granite is that it is too harsh and unwelcoming. And yes, if that is the approach you want to take, granite can be rather cool and imposing. But with a creative outlook and some expert advice, you can transform granite so that it becomes a warm and natural center to your home. All you need is a sense of adventure, the right feel and type of stone, and the nerve to follow your heart, and before you know it you will have granite that glows with warmth.

Embrace Nature

For some reason, people who feature granite in their homes tend to forget that they are working with something that has been harvested from nature. Engineered granite is an incredible material because it shows off the natural hues of granite while offering slight improvements.  Too many people treat their granite like something that is foreign and alien, and as a result it stands out like a sore thumb. Using a natural array of colours to bolster the image of the rock is a great way to bring out the natural quality of the stone. Work with the colours that you have, and don’t try to disguise your granite – it is beautiful and versatile, and it can easily serve as the focal point of any room. Dress it up and draw attention to the actual surface.

Create an Atmosphere

Any material that is left to operate in isolation is not going to conjure up any significant emotion, and you cannot expect the addition of granite to your home to suddenly make things natural and warm. You need to combine lighting, layout, design and texture to get an atmosphere where granite works. Lead your guests into their granite-floored shower with a granite inlay in the bathroom hallway, set in cream and pale grey. Clash blood orange with bold granite slabs along your kitchen wall to create a sense of excitement and heat. Just do not settle for something you saw in a magazine, and don’t be scared to love a little.

Color is Your Friend

I alluded to colour earlier. Remember that granite comes in many shades, each with its own mood and texture. Think carefully about what you select, and then maximize that natural warmth with a complimentary colour scheme. Think warm and inviting, not cold and shut off!

Last Updated on January 26, 2012


When you are looking for ways to save money for your home or business with green energy there are a number of products available that can give you rebates. Here is a list of 15 Green Energy Rebates to save you money.

1. Geothermal Heating Energy Rebates

Get an energy rebate for installing a geothermal heating system in your home or building. There are several loans and grants that will help you to pay for the installation of your own geothermal heating system. The Energy Policy Act allows for personal tax credits when you install a geothermal heat pump. For further information on Geothermal rebates, go here.

2. Solar Energy Rebates

You can lower your power bill immediately while also receiving energy rebates when you install a residential solar power system. Solar power can also increase the value of your property. With the continuously rising costs of power, installing solar power can help you maintain your energy costs. There are programs available that can help you pay for the installation of the solar power system as well leasing and maintenance programs. For more information concerning the installation of solar energy system, go here.

3. Wind Energy Rebates

More homeowners are opting for wind energy programs to help reduce their power bills. There are several rebate plans that have been developed to assist with this program. You can not only save money with wind energy, but possibly generate enough power to sell back to the power companies, creating another source of income for yourself. Many states are offering rebates between $2,000 to $10,000 to help homeowners install wind turbines in the homes. There is also a homeowners tax credit given by the federal government of up to thirty percent for installing wind turbines. For more details about installing wind turbines, go here.

4. Residential High Efficiency Heating Equipment Rebate

Install a high efficiency furnace or boiler and receive rebates for upgrading your system. High efficiency heaters allow you to maintain your hot water system while using the least energy possible. Replacing your heating unit can save you as much as thirty percent of your power bill, while also receiving rebates of up to $1,600 depending on the type of unit you install. For more details about installing residential high efficiency heating equipment, go here.

5. Energy Efficient Refrigerator Rebates

You can get a $50 rebate for replacing your old worn out refrigerator with an Energy-Star rated refrigerator. Energy-Star refrigerators can not only qualify you for a rebate, but will also save you money on your monthly power bill. Energy-Star refrigerators are designed to use less power while keeping food fresher with their newer designs and efficiency. For more details about Energy Efficient Refrigerator Rebates, go here.

6. Energy Efficient Washer/Dryer Rebates

Purchase a new energy efficient washer and dryer and you can qualify for rebates through the State Energy Efficiency Appliance Rebate Program (SEEARP). The newer appliances are made with more environmentally friendly products that save you money from use as well as easier to use. Replacing your washer and dryer with more energy efficient units can help you save money on your power bill as well as receiving a rebate from the Energy Efficient Program. You can also get money from your local recycling program for turning in your old appliances. For more information about Energy Efficient Washer/Dryer Rebates, go here.

7. Residential Insulation Energy Efficient Rebates

Re-insulating your home with more energy efficient insulation can get you a tax credit of ten percent up to $500 for making your home more energy friendly. Sealing your home with more energy efficient materials can help you to not only get rebates, but also save more money each month on your power bill. Insulating your home can also help to eliminate cold spots and keep the rooms temperature distributed more evenly. For more information about Residential Insulation Rebates, go here.

8. Residential Energy Efficient Window Rebates

Installing more energy efficient windows in your home can save you a lot of money in home heating costs as well as qualifying you for tax credits. You can receive 10 percent of the cost of your windows up to a total of $200 in tax credits. A new law signed into effect in December of 2010 allows for tax credits to those who improve their homes with the purchase of more energy efficient windows. Newer designs in window manufacturing allows for better control of your home heating and energy. For further information about Residential Energy Efficient Rebates, go here.

9. Residential Energy Efficient Door Rebates

Under a new law signed into effect in December of 2010, you can get a tax credit for installing energy efficient doors in your home. Door designs and materials have changed, allowing them to be more effective in controlling the energy in your home. By updating your exterior doors, you can get up to $500 in tax credits as well as saving money on your monthly power bill. For more information about Residential Energy Efficient Door Rebates, go here.

10. Hybrid Union Green Car Rebates

Purchase a new car through the Union Plus Auto Buying Service and you can get up to $200 in rebates. The Union Plus program is designed to encourage those who are Union members or use to be in the Union to buy more energy efficient vehicles. This also promotes the purchase of Union made products as well as helping you save money on fuel costs. Driving a union made Green Hybrid vehicle is also a great way to help the environment through reduced emissions. For more information about Hybrid Green Car Rebates, go here.

11. Alternative Fuel and Vehicle Rebate Programs

Convert your vehicle so it uses alternative fuels and you can receive 80 percent up to a total of $4,000 to help with the conversion. Changing over to an alternative fuel can help save the environment by limiting the emissions put out by older vehicles. You can also save money by using E85 fuels as well as receiving other rebates for using the alternative fuel. For more information about Alternative Fuel Rebates, go here.

12. Energy Star Lighting Rebate Programs

Get rebates for changing your light bulbs over from the standard bulbs to more energy efficient fluorescent light bulbs. Fluorescent bulbs are known to last up to ten times longer and you can get $1.50 off per compact fluorescent light bulb (CFL) on qualifying bulbs. Replacing your old light bulbs with new CFL’s will also save you money on your power bill as well as reduce how often you have to replace the bulbs. DTE provides instant rebates when you purchase the fluorescent bulbs. For more information about the Energy Star Lighting Rebate Programs, go here.

13. Energy Efficient Air Conditioner Rebate Programs

Install a new energy efficient air conditioner and receive rebates. Having a new air conditioner unit installed can save you money on your power bill as well as replacing old, outdated inefficient compressors which can keep from cooling your home properly. The rebate for new energy efficient air conditioners applies only to replacing older units, not on new construction. You can get up to $100 on qualifying units as well as the money you would save on your energy bill. For more information about Energy Efficient Air Conditioner Rebate Programs, go here.

14. Caulking and Weather Stripping Rebate Programs

Get rebates for replacing the caulking or weather stripping in your home. Replacing your homes weather stripping and caulking will lower your power bills as well as allow you to receive rebates to help with the purchase and installation. You can get credit or financing to help you with replacing your homes caulking and weather stripping, as well as rebates of up to $75 for the purchase of energy saving materials. For more information about Caulking and Weather Stripping Rebate Programs, go here.

15. Energy Efficient Dishwasher Rebate Programs

Get great rebates when you install an energy efficient dishwasher. Replacing your old dishwasher with a new energy efficient unit can save you money on your power bill as well as on your water usage. New dishwashers have been designed to use less water as well as run with a lower power requirements. The energy star dishwashers are known to use up to 50 percent less energy, saving you money. For more information, go here.

Article by Simon Marshall, CEO of, a leading online resource for steel and metal buildings and metal building prices.

Last Updated on February 21, 2022

If you invest money in granite countertops, you want to make sure they are displayed in their best light. Kitchen cabinetry can create dark shadows that cause your beautiful countertops to blend in with the backsplash. General lighting from the ceiling just doesn’t reach those countertops. Adding under cabinet light fixtures will illuminate your granite countertops, calling attention to the texture and colors.

Also, the right under cabinet lighting for granite countertops will provide valuable task lighting for cooking/food preparation. You’ll enjoy it as another “layer” of light for your kitchen. Many homeowners even leave their under cabinet lighting on at night for a subtle night light.

Adding Under Cabinet Light Fixtures Will Illuminate Your Granite Countertops

The key thing to remember with granite countertops is that they can create a mirrored effect. It’s a beautiful, glossy surface; but you have to be careful with the type of under cabinet lighting you install above your granite countertops. You’ll want to avoid a situation where the actual light fixture is reflected right onto your countertop. To get the lighting without the reflective light fixture, make sure you choose a light fixture that has a lens over the light bulb. This way, reflections will be minimized.

Another important consideration in selecting under cabinet lighting for granite countertops is to think about the primary color tones in your kitchen.  Dark-colored countertops and backsplashes tend to visually suck up light.  Make sure your light fixtures give off a good deal of light output (called “lumens” in the lighting industry) if your counters, backsplashes, floors, wall color, etc. are primarily dark.

Think About The Primary Color Tones In Your Kitchen

When you start shopping, you’ll notice that under cabinet lighting is divided into two types in terms of the fixture style: puck and linear.  Puck lights are small, typically circular light fixtures that create pools of light on the kitchen countertop. If you go with puck lights, make sure to install one puck light for every six to ten inches of space.

Linear (also known as strip) under cabinet lights are the more common of the two. Linear light fixtures are long and thin, and distribute light more evenly across the countertop. They are designed to fill up the space beneath each cabinet cavity and are sold in standard increments of length. If you go with linear, you should try to select the longest light fixture that will still fit under your cabinet.

Whether you select puck or strip lights, enjoy choosing under cabinet lighting for your new granite countertops!

Emily Widle is a blogger for Pegasus Lighting, an online retailer that sells a wide selection of under cabinet lighting, among other unique lighting products for homes and businesses.

Last Updated on January 25, 2012


Saving energy is not only an excellent way to help the environment, but it’s also a great way to save money on monthly household bills. The following are a few handy tips on how to save energy, while reducing your monthly costs:

To keep utility bills low and save on energy, shop for Energy Star appliances. Clean the dryer’s lint filter on a regular basis. If you have any unused electrical equipment unplug it when not in use. When washing clothes, switch to cold water to save money and energy since 90% of the energy is wasted on heating the water. When using your computer, switch to a laptop over a desktop computer for additional savings.

Keep your furnace clean and properly maintained annually. Change the filter every 1-2 months as a dirty filter will reduce the airflow forcing the furnace to run longer and will run up your monthly gas bill. If you’re in need of a new furnace, consider purchasing an Energy Star as they can save a home an average of over $500 annually in natural gas and electrical costs.

Natural Gas and Electric Payment Options:
Talk to your gas and electric companies and sign up for special monthly payment options. This doles out your heating and electrical bills into equal payments each month to avoid exorbitant costs during the peak months.

Thermostat Control:
Install a programmable thermostat to control your heating and cooling temperatures when you’re not home or asleep. By setting your thermostat down a degree or two allows the homeowner to save over $60.00 a year.

Sealing and Insulation:
Inspect leaks or cracks that lead outside of the home such as windows, fixtures, doors, baseboards and plumbing and seal with caulk or weather stripping. To ensure your home is protected from any heat that may escape, make sure you have an excellent insulation base. During the winter months, close the blinds and draperies around the window area to keep the heat in. Take advantage of homes with a sunny exposure and open window coverings to allow the sun to heat your house for no cost. Use room ceiling fans to help distribute air circulation throughout your home.

Conserve Water:
Conserve water at home by changing up your showerheads and faucets that promote a lower flowing motion of water. When bathing save energy by taking a quick shower instead of wasting water by filling up the bathtub with hot water for a bath. Make sure the dishwasher and washing machine are full before running them. Inspect faucets, toilets and showerheads for any leaks and repair if necessary.

Another good way to conserve is to use less energy to light up your home. Replace ordinary light bulbs with energy saving ones. When you or your family are not in a certain room or area of the house, learn to turn off lights or use dimmer switches to keep the lighting low. Use timers or dimmers to keep lighting low. Change any outdoor lighting around the house and garage with motion sensory lighting instead.

Jon Clark is a blogger, coffee lover and home enthusiast. He writes for which provides home and apartment renting and living tips as well as reviews for apartments such as these lofts for rent in Long Beach and Redondo Beach Apartments.

Last Updated on January 7, 2020


A lot of designers and home owners alike are apprehensive about using granite in their kitchens and bathrooms because they see it as a massive, permanent design feature, much like a tattoo in their space that they can never remove should they grow tired of the effect. However, this is simply not the case, because if you take the right approach to the granite surfaces in your home, there is no reason why they cannot grow old with you in your home. Here are a few tips on how to keep your granite surfaces looking chic and trendy as time passes.

Altering Your Colour Scheme

Installing granite is commonly thought to give a clean, minimalist feeling to a space, but the truth is that it is an incredibly versatile material.  Selecting a more neutral shade from the granite palette is ideal because you can alter the colour scheme around the stone whenever you want. A pale grey can work well with a darker colour system of blacks, neutrals and creams, or equally well with brighter oranges, or sea greens. The key to adding longevity to your granite areas is to adapt the colours around it so that you can show it off or calm it down.

Redecorating Can Change Everything

As mentioned above, there is an automatic assumption that granite works best in a minimalist setting, but unless you want to redecorate your house every time you change your seasons, you are going to have to come up with a few ways of “dressing” your stone. The minimalist look is simple and clean, but there is no reason why you cannot add tasteful art, or change the whole feel within a space around the art. Nothing is stopping you from creating a neo-classical bathroom with granite surfaces, or going retro with your use of stone. Embrace the versatility of the material and change your decorations, not your finishes.


Another great tip for keeping the granite appealing is to always make sure that it is in the best condition possible. Newer granite surfaces are glass coated, and this requires buffing. In general, you should avoid scratches, use granite-specific cleaner, and make sure that any minor imperfections are dealt with timeously. All of these tips can keep that lustre, shine and strength that make granite such a popular material for homes.

This guest post was written by freelance writer Victoria. She is currently studying the Canadian Law Directory and the Canadian Real Estate Directory.

Trend Stone

Last Updated on January 23, 2012


When you use granite, be it in your bathroom or kitchen, you are sending a distinct message. This material more than vulgar marble or cold steel lends itself to a balance of practicality, wealth, and style. Too many home owners use granite in a way that does not fully capture the power and cleanliness of this wonderful stone. Here are a few tips on how to get the very best out of your granite surfaces.

Location, Location, Location

Granite is so attractive because it is versatile. Positioning it as a splash back is a practical application, as is using it as a floor or kitchen surface, but why not make the most of it. Granite aficionados will point out the beautiful seem, shading and composition of quality stone, and this is well worth showcasing. Kitchens lend themselves to bold statements with granite – broad horizontal stripes can expand your room and make it look unique. Create a statement piece with your granite instead of tucking it away and you will come to love the space for it.

Lighting is Crucial

Like most stone, granite takes on a different appearance depending on the way lights and shadows fall across its surface. One of the more unusual ways of drawing attention to your spectacular granite is to light it with lights that capture the drama of a piece. Every home has standard lighting on the granite, but why not use a shifting optic light, or perhaps some back lighting to create a sense of drama and uniqueness?  There is no reason why stone should fall into the background of your home.

Clash Colours

Adventurous colours are always great if you want to bring aspects of a space to the fore, but people do not ever think to clash natural material with bright colours. The result is dark rooms that are all natural, but end up looking flat. Rather incorporate a combination of natural stone (well-lit and positioned) against a splash of colour, like blood orange or electric blue. The contrast will add depth and interest, and finally you will get the stone popping out in the manner that it should. It sounds simple, but the difference is immediately evident and tangible.

This guest post was written by freelance writer Victoria. She is currently learning about small business website builder.

Last Updated on January 23, 2012


There is no denying the impact of social media sites like Facebook and Twitter on the world today. Businesses now put their Facebook pages on commercials, celebrities Tweet their every move, and TV announcers have their Twitter handle displayed with their names. However, the overarching forms of social media aren’t the only successful sites these days.

Understanding that no site can truly compete with giants like Facebook and Twitter, many companies have begun developing niche social networking sites. In 2011 alone, we saw the growing popularity of Quora and Path; however, perhaps one of the best social niche networking sites that gained an impressive following by many individuals, but few businesses, is Pinterest.

Unlike other sites that are focused on sharing pieces of your life with other individuals, Pinterest is more focused on discovery learning through other site users. In essence, it is a way for users to further discover popular topics through pinning pictures to your boards.

There are numerous categories ranging from art to fashion by your favorite designer, and by clicking on one of these categories, you can access dozens of photos and how to tips to a countless number of things. If you find something inspiring, you can then pin it to one of your Boards for later ideas or projects.

For those looking to find new and exciting ideas in which to modernize or update their home, there has never been a better site. Pinterest is full of ideas for those who would like to spruce up their home, from do it yourself projects to those that require the help of a contractor. So whether you are looking to turn your den into a sophisticated library or simply want a new light fixture for your dining room, you will be able to find a plethora of ideas on Pinterest.

Even better, is that you can have it in an easy-to-share format through your pinboards. This way, if you need to show a specific design to others living in your home, painters, or a contractor, it is readily available.

Getting started on Pinterest is easy. First, set up your account. Next, you will be prompted to create your boards, here you have a list of topics that interest you, and all you need to do is title you boards with things that draw your interest. It is best to start small, don’t worry about having 15 to 20 boards, start with two or three and keep adding.

Once you have your boards, download the Pin It button and start saving items in a flash. To get the button, go to the “About” tab and follow the instructions to upload the button.

Pinterest is also good on the go, it now has apps for both iPhone and Android operating systems. This is great for those on the go or for home design professionals that may run into the perfect home and would like to document it for future design ideas. Just snap a few photos, upload them to your Pinterest app and you’re good to go!

This is a highly underrated form of social media. Consumers and businesses alike can benefit from the pictures posted. If a customer runs into a picture of the perfect kitchen combination, they can easily pin the photo and show it to a home designer, benefitting both parties. However, I do warn you, Pinterest can be quite addicting and you may lose a few hours of sleep over searching through all the amazing photos.

Maya Szydlowsky is a community manager for Veterans United Home Loans, the nation’s leading dedicated provider of VA home loans as well as news and information on veterans’ benefits.

Last Updated on August 22, 2022

Tracy Tesmer is founder of Tracy Tesmer Design • Build • Remodel • Repair, a Gainesville, GA bathroom remodeling company specializing in kitchen and home renovations in North, Ga.  Tracy has over 30 years’ experience in the construction industry and hosts a weekly home improvement radio show on WDUN discussing home renovation in North, GA.

Can’t decide whether to remodel or renovate your room? Or perhaps now you’re second-guessing the difference between the two… Often the words “remodel” and “renovate” are used interchangeably, but this is not technically correct. How do you know which one you need? And which factors do you need to consider when deciding whether to remodel or renovate your home?

1) Long Term Plans

What you are planning on doing with your home matters. Renovating might be a good thing to do if you are considering selling your home in the near future. New appliances in the kitchen and faucets in the bathroom will help your resale value. Some home remodeling projects take on a more personal touch, such as an added sunroom or finishing the attic, but might not add value to your home. In fact, some may even make it harder to sell when you decide it is time. Considering your short and long term plans will help you decide whether home remodeling and/or renovating is right for you.

2) Budget

How much money you are going to spend on your project is most likely one of your primary concerns in choosing a home remodel or renovation. Obviously knocking out the structure of your house is going to be more expensive than adding a new refrigerator to your kitchen and putting some new paint on the walls. Prior to beginning a project having an ideal budget in mind and renovating on that budget will keep things from getting out of control and help you be happy with your choices in the end.

More tips on how to renovate on a budget

3) Timeline

The question you must ask yourself is how long am I willing to deal with the inconvenience of a work in progress?  Remember, what television programs complete in one hour often requires weeks and sometimes months.  It is important that you realize that home remodeling and renovations can restrict certain areas of your home for a period of time. Deciding to finish your basement on Thanksgiving by the time the family gets home for Christmas may not be realistic and could become a source of stress. Always keep the remodeling timeline in mind when deciding the next steps in updating your home.

Step back and ask yourself, what am I trying to accomplish? There are many variables and moving parts that go into answering this for each individual. Whether you choose home remodeling or renovation, both are great ways to rediscover your home and make it your own.

Last Updated on January 19, 2012

Just a few years ago, a smart home was any home that had the ability to remotely access your security system or the lighting system for your home.

As limited as that technology was, for its time it was very advanced.

In today’s smart home you will find all the appliances communicating with each other with most of the functions accessible by an app on your smart phone.  The systems are all contained in a central CPU which is located in the home and communicated with via remote control, touch pad, touch screen, voice command or, as mentioned earlier, smart phone technology.


This is a simple example of how smart home technology works but there are many variations as to what the capabilities of a system are depending on how much you want to invest into home automation.  The more you have to invest, the “smarter” your home will be…it’s all relative.

How Does The Smart Home Know What to Do?

The smart home works by the means of sensors that sense light, heat, motion, doors, rain and many other factors.  This means that many of the functions that you would ordinarily have to perform manually are done automatically by the system reacting to the information that the sensors provide.

This combined data is used to make decisions about how to manage security, lighting, climate control and many other daily routines.

What About Using Smart Technology for Other Functions?

Smart home technology isn’t limited to just the boring, everyday tasks of keeping your home going.  There are lots of fun things that can be done with smart home systems.

How about automatic drawing of the drapes when your home theater system is activated or having your favorite music playing when you enter your home?  You can control multi-room entertainment systems as well, using smart home technology systems.

There are even “smart beds” available, for your smart home, which have built in music systems, alarms that feature a refreshing wakeup massage and some that even allow you to fall asleep while watching TV and be lowered back to your sleeping position gradually, over the period of an hour, so as not to waken you with any sudden movement.

Check for Interoperability of Your System Before You Buy

iPhone Home Automation System

You will want to insure that the system you are considering has the capability to communicate with a large assortment of appliances from a large assortment of manufacturers.

You don’t want to be locked in to buying all your appliances from a single manufacturer because the smart home unit you chose isn’t compatible with the home theater system you want.

Most smart home systems also have a security feature but these vary widely, depending on the system you choose, so make it a point to ask about how secure the system is from unauthorized access.

You should also inquire as to the ready availability of parts and upgrades because you can be sure that your smart home will continue to become smarter as time goes by and you don’t want to have to replace the whole system each time there is a major update.

Doing a bit of research, before buying, will help make your smart home experience a happy one.

About the Author: Chuck Harmon lives in Lake Tahoe and enjoys a wide variety of interests and activities that are available only in a resort community. He is active in his church, loves playing with his grandkids and enjoys quiet dinners with his wife of 48 years. Discover the many advantages and benefits of Smart Beds.