Last Updated on March 30, 2012

A wall mural is a great way to turn your boring, lifeless bedroom into a serene sanctuary that inspires and motivates you to get out of bed in the morning.

But whilst murals are becoming increasingly popular, it is important to make the right choice. Getting the wrong mural is a decision you will regret every morning and night.

So before you dive in – here are some tips to help you select the perfect mural for you.

Matching The Colors

A mural is the focal point of your room, but it needs to match the rest of the room too. Think about what color your walls are (or what color you plan to paint them). Make sure your mural matches and doesn’t clash. If you pick the right color for the rest of the room your mural will be enhanced.

Matching The Décor

It doesn’t end with the color of the walls, think about the décor too, if you have brightly colored lampshades or rugs, you might need to consider how well these will go with your mural and whether they will need replacing. For instance, a bright green rug against a sandy beach scene might not fit quite right.

Matching Your Personality

Ok, so we’ve matched to the walls and the furniture, but what about you? There are so many options to choose from: ocean waves, sunny beaches, space, fantasy, forests etc…

Before you jump in and go for the most fantastic scene you can find, remember that this is something you will see a lot. It is better to pick the scene that will be enjoyable long term and not necessarily the one with the most wow factor right now.

Also keep in mind that you will be seeing this in the morning when you wake up – so whilst you may love everything to do with the sea, it is the first image you want in the morning (or the last at night)?

This is all personal preference of course, but these are things to consider before you take the plunge, because once you decide, you’re stuck with it, for a while at least.


There is plenty to think about, but choosing the right wall mural to go in your room will ensure that you enjoy many a relaxed night and an inspired morning. The possibilities are endless…

About The Author
This guest post was written by Ricky from Mesa Garage Doors.

Last Updated on March 29, 2012

At Granite Transformations, we are so proud of the quality of our products that we stand behind them with a lifetime warranty. We are able to offer this warranty because we produce engineered granite – a stronger, more durable, and easier-to-maintain material than natural stone, which is porous and costly to replace or repair.

Our motto is “Done in a day. Beautiful for life,” And we mean it – we have developed a highly efficient process for countertop installations that takes as little as one day, and our countertops are designed for durability. So you can feel confident knowing that your countertops are going to retain their beauty for years to come.

One reason our countertops stand above the rest and are more stain and scratch resistant than “ordinary” granite is that we are the only granite countertop manufacturer that uses ForeverSeal®, a polymer resin used to help strengthen and seal our Trend Stone and Trend Glass countertops.

The bottom line is that we always strive to provide our customers with the best – in service and in products. So when you get your ForeverSeal® granite countertops installed by Granite Transformations, you can be sure that they will remain stain and scratch resistant. Installations are done in about a day and are backed by a lifetime warranty!

Check out ForeverSeal® granite countertops in action in the photos below, and please contact us here if you have any questions about our products or would like to schedule a free in home consultation.


Kitchen & Bath

Kitchen & Bath Countertop

Kitchen & Bath Mosaic Sink

Kitchen with Karma Mosaic Splashback Titles

Bathtub With Custom Mosaic Tiles

Last Updated on March 22, 2012

Your hallway may seem like a purely functional area, a place that serves as an intermediary between the house entrance and other rooms. You might view the hallway as dull and consign it to a fate of being a part of your home that you can’t – or don’t want to – improve. But hallways do matter and an attractive one really adds to the impact when you or your visitors enter your house.

Creating Illusions

Your hallway may feel small and restrictive and while you’ll probably not be able to alter the area’s dimensions, you can use mirrors to enhance its perceived size. A mirror near to a natural light source such as a window not only adds to the effect the light has on the hallway, creating brightness where the room was dim before, but also increases the space people perceive when they enter the hall, especially if the mirror is positioned horizontally.

Adding Focus

If you want to make your hallway more interesting, you’ll need something for the eyes to be drawn to, just as slate house signs can draw the gaze outside. A drab hallway devoid of content is not very inspiring, so instead create a mural, feature wall or other decoration that can be used as a focal point for attention and a way to display your household’s creative output. This kind of area could feature art drawn by your children, for example, or perhaps simply a few framed paintings or family photos. You could also else have some colourful boxes for added storage.

And when it comes to storage, the typical hallway presents a number of options – you simply need to know where to start. Underneath your stairs can offer you room for a vacuum cleaner or perhaps a box full of shoes, light bulbs and other miscellaneous items that don’t have a home elsewhere. Alternatively, you might transform the below-stairs area into a storage scheme with a small bookcase, for example. A coat stand or umbrella well is another item that goes well in a hallway, since it can stand on its own and doesn’t get in the way too much.



Aesthetics are as important to a better hallway as practicality. For instance, suitable lighting can make a world of difference. Install a skylight for a brighter hall, or choose to have layers of light to once again give the illusion that your hallway has more space than it really has. However, you will need to avoid pendant lights. These have the exact opposite effect and can really produce a cramped impression within your hallway, especially if you have a lower-than-average ceiling.

Also on the subject of aesthetics, consider the colours you use in your hallway. You will have to think about the surrounding rooms before you start making radical changes to the hallway, since consistency with adjacent rooms will look best. If you do have the option of redecorating and changing the predominant colours in your hallway, consider neutral whites to keep the area light or a yellow scheme for added warmth.

Zoe is an ardent blogger and copywriter from the UK. She is currently writing for House Name Plate, and loves to share her knowledge on home improvement through content on the internet. Tweet your thoughts on this article to @granite_trans or @bloggingstyle.

Last Updated on March 16, 2012

Architects and designers have always faced the challenge of presenting a design to clients who are unable to visualize at all. There have been 3D visualization aids available for many years, but for most projects without a substantial design development budget these options were cost prohibitive.

Technological advancements in the 3D modeling industry have now made 3D architectural rendering a viable option for any project. This offers a great advantage to businesses offering design work as part of their sales process. A skilled 3D designer can use the specific finishes that their customer desires and allow their customer to see, for example, how well the finishes in a proposed renovation will coordinate with finishes in their existing home.

A typical project drawing can leave a lot to the imagination:

When combined with a 3D rendering, everyone knows what to expect:

With A 3D Rendering, Everyone Knows What To Expect

A complete 3D rendering will feature the customers chosen finishes on every surface, e.g., wallpaper, flooring, paint colors, various wood species and colors, and granite countertops, etc. Various lighting options can have a big impact on the overall look of the project. Rendering the project in 3D allows the client to see what impact different kinds of lighting can have on the project, and the impact of the natural lighting of the proposed project.

This trend is reflected in the software being used in the design industry. Most of the design programs have begun to make 3D visualization a key part of their software packages. There are several programs now that allow a homeowner to visualize their proposed project without the help of a design professional, such as the iGRANITE iPad app by Granite Transformations. This app allows users to upload a picture of their own home or office and experiment with different finishes on the countertops walls and floors in realtime.


3D architectural visualization allows the construction process to go more smoothly for everyone, as the contractor can clearly establish the client’s expectations and avoid the typical “I didn’t think it would look like that” situation. This helps the contractor to avoid project delays, and the owner to prevent costly change orders. As more and more consumers come to expect to see their project before they build it, 3D presentations are becoming the standard in the design industry.

About the Author: Post contributed by Daniel Shaheen at DDS Architectural

Last Updated on March 16, 2012

With the continuing trend of open plan kitchen and family rooms there is no reason why your kitchen can’t be entirely functional and a statement at the same time; a room in which you can entertain guests and marinate the roast turkey at the same time.

Lighting is a great way to achieve this if chosen and implemented correctly. Lighting can both unite and divide the room depending on your mood. Whilst halogen down lighting can open up your space, avoid it if you want to avoid the predictable and be ahead of the trend. It has also come under fire recently for not being very eco-friendly and can be a drain on your electricity meter.

However if you are still keen on halogen lighting, place it in unusual places, choosing up lighting and cabinet lighting, to allow the light to bounce around the kitchen in an unexpected yet functional way. Lighting that can be dimmed can also be a great way to set the mood after dinner has been served and you’re on to the dessert wine. Ikea has some inexpensive cabinet and countertop lighting fixtures that will mean you’ll have some spare change left over for some of their famous Swedish meatballs!

If your kitchen has an island or a breakfast bar you can deliver the wow factor with art décor light fixtures. Scandinavian design is particularly on trend at the moment with the combination of clean lines and practicality. If you’re looking for inspiration take a look at MOMAs light installations. The Amsterdam based design company Droog’s 85 Lamps Chandelier which is part of MOMAs permanent collection and is a particular favourite. The 85 Lamps Chandelier consists of (you guessed it) 85 light bulbs roped together to form a chandelier. It is a stunning example of how simplicity, functionality and style can combine to really deliver.

Droog Chandelier

If you don’t have the budget to buy Droog’s light fixture after installing your kitchen there are other creative ways to get the wow factor. A friend, after installing their kitchen in their seaside holiday home, bought an old dinghy in a flea market, installed some low cost lighting and hung it over their kitchen island. Not only was it a fantastic statement piece put together on a budget, it also became a great conversation piece.

After installing your kitchen remember to pause for a moment and consider how you want your kitchen to be seen and used. Lighting can transform it from a functional space into so much more.

+ Roomservice by CORT

Last Updated on March 16, 2012

Spring blooms and sunshine make the outdoors come alive with color: Everything is more vibrant, cheery, and refreshing.  While you’re checking off that spring cleaning list for around the house, why not bring the outdoors inside with beautiful, fresh pops of color around the home, too? A good place to start is in the most-used room in the house: the kitchen. Here are a few ways—from drastic moves to small touches—that can transform your kitchen from a design rut into a spectrum of spring.

1. Cabinets

Try adding a pop of color to your cabinets with bright or pastel paint. Or, you could paint or add patterned wallpaper to the back of your cabinets for just a hint of color that still makes a big statement.

2. Curtains




Curtains are perhaps the most effortless way to add a color-boost to your kitchen: place them above a window, use them across an open cabinet, or add them to the tops of your doorways for an unexpected touch.

3. Walls





Add instant color to the entire kitchen with subtle shades or patterned wallpaper. For a gutsier move, try a richer, bolder hue to brighten the whole room and make your countertops and cabinets pop.

4. Accessories




From light fixtures to dining sets, adding small, colorful touches to a kitchen can go a long way. Try a bold hanging lamp, pots and pans, or even a toaster to add instant, easy pizzazz to a boring kitchen.

5. Furniture




Modern, antique, patterned, or textured furniture in any range of hues gives a white kitchen a sophisticated touch. Keep things simple and fresh by adding just a smidge of color (choose table or chairs) and adding more color as you feel like it (like a few bright pillows or cushions for those chairs).

Author Bio:

Molly Borter works as a home and health content specialist for Reading Glasses Shopper. When she’s not blogging about bifocal fashion or DIY projects, she enjoys reading, cooking, and spending time with her triplet nieces.

Last Updated on March 14, 2012

The utility companies are raising my rates again.  Not just the gas company and electric companies, but even the water company this time.  I’ve been all around the house looking for ways to conserve energy.  I want to save on my energy costs every month, but I also want to just be a good steward to planet Earth.  Tough to believe I’m a die-hard conservative eh?  Some people would make it seem that people like me want “dirty air and dirty water.”  Not true.  For example, at first I was opposed to the recent energy legislation restricting the sales and phasing out the manufacturing of incandescent light bulbs.  I thought at first, “well there’s another tax increase.”  But after looking into it further, I realized that in the long run, energy efficient light bulbs and other energy efficient home improvement projects actually are cheaper in the long run.  So let’s look at a few of the options from my conservative viewpoint.  Let’s look at some of the dollars and cents impacts of efficiency home improvement projects, primarily three areas, heating, lighting, and water.

Water Conservation in and Around the Home

Water costs continually increase over the years.  I can’t remember a year that my water costs actually decreased.  My family is growing, the value of my dollar is shrinking, and demand for water is growing in my community.  To say that water is expensive in my neighborhood would be an understatement.  I’ve successfully decreased the amount of money I spend on water over the course of a year by doing two things (the third item would be extra credit):

First thing I did was decrease the water pressure in my house.  This was very easy to do.  In the basement of my home (and most homes for that matter) there is a pressure valve with a flat head screw protruding out.  It’s typically near the main water shut off valve inside the home.  This valve controls the water pressure of the entire home.  In my case it controls the water pressure for my entire property, since I’m using domestic/potable water for the sprinklers! I turned that screw about a half turn counter clockwise.  Counter clockwise will reduce the pressure.  Clockwise will increase the pressure.  This alone amounted to a noticeable savings in the amount of water I use.

Second thing I did was add a soil treatment in my yard so that I could drastically cut back on the water needed to keep the lawn green and the HOA happy.  Just go to Home Depot and ask someone in the lawn and garden department about various soil treatments designed to use less water.  I chose the Scott’s brand treatment and again saw a noticeable decrease in my summer water bill.

Extra-credit.  I’m currently evaluating the financial sense in installing a tankless water heater.  I hear you can save on your energy costs by not storing hot water in a tank.  However, these systems can cost tons of money, and my experience has shown the best ways to save on water costs are to just use less water.

Gas/Electric Home Improvement Projects

What has two thumbs, votes republican, and wants to install solar panels and geothermal heating?  This guy! (imagine me pointing to myself with two thumbs)  Yes, I’d love to install solar panels and a complete geothermal heating system on my home.  My beef with these technologies is that the payoff takes so long.  Geothermal systems can cost up to $35,000 and solar panel systems can add another $12,000 to $20,000 on top of that cost.  And I might only save $50 to $100 per month on my utility costs (gas and electric).  So at best, it could take me more than 30 years to have paid for my investment in green energy improvements.  My opinion is that if our Nation ever wants to see serious improvements in the amount of energy we use, we need to find ways of scaling these technologies so they are more accessible to folks like me.  I did find a way to reduce energy costs quite a bit in my home though and it was as simple as changing a light bulb.  Well, 63 of them actually.

Saving Energy on Home Lighting

Saving Energy on Home Lighting

Home lighting is probably the most overlooked area of energy use in a house.  I think we have this impression that to save energy we have to have solar panels on the roof.  But after doing some simple math, I realized that I could spend around $2,000 and have every single bulb in my home swapped out for energy efficient LED lights.  At the time I was using a combination of CFL (Compact Fluorescent) and Incandescent bulbs.  I despised the look of those twisty shaped CFL’s, and even more-so despised the fact I had to wait for them to warm up just to provide enough light.  I noticed some interesting changes in our home after upgrading the bulbs.  For one, the granite countertops in the kitchen and bathrooms looked much more appealing.  It’s as though there are color strands in the granite that stand out more and the stuff looks substantially more luxurious.  The home is brighter.  In the summer time I’ve noticed a reduction in our air conditioning costs as well.  Mainly because the LED bulbs don’t put off much heat, if any at all, a stark contrast to the old recessed 100 watt incandescent bulbs we had in the kitchen.  You used to feel the heat projecting from those lamps just standing under them.  So yes, I’m happy with the lighting choice.  And what’s better news is that the bulbs have a three year warranty, but with the energy savings I’m achieving, the investment will have paid for itself in about 18 months.  Plus, my wife was excited to have all the light fixtures cleaned.  That was a byproduct of removing all of the fixtures to access the bulbs.

If you’re in the market for some green home improvements, I’d say start with the lights.  Doing so will affect the amount of money you need to spend on solar panels as well if you choose to do that in the future.  LED lights use substantially less wattage than other types of lamps.

Post contributed by Curtis Noble at

Last Updated on March 9, 2012

Wheelchairs and accessible homes are rarely associated with style. I suspect much of the thinking is that if you are in wheelchair then you have more pressing issues. This type of thinking is unfortunate given that it is perfectly possible to build a stylish and accessible housing.

Style and accessibility can be combined with a bit of forethought and research. There are a large range of people and shops out there offering a range of accessibility supplies that avoid the clinical utilitarianism that poorly thought out accessible housing can suffer from.

Steps and Stairs:
Stairs and steps are near universally present and unless you are planning to move into a bungalow then a stairlift will be the cheapest option for dealing with the stairs. These come in a wide variety and can be upholstered to fit in with the rest of your décor. If you would like something less obtrusive you can also get wheelchair lifts fitted, which are safer and easier to hide but far more expensive.

Steps are somewhat easier to deal with as you should be able to replace them with a ramp. While temporary and portable ramps are good options a permanent ramp can easily be adapted to fit in with your house. For example a wood ramp combined with a wooden exterior will provide an easy transition, both physically and aesthetically.

Hallways: The basic physical requirement for hallways is that they need to be well lit and a minimum of 36 inches wide so as to allow devices such as Zimmer frames and wheelchairs to change direction. Rugs and other tripping hazards should be avoided or taped down to minimize the risk. Laminated wood flooring with an anti-slip coating is a good options. A better option is to get a well fitted wall to wall carpet, just avoid the shag pile as it can easily catch in wheels and is hard to move walkers over.

Bathroom: The greatest risk in the bathroom is falling. This makes anti slip flooring such as textured surfaces like tiling or vinyl vital. Tiling offers a great range of colours and sizes so it is easier to provide a stylish non slip surface that fits your bathroom.  Grab bars are another essential feature of an accessible bathroom. Not only do they mean that if someone does slip they can break their fall but they also make it easier to move around the bathroom if you have problems with your legs. While typical option, coated in white plastic has a very clinical look, you can also find a range of more stylish steel and chrome options.

Kitchen: The main issues with kitchens are height and safety. For example wheelchair users and people who find it hard to stand in one place for long lengths of time may find that the standard height of work surfaces is dangerously high. The main problem is that having hot objects such as kettles, pots and pans at head height or above the user increases risk of spills. This means that low work surfaces with enough space to fit a chair underneath are a huge help. Most standard surfaces can be lowered to make them more accessible, though it can involve a lot of work. Similarly drawers and cabinets should come with pull out options to allow users to simply pull them out and reach down, rather than needing to lean over to get more access. Fortunately these changes can be made to most standard kitchens, meaning that there is no need to sacrifice style for accessibility.

Daniel Frank is writing on behalf of Stannah Stairlifts

Last Updated on March 9, 2012

When your bedroom is smaller than you would like you’ll want to be creative and make thebest use of your space.  Following a few simple principles will help keep your bedroom a cozy sanctuary instead of a cramped mess.


For your bed a metal frame or a divan with a headboard and no footboard both have the clean open lines that make your room look bigger.  Buying a bed with built-in draws underneath is a good option but if you don’t find one you like purchase bed risers which will give you an extra six inches of storage space under your bed and a bed skirt.

Choose simple bed furnishing schemes. Large and crazy patterns make your bed look like a soccer field in concession stand.  Instead try palates of solid colors; on your bed neutral hues will make your room look the largest.


Vertical space:

Utilize as much vertical space as possible.  Make effort to get dressers that are taller than normal. The more your personal belongings have their proper place the less cluttered a room appears.  Sometimes entertainment centers or wardrobes add excellent visual interest and give more vertical storage space than dressers.  Don’t forget to consider “lingerie” dressers which are narrow but tall.  They may be just what you need instead of a bed side table because they can hold more and take up the same amount of floor space.

A coffered ceilingwill instantly make your bedroom look much bigger.  Also known as a tray ceiling, it is when the center of the room is raised into the attic above.  If this is at all possible for your bedroom it is worth the effort to install.

Wooden Bedroom


Light colors make a room look bigger.  Use darker colors as accents inyour throw pillows, bed linen, and curtains.

Mirrors make any room look bigger.  Take care not to overuse mirrors in a bedroom.  One or two mirrors, well-placed across from windows to reflect natural light will make the most of the room’s size and emphasize the open spaces.

Use sconces that clip to the headboard of your bed, and small table lamps that sit on your dressers instead of floor lamps to free up extra floor space in your room.  The more sources of light, the bigger the room will appear.

Magic tricks:

Eliminate clutter as much as possible with pretty baskets.  Use a table skirt to create a hidden space for books and magazines.  Keep a box in the bottom of your closet for things that you may want to give away and if they stay in the box for more than six months than commit to letting them go.

What people notice first when they see a bedroom is not the size but the overall style impression.  If your bedroom is small, focus on clean lines and add your personal warmth so that the word that you and your guests first think of when they enter the bedroom is cozy.

Bio- Sunny Popali is the Marketing lead at Mattressnextday. Mattressnextday offer the full range of common mattress sizes including: small mattress, single mattress, double mattresses, king size Mattress, super king Mattresses, and odd size mattresses.

Last Updated on March 2, 2012

A lot is happening in the photovoltaic industry these days. The European Wind Energy Association released fresh numbers last month, showing that solar is on top, accounting for almost 50% of total new capacity installed. We can see the same trend is taking place all across the globe. Solar energy is green and sustainable, so the numbers confirms that we are heading in the right direction.

However, there are not a lot people that are willing to implement PV systems in their house. One of the major reasons for this is that solar systems are ugly. My goal with this article is to prove otherwise.

Building Integrated Photovoltaics (BIPV)


A new generation of solar power is starting to appear on the market. BIPV are essentially ways that we can implement solar power into the components a building consists of. A good example of this is solar roof tiles:

I would argue that they might even look better than normal roof tiles.

A new type of photovoltaics, known as thin-film solar cells (TFSC), has enabled us to integrate solar cells in ways we weren’t able to before. The reason for this is that a TFSC is flexible:

Thin Films Used For Building Integrated Photovoltaics (BIPV)

By using this technology, we can put photovoltaics on surfaces that are not flat. In both the first picture and the one below, TFSC are used on curved surfaces. Thin-film solar cells can also be partly transperant, which can results in a set of stylish windows:

Curved Building Integrated Photovoltaics (BIPV)

What are the Downsides of BIPV?

I should mention that BIPV are generally more expensive than conventional solar panels using crystalline silicon. There are several reasons for this, the most important ones being 1) They are more efficient, and 2) BIPV is a rather new category of PV.

BIPV is the Future

We expect to see gains in both 1) and 2) in the next few years, making the technology more cost-competitive, allowing more houses to start implementing tasteful solar power.

We all know that we need to transition towards harnessing green and sustainable energy sources instead of the non-renewables such as coal and fossil fuels. People can contribute significantly by implementing PV in their home. On the other hand, there is one key aspect you should consider doing before you purchase a solar system:

Energy-efficiency is crucial when it comes to reducing energy consumption. According to the EPA, a typical American household spends about $2200 in energy bills every year. This number can greatly be reduced if people spent their energy more wisely. Implementing measures that conserve energy by increasing energy efficiency will not only result in saved energy costs, but also lowers the amount of solar cells required to cover your consumption.

My goal with this article was to impress you and spark your interest when it comes to PV systems. If I was successful and you want to learn more about solar panels for home use, check out the EnergyInformative, a site dedicated to inform people about sustainable energy sources and energy efficiency.

Last Updated on March 1, 2012

Owning and maintaining an eco-friendly home has long since stopped being considered a fad, or a passing trend. As dangers to our resources and everyday living environment become all the more present and poignant, an increasing number of homeowners are turning to alternative solutions to rendering their homes ‘greener’. There are many tested and true ways to implement such beneficial changes, and one of the more popular is having a rain water collection tank installed. Current technologies allow for such tanks to be put in underground, thereby not unnecessarily taking up space in your backyard. You will be able to continue caring for your plants in the garden, while also actively contributing to the effort against the depletion of exhaustible resources. If you’re considering such a change, here are five ways in which your home will benefit from your move for improvement.


First and foremost, you will be reducing your carbon footprint by a large margin. Research shows that most domestic waste occurs in terms of water consumption. Toilets that flush unnecessarily large amounts of water, piping systems that are faultily insulated and the simple matter of domestic water consumption all contribute to this problem. By having a rain water tank installed you will be minimizing these issues, since rain water can be cleaned for indoor non-drinkable use.

Cost Reduction

It goes without saying that by using a resource that occasionally (and quite literally) falls from the sky for free, you will be substantially reducing your water bills. Rain water can be used for several types of purposes, from watering your garden to drinking water at home. Naturally, rain water is also available for industrial use, with washing your car a potential analogy for use at home. Rain water tanks are, indeed, an investment, but they are one that goes a long way where cutting costs is concerned. And no one is that well off to refuse the promise of lower bills, are they?


With rain water collection tanks, you, the homeowner can exercise a substantially increased amount of control over how much water is used inside your home. By monitoring inbound and outgoing water levels you will be able to keep an eye out on costs, too. Tanks do require maintenance, but this maintenance is substantially cheaper overall than what you’re now paying on your water bills. At the same time, tank users are relatively independent and autonomous, since they are never as heavily affected by outages or issues with the domestic water relay system.


Water collection systems are flexible in design. Don’t think that the word ‘tank’ automatically implies a single type of technical or engineering solution. You can opt for any dimension that best suits your domestic needs, as well as any pipe configuration. The overall design of your home and yard will be only minimally affected if you opt for this sustainable solution.



Fervent gardeners are well aware of the costs of irrigation. If you are among them and are constantly concerned with ways to save on the water your plants, lawn and flowers require, then there is no better solution than collecting rain water. It is substance-free and therefore much safer for your garden than water coming in through the public piping system anyway.

Author Bio

Any Thompson, a home improvement enthusiast writes on Sydney Water Tanks. Her main area of interest, research and writing is building greener homes and a healthier world.

Last Updated on March 1, 2012

Granite is a natural stone that provides beauty beyond compare. There is no other stone in the world quite like granite. The advantages of granite, however, go far beyond its elegant beauty. Granite is also a practical choice when it comes to covering various surfaces in your home. Here are some of the main advantages of granite, and a link to an article from Popular Mechanics that can help you decide if Granite is right for you:

Granite is very unique. Although you can choose your color and basic look of the stone, no two pieces are exactly the same. Granite is made up of a variety of minerals, and even if two pieces of granite come from the same location or quarry, they still won’t be duplicated. Because of this, any project using granite has to be completed all at once because it’s highly unlikely the exact same color combination of the stone will be found again. This means that your granite surface will be completely unique. You won’t see the same granite in any other home.

You will increase the value of your home with granite. Whether you add a granite backsplash in your kitchen or install a granite countertop in your bathroom, you are sure to get your money’s worth should you decided to sell your home.

The color of granite does not fade. Unlike laminate and other man-made surfaces which can fade due to wear and tear or even sun exposure, the color you see in your granite the first day it is installed is the same color it will be 20 years down the road.

Granite is resistant to stains as long as it is sealed. Sealing your granite is essential in protecting its beauty and it will typically need to be resealed every two to three years. Once you seal it, though, you can wipe spills up without the risk of them soaking in and staining the stone. This is often a real selling point for those with small children or pets.

You won’t find a more ideal surface for countertops than granite. You can cut items directly on the granite without harming the stone. Actually, it is so tough it will dull the knives you’re using over time. Take a hot pan right off the stove or a tray out of the oven and you can sit it directly onto the granite countertop. You don’t have to sit down hot pads or trivets first because the heat will do absolutely no damage to the granite. It’s that tough! Also, granite is non-porous, which makes it quite sanitary. You’ll never worry about germs and bacteria seeping into the countertop because they simply won’t.

Granite is easy to clean and maintain. Other than resealing every couple of years, there is no other routine maintenance that must be performed on the surface. It can also be cleaned with ease. A rag and mild, soapy water will work just fine for cleaning granite. If you are looking for a deeper cleaning, a granite cleaner will get the job done. There are certain products that should not be used on granite such as bleach and other harsh chemicals which can etch the surface.

You don’t have to pay a fortune to have the elegance of granite in your home. While granite is often more expensive than other types of surfaces, the first thing you must remember is the durability of the stone. It will last for many, many years. Aside from that, however, there are less expensive types of granite. An affordable granite option is to go with modular granite.

These are just thinner slabs of granite. Since they require less granite, they are naturally less expensive. Granite tiles are even cheaper, as they are the thinnest type of granite you can get. Regardless of the thickness of the slab, you’re still getting granite, so if you’re looking for a budget-friendly granite option, it is out there.

Chris writes on a variety of home-related topics, from kitchen appliances and design to environmentally-friendly living. Chris works for the Long Eaton Appliance Company, specialists in Rangemaster Cookers and other premium cooker brands.