The Many Uses of Solar Landscape Lighting

Most avid gardeners also play a strong part in the “green” movement. They grow some of their own foods, find methods for saving or conserving water and implement all kinds of strategies for using their plants, trees and shrubs in the most effective ways possible. They also create nurturing environments for many local creatures such as birds, insects and bees.

Many gardeners also prefer a more natural overall look to their yards and gardens and find that they prefer to use the gentle glow and electricity-free solar landscape light fixtures available. Of course in this modern era such fixtures are available in an enormous variety of styles and materials, including brass and brushed pewter as well as the traditional black cast iron styles.

It is remarkable to consider the number of designs that can be used in both formal and informal gardening and lawn areas. There are post fixtures of all heights and designs, “bollard” lights that give a truly unique look to a drive or path, hanging fixtures that provide a beautiful glow along with the style of on old-fashioned lantern and the very familiar “tiered” styles that look much like the earliest and most original exterior solar lights, but with far better design and features.

When considering any installation of solar landscape lighting it is important to remember that a true lighting design scheme is possible through the strict use of solar fixtures. Paths can be totally illuminated, shrubs or specimens can be featured with a spotlight, doorways or entrances can receive a constant supply of ample lighting through posts or hanging fixtures and all kinds of accents or effects can be created with solar landscape fixtures.

Let’s examine a very “basic” yard and garden outfitted with solar lighting. The small drive in front of the garage can feature bollard lighting on both sides to allow a driver to easily determine the width and length of the parking area. The walkway leading through the yard can have several tiered features that are in the same Arts and Crafts style as the exterior of the home (a few of them outfitted with spot lights for several beautiful plantings and to brightly light the stairs leading up to the front door). This same yard might also use some fixtures by a back gate, for security reasons, or even a few decorative solar flood lights along a darker part of the yard. The best thing about such a large scale design is that it requires no digging, no electricity and can be installed in only a short period of time.

Luxury Kitchen Remodels Built With Materials Of Distinction

A kitchen is central to everyday life, making it the perfect room for a luxury remodeling project. Homeowners have so many choices that engaging a professional interior designer can prove to be the best project decision made. Even a well prepared kitchen remodel plan will likely benefit from a dose of flexibility and a positive expectation to have fun in the process. Here are a few favorite ideas to consider for a luxury home remodel. All of them benefit from using quality materials of distinction for a kitchen remodel project that a homeowner will love to live with.

A Kitchen Island With Additional Seating

Homeowners often ask if their kitchen is sufficiently wide to add a functional, yet stunning island. Though the island runs at least 42, it is possible to minimize the design down to 36″ between the island and sink wall. One option to gain a few valuable feet of floorspace is to add a bay window; you will also gain fabulous light and a view of your landscaped gardens. Every home is unique and your designer will know how to maximize it’s more permanent features, while adding new ones.

Kitchen Renovations: Wood Flooring

Many designers helping homeowners remodeling their kitchens today are turning to an old flooring standby: wood, as a material of distinction. Wood flooring has made a major comeback as builders and homeowners look to increase the charm, value and comfort in new and remodeled homes with something so beautiful and so natural.

Kitchen Cabinets

Cabinets with glass at the top, or in the cabinet door showcase the family’s favorite dishes or crystal stem ware. Adding a built-in wine rack or plate rack, adds high fashion and functionality. An amazing variety of time-saver features are offered if building custom cabinets; including; tiered lazy Susans, built-in cutlery drawers, a pull-down soap and sponge holder, housing for your smaller kitchen appliances, and deep drawers for pots and bake ware.

Enhancing the Kitchen Without Pouring Money Down the Drain

The kitchen area is without doubt one of the most used. It is therefore not surprising that many people look to enhance the area given you spend so much time in it. One of the main problems associated with sprucing up the most used area in the home is cost. In this article we look at some sound methods of enhancing the overall decor without breaking the bank.

Touch up your existing appliances

Despite what many people think, simply because your appliances are looking dull you do not have to replace them. There are a number of specialist paints available with which to provide a make-over to kitchen appliances. Cookers and dull machines can be painted with special aluminum paints which reflect heat and are suitable to paint over scratches and generally provide a new look to old appliances.

Replace the hardware on your cabinets

Kitchen cabinets often bear the brunt of usage. These are one aspect of the kitchen tat is easy to spruce up. You can either sand down and re-paint the cabinets or easily create some new ones from MDF materials. This is a cheap and very effective way to have new cabinets without spending a fortune.

Add lighting under your cabinets

Adding some under cabinet lighting can make a real difference to the entire look and feel of a kitchen. Most DIY stores have low-cost under cabinet lighting which is simple to install and provides an amazing finished look when turned on. If you use the area for desk space these under cabinet lights can also be a really benefit for your working desk space.

Put curtains on your windows

If you have curtains or drapes at your windows then perhaps now is the time to look at new materials. There are a raft of choices when it comes to fabrics which can instantly make a real difference to the ambiance in the kitchen area with vibrant and exciting colors.

Use matte paint to update your fixtures

Don’t forget to look at the fixtures as well as the fittings. Using matt based kitchen paints you can brighten up that dull and tarnished brackets holding your shelves up or perhaps the door knobs on your cabinets.

One Good Way To Get Your Bathroom or Kitchen Remodeling Project Done Right

There is a lot to think about when you decide to do kitchen or bathroom remodeling. The first thought is probably – “should I do it myself or hire someone to do it for me?” And that’s a good question?

The answer really depends on what materials you will decide to use, and how knowledgeable you on the variety of materials on the market today. For example, we decided to do a bathroom remodel, well, actually we decided to re-do the floors. We went to Home Depot and picked out some tile. We actually had to make several trips before we were happy with our selection; then we bought enough to do the entire floor (it was on sale, of course.)

Our friend had already told us we could use his tile cutter so we thought we were in business. But not so fast! The one thing we forgot was that he told us to get tile that was within a specific height or the cutter wouldn’t work. Well, guess what, our tile was just a little thicker than his specifications. However, we really liked the material we had selected so we decided to use it.

It was now a very large project! My husband had to practically cut each tile by hand – and since we also picked a very large tile, almost every piece that didn’t go down the middle had to be cut. It took about a week to do one small bathroom floor!

So when you’re asking yourself the question on whether to do it yourself or get some help, also ask yourself how long you are willing to be without your bathroom. A professional can usually get the job done in half the time it would take you. Not only because they have the expertise to do the job right the first time, but they also have the correct tools to make the entire project go faster and less stressful.

Trouble Deciding Between Flooring Options? The Best Choices for Any Room

No matter what you are decorating or renovating, choosing the right flooring options for each room is vital to ensuring the longevity of your floors. No one would ever dream of putting carpet in the bathroom, but beyond that many homeowners are sure which type of floors are best suited for which rooms in the home. Use this guide to help you decide the type of floor to fit any projects large or small.

Redecorating the Bedroom, Den, Family Room or Living Room

The family room and living room are all going to be considerably used by all members of the family. For this reason, you may want to consider laminate flooring that is easy to maintain, and won’t bend, bow, or fade like cheaper floors then. It’s also highly scratch resistant and looks as beautiful as authentic wood floors. Because the living room is the highlight for many visitors, you may want to consider having traditional hardwood floors installed. As one of the most cherished flooring options available, real hardwood can last for decades with proper care and maintenance.

If you’re on a budget, it’s hard to beat the fresh look and low-cost of new carpet. Having that vital softness underfoot is a welcome touch to cold feet on a winter morning. It also helps insulate a room and reduces airborne allergens by trapping them between the carpet fibers. Plus, regular vacuuming is all it takes to keep your carpet looking new — a must-have for any busy, on-the-go household.

If you’re concerned about slips and falls by younger or older members of the family on your wood or laminate floors, you may want to consider putting down hallway runners or area rugs to help cushion falls and provide a no-slip barrier between foot and floor.

Renovating the Kitchen or Bath

An updated kitchen or bathroom can potentially add thousands of dollars to the value of your home. And whether you’re selling or not, these two rooms are likely to see their fair share of steam, humidity and moisture. That’s why it’s important to invest in flooring options that are highly moisture resistant. Ceramic tile in the kitchen is one of the most popular choices and is easy to clean and care for. Tile in the bath is also one of the most common flooring options. Your new tile will need to be professionally installed, so keep this in mind when considering the cost.

Free Grant Money For Home Repair and Improvement

The government provides free grant money for a lot of different reasons, and home repair grants are one of the many ways that American citizens can take advantage of these programs. Depending on the programs your local community government offers, and the state or federal grant programs you choose to apply for, you could receive the cash you need to fix and update your home for free.

What exactly does it mean to get money for free? Just that. When obtained, this is cash that you can spend and will never be asked to pay it back. That is, of course, as long as you use the funds for the intended purpose of the grant.

You can visit your City Hall to check with your local government agencies and inquire about the home grants that you may qualify for. Some of the grants that are available will provide you with the cash you need to completely rehabilitate your house or even expand your home. Other grants may help you pay for labor or material costs. In some cases you may simply receive a tax credit for installing energy efficient appliances.

Whatever the case, there are numerous government grants available, and home improvement grants are just a small sliver of the money that has been allocated to be given away. And since this is money that never has to be repaid, it may very well be worth some minimal effort in finding the cash that is available for you to claim.

Keep Your Home Safe With Door Hardware

The safety of you and your family is one of the most important priorities in your life. Keeping ourselves and our loved ones safe and secure is absolutely essential, for obvious reasons, so it goes to follow that home security is a big concern for everyone out there. You want to make sure that your home is secure and safe, able to keep unwanted things like intruders from being able to get inside and harm anyone or rob you. This is of particular concern for people with children.

With that in mind, then, one of the most important aspects of home security involves your exterior doors (any doors that lead into or out of the house), since these are the primary access points to your home, and therefore the first choice for anyone looking to get in. If you are in the middle of home improvements because you just purchased a new home, or just because it’s time for an update, make sure to not neglect that most important detail when it comes to security – your locks.

Door hardware meant to be installed on exterior doors must be strong and reliable. While you obviously want to choose a door handle or door knob that involves a lock, you also want to invest in a good strong deadbolt. The locks in door handles are usually of the single cylinder variety and therefore can be easily broken or forced through by a determined intruder. Adding a deadbolt gives you an extra layer of protection, so even if the door handle lock is breached, you have that thick throw bolt on the deadbolt protecting your home. These are very hard to force past.

When you choose a deadbolt, however, to use on an exterior door, make sure that it is one that can be easily operated from the inside by anyone in the home. You don’t want intruders getting in, naturally, but you DO want anyone inside the home to be able to get OUT, if necessary. While you can purchase deadbolts that involve keys or complicated multiple throw bolts, it’s not always the best choice to put on a front door or a back door. If there is a fire or another situation in which anyone needs to vacate your home quickly, a complicated deadbolt could prevent them from getting out in time – especially when it comes to children or disabled persons.

How Do You Know If You Have the Best Home Painting Contractor For the Job?

If you are anything like me, you are very selective when it comes to choosing the right candidate for any job. When it comes to home improvement projects (or anything that costs me money for that matter) I am especially selective.

For me, finding a home painting contractor was a very methodical and trying process that entailed a great deal of research. By the time I actually found the right man for the job, I was thoroughly exhausted and ready for them to start the job.

The purpose of my writing this piece is to inform you on the process that I implement when I select contractors for my home improvement projects.

I use a very simple, yet strategic, 3 step process.

1. Research

Obviously, carrying out a great deal of research prior to making any decision is a wise move. What I do, personally, is review the company’s website and then run their name through a Google search to see what comes up. In nearly all cases you will find some type of review about the company. If I see more negative reviews than positive, I move on to the next candidate. However, I do not discredit them if I see 1 or 2 negative reviews. I do all my research before I even contact the company.

2. Interview

If the potential contractor passes all of my research requirements, I then call and speak with someone. I will typically conduct some type of interview process. I ask whatever questions are important to me.

3. References

The final test that I conduct is calling on 5 references. Yes, I did say that I call a total of 5. Now you might be asking yourself why it is that I contact 5. Well, my answer tot his question is very simple. If I am going to be spending thousands of my hard earned dollars, then I am going to be sure that the home painting contractor I am considering is the absolute best candidate for the job.

Home and Garden Software

Would you like to landscape your garden and need home and garden software? You will find lots of software to landscape your garden, design your home, for home security, and hobbies, such as scrapbooking on the Internet.

Experiment with software to see the exterior of your home in a different color paint, with additions, different windows, doors or roof. Or experiment with a picture of your garden, adding plants, shrubs, trees and features.

Get an eBook with full colour step by step do it yourself guides. Here you will also find software for hobbies, such as greeting cards, embroidery, fashion, playing piano, health and fitness, garage bands, DJ software and music downloads.

You can also remodel your home, with the help of kitchen design or home design software. There is no need to employ an interior decorator. Experiment with the software to change your home into your dream home.

You will also find home security software. Keep your home, pets and loved ones safe, with the help of home security software and a camera. Why pay a security company when you can do it yourself? Your insurance company is sure to give you a rebate.

The Internet has changed the way the world plays and works, and there is software for anything and everything. From weight loss, to fashion design and wedding planning. Why not find out who your ancestors were… with family tree software?

If you have Internet, the world is at your fingertips. You will find computer software for all your home improvement requirements, interests, entertainment and hobbies. Take advantage of all the information and software products available.

Decorating A Large Wall – Ideas For Decorating A Large Wall

Large wall in interior present a big challenge of decorating with the right style. However unique ideas for large walls can greatly improve the interior mood of the space in a very short time because of the visual attention it gets easily. However at the same time a large wall can easily spoil the whole mood in a matter of minutes if done with improper planning.

There are many ways of decorating a large wall. Firstly what you can do is choose a wall decor style that will have a repetitive patter with large patterns. This will break down the wall into small compartments so that each individual unit is obviously smaller than the total size of the wall. This can be achieved by using a chosen wallpaper design.

Another way to achieve this is by creating a mural on the wall with your selected theme. The mural must match with the overall theme of the room interiors. If you have chosen a contemporary design theme for interiors then the wall-decorating theme must match the entire theme for the purpose of continuing the visual connection.

You can also use curtains to break down the large volume of the wall. Simply divide the length of the wall into 3 or 4 sets and use curtains as a way to sooth the heavy volume of the wall. While selecting the curtains keep in mind the overall decorating theme.

I am going to show you another twist to this idea. It is not always necessary to decorate a wall with external elements such as wallpaper, picture frames, cladding tiles etc. What you can do is create openings in wall if possible. Of course this won’t work with every wall. But if the wall is only a divider between two interior spaces just as divider and if privacy of either of the space is not an issue, then this technique can be use very effectively used.

Creating openings in the wall will immediately break down its volume and also add visual connection between the two spaces. The newly opening can be decorated using curtains too.