A Comprehensive Guide to Keeping Your Home Safe and Beautiful

In your home, you want to feel secure without losing the personal touch and sacrificing interior design. Whilst decorating can be fun, it’s your home security that will give you the most peace of mind when at home and, most importantly, when you are away. Below are some ideas to help you get the right balance between interior style and home security.

Proper Roofing

During construction, most people make a mistake of hiring a random company to do the roofing. Roofing is an essential safety measure, and you want to get it right. First, you want to get Trusted Roofing, guaranteed by the quality of materials, quality installation by certified and experienced roofers, and proper execution with exquisite finishing. Your roof will keep off unwanted people and animals and guard you against bad weather. As you get the most quality material and service, pick the best design for you. A well installed roof makes quite a statement for your home.

Secure Doors

Secure your doors; doors make the entrance and exit from your house. You don’t want your door letting in burglars, so it’s best to keep them secure.

To start with, use solid-core doors, these are hard to break. It is safe to reinforce your door frames and hinges; always lock your doors in the night, or when you are not around.

Some additional ways to ensure safety is to use trusted door lock brands, use security cameras, and have a wide range of peep-hole so that you are always sure of your safety when opening the door. One more way is to have clear visibility of your door so that neighbours can intervene when they see any suspicious movement.

If you have a glass door, use shatterproof film to prevent a quick break-in. For a sliding door, go for a glass break sensor or door sensor for alerts whenever the door is tampered with. This will disorient burglars.

Secure Windows 

You need your windows secure too. One way is to have window bars. Some people, though, prefer to have a clear view, and there are options for them as well: setting up security cameras or window sensors, use locks for sliding windows, or lock your windows such that they can only be opened with a key.

If your windows are high enough, remove any materials around it that could be climbed to gain access to the window and laminate the glass of your windows.

Secure the Garage

Your garage is a vulnerable safety point, to secure your home, get the right doors: sectional garage doors do it, and always lock, especially when you are away. Most homes have automatic door openers that are quite secure but go the extra mile to zip tie the door, allowing you to open or close even without power. Upgrade your garage service and entry door and have all your tools locked up. Have a garage security system: cameras and alarms. Leave nothing to chance.

Clear Possible Hiding Spots

There are places around your home to which you don’t pay much attention but which are accessible to intruders. Make sure you secure and clear up such areas. You could add flowers and plants and consider fencing or a lockable gate.  

Fencing

For additional security, use a security fence, gate, and an electronic security system to top. It will detect and delay unauthorized access to your compound if it doesn’t stop it completely. You, of course, have to give your choice of fencing some thought. It would help if you considered the need for security, budget, location, and even your personality. Fencing marks territory and adds to the oomph of the home. Whatever choice you go with for a fence, keep it clean and beautiful as it comes and repair whenever necessary.

Secure Your Wifi

As for your wifi, keep it locked with a strong password. You don’t want strangers to gain access to any personal information. Better safe than sorry.

Light Up Your Home

To top all that up, light up your landscape. Thieves hate to think that they are being watched, and with a lit-up home, you are way ahead of them. Keep those lights shining, and your home will remain as bright and beautiful as the day.

The most important thing, as you strive to keep your home secure, is to put your heart and personality and preferences into every decision. Your home can radiate your most precise nature, and this is what makes a home truly feel like home.

Get Your Kitchen Back To School Ready

Well, the time has come to send the kids back to school and we have the joys of the school run to look forward to once more.

If your home is anything like mine, it is probably looking a lot less pristine after 150 days of lockdown and, in particular, the kitchen.

The kitchen really is the heart of the home, isn’t it?  I’m planning to get ours a major deep clean and tidy up in preparation for all the extra activity it’s about to face – lunch box preparation, after school snacks, family dinners and, of course, in the not too distant future, dare I mention the festive season?  Frankly I think we all need something to look forward to at the moment, don’t we?

In this post I’ll outline my list of tasks for sprucing up the kitchen to help you get school-ready – from dealing with a less than inviting fridge to banishing the pong from the kitchen bin.  Ieuan starts secondary school on 3 September and Caitlin is back to Year 8 on the 11th so I don’t have too long.

Dust from top to bottom

Get rid of all those summer cobwebs and dust the light fixtures while you’re at it.  If you’re brave enough, now’s the time to tackle the top of the fridge – you know that place where you’re ‘stored’ old Christmas hats and gift bags you’ve been planning to reuse for the last 2 years.

Wipe down cabinets, wall tiles and splash back

Time to tackle those bolognese splatters and grease spots that have become a permanent fixture.  Some hot water and washing up liquid works fine for this.

If you’re feeling brave you could also tackle vents and cooker hoods removing any layers of dust that might have built up.

Wash and declutter the worktops

Mine tend to be covered with things I don’t have a home for – post, bank statements, used batteries (still not sure what to do with them) and, thanks to our cat Gavin, the odd feline footprint.  The husband is far more ruthless than I am in chucking stuff away.

Make sure you use the right cleaning product for your type of countertops – particularly if you have invested in expensive materials like granite. Work section by section so you don’t have to move everything off, unless you’re in the mood for a good declutter.

Clean the fridge

Along with cleaning the kitchen bin, my heart sinks just thinking about this one but if you’re like us there are lots of half-opened jars of some sauce or other lurking in the back, along with last month’s spring onions and something you were going to eat up but didn’t get round to.

Using your fridge and freezer correctly can actually save you money too.

Don’t use a chemical cleaner.  A great tip is to spray the inside of the fridge with a solution of distilled vinegar and water.  Leave it to soak and then wipe down with a soft damp cloth.

For really dried on gunk, try a paste made of bicarbonate of soda and hot water.  Leave to soak in for around 10 minutes and then rinse off with a clean cloth.

Which leads me to …

Tackle the kitchen bin

If you think about how many times a day you use your bin, it’s easy to see why regular cleaning and emptying is important.  If yours is on its last legs, it may be time to invest in a new kitchen bin but otherwise, a good wash down is in order, particularly around the rim and the lid.  I like to bleach mine but don’t forget that bleach only works with cold water.  (A handy tip in these COVID times).

Clean the oven and the microwave

We’ve tried a number of shop-bought oven cleaners over the past years but last time I confess I paid a local company to do it. They used steam and there were no nasty chemicals involved.  I’ve used products before which, aside from being risky for kids and pets, absolutely ponged.

To clean my microwave, I just add a tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar to a bowl of water and run it for two minutes. The steam helps loosen baked-on food splatters and makes wiping out the microwave easier.

Sweep and mop the floor

A drop or two of a multi-purpose concentrated disinfectant like Zoflora can be added to the water to add some fragrance to the room.  It will also help to combat the spread of bacteria and viruses.

You could also spray cupboard and door handles with a disinfectant spray just as Dettol.  Simply spray and leave to dry.

Update the family notice board

If you have one of these it’s a good time to curate any school artwork and remove old tickets and reminders. Make space for things you will need to hand like new term school timetables and bus schedules.

I photograph the kids’ drawings and preserve them digitally.  It’s easy to be completely overrun with craft projects and paintings if you have younger children.

Then you’re almost done.  Of course there’s no reason why bored tweens and teens couldn’t give you a hand with some of this to earn their WiFi privileges!

And hopefully this will help the return to school to be a little more organised for you.

What tips would you add?

How Do You Throw a Virtual Party?

If you are a fan of “The Walking Dead,” “Mad Max,” or “The Stand,” then you might have had high expectations about how the life after The Event would look like. Unfortunately, the reality is often disappointing, and it’s fairly certain that your vision did not include hoarding toiler paper.

Although you don’t have to defend your home from the undead, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, you have to face another, not less scary enemy: boredom. Even if you consider yourself an introvert, we are social beings, and without enough interactions with others, our life becomes bland.

It might take some time before meeting with your friends in a restaurant or nearby park becomes safe again, but thanks to technology, you don’t have to leave your house to talk to them. That’s not all – you can even throw a virtual party! If you aren’t sure how to prepare that, there’s no need to worry – in a moment we’ll explain how to make sure that you and your friends have a great time!

What Type of a Party Animal Are You?

First, we must acknowledge that the definitions of the world “party” vary greatly. For some individuals, it might involve drinking terrifying amounts of cheap alcohol and dancing to weirdly unnerving music, whereas others prefer to focus on card games, or telling stories. The thing is, although it would be much better to meet in person, you can have an excellent virtual party, no matter what your priorities are.

Want to drink with your friends? Zoom became known as the go-to software for remote job videoconferencing, but in reality, you can use it however you want. It means that you can enjoy a drink or two while talking with your friends thanks to this wonderful piece of technology. However, be warned – if your drinking pace is too fast, you might spill some alcohol on your computer or laptop. As a result, your virtual party could end up being quite costly. That’s why it’s best to exercise some restraint.

If you want to spice it up a little bit, you could add the element of risk. Want to feel as if you were in Las Vegas? You can convince your friends to bet some money and see if your sense of intuition is particularly effective. In all probability though, as the party progresses, your predictions will become increasingly less accurate. If you aren’t sure where to find reliable lottery sites, check out https://onlinelottosites.com/.

On the other hand, even if you find yourself in the middle of a pretty intense argument, there won’t be a possibility of it coming to blows. They say that words can hurt, but they definitely won’t leave a bruise.

If you prefer the talking part more than the drinking one, and you actually need to find activities that you could do together, as listening to ramblings isn’t as entertaining when you are all sober, then we wholeheartedly recommend card games. The sheer variety of those games makes it possible for everyone to find something that they’ll enjoy. However, if you’re looking for an enjoyable card game why not try “Cards Against Humanity.”

If at least one of the participants knows how to play the guitar or other instrument, you could start singing songs while pretending that you are sitting next to a bonfire. However, a tambourine, drums, or a saxophone would also do, though the resulting atmosphere might end up being a little bit different.

Don’t forget that your neighbours might be less than happy with your virtual party if the singing gets particularly loud. That’s why it’s best to start it appropriately early.

Conclusion

No matter what you decide upon, I am sure that you’ll spend most of your time together exchanging stories about how you deal with the current situation. The isolation takes a toll on all of us, and the economic crisis doesn’t make matters worse. Admittedly, the situation is far from good.

However, it is especially important in moments like these to keep in touch with your friends and family. Meeting in person might remain impossible for now, but it doesn’t mean that you cannot have a conversation with them, or go one step further, and throw a virtual party. It might not be the same, but for now, it will have to be enough. Hopefully, after reading this article, you now know how to make your virtual party special.

How to Decorate a Luxury Home Garden

Have you ever watched home improvement shows that feature luxurious gardens? Naturally, you might have the thought of having such a beautiful backyard. But for some, it’s nothing but a pipe dream. Some even believe that you have to spend as much as these reality TV programs show. Of course, having a big budget helps. But even without a grand one, you can turn your backyard into a luxury home garden.

Are you wondering how you can do it? Here are some fantastic tips on how to decorate a luxury home garden.

Start With A Beautiful Lawn

One sure way to transform your garden into an expensive-looking one is by having a green, lush lawn. You’ll need to mow the grass and remove weeds regularly. While it needs a little hard work, every ounce of effort is worth it.

Of course, not everyone has the time and effort to maintain the lawn. While you can get gardening services, it can add unnecessary expenses. Instead, consider lawn alternatives. For instance, you can use artificial grass to cover parts of the garden. You can also strategically use mulch, along with stone paths.

Choose a Theme

To create a cohesive-looking garden, you will need to choose a style and stick to it. Having a garden with too much decoration of various styles can look chaotic rather than beautiful. While you can still come up with a luxurious garden by doing so, it’s safer to go with one or two complimenting styles.

What are the garden themes that you can do? There are tons of styles, and many of them can be found on the internet. For instance, you can go with an oriental-themed garden by having a few bonsai and a fish pond. Or perhaps you want a courtyard-style garden with hedges and bushes of colourful flowers.

Create a Focal Point

Focal points are places in your garden which attracts visual attention. It usually comes in the form of a centrepiece, like a fountain or a sculpture. But it can also be found on the sides of your garden, like decorative walls, exotic and unique plants, or ornate fences and gates.

Why do you need a focal point in your garden? Without a focal point, likely, you won’t know where to focus your eyes on. With a focal point, you can direct attention to certain areas of the garden.

You might think that focal points are only for large gardens. But it can be as effective in smaller areas. What are some focal points that you can decorate your garden with? You can use a water feature, like a fountain or a birdbath. You can also use unique, eye-catching species of flowers and plants. You may also use structures, such as a statue, a monolith, or a simple boulder.

Install Lighting

Lights are not used solely for functional purposes. It can also serve as an excellent decoration to make your garden look luxurious. One of the most common decorative lightings is hanging lights. But there are some other out-of-the-box ideas that you can add to your backyard.

For instance, you can use lights to illuminate the stairs in your garden. Not only will it attract attention, but it will also add safety. If you have trees and pillars, you can wrap them in string lights.

Aside from decorations, lighting can also affect the mood of your garden. Dimmer lights are better for dining and social areas in your garden, to give a more relaxed atmosphere. Brighter lights can be used on open areas for a more lively and exciting ambience.

Build a Composite Deck

The inclusion of a deck with beautiful decking lights is almost always necessary and present in luxurious home gardens. There are many types of decks to choose from. Most luxury homes have exotic hardwoods. However, they can be very expensive. As a cheaper alternative, consider using composite decking materials. They are low maintenance and can last for decades.

To sum it all up, you can never go wrong with a garden full of plants and flowers, as long as it’s cohesive with the style of your choosing. You may also want to create a focal point to direct the eyes into beautiful parts of your garden. Lastly, the addition of a deck can give your backyard an expensive look.

 

Expert Tips to Make House Cleaning Easier

We all lead such busy lives these days that finding the time to keep the house clean can be a major challenge. If you have kids, you’re probably cleaning your house at least every other day or at least once a week. I’m sure you know how difficult this can be – and it’s a lot of extra and unpaid work. But, unless you want to live in a tip, you have to do it, especially if you have a family.  And, note, I am a big fan of teaching children to do chores from a young age!  It’s all too easy to feel compelled to do it all yourself.

This is why learning about a new technique or a good product can help you clean your house better. It can also make the cleaning process easier.

Here are some expert tips that will make your cleaning routine simpler and less difficult.

Clean Your Entire House, Not One Room At The Time

A lot of people think that it’s better to completely clean one room and then move on to the next one. This is a mistake you should avoid making. It doesn’t matter if you’re vacuuming, dusting, or mopping, it’s much better to do the same chore in every room before doing something else.

Why is this strategy so good? Well, first of all, you won’t have to change your tools, put on, and remove your gloves every five minutes. You will be able to accomplish your tasks, without wasting your time on gear adjustments. Also, once you finish vacuuming or dusting your entire house, you will know that most of the work is done. This is a good feeling that will motivate you to clean your house properly.

Clear The Clutter

One of the most important things you should do before vacuuming or dusting is clear the clutter. Having to pick up toys, socks, and other similar objects off the floor while vacuuming is rather annoying. You have to interrupt your cleaning session, put down the vacuum cleaner, and put away the items. This requires time and energy. 

However, this can be avoided by clearing the clutter before vacuuming. It doesn’t matter if you are using a regular vacuum cleaner or a central vacuum, the area you are about to clean has to be clear of clutter. This is the only way you will be able to remove the dirt and dust from the floor.

Therefore, do a recon and search the rooms before vacuuming. Trust us, this will save you a lot of time.

Disinfect Your Home

It’s very important to disinfect your home every once in a while. Especially today during the coronavirus pandemic. Therefore, go through your entire house and wipe every hard surface you can find. Clean the countertops, appliances in all the rooms, and cabinets you touch every day. Also, don’t forget to clean the doorknobs, light switches, and your smartphones.

Disinfecting these areas in your house will prevent the germs and viruses from coming in contact with your hands and your face. Doing this is crucial if you have kids. They won’t think before they touch their face, so you have to protect them by disinfecting your house. Do this regularly and you won’t have to worry about germs and viruses.

Remove Mildew With Vodka

People usually have a bottle of vodka in their home for cocktail-making purposes. However, you can also use vodka to make your home cleaner. This drink is especially efficient when it comes to removing mildew from your bathroom. Here’s how to do this. 

All you have to do is fill a bottle with a 50-50 mixture of vodka and water. Then, spray it on the areas where you see the mildew and leave it for about 10 minutes. Then use a clean cloth to wipe the area. This will clean your bathroom and it will kill the mildew. This is a pretty interesting use of vodka, wouldn’t you agree?

Make Sure To Sweep The Floors Before You Mop Them

Keeping the floors in your home clean is paramount. Cleaning the floors seems rather easy and simple, but to do it properly, you must have a good strategy. Therefore, when you are cleaning the kitchen and bathroom floors, make sure to sweep them before you start mopping them. Then, when you start mopping them, make sure to start from the farthest corner of the room and move back towards the exit. This way you won’t trap yourself in the corner.

Clean Your Tools

Cleaning your home properly regularly is important if you want to live in a healthy environment. However, this won’t be possible if your cleaning tools are dirty. Therefore, you must wash your tools every time you finish cleaning your home. This will save you a lot of time and effort.

Keeping your home clean is not a simple task, especially if you have a big family. However, these tips will help you with this endeavour. 

How Much Do Plumbers Charge For Repairs And Installs?

Plumbing isn’t just about fixing leaky pipes and taps. Plumbers may be called upon to deal with any manner of complex problems ranging from repairing leaking pipe systems to installing whole new systems. Plumbing is a varied trade that demands a great deal of technical knowledge and various capabilities.

Common problems a plumber can help you resolve

Blockages are some of the most common and likely the most horrible problems that plumbers are called upon to resolve. While a plunger may be adequate to get some blockages moving, others are not shifted as easily.

Blockages can not only cause horrible smells but also result in stagnation and slow movement of water and other liquids. Food debris and oil are the most common culprits of blockages.

Plumbers are also often called upon to deal with leaky pipes. Leaky pipes result in the wastage of surprisingly large amounts of water within a short time. You may first notice a leak by the incessant dripping that is enough to drive anyone insane or the large increase in your water bill. Getting a plumber in to fix the problem as soon as possible is the best thing you can do for your peace of mind.

When a ball valve becomes loose, its vibrating in the pipe can result in a lot of noise. This is a common issue that plumbers are called upon to deal with. The replacement of these valves is the simple fix to this problem.

How to calculate plumber rates

Many plumbers charge a flat rate for their services. This often ranges between £25 and £50 pounds per hour. If the work on your plumbing requires the services of more than one plumber, you should expect the rate for the services to increase.

Plumbers may charge you a per-day rate. This is common for major plumbing jobs that can run for several days. The typical rates range between £120 and £150 per day. This rate includes the cost of labour.

You have a wide variety of choices when it comes to whom you should hire for any plumbing job. It is therefore important to search for the best rates while ensuring you hire the most qualified and skilled local profession.

Make use of the plumbing cost calculator on Moderniser to help you understand what to expect in terms of costs for any particular plumbing job.

How much does labour cost?

Plumber rates vary significantly. Plumbers may quote the cost of a job as a plumber hourly rate or as the project cost. It is important to always request a quoted price in order to budget for the work to be done.

Many plumbers charge an hourly rate. It is therefore important to ask the plumber how long they would normally take on a similar job. This will give you a rough idea of how much to expect to pay for the job.

It should be noted that plumbers also have a ‘call-out-fee’. This is a minimum charge that is often equivalent to an hour’s work. Additional time spent on-site will often be charged either per fifteen minutes, per half hour or per hour

Never hire a plumber solely based on price

There’s no company in any industry that will offer you the cheapest price while providing the highest quality. It is possible to get the highest quality and best service but not at the lowest price. Choose a plumber based on the quality of their services and not their rates.

 

How to care for your boiler year-round (and avoid a heating crisis)

If you’ve ever been unlucky enough to suffer a broken-down boiler, you’ll know just how much of a day-ruiner it is. Sometimes it becomes a week-ruiner. Cold showers, no central heating and, of course, a huge sudden expense.

Winter boiler breakdowns are the worst, but summer breakdowns aren’t exactly fun either.

Here’s how to make sure your boiler doesn’t let you down unexpectedly.

Year-round DIY boiler care

Check the pressure regularly

In order to run properly and efficiently, your boiler needs to maintain a certain amount of pressure – usually between 1 and 1.3 bar, but it can vary depending on your boiler manufacturer.

Adjusting the pressure yourself is fairly simple on most boilers. First, you visually check the pipes and valves for any signs of leakage. Then, after making sure the boiler is switched off, you identify the correct valve (it should be stated in your boiler handbook/documentation) and turn it until you achieve the required pressure-level.

Of course, if in doubt, consult a qualified expert. Boilers are complicated pieces of machinery, and many of the potential issues can only be solved by engineers.

Keep it on its toes in the summer

Even though you probably won’t need to use your central heating in the warmer months, it’s worth running it for a few minutes every couple of weeks.

Just 10 minutes here and there is fine. The point of this exercise is merely to keep all of the relevant components active, thereby avoiding deterioration. 

Make the exterior sparkle

On a semi-regular basis, use a simple household cloth and a gentle cleaning solution to give your boiler a good once-over. This will keep on top of dust, stopping it from accumulating and potentially making its way in through small gaps.

This is perhaps more important if you live in an area that has ‘hard’ water, because limescale can build up on your pipes and, over a number of years, might begin to affect your boiler’s performance. 

Have it serviced annually

As much as your own diligence will increase your boiler’s longevity, there’s no substitute for professional care from a qualified engineer.

Your boiler only needs servicing once per year.

What boiler servicing entails

  • Visual inspection of components
  • Exterior cleaning
  • Interior cleaning
  • Flue testing (checking the pipes, in other words)
  • Other expert testing (e.g. checking electrical wiring, assessing whether there is sufficient ventilation, etc.)
  • Repairs, if applicable
  • Replacing components, if applicable

Plus plenty more.

Know when to say goodbye to your boiler

Every boiler has a finite lifespan. Once it reaches the 10-year point, you shouldn’t take anything for granted – and you should be prepared to replace it.

There’s also cost to consider. Repairing a boiler is economical up to a point, but be careful that you’re not paying to fix a lost cause. A brand-new, A-rated boiler will be much more efficient both in performance and cost than an older boiler.

In any case, don’t delay in getting any issue fixed, no matter how small it seems.

Duffy Heating is a Dublin-based provider of boiler replacement and boiler repair services.

*PR collaboration

Easy Decorating Tips & Tricks For Your Dorm Room

It’s that time of year when students start to pack up for their return to college and the safe haven of their digs, dorm or halls.  After so much time at home, I remember wanting to take my home comforts with me back to my hall of residence in Swansea.  Not so easy on a budget though and when funds are tight you need ideas to save the pennies whilst creating a room your mates will happily visit.  And maybe not so easy either when your landlord has strict rules about what you can and cannot do to your accommodation.

It doesn’t help, either, when loads of ads appear on your timelines advertising all the fun stuff you can get for your room when you simply don’t have the funds. Think about it, though, you don’t want your room to look like everyone else’s anyway. Now is the time to really express your personality and thankfully, you can do that on a budget with these ideas.

Before you go

Don’t overpack

I remember heading off to Swansea with every kitchen appliance under the sun and the majority of my wardrobe but you really don’t need to bring everything with you.  There will be shops and online shopping!

Pack for the season and then change over your clothes (e.g. your summer things) when you visit home.

Order stuff in advance and pick it up at your new location

So many places offer click and collect these days that you don’t necessarily need to stuff everything in the car.  Simply order and collect on your arrival.

On arrival

Agree the design with your room mate

In my first year I had to share a room with someone I had never met before.  (Hello Jo!).  Bear in mind that you might need to agree a design scheme with your new room mate first – so it might be an idea not to go mad with buying stuff until you have moved in.  You might need to rearrange some furniture but make sure you have permission to do that.

Don’t go crazy with university branded stuff

Whilst you will undoubtedly be proud of your college, buying a heap of branded merchandise may well add up – and, aside from one or two keepsakes at the end of your course, what will you do with your uni pyjamas after 3 years?

Settling in

Have a separate area for working and sleeping

If you can, try to move your desk away from your bed so that there is a clear division of space for sleeping and working – much more relaxing.

It’s also a good idea, if you can, to move the bed away from the window in case of any road noise for example.

And on the subject of noise, you can get acoustic roller blinds which will absorb some of the noise, or change any lightweight curtains for heavyweight ones with a blackout lining.  The extra expense is worth it for a decent night’s kip.

If the windows are not fitted properly, have gaps or don’t open or shut properly then you should raise this with your landlord.

Desk Area

If you have a desk, try to place it facing a wall so you can add shelves to store your supplies and books. You want to use as much vertical space as possible because you’ll quickly run out of floor space in a small room. If you do have a shelving unit on the floor, opt for a tall, skinny one instead of the wider kind that can take up a great deal of floor space.

Make the space your own

Think out of the box

If you have a small space to work with, try to think of function as well as décor.  There’s no reason why your bedside table can’t be a decorator piece as well as somewhere for your alarm clock and reading light.

You can save a lot of money and have bragging rights at the same time if you buy someone else’s castoff and make it over yourself. Painting or refinishing a table is relatively easy and it will turn into a conversation piece if it is an antique. Alternatively, you can distress it yourself if you can’t find a reasonably priced antique table.

Double up where you can

Kill two birds with one stone by making your storage attractive – for example buy containers which double up as decorations.  Use baskets for storing notebooks and stationery and in the kitchen use them for basic foods. You can even buy an ironing board that hangs over the door and folds down when you need to use it.

No matter how cute it is, don’t choose a bedside table which has no storage. Look for one that has storage drawers or a cabinet beneath. If your table is on legs with floor space underneath it, use a basket to store papers or books underneath the table. You might also consider just using a storage trunk for your bedside table and storing things that you want to have with you but that you don’t need to get at every day. You can shop flea markets for old trunks or buy a newer, trendy one. Either way, this is one of the best options to use in a dorm for a table simply because it offers so much storage space.

Add lights wherever the fancy takes you

I still love fairy lights to this day and you can add atmosphere to a dreary space quickly and cheaply.

Disguise ugly furniture with throws and cushions

Not liking that doctors’ surgery chair?  Got a sofa that needs a good clean?  Cover it up with cosy throws and blankets.

Try lighter colours like pinks and greys but make sure your soft furnishings are machine washable!

You can pick up decorative pillows cheaply from most major retailers these days. You can even get them with printed covers of your own photos.

Spruce up the walls

Again this is something you might need permission to do so check with any rental agreement you have.  A coat of fresh paint will improve any dingy space.  Just be sure to choose a light colour (neutrals or white are safest).

You can add a bit of pizazz to wall space with wall stickers which are a great temporary solution and far more interesting than the old faithful student poster.

Choose ones made from high quality vinyl plastic which are easy to apply without creases or bubbles. Wall stickers are easy to remove with no marks, residue or damage left behind to paintwork.

Disguise yucky flooring tiles with a rug

Getting a rug might seem like an obvious thing to do, but it’s an easy way to add a homely touch to a room.

Alternatively, why not add some personality to your space with vinyl rugs which can be personalised with your name or feature a funky print like snakeskin or cowhide.  They are long lasting and far easier to clean in the event of coffee or vino related accidents.

Invest in a good mattress

Something I do think is worth investing in if you can, is a decent mattress.  You might struggle with balancing studying and your social life if you’re not getting a proper night’s sleep. If you can’t afford that and the bed is a bit ropey, try a mattress topper to add a bit of cushioning and protection from rogue springs.

Other than that, you can pick up good quality cotton bedding quite cheaply. Pick light colours or stick to white and add an accent colour with cushions and throws.

I’d also recommend pillow protectors under your pillowcases to make them last longer.

Get a decent chair for any visitors

Unless they’re happy to sit and eat takeaway on the floor, having a couple of chairs is a good idea if you have room.  You can get stackable or fold-up ones that don’t look too bad.  At the very least think about a large floor pillow or beanbag.

You could also consider an ottoman which would double up as a seat and a bedside table at a push.

But don’t overdecorate

At some point you’re going to have to pack all this stuff up again and perhaps put it in storage so it’s a good idea not to overdo it – and that’s a more eco-friendly option in any case.

Ultimately, you’re really just trying to make the space feel more like home because you’ll be spending a lot of time there for the next year or longer.

A cluttered room is harder to clean

Now I don’t remember doing much cleaning at uni but if you are a clean freak just remember that the more stuff you cram in, the hard it will be to keep it clean.

I’ve never been able to study with a messy desk and a sink full of dirty dishes drives me nuts.

So while it might be tempting to go for fake flowers, for example, you’d be better off choosing hard to kill houseplants and saving your pennies for the odd bunch of flowers – better for the air quality too.

You could also try a salt lamp or an essential oil diffuser to ward off cooking smells.  Just be careful with candles.  Our hall had a smoke detector so sensitive it would happily trip at the scent of one piece of burnt toast.  Rather embarrassing when the fire brigade turns up.

A laundry hamper is a good idea

You don’t want to share your space with your dirty laundry, do you?  Have somewhere to chuck it all so you know where it is on your next visit to the laundrette (or take it home to your mum!).  Much nicer.

Shoe bags and Shoe Boxes

Nobody needs as many pairs of shoes as most shoe bags and boxes hold and the pockets make excellent storage options for a variety of other things. If you’re using an over the door pocket style of shoe bag, the pockets can hold scarves, belts, socks, bottles, such as hair styling aids, and anything else that will fit.

With a little planning and some savvy purchases it’s easy to create a unique space all your own which is a comfy and cosy as your room back home.

 

Renovating Your House? Here’s What to Prepare

Renovating your house is, without a doubt, one of the most exciting things you can do. You are literally making your dream home. Even though there are many wonderful aspects of home renovation, this can also be a rather stressful experience for you and your family. Therefore, it’s paramount that you make a good plan before you start remodelling. You will probably be very tempted to simply start the renovation process. 

You might think you have it all figured out, without putting pen to paper. This is a terrible mistake. Even if you know exactly how you want to renovate your house, you should still have a detailed plan. Trust us, good organization is half the battle.

That said, let us show you how to prepare yourself perfectly for your home renovation. Here’s what you have to do.

Know Your End Goal

The first part of your preparation process should be setting your end goal. You simply have to know what you are building toward. For example, if you want to build an extra bedroom, you have to know where in the house you want to build it. You also have to know how big or small you want that room to be. This information will help you figure out which walls you have to tear down in order to make an extra bedroom. Mistakes will be made because to err is human. However, having a specific end goal in mind will reduce the number of those mistakes. Therefore, things will run smoothly, and you will have a successful renovation.

Plan Your Budget

In order for you to successfully remodel your home, you have to be skilful, patient, and well-organized. However, you also have to spend a lot of money. Even if you can do some things yourself, you still have to pay for all the material and the construction workers. This can cost you a small fortune. The fact that the renovation can be pricey means that you have to plan your budget carefully. Don’t spend your money carelessly and try to get the best deals. Also, make sure to record your spendings. 

This is the perfect time to dig into your savings, if you don’t want to do that, you can request a loan. This is one of the easiest ways to get some money when renovating your home. Having these resources will help you to build your dream home. Therefore, spend this money in a responsible manner.

Have a Schedule and Stick to It

Making a schedule is one of the crucial things you have to do. Home renovation is a stressful process. That’s why you have to make sure it doesn’t last longer than planned. Therefore, make a schedule and stick to it. This will help the workers to organize their time. It will also help you and your family to plan your daily routines.

Have a Place to Stay During the Renovation

Since we are talking about your daily routines, it’s safe to say they will be disrupted during the remodelling. You will have to adjust your living habits, depending on the part of the house you are renovating. If you are remodeling your bedroom, you will have to find another place to stay during the night. Sleeping in your house while it’s being reconstructed is not safe. Therefore, you should ask someone to take you in or rent a room in a motel.

Make Sure the Weather Is Fine

This is one of the most complicated things to plan because you can’t control the weather. However, you can study the forecast and see when the weather will be fine. Schedule your renovation for then, and you won’t have to worry about the rain and potential floods. This is especially important if you are reconstructing your roof. Rain can cause a lot of damage, and bad weather can postpone the renovation. Study the forecast and prevent this from happening.

Have Someone to Help You Clean the House

Once the renovation is done, you will have to do some cleaning. Correction, you will have to do a lot of cleaning. Remodelling a house leaves a lot of junk and garbage behind. You won’t be able to move back in until you clean it. Cleaning your house may sound simple, but it’s a lot of work. Therefore, you should ask someone to help you with this task.

You can ask your friends, or if you want, you can hire a cleaning crew. Either way, this should be done thoroughly, so you can get your life back to normal.

House Makeover Essential Tips You Should Keep

So you think your place needs a little sprucing up? Maybe it needs a lot. Maybe you’re finally getting around to that basement that the kids are afraid to go in. Maybe the colour of the kitchen has been driving you mad since you moved in. Maybe the dog has made a mess on the living room carpet one too many times.

Whatever your reason for considering a home makeover, there are a few essential things you need to keep in mind when you’re getting started.

These tips apply to any home project whether you’re completing revamping the entire house or you’re giving one room a little polishing.

Be Aware Of The Time It Takes

You can research whatever project you’re interested in, you can ask the advice of a contractor or employee at your local building supply store, you can talk to that one uncle who knows how to fix anything. This will give you an idea of how long a project is going to take. Whatever length of time that is, add 30% to it. That’s the actual time it’s going to take. There’s nothing like being lost in the middle of an all-encompassing project with no end in sight. Being realistic about how long a project is going to take will keep you from getting disheartened in the middle of it when everything looks messier than when you started.

The extra time is for those little home makeover surprises you discover amid work. The realization that the sub-floor is unlevel and will need to be sorted out before you lay those gorgeous wood planks down. The discovery that pipes or electrical wires run in the wrong places and have to be worked around. Every home has its quirks and you’ll need time to adjust to them.

Don’t Lose Sight Of Your Budget

Even the most beautiful home repairs will turn nasty in your mind if they cost you an arm and a leg. Be firm about your budget before you begin looking at options and cutting out inspirational pictures of multimillion-dollar homes for your vision journal. You don’t want to be walking passed that stunning living room six years from now and cursing because you’re still paying for it. Mental peace is part of having a lovely home. When it comes to cost estimates, which are often provided by people when you speak to them about their services, you need to remember these are estimates. Whatever you think something is going to cost, add 30%, and that’s likely going to be the actual cost. Things break, complications arise, sometimes that sickly paint you’re covering up will need several more coats of your preferred colour to truly disappear.

Don’t Start Too Many Projects At Once

Yes, you’re excited, but having multiple rooms torn apart simultaneously, each with their hiccups and surprises can leave you feeling overwhelmed. It is possible to do an entire house at once (if you have a lot of help), but if that’s the route you’re planning on going, make sure there’s somewhere you can go when you need to sit in a comfortable room with drywall and furniture not covered with a tarp. You will need moments to decompress and “feel normal,” especially in the middle of a big renovation.

When In Doubt, Wash The Doors And Trim And Add A Fresh Coat Of Paint

If you feel like a room is meh, it might only need some TLC and fresh paint. Really. Over time, stains and fades and nicks and scratches dull the walls. This happens so slowly that often people don’t notice it. The same goes for trim and doors.

When was the last time you scrubbed the door? Maybe never. Oil from our hands builds up making doors look icky. But again, this happens so slowly that often people don’t realize it. You might be surprised at the colour your door is supposed to be. Scrub the trim as well (especially if you have pets). You might find this strangely addictive. You might take on the kitchen cupboards next.

Once those items are clean and shiny, add a nice new coat of paint. You would be surprised to see how far a fresh coat of paint can go when it comes to changing the feeling of a room. Expert painters venice fl, emphasize keeping in mind colour psychology when making your paint colour choices. Every colour humans can see affects their mental state. Sometimes it’s better to start with the feeling you want to have in a room and then choose your colour accordingly. (A tip is to try your best to avoid hyper trendy colours. Yes, they’re gorgeous and feel unique now, but in a couple of years you might not feel the same way.)

Be Honest About The Type Of Messes You And Your Family Create

A white carpet can be gorgeous. White carpet covered in crayon and juice stains? Not so much. White walls can be stunning and refreshing. White walls with grubby fingerprints three feet off the ground can be a headache. White couches… you see where this is going.

Take note of the most common kinds of messes you have to deal with and think about yourself cleaning whatever it is you’re choosing to add to your home. Maybe that flooring is beautiful, but near the back door there’s always muddy boots with freshly cut grass caked in and you want something easier to clean. Making over a room shouldn’t force you to spend three extra hours a week scrubbing. Ideally, a home makeover makes things easier for you, not harder.

With these five home makeover tips, you’re well on your way to tweaking or completely redoing your home with minimal headaches. Making your home pleasing to the eye and comfortable shouldn’t have to drive you crazy.

6 Household Projects Jobs Better Left to Professionals

It’s very satisfying to take on a project of fixing or replacing things around the house all by yourself. Everyone gets the urge to change the space they call home to bring a sense of liveliness and refreshing energy. Even though the sources are endless on DIY home renovation projects, there are some things YouTube just can’t teach you. No matter how handy you swear to be, there are household projects that are better to be left to professionals. Here’s a list of ‘Don’t Do It Yourself’ projects.

1. Electrical Work

Sure, you can change your lights when they go out or even change a fuse if necessary, but anything beyond that is a no-go. This type of home repair has major risks, not just for your house, but to yourself and anyone inside. You could make things even worse by frying appliances and connections. Electricians require permits for a reason; there is certain knowledge about wiring that is needed and even their work gets inspected to make sure all is well. You don’t want to take matters into your hand and end up without power or an electric fire!

2. Roof Repairs

Doing roof and floor work may seem like a good way to save money, but the risk just isn’t worth it. Roof work is important because it’s the part protecting you from the outside factors. With roof problems, there are some minor things you can do yourself like replacing tiles or missing shingles. However, it’s best to avoid climbing it to do any work since there is a chance of falling and injuring yourself. It’s also tricky, so you don’t want a small mistake to cause leaks, for example, that could damage the whole house.

3. Plumbing

This is an important one to remember because many have tried tackling plumbing problems themselves and ended up with a flooded bathroom! Some can handle the occasional clogged toilet and sink but go beyond that and you’ll be in way over your head. People don’t realize how delicate plumbing designs are and how it deals with a wide network of pipes that needs to be handled with care. You might want to save money on the task, but you just need to find a trusted, affordable plumbing company and go through to their website to book an inspection and assess the situation. The same goes for any plans to remodel your bathroom, it’s a job for a pro, but at least you get to do all the designing!

4. Floor Fixes

Fixing your floor or replacing it may seem like a great DIY home project, but there are so many things that could go wrong that’ll change your mind. When it comes to hardwood floors, for example, they need to be refinished now and then. Even though it may seem an easy task, you don’t know what you’ll find when you remove the old ones! There is a toxicity risk as well from sanding the adhesive off of the surface. There are a lot of elements to be considered in this task if you want your floors to look like you want, so better to call a professional for guaranteed results.

5. House Additions

This one should go without saying, but it’s just to make sure ambitious handy people don’t get too carried away! Want to add an extra floor, wing, or some space to your kitchen? Go ahead and call a contractor and don’t think about picking up your toolbox. Any home projects that entail a change in the house structure should never be carried out alone. You could damage walls, wires, gas, or pipes; it’s a recipe for a disaster! Not to mention you won’t know about regulations and necessary paperwork needed for such a task, unlike a contractor.

6. Outdoor Work

Everyone wants the area outside their house to look just as great as the inside if not more. Landscaping, for example, is a popular DIY project, but we highly discourage it. Planting trees in your garden or backyard sound like a piece of cake, but it’s a job for a professional so that they are given specific care. The same goes for removing a tree blocking your view; you don’t want to miscalculate height and have it falling on the house or worse, on you! Other outdoor work like a fence or pool instalment or repairs should also be done by a professional to avoid accidents and mistakes.

We know it’s hard for you to hear this, but you can’t do it all yourself! It’s okay to admit the home project you have in mind is above your abilities and get the necessary help. You can watch the work being done and assist in some situations. With a friendly professional, they can tell you all about how it’s done and why it was a good idea you called them! Leaving these things for the professionals from the start is better than making it worse by trying then calling anyway.

What to Do if a Relative’s Will Left You Empty Handed

Experiencing a death in your family is tragic. It feels like your life stops and everything is a mess. The death of a parent, spouse, children, sibling, or any other relative may leave us feeling empty. Even though it’s from illness or an accident, it still impacts us very painfully. We are never going to be prepared for death, after losing someone, there will be questions and lingering sadness forever.  

Another huge issue after someone’s death is their will. There will be plenty of discussion and things to be done afterward. However, being left out of a will is also a hard situation to be in. There are plenty of circumstances that when a person dies the reading of the will can be a cause of commotion with everyone left behind. It’s an issue of people expected to be included in the will are excluded, someone who got told that they will be included but not or worst-case scenario is, someone altered the will last minute. 

If you have been left out of a will by a relative, there are some urgent steps that you should do to help yourself understand what happened — or oppose it. It can either be a long process or a short one. Take a look at this article to see what you can do if you are undergoing this stressful situation.

Get a copy of the will

The will or testament is a legal paper that states someone’s wishes to make sure that their money and properties will be distributed to the people that they want to give it to. Anyone is entitled to their own will, and they have the final decision in who is and isn’t included in the will. If you think that the will has changed under stress, coercion, or diminished mental capacity then you can uncover the truth. Talk to the executor of the current will if they are past versions of the will. 

The executor keeps track of the previous wills and will take note of any substantial changes. You can confirm with the executor when and how you are removed from the will. Usually, wills will enter probate, a legal process that reviews if it’s valid and authentic. The rules vary from every state so it’s better to talk to legal help to help you obtain the file as soon as possible. 

Weigh up the cost and your options

Before you talk and pay a lawyer for the professional service, weigh your options and think thoroughly if you want to push through with it. Think if you have a chance to be in the will, or are you close to the owner of the will. If you are not legally a family member or not in the previous will, then you have no standing to oppose the will. If the owner of the will talk to you about including you in it, then write down all of the details and gather all the proof. If you don’t have any idea how much you are about to receive, then think about the estimate of how much it will be based on your insight into the person’s money and estate. 

 

If what you are going to receive is not sufficient to pay for the lawyer and all of the expenses, then stop. Although it is going to be more than the expenses, letting go may still be the best option since it will be a long process and may cause a lot in terms of legal fees. So weigh the cost and think about it before you sign yourself up to the process. 

Check if going through the legal process is winnable and beneficial for you. Not being included in the will is very painful but to waste time, funds, and being under stress is much more terrible. 

 Contest the will

If you had a copy of the will and already decided for a legal process then it’s time to have your lawyer check your grounds. You must get a lawyer who is knowledgeable about these cases. If you have grounds, then your lawyer can help you file a contest. To contest a will it should be either its invalid, can be under broken promise claims, there is a lack of capacity of the person making the will, there is a lack of knowledge and approval, undue influence or forgery. The purpose of this legal process is to nullify the current will and carry out a previous will that includes you as a beneficiary. If you are not in the previous will or not in the most recent one then your chances are lower. 

Take appropriate legal advice

You need a lawyer to help you win the legal fight. Tell the lawyer your intention and show them the will. Your reasons should be eligible and you should try to tell a clear and comprehensive summary of your situation. Your reasons should be valid, correct, and precise. 

It should be reasonable and should make sense. Your lawyer should know all the details for him to help you win the legal battle. Be honest and don’t lie because your lawyer would be on your side. If you don’t understand legal terms ask them to clarify so you’ll understand everything properly. 

Consider mediation

Instead of disputing and having to go on a court battle that will cost a lot of money, time, and energy, your lawyer can help you do mediation with everyone involved. Mediation can be the best choice in getting a resolution than a tiring legal battle. Lawyers can help talk to both sides and the other lawyers of what other option can two parties settle on. 

The important thing to know right from the start is, if you are left out of a will and planning to oppose it you should be ready to go through a long legal process to get your claims. However, you have to make sure that it will be beneficial to you and will not make everything worse for you. Not only in financial gain but all the aspects you can think of like emotional stress. You can always talk to your lawyer about how rational and sensible your chances are.