Making Small Areas Look Larger: Three Time-Honored Tricks

Many homes today lack the amount of space desired by residents for the atmosphere they really want.  And the cost of housing takes the major portion of the average citizen’s lifetime income.  So most seek to make the best environment out of what they have.  In many cases, this entails making a smaller home appear more spacious than it is.  Using these techniques and strategies, anybody can accomplish this.

One approach is the use of wall color.  While rich colors are attractive and give off the tone of warmth, without the proper amount of lighting they tend to produce a sense of enclosure that makes a room feel smaller than it actually is.  When coupled with low level lighting and average height ceilings this effect reduces the sense of spaciousness.  The obvious alternative is to use colors that are lighter.  Colors that approximate the outdoors tend to seem more spacious, helping to make a room more attractive and inviting.

Another strategy is to minimize the space consumed by furniture.  Try items that expose more of the floor to view.  The ability to see open floors gives the impression of more space, thereby making the room or area seem larger.  Similarly, take advantage of wall mountings whenever feasible.  For example, instead of using floor-standing cabinets and furniture, try installing shelving that is mounted into the walls, leaving the floor itself open.  One can shelve all their primary reference materials and books from Barnes and Nobles on wall-mounted sets of shelves that can serve as a family “library.”  New books, texts and research materials –  obtained using Groupons for discounts of up to 90% off new and used text books, for example – can expand the area collection into a quiet study area and/or workspace.  Even desk and counters can be mounted in the walls, thus leaving open floor space below.

A third trick is to use area rugs rather than leaving the floor naked – be it carpeted or wood or tile.  The use of the area rug gives the image that there is additional space since it doesn’t cover the entire floor.  And use furniture that has defined legs which also permit the floor beneath them to be visible to the viewer.

While none of these tactics increases the room size, they give a sense of airiness or spaciousness that becomes increasingly desirable when space is at a premium.…

Cooking with a Wood Fired Barbecue

Long before the advent of charcoal briquettes and propane people were cooking their meals over wood fueled fires. From the days of cave-men to less than one hundred years ago wood was the fuel of choice when it came to cooking. In this modern age we are constantly looking for a faster, cleaner and easier way to do everything, including preparing our meals. This has led to the development of larger accessory laden gas fueled grills lining the isles of home improvement stores and showing up in our backyards.

But for the barbeque purists out there nothing tastes quite the same as preparing their favorite barbeque dish over a wood fired grill.

Why is this? What could possibly work better then the latest and greatest in barbecue technology?

Depending on the type of wood used the "Grill-Master" (that guy who hovers over the grill creating barbecue master pieces) can create flavors in the meat, poultry or fish that just can not have over a more modern gas fueled grill. This flavor can further be adjusted just by the amount of wood used, how hot the fire is, and how much smoke the meat is allowed to marinate in.

There are several types of wood fired barbeques on the market today. They are sometimes referred to as smoker grills.

The offset firebox is the one most of us are used to seeing. These come in all sizes, from small family sized units to large trailer born monsters capable of feeding several hundred people. The distinguishing character of the offset firebox is, well the offset firebox. Set off to the side and slowly below the main cooking chamber is the firebox. This separates the food from direct heat and allows for a nice slow cooking temperature.

The bullet style smoker is not actually a smoker but more than what is called a cold smoker or water smoker. They use a pan of water between the heat source and the meat, thereby blocking any direct heat that would cause any overcooking. In a sense they are not really considered a barbecue because of the way they work.

The main chamber cooker is the third type of wood fired barbeque. These are barrel shaped and allow the fire to be built off to one side with the meat offset from the wood allowing for an indirect cooking method. You do need to be careful with how large of a fire gets built because there is no physical separation between the heat source and the meat. The fire need to be kept small and tended in a timely manner through the cooking process.

Of course all this is a moot point if you do not select the right type of wood. For a wood fired barbecue nothing works better than a fruit bearing hardwood such as oak, hickory, pecan, maple apple and of course from Texas mesquite. Do not use softwoods or the wood from evergreens or conifers. Aside from burning at a lower temperature …

Five Benefits of a Wood Fence

The wooden fence is one of the most loved and commonly used fencing options in America today. It symbolizes America’s heritage as far back as the settlers and farmers having to fence their barns, homes and farms using wood and they come with many wonderful advantages. The five main reasons to have of a wooden fence are:

1. Eco-Friendly

One of the many benefits of a wood fence is that it is very friendly to the environment as compared to its vinyl and aluminum counterparts. Wood is obviously a natural material that matures synergistically. Trees used for making wooden fences can be grown in large scale and old fencing panels can be disposed of without the risk of harming the environment.

2. Easy to Install

Unlike other types of fences such as vinyl and wrought iron, a wood fence is very easy to install. If a post is taller than the rest, it can easily be cut to the required length even after the concrete footing has been set. Vinyl and metal posts are fabricated, meaning that their heights are not easy to adjust.

It is also easy to affix fence panels to wooden fence posts, which is an advantage over vinyl and metal posts that are prefabricated to firm tolerances that must be adhered to during the installation process. In addition, wooden posts can be maneuvered easily if the distance between two nearby posts is unusually big.

3. Aesthetic Appeal

Wooden fencing plays a major role in adding the much-needed aesthetic value to homes. The aesthetics of wooden posts can be achieved through a variety of ways including staining, carving and painting. Water resistant paints and stains can be bought from local hardware or paint stores and homeowners have the option of choosing their favorite colors or hues of stain. In addition, wooden posts can be repainted on a regular basis to change the look of the fence and to prevent it from looking dilapidated or worn out.

4. Affordability

In comparison to many fencing options, wooden fences are inexpensive. The materials for making a wood fence cost considerably less than other fencing materials such as metal. When time comes to repairing or replacing wooden posts or planks, a homeowner can easily work on individual pieces instead of having to take out whole sections of the fence to get the job done.

Interestingly, many repairs and replacements of wood fences can be carried out by homeowners by using cheap materials found at local home improvement stores or things available in the tool shade like nails, hammers and pliers. The cost of doing repairs or replacements is low and the time needed to do it is usually very short.

5. Variety

Fences made out of wood are available in a variety of impressive designs that homeowners can choose from. Notable wood fence designs include picket, table top, post-and-rail, stockade, split rail, lattice top, French Gothic, spaced board, and paddock. There is also a wide variety of caps that can be …

Save Money And Refinish Your Hardwood Flooring

One of the reasons why people don’t start home improvement projects because of the presumed cost of the project. Refinishing your wood floors doesn’t have to be expensive. As a matter of fact, if you have some time, you can save yourself several dollars over what professionals will charge you.

The first step in refinishing your hardwood floors is removing all furniture, rugs, and mats that are on the floor. It’s also a good idea to wear a dust mask as you are going to be stirring up quite the dust storm as you go about your business.

Your goal in refinishing your hardwood floors is to turn back the hands of time to when your hardwood floors were first installed. In order to achieve this feat, you will need to start by renting a heavy-duty sander to smooth out any rough spots and to remove the current stain that is on your floor. Move the sander in the direction that moves with the lines on your hardwood floor, paying particular attention that you do not apply more pressure anywhere. It’s important to make sure that you apply equal pressure to all parts of your floor as you want to avoid creating ‘pits’ in your hardwood floor, which will require more sanding. Do not move across the hardwood floor lines, especially if you have small grooves or beveled edges.

Once you’ve finished with your initial sanding you must sweep and vacuum the dust from your floor and lightly wash it. This part is often not given the proper care it deserves and is very important when refinishing hardwood floors. The reason it is so important is that the tiniest speck of dirt and dust will show up when you stain the floor. It is also important that you use only a damp mop for washing the floor rather than a wet mop. If there is too much water in the floor that has been sanded it will cause stains.

Once your stripped hardwood floors are dry, its time to stain your floor. Depending on the type of hardwood you have, and taking into consideration the room’s current decor, you can choose either a darker stain, a lighter stain, or go natural. Another popular option that protects and coats your floor is polyurethane

While refinishing hardwood floors is time consuming, you do not have to move out of your home in order to accomplish it. The stains and protective coatings do not have harsh fumes so they are not dangerous to breathe. You do want to take care not to walk on your floor until it is completely dry. If you do not wait you will have wasted all that time and effort and have to either start over or try to hide the footprints.…

Free Bathroom Remodeling Catalogs for Bathroom Renovation

When it comes to finding your dream home design, free bathroom remodeling catalogs are the perfect easy way to get inspired and find plenty of ideas for renovating your new bathroom design. You will get a sense of the best styles that matches your home size and the theme you are looking for.

That’s why nowadays when looking for a remodeling contractor, it is natural to first search around and collect your own gallery of favorite renovation designs to choose from. So after your contractor observes your house and gives you an estimated cost and timing, they can also take a look at your collection and help you choose the best design that matched your house.

Whether you find your remodeling ideas and photos online or on paper, it is helpful to collect the best ones that catch your interest. Even if you only like a certain part of a picture, you can cut that part and keep it in your collection. You will be surprised how a mixture from various photos will end up making your dream design.

Where Can You Find Free Bathroom Renovation Catalogs?

So when you are searching to collect your own photo gallery of favorite design ideas for your bathroom, here are a few top places where you can find free ideas easily…

1. Design Ideas in Offline Magazine

Have you ever taken a look at home improvement, interior design or architecture magazines? If you have, you know they are simply a goldmine of various fresh creative remodeling ideas for not only your bathroom, but also the kitchen, basement, living room, or even your backyard.

So next time you are passing by a bookstore with a home improvement section, feel free to browse through the magazines and pick up the designs that you enjoy the most.

2. Simply Search for Renovation Ideas Online

Are you looking for a simple remodel design? Or maybe a simple theme idea? Could it be that you are more interested in a cheap affordable remodeling solution? Either way, you can easily find a large collection of pictures and galleries by doing a simple search in Google.

3. Free Online Bathroom Remodeling Photo Galleries

After doing some search, you’ll be surprised how the easiest way to find a large photo gallery of the latest remodel trends, projects, designs and plans that you can view and save to your computer.

By checking out these free galleries, you can take a look at various bathroom renovation themes – from eco-friendly, antique, or modern… to Asian, contemporary and even abstract designs.…

Why You Should Seriously Consider a Ventless Bathroom Fan

A ventless bathroom fan is the answer to your humidity problem if installing a wall or ceiling ducted model is not a practical option. For example, if you have a bathroom in the basement or if you live in a rental home that does not currently have a fan, why should you have to deal with the odor and the mold that is associated with all of that extra moisture from your shower? It is fair to say that no bathroom should be without some type of fan.

Features

With these types of fans, you do not have to worry about cutting any holes or fitting into walls. Ductless systems require no outside vent and can be installed either on the wall or the ceiling. They feature 12v motors that are traditionally removable so that they can be easily cleaned.

You will also find that installation is a breeze with these units as they usually have tension spring mounting. Not to mention, they often weigh less than five pounds.

Why You Need One

While you may be able to live without a bathroom heater fan, you still need some type of unit in there to help with humidity. When you take a shower, you create steam which leaves you with an abundance of moisture left in the air. Where exactly do you think all of that water goes? It actually has no place to go besides to be absorbed by your wood molding, cabinets, cloth shower curtains, rugs, towels, decorative items or any other absorbent material that you have in the room.

Moisture that lingers in a bathroom that has no ventilation promote the growth of mildew and mold and you should know that these are living, growing organisms. Additionally, moisture from your shower creates another serious problem with your wood in the room being that it rots it which will cause a larger home improvement project in the long run when you have to start replacing moldings, etc. Not to mention, the smell of mold as it continues to get moist and grow over time is anything but pleasant.

Whenever possible, your goal is to install an extractor fan that is manufactured by a trusted company such as Greenwood, Silavent or Xpelair that comply with all building regulations. However, if you absolutely cannot add the duct work to your bathroom, a ventless bathroom fan is your next best option.…

What Are The Different Types of Fireplace Mantel Shelves?

Fireplaces, heat providers aside, are great to look at. They live up to their status as the focal point of your room, if not your entire house. How you accessorize your fireplace, however largely affects the overall look of your interior decorations. This is the reason carefulness is needed when you decide to spruce up your hearth like for instance, adding a fireplace mantel.

When deciding on a mantel shelf, there are many elements to take into account, starting off with the material. Here are four common materials used and how each of them fair, both functionality and decorative wise.

Wood

Among the fireplace mantel shelves, wood types are the most common. They work well in traditional looking homes and blend really nicely with almost any interior designs. Wood mantels offer many options when it comes to decorating. Oak, a superior type of wood, for instance is both classy and versatile.

Typically wooden mantels are affordable. Its cost is one of its main attractions. Even expensive solid wood shelves like those made of oak don’t cost as much as those made of stone. Wooden mantels come in different wood types which include maple, cherry, Douglas, hemlock, alder, pine, just to name a few. They come in different finishes like black, distressed cherry, and primed. There are also unfinished wood fireplace mantels which are great for people who have yet to decide the best shade for their mantel to match their home interiors.

However, one major drawback for wooden mantels is that it’s highly flammable. If you’re thinking of a wooden mantel shelf, make sure that you consult with your local building officer and fire safety code department for the safety regulations specifically on the desired measurements allowed from a wooden material to your fireplace.

Stone

Stone mantel shelves whether made of limestone, marble or granite are great for aesthetic functions. Home builders prefer stones simply because they give many options as they come in a variety of colors and textures. They are both beautiful and functional. Moreover, they can also be treated in several different ways providing more diverse choices that will surely match any discerning taste. It is likewise fireproof and durable, making it the best material for a mantel shelf. It is also relatively low on maintenance. It usually just takes a soft cloth to wipe it clean.

On the other hand, stone mantel shelves are generally more expensive than other options. It can also be difficult to install which makes installation cost higher than normal. For those who prefer stones but can’t afford it, there are actually cheaper alternatives which will give you the same stone façade. There are kits that you can buy in many home improvement stores or even through online shops. They look like the natural stone mantels but are much easier and cheaper to install.

Metal

Metal is best known for being versatile. It goes well with almost any kind of designs most especially the modern or contemporary look. You don’t have to …

Need Help Getting Started With Your Next Home Improvement? 5 Tips For a Stress Free Home Remodel

Great helpful Tips to consider for a stress free home renovation. Have fun with your remodeling process. Read these 5 tips before your next home improvement.

1. Have a Plan:
Start with the end in mind (have a vision of what you want to accomplish) and do not get overwhelmed with all the details. Set a reasonable budget and an allowance for unexpected expenses on larger projects. Set a practical deadline as discussed with your contractor.

2. Get Recommendations:
Talk to friends and family to see if they have any Home Improvement Contractor recommendations. Ask to see previous work (Pictures and if possible, ask to speak to previous clients). It pays to hire the professionals.

3. Do your research:
Research the products you wish to add into your home and educated yourself with what type of design. When you choose the right Home Improvement Contractor, he / she will be more than happy to help in this early stage of the project. Now is the time to make critical changes to your project (look at different designs) and this will save yourself time and money.

4. Start with one project:
It's best to start in one area of ​​your home if possible. This way Your Home Improvement Contractor can finish one part of the home at a time. Unless you are undertaking a larger renovation, finish what has been started and then have your contractor move on to the next project.

5. Communication:
Communicate with your Home Improvement Contractor. Set up meetings with your contractor as necessary within the critical parts of your remodel. Bring up points such as time-lines, budgets, etc. It's your remodel; You should be entitled to know how things are going.

Most importantly, remember to have fun. Being a Home Improvement Contractor, I understand that this process is supposed to be fun for the client. Choosing different materials and shopping for products should be enjoyable and it is when you allow yourself ample time. Upgrading your home may seem like a daunting task now, but by following these 5 helpful tips, it will help with a Stress Free remodel.

Enjoy the results! …

Benefits of Working With Cash for House Companies to Sell Your House

You may plan to sell your house for buying a new house when your current house becomes too small for your growing family or you may have inherited an additional house property, or your dream job requires you to move to another city or a different state. Well, in any of these situations you need to sell your house, cash for house offers are possible with home buyers.

Cash for house companies are emerging as a viable option for homeowners looking to sell their homes “As Is”. The traditional real estate agents would require homeowners to make necessary repairs and renovations so they can start the sale process. Realtors being intermediaries only help you find a potential buyer for your house, by listing your property on their property website. Therefore, before they list your house on their website they want to make sure that your house is in a good condition structurally and in terms of regulatory issues.

On the other hand, cash for house companies buy houses ‘As Is’ meaning you don’t have to renovate or repair. These companies have huge cash reserves, which helps them buy houses in bulk and with the help of the nationwide home improvement experts, they will have these houses renovated. As they offer bulk contracts to home remodelers, these companies get huge discounts and will have these homes repaired and renovated at almost half the retail costs, an average homeowner would spend to have such repairs done.

Well, you may have inherited a house from your parents or relatives who currently cannot live there or maintenance is high, and the house may suffer many functional issues, even it may be involved in regulatory issues such as taxes, etc. cash for houses will still make a quick offer. These professional organizations have the knowledge and the ability to resolve not just the functional issues, but can also help these houses with the regulatory issues.

Therefore, when you decide to work with cash for house companies you need not worry about the functional repairs, or the regulatory issues the house may face. Moreover, these companies do not require you to stage the house, as they make a quick one-time inspection, before they make an offer. Finally, you get a competitive price and will not have to pay additional commissions or fees, as in the case of traditional real estate companies, which will charge you a fee for helping you find a buyer for your house.

Well, if you have an additional house property that you have inherited or a house that is facing foreclosure, or you in a tight financial spot contact cash for house companies. Make sure you work with a company that works out of a professional office set up, has over 15 years of experience and has purchased more than 1300 houses!…

10 Interesting Facts About Wallpaper

If you want a new look for your room, and you want more than “just paint” consider the beauty of wallpaper. After all, if you think of wallpaper as clothing for your walls, you will soon realize that there are endless possibilities found in this versatile wall covering.

Just a short time spent in your local home improvement store and you will soon discover the wallpaper choices available today range in price from very low to truly over the top. And when it comes to patterns, colors and quality you could spend several days looking at all there is, and still not find exactly what you want, simply because the choices are so varied.

But what is it about this wall covering that has kept it around for years? For some it is the elegance it offers with just a bit of work, for others it’s a form of artwork, and for others it is a way to combine all the colors in the room into one focal point. With the many ways that wallpaper is used today, one has to wonder if the inventors of wallpaper had any idea that what started off as a way to duplicate hand painted walls would still be around centuries later. Consider these interesting facts about the origins of wallpaper.

  1. Wallpaper was first used in China in 200B.C. As the Chinese passed this knowledge to other cultures, the uses and methods of making paper improved with each generation and as other cultures added their own touches.
  2. In 1841 Jean Bourdichon painted 50 rolls of paper with angels on a blue background for Louis XI of France. The paper was used to decorate his various residences. Other of the elite set, soon began hiring painters to create these painted paper wall coverings for them.
  3. The oldest known pieces of European wallpaper still in existence are from 1509 and were found on the beams of the Lodge of Christ’s College in Cambridge, England.
  4. In 1675, Jean-Michel Papillon, began making block designs in identical, repetitive patterns on rolls of paper and wallpaper as we know it today was born.
  5. Americans began using wallpaper in 1739, when it was introduced by the Philadelphia printer, Plunket Fleeson.
  6. In 1778, Louis XVI issued a decree that required the length of a wallpaper roll be about 34 feet.
  7. Around the turn of the 20th century wallpaper pasting machines were invented.
  8. During the 1920s nearly 400 million rolls of wallpaper were sold, resulting in the decade being dubbed the Golden Age of Wallpaper.
  9. After WWII, wallpaper was improved with plastic resins which made it more durable, washable and stain resistant.
  10. The United States Guild of Professional Paperhangers began in 1974.

Wallpaper has definitely come a long way from being painted by hand. Today technology has added to its durability, design and uses. So, if you are looking for a new look for a room take some to check out some wallpaper.…