Going 'Green' with Environmentally-Friendly Home Improvement Products

Over the last few years, buying environment friendly products for the home has become an increasingly important consideration for homeowners looking to make "green" improvements to their living space. To address this growing need, products such as flooring, lighting and paneling, as well as materials like paint and varnish are now readily available for virtually every remodeling project and every room in the house.

Numerous States have now also adopted legislation that limits the use of products that contain harmful fumes or chemicals. The good thing about this is, other than the obvious Green benefits, that many of the products that adhere to the new legislation are also becoming more affordable and are there more more likely to be found on the shelves in our local hardware and home improvement stores.

See The Light! And Still Save on Energy Bills

It's no secret that energy prices have soared and if you are planning a home improvement project, one of the simplest ways you can protect the environment – as well as save money – is to use less electricity.

Lighting and major appliances consume the most electricity; simply by switching to fluorescent bulbs, you can save up to 30% a year on your electricity bills. You can save a noticeable amount of money on your lighting costs by painting walls a lighter color, thus distributing light more effortlessly as well as making rooms appear brighter.

Leaking ducts can account for a surprising amount of wasted energy – up to 30%. If you are planning to caulk around ducts, vents and windows be sure to use a product that complies with recent regulations concerning the use of less VOCs in its manufacture. These are volatile organic compounds which contain pollutants that damage the ozone layer, and also contribute to producing smog.

Paint may be your biggest cause of concern if you are planning a home improvement project. Read the small print on the tin to make sure it complies with VOC standards – almost 30 brands are now readily available. Typically, lighter colors of paint tend to contain fewer VOCs.

Tip-Top Countertops

Kitchen countertops are an area where it is possible to help the environment. A recent innovation is a countertop made entirely of recycled paper and water-based resin. You can also install countertops made of paper and cement so that the production involves no quarrying that damages the land.

The bathroom is one of the most important areas where you can help protect the environment. Around 75% of all water used in the home is used by the bathroom shower, toilet and sink combined. Low flow or adjustable showerheads are easy to install and a dual flush toilet – offering a full or half-flush – can potentially lower a typical water bill by up to $ 75 a year. An estimated 4 trillion gallons of water would be saved every year in the United States if every household installed a dual flush toilet.

The Japanese are well known for their …

Thoughts on Home Accents

You can express home accents in thousands of ways. Picture frames, quilts, clocks, candles, and mirrors-are what makes a house a home. All these things added together can give your home the personal touch. You can get good ideas on the personal Touches you can add to your home by going through the various home décor options.

It is not necessary that interior design must be purely decorative. You can find a host of items that are not merely functional but also stylish. You can enhance the look and feel of your room by including unique shower curtains and clocks. You can also select from a range of ceiling fans that come in various styles and colors to cool yourself in summer. You can make the ceiling fan itself serve as decorative pieces by choosing them in various styles such as one in an ornate, baroque style etc.

Glass can also add elegance to your home by acting as a design element. You can use glass accents and mirrors to enhance the overall beauty of your home. You can also have a single large mirror by the doorway which can be an accent element for foyer. There are other varieties other than mirrors that can be chosen for this purpose.

There are a host of other home accessories which can add to your personal taste and style. You can have pictures and picture frames which come in a variety of colors and styles. You can select the perfect frames and other unique pieces of art work to compliment your pictures. You can have these pictures included in the focal point in your room or have it on a dry wall surface. Here the area is soft and inserting a hook is fairly easy. Once you are finished with the painting, paneling and wall paper you can consider some wall hangings such as prints, framed photographs or original paintings.

You can also include some unique antique pieces or decorative items and place them in some spots where it will be visible to guests. But having too many items in the living room area is also not advisable as it will bring a cluttered appearance to the room. Selecting a few small items that are unique and appealing to the eye will enhance the beauty of the living room space and make it stand apart from the rest. You can keep these small tips in mind while thinking of home improvement or a change in home décor. …

Try a New Home Look with 3D Interior Design

Would not it be great if you could totally redecorate your new home without having to buy any paint or materials while doing it? Using 3d interior design, you can try out unlimited designs, experimenting with colors, textures and more without and yet you will not be required to make a single purchase. Accomplished by using your computer, you will not be required to leave the comfort of your home and you will not need to visit any of the numerous home improvement stores in order to discover the perfect design plan.

How is That Possible

There are a number of ways in which 3d interior design works and your required level of re-decorating your home will determine the application features you will utilize. For simple basic features, there are a variety of free websites which offer 3d interior design based on a number of pre-made templates, materials, textures, designs, and colors. You simply select the room template that most matches the conditions you will be working with. Many of these basic applications include limited capacity to place doors and windows in a variety of locations. From there, you can experiment with furniture placement, lighting, wall colors, wallpaper, rugs, fixtures and more.

The free version of 3d interior design targets newcomers to interior decorating who are exploring various options and components before making any final decisions about the project they would like to undertake. Some online 3d interior design programs require you to subscribe to the program for a fee. This will allow you to send them pictures of the rooms you would like to redecorate.

When they receive your photographs, they will convert them into digital 3D images which you can then modify using their computer software. For many this is the preferred option as the physical representations in this 3d interior design will be to the exact scale and location as the real life components they represent. All real life conditions will be accurately displayed including precise placement of windows, doors, electrical outlets and even unique architectural elements such as cornice, bead boards and mouldings.

Benefits

There are several very attractive benefits to using a 3d interior design program to evaluate your interior design project requirements and end results. Obviously a wonderful asset, you are not spending hundreds to thousands of dollars purchasing materials, paint and furniture only to discover that this was not what you wanted after all. The 3d interior design application may well save you a lot of money in the long term. 3d interior design software is a lot of fun and will allow you the freedom to conduct some serious interior decorating without spending a dime.

Another wonderful benefit from design software is that you can experiment with as many changes as you wish. Changes are easy and not permanent you are only limited by your imagination. trying out various designs will not cost you any money. If you and your partner have different ideas, the 3d interior design software allows you both …

Planning Your Interior Decoration

As our homes are an important part of the world around us, most of us try to have beautiful and exotic items in our homes to make it more enjoyable to live in. There are various factors to keep in mind while planning your interior decoration as homes are not just made of a roof and four walls. When you talk of home décor, it encompasses several things such as designs, materials and themes.

While planning your home decor project, you can choose a specific theme for every room or one theme for the entire home. You can beautify a house in such a way that each room is decorated with styles of different countries that you have visited. You can bring the authentic look by including art and furniture from each of those countries visited.

Before embarking on the home improvement project, you have to be clear of your needs. You must also take into account your personal likes and dislikes while planning for a home decoration. You can decide from a range of themes such as Victorian to more contemporary themes that suit both the urban and modern lifestyle.

One of the modern home décor ideas is the use of bamboo which is becoming popular nowadays. As bamboo is both beautiful and eco-friendly, it has many advantages that has made it the desired choice for home interior decoration. With the use of bamboo you can convert your home into a paradise of peace and harmony. You can also choose this material because of its sheer versatility. This material can be used in almost anything starting from floorings to even curtains! You must remember that non-toxic glue must be used for sealing the sheets while decorating your home interior.

Bamboo curtains can also be bought cheaply from all over the world and can match with the flooring with convenience. Bamboo flooring can also enhance the ambience of the place, but you must make sure to keep the space clutter free. You should choose slightly muted colors for this theme. In case you are interested in adding more color to the space, you can opt from a range of cushions and rugs that make excellent floor decor additions.

You can also add a nice painting of a color that matches the home décor accessories and a couple of flowers to add some freshness to the room.…

Fixing Up Your Child's Bathroom

Making the kids bathroom unique is fun and easy to do. Get yourself a pen and paper and sit down with your kids and ask them a few questions. First rule of thumb is NEVER ask the kids "Hey John and Mike we are going to decorate the bathroom what would you like to do?" Why? Because they are children and you will get all sorts of colors and ideas that might be amazing, but then maybe also start a fight and confuse the heck out of you. So okay now I hear you asking what questions should I ask them? Well let me give you a list that will give you many great ideas:

What are your favorite colors?

What are your favorite TV shows or movies?

What kind of things do you like to do?

What is your favorite sport?

What is your favorite Books?

Okay that is enough to get you going. Now take the ideas the kids cave you and put them together. First, what is your favorite color? If you have one child it's easier, of course if you have more then one, things get a little more interesting. Let's stick with John and Mike for our examples and say that John likes blue and Mike likes green. Great now you have the colors for the room. Two colors can be fun. You can go one of two ways. Number one would be stripes, paint the whole room blue and then, when dry, tape off sections for stripes and paint just those green. My suggestion would be that if you have a small bath area, then go with light colors. You can get some paint chips of different colors you like from the blue and green paint family and ask Mike to pick the green he likes and John to pick the blue.

The second way to go is to find a border you like and paint the top half of your wall green and the bottom half blue and when the paint is dry use the border like a chair rail to cover where the two colors meet. What borders do I pick? Well that goes along with the theme and we will address that shortly.

Question number two was, what are your favorite TV shows or movies? Okay here, depending on how old you kids are, may have to help a little. If they give you seven different shows and movies well you may have to narrow it down a little. Say the boys like the movie cars, well that's easy. You can get borders for the movie cars at most home improvement centers, or if you like you can order them on line. Shower curtains are fun and there are also many themed that you can choose from or if one does not fit what you want then pick one with fun colors that fit the colors you already chose.

The final question, what kind of things do you like to do? …

Time For Home Improvement

As summer nears its end a lot of home owners start to think about the last few home improvement task that they want to carry out before it starts to get cold and wet outside. The next few months are perfect for these last changes and some home improvement tasks that will make winter a whole lot nicer to spend in your home.

Gardens are always a big issue with home owners, just before fall hits a lot of people who enjoyed the summer in their garden start to think about what changes they can make so that it will be nice to spend time in the garden in the next few months too, it usually means that you will need to move some of the plants and position any sitting chairs and table you have closer to the house, it also means that you will want to create as much open space in your garden as you possibly can , so it will be easy for you to dispose of the all gifts fall brings with it.

It is not tool late to check your roof and see if you should make any improvements before the rain start pouring down on the house, in many areas home owners do a routine check to the roof to make sure they know what is the situation up there before the winter starts, this sometimes calls for a professional help so you may want to think about costs before doing that.

The kitchen is one place you will want to make some home improvement changes, during the winter months the kitchen becomes the heart of the house and there is no doubt that making necessary changes in the kitchen will make life nicer and easier, from the kitchen cabinets to the countertops, a kitchen can be upgraded easily with some thought and creativity. Another thing you can do is paint your walls, a minor home improvement trick that makes your house look new and clean, it does not take a lot of time to do and the income is almost always enjoyable.

The last thing you would want to do before winter starts is examine your window shutters, if you have wood shutter you can simply purchase some paint and apply a new color to them, changing the outside of your house a little and adding a protective layer of paint on the shutter against rain. When checking your shutters you can also make sure that they are well placed and are in good condition, changing shutters is not a big deal and is not very pricy either so it is better to find out that you need to replace a broken shutter before you have an emergency on your hands.

With a few minor check and some home improvement tasks your house will be ready for winter, the nice thing is that once you finish with all these home improvement tasks you will have time to start organizing your home from …

Finding a Low Interest Home Improvement Loan

When you want to make improvements to your home, the idea of ​​a low interest home improvement loan comes to mind. After all, the major part of any loan is the interest rate, so if you can get a lower interest rate, the monthly payments and the total cost of the loan are going to be substantially lower. Do not choose the bank where you have your mortgage simply because it's convenient, but check around to find a low interest home improvement loan.

The importance of research

Just like any other loan, you want to be sure to do some research before you choose a lender. Failing to research before you obtain your loan can make the difference between finding a low interest home improvement loan and paying a higher rate of interest.

One of the worst mistakes that borrowers make is thinking that every lender charges about the same rate of interest, especially within the same regional area, and this is far from being factual information. First, different types of lenders have different interest rates.

For example, a finance company is going to charge a much higher interest rate than a bank, so the reason it is easier for those with bad credit to obtain a loan from a finance company. On the other hand, many credit unions charge a lower rate of interest than banks.

Choosing a lender

If you want to find a low interest home improvement loan, you will need to do some research outside of your local or regional area. That does not mean that you will find the lowest interest rate outside of your regional area, but if you do not do the research, you will not know if you have the lowest rate on a home improvement loan that is available. In addition, sometimes you can present a lower quote to a local lender, and in order to keep your business, they will match the lowest quote you received.

If you have good credit and are a long time customer of a particular lender, they will not want to lose your business to someone else over a difference in the interest rate. You want a low interest home improvement loan, and they want to maintain your business, so you have a tool for negotiation.

Is the best rate always the lowest rate?

When you begin to research lenders, you have to look at every aspect of the cost of the loan and not just the interest rate. Of course, the interest rate is the first thing you will see when looking for a low interest home improvement loan, but you have to look at everything that adds to the cost of the loan. For instance, one lender may charge a lower interest rate but has an application fee and prepayment penalty.

Another lender may have other kinds of additional charges, such as required insurance, that will add to the cost of the loan. Researching every aspect of the loan in order to find …

5 Home Improvement Projects That Will Raise Your Home's Value

In talking about recouping home improvement costs there is one room that should be held above all others: Kitchen. The kitchen is the single best place to remodel in order to raise the value of your home. Want proof? A study done by remodel magazine states that for small kitchen renovations, the return is close to 92.9 percent of what you put in. Another remodeling must is bathrooms. Bathroom remodels on average return 90.1 percent of their cost.

Projects that take place in these two areas of the home can be some of the most difficult and harder to handle for DIYers. That being said, let's focus in on 5 doable projects that will give you that return that you are looking for come closing time ..

1. Tile the Floors:

When it comes to kitchens and baths, tile is one of the most durable materials to use for the floors. There are many styles of tile to choose from ranging from $ 10.00 / sf stone to $ 1.50 / sf ceramic. The trend laTely is to stick with natural looking materials in neutral tones. This is a classic look however that will never go out of style.

Most people should have no problem tiling themselves. It is as easy as removing the old flooring, screwing down a plywood sub-floor, spreading mastic, laying the tiles, and then grouting after they set up. You also want to be sure to seal them when in kitchens and baths. There are many do it yourself workshops and tutorials available for this.

2. Paint the Cabinets:

Are your cabinets old or ugly? If you are staying in your house for more than 5 years look at replacing them. However, if your stay will be shorter than that the best way to add value is to paint the cabinets. Re-facing is expensive and does not always yield good results. Again, stick with a neutral color such as off-whites or grays.

3. Replace the Appliances:

Nothing can turn a new buyer off like old, dingy appliances. Many buyers will slash thousands of off their offer just to replace the appliances. Check out the various scratch and dent resources in your area. Sears always has a near scratch and dent facility with many appliances at 50% -70% off. The new buyers do not need to know how much you paid for the appliances, just that they are new.

4. Install a glass door on the shower:

In the past years, bathrooms have become 30% larger than they used to be. Previously, they were used strictly as utilitarian spaces. They have now become lavish lounges in which homeowners will often relax. If you have an older house you may not have the space that the new buyers are looking for. One solution is to put in a frameless glass door as opposed to a shower curtain. Shower curtains stop the eye while glass doors allow the eye to pass through, making the bathroom appear larger than it …

Getting Your Kids Involved in Home Improvement

Home improvement is a concept generally limited to adults: power saws and drills, for obvious reasons, just are not suitable for children, at least not children who want to keep all of their fingers. Nonetheless, home improvement is still something kids can be involved in. Keeping your kids to assist you with certain activities, or allowing them to perform easy tasks on their own, is a great way to help your kids feel included. It's also a great way to get things done around your house at a more expedited rate. The following is a list of home improvement tasks that are typically kid-friendly.

Painting: Kids love to paint: they paint with paint brushes, they paint with their fingers, they paint by simply splattering colors all over the place. Why not put their love for painting to use by having them help paint the house, the garage, or the backyard fence. The higher areas, and the ones that require a steady hand, may be off limits, but the larger ones are perfect for a child's touch. You may have to perform some touch up work after they're done, but your kids will help you get at least part of the painting out of the way.

Cleaning the Garage: For those of you with kids, the concept of a garage used to store tools, cars, and garden materials goes down the driveway, and into the gutter: your garage is more easily stored with bikes, toys, and sporting goods . Ask your kids to go through their items and throw away the ones they no longer want or no longer use. Then have them store their things neatly, and sweep out any leaves, dirt, or gravel. Since most of the things filling up your garage belong to your kids, it's only fair that the chore of cleaning the garage belongs to them as well.

Mowing the Lawn: Young kids really have no business mowing the lawn, unless the lawnmower they use is one that blows bubbles. Older kids, however, are more than capable of mowing. A task that is fairly simple, mowing the lawn is a great way to get your kids outside in the form of a weekly or biweekly chore. You may have to start the lawnmower for them (those things can be tricky) but after that, your kids just might find that mowing the lawn is kind of fun … it's a home improvement activity that totally kicks grass.

Cleaning up the Yard: The dog that learns how to clean up his own poop will never see the inside of a pound. Until that happens, humans – the superior species – are left doing the dirty work. Your kids might not be completely elated with their assignment of doodie duty, but, chances are, they are the ones who wanted a dog, so they can help take care of one.

Pulling Weeds: Pulling weeds might not be as fun as a game of tag or a day at the amusement …

How to Handle a Huge Home Improvement Project

When it comes to home improvement projects, most people envision a new coat of paint. However, when you want to replace the staircase, put up a new patio and combine three rooms into one, home improvement financing seems all but unavoidable.

Mortgages and equities are part of house improvement financing. These are known as secured loans, for which collateral, usually in the form of your property, is required. Keeping up regular repayment is important, and the home owner who neglects these risks losing his home. There are also unsecured loans. The amount for unsecured loans is lower than that for secured loans, but the interest rate charged is often much higher.

It is possible to renovate your home without resorting to a bank loan by carrying out the house improvement in stages. Complete each stage of the project in the order of its importance. Spending only what you can afford allows you to pace your home development to what suits you best. It may take longer, but at least you don’t have to service a bank loan.

Last, but not least, you can always carry out your projects on your own. It’s impossible to avoid hiring people entirely but you won’t need home improvement financing to pay the electrician. Attending workshops and asking questions at stores is a good way to learn as you go. As with carrying out the renovation in stages, home projects carried out this way will take more time, but you will end up saving a lot more on the expenses incurred.

You should always keep in mind that any home improvement activity you carry out has one main objective – to improve the quality of life of everyone who lives under that roof. Never get talked into anything more extravagant than what you planned; learn to trust your gut.…