Archive for the ‘Home improvement’ Category

How to Make Over Your Kitchen on a Budget

With a little improvisation a new kitchen doesn’t have to cost the world; it’s all about using what you’ve got and up-cycling it into something better!
These 10 tips will inspire you to transform your kitchen into the beautiful space you deserve!
Chalon Handmade
Image by: Chalon Handmade

1) Update your Units
One of the biggest expenses in a kitchen is the units. So if they’re perfectly functional why not just leave them in place? You may not like their design but that can be easily changed!
The easiest way to transform your cabinets is by painting them. Even just painting them their original colour again can often liven up units that have started to become dull.
But if the doors themselves aren’t to your style, then do away with them completely! Rather than hiding away all of your kitchenware, put some on display.
Open cabinets are very popular at the moment, but if a completely open cabinet is too much of a plunge then go half-way and fit a glass door.

2) Fix your Flooring
If you dislike your flooring then don’t put up with it, change it!
True wooden flooring can be expensive, so instead purchase an imitation vinyl design instead. If you’re confident enough with D.I.Y you can even lay it yourself.
But if it’s the colour of the flooring that’s an issue, then how about trying floor paint? For a fancy pattern more skill is required, but for a simple wash of colour it’s easy and perfect!

3) Paint, Paint Paint!
Chalon Handmade
Image by: Chalon Handmade
As mentioned above you can paint everything from your units to your floor! Kitchens don’t have to be plain white, so experiment with colour and try and a splash or two to certain feature areas.
Your appliances don’t have to stay the same colour either; with specialist paint nearly everything can be radically transformed!

4) De-clutter
You may not want to hear it, but de-cluttering is one of the easiest ways to update your kitchen. If your work surfaces are clear then consider if anything else is messy – those fridge magnets may hold nice memories but are they spoiling the design?
If you store items on viewable shelves, make sure to group similar items together. Also, try to colour co-ordinate if possible.
5) Gadgets
You only have a few essential gadgets in your kitchen, so it’s important to make sure that they match both each other and the rest of your design.
Purchase a matching toaster and kettle and your kitchen will immediately look more stylish!

6) Soft Furnishings
If your curtains and blinds are looking dated then replace them!
The vapours from your cooking will start to stain materials over time, so make sure to wash your curtains every so often.
Plus, you can also easily update a tired oak dining table and chairs by re-upholstering it!

7) Storage
Skegg Kitchen
Image by: Chalon Handmade
Group things together and make sure there’s room for everything, don’t end up with random clutter on your work top.
If you fancy getting inventive then why not create your own hanging rack to store pots, pans and other kitchen essentials!

8) New Handles
Revitalise old furniture simply by replacing the handles! If you have wooden handles you could even just use paint to give them a modern colour update. Old oak sideboards can be instantly turned into stylish modern pieces.

9) Add Artwork
Once you’ve de-cluttered it’s time to add some personality back in. Wall murals can look fantastic, and they’re cheap and easy to apply, but make sure to purchase ones related to the kitchen – a traditional, Victorian-era kitchen with a blown-up Pablo Picasso is not a stylish look!

10) Lighting
What lighting you choose isn’t too important; the crucial thing is to have lots of it! Dark and dingy rooms are instantly less appealing, and will make your kitchen look old and worn out.

The main thing to consider when renovating on a budget is what the worst things in your kitchen are, and what you can realistically do with the money you have. If you focus on sorting out all of the major problems now, you can work on improving surface details and accessories at a later date when you’ve got a bit more cash to spare.

Do you have any other tips for budget kitchen makeovers?

Estelle page is an interior designer on a mission to make the world a more beautiful place, one room at a time! When she’s not busy looking at style tips and colour charts, she’s loving life at home with her husband and two children.

Basic Home Renovation Tips that Will Get You Better Insurance Rates

Are you sick and tired of feeling as though you are grossly overpaying for your home insurance? If so, then you may be wondering how you can go about saving on your home insurance without having to do anything too drastic in the process. What many home owners do not realize is that there are so many small home renovations and improvements that you can make as a way of greatly reducing the cost of your insurance. So if you are looking to save money, be sure to take some of these options into consideration.

Perhaps one of the easiest ways to go about cutting down majorly on your home insurance rates is to have a home security system installed. Almost all insurance companies offer a substantial discount for home owners who have security systems, as these have been proven to greatly reduce the chance of a burglary or home invasion claim with your insurance company, thus reducing the price that it costs for them to insure your home. Not to mention, having a home security system will also give you the added peace of mind in knowing that you can arm your home with the push of a button.

If installing a home security system seems to be a bit drastic, there are some other options you may want to consider. For starters, adding sensor lighting around the outside of your home can be a great way to not only beef up security and deter criminals from coming onto your property, but also to cut down on the cost of your home insurance.

Another option that you have when it comes to lowering your home insurance costs is to have a privacy fence built around your property. This is a further way to secure your property and keep unwanted people away from your home. Not to mention, these can also add significant value to your home and serve an aesthetic purpose. Since these are typically not too expensive to install, privacy fences are a great option for those looking to cut down on home insurance costs while on a budget.

Furthermore, updating your home with fire-resistant materials is another wonderful way to lower your insurance costs. By doing this, you can also drastically reduce the chances of your home catching fire, which is a great way to give yourself that added peace of mind and to keep your family safe. You might be surprised at just how much money you can save by updating your home in this manner, as many insurance companies will give significant discounts for this.

Finally, having proof of regular home inspections is a good way to cut down on the insurance costs. After all, the more often you have your home inspected and cleared from any major threats of damage, the less likely it is that you will ever need to make an insurance claim. Over time, this will lower the risk value of your policy and your insurance company will gradually reduce your rates.

Overall, there are a number of ways that you can reduce the cost of your home insurance. The perhaps the best part is that you do not have to do anything too drastic or expensive in order to enjoy these savings! So be sure to keep these in mind and good luck!

Lighting and Home Security: How to Get Both with Beautiful Results

Lighting and Home Security
Most homeowners want to surround themselves with a beautiful space. They also want to know that their space is as protected as possible from break-ins and other criminal activities. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to achieve both ends, especially on a limited budget. Tall fences can be great for keeping unwanted trespassers off your lawn, but they can also be unsightly and block the view from your windows. Security bars are the best way to keep thieves from breaking your windows, but that are also a definite an eye sore.

It can be difficult as a homeowner to figure out which priorities to maintain when it comes to both the beauty and safety of your home. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to make your property more appealing that also go hand in hand with security protection. One of these things is lighting.

The right lighting can add life and style to your home, both on the inside and outside. It is also one of the best ways to ward off thieves and other criminals looking for an easy target. Read on for some of the best ways to use your lighting for both aesthetic and security purposes:

1. Install timed lighting inside and outside your home.

You want to make sure and always have some lights on around your home. This signals to thieves that the house is occupied and will not be an easy break-in. But, if you don’t want to constantly be worrying about turning on your lights, try installing lights with timers. Timed lights can be placed inside and outside and automatically turn on at night when you need that extra coverage.

2. Position outdoor security lights artistically.

A good group of outdoor security lights is essential to creating a safe home. Many homeowners simply throw them up wherever they will fit, but there is no reason not to think about making your home look more beautiful at the same time. Try to position your lights so they give complete coverage of your grounds, but also hit your walls, trees, and landscaping at flattering angles.

3. Consider color bulbs.

Color bulbs don’t need to be flashy. In fact, they can be a great way to freshen up your lighting concept, and they are just as effective for security as regular lights. Soft blues, yellows, browns, and greens can be interesting and pleasing to the eye.

4. Place lamps and decorative lighting near windows.

When you think about placing lights indoors for security purposes, it can be difficult to know where to start. One of the first areas you should tackle is your windows. Setting some lamps, faux candle sticks, or other decorative pieces near your windows is the perfect way to keep your windows lit without sacrificing your interior design.

5. Keep the corners of your indoor rooms subtly lit.

You may not want to place lights in every single window of your home. In this case, opt for tall lamps or wall lights in the corners of your rooms. Placing light in corners will create a much fuller effect, as the light will spill across the walls and reflect into the interior of the room. Criminals will feel much less inclined to approach a room that seems full of light. You don’t need to worry about finding the brightest lights. Soft lights work just as well inside as bright lights.

Silvia Brooks is blogger for She is also a blogger for other sites related to real estate, insurance, technology, and lifestyle. She welcomes your comments and questions below!


Maximizing Storage Space in a Small Home

Maximizing Storage Space in a Small Home
When you have a home which begs for more storage space you are often aware that you need to find ways to improve that. Sometimes its obvious we can’t simply build new storage space because of city regulations or a variety of reasons. You can alleviate the situation by following some basic guidelines with which we aim to help your situation:

1. Downsizing is key
Although you may be used to collecting vast amounts of belongings and items that you may or may not use, you should be aware that this can really make your home unmanageable over time. Do your best to get rid of items you don’t need so you can open up space for improvements. You’ll see how much better your home will feel once you get rid of the clutter that clogs up your closets, garage, attic or basement among other things. There are a wide variety of useless doodads we keep around the house which serve no purpose even though they might remind us of things that happened years ago. Keep things simple and you’ll be impressed by how much space you’ll open up.

2. Bunk beds
These are a wonderful way to save space which is used all around the world in a number of military and civilian organizations and especially on ships, submarines and so on. The benefits of this are obvious since they can allow for additional storage space – a lot of the beds offered by furniture companies have built-in drawers and cabinets which add to their value in a home that needs space desperately. You can usually buy those at prices varying from about $500 and up which makes them affordable.

3. Shoe organizers
Although we use them for their intended purpose they can be much more than that in the hands of a savvy homeowner or tenant. You can use them as shelving if you hang them on a wall, offering lots of storage space compartments which will work great for a number of items. The possibilities with this are great if you think about it – storing spices in the kitchen, toys in your child’s room and so on.
Maximizing Storage Space in a Small Home

4. Toe-kick storage
There is plenty of space under your kitchen cabinets right at the very bottom if you know how to take advantage of that. A great many things can find a spot there such as napkins, flat pans, cooking books and implements, cookie sheets and so on. You can hire a cabinet maker to install those or if you have the desire you can even replace all the old cabinets with ones that have this additional space.

5. Floor-to-ceiling storage
In many cases we underestimate the sheer space offered by high ceilings and what we can do with those. You can find ways to adapt to that by buying furniture which extends all the way to the top, using all available space. This will create ample opportunities for storage with the added bonus of making the place look very good if you’re using something that looks like natural wood. This is a wonderful option for bookcases above all things.

The Danger of Leaks

A little leak doesn’t seem like such a big deal, but you don’t know what damage water can do. Even a small amount of water damage can make a big mess, potentially risking your health as well. From growing mold to falling ceilings to warped and dangerous parts there is no letting what damage water can do. Here are some things to watch out for in your home:

In the Yard

Between one day and the next your whole outlook can change. While I had a charming idea that my yard was green because I took good care of it, it turns out that it was green because the pipe leading from the water main to my home had developed a leak. I didn’t know anything was even wrong until I got my bill. It had more than doubled in a single month! Outraged, I demanded the water company come and check the meter. When the man came and opened the cover to the meter it was obvious there was something really wrong. The meter was under water!

Of course that kind of leak is not the responsibility of the water company so I had to have a plumber come out and tear up my yard to find the leak. One replaced pipe later and my yard did not look so green anymore. I was just thankful the leak had stayed out towards the street. If it had been closer to my home it could have undermined the integrity of the home’s foundation and caused even more problems!

In the Wall

Another hidden leak was due to a storm. The winds pushed over a ladder onto the back yard faucet. The faucet looked undamaged but the pipe it was attached to had twisted and formed a small crack. Over the next several hours the crack spread until the pipe was spewing water into the wall. We could hear water running but we could not tell where it was coming from. It was only when the wall inside the house started dripping and the carpet around it was wet that we realized what had happened. We had to call out a plumber who cut away a section of the siding outside to get to the broken pipe. He replaced the pipe and got everything back to normal. Thankfully there was no lasting damage from the water getting inside the walls.

Under the Sink

Speaking of lasting damage, one horrible leak caused a massive, moldy mess in my kitchen. It all started with a smell. A faint odor of something off clued us in. It got stronger as time passed and we finally narrowed it down to the kitchen sink. When we looked under the sink we were horrified to see a sticky, stinky, wet mess. The connection between the sink and the garbage disposal had broken and since then every time the disposal or the dish washer had run it had sprayed all over under the sink.

Needless to say I called out the big guns. We took everything out and threw most of it away. Then we had to deal with the moldy and mushy cabinet itself. We ripped it out down to the cement to rid ourselves of the mold and stench. Cleaning it all very well and replacing the pipes and the disposal got everything back to normal. Then we had to replace the cabinet as well. What a disaster!

In the Bathroom

The bathroom is an obvious place for leaks but some of those leaks can be sneaky. Another under the sink mess, though less disastrous, happened in the bathroom. I only foundout about it because I took out a towel and was shocked to find it was already wet. Thankfully we caught the leak before it caused mold damage to the cabinets but all the towels had to be rewashed and dried. The hose had to be replaced and the cabinets still had some bubbling where the water had pooled.

The faucet in the bath tub also developed a leak. Although it was obvious it was not causing any damage. However when we attempted to fix it the damage started to build up. It was not fixable and had to be replaced. That meant having to tear out the tilesaround it to replace the faucet. What a mess. The wall and the tile had to be replaced which cost a pretty penny.

The worst disaster happened due to an act of stupidity. A firecracker in the toilet is not a good combination. Although the perpetrator did not know it would cause dame it certainly did. A cracked toilet lets out a lot of water. The carpet in the bedroom next door had to be deep cleaned to get rid of the small, the tiles started to warp where they joined the walls and the whole toilet had to be replaced. A not fun and very smelly job!

Terror From Above

Nothing is scarier than having rain inside your home. That means that something has gone seriously wrong. Not only do you have the treat of mold growing but you also have the possibility that the ceiling could collapse on top of you as well. That is exactly what happened to me.

One hot summer day it started to rain in the garage. As it was sunny outside you may wonder how this happened. Well, the drainage hose of our air conditioner had gotten clogged and the drip pan was not able to keep up. Water from the unit drained all over the attic above the garage and the whole ceiling started to bubble down ominously. We moved as much out as we could before it gave way. Thankfully the air conditioner stayed in the attic and did not come down with it. After getting the drainage problem fixed we had to have all the ceiling and insulation replaced.

Later on that year a steady drip from above alerted us that something was wrong in the downstairs bathroom. We traced the source of the water to a broken drain pipe from the upstairs bathroom. Thankfully it only happened when the bathtub was filled, but it still threatened a repeat of the garage incident. Needless to say we got the pipe repaired as soon as possible and made sure there was no permanent damage to the ceiling slash floor.

It isn’t just pipes that can cause leaks either. That same hot summer a portable air conditioning unit was placed in the upstairs bedroom where it stayed very hot regardless of the temperature in the rest of the house. The unit came with a drain hose but one day the drain hose fell off and the unit was steadily dripping onto the carpet instead. No one knew anything about it until the living room floor developed a wet spot. Looking up, a dark puddle had formed on the ceiling as well! We ran upstairs to trace the issue and found the carpet upstairs soaked through and went all the way through the floor! Needless to say the carpets were cleaned, the unit was affixed with a very tight hose and for extra security we placed a thick plastic sheet under it.

Leaks can cause so many problems before they even get very bad. They are a pain in the neck to deal with and very expensive. Try to prevent leaks in your home and keep a sharp eye out for indications of water damage so that leaks that do appear do not have a chance to wreak asmuch havoc in your home as they have in mine.

Author Byline:

This article is contributed by Madoline Hatter. Madoline is a freelance writer and blog junkie from You can reach her at:

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