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Category Archives: Home Improvement

Things to Keep in Mind when Deciding Over Colors

1. If you are using many colors in one single room, make sure you use a color at least three times in the same room. You could use shades and tints of that color. For eg. your curtains, pillows and tablecloth can be of the same color. This gives a look of harmony and help avoid the ‘too much’ and ‘confused’ look.

2. For filling space, use warm colors like reds, yellows and oranges. They tend to grab the eye and fill the space and are soothing and warm.

3. For giving an illusion of more and open space, use cool colors like blues, greens and violets.

4. For a serene and comforting look, use pale pinks. The closer pink gets to red, the more energetic it becomes.

5. Use vertical stripes on walls and curtains for an illusion of height.

6. Light colored walls and ceilings make the room look larger and more spacious.

7. Try to avoid contradicting colors and themes. If you want your room to look larger and need to use cool colors to achieve it, choose a theme which goes with cool colors.

8. If same-colored sofa, carpet and other upholstery give a monotonous look, use colorful cushions and wall-hangings to break the monotony.

FAQ About Air Purifier

1. Do I really need an air purifier in my home?

It depends on several factors, including your own comfort level and what the indoor air quality is in your home. There are several factors to take into consideration, however. First and foremost, many health organizations agree that indoor air quality is often worse than outdoor air quality. In fact, for many people, indoor allergens and irritants such as dust, smoke and pet dander may be two to five times as bad in their homes as outdoors!. There are several indications that you may benefit from an air purifier in your home. Reasons to get an air purifier include:

  • Allergy symptoms such as itchy, watery eyes and runny nose
  • Itchy, dry skin or frequent skin rashes
  • Asthma or other breathing problems
  • Being or living with a smoker
  • Owning indoor pets
  • Mold or mildew in your home

2. Do all air purifiers clean the same kinds of pollutants from the air?

No. Although all air cleaners clean certain particulates from the air, there are differences in what and how they clean. Some remove dust and particulates such as pet dander and smoke very effectively, while others will actually eliminate bacteria, viruses and molds and mildew. But very few will do all of these things, so be sure to read the article Understanding Air Purifiers for a more detailed outline of what each type can and can’t do to improve the air quality in your home.

3. How do I know what size air purifier to get for my home?

Actually, most air purifiers are designed for individual room use rather than for the whole home. Unless you have an air purifier or air filtration system that has been installed on your heating or air conditioning unit, you should get separate units for each room or living space. The reason you need separate units for each room is because effectiveness is affected by air flow, and walls mean no air circulation. Each room will need its own unit. To determine what size you need, look for the CADR number. This number indicates the Clean Air Delivery Rate, which should always equal at least 2/3 the total square footage of the room you will be using the air purifier in. For example, a 10′ X 12′ room has 120′ square feet, and needs a purifier with a CADR number of at least 80.

4. What is Ozone and is it safe for indoors?

Ozone is a tasteless, colorless gas made up of three oxygen atoms. It can be found in the upper atmosphere and is naturally produced by thunderstorms during electric discharge. It is perfectly safe indoors if kept at acceptable levels (between .02 and .05 parts per million), just like many other type of naturally occurring gasses that aren’t harmful to us at certain levels. Ozone air purifiers have been developed to produce the correct amount of ozone to purify the air without reaching harmful levels.

5. How often will I need to change or clean the filter in my air purifier?

It depends on several factors, including how large the room is and what type and size of air purifier you have. Some will need to be changed or cleaned monthly, others more often. It is very important to check your filter regularly and follow the recommended schedule the manufacturer suggests, since the efficiency of the air purifier relies on proper maintenance.

6. What exactly is a Micron?

A micron is a measurement of the size of a particulate in the air. One micron is 1/25,400 inch (roughly 100 times smaller than a single strand of hair). Obviously, a micron is far too small to be seen. For the purpose of choosing an air purifier, most types are considered very efficient if they can filter airborne pollutants to .3 microns.

7. How much should I pay for an air purifier?

It’s very hard to determine what you should spend on an air purifier, because price doesn’t always guarantee quality. Doubtless you should be willing to spend enough to get a high-quality product, but protect your investment by making sure your air purifier comes with a warranty. When buying an air purifier, also take into account the cost of any replacement filters and the electricity to run the unit.

8. Will an air purifier be noisy?

An air purifier with a fan in it will have some noise. HEPA filters, for instance, have fans to pull the air through the filter itself, although improved casings and quieter fans have been developed for noise reduction. Ionic and ozone units don’t usually have a fan because they use an electrostatic charge or ozone, so they are completely silent. If they combine their technology with a filtration system or a fan to boost air circulation over the plates, their will be some sound, but this will be minimal and these fans may be shut off when you wish. In general, the noise level of even an air purifier with a fan is low enough that it isn’t intrusive.

9. What rooms should I put an air purifier in?

The rooms you use the most are the most important rooms for air purifier use. Your living area, such as a family room or den, should have an air cleaner, especially if you have allergies or pets that are in the room regularly, or if anyone in the household smokes. Bedrooms are also a good idea, since allergies and irritants can disturb our sleep. Clean, fresh air has been proven to produce more restful sleep and reduce night breathing problems while sleeping such as stuffiness, post-nasal drip and night coughing. Finally, consider getting an air purifier in the bathroom, where odors, mold and mildew are prone to linger. An air cleaner in here can not only make it fresher and more pleasant, but reduce the amount of mold and mildew in the air so that your bathroom will be less of a breeding ground for germs.

10. Where in each room should my air purifier be located?

For any air purifier, it is most important to locate it near the most activity or traffic flow so that there is plenty of air circulation around the air filter. This will increase the air exchange rate and make the air cleaning more efficient. With a HEPA filter, it is best to locate it near an open area to ensure air movement all around. For an ozone air purifier, you should try to locate unit higher rather than lower, since ozone molecules are heavier than oxygen and will tend to drift downward. The same logic applies to ionic air purifiers, which release charged particles into the air. If your air purifier unit is relatively portable and you have someone in the room who is a heavy smoker, move the air purifier a bit closer to him or her if this is practical (and if it won’t mortally offend them!). You may also want, on occasion, to move the air purifier to a specific room when you have a particular odor to get rid of (you burned dinner, etc.).

Effective Way to Buy Home Appliances

One of the most important suggestions for buying appliances and fixtures the smart way is to decide before you begin shopping exactly how much money you wish to spend, or what will fit in your budget. Surprisingly, this is often not done until the customer is already in the store. Unfortunately, the heart often takes over when looking over the latest high-tech gadgets and features on the item being considered and results in the purchase of a much more expensive item than is truly needed. So take some time to decide exactly what your spending limit is before you even begin to shop and then stick to your guns on that decision all the way through the buying process.

It’s also a good idea to research your buy before you start looking at actual products themselves. These days there are many consumer publications that help you make a wise choice on a broad range of consumer items, including home appliances and fixtures. They extensively test the major brands and give their unbiased opinions on a wide variety of features and issues related to each product. This is valuable information that can’t be had almost anywhere else, so take good advantage of it. You can find most of these publications available for free at your local library. This kind of research will also help you decide in advance exactly which features are most important to you and which should be avoided as unnecessary expenses, in other words, invest your hard-earned money into essentials not features. Always opt for better quality over more features too.

Don’t just assume that buying locally is the smartest move either. Sometimes, the same item can be found online at a much lower price than is possible locally and you can often even avoid sales tax on an online purchase too. Be careful though and determine how much installation is needed for any item you make and factor installation costs in with any purchase that doesn’t include those costs in the purchase price.

It may seeem like a simple thing, but be sure to measure very carefully to determine that the item you want to buy will fit in the space that you have designated for it in your home. Surprisingly, this is something that is often overlooked until the delivery of the product and can result in plenty of unnecessary aggravation. Just get the measuring tape out in advance and know the space required to save this headache from happening to you.

Finally, consider the warranty on the items you want to buy. Be sure to ask questions in advance so that you know what the warranty will cover and how long it will last. Also, will you have to send the appliance out to be repaired under warranty or is home repair covered under the warranty contract?

Tips to Artify your Home

# Use enticing aromas. How much nicer it is to enter a room with a lovely aroma than one with the usual household smells such as pet odour, cooking smells or stale smoke. Certain scents have the power to promote clarity of mind and positive thoughts. Start using scented candles, incense or aromatherapy oils or sprays regularly.

# Hang beautiful artwork. Make your home completely unique by having original artwork on your walls. You don’t have to pay thousands for gorgeous contemporary artworks. Many websites, including mine, have beautiful paintings for sale at really reasonable prices. What a talking point your original artwork will make when you have guests.

# Say it with flowers. A lovely floral display not only looks fabulous but also provides a fresh smell. Try to display flowers in an nconventional way by using unique containers or putting together plants and flowers which are not usually displayed together.

# Uplift with colour. If you are unsure about using bold or more vibrant colour than usual, simply paint in one wall in a room with a bold accent. This way you will get a lift without being overpowered by strong colour.

# Use lighting. Either table lamps or floor lamps can create a wonderful ambience in any room. Light up dark corners for a homely glow.

Guide to Create a Healthy Home

1. Clean Air and Circulation

Here are some little known facts from the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) about the air inside many of today’s homes :

  • Indoor air pollutant levels may be two to five times higher than the pollutant levels outdoors.
  • Indoor air pollutant is one of the top environmental concerns today.
  • Americans spend up to 90% of their time indoors.
  • Indoor air pollutants such as tobacco smoke, pollen, mold, dust, and animal dander have the ability to create asthmatic and allergic reactions.

Listed below are a few ways to improve the quality of your indoor air :

  • ¬†Consider an Indoor Air Purifier. The Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM) has put forth industry standards for indoor air purifiers. To view results of their standards and testing or to find a certified indoor air purifier.
  • For better air circulation, leave doors between rooms open most of the time and open windows when possible to allow for a good supply of fresh outdoor air. You can also install exhaust fans in bathrooms to help remove moisture and chemicals from your home.
  • Upgrade the air filters on your furnace with the pleated filters that capture smaller particles. Change the filters regularly as recommended by the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • You can also use indoor houseplants to aid in purifying your home’s air. For example, Boston Ferns cleanse formaldehyde from the air. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, formaldehyde is a colorless, strong-smelling gas. When present in the air at levels above 0.1 ppm (parts in a million parts of air), it may cause watery eyes, burning sensations in the eyes, nose and throat, nausea, coughing, chest tightness, wheezing, skin rashes, and allergic reactions. Formaldehyde can be found in insulation, particleboard, paper products and many cleaning products.

2. Dust-proof Your Home

  • Dust your rooms and knickknacks regularly with a damp cloth.
  • Dust your hardwood, tile, linoleum, and laminate flooring regularly with a dust mop or a vacuum made for hard flooring.
  • Vacuum carpets, rugs, and upholstered furniture regularly. Consider buying a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter. A HEPA filter is capable of removing a minimum of 99.97% of all particles that are 0.3 microns or larger. In addition, consider using a bag-less vacuum to avoid the exposure of dust when you change a bag.
  • Encase pillows, mattresses, and box springs in an airtight, dust-proof cover.
  • Dust/clean ceiling fans regularly to make sure they are not releasing dust in the air every time you run them.
  • Replace dust-collecting blinds and long drapes with window shades or washable curtains.

3. Use Natural and Non-Toxic Cleaning Products

One way to assure that the fragrances in your home are clean and fresh is to avoid using harsh cleaning products, which can create fumes that may linger for days. Try using natural ingredients such as baking soda, vinegar, club soda, and lemon juice.

For example, to make a natural glass cleaner, combine:

  • 2 teaspoons white vinegar
  • one quart of warm water
  • Mix ingredients together and pour into spray bottle. Spray on surface and wipe dry.

4. Fill Your Home with Natural and Earth-Friendly Products. Below is a small list of eco-friendly products available on the market today:

  • Organic cotton towels, linens, clothing
  • Mattresses, bedding, pillows
  • Cork flooring, wool carpet
  • Sofas, chairs, ottomans
  • Toys and games for all ages
  • Pet products
  • Soap and laundry detergents
  • Organic candles, home d√©cor accessories
  • Personal accessories

5. Use Safe, Non-Toxic Interior Paints that have

  • very low VOC (volatile organic compounds) content
  • no formaldehyde
  • low odor

Laminate Floor

Since the introduction of laminate flooring into the US in 1982, the sector has experienced growth of up to 20% per annum at the expense of other flooring types, making laminate flooring the fastest growing flooring type in the country. Its appeal lies not only in its aesthetic value of its representation of real hardwood, but also due to its incredible durability and ease of maintenance. Laminate flooring is built to withstand the rigors of today’s active lifestyles.

Unlike hardwood, laminate flooring will not stain, fade, dent and is far more scratch and water resistant. Laminate warranties range from 10 years to lifetime and cover such factors as mentioned above. Entry level laminates are designed for light traffic areas and come with warranties ranging from 10 to 15 years. Most people set their expectations too high and expect that an entry level laminate will perform under heavy traffic conditions and still look good for the duration of the warranty. This is however not the case, as an entry level laminate subject to high traffic will start to show wear and tear within three to five years.

Buying the laminate flooring that suits your needs will save you money in the long run. This is not to say that every home requires a high end laminate with an extensive warranty. Consider the amount of traffic as well as the amount of time you intend staying in your current home. There is no point in purchasing an expensive floor with an extended warranty if you plan on moving in the near future. Remember, flooring is usually the first thing replaced by people when moving to a new home.

Laminate floors come with cores ranging from 6mm up to 12mm. A thicker core is more stable, less vulnerable to buckling and will sound more like real hardwood when walked on. Good quality laminate cores are treated with water repellent chemicals, and resist swelling due to excessive moisture. This is very important especially when considering placing laminate floors in bathrooms and kitchens. For these applications also consider a laminate that has Paraffin wax impregnated joints. The Paraffin wax acts as a water repellent and will prevent topical water spills from penetrating down to the laminate core. Also remember to scrutinize the warranty, as certain laminate floors are not covered for use in bathrooms and kitchens.

Make your Room Looks Fresh with These Tips

# Fresh Flowers

You don’t need a $50 bouquet to make a room, but a stale look will get an instant boost with a bit of living, breathing, greenery. Consider a $20 tropical, large enough to fill in an empty corner, and spend another $20 on a colorful bunch of fresh cut flowers (if you shop well, you can even get the vase). This will give your room instant punch!

# Bowl of Fruit & Table Cloth

If you’re at the market anyway, don’t overlook the zest and color that a large bowl of fresh fruit lends to the kitchen, dining room, or even the coffee table. Great look that works well in all decors; fill a pottery dish with a variety, or a tall glass vase with a single fruit (ie: lemons or limes) or even line up a row of green apples along the coffee or dining table for a contemporary feel. And since fruit is inexpensive, give yourself a shot of change by selecting a new table linen in the trendiest color of the season to give your room a real lift or invest in a crisp white or cream cloth for a classic look.

# Baskets

You don’t have to be a country girl (or guy) to appreciate the cozy look of baskets. Even the most modern room can benefit from a bit of wood or rattan. But the main purpose here is to hide clutter. You’ll feel so refreshed if you add a few baskets to fill with magazines, toys or hobby material. It’s the easiest way to contain the everyday clutter that you can’t stow away. And clearing space is always a good look!

# Throw Cushions

I’d bet you could find two throw cushions for less than $50, so if you do, add a throw blanket as well. Cheap and shamefully easy, this is the way to go if you’re ready to make more of a statement. Great opportunity to bring some contrast into a dull room, consider light pillows for a dark room, dark pillows for a light one, and absolutely try adding a trendy color to a neutral room. And at this price, you can change it next season!

# Paint

Admittedly for the more ambitious, this is a fantastic way to create a stunning look in little time. However, this is an article on FAST ideas, so let’s not tackle the whole room right now. If company’s coming this weekend, try a new look by painting a feature wall a stunning but complementary color (ie: the fireplace wall, that blank wall behind the couch…you get the idea.) Or even tape off a smaller section (this is called color blocking) to focus attention on a collection of pictures, or behind a mirror, or around the fireplace.

Uses of Baking Soda for Cleaning

I’ve long used baking soda and white vinegar to keep my kitchen and bathroom drains clear and fresh smelling. I just put a teaspoon or less of baking soda into the drain and then pour in about a tablespoon of vinegar. I must admit that I am the kind of cook who rarely measures anything, and the same is true for these proportions, so feel free to experiment to find what works best in your sinks. Start small, though — the combination of baking soda and vinegar causes an active fizzling and bubbling!

In fact, that bubbling process is how you can tell if the box of baking soda you’ve had around forever is still good. Just follow the directions above. Your soda is still good if it bubbles away merrily.

Speaking of drains, if your drain is clogged, you can try using a lot more baking soda. One recipe is to pour a cup of baking soda down the drain, then a cup of vinegar. Wait a few minutes, or longer, and then run the hot water tap and see if you have cleared the drain. It could take overnight.

Another well-known use of baking soda is to keep an open box in the refrigerator to neutralize odors. Because baking soda cuts smells, it can also be put in the bottom tray of an oven-type electric toaster, to reduce burnt smells. Another smell-removing cleaning tip is to put baking soda into bottles or jars that milk has left a smell in.

Baking soda is an abrasive, milder than commercial cleansers. For scrubbing out the sink, bathtub, or shower stall, for getting gunk off the outside of my toaster, and projects of that sort, I find it very useful. Using a rag or sponge, pour some baking soda onto it and then add a little water, just enough to form a paste. Then scrub! You can also mix up the paste in a small cup or bowl and then throw out what you haven’t used by the end of that cleaning session. I keep a small container of baking soda handy by the sink, in a closed jar so that the baking soda doesn’t cake. You can also use a salt shaker, as you will probably go through that much baking soda before it gets caked up.

Pots and pans that have something burned on the bottom call for sterner measures. I admit that sometimes I just reach for my rarely-used commercial cleanser, but the baking soda cleaning method is to shake baking soda all over the burned stuff and then let the pot sit overnight. You can also add a little water and baking soda to the pot, bring it to a boil, and then let it sit.

For stained marble, a paste of baking soda and white vinegar can be effective. For washing windows, put some baking soda on a wet rag or sponge.

Baking soda also has a variety of uses in keeping your body clean too. But enough! This article is about baking soda for cleaning around the house.

Ways to Make Your Home Secure

# Do not leave a ladder outside of your home. A thief could easily, and they do, gain entrance to a second story window.

# Always ask for ID when service men come to your home. Do not let your children answer the door. Don’t be afraid to call the company for verification BEFORE you let them inside your home.

# Do not keep excess cash around your house. Keep it in a safety deposit box at your bank. If you must keep cash at home, hide it NOT in the kitchen or your bedroom, as that is the first place a thief will look.

# Take pictures of your heirlooms and personal items for identification at some later time.

# Mark all electronic equipment with a permanent etching of your name and drivers license number or social security number.
This process makes it hard for the thief to sell your property, and easy for you to identify and get returned to you.

# Never leave notes on your front door announcing your absence. This may seem incredible, but people do this all of the time. You might as well put up a neon sign giving your time of return also.

# Keep an eye out for a strange vehicle on your block. It could be a thief checking out the whereabouts of you or your neighbors. Write down the vehicle description and the license number. Don’t be ashamed to call the Police to report a suspicious vehicle.

# Purchase a timer that will turn on your lights automatically and light up your house when you are away.

# If you are going on vacation, arrange to have your lawn mowed, your paper picked-up, leaves raked and snow shoveled. Make it look like you are home.

# Have the post office hold your mail until you return.

# Leave your furnace or central air on low so that people can hear it start up once in a while. This tells burglars that you won’t begone for long.

# If you ever arrive home, and your door is open, or you see obvious signs of forced entry, DO NOT GO INSIDE, call the Police. Don’t be a hero!

Tips to Pick Color Schemes

Selecting a color scheme when you have no real preference is to start with the colors you already have in the flooring and on other surfaces that aren’t going to be replaced. Ignore any color that you really dislike; in this case, everything doesn’t have to match.

Go to your local paint store and find paint chip cards to match your colors. Then cut out the color samples and secure them into a personal loose-leaf notebook. But remember: paint chips aren’t big enough to give an accurate picture of how a color will feel under specific lighting conditions, so you may need a larger sample before you make your final selection. The artificial lighting in paint stores also affects the appearance of color chips, and colors generally appear darker when seen on big expanses of walls compared to paint chips, so be sure to check your samples in the room and under the lighting conditions where your plan to use that color.

Balance the depth, darkness, and intensity of colors, mix cool and warm colors, and add enough diversity to avoid monotony in your color scheme. Adding variety to your color combinations will support your desired emotional and seasonal needs. You can change color emphasis with the changing seasons by varying a room’s accessories and lighting.

Bringing Exterior Colors Inside

Blending your home’s exterior colors with the interior ones will make the transition from outside to inside feel comfortable and natural. The welcoming color of your front door should be brought into the home through at least two small details or areas, to create balance and harmony. That doesn’t mean the colors should match exactly. In fact, you don’t want your colors to shout out their presence. The transition from outside to inside should be subtle, providing emotional support and creating a welcome feeling of balance.

Whatever colors you ultimately choose, remember that harmonizing those colors throughout the entire home is a combination of science and art. The key to success is in small doses of repetition, and adding touches of Design Psychology to the emotional undercurrents of color will assure a joyful home.