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Home & Interiors

How to Spruce Up Your Patio in 5 Simple Steps

If you want to create a backyard oasis, the first step is to take a good look around your house and see what needs improving. Then, you might consider hiring a professional landscaper or taking on some DIY projects yourself. Patios can be a great space for hanging out with friends, playing games like corn hole or bocce ball, and relaxing after a long day at work. Don’t let your patio get stale when there are so many cool things you can do to it – here’s how!

#1 Fix up your furniture

Patio

Pic Credit: Pexels

The first step is to take a look at your furniture and see what needs to be fixed up or replaced. An excellent way to start is by adding some new cushions, pillows, and blankets. You can also paint your old furniture or add some fun accessories like umbrellas or string lights.

If you have any broken pieces of furniture, now is the time to fix them up or replace them altogether. There are so many great patio sets on the market these days that it’s easy to find something perfect for your space. If you’re on a budget, consider fixing up your old set with a fresh coat of paint or some new hardware.

#2 Add some plants and flowers

Adding some color to your space is a great way to enhance the look of your patio. Of course, colorful flowers are always a good option, but they can be expensive and require quite a bit of upkeep. Luckily there are plenty of other options that offer a big impact for less money!

Plants like ferns or cacti make an excellent addition, especially if you have no green thumb whatsoever. 

You can also try growing vegetables in pots on your patio – it’s easy to do with just some seeds, soil, and water each day. Finally, when shopping for containers or flowerpots, pick up some colorful accents like bright stones or ceramic frogs, so everything ties together nicely when done decorating. The possibilities really depend on what kind of vibe you are going for – are you looking to create a zen space or something more colorful?

#3 Bring in some outdoor lighting

If you’re looking for a way to create some ambiance on your patio, outdoor lighting is the perfect solution. String lights are always nice because they can be hung just about anywhere and are easy to set up even if you have no experience working with electricity.

You could also try using lanterns or candles. Just make sure all candle holders are made of heat-safe materials so that they don’t get hot enough to catch anything else on fire! Finally, you might want to invest in permanent fixtures like sconces since these tend not only to look great but will last longer without needing replacement.

#4 Create an outdoor living space

To really bring your patio to life, try adding outdoor furniture such as patios sets. This is a step that will require some planning ahead of time so you can order furniture or figure out how big everything needs to be based on the measurements of your yard! If there’s not enough room for an entire dining table and chairs, consider buying two separate tables – one with chairs attached and another portable one that can be moved around as needed. You could also consider installing benches with Cutting Mats if you’d like to tackle a project like this on your own!

Also, think about what kind of accessories you want to have included in this area, like side tables or lighting fixtures, potted plants, etc. Once it’s all put together, nothing beats sitting outside enjoying dinner under the stars!

#5 Invest in a fire pit or grill

One of the best things about having a patio is that you can cook outdoors! A good way to make your patio even more enjoyable is by investing in a fire pit or grill. This will give you a place to hang out and relax while cooking dinner, and it’s also perfect for those colder nights when you want to stay outside a little longer.

There are so many different types of grills and pits available on the market these days that it’s easy to find something perfect for your needs. If you’re looking for something portable that you can take with you camping or tailgating, there are plenty of great options there too. No matter what you choose, be sure to read up on how to use it safely before starting any fires.

Now that you have some ideas, it’s time to get started on sprucing up your patio! These are just a few of the many ways you can create a space you’ll love spending time in. So get creative and have fun with it – after all, it’s your own personal oasis right outside your door!

Note: This is a collaborative post

Home & Interiors

How to Keep Your House Warm this Winter: Tips and Strategies

There are many ways to keep your house warm this winter, but how do you know which ones will work best? Of course, that is a question that every homeowner asks. Whether it’s using curtains, timers on your central heating system, or installing radiator valves- there are plenty of options available.

Here are the most effective tips and strategies for staying cozy during the cold months.

Use curtains

house with pool

Pic Credit: Pixabay

Curtains are a great way to keep your house warm in the winter. They help insulate your windows and stop any cold air from getting in. Make sure you close your curtains when it gets dark outside so that you can take advantage of the heat that’s been trapped inside during the day.

When purchasing your curtains, consider the following factors:

Thickness

Thicker curtains are better at keeping the cold out. However, if your windows are very drafty, you may want to consider buying lined or thermal-backed curtains too. *Tip: Use a pair of draught excluders below each door.

Avoid white cotton/linen – they’re not great insulators and will let heat escape through them quickly in wintertime. Instead, opt for thicker material like velvet which is much warmer. Make sure that any lining complies with UK fire regulations if it has one.

If you have children or pets who might play around the window sill when taking down your curtains, here is what to do, line your curtain rod with an extra layer of fabric, so there’s no risk of them falling.

Pattern

Large, bold patterns are better at keeping the heat in. Geometric shapes and large images will also provide insulation from cold drafts. This means that choosing a patterned fabric for your curtains may be more beneficial than opting for plain white or cream – especially if you have children who love to play with their toys by an open window.

If there is no pattern on your curtain, then it’s good to add faux panels using another material such as felt or lining, which can help insulate any windows without obstructing light coming through them.

Use Timers on Your Central Heating

One of the best ways to make sure your house is warm enough this winter is to use timers on your central heating. This will mean that you don’t have to worry about whether or not it’s on, and you can set it to come on a few hours before you get home so that your house is nice and warm when you arrive.

Wrapping Up Warm

One of the easiest ways to stay warm this winter is by wearing layers and wrapping yourself up as if it was a blanket. However, it’s essential not to wear any tight clothing because it may restrict blood flow and make you more likely to catch a cold or, even worse: frostbite. So grab those thick socks, trousers, long-sleeved shirts, scarves, and hats; put on some rosy cheeks too, and don’t forget two pairs of gloves—one for working with hot water bottles, and one just for going outside.

Conclusion

The winter season is here, and it can be challenging to keep warm. The best way to stay warm this winter is by keeping your house and room heated by following the tips above.

Note: This is a collaborative post

Home & Interiors

Winter Warmer: How to make your house cheaper to run

A typical home could save around €300 a year by being more energy efficient. Many of these measures are ‘low or no’ cost or simply about changing how you do things around the house – and the good news is these measures will continue to keep saving you money year after year. Before considering how you can take action to ensure your home is energy efficient, you can check that you are claiming all the benefits you are entitled to by contacting Citizens Information . This can be a big help when you are beginning to upgrade and adjust your home. The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) also provide a wide range of grants to help you upgrade your home, making it warmer, cosier and more energy efficient

You should also make sure that you have the best energy deal. If you haven’t switched in over a year it’s likely you are paying more than you should be. to. Using an online comparison tool is the quickest, easiest way to find out if you could be paying less on your bills.

If you have already checked your deal and what benefits you’re entitled to, you can now look at practical ways to help you house run cheaper:


Encourage short showers over baths


Having a bath is a costly affair. No matter how long you soak, you will have used up a lot of energy for the experience. A shower is much more efficient, and we can control the costs by the time we spend showering. If you reduce the average shower from 8 minutes to 4 minutes, you can save a healthy amount of money on your bills. You also use less water, which is good for the environment.

Wash clothes on a lower temperature


We tend to wash our clothes too often, and they are hardly dirty. Running a hot wash is a significant waste of energy, considering the same results could be achieved on a colder cycle. Most washing powders are now designed to be effective at 30 degrees, and this could result in a significant saving on your utility bill each month.

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Home & Interiors

Three Tips To Get You Started on Home Ownership

house

Pic Credit: Pexels

Paying rent can be a hustle, especially when you live in a house you had settled for because you couldn’t find what you wanted in the market then. However, having saved up some money or got a better job, you are looking to move again and are wondering how you’ll go about it.  These simple tips will help you get started on the home-owning process.

Determine Your Budget For The New Home

Consider your salary, monthly earnings, or savings for your dream house and how much you spend monthly. With that information, find out how much you can put aside for a new place without straining yourself. Try not to push yourself to the limit of your financial resources. 

In addition to the monthly mortgage payment, keep in mind that there will be additional expenditures to consider, such as taxes.

It is crucial that you also know that these payments will remain constant over time. If the situation changes for you, say you retire or get laid off, you’ll still need to account for them. So allow some wiggle room in your budget so you may enjoy your ideal house for many years to come.

Find An Ideal Home For You

Explore several listings available in your prepared budget . Seeking the services of a real estate agent will smoothen this process. They will help you by bringing to your attention several house options they feel are most suited to your needs. Whether you would like to live in a modern urban design, or a spacious suburban house with a lawn, an excellent real estate agent will be able to direct you to a selection of homes you might like.

Take your time and go through the houses. Since you are going to spend most of your time in the house, don’t be afraid of turning down house offers that don’t tick off items on your dream house checklist. You deserve to be fully satisfied with the home; hence it should feel like it was built just for you.

Unlike any other real estate acquisition, looking for your dream home will bring its own unique set of challenges. You’ll want to look for a property that will keep you and your household satisfied for the long haul. Don’t be scared to be choosy, and wait until you locate the appropriate place for you, no matter how long it takes.

Decide on a Payment plan

Once you have already picked the house that you want, It is time to decide on how you are going to pay for the house. If you are not paying for the house with cash, your next best option is a mortgage. Taking a mortgage will help you actualize your dream home without necessarily straining your finances.

You could employ the services of a mortgage broker, who will help you know whether you qualify for a mortgage loan to finance your dream home. They will ask you questions about your earnings and savings, check your bank statements and credit score to determine how much financing you can get. Additionally, they would advise you on where to get mortgage loans with the best interest rates.

Conclusion

The giant leap into house hunting is both an exciting and daunting one. Hopefully, this blog post has given you insight into the basics you need to know as you dive into the market. Although this is by no means a definitive list, deciding on a budget to work with, finding your ideal home, and deciding how you will pay for it are the three basic steps you need to know as you prepare to look for your dream house.

Note: This is a collaborative post

Home & Interiors

8 Tips When You Want To Extend Your House

Are you looking for ways to extend your house? You can either hire an architect or designer to do it for you, but there are also other tips that you can use if you want to save money. Learning how to extend your house without spending too much money is not as easy as it may sound. However, with the proper planning and the right attention to detail, you will surely be able to pull it off. Let’s check out what these 8 tips are so that hopefully, we all get to learn something new here today.

If you are planning to extend the size of your house, here are 8 things that you need to know.

1) Make sure that your local council says it’s okay

Planning permission is needed before you can start building an extension on a property in the UK. Check out what you need to know about planning permission for more information.

2) Know how much it will cost

Check with your local tradesman or architect for costs, especially if you think there might be problems gaining permissions. Additional payments due to mortgages should not hamper your cash flow.

3) Scale back during the recession

extend house

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It was enough to keep people awake at night – not knowing what was happening at one of Europe’s biggest banks. One thing that stood still was building a considerable extension to a house in London.

4) Keep calm and carry on!

When times are tough, you can scale back your plans by reducing costs or taking them further, but only once you have the necessary permissions.

5) Keep it simple – big is not always best

There may be situations where you might want to extend your property, but there would be limits on how much work could be achieved. It’s essential to keep these areas in mind as changes might need to be made later when the economy improves again. However, this isn’t always possible due to time constraints and the extra costs of alterations.

6) Careful with that wrecking ball!

Make sure you have got all the necessary permissions before starting work because, if not, there is a chance that your plans will be scrapped. In addition, it could result in both yourself and the architects being hit with hefty legal fees.

7) Get a survey

If you haven’t done so already, get a survey to check the property has no underlying problems or issues which might need further investigation. You can then contact an insurance company to get a quote for home insurance, including any extensions that have been made.

8) Think about how long it will take (and when you’ll need somewhere to live!)

If existing residents live in your house when making changes, they will need somewhere to stay during the work. This could mean turning your home into a building site for months or even years! It’s important to understand that you might need planning permission for temporary structures like scaffolds. If you plan to move out of the house while this is happening, some companies can provide an apartment should something be built first.

In Conclusion

Extending your house can be a considerable investment, both in terms of time and money. Make sure you are fully aware of what is involved before starting any work. Taking the time to plan everything out properly will save you a lot of hassle and heartache further down the line. Good luck!

Note: This is a collaborative post

Home & Interiors

It pays to be energy efficient

You might be a homeowner, a private or social tenant, you might live at home with your parents or you might be a student. No matter how or where you live, we are all responsible for how much energy we consume and use on a daily basis. So, it’s up to everyone to work together to try and reduce our energy bills and make our homes more energy efficient.

Here you’ll find a few helpful ideas of how you can make your home the most energy efficient on the street!

Your supplier

If you’re fed up of paying over the odds for your energy bills or you think you could get them cheaper then head to an online comparison site to see what you could save, it really does pay to shop around and each year I usually allocate a morning to doing just that as you would be surprised just how much you could save.   My husband has his own construction company so I though who better than himself to ask for some advice in this are.  His top tip  – is to look at updating or upgrading to a new boiler, one that is more energy efficient.  Modern boilers have so many benefits for example you could set up multi-zoned heating, hot water on demand and of course lower bill. He con

servatively estimates from his own experience of making change  like a more efficient boiler you could save up to 35-40% on your home heating bill and even better that these changes are almost immediate. 

Stop being on standby

Many of us are guilty of leaving the TV and other devices on standby – it’s easier to just switch it back on again, right? But many appliances can be safely switched off at the wall without having any negative effect on their programming or settings. Switching everything off properly can actually save you around £30 a year! It all adds up especially when we are spending a lot more time in our homes due to the current pandemic. 

Just be wary of switching off any recording devices, I made that mistake and in error switched off our outside camera.

In the kitchen

The kitchen is a hub of electrical activity with lots of gadgets and helping hands at the ready. But if we use these appliances carefully you can actually save another £30 a year.

  • If you’re washing a few cups and plates, fill up a bowl of water to wash them, rather than using a running tap.
  • Making a cup of tea? Only fill the kettle up with what you’re going to need.
  • By cutting back on one washing machine load a week, you can save money throughout the year.
  • Another thing I have being doing is to reduce my washing temperature. I will admit it took me a while to get fully on board with this one. My pair are sports mad so the clothes are always head to toe mud but I decided to try the claims of a leading washing powder to turn the dial down to 20 and it was pleasantly surprised that it really does work even on the kids sports clothes. Another small change that can have a big impact.

Cut the shower time short

We all enjoy a hot shower in the morning. It gets us ready for the day ahead. But the cost of running your electric shower is enough to give anyone a rude wake up call. If you opt to spend at least one minute less in the shower every day, you can cut at least £7 from your energy bill a year. Doesn’t sound like a huge amount, but I’d be more than happy to have an extra £7 in my purse! Like I said above every little bit does count and over time the small changes all add up. 

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Home & Interiors

How to Make Your Garage Safer and More Secure

If you want to make sure that your garage is a safe part of the family home and you want to make sure that it doesn’t act as a security risk to the rest of your home, there are a few steps you might want to take. It’s often the case that a garage can act as a point of entry that burglars can exploit. That’s obviously not what you want to happen, so here are some of the ways in which you can make your garage safer and more secure.

Shield the Garage Door Lock

garage

Pic Credit: Pixabay

Shielding the lock on the door of your garage is something you should definitely do. Unfortunately, there are lots of ways in which your lock can be compromised. There are guides out there showing the world how to do it. Putting a shield on the door’s lock will change all that and ensure your lock is properly protected though, so make sure you put a shield in place.

Use Frosted Glass for Any Garage Windows

Whether you have expensive items stored in your garage or not, you don’t want people looking in there and seeing if there’s anything worth stealing. That’s why it makes more sense to ensure any of the glass in the windows of your garage is frosted. It’s a pretty small step, but it’ll give you the privacy and protection that’s so important for reliable home security.

Ensure Hazardous Liquids Are Stored Carefully

The things you choose to store in your garage can act as a safety threat if they’re not stored correctly. For example, if you store fuel for garden equipment or your vehicle, you’ll need to store it carefully and safely. For larger needs and requirements, you should look into petrol tanks as they’ll offer the level of safety you need. And you’ll need to find the solution that applies to whichever hazardous materials you might need to store.

Secure the Condition of the Door

The condition of your door is something you’ll need to think about as well. If it’s an old door and it’s seen better days, it might be time to make some repairs and secure the integrity of the door. That way, you won’t need to worry about someone breaking into the garage through sheer force.

Use Sensors for Opening and Closing

Finally, you should improve your garage’s safety by using sensors. These sensors will ensure that the door doesn’t shut when something is blocking the door’s path. That way, you, your family or your car won’t be hit by the door accidentally. Accidents do happen, so sensors like these are important.

Be sure to make the most of each of these tips and ideas if you’re looking to make your garage as safe and secure as it can be. Each of these steps will help you make the space safer for your whole family to use, and you won’t have to worry as much about the garage acting as a security threat.

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Home & Interiors

Is cane furniture good for the outdoors?

Decking up the outdoor space is one of the most exciting things to do. Many people pick it as a hobby to experiment with the decor of the outdoor space. So, when it comes to ramping up the space, you must consider various aspects to create the right plan. 

One of the first things that you need to do is to prepare a plan and the course of action. Once you have decided on the theme and the décor of the space, your next move should be to choose the right furniture set for the place. There are umpteen options in the market. And the right kind of furniture is going to infuse a new sense of aesthetics to even the simplest of places. 

All you need to know about cane 

Cane is a traditional and conventional choice for garden furniture. It comes from two different types, bamboo and rattan. While it is tall woody grass and is very strong and durable, rattan is a climbing palm. It has jointed stems, which are used for making cane furniture. Rattan garden furniture can be a great choice for those who love nature more.

What makes cane a good choice for outdoor furniture?

Amongst the different options available, the cane has been a popular choice for garden rattan furniture. Its natural look and versatility make it top the list of popular outdoor furniture options. When compared to other options like metal, then cane is softer and being a natural material, it easily harmonizes with the look and appeal of the garden. 

The flexibility of the cane makes it a good choice for garden furniture. This flexibility of cane makes it easier to mould it and bend to create desired designs which makes it a highly versatile material. 

Another feature of the cane that makes it a good choice for outdoor furniture is that it is light in weight, so in case of storms or thunderstorms, or rain, you can easily move the furniture. 

Durability is yet another aspect that adds to the positives of this material. Can is well-ventilated and it also lasts longer in outdoor conditions. Moisture keeps the cane supple. 

There are different design options available in the market like it can be used for making tables, benches, chairs and more. If you are fond of upcycling products, the cane furniture can be great to work with. You can paint it in the colour of your choice to make it look more vibrant and full of colours. 

A common concern regarding cane furniture

One of the key concerns of cane furniture is that wood is prone to termite attack. So, how to keep it in good condition? One of the easiest ways to keep it in good condition is by adding wood preservatives. While buying furniture, you must check if the furniture is pre-treated; if yes, then you don’t have to worry about termite infestation; if not, then you can apply it yourself or seek the assistance of a professional to do the same. Remember, merely painting the cane furniture won’t keep it protected. Its treatment with a wood preservative is paramount. 

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Home & Interiors

How To Choose The Right Home For Your Family Lifestyle

house keys

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Choosing your home is one of the biggest yet tough life decisions you would make. You would need to consider so much to ensure that you make suitable investments and choices, such as your finances, lifestyle, and future endeavours. Moreover, in today’s real estate climate, where homes serve as multifunctional spaces– there’s even more, to consider in choosing the right home! So, how can you go about choosing the right house for you and your family? Here are a few factors to consider.

  • Prepare and follow a budget

Understandably, you would have a house in mind you would want to purchase. However, one thing is sure – homes don’t come cheap. The house prices in Ireland have seen an increase of 9% in the last 12 months alone. This means that you can’t make your purchases based on your dreams alone but on your financial position. To make the right choice without plunging yourself into a financial crisis, you would need to make strategic financial decisions. To do this, you would need to prepare a budget. Your budget gives you an idea of how much you have and can spend on a home. It also helps you identify whether you need financial aid and which one would be suitable for you. Be sure to follow your budget to avoid sending more money than you intended.

  • Consider your lifestyle

Suppose you are a small business owner and have a lot of clients coming into your home regularly. In that case, you would want a spacious home to create a home office or is readily accessible to all your clients. Likewise, if you are a big fan of greenery, you would want to consider a home that has a large garden space. Your home is your sanctuary and an investment; therefore, it should be a place you can’t wait to spend time in. To be sure it’s the right one for you, consider if it suits your lifestyle before making the purchase.

To help you decide on whether your preferred home is a good fit for your lifestyle, you should consider creating a checklist of what the home must-have. It could be a storage loft, garage or parking space, or access to green spaces. This way, you can help you quickly compare houses to choose the right fit.

  • Think about the location

The location of a home also plays a role in whether or not it is right for you. When choosing a house, it is vital to consider its proximity to hospitals, schools, recreational centres, or your workplace. Doing this would help you make the right decision. For example, if your child studies in London, you may want a location that wouldn’t be too far- if they choose to stay at home. If that’s the case, you might want to consider contacting various accommodation services for reliable and safe student accommodation in central London

You would also want to ensure you are in a safe neighbourhood. It is advisable to conduct some research on the location of your home to ensure it’s in a community with the right atmosphere and like-minded people. A place you and your family can feel safe and happy.

 Note: This is a collaborative post

 

Home & Interiors

Living Amongst Home Renovation Without Stress

When we renovate parts of our home, or even commit to large projects such as a home extension, it may not be feasible for you to move to a hotel room or live somewhere else for the duration of that work. Thankfully, unless you’re committing to a multi-room renovation, renovating all critical rooms, or demolishing the entire house to start again (which tends to be a bit more than a standard renovation effort), it usually is possible to live among this work without too much hassle. 

drill and house plans

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Lessening our stress while this work goes on, however, may be considered another art form all by itself. In this post, we’ll discuss a few measures you can use for keeping your day to day life calm and relaxed despite all the work going on around you, particularly if you have children or a relatively small household to host you.

While dealing with stress is important, of course, keeping ourselves safe at this time is the most essential aspect to consider. For that reason, we will also prioritize our advice in that direction:

Find A Good Way To Dispose Of Debris/Trash

Home renovations tend to accumulate a good amount of wastage. Knocking through floors, removing appliances, reframing cabinets, it means that all this trash has to go somewhere. Keeping this as neat as possible is essential. This is why using a skip hire service can be so worthwhile, as they not only provide you the means to store the rubbish over a few weeks, but they will take it away and dispose of it for you. This can help you avoid having piles of trash in your garden, or exposing anyone to elements that may not be safe.

Thick Dust Sheets & No-Go Areas

Renovations also tend to produce a good amount of dust and debris. Breathing this in can be harmful. This is why it’s important to make sure heavy dust sheets are placed in open door frames, and ensuring ventilation is properly established can be key, too. Thick dust sheets in this manner can make a massive difference, as can establishing no-go areas that your family is able to avoid for the time being.

Retrofit Temporary Living Standards

It may be that temporarily, you need to leave a certain room and work out a different solution elsewhere. If your dining room is being worked on, then purchasing a fold-out table you can use in another room may be key. Perhaps you might have to sleep on a fold-out bed in the living room for a week as your master room has its flooring replaced. These efforts can help you save money in the long run, without having to totally upheave your living situation for now. Planning that and agreeing these measures with the whole family can be helpful – such as if your child’s en suite bathroom needs to become the main family washroom for a week or so.

With this advice, we hope you can continue to live amongst your home renovation without stress.

 

Note: This is a collaborative post