Tips to Save Money on Energy Bill

Your energy bill for things like water and electricity can be one of the biggest outgoings you have after your mortgage or rent payment. Many people are not aware that these can be controlled and making small changes to your everyday habits bring significant reduction to your bill payments. In the other side of the world, they can start by changing their providers every now and then. Remaining loyal to one company may mean that you are not getting the best deal or rate for your energy costs. Once you know you are on the best deal, then these simple changes can help you to save even more money. But here in this side of the world wherein there is only one provider, these tips may help save money on energy bills.

pexels-lightsPhoto Credits

Use solar panels

Many people are considering adding solar panels to their properties as a great way to save money on their energy supply. The solar energy generated can be used to heat your home and water, as well as power your electrical items. However, people can be fooled into thinking that they get installed, and that’s the end of it. Don’t set and forget your solar system! While they can work out a cheaper way of supplying energy to your home. They still need to be checked regularly to ensure they are in good working order.

Unplug appliances

Many of us switch our appliances off and think that’s the end of it. Or perhaps leaving things like televisions and sound systems on standby. The truth is, those items are still using a supply of energy of some sort because they have been switched off at the mains, or even unplugged entirely. Changing the habit by unplugging from the source can start to reduce the amount of energy you use in your home.

pixabay-lightbulbPhoto Credits

Change light bulbs to energy savings ones

A lot of us don’t pay too much attention to the type of light bulbs we buy, we simply just choose the right connection, and that’s it. But, you can now buy energy saving bulbs that use less energy to work. While it may not give off the brightest light straight away, these energy saving bulbs can make a big difference to your energy bill. Especially if you live in a place that requires those lights to be on.

Turn off the Lights When Not Used

Having children in the house may mean that your lights are left on in rooms that you are not using so it might be worth trying to make a rule of not leaving lights on. They can be quite costly, especially when left on by accident throughout the day when you are at work.

Collect rainwater

A big water bill can be draining on the finances, and during the summer a lot of water wastage is created when doing things like watering the garden. Instead, consider collecting rainwater and use that to give your garden a good water in the summer months.

Finally, sometimes it is just worth making more wiser choices with your usage. Opening a window instead of switching air conditioning on, keeping your heating at a consistent temperature during the winter. Hopefully, changing some of these habits will help to reduce your energy bill.

Adding Character To Your Kitchen

Functionality in the kitchen should always come first. With making meals and eating, you need to maximize the space. Otherwise, one of the most important rooms in the house will be the most frustrating.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that the kitchen should be lacking of personality. Like every other room, it needs to pop and sizzle with character. Sadly, homeowners take the substance over style mantra too seriously and lots of kitchens end up being boring.

If you don’t want to happen, you may want to consider these tips which will help you add a sense of character while maintaining functionality.

pixabay-kitchenPhoto Credits

Say It With Color

Traditionally, adding your personality to a room without making structural changes is difficult. The good news is it isn’t impossible with a few tins of paint. Kitchens are boring because they are bland. A splash of color will fix this issue straight away because the right color will make the room exciting. And, all you need to do is throw the paint on the walls or the cabinets for maximum effect. To go one step further, use accessories to your advantage. HGTV reckons brightly colored towels and potholders are just as useful.

Get Artsy

A splash of color can only go so far. To make the room seem less bare, you need to cover the wide, open spaces. There are lots of ways to do this, but a selection of artwork is one of the best options. For starters, it is big and bulky enough to take up a significant amount of room without being too large. More importantly, the artwork that you choose reflects your tastes. There is no better way to add personality to a kitchen than with individual flavors. If you like to draw or paint, you can use them instead of buying artwork from a gallery.

Renovate

In truth, there is only so much you can do without making structural changes. To make the kitchen wow, a renovation is in order. Of course, it is tempting to pick a bog standard version and install it as soon as possible. However, this will only ensure your kitchen is the same as everyone else’s on the block. Rather than be a sheep, be a shepherd. Thanks to Complete Kitchens Kitchen Designs, it isn’t hard to find an individual model. Then, with a few tweaks, the room will be unique and full of character.

Light It Up

The light fixtures can transform a kitchen into something special. The key is to make them adjustable so that they fit any environment. For example, spotlights are an excellent choice because you can turn the light up or down depending on the situation. Or, a chandelier works well because it has a soft, warm glow which creates an elegant atmosphere. Also, don’t forget to introduce ambient lighting in the shape of lamps. If the primary light is too bright, you can always switch the lamps on and turn the main light off.

With these tips, your kitchen can’t fail to be charismatic.

Re-Furnish Your Home In a Shabby Chic Style

If you think its time to make some changes to your home, then getting some ideas together is the first thing to do. Then you know what kind of budget you are looking at, and then you’ll know how long it will take to turn those dreams of redecorating into a reality.

If you like shabby chic style, then this type of home style is for you since it is less costly. It can mean using a lot of things that you already have, and then adding certain colors and cutesy accessories. At the moment, it makes such a nice change from all of the minimalism and monochrome decor that is all over social media. So if you’re looking to make some changes at home, without it costing the earth, then shabby chic could be for you. Here are some ideas to get you started.

flicker-kitchenPhoto Credits

Upcycle What You Have

If you were thinking of redecorating your kitchen, for example, then it could just be time to upcycle your cabinets. You could paint them and and them down, as well as swap out drawer handles or door knobs. The same goes for other furniture that you have around the house. Tables, chairs, and even things like picture frames and mirrors can all be painted or sanded down (or even have accessories added to them), to give the nod to the shabby chic trend.

Choose Vintage Accessories

The shabby chic trend is a nod to all things retro and vintage, as everything is given a slight aged look. Take your kitchen again, as an example. Think about getting a retro Smeg fridge freezer, for example, or buying an old-school phone for your hallway. Look out for vintage fairs or thrift shops and check out what finds they might have. Remember that some things can look better after being sanded or having a new lick of paint, so don’t always take things at face value.

flicker-basketPhoto Credit

Choose Wooden Materials

When you think of shabby chic, you think of country house style. So no granite or marble in sight. So for things like worktops or tables and chairs, wood is the material of choice. You could buy wood kitchen and dining furniture online if needed, as well as look for some in local stores and thrift shops. Think wood for accessories too. Wicker baskets or woven wood trinkets can look great by a wooden coffee table or chair.

Use Pastel Colors

Pastel or pale colors are what you are going to want to use when it comes to shabby chic style. Stay away from anything too vibrant or bright. Use a lot of white, but more of an off-white color really. Then accessorize with pastel shades for things like throws, rugs, table runners, and other accessories. Flowers and floral patterns are big for shabby chic style too. So choose some subtle designs to compliment the rest of the room or the rest of the home. Pale green and pale pink are some of the best colors to go for when decorating or adding accents of color.

Tips in Making Your Home Asthma Safe

If your child suffers from asthma, you know how worrying it can be. The last thing you want your child to go through is an asthma flare up. A flare up is usually caused by pollen, dust, mold or dirt emissions in the air. For most people, these triggers are rarely a problem, but for kids with asthma, it’s something that’s a constant problem. Children should never have to deal with homes that make them unwell. So, what can you do to make sure your home doesn’t trigger an asthma attack?

pixabay-feetonlaminatedfloorsPhoto Credit

Wood Floors
Swapping your carpet for wood floors will allow you to avoid as much dust in the home. Dust mites have a habit of burying deep into carpets, so no matter how often you vacuum, you may not be able to get rid of them. Having a wood floor, whether it’s laminate or solid wood, will allow you to vacuum up dust easily. It’s also the perfect flooring for cleaning up after messy children and spilled drinks.

Your Bedding, Pillows and Stuff Toys
Your bedding is a great breeding ground for dust mites. The bedroom is the most common place in the house to find dust mites, so it’s important to clean there regularly. To avoid dust mites in bedding, vacuum the mattress every two weeks and wash bedding in hot water and on a high heat dryer cycle every month. Change pillow cases and air dry or put pillows in the sun to freshen them up before putting in back in the bedroom. Kid’s stuff toys must also be washed regularly.

Insulation
Old insulation can attract dust like wild fire. Many people never see the benefit in replacing old insulation, but if you live with a child who has asthma, it could do wonders for their health. Old insulation removal doesn’t cost much and replacing it with new insulation every few years could avoid you dealing with excess dust within the home.

Avoid Clutter
It’s easy for clutter to build up when you live with a large family, but clutter often gathers dust and builds up until it becomes a problem. Try to avoid clutter in the main rooms, like the living room and bedrooms. You can avoid clutter by using storage boxes and asking family members to store their belongings away.

Get Rid of Mold
Mold is a proven trigger for asthma, so if you have mold in your home, it’s important to do what you can to get rid of it. You can get rid of mold by using a dehumidifier in the rooms with damp patches. Air diffusers or catalytic lamps life the Lampe Berger helps cleans the air too but check first sensitivity to fragrance. Make sure to take down any wallpaper that has gone moldy and get rid of any plants that may be growing mold. You can clean mold off the walls by using a bleach solution.

pixabay-rabbitPhoto Credit

Animal Triggers
If your child has asthma, having a pet could be a trigger. The best solution is to keep the pet outside or in a room that isn’t often used by your child. Playing with a pet could be perfectly fine, but hugging and kissing the pet may start off an attack. Use your intuition and limit the amount of time your child can spend with your pet.

Keeping asthma triggers to a minimum isn’t easy, but it is the healthiest option for your child.

Tips to Avoid Stress when Moving House With Kids

Moving to a new house is said to be one of the most stressful things you will ever do. Much more stress if you are moving with children. There is a lot to sort out and think about, and it can all get a bit too much. It took me awhile to sort things out I think I’m not yet done with the packing on our moving day. However, don’t fret as moving to a new home is super exciting. It’s a fresh start for your family, an exciting new chapter in your lives and something that you should enjoy. To help with this, here are some great tips to make it stress-free.

pixabay-housePhoto Credit

Take Your Time

There is a lot to do when moving house. You’ll need to find the perfect home and spend time choosing a home loan before you even start thinking about moving in. So, make sure you give yourself plenty of time.

Lists

pixabay-notebookandpencilPhoto Credits

When it comes to something as big as moving to a new house, lists are your friend. Write packing lists, a list of people you need to tell, a list of other jobs and lists of anything else you can think of. Carry a notepad everywhere you go and write down anything that crops up as you go.

Start Packing Early

As soon as you know you are moving, start packing. Somethings will need to be left out until the last minute. But, you’ve probably got a lot of possessions that you don’t use or even look at for months at a time. Pack these as soon as you can to get started.

Change Your Address Online

Nowadays you can change your address with most providers and companies online. Work down your list and look on their websites. In many cases, you can do this as soon as you’ve got a moving date which saves a lot of hassle later on.

Label

pixabay-postPhoto Credits

Labeling your boxes might not seem like a big deal, but it will make your life much easier once you’ve moved. When you finally get to your new home, after days or even weeks of packing and moving, you will want to relax and enjoy it without hunting through boxes every time you need something.

Prepare Supplies

Move a box of moving day supplies to your new home before moving day if you can. Or at least keep this box separate and easy to locate. Include things like the cups and drinks, a few snacks, pajamas for that first night, essential toiletries and clothes for the next day. That way if you’ve got snacks for during the move and you can leave the bulk of unpacking for another day.

Keep Essentials Separate

Keep passports, medication, driver’s licenses, contracts, contact information, phone chargers and anything else you may need in an emergency separate. Carry these in your handbag, or a separate bag and keep them with you until you arrive at your new home. Then, keep them away from all of the other boxes, so they don’t get lost in the mess.

Get a Babysitter

If at all possible, arrange childcare for moving day. It’s a good idea for the kids to spend some time in the new house and exploring the new area before you move, to help them adapt. But, on the day itself, you won’t want them getting in the way, and it can be confusing and even dangerous for them to be around.

Following these tips should help to ensure your move is successful, stress-free and fun. Good luck with it!

Living In A Small Home Is Easier Than You Think

Almost all people assume that they need a big spacious family home to feel comfortable. Size seems to matter a lot when we’re talking about houses, but… is this really the case?

Sure, with a big home you get more space which means you should have more room to store things and end up with less clutter. But, you also have a home that’s considerably more expensive than a smaller home in the same location. All the money you can save by getting a smaller house can be used to help your family in other ways.

maxpixel-birdhousePhoto Credits

Most people put off small homes purely because of the size issue they think exists. They think it will be hard for a family to live in a small home. But if you are living within the city and with condominiums slowly taking its pace, tiny living is now considered. Besides, many find that living in a small home is easier and there are ways you can turn a small little bungalow into a very spacious family home.

Below are few ideas that will help you:

Put Things In Storage

It’s fair to say that most people take up space in their home with items they don’t really need. We’ve all got big things or items of furniture that rarely get used, and we can do without. However, we might not want to sell them as they could have emotional value attached to them. The same goes for things like children’s toys that litter the place, but we don’t want to throw out as they remind us of significant times in our kid’s lives. Now, there are places like Canning Vale Storage Units that offer storage space for anyone that needs it. You pay for a unit and put all your things there that aren’t essential for your home, but you can’t bear to get rid of. This frees up loads of space in your house and can make rooms a lot bigger, making life more comfortable for you. In this side of the world though, these are not offered however storage boxes are available.

Get More From Your Rooms

Another idea is to take some rooms in your small home and get more from them. What I mean is that you can take your kitchen and stick a table in there for everyone to eat on. If you have a dining room, you’ve now got a free room to use for whatever you want as everyone eats in the kitchen. Likewise, you could make your children share a bedroom, which might free up another bedroom to be used for something else to give your house more space and more functions.

wkikimedia-storagePhoto Credits

Make Use Of Your Garden

A small home with a garden can be an absolute blessing. With a garden, you now have some extra space to utilize. You can build a garden shed and automatically grant yourself some extra storage space, freeing up room in your home. As you can see on the Absco Garden Sheds website, there are loads of different varieties and sizes you can buy. This means you can take up a small section and still have room to turn your garden into something beautiful.

You see, you don’t need a big house to create a lot of space. Living in a smaller home is easy when you know how to make it more comfortable and practical for your family.

Things Your Construction Contractor Won’t Tell You

pixabay-electricianPhoto Credits

Renovating your home is an exciting experience, but it can be soured by construction contractors or builders if they aren’t as honest and upfront as you would like. Most homeowners have had bad experiences with builders at least once, whether they’ve presented you with a much higher bill or carried out shoddy work on your property. We had a bad experience with contractors when the husband ask him more details of the material’s prices. It way too different from the actual price in the stores. It can make you feel foolish for not choosing your contractor more wisely, but the thing is, there are some things that builders simply won’t tell you, which makes it difficult to choose wisely.

Here are some of the most common things builders will neglect to mention when you’re in the process of hiring them:

Their Low Bid Probably Isn’t Accurate

As a homeowner, you probably get a number of quotes before hiring a builder, which is the sensible thing to do. What isn’t sensible, however, is to choose the builder who’s offering you a significantly lower price than the others. That’s because he has probably underestimated his bid purposely in order to get the work, and once you’ve hired hi the price will keep rising. This is particularly problematic if you plan to get the money for the renovations from a homeowner loans company, or if you’re on a very tight budget. It is, then, a much better idea to ask him to show you detailed figures for the job or go with a different builder entirely.

There are Extras Built into the Contract

A lot of builders will add hidden extras into their contracts, which you might not need and which could end up costing you money if you don’t double check before hiring them. For example, some builders may put low-cost materials into the contract, only to try and get you to upgrade with persuasive language later on, or they might quote a lower number of hours to complete the job than actually necessary and then charge you by the hour for any time they run over. This is really something you need to look out for.

They Don’t Have Insurance

I can’t state how important it is that any builder you hire to work on your property has their own appropriate insurance. A lot of builders will neglect to declare that they don’t have insurance, or skirt over the issue when you bring it up, and if they do this, you should be very wary of hiring them because, should they be injured on your property, you could be liable! Ideally, you should always ask to see their insurance documents before you sign any contracts.

pixabay-building-carpentryPhoto Credits

They May Cut Corners

I can pretty much guarantee that your builder isn’t going to tell you upfront that they may well cut corners on your job, but many do. Usually, they will ensure that any cosmetic jobs that you can plainly see are done to the high standard you’re paying for, but they won’t do quite as good a job on hidden elements of your renovation like hidden plumbing and drywall.

If you can, it is then, a good idea that you, or another person you trust, is on hand to supervise them. This should ensure that they do exactly what they said they would with the quality of materials you’re paying for.

They Shouldn’t Come to Your Door

Builders who come to your door trying to convince you that you need a new roof or that your foundation needs to be repaired are never going to tell you that good builders don’t need to go from door to door plying their trade. Most of the people who do this are little more than scam artists and opportunists looking to take the money and run or do a shoddy job and pocket the difference. If a builder calls on you at your home, thank them for pointing out the ‘issue’ but politely decline their offer and have your own builder check it out to see if any work really needs to be done.

They Aren’t Registered

Unfortunately, there are a lot of cowboy builders out there operating without a license. They’re hardly going to tell you this, which is why you should check that they have a license, and check that the license they have covers them to do the kind of project you’re paying them for. If it doesn’t, don’t sign a contract!

Now you know the things builders won’t tell you, you can be sure to ask them and ensure that you only hire kosher builders who will do a good job on your home renovation projects.

Tips for Having a Relaxing Home

Tips For A Relaxing Home

How do you feel when you walk into your home? Do you feel calm, happy, and relaxed? If not, this could be a sign that you need that it is time to make a few changes. In today’s frenetic and fast-paced world, it is more important than ever before to create a home that is peaceful and serene so that you can recharge your batteries after a difficult day at work. Here are some tips to help you get started:

  • Add plants around the home – There are many different reasons why plants are important. Firstly, this is a great way to bring nature into your home, which will create a tranquil and beautiful environment. Not only this, plants help to re-oxygenate and clean the indoor air. You’ll feel much clearer and more relieved because plants can help to eradicate the noxious off-gasses from many products around the home.
  • Create technology zones – When you are relaxing after a hard day at work, it is unlikely that you want to hear the PlayStation competing with children’s cartoons competing with Drake’s newest album. It is important to have rooms that are simply about relaxing, meaning technology is banned! By having designated areas for different activities, you can move from one activity to another with grace and ease.
  • Positive vibes only – What makes you smile? No doubt there are memories that make you feel happy. Add items around the home that will remind you of the great times you have had with your family and friends.
  • Soft furnishings – Soft, plush furnishing is a must if you are to create a peaceful and relaxing environment. You are never going to be able to unwind if you are uncomfortable. Of course, you may not want to spend fortunes on changing your sofa and your chairs, and you don’t need to. Why not opt for a luxurious throw and some striking Versace throw pillows to go with it? Team with a lavish designer rug for relaxation at its very finest.
  • Use colour wiselyColour impacts you on a physical, psychological, and emotional level. Studies have shown that colour can influence your energy levels and your mood. You need to bear this in mind when decorating your home. After all, you won’t be able to relax in a room that is painted a harsh red shade. Blue is a great choice because it helps to reduce tension and calm a person’s mind. It is often used in bedrooms, as it helps people to drift off to sleep. Other relaxing colours include grey, earthy greens, pale pink, and violet. Although if you choose violet, don’t go for a hue that will seem too drab, as this will generate a cold environment.
  • Consider all rooms – Finally, all corners of your home need to be designed with relaxation in mind. Don’t ignore the spare bedroom or the bathroom. They will only end up frustrating you whenever you enter the room if they aren’t as calm and peaceful as the rest of your property.