Friday, 26 July 2013

Kitchen Makeovers On A Tight Budget

The kitchen is the heart of the home. It is also one of the most used rooms in the house. That means that it shows signs of age far sooner than any other place. And when the heart is old and tired, it affects all the other rooms too. The solution to this is a kitchen makeover. This does not involve spending huge amounts of money to do a complete remodel. There are lots of inexpensive and DIY options available to you to give the kitchen a new look and to make it an easier place to work in.
  • The quickest and most all inclusive way to give the kitchen a new look is with a new coat of paint. There are tons of colors to choose from in wipe-clean paints and in a weekend a normal sized kitchen can be completed. A splash of bright color on the cabinets can add to the cheery effect.
  • Rugs are not usually found in kitchens, but why go in for the usual? A cheerful rug (in a place where staining is least likely) adds a homely touch and gives the kitchen a unique personality. Additionally, having a rug underfoot when working add to your comfort levels.
  • Plumbing plays an important part in the appearance of any kitchen. If your faucets are old and tired looking, changing them for something new and modern looking is not very expensive. Spend some time looking at the various styles and finishes available and find the one that goes best with how you picture the made over kitchen is going to look.
  • Lighting makes a huge difference to the atmosphere of a kitchen. Lights are also often ignored or overlooked. Examine your lights carefully. Are they looking old and dull and will they fit in with the look you plan for the kitchen? If changing them sounds like a good idea, do not hesitate. You can get very attractive light fixtures at reasonable costs. If you do not want to make extensive changes, then changing lights over the island and a few other focus points will still give you a great new look.
  • Cabinets are an integral part of all kitchens. They are also one of the first places to show signs of age and use. Painting or staining the cabinets will form part of the paintwork mentioned earlier. Even if you do not want to paint the whole kitchen, re-doing the finishof the cabinets will still make a huge difference.
  • If you don’t want or need to paint the cabinets, what about changing the hardware? This is a simple low cost project and a visit to your local hardware store will offer you a wide range of choices. For the drawers you could use assorted but complimentary pulls for a modern, fun effect.
  • If you are up to some DIY work, you could consider tiling the backsplash behind the sink. This is not only going to add a splash of color to the room, it will protect the often damp area behind the sink from damage. If the tiling is already in place, think about changing it.
  • Kitchen windows are often overlooked when it comes to makeovers. A nice window dressing will add a touch of class to any kitchen and draw the eye away from less attractive areas.
  • If your kitchen is a bit cramped, you can give it a more open and spacious feel by replacing the cabinets with open shelves. Not only will you be able to display your dishes, the open look will make the kitchen appear to be larger than it is.

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Home Automation Systems – Are They Worth It?

To many the idea of home automation is little more than the flights of fantasy their kids see when watching the Jetsons. Nothing could be further from the truth. Yes there are no robot servants to obey your every command and relieve you of boring housework. There is no speaking computer that will answer all your questions and help you overcome any problem. But there are technologies today that will make life easier and more secure for you and your family and before dismissing home automation as a waste of time it is a good idea to have a look at all the things that it can now do for you. Timers for home appliances and expensive motion sensors for security applications are well known as are home entertainment options. But there are a lot of less expensive things you can install that are very cost effective and will make life simpler for you.
  • A programmable garage door is more than just having a remote to open and close it. You can get a system that will counter kids who always leave the door open by closing it if it is open for over a fixed amount of time. Or you can get a system that integrates a webcam so you can open the door if a delivery man comes when you are at office and then watch him place the parcel in the garage and leave.
  • Kids always want to watch too much TV or play video games all day. A control device with a password that only the parents know will allow the children to watch and play for only a set number of hours per day, after which the TV will shut off and cannot be turned on without the password.
  • An open refrigerator door is not only a waste of electricity; it is one of the biggest causes of food getting spoiled. A simple home automation device is available that will sound either a kitchen alarm or a whole house one when the door is left open for a specific amount of time so someone can come and close it.
  • Often the sound of the TV or music system makes it hard to hear the doorbell or phone ringing. Or even the smoke detector going off. All these can be automated and connected to flashing room lights to give a visual indication that something urgent requires attention.
  • If you have motion sensor installed, you can increase the security of your home with a device that sounds like a vicious dog barking. Hooking this up to your motion sensor and outdoor speakers will discourage anyone entering your property without your okay. And it is easier to maintain than a real dog.
  • If you have a vacation home, you may have it wired for security. But what about the dangers of weather? If your home is on the coast an automated system will inform you of a major drop in barometric pressure which indicates a severe storm is approaching. Homes in cold regions can have a freeze warning installed to give you warning that action needs to be taken to prevent frozen pipes and subsequent bursting and flooding.
  • Getting up at night to go to the bathroom is a pain. An automatic sensor that sense when you get off the bed at night can turn on only the lights you need and then switch them off when you lie down again.
These and many more home automation options show that this is a choice the homeowners should make. Check out the options or talk to your home remodeling contractor about what you need and what will work best for your family.