5 furniture arrangement tips for a perfect room layout

When you’re decorating a room, basic rules can help you make the most of your space. Use these five basic pointers to place your furniture in its ideal arrangement.

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1. Avoid doors and windows

It’s important to take the room’s architecture into consideration when decorating. If there are windows, arrange furniture without blocking them.

You can place a low-backed sofa in front of a window, but avoid placing high shelves and other big objects in the way of incoming natural light.
It’s also important to make sure that nothing is standing in the way of entrances or doorways.

2. Make the most of small spaces

If you’re decorating a small room, big furniture such as couches and bookshelves can be pushed against the wall to make the most of the space.

You want to make sure not to overcrowd the room. Uou should be able to walk easily through the room without having to squeeze around furniture.

3. Create a central spot

When decorating a family room or living room, arrange the furniture to create a main island or central place where the seating converges.

These friendly furniture islands encourage conversation.

4. Use variety

Vary the

5 simple exterior renovation ideas to boost the value of your home

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They say you only have one chance to make a first impression. That’s why a nice looking home exterior can increase your home’s curb appeal. Any real estate agent will tell you it’s one of the most important factors in determining the value of a home. Simply put, exterior renovations offer the best bang for your buck in improving your house value, whether you plan to sell now or sometime in the future.

A good rule of thumb to remember with any renovation—exterior or interior—is never replace what you can restore. Most of these ideas are easily done on your own, but know your limits. Don’t be afraid to call in an expert when needed. Here’s how to get started:

1. Re-paint

Adding a new coat of paint can work wonders to freshen up the outside of a house. If it’s your aluminum siding in need of a facelift, use a low-luster, acrylic exterior paint . It will hide surface irregularities better. If there are any small dents or tears, be sure to fix them before painting.

Keep in mind that older houses may be in danger of having

Smart tips for extinguishing small fires and planning an escape

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Having a portable fire extinguisher and escape route is necessary in any household. Here’s how to successfully use a fire extinguisher and some tips that will help you and your family prepare for a fire.
When to use a portable fire extinguisher

If the fire is confined to a small area and is not spreading, you may decide to stay and fight it with a portable fire extinguisher. Such devices can save lives and property by putting out a small fire or containing it until the fire department arrives.

However, they are not designed to fight large, spreading fires.
Even when used against small fires, they are useful only under limited conditions.

How to use a fire extinguisher

Know the location of every fire extinguisher, and which type of fire each is good for: There won’t be time to read directions during an emergency, and using the wrong extinguisher can make the fire worse. Use the extinguisher only if it is within easy reach.
Have everyone else leave the building immediately: Have someone call the fire department, even if the fire seems to be easily controllable.
Have an

Affordable DIY home decorating ideas

Moved into a new house and need some home decorating ideas? Want to refresh your current home and not sure where to start? Decorating is a chance to personalize your space to suit your needs and your taste. Read on for tips on how to do it on a budget.

If you’re not sure where to start, but know you want to do it yourself, consider your budget first. How much you have to spend on décor will determine how much you can tackle.

Next, decide which room is the highest priority. Try not to bite off more than you can chew. You may want to start in the space you spend the most time in such as the bedroom or living room. Here are a few DIY home decorating ideas that will fit into any budget.

Change up the paint

This is possibly the easiest and often most impactful change you can make for your home décor. Before heading to the hardware store to pick paint, take a measurement of the area you want to cover so you’ll know how much paint you need to buy. (The store clerk will help you calculate this.)

If you’re having trouble deciding on a

Tips to make your paint last

Paint can last longer than you think; up to 10 years for latex, 15 for alkyd. Regardless of what type of paint you’re using and what you’re using it for, make sure you’re doing what you can to make your paint last.
Is this paint okay to use?

With latex or alkyd, test old paint before using it by stirring it for several minutes.
If the paint mixes well and any lumps disappear, it’s probably okay to use.
Try brushing it onto newspaper and check for lumps. If there are none, feel free to use the paint.

Make drip holes in paint cans

When you first open the can, use a nail or a nail set along with a hammer to punch six or seven holes into the groove in the top of the can into which the lid seats.
The holes allow any paint that collects in the groove to drain back into the can.
Besides preventing the messy squirt of paint, the can will seal better and you won’t get a buildup of dried paint that can drop into the can.

Keep latex paints from freezing

Repeated freeze-and-thaw cycles will ruin latex paint.
Store paint in a dry place where temperatures stay above freezing,

Tips for getting the window dressings you want

Get the best deal on what you want

Look through home magazines and books and visit designer showcase houses, museums and store showrooms to get ideas before you shop.
Many department and home specialty stores offer “shop-at-home” services that send a professional with samples to your place.
It’s a good idea first to visit the store to make sure its inventory fits your taste and budget. Ask whether there’s a charge for the service.
If you’re handy with a sewing machine, a drill and a screwdriver, consider making your own window treatments.

Sizing things up

Your first step, before anything goes up over your windows, is to measure. Here are a few handy tips:

If you’re custom-ordering window treatments, the company will also do the measuring.
If you plan to install and/or make window treatments yourself, then you’ll take the measurements yourself.
Different types use different measurements. For commercial blinds and shades, take your window measurements to the store and have them select the needed sizes.
For homemade fabric window treatments, install the rods first and then take measurements.
If you’re using a coordinating blind or shade that has an outside mount, install the blind or shade before you measure.

The right window dressings add

9 painting tips that will make you look like a pro

Here are nine tips that will help you achieve a quality DIY paint job at home. Don’t be surprised if your friends start asking you for painting advice!
1. Choose the right paint

There are three types of paints you should consider.

Water-based paint (latex) is washable and dries quickly. It takes well to most surfaces but is less resistant than oil paint.

Oil-based paint is durable, resistant, and offers excellent coverage. However, it has a strong odour, is polluting (because it’s not water soluble), and dries slowly. Those who have odour sensitivities should avoid it.

The newer water-based alkyd paint dries quickly, does not smell strong, and gives good coverage. It can be made from plant-derived sources.

2. Choose the right finish

There are also three different finishes.

Chalky to the feel, matte paint is good for hiding imperfections, but it is not readily washable. It is the paint of choice for ceilings.

A gloss finish makes a room feel bigger, but it doesn’t forgive any imperfections in the surface to be covered. Several coats are required for a good final result.

Satin finish paints are versatile and suitable for all kinds of spaces and rooms.

3. Buy the right amount of paint

One of the most important painting tips

The 5 Interior Features To Consider When Renovating Or Building Your Home

If you’re about to renovate or build a new home, then no doubt you would have given great consideration to the style and feel of the home you’d like to be in.

Whether you choose to use an interior decorator or not, here are 5 top tips that you should keep in mind, to ensure that the home that’s finally built is one that you’ve always wanted in terms of its style.

See, most people, when they’re building their first home, are not aware of how important these features are when it comes to the overall feel of the home that they’re trying to create. But if you’re aware of them, you’ll be able to visualise and achieve the style you want in your home.

Tip 1

The interior doors in your home.

Yes, apart from the architectural design of your home, the next most important factors that will influence the style of your home include the doors.

Ensure that the internal doors fit the overall style of your home.

For example, a classical and elegant style home would require character and French, rather than plain doors , to create this elegant feel. Every detail in the home is noticed by the eye, either consciously or not,

Unique Green Homes

Everyone has their ideal home that they one day hope to live in. Some people dream of a cozy little cottage on acres of land, some think about having a mansion that could make a king cry, others may want an authentic Italian Villa in Tuscany. But, there are some homes that are very unique that people would love to live in. Tiny Houses have started to pop up just about everywhere, literally everywhere. Tiny homes can fit in someone’s back yard, or even a parking space. Other homes are built out of old metal containers, some out of hillsides, or even dirt and soda cans.

One of these types of houses is called the Earth Ship. These houses are made from tires, tin cans, bottles, wood, any type of “waste” that can be reused, and natural resources. Earth Ships generate most amenities all on their own. Electricity is created using solar and wind power, water is created from rain and snow, it even has its own sewage system that is sanitary. Many of these houses have gardens inside and outside to allow the person to grow their own food. What about the weather? The Earth Ship is designed to

Green Living Tips

Going green is easier than you think. We all have to do our small part, and by following a few simple life changes, our little part can make a world of difference. Going green certainly benefits everyone, but it also has immediate rewards that can save you hundreds of dollars a year.

1. Reduce Your Cooking Time.

Sometimes the oven is the only way to go for preparing your favorite meal, however, the energy consumption can be cut back by using a smaller counter top oven for light usage. Use the compact oven when cooking for one or two persons, and be sure to reheat leftovers with an economical source.

2. Cold Water Washes.

The washing instructions on garments, rugs, towels and such may prefer that you use a hot water setting on your washing machine. However, many items with normal soiling come out beautifully with a cold water rinse, and you save big bucks on your water heating bill. In cases of heavy soil and stubborn stains, you may need to revert back to filling your machine with hot water. In addition, when doing a light laundry load, be sure to set the dial for a small load or mini basket for

Interesting Tips to Make Your Home Green

If your sky-rocketing utility bills are upsetting you, then it is high time to make your house more energy-efficient. In the last decade, home improvement sector has evidently exploded with environment friendly practices and products, which guarantee to save homeowners a lot of money in the electricity bills. These green products are basically made from sustainable or recycled materials that last longer, in comparison to their conventional counterparts. However, with so many green products available in the market, it is not easy for the homeowners to make right choices. Considering this fact, given below are some interesting tips on how you can make your home green.

* Evaluate insulation and siding – A significant aspect of green lifestyle is decreasing one’s carbon footprint. This can be done by using lesser energy in various parts of the house. One great way to decrease energy consumption is to make sure that your house is properly insulated. Using eco-friendly or green insulation, made from materials like wool, cotton, recycled fabrics such as soybeans, denim etc, is a great way to go. Besides, evaluate the outdoor siding of your house by poking the walls. If your house is old and needs a face lift,

Tips on Buying and Looking For a Green Home

Green homes are all the rage now. Some places in the country are hopping on the “green” band wagon much faster than other but it is still on the rise. The drawback is though, that green homes tend to cost much more upfront because of the amount of labor and resources that go into the production of the home. But the outcome for years to come are much lower heating and cooling bills, electricity bill and and overall sense of good conscience when it comes to the environment.

If you are not in the financial position to custom design a green home, you might consider at least making a check list of items to look for when shopping for a home. Here are some items to look for:

1. Double Pane Windows – This may be common in most homes these days but it still something to be aware of. Even triple pane can save you energy. The most the heat or cool air can be kept in or out where it’s suppose to be, the better it is on your bill. Also, the energy that is burning is not nearly as heavy as with a home that is working overtime

How Green Home Renovations Can Add To The Value Of Your Property

Selling a house has never been as tough as it is today. Real estate analysts now suggest that today’s market is as troubling as what was experienced during the Great Depression. Experts suggest that this year’s sales will be down more than thirty per cent as compared to ten years ago. With house prices plummeting and the market stagnating, if you are looking to sell your home it is important to give it an edge over other properties.

You can almost instantly make your home a more desirable proposition through quick and energy efficient green renovations. These modifications can dramatically reduce energy bills, minimize water usage, improve the indoor air quality, and bring down the building’s overall carbon footprint. With issues such as climate change and global warming filling news bulletins, more people are interested in buying a green home.

With the market flooded with properties, those individuals and families who are planning to make a purchase are looking for added value. There are two types of real estate that get snapped up fast, those that have a great price and the buildings that have desirable extras and modifications. Smart eco-friendly alterations can ensure that your current home is not left

6 precautions that guard against identity theft

Identity theft is incredibly frightening and increasingly common. Identity thieves can access your bank accounts, credit cards, and more. We’ll give you 6 practical tips to protect against this awful crime.
1. Guard your Social Insurance Number

Many businesses act like it’s their right to demand your Social Insurance Number (SIN) whenever they feel like it. It’s not.
Be very selective about who you give this number to, because a Social Insurance Number is the holy grail for identity thieves.
Where possible, offer to supply another identifying number instead, such as your driver’s license number.
If contest forms ask for your SIN number, write in the space that you’ll provide the number if you win.
Work and tax-related dealings usually do require your SIN number, as do credit checks. That’s legitimate. But even then, you can ask to withhold your number until you’re offered the job.

2. Leave your cards at home

Never carry around your SIN card. Memorize the number and keep the actual card at home or in a safe-deposit box.
Don’t carry around any other identification card that includes your SIN. That way, if you lose your purse or wallet, you’re better protected against identity theft.

3. Get updated privacy software

Don’t

5 tips for creating a fire escape plan for your home

Creating a fire escape plan is not as simple as drawing up a rudimentary blueprint with arrows indicating a way out in case of fire. A fire escape plan requires you to account for upper floors, to devise at least two ways out and to review and practice worst-case scenarios.
1. Keep the plan in a central place

Refrigerators are often ideal places to post fire escape plans.
There is no need for confusing, detailed blueprints and tiny print.
Diagram the floors and rooms of the house, including hallways, exits and entrances.
Highlight escape routes.
Try to fit everything on one standard-sized sheet of paper.
You may also want to post a plan in each person’s bedroom.

2. Account for higher-up floors.

If your residence has two floors (or more), each person in the household needs to be capable of escaping from upper levels.
Escape ladders are usually the best way to accomplish this. The ladders must be stored wisely and accessibly.
Review ladder assembly instructions and have everyone practice setting up a ladder. This includes kids, although they should do so only with an adult’s supervision, and they should start with first floor windows instead of on the second floor.
If you

7 ways to deter thieves with solid home security

There’s nothing more important than keeping your home safe, and deterrence is often the best form of prevention. We’ll go over 7 expert tips that will help keep your home secure.
1. Secure your door

Spend a few bucks on a good deadbolt lock and the right screws. The secret is a strong strike plate, which is the metal square that the bolt fits into when you lock up.
Make sure that the dead-bolt kit you buy has a strike plate with four screw holes rather than just two. It’s twice as strong that way.
If the screws that come with the set are tiny, replace them with four 7.5 centimetre (3 inch) screws, which will go deep into the hardwood of the door frame and hold it fast. Do this with all your doors (back, side, garage) and you’ve eliminated a burglar’s favourite points of entry.

2. Secure your windows

According to security experts, just closing and latching your windows significantly reduces your risk of burglary.
To lock your windows, drive a long, fat screw into each of the two tracks that the window slides along (either up or sideways) to open. That way, even if the latch is broken, the window

5 reasons to consider a green roof

Installing a green roof is an environmentally-friendly alternative to traditional asphalt or tile roofs. In addition, homeowners can use their green roof to express themselves with their roof garden design.

A green roof is an integrated system of several layers including sub-roof, waterproofing, a root barrier, a drainage system and soil for growing the plants. The layers should be properly built and constructed for a long-lasting and visually appealing roof.
What is a green roof?

A green roof is an integrated system of several layers including sub-roof, waterproofing, a root barrier, a drainage system and soil for growing the plants. The layers should be properly built and constructed for a long-lasting and visually appealing roof.
Types of green roofs

Intensive: These roofs are generally large and accessible with walkways. Sometimes referred to as a roof garden, you can find them on top of office or apartment buildings. They include large plants, trees and sometimes water features.

Extensive: This thinner, lighter version of a green roof is more like a traditional roof. Usually, low-ground cover plants replace shingles and the roof is more functional than artistic. Extensive roof gardens are grown on sloped or flat roofs.

Semi-intensive: Semi-intensive green roofs combine elements of both intensive and

5 ways to prevent winter roof damage

Five ways to prevent winter roof damage

To prevent winter roofing damage, commit to cleaning your gutters, addressing small problems immediately, and thoroughly checking for possible trouble spots before the first snowfall for best results.

1. Clean out rain gutters every fall

Full rain gutters will substantially increase the likelihood of ice dams, but gutters filled with leaves can also buckle when they’re filled with ice and snow that can’t effectively drain. Rain gutters that don’t drain can also collect more snow, which increases the chance of rot along the soffit and fascia. For these reasons, it’s essential that the rain gutters are cleaned every year. You should also verify that they drain properly; an inadequate slant can also cause water to stagnate in the gutter.

2. Address the cause of any ice dams

If you’ve ever had an ice dam, it’s likely that the moisture barrier and insulation in your attic is inadequate. Schedule an inspection with a contractor who can suggest how to prevent further ice dams from forming. In most cases, you’ll need to add additional insulation to your attic or at least install a wide piece of metal flashing along the edges of the roof

4 basic roofing materials for your asphalt shingle roof

When building or replacing an asphalt shingle roof, you’ll want to make sure you have the right roofing materials to get the job done.

1. Asphalt roofing shingles

Asphalt roofing shingles are by far the most common roofing shingle on the market. They’re used on homes across Canada due to their low cost, easy installation and many customization options. You can buy your asphalt shingles in virtually any colour, and some are even designed to mimic slate or wood shingles, allowing you to design your home any way you like.

If you’re looking to save on energy bills, you can also buy “cool” asphalt roof shingles that contain reflective granules. These granules help reduce heat absorption and keep your home cool. Generally, most manufacturer’s warranties cover asphalt shingles for 15 to 30 years, which, for the low cost, makes them one of the best shingle values on the market.

2. The roof base

When applying asphalt shingles, you’ll want to lay a base first. People usually lay down tar paper before installing shingles on top. You can choose between 15- or 30-lb. tar papers. The 30-lb. tar paper is both thicker and offers more protection from moisture and heat loss, but

Tips for replacing clapboard, shingles and shakes

If you have a section of clapboard, a shingle or shape damaged, here’s how to replace it.
Replace damaged clapboard

If a section of clapboard is rotted or damaged beyond repair, you can cut out the section to replace it. Here’s how:

1. Use a combination square to mark cuts at both sides of the damage. Drive wooden wedges under the damaged area to separate the clapboard from the one below.

2. Make your cuts with a backsaw; then use a chisel to break away the exposed part of the piece.

3. Drive your wedges between the clapboard above and the remaining section of the overlapped board. Slip a hacksaw blade under it, and cut the nails holding the remaining piece.

4. Replace damaged building paper, or fix it with roofing cement. Cut a replacement piece of matching clapboard to fit snugly side to side, and then, protecting the bottom of the replacement piece with a wood block, tap the new piece into place. Nail it along the bottom and through the board above.
Replace a shingle or shake

Wood shingles and shakes are the easiest types of siding to repair because you don’t have to cut out sections.

1. Use a flat pry bar to carefully