Thursday, January 25, 2018

How To Work Your Smart Technology Into Your Home Decor!

This post is provided by Ryan Tyson.

Technology makes our lives easier every day, and by following a few design rules, they can even help liven up our homes! When you think of gadgets like smart thermostats, elegant and trendy (décor-wise) may not be the first qualities that come to mind. Thankfully, installing a new device on your wall or incorporating other technology into your home does not have to come at the expense of exquisite style. Follow these tips to incorporate smart technology into your home’s design.

Reorganize to Highlight Your New Technology

Some technology requires that you make space or reorganize a room. For example, if you get a device that projects information onto a wall, you will need to rearrange things so that the projection will work. You could settle for a blank wall, but there is another option: create a frame around the projection space using simple decorations such as frames and shelves. Arranging the room in this way will give it a unique, practical feeling and create the space needed for the new gadget.

Another option is to feature the technology as an art piece. Many items come in minimal colors and simple, fluid shapes. If you have a modern kitchen or living room, these devices can stand on their own as tasteful and interesting centerpieces.

Go Minimal With Hands-Free Technology

In some cases, the technology informs what design changes are needed to capitalize on your home’s current style. For example, with some hands-free technology (such as wireless sound systems), you can forgo ugly bundles of cables and wall mounts. If a desk or side table is in place to hide all those wires, you can upgrade some appliances to wireless and freely reorganize with no strings attached.

Look for Pieces That Complement Your Existing Space

Thankfully, many engineers know that form is as important as function when it comes to interior design. Self-watering flower pots, smart lights, and even smart shower heads come in an array of looks, meaning you can find one that goes with your existing style. Many smart baby monitors, for instance, are round and have fun, playful designs to fit in with other infant décor. When shopping for smart appliances, consider items that will go with what you already have in place.

Get Creative With Your Wall Space

Many smart technologies, like a security system or smart thermostat installation, will need to find a place on your walls. You can work with these items by incorporating them into a gallery of wall art, or you can add a shelf to house other pieces around the wall-hanging gadgets. A wall shelf can even be used to highlight the new technology while featuring other items, such as family photos, statues, book ends, and plants.

Add Some Design Pop With New Gadgets

Thanks to the modern era of technology, you do not have to comprise on the style you love for the sake of convenience. Follow these guidelines to work smart technology seamlessly into your home décor. Whether you are installing a smart thermostat or redoing the bathroom fixtures, these tips will help you stay connected and chic.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Making Your Log Cabin More Energy Efficient!

This post is provided by Katherine Smith.

You have finally purchased the log cabin of your dreams! You get to kick back and enjoy quiet evenings next to the fire among the relative isolation of the woods. You can imagine yourself in a world before technology and before all the pressures of our fast-paced society.

But you do not want to get carried away and live life without all technology! You will still want things like electricity and heat. But since you live in a log cabin, you might have problems keeping your energy bills low. Here are a few things you can do to make your log cabin more energy-efficient:

Get New Windows

One of the most effective things you can do to improve energy savings in your log cabin is to invest in new windows. Oregon, Washington, the mountains in Tennessee, Colorado- these are all great places to own a log cabin since they offer picturesque views, but they also have very cold climates. The windows are like huge holes in the side of your log cabin if they are not designed properly. That means you could be losing a lot of heat, which will drive your energy bills sky high. Invest in the type of window replacements Portland and other cold-climate residents use, and you will see a significant reduction in your energy bills. 

Invest in double-hung windows that fit your personal style with superior construction, and you will get extra insulation for your log cabin that will help you maintain steadier temperatures. You can also add window tints to improve the energy efficiency of the windows.

Replace The Doors

The doors of your log cabin are also like big holes in your home. Some doors are just hollow inside, offering no insulation whatsoever. You need to replace the doors with insulated options. Not only will you improve your home’s energy bills, but you will also get a sturdier door that will hold up to damage a bit better.

For maximum energy efficiency, replace both the exterior and interior doors with insulated options. You will get more stable temperatures in each room of your log home.

Get New Appliances

Log cabins tend to be on the older side. It is part of what gives them their charm. The appliances that came with the log cabin may be equally on the older side. The refrigerator, stove, washer, and dryer could all be soaking up more electricity than they should, which can send your bills sky high.

Invest in new appliances that are Energy Star rated. These appliances come with information about how much energy they use and how much they can potentially save you on energy bills.

Update The Roof

The roof plays one of the most important roles in maintaining energy efficiency. If the roof on your log cabin is old, in disrepair, or simply not appropriate for the property, it could be letting out cool air and heat, causing your energy bills to skyrocket.

Hire an experienced roofer to check out your home. The roofer may be able to improve energy efficiency by just making repairs, or the roofer may recommend that you replace the roof. Metal roofs are known for their energy efficiency, but your roofer can make recommendations to get the look you want while still maintaining energy efficiency.

Upgrade The Insulation

Different types of insulation will offer different levels of protection. Spray foam insulation will offer the highest level of protection, but it is also the most expensive. Work with a contractor to have the insulation in your log home inspected and to make a decision for what type of insulation would give you the best energy efficiency for your budget. You may not be able to get the very best product on the market, but you should be able to get something on your budget that will bring down your log home’s energy consumption.

Plant Some Trees

The winter months are not the only thing you have to worry about wreaking havoc on your home’s energy consumption. The summer months can get pretty hot, too, even in colder climates like Oregon. Planting some trees will help provide some shade to the house during the hot days so your air conditioner does not have to work as hard to cool the house. You will improve the look of your property and bring down your energy bills during the summer.

Do not let your dream of owning a log cabin put a strain on your finances. Make these upgrades to your cabin to bring down your energy costs and save big in the long run.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Redecorating Your Aging Parents’ Home For Safety And Comfort!

This post is provided by Katherine Smith.

As our parents age, they may find it difficult to get around the house like they once were able. Bodies stop working like they once did, forcing people to move things around and make their living arrangements more closely tailored to what is comfortable and safe. The goal is to prevent unnecessary slips and falls that can do significant damage to an aging body. If you will be in charge of redecorating your aging parents’ home, make sure to include safety and comfort features they can utilize on their own without assistance.

Add An Elevator

Elevators are not just for buildings and stores. Home elevators can be implemented as well, adding an easy way for residents to get from one level to the next. This is especially important for older adults who have a difficult time making it up staircases. Home Elevators & Residential Elevator Systems make the home safer for people who struggle to get from upstairs to downstairs and vice versa. Have a  professional install the system so it gets done quickly and efficiently.

Make A Home Office

Your parents may be getting older, but that does not mean they are ready to stop working and getting things accomplished. Many older adults continue working but might try working from home instead of having to make a commute each day. Create a stylish home office for them that includes everything they need to get their work done. Ensure there is good lighting so weakened eyesight does not hinder the experience. You should also add a conversation area with a couple of comfortable chairs or a couch where they can sit and relax during a break time, or converse with a client or partner if needed.

Purchase Comfortable Furniture

While you may prefer a soft couch you can sink into, it may be difficult for your older mom or dad to make their way out of it once they have sat down. It is best to purchase comfortable furniture that would not be hard on their aching backs, yet still allows them to get up or down on their own. A soft yet somehow firm couch would be a better option. Their bed may need replacing as well, along with the dining room chairs and anything else that gets sat or laid on for rest or relaxation.

Install Grab Bars

Grab bars are often seen in hospital restrooms in the shower and near the toilet. It allows people to hold onto something if they need to lower themselves down carefully or get up from a seated position. Many older adults start struggling to get up or down on their own, so bars like this in their home bathrooms would be ideal. Make sure you watch the weight limit of the bars you install to ensure they can hold up your mom or dad safely.

Tape Down Rugs

Despite their low-risk appearance, rugs can be hazardous to those who have a hard time getting around. The best option is to get rid of the rugs altogether, but if your parents do not want to do that, then taping them down is the next best choice. It will ensure they are stuck to the ground well so the edges will not come up and cause someone to trip when they are trying to walk over the area.

Our aging parents need our help more than ever. Before they have started to struggle, help them out with some home redecorating that will get the place in ideal condition as they start to get older. With grab bars installed, rugs taped down, comfortable furniture, and a home elevator, your parents will have a safe and comfortable home they can continue to live in on their own for some time. 

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Keep Your Home Office Organized With These Easy Tips!

This post is provided Danielle Peffers.

As a busy mom, you should know the importance of organization. As a work at home mom, you also should know that you must stay organized to keep on top of your work. Keeping a home office well organized is easier than ever, as long as you remember these simple tips. 

Keeping It Simple

Keeping it simple is one of the best ways to remain organized. You should keep things in your office to a bare minimum. 

Private Spaces

You should also limit the people that can come into your office. Some kids know they can not disturb during certain hours. This way, they are not disrupting your all-important office items. 

Using An Organizer

Using organizers is a must. You should have a desktop organizer you rely on. You should store many of your important files in the organizer so you can find them whenever you need them. 

Keeping A Calendar

Keeping a calendar is also crucial. You should put all your events on a calendar for each month. This way, you can easily see what you need to get done as you go through it. 

Organizing Supplies 

Supplies could be crucial in your work. You need to be able to draw. You should keep all your art supplies in a distinct place every single day. 

Seasonal Items

You should want your home office to keep up with the seasons. So you should keep all of your seasonal stuff like Christmas cards next to the office in a devoted place. You should always know where they are as the year unfolds. 

Color Is Your Friend

Color is a vital. You should use color to code things. Red marked items could have the highest importance in your office. While items in lighter colors could be left for another day if needed. 

Dedicated Spaces 

Each place in your office should be dedicated to a specific purpose. One area is for clients while another is for your files. This way, they can stay there so you can quickly locate them. 

A Schedule

As a work at home mom, sometimes it is hard to leave the work home. You avoid this problem by keeping to a strict schedule. When the time comes for you to leave work, You leave it behind and head right back to the rest of your house.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

5 Major Ways You Can Improve Your Home!

This post is provided by Tara Desquitado.

Looking for new ideas to spruce up your aging pad? Seeking to modernize your day-to-day life with practical changes at home? Want to change a thing or two about the house to keep it fresh?

Home renovation is a major undertaking that can be as lengthy and expensive depending on your wants. It can also be as cost-effective and practical as you need it to be. Below we will explore some modern, major ideas in home renovation.

1. Going green and environmentally friendly

There is a lot of ways you can go green with your home. Replacing your fluorescent lighting with power-efficient LED lighting is a great start. Replacing your power-hog appliances, such as the refrigerator and air conditioning unit, with more power-savvy, modern models is another way to go about it.

If you are raring to take green living to the next level, consider investing in a solar power system for your home. The investment might be hefty, depending on where you live, but you can gradually recoup it over a couple of years of lower electricity bills.

2. Turning your pad into a smart home

A complementary step to going environmentally green, adopting smart home technologies for your needs can improve the quality of your life greatly. Smart speakers, like the Amazon Echo and Google Home, have a lot of functionality that can be nifty in your day-to-day living. These systems have the bonus of being constantly upgraded with more features by both the manufacturer and its users.

Smart lighting options can make the lighting in your home even more efficient, as well as versatile when needed. App-controlled security cameras and locks can immensely improve the security of your household.

3. Improving your home's signal reception

This is doubly important when you have a home office and work at home as a freelancer. Make sure that your Internet connectivity, as well as your mobile reception, are always up to spec with the addition of the right gadgets.

A decent wireless router is a must to ensure that you have good wireless Internet signals all over the house. The larger the house, the more powerful your router should be. This goes the same for a signal booster for your mobile reception. The best cell phone boosters can improve cellular signals in a large targeted area. 

4. Adding a dedicated entertainment room

This room can also function as your event room, in case you want to hold parties or gatherings. An entertainment room should have a big flat screen display for Netflix chilling. It should also have all your analog gaming tables, like a billiards table or an air hockey rig.

Speaking of rigs, this room should also have a couple of desks for laptops and computers. If you have a console or a gaming-grade desktop computer, you might also want to place it in this room. With this kind of layout, you will be ready for impromptu video gaming nights with your buds.

5. Optimizing your storage space

Consider remodeling your pad with more space-efficient shelving and cabinetry. Floor-to-ceiling shelves and cabinets are an example of how to optimize your storage options.

For storage rooms, you might want to get a lot of those stackable, plastic bins, if you have not already. These bins are generally very durable and when labeled properly, are a great organization solution.