How Important Is Light in the Living Room?

How Important Is Light in the Living Room?

The living room: it’s the place where you curl up with a good book, gather with family to share stories, and enjoy a little TV when the mood strikes you.

The living room is the heart and soul of your home. Make it the best it can possibly be. To do that, one aspect you must get right is the lighting in the living room.

Why lighting in the living room is important

The living room is consistently rated as one of the most important spaces in the home, according to a survey by Realtor.com.

This means you must pay extra attention to lighting. A poorly lit room doesn’t make anyone happy (unless they’re trying to take a nap). As the main gathering space of your home, it has so many uses.

In short, it’s absolutely essential that lighting in the living room be excellent.

As research from Philips shows, proper lighting can have a huge effect on the wellbeing and productivity. Whether you’re reading, working, or chatting with guests, executing effective lighting in the living room will ensure you get the most out of this important space.

Here are four ways you can ensure your living room has great lighting:

1. Create layers of light

If you use your space for board games, working on a laptop, or reading a book, chances are you need the lighting in the living room to be superb. Layering light is a great way to do just that.

To layer light, Melisa LaBancz-Bleasdale, an award-winning interior designer, recommends using a mix of floor and table lighting. She also advises hanging overhead lighting that functions as a focal point, but isn’t the sole light source. With the ceiling, you can also use a mix of pendant fixtures, paper lanterns, and recessed lighting to produce a layering effect. Adding accent lighting, like wall sconces, gives another layer of lighting in the living room as well.

2. Utilize track lighting in combination with task lighting

Track lighting with dimming capability gives your living room exceptional versatility when it comes to lighting. You can direct the track lighting towards the wall to provide ambient lighting, or towards the gathering spots like the sofa to provide lighting where it’s most needed.

To bolster the flexibility offered by track lighting, add in task lighting in the living room to further enhance the space. For example, place an adjustable floor lamp next to a reading chair or table lamp on the game table.

3. Enhance natural light

How do you get natural light into a dark room? You tear down walls and build windows. Okay, you don’t necessarily want to do that without the help of professional home remodelers. But you get the idea.

Large windows—like those awesome ceiling-to-floor windows you see in the ads—are ideal for maximum natural light. A skylight also helps improve lighting in the living room (again, this requires professional capability).

You can also try the following methods for enhancing natural light:

  • Use mirrors: Mirrors on the wall just don’t tell you who is the prettiest on the wall, they also reflect light. This means mirrors help light bounce from wall to wall.
  • Paint light colors: Think eggshell blue, white, or cream. These reflect sunlight better and will improve natural lighting in the living room.
  • Make a path: Make sure furniture and other decor doesn’t block natural light. Make a path for sunlight to enter.

4. Use the best light bulbs for each light

This is worth emphasizing, because too often people buy the wrong bulbs. And they’re left wanting more from a bulb that was never designed to deliver.

For task lighting in the living room, like a desk lamp, consider halogen bulbs or LEDs, both of which provide bright light on specific areas. For overhead lighting, such as a chandelier or ceiling fan light, use incandescent or fluorescent bulbs (which use up to 75% less energy than an incandescent bulb).

There is also the question of lumens—a measure of the amount of light produced. The more lumens a bulb has, the brighter the light. For lighting in a living room of 25 square feet, experts recommend 5,000 lumens for the primary light source, along with 30 lumens per square foot for tables and 50 lumens per square foot for task lighting.

Getting the lighting right in your living room

You don’t have to settle for poor lighting in the living room. By getting natural light into a dark room and using the lighting tips here, you can improve your living room design and environment.

This way, next time you enter the living room, you’ll literally step into the light. Contact us to hire a professional to enhance lighting in your living room today.

How to Increase Home Value

How to Increase Home Value

 

No matter what data you read, you’ll find that real estate is almost always the largest asset class. In the US alone, the total value of residential homes is $29.6 trillion, according to a 2016 report from Zillow. Yes, that’s trillions, with a “T”.

 

You probably want a piece of that trillion-dollar pie. We don’t blame you.

 

When you bought your home, you were maybe thinking about how big of a purchase it was. But if you get a fair price and take care of your home, buying a home actually isn’t a purchase. It’s an investment.

 

With that said, you should learn how to increase home value. That’s how you can see great return on your investment.

 

Here’s all you need to know about how to increase home value:

Make sure the home runs flawlessly

 

As Daniel DiClerico, a home expert, states, “it’s important to keep the major mechanical systems in working order.” This is because many buyers have used up most of their savings on the down payment.

 

In short, if you’re looking for ways on how to increase home value, you have to realize your home is worth more with updated plumbing, electricity, and heating. Why? Replacing these systems is expensive. Make sure these are running well. If not, make the investment to replace or fix them. Also, ensure there are no foundational issues (a killer to home value).

 

Note: If you’re planning to sell (and not just trying to boost your equity), you should get an inspection from a professional and tackle any issues. You must keep up with maintenance and repairs before you put your home on the market.

How to increase your home value aesthetically

Who said looks don’t matter? When finding how to increase home value, looks absolutely matter. Yet it’s crucial that you know the difference between projects that boost the value and those that don’t.

 

According to Michael Corbett, a best-selling author on real estate and host of EXTRA’s Mansions and Millionaires!, “the rooms buyers most closely inspect (and judge) in a house are the kitchen and master bath,” as these are the most expensive to remodel. If you ask your realtor how to increase home value before putting the pad on the market, these two rooms will undoubtedly be mentioned as focal points.

 

So, make the kitchen look spectacular by adding stainless steel appliances, granite countertops, and a breakfast bar. Make the bathroom shine with dual vanities, tile floors, and a sparkling tub.

 

In addition to improving the kitchen and master bath, consider the following home improvement tips to increase property value:

 

  • Repaint certain rooms if needed, as outdated paint scares people
  • Clean up and organize rooms to increase the amount of living space
  • Replace old carpets or just say yes to hardwood floors—you won’t regret it
  • Add a bedroom. If you have three bedrooms with a den, that den can be considered a bedroom if it has a closet, so put one in.

 

Additionally, you should make your home greener. Add energy-efficient fixtures like a decorative ceiling fan, find ways to increase natural sunlight, and go green with a solar water heater (it’s expensive, but pays off in the long run).

How to increase home value by improving your home’s curb appeal

Look up how to increase home value, and you’ll immediately find that the outside appearance matters a lot. Here are a few home improvement tips you should consider for your exterior:

 

  • Plant a tree and build a garden, with decorative additions like arbors, birdbaths, and fountains.
  • Ensure there are no issues with the landscaping, like a patchy lawn. Keep the lawn cut and looking good.
  • Create a patio or balcony that’s conducive for hosting friends and family. Who doesn’t like a place to relax, eat, and socialize?
  • Improve the entry—because that’s where your home makes its first impression. A wood grain door with fresh paint looks great. Resurface the walkway, too.

 

On top of these cosmetic improvements, you should replace old gutters and downspouts if needed. Replace exterior siding and renew paint. If the driveway isn’t in the best shape, resurface the concrete there as well. That’s an easy way on how to increase home value without too much expenditure.

Make your home a great investment

Now that you know how to increase home value, you may be thinking about a plan of action. You don’t have to follow all the home improvement tips on here, as it may not be necessary or financially feasible. But do what you can and call home renovation contractors to help with anything you feel you can’t perform properly on your own.

 

Even if you just do some upgrades, you’ll see the value of your home rise. And you’ll be all smiles. That calls for a celebration barbecue.

Kitchen Islands for Small Kitchens

Kitchen Islands for Small Kitchens

 

Explore kitchen islands for small kitchens

Lately, you’ve been seeing some beautiful kitchen islands for small kitchens. It’s something you want. But when you consider the available floor space, adding an island may seem difficult to accomplish, or maybe even impossible.

But, in most cases, the benefits outweigh the concerns. You get more storage space, more surface to work on, and just an additional space to sit. These are just some of the beauties of kitchen islands for small kitchens.

Qualities to look for in kitchen islands for small kitchens

The key to making kitchen islands for small kitchens work is to first understand what you’re trying to accomplish. Then go from there. When considering the best kitchen island, select one that has these 5 attributes. It must:

  • Create more counter space.
  • Give you a surface to eat on.
  • Provide additional storage through shelves, hooks, or drawers.
  • Be the correct size so it doesn’t mess up your kitchen workflow.
  • Let you tuck or overhang your knees (people often forget this one, but it’s super important if you’re using it as an eating spot).

Whatever you choose out of the various kitchen islands for small kitchens, experts recommend that the island is at least 1×1 yard. However, if you’re using an elongated table instead of a square, consider something that’s at least 2 feet wide.

With that said, let’s look at some of the best kitchen islands for small kitchens:

1. Restaurant Grade Island

One of the first places to check for kitchen islands for small kitchens would be the nearest restaurant supply store. You’ll find a nice industrial, commercial stainless restaurant grade table.

These are lightweight and at the same time sturdy. They’re made of durable stainless steel, come in various sizes, and are fairly inexpensive.

To ensure most use, pick one with a towel bar to provide space for hooks and textiles. Also, check for open shelving below. If you plan on moving it often, consider one with locking wheels. Wheels are not a must, because the lightweight nature of restaurant grade work tables allows you to easily move it even without wheels (but they’re a nice add-on).

2. Butcher Block Island

Another great alternative when searching kitchen islands for small kitchens is a butcher block kitchen island. Its surface is designed ready-for-use in the kitchen and you can also add stools to create a snack counter.

3. Repurposed Furniture

If you’re still searching kitchen islands for small kitchens, a cheap yet effective way is by repurposing a piece of furniture for kitchen use.

  • Sofa Table: Sofa tables usually make good kitchen islands for small kitchens. Narrow enough to sit in an entryway or behind a sofa, they come in various sizes and styles and are usually a foot high.
  • Cabinet: Do you have a vintage cabinet that you don’t use that much? Use it for an island. The best ones have loads of shelving, drawers, and other storage options. This is one of the ideal kitchen storage ideas for small spaces.
  • Bar-Height Dining Table: Consider repurposing a tall dining table. In the right proportion, it can give you a perfect kitchen island alternative that you can use for prep, dining, and as a counter space. It’s one of the most dynamite small kitchen island ideas with seating. You can even add hooks on the sides for extra storage.

4. Floating Island Ledge

If you can find a space where you can fit a simple butcher block ledge to serve as a kitchen island then you have another great alternative. If a ledge can’t work, consider creating an enclosure with minimalist island design.

5. Storable Kitchen Island

Do you have an open spot where you can store a kitchen island when you’re not needing it? You can design a small kitchen island that will fit in the opening. If you’re designing your kitchen, include a cabinet piece that can roll out to serve as a kitchen island or extra counter space.

6. Drop Leaf Kitchen Island

Another brilliant way to add a kitchen island in a small kitchen is by using a drop leaf. It’s quite flexible; you pop it up when needed and you can drop it down to allow easy movement in the kitchen.

Conclusion

When you think of it, designing a kitchen island for a small kitchen is in some ways better than designing for a larger space. In addition to eliminating certain design considerations, it pushes you to maximize the efficiency of your available kitchen space.

Whether your kitchen island is portable or permanent, it should be able to function efficiently for your space. If it’s centrally positioned in the kitchen, it shouldn’t interrupt the work triangle. If you’re not sure what will work for your kitchen, consult a kitchen contractor to guide you.

What is the best siding?

What Is The Best Siding For Your House?

Determining what the best siding is for your house can be a daunting task, but if you do it right, it will pay off for decades to come. A new siding does more than just protect your house from the elements. It improves curb appeal and increases its market value if you ever decide to sell.

The outside of your house is often the first (and sometimes the only) impression people have of your home. You have to make it count.

So how do you choose what is the best siding for your house? Here are some factors to consider:

Product life or durability

While most siding materials last more than a decade, the best siding for your house is the stuff that lasts even longer.

If properly maintained, Stucco and brick are the most durable siding materials. They don’t wear off easily and can last 100 years or more. Though Vinyl siding is also very durable and long lasting, it pales in comparison to the strength and effectiveness of Stucco, brick, and wood (especially under extreme conditions).

Aluminum siding, on the other hand, has the unique advantage of being fireproof and waterproof. It offers better insulation than other materials and is also easy to install.

However, its major drawback is that it is easily dented and scratched. But when thinking about what the best siding is for your house, you can’t factor out price.

Cost

Remember, siding isn’t a one time cost. Besides purchasing the physical siding, you’ll need to cover the installation and maintenance costs.

If you’re looking to significantly cut down first costs and ongoing maintenance costs, vinyl is your best bet. Vinyl is inexpensive to install and requires minimal upkeep.

Plastic sidings are also low maintenance but can be more expensive. Wood and cement sidings, on the other hand, are more expensive and have higher installation costs (but last much longer).

In a nutshell, to determine what the best siding is for your house, you need to look at the bigger picture: think about first cost, maintenance costs, and replacement costs for each siding material.

Aesthetics

What do you want your house to look like? Functionality aside, the best siding for your house is aesthetically superior. It should project a style and appearance aligned with your vision of your home.

Want to add a natural and beautiful exterior to your house? Use wood siding. Wood siding comes in different styles, textures, and finishes and you can choose from several species of wood including spruce, pine, fir, cedar, and redwood. You can also use any of the four wood siding profiles like clapboard, shingles, board, and batten.

Want an easy-to-maintain siding available in different color, styles, and shapes? Go for Vinyl. Vinyl siding can also be combined using various colors and patterns. Not to mention, it keeps looking beautiful for years to come with just a simple soapy wash.

Apart from wood and vinyl sidings, brick and fiber cement are some great aesthetic options.

Maintenance

Another factor you need to consider in choosing what the best siding is for your house is how much maintenance it requires and what that maintenance costs.

To help maximize the longevity of a siding material, you’ll have to carry out regular preventive maintenance depending on the type of siding in question. While no siding option is completely maintenance free, some require less maintenance than others.

With a Vinyl siding, you’ll need to wash it regularly, about once every year, to maintain its fresh appearance. You’ll also need to re-caulk joints between the vinyl siding and adjacent trim.

For wood siding, your main worry would be moisture, insects, and rots. So you have to paint, stain and caulk regularly. You also have to trim bushes and outdoor plants so the plants don’t transfer moisture to the wood.

Other factors to consider:

Wait, there’s more. When trying to find what the best siding is for your home, you have to think about your unique needs and desires.  

Water Resistant: The best siding is wood if you’re looking for water resistance. This is important to determining the longevity of your siding.

Energy Efficiency: You also need to consider energy efficiency. Vinyl, aluminum, and insulated steel sidings are some of the best choices.

Future recycling: Help preserve our environment. Go for sidings that are either made with recycled material or are recyclable themselves (or both).

Wrapping Up

Wood, cement, vinyl, and brick are the most popular siding materials in the U.S, but that doesn’t make your decision easy. Figuring out what the best siding is for your house requires considering all the factors mentioned above. Visit our Siding page for more information on how we can help you find the best siding for your house.