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.

5 Great Garden Paving Design Ideas

It’s summer. The weather is splendid. You’re sitting outside on your patio, enjoying a nice cup of cold lemonade. You’re surrounded by beautiful flowers and plants.

 

It doesn’t get much better, does it?

 

Since a nice garden can make life at home so great, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that nearly half of American homeowners actively maintain a garden. Folks want their garden to look spectacular.

 

To enhance your garden, pave a patio or path around, through, or in it. This will allow you to enjoy all that your garden offers. To get you started on your project, read about these five great garden paving design ideas:

1. Stepping stones to a fire pit

Not only do stepping stones have a unique charm, they can also prevent wear and tear to the ground around them. A great garden paving idea for your yard could be to lay stepping stones that lead to a fire pit within the garden. The fire pit can offer you a nice getaway within your own property. Add in seats around it as you see fit.

 

To lay stepping stones, dig out the grass and soil where you wish to place the stone, then fill the hole with soft sand. Add in cement and water so that the mortar is thick yet movable. After that, you can lay the stone.

2. Patio with a fountain

The sound of flowing water is peaceful, isn’t it? This is a traditional garden paving design idea that can provide your garden with a touch of natural elegance. There are a variety of garden paving materials you can choose, such as slate, outdoor tile, brick, and cobblestone. For adding the water feature, you also have countless options, including a water channel, a central round fountain, a small waterfall pond, and more.

 

What’s nice is that you can tailor the design to suit your stylistic preferences and the layout of your garden. Note: Since building a patio with a water element is a little more demanding than some other garden paving work, hire a home remodeling contractor if you’re not entirely confident you can achieve the results you want.  

3. A curved walkway with a bench

A beautiful garden path will sweep you and your guests off your feet. Yes, they’re that amazing. For your curved walkway through the garden, you can let your creativity run wild. Build a gravel pathway with stone edging, or line freeform bluestone slabs over mulch. Along the path, add a custom rest stop, such as a stone or wooden bench (whatever matches best!).

 

With a garden path, you have lots of design freedom beyond garden paving materials. For instance, Italian cypress trees edging a brick path looks incredible. Or, you could create a small stream and make a little bridge across it.

4. A gravel base with dining table

Do you like simplicity? Well, this minimalist garden patio is just what you need. Depending on your space and where you want to build the patio, you have ample design options. The good news is that, as a garden paving material, gravel is quite versatile.

 

For example, at the entry of the garden, you could go with a rustic design with a square gravel patio and naturally weathered wooden furniture. For a European- or Mediterranean-inspired look, set up a bistro table for morning coffee, afternoon snacks, and evening cocktails, and add in flowers and plants from the region.

5. Brick patio with an ornamental entry

Brick is a great choice for garden paving because it’s dignified yet casual—a combination that’s tough to achieve. For this design, you lay the brick patio right near the garden, and then erect an ornamental entry. Your garden entrance could be anything you like, from a custom-built wooden gate to a picket fence to a steel arch.

 

To lay a brick patio, prepare the base by excavating the area to a depth of 8 inches. Spread gravel over that area, then rake and smooth. Install edging of your choice and spread sand over the gravel until you have a smooth surface. Then, lay the brick pavers and fill the joints with polymeric sand.

Choosing the right garden paving design idea

To build the garden that you’ll just love, first select a garden paving material that matches your needs, budget, and preferences. Then, incorporate it with a design idea that excites you. Any one of the five listed here would work great. These ideas allow for creative flexibility so that you can get the look you want.

 

Of course, if you’re not certain you can pave your garden patio or walkway to the quality you want, contact a reputable contractor in your area. Hiring a home remodeling expert ensures your garden will look as beautiful as you envision.

CTA: Get a free estimate for your garden paving design idea

5 Tips on How to Find a Good Contractor

5 Tips on How to Find a Good Contractor

Every property owner should know that Spike TV has a show called: “To Catch a Contractor.” It’s more than just entertainment—it’s a lesson on the dangers of hiring the wrong person for the job.

While incompetents and scam artists are by no means the majority, the fact that this show exists underscores the importance of doing your homework when figuring out how to find a good contractor. The good news is that most contractors are professionals trying to make an honest living doing what they love.

But given that the home renovation market is estimated to be above $310 billion per year, you undoubtedly have hundreds of choices just in your area. This can make it hard to sift through the shoddy contractors and find the best ones.

What’s nice is that learning how to find a good contractor is quite a clear process. You’ll be an expert in no time. Here are five straightforward tips on how to find a good contractor:

1. Use your personal network

If you ask experts about how to find a good contractor, nearly everyone will mention asking friends, family, and colleagues for a personal referral. Because word-of-mouth remains the most surefire way to know if someone can complete a job to your satisfaction.

There are many quick ways to get solid recommendations. On social media, you can reach your whole personal network at once. You can even call people you know who’ve just had home renovation work done. If possible, go see the work that the contractor did. On top of that, people who’ve recently hired a contractor may even be able to give you some home remodeling tips (or just their thoughts on how to find a good contractor).

When you ask for a recommendation, you want to ask friends, family, and colleagues the following:

  • What was your experience with the contractor?
  • Did the contractor complete the job on time and on budget?
  • Were there are any problems that you ran into with the contractor?
  • Does the contractor have the skills and experience to complete your job?

2. Read reviews online

Of course, there is always the chance that a business has populated third-party review sites with fake positive reviews. But certain sites are good at limiting this, especially when it comes to home renovation contractors. If you’re figuring out how to find a good contractor in your area, it’s crucial to know which sites are legit.

According to an analysis by Consumer Reports, review sites like Angie’s List, HomeAdvisor, and Houzz are generally trustworthy when it comes to home renovation contractors. You can scan through these review sites to see which contractors have good standing with customers in your region.

The Federal Trade Commission has another recommendation when checking contractors online. Using a search engine like Google, type the name of individual contractor or company and add words like “scam” and “complaints” after it. This will show you if the contractor has ripped off others before.

3. Check licenses and insurance

Contractors that have the proper licensing actually have the skills to do the job. If a contractor doesn’t have licensing, do not consider that person for the job. It’s that simple.

After you’ve narrowed your choices down to a few home renovation contractors, you can check if those contractors have the licenses required for your home renovation project. Simply contact the contractor and ask to see their licensing. Get the license number and other applicable information and then check with the relevant state board or agency.

To see a list of licensing agencies for your state, reference the National Association of State Contractors Licensing Agencies. Another good source is USA.gov. When you contact your state’s agency, you can also see if there have been any complaints filed against the contractor and any government disciplinary action against the contractor.

Additionally, don’t forget about checking insurance. It’s your peace of mind. Depending on the state, contractors usually should have two types of insurance: liability coverage and workers’ compensation insurance. Liability coverage covers you if the work fails. Workers’ compensation insurance covers injuries that occur to workers at your property.

4. Hold interviews

This doesn’t have to be anything formal. It’s just a good way to establish trust with your potential home renovation contractor.

During the talk, you should ask for references (check them before you agree to hire the contractor). If possible, ask to see examples of previous work the contractor has done. If you’re still not set on ideas, you can even ask the contractors for home remodeling tips, which is also a good way to see the contractor’s expertise.

The interview process should be more than evaluating the contractor and getting home remodeling tips. It’s also a good time to get bids on your home renovation project. Though you certainly want to stay within budget, don’t just choose the lowest bidder. In many cases, price correlates to quality. Get an explanation for the estimate—and choose the one that can give you the quality you want at a price you can afford.

5. Get everything in writing

This last tip on how to find a good contractor is an important one. You must get everything in writing by working out a contract that clearly states expectations, budget, and timeframe. How payments should be made should also be clear.

Note: Be wary if a contractor asks for a significant portion of the total payment upfront. This isn’t the way honest contractors do things. According to HouseLogic, an information resource managed by the National Association of Realtors®, your first payment should not exceed much more than 10% of the total job. At completion, you should pay enough to cover contractor costs but keep about one-third to make sure you like the project first. After inspection, if you’re fully satisfied, submit the final payment.

In addition, you should also agree on how disputes are to be settled. Usually, it’s best to settle home renovation project disputes through an arbitrator. While you certainly don’t want an issue to arise, you and the contractor can handle a problem successfully by having a plan in place in advance.

Learn How to Find a Good Contractor and Make Your Project a Success

Learning how to find a good contractor is truly one of the best home remodeling tips you can get. Because the right contractor is how you can turn your idea into a reality.

Staci Giordullo, a senior writer at Angie’s List, sums up why you must learn how to find a good contractor perfectly. As she says, “No one sets out to hire a bad contractor. And yet, homeowners in the midst of remodeling, building projects or renovations do it every day.”

By taking these tips on how to find a good contractor into account, you can greatly reduce and even eliminate your chances of hiring the wrong person for your home renovation project. Then, you’ll be ready to get your project started and get your home looking the way you want.

small-backyard-patios

5 Great Small Backyard Patio Ideas for Your Home

5 Great Small Backyard Patio Ideas for Your Home

If you’re looking to update and improve your home, you’re not alone. In 2016 alone, Americans spent $310 billion on home remodeling and repairs. That’s quite a chunk of change.

The backyard is meant for entertainment and relaxation, so it’s a great idea to update it. Regardless of the size of your backyard, you have room for a small backyard patio. This space is great for grilling out, lounging under the sun, and conversing with friends and family.

Essentially, a patio is exactly what you need in your backyard to enjoy the nice weather. Here are five awesome yet simple small backyard patio ideas for your home:

1. Stone patio with fire table and outdoor furniture

Make your backyard fit for a night under the stars. For this minimalist design, you lay a stone patio to a suitable size for your yard, then set up an outdoor fire table and furniture. Add in a grill, hammock, and any other decor you desire.

You don’t need to be a master of paving and masonry to build this small backyard patio, but do contact professionals to help if you’re not confident you can produce the look you desire.

2. Courtyard patio with a pergola

There are many great things about a courtyard patio. They possess a simple elegance and offer incredible coziness. They can also be a private getaway within your own backyard. For this small courtyard patio, lay a stone patio, install a pergola, and set up furniture and plants as you see fit.

The area could be for rest and relaxation, dining, or whatever else you please. To give the courtyard patio a more natural feel, get some climbing vines for the pergola.

3. Glass house in the backyard

A small glass house in the backyard offers you a quiet escape during any time of the year. Not only do you get protection from the elements, a glass garden house enhances the aesthetics of any yard. It can blend in perfectly with the surrounding layout, as you can design and build it in so many different ways. You start by building the structure, which involves a paved concrete or wood floor and aluminum or steel frame. From there, you can add to the design. For instance, some folks advise greening the roof by planting grass or plants. You can line the sides with climbing vines as well.

Given that building one of these can be delicate and difficult, get in touch with reputable home renovation contractors to help you get the job done correctly.

4. Artificial turf patio with sofa and fireplace

Great for urban condos and townhomes, an artificial turf patio brings you a green look without the hassle or maintenance. The artificial turf patio is simple to build, as you just have to use concrete for the foundation.

You can also add in decor to support whatever function you please. In addition to an outdoor sofa and a fireplace, which already makes your small backyard patio the spot to just chill, you could add in a water fountain, flowers, and a canopy.

5. Brick patio in the garden

If charming and relaxing are what you’re going for, few small backyard patio ideas are better than a brick patio within a garden. For the best look, build the patio in the center or back of the garden area, with a pathway leading there. You can go with a circular design so that the area blends seamlessly with the surrounding plant life. Then, get furniture to match the environment.

Building this type of small backyard patio is pretty straightforward. You will need to know how to lay a brick patio. Again, get professional help if you’re not fully confident or simply don’t have the time to do it.

Building the small backyard patio of your dreams

The right small backyard patio can make your backyard more entertaining and relaxing. It can also maximize use of your property.

There are tons of ideas for a small backyard patio, and you really can’t go wrong with any of the five listed here. Use these as a starting point and inject your own creative vision. And, if needed, hire professional home renovation contractors to make your vision a beautiful reality. Get a free quote for your future backyard patio.

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How Important is Light in the Living Room?

Proper lighting is essential for any home. It is important to maintain balance between personality and the functionality of the room when it comes to lighting the living room. One can transform the entire atmosphere of their living room within the proper use of lighting. One should remember that lighting not only has aesthetic and mood enhancing values, but play an important functional role in illuminating important task areas in the living room.

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Everyone Can Paint, so Can You!

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