• Home

    How to Maximize Your Hallway Space

    Many people overlook the potential that their hallway space offers them. Perhaps you see your hallways as too narrow to be useful. However, when designed correctly, you can maximize your hallways space and find many hallway storage ideas that will allow you to get the most from this unused area. Use these tips to maximize your hallways space and improve the look of your home.
    Hallway storage ideas

    Furniture can be placed in even the most narrow hallways. The key is to look for slim-designed pieces that won’t stick out too far. Furniture such as console tables, antique chests, or even slender coat racks will look beautiful and serve a functional purpose. Chests and dressers can be used to store towels, blankets, or even out of season clothing. The tops of these items can be attractively decorated with flowers, knick knacks, or artificial flowers.

    Shelving and hooks are the perfect storage solution as they will provide a spot to hold bags, umbrellas, jackets, and so on. The hooks are convenient, easy to install, and will take up virtually no room. This is an easy way to maximize your hallway space and keep frequently used items at your fingertips.

    Bookcases, whether built-in or freestanding, provide ample hallway storage space and are an attractive addition in any room. Be sure to paint them the same color as the walls to provide a consistent flow.

    Hallway decorating ideas

    To brighten up your hallway, and give it the appearance of being larger, brighten it up with a wall sconce.

    Wall sconces are a beautiful way to gently illuminate the area, and they add a touch of class to the walls. They don’t take up any space, and are available in a multitude of colors, styles and shapes.

    To make your hallway appear wider, use a combination of wainscoting and paint. Wainscoting can be installed on the lower portion of the walls, which will help protect them, and paint can be used on the upper area to brighten it up. This will help depth to the space.

    Alternative uses for hallways

    If you have adequate space, you can create an small office area right in your hallway. A drop down desk, a roll-out keyboard, built in shelves, and a small bookcase can create an impromptu work or study area.

    Use your hallway as an unexpected space for a bar. A small chest of drawers, a slender console, or other slender furniture piece can store bottles, glasses, and napkins. Use the top of the furniture to display an ice bucket, your favorite bottle of wine, and so on.

    With a little imagination, you can maximize your hallways space and find many uses for a space that had once been ignored.

  • Decor

    The Candle Market Burns Brightly

    Candles do more than produce light; they are lit for celebration, ritual, fragrance and romance, all reasons why consumers are buying up votives, pillars and tapers in record numbers. In 2002, U.S. candle sales reached $2.3 billion, up by more than 10 percent from the past year, according to the American Candle Association.

    What does a naturals retailer need to know about candles? They seem harmless enough, a simple wax with a cloth wick. But throughout the years, candles have been made with not-so-healthy materials, including tallow and lead, which can fill a room with noxious fumes and scar walls with soot. Today, natural candle manufacturers are discovering ways to create bright- and long-burning candles with nontoxic materials.

    What’s In A Wax

    Humans have been searching for the ideal candle medium for about as long as they’ve been using fire. Early candles were simply tallow—animal fat—with a piece of cloth for a wick. Later innovations included spermaceti oil from whales, bayberry wax and beeswax. When paraffin was introduced in the late 19th century, it revolutionized the candle industry. The petroleum byproduct produces odorless, long-burning candles at a fraction of the cost of other materials.

    Whether or not paraffin is a healthy candle wax is a matter of debate. Some people question whether a gasoline byproduct and a nonrenewable resource should be on naturals shelves. Others say highly refined paraffin burns cleanly and, when combined with other healthy materials, is an affordable option for quality natural candles.

    “We use paraffin because we are a candle company and it’s a great wax,” says Dave Cacciamani, vice president of Morrisville, Vt.-based Way Out Wax. Its pillar candles contain food-grade, 100 percent biodegradable paraffin, beeswax, vegetable wax and hemp seed oil. “We’ve been researching for over six years now to get a good paraffin-free pillar and not had anything that’s come close to satisfactory for us in terms of appearance and burn quality,” he says.

    Paraffin-free pillar candles can even be dangerous, Cacciamani says. “Without paraffin, a pillar candle can be brittle and get fractures, increasing oxygen to the flame and causing a blowout where wax can go everywhere and be a fire hazard.”

    Many naturals companies make paraffin-free container candles because consistency is not an issue. Way Out’s container candles are primarily soy along with other vegetable waxes. The container candles come with lids for easy transport and are scented with pure essential oils.

    For some manufacturers, paraffin is not a wax option. “Paraffin is carcinogenic,” says Tami Bazies, owner of Portland, Ore.-based Greenspace Candles, which makes 100 percent paraffin-free container candles. “It creates a lot of petrocarbon soot, which is ugly and can damage furniture and wall paint.” She says the company does not offer pillar candles because soy wax doesn’t work well enough in the stand-alone form.

  • Home

    How to Find Good Deals on Rental Homes

    Navigating rental properties, it can be tricky. Most cities are subdivided, and some areas are pricier than others, and the sheer number of available rental properties is daunting. However, renters can find a good deal by following a few of these simple guidelines.

    Do some research on the different counties and townships. They will have different taxes; higher or lower costs of living; and varying types of rental properties. This will help you determine what area of the city will most likely be within your budget.

    How to Get a Good Deal on Homes

    Searching for properties that offer perks is one of the best ways to find good rental deals. Some complexes offer months of free rent or discounted maintenance fees for new renters. Other properties include the costs of water and trash service within the monthly rent, which can lead to substantial savings. If you’re a pet owner, search for properties that don’t require pet deposits.

    Another way renters can find good deals is to consider their living arrangements. Many homeowners offer rooms or suites to outside renters to help with their mortgages. If you’re not set on living alone, these arrangements are often quite affordable. Consider roommates. Renters can live far less expensively when they share the burden of monthly payments and bills.

    There are also organizations that serve to help renters find good deals; whether you’re seeking a large downtown condo or small apartment right outside of the city, there are resources you can turn to for help with your search.

    Think about consulting a property management company. Property management companies have a plethora of rental properties at their disposal, and if you’re not sure what you’re looking for, they can help. Have a budget in mind and let them know that you’re seeking a cost-controlled living arrangement; that way, neither you nor they waste time with properties outside of what you can afford.

    There are also apartment listing companies that work to consolidate available rental properties into one database. By working with one of these companies, you save yourself the time. They’ll make a list of appropriate and available properties; help you decide which ones fit your needs most exactly; and work with you on your budget to ensure you get in a place that you can afford. While challenging and often time-consuming, finding affordable rental properties is possible. Here are a few helpful tips. Keep a notebook and camera with you at all times. Make notes and take pictures when you pass potential properties. When you schedule a viewing, be sure to note the positives and negatives of each property.

    A real estate agent will usually have information about the best investment properties long before they hit the market. Also, identifying the right person to deal with at the bank is not a problem for the real estate agent. When such a real estate professional is involved, the banks are more willing to take your phone calls, and eventually your bids.

    Real estate professionals not only let customers maintain discretion while dealing with multi-million dollar transactions but also make everything more convenient for them. They have all the necessary details by maintaining a good network and healthy working relationship with clients, CPA’s, lawyers and executive assistants.

    Before hiring the services, you must have a look at the feedbacks and testimonials given by former clients. All this will help you choose the right agent and crack the right deal. For locating the suitable home for your convenience, internet facility can serve you well.

  • Design,  Kitchen

    Small Kitchen Design Ideas on a Budget

    Are you one of the blessed ones who are currently space-challenged because of your small kitchen space? No worries. Below are tips for small kitchen owners. Such ideas will help you tend to be more ergonomically right and will make you work faster in terms of food preparation. In addition, you will also be able to save more time, money and energy. You can also check out tips for larget sized kitchens here.

    Small Kitchen Design Ideas That You Can Apply At Home With a Low Budget

    The tips provided here will help you improve on ergonomics and aesthetics, maximize space, and make this part of the house a happier and better place to stay in.

    Tip 1: Keep It Light

    If you prefer to have dark-colored paints in your kitchen, you can save it for your next home. For the first advice, try to lighten up your kitchen by using light paints. This will instantly make you feel that there’s a lot of space in the area. Some of the recommended colors are apple crisp, chai latte, and popped corn paint.

    Tip 2: Make the Space

    There are times that the house you are in simply doesn’t just have enough space. Take for example an efficient apartment that only has the basic areas such as a generalized living or eating space, one bedroom, and a bathroom, there’s not enough space for a kitchen.

    Therefore, for the “non-existent” kitchen, the best tip is to buy or create a pull in the free-standing kitchen furniture to lessen the weighty feel of the common or classic design of built-in kitchen cabinetry.

    Tip 3: Shrink the Sink

    The most common practice of every homeowner or home renter is to create a 12-foot long combination of counter and sink making it easy to ignore the alternatives.

    Why not hide away the sink in its own space, which will free up the other parts of the kitchen for food preparation. Why not prioritize its related practical uses. From this idea, you can surely come up with a space-saving kitchen design.

    Tip 4: Keep Floor Tile Light and Large

    Take advantage and use the visual illusion technique. Design experts noted that small floor tiles can make your kitchen area look cramped and feel busy, while the large ones can make it appear larger and feel airier.

    In terms of admonition, with the very narrow center floor of the galley kitchen, laying down large tiles will only look odd, especially if it appears parallel to the kitchen cabinets.

    Tip 5: Go All Out with the Backsplash

    If you are someone who likes and appreciate art and details than any average person, small and uninteresting kitchen will surely make you feel empty. To help you on this matter and have that space you will surely adorn, you need to choose the right backsplash that can satisfy your eyes for details and art.

    It is not too much for a square footage; therefore if you prefer glistening glass mosaic, lavish limestone, or antique tin tile backsplash, chances are good that your allotted budget can support it. You don’t necessarily need fancy granite countertops to have a great kitchen.

    To liven up your small kitchen, having a fancy backsplash can surely make it possible. 

  • Home

    How to Interview a Realtor to Sell your Home

    Acquiring real estate property involves making crucial decisions that you can’t afford to mess up. Not every real estate agent you encounter will have the needed expertise to help you land that dream property. Here we are going to teach you how to interview a realtor when selling your home. This is why you should invest some effort into finding the best of the best. A good real estate agent will assist you to select, negotiate and guide you through the legal details involved in real estate transactions. The following guide will be instrumental in hiring a top real estate agent. Whether buying or renting, if you want to get a good deal you should hire an agent.

    Create a Checklist

    Before you start searching for a real estate agent to hire, take time to create a list of items that are of importance to you. Include any questions that may be unanswered and any grey areas you might have regarding the process. This is the list you will use when interviewing potential candidates to try and figure out what and how much they know. It will also help you to remain consistent so that it easier for you to quickly identify the best choice among all the realtors you get to sit down with.

    Ask for Referrals

    A simple way to find the best tried and tested real estate agent is to ask around. Go to people you trust for such information. You could inquire from your neighbors, family or friends to see if they have had past dealings with a realtor who offered satisfactory services. You can also search the internet to see which the best real estate agencies locally are. Create a shortlist of those you find attractive on paper and proceed from there.

    Look at their Track Record

    Research the credentials of individual real estate agent candidates. Find out the period they have been in the industry and what their portfolio is regarding properties sold and clients sold to. Check if their track-record is verifiable and what number of listings they currently have. These are all crucial questions you should ask to gauge the competency of the person you are about to get into serious business with. Whether you are selling or buying a home, you want to partner with a realtor who knows their trade and who will make things easy for you. These questions will guide you in telling apart capable and incapable potential agents.

    Hire Locally

    It is wise to consider an agent that is familiar with the location in which you are trying to find a house. Realtors need a lot of useful knowledge on the area in which they spend the majority of their time operating. To do their work efficiently, they need to know the best locations and the property valuations at that time. A local agent is likely to be conversant with such details.


    Ensure that whoever you are trying to hire is fully licensed and has all the accreditation to conduct real estate transactions. Be cautious not to end up hiring fraudsters or marauders who may try to fleece you.


    A proficient real estate agent is a crucial piece when it comes to getting the best deal for a real estate property you are looking to acquire. It also means that the whole process will be enjoyable for you. Follow the above steps to get started with hiring a top real estate agent.

  • Design,  Home,  Kitchen

    What’s Better, Granite or Quartz?

    Ever wonder why many people all over the world prefer granite vs quartz regarding countertops?If you still don’t know then today is the day that you would learn something about it. Granite is the excellent material for the job, and lots of people know that. That is the reason why it is the most popular material for your kitchen countertops as well as in your bathroom. You might probably know it already, but I would emphasize it further.

    The first step in understanding the difference in these two is to know that we are in fact discussing three materials. Granite comes in two forms – engineered and slab. During manufacturing, quartz kitchen countertops and engineered granite countertops have similar structures. The only one that is different is slab granite, and this is because it’s taken directly from its natural form in rocks.

    Now that you know the difference you may be asking yourself the question is the end product 100% stone? Yes, both are stones. Granite comes in pure form as well as engineered. Quartz, on the other hand, is a stone that is found naturally in the environment. However the quality and consistency do not make for good viewing in its natural form, so a quartz kitchen countertop will always be engineered.

    There are many differences between granite and quartz. Some of these things that matter so much that it is also the reasons why people would pick granite vs quartz. Some of these reasons are the benefits that they would have with granite, the issues that accompany the installation and the cost of the material and the installation as well. And if you are one of the thousands of people who chose granite for their countertops, then congratulations. You made a great decision.

    The price of granite greatly varies, and it depends on a lot of factors. One of these factors is the type of granite. The coarser ones are much cheaper, could cost you around 600 to 800 dollars a for a 96-inch slab. But for the finer ones, you can buy it for almost a thousand dollars, and that still varies. There are also other factors that would affect the price of the finish and other stuff. Plus, you also have to buy the necessary equipment that you would use for the granite to be installed, just in case you don’t have them and just in case you plan to do the installation yourself. Otherwise, you would have to pay the professionals who would do it.
    Now, when getting a contractor to do the job of installing the granite countertop and everything, you should be sure that the one who would do it is qualified. Finding a contractor is pretty much similar to finding a product. You should ask around and take people’s advice. Once you get someone to make sure to meet them first before they do the job and make sure that you are comfortable to have them working in your kitchen. After they do the job, check it thoroughly and make sure that you are also satisfied with what they did or otherwise tell your contractor about it if you are not satisfied.
    Do not always do everything yourself because sometimes, doing things yourself could end up in disaster. Sometimes, it is better to leave it to the hands of the professionals who know what they are doing. And this a perfect example of that time. Although you can do it yourself, no doubt about that, you can never be sure that you could do it perfectly and without a problem. That is why heed my advice and leave it to the professionals when things get risky and to avoid disaster. Thank you and have a nice day.
    The main reason that many people do not consider granite vs quartz for their kitchen is the price. Because of market forces, the price of both materials constantly changes. Factors which may affect its price are home location, installation, and production costs. Granite and quartz have over the years felt pressure from consumer groups due to the possible existence of radon, which is a radioactive gas that is linked to cancer of the lungs. The gas is found in the natural form of granite and quartz. Tests have proven that in the engineered form radon gas cannot be detected in granite or quartz. Small amounts can be detected in slab granite.
    The process of making quartz countertops uses natural quartz that is mixed with color pigments and polymer resin. During the chemical reaction, both particles combine to produce the rich color quartz stone that you see. The same process is true for engineered granite. If you’re looking for something that is 100 percent natural then choosing granite slabs for your kitchen countertop is your best option, as it is found naturally in granite rocks.
  • Landscaping

    Top Benefits of an Automatic Retractable Pool Enclosure

    For homeowners who spend hours in the pool every day during the summer, a retractable pool cover is a great investment. A retractable pool cover is easy to use and saves time and energy when compared to a manual pool cover. Although retractable pool covers are a big financial investment and require some time to install, they are a great investment because they allow you to get more use out of your pool year round and keep your pool clean and safe. Here are some of the biggest benefits of investing in a retractable pool cover.

    Enjoy your pool year-round

    Retractable Pool Covers / Enclosures (http://www.coversinplay.com) help you to enjoy your pool year round. This basically serves as an indoor pool, allowing you to enjoy your pool even in colder temperatures.

    They keep your pool cleaner.

    Because retractable pool covers are installed securely, they completely cover your pool every time they’re used. This reduces the chance of rainwater or debris getting into your pool when you’re not using it, because the gaps are sealed tightly and evenly. When using a manual pool cover, you run the risk of putting the cover on unevenly, which could allow debris to get in. Because of this, retractable pool covers save money on cleaning costs in the long run.

    They are safer to use than a manual pool cover.

    Manual pool covers can be very heavy and cumbersome to move around, and the last thing anyone wants to do after a pleasant day at the pool is to heave the cover back over the pool. Moving a manual pool cover can even be risky for those with mobility issues or injuries because of its size and weight. A retractable pool cover requires no effort to move – it covers and uncovers the pool with the touch of a button. Retractable pool covers also reduce the risk of injury at the pool, because you won’t be trying to move a pool cover around while walking on a slippery surface.

    They keep your pool warmer and save money on heating costs.

    Heating a pool can get expensive, but in many climates, it’s an absolute necessity. A retractable pool cover is a great investment because it can actually lower the heating bill for your pool. This is because they are designed to be insulating, so they’ll keep heat in the pool when you’re not using it instead of letting it evaporate. In climates where the weather fluctuates, this can help you enjoy the pool for more days each year because of the increased warmth.


    They save time and energy.

    The biggest benefit of retractable pool covers is the convenience they provide to pool owners. A retractable pool cover makes it less of a hassle to use the pool, so you’ll spend more time enjoying your day in the water instead of wrangling with the pool cover. If you find that you don’t use your pool as much as you want to because of the hassle of uncovering and cleaning it, a retractable pool cover is a helpful investment. They can be installed on most pool shapes and are very durable. A retractable pool cover is a must-have accessory for any outdoor-loving homeowner with a pool.