Home Improvements: Pick the right floor
Selecting the right floor for your home isn't easy. There are myriad materials and designs, not to mention worrying about overall durability and function.
The question is: How do you choose when everything looks so good?
You need to consider a few factors, including your style, budget, where the flooring will be installed, traffic flow and performance concerns.
Set a price range and begin evaluating the features of products in that bracket. If you're not planning to install the floor yourself, don't forget to factor in the installation costs, which often are in addition to the square-foot cost.
Don't forget about warranties. Some products have limited lifetime warranties, while others have at least 10- to 15-year warranties, ensuring your flooring's beauty for a long time into the future.
The flooring you choose should blend with the style of your home, whether that style is contemporary, Victorian, eclectic or country. Also keep in mind the size of the room where you plan to install the flooring. Tiny tiles will be too busy in a large room, while large-scale products will overwhelm a smaller space.
While many homeowners immediately gravitate to such attractive natural materials as slate, stone, bamboo and hardwood, don't limit your options simply to those for mere aesthetics' sake. Modern flooring technology such as resilient and laminate offers the best of both worlds -- good looks, comfort, function and easy maintenance.
Beyond aesthetics, contemporary flooring options also hold up to the demands of everyday living comfortably. Comfort of flooring refers to how it feels underfoot. It also includes its insulation properties and whether or not it carries sound.
It's a given that hardwood or tile floors look great in most spaces, but too often, these floors don't hold up to the rigors of everyday traffic and living.
Consider how the flooring you want to install will react to such factors as direct sunlight, water spills, furniture scrapes, tracked-in dirt and ongoing foot traffic and how they will hold up to cleaning, too.
Did You Know …
Energy Star fluorescent bulbs labeled "soft white" or "warm white" are designed to match the light of a typical soft white bulb. Those labeled "bright white," "daylight," or "natural" have a cooler blue color. -- www.consumerreports.org
Decorating Tip: Easy, do-it-yourself decoration
Tired of that drab chest of drawers in the corner? A little paint, a tube of adhesive, and a few wood appliques can go a long way.
Start by priming and painting the chest. Then, consider adding a fun pattern in a contrasting color to the drawers. For a French country feel, go with a harlequin pattern and fleur de lis appliques. A circular pattern and embellishments in a geometric shape will give a more "mod" feel. Use a multipurpose adhesive.
A simple project that takes only a few hours can make a world of difference in the feel and look of a room. Now the corner radiates a fresh vibe.
How t Use mirrors for an interior face-lift
Mirrors are the leading tool in changing the way a room is perceived. It’s a simple way to change the look of a room and brighten up a space.
Here are a few tips:
- A mirrored wall can brighten up a small, under-staircase powder room.
- A mirrored or back-painted glass backsplash in the kitchen reflects light back into the room without costly electrical work.
- In the den, a large framed mirror over a fireplace adds a warm focal point as well as reflected light.
- In the foyer, a mirrored wall portion can make the entrance area feel larger.
Garden Guide: Green your yard
Here are some tips to get a beautiful backyard in a "greener," more cost-conscious way:
- Switch over to a push lawn mower or electric mower this year. Overall they're traditionally lower in price, save you money at the gas pump and also provide you with healthy exercise.
- For outdoor lights, use a motion detector light system. This way you can still enjoy your landscaping after dark but don't need to worry about wasted electricity or unnecessarily large utility bills.
- Build or purchase a rain barrel to capture water draining from your gutters and downspouts. These barrels work to provide you with fresh water for your plants in between showers, but also prevent soil runoff from where the spouts dump water in your grass.
Backyard Buddies: How to identify a robin’s nest
As spring approaches, many people will be seeing birds as they return to their spring and summer homes. One of these is the American robin, whose breeding season begins in spring.
Here are some tips on identifying a robin’s nest:
- It’s a bowl-shaped nest of twigs, mud and lined with dry grass that is built in a bush, tree or under the eaves of buildings.
- The rounded area inside the 6-inch-across nest is usually about 31/2 to 4 inches in diameter.
- The female usually lays two to four light blue eggs that are about the size and weight of a quarter.
-- University of Washington
GateHouse News Service