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Category Archives: Home Improvement

The Fireplace vs Electric Fires

The fires can be powered in a number of ways. Wood is the oldest of fuels and may have been the first to be used to create a heat source. Sometimes, peat would have been used as it lasted longer than wood and also burnt at a more efficient rate. Coal as fuel became increasing popular from the eighteenth century. Electric fires came with the development of the electric current. Recently, bio-fuels and propane are becoming more widely used.

Old fireplaces are sometimes kept as design features. They may not necessarily have the heating system they were built with. They may have been replaced with a modern system. An electric heater is sometimes installed to provide heat without the fire. Most are just left empty and are used simply for decoration.
A fireplace could have one or more of these component parts: a hearth, a fireplace mantel, a foundation, a cap, a chimney crane, a firebox, a smoke chamber, a lintel, an ash-dump door, a lintel bar, a grate, a cleanout door, a chimney breast, a throat, over-mantel, a damper, a flue, a spark arrestor, a chimney chase, a crown, or a shroud.

There are a few different fireplace designs. A masonry fireplace is fashioned from stone or more commonly bricks. Reinforced concrete used to be popular until the fundamental flaw became evident. As the concrete expands at a different rate to the metal reinforcement many reinforced concrete fireplaces cracked and warped structures.

A prefabricated fireplace is a popular design for newer buildings. They are usually made from a metal firebox and a long metal pipe that acts as a chimney to vent the exhaust fumes. As it is made of metal it often generates sparks, so a spark arrester is usually fitted.

A duct free fireplace is almost always fueled by LP/bottled gas or a gel or some other natural gas. They tend to be easy to install and do not have the same BTUs that other fireplaces have. Some governments have made regulations that regulate the installation of this fireplace. A few duct free fireplaces can burn with 100% efficiency. However, they also tend to create a lot of moisture.
A bio-ethanol fireplace is sometimes referred to as a flue-less fire. This is because it does not need any kind of exhaust ventilation. They are therefore 100% efficient because at keeping all the heat in the room. They are more often than not powered by bio-fuel and unlike some other fireplaces there is no soot whatsoever produced by these fires. It only produces water and low amounts of carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide.

The cost of electric fireplaces and logs which produce electric fires varies greatly. An individual may choose a unit that is small and will keep a room warm or select a large fireplace that will be the focal point of a family room. These fireplaces can be placed against a wall or built into a wall depending on the preference of the owner.

Ways Use Moroccan lamps

Moroccan Henna Lampshades

Moroccan henna lamps will not only add light to your room, but will also create a focal point to any room that they are in. Using these lamps in several different rooms of the house will give an ambiance glow to any room. The henna lamps are a henna colored lampshade in a variety of different styles that allow for decorative lights throughout the rooms. Because these Moroccan lamps feature henna colored shades, they have a warm glow that give off ambient light in your room.

Moroccan Star Lamps

Moroccan lamps in the shapes of stars have been seen in many of the most upscale restaurants and resort areas. You can also use this design in home lighting for any room in your house. These Moroccan lamps make for focal point decorative lamps. They can be hung either from one point on the ceiling or from several points scattered over the ceiling.

Moroccan Wall Sconces

Wall sconces are decorative lights that are flush with the wall and are a light fixture that can really add creative drama to any room in your home. You can check out these Moroccan lamps that can have the light cast down or up when you are seeking to decorate your home with Moroccan lamps.

Moroccan Lanterns

Moroccan lanterns can be found inside the home or outside. You can use these Moroccan lamps in a number of different wants throughout your home. You can either hang them up; allow them to be used against a wall or even as floor lamps. These indoor-outdoor Moroccan lamps make for very decorative lights.

Moroccan Table Lamps

You can find exciting and inviting light when you look for Moroccan lamps for your tables. When it comes to home lighting, Moroccan light fixtures really make a statement in any room they are in. They have a blend of ethnic culture as well as ambiance to them. There are so many from which to choose and they are not costly at all. No matter what type of Moroccan lamps you choose to light your home, you will be giving not only light, but a sense of exotic decor to your home when you use Moroccan lamps.


Why Materials In Kitchen Design is Important?

Many consider the kitchen to be the most important room in the house, the family hub where day to day life is spent. When designing a new kitchen it is vital to produce a space that is practical, aesthetically pleasing and comfortable. Part of this design process is to find worktops that are sympathetic to the decoration and provide a feeling of luxury.

The material used for kitchen worktops is the first concern. Popular choices include granite, composite stone, hard and soft woods and the cheaper laminate. Naturally all have pros and cons whilst varying immensely in cost as well as quality.

The most expensive of the materials used for worktops is solid granite. The look created however can be considered timeless and ultimately elegant. The main benefits of this material are its strength and beauty although as it is somewhat expensive, many redesigning their kitchen are put off. If price is a large issue but you are hankering for the stone look, composites can provide the perfect solution. Modern manufacturing means that all manner of colours and designs are now available in composite, including luxurious black and even worktops that sparkle in the sunlight.

Wood should always be considered as the material for worktops for it natural beauty and homely appeal. The types of wood used are wide and diverse including cherry, walnut, beech, iroko and of course, oak. If designing a new kitchen yourself, wood can also be installed without professional services; further reducing the cost of the makeover.

Walnut is one of the most sumptuous woods used for worktops. The grain of walnut is so distinctive that many would consider it a design feature in its own right. Along with the warm colouration, walnut should definitely be a major consideration.

Cherry is such a dark and richly coloured wood that some designers are put off. As an original choice however it is unrivalled, while the deep red may result in a somewhat dark kitchen, as the wood ages its elegance and beauty truly shine through.

Oak has been used in kitchen design for centuries for its classical style and strength. Like cherry it will age gracefully and create a kitchen that oozes country charm and warmth. While it may be commonly used, the disparate grain patterns can make oak an original choice for worktops.

Iroko is a relatively new material in the world of kitchen design, it is a dark would that offers much. Sometimes labelled the African teak, it is both strong and stylish. Dark woods however are not to everyone’s taste, if a lighter wood is preferable, beech can be considered a great solution. With light grain and an even lighter colour, beech can help those who do not like the oppressiveness of dark woods create a kitchen that is light and airy.

Laminate worktops, while not as high quality as either the wood or stone variants previously discussed are a far more affordable option. Modern laminates are wonderfully styled with a variety of patterns that can create an original kitchen. Requiring less maintenance than stone or wood, they are also the choice for those who want worktops without the hassles of staining or sanding.

The choice of material for your worktops is ultimately your decision. While cost is always a vital constituent of the choice it is vital to remember the importance of the kitchen space in family life at all stages of the decision making process. A happy kitchen means a happy home and the choice of materials can be fundamental in creating a space that is practical and above all comfortable.

Adding Mirrors to Your Home

Decorating with mirrors is a superb way to stretch a home’s decorating dollar. It may even do more than stretch. It may also pay back dollars if the homeowner is in the market to sell his home. A $999 or less interior design idea may be the difference between a low and a desirable offer. This is known in the industry as “dressing up” a home. Homes that previously languished for weeks or month on the market sold within days after being dressed up.

Homeowner can try their hands at decorating with mirrors. Owners who don’t consider themselves particularly creative will even find it easy. This is a great interior design idea for a number of reasons :

# Decorating with mirrors is fairly inexpensive. There’s no need to hit designer stores. Any mirrors will do, even those from the local dollar store. A whole house can often be re-decorated with mirrors for under a thousand dollars.

# Decorating with mirrors can make a home’s interior appear larger. This trick has long been used by professionals. Small homes can benefit greatly using this trick of the eye. Mirrors create the illusion of depth. Create perceived space by placing a large mirror or a row or mosaic of small mirrors on a wall. Place mirrors along opposing walls for even more depth.

# Decorating with mirrors improves interior lighting. A room that is painted in a dark color can seem smaller and even feel oppressive. Adding mirrors to one or more walls can offset the darkness and enhance the color of walls. The best way to improve a room’s lighting without using more electricity is to place mirrors opposite windows. The mirrors will reflect natural sunlight streaming through the windows and brighten the whole room. Some homeowners even report a savings in energy costs by simply reflecting the free light from the sun.

Decorating with mirrors doesn’t require the help of a professional. Anyone with a toolbox can hang mirrors and create a room that looks better while costing little. Just remember these tips when choosing and hanging mirrors:

# Pick interesting shapes. Square is good, but unusually-shaped mirrors can add an extra element of interest to a room. Choose mirrors that are wavy, long and thin, diamond shaped or triangular. Instead of one or two large mirrors, create a mosaic of mirrors by using several smaller mirrors placed together.

# Look for different glass styles. Instead of a smooth mirror, hang a mirror with beveled edges. Another option is to use frosted mirrors. Hang a mix of framed and unframed mirrors.

# Use a laser level. It’s difficult to hang mirrors perfectly straight using the naked eye. Laser levels are inexpensive and well worth the investment for the difference they’ll make in your finished wall.

Few interior design ideas compare to decorating with mirrors. It’s one of the simplest and most economical ways to improve a home’s interior.

Bathroom Floor Tiles

There are many different materials to choose from when selecting bathroom floor tiles, but one of the most popular remains stone simply because of its timeless qualities – it never goes out of fashion and is extremely hard wearing and easy to clean. Limestone and marble are just about the most sought after although naturally it is at the higher end of the market.

Those of you looking for a cheaper alternative to stone bathroom floor tiles, look no further than ceramic. Ceramic bathroom floor tiles offer the same qualities as stone flooring and they have the added benefits of being less slippery than stone. Plus, ceramic tiles come in a larger variety of colours and styles.

By implementing colour in your bathroom via floor tiles, this can be extremely effective, more so than you may imagine. The first thing that people recognise when entering a room is the colour emanating upwards so bold colourways on your floor can be a very powerful expression.

Feature tiles are becoming more popular, as are larger sized tiles as opposed to smaller scale tiles, although mosaic tiling remains in vogue despite being more expensive and more time consuming to lay.

Of course you can never go wrong with natural colours or bold prime colours, many contemporary designs are kept simple and to a minimum, unfussy, uncomplicated and inoffensive in design terms.

Ceramic bathroom floor tiles prevent humidity and therefore the development of germs and fungi that are attracted to impermeable areas, that is why you’ll notice most swimming pools have ceramic tiled flooring. They are also easy to clean – cleaning with detergents will not stain or discolour ceramic, so no need to invest in fancy cleaning agents.


Rawhide Lamp Shades

When you are ready to buy rawhide lamp shades you will want to first consider the way your lamp will be used. Are they to be used on tall floor lamps to light a large space, or on small bedside lamps to illuminate a small corner? The shade you end up buying depends on how you plan to incorporate it in your decor. For instance, you may be illuminating a big area or just lighting a dark corner of the room.

Rawhide shades are also popular on antler chandeliers and antler lamps since they a standard for southwest home lighting fixtures. From simple table lamps to large wall sconces, leather lamp shades allow you to be flexible while providing great southwestern style at the same time.

The glow illuminated through the rawhide, gives your home an appealing warmth and creates a pleasant environment for your guests. The natural colors of the leather when lit by the light shining through, creates a striking and very appealing image. While it may not be the focus of your room, it will definitely add an abundance of character to your space. If you are including a lamp in your interior design, purchase a style and size that will be large enough to hold a larger size shade and one that gives off sufficient light.

Leather lamp shades are also perfect for other types of lighting like wall sconces and chandeliers. Because they are available in a variety of sizes, you will be able to find the right shade for any style lamp. Remember, when you are choosing the lighting for your home, the light from rawhide table lamp shades allows you to cut the bright glare and enjoy its charm while focusing it where you need it most. Light colored rawhide, sometimes called southwestern lamp shades, will let the maximum amount of light shine through while dark rawhide shades, called western lamp shades, are more subtle, producing a deeper color when the lamp is turned on.

The thing you will like most about the leather lamp shades you purchase online, is the ability to use them on traditional or rustic style lamps and with the decor you already have. Decorative antler lamps are a wonderful choice in home lighting fixtures because of the great ambiance they produce when matched with a rustic shade. You can also consider combining rawhide shades with heavy iron lamps for the perfect western design. You will be surprised at how simply switching the shade on modern style lamp you already own, can add variety to your whole decor.

The great variety of size and color allow these lamp shades to be utilized in practically any area where you want to add southwestern character or are enhancing the room with what has been called rustic chic style. Just as appropriate in the living room, family room or den as well as bedroom or study, rawhide shades can be used in just one room or used to give a western theme throughout your entire house.

One great thing about these shades is that you can purchase a great selection of rawhide shades at discounted prices when you shop online. Rawhide will produce a true southwestern feel in your home that you and your family will enjoy for years to come. Whether transforming the decor of an entire room or simply including a few rustic accessories, you will love the way southwest design can be created with rawhide lamp shades.


Use LED Light in Your Home

One of the things that puts people off is the cost as led lights are at first glance more expensive than conventional energy saving light bulbs. This does not tell the complete story however as the life of most led lamps on sale today is a whopping 50,000 times that of a regular incandescent light bulb. Yes you did read that correctly a led lamp will last 50,000 times longer than a conventional light bulb. So not only do you get a longer lifespan with led lamps they are also far more inexpensive and cost efficient to run as well. Led light bulbs are 4 times cheaper to run than even the most up to date energy saving light bulbs and more than 20 times cheaper to run than conventional incandescent light bulbs.

There are pros and cons to all things and the lighting in your house is no different. As conventional filament lighting is being phased out around the world you will soon be faced with making a decision between led lighting and energy saving light bulbs. That is unless you buy a lifetimes supply of the old fashioned light bulbs before they go out of stock which some people may find impractical to say the least.

On the positive side for CFL low energy light bulbs is that they are fairly cheap to purchase, are widely available and the technology associated with them is continually improving. There are however many disadvantages to them. Many people think that they look ugly and oversized and won’t fit in smaller lamp fittings as well as poking out of the end of lampshades. Also lots of people don’t like the tone and quality of light that they give off complaining of eye strain and headaches caused by flickering. Although CFL bulbs are marketed as low energy they are by no means environmentally friendly. They contain mercury vapour which is a highly toxic and a very dangerous substance and the possibility of millions of CFL light bulbs being dumped in landfills each year and polluting the environment is very real. CFL light bulbs are now classified as hazardous waste in the UK and in other countries around the world and special measures should be taken when discarding them.

The main reason for switching to led lighting is their cost effectiveness and they are becoming cheaper all the time. The cost of lighting is dependent on what it costs to run the lights and not what it costs to buy them. Led lights and lamps can be run at a fraction of the cost of conventional bulbs and they will also last a whole lot longer too. The reason for this is that they use electricity far more efficiently. Old fashioned light bulbs waste 90% of the electricity they use giving out heat, led lights give out no heat and can be safely handled even when switched on. Unlike CFL light bulbs led lamps do not suffer from poor start times, ungainly sizes and they cause no threat to the environment and many people also prefer the light that led lamps give out as it is more natural than that from CFL bulbs.

The future is bright for led lighting (pardon the pun) as the lighting industry has all but stopped research into CFL bulbs and is now firmly committed itself to led lighting being the lighting of the future both in the home and in the workplace. The variety of uses that led lighting can be put too also adds another dimension to it as it is able to produce a vast array of colours and be able to be used in ways that conventional lighting cannot compete with.


Tips to Cleaning Vertical Blinds

When it comes to cleaning vertical blinds, there are a few things that you need to know. It is basically step by step. The first step is to remove the bottom chain and plates from the blinds. This will make it much easier to clean them, and will ensure that little pieces are not getting in your way, so you can get all the dirt.

Now you want to take the blinds off the top hooks, place them on top of each other as you remove each one, and then place the blinds into the washing machine. You may think that the washer would be too intense for the blinds and would ruin them, but really, as long as you put it on the gentle cycle, there should not be a problem and your blinds will come out just fine.

Next when you are cleaning vertical blinds you want to fill the washing machine with cold water, use light liquid soap, and let them soak. Then turn on the delicate cycle, and let it go through as normal. Once they are done, you will want to hang dry. Never use the dryer because this will be much too rough and may end up damaging the blinds.

Whether you are dealing with wood blinds or any other type of vertical blinds, as you can see, cleaning vertical blinds can be easy enough as long as you do it properly. These are just the basics, and if you want to have the most success when it comes to cleaning your blinds, you are going to need to educate yourself more.

Cleaning blinds of any sort is really not as easy as most people think, but you can get it done properly as long as you know what you are doing. The Internet is a great resource to take advantage of if you are looking for information such as this, so take a bit of time to check out what it has to offer and the information you are looking for.


Recycled Glass Tile

Bathroom and kitchen designs are often the focal points of today’s homes. Fixtures, colors, style and lighting are all elements often used in these spaces. For homeowners hoping to incorporate a unique design while being environment friendly, recycled glass can provide that to them.

The up and coming area for the use of glass is in recycled glass tiles. Most companies who are producing recycled glass tiles are using anywhere from 30% up to 100% post consumer waste of glass.

Recycled glass tiles are produced by melting down waste glass or unusable glass in a heated furnace in which the temperature will exceed over 2000 F. The molten glass is then stamped or poured into their appropriate mold, hand trimmed and even ground down to its form. The beauty of the recycled glass is that the variations in each tile is what gives it the their distinct characteristics.

Glass tiles can be used anywhere normal ceramic tiles would be installed. Recycled glass tiles have the benefit of being resistant to chemical and stains which makes it nice to be used in wet areas. Recycled Glass tiles can be used on floors, walls, backsplashes, countertops, tabletops and among other areas in your home.

The thing to remember about the recycled glass, is that about 80% of the glass tiles are transparent. This means when you are installing the glass tiles, make sure your background(area of installation) is painted white. When using your thinset(which you want to use white), you want to use a very small trowel for installation. This helps to eliminate the trowel marks that could be visible after the installation. The smaller the trowel the better. When using a smaller trowel, you press the glass tile mosaic it will flatten down the trowel and give it a smoother, cleaner look and install.

The color choices and available sizes for recycled glass tiles are growing every year. They even have solid, matte, iridescent, and clear colors available. Most common sizes available are 1″ x 1″ usually paper faced, and 1″ x 2″ paper faced as well. Keep in mind that there are companies that offer a much wider variety of sizes available. The thing to remember or consider about paper faced products is it does make it nicer for installation, however you do need to pay close attention to the product that you recieve. The most critical is taht of the iridescent colors. From the backside of the tile, you cannot tell if it is iridescent or not. To be safe I suggest peeling a couple of the glass tiles to make sure that you either have or do not have an iridescent glass tile, depending on what you order.

Using recycled glass tile in your home is a way to add color and beauty and also a way for you to help out our environment and keep some of the glass out of our landfills.

Tips to Design Your Apartment part 2

The modernist style has developed from technological household things and was expressed in the most different forms. For example, sofas and chairs which “are twisted” and asymmetrically creep away to the corners are also typical of the modernist style, as well as sofas of a strict geometrical style with harmonious, extended backs. By the way, well-known “Viennese” chairs, which are now on their way out almost in each summer cottage, appeared during this period.

For the art deco style straight lines or zigzag-bent lines are typical, as well as clearness and graphics of forms. It is distinguished from the rest by application of decorative elements in the form of zigzags, circles, triangles, suns, as well as rounded corners and strict vertical lines which recede from the form. The materials used in interiors of this style, – fabric, glass, bronze, ceramics, carpets covered with cubic patterns. Besides, as an ornament fans are often used, wrought-iron lattices, light wood, leather, marble and chrome plated details. It is the last “smart” style of the European capitals, ” the style of stars “.

The modern interior in the style of minimalism can be characterized by the use of only necessary objects. The most important thing to remember while creating such interiors is a competently planned space, which contains a lot of diffused, quiet light and air.

To create a sense of breadth and open space, premises are freed from internal partitions whenever possible. The color palette used is light, based on a play of semitones; there is a lot of white color in an interior, graphically underlined by black or grey.

Here simple natural finishing materials are used, often raw, with rough texture: bricks, concrete, wood or plaster. A sense of space is achieved both by means of color of the floor, a translucent fabric, sliding partitions made of glass, by means of local lighting in walls, a floor or a ceiling.

The forms of furniture are simple, too: sharp corners, no plastic lines. Sofas with rectangular pillows and rigid armrests, as well as armchairs
and chairs of a rectangular, almost cubic form.

The upholstery is light, self-colored with rare contrast “spots” – for example, pillows.

Use of metal in an interior gives it sharp modernity: metal table-tops in the kitchen, legs of chairs, rack posts. Modern interiors of the hi-tech style are created on the basis of combination of space and light, propagandizing aesthetics of the applied material and structure.

Of the hi-tech style dashing, direct lines are characteristic, as well as abundance of glass and metal details. Here the designs typical of industrial buildings (metal frames and technical communications are deliberately displayed) are applied.

Hi-tech, by itself, uses the most modern materials. They are glass, metal (these materials are the basic ones in finishing of premises), sometimes concrete, stone and natural wood are added. Complete absence of ornaments of interiors in the hi-tech style is compensated by “work” of a material when high quality of plastics is shown, easy alloys, new composite materials, color glossy and transparent surfaces (acryl stretched ceilings, crosspieces).

By the way, the hi-tech style is appropriate for small apartments. All the elements of an interior create a sense of economy of space here.

The last thing to point out is that very few people create an interior in one style nowadays. “Celebration of eclecticism “, a courageous combination of different styles, especially in different “zones” of one and the same apartment – in such a way it is possible to characterize a mainstream in modern design.