Archives August 2012

Discount Hardwood Floors

Hardwood floors do not come cheap. In fact, compared to concrete and synthetic materials, pure hardwood floors are more expensive, primarily because it comes from an exhaustible resource. It takes years for a tree to be fully grown and ready to become building material, but it only takes a few hours to mix concrete.
Thus, the concept of buying discount hardwood floors is a little far off. However, it would comfort you to know that it is not impossible. You can actually purchase pure hardwood flooring materials for a lower price, granted that you know where to find them.

The Internet is a haven for discount hardwood flooring resources. There are online hardware and woodwork stores that also offer lower-priced hardwood flooring. Placed against the regular hardwood floors that are available in the market today, these materials are around 30% to 40% cheaper. Thus, if you’re working under a tight budget, you can scour the Internet for them.

You may also want to check out local hardware stores to see if they are puting some of their older hardwood flooring stocks on sale. Since the production of hardwood flooring is a continuous process, new stocks regularly come in. And when these new stocks arrive, the existing stocks will naturally be pushed back and, eventually, sold on discount.

Are you amenable to buying used hardwood flooring materials? See, there are establishments that renovate and shift to concrete, rendering their hardwood floors, although still very much sturdy, useless. But instead of throwing them out, some owners choose to sell them at a discount. These may be a little difficult to find but, hey, who knows, someone in your neighborhood could be doing this.

Buying hardwood floors on discount does not mean that you are settling for lower quality. The quality of these materials remains the same, only that their seller probably has something newer or would like to shift to some other kind of building material. So, if you chance upon discount hardwood flooring, jump at the opportunity at once. Of course, before you make any purchases, check the material’s history first and scrutinize for any signs of decay and wear.

 


7 Things You Need To Know Before Buying A Mattress

Purchasing a mattress is the most important furniture purchase you’ll make because you spend more time on a mattress than on any other piece of furniture you own, unless you have a tendency to fall asleep every night in a recliner like my husband does.

The seven items below are things you should be aware of and to consider before you purchase a mattress since that mattress will be a huge factor in the quality of sleep you receive each evening.

1) Decide on a budget. The prices of mattresses vary a great deal. If price is your number one consideration you can find an inexpensive mattress and box spring set for a few hundred dollars. But I recommend buying the best mattress and box spring you can afford. When you buy a mattress you get what you pay for. My first two mattress purchases were based on price and I never really got a good night’s sleep. I saved and bought a high quality mattress a few years ago. It was a great buying decision. I now wake up feeling rested and refreshed, not tired and sore like I used to.

2) Decide what size mattress you are going to buy. If you are buying a mattress for a child a twin size mattress is fine, but if you are an adult and there are two people sleeping in your bed I don’t recommend going with anything smaller than a queen size bed. If you can afford a king-size bed and you have the room for it, I recommend it.

I now own a king size bed and it’s nice having enough space in bed to move around a little without disturbing my partner like I used to. In our old bed (a full size) I once accidentally hit my husband in the mouth in the middle of the night when I rolled over and flung my arm out. He was not a happy person! If you think a full-size mattress is big enough for two people consider this: a full size mattress gives each person the same amount of bed width as in a baby crib. Queen size mattresses are the most popular size but if two people are sleeping in a queen size bed each person still has 10 ½ inches less bed width than if they were sleeping by themselves in a twin bed.

The standard sizes of mattresses are: TWIN: 39″ wide, 75″ long; TWIN EXTRA LONG: 38″ wide; 80″ long; DOUBLE/FULL: 54″ wide, 75″ long; QUEEN: 60″ wide, 80″ long; KING: 76″ wide, 80″ long; CALIFORNIA KING: 72″ wide, 84″ long.

3) Test. Test. Test. Try out mattresses. Go to several stores and lay down on different mattresses. See what you find comfortable. A firm mattress isn’t always the best mattress. It depends on the individual. If you and your partner prefer different firmness levels look for a mattress that can have different firmness levels on each side. For example, I prefer a firmer mattress than my husband does so his side of the bed is less firm than mine. Comfort (as long as you are in your within the range of your budget) should be your number one consideration.

4) Don’t be too concerned about the words, firm, extra firm, etc. especially when looking at mattresses from different manufacturers. Firmness is not standardized in the mattress industry. One manufacturer’s “firm” mattress may actually be firmer than another manufacturer’s “extra firm” mattress. Look for comfort and support. You want to feel cradled and supported when you lay on a mattress. And don’t feel self-conscious about going into stores and lying on as many mattresses as you want. It’s the best way to tell if a mattress is or isn’t right for you. The best way to check out the mattress is to take off your shoes and your coat if you’re wearing on. Lying on a mattress with your coat and shoes on is not going to help you determine what mattress is right for you unless you plan on sleeping in your coat and shoes every night.

5) Warranty is important but not as important as you might think. A mattress with a 25 year warranty is great, but the life expectancy of a great quality mattress is only about 10 years. You want a warranty to protect you from defects and problems. To me a sleep guarantee is more important than a long warranty. What I mean by a sleep guarantee is that you are given a period of time to try out your mattress. For example, some stores and manufacturers give sleep guarantees of up to 90 days although 30 days is the most common. If during that time you decide the mattress you purchased is not right for you, you are able to either exchange it or return it for a refund.

For example, when I purchased my last mattress from a sleep specialty store that custom builds each mattress (Verlo), it came with a 60 day sleep guarantee or trial period. If we didn’t like the mattress the store would come to our house, pick up the mattress, take it back to their factory and rebuild it for us. I liked that peace of mind. After sleeping on our mattress for a few weeks I decided my side was a little too firm. We called the store where we bought it and made an appointment for them to come and pick it up. The store picked up our mattress in the morning, took it to their store/factory, rebuilt it, and returned it late the same day. They did this so we wouldn’t be without a mattress to sleep on.

6) Get familiar with the following terms: innerspring and box spring (also called the foundation). Innerspring mattresses are, by far, the most common type of mattress purchased. An innerspring mattress is made with tempered steel coils encased in layers of cushioning and upholstery. The box spring or foundation is what the mattress sits on. It’s generally not considered a good idea to put a new mattress on an old box spring. A manufacturer’s box spring and mattress are designed to work together to give you the best product. In addition, many manufacturers will void their warranty if a mattress is not placed on the box spring that is designed to go with it.

7) Know what choices you have besides the traditional innerspring and box spring sets. There are other viable options depending on what you are looking for. Those options include foam mattresses, futons, airbeds, adjustable beds, and waterbeds.

Foam mattresses a foam mattress can be made of solid foam piece or may be composed of several layers of different types of foam. Some foam mattresses have a top layer that is composed of memory foam that remembers the shape of your body and conforms to it.

Futons futon beds are basically a frame with a folding mattress on it. A futon can function as both a sofa and a bed. Most futons come with a standard 6 inch foam mattress, which isn’t very comfortable if the futon is going to be a person’s primary bed. If the futon is going to be a primary bed a better option is to purchase an innerspring mattress for the bed. Several manufacturers make innerspring mattresses for futons. The innerspring mattresses are more expensive but are also a whole lot more comfortable. If an innerspring mattress is out of your price range, try to at least upgrade to an 8 inch foam mattress.

Airbed an airbed is just what it sounds like a bed full of air. Most airbeds are touted as being portable, easy to set-up, and easy to store after use. I have an airbed at my house for use as an extra mattress during the holidays when we always seem to have more overnight guests than beds. Today’s airbeds are a lot more than inflatable pieces of plastic. Our airbed has a pillow top mattress which makes it surprisingly comfortable. Some airbeds have adjustable firmness levels and/or a heated top to make them more comfortable.

Adjustable beds an adjustable bed is a lot like a hospital bed because it allows you to adjust the head and foot of the bed to your liking. Adjustable beds come in all sizes and the larger sizes have separate controls for each side of the bed.

Waterbeds today’s waterbeds are more sturdy than the wobbly water-filled mattresses from the 70’s that you could get seasick on. The latest designs are built to look like an innerspring/box spring set. The interior of the mattress has layers of baffling and upholstery to provide support and comfort (http://www.mattressespro.com/watermattress).

There are a lot of choices in mattresses today. If you do a little research and become familiar with the different types of mattresses available to you before you start to shop, the task of finding the right mattress for you will be easier.

 


5 Ways To Dress Up Your Bath, In A Flash, For Little Cash!

 
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Often the bathroom is one of the most overlooked rooms in the home when it comes to decorating. We tend to see it as a utilitarian space, even though we spend quite a lot of time here. (More, if you have teenagers!) Take an afternoon to turn your bath into a relaxing and soothing retreat for yourself and your guests, without spending a lot of cash.

1. Paint the whole room, including the ceiling a deep, rich color. Even though this is a small room, a deep color on the walls allows them to fade away, and at once makes the room cozy and seems more spacious.

2. Get rid of the clutter! If you can’t get most of the makeup and shaving cream under the sink, (and who can?) pick up a few baskets from the dollar shop and corral them in. Make sure there is a hamper. If you are short on space, use the kind that hangs on the back of the door. A large drawstring bag would work for this also. (He might actually even use it…ok, it’s a dream.)

3. Dress up that large frameless mirror. Hang swags of fabric from cup hooks to hide and soften the edges of the mirror, and to give it a “frame”. Or actually use cut lengths of 1×4 lumber, and attach them to the wall over the edges of the mirror to simulate a real wood frame. You can paint or stain them as well to coordinate with your cabinets.

4. Speaking of cabinets, how about giving them a quick redo? Paint them black for a sophisticated look, or white with sponge painting for a country theme. Try any of the hot faux finishes. You can even paint the Formica counters. Just clean well and use a special primer first such as BIN or KILZ. Then seal with 4-6 coats of polyurethane after the paint dries. Should last for years!

5. Lastly, add some detail to the room. Sew fabric edging to your towels, add a shell for a soap dish, and stitch up a pretty shower curtain to cover that vinyl one. Hang some calendar pictures on the wall in dollar store frames…perhaps of a faraway place you can dream about as you soak away your cares? If you have natural light in the room from a window, add a plant or two.

Now light up some candles, turn on some music, and fill the bath with sweet smelling bubbles. Your getaway awaits!

 


5 Ways To Brighten Up Your Bedroom, For Free!

The bedroom is the place we spend most of our time, yet also tends to be the most neglected when it comes to decorating. Nowadays, money may be a significant factor! Here are some great tips for brightening up your space with no money at all!

1.Rearrange! A new fresh arrangement always makes a room feel new. Don’t be afraid to try new angles for your furniture…place your bed on a diagonal, or even right in the middle of the room!

2. Search your drawers for scarves, tablecloths, or even pillowcases that compliment your color scheme. You can use things you already own to soften a dresser top or the edge of your nightstand, or perhaps lay a pretty shawl over the foot of the bed. If you already have throw pillows on your bed (if you don’t, it’s time to steal them from another room!) you can also wrap these fabrics around the pillows for a new look, and just safety pin it in back.

3. Add a plant to your room. Look around your house to see if one of your existing plants would be happier in your bedroom, then move it there! If you can’t find a plant ready for relocation, make one! Many plants can be grown from cuttings, either your existing houseplants, one a friend may let you cut, or even some outdoor plants. Ivy and many shade groundcovers are very good houseplants. You can even relive your childhood a bit and grow a cut potato, pineapple, or carrot tops in a pinch! For containers, look into your kitchen cupboards. Old teapots and cups, glass bowls, even baking dishes can make unique containers.

4. Add memorabilia to your room. I keep a photo of each one of my children when they were small next to my bedside, and it always makes me smile. How about hanging your wedding veil from the headboard, or framing your wedding invitation or old love letters?

5.Add scent. If you don’t have any potpourri or incense in the house, cut up some orange peels and allow to dry, then mix with whatever sweet spices you have in your cupboard. (It only takes a pinch, try cinnamon, ginger, or allspice.) Place your potpourri in an open bowl in your room to freshen and inspire! Later in the summer, make sure to include flowers in your room, if you don’t have roses or other scented flowers in your yard, roadside daisies can smell great too!

Just a few small changes, no money involved, and a better, more positive place for you to start and end each day!

 


7 Fast And Easy Summer Decorating Ideas For Any Budget!

Summer decorating should add freshness to your home, not bog you down with more projects during an already busy season. Here are 11 of The Budget Decorator’s top easy, fast and cheap summer decorating ideas.

1. If you want to add color to a room fast, paint is a great option. To save time and money however, try just painting the focal wall in a room. In most average rooms, you can paint just one wall in less than an hour!

2. Instead of sewing up new pillow covers and tablecloths, try using no sew techniques instead. Pillows can be wrapped in a piece of unfinished fabric on the diagonal like a present, and wrapped with decorative ribbon to secure it. Use duct tape to put a temporary hem in flat sheets or older tablecloths to make them fit your end tables and breakfast nooks. Once you have those tables covered, use cardboard boxes pushed under the tables to hide the kids toys and books and flip flops, but keep them handy. The floor length tablecloths will hide the storage area.

3. Take a box around the room and pick up all your knick knacks and collectibles. Now replace just three of your favorite items or collections. You will appreciate the less cluttered look, and the decrease in dusting chores as well!

4. If you love fresh flowers in your home, but hate the time and expense of changing the arrangements, find a sunny spot in your yard and toss out some sunflower seeds! Many varieties leave no pollen on your tables, are foolproof to grow, make your yard look great, and can last up to 10 days in a vase…all for the cost of a packet of seed!

5. Take down your layered window treatments and pick up your area rugs for a cool, clean look for summer. Be sure to leave mini blinds or sheers on your windows for privacy and light control.

6. Clean the glass in all areas for your home! The shiny surfaces in your home reflect light and sparkle, both contribute to a fresh summer look. Don’t forget your tv screens, kitchen appliances, and even picture frame glass. Try this one technique, and see if your rooms don’t look brighter and cheerier, for no more cost that an little effort a few pennies of glass cleaner or vinegar!

7. Finally, mix up your décor a bit for a fresh take on the rooms you’ve spent so much time in these winter months! Move around some furniture, borrow and lend pieces from other rooms. Use clear strings of holiday light over the top of cabinets for sparkle. Bring out your good china and hang it on the wall as art. Put your toaster or bread machine under the cabinets for a cleaner look. Feel free to take down some wall art and store it for next fall. Paint your aging dining set a bright white.

Whatever you do to bring the summer season into your homes, make sure that you pick a couple of ideas from this list, and give them a try. They are fast, easy and cheap, what could you lose?

 


7 best ways to get Home Improvement loan

Home Improvement projects are widely popular credited to the growth of TV series and designer shows. While smaller projects top the list of frequency, such as painting and decorating, all home improvement projects can add up quickly. The savvy shopper will not only shop around for the best deal on fabric, but on home improvement loans as well. There are many reasons why people go for home improvement loans, and just as many ways in which to do so. Common borrowing purposes can basically be divided into two categories. The first would cover things such as buying clothes and other purchases on credit cards, using store credit, and taking advantage of buy now pay later or other store financing offers, or perhaps borrowing to pay for a holiday.

The many toget Home Improvement loans are as follows:

1. Personal Loans: Most home owners meet their home improvement loans requirement for home improvement through personal loans. This can save thousands in interest payments. Though mostly widely preferred, the interest rates are subject to market conditions.

2. Secured loan: Secured loan or mortgage can be taken out as secured loans against the equity in your property. This will enable you to take out a more substantial home improvement loans than you would get with an unsecured loan, and you can also enjoy lower monthly repayments and better interest rates.

3. Dealer financing: Whether you want to get central heating fitted or have all the doors replaced, or whether you want to redecorate throughout, have a new kitchen or bathroom, or any other type of home improvement, the dealer from who you buy the goods will finance you with home improvement loans and you repay the principle inclusive of a high rate of interest.

4. Home Improvement Mortgage Refinance: Many homeowners are refinancing to lock in attractive long term fixed interest rates, and thereby using the extra money to pay for remodeling projects. With this type of home improvement loan, you can schedule repayment for 20 or 30 years into the future, and the interest is tax deductible. However, one drawback is that because you’ll be repaying the money slowly the accumulated interest can be quite significant.

5. Home Equity Loans: A Home Equity Loan allows you to borrow against the value of your home and is also one of the smartest ways to finance home improvements. Although one major drawback is that if you default on your payment, you run the risk of losing your home, so paying these loans back in a responsible manner is an absolute must.

6. Bank Loans: Regular Consumer Bank Loans come in handy as home improvement loans, especially for those home owners who need to borrow relatively small amounts of money without much paperwork or delay. These loans usually need to be paid back within a few years, rather than a few decades.

7. Low interest fixed rate loans: Homeowners, including those who have little or no equity in their property, may be eligible for a low interest fixed rate home improvement loan to fund repairs. Which ever way you may choose to meet your home improvement loan it should suit you’re your budget and timeline. Look for monthly payments that you can easily manage, and an interest rate and schedule of repayment that meets both your short and long term goals.

 


6 Tips to Stop Mold Growing in Your Home

It is normal to find mold spores in a homes indoor air and surfaces such as clothes, walls, and furniture. Most of the time mold spores found indoors are from outside sources. Regular housekeeping cleaning helps keep mold levels low. Cleaning small areas of visible mold, like the mold around your shower, is obligatory to maintain sanitary conditions.

When you should be more concerned is when your home has a large-scale of active mold growing. Such problems are most likely to happen when there’s been an on-going water leak, flood, or excessively high levels of humidity in the home. Indoor mold growth may lead to high levels of airborne mold spores, which, in turn, can trigger the spread of mold growth from the original source to additional areas of the home having high moisture levels.

Extensive mold growth will damage your home and furnishings, like carpets, sofas and cabinets. Over a period of time, uncontrolled mold growth can even instigate damage to structural elements of your home. While there is no practical way to eliminate all mold and mold spores in the indoor environment, keeping your home clean and dry can avert extensive mold growth and the ensuing damage.

Damage to your home and possessions is not the only reason to be concerned with mold. Although most people are exposed to small amounts of mold or their spores on a daily basis without apparent harm, mold is an unsanitary condition that may present potential health risks to certain individuals.

Possible adverse health effects produced by molds can include allergic, irritating, or toxigenic effects, and even infections, allergic reactions being the most common. Symptoms reported by affected people include: respiratory conditions, such as wheezing, difficulty breathing, and shortness of breath, sneezing and/or nasal congestion, eye and/or throat irritation, headaches and fatigue.

Here are a few tips to keep moisture from becoming a breeding ground in your home for molds.

1. Ensure that bathrooms, dryers and other moisture-creating sources are vented to the outside

2. Take care not to block any of your house’s air conditioning vents

3. Install de-humidifiers in basements and crawlspaces.

4. Use your kitchen’s exhaust fans when cooking

5. Install insulation on cold surfaces like piping, air ducts or basement walls to lessen possibilities of condensation

6. Install moisture sensor alarms in potential water back-up and overflow areas to alert you when a leak occurs.