Beat the Heat With These Essential Pre-Summer Home Upgrades

With summer coming up soon, homeowners all across the northern hemisphere are preparing their homes for the inevitable heat. They’re installing fans, replacing air conditioning, changing their windows and even decluttering the house so they have more space to move around. If everyone else is making changes, then why aren’t you? Unless you want to sweat throughout the hot summer months and make it hard to do anything at home, here are a couple of essential pre-summer home upgrades to help you overcome the heat.

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Ceiling Fans

If you don’t have one already, then you’ve probably been kicking yourself to get one for the past few years. A ceiling fan moves hot air down and helps it circulate around your rooms. They don’t rotate as quickly as desk fans or cooling fans and they aren’t made to actually cool the air like an air conditioning unit. Instead, it simply helps to circulate the cool air better and creates a breeze that we all long for during the hot summer temperatures. If you’re going to install a ceiling fan, then make sure it’s a reputable one such as Casablanca fans and ensure they have a switch on the fan to change the rotation. This is because ceiling fans can be used to help during the summer as well as the winter.

Repair and Service Your Air Conditioner

The last thing you want is for your air conditioner to break down just as the hot summers come rolling in. If your air conditioner is somewhat old then it might be worth the effort to completely replace it. This is because you don’t want your air conditioning unit to break down a few into a hot day. Repair and maintenance costs might also be lower during off-season days, so ensure you’re not delaying it. The filter may also need to be changed. Depending on the type of air conditioning unit you use, you might not be able to change it yourself, so ensure you call someone to help you get your unit in working condition. You may also want to upgrade your thermostat so that your air conditioning unit has a more accurate and reliable reading to work with.

Add a Film to Your Windows

Window films are simple upgrades that will help you reduce the amount of heat entering your home without compromising the amount of light that also enters. These solar control window films are fantastic for the summer because they make a significant different in the temperature of your home especially if you’re living in an area that gets a lot of sunlight. Not only does it reduce the temperature in your house, but it also shields you from harmful UV rays and makes you rely less on electricity in order to keep your home cool. These come in various shades and strengths which is helpful if you also want to reduce the amount of light coming in. Most companies will send you samples of each film they offer in order to convince you and allow you to test how effective they are.

Unique Home Upgrades You’ll Love

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Taking the time to plan home renovations is probably one of the most exciting aspects of being a homeowner. You may not have bought your dream home initially, but you can make as many changes as you like to turn it into the house you’ve always dreamed of owning. Your home is somewhere you need to be able to relax and so you want it to look as perfect as it can. This can include anything from coving and crown moulding in the living room, to a swirly whirlpool jacuzzi bath. Whatever you need to upgrade your space, you should do.

Upgrading your house can include all the regular changes, such as kitchen upgrades and giving your house curb appeal, but what about the more unique upgrades you could make to transform the space? If you like to make things unique in your home and you have the budget to do it, you absolutely should. We’ve put together some unique home upgrade ideas so you can have your pick of the bunch:

It’s all about conversation in your living room. Lowering the floor to create a conversation pit seating area like this one will take some work, but once it’s done you will have created one of the best social areas a house can have. Your living room should be warm, cosy and yet airy enough to be well-ventilated. If you have the luxury of high ceilings, bring some nature indoors and decorate with potted plants and beautiful flower arrangements. This’ll offset the cosiness of your new conversation pit in your living room.

If you have the luxury of a conservatory or decking outside, adding a hot tub is never a bad idea. Hot tubs used to be the mark of the wealthy but there are so many affordable options out there. It’s always better to install a hot tub outside the house instead of having one in your upstairs bathroom, as you then reduce the risk of flooding. You’ll have questions to ask when your home floods so if you can make upgrades that avoid this, do so. Having a hot and bubbly hot tub in the back garden should be a pleasure rather than a pain so if you mess with any plumbing, have a professional come in and do any installations for you.

When you have a family, your kitchen becomes a twenty-four-hour washing and drying space. Not only are you up to your eyeballs in laundry, but the dishes from the endless cooking and mealtimes can really pile up. It’s not unique to have a dishwasher, but it’s very unique to have two! You can get double drawer dishwashers like these, or just have them placed in different areas of the room. Your kitchen should be a hub of activity but that doesn’t mean you have to be Cinderella! Let one start washing while you load the other, and you’ll never physically wash a dish again.

Are you looking to do a huge remodel? Getting in the contractors so you can play cruise director rather than building yourself is a good idea. Think about what you want for your home and ask your contractors to tack on a guest house or an intricately built treehouse to your home. A guesthouse is the perfect addition to your home if you have guests over a lot and once you’ve all exhausted the fun in the conversation pit and had a relax in the hot tub, that guest house would be so much better than having people head to a hotel.

Bookworms among you will love the idea of a reading nook and installing a hidden nook under the stairs in the house can feel creative and secretive all at once. Add in some shelving and comfy pillows with some centred lighting for the perfect ambience. You don’t have to own an entire library a la Beauty and The Beast, but a small nook with blankets and cosiness for you to curl up in could be the perfect area of relaxation, and you haven’t even renovated too much!

One of the best luxuries when you stay away from home is a wet room in a hotel. The ability to walk in to your shower and not have any glass to clean afterward is amazing. Fully tiling your shower room and adding in jet washes is definitely a unique aspect to a house that you wouldn’t normally find. You can even transform the tiniest bathroom into a walk-in shower room. The luxury that’ll ooze from a room like this can make you feel pride in your home you wouldn’t have previously felt.

Unique upgrades happen all over the house but in the kitchen, you could make your rubbish disposal far more interesting by installing chutes in your kitchen. One for regular trash and one for recycling and you can funnel these straight into your garage, making your life so much easier. There’s no more emptying trash cans and dragging them through the house and into the garage when you can just make life easy with chutes.

If you are lucky enough to already have a laundry room in your home, then making changes here can change your whole laundry experience. Installing a sink with jets in your laundry room can be the best place for handwashing the delicate items in your basket. You should also add a counter top of baskets for the smalls in the home as it will make life easier when washing, drying, folding and sorting socks. Upgrades should be about making your life easier and this is the best way to do that.

Your home is the place you can have anything you want as long as you have the budget for it. You should go as above and beyond as you can for your home. After all, you’ll be the one living in it!

Luxury Features That Will Make Your Home The Ultimate Relaxation Haven

Your home should be more than just somewhere to come home to at the end of a long and hectic day; it should be a space that you love, a luxurious place. Your home should allow you to feel lavished and spoilt; it should give you the chance to relax and unwind quickly and easily. Think opulence. Think extravagance. Think luxury.

When you think about the word ‘luxury’ what comes to mind? Because the features that come to mind are the things that you should aim to incorporate into your home to make it a more luxurious and relaxing space. With that in mind, below are some examples of features that you could consider adding to your home to make it a more relaxing and luxurious space.

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Hot tub, sauna and swimming pool

What could be more relaxing and luxurious than a hot tub, sauna or swimming pool, or all three of these things? If you’ve got plenty of space in your garden, then building a sauna or swimming pool or adding a hot tub could be an option. You can opt to have the pool and hot tub outside, or you can incorporate a covering over them, depending on what you would prefer and how often you would like to use them. If you are going to add a covering to these areas, consider incorporating strip lights to add a warm glow to the room, creating a more calm and tranquil atmosphere. It’s also important that heating is taken into consideration, as there’s nothing less luxurious than a hot tub or pool area that’s cold, is there?

Meditation room

All of the most luxurious homes are fitted with tranquil meditation rooms. These are usually marble affairs that have a stereo, some floor cushions, and some scented candles dotted about. If you are desperate for a meditation room but have no room inside your home, perhaps you could build a summerhouse to use as a meditation room? Having somewhere to relax and unwind is crucial if you want your home to have a wonderfully luxurious vibe to it.

Outdoor kitchen

In luxury homes, having a well designed indoor kitchen just isn’t enough, an outdoor kitchen is also required. The fact is that when it comes to hosting BBQs and summer parties, having an outdoor kitchen can come in incredibly handy. All an outdoor kitchen needs is a sink with running water, an outdoor grill, and an area for preparing food on. So building an outdoor kitchen doesn’t have to be a nightmare, it’s just a case of being willing to invest in the space and realising that it will add value to your home, so is worth the time and money. You can opt to cover your outdoor kitchen or have it completely open air, depending on where you live and what the weather gets like.

There you have it, a guide to the luxury features that will make your home the ultimate relaxation haven, and a place that you look forward to coming home to at the end of a long and hectic day.

Why Your Dream Home Isn’t Out Of Reach

If you’re the type of person that thinks the home of your dreams is out of reach – there are plenty of reasons why you are wrong. It might be that the home of your dreams is closer than you realize!

One of the first things that you need to do when attempting to grasp the home of your dreams to check your expectations. If budget and realism is constricting your ideas, then you might need to bring your dreams and ideas back down to ground! Bankrupting yourself in the pursuit of a dream home isn’t a good idea, is it? Anyway, a more grounded dream home that isn’t the Palace of Versailles will be easier to design, and build while being cheaper. This makes it plenty more affordable, which makes the home cheaper. This means it is closer to being an actual home that you can live in rather than being a dream.

Then comes the planning. Planning is where you get your dreams and ideas down on paper. While you can do this yourself, it’s a good idea to only handle this phase on your own if you have a mindset and the skills that can lead to an actual home being designed. This isn’t for the realm of fantasy – designs need to be realistic and mathematical in nature – if you lack the skills you need to consult professional constructors and architects. There are even agencies who specialise in the design of family homes. These are the people that can take your ideas and transform these ideas and wishes into realistic plans – something you can take forward into actuality.

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The actual building of the home is something best left to professionals, especially so if building from scratch. It’s not impossible to develop a plot of land on your own, but it certainly is hard, laborious work and even though you might very well have the skills to build, you might lack the experience or knowhow to resolve issues. Leave it to a professional team who can actually carry out the work. Good professionals as well, so read the reviews and work with experience. Don’t skimp on cost here.

If you do want to get into DIY – this is something you can do, without building from scratch. It might be that your current abode just needs a few tweaks and renovations to become the home of your dreams. DIY is something that should be relatively risk free, but be sure to not push your abilities too far. Start out with simple skills, like tiling and painting before moving onto more demanding tasks. Learning these skills is a great way to be handy.

With a good budget, realistic expectations, great designs, a good team and the willingness to work hard, the home of your dreams might be closer than you could have ever expected. It will remain out of reach if your plans are too lofty and grandiose, so bring everything back to Earth and actually dream up a home that can actually be realized.

Funky Kitchen Upgrades For A Modern Home

When it comes to the rooms in your home that you upgrade the most, your kitchen is probably quite high up on that list. Why? Well, simply because we use this room the most. In fact, kitchens have developed over time to become pretty multi-functional. Whereas once they would have been a space purely dedicated to cooking (with dining and socializing activities going on in other parts of the home), now we use them for a multitude of different things. Often, we use them as a dining room with a table in, as the concept of the ‘dining room’ has died out somewhat as houses become more compact. Equally, we use them for catching up with friends and family in over a cup of tea (or a glass of wine!) and even for hosting parties in. The versatility of the kitchen, therefore, should never be underestimated. For all of these reasons and more, it is also the room in your house that holds the most value, so any changes you make to it can be seen as an investment. If you have recently noticed a growing difference between your own kitchen and the ones you see in magazines and online (or even in real life at your friend’s houses)  it could be a sign that something needs to change. But how exactly can you bring your aging kitchen into the 21st century? Here are a few amazing gadgets and luxury upgrades that will make you never want to leave your kitchen ever again!

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An at-home bar


We already know that kitchens are perfectly designed for entertaining in. After all, how many times have you hosted a gathering or a house party and despite the myriad of other rooms in your home, everyone has ended up congregating in the kitchen? Whether you like this or not, you may as well run with it, as it’s not likely to change anytime soon! Therefore, a home bar could be a great addition to your kitchen that will make your parties and gatherings the talk of the neighborhood. It shows you are sophisticated and makes entertaining at home so much easier. Plus, what with so many of us shunning nights out for nights in, there has never been a better time to make this change to your kitchen. Sure, you may not be a bartender by trade, but it’s never too late to learn and impress your guests! You can always just buy a ready-made home bar, but if you want to save a few pennies, you could easily make one yourself too. Just get hold of an old cabinet or shelving unit, give it a lick of paint, and there you have the basis of your bar! From there, you will just need some quirky extras, such as some stylish glassware and a cocktail making kit. If you are hosting a special event, you could even make your own drinks menus and display them on the bar – kind of like a ‘specials’ list. Don’t forget to stock up on syrups and garnishes, so you have a whole range of different drinks at your fingertips.

Taps that do everything

We are used to the very basic function of the kitchen tap – it’s either on or off, and it’s either hot or cold. You might think that’s all you need from a tap, but when there are so many other options now available on the market, what’s stopping you from indulging in some amazing water technology? The hottest new gadget of the moment has got to be the instant hot water tap, which means you won’t need to buy a kettle ever again. When you consider that the average kettle takes three years to boil, resulting in around 18 hours a year of kettle-wait time, this could easily be in the running for most convenient gadget of the last few years. It can also save you a lot of money too, as you only use the exact amount of water needed for your cup, rather than filling the kettle for just one cup of coffee. There are also other tap-related gadgets that you can invest in, such as taps that dispense slush and ice on demand. When you’re having some laid back drinks on your patio in the midsummer heat, a refreshing slushie can sometimes be just the ticket. Often you can buy fridges with these kinds of dispensers already-built-in, or failing that, you can get a standalone machine.

A warming drawer

When you are entertaining guests at your own dinner party, it can often be easy to feel the pressure. There is always so much to do, and all too often we can become panicked and stressed throughout the cooking process. The last thing you want to do is to be so preoccupied with a side dish or serving up drinks, that you leave your main dish out and it’s cold by the time you serve it – especially if you have been planning this evening for a while. For these instances, a warming drawer can be your best friend. You may recognize them from programmes such as the Great British Bake Off, where they are frequently used to help cakes rise and keep them warm during the preparation stages. Now, more and more homes are jumping on the bandwagon and getting their own warming drawers to help accommodate their lifestyles. Spent the evening cooking a luxury meal for your partner, only to find that they are going to be home late from work again? No matter – simply pop their portion in the warming drawer, and it will remain heated until they get in, without becoming overcooked while you’re at it. In fact, if you are someone who struggles with timings in the kitchen altogether, a warming drawer should be an absolute must in your home. What you end up choosing depends on two things: how high you want the temperature inside the drawer to reach, and how much room you have in your kitchen to accommodate it. These drawers are also ideal for baking bread in and even defrosting food, so they really are one of the most multi-functional pieces of equipment you could have in your kitchen.

A cutting board rubbish chute

Fancy cutting out the middle man when it comes to disposing of your rubbish while cooking? A messy workspace during meal preparation can often be enough to sway even the most relaxed of chefs, and constant trips to the bin can easily throw you off your schedule. Make all this a thing of the past by considering a built-in chopping board that leads directly down to your in-kitchen trash can. This means that you can rid your surface of debris as you go, leading to a much more focused and organized preparation area. You could even have multiple ones installed for different types of food – i.e. one for meat and one for vegetables. This is especially important when it comes to avoiding cross-contamination, which could potentially be very dangerous for your and your family. Even if your chopping boards are built-in, always make sure you clean them well after every use to rid them of any lingering bacteria. You may not be totally convinced on any or all of these kitchen upgrades, but remember what was mentioned earlier – the kitchen is the most valuable room in the house, so it is definitely worth upgrading it as you see fit.

Domestic Disasters, And What To Do About Them

Although most of us are lucky enough to live in an area that isn’t at much risk of a massive natural disaster, there are still a range of smaller emergencies that can strike your home, causing all kinds of stress, expensive repairs, and embarrassment. Sometimes this is down to plain bad luck, but there are some domestic disasters that you can take steps to tackle and prevent. Here are some of the most common, and what you can do to repair and avoid them.

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Damaged Roof or Gutter

If your roof is damaged, it can be extremely expensive to repair. However, when you’re facing this issue, it’s essential that you have it repaired by a licensed and well-reputed professional. Click here to see a list of recommended roofing contractors. On the other hand, if your gutter and downpipe is clogged, this is much easier to fix by yourself. The first thing you should do is look for leaves. They can build up in gutters surprisingly quickly during the autumn, and slow down their drainage massively. A ladder, a refuse bag, and a brush can make easy work of all the leaves up there. Remembering to do this on a fairly regular basis will keep your drainage working efficiently all year around.

Broken or Burst Hot Water System

Hot water is such a standard part of life that it can be easy to forget how much you rely on it, for baths, showers, cleaning dishes, and all the rest. The average water heating system has a functional lifespan of 10-15 years. If you’re only starting to notice that yours is beginning to act up, it may be time to buy a new one, hiring a licensed installer to set it up. However, if you know that the heating system has only been part of the home for a few years, and you’re noticing problems and inconsistencies, you may need to hire in an appliance repair service. Click here to find out more about these services. If the issue is in the heating elements themselves, you may be able to fix the issue yourself. Just remember that there’s a risk that you’ll damage the system, so take your time and source all the information you can.

Locking yourself Out

This is probably the most embarrassing home disaster to make the list, and one that a lot of people will experience at one time or another. Whether your kid has scampered ahead of you when you were just coming home, you were taking out the trash and forgot to prop the door open, or you lose your keys on a big night out, this is one of the most frustrating disasters you can experience at home. There’s a quick and easy way to prevent this; hide a spare key somewhere you can access around the outside of the home. This poses a slight security risk, but there’s bound to be some decent hidey hole on your property. This one little precaution can save you from a massive locksmith’s fee!

Very Simple Changes For A Dramatic Interior Design Revamp

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Every few years our homes start to look a little tired. This could be something as simple as fingerprints on the paint, or it could be that your interior design is a little dated. Whatever the reason, our homes should be something we are proud of. However, most of us can’t afford dramatic changes to keep up with our tastes and the style trends.  Not to worry, we have some simple changes that will give your home a whole new feel.

First up is your paint. A freshly painted home sends out a positive message. Clean and crisp walls make you look tidy, and your home almost seems to breathe cleaner.  If you have opted for something like Farrow & Ball, then it is going to cost you a lot of money to keep on top of your paintwork. So, when decorating always go for the best value for money paint, you can afford. Ultra flat matte looks really chic and luxurious; however, it will be much harder to keep looking fresh. A silk emulsion, however, will be easier to wash down should your dog shake his mud all over the hallway. Find a brand which suits you and fits your budget, then get painting and keep your home looking fresh.

Our hallways are another area which we often neglect. Leaving them full of clutter and overflow, some of us even dump the vacuum cleaner out in the lobby! However, your hall is the first place you see when you come in from a horrible day at work. It is also the first place your guests will see too. So making an effort to have a dazzling entrance will give you an instant lift. Your front door should be painted too, or even just washed down. Simple changes here can have a massive impact. Opt for furniture which doubles as storage and look at some of the ingenious storage solutions on the internet, like these stairs which double as storage compartments. If you have a glass panel on your door, then use screening glass or window film. This will give you better security too as people won’t be able to look into your home. It also means you aren’t blocking out natural light.

Upcycling has taken a real shine in the spotlight recently, and craft paint sales have risen by a massive 78 per cent in the last couple of years, proving that more people than ever and making good of what they have and creating something new. You could inject a little more personality into your room by painting a piece of furniture a neon shade. This would make a bold statement and wouldn’t cost you as much as buying a new bit of furniture.

If your kitchen is looking a little tired, then you can take two routes to achieve a huge change. Firstly, for darker wooden units you can simply take some paint and replace the color scheme in your kitchen. Taking old wooden oak doors and painting them white or a pale gray will really bring your whole kitchen bang up to date. Plus it won’t have cost you much at all. If you don’t have wooden doors, then you could simply change the doors themselves, instead of revamping the whole kitchen. You can also change your kitchen tops too. If you look on Ebay, you may find reduced rate kitchen cut-offs. This is an excellent way to modify the look of your kitchen!

One really simple way to alter the feel of your living room or bedroom is to change your soft furnishings completely. You could go for something new like these from montgomery.co.uk, or you could try to make your own if you are looking to save money. Adding different color cushions to your rooms will give you a whole new feel and can dramatically change the way it feels. Going with a full drop curtain instead of a blind will bring the room together and make it cozier

You can also make small changes such as swapping the handles on drawers, cupboards and your doors!

These are all very simple ideas which will give you that revamp you have been looking for. You don’t have to change everything all in one go, take your time and move room by room. Pretty soon you will have the home of your dreams, and it will be easy to change it up again should you fancy it in a few years.