Browsing Category: "Home Improvement"

The Ups & Downs Of Home Ownership

For the majority of people, home ownership is the goal in life. There is something so very secure about the feeling of being a homeowner, of knowing that you have your own place in the world that is just yours. You don’t have to worry about what your landlord will think if you decide to put up artwork and you can make decisions regarding your own decor like never before. It’s no wonder ownership is the goal for so many people.

Of course… then there’s the downside.

The truth is that home ownership is not a cure-all, a guarantee that life from this point onwards will be simple. There are moments when a homeowner will desperately wish for the freedom of renting again; perhaps even to the point they wish they were back living with their parents.

So if you’re contemplating your first purchase – or have already bought, and just want to know others go through the same range of emotions as you do – then it’s worth taking the time to examine the ups and the downs.

UP: Your Status Is Improved

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There is something about the mere idea of being a homeowner that makes people take you a little bit more seriously. You have proven that you are able to convince a bank to lend you money, so you must be a serious, reliable person. You have undertaken a huge responsibility, and there’s no doubt about it: you will be treated differently – better – because of it.

You’ll find it easier to secure finance in the future, be it for a car or poor credit homeowner loans to spend on household renovations. You will also be offered preferable rates by insurance companies. So yes, there’s definitely a status boost to being a homeowner.

DOWN: You’re Responsible If Something Goes Wrong

If you have a problem with an aspect of a house while renting, it’s not really your problem. If the boiler breaks down or a window needs replacing, your entire involvement is based around calling the landlord and then waiting for them to do the work.

If you’re a homeowner, you have to rectify these – often expensive – problems yourself. It’s not an enjoyable experience. You have to learn to have an emergency fund on hand for those sudden, unavoidable household repairs, as well as the knowledge that you can’t just move out if the problems become intolerable.

UP: The Sense Of Permanence

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Even if you live in a rented home for a long period of time, it is rarely with a feeling of permanence. You are always subject to the whims of the landlord. They might decide to sell, to raise your rent, or just to evict you to use the house for their own purposes.

As a homeowner, providing you pay your mortgage, the only person whose whims you are subject to is you. You can truly put down roots, become a part of the community, become friendly with your neighbors. You know you’re going to be there for awhile, which can be reassuring and help to provide a sense of safety

DOWN: You Can’t Move Quickly

When you rent, the only thing holding you back is the notice period you have to give – other than that, you’re free to move as you please. If you get a job offer that requires a cross-country move, you can take it without a second thought.

As a homeowner, you don’t have that luxury. That same permanence that is such a benefit in some ways, suddenly becomes cloying and restrictive. While there’s always a chance you will be lucky and be able to rush through a quick sale of your home, the reality is that house sales take around six weeks if you’re lucky, as well as the possible delays with the legal side of things. If things don’t progress as quickly as you would hope, there’s a chance you will have to turn down a lucrative job offer solely because your house won’t sell – and that’s no fun at all.

Overall, home-ownership is the goal because of the safety and security it provides – but to pretend it’s all smooth sailing is to misrepresent the reality somewhat. So enjoy the ups and try to survive the downs as best as you can. Keep a small emergency fund for all of those repairs, and ensure you keep the house in good order and condition in case you one day need a quick sale. With these steps, you should be able to ensure you have far more ups than downs.

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Got A Garage? Here’s How To Stop It Being A Security Hazard

As a homeowner, the main concern is to keep the property and safe and secure as possible. Let’s face it, your home is your castle and no one should be able to bypass its defences easily. The thing is that some abodes do have features that are not safe, such as a garage. Yes, it is perfect for parking your car and keeping it off the street, or as a place to get away from the family, but that doesn’t make it safe. The shocking truth is that thieves often use a garage as the main point of entry into a property. As the owner, it is your responsibility to ensure it isn’t burglar-friendly, and here’s how.

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Make Repairs ASAP

Garages are often out houses that are open to the elements. As a result, it isn’t uncommon for bad weather or external factors to cause damage. Most people don’t care about it unless it is significant, so most leave the repairs until further notice. This is the biggest security error you can make because garage door repairs are essential. Not only do secure doors dispel thieves in the first place, but broken ones are easier to bypass. The key is to fix any flaw as soon as it appears to ensure that the garage is as tight as every other feature of the house.

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Don’t Go Electronic

Yep, pressing a button is easier than getting out of the car and opening the garage but hand. However, it is also less secure. For starters, all it takes is for you to misplace the control and anyone can have access to the entire house. It might fall into the hands of thieves, it might be found by the neighbours, yet you can’t take the chance. More worryingly, automatic doors are hackable. It sounds silly, but burglars can connect to the system and open the doors remotely. A traditional garage with a deadbolt doesn’t have these issues.

Cover The Windows

Some garage doors have windows. To most people, windows are a harmless feature that they can take or leave. But, underneath the surface, they are an aid for criminals. Although thieves can use the garage as an entrance into the house, they will also check it for cars. If there are valuables motors inside, they won’t think twice about kicking down the doors and driving off with your vehicle. A window allows them to see what is inside and what isn’t, which is why they need covering. Alternatively, you can replace the door for one that is solid.

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Don’t Forget To Close It

Sometimes, theft is not the garage’s fault – it is yours. It is amazing how many people leave the garage doors open while they are doing something else. Sure, you might be around the corner, but you will not be able to react in time. Anyone that walks past will be able to pop their head in, have a look around, and steal the valuables. The worst thing is they will be able to take their time!

Even if you are only going to be a minute, always close and lock the garage.

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Making Your Wardrobe Doors Functional and Strong

Wardrobe doors can be one of the most frustrating parts of home décor. In most cases if the doors are not installed correctly they stop working, or worse still fall off. The secret to having functioning and good looking wardrobe doors is in the hardware used to set them up. Many DIY enthusiasts and carpenters make the mistake of cutting corners by using low quality wardrobe hardware.

There are a number of different types of door that are commonly used, and all come in high and low quality varieties. Depending on the type of door different hardware needs to be used to make them function properly. If the unit is a stand alone wardrobe it will need to use cabinet hinges instead of traditional door or wardrobe door hinges for folding or sliding doors.

Folding Wardrobe Doors

One of the most popular and cost effective types of doors installed in houses these days is folding wardrobe doors. When high quality versions of these doors are closed they not only cover up the clothes and anything else in the wardrobe they look like real doors consistent with those found in the rest of the house. It is important to choose a heavy bi fold door and use high quality  hinges on both the folding portion of the door, and to link the doors into the track. These doors will take an afternoon and a few hundred dollars for a do it yourself carpenter to install.

 apartment, architecture, contemporary

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Standard Doors for a Wardrobe

Putting standard hinged doors on a wardrobe is one of the best ways to make that wardrobe look great. The doors look like the doors to the various rooms in the house; you can match up perfectly. Since they are hung with high quality hinges these doors open and close like a regular door as well. The only draw back to hanging a regular door in your wardrobe is the amount of space they take up when they are opened, so the rooms must be larger in order to allow the doors to swing.

Sliding Doors

A popular modern alternative is to install sliding doors. These sliding doors use track hardware to open and close. They have the disadvantage of being more difficult to install than a conventional door and the advantage of being much better looking than folding closet doors. Though they look good it is important to caution that if they fall off the track they can be quite dangerous, so it may be best to leave their installation to a professional.  

 The door style you choose and the hinges you use are important decisions. Don’t settle for a look that doesn’t fit your room, or poor quality fittings that are going to be falling off within a couple of years of use. Fit for the future by investing a bit more and getting high quality products; products into which you have put a little thought.

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The Final Frontier! How To Make The Most Of Limited Space

As much as many of us would like to, it’s not that likely that you’re going to end up living in a huge mansion. Now, that’s not even necessarily a bad thing. After all, a huge mansion is often a lot of extra rooms to clean and a seriously expensive proposition overall. For those of us with slightly more limited budgets, everything from the classic studio apartment to a cosy family home are much more suitable. However, one thing that does often cause problems for a lot of people living in those kinds of situations is a matter of space. The vast majority of people bemoan the fact that they simply don’t have enough space in their homes. However, despite how common this complaint is, it’s one that’s often much easier to solve than a lot of people suspect. While you might feel like the only way to increase the amount of space that you have is to move to somewhere completely new, the reality is that you can make room for yourself and even a whole family within the smallest of spaces. Here are just a few things that you can try in order to really make the most of whatever limited space you may have in your home.

Choose your room layout carefully

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It’s incredibly common that a lot of people tend to only ever think about the layout of the rooms in their home once when they first move in, and never again. Not only that but people often tend to stick with whatever seems most obvious, or whatever layout previous owners or tenants had used. However, just because something is the most obvious use of a space doesn’t mean that it’s the most effective. There are a few simple things to keep an eye out for when you’re trying to change up the layout of a room to maximize space. One thing is to focus on sight lines. If it feels like your line of sight is constantly being interrupted, then that’s a sign that you’re not using the space in a room properly. Similarly, it’s a good idea to think about the flow of a room. If you can’t feel the way in which different rooms flow into each other, then there might be something wrong with the layout. That might sound like something of a strange and nebulous concept, but it’s the kind of thing that you can just feel when you walk into a room, as long as you’re paying close enough attention.

Maximize your storage

Storage is often a serious issue for a lot of people. Whether you live in a three bedroom house or a studio apartment, you’re almost certainly going to end up feeling like you don’t have as much storage space as you would like. However, the reality is that, far from not having enough storage space, it’s actually much more likely that you’re just not using the space properly. And cupboards or closets in your home could probably contain many more things than they do if you just made an effort to organise them a little more. The issue that a lot of people tend to make is that they treat these kinds of storage solutions like some kind of dumping ground, simply throwing things into them at random without really considering how the space is being used. It might be tempted to take something of an “out of sight, out of mind” approach to your storage, but if you think about it carefully and avoid just dumping things into cupboards, then you’re going to get a lot more out of it.

Embrace minimalism

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Even if you’re not what some people would call a “hoarder”, there’s a still a pretty good chance that you just have too much stuff. Now, this might not be spilling out of wardrobes and covering up the floor, but it’s likely that you don’t need nearly as many of your possessions as you think. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. After all, humans are naturally a very sentimental species, and it’s in our nature to hold onto things that have meaning and importance to us. However, there comes a time when things spill over from being sentimental to being downright ridiculous. After all, you might want to hold onto a gift that your partner gave you for your anniversary, but do you really need a drawer full of every ticket stub and receipt from every date you’ve ever been on? It’s great to carry memories of trips you’ve taken, but if you’re filling up all of your shelves with knick knacks and souvenirs, then things are going to start looking pretty cluttered. Try embracing some more minimalist design ideas, and you’re almost certain to find that even the smallest space feels a whole lot bigger.

Use light

Making a space feeling bigger is actually one of best things that you can do. After all, you can’t exactly knock through a wall and add an extension to a third-floor apartment. One of the very best ways to make a room feel bigger than it is is to use light as much as possible. If you’ve ever walked into someone’s home and felt as though the place was incredibly cramped, despite how large it actually was, there’s a pretty good chance it was because of a lack of decent lighting. Bringing more light into a room can make even the tiniest space feel cavernous. Natural light is, of course, the very best option and you should make sure that you can get as much natural light into every room as possible. But when that’s not possible make sure that you’re keeping each room well illuminated while also tailoring the kind of light to each room. Colder, bright lights are better for kitchens and bathrooms, while slightly softer and warmer lights are much better for the bedroom where you want to create the most relaxing atmosphere possible.

Get creative

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If you look up any notable examples of people living in incredibly small spaces, then the one thing that is immediately striking is just how creative they are forced to get with things like storage. After all, if you’ve only got a footprint of a few square feet, large bookcases aren’t exactly something you can accommodate. So why not use things like floating bookshelves to not only use space in a more interesting and vertical way but also to use them as decorations. Or perhaps you can use an entire wall of a room as a place to stack things like books. That way it because something of a feature of the room, rather than a problem brought about by a lack of space. It’s also a good idea to think in multiple directions. A lot of the time people only ever tend to think horizontally in the homes, so why not try thinking vertically instead? Rather than trying to spread things out in your home, use all of that space going up to the ceiling that is otherwise just going to completely to waste!

Unify your style

One of the toughest things about living in a small space is that it can often feel incredibly chaotic. This means that it can be difficult to relax, even in your own home, and you end up feeling tense a lot of the time. One of the very best ways to avoid this feeling is to create a unified style throughout your home. Rather than thinking of each room as an entity, completely distinct from all of the others, think of them as parts of the same whole. Not only will this allow you to create a much more cohesive sense of style and design, but it will make each room feel as though they flow into the next in ways that you may well not have been able to before. This not only makes the place feel larger but creates a much more calm, relaxing environment than feeling as though you’re constantly juggling a bunch of different styles all mashed into one incredibly small space.

Make the most of your furniture

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Furniture can be a tricky proposition for a lot of people living in very small homes because it tends to take up a lot of room. Beds and couches are often so large that they completely dominate any room that they’re in. However, instead of seeing this as an inherently bad thing, why not embrace it? Make your couch into a statement piece in the centre of your living room? That way, rather than overpowering a room, it becomes a focal point that the room revolves around. This not only creates a much greater sense of visual interest to your home but also makes the areas around it seem much more distinct as well. Of course, you don’t want to go too far with this. The key is to keep things to a minimum. A large couch can be a great statement piece, but you really don’t want to end up with a room filled with chairs and couches when you’re already struggling for space. Bigger and better furniture is great, but you should try and use less of it wherever you can.

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