7 Tips to Identifying the Best Decorator

When an individual comes to the point of looking to find the best-served local painting and decorating company within their local area there are lot of elements that need to be considered so that a well-informed decision can be achieved. It is understandable that anyone looking for a decorator will look for a friendly and reliable expert who is well-experienced and provides value for money.

The end result sounds easy, right? There are clear and concise elements that anyone can effectively work through which will naturally guide them to identifying the best-available professional to complete their home improvement project. Not only will this process leave you making a committed and confident decision, but it will likely support you to find a decorator who you will return to time and time again for all your decorating requirements.

Tip one takes into account any recommendations that you may have received. Friends and family who recommend a decorator will have experienced their workmanship and standards of finishes. We want to feel comfortable with someone working in our home and so this tip works to offer reassurance and trust in any Company.

Tip two is to identify a professional that has an established website. Spend time getting to familiarise yourself with their website. Look for testimonials, details of previous work completed and information on the company background. A confident company will provide all of the above details with self-assurance and use every opportunity to inform their potential clients of their unique selling points.

Tip three is to spend time looking whether your chosen specialist has received any feedback or editorials in trade magazines. This is again an opportunity for top-professionals to showcase their workmanship and to offer detail about the Company.

Tip four is to search for online reviews of the Company. There are a range of sources that will provide you with independent and trustworthy feedback from clients who have employed any Company. These are often impartial and will offer a well-rounded approach.

Tip five is to make sure that you select a company that has easily identifiable contact details. There are far too many companies who hide away their contact details or make it difficult to find how to get in contact with their staff. You should have a range of contact methods and these should all be easily found. Once you have made contact with the Company, they should seamlessly guide you through the process of arranging a free, no obligation quotation.

Tip six is to find a company that has a presence on social media. There is an innate requirement for all modern companies to have a presence on a range of social media platforms. This offers many opportunities in which any Company can interact with their clients. It is also a way in which you can find out more about a Company’s time-served experience.

Tip seven is to make sure that you identify a company who is has trade-recognised accreditations such as that offered by the Painting and Decorating Association. This offers assurance because any member of this association is required to abide by their strict and stringent codes of practice.

The above seven tips guide you through the process of identifying the best-available professional painter and decorating in your local area. This information is both valuable and will undoubtedly lead you to achieving the best possible service with a superior finish and therefore value for money.

Top Ten Tips for Balance Between Home and Work

In my never ending quest for the perfect balance between work and home, and friends and clients, I have been blessed with many great mentors and the opportunity to learn countless lessons for myself and from others. Many of these tips are hard-fought for me. And so, in honor of David Letterman’s famous “Top Ten,” here are my top ten tips on getting to balance.

Number 10: Use one calendar. It sounds simple, but put your personal and your business commitments in the same place so you can quickly see what you have going on and make intentional decisions about where you want to spend your time. How many times has it happened that you inadvertently scheduled a work commitment (or a doctor’s appointment) on top of your child’s school assembly?

Number 9: If you work from home or have the luxury of a flexible work day, set a specific start and end time for your work day. Set clear boundaries so that you do not end up doing “that one more thing” that takes you through dinner time.

Number 8: Never go to bed angry. Resolve whatever the problem is before you head off for bedtime. Trust me, you will sleep better and feel better. Apologize even if you did not start the fight.

Number 7: Take all your vacation days! What are you saving them for?

Number 6: Don’t keep up with the Joneses. Meaning, don’t worry about what everyone else is doing, or how many committees they are on, or what activities they pack into their days. Define what balance means to you, and stick to it. I once had a business owner tell me that I couldn’t run my business in just 40 hours a week – and for him, 60 hours was just fine. But guess what? I found a way. You need to find your own way to achieve your balance, not somebody else’s definition of balance.

Number 5: Listen to your body. Really listen. Your body will tell you when it needs a break. This tip is particularly hard, because we become experts at ignoring warning signs. Begin to pay attention to what your body is saying – build that habit of actively listening to when your body tells you it is worn out, or not eating right, or getting sick.

Number 4: If you don’t block time for exercise or physical activity, it won’t happen. Make an appointment to go to the gym, or play tennis, or join your son in a pick-up basketball game.

Number 3: Laugh as often as you can. Find ways to bring laughter into your day. Watch a comedy; listen to the comedy station on your radio; call your favorite jokester friend.

Number 2: Set consistent sleep patterns. This is not just about the number of hours of sleep you get every night (although that’s important too). In addition, get in the habit of going to sleep and rising at about the same time every day. Yes, that includes the weekends. Try it, you will thank me.

And, the Number 1 Tip for Balance: Make time for what is most important to you. Have you ever heard the story of the Mayonnaise Jar, the Rocks, and the Two Beers? In that story, a professor tells his class about the “big rocks”. Those big rocks represent the most important things in your life. If you fill the mayonnaise jar with all the little things (the “pebbles”) then you won’t have room for the big rocks. Put the big rocks in first, the rest will find a space somewhere.

If you want a copy of the full Mayonnaise Jar story, contact us. We would be delighted to share it with you. And let us know which of these Top Ten Tips is more valuable for you? What other tips can you share with our readers?

Garden Decor and Tips

Garden décor is an important part of home improvement and improving your home décor on a whole. The major attraction in your home decoration can be the plants and these along with furniture and other items make up the entire décor. It is not easy to have a nice garden décor incorporated. You have to select really unique pieces that can be out in your garden to increase its aesthetic appeal. You should also bear in mind that you should not crowd your garden with too many items that don’t match the other items in your garden.

Garden sculptures and furniture are the main part that should be paid attention to for most home gardens. These can include garden chairs, benches, birdbaths and statues. You can also include some seating arrangements and a small table so that you can talk with guests and have a nice time in your garden. When it comes to statues or sculptures, you can choose from a range of angels, gnomes, and scarecrows etc which are all popular garden décor items.

You can also install garden lighting fixtures to improve elegance of the garden. In this way you can extend the time you can see and enjoy your garden. Garden lighting comes in an array of designs. You can include a series of lanterns or lights to create a pleasant feel in your garden and to demarcate walkways. Lighting with different colors can give a playful feel. Your garden décor will also be impacted by the type and number of lighting fixtures. More shadow areas can be created by more focused accent lighting and uniform illumination will be provided by other forms of lighting.

You can also include ponds and waterfalls or fountains to add beauty to the garden décor. There’s nothing that can be chosen in place of water in your yard or garden. By including garden ponds, you can also add fish, flowers and other aquatic life which will help to add beauty to the style of your garden. The falling water and its sound is made possible by adding waterfalls and fountains in the garden. This will also be the perfect setting for those who like to work outdoors. Though these kinds of fixtures are more complicated and expensive than garden furniture and lighting, but they’re not as costly as what some people imagine.

The aforesaid are some of the tips while it comes to having a garden décor. You can choose a décor that will blend well with the structure and style of the house.a

Top Home Tips on Board Batten Vertical Siding

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There are various types of vertical siding for home interiors. Sidings offer the cheaper alternative to remodeling houses and initiating repairs on old dilapidated home interior walls. These are mainly pre-fabricated boards and wall planks that are usually glued on the walls, making it easier for you to make necessary repairs on the walls or change the entire style and design of your home interiors.

One of the best and most common types of vertical sidings is the Board-Batten siding. This type of siding has long been used among numerous residential homes, especially during the early 70’s. This is normally available in its standard dimension of 4 by 9 feet board panels. This is mainly made of thick plywood, except that its exterior layers are specially textured with rough finish along with slots on its ends. One side of the board has a groove while the other has a tongue. This makes it easy to install by inserting opposite sides to seal off the wall and provide much stronger foundation.

Obviously, Board-Batten sidings are installed vertically; and its main concept is to provide complete wall cover that is not only strong but aesthetic as well. This is so called Board-Batten because the sidings have boards and batten whereby during the installation the boards are fastened followed by the batten. As a result, 2 siding boards butt against each other.

One major flaw of this type of wall siding materials is that during various temperature changes in the atmosphere, the wood expands and contracts according to the weather condition. This creates some cracks that may result to void spaces in between boards. But this can be resolved by painting the boards in order to completely seal off the wall. Another sealing option is caulking using sealing materials, whichever the home owner prefers.

On the other hand, Board-Batten vertical sidings have numerous advantages as well. One of its benefits is awesome beauty to the house. The organized vertical wall sidings make it quite trendy in style with a touch of natural beauty. In the real estate sense, this can add value to the house because of the unique style it creates. Aside from that, these boards require less maintenance compared to the traditional individual boards, thereby giving home owners trouble-free use of these sidings on their walls.

In conclusion, Board-Batten is just one of the many other types of vertical sidings for homes and offices. In the past, leakage used to be a main issue to deal with when using this kind of sidings. However with the availability of more construction accessories today like technologically advanced sealing materials in the form of pastes and sealing tapes, leakage issues are resolved and its use is even more preferred.

There may be many other attractive options for wall sidings that are now available in the market. But despite the presence of numerous options, Board-Batten vertical siding still remains one of the viable choices among many home owners because of its unique features, along with its corresponding distinct benefits.

Landscaping and Gardening Tips For a Tight Budget

Having a beautiful, landscaped garden is everyone’s dream. Unfortunately, such beauty comes at a price. Generally, the more complicated and classy the garden looks like, the more costly it is to build and maintain it. Exotic flowers, expensive materials and landscaping service can all take their toll on the budget.

But there is no need to despair. Here are some ideas so an enthusiast can save money in growing and maintaining a beautiful garden.

Let us begin with topiaries. A useful landscaping and gardening tip is to avoid buying expensive topiary forms. Instead, a cheap tomato cage could be used. The legs of the cages could be tied down using a plastic coated wire or a twist wire. The plant can then be formed with the wire as its framework.

For sturdy custom stakes for climbing vines and hanging plants, used pipes could be employed. An even better stake would be an old or inexpensive expandable curtain rod. The gardener can actually extend it as the climbing vines grow!

Another item that eats up the budget is fertilizer that is sold in a gardening supply store. A good landscaping and gardening tip would be to engage in composting. Compost can be produced by putting dry leaves in a container. Cover the container with clean garden soil and place it upside down so that it comes in contact with the ground. After a few weeks, a brownish, black substance can be collected from the container. This substance, or compost, can be used as plant fertilizer.

Some plants need to be grown in large containers. A good landscaping and gardening tip would be to fill the bottom of the container with aluminum cans before adding garden soil. They make a good substitute as fillers. Also, the container is lighter to move or carry around.

For pathways and border stones, do not use bricks. Instead, it is cheaper to use broken pots or crushed gravel. They also make the garden more natural looking.

Brick pillars, which are often used to decorate the sides of pathways and driveways, add excitement to a garden. Unfortunately, if a mason is employed to construct them, it would cost the gardener hundreds of dollars.

A better way is to take heed of this landscaping and gardening tip: use recycled bricks. On a level area, put four bricks together to form a square. Put another layer of bricks on top of the foundation. Add another layer until it reaches the desired height. Top it off with a wide stepping stone.

These are just a few money saving landscaping and gardening tips. With the tips presented above, it is a pleasant surprise to know that most of the inexpensive but effective ways in gardening and landscaping comes from simple things inside a home.

Decorative Garden Pebble Tiles

Did you know that Decorative Garden Pebble Tile remodeling can easily transform any surface and room setting modern and unique in just few hours of work? When it comes to contemporary and easy DIY tiles, using this unique tiling technique is an alternative you should consider. Tiling and remodeling surfaces at home doesn’t have to be a tedious task – read more in the following review.

Quick overview

To make a long story short: Decorative Garden Pebble Tile redecoration is actually based on a collection of similar looking smooth stones selected by hand and then fixed onto a sq/ft mesh backing seamless tile. A quick research points that many of these hand-crafted tiles are originated from S.E. Asia, especially from the Island of Bali – Indonesia. If you think of it you can easily decorate any surface and any room setting: Kitchen counter tops & backsplashes, bathrooms, showers, and flooring.

Benefits

Now that we understand how it works, we need to know this technique’s main benefits:

* Installation process is quick and takes only a few hours.

* Provides unique atmosphere and contemporary look and feel to any surface.

* It can easily be adjusted to very small / narrow surfaces where other fixed size tiles such as conventional ceramic tiles can’t.

Important advices!

* Laminate the stones with a sealer prior to installation – it’ll protect it from liquids, dirt and detergents transforming it even more durable.

* In order to ensure an even color layout of the tiles, sort them before installation.

* To appreciate the beauty of these ‘Nature-Made’ panels, it is recommended on removing the excess grout with a wet sponge. After all, you want to expose as much of the stones as possible.

It won’t be that difficult to find other great benefits provided by this enjoyable home improvement technique simply because it is versatile like no other tiling method available today.

Bottom line

Redesigning with this affordable Decorative Garden Pebble Tile technique isn’t just about a tedious technical installation; it is fun and full of satisfaction. For a simple and enjoyable installation process it is highly recommended to keep the above tips just as you decide on using these natural panels.

Halloween Decorating Safety Tips

We feel like little kids when we decorate the front yard for Halloween. But there are real dangers lurking around all those cobwebs and flying bats. It’s important to be aware of Halloween decorating safety tips that can help you reduce those dangers.

If you plan on having trick-or-treaters come through your yard to the front door you need to look at everything from a small child’s point of few. When they run up to the door on Halloween night will they see the electrical cord from the talking skeleton lying by the sidewalk? Will they notice the real candle burning in the pumpkin that is sitting right next to the door? Will they make sure their vampire cape or princess robe doesn’t come close to it or will they only think about getting the candy into their bag?

If you have electrical decorations make sure the cords are secure and not where anyone can trip over them. Children don’t always use the sidewalks so don’t leave those cords lying anywhere in the path of those little feet.

Use the battery operated candles in any pumpkins or other decorations that are on the pathway to your door or on the porch near the door. Real candles should only be used where children won’t be coming near them and you can keep an eye on the decoration/pumpkin with the candle. It’s up to you to think about the dangers before you light those candles.

If you use colored lights in your front yard you need to make sure they are bright enough for good visibility on the path to your door. Be sure all your decorations are set away from the main walking path. You don’t want any child to be tripping over them.

Those cobwebs and bats flying out of nowhere as the children come up to your porch may seem like fun to you but they can be very frightening to some children. They may run away screaming. That’s where you need to make sure there are not obstacles in their path. It’s best to keep most if not all your decorations in areas of the yard that children would not cut through.

If you are having a party inside your home Halloween decorating needs to follow similar tips. Fire is the number one safety issue with home decorations. Candles are used a lot and without proper precautions fires can occur.

Many decorations are made of dried flowers, cornstalks, crepe paper, and flammable fabrics. These kinds of materials need to be kept away from any candles or other open flames such as fireplaces. They also need to be kept away from other heat sources such as electric light bulbs, heaters, tops of TV’s, computers, or other electronic equipment that becomes hot to the touch. This also includes outdoor lights.

When setting up your Halloween decorations inside ask yourself these questions.

1. Will these candles, when lit, be in a place where someone might bump into them?

2. Are the wires for the talking skeleton safely taped down or behind furniture?

3. Can that cobweb draping the steps cause someone to trip and fall?

4. Are all exits (doors and/or windows) clear of decorations so they can be used in case of fire?

Use these simple Halloween decorating safety tips to help make the difference between a happy Halloween and a disastrous one.

Work at Home Tips How to Organize Your Tasks

So you have set up your work at home business, you have the product or service and now you just need to get started and make all that lovely cash. Why you just have to organize all the little tasks ahead into a manageable list. One of the most helpful work at home tips I have yet been given is this little one I’ll share now.

Note down your to-do lists. Yes, I said lists, because you should have a few. There are daily jobs like handling calls and emails, checking up on sales, there are weekly or monthly jobs like dealing with the paperwork and accounts (yuck!), you need to review and plan for the weeks and months ahead not to mention all the other regular things that pop up. Very important things like actual business and calls or emails from your potential customers. Lets make sense of those lists with this little tip.

Put all those little tasks into a matrix. This is not difficult, just take a sheet of paper and divide it in four by drawing lines through the centre of the page from side to side and again from top to bottom. Place the important and urgent tasks into the top left corner, the urgent but less important ones into the top right. The bottom left corner will hold the important but not so urgent tasks and finally the bottom right corner can have all the remaining tasks, that will be the not important and not urgent ones.

The importance of a task to your business venture is the foremost factor and urgency is the second. Rewrite this simple matrix every day and change it to ensure all the tasks are divided up appropriately into their sectors. Delete the completed tasks and shuffle the others to the correct sector. Don’t worry if this is a bit confusing right now, just take the sheet of paper, do it and all will become clear and obvious.

Now work through the day by concentrating on the top left sector first then the other urgent tasks but only after considering the other important ones still to be completed. Remember importance takes priority and you will be pleasantly surprised how many apparently urgent jobs start to take up so much less of your time and attention.

Approaching the prioritizing of tasks like this has been one of the most useful work at home tips I’ve come across, just try it yourself and see how it can really help you get highly organized and running smoothly.

Great & Low Budget Home Decorating Ideas & Tips

Do you dream of having a beautiful home with spic-and-span interiors to match your personality style & taste but afraid of huge money that goes into home furnishings. You will be surprised to know that you are not alone. It is the story of most of us. So don’t despair as here are the great and low-budget home decorating ideas and home decor tips that will help you to have a dream home.

Immaculate your Home
Nothing comes before this point. Have a look at your home. Now check, do you have paper bits or dust on your floor? Does your living room needs dusting? When was the last time you clean your kitchen appliances? By keeping this in mind and doing the simple task of cleaning will solve the initial purpose and surprisingly it does not cost any money. This will result into the large space and should be taken as the most important interior decorating tip.

Keep the Display Surfaces Clear
If you have a bookcase, center tables, side tables or mantels then keep the minimum accessories on the surface. This will enhance the style and openness. For the mantle it is better to go for the artwork rather than mirror as mirror is quiet an outdated option. Center table or side table can also have one or two accessories but not more than that.

Home Furnishings and Accessories
When we think of home decoration then textile & home furnishings plays an important role. All the furnishing items and accessories must speak for themselves and stick to the theme of a particular room. Say for an example if your a going for drawing and dining furnishings then right from the sofa covers, cushions to table mats and floor carpets, all should create a harmony. Bathroom furnishing materials must be according to the color of walls and bath accessories selected. Now to keep everything in budget, make the thumb rule of buying one precious home furnishing accessory with inexpensive ones. By making such pairs the overall lost cost look can be eliminated. Buy simple and clean lines as these give appearance of costly home accessories.

Paint your Dream Home
Experiment with color, as this is the one thing that dramatically change the whole appearance and add value to your money. Selecting an extraordinary color will automatically maneuver your home & will give your home an exceptional look of style and modernity. Check for different hues and color combinations. It is the time to go for more bright and complex colors rather than just white. You can also select different patterns that are in vogue. Patterns change the whole look of the wall and removes the dullness of single color.

The Perfect Flooring
Home flooring is another very important aspect of home furnishings. These days wall to wall carpeting is not in vogue but instead of this there are many other inexpensive and cost effective options available. You can go for laminate flooring that is easy to keep and quiet cheap. Then there are also other options like parquet flooring, hardwood flooring, bamboo flooring and cork flooring. Now depending upon your budget you can pick the flooring type and style.

Hope these basic home decorating ideas and tips are useful for your interior home decor.

Top Ten Tips On Furnishings and Decoration

If when you buy your holiday home it has been recently decorated and is newly furnished then you’re in the best position to consider renting out your holiday home. However the majority of properties will need a coat of paint and a few extra home furnishings to ensure the place is complete for guests.

The style you choose should be the one that will suit the widest variety of holidaymakers nevertheless be sure to avoid the plain anonymous look of a hotel. Don’t forget your guests are paying to rent a private holiday villa or apartment, the decoration, fixtures, fittings and furnishings you choose should emphasize the image of a friendly and welcoming holiday home. The choices you make in terms of furnishings and decoration will depend principally on your own tastes and it is essential that you personalise the property, however before you buy a bright spotted rug or antique style dining table be sure to read our ‘Top Ten Tips’ below.

1. Keep all colours light – choose off-white and pastel style colours; this will make your property appealing to a variety of different people meaning you have more chance of getting more booking enquiries.

2. Add a few individual touches – add points of interest to your property by adding a little of your own style. Small areas of colour, unusual ornaments, pictures and rugs can be a very effective way of achieving this. This can also give guests a friendly home from home feel.

3. Go for a quality finish – buy hard-wearing furnishings, fixtures and fittings. Guests will be more likely to take extra care of quality and superior items. Additionally, they should last longer and stand more wear and tear; this means you won’t have to replace them so often.

4. Pick easy-clean fixtures and fittings – choose practical features which are easy to clean and will remain looking well after a long season of rentals. E.G. Leather sofas are great for holiday homes, because if anything is spilt it can be easily wiped off.

5. Have a safe or locking cupboard – personal storage space will mean less for you to bring out when you visit, it will also save you from bringing items backwards and forwards all the time. You could also use this space to protect fragile or valuable items you don’t want to get broken.

6. Provide your guests with essential items – make your place a home from home for guests, it is unlikely they will use your holiday home again if they have to provide everything themselves. Bedding and towels are two clear examples, but things such as outdoor furnishings and beach towels can make a holiday a lot more enjoyable. Stocking up on toilet rolls and other bathroom essentials is always a good idea. In places where tap water can not be drunk, ensure you provide at least one bottle of water.

7. Don’t spend too much on trendy features – unless you’re aiming for the high class part of the market.

8. Never leave clutter lying around the place – guests won’t want to feel like they are coming into your home, so be sure to keep personal items stored away out of sight.

9. Be sure not to go cutting corners – this could cost you more money in the long-run as you could find you have to replace things all the time. Pick fixtures and fittings which will last, this will also give guests a better impression, and they are more likely to come back in the future.

10. Don’t settle for second-hand goods – if you intend to rent out you holiday home to genuine paying customers filling the place with shabby old furniture is not a good idea.

We hope these top tips should ensure you get your holiday home ready for renting out to paying guests. Don’t forget that bearing your guests in mind at this stage could not only save you a lot of aggravation but could also save you a lot of money in the long-run!! Good luck