When thinking of taking out home insurance you have to give it some very careful consideration especially when it comes to determining how much cover you actually need. If you do not take out enough cover then you are leaving yourself open to problems if the worse comes to the worse and you have to replace everything in your home due to fire, for example. Take out too much and you will be paying for cover that you do not need.
Not only is the amount of home contents insurance confusing but also where you have to buy the cover. Many individuals believe that they have to take the cover out that is offered by when you take out your mortgage. In fact 2.9 million of the policies that are sold are bought from the high street lender which means they are probably paying way over the odds for their cover. High street lenders jump onto all types of insurance and try pushing it alongside offering a cheap mortgage or loan and home insurance is no exception and is just one more way of boosting profits.
Home insurance has to be shopped around for just the same as with any type of insurance, the premiums do vary depending on the provider and if you go with an independent broker then they will be able to shop around on your behalf and can often get special internet or broker deals, which will save you even more money. By doing so they will be able to gather together the cheapest premiums and along with this will make sure that you have access to the key facts which will explain clearly how much the cover will cost.
A good indication as to how much you need to insure your home contents for is to go around and jot down all the contents of your home including clothing, electrical equipment, accessories in your kitchen and any other items that you would have to replace in the event that you lost everything. Even the cost of CDs, DVDs and expensive cosmetics can all add up, you’d be really surprised.
And if you lost everything, you’d have to replace it all, right from the carpets upwards. That is why getting the right amount of insurance cover is so important.
However you do have to take into account that certain items in your home might not be covered under a standard policy. For example if you have an extensive collection or jewelery collection then you might have to take out extra cover. Even your bicycle may need to be insured separately.
It is also essential that just because you got the cheapest premiums for home contents insurance one year it does not necessarily mean that you will get the cheapest premiums again by just renewing it. Loyalty is not often rewarded by brokers. Premiums can vary greatly from year to year and you can get a better deal by going back to a broker and allowing them to search on your behalf.
When decorating a bedroom, keep in mind that the end result should produce a disitnct and memorable impression. Colors, space and decorations all set a bedroom's mood, and when put together well, can create a definite, pleasurable look.
When it comes to the arrangement of items in a bedroom, symmetry is the most important factor. The bedroom is your personal space and should not be cluttered with too many objects creating a claustrophobic effect. For a room to seem personal, special touches should be added that reflect your special loves and interests. This includes your favorite colors, books, photographs, etc. Make sure colors are balanced in subtle shades reflecting your lifestyle and interests. The older generation seems to prefer more subdued shades than the younger generation, who opt for bright, textured colors. To maintain balance, the color of a chair placed at one end of the room can be repeated on throw, pillows or carpet. Furniture in the bedroom is of utmost importance. Don't over do it with too many pieces making your bedroom look overdressed and cluttered. The size of the bed should be in proportion to the size of the bedroom. What matters the most is comfort. Therefore, a bed should offer quality, comfort and a feeling of elegance. Nightstands or side tables should be on either side of the bed for books, medications and telephone. A dressing table comes in handy for women, and dressers with lots of storage space are ideal. Ample closet space is important, as are mirrors and wall decor. Mirrors help to give a room a larger look and also help to reflect light. Lighting should be gentle and relaxing. Valence lighting is ideal for bedrooms, and colored lights can be used for added effects. Subtle light gives a romantic feeling to the room, and focused light is good for detail work like reading without disturbing someone sleeping in the room.
Finally, a bedroom should be well-ventilated, designed for comfort and always stocked with a vase of flowers for a fresh feeling.
Those who owned a glass coffee table some years ago are among the select few who can be said to have the wealth and the taste to keep the most necessitating cosmetic palate. It is only those who had the good taste and good fortune that could own them, as this was what they signified. That was why they could only be found in the most modern and upwardly mobile homes around the world.
Over the decades, things are no longer how they used to be. They have changed. These days, just about anyone can own a glass coffee table, unlike how it used to be. Why? They are now much more affordable that even the middle-class can use them as attractive living room pieces of furniture and still enjoy the feel of having good taste and class. Having a glass coffee table still shows a sign of elegance and style. These days they are now affordable for almost everyone.
Brass is what surrounds the classic glass coffee tables. Brass gives the reflective material much more gleam and brightness. Today, anyone can buy these pieces as antiques. If you don't want to buy them as antiques, you can still buy them brand new. Add the brass-accented coffee table to your room and get the wonderful glow it brings.
No matter how good your decor looks, it can be made to look better with the seemingly timeless tables. Of course, the glass coffee table can easily fit into any room and would not take away the general feel of the design of the room. The unostentatious feature of the table is elegant without being overmastering. That is why you can put a glass coffee table almost anywhere.
To show you how timeless these tables are, my glass coffee table was passed down to me from my beloved parents. That is why I love the piece so much. Sadly I don't use it now because my energetic and curious toddler is all over the place. I don't want her to get too energetic near that piece of glass as destruction can happen, if you know what I mean. This is one of the problems with having such special glass piece of furniture.
The technique I used the first time to get my toddler away from the glass coffee table didn't seem to work. I tried to always boom "NO" each time my toddler neared the table, but this wasn't effective. Another technique I tried was to put a bummer around the glass table. Still it didn't work. The table just seemed to attract my daughter more and more.
My toddler just doesn't want to stay away from the table. I have stood guard many times with a constant supply of window cleaner which I used to clean up my daughter's fingerprints from the glass. But each time I took her away from the forbidden object, she just goes back to it like bees to honey. Now, I am running out of options. What I will do now is just to get my beloved glass coffee table away from her reach, until she has grown up. Then, my only worry will be her father!
Mattresses are a key component of bedding. Because most humans spend over a third of their lives sleeping, finding a quality mattress is important for a high quality of life. Normally comprised of foam and fibers, with metal springs on a wooden frame, mattresses help ensure a restful sleep.
Serta, Sealy, and Simmons are the three largest, most popular mattress brands in the USA.
Standard USA mattress sizes are Twin/Single (39” X 75”), Double/Full (54” X 75”), Queen (60” X 80”), King (78” X 80”). Other USA mattress sizes include Olympic Queen (66” X 80”), California Queen (60” X 84”), and California King (72” X 80”).
Mattresses typically require replacement after seven to fifteen years of use, or sooner, if the coils or frame have experienced noticeable wear and tear.
A Brief History of the Mattress
In the Neolithic period (8,000-6,000 B.C.), people migrated from sleeping on the ground to simple man-made beds and mattresses. These first resting structures were constructed of leaves and grass, held together with animal skin. Around 3,500 B.C., Persians invented the first “waterbeds,” made of goatskins filled with water. The more affluent inhabitants of the Roman Empire, circa 200 B.C., slept on mattresses filled with feathers. Steel coils, which now support the vast majority of mattresses, were not patented for this purpose until 1865.
Mattresses have enjoyed many advances in the past few decades, including the advent of air mattresses, foam mattresses, and “memory foam” mattresses. Increasingly, mattresses are being constructed from modern materials such as latex foam and polyurethane foam. In addition, those consumers seeking affordability and convenience have chosen futons and futon mattresses to ensure their good night’s sleep. And there has long been a core of waterbed enthusiasts who remain committed to waterbed mattresses.
With the evolution of lighting technology, outdoor lighting has seen its share of breakthroughs. Outdoor lighting is as important as indoor lighting. Lighting up the spaces immediately outside or surrounding our living areas is extremely vital for visual orientation, safety while navigating, and security, as well as for balancing out the indoor ambience. The outdoor milieu prepares and provides a preview to the life and living style within the four walls. Outdoor lighting is equally important in reflecting the external persona of a structure and its surrounding area. It sets a particular mood and provides a visual treat.
Outdoor lighting presents enormous scope for experimentation. It’s a virgin canvas waiting to be colored by unique lighting approaches, ideas and techniques. Outdoor lighting spaces comprise the areas surrounding the structure, pathways, swimming pools or fountains, landscape surrounding the structure, patios, balconies, decks, porches, etc.
There are a variety of options on the market, including low-voltage lighting, flood lights, tree lights, post lights, lanterns, string bulbs for festive occasions, recessed lighting, scoops, pagoda-style louvered faced lights which granite finish that easily blend without door environs, and even solar lights devoid of wires and operating on NiCad batteries.
Various techniques of lighting can be used in outdoor lighting. Spot lighting, which focuses light on architectural features, may be positioned to minimize glare and focus fully on the focal point. Silhouetting is placing the light sources behind the object to bring out the shape of the object rather than the exact color and texture. Key light or shadowing requires placing the light source directly in front of the object of interest to create a light and shadow effect. Moonlighting requires a fixture to be placed on the trees and aiming it down to provide a natural peaceful moonlit effect. Deck lighting, grazing (light focuses on the object at a sharp angle) and washing the surface (light focuses on objects at a wider or blunt angle), step lighting, walkway lighting, pond and fountain lighting, and sign lighting are some of the various techniques used for outdoor lighting.
In outdoor lighting, a basic thing that has to be kept in mind is that the lighting fixtures are exposed to all the elements outside. In case of lighting water features, the light source is sometimes from the inside to create a magical glittering and rippling effect. Therefore, appropriate lighting fixtures and lights should be chosen. Self-lighting kits of low voltage are also available for those who wish to try out their creative lighting talents.
In many homes, especially in suburban and rural locations, the patio is one of the most cherished places in the home. Patios remind us of good times with friends and family, as the kids play and the ribs sizzle on the barbecue. Many of us also spend a considerable amount of money on our patio furniture and equipment to make it a more inviting and charming location.
Patio awnings are one way to increase the enjoyment of your patio experience. Patio awnings provide shelter from summer heat and provide much-needed shade on those sweltering evening cookouts. Patio awnings are increasing in popularity and are available in an endless variety of styles, colors and options.
Some people like the fact that patio awnings seem to add space and square footage to a home. A patio in itself is an attractive feature of any home. When you add patio awnings, however, it seems almost as if a room has been added to the home. A patio awning seems to almost enclose the patio and creates an outdoor room that everyone is sure to enjoy.
Patio awnings are available in both manual and electronic styles. The manual style patio awnings allow the homeowner to manually adjust the depth, or pitch, of the awning’s fabric. You can choose to have the awning completely open or merely partially open according to your preferences. Automatic, or electronic, patio awnings are controlled by electronic “arms” with the push of a button; many also have remote controls for easier use. Automatic patio awnings usually also come with a manual override feature in case of a power outage. or if the motor should stop performing.
If you've shopped for new kitchen cabinets recently, you know that it's often much more economical to refinish your old cabinets than to buy new ones. Here are 8 tips that will make your kitchen cabinet refinishing a huge success.
1. If your cabinets are painted, remove the paint with a chemical stripper. If your cabinets are stained or varnished, either clean the surface well or remove most of the stain or varnish with a chemical refinisher.
2. Take the doors off your cabinets and remove the handles and hardware. It will be much easier if you lay the doors flat to work on them.
3. Check to see how much damage there is to the cabinets. If there is only minor damage, such as dark stains around the door handles, just clean these areas. Use a synthetic steel wool pad because it won't hurt your fingers or get caught on the wood grain.
4. Dip the pad in paint thinner, mineral spirits, or turpentine, and scrub the stains. Then lightly scrub the whole surface, cleaning and dulling it so the new finish will stick.
5. Once you've cleaned the surface and removed the dark stains, wipe on an oil-based, clear finish such as Minwax. All clear finishes are low-odor and most are available in either glossy or satin finish. Apply several coats for a thicker finish.
6. If you find you need to redo more than just a few stained areas, use a chemical refinisher - a strong solvent cleaner that dissolves and removes part of the old varnish. Ask an expert at your local paint store to suggest a good quality refinisher.
7. When you're using the chemical refinisher, work in small areas, and scrub the finish with a synthetic steel wool pad. The chemical refinisher will remove the finish and even out the color of the wood and stain. Rinse the pad in more refinisher when it gets clogged with dirty finish.
8. The cabinet's surface should be smooth and evenly colored after you've scrubbed the whole surface. If you find it isn't, just wipe the entire cabinet in long, overlapping strokes with clean refinisher and clean steel wool in long, overlapping strokes. Most of the stain color will remain, and the wood will be very smooth.
It's extremely important that you wear protective clothing and make sure that your work area is well-ventilated when you're refinishing your cabinets. And don't forget to follow all safety precautions on the refinishing product labels.
By following the 8 tips above, you're sure to enjoy your newly-refinished, beautiful kitchen cabinets for many years.
Here are some easy tips to decorate your home. Taking a few moments to think about your home will help you fully enjoy it.
Think about your home, and answer these questions:
1. What do you want it to be? If you want your home to be a tranquil oasis in a busy world, are your colors soothing or do they shout? If you want a fun place for friends to gather, do you have plenty of seating?
2. What are your main hobbies and activities? What do you need for these activities? For instance, if you have a collection that you work on often, get storage containers for it that can be easily opened or put away. If it’s a lot of trouble to get at your collection, you either won’t spend the time on it, or else might be tempted to leave it out and risk losing or breaking certain pieces.
3. Who will be using the space? How many people will be living there? What ages? It’s important for every person to have a space that’s their own. Whether it’s a special chair, couch, desk or a section of a room, everyone needs ‘their space’. If you’re planning to do video aerobics, you’ll need room to move around in front of the TV!
4. What about your things? It’s easy to become very messy if things don’t have a place. A small filing cabinet is a must for many people – it’s a great place to store all the papers that you don’t know what to do with!
5. How much do you really need? Too much furniture makes a room seem crowded. The bare essentials are a couch and chair, a table and chairs for eating, a bed and place for your clothes. After that, think hard about what you need or don’t need. Will you really use that computer desk – or would you rather sit on the couch with a laptop?
6. Think about the traffic flow. You want to be able to walk anywhere in the room without bumping into furniture. Try drawing furniture placement on paper as a first step.
7. Pick a focal point - your Greystone Properties home has unique features. What do you want to see when your first walk in the room? If you have nice windows with great lighting, are you emphasizing it? Everyone feels brighter in sunshine.
8. Think about order and organization. Do you bring home work every day, or mail, or sports equipment? Where will you put it? A large bowl or box near the front door is a great place to drop mail until you go through it later.
9. Take advantage of free expert advice. Every store and every product line employs professional designers to put furniture and accessories together. If you’re unsure of your decorating skills, pick a design you like. Study how they did it either by looking through a catalogue or going to a store. It’s all there assembled and displayed for you. If you like the look, simply do what they’ve done!
Do you sometimes find yourself wishing that your favorite TV chair can also be a rocking chair? Is there a new baby in the family that you wish you can sing to sleep in your arms while sitting comfortably yourself? Does your idea of unwinding after a long day's work include reading a book by the fire in the winter or just contemplating the outside scenery in the summer?
American fondness for rocking chairs
If you answer yes to any one of these questions, then you are not alone. A growing number of Americans either own a rocking chair which has become a member of the family or think of buying one.
Rocking chairs began to appear in the late 1700s when someone ingeniously thought of adding skates or rockers to the bottoms of adult furniture, similar to a child's rocking cradle or rocking horse.
Since then, owning a rocking chair has become a distinctly American proccupation, with most Americans, including some of America's famous presidents, showing great fondness for their rocking chairs - whether they be the elegant American designer Sam Maloof creations with the elongated curved runners or the homely white wicker rocking chair that usually has been with the family for more than 30 years.
But how do you choose a good rocking chair. Below are some tips on how to choose a rocking chair that is right for you.
Tips on how to choose a rocking chair
1. The first thing to ask yourself is where are you going to put your rocking chair? If indoors by the fireplace or the family room, you can choose a cushioned or timber rocking chair made of light maple or yellowish oak. Or if outdoors in your garden or front porch, you can choose a sweetly-scented cedar, a painted brazilian cherry wood or teakwood durable enough to withstand the elements.
2. A very important priority in rocking chairs is comfort. Rocking chairs have been used for therapeutic purposes - John F Kennedy's rocking chair being a famous example. It is said that President Kennedy found hours and hours of relief for his bad back from this Appalachian oak rocker which has a steam-bent curved backrest and woven seat made of Malaysian rattan.
Answering the following questions may help you to judge whether the rocking chair you are choosing will give you the level of comfort that you need.
- Does the rocking chair provide seating comfort and support?
- Is the chair set low enough for comfortable elbow support?
- Are the armrests wide enough to rest your arms and provide the right balance?
- Do the seat and back offer both firmness and flexibility?
- Do the seats slant downward to fit the whole back while supporting the lower back?
3. Is the rocker pitched correctly? In layman's terms, does the rocking chair provide a smooth and even rocking motion without tipping, even when you are in the reclining position? Or does it feel like you are about to flip backwards when you are rocking? Does a single push keep the rocking chair rocking for a few minutes or does it stop after onlya few seconds?
4. Was the rocking chair constucted using techniques that have been proven to result in stronger and more durable rocking chairs that can withstand everyday use? Some of these techniques include construction without glue, interlocking joinery and the famous Maloof technique of using seven laminated strips of wood to strengthen each of the long, elegant skis that are used in his rocking chair designs.
5. What style of rocking chair will fit your decor? Do you want an upholstered rocking chair or do you want to see the timber's natural woodgrain enlivened by an oil finish? Do you want charming white wicker chair or casual rattan? How do you want your the back of your rocking chair - traditional ladder back horizontal slats, vertical slats or woven cane? Do you want it stained, oiled, varnished or painted?
6. How much do you want to spend for your rocking chair? Whatever your budget, there seems to be a rocking chair for everyone's fancy - whether its the $20,000 Sam Maloof with a two-year waitng list for the ultimate in rocking chair experience or the vintage white wicker rocking chair you've just bid successfully on ebay for $20, or somewhere in between.
7. And last but not least, do you want your rocking chair shipped to you assembled or are you handy with tools and don't mind assembling it yourself if you can save some money?
I hope these tips will make it easier to find the rocking chair that's just right for you - whether you're the couch potato looking for a more comfortable seat in front of your favorite TV sitcom, the delighted parent of a newly-born baby or the urban worker trying to relax in the evening after dinner with a book or the quietness of the night by the front porch.
Kitchens have evolved a lot over the years. Once found only in the rear of the house, today's kitchen design takes the kitchen out the background. The challenge for kitchen design is in creating a more open-faced kitchen, that is part of a dining area, a family room or a great room.
In deciding on how to design your kitchen, you must take into consideration such things as: will your kitchen have an island? Will it be of a modern or traditional design? What kinds of appliances will you need for your new kitchen design? What kind of lighting design?
1. Kitchen as 'Great Room'
Whether you are redesigning an existing kitchen or planning a new kitchen in a new home there are some design considerations to keep in mind, such as including in an island or peninsula as part of the kitchen design. These can be used to connect the kitchen to a nearby dining area or family room thereby creating a 'great room'. A kitchen island or peninsula will allow the cook to keep in visual and conversational contact with family members or guests in the adjoining family or dining room.
2. Create a Kitchen Canopy
To give the kitchen some visible borders without blocking views create a kitchen canopy. Also a high ceiling in the kitchen can create the perception of spaciousness.
3. Using Kitchen Cabinet Color to Set Tone of Kitchen Design
Kitchen cabinets will help set the tone for the whole room. The choice of wood will influence the overall look of your cabinets. To create a light look, use a light wood such as ash, beech, birch, oak, maple, or chestnut. For medium range, select cherry. To darker kitchens, choose wood that has some color to it.
4. Plan Out Use of Cabinets and Drawers in The New Kitchen Design
Plan out in the kitchen design blueprint just how your cabinets and drawers will be used and how much space and storage you will need before you start your new kitchen design. The first thing to examine is the counter surface area. Look at where you put everything in your existing kitchen and where in your new kitchen design will these things will go in the new space. Will there be more than one person cooking at a time. If so, will there be enough room for two cooks in the kitchen to work together?
5. Use The Galley-Type Kitchen Design
As for counter arrangements, many kitchen designers agree the galley-type design to be the best in terms of efficiency with it's single aisle and counters to either side, making it easy to turn around to go from sink to cooking range.
6. Under-Cabinet Kitchen Lighting
Kitchen lighting can be an overlooked area of kitchen design. Even if the kitchen has generally good lighting, the counter areas can be somewhat dark. For these areas under-cabinet lighting can help provide more light to work in. By using simple spots or fluorescent lights a smaller kitchen can be made to look larger.
7. Looking at Countertops
Granite, marble, and limestone are all popular natural materials for use in countertops are available in many colors. Ceramic tile kitchen countertops are versatile, practical, and also available in many colors, as well as many shapes, patterns, and finishes. Solid surface countertops provide seamless acrylic faces. Solid surfaces also come in almost limitless colors, patterns, and styles, and are stain and heat resistant. Laminate countertops are more affordable but not built to last. Concrete countertops are known for versatility, as well as strength. Wood countertops are long lasting and easy to clean and repair but the wood will not withstand exposure to water and household chemicals. Stainless steel countertops lack the elegance of granite or tile. These countertops do not absorb stains, but tends to scratch easily.