Garage Maintenance and Organizing

garage-full-of-stuffIf you’re like most busy people, you hurriedly put items you don’t use often in the garage and promise yourself that you’ll organize them all later. Only when you find yourself wasting half a day searching for one of those items do you realize that later has finally arrived. You also realize that many of the things you encountered while searching for that item haven’t been used in years. If you’ve accumulated so many things over the years that you’re overwhelmed by just the thought of organizing the garage, there are a few steps you can take to make it more manageable.

Plan a Garage Sale

Although it may be tempting to consider putting the whole garage up for sale rather than organizing it, selling those unused items will put some cash in your pocket while freeing up space. It’s also a great feeling knowing that they will continue to be put to good use and enjoyed by others. As with any big project, breaking it down into small steps gives you a sense of satisfaction after accomplishing each step. The first step in planning a successful garage sale is making sure the garage is safe for all of your potential customers.

Since garage sales are an enjoyable family activity for many people, you should remove any toxic substances or place them on high shelves out of the reach of young children. Most people don’t think about it, but regular inspections and maintenance of your garage doors is also an important safety measure. The US Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that approximately 20,000 injuries are caused by garage doors every year, and many of them are suffered by children. Garage sales are a great way to meet new neighbors and your community will appreciate your consideration for their safety. They’ll also appreciate your generosity when you donate those unused items that don’t sell to one of your local charities.

Extra Storage

If you find that even after your successful yard sale, there still isn’t enough room in the garage for your car, it may be time to consider additional storage space. After celebrating your success, you can use the remaining cash from your yard sale to buy an external storage unit or two. Your backyard is the perfect place to store all those treasured items with sentimental value that you don’t use but can’t bear to part with. Having all of the things that mean the most to you in a weatherproof storage unit designed to be an extension of your home will also encourage more frequent family strolls down memory lane.

Storage units can now be custom built to your size specifications, so even larger family heirlooms such as paintings and unused furniture can be stored in them. Being able to store yard maintenance items like lawn mowers, shovels, and gardening tools separately creates more space for doing what people love to do most in their garages—pursue their hobbies. Whether it’s wine-making, rock polishing, or playing in a rock band, replacing items you don’t use with items you do use can make life a lot more enjoyable. It may even lead to a new career.

Lockers

Storage lockers are another great tool for organizing—and staying organized. Each family member having their own storage locker can provide added security and greater sense of privacy while encouraging responsibility. Besides organizing, they’re also a great tool for teaching children the importance of properly caring for their possessions. Items not put away properly after use can be locked up in the “common” locker for a time as a reminder.

As a bonus, private storage lockers can also reduce the number of potential conflicts between siblings. Every parent has heard “Mom! Dad! He’s getting into my stuff again!” Organizing a garage can be a major undertaking. If it’s done well, it may never have to be done again. Selling unused items, creating extra storage space, and making each family member responsible for their own things can help make this garage organization the last.

Time and money invested in organization reaps the most valuable return on that investment possible—more time– and time is the best gift we can give ourselves and one another.

Questions You Should Ask Your Contractor

metal hammer importance of home maintenanceWhether you’re remodeling or building a new home from the ground up, you’re no doubt investing a lot of time and money into the project. It can be nerve wracking leaving such a big responsibility in other people’s hands but reassuring yourself and quenching your fears goes a long way to making you feel safer and surer of your decision. One way you can do that is by ensuring that you ask all the right questions and get the right answers in return. Here is a list of things you should ask your contractor:

  1. What’s the Schedule? Knowing when to expect work to begin and end is not all there is to planning. A detailed schedule should include the start and end dates as well as outline all tasks and determine their completion date. This gives everything a timeline and allows you to conveniently check in at any time to ensure your contractor is on task.

Another benefit to having a detailed schedule is that you can comfortably plan around it and set deadlines for various to-dos. It also helps you visualize each stage of the building process, thereby giving you more peace of mind.

  1. Who will be on-site each day? While your house might be a temporary construction zone, there should still be a certain level of security. Ask your contractor who will be on-site every day as well as who is in charge of opening up and locking up at the start and end of each day. Make sure it’s someone you or your contractor trust and someone who you can get in touch with easily when you need to. A count of the expected number of people on-site each day can also help monitor the in and out-flow.

 

  1. What steps are you taking to protect my belongings and property? The cost of rebuilding is already significant; you wouldn’t want to have to deal with replacing items that were already in your home. Before demolition and reconstruction begin, it’s best to have a sit-down with your contractor and go over the steps they have planned to secure your belongings and your property overall. Things like dustcovers should be setup to prevent dust, paint and other undesirables from coating other items in your house. You also need to ensure that any fragile items are stored away and valuables are out of harm’s way. Any parts of your house that are off limits should be expressly mentioned to ensure that they remain that way.

 

  1. How do I contact you after hours? If you’re in a renovation stage, you’re most likely still living in your house even while the construction is going on. Remember, your house is a work in progress so there are bound to be a few kinks here and there. In the event that something unexpected happens, you want to know how to contact your contractor and get it resolved as soon as possible. Make sure to get reliable contact information that will allow you to reach your contractor at any time.

 

  1. How will we communicate? Communication is key in any relationship but probably more so in renovation and building situations. You are placing a very important investment and property in your contractor’s capable hands; you’ll most likely need to know what’s going on, and in the case of an emergency, there’s nothing like a quick and reliable mode of communication.

 

Asking these questions and more can help ease the process of renovating or building as well as keep you well-informed concerning every decision and the level of progress. Information is power and there’s no need to sweat when you have the answers to the above questions.

Article by: Painters in Greensboro

DIY Home Projects Even the Novice Can Do

diyIf you’re going to own property, it’s a good idea to develop your DIY-skills. Professional contractors make a lot of money for a good reason. They offer a service that enhances the value, allure, safety and functionality of your property. Actually thinking you should put a price on that contradicts the idea you want your property to last long, be beautiful and to grow in value.

What really gives us thought is how many jobs we give to painters, plumbers, electricians and other craftsmen that we can do ourselves. There are many repairs we hand over to others that do not necessarily require special skill or expensive equipment. And doing it ourselves not only encourages us to develop and improve our skills, doing it ourselves gives us greater reason to enjoy our homes as we invest our personal time and effort into its upkeep.

The following are some DIY projects you probably didn’t know you could easily do yourself, saving money, and adding value and pride to your home.

Replacing Shutoff Valves (Plumbing)

Nothing keeps plumbers busier than leaks. Unexplained running water is a mystery to many homeowners. But seals and moving parts do wear out. One thing we can tell you is if leaks continue even after the main shutoff valve is closed, it may be time to replace the valve. Remove coupling on the water meter’s downstream side and locate the oiled leather sealing washer. Get a replacement leather washer online or at a shop. If you have a gate-style valve, get a threaded ball valve replacement.

You may need to replace flanges with your pipework. If this is the case, use a flange table to gauge sizes.

Replacing an Outlet or Light Switch (Electrical)

The wise layman should be leery of working on electrical systems. But a switch or outlet can be swapped out with a little foreknowledge, a screwdriver, tester, common sense and a new switch or outlet. The first step is to turn power off at the main box, shutting power surging down and eliminating the possibility of shock. That’s the common sense part.

You can find plenty of sensible videos for replacing a light switch, but for the record, here’s the basic breakdown: Find the circuit box and shut off the switch for the section of the house you will be working in, or shut off the entire house. Make sure all occupants know what you’re doing and to not turn power back on. Remove the outlet face plate. Use the tester to ensure power is not running. Remove screws and pull out the outlet or switch. For peace of mind, take a picture of the wiring or mark wires with tape for easy identification. Loosen screws holding wires. Detach and discard damaged switch or outlet. Using the photo or wire labels, attach wires to new outlet or switch. Replace the screws and reinstall face plate. Turn power on and try the new device.

Replacing Windows (Renovation)

This is a two person operation. With a crowbar, take out the entire window casing, including sill plate and trim. You may have to adjust the frame if the new window doesn’t perfectly match. You can add new boards or remove parts of the exterior siding. Keep a one-quarter inch gap all around for insulation and other potential adjustments. Install the new window from outside, pushing the window up until it is flush with the frame. Screw the window in place, anchoring it to a solid piece of wood. Windows need to be square and plum. Once in the the correct position, use screws or nails to secure placement. Add an additional layer of window wrap around the fins, overlapping wrap and covering surfaces without letting wrap fold or crinkle. Insulate with expanding foam sealant in the gap between window and casing. Be careful to not add too much foam. Cover edges with painter’s tape to protect surfaces. After foam dries, scrape excess with a knife. You can now install the interior casing and any trim as needed.

 

Every DIY project increases the appraised value of the home. More importantly, stepping back, knowing you did the job yourself and probably saved hundreds of dollars will make you appreciate the home more.

Unique Decorating Tips for the Whole Family

image 3 (1)Having kids is a wonderful experience, but eventually you come to terms that you’ll have to give up the stylish appearance of your home in order to salvage it from the clutches of your children. Fortunately, there are ways to refurbish your home in a way it will preserve its stylish look, but at the same time keep that family-friendly vibe. These few decorating tips can help you create a true family household without fearing possible catastrophes:

Choose Durable Materials

When decorating a family household, one of the most important factors to consider is the use of materials in every part of the house. Durability is the key here, as you’ll want to choose tough, quality and easy to maintain materials. When it comes to floors, the best solution is to opt for hardwood floors, but make sure to choose stain-protective carpets. Area rugs are always a good idea as they provide a soft and warm place for your children to sit on. When it comes to walls, you better prepare yourself for a lot of spills and messy fingertips, so it would be a good option to choose wallpapers, as they can easily be changed. Heavy woven fabrics and leather make the best choice for furniture as they’re durable and easy to clean.

Embrace Colourful Designs

If you have an affinity towards neutral colours and simple designs, perhaps you’ll need to reconsider your style choices. Children are visual beings and are highly influenced by vivid, bright colours and unique patterns. Certain colour shades can be quite stylish when combined properly and can greatly transform the complete setting of the room. The use of bold patterns, touchable textures and colourful designs also provide a good camouflage for possible spills and messes.

Create Zones

image 1 (3)Dividing your home into separate zones can greatly help you create specific play areas reserved solely for your children. This can help you perform your daily chores without worrying that your children will stay in your way. It’s also a good idea to consider creating individual zones for doing homework, playing or performing any kind of art. An open house design is a great family-friendly solution, as it allows a better traffic flow, helps connect different rooms and creates a feeling of togetherness.

Smart Storage Solutions

Being a parent means getting used to endless amount of toys, clutter and inanimate objects all around the house. If you wish to avoid following your children and picking up behind them, the best you can do is opt for some smart storage solutions. Colourful ottomans that double as a storage space are a wonderful choice, while decorative boxes always do the trick. Put some kid-sized dressers that will serve as toy storage or opt for some clever multipurpose furniture such as coffee tables that double as bookshelves or chairs that can be stacked as side tables.

Art & Accessories

While it would certainly be easier to ditch all the baubles and trinkets and keep your home free from any kind of breakable art and accessory pieces, it doesn’t necessarily have to be this way. Instead of ridding your home from all these objects, you can always choose some safe accessories and quality homewares. For instance, frame your children’s drawings and hang them up as art or better yet, accessorize out of their reach. You can also choose to decorate together as a family, by creating mosaics, murals, collecting shells and similar trinkets, but if you wish to display a fancy vase or a glass figurine, make sure to put it on a higher shelf.

How many times did it occur to walk into a store, spot a wonderful piece of furniture or a decorative object and give up solely because you know it wouldn’t survive a day in the house with your children? Before you decide to sacrifice your style and give up on decorating as a whole, perhaps you should try to find some handy decorating tips that’ll work for the whole family.

 

Interior Design Trends for 2016

image 1Interior design is one of the best ways to express a person’s creativity and talent in space decoration. Luckily, every year brings along a range of diversity in colours, patterns and fabrics, and 2016 falls doesn’t fall behind.  From delicate shades, through bold tones and innovative patterns, this year will aim at being one of the revolutionary years in interior designing.

Textures and Patterns

Black and white patterns on floor tiles will never get old. They remain to be the key trend for a couple of previous seasons, and are still a huge hit. The use of geometric patterns, painted wood tiles and ceramics in combination with encaustic in both simple black and white colours and radiant spectrum of various shades is a huge trend this year.

Additionally, 2016 will be all about floral patterns. Wallpapers, fabrics, accessories, florals will be taking the centre stage. Three-dimensional patterns are also a style that emerged in 2016. Geometric 3D tiles in neutral colours will make a great addition to an overall kitchen design. Cushions, rugs or an accent chair are perfect items for experimenting with patterns, which 2016 is also going to be remembered by. A contrasting mix of stripes, florals, geometrics, and paisleys will make a breakthrough in 2016.

Finally, fresh nauticals will also be present in 2016. A combination of navy blue and white will look perfect in urban, coastal or country home. Stripes of different scales and density will give the nautical pattern a special and interesting look.

Colours

image 5The colours that will mark 2016 in the field of interior design are dusty pink and light blue. When matched with neutral or metallic tones they create the ultimate eclectic style. Marble, timber and copper in combination with dusty rose and light blue make a key trend in the 2016 interior design. They will give your space the perfect polished and elegant look.

We’ve already seen marble and copper in the previous year, and we can notice a rising popularity of monogrammed accessories, oak furniture, and brass accents. Additionally, for all the lovers of delicate elegant tones, pastels are still dominant for the colours of walls, furniture or accessories. Blue tends to take over the leading position in the colour trends, by being one of the bestselling this year. Denim, indigo and navy shades are a key trend, and combined with silver and white, make a huge trend of 2016.

The timeless white continues to be dominant in the interior design. While at one point, living rooms tended to have white tones, now the entire home is ruled by this colour. Kitchen is the new place where everything from walls, floors, cabinets and table setting is in white.  The perfect balance can be created with black accents and lighting fixtures.

Materials

image 3Authentic and timeless items like geometric shapes or artisan glass and various fabrics will provide your home with immense luxury, if you incorporate them into your home. Reflective and polished surfaces will be predominant, and in the combination with golds and brass, a space will have the warm and cosy feeling. A few accent pieces as brush gold hardware or gold trays will create an affluent look you’ll be proud to show off.

Mixture of materials is a real hit this year. Wood and marble have been combined in the previous years, and they are likely to stay in the leading position, while decorative concrete in combination with gold will be a revolutionary idea in interior design. Comfort will not be neglected this year either, designers have introduced faux fur as another trend, perfect for carpet, comfy chairs and bed covers.

A perfect material that will both look great and last long – Lucite – made its comeback in 2016. Tables made of Lucite will fit perfectly into a living room. A shelf, an end table, or a kitchen counter – Lucite gives you a range of various items you can incorporate into your home. Additionally, Lucite it is a low-maintenance material, alongside porcelain and engineered quartz that are joining the trends of 2016.

Playful, easy-going and artistic colours as Gold and Pink, Orchid and Blue will create the sophisticated, warmer and well-balanced ambiance in your home. The combination of diverse textures, noble and warm natural materials and delicate, sophisticated colours will make the 2016 a ground-breaking year.

 

 

 

 

Maintaining a Greener Garden

Green gardening may sound ridiculous, but it’s actually about something really important. In fact, the health of our own planet is perhaps the most important thing in the world (quite literally). Green gardening is a trend that has fortunately been becoming more and more popular in the past decade and gardeners all around the world have started adopting eco-friendly techniques of boosting the ‘green’ in their plants. Here are some ideas for creating a greener garden.

Do it Without Chemicals

image 1 (2)Although it’s the opinion of many gardeners that growing a chemical-free garden is impossible, growing healthy, strong plants, without having to resort to environment-damaging substances is very much a trend. One of the best ways to get you started is relying on your own hands. True gardeners aren’t afraid of getting their hands dirty – in fact, if you are squeamish about using your hands to remove slugs and snails, well, then, gardening might not be a thing for you.

Naturally, another way to grow a strong, chemical-free garden is to use strong plants. Start from the soil; load it up with a lot of organic matter and compost in the inception of your garden and it will grow strong and healthy – no pesticide is as good at killing pests as strong plants are.

Perhaps the main benefit you’ll get from a chemical-free garden is keeping the insects that are beneficial to your garden alive!

Choose the Right Seeds

Although the more expensive route of seedlings tends to be easier, many of these are treated with neonicotinoids, pesticides that contribute to the decline of bee population.

Instead, buy your seeds and seedlings from a trusted nursery. Keep in mind that you shouldn’t buy hybridized seeds, as they won’t produce viable seeds – think open pollinated or heirloom seeds, instead.

Companion Planting

Gardening

Gardening

The main idea behind companion planting is planting certain plants together, which can benefit from one another. One of the key factors behind having a strong, environmentally friendly garden is planning your plants just right – in this way, you reduce the risk of various pests and diseases. Additionally, in this way, your vegetables will taste sweeter and you will be able to plant more plants in a smaller area, which is great, seeing as how you will get more room – something almost every gardener is having trouble with.

Reuse Materials at Hand

Green gardening doesn’t necessarily entail spending a ton of money – if you choose to reuse items that you already have in your home and yard, you will get a chance to save up a lot. For example, use worn out clothes and rags for cleaning, use piles of leaves that you have swept up for composting, use newspapers to make biodegradable pots – this way, not only do you save up on money, but also contribute to keeping the newspapers out of landfills.

As garden maintenance Sydney suggests, make sure you’ve pruned your trees and use the sticks and twigs as plant stakes within your garden. Reusing materials is not only money-efficient, but also eco-friendly!

Energy Efficient Tools

image 3Regardless of how much effort you’ve put into coming up with a green garden, if you’re not using energy efficient tools, you are still adding up to pollution.

For example, use an electric lawn mower, instead of a gas-powered one. Using electric tools in general is a better choice.

Finally, use hand tools – this is the greenest way to go, when it comes to gardening tools.

Maintaining a green garden doesn’t have to be ridiculously difficult. If you follow that outlined guidelines carefully, you are more than likely to enjoy a green, eco-friendly garden throughout the spring and summer.

 

Guide to Creating a Vintage-Styled Bathroom

image 1 (1)While there are always those obsessing about everything new and modern, there are those who know how to appreciate the past. Of course, we are not talking about people reading history novels or going to the museum, but people trying to recreate a bit of this past in their own homes. Still, making your home vintage doesn’t mean just piling a bunch of old stuff everywhere. It is much more complex than that. In order to help you out, here are a few tips on how to create your own vintage-styled bathroom.

Detached Elements

If there is one thing that can make your bathroom truly vintage, it is the detached elements in your bathroom. A nice claw-foot porcelain tub is something you can only see in old movies or those set in that era. Still, even though they are aesthetically quite unique, they are not something you can expect to see in a contemporary bathroom. Still, there is no reason to stop here. Why not also go for a pedestal sink instead of hanging one? If you aim to give your bathroom that easily distinguishable Victorian look, this is one of the things you might want to consider. Finally, a toilet with a detached chain and a handle is an absolute must (like the one in the restaurant in The Godfather).

Go for Metal

The next thing anyone notices about vintage is that people back in the past relied on different materials in their interior design. Sure, today we have PVC everywhere, but not so long ago, different kinds of metals like copper, wrought iron, nickel, and oiled bronze were all the rage. These dull metals gave one’s home a completely unique look and truly opened it up spatially. Sure, there may not be much room for this kind of design in the bathroom, but you can always leave the pipes exposed and covered in one of these nuances. This brings two advantages. If any accident happens, pipes on the outside are easier to fix, plus you get that industrial look many people are falling for these days.

Floor Ideas

One of the things that haven’t changed much over the course of years is a bathroom floor. If money is not the issue, there is literally nothing better for your flooring than marble. Still, seeing how this can cost an arm and a leg, there are some other options you may want to consider, as well. The first of them is hardwood flooring. Sure, some may claim that wood and moisture don’t really go that well hand in hand, but a highly polished hardwood that is maintained properly can withstand nearly anything. If you are still not convinced, you can simply go with ceramic tiles. For these purposes, hexagonally shaped ones are a safe choice.

Light

image 8For your bathroom lighting solution, there are several things to be done. First off, you need to decide if you are going with ceiling lights or a chandelier. Most people go with ceiling lights since they are more practical, but choosing a small chandelier can bring your bathroom’s style one step closer to being fully vintage. Next, what you might want to do is replace all your incandescent light bulbs with the LED ones. The thing about incandescent bulbs is that they use most of their energy on heating, which is not their primary function. This is why according to chart an LED bulb of only 6-8 Watts gives as much lumens as incandescent one of 60 Watts.

Color

Finally, the big issue about any bathroom is what color it should be in. While many people out there recommend soft, pastel accents like pink, blue or turquoise, some bathroom renovation experts advise going full white. As a universal color, it matches any appliances you may decide to go with perfectly and gives your entire bathroom a completely new dimension. Still, if this is not your cup of tea, nothing prevents you from going with anything, from earthy brown to bright yellow. The choice is all yours.

Making a vintage-styled bathroom is far from easy, but the end result is usually more than worth it. Seeing how this is one of the most functional rooms in your home, it might not hurt to add a sentimental dimension to it, as well. This way, every time you visit it, you might get an impression of stepping into a time machine and exiting into a different era, one more to your liking.

 

 

 

Tips on Turning Your Garage into a DIY Haven

 

image 3It is necessary for those who need the room to work on projects and to hone their handyman skills, to have their own space. Often it is impossible to find a spot that’s good enough in your home, so turn your garage into a small workshop, and let your creativity flow. However, before you start transforming a part of your garage, be aware that you should first carefully plan what will go where to avoid disorder.

What Kind of Flooring Do You Have?

In order to be able to have the perfect workshop in your garage, you need to check if the flooring is suited for handiwork. Keep in mind that you are going to drill, paint, and saw a lot, which could leave particles behind, that could damage your floor. Opting for a concrete floor will allow you to wash off any leftovers without a problem.

Keep Everything Clean

Clutter in the garage will be your worst nightmare, especially when you want to find some of your tools fast. Cleaning up after working in the workshop can be problematic as most people often skip it, and it contributes to creating even more chaos. However, you can install a central vacuum system to help clean up with ease. It is going to be a necessary improvement in your garage if you want to keep your workstation clean and in order.

Refresh Your Electrical Wiring

image 2Once you set up your workshop, you will be using a lot of electricity. When using power tools, you need to ensure that the grounding is working properly, to avoid ruining them. Moreover, make sure that you have plenty of outlets, so you can have all your equipment plugged in. Just keep in mind that you should not overload the electrical system in your home, or you will be changing fuses quite often.

See What You Are Doing

Chances are that you need to upgrade your garage’s lighting to be able to work seamlessly. Try to change the old lights and invest in new lighting, otherwise, your workshop will be usable only during daytime. Get a few smaller focus lights as well, to help you with delicate and precise work.

Install Ventilation in Your Garage

It will not be possible to have the garage door open at all times, meaning that if you are working with heavy-duty power tools, you might not get enough air. Unless you have a good ventilation system installed, you will not be able to work at your workshop efficiently, as you will frequently have to get out and take a breather. You can even invest in a dust collector to help you maintain the fresh air in your garage while working.

Make Room for Storage

image 1Storing things in the garage is problematic enough on its own, and it is going to become an even bigger problem once you set up your workshop. Nonetheless, you can make use of your walls and choose from various shelving solutions to help you store everything without creating a clutter. Also, it is going to be much easier to find all your tools and materials (when working) as everything will have its place.

Transforming your garage into a workshop can be a lot of fun, and you can create your own safe haven where you can work in peace. However, you need to assess what kind of workshop you would like to have, in order to prepare everything and to have all the necessary upgrades taken care of. Most importantly, though, make enough room in your garage to be able to fit your handy workshop without feeling cluttered.

How to Clean Outdoor Patio and Deck Furniture

Photo 1During the summer months, outdoor furniture is used almost every day, which means you probably need to clean it  quite often. Also, if you’re into organizing various out-of-doors activities for your kids throughout this season, regular cleaning just becomes a daily routine. Although many of us don’t favor this chore, with the right tools and cleansers, it can be done without a hitch. Here are a few tips on how to keep your patio and deck furniture looking as good as new.

Dealing with Natural Wood (teak, wicker)

Cleaning natural wood is possibly the most meticulous job, since you need to be extra careful and cautious. In order to clean teak and wicker furniture, you need to use a dry scrub brush first, to remove any debris. After that, you can use a mixture of warm water (1 gallon) and castile soap (1 tablespoon) for scrubbing away the dirt with the same brush. If you clean wicker, make sure you scrub gently because it can lose its shape. The last step is to wash off all the soap with a hose and apply oil (note: use oil only if the instructions call for it). 

Frequent Surface Cleaning

If you like spending most of the summer days on the patio having dinner parties with friends or organizing various arts & crafts activities with your kids, those outdoor tables and chairs are definitely in a dire need for daily cleaning. You surely want all those dirt and grease, soap scum and filth to disappear in a jiffy. Universal cleansers that at the same time clean and polish the surfaces are the best option. You can, for instance, go for Koenig Polish, a cleanser that can be used on various types of surfaces – glass, stainless steel, granite, etc. It also adds a nice shiny layer that provides the surface with additional protection.

Photo 2A Recipe for Plastic, Steel and Metal

If you’re a fan of DIY options, you can easily make a solution using 1 cup of vinegar, ½ cup of castile soap and 2 gallons of warm water. Once you mix these ingredients, you’ll need a spray bottle to pour the solution in. Before applying the cleanser, remove the loose dirt from the surfaces using a brush. Also, put away all the cushions, if they’re removable, as you’ll need to clean them separately. After spraying the furniture, leave it for 5-10 minutes and then spray the same area again, rinse it with water and leave in on the sun to dry.

Basic Cleaning of Outdoor Pillows and Cushions

For cleaning the fabric of your outdoor cushions, mix 1 teaspoon of dishwashing detergent, 1 tablespoon of Borax and 1 quart of warm water. Wash the cushions either with a saturated sponge or using a spray bottle. Leave them for 15 minutes and then rinse them off with a lot of water. Don’t dry the cushion in the direct sun in order to keep the original color. If you have removable cushions that can fit in the washer, wash them on a gentle cycle.

 

Regular cleaning of outdoor furniture during the year, even if you don’t use it during the winter months, will help keep it in immaculate condition. The thorough cleaning should firstly be done at the beginning of summer and then at the beginning of autumn, before you store it indoors. Storing the furniture inside is an additional step in staining prevention.

 

Bang for a Buck – Decorating Your Dorm Room on a Budget

image 5Living in a dorm, or any other kind of other student accommodation has to be one of the best experiences a student can have. Not only because these are the places where you can meet a lot of interesting people or because they are associated with student life, which is in its own right pretty awesome. Dorms and apartments are usually the first places students can call their own homes before finally becoming fully independent. They deserve some love, don’t they? Let us see how you can make your accommodation as cool as possible without crippling your student budget.

Cool Artwork

Nothing makes a space instantly appealing more than a piece of art. Especially if that piece of art is chosen correctly. As for the dorm room, going too classy or, on the other hand, too on-the-nose would be overkill. So, if you’re into sports choose some imagery that will add a vintage feel to the room. If you’re into comics, drawings by Darwyn Cooke will have much broader appeal than some more contemporary-looking works. Same goes for the music, film, or any other kind of imagery you may be into.

Lighting

Other very easy way to affect how a room appears is to change the lighting. Of course, no one expects you to pull off some major overhaul, but even something as simple as introducing small tweaks like new lamps or even new bulbs can go a very long way. Also, changing the curtains can drastically influence will your room fall more on the warmer or the colder side of the color spectrum. On the other hand, if you are more ambitious, you can take the matters into your own hands and create your own lighting.

Rugs, Carpets, Covers and Cushions

Although they appear otherwise, carpets and rugs are not that expensive, especially if you know where to look for them (yard sales, flea markets, web shops). They do, however, bring a sense of luxury to the space they occupy, so if you are going for the eye-candy you cannot go wrong with rugs. Choose some cozy and fluffy variety and your feet will be eternally grateful. Same goes for covers and cushions, sans the feet factor.

Storage Space and Book Cases

image 6Sure, equipping yourself with enough storage units may not sound like the most obvious investment you can make once you find the student accommodation in Sidney, Brisbane or any other major city and have tons of future expenses along the road. But it is a worthwhile investment, nevertheless. Not only they are useful, but once you populate them with the things you like, they can lend your room an immense amount of personality. Also, much like rugs, they can be found at a bargain price.

Plants

Plants are living and breathing beings. That is why they bring some sense of freshness, joy and liveliness even in the most barren and sterile looking spaces. Besides, plants are associated with a number of interesting benefits; improved mental health, ability to concentrate, quality of sleep and overall happiness being only some of them. And believe us, you will need all of that to pull off the studies.

Hubs

Finally, simply moving the furniture around and creating few different hubs (sleeping, learning, gaming, working out…) and making subtle boundaries between them (you can use something as simple as differently colored rugs) can make the room appear much bigger and more functional. If you are sharing the accommodation with a roommate dividing the room in different hubs can be a life-saver.

These were some of the tips that will make your student accommodation not only better looking, but also more functional and healthier place to live in, as well. So, what are you waiting for, then? Make that dorm room as cool as possible and start your studies on the right foot.

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